Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dates of Pain On the One-year Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Dates of Pain
On the One-year Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Dates stand out in our minds sometimes. We remember birth dates, anniversaries and events that make us happy. But some dates will forever be ingrained into our hearts of life-changing events. There may be calendar dates that started out happy and joyful and in the matter of moments turned into dates of pain.
For many who attended and those who ran the Boston marathon in 2013, April 15th will stand out as a tragic date. From the normal sounds of a happy crowd of people to something that sounded like a war zone this date will be seared in the minds of so many people in our nation.
It is said that two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm and killed three people and injured hundreds. It is sad to think that two brothers would contrive to bring harm to so many. It makes you wonder what was going on in their heads, what their background was, what belief systems were in place that they would want to hurt people?
Yet the Bible tells us, “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. (Jeremiah 17:9 MSG)

We can’t figure out in our own minds why bad things happen. We can’t figure out why God 
allows people to be hurt and killed and why families have to suffer as happened at the Boston Marathon last year. This is a puzzle beyond comprehension.
We know that He does promise to work all things for our good, though, and we lean on this promise. We have to realize that the Lord can always bring light out of the darkness of a heart that is deceitful and gone astray.
Americans are a resilient people; just Google “happy outcomes of the Boston Marathon tragedy 2013” and you will agree with me. From moms saying they will run again to the story of a proposal at the finish line, we can find hope. You will find poignant pictures also there.
On this sad anniversary date let us remember to pray for the families of those who have passed from this life to their reward early and also for those who are survivors. Pray, pray and pray some more that the date of running the Boston Marathon race can become a happy date again.
Donna Collins Tinsley

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Follows After by Dan Walsh, it just doesn't get any better than this

Dan Walsh is fast becoming my favorite author and has written a very poignant, challenging and intense book called "What Follows After." I find with Dan's books I usually just devour them the first time I read them. They draw me in so quickly that I make excuses to read at times that I normally would be doing something else. What Follows After made me want to read more and then as I neared the ending, I tried to slow down as suddenly I didn't want the book to end. I'll be going back to reread this book as I do with all of Dan's books to savor the story and take the lesson that he teaches well within my soul.

As a Floridian I love reading books that are based on cities that I either live in or have visited. Dan took us on a journey around the state in this book and it was more of a mystery than his other novels. I love the research and the history aspect that Dan is known for and also that it was story within a story.

What Follows After also made me think back to what I was doing in 1962; I was the older child, Colt's age back then. The suspense at times was nearly unbearable so it made me keep turning the pages and I added extra reading time at night to my schedule. What Follows After is a good history lesson for younger readers as it followed the timeline of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the reaction of people in our country.

Dan weaves as only he can a story of family dysfunction, total breakdown and then redemption in a beautiful way. It is hard to believe that the parents in the story would have their children live a lie, especially in the time frame of the story, but maybe it was because of the time frame... the "Camelot years," when families were supposed to be like the Cleavers or the Anderson's from "Father Knows Best" that they felt they had to pretend. Dan always puts an important life lesson in his books on how a strongly dysfunctional family can learn to be a healthy family.

One of my favorite chapters in the book was the church scene with Mamie Lee, who was a mother figure in the book. Reminiscent of "The Help" it was a pivotal chapter and was beautifully portrayed as the people prayed and took action to be on the alert.

I have to say that Dan's last sentence from the book summed it all up so well. What follows after just doesn't get any better than that.

