Thursday, January 28, 2010

Staying in touch

Sometimes, life is so hectic and painful it is hard to stay in touch. I am not a professional blogger although I would like to be one. I am truly just a sister among you. One who doesn’t have it together, weeps for her friends and family, dreams, hopes and prays for them, also. I found this article that I wrote some years back and felt led to post it today. It probably is way too personal and way to much information for some of y’all, but it sums up a lot and fills in some blanks. Don’t ever let Satan take the music out of your hearts:)

I’ve Got The Music In Me

Musings about A Boomer Woman’s Music
From the strands of “Shall We gather at the River” played by my grandmother on the piano at the little country church in Chattanooga Valley, Tenn. to “I Hope You Dance” a recent hit sung by Lee Ann Womack, music has always played a role in my life and the life of many “Boomer Women.”

I remember sitting in front of the little black and white television set, mesmerized by Elvis Presley swinging his hips on the Ed Sullivan show. Was he from the devil as some people tried to say, or just the handsomest person I had ever seen in my short life? “Whatever Will Be Will Be, Que Sera,” always in the background of my mind, I was drawn to those shows with music. Variety shows were very popular in the fifties and the Lennon sisters were a household word. As a little girl I would dress up in my swirly ballerina outfit (do you remember crinoline slips?) and sing and dance as I watched the small black and white television set. I had a song in my heart and no one was going to take it from me. Or were they?

Life happens. Not always happy. Stripped from my childhood home with my grandmother, and the sounds of “Amazing Grace” I remember my stepfather hollering out the door of our Florida home, “Donna Renee, shut up that singing!” That was not the only way he tried to take the music from me. When they put him in prison, the landlord kept our piano and the roots of music I learned from my grandmother seemed to vanish also. The little girl who by age five could play the piano by ear disappeared. Bravery to perform in front of people became nervous fear, and I trembled whenever I was called to do anything publicly.

Raising 4 children alone was hard for my Mama. Just 16 when I was born she was nearly a “Boomer Woman” herself. She loved to dance and I remember thinking what a pretty mom I had as she danced to “Be Bop A Lula,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Great Balls of Fire.” We lived through American Bandstand, Dick Clark, Chubby Checker, Joey Dee and the Starlighters, “everybody do the twist.” And everybody did. We didn’t have much money but we could still dance and have fun.

“Make Me Your Baby” played on the radio as my boyfriend and I “made out” in the back seat of a car. I was supposed to be doing laundry at the Laundromat for my mother, and yes, the clothes were washing inside. He thought he was “The Leader of the Pack.” My boyfriend was so cute and virile; I didn’t think anything about him being eight years older than me. With the life I lived I always felt older than my age anyway. Taking care of my younger brothers and one sister was what I did when I wasn’t at school. This was the closet thing to a real date that I got to go on. Before they could sing the song, “Sixteen Candles,” I said, “I’m Gonna Get Married.”

He didn’t look like a pervert when I met him. But at age fifteen did I really know what a pervert would look like? Sure, I’d had my fair share of experiences; the stepfather who tried to rape me, my Mom’s boyfriends who wanted to kiss me, the experience at the park where someone came up behind me in the dark, threw me on the ground and only left when I (not knowing what else to do) bit his tongue as hard as I could. I ended up with bruised lips but I’m sure he wished he had never stuck his tongue in my mouth, uninvited.

But this one? Well built, dark and handsome, gee, he looked like Prince Charming to me. How was I to know that perverts sometimes come in pretty packages? Five years down the road, when the beginning of the “marriage from hell” came about, I realized my “Prince” was a pedophile. And even though my daughter begged me to forgive him and get help for her beloved daddy, no amount of counseling, Doctor’s visits, (where I was told to give him more sex) or love, was going to keep us together. Yes, Captain and Tennille had already sung that song by then.

The damage was done. I didn’t find out until I was in the midst of the divorce proceedings, that he had started her on the road to drugs. She is 42 years old now and has just begun to reclaim her life instead of staying on the addictive cycle he started her on. When I was getting the divorce my counsel didn’t advise me to bring charges but some years later, my daughter and I did help to put him in prison. Even though one of his favorite songs when we were dating in 1966 was “I Fought the Law and the Law Won,” he wasn’t singing now. And I didn’t need a song by Nazareth to tell me “Love Hurts.”

