Monday, March 23, 2015

Two People plus One Heart Equal a Saved Marriage

Marriage on the Mend is a book that will not only help couples but could also lend help for reconciliation for whole families in crisis. It has been a long time since a nonfiction book has inspired me as much as this one has.


Clint and Penny A. Bragg have paid their dues in hard work, study, application and more to bring us an example of God healing a marriage. I love the honesty of this couple. Transparency such as theirs is very seldom seen in the church and in the world.


For Clint and Penny to let the world know about the true intimate situations of their marriage and what led to their first breakup and then their remarriage is an awesome gift to us.


How interesting to me also were the QR codes that you can scan with a smart phone which were embedded within the chapters. They link you to free video pod casts which really enhance your reading experience. I love especially the pod cast themes starting with an introduction, prayer, roadblocks, discussions, margins, and also getting on the same page, which seems to be a common problem.


There is much wisdom given about blanketing your marriage in prayer. Sometimes that seems hard to carry out as we find ourselves in the daily "tyranny of the urgent" that life brings but this book includes excellent prayer prompts and sample prayers.


The marriage timeline suggested was the first thing that showed me that I was reading a well thought out book, similar to being in a counselor's office. Courageous conversations are an idea that I really need in my own marriage and elsewhere as how to handle conflict is something I struggle with personally. Some other things that I really needed was the Gradients of Agreement diagram, the sample of marriage standards and the book within a book with the Bible study on Nehemiah.


I wasn't sure what a marriage missionary was until I read this book and I must say that Clint and Penny Bragg represent the very best example in that category. I also found the answer to the question I've had about why they call their ministry Inverse Ministry, but you'll have to read the book to find it yourself.


I loved the word of hope towards the end that was, "This is our God. A God of healing and redemption. This is our God! A God who plucks sinners from the misery they've made of their lives, press their wounded souls tightly against His bosom, and makes them whole,"(Quote from Marriage on the Mend) Yes, yes, yes!


Although my husband and I have never separated or divorced, life itself presents enough crises to interrupt the "happily ever after" that we all so long for. I feel that this book will surely be a companion for us for the rest of our lives.


Donna Collins Tinsley Port Orange, FL

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jesus More Than Repairs

I've decided I want to spend the rest of my life writing something concerning these words posted below. David Fleming has been preaching this message for four years and it comes from Romans 5:15. When he grasped the true goodness of God doing this, he has preached the message that "God is so good to me." It blesses everyone who hears it.

He more than repairs,
Far exceeds any damage,
and immeasurably outweighs
"God is so good to us," says Pastor David Fleming* from Tulsa, OK

As Brother David preached I felt that the Lord was saying that many people are living with an "orphan spirit." It affects how they perceive the love of our Lord and the love that is available from other people. They can't even receive that love because they are so bound up in the lies that the enemy of their soul throws at them continually. Lies, such as:

You're not good enough.
No one loves you.
You're a bad person (or insert mom, dad, husband, wife, child).
You're never going to have what you want.
No one is ever going to forgive you.
What you have is not enough.
God doesn't treat you fairly.
God will never answer your prayers.
Your family doesn't treat you fairly.
Your life is worthless to others...
And on and on and on, the enemy taunts you and there really is no one except the Lord God Almighty that can come in and do the work in your soul and in your broken heart but Him.

That's what David Fleming felt like for years when he felt abandoned by God when his father died when he was a teenager. The enemy taunted him for years until four years ago when he began to meditate on the word of the Lord, and the verse Romans 5:15 especially. The joy that this verse has brought him is so evident that it overflows to the audience and makes us all happy.

It actually made me want to do "The happy dance." It can make you feel like you have found your happy place, too. Now I will remind myself of this often and go back and research and meditate this verse in different translations.

Yes, it is true for all of us that our story isn't finished. Earlier Pastor Ray Dubois from Family Worship Center shared that someone had called him and told him that he had gotten an email from someone who was rejoicing. They had been praying for something for 14 years and God answered that prayer! What if they had given up on year 13? Press on in prayer.

