WARNING by Hannah Alexander

Several years ago I had a particularly stressful month. Halfway through the month a streak of pain crossed my shoulders and down my spine and legs and would not relent. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t function. Finally I gave up and went to see my family doctor.

He told me I had fibromyalgia and gave me hydrocodone for the pain. Yeah, the hard stuff. I’d taken narcotics after an automobile accident a decade ago, and again after surgery, but I always quit taking it as soon as possible and never developed a dependency.

This time, however, the pain became chronic. I was told I would always have fibromyalgia and as hard as I tried I was unable to endure the pain without the hydrocodone. I tried alternative doctors and actually was able to improve my health, but the pain persisted year after year. Most days I could get through a day with only two doses, and I’m stubborn enough that I refused to increase the dose unless I was in agony.

Despite attempts to avoid becoming dependent, chronic use of a narcotic over the years makes us dependent no matter what we do. Several weeks ago, however, I was speaking to a naturopath who told me she’d heard of pain clinics that treated their patients by weaning them from their narcotics. That’s all. She said that often the pain would go away after the narcotic was out of the system. This meant that the narcotic, itself, caused the uptick in pain.

I stopped taking my prescribed narcotic when I had a few days during which I could stay home. Since I had been stretching the time out between doses, I felt this could be done safely. I had accumulated several creams, over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements to help me through the worst of it. I needed that and more.

I stopped sleeping, the pain increased, I lost all appetite and despite my determination to keep eating, I lost ten pounds in two weeks–this is NOT a good way to lose weight. My skin became dry and stretchy, my head hurt and my stress level was off the charts. I had to take blood pressure meds for a couple of weeks. Did I mention I couldn’t sleep? I still refused to take another pill because I didn’t want to be addicted for the rest of my life.

It’s been five weeks. I would not recommend that anyone withdraw from narcotics in this way. If I’d known how my body would behave I would have weaned myself much more gradually. I would still have done it. The pain I was feeling between doses for so many years was, indeed, caused by the narcotic for the most part.

Yes, I still have some pain, but the intensity is not nearly as high as it had been between doses when I was considered a “chronic” pain patient, and it doesn’t return regularly the way it did when it was time for another dose of narcotic.

Why am I telling this to Christian readers? Because there are a lot of people in our country who are placed on narcotic pain meds and continue to take them, innocent of the addictive potential. Doctors were taught in med school that as long as a patient is truly in pain, narcotics are the best to control that. It’s true. Now, however, doctors are being told that their patients can become dependent on those narcotics and it’s difficult to get off them.

Everybody feels pain from time to time. A lot of people feel intense pain. Sometimes narcotics are necessary. Just be aware they are dangerously addictive if taken longterm. Don’t let it happen to you.


Stressed Much? by Hannah Alexander

How’s your stress level? I recently listened in on an anxiety symposium that was quite helpful. In it, some experts in the use of alternative supplements suggested several possible aids that could help with a person’s stress level without resorting to prescription medications. For instance, GABA or GABA Calm might help some people, while 5-HTP could help others. I’ve found that L Tryptophan and simple chamomile can help me. Holy basil is another favorite. I also take magnesium supplements to help me relax at night, but we’re all different. No body responds to the same supplements, so it’s sort of a trial and error approach.

I’ve also found that some essential oils can help with stress, and we even use one of those oils in the clinic, allowing the patient to inhale the oil for ten minutes if they happen to have white coat syndrome. Again, this could help some and not others, but we’ve found that simply allowing a patient to sit quietly and breathe a calming essential oil will lower the blood pressure if the problem is due to stress.

The most powerful antidote to anxiety, fear, stress, even depression, is turning back to Christ. I tend to drift away from reading my Bible every day, and I shoot up instaprayers during the day without actually digging deeply and spending quality time with Him. I can spend all day doing what I know God has called me to do, but all work and no love shared with Him? That doesn’t cut it for me. I need that Holy Presence in my daily life to sustain me. I need to depend completely on Him, and not my own strength.

One way I’ve always drawn closer to God was to go out into the wilderness for a hike, to surround myself by His creation and talk to Him in the peace of nature. I seldom fail to come back with a full heart. Even a quick stroll in the sunshine can give me a spiritual lift.

