Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Mother’s Tribute of Love for an Unforgettable Child

As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson, Christina-Taylor Green Roxanna Green (Author), Jerry B. Jenkins (Author)

This story written from a mother’s viewpoint will rock your world as you experience a part of the pain she felt in losing such a dear child.
Christina-Taylor Green truly did seem like an angel sent briefly to earth. From the birth date of 9/11 to the day of her tragic death her light shone so bright in a dark and sometimes painful world, it is hard not to weep through the whole book. Yet it was so sweet and touching. It reminded me at times of Carol Kent’s book ‘When I Lay My Isaac Down’ where there was a moment when life was so perfect and then their world was turned upside down never to return to that perfection. In saying that I also thought of the book of Job throughout.

The affect that young Christina-Taylor had on people seemed magical, even down to her relationship with her brother, Dallas. Although he had some special needs she made him feel so special and loved that it was a big part of his healing and he seemed to cope so much better with life after she was born. I adored the stories about Christina-Taylor’s relationship with her grandmother. I know they are happy to be together in heaven now.
The time-line of the shootings and the facts given about the tragedy were very informational. But being allowed to journey with this family through their personal grief was a wonderful contribution to the world. I also loved the small but poignant writings from the Dad especially in the last chapter where he said, “I love thinking about Christina-Taylor and will do so forever.” He also wrote a poem called “Faith:”
Christina-Taylor Green on one-eight-eleven,
Was laid to rest and went to heaven.

She left her mark in nine short years,
And we remain to shed our tears.
Mom, Dad, and Dallas will love you forever,
Awaiting the day we’re together again. (John Green)
The letters from friends and family added so much to the value of the story of a life that was much too short. It was good to read what the President said to encourage our nation at the State of the Union address shortly after the shootings. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was also wounded and Christina-Taylor Green was one of six people that were killed, with 13 people wounded.

Shattered in soul and spirit, this mother, Roxanna Green gave us such a gift in writing this book (along with Jerry B. Jenkins) and the heart of a loving mother was so evident. The focus on forgiving and not dwelling on the murderer was commendable.

Any thoughts I have now of Christina-Taylor make me smile amidst the tears. There are some that the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 speaks of, that “the world was not worthy of them.” Our world was not worthy of such a pure, sweet, kind angel-like spirit as Christina-Taylor Green was. We are so glad the Lord sent her for a brief moment of time to show that you can really live a life that is better than can be imagined. Unforgettable book about an unforgettable family!

Donna Collins Tinsley

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Decidedly Different Christmas Message: “You’re Such a Mother!”

The word of the Lord: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also) that the hearts of many may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35

“You’re such a mother!” she said as she put her arms around me. I was at a support group and my friend and I often would just look at each other and start crying. Sometimes it seemed we could feel each other’s pain. The pains of being the mother of people struggling in addictions, pains of being a part of dysfunctional families, and just the pain of living life in general at times was enough to make us cry. We knew members of our group who had lost loved ones throughout the years and we hurt for them.

Maybe it was just the relief of coming to a quiet room where we didn’t have to be strong for anyone. A room where we could just sit and listen, have peace and serenity, maybe that is what brought the stream of tears from our eyes. Sometimes when I saw my friend weep I would think of my own daughters. Hearing her share made me think how some of my own daughters just might be feeling the way she felt right then, broken and hurting, and thinking that their mother misunderstood them. It was always a prayer prompt and I would pray that there would be someone there for them, when I couldn’t be the one to help bind their wounds; another mother standing in for me to give them a hug and some mother’s love.

You’re such a mother!” Although being a “good mother” had always been in my heart I had failed at that endeavor early on. The funny thing is, though as much as I failed I would have people coming up to me in my later years, saying crazy things like, “Oh you’re a good mom.” Many times I have heard even people older than I was, saying “You remind me of my mother,” and it would be in a sweet way. When grown men that I barely knew started calling me "Mom" at conferences I realized deep in my spirit that it was the gift of God to me. His love and His hand can redeem that person who has failed miserably and still continues to fail. That He knows deep in my heart there is a "Mom" thing going on. That our Lord is the Lord of the second chance and third and fourth chance. That there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still (Corrie Ten Boom.)

