Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book review for Hot Mama by KATHY LIPP and ERIN MACPHERSON

I've decided at age 64 I was probably a little too old to be reviewing a book called "Hot Mama."
But KATHY LIPP and ERIN MACPHERSON did a great job on a book that may be needed today as in our culture the truth about sex has been distorted. The full title is Hot MAMA 12 SECRETS TO A SIZZLING HOT MARRIAGE; do I have anyone's attention yet?
There is a Hot Mama pledge, Hot Mama Ideas and Hot Mama bucket ideas interspersed throughout the book. Good points about preconceived ideas are in one paragraph written by Erin which says, "...I've (obviously) worked past that (thank you, good Christian counselors), but my preconceived notions about sex were really damaging to our early relationship. And I'd venture to guess that the preconceived notions of many women---weather they were learned from parents, movies, magazines, books or friend---have been damaging to the their marriages.
    You can't change the way you were taught about sex, and you certainly can't change the stigmas that come with the "thou shalts" or the "you shoulds" that you've heard about sex, but you can start to look at sex differently and in the way God see it."
I was already a fan of Kathi Lipp, ( as I've heard her on some radio programs before and I subscribe to several of her newsletters. She and Erin Macpherson ( make a great writing team.
Some added bonuses were "Ask Our Sexperts" and "Girlfriend to Girlfriend Q & A." I loved that the book ended with tips from real-life "hot mamas" the kind that the authors say they trust as opposed to those online or in magazines and other resources to continue on your "Hot Mama" journey. Who knows, even at age 64 there may still be hope for some sizzle in our house and that doesn't mean I'm frying bacon again.
I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This and That

I've mentioned before I want to honor some women in my life on this blog here and there; I'm thinking about my oldest daughter today.
Live ready, I always say to my kids and grandkids. None of us know what a day may bring. We plan our days or our weeks and then sometimes see those plans crumble before our eyes, as a shortbread cookie often does.
Yesterday part of the plan for my day was attending a banquet honoring those who do prison ministry which my oldest daughter, Regina is involved with. I'm so proud that she is paying forward the help she received throughout the years before her recovery walk.
But early morning her sweet mother-in-law, Helen had an appointment to meet Jesus in person, so we canceled the banquet plans. I would've loved to have seen Regina be honored with a certificate for her work, but this was not the right timing as the Lord was ready to spare Helen from the pain of living on this earth. She rests in His Father arms.
But I still would like to say a big, "You go, girl," to Regina. I know that there are a lot of people that she has helped along the way and that will only increase in time.
Sometimes, when we have a "past" ( I do, don't you?) people don't want to acknowledge that good can come out it, yet isn't that what the Bible teaches? Sometimes many do not even want to acknowledge the person who has "paid their dues," in this case seven years of the hard work of recovery.
The Message calls this passage, The Rescue and I'm sure we all can relate:

"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5The Message (MSG)

Years ago a Bible verse and prayer the Lord gave me for her was:

Psalms 126

When the Lord brought back Regina,
Captive from the world
I was like
A Mother who dreamed.

My mouth was filled with laughter,
My tongue with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for
This mother who dreams."

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are filled with joy.

Restore our family, O Lord,
Like streams overflowing.
Those who sow in tears
Will reap with songs of joy.
She who goes out weeping,
Carrying seed to sow,
Will return with songs of joy,
Carrying sheaves with her,
To share with the world

Psalms 126 (paraphrased)
(from the Holy Spirit to Donna) 11/15/02

I pray the Lord be your helper and protect you from harm. 
I pray the Lord save up from your affliction and have mercy on your lowliness
I pray the Lord raise you up from where you had fallen
I pray the Lord come to your neediness
Heal what needs to be healed
Restore where you have wandered from Him
Feed your spirit
Ransom what has been lost
Help you to rise up from the sickbed of the past and walk
Straight, firmly and with His strength
So that you may teach the weak and faint-hearted about the
True comfort of His love for you. (As you take words of hope to the jail, this has come true in your life.)
(My version of a prayer written by Clement of Rome 1st Century)