Donna Collins Tinsley
Word Weavers Volusia County Group

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Linda Lee Wirth Reece Lewis, You were One of a Kind

         The Lord is good, so good to us. Today I want to mention my Mama who would’ve celebrated her 78th birthday today. She was funny, beautiful and a bit crazy all in one. She always had an old saying coming out of her mouth. She used to say "It's a great life if you don't weaken," "You have to laugh to keep from crying,” and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." She used to tell the grandkids to go play in trafficJ

Mama also said, "Only the good die young." This must certainly be true. She died unexpectedly at age 62. Sometimes I try to imagine life with her still here. Many times I have gone over in my mind the things I wanted to do for her when she was alive. Whenever we have a family celebration or are eating at a restaurant, I am often wishing she were still alive and here enjoying herself. She loved to eat and used to say, "I'd rather die than not be able to eat what I want."
Diabetes helped that statement come true.   
     And Mama always said, "What goes around comes around." That is what I would like imitate. That is why I want to sow seeds of goodness, kindness and love because those are the types of things I want to come back to my family. Bless your children and they will bless you. Love your husband and see what a return you get.  It is the principal of "sowing and reaping."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Mama, if I had you back for even one day, I would treat you like a queen. I would take you anywhere you wanted to go. I would make you whatever you liked for me to cook, carrot cake or the little fancy sandwiches for a picnic. We would find a “Po Folks” restaurant even if I had to drive you from Florida to Tennessee to do it. I would take you to a movie and to the flea market. I would rub your back with alcohol and then lotion and I would wash your tired feet with warm, scented water and my tears. I would pray a blessing upon you and show you how much I love you.
 These are thoughts I have when I think about the things my Mama used to say; I wish she were still here to say them today.
Happy birthday Mama. The Lord did a good thing when He created you. A very good thing. He is good, so good to us.

This song just seemed to fit today even though she didn’t have blue eyes and it is a love gone wrong song. She did play the heck out of a piano and the tinkling keys are great in this. She loved JohnnyJ

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blogging Again

Blogging has come to a standstill again as the Florida Christian Writer’s conference gave me so many things to read and learn about. Yes, they are all writing related but sometimes writers learn most by reading. I will try to be more consistent this year with this blog. My online prayer group, Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group is my main mission. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/119408188089314/

Two things at the top of all my quote journals that I will share with you today: the first is from my husband and is probably the sweetest thing he ever said to me. “You are the single most important on going event in my life. All my love, Bill.”  He has been with me through thick and thin and I am not talking about my waist size but that could apply tooJ

These three scriptures join the above quote: May this always be said of me: Zechariah 2:5 "For I," says the Lord, "will be to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her." I am adding this to my life-verses, the first being Romans 8:28. And of course my new favorite: He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right. Isaiah 42:3

Monday, February 17, 2014

Only One True Way to Overcome Addictions?

Thank you Beth Patch and CBN.com for running my blog today!
I'm including it here:

Only One True Way to Overcome Addictions?

The number of fractured families grows daily. You may be part of this growing number and might feel overwhelmed in your situation. This is one of my favorite verses to read when I need motivation to press on:
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13 NKJV
I have noticed that there are those who seem to be able to work a 12-step program, those who because of mental health issues still need medications, those who can do it with Jesus only, and then there are those who need Jesus and much, much more. We just don’t hear enough about the fact that there is no ONE way to recovery.  Sometimes it seems there are people in rival camps fighting against each other, saying that their way is the only way that works.
I believe that recovery can be attained if you do it the way that works best for YOU and your family. We are all individuals; we learn differently, have unique beliefs and certainly each have our own truths. That does NOT prevent any of us from accepting the pieces of the process that work for us and traveling a path less known or accepted if that helps us and our fractured families achieve our dreams, sanity and sobriety.
There is no One Way Only road to recovery.
This statement is becoming more true to me as I think about the uniqueness of our Lord and how He created each person individually. We let go and we let God; yet sometimes He gives us ideas to help ourselves and others and bring hope for each situation. What works for one family member may turn another one completely off.
A Radical Intervention
For years I was waiting on a daughter to walk herself into rehab, and all those years she felt unloved and unworthy until I took a legal step to help her – I Marchman Acted her.
According to Okeechobee Florida Clerk of Court, “a Marchman Act is a means of providing an individual in need of substance abuse services with emergency services and temporary detention for substance abuse evaluation and treatment when required, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.” The process is initiated by petitioning the court and a judge decides if the person meets the criteria. (Not all states have adopted the Marchman Act into their laws.)
In my daughter’s mind, taking that step to insist she get help spelled love. The Bible says in Lamentations:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24(NIV)
I had to wait on the timing of the Lord before I took this legal step. The love was there all the time, but she was not able to receive it or even believe that it was there until the Marchman Act was served. My action allowed her to feel loved. That was her view; the Marchman Act spelled love to her.
Yet many have gotten treatment for their loved ones to no avail; there is a timing, and it is the Lord’s. That is when we breathe and pray, breathe and pray, breathe, cry out to the Lord and pray.
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. Zechariah 9:12 NIV
Prayer: Lord, we come to You today, praying Thy will be done. I can’t fix this situation or family member, I never could but it took me a while to figure that out. You Lord, love my children even more than I do, so I leave them with You, asking for serenity for my own life, protection for children and hope for the future. Yes, I will be a prisoner of hope for my family and loved ones who wrestle with addiction until the day I die or the day that You bring the healing needed. We thank You that although there may be more than one way to recovery, You are the only Way, Truth and Life and the only “one way” to live. We give you all praise and glory in Jesus precious name. Amen.