 Because of these things I created The Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group,” so that everyone can have the prayers of "somebody’s mother. "

A few years back a woman who had gone on many pilgrimages and is a woman of prayer laid hands on my head and prayed that I would receive whatever God had given her. She had a beautiful story to tell of a rock she had picked up on her journey that depicted the story of Jesus. She also had visions of Mother Mary and the pain she felt being the earthly mother of our Lord. Trust me if you are a mother you will endure pain of some sort along life’s way. I believe that she imparted somewhat of a mother’s heart to me that day and it is a worthy thing to obtain. But a mother’s heart can also be painful as it is broken over and over again. And the funny thing is, when God imparts such a gift to a woman she doesn’t even have be a mother to have this kind of heart. She can be a sponsor, sister, youth worker or a daughter but this heart can rise up in her to love and defend to the end those the Lord puts in her path.

“You’re such a mother!” In this day and age a statement like that can be profane, yet I choose to call it divine.  

Prayer: Lord, you know how much we would like to hide at times from the pain of life, especially when it involves our children. Help us instead to steer them to the blessings that are in our daily lives and the Season before us.

Thought for the Day: Sometimes as parents we bleed for our children when we see them go through painful situations.

Prayer Focus: Families in pain during the holidays.
My friend Kim, Al-anon, Celebrate Recovery, The Addict’s Mom Facebook Group and most of all Jesus inspired my
“Decidedly Different Christmas message.” 
Thanks to all of you and Merry Christmas!
Donna Collins Tinsley
Christmas 2011
You are welcome to join The Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group (on Facebook) if you haven’t joined alreadyJ
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas and The Gift of Prayer

Christmas and The Gift of Prayer

 It is said in the Bible that the only thing that is saved in Heaven from earth is our tears and our prayers.

Love, Hope (whose name is Jesus) and prayers is something I sign off with often on Facebook or in letters to others. It’s not something I can wrap up, or you can see visibly but I have to believe the gift of prayer is worthy of giving this Christmas and throughout the year.

Maybe you think it doesn’t take much effort, but the time involved in taking your needs, hurts and family situations before the Lord each morning may involve more than you realize. I was so blessed this year when a noted author, speaker and benefactor of scholarships to many told me that he would commit to pray for a member of my family for one year. I am touched with his gift to me, someone he barely knows, yet he could see that the burden I had for this one needed sharing. I am very grateful that he was so willing to be a part of my life in this way. Tears fill my eyes each time I think of this gift to me. Yes, it is priceless.

Things got even worse during the year for many months and I so wished the mercy of the Lord would come and make all things good for the one we were praying for. It hasn’t happened totally but I can now write this prayer partner and say, “Thank you for the gift of prayer you gave me for my brother. Things are better."

When I first walked into the Port Orange Winning Women Bible study taught by Anita Smith over 20 years ago, I was desperate for help and fellowship.  I had one child holding onto my pants and one in my arms and I sat in the back as my kids weren’t used to going to a nursery. I was so welcomed that day that I knew I had found my home, “my tribe.” During this time I felt that these women held my arms up as helpers held Moses’ arms during times that his own strength was failing. By prayer and fellowship my battles have been won as I listened to the Word of the Lord and acted on it.