Once when we played the "Ungame" the question was "What princess do you relate to?" I was so sad when my daughter said she didn’t have a fairy tale princess that she could relate to. In my heart she will always be my princess.
As a young girl I always read Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and so I guess I would say she reminds me of the princess from Hans Christian Anderson’s story, "The Princess and the Pea."
Here's a recap: The story tells of a prince who wants to marry a princess, but is having difficulty finding a suitable wife. Something is always wrong with those he meets, and he cannot be certain they are real princesses. One stormy night (always a harbinger of either a life-threatening situation or the opportunity for a romantic alliance in Andersen's stories),[1] a young woman drenched with rain seeks shelter in the prince's castle. She claims to be a princess, so the prince's mother decides to test their unexpected guest by placing a pea in the bed she is offered for the night, covered by 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds. In the morning the guest tells her hosts that she endured a sleepless night, kept awake by something hard in the bed; which she is certain has bruised her. The prince rejoices. Only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel a pea through such a quantity of bedding. The two are married, and the pea is placed in the Royal Museum. From Wikipedia
So, although we don't always look like a princess to the world, our Father (and mother) always sees the little girl within. You are loved, honey. Maybe next year we will make that banquet.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Another Profile of a War Room Warrior

Praying for families, today. It's all in the blog:
We, at the Port Orange Winning Women Bible study called her Aunt Lora and the movie "The War Room" sent me to the memory banks of my soul.

She warred in the spirit way before a movie such as the War Room was ever thought of.  She was a once illiterate woman but the Lord Himself taught her the words of scripture and although she had no formal education she could quote verses to set your heart on fire. She could teach, she could preach and it was all by the Holy Spirit.

I had the privilege of washing her feet when she was about 95 years old. Her walk in this world had been long and hard. She had lived in the days of having no civil rights and many injustices. When the Lord sent me, He gave me specific scriptures to read. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, prayer and praise. She said to me when I came in, “Do whatever the Lord told you to do, I know He sent you, girl.” This experience bonded us together in a way that I would not have imagined. Now that she has passed on I will always treasure the privilege I was given to minister to her.  

 Oh, how I would love to be with her one more time as the main character in the movie so reminded me of her. Yes, go see The War Room, but remember He is as near as a silent prayer for help. Anywhere, any time.
Don't miss this song by Steven Curtis Chapman and scenes from the movie:

Sometimes we forget that our Lord is still in the miracle business. Sometime I forget that God still can come in at the last second and redeem a situation, He wars for us. Broken and weak that we may be,  He hears our cry for help and relief, before and behind us, He goes before the Father when we fall on our knees like a warrior.

 I loved "The War Room" movie but my only concern is that now people think a prayer closet is like a magic potion; if we have one, if we post pages of prayers, that is the key to getting our answer, please remember the key is Jesus and what He did on the cross for us. When we accept Him we have access to the very throne of God. He Himself intercedes for us what an awesome thought. Praise His holy name, Jesus is the key to the War Room and He has the key to my heart today and every day as we pray and wait. Speak His name there is power in His name and plead the blood of Jesus over every dark work of the enemy in your life. 
Trust me, I know older women in the Lord who warred in their prayer closets long before this movie and besides Aunt Lora, Anita Smith just took the word of God serious when she read this verse, " But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:6 KJV) She enters her closet every morning and her prayers have helped many a mom press on. I honor her walk with the Lord today.  
Warring for families, today in prayer at Somebody's Mother Online Prayer Support Group:
My blog, you're welcome to sign up:

 You don't want to miss this post from Lana Vawser:

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are You Waiting on Amends or Making Them? Dysfunctional R Us

Dysfunctional R Us/Don't want to be but it is what it is:) Maybe you are too.

Making amends  can be so many things and in so many ways. I'd always pictured it very complex which led to me putting them off. I went to seminars at a conference, took people aside, asked questions but still felt at a loss about how to proceed. Then one day recently, quite to my surprise, my oldest daughter said, "Come in with me," and in her bedroom sitting on a bed together, she said, “I'm making my amends. I'm sorry for all the things I've done to hurt you, I don't even know what all they are but I know I've hurt you. My sponsor said I don't have to be specific or make it complicated. I'm sorry. And I want you to have my seven year chip from NA.”

I looked into her beautiful eyes and saw sincerity. I saw happiness, acceptance, gratefulness and joy with her new life. I saw love. I hope she saw all those things reflected back from me.  I felt a bit overwhelmed and nearly felt  like this was unreal as it was something I had waited for, but it seemed to be some vague dream or hope. When she gave me the Narcotics Anonymous chip my tears streamed out of my eyes. She had done the hard work of staying sober for over seven years and that was priceless to me. That's something that a lot of people don't attain to.

When I first came into a recovery program I had no idea about the true work and time it takes to work the steps. I was pretty sure within the time it took for my daughter and her husband to finish at the treatment center this would happen.

