Cornerstone Family Services > Articles by: Seth Evans

Three Roads to Joy in Bi-Vocational Ministry

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Three Roads to Joy in Bi-vocational Ministry

By Matt Heerema

I know many other bi-vocational ministers, those who aren’t able to be paid enough by their congregation to meet the needs of their family, and so need to take a second job to make ends meet. Many of them wish things were otherwise. I’d like to offer three avenues to joy in bi-vocational ministry.

Vocation simply means “calling” and refers to all the things God calls us to do. Notice the plural “things.” This is crucial. In fact, most of us are at least bi-vocational. You probably have 4-5 callings. Husband, father, pastor, businessman, these are my main four.

Be comforted by one implication of God’s sovereignty: the roles you find yourself right now are your calling. Embrace that “second job” with the same reverent awe that you would the ministry work, because God has called you to it. Think Colossians 3:23.


The reason we find it difficult to think of our “secular” tasks (writing code, checking groceries, digging ditches, changing diapers, cleaning the house) as important as ministry work is not because of the teaching of the scriptures, but rather because of Aristotelean dualism. Aristotle taught that some activities in life (namely: mental / intellectual pursuits) were “more human” than others (physical labor). Aristocracy and slavery were the result.

This idea was pulled into the church by Eusebius, and the clergy/laity split was born. Today this dualism oppresses the consciences of many who desire to live a sold-out life for Jesus.

This split should be rejected. Every task can be a holy, kingdom building, God pleasing task. Ministry work does not occupy a categorically more important role in the Kingdom of God.

Yes, Gospel ministry is critical, and every Christian has Gospel ministry as part of their vocation. But only a vast minority are called to make their living from full-time engagement in it.


A bi-vocational work life can be exceedingly stressful. The oppression of dualism, combined with physical strain on our time and energy, are huge sources of strain for a bi-vocational minister as we try to get all the good things done.  Thus, the Scriptures exhort us to make the best use of our time.

Most good business and productivity thinkers out there will clue you in to the 80-20 rule: 80% of our effect is produced by 20% of our effort.  Everyone must be aware of this, but for the bi-vocational minister, it is absolutely crucial.

You have heard that the enemy of the best is not the bad, but the good. We must carefully examine our life and our work and determine where our greatest effect comes from, and, in faith, learn to say “no” to the good things that get in the way of the best. You have been given a limited amount of time, and two domains to steward.  Because of this, you must learn to have a plan and a process for all of your tasks. Tim has some excellent posts along this line on this site.

Work relentlessly, restfully.

As I have pursued the above three disciplines, I have found an immense amount of vision and joy in running a business, designing, and writing code for many different kinds of businesses and organizations. It is possible to have peace and joy in the midst of the hustle of life as we understand and work in all of God’s callings on our life.

4 Simple Exercises To Become More Grateful

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4 Simple Exercises To Become More Grateful

By Brent Flory


Would you be interested in improving your health, becoming more optimistic, and having greater influence with people in your life? What if I told you could make strides in each of these areas by investing just 30 minutes a day?

Sounds too good to be true, right? Thankfully, it isn’t. You can enjoy growth in each of these areas, just by growing in gratitude.

(This post is the third in a series on gratitude. Last week I discussed how being grateful makes you more marketable.)

We have looked previously at the health benefits, and the psychological and social benefits of practicing gratitude shown by the research of University of California, Davis psychology professorRobert A. Emmons. However, knowing the benefits of being more grateful only gets you so far. We are going to cover practical steps to help you grow in gratitude.

Build gratitude in your life 30 minutes a day by:

1) Scheduling gratitude. (2 minutes)

If I don’t put something on my calendar, it probably isn’t going to happen. Break up your morning and afternoon routines by putting reminders on your calendar to stop for 1 minute and think of 3 things you are grateful for.

2) Speaking gratitude. (3 minutes)

Two words: thank you. Throw in a sincere smile in that person’s direction and they will be happy to help you in the future. The couple of seconds it takes per interaction will add up as you become more conscious of the people around you who make your career and life possible.

