Real or Virtual Friends?

Cartoon of two women at a fast food restaurant. One says, “Level with me, Doris. Are you my real or virtual friend.”In this cartoon, two women are at a fast food restaurant, One says, “Level with me, Doris. Are you my real or virtual friend.”

I know. Social media is giving me a headache too. I use it for business, yet sometimes, all the tweets and posts get me down too. We know all of us, including me, share only the highlight reel. We aren’t going to talk about the mundane, the mild frustrations and the lost car keys.

I am glad I can keep in touch with family and friends through social media. But at the end of the day, it is the real, face to face encounters that strengthen real friendships. 


Sketch Notes: Because He Lives, All Fear is Gone

Sermon sketch notes based on "Because He Lives, All Fear is Gone."
I took these sketch notes at Salem Church of God in Clayton, Ohio

This sketch note page is from yesterday’s sermon at my church. Pastor Steve Southards from Salem Church of God continued his sermon series based on the song, “Because He Lives” by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

I loved the tin pan illustration Pastor Southards shared at the end. His grandfather loved to garden. When Steve visited, he would see aluminum foil pie pans hung over the garden. His grandfather put them there to scare away the birds, deer and other animals that wanted the tasty fruits and vegetables. Steve observed if a bird was smart, he might look for the foil pans because that would signify something good was nearby.

Too often, what scares us could actually hide the blessing we desire the most. Great sermon, as always from Pastor Southards.

Is the world really as scary as it seems?

If you listen to the news media for very long, you get the feeling everything is falling apart and everyone is ready to strangle each other. It can leave you with a feeling of fear and despair. You get the impression apocalypse has already come and the only thing left to do is write off the world and call it a day.

But if you unplug, take a drive across the country, and get out into nature, you get an entirely different feeling. The forests are unaffected by news hype. Mountains and valleys care little about the elections and the latest violence to hit the streets. True, what mankind does to nature affects it. But the story mankind tells itself is much scarier than the reality of a quiet trail, or a babbling brook. Just don’t take in some media before you leave. You’ll probably see a story about a man-eating cougar, a rabid bear or a bigfoot sighting.

The news media itself is suffering from downsizing and cutthroat competition. Perhaps the media loves to scare us because the typical news reporter is scared he or she will lose their job next week. Perhaps when you focus on the worse of humanity, you begin to believe your own hype. 

It is so much easier to focus on the worst of humanity. It is so much more difficult, but rewarding to balance it with the good of nature as well as the best of humanity. It is out there. You just have to be intentional and escape the 24 hour news cycle once in a while.

No worry worries

cartoon of a woman worrying about no worries

Cartoon of woman saying, “I worry I don’t have something to worry about.”

Worry is an addiction. As a kid, I worried about whether I would ever grow up. I worried if that rough-talking kid would turn on me and become my bully. I worried about being good enough, or being good.

As I grew up, I put away childish worries and worried about new things. Would my kids grow up healthy and stay on a good path? Am I being a good dad and husband? Can I keep up with technology and the changing workforce? Will I be the last to know if I’m senile? Maybe I already am!

It wasn’t long until I discovered anxiety is a habit, not something dependent on our circumstances.

Let’s face it. There will always be something to worry about. If you worry about having no worries, you must have stayed away from the news for a few days. Life is precious and fragile. Worries come with the territory because we can’t predict the future. We can only guess about the future based on our limited knowledge of the past.

We worry because we can’t predict or change the future. We can do some of the right things that will help change the future, but in a moment, all of that can change. What’s the solution? Faith, hope and love.

  • Have faith someone bigger than yourself has it under control. Have faith it will all turn out right in the end.
  • Have hope the future will be better, even brighter. Every time I see a new baby, I know there is a future. Keep your hope.
  • Love one another. As long as we show unconditional love, there is a reason for hope and faith.


Standardized Tests

Cartoon of two students. One of them is shocked by a test. The other says, "They call them standardized tests becasue being terrified to take them is the standard."

Cartoon of two students. One of them is shocked by a test. The other says, “They call them standardized tests becasue being terrified to take them is the standard.”

I used to think I’d be so glad to move on from school because there would be no more tests. Boy was I wrong! There are so many tests you get to take as an adult. There is no grade, just pass-fail. Even so, I’m still terrified of red pens. They give me hives!