In the past few weeks, hubby and I have both been ill. That’s scary when neither of us can get out of bed to care for the other. We realized right away we needed to draw back to God more completely, that we’d been doing what we thought was right, but not spending quality time with the One for whom we were doing it.

It’s a longterm goal, to walk more closely with Jesus Christ, but it’s also instantaneous. I found that as soon as I turned back and repented of my independence, He was there. How does He do that? It has to be supernatural, because anyone at any time can turn to Him, repent, find His love and learn to walk with Him.

“Be anxious about nothing, but in everything make your requests known to God, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7


What’s IN Your Mind? by Hannah Alexander

I have notes taped up around the house with one of my favorite Bible passages, the “whatsoever” passage. “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely…think on these things.”
I need to be reminded of this often because it’s so easy to place some ugly, untrue, impure things into our minds.
Mel and I relax in front of our favorite shows at night when we crash from a day’s work. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered lately that sometimes those shows, which are very popular with a lot of people, tend to be getting darker and darker. When we’re weak or susceptible, those shows can cause depression–homicide cop shows, high adventure, even sometimes comedy. They give me nightmares.
The nightmares have brought home to me the truth of the favorite passage of scripture above. Some things can be fun to watch, to read, to do, but I need to ask myself if it’s something that is uplifting, pure, lovely.
Sometimes a habit is hard to break. I’m in the middle of breaking a habit right now that is particularly difficult, but breaking bad habits, if we persist in doing good, will help heal us in the end.


Decisions, Decisions

Have you ever been faced with a decision between two comparatively good choices? Which is the right one? We’ve all been there dozens of times, from small choices such as paint color for a wall, to larger choices such as job offers.

What do you do when faced with a choice you can’t seem to make? Close your eyes and pick one and hope it’s the right one? Call your friends for input? Sleep on it? Pray for wisdom? Of course, praying for wisdom is something I’ve found myself doing every day lately. Sometimes, however, even with those prayers, I find myself facing a decision in which I would need knowledge of the future in order to be certain of the right choice.

What to do?

I can gather all the information I want and still make the wrong choice. I can talk to every business person I know and crunch numbers all day long, but when faced with a particular decision, I can’t predict what will happen.

One company I know made a decision to move their business to a “better” location, but after all the expense and effort and lost time, they could not have predicted that one bean counter in one little office would make a decision that would cut that business off at the knees. Events like this can paralyze a person’s ability to make the next big decision.

Not all decisions are so life changing. Others are. What kind of treatment does one choose when faced with a life threatening illness? Go the traditional route with physicians under the control of government regulations and insurance companies? Or attempt to find some alternative treatments that might be dissed by the medical community, but would be healthier, though more expensive, in the long run?

I know one answer I’ve used over and over again, even when the decision deadline comes down to the wire. Wait.

When Mel and I were dating, we came to the point where we’d been seeing each other exclusively for nearly a year and we both wondered where the relationship was going. I knew for sure I loved him. He thought he loved me, but wanted to be certain. We prayed and prayed for direction. We were both frustrated. Our only reply was, “Wait.” So we waited. I actually got comfortable in that waiting state, though Mel never did. When God says wait, you wait. Believe it or not, we grow in that waiting room of life. If we skip ahead without God’s go-ahead, we could suffer in ways we might not if we had only done as we were told and waited.

It wasn’t until a very important person in our life passed away, jarring us emotionally, that the answer came. Only a few days after his funeral, Mel asked me to marry him. Our waiting time was over. At least, for our relationship. I’ll never regret the wait.

As for other instances in our lives, the waiting we’re doing right now? I plan to find peace with the waiting phase before we move on. God has something in store. We just have to hurry up and wait.

My Speech This Morning

I’m speaking at two libraries today, and when I walked into the first one I had an idea what I was going to say. I’d brought books to give away, so I knew those kind ladies would go home happy no matter what I said, but I had to ask whether they were all readers or if they were readers who were interested in writing. All were readers. That kind of killed my speech.

