Really. Well. Thank You. Really.

I love sarcasm. I'm practically a "Daily Show"-o-phile. That's the show  where nearly every word that drips from John Stewarts mouth is laden with subtext. I used to watch SNL when David Spade was on there. The Hollywood Minute killed. 

But a few years back, my friend was deeply convicted that his sarcasm was getting in the way. He asked me (as a show of solidarity) to kindly consider not using sarcasm when I was around him - it would be too tempting to join in. Over the last several years, I've come to see what my friends sees: sarcasm does more damage than you think. Here are 5 reasons why:

 1. Sarcasm makes you look snarky.

I used to think it made others seem smart. Witty, even. A well-placed sarcastic comment can bring the house down, leaving someone else looking idiotic.

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Let the celebrations continue

Sport’s most famous non-celebrant had reason to celebrate again last night. But he didn’t plan to.

Josh Hamilton, the American League MVP candidate and centerfielder for the Texas Rangers, stayed away from the Tropicana Field clubhouse. He lingered on the field, did an interview or two, and let his teammates do their bubbly thing inside.

Turns out, though, his teammates had a surprise for Hamilton. They left the champagne and beer at the liquor store. When Hamilton finally, reluctantly entered the clubhouse, his teammates were waiting. With ginger ale.

Nearly three weeks ago he did the same elusive thing in Oakland, when the Rangers clinched their division. That time, Hamilton had an excellent “excuse,” as it was Faith Night at the Coliseum and Hamilton was on tap to deliver his testimony.

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With A Heavy Heart [Part II]

"A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray" (Proverbs 12:26).

Apparently, I didn't get that memo. Choose my friends s-l-o-w-l-y? No way! My heart is five-times the normal size. I've experienced just as much brokenness as I have Jesus' glory and healing power. Plus, I have too much to give!!!

Here I am in the midst of writing my second book on brokenness and it's lonely. All those thoughts of hurt floating around in my head. As I write it out it hurts less and less, but when I try and share those experiences with friends I keep getting hurt. Why do I stink at choosing my friends? I have many friends, and yet when I look around...

Honestly? The selfish part in me just wanted to write a three sentence blog with the verse from Luke 5:16 that says, "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Then I'd follow it up with I'm lonely. I'm in a desert place? Who else has been there? The end.

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Effective Friends

Last week, I met up with my close friend Josh for an impromptu dinner at Wingnuts (highly recommend the Blue Cheese Buffalo Burger, by the way).  Josh and I have been friends for nearly a decade, and have known each other even longer than that.  He stood by my side as I said my marriage vows, and I returned the favor last February when he married his beautiful wife.  


In between those two weddings is a story of a derailed friendship, a divorce, a reconciliation, and a redemption.  For reasons that only became clear after years of reflection, Josh and I ceased to be friends about a year after I was married.  Neither of us could articulate the reasons at the time, and even now that we can, they seem minor and petty.  But the reality is by the time my marriage fell apart, Josh was not the one I called for support and counseling.  Eventually, we did reconnect and over time rebuilt our friendship, learning to provide the support and encouragement both of us needed.  

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The Thick of Pain

 

In church a few weeks ago, my pastor talked about what happens when a person dies within a Jewish community.  The friends and family of those left behind travel to the grieving’s house and simply sit with them.  They don’t make pat comments, they don’t swoop in and try to fix everything, and they don’t come in armed with an array of distractions.  They respect their grief and just sit in silence.  

 

Earlier today, I was watching the movie “Sunshine Cleaning” - a story about two sisters that form a bio-hazard clean up business, cleaning up the messes often left behind when people die.  In one poignant scene, they arrive at a house and find the frazzled widow waiting to give them the house keys.  Amy Adams’ character senses the grief of this old stranger and offers to simply sit with her. She reaches over and clasps the old woman’s hand - just as I imagine occurs in those grieving Jewish homes.  

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I Don't Want to Gossip but, .............

Nothing like conviction on a Tuesday night.... 


A Dialect of Quality Time: Quality Activities

The basic love language of quality time has many dialects including: quality activities. At a recent singles event I asked those present to complete the following sentence: “I feel most loved and appreciated by _________ when __________.” They could insert the name of anyone: parent, roommate, coworker, or friend.

One twenty-seven-year-old male inserted the name of his girlfriend and completed the sentence as follows: “I feel most loved by Megan when she and I do things together—things I like to do and things she likes to do. We talk more when we’re doing things. I had never ridden a horse until I met her, and she had never been sailing. I’ve always enjoyed doing things with other people. It’s so neat to be dating someone who is open to trying new things together.”

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The Right Language

By nature, we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not the primary love language of your spouse or friend, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.

This is why thousands of couples are frustrated. Sam, a divorced single, said about the woman he is dating: “I don’t understand her. She says she feels like I don’t love her. How could she feel unloved? Every day I tell her that I love her. I also give her compliments every day. I tell her how pretty she is. I tell her what a good mother she is. How could she feel unloved?”

The problem is that her love language is acts of service, not words of affirmation. She’s thinking: If he loved me he would do something to help me. When he comes over, he watches television while I wash the dishes. He never helps me with anything. I’m sick of his words “I love you. I love you.” Words are cheap. If he really loved me, he would do something. I do everything for him; he does nothing for me. This scenario is repeated in thousands of relationships. Each person speaks his own language and does not understand why the other does not feel loved. If we want the other person to feel loved, we must discover and learn to speak his/her primary love language.
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Verbalize: The Power of Affirming Words

Psycholinguistics is the study of the effect of language on personality. We have all been greatly influenced by the words we’ve heard through the years. Some single adults grew up in a positive linguistic environment. They heard words that emphasized the pleasant, joyful, and beautiful aspects of life. Others grew up in a more negative linguistic environment. Children who grow up in these contrasting environments will hear totally different vocabularies resulting in vastly different personalities and behavior patterns. The ancient Hebrew proverb did not overstate the impact of words: “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

Words of Encouragement
Affirming words is one of the five basic love languages. Within that language, however, there are many dialects. There are words of appreciation: expressing sincere gratitude for some act of service rendered. But there are also words of encouragement. The word encourage means “to inspire courage.” All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage and that lack of courage often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things we would like to do.

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Gifts Don't Grow on Trees?

We all have specific friends who love receiving gifts-it's their primary love language. It is what makes them feel loved most deeply.

Gifts need not be expensive; after all, "it's the thought that counts." But I remind you, it is not the thought left in your head that counts; it is the gift that came out of the thought that communicates emotional love.

The gift can be any size, shape, color, or price. It may be purchased, found, or made. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift won't really matter. If you can afford it, you can purchase a beautiful card for less than five dollars. If you cannot, you can make one for free. Just go get the paper out of the trash can where you work, fold it in the middle, take scissors and cut out a heart, write "I love you," and sign your name. Gifts don't need to be expensive to have meaning.

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