The free gift immeasurably outweighs what we have gone through when waiting for our breakthrough. More than repairs, more than repairs, more than repairs all the hurts, abuses, damage and loss of relationships that you may have endured here on earth. What Jesus did for you on the cross more than repairs all of these things. Praise His holy name, we have an awesome savior and He is our Father-figure, actually our true Father. We have no excuse to continue in an orphan spirit. We rebuke the enemy who taunts us with this spirit and we say that no more will we listen to lies.

Declare over yourself as Pastor David did who God is and He will declare who you are. A child of God. A beloved child of God.

The words and tune to this song came to me as I pondered writing this blog. I think it is a perfect match.
Lyrics to You Are Here (The Same Power)
Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me, your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me.

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me. Lift it up

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me. 

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me...., lives in me. Your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me...

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me..., lives in me, Jesus your love your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me.

Same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me, O your love your love that rescued the earth lives in me, lives in me!

Last but not least a PS about Florida Christian Writer's Conference:
Bill and Ashley did a great job of keeping the fort while I was away, taking a continuing education/mental health day at FCWC. It is always so cool to be among the awesome writers who attend the conference and to meet authors of books that I have read. I must say Allison Bottke rocks! But then I always knew she would. Lucinda Secrest McDowell had such a unique way of ending her workshop, that she blessed me all over the place. I also attended two other workshops. One was by Dianne Neal Matthews, a devotional workshop and the other one was by Rusty Wright about Communicating Christ to the Secular Audience. They were both awesome teachers. I was really blessed how Eddie Jones really listened and told me some pointers as far as hooks using my own words in our one on one appointment. Seeing my angel friend, Margie Houmes who the Lord put in the right place at the right time for us to connect as well as Jan Powell; it really made my day. I was so proud of our own Word Weaver Volusia Ray Gant as he received his writing award and ending the day with Ken and Patricia Keough-Wilson while we watched our own former president Mark Hancock, Eva Marie Everson and Sarah Carpenter Bulls oversee the awards presentations. All in all a priceless day:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dan Walsh, "When Night Comes" Book Review

Bestselling author Dan Walsh continues in a new genre, a suspense novel, with "When Night Comes."  He still keeps me up at nights turning pages, although while hating for his books to end, it gets imperative to keep reading every spare moment I get. This book is very different from the series he wrote with Gary Smalley and made me think about the "The Discovery" with the air of mystery surrounding it.
It didn't take long to realize why Dan picked the title that he did and I loved how he gave a description of the main character as a Johnny Depp looking guy. Somehow I could picture more Dan's looks as the writer/history lecturer in this book.
I love novels about sleepy Georgia towns and thought the book cover was one of the best.
This book took several surprising turns; a few that nearly brought on anxiety attacks both for me and Jack Turner. The ending was a real shocker to me but please don't read ahead as you need to be as surprised as I was to get the full effect of the genius that is Dan Walsh.
I bought this book to give to my husband for Christmas but couldn't resist reading it first. I will always remain a fan of Dan Walsh and his work. Keep writing, Dan!

Monday, January 5, 2015

The long-lost and nearly forgotten blog

I know a lot of you probably think that I forgot I had a blog to attend to. Can I say life has gotten in the way of blogging and get away with it? Life, emotions, relationships, holidays, sicknesses and more but I'm back. 
 Actually, "Hello My name is..." was one of my favorite blogs as I was able to mention so many cool things going on in our area in that one so I left it up longer. Now I know I need to be more faithful, so that is my prayer for the new year, to be a better, more faithful "me."