I was going to speak about the new indie markets and how to edit, edit, edit, because many new writers don’t do that, and it hurts their sales. I was also going to explain to them how many people they could help with their writing if they used their own experiences to encourage others. But no, none of the ladies at the library had any interest in becoming writers, they simply loved to read and wanted to meet the writer. I changed my speech.

I still told them how they could touch lives with their words, whether written or spoken. If you’ve lived more than fifteen years–maybe even fewer–you’ve had some kind of experience that could help someone else. I do it all the time in my writing. I personalize what I write with snippets of my painful experiences in life to show readers that the worst times in life can be endured. I let them see that they aren’t alone.

Of course, since the ladies to whom I was speaking don’t think they’ll be writing to readers, I told them that they can still touch a LOT of lives. All of us can. I love to touch lives through my writing, but I also love to share hope with anyone going through a life ordeal. Lost a loved one? I’m here to tell you that yes, you’ll endure pain and it’ll change you forever, but you can find a new normal. Injured in a care accident? Yes, the body can heal. If you have continued pain you might have to live with that pain, but I’ve lived with pain for nine years and it’s given me a deeper appreciation for what remains of my health.

We can all offer hope. We don’t want to explain in detail our own ordeals when we see someone who is struggling, because they’re so caught up in their pain they don’t want more added to their load. Just let them know there is hope and they aren’t alone. It’s amazing how much it helps to know someone understands. Be the one who understands. I guess that’s my message for today because it’s what I’m going to speak about at the next library. I’m leaving now, and on the drive I’ll be thinking about how my words might be able to better heal those around me. Want to join me?


A Real Character

Quite A Character!

Quite A Character!

You know how there are some people who tend to call attention to themselves with an extra loud voice or extravagantly dramatic behavior–as if they’re attempting to be on stage? Yeah, well, I speak with my hands, so some people might consider me to be one of those people. I might be. Hard to tell when you’re one of “those” people. Our kitty, Data (named after Star Trek’s artificial intelligence) has a right to spread out and claim his attention because he’s beautiful. Others? I wouldn’t advise it.

I call those attention seekers “characters.” They work well in a novel, but not all of them are fun. Some of them can seem downright obnoxious, and we still have to put up with them. Doing so graciously is a lesson I haven’t yet been able to grasp. I try. Honestly, I try.

Let’s consider a “character” we’ve had experience with recently. Let’s call her Gertrude (though I had a good friend by that name, and I’m not crazy about using it. Still, gotta name her something.)

So say Gertrude wants attention and she doesn’t receive the attention she feels she deserves. Instead of waiting her turn on the schedule at our place of business, she drags one of OUR waiting room chairs to the front reception window and plops down and crosses her arms, glaring at the receptionist until he looks at her. Causing a scene. Getting the attention in an obnoxious way–using vinegar instead of honey.

Now, this character needs to be cared for just as much as the next person, but it’s most tempting to pass over Gertrude-the-character and move on to someone who is sitting quietly in the corner waiting his turn. Very tempting. If someone from that waiting room happens to see this Gertrude character out on the street somewhere, do you think they’ll rush forward to greet her and embrace her with love? Sadly, they’ll cross the street to avoid her and she loses the attention she so desperately wants. Obnoxious characters tend to have that affect on people.

See the character on the picture? Data? He spreads himself all over the floor and gets in the way and whines and drools on me and sticks his cold nose on my arm or face in an attempt to get attention. But he’s a CAT! I love him because he’s a cat.

I really do believe that old adage–if you want something, use honey, not vinegar. I highly recommend the use of honey. Be a character all you want, but be a nice one. A sweet one. Lie on your back and twist sideways with a big grin, don’t grab a chair and plant yourself in someone else’s face and glare at everyone within glare distance. Create friendship, not hostility. Again, as I said last time, be nice.


Be Ye Kind

Rocky Waters

Rocky Waters

Once upon a time I had an English teacher who criticized the class for using the word “nice.” She felt we needed to be more creative, that the word was overused. Most of the class members could not have cared less, but being a lover of English I remember that specific word all these years later. I still disagree with her even though I understood her concern. My own concern, however, is that there simply isn’t enough nice in the world these days.

Here in the Midwest you will find courteous people everywhere, but there are just enough instances when someone is having a bad day that he/she can make the whole week worse for everyone.