I remember a day when I was visiting them that I got so frustrated that I, a person who rarely ever raises her voice, started hollering "Step eight, step eight, step  eight!" I was so clueless I even had the step wrong! Step 8 is making a list and being willing to make amends and step nine is making amends.

Then I started working the steps myself. I really wanted to just go fast and get to making amends and have it over with. But I went through some equally hard years as the reality of our life set in and life wasn’t always easy.

I’ve found out something about myself; I want to take the easy way out of so many things. As a sexual abuse overcomer sometimes I feel that life has been too hard already. Let me have some peace until it’s over and I can go be with my Lord. Just let me have a no-conflict zone, let me have serenity on earth and in my home. Let my boundaries be such that I don’t have to deal with those who might hurt me with their words. Let me love, let me laugh again, let me have happy family times and one day, please Lord, let me have that cherished family photo where we are all together and happy.

 I’m learning to take things one day at a time. Give us this day, our daily bread, our daily provision of grace. Give us peace, give us sanity, give us a caring heart, and help me not to live my life bleeding from the pain of life. Help me to not hurry the process as it is what it is until it isn't. Help me to have a grateful heart, thinking of all my blessings instead of all my fears.

Recovery from family dysfunction is a process; I'm learning that there is no one set way that these things have to be worked. I'm hoping that things can be flexible enough to take into account real life scenarios that need to happen sometimes before we thought they should happen. Does that make any sense?

Pray. Listen. Ask the Holy Spirit. Do the hard work of recovery. Be flexible and kind. Don't let anger stay with you. Forgive quickly and easily. Try not to dwell in or on the past. Pray some more and then when you feel the spirit's touch make your amends. It will make you happy and someone else happy too.

PS My daughter made amends after reading this text I think from NA book. I think it is very good:

 Basic Text, p. 41 ––––=–––– As long as we still owe amends, our spirits are cluttered with things we don’t need. We’re carrying the extra load of an apology owed, a resentment held, or unexpressed remorse. It’s like having a messy house. We could leave so we don’t have to see the mess, or maybe just step over the piles of debris and pretend they aren’t there. But ignoring the disorder won’t make it disappear. In the end, the dirty dishes, the crumb-filled carpet, and the overflowing wastebaskets are still there, waiting to be cleaned up. A cluttered spirit is just as hard to live with as a messy home. We always seem to be tripping over yesterday’s leavings. Every time we turn around and try to go somewhere, there is something blocking our path. The more we neglect our responsibility to make amends, the more cluttered our spirits become. And we can’t even hire someone to clean up. We have to do the work ourselves. We gain a deep sense of satisfaction from making our own amends. Just as we would feel after we’ve cleaned our homes and have time to enjoy a bit of sunshine through sparkling windows, so will our spirits rejoice at our freedom to truly enjoy our recovery. And once the big mess is cleaned up, all we have to do is pick up after ourselves as we go along. ––––=––––

Just for today: I will clear away what’s cluttering my spirit by making the amends I owe

Monday, August 31, 2015

Women with Wildfire Faith Tribute; Happy Birthday Billie Taylor

I've been meaning to feature on this blog women I have known or perhaps women you have known that are inspirational. These may not be famous women but one thing they will all have in common is wildfire faith as described in the book "Unquenchable" by Carol Kent. I'm calling it my Women with Wildfire Faith Tribute and the first one I am featuring is Billie Taylor, my original first Bible Study mentor; it is her 90th birthday!   
 "What is wildfire faith? A wildfire, by definition, differs from other fires by virtue of its uncontrollable nature, massive size, the speed at which it spreads, its tendency to rapidly change direction, and its ability to leap over roads, rivers and firebreaks. The intense heat and convection winds it produces can actually change weather conditions or even produce its own weather system, including violent tornadoes that send embers flying well ahead of the main fire front. These factors make wildfires notoriously difficult to extinguish.
    Imagine having a faith with those same qualities---a faith so powerful, so massive, that it spreads uncontrollably and leaps over boundaries that try to contain or extinguish it. Such faith has the power not only to rise about the circumstances but also to change the "weather conditions" of our lives. Wildfire faith replicates itself, throwing sparks and embers far beyond its own boundaries, creating additional fires of faith that then spread in new directions.
    Wildfire faith springs from God's Word and burns itself into your own story. It reveals the true power of the fire God has placed in you, fans the flames of your faith, stirs your passion, and emboldens you to spark new fires that will spread and forever change the landscape of this world.
    Such a faith does far more than simply hold on when life tries to extinguish it. It leaps in new directions, finds new fuel to keep burning, turns up the heat of a cold and deadened heart---and is unstoppable!"
(Carol Kent from Unquenchable)
Billie, this is the kind of faith that you have always portrayed to me and to so many others. This is your legacy that you, a small Southern woman rose up from the pain of life and gave life to others in the midst of that pain. That you pressed on, pushed on and said "Lord, keep me when I don't want to be kept." You said that to me and countless others and now look around you, He did it! He kept you, held you, blessed you and loved you! And we love you, too. One day I'll post how God brought us together when He sent Billie to a Christian Women's Club to minister to me, a young woman dying inside with pain, about forty years ago. That's a story in itself! Thank You Jesus for putting us together
Happy 90th birthday Billie Taylor!
I hope to feature a Women with Wildfire Faith tribute at least once a month. I have a few in my heart already picked out and I am open to suggestions from y'all.

