Wednesday, November 28, 2018


 Q. I'm 18 years old and a senior in high school. My older sister got married last summer. Dad refused to go to her wedding because he didn’t approve of her fiancé. My sister was very hurt by this and everyone was upset. My Dad and my sister still aren't talking. My sister doesn’t come over to the house any more so I never see her. When I call her to talk to her my Dad accuses me of siding with my sister. I’m sad and upset about this and wish my family wasn’t so divided. At Thanksgiving my sister went to her husband's family for dinner. I'm worried now about what will happen at Christmas. I'm not sure they will ever make up. My Dad's sister hasn't spoken to their Dad for about 20 years. ? What can I do to help?

 A, Alienation between two members of a family creates heartbreak, tension and un happinessfor every one. Often family alienation occurs around special occasions, especially around "rites of passage" such as weddings and funerals. These are emotion packed occasions. Alienation is a detouring of the emotions, almost like a short circuit. It protects the persons involved from overwhelming emotions just as a circuit breaker stops an overload of electricity from doing damage. 

In your father's and sister's case, they probably both had overwhelming feelings about no longer being intimately involved as father and daughter. It’s interesting that there is long lasting alienation going on in your father's family. This type of “cut off” often runs in families. There may have been alienation in his family going back for many generations. The circumstances of the alienation in previous generations may even be similar as each generation learns from the previous one and tries to resolve the same emotional difficulties in familiar ways. 

Often family alienation can be resolved if one person will make the attempt to do so. The person reaching out may have to do so more than once, however, in order to break through the emotional barrier set up by months or years of hurt and angry silence. When a family estrangement has continued for a long period of time, counseling may be necessary in order to resolve it. The hard work of family therapy can stop the repetition of bitter divisions carried on from one generation to another. 

Here’s what you can do: Enlist the rest of the family to convince your Dad and your sister to make up. Perhaps the family member closest to each one can talk individually with each of them or you can hold a family meeting with each one. Give the two injured parties time to express their feelings. Listen without arguing. When they have finished, ask them to listen to you. Then tell them how you feel about the alienation, how it is affecting you. Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements (which sound blaming) – such as the one you used “I’m sad and upset and wish my family wasn’t divided.” 

Find out what they want from the other person in order to reconcile and then share this to the other person. Let each one know of any softening on the part of the other. Remind them that Christmas is about love and therefore a great time to forgive. Tell them forgiveness does not mean the other person hasn’t hurt them. Forgiveness means letting go of my desire to hurt the other person for hurting me. 

Readers: Is there someone you need to forgive and reconcile with this Christmas?  Don’t let pride or stubbornness keep you from forgiveness and love. 

“Be kind to each other. Tenderhearted forgiving one another, just as God through Christ Jesus has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32 

Blessings, Dottie


Sunday, November 25, 2018

How to Navigate My Blog

How to Navigate My Blog
Currently my subscribers are not receiving my blog posts. I’m hoping to have this fixed soon. If anyone reading this knows how to fix it let me know! In the meanwhile or even when you are receiving them you can go to my blog anytime to browse. That’s right you can look at any of my writings from this week to last month to last year to back in 2010!                                                  

First, click on my blog address or copy and paste it in goggle. It should pop up a page called Faith Notes. I usually post something new weekly. The most recent post will be shown first with previous ones available below. You can look at my blog anytime you wish.

What is a blog? A blog is short for WEB LOG. It’s an on line journal. A blog can be set up in many ways. Many people post family pictures to share with other family members. Many use a blog to keep relatives and friends informed when someone in the family is going through a crisis. A happier reason to have one is to build a following as a writer or as an artist or to help others with good information about various subjects.

Pick Any Subject. When you go to my blog you can pick subjects of interest. To do this, look on the right side below my Bio and Followers to LABELS. You can click on any label and it will show you all the blogs on that subject - just scroll down through them. I just clicked on Marriage and it shows all 50 or so that I've done. When you get to the end click on OLDER POSTS and it will give you more or it will tell you that's all. On this subject I clicked Older Posts three or four times. So you can choose what to read on any subject listed! Isn’t that cool?                                                                                                          

Follow Me. To be a follower, click on the area on the right side where it says Follow by Email. You can do this publicly or privately. They will give directions for this after you click. It should then send you a weekly email with my latest one. If you have a blog and become a follower of mine our blogs will be linked.

Make a Comment. At the bottom of each post is a button for comments. Life is busy. Comment only when you have an overwhelming desire. How?  Click comments, give your email address, and type in your comment.

That's about it. Thanks for checking out my blog.

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul, he who cherishes understanding prospers. Proverbs 19:8

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, November 19, 2018


Q.  I know that thinking positively is best for our health and well-being but I have a hard time doing this. I start out in a positive frame of mind and then my kids start arguing, my boss gets critical, the traffic is terrible and the cares of the day just get to me. What’s the secret of learning to think positively? How can anyone who is sick or faced with a tragedy think positively?

A. Positive thinking is a health giving trait which we all need to learn. Even though there have been books written on the subject, there is a one word answer to how to become a positive thinking person. The word is “Gratitude.” If you practice gratitude you will learn positive thinking.

