Monday, September 24, 2018


Q. I work in a hospital and see many people suffering. I also have seen my parents and some of their friends going through pain and suffering. I’m surprised at how well some people handle tragic illness. I’ve had a pretty easy life and wonder how people manage such pain. I’m not sure I could handle it. What helps people go through suffering with grace? 

A. Life is full of suffering of varying kinds and degrees. Physical suffering is only one form of suffering. The traumas of abuse, flashbacks from war, mental anguish of any kind can be just as painful as a serious illness. The pain of loss through divorce or death also involves much emotional suffering. We all experience frustrations in our relationships, on our jobs and in circumstances almost on a daily basis. Though our daily “pains” are usually minor, the pain is very real. We all suffer.

We learn to handle suffering only as it’s forced upon us. Most of us struggle against suffering. We struggle against the reality of a serious illness and we should put up a fight. Many experience despair, fear and depression when physical illness strikes.  We are angered and even repulsed by incapacitating illness. These are normal and natural reactions. Accepting suffering and learning from suffering come only with some struggle. Some of us are defeated by suffering. Some of us grow from suffering. What is the difference? Our attitude is all important.
Those who grow from suffering expect some pain in life. They know life is difficult.  They don’t expect a life of comfort and security. They view life as a time of training and preparation. Our culture takes quite a different view. It leads us to expect or even demand happiness and comfort. As a result we experience much “pain” and “suffering” when the slightest disruption to our own plans occurs.
Those who grow from suffering count their blessings. They view their life as half full of joy - not half empty, as others look at it. They are grateful for the joys in their lives. They consider everything in their life as a gift from God - life, relationships, food, shelter, the beauty of nature. Grateful people are happy even in the midst of suffering.

Those who grow through suffering hang onto their faith in God and his plan for them in spite of hardship or pain. They use their pain as a call to prayer. They turn to God for comfort, even in the midst of despair. The Psalms help them express their anguish as well as support their faith that God is still with them. 

People who grow from suffering consider pain a gift. They learn many lessons from this gift. They learn to be dependent on God, and on family and friends. They learn we are all interdependent. They learn that things and money don’t offer security or happiness. They learn humility. They learn they aren’t the center of the universe.  They learn the difference between necessities and luxuries. They learn patience.  They learn empathy for others in need.
To learn more about the problem of pain, why God allows suffering and how to cope with pain read No Pain, No Gain by John R. Wimmer, The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis and Where Is God When It Hurts by Philip Yancy.

We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.” Romans 5: 3-4 NKJV

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, September 17, 2018

Two Books in One - About God


By Dr. Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey

In the Likeness of God by Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey is perhaps the most remarkable book I've ever read. Actually it’s two books in one. Phillip Yancey combines two award winning books of Dr. Paul Brand - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and In His Image. Both books describe incredible and fascinating incidents in the life of Paul Brand and both books show the reader how the human body works, and what doctors or surgeons see and experience when they operate on and care for patients.

Paul Brand, a missionary doctor who worked with people with leprosy, discovered that leprosy silences nerve cells and as a result its victims destroy themselves because they cannot feel pain. Therefore, he sees pain as a gift!

Brand and his coauthor Philip Yancey explain very intricate body processes in terms laymen can understand. The first book includes sections on the human body’s Cells, Bones, Skin and Motion. The second book presents sections on Image, Blood, Head, Spirit and Pain. In connection with each of these Brand offers gripping and heart warming stories about his experiences as a mission doctor.

On top of this Brand and Yancey expand the readers understanding of the church and Christianity by linking insights about the human body with spiritual insight into how the Church – the Body of Christ operates. The Bible refers to the Church as the Body of Christ – so the authors are on biblically solid ground here.

Enjoy this book.

“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Psalm 139:13-14

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Special Book on Marriage

Sacred Marriage

By Gary Thomas

I recently reread this is a very special book about Christian marriage published in 2000. Thomas speaks about his own marriage and offers many insights into seeking God through your marriage. He suggests marriage is a call to Holiness more than happiness.  “I have a Christian obligation to continually move toward my wife. I thought that as long as I didn’t attack my wife or say cruel things to her, I was a ‘nice’ husband, but the opposite of biblical love isn’t hate its apathy.”155 Both husband and wife must “fall forward” toward each other.

The chapters in Sacred Marriage include how marriage teaches us to love, to respect others, to persevere, to build character, to forgive, to have a servant’s heart and more. 

Chapter 11 Sexual Saints is a beautiful, thoughtful chapter about how your sexual life together can mirror your desire for God. 

Chapter 12 Sacred Presence shows us how marriage can make us more aware of God’s presence. 

Chapter 13 Sacred Mission is about how marriage can develop our spiritual calling, mission and purpose. 

Here are three of my favorite quotes from the book.

"A good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for." 133

"There are times I must sacrifice my ambition to succeed in God’s service so that I can be fully present and involved in the lives of my wife and children." 250

"Patience can be formed only in the crucible of frustration – making marriage, with its multitude of tasks, one of the best schools of patience there is." 252

"Give honor to marriage, and remain faiithful to one another in marriage." Hebrews 13:4 

Blessings, Dottie

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Machine that Will Strengthen You!

We have a humongous new machine in our fitness facility. It’s called the Access Strength Machine. I first saw it when it was being installed and I was quite skeptical about the value of said machine. I wanted nothing to do with it! (These were my private thoughts. I didn’t say anything negative about the machine. Smile)

I didn’t want to jump in to trying the machine until I could to do it several times a week because I feared I wouldn’t remember how to use it. (My short term memory is - short!)   

I felt the same way when computers came out and at work we were told it would be good to learn more. Well, this machine is computerized! You might think of it as a giant computer. Individual work outs are stored in it to help users follow their routines.

My husband started first. He didn’t like to lift weights, but he took right to the machine. He says he has discovered muscles he didn’t know he had. It has been helpful to him already in strengthening his upper body. He’s hitting longer drives in golf!

The fitness director patiently taught me how to use the machine and it’s getting easier. She first asked me about my goals, what I wanted to work on improving. I set my focus on strengthening my upper body and improving my posture. She taught me the four points of posture which are important to know and use when operating the machine. These are: Stomach pulled in, Chest up, Shoulders pinched back, Head up, level. In other words, the weights we lift work best if we stand up straight or sit up straight when using them.

Mind you, I’ve been lifting weights and using some weight machines for six years. I’m stronger than six years ago but I have not felt any progress for quite some time. I’ve just been maintaining my ability. Thanks to the Access Strength Machine, in just a few weeks of using it three times a week, I can tell quite a difference in the strength of my arms, shoulders and core and see an improvement in my posture. I feel stronger and I remember to stand up better and sit straighter. Look for the Access Strength Machine. You can be stronger, too!

By the way the Access Strength Machine’s is manufactured by INCLUDE HEALTH.

Blessings, Dottie    

Monday, September 3, 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 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 critic to scram. 

To get rid of healthy guilt, talk to God about your failures or sins 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