Sunday, May 24, 2015

Get Your Southern Fix with Every Bride Needs a Groom!

"Every Bride Needs a Groom" is Book one of the “Brides With Style” novel series by Janice Thompson.

From the first Southern chapter with things like Peach Queen, sweet tea, buffets, Dairy Queen dates, WOP=pers (you’ll have to read the book to find out what they are) small towns and more, I thought I was in Georgia instead of Texas. Now I know they are pretty Southern out there or “over yonder” as my granny might say.
Names like Jasper, Beau, Dewey, Lori-Lou, Queenie, Aunt Alva, Gilly, Madge had me LOL or laughing out loud and yes, smiling, as I thought I was watching a rerun of Hee-Haw in my head. So many other reviewers have touched on the essay contest, breakup, Bridal Store, football hero who turns out to be the perfect Christian example of manliness for Katie, that I won’t go there. Except to say it was a very engaging story and makes me want to read more in the future. Especially when I take my annual “fiction vacations” in the summer when I’ll reread this.

The only thing that seems a bit off was the cover picture as it wasn’t what I would’ve thought a Loretta Lynn wedding gown would look like as described in the book. But it did look a lot like the gown I bought my daughter Amber, who already had a groom by the way. I’ll give it five stars and look forward to reading more from Janet Thompson.
Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This review is also at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reading Between the Lines

Thank you, Eddie Jones and Christian Devotions for posting me today on Amber's birthday!

I edited an old devo to make it more like I was talking to someone:

Hope y'all like it! Praying every day in every way:)

If you don't feel like clicking the link, here it is:

I wept as I read the words on the closed Facebook page. I felt like they were so searing hot that if they were etched on paper it would be scorched. The mom wrote about soul torture, family chaos, and hopelessness over the way her children have turned out. The thief of addiction had ripped another family to shreds, and I could relate. I had walked in her shoes for way too many years. To say our children had gone astray was an understatement.
Moms who read this, I write to you. I write to the storm-tossed one who cannot sleep because of worry about the son or daughter on the streets. I know tears soak your pillow. You’re devastated by the abuse your child has done to themselves through addiction. You want to die.
I write to you as you pray they will call, yet at the same time you dread the next phone call. One mother cries, “Oh no, he’s in jail.” Another says, “I wish my child were in jail. At least I’d know where he was.” Stories are similar with one common thread—the mother’s love. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and it hurts to be in the midst of his attacks.
Mom, I write to you so you will know you’re not alone in your pain and sorrow. Although the thief of addiction has killed your hopes, stolen your child, and destroyed your dreams, hang on to the last part of this verse: I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Lord, I ask that You help us read between the lines of the words from hurting mothers and reach out to them in a comforting way. My child’s life changed just when I was about to give up.
Hold on to the hope that can be yours through Christ.

Donna Collins Tinsley

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What if we lived as if Romans 8:28 were true?

Sometimes in conversations we hear these words:

What if?...
I regret...
If only...
Life as we know it can be full of regrets and pain.
"What if someone had reached out to me as they did to her?" one says.
"I regret that I wasn't what you needed me to be," says another.
"If only I'd had more resources at that time of my life," is a common saying. Or if only I had a better mother or another father, or a car or a college fund, or someone would leave me a house or an inheritance.
"I'm too young to live with this kind of physical pain!"
"Wow! that woman has never gone through half the pain that I have and look at her whine."

What if...
I regret...
If only...
What if Jesus arrives with comfort that only He can bring?
What if He turns our regrets into healing for another person?
If only.... we truly learn acceptance is a path to a fuller, more grateful life and look for that Romans 28 moment when He turns all things into good for us who love Him.
These three scriptures are awesome to me: "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." Zechariah 2:5  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 The Message
I discovered this song this week and love the lyrics.
A song for your heart by Andrew Peterson
When I look at you,
I can see the road that lies ahead
I can see the love and the sorrow

Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow

So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way

Your first kiss, your first crush
The first time you know you’re not enough
The first time there’s no one there to hold you

The first time you pack it all up
And drive alone across America
Please remember the words that I told you

Keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way

If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home

And I know you'll be scared when you take up that cross
And I know it'll hurt, 'cause I know what it costs
And I love you so much and it's so hard to watch
But you're gonna grow up and you're gonna get lost
Just go back, go back

Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on,  whatever you do
To the hope that's taken hold of you
And you'll find your way
You'll find your way
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fast Freddie is a Winner

Fast Freddie by Lee Ann Mancini is a delightful book with wonderful illustrations that will appeal to the pre-K to first grade age child.
In this day and age that we live in, we need good reading material that gives life lessons to our children and grandchildren. This book teaches compassion when we encounter those who might look different or be different. It is true and sadly so, that children can be cruel to their classmates. But as the Fast Freddie  book so beautifully shows they can change their minds and be encouraging to the one that is different. They may find out that they may have things in common.
Part of the proceeds of this book goes to charities that minister to the needs of children. I like that. The author and illustrator are both very well qualified and did a wonderful collaboration.
The last page was my favorite with the encouragement to say your prayers and also the little game that will cause the reader to go back through the book for something that I entirely missed first reading.
I give Fast Freddie five stars.
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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Dates of Pain
On the 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 that 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, wife, mother and grandmother, lives in Port Orange, Florida and has been included in several magazines and book compilations. She is a member of Coastland Agape and Word Weavers International. You can email her at Please sign up to follow her blog A Sister Among You at or join Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group at

Thursday, April 2, 2015

From The Dance to The Legacy, it doesn't get better than this!

I have always said that Dan Walsh really knows how to end a book and in this case a series of books. He and Gary Smalley still make me wish that they would continue this series as the characters are so compelling. I was gripped and became a fan from the very first book and actually feel that The Legacy is a book that I can give to the younger generation as a stand-alone book; a book most college age people can really relate to. Using examples of social media that is so popular among the young was something new for this series but it fit real well.

I really had no idea where they would go with a book whose main character was Doug as he seemed to be a minor character in the previous books.  I was very satisfied with exploring his journey and also Christina's. The side stories and the drama was all very emotional and kept me reading when I didn't even have time to read. But that is always the case with the books in this series.

From the back cover:
One young man is about to discover the true cost of independence!"For years, Doug Anderson has been drifting slowly but steadily away from both his family and his faith. His parents have been trying to reach him before he falls too far."

This scenario is happening to families every day and many parents are finding support groups and their small group studies at church as a way to cope.

I would've liked for Uncle Henry's character to be in the book more, as he reminds me of a wonderful dad, the kind I wish I had growing up. His advice to the family to basically "let go and let God," isn't always easy to do but wins in the end. Uncle Henry in my mind is Gary Smalley and as always Dan's interview at the end of the book with Gary gives a lot of wisdom. I've always bought some of Gary's nonfiction books as companions to this series and have really learned a lot.

I was given a copy of this novel by Dan Walsh and also a complimentary copy of the book through Revell as I am on their book review team. In return I was delighted to give an honest review of the book.

I give The Legacy five stars and hope that this isn't the end of a beautiful partnership between two gifted and compelling writers.

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!