Thirty-five years ago today I told Bill I had feelings for him. It was with more than a little bit of intimidation as we went into this relationship looking only for friendship, at least that were my thoughts and his too as he was just hurting from laying a relationship down. It was the day after the night a friend of mine gave birth in her home. I had attended the birth by her request, to be there to pray her child into the world. God only knows that praying was my only criteria to be there, as I was no nurse. It was an especially traumatic birth and just as the thought that something needed to be done, such as call 911, baby Shemuel emerged, screaming and healthy. Praise the good Lord! I was on a high from that that lasted all day. But then I think it gave me the boldness to express my feelings to Bill that night.

At that time in my life as a single mom, I felt I would probably never find someone to marry me; I was pushing thirty with a teenage daughter. I do have to say that although I longed to be married again, the Lord was the most magnificent husband ever to me, speaking to me often and providing for me and my daughter, Regina. Some of the moments she and I had together living in a small house in West Melbourne, I will treasure forever.

After I expressed my feelings to Bill, God put us on a fast-track, not without some bumps and detours, and we married on July 19th, 1980, to the strands of Annie's Song. It still is bumpy at times, we are truly a “work in progress” but the Lord is good and has been good to us. May the new year truly be one of our best as we remember what and Who truly brought us together. The Lord, our God!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is Child of the One True King:
Sometimes when I think about my life and how good God is to me, I really wonder, why me? At times I am amazed at the awesome people the Lord has surrounded me with. I am amazed at the greatness that I am allowed to participate among when I meet people of wonderful character starting back many years ago with the prophet, the late C. L. Moore, Steve Scheffler, authors Calvin Miller, Cec Murphey, all of our Word Weaver authors and more people than I can name. I realize that as a daughter of the King, the One High God, Jesus, who is my Hope and Deliverer, it is pure grace to me. I am a child of the One True King. 

Lately I have been involved with some really cool things, many having a common thread. Actually I must back up over six years when I joined a support group. I fell in love with the people and have been faithful to that family meeting that helps me get through the day. Then two years ago I was blessed when I participated in a small degree with the Let's Go Ministry's Motel Church.

My main ministry involvement is Word Weavers Volusia County and I am constantly amazed at the talent among our group and I do admit they are well loved by me. They truly enhance my life and give me something to look forward to each month. When I am able to attend the Florida Christian Writer's Conference at Lake Yale, FL I am even more joyful. Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock as well as many other workers put on a great conference. Link:

The blessing of the Lord came to me in September when I was privileged to join with many others at the Daytona Beach Bandshell and give a voice of Recovery hope at Recovery Month Events. All those who participated in booths and onstage were a blessing to our area.

I especially thank Pastor Monzell Ford who looked at my heart instead of my life and allowed me to read a poem dedicated to my daughter, Regina, who is over six years in recovery now. At a time that I felt very low, this Godly man encouraged me and gave me a strong hope to press on. Then the next thing that I was so privileged to participate in was the God Belongs in My City walk. What a joyful, powerful event that ended on the steps of City Hall in Daytona with many prayers, proclamations, songs and testimonies to the glory of Jesus. His name was proclaimed and He was honored that day by the vision Pastor Monzell had and the organization that he and many other godly people including his first lady, instituted. A walk by people of all walks of life came forth in our city and it was a powerful event.

I also have been participating in some awesome workshops at Family Worship Center with the series by Pastor Ray called Transform U. Body, soul and spirit help at the best and the workshop by Russell Holloway and then the one by Pastor John and Pastor Cathy bringing Marc Mero here was of the utmost in help for families. Transforming for sure! Bill was so impressed with Marc that he is taking Isaiah to meet him soon.

The next event that I am doing some behind the scenes work for is the Freedom Experience sponsored by the Lets Go Ministry on November 14th and 15th at 5:00 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

My goal in life is to live well, speaking well of others, learning to walk in the Holy Spirit always and learning to have the wisdom of God. I want to pay forward help and healing even if my own family isn't completely healed yet, I believe. I keep on believing it is coming, I believe we will be a modern day Joseph story, that where things were meant for evil, the Lord will bring it full circle to good. Hello, my name is Child of the One True King and your name can be that also.

