Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do You Have a “Black Dog” in Your Life? (Book review)

The Black Dog by Reverend John Dolan is a very compelling, yet easy to read book. I loved the blunt honesty of the author. So many people struggle with depression and it is true, I believe, that the more it is acknowledged the less power it holds on people.
The illustrations were poignant. They added a lot to the story. The vision John had of the angel in chapter 10, "Hitting Rock bottom" comparing the immersion of his depressive thoughts to being immersed in water with someone holding him up and saving him was very moving.

The words, "John, if this is the worst that depression can do to us, then we will both be fine," were a turning point for him. And although he felt the black dog was saying, "I am not finished with you yet," the picture he carried in his mind of the ferocious dog lessened after this. That he was restored by using coping skills that he learned as well as leaning on God was a theme woven throughout the book.

The Black Dog will remind you of many people that we all come in contact with daily. I know several people that I would recommend a book such as this to help them overcome "The Black Dog" in their lives. Thank you John Dolan for sharing your personal story of a subject that many feel is too taboo to mention.

Donna Collins Tinsley

I received this book free from BOOKCRASH, courtesy of the Author as part of their blogger review program.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Resilient and More, Lisa Triplett’s SPIRIT award revisited

Supportive- charitable, encouraging, helpful, reassuring, thoughtful, understanding; all of these words describe my friend Lisa Triplett who is the adoptive mother of two of my grandchildren.
In a sense my oldest daughter handpicked Lisa and her husband, Rick to take care of her son, when he was a little baby, perhaps unintentionally. At a church fair, she recognized them from the church we all had attended. She was there with her little girl, and baby son and wanted to take her daughter on a ride.

“Could you watch baby Austin, while we go on the ride?” she asked Lisa.
Was that the moment that Lisa fell in love with my grandson? I don’t know, but circumstances happened to make it impossible for my daughter to keep her son, and the person she chose to adopt him was Lisa.

I was taking care of Austin as well as my own girls at the time and Lisa said God put Austin on their hearts; they wanted to care for him until his mother was able. We knew from attending church together that they had the gift of hospitality but we were surprised they felt so strongly it should extend to a little baby. Lisa even decided to quit going to DBCC to be there for Austin.

Was this God’s will for my grandbaby? Or were they angels sent to minister to my family by taking the pressure of an extra child off of me?
Five weeks later, Austin left our home and about two years later, Lisa and her husband, Rick, adopted him. You might wonder what is so amazing about this situation? Lisa is!
She was already quite the caretaker in her own right.
While working her way through college she worked at a church daycare center. There she met up with Brandi Triplett, the daughter of a boy she had dated in high school. Rick had been her first date but her mom felt she was too young (14) at that time for a relationship with someone two years older, so the romance was short-lived. Rick married someone else after High School and was divorced soon after, a single father with a little girl. Rick was now in the Navy out of state and his daughter was living with his mom and dad.
Rick and Lisa reconnected through Brandi, seeing each other, writing and by phone calls when he went back to the California base.

In 1985 he asked Lisa to marry him. Plans were made for a December wedding as he was being transferred from California to Jacksonville, Florida. One month after the engagement, Lisa received the devastating news; Rick had been in an automobile accident and was paralyzed from his chest down! It was Valentine’s Day.

Lisa and Rick’s mom flew to Jacksonville and from that moment to this, Lisa has rarely left his side for more than a few days at a time. In the first days at the hospital his heart stopped four times with Lisa by his bed in the dark of night. As alarms went off on the life-support machines, she prayed, begging God for him to survive. After several weeks he was stabilized and was moved to Hines, VA Hospital in Chicago, where the hours of rehab were agonizing for him. As a young man he had to adjust to a totally new way of life. As he lay on his stomach in a striker frame which caused pain in his neck, head and shoulders, Lisa would sit under his bed so he could see her and read, talk, play his music, and do all she could to help pass the time and supporting him in any way possible.

The biggest decision lay ahead; what about the marriage? Lisa was told that seven years was the average length for marriage to a paraplegic and she had to go through counseling, learning how to totally care for his personal needs and more.

Easter Sunday, 1985, in the hospital chapel they were married. Rick, still in pain, still unable to sit up in his chair, was in a partial reclining position in his black suit, gazing at his beautiful, radiant bride.