Now that I’ve entered the world again and am no longer working at home, I’ve discovered, to my chagrin, that I don’t handle discourtesy well. It makes ME discourteous. I will hang up if a caller becomes verbally abusive, and have also told our employees to courteously disconnect to avoid abuse. If a store clerk–or worse, a store manager–is discourteous to me, I will not enter that store again. I realize some people simply don’t know how to behave in public, but I’m sorry, I might pray for that person, I will try hard to be courteous as long as possible, but someone who is hateful, mean, abusive, or simply takes his or her frustration out on others is like a creek bed filled with rocks. Those rocks affect the waters, and it makes for a very rough ride if you’re floating down that creek. In order to protect myself and employees from the rough waters, I disconnect.

The Bible says “Be ye kind one to another…” Boy, ain’t that the truth. When we aren’t, it makes life rough for everyone. Please think about your behavior toward the people in areas of service when you’re out shopping, eating, seeing the doctor, exercising. Another teacher of mine once taught our class members to smile at one another. A smile portrays kindness. Let your eyes fill with the warmth of a true smile when you encounter others and spread some niceness. Maybe that’s a trite word, but it makes a world of difference in the world.

I wish you a peaceful, nice-filled week. Try a smile or two and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits.

Are You Searching for Your Self?

If you live long enough, you’ve lost someone you love. Maybe it’s through a breakup, maybe it’s by death, but if you’ve lost a loved one you know the devastation, as if you’ve lost a part of yourself. For me, it’s almost physical.

Three years and two months ago my mother, whom we’d cared for in our home, passed away. Being an only child, I guess I was extremely close to Mom. I didn’t realize it so much when she was alive-you know, you just sort of take your mother for granted? But the connection was so solid that after Mom died, something in me died, and for three years I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t understand it. I knew Mom was in a better place, I believe in heaven and I knew what she believed, but that didn’t seem to matter.

I lost something so vital in my life that Mel, my loving, attentive husband, was very afraid for me. I was afraid for me. I wanted my SELF back. I hid out in the house for three years, only getting out to attend church and get groceries. Crowds put me into a panic.

During that time I helped Mel build a clinic, but I directed things from home, preferably via email.

Two months ago I was forced out of the house and into the workplace–our clinic–when we decided to move our clinic to a larger town and I was forced to be there to direct things in person. I did things I didn’t want to do, interacted with people in ways I didn’t want to, but I did it.

I forced myself out, bought dressy clothing, even wore earrings again. I began to interact with others besides my cats and my husband.

Something happened. Now I wake up in the morning and look forward to coming to the clinic, seeing the patients come through and be treated with kindness by my fantastic husband and nurses and office personnel. I love being with our WONDERFUL staff and see my husband 24 hours a day, even though I’m a true introvert.

I don’t know why it took three years to recover, but it did. I have friends who take longer than that. I’m back. If you’re in that dark period after loss, allow yourself to grieve as long as you need to, but if you see an opportunity to do something, take it. Try it, anyway. Even if you can’t function the first time you try, then you need to give yourself time and patience and try again later. It will happen if you let it.

I thought I’d lost my SELF forever, and then suddenly I was back. It’s me again. I pray that if you’re struggling, you’ll find a way back to your Self, and maybe even a better Self than you ever had before. May God give you healing and peace.
Much love,

Kristen’s Crazy Little Thing–by Hannah Alexander

Friends, I don’t want you to think I’m special or anything, but since Kristen Heitzmann and I have been friends for a very, very long time, and since I raised my hand higher than anyone else and shouted louder when she announced the new manuscript she wrote for fun, I get to be an endorser! Which means I finagled a first draft and started reading.

All I can say is: Write a note to yourself to be on the lookout for her announcement when she does release this book. She’s showing a new side to herself that is delightful (not that she isn’t already truly delightful or I wouldn’t like her so much) and if you want to read a book that will make you smile and laugh and chuckle you’ll want this book.

Yes, she has somehow changed genres without losing her style. Since I’ve attempted the same thing recently, I feel better knowing a fellow writer has done it, and done it very, very well. Don’t be afraid to step into the waters. Kristen is going strong!