Make it a point to tell two people each day something specific you are grateful for that they do.

3) Sensing gratitude. (4 minutes)

Use your senses to sow a mindset of gratitude. Pause for a moment and take in what you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Do you love the smell of coffee in the morning like I do? Express appreciation to the barista (or significant other) who prepared it for you.

Love hearing the sound of your child’s laughter? Let them know. When you see a good friend, let them know freely how much you care about them. The more we allow our senses to make us aware of life going on around us, the more opportunities we have to cultivate gratitude.

4) Journaling about gratitude. (20 minutes)

By far the biggest commitment, but with the biggest payoff as well. Taking the time in the evening to journal in the evening has multiple benefits. Purposefully journaling about people and events that you are grateful for in your daily life will help reinforce your newfound habit. And if you forgot to do any or all of the previous suggestions, it can serve as a reminder to start anew tomorrow.

How to Take a Day Off

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How to Take a Day Off

By David Raptitude

I don’t think my father took days off. He must have, but I don’t think I ever witnessed it. I cannot picture him getting up and doing anything besides some kind of work.

When I would drag myself to the couch at 8am on a Saturday to watch cartoons, he was apparently in the middle of his day, already having built or fixed something.

He would permit himself to read books or watch TV later in the day. But I think the idea of taking a proper day off – where he didn’t build, organize, or otherwise try to advance his lot in life at all – was kind of foreign to him.

I don’t have half the work ethic he did, but recently I noticed I do the same thing: I see my weekends, my days “off,” as additional space for getting a bit more done, even if it’s only the kinds of work I enjoy.

A few weeks ago I found myself taking a true Day Off, in which I deliberately spent the day doing things that have absolutely nothing to do with improving, or even maintaining, my position in life. I had decided spontaneously the evening before: no work, no goals, no attempt to gain anything.

I ended up spending a lot of time outside, and visiting with four separate groups of loved ones, never rushing between them and never thinking much, at any point, about the rest of the day. I spent the morning with my girlfriend, lunch with a friend, the afternoon out walking with my mother, dinner with my sister’s family, and the evening with a book.

I went to bed feeling intensely grateful that my lot in life was such that I could have a day like that, and I slept very well.

If that wasn’t a perfect day then there are none. The biggest difference between that day and a normal weekend day, I realize now, was that I paid little attention to the advance of time. I suspended all aspirations to shaping the future. The only goal was to enjoy the setting and characters of every moment I found myself in, which is refreshingly easy when you’re not trying to get anywhere else.

The next day I went back to work, but I didn’t feel my usual resistance to it, and I got a lot done. The unhurried quality of my Proper Day Off seemed to carry into the following workday. It gave me a distinct feeling of being fine where I was, of not needing to be past what I was currently working on.

The Lost Art of the Day Off

It now seems absurd to let a week go by without a Proper Day Off, and I have quickly become an ambassador for the mostly-lost idea of protecting an entire day from one’s own toil. A lot of us never actually do, whether or not we realize it. We habitually give ourselves jobs on the weekend, and if we accidentally get nothing done, we feel guilty.

Stepping deliberately out of “getting ahead” mode reminds you that you already are “ahead” in all sorts of ways. What’s the point of getting ahead if we never have the experience of being ahead?

Before going on we should clarify what a Proper Day Off actually is. A day off whatexactly?

It’s a day off of all the things we do for money, acclaim, position, or out of social obligation; off of treating time like a commodity to be invested or traded for future benefits.

A Proper Day Off isn’t an invitation for laziness, or the shirking of responsibilities. In fact, a Proper Day Off is a day for exploring a certain other class of responsibilities: being a relaxed and present friend, parent, son or daughter, or stranger.

It’s also a time for being a grateful member of civilization. A Proper Day Off is particularly suited to experiencing the highlights of human development: enjoying art, music and public spaces, particularly if we spend the other six days mostly butting heads with the worst parts: inhuman corporations, corrupt governments, vapid celebrity culture, and a news media that delivers only bad news.