Lisa’s sense of humor is a trait that helps her be supportive to her husband; she joked about spending her wedding night in a motel room with her parents in one bed and she and her mother-in-law in the other. “I’ll bet I’m the only bride in history to spend her wedding night sleeping with her mother-in-law instead of her husband!”

There were years of outpatient treatment that still continue now; Rick is bedridden but with Lisa’s help and care he loves to get out and about in his wheelchair and specially adjusted van. He is a strong, vibrant Christian man who never complains and is a blessing to many.

Because Lisa is always supportive of Rick’s needs she left her family and roots and moved from their home in Indiana to Florida, as the cold weather is too hard on Rick. They had already visited the area when she took him to a fishing tournament on Lake Monroe in Florida for paraplegics. They found a handicapped accessible house for sale in Edgewater. Lisa continues to encourage Rick by taking him to church activities, football games, baseball games, music concerts and more.

Rick just turned 48 years old and has a full life because of the support of his wife. They have also adopted another one of my grandsons and truly have given them every advantage of a loving, Christian home.

In the past few years Lisa went back to college and graduated with a degree in Health Information Management; she juggled the boy’s and Rick’s care while maintaining high grades. Her parents moved down a few years ago, to give Lisa some much-needed support. She now works at Bert Fish, when she isn’t caring for, loving, doing field trips, shopping for, or playing with the boys, who are now eight and thirteen.
Donna Collins Tinsley

Remember this was written about five years ago as Austin will soon be eighteen and Jordan will be 13 next year Time has only enhanced the things that Lisa does for her family and church family. May her tribe increase!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do You Need to Slow Down, Too? Slow Me Down, Lord, But Not This Way

Sometimes when I just can’t seem to slow myself down, the Lord does it for me.

Yesterday the Lord arranged for me to pull back from a lot of things that I want to be doing. I am so grateful first to Him that I didn't have an accident when my Rack and Pinion steering devise went out on my van. I think I pulled my sciatic nerve though, as now my whole body is hurting even today; that is a big vehicle to be trying to steer as dead weight.

I'm praising Jesus that we managed to get over three lanes of what is normally heavy traffic on International Speedway Blvd. without a car hitting us. My power steering was locked up, and I am so grateful that my daughter, Amber and little granddaughter, Aryel are Okay. That is really all I could think about as I replayed in my mind looking in the rearview mirror and the miracle that we were not slammed with oncoming traffic. It was like being in slow motion.

I told Bill when he came to rescue us that just like on those gravestones that say "I told you I was sick" I've been saying something is wrong with the van for two weeks. Every time anyone else drove it, it didn't lock up; to his credit though, he took it out on Friday, drove it all over, and checked under the hood, it was all good. Even the servicemen at Tuffy’s called yesterday and said, “Hey we drove, it and it never locked up on us.” I just said to myself, Lord, Okay, I don’t know, but I do know that something is wrong and it is not my imagination.

Then miracle of miracles they discovered a defect in the Rack and pinion devise, something that had just worked on recently.

Little Aryel didn't get to go with her Ga-Ga to the library, though and I missed the “Let's Go Ministry” meeting. I will probably miss some other things that I wanted to attend this week also, but I have to look at this as the Lord helping me when I can’t help myself. I accept that I might have to be home and not everywhere I want to be, because when something is a “good thing” I want to be a part of it.

Have you ever been there, people? I know a lot of others that fight to go, do, or be everything to everyone and it is physically and mentally impossible. When I try with all my might and heart to be somewhere and find it is not working out, I have to yield. I have to remember that I need some alone time, some rest time, (why does it have to be with aching muscles, though) some reading time and some Holy Spirit time. Peace to all and if you don’t see me someplace you thought I would be, don’t be mad at me. Know I am just trying to pull back and hear the Lord. We will all be so much better in the long run, if I do. Restore our souls, Lord Jesus and go before each of us in peace, today.

A song and a prayer I offer today.

I just discovered this singer (thanks Joanie) you don't want to miss this song:

Books I’m reading: The Reunion by Dan Walsh

And here is something else: I don't think I have ever been as excited about being in a compilation. I received my two contributor copies for “My Love to you Always.” My story "Hurricane, A Frog and True Love" is a tribute to my husband, Bill.

Anyone that wants to order a copy of this book through OakTara books will receive a 15% discount — since there is no middleman charge of any other distributor).

