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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

What Isn’t Discussed in Violent Shootings

posted by Linda Mintle

Like most of you, I was shaken by the horrific events of this past week: the senseless shooting of two TV journalists happened in my backyard. Those reporters worked at one of the TV stations in my viewing area and not too far from the massacre at Virginia Tech. Today, my prayers for the family and friends of the victims are for God’s comfort and peace during this excruciating time.

As I listen to the analysis of yet another shooting, I continue to be amazed at the need to assign blame that resurfaces every time we see such evil acted out.

Our President was quick to jump on gun control as the perfect solution our culture continues to ignore. Believe me, I’m not a gun advocate, but let’s not politicize human tragedy to promote an ideology. Gun control is not going to stop what happened at Smith Mountain Lake.

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Then there is the routine lament about needing better mental health screenings. Yet it appears that the TV station’s management acted very responsibly; they were acutely aware of the shooter’s problems, took action to protect their staff, and recommended counseling. It would be unrealistic for any company to continuously monitor the behavior of a disgruntled ex employee for two years being vigilant for possible signs of acting out.

As is often the case with these type of shooters, the gunman wanted to outdo his predecessors. He wanted us to share in his cowardly act. So he used his video skills and social media to document the horror. Social media were his distribution channels. His message? I’ve been wronged, offended, hurt, I have grudges…so watch me get my revenge!

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Unless he broadcast his intentions to hurt these specific people, it’s unlikely anyone could have seen this coming. And that is what disturbs us. We can’t predict how evil presents. So we try to lay blame…if only he didn’t have easy access to guns, if only he had been picked up by the mental health system… but how can we contain evil?

To successfully fight evil, you have to change a person’s heart. That transformation changes bitterness to forgiveness and brings a refusal to repay evil for evil. Without a change of heart, evil will continue to be acted out.

Spiritual solutions are rarely talked about in our culture these days. Yet, solving spiritual problems with secular solutions is a non-starter. Ephesians 6:12 says, “We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.” And when humans are the face of that evil, we fight the darkness with the light of Christ. We stop evil with changed hearts. But that won’t make the news-talk cycle.

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So while the media pundits argue for gun control and better screenings, I pray that we do a better job addressing the spiritual condition of peoples’ lives, that the church continues to push back the darkness with the light of the gospel, that lives will be transformed. This was the message of those gunned down in Charleston and this is a message we need to remember.

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Why Sex is Not Always About the Sex

posted by Linda Mintle

couple embraceIf you watch most television shows, you would think that the most important part of any relationship is sex! But when it comes to what matters most in a relationship, it’s not the sex. And if we focus  only on sex, the relationship won’t sustain.

Biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, discovered that people who fall in love view sex as secondary to other factors defining their relationship.

And even though sex therapists will tell you that mismatches in sexual desires are the number one complaint they receive from couples, the complaint is often based in mismatches of intimacy needs.

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Couples are looking for intimacy. Intimacy is less about 50 Shades of Gray and more about what happens outside the bedroom. Great sex grows from intimacy. And intimacy can grow great sex when two become one.

Intimacy is about being known and cared for by the other. I’ve heard intimacy defined as” in-to-me-see!” It’s that feeling that we are in sync with another emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s being accepted and loved by another-emotionally exposed, but unconditionally loved.

Intimacy is something we all crave, both with God and another person. When you hold the hand of your partner or when he holds open a door, it’s not so much a sexual act as an intimate one. Intimate acts like touching elevate oxytocin levels and increase your feelings of attachment to another. Intimacy allows you to expose yourself and develop a closeness that culminates in sexual expression.

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So while great sex is the media emphasis, most of us crave to be known by another in such a way that sex is just one more way to express our love. Without intimacy, sex is reduced to a physical act that might feel good at the moment but leaves you wanting something more. And that something more is the trust and intimacy of a committed relationship, ordained by God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:  W.D. Johnson, “What is the Difference Between Falling In Love and Physical Attraction?” December 13, 2013, http://www.ehow.com/info_8622015_difference-falling-love-physical-attraction.html#ixzz2fwLWCzc2

K.J. Prager, K. J., The Psychology of Intimacy. (New York: Guilford Press., 1995).

K.J. Prager, and D. Buhrmester, D, “Intimacy and Need Fulfillment in Couple Relationships,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 15 (1998): 435–469.

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National Dog Day: Take Your Canine to Work!

posted by Linda Mintle

In honor of national dog day…

I feel blessed that I get to take my dog to work every day. Zoe, pictured here, is the comfort dog for the medical school in which I work. Every morning she greets the students and helps reduce their stress. And when they need a little reminder from home, she goes on walks and plays in the field. She’s obedient, hypoallergenic and doesn’t bark. She knows her job and does it well.

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Dogs provide us with much more than companionship!