6 Principles of a Proper Day Off

A few general rules, to keep your Day Off uncompromised:

1) No work, no “getting ahead”

If getting ahead has any use, it’s so that you can be ahead. A Proper Day Off is reserved for this experience of being ahead – appreciating the fruits of your labor (and that of others) – rather than for laboring even more.

Essentially this means, “Today, do things for now, not for later.” That means no errands, no utilitarian purchases, and definitely no major purchases. In fact, what are you doing in Home Depot at all? Go to the park. And although recreational shopping is a favorite pastime for many people, it is completely inappropriate on a Proper Day Off. Consumer shopping has too many emotional ties to the working world. Refraining from “getting ahead” doesn’t mean a Day Off is best spent getting needlessly behind, by liquidating your hours of labor (and therefore your precious time on this earth) for a low-brow shopper’s high.

Visiting an antique shop, or a farmers market, or a garage sale, is quite suitable for a Day Off – visiting a department store, or (God forbid) a Wal-Mart, is not.

2) Don’t spend the day at home

A case can be made for spending the odd day in your pyjamas watching movies (there are several people out there who buy giant “onesie” pyjamas to feel an extra pinch of cuteness when watching those romance movies of old). However shutting oneself inside the house all day can make for a poor Proper Day Off – it’s too predictable and familiar, and most of us are going to feel regret creep into a day like that by late afternoon.

Generally most of a Proper Day Off will happen outside your home. It would be a shame not to spend a least a bit of it in a park, any time of year, even if you’re just passing through it to meet someone.

Try not to spend much of it in your car either. Make use of your feet, or your bike if possible. Cars fill us with the sensation of needing to be somewhere else.

3) Involve loved ones

Either take a companion with you on your Proper Day Off, or plan a visit or two. Maybe you had no takers for your museum visit in the morning, but you could certainly find someone to meet you for lunch or coffee at some point.

A well-tempered companion is best, though, even just for part of the day – a partner, a friend, or an offspring. Other people keep us from creeping away to “later” in our minds, and help us appreciate what we might not have noticed alone.

After all, quality time with loved ones is just about the best way a person can spend their time in this life. It’s what we miss when we’re away, what we would dream about in prison, and what we will still find important once we near our deathbeds.

4) Plan loosely, but don’t make an itinerary

It’s only practical to have a mental list of places you might go. Freedom requires decisiveness. Know beforehand what area of town to head to, where to stop first, whether to go to the flea market or the waterfront. A day out to the San Antonio flea market, or wherever you’re from, can be a really fun time, especially with all the entertainment on offer.

It is also helpful to figure out which friends and loved ones you’ll be meeting. Planning lunch ahead is perfectly reasonable, or you could just meet up and wander until you find a good spot. Maybe you want to pack a picnic.

One other general rule: Do more than one thing. An entire day spent at the convention center will hardly give you the freewheeling spirit of a Proper Day Off. Get an earlyish start, so that the day has room for variety, but don’t look at the clock much.

Gravitate towards free or inexpensive activities. Money, for most of us, is closely related to time and work, two spheres of concern we want to leave alone for the day.

5) Minimize electronic device usage

…or at least only use them only for getting around (i.e. maps) or co-ordinating meetings with your friends. We get more than enough screen time the rest of the week.

Being constantly connected to news and email gives us an unhealthy hyper-awareness of time, which is exactly what we’re taking a break from on a Proper Day Off. We often use the clock evaluate “how we’re doing” on a given day. On a Proper Day Off, only check the clock when necessary for utilitarian purposes. And remember: whatever time it is, it’s okay.

Don’t be too much of a luddite though. You don’t need to make it into anti-technology day. But if passive electronic entertainment (i.e. Movies or TV) is going to be a part of it, make it the last thing you do, and if you can, do it with someone else.