Or the Eagles to tell me he had “Lyin' Eyes.” I only wish I had listened seriously to Paul Simon as he sang “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” a few years back.

But God is good. To the strands of “Annie’s Song” I married “Bill” and “Don’t Go Breakin’ MY Heart” was my inner cry. He is truly my “Handy Man!” He gave me “Respect” and I reminded him often, “She Loves You.” He is my “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “This Girl is a Woman Now,” for sure. Although “You Are So Beautiful to Me” is one of my favorite songs, Bill doesn’t sing, but if he would let me I would sing it to him. He has been a wonderful father to four daughters and helped to mend my broken heart.
Life has tried to take the song and dance out of my heart but I am determined that I will not let that happen. The main thing that has gotten me through 58 years of being a Boomer Woman is the enduring strength of faith I found as a young girl in that little country church, and the love of family and friends. I have found that music and dance are powerful weapons against the enemy who wants to steal our joy. When the battle is raging around you, let the music arise in you. My wish for all Boomer Women is so aptly put in Lee Ann Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance,”

I hope you still feel small

When you stand by the ocean

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens

Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

Remember the music that got you through your “Boomer Years.”

Donna Collins Tinsley copyright 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Graduating from the school of life’s addictions

My oldest daughter celebrated 18 months of sobriety on Jan. 21st.
I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt (her addictions). Hosea 2:15

A ceremony and a big party usually mark Graduation Day as someone graduates from High School or College. But what if you daughter has taken the long road of education in the “school of life’s addictions”?
My oldest daughter has wrestled with a drug and cocaine addiction that her own father started her on as a child. It has been a stronghold that caused much pain to her and our family. Even though I had divorced her father his influence lived on in the pain of her lifestyle. Finally, at age 42 she took the steps to stay in a Treatment Facility for long enough to be able to come out from the grip of these bondages and begin to live a normal life.
So what do you say at a different sort of commencement ceremony?
In a letter I wrote her, I rephrased the words to an old blessing to fit the occasion
Dear Sweet Regina,

I am very proud and happy that this day of commencement has come for you. It is an example of God working all things for good once more in your life. He is the God of second (third, fourth and more) chances, as you well know.

I pray the Lord be your helper and protect you from harm and addictions that call.

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.

(My version of a prayer written by Clement of Rome 1st Century)

Welcome, honey to your new life. And know I will always love you.

 A daughter is your child no matter how old she is and how far she strays and I am truly grateful the Lord has given her a new start
Donna Collins Tinsley

This scripture sums up my feelings about the subject:
My heart rejoices in the LORD!

The LORD has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the LORD!
There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.1 Samuel 2:1-2

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Desperate prayers from desperate people.

I believe the Lord is bringing us all back to a life of constant prayer. Whether it is for our nation or a nation devastated such as Haiti, our family or extended family and friends, situations arise that call for desperate prayers from desperate people.
Last night as I was savoring the last chapter of “I Know Why the Angels Dance” by Bryan Davis, the tears came down like rain; I could hardly see to read. What a beautiful example of a Godly family and their reaction to death and pain.

I was thinking this morning about the beautiful prayers written in the book and the example to us all and then as usual, the Lord sent me to another book with an example of praying for those who are suffering from Ruth Graham’s book, “In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart.”

Then the Lord sent me to Lamentations 3:22-24
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“ Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Word doesn’t get any better than that:)
Our desperate prayers end in hope.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"I Know Why the Angels Dance."

"Make them dance again!" is a quote from the book by Bryan Davis' book, "I Know Why the Angels Dance." All workers in ministry should have knowledge of this quote and what it means and I pray there will be angels dancing in heaven today in honor of souls won the Lord.

