Monday, July 30, 2018


Q. I feel guilty nearly every day for one reason or another. If I have to cancel a doctor’s appointment, even for a legitimate reason, I feel guilty. I feel guilty about mistakes or poor decisions I made in the past. I’m always apologizing to people because I think I’ve said something that hurt or offended them. When I try to explain, they don’t even remember the incident. Sometimes I avoid contact with people because I don’t want to feel guilty again. But then I feel guilty for avoiding my friends. How I can I get over feeling guilty?

 A. There are two types of guilt, healthy guilt and unhealthy guilt. Healthy guilt occurs when we make a hurtful mistake, commit a deliberate misdeed, or neglect a responsibility. Healthy guilt occurs when we realize a flaw in our character which needs to be corrected.

Unhealthy guilt makes us feel guilty no matter what we do. It is pervasive, irrational and self-punishing. It makes us feel worthless. Unhealthy guilt is not productive, we don’t learn from it. We simply wallow in it and feel defective. 

Healthy guilt enables us to see our mistakes or flaws and use this knowledge to learn about ourselves. The process of accepting responsibility, making amends and determining to change our behavior is a growth process that increases our self-respect.

Often those who feel guilty a lot will blame others for “making them feel guilty.” It’s good you realize that your guilt is your problem, not something someone else does to you. Although we are affected by the things others say, our emotions have to do with our own unique makeup and perception of our world. We must own our feelings before we can begin to overcome them.

Here are some steps for getting rid of unhealthy guilt:
1. Keep a journal about your guilt feelings. Note each time you feel guilty, what triggered it, how you responded to it (tears, anger, depression ) and your thoughts about why you felt guilty. 

2. Look for patterns in your guilt. Perhaps you can group the types of guilt you have such as guilt about the past, guilt about seeming failures, guilt about saying the “wrong” thing.

3. Ask your self, did I really do anything wrong? If the answer is yes then you are experiencing healthy guilt. You will need to face the issue and decide to change. For example, if you are habitually late and this is one of the things you feel guilty about, the solution is to change your ways. 

4. Ask yourself, did I do something that isn’t consistent with my goals for myself? If the answer is yes this is either healthy guilt or you have set unrealistic goals. For example, you feel guilt about eating a piece of pie because you want to lose weight. If you’re anorexic or your ideal is Twiggy, your goal is unrealistic and unhealthy. If you do need to lose weight your goal is OK and your guilt is healthy. In this case, use your guilt to help you get back on your plan rather than using it to beat up on yourself. 

If you did nothing wrong, yet feel guilty, talk back to the relentless critic in your head. Defend yourself against the unfair, untrue accusations made against you. Then tell your inner critic to scram. 

To get rid of healthy guilt confess your failures and sins to God and ask for forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, July 23, 2018



Q. My daughter, age 17, is very preoccupied with her weight, hardly eats at all and is too thin. I tried to talk to her about this but she became offended and clammed up. I’m concerned she may have an eating disorder. What are the symptoms of these conditions? How are they treated? 

A. Many young women (and some men) in their teens and early twenties struggle with an eating disorder. They don’t realize that they have a serious problem which usually requires medical and psychiatric intervention. Anorexia is a serious, life threatening condition of deliberate starvation. A person who is anorexic has an obsession with being thin and an unrealistic standard of what constitutes thinness. Those who do not get help have a high mortality rate.   

Bulimia is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or purging by laxatives, enemas or diuretics. Persons with bulimia have a fear of being fat and use the above methods to lose weight. Bulimics usually have less severe weight loss than anorexics. The bulimic feels shame about their problem and so is secretive about it.

The physical consequences of anorexia include: extreme weight loss, loss of menstrual periods, constipation, hair loss, dizziness, fainting, insomnia, kidney failure and severe electrolyte imbalances which can lead to heart attacks. 

The physical consequences of bulimia include menstrual irregularities, swollen glands, frequent weight fluctuations, chronic dehydration, kidney problems and cardiac arrhythmia. Bulimics also can have gum recession, breakdown of tooth enamel and esophageal damage from excessive vomiting. Some young people suffer from both anorexia and bulimia, an especially dangerous condition.

The psychological symptoms of anorexia and bulimia include feelings of inferiority, obsessional thoughts about food, fear of obesity, perfectionism and a distorted body image.

The media contributes to this extreme obsession with appearance and an unrealistic standard of what constitutes beauty. Recent research discovered that women who viewed advertisements of thin, beautiful women felt unhappy with their own appearance after only three minutes. Teens are especially influenced by these ads.

A former supermodel Carre Otis, who has been pictured on the cover of fashion magazines and was featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue some years ago has acknowledged her problem with anorexia. On ABC’s Primetime, she described going on a liquid fast for two weeks before each photo shoot.  Her doctors found she had three holes in her heart.

After heart surgery she began eating three meals a day instead of one. She told Primetime, “When I first started to eat food during the day it was the most terrifying thing for me. I would eat and then...cry for hours.” For seventeen years she starved herself all day and ate only a little dinner. 