Friday, August 21, 2015

When the Lord gives you a good day!

I love when sometimes it seems that I get it right. Most of the time I don't feel that way and it gets to me, very often. Every day I pray that the Holy Spirit will be more present within me than the day before and yet at the end of the day, I wonder, did He really do that? Was I truly guided by Him in my every day life? Some days it seems like there is constant rush and no leading.
The other morning though, in my quiet time, I was asking the Lord something to do for Isaiah's last week before he goes to middle school, that would make a happy day for him. He has just went to Aquatica with his sister Ashley and that was the main thing he had wanted to do over the summer. He'd already been blessed with a Tennessee vacation and a cool vacation with his parents to several Florida springs as well to Devil's Den, which I hear is pretty beautiful and awesome. I had thought about some Orlando activities, such as Medieval Times or Arabian Nights or the Titanic but he'd been there before.
Then the thought: Ron Jon's Surf Shop came to me. Now that seemed a bit crazy as it is just a store in Cocoa Beach but it is deemed the largest surf shop in the world, I believe. The main activity he did this summer was get a surfboard and learn to surf, first by Uncle Keith and then at surf camp this month. It seemed like the Lord said, "He started the summer surfing and now end it in the same way." I still wrestled a bit with was it the Lord I was hearing and didn't tell him ahead of time as I wanted it to be a surprise.
Another thing he like is to sleep in so Thursday he got to sleep in and then I told him we were doing a day trip out of town.
"Pick where you want to go to lunch, Isaiah and then we'll head to Cocoa beach to Ron Jon's. Oh, and put your surfboard in the van in case we try the waves out there." You'd thought I'd told him we were going to another state, he was so excited. We had a great lunch at Pollo Tropical and I tried a bowl that rivals KFC's. Mashed potatoes, pulled pork, corn, onions and peppers, gravy and guacamole on top. Wow! Isaiah had his favorite half chicken platter with black beans and rice.
Then on the way to Cocoa and that is when I thought I really didn't hear right as we drove through some heavy rains. Lo and behold, as we headed east on 528 the clouds disappeared and we drove into a sunny day. I told Isaiah the Lord gave him a God-pocket of sunshine. Ron Jon's was all that we thought it might be and another God-moment was when I let him try on a wetsuit. They were all over $70 and I didn't really plan on getting him one until his birthday, but when he tried on a size 12 the lady came over and told us she had one in the rental store across the street for $25. If it fit him and we wanted it, she'd talk to the manager and see if he'd go lower on the price. Praise the good Lord we walked out of there with a wetsuit for $20.
By then Isaiah was dying to surf, so we headed over to the beach and he gave it a try. I have to say I like our beaches better; they have very few beach parks, it seemed and the parking is pretty expensive. But the lady (our angel) from Ron Jon's said for us to use their free parking. It's a real perk to live in the Daytona area and be able to drive on the beach as opposed to us walking over with that surfboard.

I saw a big porpoise that I thought was a shark jumping a lot out in the deep and then a small shark in very shallow water. Isaiah was convinced it was a huge shark that was targeting him, but it was near the end of our time there and the shark was heading out to sea. He has a "big" shark story that he is sticking with although I'll still tell my point of view of it. We got out as soon as I saw it and thank the Lord it was at the end of the day so all in all, our day trip was good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Posting my book review of a new children's book by Lee Ann Mancini

"What a Bragger!" written by Lee Ann Mancini, and illustrated by Dan Sharp, is a five star children's book and part of the Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. I think everyone has known a child who brags in their life, and your young child will identify with the feelings that the fish characters have towards the bragger.

