Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Psych Info: DREAMS ARE SIGNIFICANT

Q. A group of my friends were discussing dreams recently and we disagreed over how often we dream, why we dream and what dreams mean. Could you write a post on dreams?

A. Everyone dreams every night; usually four to seven times. Often we don’t remember our dreams. We dream during the phase of sleep known as REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. During REM sleep our eyes move rapidly as though we were watching a tennis match. The REM phase of sleep occurs when we are having vivid dream images.

Studying your dreams can put you more in touch with your inner self. Dreams can point to and can even heal repressed conflicts that control the way we think and behave in our daily life. Dream books found in super markets will not help you understand your dreams and they may hinder you. Instead, consider yourself the best authority on what your dreams mean. They mean whatever you think they mean as they were created by you.

Carl Jung, pioneering psychiatrist and colleague of Freud, said: “I have no theory about dreams. I do not know how dreams arise. On the other hand, I know that if we meditate on a dream sufficiently long and thoroughly - if we take it about with us and turn it over and over - something almost always comes of it.”

Dreams come to help us. Even nightmares can show us something we weren’t aware of about our inner conflicts. Dreams also can lead to breakthroughs, pointing to solutions to problems or showing us possibilities we’ve never considered. A number of inventors and scientists have attributed their discoveries to a dream. 

Dreams are Significant                                                                           
Similarly, dreams can help us make decisions when consciously we feel stuck. They also can help us take risks and move beyond our routine ways of being. We can discover in dreams parts of ourselves we’ve denied or rejected. When we study our dreams we can heal inner splits in our personality.

Dreams can also serve as practice for future achievements. Pregnant women who dream frequently of childbirth spend less time in labor. Similarly, dreams that rehearse a perfect golf swing or an upcoming business presentation can enhance our performance.

To study your dreams you will first have to remember them. This will require determination on your part and you will need to do the following:

1. As you’re falling asleep ask God to help you remember your dreams.

2. Have paper and pencil handy so you can write down your dreams when you first wake up.

3. If possible, let yourself wake up without an alarm clock, as the noise may jar you into forgetting your dreams.

4. Write down your dreams immediately or they will fade and you won’t be able to remember them. Names or phrases in the dream can be especially revealing. Write down whatever you remember even if it’s only a very brief fragment of a dream.

5. Keep your dreams in a journal and later write down any associations you have to each dream. What does the scene in the dream remind you of?

6. During the day play around with the images in your dream. Remember it is visual and symbolic. Don’t try to understand it rationally.

7. Tell your dream to someone you trust. Just ask them to listen to it without comment.  Sharing your dreams will help you discover additional meanings to them.

The Bible is full of dreams from God to specific people. Think of the boy Samuel, the many dreams of Joseph, and Daniel. God can speak to you through your dreams if you pay attention to them. God also today is speaking to many Muslims in their dreams. For more on this see book review on Dreams and Visions here.

“I trust in you, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:14-15

Blessings, Dottie






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Two Excellent Books on Finding a Great Job

How to Get Any Job                                        
(Or how to avoid living in your parent’s basement)
Life Launch and Re-launch for Everyone Under 30

By Donald Asher

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.

This is an excellent book with much wisdom, knowledge and advice about how to find just the right job for you. The book details a plan to help you discover your interests and talents. Implementing this plan will take time and thought on the part of the student/young person but will save you from many mistakes and from landing in a dead end job that doesn’t fit you.



Part 1 will teach you to examine employment interests and develop a plan for your life.

Part 2 takes this further in helping you explore your interests in “the real world.”

Part 3 will teach you how to get a job.

Throughout the book there are case studies that flesh out the issues being taught. These are very helpful. Any student who is uncertain about his/her career direction should study this book and follow every suggestion in order to discover the type of career that will best suit you. Do the homework first and you will be able to find what you want and will be ready to do well in job interviews.

In the last chapter on the job Interview Asher explains much about the hidden job market – how many jobs are filled from within or from a friend of a friend. And many jobs are filled with a persistent job searcher who doesn’t take no for answer.

