Funday Friday: Dog Cow Humor

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Here’s some cow humor told by a dog for your Funday Friday:

dog-cow-humor

If you would like to add some more joy or humor to your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Man Therapy

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Sometimes the idea of counseling can be intimidating for men because some in culture say that counseling is a sign of weakness, especially in men. In order to help combat the terrible and false idea that it is weak for a man to seek counseling, tools such as the website Man Therapy have been created. Take a look at the website and the various tools available for those who realize that a healthy man takes care of his mental and emotional health.

man-therapy

For any man or woman who would like to talk with someone to help take care of their mental and emotional health, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Conflict is an Opportunity

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Conflict is an Opportunity

By Erik Raymond

Most people don’t enjoy conflict. We tend to avoid it if we can. I suppose there is something healthy about this fact. We certainly don’t want to enjoy conflict.

However, there is something that is lost, particularly for Christians, when we avoid biblically handling necessary conflict. We could rightly say that in this case there is an unhealthy avoidance of conflict.

CONFLICT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DENY INSTEAD OF COMFORT OURSELVES.

Let’s think about the basis of our fellowship and relationship with other Christians. We are united—before anything else—by and through Jesus Christ. The way that we come to share in fellowship together is by individually sharing in the fellowship with Christ. So whether we are talking about a marriage, other family dynamics, or other friendships within the church, the primary basis for our relationship is the gospel. And let’s not forget that the way in which we come to enjoy the benefits of the gospel is to admit that we are sinners who have come to realize our sin and our need for a Savior.

With this level of transparency why do we then proceed to live in such a way that we avoid conflict? Husbands and wives avoid necessary conversations because it makes them uncomfortable. Friends at church insist on not dealing with patterns of sin because it makes them uncomfortable. Do you see the painful irony here? The primary basis of our relationship is the fact that we admit that we are sinners and need a Savior, so then why do we live in such a way that says that we are neither sinners nor in need of a Savior? This type of living, even just a sliver of it, can make a marriage or a church unhealthy, because it mutes the gospel and masks pride. Jesus calls us to a life of self-denial not self-comfort.

CONFLICT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TURN UP THE GOSPEL VOLUME.

I have sat across the table from people who seem like godly men and women. In the course of our discussion it became clear that they had an issue with one or more people. In effort to try to get it worked out I remember appealing to them that whatever the issue was I can assure them that we have a gospel that is big enough to handle it. Whatever has happened we can get it worked out. Let’s put this big gospel to work.

Sadly, I’ve often been rebuffed by stoic glares and unwilling hearts. Content to nurse a grudge they sadly mute the gospel and ensure that nothing gets solved.

CONFLICT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR INTIMACY.

When properly addressed within the context of the gospel, conflict is actually a surprising minister in the relationship. By addressing conflict and sin biblically it actually forges a deeper intimacy than personal comfort could ever do. I have seen husbands and wives work through big stuff and come out shining brighter than the couples that play prevent defense in their marriage. I’ve seen young people and older people become great friends after working out their issues together through gospel humility.

This is because the gospel is the great unifier. It brings all of us low. Jesus teaches us that the way down is the way up (Phil. 2:3-10). How could it be any different in our relationships?

CONFLICT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EMBRACE PROVIDENCE.

Failing to address conflict also says something about our view of providence. If God is truly upholding and governing all things, bringing everything to pass that comes to pass, then what are we to say about our conflict? Providence has permitted it at this time. We must apply the Word of God and this big gospel for the glory of God and the good of ourselves and others.

Too many times we in the church deploy the world’s methods and hope for heaven’s results. It simply won’t happen. We cannot mute the gospel and expect blessing. We cannot second-guess providence and hope for good. We cannot avoid any type of discomfort and expect genuine community. After all, in the church where the requirement for entry is admitting that you often break things, we should not pretend that we are perfect, nor should we expect that others will be.

Conflict can drive us apart or close, depending on whether or not we apply the gospel.

6 Ways to Help A Grieving Friend

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6 Ways to Help A Grieving Friend

By Sam Altis

Two years ago, I endured what was, hands down, the most painful season of my life. After a series of long-term, compounding health issues, my dad died suddenly.

My experience of grief shaped me in profound ways that I am still discovering, but one of the things that has come most clearly out my grief is the desire to see others grieved with well. When comforting a grieving friend, everyone has good intentions. Unfortunately, those good intentions often don’t translate to loving, helpful action. And when you’re grieving, you don’t have the energy to see through to good intentions.

So, as I reflect on my own experience of loss, here are a few things you can do for a friend who has lost someone they love deeply.

Don’t try to fix it.

I remember standing in line at my dad’s visitation and enduring an endless string of well-intentioned one liners. Classics like “He’s in a better place” and “You’ll see him again someday.”

Then a total stranger came up and said something completely different that stuck with me: “It doesn’t get better. It gets different.”

Here is what was so impactful about that statement: She wasn’t trying to fix anything.

Most of the things we say to a grieving friend attempt to smooth over their pain. Grief can’t be fixed or smoothed over. It has to be endured and, in some sense, it never goes away. It gets different. Less pervasive. Less overwhelming. But it’s always there because the person we lost is not.

Whatever you say to a grieving friend, make sure it doesn’t try to fix their grief.

Do something tangible and simple.

There was one day in the weeks that followed my dad’s death that felt particularly overwhelming.

I was exhausted, indescribably sad and hurting in ways I didn’t know were possible. And then a package came in the mail. The teens that I worked with at the time had made me cards and sent gift cards to cover meals. I could feel their love in this simple expression, and it gave me just enough energy to go on.