6) Enjoy the fruits of civilization

We become so cynical about the ills of civilization that we take its virtues for granted. For all our complaints, the truth is we live surrounded by wonderful amenities and cultural institutions, many of which exist solely for human enjoyment and well-being. A Proper Day Off is a perfect time to make use of your community’s parks, museums, galleries, markets, public spaces, performance venues and heritage buildings.

Consult a local events calendar to see what’s happening. If you live in a city of any size, you might be surprised at how much is going on every day – free music, art exhibitions, book and poetry readings, gatherings, meetups, contests and tastings.

We work so that we can improve the settings in which we live our lives, both the public and private kind. So let’s not forget to enjoy these settings while we have them, and put the working part aside entirely while we do.

Pregnancy is Not a Joke…Even on April Fool’s Day

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1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy or infant loss in her lifetime. Each life, whether carried for days in the womb or years in our arms, is precious, loved, and missed. So on April 1st, please remember that pregnancy is not a joke. Not even on April Fool’s Day.

By Hope Mommies

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Removing “Divorce” From Your Vocabulary

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While it would be inappropriate to say that “divorce” should never be on the table (even the Bible which speaks strongly about maintaining marriage speaks of situations where divorce is acceptable), it is unwise to have the word “divorce” as a regular part of your marriage vocabulary, and although there are things that can help you through a divorce, such as this divorce insurance, you may find it difficult and frustrating.

When in conflict or frustrated, throwing around the word divorce is an unhealthy form of emotional blackmail. The word also states that you are only willing to being in the marriage during the “for better” parts and are unwilling to work on the marriage during the “for worse” parts of the marriage. If that is the case and you live in new york, for example, then you probably are better off seeking advice from a lawyer in your local area and filing for divorce. However, it’s still not a word you should be throwing around lightly.

Even joking about divorce as an option while the marriage is healthy sends the signal of a lack of commitment to one’s spouse and working through life’s struggles together. However, if you find yourself going down that road, you may want to seek support from a law firm similar to Russel Family Law for legal advice.

Marriage365 says it this way one of their instagram posts:

If you threaten divorce at any time, it shows your spouse that you have given up on your relationship. Divorce is the end game. If a divorce ends up going through, it might be a good idea to converse with a divorce lawyer similar to what you can find at for some perspective on how to move forward with the legal proceedings. There’s no where to go after divorce has been brought up. We cannot stress enough that you should remove the word divorce from your vocabulary. Think about it, when you said your vows on your wedding day, were you really thinking in the back of your mind that one day you would be considering divorce? Heck no! The word divorce carries huge ramifications! #marriage365#ichooselove

Remove Divorce

If you are wrestling within your marriage or considering divorce, please contact CornerStone Family Services to see about healing and enriching your marriage. You can set up an appointment with a coach or counselor by calling 614-459-3003.

5 Ways A Good Marriage Can Decay

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Sometimes we can wonder what happened to a once-good or great marriage. Things seemed to be great but now there are problems and unresolved conflicts. Joy has faded away. What happened?

Here are five ways, taken from a Ron Edmondson article, that a “once-good marriage slips away – or falls apart“:

Other interests come between them. It could be a relationship-even other good relationships-or a hobby, or work, but something gets a higher priority than the marriage. Distractions will destroy a good marriage.

Unresolved conflict. Conflict left unattended sometimes sits like it never existed. But, oh, it did. And it does. Someone is holding on to it. Trust me. And the longer it sits the deeper the wedge it causes. To an extent where the negligence of one person in the relationship causes some or the other type of personal injury to the other. Then the person who suffered the most might go right here on Tom Fowler Law or similar other law firms to file for compensations, right before the other even realizes what happened.

The couple stops dreaming together. When a couple is dating, they have lots of dreams together. They discuss their future. They dream about where they will live and travel. They dream about family and adventure. It’s an energy that fuels the relationship. When it stops, the fuel it brought stops.