Donna Collins Tinsley, wife, mother and grandmother, lives in Port Orange, Florida and has been included in several magazines and book compilations. She is a lover of the Lord Jesus and a sister among you. Find her at Facebook,   http://thornrose7.blogspot.com/  or join Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/119408188089314/ Please email her at Thornrose7@aol.com with CBN blog article in the subject.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Second Chapters and God’s Business

Second Chapters and God’s Business

    I am so amazed at times at the second chapters or acts in some of our lives. I look around me and what seemed to surely spell only disaster for someone’s life now rings of new hope and healing. I was very happy to share this news on the first day of a New Year about my daughter, Regina. After over five long years of working a program, paying it forward to many others through sponsorship and help in other ways, studying, counseling and more my oldest daughter not only is on the Board of the Rebecca Schneider Foundation but has just been officially "BADGED" to go out to the Volusia County Correctional Facility and spread the message that in her own words, "an addict, any addict, can lose the urge to use and stay clean! Woooo hooooo!"
      She went into the jail this week for the first time and from what she has said, was very blessed to do it. We know when the Lord has a great destiny the enemy tries hard to keep a person down and he has tried his hardest but didn’t win in Jesus name. It is true as the Bibles says that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Her second chapter is looking hopeful.
     I remember some years back that I felt that the Lord said “Life as you know it is getting ready to change.” I think it was right after that Shiloh and Brian came to us and said they wanted to get married in five days! Wow! What a whirlwind romance they had and then them leaving right after that to go to Rhema Bible College, life was really changing and probably truth be told I am still in shock. But it is a good kind of shock as in when the Lord gives you a very special favor. They make me laugh amidst many tears of life as I picture Shiloh having an animal farm someday, because she just can’t seem to get enough pets to love but their first love is youth ministryJ More about Shiloh and Brian as their second chapters evolve into beautiful works for the Lord.
   Life has seemed hard for Amber this chapter as the results of a “good, upscale doctor’s advise” at times which led to make her life harder. She has battled some medical things since she was five-years-old but rededicated her life to the Lord I think it was Sept. 2012 and I fully expect to see her giving her testimony one day on stage. I saw it in my mind many years ago and look forward to what the Lord has ahead for her. Little Aryel has been one of the greatest joys of my life, as the same can be said about all my grandchildren, but when you see someone who has an autoimmune disease live, laugh and love in the way that she does…well it makes my heart sing.
     Ashley, being the private person that she is, I try to give her that space, but she is one of the most beautiful, kindest women that the Lord ever created and one day all of my prayers for her will come about, I am sure. Her second act will be great.
     My second act is probably third or fourth at my age and only the Lord knows my days. I hope to see a family healed and whole before my final chapter. I am amazed at the goodness of the Lord as He continues to free me from the chains that had me bound for so many years. I am grateful to be married to Bill and will write more about him and all of our wonderful grandchildren one day.
     How can we conclude our second, third, fourth and following chapters without a really knowing what is ahead in our lives? This is my conclusion, and I believe the Lord gave it to me. Our lives, mine, yours, and our family’s are “God’s business.”
      I have always fervently believed and clung to the verse in Romans, 8:28.  I still do. But how God will work all things for good to me, because He loved and called me, I don’t know. There are some things we will not know until we face Him in Heaven. I have always believed that Jesus is with me, from the time I accepted Him as a young child. I couldn’t have survived a chaotic childhood, my own sexual abuse, first marriage to a pedophile, and then the ensuing years of struggle, without that knowledge. 
    Sometimes the pain has been so great, that I haven’t felt His presence, but I believe. Sometimes, I have felt that I would rather die, than live, but I believe. Sometimes, I wish, I could take the pain away from my family, but I believe that God will use it to perfect them, in some way, at some time. I believe that God can conceive the plans He has for me, for them, and for you, my friend, plans for a future and a hope.
     Why do I believe that I can leave my hopes and dreams to Him as His business? Because He is a good businessman!
      If we can trust earthly men who are great leaders and businessmen with our affairs how much more, can we, must we, trust the ultimate Father and businessman; the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him I dedicate my life and give the glory for what He will bring about and accomplish. He is the true lover of my soul; my dream come true! Donna Collins Tinsley
God will do what it takes----whatever it takes
To bring his children home
Max Lucado