As so often happens we find out that the one who is bragging is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the most. I love how the story played out when the other fish became more compassionate toward the bragger, Melissa.

The artistry both in words and illustrations was beautiful and it surely lends a lesson to children. There is always a challenge at the end of Lee Ann's books, it seems and I find myself enjoying looking for the sign of the fish within the pages.

Bragging, tears, learning to share and joy make this a wonderful book to have on hand for your small children and grandchildren. I’m becoming a sure fan of this series and I think this book makes a great gift.

 I received a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday blessings

A little this and that today as we thank Him for all He's done. Thanking Jesus for a great night last night when after church Shiloh and Brian came over and cooked us a deluxe steak dinner. With busy schedules, it's rare that we all get to sit down together.
Yes, I still dream of the day when all my children and grandchildren will be at my table, but I'm learning to enjoy what I have, when I have it for now. A day at a time. Uncle Rudy popped in with some notes for a story I'm writing about his love and care for Aunt Mary as she battled Alzheimer's. I think it may be one of the most poignant stories yet and am praying that it will get in Chicken Soup for the Soul. If not, it is something that I always wanted to put into words as I honor a man among us who took such wonderful care of his wife.
Last night at FWC they blessed the teachers with wonderful supplies for going back to school and the kids with filled backpacks. What a giving church, truly a beacon in our city. We add prayers today for Pastor Ray Dubois who has had some voice issues and is taking a rest for his vocal chords. With a gift for teaching as he has, I know that is hard to be on the sidelines. May the Lord send complete healing soon. It is always a wonderful privilege to hear Pastor Cathy Mazza  and last week Pastor John Mazza minister beautifully and so soul-felt, though.
Side note and something to make you smile, I did a little experiment at Isaiah's surf camp this week, where I decided I would do instead of WWJD what would Pastor Cathy do? She is such salt and light and says an encouraging word to everyone. So I made sure I greeted the teachers with an extra big smile, talked to the grandmother who brought her grandchildren to class, finding out some info about her family and spent some in-depth time with a widow raising three children alone, with all that entails. I left surf camp feeling better than when I came. Key verse from Proverbs 31:26 that describes Pastor Cathy, " She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." May her tribe increase!

Isaiah is getting blessed with an extra vacation with his parents and Aubrey as they explore Salt Springs this weekend and Devil's Den to snorkel tomorrow. He goes to try out middle school for his preview day on Thursday. Good times!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A word from long ago by Bill Britton

This morning as I woke, this parable came to me from many years back, written by Bill Britton. I believe it is for someone today, someone who is struggling against what they believe are the restraints of the Lord put upon them. Someone who doesn't believe that beauty can come from them or their life. Someone who the Lord loves desperately and who needs that peace that comes from complete surrender.This is deep and lengthy and is not for the fainthearted.

It is one of those things that must come with trust and not understanding as in Proverbs 3:5:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

It's Friday and we are grateful and thinking about prayers that have been answered and those that it seems have not, or not in the way we'd hoped. The song for today is Keep Singing; please listen to the words as a prayer to the Lord:
"Keep Singing"
Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I wanna do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through

I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You're the one who's keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing

Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Can I climb up in Your lap?
I don't wanna leave
Jesus, sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Oh, You're everything I need
And I gotta keep singing

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pastor David Fleming believes Jesus More Than Repairs

Once again Pastor David Fleming came with the word of hope through the scripture that the Lord gave to him four years ago. Jesus more than repairs, far exceeds any damage and immeasurably outweighs anything the enemy wants to throw at us. As he preached last night I envisioned situations in my life and thought Jesus more than repairs this. As I prayed for each family member this morning I asked the Lord to more than repair them. Each situation, heartache and dilemma He can more than repair if we focus on that and not the negative things that we see.
The other message we always get from brother David is that God is so good to us. I have a feeling that as this young man ages he will be so loved by people, as they remember the joy they felt when he preached, even as someone like Calvin Miller was loved or Billy Graham. He will be a giant among preachers because he gave a simple message that was needed by us all. Oh no, that simple message did not come without  years of painful experiences and questions, but that is often the way of the cross. I am always so blessed and honored to be in a service where he preaches and it went right along with the great series about identity that Pastor Ray has brought us. A winning combination.
His sermons are blog-inspiring as you can see here:

I sure wish I could show you a picture of his cute little baby boy:)

Praying every day in every way,
Donna Collins Tinsley