It could be said that we are never so tall as when we are before the Lord on our knees. One reason I believe the gift of prayer is so important is I know there were many than prayed for me though-out the years. And sometimes I get prayer requests from others that I can literally feel the pain of the one reaching out for prayer. As a mother, I can feel a mother’s pain as she weeps for her children, as a daughter I can relate to how someone such as me can fail so miserably at life yet be extended mercy from the Lord. One thing I have asked the Lord to do is to remind me often of where I have walked in my life and remember to think of the painful shoes that others may be walking in. Shoes that He, my savior walked in first that we might have life and love

So this year my gift to you will be the gift that I treasure the most from others. Prayer. It is the gift that keeps on giving as we all pay it forward for Christmas.
May your Christmas be full of Jesus and love!
Blessings, Donna Collins Tinsley 2011

A Decidedly Different Christmas Message: “You’re Such a Mother!” Will be posted on, Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group, The Addict’s Mom, Fractured Families, Friendshipline Ministries, GRG, Women United in Prayer, Prodigal Hope and my other support groups that I treasure probably tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Essence of Rosemary

The Essence of Rosemary (Something I wrote some years back about Rosemary Upton, the best writing mentor ever:) She went to be with the Lord yesterday.

The Essence of Rosemary

     She is as fragrant with the Lord’s essence as the name Rosemary itself, implies. My writing mentor has made such an impact on my life and the lives of many others, with her gentle words and encouragement. Yet there is so much more to this woman that few of us ever glimpse.
     Only looking at her from afar I would’ve never known from whence she came. Yes, we all have a story, but how many of us dig deep or take the time to listen to each one? Even those we love sometimes get by-passed because we don’t take the time to listen to them or do the research.
     I first met Rosemary at Winning Women where she was serving on the Board. Many of the ladies at our Pt. Orange Bible study were signing up for her Writing Strategies Course. “No, Lord, that is not for me, putting my life and thoughts on paper. I’m sure everyone else is more educated and talented and there is no reason for me to go," was my first response. Although I could see Rosemary was a talented and educated woman with such finesse, I bypassed the class.
     But over the years the Lord was prodding my heart and at a certain time I decided to take the course. Procrastinator that I am I decided against turning in any assignments or attending the monthly Critiqueshop.
     But for the Lord………..and Rosemary.  As I read her books and came to know her, I was compelled to write and go to the excellent critique meeting each month at her home. She chisels her critique with kindness and encouragement that has helped me be tenacious in spite of my lack of education and many obstacles at home.
     The next year I was faithful to Critiqueshop, bringing my small, amateurish offerings.  Among the people in my group consistently at that time, were an editor, a published author and speaker, a retired missionary doctor, a local professor and a published author who I’m sure must have a genius IQ. There I was, a homemaker who aspired to write. My education was in the school of life. What was I doing there? Didn’t I know I was out of my league? At times I had to force myself out the door of my home to go to the meeting. But Rosemary has always been my biggest encourager in the field of writing and the things I have learned in her presence will forever be ingrained in my heart.
      One of our dear Critiqueshop members, Kistler London has moved away but in correspondence I was able to glean some of Rosemary’s story.
      Rosemary was raised in a mostly Irish family, whose father worked with his hands. She and Hugh married at age nineteen and raised two children. She assisted her husband in a career that started with his working in his parent's one small motel that he eventually built into a business empire based on Christian principles. The development of their business ventures was directly tied to their discovering much more freedom in Christ than was "allowed" in their home church in a northern state. Hugh eventually rose to President of the hotel/motel association (state, maybe even national), and she was his gracious "first lady." Although Rosemary couldn't wait to get out of high school, where the thing she most enjoyed was leading her own troop of prize-winning majorettes, she later thirsted for more education, eventually getting her MA in Biblical Studies. She served as a counselor for CBN, watched her daughter go through partial lung removal surgery, saw her mother through eight years of Alzheimer's (and wrote a book that still helps caregivers), and has a generous and tender heart.
     She played a considerable role in developing Sunset Harbor alongside her
husband, Hugh. These High School Sweethearts have been married over fifty years now and each supports the work of their mate. Rosemary credits her husband with helping her realize her gift of a writer long before she was officially published, when at a social function involving a lot of business people Hugh introduced her by saying, "This is my wife, the writer."
     Rosemary has said, "My attitude is that any one I meet may be a better
Christian than I am," and that quote has captured my heart as the way we all should live. It shows a truly humble heart and I believe it is the essence of Christ and the essence of my dear friend and mentor, Rosemary Upton. I will be forever grateful to our Savior for the things I have learned in her presence.