To whet your appetite a bit here are some interesting thoughts from the book:
  • Prior generations needed to find 9 jobs between college and retirement. Asher believes the current generation will need to find 20-30 jobs!  Pg 4
  • 40-60% of CEOs are liberal arts majors. pg 7
  • Don’t compound a poor choice of major with a poor career choice. Pg 8
  • You will be fired through no fault of your own. Pg 14 
A little failure is part of every successful life. Walt Disney’s first cartoon production company went bankrupt. Elvis Presley got a C in high school music, and his teacher told him he couldn’t sing. Edgar Allen Poe was expelled from college. Einstein dropped out of school without finishing his degree.” 133

I highly recommend this book.

What Color is My Parachute? 
A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers

By Richard Bolles

What Color is My Parachute is another excellent  book for job seekers. It is updated frequently so the information will fit today’s job market.The author, Richard Bolles, asks what is your purpose in life? Most of us think we’ll be happy at work if we make good money and are valued for what we do. 

Bolles says that’s not enough. He says that the happiest people at work are those who have discovered their mission in life. They have found a way to use their skills and abilities to earn a living and to also make a difference in some small part of the world. He will tell you how to find your mission and thus how to find a job that will do more than just give you financial support. While we think we’re in control of our lives, we never really are - but God is.  Pray for guidance about his plan for you.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

Blessings, Dottie



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God  

This is the sixth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. A pastor suggested reading this Psalm verse by verse, meditating on it and journaling on each verse.

Vav. 

41 May Your loving kindnesses also come to me, O Lord,
Your salvation according to Your word;

Father, I know Your loving kindnesses and they come to me daily. Thank you, O Lord,
Especially for your salvation told of in your Word.

42 So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.

Father, I do have an answer for anyone who disputes my beliefs or taunts me for them, (as some of my relatives have). For I know your Word is true.

43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I wait for Your ordinances.

Father, Do not take your word of truth out of my mouth or out of my mind. Guard me from false words which abound in our culture. Help me remember your Word and hide it deep in my heart. For I need to feed on your Word.

44 So I will keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.

Father, As I feed on your Word - then I keep your commandments – both continually,
Forever and ever – I hope.

45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.

Father, I walk with you, free and at peace,
Because I seek you and your Word. Keep me in Christ and in the Word.

46 I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
And shall not be ashamed.

Father, I will witness to anyone, even presidents; help me share your Truth, your testimonies and not avoid this. I will not be fearful or ashamed to speak up. I hope this is true. Guide me when to speak and when no to do so.
 
47 I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.

Father, I rejoice in your commandments.
I love them!

48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Dear Father, I lift my hands in loving praise for your commandments,
I meditate on your commandments, laws, word and statutes! You are the Word made flesh. I abide in You.

Blessings, Dottie


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE

This is the third of a series of Reasons to Believe blog posts with my sister, Betty Haynie. Our thoughts may be helpful to those who don’t believe in God as well as others. Betty wrote down her beliefs in detail several years ago. I’ll post her thoughts monthly and add my thoughts and beliefs to each one. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.
                                                                                 
WHY I BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE
By Betty Haynie

I believe the Bible is the result of God’s inspiration. The words in the Bible are NOT God’s exact words. But they are God’s exact messages. These are God’s thoughts expressed in man’s words. The writers communicated what they believed God wanted them to, expressed in their own style and verbiage. The most important thing to realize is that the Bible benefits us and even corrects our mistakes as described in the verse below.

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed, and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message

The Bible began as oral tradition. Stories and lineages were taught from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. Many people wonder about the accuracy of such a beginning. When Alex Haley began researching his family for his book Roots, he traveled to Africa and located the elders of his family’s tribe. The oldest elder was able to recite the entire history, just as Alex had heard it, due to the respect they had for passing along accurate history. The early Hebrews had the same respect for tradition and history. They memorized lists of the names of their forefathers from Adam to Abraham. They kept mental records and passed them on because people regarded their “roots” as something significant.