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Romans 8:28

Monday, January 13, 2014

The chorus to this song is the key to living in this world; Only Jesus!

Only Jesus can wash away the stains that come from the pain of living in this world. Only Jesus can love enough to cover our sins. Only Jesus can heal the wound that seems to be so deep that it is a gaping hole in the heart. Only Jesus can take disaster and make it healing garden of balm. Only Jesus.
The chorus to this song is the key to living in this world; Only Jesus!
What kind of water can wash this stain?
What kind of heart can heal this kind of pain?
What kind of love can forgive me this?
Only Jesus
On Mondays we pray for our family and extended families. Many people in our families are hurting, emotionally, physically and financially. Lord we ask that You be over all that concerns us and our loved ones. We ask for special favor, blessing, a touch from You, to be held in Your great Father arms when we weep.
Somebody's mother or child is hurting today and needs a touch of healing and kindness. Somebody's family has endured pain they never thought they would endure, gone further away than they ever thought they would go, thought thoughts of their family they never thought they would think and needs restoration. Somebody's Mother is praying for you, that you will find a way to see the light today and every day.
Only Jesus by Point of Grace

A sister breaks a promise, a leader tells a lie
A wife tells her husband it only happened just one time
A man knows it wasn’t innocent how he came upon his wealth
A preacher looks in the mirror says “how can I ever face myself?”

What kind of water can wash this stain?
What kind of heart can heal this kind of pain?
What kind of love can forgive me this?

Only Jesus

A first love teenage heartbreak, a child that’s never found
A family loses everything when their house burns down
An addict hits rock bottom, the cook who calls it quits
A doctor tells his patient he’s only got three months to live

What kind of water can soothe like rain?
What kind of heart can heal this kind of pain?
What kind of love can comfort us?

Our father knew us well, long before we came to be
He knew we'd leave the garden, He knew we couldn’t come clean
So He sent to earth a Savior to walk the earth
We walk to feel what we feel and free us from it on the cross

What kind of water can wash this stain?
What kind of heart can heal this kind of pain?
What kind of love but Jesus?

Only Jesus
Only Jesus
Only Jesus
Only Jesus

Monday, January 6, 2014

Worry is about to be conquered by reading Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries!

I am finally getting around to playing catch-up. Number one on my agenda is getting ready for our first Word Weaver's Volusia County Group meeting tonight and second is a book review that I promised I would do.

"Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries, Finding Peace in all Kinds of Weather" by Kathy Collard Miller is a book that many women, especially mothers, need to read. Worry is something that we all must admit to, and it is true that it is the opposite of faith.

As Kathy says in the beginning of her book, "Sometimes when I am worried, I feel like a fog of fear and anxiety is swirling all around me, blocking out the ability to think clearly and trust God. It quickly fuels responses like complaining, grumbling, or making a quick decision that isn't led by God."

I can remember so often the fear that can come upon me when something gets in my mind and I ruminate about it and everything that could happen instead of quickly rolling that burden over to the Lord in prayer. I so relate to this book and know many other women who fight the "worrying' battle daily.

There are discussion questions in Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries, and also this book can be used as a daily devotional.

The addition of the letter after each chapter starting with, My Precious Daughter, makes every chapter gives a personal touch to each chapter and each letter is a very beautiful. I would have to say the letters are my favorite parts of the book. The last letter begins, "My Precious Daughter, I am powerful. Nothing worries me" and it ends with "Beloved I can do anything. And everything I do in your life is meant to draw you closer to My loving heart. Draw close to Me. Rest in Me! My arms are open to you and I'm working on your behalf."

As an author, I must say that Kathy Collard Miller goes the second mile to her readers. Many years ago I read an article by Kathy that really touched me with the poignant honesty that she portrayed concerning her life. I wrote her a letter and she wrote me right back. I still have that letter and reread it when I am discouraged. May she be blessed for all that she does to get the message out that there is a better way to live and that the Lord is a God of great forgiveness.

I give this book five stars.

Donna Collins Tinsley

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013, a Day Late and a Dollar Short as my Mama would say:)

As usual I am a day late and a dollar short:)
Is that the sound of reindeer hooves or is it Presley and Willow pitter-pattering around while I am trying to have my quiet time? As usual I am running way behind, so for those that I didn't get a Christmas letter sent to, here it is:
Happy, Happy, Happy!
Ho, Ho, Ho! It’s Christmas, Either Way
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Happy, happy, happy! I have to say I agree with those words from the Duck Dynasty clan and it sounds just as good as “Ho, ho, ho” for the season we are in right now. Happy is what I want our Christmas to be all about, but sometimes life just gets in the way of that. Sometimes, we want to be more of a part of someone’s life, but life gets in the way. We overlooked something, forgot a special date, and got too busy, life gets in the way. Christmas season gets hectic and we get behind with all those good plans we had and find ourselves at the point of the “tyranny of the urgent.” *
Christmas events heighten the urgency and our dreams of making it the perfect family holiday may bring more stress than happiness. We ruminate what we need to do, want to do, have to do and the tension that shows up in our physical bodies makes it hard to slow down and have the peace that Jesus is known for. Perhaps this is the first year that you are experiencing the pain and grief of losing a loved one and you are finding it hard to even smile this Christmas.  We are, in my family, and navigating a new kind of normal is not easy. We pray especially for those who have lost spouses or children. We are grateful for the memories that help us to bear the loss.
We look forward to the time in heaven when we will all be together, again. Memories of good times help us to smile as we remember the love we were privileged to share with them while they were here on this earth. I’m so proud of my mother-in-law, Edie, who is coping with loss and yet doing it with a smile on her face. I think giving someone a smile can sometimes be a sacrifice and the Bible says to give a sacrifice of praise as an offering. To do that when your heart is breaking is a beautiful and precious thing before the Lord. A smile can lift the spirits of those around us and sometimes we smile amidst tears. They may stream down as we think about the way we wish that things were, yet no one can steal that joy that abides because of Jesus and His presence in our hearts.   Happy, Happy, Happy! Or Ho, Ho, Ho! It’s Christmas, either way and I pray a great big blessing for your day.  Donna Collins Tinsley 2013
"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT
*A booklet by Charles Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent, describes that there is always tension between what we believe is important and what is right before us that seems urgent. My opinion is that usually the urgent wins, especially around the holidays.
Navigating Christmas this year is hard with the loss of Grandpa Del Ce Cato. Many prayers are needed for Mom Del as they were married over 50 years. He was a very precious man and is sorely missed. I also ask for continued prayers for family peace. A day at a time, progress not perfection, keep it simple (I'm not sure how when I don't know how many I am cooking for?:) and "Let go and let God." He is the reason we celebrate!
First Christmas In Heaven