Unless they’re particularly profound or horrible, the things we say to our grieving friends won’t be remembered. What will be remembered are the tangible acts of love we do for them: meals, cards, showing up. So if you’re lost for words, don’t say anything. Just do something simple.

The latte you bring them may just sit coldly on the table, but they’ll feel your love in the action. That love is the best thing you have to offer them.

Ask about the person they lost.

After my dad’s visitation, my wife and I went to dinner with some friends. After a few minutes, the conversation lulled and that “what can we possible say” silence set in. Then my friend said the best thing anyone could have in that moment: “Tell me about your dad.”

Talking to a grieving friend can feel like walking through a mine field. You don’t want say something that will trigger a fresh wave of grief or hurt the person because you said the wrong thing. This, almost always, seems to result in avoiding mentioning the loved one who was lost. This can actually be the worst thing for someone who is grieving.

When you’ve lost someone, you want to hold on to them in any way you can. Often this is through talking about them to others. It’s incredibly comforting, even for just a moment, to share about the person you lost. Give your friend the opportunity to do so.

Be slow to compare.

In the wake of losing my dad, I was flooded with conversations about my loss, most of which I don’t remember at all. What I do remember is a theme: comparison.

Many people said things like, “I know how you feel, I lost an uncle,” or “I felt the same way when my boyfriend broke up with me.” This was well-intentioned, but usually pretty unhelpful.

When we bring up our own experience with grief to a friend who has lost someone, we’re shooting for empathy.

Unfortunately, what we often end up doing is minimizing the uniqueness of their loss. Every grief is different because every person and relationship lost is different.

If you want to show empathy without comparing, try to identify the feelings you felt in your grief and ask your friend how they’re handling those same feelings. This simple act says, “You’re not alone” while avoiding comparing losses.

Don’t have expectations for their grief.

Perhaps the greatest act of love I received in my grief came from how my wife walked with me. As grief hit me and I responded with everything from anger, to numbness, to tears, my wife sat with me uncritically. She never questioned how I was responding. She was just sad with me, which is all I needed from her.
For more help in the grieving process, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Harsh Start Ups vs Soft Start Ups in Conversations

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Research shows that discussions invariably end on the same note they begin. If you start an argument harshly by attacking your partner, you will end up with at least as much tension as you began with, if not more.

Approach conflict gently by using these “soft startup” techniques from the Gottman Institute.

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For more help on your conversations and your relationships, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

 

Funday Friday: Dog Clock Humor

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Here’s a little clock humor told by a dog for your Funday Friday:

dog-clock-humor

If you would like to add some humor or more joy to your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

A Marriage Between an Introvert and Extrovert

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The Difference Between “Sorry” and Trust

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Sometimes a person can be mystified as to why their friend, family member, loved one, or coworker says that they still don’t trust them even after an “I’m sorry” has been made after a hurt.  The misunderstanding on the part of the offender is due to the false assumption that “sorry” ought to result in restored trust.

The truth is that a genuine apology can certainly result in forgiveness but forgiveness does not mean trust. A wounded person not only felt the pain of the incident they also felt the pain of a betrayed trust. So a person can offer forgiveness but that does not mean that they automatically should trust themselves to the care of the offender without seeing a change in behavior. In fact, in some situations it could be physically or emotionally harmful to the person to automatically trust the other person again without seeing a consistent change in behavior over time.

We must remember that “sorry equals forgiveness” but “changed behavior equals trust.”

trust-and-sorry

If you would like help working through areas of forgiveness and trust, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Cactus Relationships

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Our attitudes impact our mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health during difficult times in life. Consider the following when it feels like you have been handed a cactus in life:

difficult-cactus

If you would like help during a difficult time of life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

How to Build Friendships With Other Families

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How to Build Friendships with Other Families

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

With the crazy fast pace of the world these days, having a family of your own–plus keeping up with all life’s demands–can feel very isolating. It takes all you’ve got just to get your family through the day…so you’re not sure how to even begin building intentional friendships with other families.

The good news is, it’s possible! You can build relationships with other families, and have fun doing it. Today, we’re sharing 3 practices you can put into action right away to start getting connected with other families.

  1. GET CONNECTED

Friendships are built on having things in common–whether it’s a sense of humor, shared experiences, or similar life circumstances. Seek opportunities to connect with other couples who have similar interests and values as you have, and with whom you have a strong rapport.

Interest groups, classes, Sunday school, and small groups are all good places to start as you seek other families to befriend. Be patient in the process of getting to know them, and don’t rush into any relationships; instead, take it slow and get to know the people you’re connecting with. Having patience and peace in the process will help you as you explore which friendships are going to be healthy connections for you and your family to cultivate.

  1. SHOW OPENNESS

Be open to getting to know other families, and project that sense of openness to the new people you meet. If you appear closed off or uninterested, you won’t seem as approachable to others.

Even if you’re nervous, don’t wait to be approached. Find someone you’d like to introduce yourself to, and jump right in. Be friendly, receptive, and show your interest in getting to know them.

It can be easy, once you’ve made a few close friends, to stop making an effort to bring other families into your circle. Be aware of this, and commit to continuing to meet new families and broadening your circle over time.

  1. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY

Work together with your spouse to invite other families into your home, one at a time. Take turns having each of them over at intervals, and spend time getting to know them (and letting your children get to know one another). Do whatever you can to help them feel welcome and comfortable in your home.

Get out your calendar and work together to chart out times to invite people over you’d like to get to know. Once you’ve decided on dates for the month, determine to include someone around your table on each date, no matter what.

If you put these 3 principles into practice, you’ll be able to establish some meaningful, lasting friendships that will be mutually rewarding, both for your family and the other families you get to know. Give it time, and before long, you will have a community of friends who’ll be there through thick and thin.