It doesn’t make sense to me that God would create the world and all the people in it and not give us some sort of directions on how to live, or answer questions such as, “Why am I here?” I believe God left us a Guide book to help us find our way as Rick Warren writes in The Purpose-Driven Life:
The Bible tells us:
1. Why we are here
2. How life works
3. What things to avoid
4. What to expect in the future
5. What our individual purpose or ministry is (that He planned for us before we were even conceived!)

I like to read the Bible almost every day for it blesses me. Since 1990 I have read through the Bible several times, taken Bible classes and read a number of books about the Bible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Chuck Missler’s book “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours” and Henrietta Mears’ book, “What the Bible is All About.”  Check them out!

The Bible contains verifiable history and geography, poetry, songs, love stories, truths for living called proverbs, and over a thousand prophecies. It includes “how- to” advice for daily living, the struggles and lives of real people including the honest presentation of their weaknesses and failures, and prophecies of things to come. The Bible also gives us the life, miracles, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the works of the disciples after Jesus’ death, the letters of Paul to nine churches and the revelations of things to come, and SOOOOO much more.

Most people accept the fact that Moses is credited with the writing of the first five books. Poets and prophets wrote much of the Old Testament. Paul is credited with writing much of the New Testament in the form of the Epistles - letters to the various churches which had begun to slip from their original commitment to the Lord. The other books were written by various people starting within 30 years of Jesus death and continuing over another 50 years or so. It matters not in the slightest who actually wrote down the books included in the Bible, it’s the message they present that is all important.

If God is all powerful and all knowing then certainly He could manage to find a few people to write down His messages. If you believe otherwise you are not giving God credit for being God. In this case I would suggest you read Your God is Too Small by J. B. Phillips. When I think of the hundreds of thousands of preachers who have preached each and every week, 50-52 weeks a year, for over 2,000 years (over 500 years in this country alone), using the Bible as their main source for thought, reflection, inspiration, truths and revelation, it boggles the mind how absolutely incredible this book is. Has any other book every supplied so many dissertations?

The Bible, the world’s all-time best seller - is filled with promises, reminders, challenges, history, poetry, and knowledge of God. It fills and soothes the troubled, weary or sad soul just as chicken soup soothes our physical aches and pains. But the Bible also gives us a connection with God that leads to praise and worship which in turn fills our heart’s soul and brings peace and contentment into our often hectic lives.

When you get right down to it, believing in anything requires faith. Even an atheist has to have faith - faith that there is no God. The choice is whether to believe in a faith built on God’s Word or believe in a faith built on man’s word. We need a standard by which we live our lives. The Bible - God’s Word, fills that place for millions. It is the bottom line in every decision we make. It is the bottom line in every relationship we have. It is the bottom line in every problem or situation we have on this earth. Living by this standard makes life a peaceful, joy-filled, wonderful experience.

Blessings, Betty

WHY I BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE
By Dottie Parish

Betty presents good evidence about the validity of the Bible. For anyone who has questions read my blog post on The Case of Christ by Lee Strobel – or see the movie!

So what more can I say?  As a child I memorized verses every Sunday in Sunday school. These verses, in part, brought me back to God in 1990. As a teen-ager I won a New Testament by memorizing Luke 15 including The Story of the Prodigal Son! Amazing, since I did stray away from God for decades.

Since 1990 I have been in Bible Studies almost continually. Adult Bible Classes provide a support group as well as life changing information. A new pastor in 1997 introduced us to Disciple Bible Study which included reading and studying 80 percent of the Bible in 34 weeks. We continued in these classes for four years. We also joined a fifteen week Alpha class in 2008 which answered questions about our faith. Every one of these classes inspired and changed us. The Bible is the Word of God.