I wrote this poem the year my Mama passed away. It is a very simple poem, but it comforted me. The first holidays without your loved ones can be the hardest. It seems so many people near to me, have lost a family member. I pray that you will be able to have peace and blessings although there is that empty place at the table that could only be filled by them.


First Christmas In Heaven


It’s my first

Christmas in Heaven

And oh,

What a sight!


The angels are singing

This is not a silent night!


On the throne sits

The One who

Died for me

From the Pain

Of my body

I have been

Set free.


He’s not a babe

In a manger


He loves you

He wants you

For your soul

He will war.


This life you live now

Is fleeting

At best

I trusted

In Jesus and

He gave me rest.



Donna Collins Tinsley 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mrs. Toad's Wild Ride or Donna's Wild, Crazy and Blessed Day

Yesterday was one of the busiest days of my life but also one of the most blessed. Early morning after prayer and posts I stopped in and saw my oldest daughter Regina, who was helping at a garage sale for the Rebecca Schneider Foundation,https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-Schneider-Foundation/223245997829912?ref=br_tf. This foundation is in memory of one of Aubrey’s friends, Rebecca Schneider, whose mother is paying her pain of loss forward to help others.

Then, an appointment, ran back to the garage sale and home for a minute, just as Bill was getting Isaiah off to a party.  I wanted to go to Edgewater and see our grandson, Jordan play in the Edgewater Christmas parade with the New Smyrna Middle School Marching Band. But first I had to pick up Aryel in Daytona, though, so she could see her first ever Christmas Parade. When you view things through the eyes of a child, it is a beautiful thing. I have to say everyone around me was blessed by her joy and exuberance.  When we went to see Jordan and get a picture of him, we somehow missed Santa. We saw an empty sleigh later and I had to convince her he went back to the North Pole.

I have to tell you if you don’t know, that Aryel has had an autoimmune disease and has to have blood work every two weeks, and is on some heavy medication but she is my Christmas blessing. The Lord surely has made her very different from all my grandchildren but I stand amazed every time I am around her by her joy. Yes, she sometimes appears very wild and crazy but I am writing amongst tears as I realized anew yesterday what a blessing she is to me in a time that I need something to laugh about. She also may be my biggest fan and acts like she adores me all the time. I can’t tell you what a gift that is to be loved so unconditionally. I am very blessed to be her grandmother and thank the Lord for the complex genes He combined between Amber and Ryan to create this precious one.

I wish you could’ve heard her when we got back in the car saying, as only she could say, “WELL, SOMEONE FORGOT TO LET ME SEE SANTA CLAUS!”LOL! I actually thought we were going to see JordanJ

After running to Daytona to pick up Isaiah at the Skating Party, the other cool thing was them harmonizing, totally unintentional, on a song.  I love that! Then a short visit with my brother, Dale and little Levi:)

Home again and Isaiah got ready for the second showing of the “The Nightshift Before Christmas.” It was great and Aryel was so happy especially since I managed to find a Santa on the sidewalk across from church for her to tell about her wishes for a Minnie Mouse phone. Grandma Del Ce and Ashley joined us there. When we got home I even managed to make some of my Christmas Salad Dressing in gift jars so the season is officially open at my house. The tree still isn’t trimmed, (hopefully today) but the outside is the light show of the neighborhood, with an angel and a cross amidst streaming lights. The day ended with a message from Shiloh saying they will be home for sure on Christmas Eve. A good day, a blessed day and a peaceful day. What more could I ask for?