Boredom. I’ve long said this is one of the leading causes of marriages unraveling. Couples quit dating-quit laughing-quit having fun together. They get caught in the routines and busyness of life. Boredom sets in and the closeness they once shared begins to drift. The enemy love this, and suddenly one or both spouses seek excitement elsewhere. Dangerous.

Living separate agendas. It’s OK to have separate identities. Even encouraged. It’s OK to have separate interests. It keeps things interesting. But it’s not OK to have separate agendas. The agenda should be two very different people blending those differences into one. When that’s not happening-the strength of the marriage will slowly-or quickly-fade.

If you would like help in enriching your current marriage or reversing an unhealthy situation, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.

Christians, You Will Suffer

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Christians, You Will Suffer

By Amy Hall

I had a brief interaction with an atheist on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that unexpectedly turned to the issue of suffering when she said:

You clearly never had a time you were hurt. I don’t mean sick. I don’t mean heart broken. I mean literally a near death experience or rape or abusive relationship…. You can keep floating on a [expletive] cloud thinking Jesus will do everything for you but it’s a lie. What makes you so special?

That surprised me at first because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the tweet she was responding to, and I was confused as to why she would assume I’d never been through anything traumatic. But then in subsequent tweets, when she revealed she had been raped, it became clear that her trauma had played a central role in her becoming an outspoken, obviously angry “antitheist.” She’s a self-described antitheist now because she thinks Christianity teaches Jesus “will do everything for you” to give you a perfect life, and now she knows that’s a lie. The rape proved her understanding of Christianity false.

So it made sense for her to reason that since I believe Christianity is true, I must still be under the delusion that Jesus is making my life special, which means I obviously never encountered any evil or suffering to shake that delusion…

A friend of mine who was deeply suffering once said to me that many Christians are in for “an epic letdown” when they realize their preconceived notions about what God is expected to do for us are false. Pastors who preach a life-improvement Jesus are leading people down this precarious path to disillusionment.

If suffering disproves your Christianity, you’ve missed Christianity. The Bible is filled with the suffering of those whom God loves. The central event of the Bible is one of suffering. Love involves suffering. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” That means suffering.

But Christianity also promises justice for evil. And grace. And life from death. Resurrection. New bodies. Hope. Jesus is the only hope for true pain. Without Him, there’s nothing left to do but rail against God with the most perverse insults imaginable.

The truth is that even if you’ve been taught these things, a time will come when an experience will make this real to you, and then you will struggle to learn how to entrust yourself to God when you can’t trust He’ll protect you from pain and tragedy, can’t trust that things will get better. The only thing you can trust is Him. That He is good. That He knows what suffering is. That if He was willing to give His son over to death for us “because of His great love with which He loved us,” then we know His love won’t stop there—He’ll withhold nothing else from us that we should have. The good He seeks for us is to reveal Himself and conform us to the image of His Son. We will suffer no pain without purpose.

Go to the Christians who learned this before you—Richard Wurmbrand, Elisabeth Elliot, Joni Eareckson Tada, Helen Roseveare, Corrie ten Boom, Kara Tippetts—Christians who learned through torture, death, disability, rape, terror, and terminal disease the truth of Paul’s “secret” to facing a life of pain: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I said to the atheist, “Those who suffer know Him better,” and I meant it. He is the God who knows suffering. He is the God who suffered. He is the God who works beauty through suffering. He is the God who resurrects.

Are you struggling with bitterness, anxiety, depression, boiling anger, and grief as you suffer?  Has your faith been blindsided and you don’t know what to do? Are you looking for hope and healing?  If so, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our helpful coaches or counselors who will walk alongside of you in the healing process.

Interview of Kelly Williams About Postpartum Depression

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Here is a snippet from the interview of Kelly Williams by Natalie Razavi about postpartum depression:

You’ve been open about your battle with postpartum depression and anxiety.
What was that time like and what fuels your vulnerability?