I began journaling Scripture at the suggestion of Bible teachers. This is a great way to learn the Bible and also make it personally applicable. I journaled Psalm 51 for Lent one year. This is David’s Psalm asking for forgiveness after he committed adultery and murder. He was a man after God’s own heart yet a sinner. I confessed my own sin with each verse, a truly life changing time. The Bible is the Word of God.

I went through the promises of Jesus and the commands of Jesus and wrote my thoughts about each one. Most recently I began journaling Psalm 119 the longest Psalm in the Bible. All of these are on my blog. Journaling scripture leads to inner change. The Bible is the Word of God.

The sermons we have absorbed in the last ten years have also been Bible studies! These help us live out our faith on a daily basis. The most important parts of the Bible are the accounts of Jesus life, death on the cross and resurrection. If the resurrection is not true – Christianity is of no value. The many prophecies of the coming messiah are amazing also. The letters by Paul and others give instruction to the Church and its members on how to live and how to be the Church. It is the Word of God.

The Bible reveals the character of God showing us he is holy, omnipotent, trustworthy, and personal. He is working out his plan through Christ Jesus. The Bible feeds our faith, guides our walk, holds us accountable, and gives us great hope. The beauty of the language in the Bible is like no other book. Consider the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer and the Love chapter 1 Corinthians 13. Will you open your Bible and read it? Check out this amazing book. It is the Word of God.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3: 16

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS in late August by Betty and Dottie






Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Psych Info: WHAT IS THE UNCONSCIOUS?

Q. You mentioned the unconscious in one of your articles. What is the unconscious mind and how can we know about it if it is unconscious? You seemed to suggest that we can communicate with our unconscious and vice versa.

A. The unconscious is a division of our psyche or mind. Psychic material not in our immediate awareness is in our unconscious mind. When it is somewhat easily accessible it is said to be in the “pre-conscious” mind. We can perceive, think, feel, remember, decide and act, all unconsciously. Every experience of our life is stored within our unconscious mind. All we have learned, thought, felt and experienced is recorded, yet not available consciously. This enables us to remember how to drive a car without thinking about it. 

Throughout history, the complexity of human nature has been noted along with a variety of theories to explain or make sense of our nature. Freud was the first to theorize about a vast unconscious mind with warring factions creating a variety of problems for us. He discovered that slips of the tongue were often breakthrough thoughts from the unconscious mind. Similarly, being accident prone and managing to fail when on the brink of success were noted as due to unconscious feelings or desires. Our unconscious mind is some times more in charge of our behavior than our conscious mind is!
         
Someone has compared our mental functions and the contents of our minds to a landscape at night. A search light plays over the landscape. Whatever appears in the searchlight is conscious, the rest that is hidden in the darkness is unconscious. Until recently, little was known about how the brain stores our experiences or about how a memory from the past is evoked to influence our current life.

In 1951 Dr. Wilder Penfield, a neurosurgeon, made some new and exciting discoveries. During brain surgery Penfield conducted experiments on patients who were fully conscious. He used a probe and touched the temporal cortex of the brain. He found that this forced recollections from the patient’s memory. His most significant discovery was that not only were past events recorded in detail but the feelings associated with the events were recorded as well. The event and the feelings were recorded together and one could not be recalled without the other. 

Does this matter? Yes, it does. We all carry with us wounds from our past, buried in our unconscious minds. These wounds affect our daily living. They affect our marriages, the way we treat our children and they affect our self-esteem.
         
We can learn about and heal our unconscious mind by training ourselves to remember our dreams. Daily meditation and prayer can also open the door to our unconscious mind and help us face and heal our wounds. The more we become acquainted with our unconscious minds the more integrated our personalities become. 
         
Our unconscious minds are a vast resource of wisdom that can be tapped into and used. Often inventors will dream about a solution to a problem they had struggled with unsuccessfully during the day. Our unconscious minds can be used to help solve daily problems as we face them. 
         
Similarly, athletes often visualize a perfect performance while in an altered state of consciousness. We can reprogram our minds using positive images as we meditate or pray. I hope these ideas will help you learn to use the power of your unconscious mind and also the power of prayer.