I can't help but picture in my mind Bryan and Susie Davis as the parents in the fiction novel and one of the most beautiful parts had me weeping this morning as I read the prayer the mother in the story prayed over a little girl in the hospital. You'll find it on pages 248 and 249. I know only a man who has heard a wonderful woman of God pray like this can write like this. My other favorite parts, never really having a father while growing up, are the sweet moments of tenderness that are displayed to his daughter. Bryan is giving all proceeds from this book to charity.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Daytona Streets

I have had this novel in my heart for years, and have several chapters written.  Because of a lot of subject matter is painful for members of my family, I prefer to try this as a novel. Also there is a character later on I want to introduce who roams the streets of Daytona. If you live here you might recognize him and he has the he has the greenest eyes and many people have wondered if he is an angel unaware. He just walks the streets carrying most of his belongings with him. Times when I helped feed the homeless, we have had conversations that were amazing. I bumped into him recently at a gas station and told him I was basing a character on him a bit and we talked about his eyes. He said they change to 10 different colors. He sounded proud, and I thought how even the person that walks the streets wants to know that somebody is noticing him..

I posted Daytona Streets, chapter one, for some months a long time ago and didn't get any feedback, so I decided to edit this post and will send it privately by email if anyone will sign up to follow my blog.  Just sign up and then email me that you did and that you want the first chapter of Daytona Streets:)

and put Daytona Streets in the subject:)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A God Thing

I'm trying to type and hold little Aryel at the same time so I'll just put a post that I commented on today:
It's funny how sometimes God lines things up for you with the issues you are facing or concerning your heart. I was going over conference material from last year and reviewing this neat postcard sized info from John Vonholf called Writers Conference Guidelines ( The next day I found this blog on the Florida Christian Writer's Conference Facebook. Then I decided after my regular devotions this morning I would read some writer's material from The Christian Communicator, since Lin Johnson is going to be there and The Christian Communicator was the first magazine to ever publish something I wrote. But before I did that I read The Upper Room for today and it described some of my feelings, perfectly about feeling nervous with the upcoming event: I am so blessed to be able to connect with these writers and to enjoy so much more along with gleaning, learning and enjoying the lasting benefits of FCWC. John, your website is a valuable source for all writers, but especially someone like me, who needs all the help she can get. Thank you so much and many blessings!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who Could Make Normal out of This?

Who Could Make Normal out of This?

Do you sometimes look at your family and think, "Who Could Make Normal out of This?" Does it require faith to live a normal life in the world we live in? I believe it does!

It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (MSG)

Do you have a “normal family”? What does normal look like to you? Do you have to be happy to be normal? I’m about to come to the conclusion that there are no normal families, because what makes one person happy in the family doesn’t always make the other person happy. And when you have a large family it is a miracle if you can get anyone to agree on anything. Unless you are the Walton’s, and sometimes Mama wasn’t always happy with the kids, especially when they got older and sassier.

I must concur with Patsy Clairmont, who said, “Normal is only a setting on your clothes dryer.” May your day be blessed, and don’t worry if your family isn’t normal; God loves them anyway!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Monday

Sometimes it is hard to do as Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Just do the next thing.” When you have family, friends and loved ones who are going through problems, dysfunctions, addictions and more it is hard not to lose hope. But then we must remember Hope is a person and Jesus can give us what we need as mentioned here:

January 11, 2010. Will this problem ever get any better? This is something you have been thinking about for awhile. There seems to you that there is no evidence that good can come out of what is going on. You can't see all the facets of the problem; neither can you see all facets of the solution. I am working on this turning out to be a success. At this time there is nothing you can do and nothing you should do. But don't let this cause you to give up hope. Wait until I show you specifically what to do. Be at peace and work with Me and watch for a good solution.

Galatians 6:9 (AMP) “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Bev Robinson

I still live by the promise in Romans 8:28 and God has never let me down. But reality is that people may let us down and we need to be ready for that and not let their actions control our lives and thoughts. When I get down, I try to steer my thoughts higher remembering it is best to dwell on the goodness and blessings I see instead of the world as it is. The old saying, “Count your blessings,” never fails.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Live Ready

Live Ready

I always tell my children and grandchildren “Live Ready.” What do I mean by that, you may wonder? Live ready to die, always be prepared to meet your Maker as none of us know the day or hour that He will take us home. Live in love and forgiveness as the Lord Jesus loved and forgave us; He gave His life for us on the cross. We have no excuse for not being ready to go to Heaven with Him. Yet, some will say they are afraid if they give their life to Him they will not be free to do the things they want to do, not knowing that they are in bondage to the world. Jesus said, He came to give Life; the enemy of our souls comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Why am I talking about this today? I met a wonderful lady on Wednesday who blessed my family and me mightily with the Spirit of the Lord within her. She lives to proclaim the wonders and miracles of the Lord Jesus. Two days later, I’m told her youngest son committed suicide. What pain for that family, as I believe suicide hurts the ones left behind, even more than the performing the act. I ask for prayers for this dear sister and her family in this time of need. The Lord does say if we believe in Him we will be saved and “our house.” As mothers and fathers, we can trust Him to bring our children in.

