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We Like “Likes”

I saw an interview with the guy who, as a software programmer at Facebook, co-created the “like” button.  While stopping short of expressing regret, Justin Rosenstein says the invention has had “unintended, negative consequences.” I couldn’t agree more. We like “likes.” The little red notifications heighten our self-worth. They tell us someone’s listening. They tell us we matter. Studies suggest social media notifications activate the pleasure centers of the brain, much like sex and food. Depending on how healthy you are as a person, it’s easy to become addicts of approval. But what happens when you don’t get the affirmation you seek? What happens if you’re (gulp) virtually ignored? Be careful. Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” routine? …

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My Flu

Your mind is like an unsafe neighborhood; don’t go there alone ~ Augusten Burroughs I have battled anxiety and depression most of my life. I call it my flu because it doesn’t stay, but like any virus it has power. I respect it, and I realize that when it comes it wants to destroy me. Today, at the ripe old age of fifty-one, I’ve never been more comfortable with my flu and it’s never been buried so deep. I haven’t been this healthy or happy since I was a child. There are many reasons for this. I’ve picked out a few hoping perhaps they will help someone. After writing them down, I realized how intentional I must be in order …

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Profound Loss

“I know what I have to do now. I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” ~ CASTAWAY Tom Hanks’ ‘Castaway’ character was trapped on a deserted island for four years. After his rescue, he found everything had changed. He was different. No one could possibly understand his pain. How could they? He needed time – time to grieve; time to discover his new normal. I’ve been praying for my friend, Roxanne who lost her twenty-one-year-old son, Zach on his birthday. The circumstances of his death are beyond horrific. I can’t comprehend her pain. I can’t begin to know the thickness of her grief. I can’t. No one can. How …

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The Slow Let-Go

Parents have 938 weeks to prepare their kids for the world. 938. My wife and I are down to 23. Our daughters turn eighteen this spring. They will enroll in college. They will dip their pens into the ink well of life and write a story uniquely their own. Meantime, I helplessly peer through the hourglass as the sand dwindles at startling speed. I want to reach for it and flip it over; reset it. Try again. Change. It’s equal parts exciting and excruciating. My friend Steve reached out to me recently and asked, “How can I pray for you?” This struck me as wonderful not only because he was thinking of me, but because Steve has been battling cancer …

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Good is Coming

Friends, I think we’re in a crisis of hope. I don’t mean optimism; I mean the confident expectation that good is coming. ~ John Eldredge I saw this video of a 66-year old colorblind man who gets special glasses for his birthday. With them, he can see colors for the first time in his life. The moment he puts them on, his entire body language changes. He swings his arms like a little boy who sneaked out of bed on Christmas eve, tiptoed down the stairs and saw his shiny new bike beside the tree. He’s overwhelmed. He’s speechless. He’s changed. A woman in the video is heard saying, “Now you can see with our eyes.” Hope deferred makes the …