Donna Collins Tinsley 2005

If found a poem written by Rosemary in some of my files yesterday. It is called Sustained or Detained.
Sustained or Detained
If you don't mind, just let me be

I want to die in dignity

No life machines to breathe for me

No fancy drugs to set me free,

No hovering about my bed.

No tubes hooked up by which I'm fed.

For traveling has always been

An exciting, frenzied spin,

And this last rip to which I'm called

Must not be stopped

Or stayed, or stalled.

My master and myself agree,

I'm ready for eternity!

Rosemary Upton from Glimpses of Grace
Kistler London, an editor and writer, who was a wonderful part of our Critiqueshop for years, filled me in on information about Rosemary.

American Pen Women  Bio-sketch
By Kistler London

Who¹s Who in Daytona Beach Branch (2001)

Rosemary Upton (Active, Letters) has been a member of the Daytona Beach
Branch since 1989 and has served as Chaplain, President, and Secretary.

She worked as a draftsman in her early career. Later she earned a BA in
Theology and an MA in Biblical Studies.

Rosemary¹s published short works‹stories, poetry, plays, skits, radio
commentaries, and articles‹deal with moral issues. Her first book, Glimpses
of Grace, A Family Struggles with Alzheimer's, was published by Baker Books
in 1990.

The Court and the Kingdom, released by Harold Shaw Publishers in 1993, was
republished by Guideposts Condensed Books in 1995 and again as Joanna
(Guideposts Hardcover) in 1997.

She uses her talents in communication as counselor, teacher, speaker, and
writer. Rosemary also read Glimpses of Grace for the audio version published
in 1998.

She hosted a monthly Critiqueshop made up of students from her courses,
Writing Strategies for the Christian Market and/or Building the Novel. She
is listed in Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and Christian Writers'
Market Guide.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All the Flowers Book Review

Is "All the Flowers:" love story, a dysfunctional family story, a story of faith, and a heartrending story of war while viewing things on the home front or all of the above?
Tom Milton beautifully wove so many subjects into the story that could even be a history lesson to the younger generation about the Vietnam era, with the setting in New York in 1967. I remember that era well as it was the year I gave birth to my first child.

Those of us who have family members that served in that war, know that the ones who returned home have never been the same.
The love story that evolved between Teri Ryan, a hauntingly talented singer and Andre Malinowski, a gifted pianist is beautiful to behold. I was reminded of beautiful recitals that I have attended in my life, as my own grandmother taught piano and I loved thinking about the beautiful music interwoven in the story. Andre's character was a very loving, supportive man who gave up opportunities that would have enhanced his own career to always be there for Teri. She was also a leading basketball player on the college's team and has a twin brother. The story also portrays the great love Teri has for her brother and how she wants him to avoid going to Vietnam.

I was not too familiar with Catholicism and got a bit of an education with their beliefs and habits also. The characters of the nuns and their relationship with the students and involvement with antiwar activities were very interesting. I was surprised at the use of some profanity in the book but of course the subject matter of war is profane. I think it could’ve gotten by without it, personally.
There were times at the first half of the book that I actually thought there was a little too much dialogue if that can be possible. I felt that sometimes I wasn't sure who was speaking.

But I think something captured me especially in the last quarter of the book and made me a fan. The only issue I have was on page 246 when Andre imagined what had just happened with nothing saying if it was proven that was what happened by the Police. Tom Milton and All the Flowers brought me to tears several times with this story I was happy to find it to be about reconciliation of families and hope for the future in the end. I'll be reading more of Tom's books in the future. "I know my Redeemer liveth" a beautiful theme from beginning to the end of the book.
Donna Collins Tinsley, wife, mother and grandmother, lives in Port Orange, Florida and has been included in several magazines and book compilations. Find her at Facebook, or join Somebody’s Mother Online Prayer Support Group at

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I received this book free from BOOKCRASH as part of their Blogger Review program. I was no asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.