Train 

WORTHY THOUGHT: If we don’t pass our values on to our children, someone else will.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Train up a child gently as a mother or father would gently feed a child, a little bit at a time and often. 

Good impressions on children in their learning age will help them choose to stay on the right path and will remain as they get older.
 ~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Hamburger Helper Grows Up 


I remember as a child in the 70’s we loved some Hamburger Helper. It was so good! 
Just Not so good for you….

Every once in awhile I will want to get the potato stroganoff one and I then I read the ingredients list and shudder and my conscience makes me leave it on the shelf. 

I have made my kids a homemade version of it before but it just takes way too many ingredients and time.  

Lately my kiddos have been wanting the cheesy greasy goodness of Hamburger Helper. Well, actually my adapted version since we stopped eating HH almost 10 years ago. 

So my version normally is all from scratch but sometimes I do opt for the box Mac N Cheese. When I go the “simple and quick” route with the box, I just don’t read the ingredients.  

I had some leftover ground sirloin that I sautéed with onions and threw in some more sautéed purple onions from the garden and a big chunk of Elephant Garlic with olive oil.  

Thankfully my kiddos like garlic and onions because we have lots of onions from my Mother In Laws garden right now and I always put enough to convince myself that it’s actually another serving of vegetables.  

Today  I wanted to save time and ingredients so I bought the store made Mac N Cheese box.

 I just didn’t read the ingredients list so my conscience stayed clear-but opted for this version since it promotes no artificial flavors or dyes etc. 


I boiled the noodles and threw all the ground sirloin, onions, garlic, herbs in with the cheese sauce and added a little steamed asparagus so they got another vegetable of course! 

So there you go- Dinner is done! 


Our Hamburger Helper Grows Up….
Just like my kiddos are in the blink of an eye.  

Makes for a happy and almost healthy dinner. 

What are you Cookin today? 
~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Love By Discipline 


Some time ago, I was caught off guard in regards to the importance of discipline. And God showed me where He instructs about it in Hebrews.

“We have all had fathers here on earth who disciplined us, and we respected them. So it is even more important that we accept discipline from the Father of our spirits so we will have [eternal or true spiritual] life.” Hebrews 12:9. (EXP)

My childhood was one of frequent and what seemed to be merciless encounters of discipline from parents who thought they were doing their best, at that time. I believe now that my parents meant to express love through their disciplinary actions but were without the tools to express such love.

Though I have reconciled with my painful past, as an adult, I have struggled with the harsh reality of flashbacks and have errored in the opposite direction. I realized that my skewed thoughts of discipline were, in part, responsible for creating a negative result in one of my daughters.

My fears of rejection and abandonment had allowed me to become lax in my parenting. Subconsciously, I thought my children had suffered enough through various life changes which had been unexpected and undesirable. I didn’t want to interject any more pain into their experience.

Slowly, over time, I became tolerant of things that I should have guarded against. I began to allow a little too much of this . . . and a little of that . . . until I found myself making excuses for their poor behaviors. Oh, you know, like, “they were too tired or upset” or “maybe they didn’t understand the direction provided.”

But then, unruly behaviors were growing as a direct result.

I never meant for my excuses, or enabling to create such changes in character. I obviously had not considered how their life would be effected in the absence of boundaries and clear expectations. In addition, I had not considered that it was developing a negative impact in their lives until things were simply out of control and I didn’t understand why . . .

But God has an amazing ability to draw me close to his heart. In a moment of closeness he provided an answer to my prayerful searching. He reminded me that He built consequences into the very fabric of nature and that even really great excuses do not prevent poor attitudes from yielding poor results. Even God disciplines the ones He loves for our own good, so that we might truly be his child and live, so that we may inherit and experience eternal life.

 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NIV

There is a clear purpose for our lives…..and it requires discipline.

It made me think about the pain that I have afflicted on the heart of my Heavenly Father at each and every unruly action he was calling me out of.

It provided a new understanding about discipline, it gave me a new way to look at how God loves.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us your word as a source of direction for each and every moment that arises in question. Thank you for disciplining us out of love, and providing a way to live by your instruction. Father, forgive us when our hearts become unruly. Guide us back to your ways and offer a chance to learn more about the harvest of righteousness and peace. I give you praise and glory for all that you are, all that you say and do, and for teaching us who we are to become in you.