Dear Hannah–by Hannah Alexander

Image023Friends, today I’m not including the letter I usually do, because this time I received a telephone for help. Let’s call this dear lady Viv. The call was to tell me her husband died last week and to ask for advice. I think all I did was confuse her even more than she’s already confused, so in retrospect I’m answering her the way I would have attempted to had I not been in shock.

For the wounded:

When I have grieved one death after another after another–either of a destroyed life or marriage or simply a broken heart–no book written about grief was capable of helping me. They didn’t address MY heart, MY pain, MY experience. Only one book, written by a beloved friend of mine, helped me, and it was written for those whose friends have suffered a loss. The title is How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson. Having read it several times I knew what not to do with Viv.

For instance, I knew that no spoken words would help. I knew that sharing my own experiences wouldn’t help. I was able to give her practical advice about taking care of herself and not expecting to even recall our conversation, because when one is in shock one doesn’t know what she’s doing most of the time. I gave her instructions about finances–things I knew she would probably forget, but I focused on caring for her and helping her move forward so she could care for herself. I pray I gave sound advice. But there is one thing I didn’t tell her, and it’s something I’ll tell her later, when anger or bitterness threaten to set in. I’ll tell her this because I’ve experienced it over and over again. I’m sure you have, too, in some way.

I’ve been reading and rereading the passages in Hebrews the 12th chapter directly following the verses about God chastening those He loves–his true children. I’ve buried myself in it to commit it to memory. In this world we suffer, sometimes to the point where we want to die. But beginning in the 12th verse of the HSCB version, we are told, “Therefore, strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.”

A broken leg needs to be straightened and placed in a splint or cast so it will grow back together properly. The same thing happens when the emotions are involved.

There are times in our lives when we endure such suffering that we might be tempted to rebel against God and the pain He’s allowed us to endure. We can begin to see all of life as a punishment, and those around us tend to retreat after a time because our words are often filled with sad thoughts, depression, even bitterness. I’ve been there. Actually, I’m still focusing on the climb out of that particular pit.

When we’ve been injured by death or a broken relationship or cruel words, the loss of a job or any number of other attacks, this is the time it’s most vital for us to keep our paths straight–to not rebel against God. It’s time to draw closer, to bathe ourselves in His word–something we’re less likely to do when we’re angry with Him. It’s the only way to keep our paths straight when we’ve been injured. We’re already hindered by injury, and physically speaking, we need those straight paths so that we don’t wander off into the rocky places and make the injury more severe.

You might be limping today after an emotional injury, a physical injury, or life-changing illness. Now is the most important time to keep your eyes focused on God. Read and reread Hebrews 12 until you can see more clearly. Tell Him exactly how you feel, and never sever the connection between yourself and God. Those who never suffer have never belonged to Him. I realize that isn’t a great sales pitch to bring in new believers, but for those of us who belong, it’s the plain truth. My warning for my friend Viv is to stay close to Him especially now. We can cause more damage to ourselves and others when we’re wounded. Don’t forget to keep your paths straight and walk with the Great Physician. He can keep you firmly in His arms. If you don’t walk alongside Him at this time you can walk away and incur further injury. That will not only hurt you more, but it could hurt your friends and loved ones.

May God be with you if you’re suffering from a loss or an injury today. May you allow God to bring you peace and may you treat yourself kindly as you heal.

Much love from Hannah Alexander

DEAR HANNAH–Advice to the Lovelorn by Hannah Alexander

Sunset Nov 99 35 E Palmdale 02

Dear Hannah,

I’m a physician connected to the military. I can get called out for active duty at any time, and my employer knows about it. I made a huge mistake this year when I neglected to tell the lady I’ve been dating about my “other job.” When I did get called out for several months, she was furious with me. Now that I’m back at work she’s no longer interested in seeing me. I didn’t intentionally hide my military background from her, I simply choose not to talk about it when I’m working my civilian job. I try not to even think about it. But she told me last night that she promised herself years ago never to fall in love with a man with a dangerous job. I don’t want to lose her, but I did tell her I thought she was being shortsighted, which led to a fight. Safer isn’t always better, right? How do I keep from losing her?