“I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8

Blessings, Dottie



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DIVORCE BUSTING

Q. My wife and I are having many problems in our marriage. Our home is full of tension.  We argue and then we avoid each other. Counseling a year ago helped make things very happy and romantic for a while. Now we’re back at war with each other and on the brink of divorce. Why didn’t the change last? What do you suggest?

A. The fact that counseling helped and you were happy for a while afterwards is a positive sign. It shows that it’s possible for you and your wife to have a happier relationship. If we can do something for a brief time, we can learn to do it consistently.

What do you want your marriage to be like? What kinds of things do you want your partner to do that will show you that she cares? What kinds of things does she want you to do that will show her you care? What did each of you do when things were going well that you are no longer doing?

If we want romance in our marriage we must purposely act in romantic ways toward our partner. Give spontaneous hugs and kisses. Give compliments. Send cards and flowers. Spend fun time together and go out together. We must fan the flame of our love. Our feelings toward others don’t just happen. Our own actions and involvement with our partner shape our feelings. Therefore, if we “act romantic” we will feel more loving. If we give of ourselves to the other person we will feel more commitment.

Couples often blame each other for the problems in their relationship. Actually, the problems are often the result of a circular interaction. Each person’s behavior is the result of an action that preceded it and is also a trigger for the partner’s action that follows it. For example, a husband may work late. The wife may interpret his coming home late as lack of love for her so she withdraws emotionally and won’t allow touching.  He then stays late at work again because of her withdrawal.

Couples also develop balance in the roles they assume. If one person is very responsible about keeping the house clean, the other one may be more casual or even sloppy.  Michele Weiner-Davis in her book Divorce Busting compares this type of balancing to what happens when riding a tandem bicycle. If one person stops pedaling, the other one must do all the work. 

Notice the behavior between you and your wife and what you want to have happen more frequently. Often couples stop doing fun things together or stop being affectionate with each other because of a negative cycle. What they don’t realize is that the lack of these fun or affectionate behaviors increases and compounds the problems between them. The reverse is also true. Enjoyment in a relationship does much to help us forget the hurt or the differences. Couples don’t realize that changes in behavior lead to changes in their positive feelings toward each other. Feelings don’t change first, in other words.

Faith in God, praying together and worshipping together also helps unite a couple in a deeper way than anything else.

I recommend that you and your wife go back into marital counseling together. Tell your counselor you want to focuses on the solutions rather than dwelling on all the past problems, anger and hurt.  Solution focused therapy helps couples stop blaming each other and helps couples work out a better balance on their “tandem bike.” In addition join a couples marriage enrichment group. The Third Option or A Weekend to Remember offer excellent help for marriages. See also www.smartmarriages.com for a wealth of information on help for marriages.

“Be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.” 1 Peter: 3:8 NLT

Blessings, Dottie






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the fifth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances.
A pastor suggested reading this verse by verse, meditating on it and journaling on each verse. So that’s what I’m doing.   

He. 

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.

Father, Teach me the path of your commandments and precepts,
And help me stay on your road to the end, forever. Your way brings peace and life.

34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.

Father, Give me clear insight so I will truly obey your rules
And I will keep your commandments with all my heart.

35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

Father, I do want to walk in the road you have planned, the road your laws direct,
For I delight in your ways.

36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.

Father, shape my heart and mold it to your pure witness,
And not to a crooked, ungodly, or selfish way.

37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.

Father, Keep my eyes and heart from worry about appearances or selfish concern,
And revive my heart to follow your path. My heart overflows with your presence. Thank you, Lord.

38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.

Dear Father, Convince me your word is true for me,
Knowing your complete faithfulness increases my devotion for you.

39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.

Dear Father, Turn away from my failures, my sins which I abhor,
Your laws are good for me.

40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.

Father, Wow! I long to obey your Word, your laws;
Bring me to life, spiritually, delete all deadness from me,
Your pure goodness renews me.

Blessings, Dottie