In Jesus Name, Amen.
~ Baring His Beauty,

Tiffany Thomas

Cursed To Cause 

  
I Spent Days in the Crack House.

I can remember what the crack house smells like. I can remember what it looks like. I spent time there because my mom was what most people would consider a CRACK HEAD. When your mother is a drug addict if you have a younger siblings you become the parent at a very early age.  

When your mother is a drug addict you long for her love and you often get angry at her because she can’t love you back. When your mother is a drug addict you tell other people that she can’t come around because she’s working- when in fact she doesn’t really have a job. When your mothers a drug addict you blame yourself for her short falls. When your mother is a drug addict you live in fear wondering if you will become a drug addict too.

You see I lost my mother to drugs my 2nd semester in college. I asked GOD why…why did he give me those cards? Why was my mother a drug addict? Why did she die? 

He made this very clear… She was the medium that he used to get me to earth. I said okay GOD; but why did you take her from me. He said “Lereca if you experience a loss, just know I will bless you with something greater!” My latter will be greater! I receive it! 

GOD knew I would be willing to share my story/ her story. I am freed from the bondage that I experienced from not having my biological mother. Hopefully this story will offer freedom to someone else. 

God is humorous. He blessed me with my mom’s greatest assets: her ability to tell stories and her smile.    

What one might have considered my CURSE is now my CAUSE. This is why I smile. I learned to LOVE me…all of me. ~Lereca Monik 

#11AMSmile #LearningToLoveYourself #anewme #anewyou #lerecasmiles #itstimeforachange #liverestored #maven2016 #youreign

Magnolia Mine 

  

Magnolia sweet

Magnolia’s call

Magnolia memories

All summer long

Such fragile petals

Of our youth

Spent frolicking

Each afternoon

Cream colored skin

So soft and pale

Green eyes of emerald

Knew me so well

Magnolia tree swaying

In the storm

The fragrance of our

Past is mourned

Children laughing

In your limbs

Their echoes haunting

With the wind

Magnolia tree in

Your front yard

Will always be

In this woman’s heart 

Singing

Laughing

Dreaming

Smiling

Knowing we must

Say goodbye

Our souls forever 

Entwined

Magnolia mine

    ❤️Krystal Lynne 

             1992
  

I Don’t Revisit Painful Places

  

It was a reoccurring dream from my childhood. 

I was standing in the foyer of my great grandparents home in the dark. 

It was night time and the wind was blowing the white sheers in the long windows of each bedroom.

 I was pulling out a fleshy rope from out of my mouth. 

It was so long and it kept coming out as I wrapped it around my hand desperately trying to yank it out but there was no end. 

I was in elementary school and it was very frightening. 

It was bitter and it was choking me. I will never forget the texture or the taste. 

There was no one to help me or explain what was happening. 

My teeth felt like they were loosening and coming out. 

What a weird dream?!? 

Never understood it and 

I don’t revisit painful places 

but….this heart of mine is being provoked and tilled and the light is exposing darkness. 

The darkness has to leave and light always overcomes. 

The foyer is gone. 

The house no longer exists. 

My memories of question are not answered by bitterness! 

Oh taste and see that The Lord is Good!!! 

His sweetness and shining are triumphing over that place I stood battling that unseen force …..I’m dying but only to those lonely places…

It is time to rest and not fight. 

Bitterness will not be my plight. 

I’m learning, listening, leaning on the Lord of Life.
❤️Krystal Lynne 

My Saving Grace 

 
 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had faith. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trust. If one knew the history of my life, they would wonder how this little girl escaped the clutches of the enemy and rose above the curse that was surely attached to my childhood. My self-diagnosis ……. God.

One of the earliest memories I have, which happens to be one of the last childhood memories of my mother, is well before kindergarten, which at that time started when you were about six years old. I remember my mother, coming to the back yard as I was standing on the highest place I could find. I strove to find the closest place to God I could ……… a 4×4 piece of scrap wood I had put on an overturned 2 quart pot my mother had given me to “mix” ingredients for mud pies. 