Carre now weighs 155 pounds, 30 pounds over her ideal model weight. But she is still beautiful and modeling offers pour in. Carre Otis is a size 12. The average American woman wears a size 14.  Few women are meant to be as tiny as the women depicted in ads.  Carre also discovered her inner beauty when she went on a humanitarian trip to Nepal. “That’s when I felt like the most beautiful woman.”

You must get help for your daughter. She should have both a medical evaluation and psychotherapy. She must be monitored medically while working on the underlying psychological causes of the problem. Reassure her that the medical and counseling help will be offered to her with understanding, not blame.

A renewal of faith can also help anorexics and bulimics. Faith in God can help them give up their need to control and their need to be perfect, learning to place their life in God’s hands. 

“Heal me O Lord and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

Samekh                                                                                                                               This is the fifteenth 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.


113 I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love Your law.

Father, I hate those who are two-faced,
But I love your transparent law.

114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.

Father, You are my hiding place and my refuge of protection;
I listen for your guidance.

115 Depart from me, evildoers,
That I may observe the commandments of my God.

Scram Satan and all demons,
I plan to obey the commandments of my God in Christ Jesus.

116 Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

Father, Keep me close according to your word, protect my life;
And don’t let me lose my hope in you.

117 Uphold me that I may be safe,
That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.

Hold on to me so I will be safe in you,
So I will continue to respect and follow your rules.

118 You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes,
For their deceitfulness is useless.

You reject those who wander from your moral laws,
Their apostasy is terrible and useless.

119 You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.

Father, You remove all the wicked from the earth like garbage;
I so love your wisdom and Word.

120 My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Father, My skin tingles in reverence and fear of you,
And I am in awe of your judgments and plans.

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, July 9, 2018

Novels for Summer Reading 2

The Book Thief 
By Markus Zusak   

The Book Thief, A New York Times bestseller, is an extraordinary novel about the holocaust from the point of view of Death (or the death angel, I prefer) narrator of the story. At the beginning a young girl, Liesel Meminger, is taken to a foster home outside of Munich. It’s 1939 and persecution of the Jews is ongoing. Zusak writes beautifully, hauntingly, and convincingly bringing the characters and this time in history to life. Each individual is real and unique. The relationship between Liesel and her step father is a true parenting love story. Similarly, Liesel’s friendship and companion in book thievery, Rudy, shows their childlike playfulness in spite of circumstances. The holocaust reality, though disturbing, helps us learn about that time. We must remember it and not let anyone deny it happened. There is humor; there is love and caring, all in the midst of tragedy. This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 By Rachel Joyce

This a beautiful and poignant story of an ordinary man caught in a life and a marriage of dullness, deadness and pain. Harold and his ever critical wife, Maureen, have been married forty-five years and Harold has recently retired. They barely speak to each other and have shut out the rest of the world. Then Harold receives a note from Queenie, a friend he hasn’t seen in twenty years. He learns she is in a hospice and dying from cancer. This launches Harold on an impromptu walk six hundred miles to see her, believing the promise of his coming will keep her alive.

His journey leads to delightful encounters with people along the way and with the beauties of nature. Harold reflects on his life as he walks and experiences new things. He begins to hope and trust in others and in himself. There are surprising twists and turns in the plot and it is beautifully written with profound wisdom about human nature and the difficulties of life. This is a memorable, touching story.

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, July 2, 2018

Novels for Summer Reading

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett

I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett in the car while on a trip and time flew by. It’s as beautifully written as To Kill a Mocking Bird and is similar in its southern setting and racial and class separation and intolerance. The setting is Jackson, Mississippi in the sixties. It's about black maids in white homes - from their viewpoint. There are many plot twists and turns and it was a NY Times best seller. Excellent book!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple

This novel revolves around Bernadette, her husband Elgie, and her fifteen year old daughter Bee. At the beginning the book seemed silly to me and I almost quit reading. I’m glad I didn’t. The story has many unexpected plot twists and turns that surprised and delighted me. I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out what happened next….and at the end. This is a very creative story with no moral purpose – just fun reading.

Life of Pi
By Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a New York Times best seller and a major motion picture. This book differs from every novel I’ve ever read. I decided to read it when I discovered that the pastor at my son’s church planned to do a message on it. Also, early in the book the claim is made that this story will make you believe in God. The story centers on a boy by the name of Piscine Molitor Patel – Pi for short - and is told from his viewpoint. His father owns a zoo to the delight of Pi and his brother, Ravi. The information and insight into zoo animals is stunning.

Due to political changes in India, Pi’s father sells the zoo and the family embarks on a cargo ship to Canada and a new life. The ship sinks and the only survivors are Pi and a few of their animals - together in a life boat drifting on the Pacific Ocean for about 190 pages! The story is riveting, clever, humorous, detailed, and intense.

There are spiritual themes - it could be thought of as a parable of life. Pi explains convincingly that animals in the wild are not happy because they’re free. (Are we?) Life is an adventure and brings both crisis and delight in unexpected ways. We’re adrift and hoping to be rescued. Whether redemptive or not Life of Pi is a great story. I will not see the movie as it would get my adrenalin going way too much.

Blessings, Dottie