Dear Ian,

I don’t think insulting her is the way to go about healing the breach between you. Has she given you any other concrete reason for her fears? I believe most women are drawn to heroes, but obviously she has a problem with your heroism. I’d want to find out why. Have you discussed this with her in depth without belittling her fear? A woman needs to be treasured and understood. Fighting her like this  will only drive her away. It seems to me that both of you have been holding back. That’s no way to build a lasting relationship. I suggest you both pull down a few walls and learn to communicate better, or you’ll both have trouble with relationships down the road.



Hallowed Halls 2000

I’m skipping the advice for the lovelorn for the remainder of the year–since this is my final post for the year. Today I’d like to give you a gift that will take very little effort to receive. It’s a book, of course. I happen to have several dozen giveaway copies of Hallowed Halls, the first novel in my Hallowed Halls Series. I’d love to share them with you if you enjoy reading Christian romance set in a small town with a medical theme. Let me describe this novel in more detail:

When Dr. Joy Gilbert is fired from a lucrative position in the city, she returns to her hometown along the Missouri River to find her former fiance, Zack, still single; her once vivacious mother, Molly, struggling financially and physically; and Tressa, the 15-year-old daughter of the boss who just fired Joy, popping out the back door of Joy’s SUV.

Tressa refuses to return to the city, where her divorced parents continue to battle in the aftermath of her brother’s unexplained death. Though the girl’s rebellion threatens Joy’s career, that threat means nothing when it appears Tressa’s life, as well, could be in danger.

Will Joy and Zack be able to work together again in time to safe Tressa’s life?

After more than thirty novels with traditional publishing, this is my first offering from Hannah Alexander Books, and it’s been a story on my heart for several years.

All you need to do to receive this book in the mail is contact me at askhannah@hannahalexander.com and mention this blog and give me your mailing address. I promise you will receive nothing more unless you sign up to receive notice whenever I have a new novel released. I will never share your address with others. If you enjoy the novel, I would love it, of course, if you wish to write a quick review, but I know how busy life gets sometimes, and word of mouth is just great. Tell your friends about a book you read, or share the book with others. I’ll be sending these free copies as long as I have any left, so give yourself a gift for Christmas. You may also read more about other books the Hannah Alexander husband-wife writing team has written at http://www.HannahAlexander.com

Merry Christmas, and may the next year bring you closer to Christ than ever before.

With Love,

Hannah Alexander

Dear Hannah–Help Us Spend Our Money!

Dear Hannah,

I recently became engaged to a very wealthy man who is a new Christian. After years of struggling to understand God better and fighting God because of trials in his life, my man knows a lot about the Bible, especially the part about the rich young ruler giving away all his wealth and following Christ. I didn’t fall in love with my man’s money, but I also don’t know if giving all his money way is the best thing for him to do. He has many employees who depend on him for their livelihoods, and if he gives it all away, who’s to say he won’t be giving it to the wrong people? I love the thought of spending a lifetime helping others in real need, but how does one know these days what’s real and what isn’t?


Wealthy and Confused


Dear Wealthy,

What wonderful news to hear of your fiance’s new life in Christ! And how intriguing to be asked such a question. First of all, I believe Christ’s answer to the rich young ruler was to show not only those listening, but everyone through the ages how devastating the love of money is in our lives. For your fiance to show his willingness to give away his wealth in obedience to the Bible is a great sign that he’s sold out to Christ. If he earned that wealth himself, he understands how to manage money. What he does with that money is not only between him and God now, but it also involves you, so sit down with him and talk this out, and take your time.

I’ve often thought that if I acquired a huge sum of money I would reinvest in a long-term plan of making that money grow so I could give more away as I receive it. I agree with you that giving money to the wrong people could be more harmful than keeping it. For instance, you hand out money to those who don’t know how to manage it and they spend it on something shiny and new instead of paying off their debts. I love the idea of finding a good, solid organization or two that I know handle their finances wisely to help widows and orphans. That is from the Bible. I also believe in investing in missions where people are truly being reached for Christ. If I had a lot of wealth, I would have to place myself on a budget and resist spending indiscriminately. However, your fiance has employees who depend on him. Giving away his wealth would be giving away their livelihood. If he wishes to give it all, he can keep on giving as he receives dividends, paychecks, interest. He can sell extraneous accompaniments to a luxurious lifestyle and live simply, drive a simple car, live like one of us, and manage the funds of his estate in a way that will support those in direst need around the world. I think the act of giving throughout one’s life can grow a person’s character more completely than one single act of giving away everything, but then Christ did tell that rich young ruler to give all away to the poor and follow Him.