Postpartum depressionOh man. It’s honestly so difficult to capture in words, but the easiest way to describe it is to say that it was by far the darkest chapter of my entire life. I was blindsided by the intense pain that I felt while under that darkness. I wasn’t prepared for it in the slightest. I had never suffered from any type of depression previously, and the feelings that I felt were crippling in all aspects. I literally felt like I was going crazy. Sleep was my only escape-as soon as I woke up, I’d immediately have a panic attack. Not to mention I barely got any sleep, and many times considered a sleep consultant with all the sleep I and my baby were missing. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by having a child; not that Story was a mistake, but that I had entered into something that I couldn’t back out of, and I was terrified. I’ve always been an open book, so it felt quite natural for me to share my story. I know a lot of women feel a sense of shame associated with PPD/PPA, but having full disclosure with others about what I was going through and had gone through became a part of my healing process.

For the full interview, including how she worked through postpartum depression, check out the full article.

If you are struggling with postpartum depression, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our helpful counselors.

The Grief of Losing a Child

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What I Wish More People Understood About Losing a Child

By Paula Stephens

Four and half years after the death of my oldest son, I finally went to a grief support group for parents who have lost children. I went to support a friend who recently lost her son. I’m not sure I would’ve gone except that when I was in her shoes, four years ago, I wish I would’ve had a friend to go with me. Losing a child is the loneliest, most desolate journey a person can take and the only people who can come close to appreciating it are those who share the experience.

grief crying motherThe meeting was a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, an organization solely dedicated to providing support for those who have lost children, grandchildren or siblings. The facilitator was a tall gentleman who had lost his 17 year old son eight years ago. He opened the meeting by saying that dues to belong to the club are more than anyone would ever want to pay. Well, he couldn’t be more correct: no one wants to belong to this group.

The group of incredible survivors included parents whose children had been killed by drunk drivers, murdered, accidental overdose, alcoholism, suicide and freak accidents. The children’s ages ranged from 6-38 years old. When hearing the stories, I had a visceral reaction to being part of this “club,” but was also humbled by the greatness of these mothers and fathers.

Most of what I share in this article came from this meeting, but also from my own experience of having lost a child and being four years into that lifelong journey of healing from deep grief. Truthfully, you will never quite get over losing your child. The last thing that you ever imagine doing as a parent is burying your child. Before I lost my own son, this was unthinkable. But some things are just out of your control. There is nothing I could’ve done differently, except for maybe looking into child life insurance from somewhere like AccuQuote (Here is a good Accuquote life insurance review to read) that is a permanent life insurance policy that will cover the life of your child should they die unexpectedly. Though it won’t bring your child back, it could help to make the grieving process slightly easier to deal with.

If you have lost someone you loved, then you may find comfort in giving them the send-off they deserve. If you are thinking about planning a special service but don’t know where to start, you may want to contact Riemann Family Funeral Homes who can offer their help and support. Don’t worry if you don’t live in this area though, there are other companies who can help you in your area at this difficult time. The following five tips can be your compass to help you navigate how to give support to grieving parents on a sacred journey they never wanted to take.

1. Remember our children.

The loss of children is a pain all bereaved parents share, and it is a degree of suffering that is impossible to grasp without experiencing it first hand. Often, when we know someone else is experiencing grief, our discomfort keeps us from approaching it head on. But we want the world to remember our child or children, no matter how young or old our child was.

If you see something that reminds you of my child, tell me. If you are reminded at the holidays or on his birthday that I am missing my son, please tell me you remember him. And when I speak his name or relive memories relive them with me, don’t shrink away. If you never met my son, don’t be afraid to ask about him. One of my greatest joys is talking about Brandon.

2. Accept that you can’t “fix” us.

An out-of-order death such as child loss breaks a person (especially a parent) in a way that is not fixable or solvable – ever! We will learn to pick up the pieces and move forward, but our lives will never be the same.

Every grieving parent must find a way to continue to live with loss, and it’s a solitary journey. We appreciate your support and hope you can be patient with us as we find our way.