Hazen G. Werner in his book Live With Your Emotions, tells of a woman who had run out of hope. She felt trapped and despairing. One night in the midst of this she cried out “Thank you, God, anyway.” For a moment she felt better. She began to thank God more and her mood lightened. Soon she able to be grateful for several hours at a time and her hope grew.
David, who wrote most of the Psalms in the Bible, gives us a model of how to practice gratitude. In the midst of intense difficulties including despairing inner struggles David bursts forth with gratitude for every blessing. He is very human in his struggles with difficulties, even wondering where God is at times yet he continues to practice gratitude. 
How can we be grateful in the midst of tragic circumstances? How can we be grateful when we are sick and in pain or when we suffer major losses? We will need to cry and grieve and be upset but we can also look for and count our blessings in the midst of tragedy.
Thomas Edison, the genius inventor, lost his laboratory in a blazing fire in December 1914. The next morning, as he walked in the smoldering rubble he said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew.” 

When things go well we take our blessings for granted. We even take credit for much that has been given to us by God or with the help of others. When tragedy strikes, big or small it forces us to recognize what’s important in life; that we need God and that we need each other. The tragedy thus becomes a blessing. 

There is a legend about a day when the sun didn’t appear. It was dark at eight AM, still dark at nine AM , ten AM, noon. By four PM people had gone to their churches to pray for the sun to return. The next morning crowds congregated outside to watch the eastern sky. When the first rays of sunlight streaked the sky the people burst into cheers and applause. They felt so grateful.
Minor annoyances of daily life are often more difficult to look on with gratitude than are major trials. We rise to meet a tough challenge yet let petty annoyances drag us down. Gratitude is still the key. If we count our blessings every day we will be better able to recognize the smallness of the annoyances. 
Learning a grateful attitude takes practice. This Thanksgiving Day let’s all practice gratitude and keep it up in the days and months ahead.

“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens.That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, November 12, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the eighteenth 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.


137 Righteous are You, O Lord
And upright are Your judgments.

Father, You are right and true, my Lord,
And Your ways are good and just
138 You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness
 And exceeding faithfulness.
 Your commands and your word are good and just,   And teach us to be faithful to you.

139 My zeal has consumed me,Because my adversaries have forgotten Your word. My utter devotion to you consumes me,But skeptics have forgotten you and your words.

140 Your word is very pure,Therefore Your servant loves it.
 Your word is so very pure and true,So your child of faith loves it.

141 I am small and despised,Yet I do not forget Your precepts.
 Even though my influence is small and even disliked,I will not forget your word or you.

142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,  And Your law is truth.
 Father your goodness and mercy are eternally good and merciful, and your law is truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have come upon me,Yet Your commandments are my delight.
 Trouble and difficulty visit me,Yet your word and laws are my joy.

144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;Give me understanding that I may live.

 Father, your words are eternally good and trueGive me spiritual understanding that I may live in Christ. Blessings, Dottie 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Two Books about the Secret Service

Here are two fascinating books about the Secret Service who guard the President of the United States day in and day out.

Five Presidents: An Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

By Clint Hill

Clint Hill is a member of the Secret Service, an elite and highly disciplined group who protects and guards the leaders of our country. Hill details his experiences with five presidents. This is both fascinating and horrifying to read as history unfolds on every page – history I have lived through! There is much to learn about our country, the five presidents and about the job of the Secret Service men. Their work demands long hours, careful preparation of every location the president visits or lives in and vigilant eyes while in crowds of people.

Hill tells his own story – how his service affects him throughout these decades. He is traumatized by the Kennedy assassination as he attempts to protect both the president and his wife. He rides on the back of the open vehicle as the shots ring out from the Book Depository in Dallas. Following this he is assigned to protect Mrs. Kennedy and remains with her for a year afterward. The book gives insights into the personality of each president and also details the many events of this tumultuous period including the Vietnam War with all the protests, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy and Watergate.

I am most impressed with the humility and dedication of the Secret Service. They work with world renowned leaders with daily exposure in the media yet remain in the background, silent observers true to their purpose.

Here are the five presidents:
Dwight Eisenhower – Republican –1958 - second year of his term
John Kennedy – Democrat     1961-1963
Lyndon Johnson – Democrat 1963-1968
Richard Nixon – Republican 1968-1974
Gerald Ford – Republican 1974-1978

*                *
In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect

By Ronald Kessler

In the President’s Secret Service the New York Times author, Ron Kessler, interviewed more than one hundred agents past and present. He gives much information about the Secret Service organization and the problems and frustrations of the men who guard our presidents and other dignitaries. Kessler offers a glimpse into the character and kindness or lack of it by many our presidents and president’s wives from Kennedy through Obama.

There is gripping detail about assassination attempts on the presidents, problems with preventing an attack and more. He details the ways in which the management of the Secret Service in recent years (2009 and before) has rigidly prevented agents from transferring to other areas and has added more and more work without additional agents or money to do the job. This, he believes puts our presidents at risk. The book borders on gossipy yet also gives much needed transparency to the office of President of the United States. A listing of Secret Service Dates and a complete index are helpful for referring back to specific people or events.

In reading both books it is obvious our culture has changed a great deal and many agents may have quit rather than sacrifice being with their family a reasonable amount of time. Both books are fascinating.

Blessings, Dottie