The Ben Sauer story: heartache and hope from a blogging mom amid the unthinkable

Photo Credit: Blue4Ben Facebook Page

No family should ever have to watch their child die, let alone in barely 3 months from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Ben Sauer celebrated his 5th birthday with his twin brother just 8 days before he passed away. One can’t help but think about how different it must have been for the family just one year prior, on the 4th birthday, when not a hint of sickness was in little Ben. Or even just a few months prior, in the family Christmas photo, when the cancer still had not yet reared it’s ugly head.

Furthermore, no one should have to go through such a tragedy alone. In years past it would typically be close relatives, and maybe the local community, that would rally and help shoulder the grief and heart ache. But in today’s blogging and social media era, thousands have followed the heart-wrenching story of little Ben Sauer while his mom, Mindy, has blogged every grief-stricken detail, while at the same time maintaining an eternal focus filled with life-giving hope.

Have smart phones become enemy number 1 to having real relationships and productive lives?

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There is a recurring trend in recent online videos to demonstrate how attached we have grown to our mobile devices, specifically smart phones. If we consider the old saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, then videos like the ones that follow are worth so much more.

One in particular, called ‘Look Up’ has over 27 million views (as of this writing) since it was first posted on April 25th.

The basic premise is that we’re missing out on much of life — and possible relationships — by failing to ‘look up’ from our phones.

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man

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It pays the bills, provides the health insurance, a sense of professional value — of stability. Eliminate it and I’d be forced to do something else. But what else?

I’m 34 years old and have been in the same profession since I chose it by default in college, and have been in the same position with the same company since I was 24.

Imagine a life with less, to have time for… more?

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My last post was one of a new direction for Counter Culture. I explained that this change stems from a desire to write more freely — more simply.

This same attitude is something my wife and I have decided to carry-over into all facets of our lives — as much as is possible with a newborn and a toddler. We have committed to living more simply. Not ‘sell all your belongings’ simply, but rather ‘use what we have more wisely and with more intentionality’ — simply.

Ponder on these thoughts more a moment:

A new baby, a new direction for ‘Counter Culture’, and a desire for simplicity

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My second son was born last week. What a wonderful blessing. However, with such a life change comes a time to re-evaluate priorities and goals. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day that we forget what direction we’re even going in life.

It is because of this reflective attitude that I’ve decided to change directions in what I write about here on Counter Culture. I’ve already updated the header graphic and the About page, so you probably have an idea of the direction I will be going.

UMaine student groups team up for February 27th Day of Prayer with ‘missional’ focus

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UMaine chapters of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Navigators, and Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) are teaming up to provide prayer and worship opportunities for students during the 2014 Collegiate Day of Prayer.

Everyone — community members and students — are invited to attend and participate.

Selfishness, pride, and the Richard Sherman in all of us

Photo: USA Today

First, let’s make something clear: Richard Sherman is not a thug (ie., ‘a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer’).

By now, even if you’re a nominal sports fan, you’ve probably seen the interview heard ’round the world in which Richard Sherman, who is a defensive back for the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, proclaimed himself ‘the best corner in the game’ (which is true), calling San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree a ‘sorry receiver.’ You can see the short interview below.

Equality through Christian principles: MLK Jr. in his own words

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, a Baptist minister, is best known for his dream of racial equality in America — a dream we are still working to fully realize today. While many professing Christians were on the wrong side of the fire hoses and lunch counters in Birmingham and elsewhere during the Black Civil Rights struggle, King — a devout Christ-follower — trusted in the full armor of God to ultimately overcome his contemporary adversaries.

New ministry reaching Bangor’s homeless and most hopeless with the name of Jesus

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There is power in the name of Jesus. The power to overcome fear. The power to break the chains of addiction. The power to change lives in an instant. The power to teach people love, when they have never experienced true love of their own.

With genuine faith in this life-changing power we have the mission of a new ministry in our area called City Reach Bangor. Pastor Bobby Bledsoe — a New Jersey native who moved to Maine to attend Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine — felt called to stay in this area and serve the ‘least of these’ in our city, and is doing so with this new ministry.

Let’s be God-centered with our New Year’s Resolutions instead of self-centered

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With the new year comes an opportunity for a clean slate. While we must attempt to make things right with whomever we’ve wronged, as much as it depends on us, we ultimately must forgive others and move on. And this is Biblical – God says to ‘forget the former things; do not dwell in the past’ (Isa 43:18).

Therefore, we typically look to the new year to start fresh and to set new goals for ourselves. Maybe ‘turn over a new leaf’ in some area of our life. For us guys, typical goals include a desire to be a better man, husband, father, employee, be healthier and more fit — you name it.