You can also find me at Somebody's Mother online Prayer Support Group

and The Substance Abuse Task Force 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

JADE, The Serenity Prayer and The Ways of the Lord Towards Us

I learned a lesson on this acronym from my al-anon sponsor who is also a good friend and a writing mentor. When faced with people who are acting or talking in an unreasonable way to us we think JADE: We don't justify, argue, defend or explain we just exit.
J ustify
A rgue
D efend
E xplain/exit
     That may mean hanging up the phone if we are being vented upon, it may mean taking some time for yourself and our program, it may mean praying and seeking a blessing for that person who is going through their own pain and hurt. JADE is a new concept to me, but a good one.
I got some magnets with slogans or sayings on them at the gratitude dinner Saturday.
"I'm never going to have it all figured out---and that is just fine."
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am leaning how to sail my ship."
"Perfection is a long way off, but improvement can be made to happen everyday."
"It takes what it takes."
And the cutest one yet, "Don't mess with chicks in recovery."
 I'm adding a devo that I wrote but hasn't been published yet:
The Ways of the Lord Towards Us
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 100:5

Today as I think about those who are grieving, those who are sick and in need of a Healer, those who want to give up, those who are afraid their children will die of an overdose on the streets, and those who are afraid their loved one will just decide to end it all, I pray.
I pray because that is really all I can do. I yield to Him, although sometimes I want to try to fix someone; sometimes I may even want to shake someone. But  I yield to the Lord, because letting go and letting God is the only reasonable thing that I can do. It keeps me sane in an insane world.
His ways are good even when we can't see for the darkness. His ways are good even when they aren’t our ways. His ways are good through the valley of the shadow of death. His ways are good when we are lonely because He will come to us. His ways are good when we are struggling because He can calm the struggle. His ways are good when our children have abandoned or forsaken us (and Him) and gone astray because He is the mighty shepherd who searches for the lost one. His ways are good in pain as He is the healer. His ways are good when the road is long and the journey seems too hard to travel for He travels with us.
His ways are good we will believe for this year. We can’t create, change or cure but His ways are good and He can. Think on your blessings, as that is the only way to overcome the darkness of this world. He is the light and His ways are good! The goodness of the Lord lives forever.
Prayer: The Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.--Reinhold Niebuhr
What to do for yourself:  Focus on your blessings as you take long, deep, cleansing breaths. When stressed throughout the day remember to breathe deeply.

Thought: Sometimes we just need to say a prayer to get our minds in a better place. Focus on the Lord’s goodness in your life even as addiction has flavored it. The Lord is good even when _____________ because_________. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I Will always be known as a Sister Among You, just Somebody's Mother

I wasn't sure about posting this but it was a wonderful opportunity to share in the community. My husband, Bill videotaped with the phone me reading some of my poems at Florida Recovery Saturday night.

I dedicated the poems to my daughter, Regina Hix, who is over six years clean, sober and helping others now:) She takes meetings into jails, institutions and recovery rehabs whenever possible besides working full time and helping her husband run a new business. The Lord was so faithful to answer my prayers that she would not die on the streets of Daytona. I am very proud of her. Praise the good Lord, Hope is always in front of us.

 I want to thank all of those wonderful people who worked so hard to make this event possible, they are too many to name personally but Vicki Kress and Pastor Monzell D. Ford especially.
They did a great and awesome job. The talent show was incredible and the poem by the winner of last year's show was amazing. Recovery is alive and well in the State of Florida!

Click here if you want to see the video:

Friday, September 26, 2014


TGIF! I watched a Joyce Meyer video at the Battlefield of the Mind book study this week. She reminded us that the Bible first gave us the words "to meditate."  
It is well, it is well, it is very well and that will be my meditation this day. That is what I believe that You, Lord, want me to dwell on. It is well.