I’d love to have our readers consider this. How would you give away a million dollars to help the neediest? What would you do with your wealth? Remember, despite the tanked economy, we’re all still considered wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world. How would you give?


Hannah Alexander


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Dear Hannah–Holiday Madness! by Hannah Alexander

Dear Hannah,

Help me before I kill the joy of the holiday season for everyone and lose my marriage! I’m an only child, and my parents always expect my husband and me to travel to their house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They would have no one to celebrate with if we didn’t go. They live two hours away, so by the time we drive there, spend time and come home, our day is shot for anything else.

My husband’s family is big and loud and they believe they’re the only place in town during the holidays. They expect us to be there or we get the silent treatment for the rest of the year. I don’t mind dropping by after we return from my parents’ house, but they expect us there all day. My husband and I fight about this every year, and this year I told him if he wants to be with his family, then fine. He can go to his family celebration and I’ll go to mine, and we’ll see each other later. He’s furious with me. What am I supposed to do?


Dear Linn,

Find the passage in the Bible that reminds married couples to leave family and cleave to one another. Read it to your husband, and pray with him. I’ve been in your situation, and it’s never happy. I’ve even attempted, for many years, to host Christmas festivities at our house, but that was more work than fun for both of us. We eventually decided to slow things down a lot. We would see family members during the holiday season, but not specifically on Thanksgiving or Christmas. They learned to accept our decision after some grumbling. I know I’m oversimplifying, but your first devotion is to Christ, your second to your spouse and immediate family. When you have children will you want them to experience the stress of the holidays, or the joy of it? Make it joyful. You might spend Thanksgiving with your parents and Christmas with his, but the two of you are a family now. Protect that above all else.

Best wishes, and have a great Thanksgiving!




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Advice to the Lovelorn by Hannah Alexander

Cheryls dandelion front cover

Dear Hannah,

I am a single psychiatrist who counsels wounded people, and I’ve done something I felt was necessary for the good of a broken family. I started some casual, out-of-office meetings with the difficult ex-husband of one of my patients in order to calm their hostilities for the sake of their daughter. I was sure it needed to be done, and since I saw good results, I believe it was the right thing to do. But that man has changed over the months I’ve been meeting with him for dinner. Now I, a Christian, have found myself falling in love with a man who is not a believer.

I know people go through this every day. Many times they marry despite their spiritual differences, and I have witnessed the fallout. I can’t marry this man, but I can’t bear the thought of never seeing him again. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but he seems to be walking closer to Christ in some ways than many Christians I know. What if God has drawn me to meet with him just for such a time?



Dear Myra,

You don’t need me to tell you that, first, your sessions should have always taken place at your place of business, and second, you should have maintained a patient-physician relationship. Meeting under more casual circumstances can break down the professionalism that might have protected you emotionally. This is also why I recommend against a Christian and a nonChristian dating. I’m sure the Christian always feels she can lead that nonChristian to Christ. I can tell you from an experience much earlier in my life that this doesn’t often happen. When a Christian marries a nonChristian, there is no joined spirit, because a true Christian is filled by the Holy Spirit and Christ is her first love. A nonChristian husband (or vice versa) can’t understand this dedication to an unseen Spirit, and eventually the spirit in the unbeliever begins to resent, and even hate, the Spirit in the believer. Others might have different experiences, but that was mine, and I cannot state strongly enough that this mixing of lives can cause great pain and isolation.

I know it will be difficult for you, but until and unless your friend truly discovers Christ and accepts Him as Lord of his life, he should begin seeing another therapist, and you should never be in close proximity to him without friends nearby to help you remain accountable.

May this man be drawn to the reality of Christ in the near future, and until and unless that happens, may you maintain the strength you need to abide in Christ.





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