*Click on the FB/Twitter icons and “like” your book pages and the OakTara store in general. Ask your friends, colleagues, and family to do the same.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Remembrance Box For your Mind

A Remembrance Box For your Mind

We live either in the pits or soar above our problems by what we put in our minds. Let us remember to put encouraging things in our Remembrance Box today.

Sometimes the popular song by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, “Remind Me,” goes through my mind. Although it is about reminding each other about their love, I think it can be used to remind ourselves about spiritual blessings. Yes, I am a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, so when I listen to music, I can always find a message from the Lord and it goes back to remembering when our relationship with Him was new. “Now we keep saying that we're okay

But I don't want to settle for good not great

I miss the way that it felt back then I wanna feel that way again”

Remind me, Lord Jesus, of Your Goodness, new every morning. Remind me of how well you have taken care of me and my family and my extended family. Remind me of love and joy. Remind me that Your hand is over all and in all and that all things are working together for good. Remind me that You are coming back for your bride.
Remind me that You are the God of provision when it seems impossible to believe. Remind me that You do not hold back in love and kindness.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
His ways are good even when we can't see for the darkness. His ways are good even when they aren’t our ways. His ways are good through the valley of the shadow of death. His ways are good when we are lonely because He will come to us. His ways are good when we are struggling because He can calm the struggle. His ways are good when our children have abandoned or forsaken us (and Him) or gone astray because He is the mighty shepherd who searches for the lost one. His ways are good in pain as He is the healer. His ways are good when the road is long and the journey seems too hard to travel for he travels with us.

His ways are good we will believe for this year. We can’t create, change or cure but His ways are good and He can. Think on your blessings, as that is the only way to overcome the darkness of this world. He is the light and His ways are good! Remind me, Lord Jesus, Remind me. (Donna Collins Tinsley)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thanks for running my devotional, "What Would the Walton's Do?"

Thanks and especially Beth Patch, for running my devotional, "What Would the Walton's Do?" This was written some years back when Shiloh was a teenager instead of a newlywed:) Click the link for a slice of our family life and my thoughts on contentment:

If that link doesn't work, here it is:
What Would the Walton’s Do?

“Oh no, Dad, not The Walton’s again,” our daughter Shiloh said.

The Walton’s was a television series that my husband Bill and I both loved. This was a family who lived and loved through the Great Depression. We have old DVDs of their program and for our Sunday night family time we usually had pizza and watched something together. We had already gone through “Roots” and Bill decided our girls and little Isaiah needed to see how people lived and loved on Walton’s Mountain.
Sometimes I would weep as I watched the programs. Not because of the things I see, but the things I feel as I see the contentment of a family pulling together during lean times. Times have gotten leaner in our family the past few years as my husband’s construction business has surely felt the effects of the economy. Jobs seem to be getting even scarcer. We are not the only family that has learned that even adult children who have a college education can’t always get full-time jobs. Many adult children are returning to their childhood homes and the Walton’s experience of generations living together is becoming common again. But it doesn’t always work out the way it did in another era.
Even with all their hardships it seemed the Walton’s always were content with the things they had. Contentment seems to be what is lacking in our lives today.
We look at our situations in our homes and we don’t have the family of our dreams. We aren’t content. We may have a physical ailment that God has allowed, even perhaps for His glory, but we aren’t content. We may be single, having tried marriage many times and failing, we aren’t content, but yet we don’t want to be alone. When days are hard, parenting seems impossible and dreams aren't coming true, is there is a way to get your contentment back?

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”(1 Timothy 6:6 NASB)

We could turn that around and say that without contentment it means nothing at all. How can we say we are of God (godly) and complain? Do you find yourselves complaining about your home, family and finances at times?
Can I challenge you, when you open your mouth to complain, instead to speak out about a blessing that you have?
Patrick Henry Hughes was born without eyes---yet he sees clearly the many blessings of his life. He has shortened limbs and has never walked but he was bestowed with the gift of music, which has opened doors for him to travel. He does not look at his disabilities but uses his abilities. He is content, and that has brought great gain to his life.
What would the Walton’s do? I think they would take time to count their blessings. That’s what I am going to do right now!
God, I believe that gratitude brings contentment and I am so grateful for all the good things we have: the freedoms that so many other people don’t have, the resources, homes and provision that You have given. Let the gift of contentment show all over our face and lives as we count our blessings daily and accept Your presence during these times of trouble!
This scripture points the way to contentment: Philippians 4:8-9 “Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” The Message
Donna Collins Tinsley