A  study by Dr. Barker (I am not kidding, that is his name) at Virginia Commonwealth University, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management  found that dog owners who brought their pet to work, lowered their stress. And that stress stayed low throughout the day. In contrast, those pet owners whose dogs stayed home, not only increased their stress during the day, but doubled it by day’s end. It turns out that man’s best friend is a good stress reducer!

Some of the dogs in the study were noisy (imagine the routine barker), not so clean, and at times, destructive. So the idea of the quiet pup who sits by your side, lovingly gazing into your face, is not always reality. But some employers might institute the take your doggy to work day when they learn that workers felt more productive. And the people who came in contact with the dogs at work were more satisfied on the job.

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So if an employer wants to increase productivity, workplace satisfaction and reduce stress, he or she might consider inviting Fido to join your morning coffee!

Read more:  http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/doinglifetogether/2012/05/dogs-at-work-a-surprise-benefit.html#ixzz3jsQDta8n
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/doinglifetogether/2012/05/dogs-at-work-a-surprise-benefit.html#Bi2eXx0VHJbbv2FR.99

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Baby Names: Helping or Hurting Your Child?

posted by Linda Mintle

BabyWhen Shakespeare asked,  “What’s in a name?” the answer is, more than you think.

Many years ago, I worked in a very poor school district and noticed a number of the children had unusual names. The most unusual was a girl we called Phamalie –at least that is what her name sounded like. But when I met her mom at an open house, the mom told me she didn’t name her child -the hospital did. Her name was spelled FEMALE.

The  mom couldn’t read and did not understand that the wrist band around her newborn was not her name. Sad, but a true story. By the way, FEMALE was a delightful child!

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“Unusual” names are usually chosen, not assigned by a hospital. When Kim Kardashian named her baby “North” it was hard to imagine cuddling a tiny baby and calling her that name, but hey, to each her own.

And 2014’s list of unusual baby names is no exception. According to Nameberry.com, a baby naming website, we had these names: Awesome, Savvy, Majestic, Wise, Handsome, Boss, Captain, Couture, Eliminate  and Halo! Yes, Eliminate–you don’t have to be a psychologist to wonder what the impact of that name may be someday!

So why do parents choose these less than traditional names?  Is there any fall out from having a name that reminds you of one direction or sounds more like an adjective?

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One reason we see these unique names has to do with popular media and celebrity. In 2014 we saw a rise in the names Katniss (Hunger games), Hazel (The Fault in Our Stars) and Khaleesi (Game of Thrones).

But does calling your child, “North” or “Katniss” have any impact on their adjustment in life? From studies, children with very unusual names do worse academically and are less popular in school. Also, when they go to college, they have a higher flunk out rate. An bosses are not always impressed and may throw out their resumes.

Think about it, if you know nothing  about a person but his/her name, the name influences your initial impression. Certainly, getting to know a person can change your impression,  but why would you want to put an obstacle in the way? On the positive, you might easily remember the person because of the unique name.

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If you choose an unusual name,  a team of researchers notes that the easier the name is to pronounce, the more positive you feel about that person. So “North” just might work.

While some studies suggest that the impact of an unusual name is only minimal, I would argue that naming your child sets the stage for how the world will see them and how they will cope with whatever the name brings. That could build resilience or problems.

When we named our kids, we thought about how those names could be made into teasing, nicknames, sound on a resume and be introduced to a school class. In the end, we decided to go more traditional to make it easier on the kids. It wasn’t about us, but about them!

Previous Posts

What Isn't Discussed in Violent Shootings
Like most of you, I was shaken by the horrific events of this past week: the senseless shooting of two TV journalists happened in my backyard. Those reporters worked at one of the TV stations in my viewing area and not too far from the massacre ...

posted 9:00:29am Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Why Sex is Not Always About the Sex
If you watch most television shows, you would think that the most important part of any relationship is sex! But when it comes to what matters most in a relationship, it's not the sex. And if we focus  only on sex, the relationship won't ...

posted 7:00:42am Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

National Dog Day: Take Your Canine to Work!
In honor of national dog day... I feel blessed that I get to take my dog to work every day. Zoe, pictured here, is the comfort dog for the medical school in which I work. Every morning she greets the students and helps reduce their stress. ...

posted 7:00:18am Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Baby Names: Helping or Hurting Your Child?
When Shakespeare asked,  "What's in a name?" the answer is, more than you think. Many years ago, I worked in a very poor school district and noticed a number of the children had unusual names. The most unusual was a girl we called Phamalie ...

posted 7:00:52am Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Angry? Do You Really Want to E-Vent?
John left the meeting frustrated, angry and ready to quit. He returned to his office and fired off an angry email. For the moment, he felt better, he got his anger off his chest. But did this behavior really help? Sarah returned from a ...

posted 7:00:43am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

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