Out of the blue, she appeared. She stood at the back door with this weird look on her face, a puzzlement to me that looked like a swirl of love and question. I wondered if I was in trouble. She raced to me and gave me the biggest hug and the best kisses a kid could ask for.  She said, “Mrs. Cratz from across the street just called and said you were singing at the top of your lungs!” I thought for sure I was in trouble, despite the hugs and kisses. If I had disturbed the neighbors, it was surely a serious offense. My mother said, “Mrs. Cratz said you were so beautifully singing, “At the Cross,” that she was moved to tears.” I would imagine there was no beauty in the notes at the belting of my song, perhaps it was simply the words. 

I later learned, I was four years old.

Directly across the street from our little house, was a small Baptist church. When I say “across the street,” I mean about 8-10 adult paces. We lived in a very tiny town. This was my place of refuge. I loved God. I loved the people who loved God, and apparently, by the time I was four, I was dressing myself in my finest and attending church by myself. I remember one time I couldn’t find any clean underwear, so I wore my brothers, haha. I was scolded for this when I got home, but it was worth not missing Sunday morning church! Oh, how I loved those songs! They spoke to me, ministered to me. At the time, I didn’t know why. I didn’t realize the circumstances I was in were abnormal and potentially life altering. I just knew, I loved God!

This was my saving grace.

Life happened, as it unrealistically does. I went through some hard, horrible, and terrible things. They were not exclusive, my siblings experienced them as well and in no way have I ever felt singled out, like I was the only one, or had feelings of “poor pitiful me.” 

Save your pity for someone who needs it, I’m an overcomer!

Then I was married. Then I had kids. Still, my burdens were light. As I worked my way through my horrors as a child, I sought God, my heart needed Him. Before I ever knew salvation, He was all I had ever known. Marriage brought new challenges, but my children brought new opportunities. A gift, a second chance to change that curse of childhood, to do better. I was committed. I was determined.

As a young adult and mother in the Christian community, I would often hear older folks say, “I wish Jesus would just come back now.” I admired and looked up to these people, but in my heart, I didn’t feel the same. That made me feel guilty, lacking spiritually somehow. In truth, I wanted to see my three handsome boys become men. As a homeschooling, dedicated mom, I wanted to see the fruits of my labor come to pass. I wanted to see marriages, grandchildren ……. I wanted to see my babies flourish. I knew this was a selfish thing, somehow, somewhere. But I couldn’t deny, it was how I truly felt.

Today, almost twenty years later, so much has been experienced since the days of naivety and innocence. My view has changed drastically. 

My son, nine tender years of age, asks me, “Isn’t Jesus coming back soon, Mama?” 

The days of levity and carefree illusions are past. Sam sees what I see. We both see what the elders of my day must have seen. Devastation on a personal level, of drugs and sin in those we love. I see siblings struggle with past issues that has led them down a different path. They have often asked me how I turned out so normal when everyone else seems to be such a mess. I used to feel guilty about that, honestly. And hey, I’m not really that normal. I’ve strayed, made mistakes, done some really stupid things, but I’ve always had God. And that’s what I tell them.

On the news Sam sees innocence lost in that beautiful twelve year old girl forced to execute a Christian at the hands of masked, horrid men, proclaiming god’s will. He sees a Godless people, forcing the Godly to prove their right, prove their faith, and fight for their freedom. It disturbs his spirit and makes him angry.

My son, is truly the son of his mother.

In my youth, when I could not justify for my personal, selfish reasons, the feelings of my elders ….. Now I pray ….. NOW, as they did. “Jesus, come quickly!” I beg forgiveness for my selfish and worldly desires to see my children reach maturity. To not have one more day I worry about my heartsick loved ones, to not have one more feeling of insufficiency, to know that not one more Christian, one more person, is taken, or sacrificed for their belief in MY JESUS ……. To BE with God, converse with Noah, and walk with Jesus …… Now THAT my friends, is living!

And so, many years later, I realize ….. at four years old, Jesus held me close to his breast, cared for me, protected me. For that was when, “I first saw the light. And the BURDENS of my heart rolled away.” Burdens I didn’t even know I carried.

I thank you Father, that You took my burdens ever so young. You showed me grace. The plan of the enemy was thwarted and I have been repaid 100 times over. Thank you Father, for your saving grace. 

It was there by faith, I received my sight.

~ Sandra K. Yates