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

Please email her at

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A morning in the life of someone who wants some quiet time:)

They say or at least a song is titled, "Girls Just Want Have Fun." But not so, with me, I just want some peace and quiet. It always seems like there is a conspiracy to destroy any chance of my having quiet time in the morning. I had already surmised that the animals were taking over the house, when I came down and Willow, Ashley's Weimaraner, was on one couch and Gypsy, the "outdoor" cat on the other. Meanwhile the hissing cat, Scarlette, was at the table where I have my morning devotions set up.

Shooing the dog off the couch and the cat out of my chair, and I must say she didn't go willingly, snarling and hissing while jumping down, I got my Bible and devotional books out. Oh, early morning quiet, coffee and the Lord. All is well.

But the stillness of the morning enhances the pitter patter of Weimaraner feet. Pacing back and forth, back and forth.

"Willow, go to bed!" She pranced off only to come back, pacing. I opened the door to let her out; maybe she needed a potty break.

Well, that didn't take long.

"Willow, go to bed!" She scurried off and then back again. You would have to own a Weimaraner to know how the sound of webbed feet on wooden floors can be totally distracting as they pace. Finally, she laid down beside me. I had my quiet time at last.
It wasn't until I went to the computer later that I found out why Willow didn't pass go, collect $200 or go to bed. There sat Scarlette in all her glory, hissing, snarling and living rent -free in Willow's bed. Sorry, Willow, I guess, you tried. I guess I won't feed you "monkey medicine"* today.

A morning in the life of someone who wants some quiet time:) Or maybe this should be titled "Give me patience and quiet Lord, and give it right now!"

*Monkey medicine is a whole different story of Presley, Shiloh's dog, the Oklahoma trip, and the movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2 . Maybe I'll blog about that one day. Or instead I'll blog about sweet hubby, who after losing 35 pounds, decides to let the beep of the microwave, the opening of the refrigerator, the sound of the stove interrupt my quiet time. At 6:15 this morning, he just had to have the leftover polish sausage, peppers and onions, a hot dog, and pasta salad. He starves himself all week to keep that new trim body, but does his weekend splurge have to start so early in the morning?

OK for a scripture to try to redeem this different kind of blog:

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all". Psalm 34:19

And a song by Selah:
Hope I have made you smile, today.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oklahoma, Jesus is Just Alright With Me and I'm Back:)

It is good to be back in Florida, but I think I am still on Oklahoma time, or still feel like I am on vacation:) We had a great visit with Shiloh and Brian, rode around in a cool car, ate way too much and saw a lot of universities. Now back to reality:)

Shiloh took these pictures of Jesus statue and me which made me think of this song:) I gotta post this:
For some reason I can't get them posted on this blog, but you can try going to my facebook page:

I took Bill back the next day. The praying hands and prayer tower was awesome, too. Going there was a big highlight of our trip besides worshiping with Shiloh and Brian at RHEMA and Shiloh cooking us a really good supper on Saturday night of spaghetti with sausage and meat sauce, salad and garlic bread. The apartment looks great and we are very proud of the newlyweds:)

Shiloh and Brian are attending Bible College at RHEMA; it has been a rocky month as she was hospitalized recently with a septic infection but thanks to the Lord and many prayers she is doing better. They both plan to be in Youth Ministry.
Here is an old devo I wrote some years back about Shiloh:

Rock On, My Daughter

“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

We went to our first Aerosmith Rock Concert together, I was 54; we were celebrating her 15th birthday.

She introduced me to Rock music, and the true Rock introduced Himself to her soon after.

I was a child of the fifties and we had Elvis, The Twist, Be-Bop-a-Lula and more. But since I was a mother first in my teens, and then ended up having my last child right before I turned 40 there was a whole lotta shaking going on in the music industry during those years. I was unfamiliar with what was going in music-wise in my youngest daughter, Shiloh's life. Thank God she bypassed the wild punk music and decided she was an 80's rock fan.
Going to that concert together, listening in on her guitar lessons and the relationship that grew between us as she yielded her desires to the Lord has helped me to realize that music is the main gift within her that needs to be cultivated.
Rescued by the Rock, Shiloh is now rocking out for the Lord.