Please: don’t tell us it’s time to get back to life, that’s it’s been long enough, or that time heals all wounds. We welcome your support and love, and we know sometimes it hard to watch, but our sense of brokenness isn’t going to go away. It is something to observe, recognize, accept.

3. Know that there are at least two days a year we need a time out.

We still count birthdays and fantasize what our child would be like if he/she were still living. Birthdays are especially hard for us. Our hearts ache to celebrate our child’s arrival into this world, but we are left becoming intensely aware of the hole in our hearts instead. Some parents create rituals or have parties while others prefer solitude. Either way, we are likely going to need time to process the marking of another year without our child.

Then there’s the anniversary of the date our child became an angel. This is a remarkable process similar to a parent of a newborn, first counting the days, then months then the one year anniversary, marking the time on the other side of that crevasse in our lives.

No matter how many years go by, the anniversary date of when our child died brings back deeply emotional memories and painful feelings (particularly if there is trauma associated with the child’s death). The days leading up to that day can feel like impending doom or like it’s hard to breathe. We may or may not share with you what’s happening.

This is where the process of remembrance will help. If you have heard me speak of my child or supported me in remembering him/her, you will be able to put the pieces together and know when these tough days are approaching.

4. Realize that we struggle every day with happiness.

It’s an ongoing battle to balance the pain and guilt of outliving your child with the desire to live in a way that honors them and their time on this earth.

I remember going on a family cruise eighteen months after Brandon died. On the first day, I stood at the back of the ship and bawled that I wasn’t sharing this experience with him. Then I had to steady myself, and recognize that I was also creating memories with my surviving sons, and enjoying the time with them in the present moment.

As bereaved parents, we are constantly balancing holding grief in one hand and a happy life after loss in the other. You might observe this when you are with us at a wedding, graduation or other milestone celebration. Don’t walk away – witness it with us and be part of our process.

5. Accept the fact that our loss might make you uncomfortable.

Our loss is unnatural, out-of-order; it challenges your sense of safety. You may not know what to say or do, and you’re afraid you might make us lose it. We’ve learned all of this as part of what we’re learning about grief.

We will never forget our child. And in fact, our loss is always right under the surface of other emotions, even happiness. We would rather lose it because you spoke his/her name and remembered our child, than try and shield ourselves from the pain and live in denial.

Grief is the pendulum swing of love. The stronger and deeper the love the more grief will be created on the other side. Consider it a sacred opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who have endured one of life’s most frightening events. Rise up with us.

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

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5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power… Today!

By Daniel G. Amen, MD

brain powerThe movie ”Lucy” stars Scarlett Johansson as a drug smuggler for a Taiwanese Mob. A drug (implanted in her body) leaks into her system, allowing her to ”access 100% of her brain function.” The result is telekinetic powers and incredible memory capacity. Although entertaining, the premise is simply not true. Yet still, two-thirds of the population believes that humans only use 10% of their brain.

The truth is…

If we only used 10% of our brains, we’d be evolving backward. Through the lens of brain SPECT imaging, we can actually see how the brain is functioning at rest and during concentration activities. All of the brain’s systems are active—except for when the brain has been damaged or is otherwise low-functioning (click here to view images).

Even when you are resting or sleeping, your brain is still functioning! Your brain is the command and control center for everything you think, do and say. So, how can you keep your brain active and in shape?

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

  1. Get in the classroom! Take up a new language or learn a new hobby by enrolling in a class. You’re never too old to learn new skill!
  2. Read. You’d be surprised how many new connections you can make by reading for just 30 minutes a day.
  3. Play board games. Engaging in play—especially with youngsters—keeps you sharp!
  4. Teach. As you’re learning a new skill, teach it to someone else. That will increase your understanding too!
  5. Learn an instrument. Music has a calming effect on the brain and learning a new instrument establishes new neural connections that keep your brain healthy and active—that is, as long as you continue to practice!

…Just imagine what would happen if you exchanged an hour of TV watching for [one of these 5 ways to boost your brain power].