Lord, let it be well, let it be well, let it be very well with my family and friends.
Let peace be as the river that flows. Let love arise and healing flow like a balm. I need You so much that I can’t do this, can’t survive, can’t thrive and I can’t live without heavy intervention from You Lord. Your Word says that You will heal, comfort and send help. I need help Lord right now. I need You right now. Please give me direction and intervention.
For the song, It is Well with my Soul click here:
WE pray extra today for those in the military and our policemen. Please cover them with your blood and protection as they serve us.

Joshua 1:8 ESV /

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 1:2 ESV /

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 19:14 ESV /

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 119:15 ESV /

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

Psalm 104:34 ESV /

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Philippians 4:8 ESV /

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV /

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

Psalm 119:97 ESV /

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.

Isaiah 26:3 ESV /

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Desire Fulfilled on the Journey to Restoration

Infertility has reared its ugly head and another marriage is torn by this painful issue. Having walked that road myself, I have to say that Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley really brought life to a topic that can be heartrending. The Desire, may be my favorite of the Restoration Series; it really was hard to put down after I started reading it. Early on, there was a situation that seemed the perfect remedy for Michele and Allan's lack of children but then there was that underlying thread of "God's got a better idea".  We were guided on a path of education concerning mission trips and the painful life that many orphans endure daily as the  dilemma was solved.
The reader is introduced to Addis Ababa and Korah, where the sights, smells and poverty shown within this story make you feel as if you were there. This book also reminds you to be grateful for what you have, living in America. Ayana stole my heart right away and she was beautifully depicted. I could barely read for the tears pouring out of my eyes as we were acquainted with her grandmother and the sacrificial heart that was within her.
One of my favorite parts of the Restoration Series is the interview that Dan does with Gary at the end of the books. It seems I always end up buying one of Gary's older books and this time it was Guarding Your Child's Heart. I was intrigued with the things that Michelle was learning about a new way to live and love and I was pretty sure that it had something to do with a teaching from one of Gary's nonfiction books.
I'm not sure if The Desire was the best title for the book, but in looking over the other titles in the series, I am seeing how it fits. Don't let the picture on the book front confuse you, this is not "chick lit." It is a story told superbly by master storytellers.
I'm so glad there is one more book in this series to look forward do. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Thanks Dan and Gary. Y'all rock!
Donna Collins Tinsley

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thoughts on the song, "Together" by Steven Curtis Chapman

One day I would love to sing this song, together with my family. Who could add words to lyrics like these? They are God-inspired and written by a brother who has paid his dues through pain and heartache, yet he sings on. How many of us will do the same?
It starts off:
"Here we stand, here we are
With all our wounds and battle scars
From all the storms and all the wars we’ve weathered together
We had no way of knowing when
We started way back there and then
How the road would twist and turn and bend
We just knew we belonged together

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together."
Yet on the day that we pray for those who have lost loved ones, we acknowledge that some of us are not together. Many people are grieving those they love that they have lost through death or even addiction. I am acquainted with many special people who grieve daily and I pray for these brothers and sisters that the Lord, strong and powerful, yet tender and merciful will come alongside them and comfort them. 
Poignant to me is: "And we’ve crawled on our hands and knees
Through valleys cold and dark and deep
Sometimes not even sure if we could make it out alive together.

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together, together."
I am so grateful that the Lord allows people to take the pain that they have suffered in life and create a beautiful song of hope to heal the brokenhearted. That is my prayer for today, hearts be healed, families by restored, and sweet comfort be given. Today!

"Together" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Full lyrics:
Here we stand, here we are
With all our wounds and battle scars
From all the storms and all the wars we’ve weathered together
We had no way of knowing when
We started way back there and then
How the road would twist and turn and bend
We just knew we belonged together

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together

We’ve climbed up mountains higher than
Were ever in our hopes and plans
We’ve held onto each other’s hands
Watched miracles unfold together
And we’ve crawled on our hands and knees
Through valleys cold and dark and deep
Sometimes not even sure if we could make it out alive together

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together, together

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together, together