I “live ready” because it is the only way to go.

Donna Collins Tinsley

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This was perfect for today! I love these people and follow them every day: What The Lord Is Saying Today

This was perfect for today! What The Lord Is Saying Today

January 9, 2010. Your heart is full of praise. Let the mountains, winds and seas know about it. Lift up your voice to the Heavens as long as you have breath. Let every creature know of your love and thanksgiving for your God. Praise becomes you. With excitement, tell of all My goodness, mercy and compassion. In the general assembly of your gathering, sing with all your heart, soul and body. Dance with zeal and confidence as an expression of your thankfulness. Exult in the wonder of My creation, your Most High God. Because of Me, you no longer walk in darkness. Nor do you live in the cold of lack and poverty. I have rescued and saved you forever.

Psalms 9:1-2 “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Ras Robinson*

January 9, 2010. A brighter day is coming. This too shall pass as other dark days have done. You didn't see this coming and were blindsided. Don't overextend yourself during this period. Hold on and bide your time until the bright day appears. It takes everyone for all the components to align for optimum breakthrough. Wait on My timing, and you will see how it all works together. Now is the time for as much rest as possible. Right now you can't see the possibilities, but as time goes by it will be clear what you need to do. Waiting is hard but it is best right now. I am directing even in darkness.

Psalms 139:9-12 (MSG) “If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute— you're already there waiting! Then I said to myself, 'Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I'm immersed in the light!' It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.” Bev Robinson

"Praying from the Heart."

Recent Guideposts series book

Recently I received my contributor's copy of the new Guideposts series, 1st title; "Praying from the Heart." Jeanette Gardner Littleton was an awesome editor to work with and such a blessing. I'm using a pseudonym. If anyone wants to guess which story is mine email me with your guess.
While we are thinking about prayer, here's one for you:
Lord, please bless all who read the words from my heart that You have given me. Thank You, Jesus the name above all names who comforts, protects, heals and shows us the way to You. Cover each one with Your blood and provide all needs and help us to conform the desires of our hearts to Your will for us and our family and friends. In Jesus name, I pray.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Sister Among You

A Sister Among You

You don’t know my name
You don’t have to; I am a sister among you
Sometimes I’m quiet
You may think I’m aloof
You are wrong, I carry pain
For myself and for others
I am a sister among you
I have been abused, Used and tormented
I love, I hurt, I dream dreams
That turn into nightmares

I am a sister among you
Maybe I think
If I open up to you
And tell you about my life

You will turn away
Yes, it would make you cringe
It would not fit into your tidy world
But there are many among you
Sisters, such as I
I may be your friend
But you may not know me

Because you don’t share my pain
You don’t drink from my cup
It is too horrible to taste
It would cause you to hurt also

Because I have seen perverseness
In the eyes of men, and the hearts of women
I am just a sister among you, I smile

But it only masks the pain
God alone can heal the hurts
And He does daily

But He leaves the pain
And the memories
So I won’t pass you by

Another sister, Lost in pain

Needing a Savior

Needing a friend.
Another sister among us.
Jesus said what you have done for the least of these, you have done for Me.

This sister may be dying emotionally, feeling hopeless as a wife, mother or woman in this world. She may be masking the pain with drugs, alcohol or even the goodness of church or volunteer work.

She is trying to fill a void only God Himself can fill.

She may use men or women to fill this insatiable need to feel loved and whole. She may have endured losses such as the death of a family member, maybe even her own child: the grief seems unbearable and she wonders if she can live with this void in her life.

She may be a prostitute, in danger each time she goes out. She may be trying to cover the pain of losing her children through the system.
She is somebody’s daughter.

She is a sister among you.

Where does she go from here?

(c) Coastland Agape, Inc. The Gathering....An expression of the Body of Christ

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