Wrap Around Presence

I don’t know about you, but I very much enjoy reading The Passion Translation (TPT) of the Bible.  I typically study from the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New American Standard Version (NASB), but there are times that I read The Passion Translation and it speaks to me in a different way, somehow solidifying what I just read in other translations.  

Yesterday I was reading the Psalms in The Passion Translation, and there was a verse that jumped out at me which made me feel instant comfort: “Lord, You are a paradise of protection to me. You lift me high above the fray. None of my foes can touch me when I’m held firmly in your wrap-around Presence!” (Psalm 61:3).

Oh, how I felt an instant sense of comfort just reading those three words, “wrap-around Presence.”

Suddenly images from my childhood came flooding back to my mind, and I felt the Lord speak.

I used to have a blanket that my Mom made me when I was a toddler.  It was yellow on one side, and had rainbows and golden sparkles on the other side, and white, ruffled ribbon all around the edges.  It was quite a large blanket, and it went EVERYWHERE with me!

I would carry that thing to my grandparents’ homes, to sleep overs and family vacations and it was always in any room in the house that I happened to be in.  Had I been allowed to bring it to school, it probably would have accompanied me there, too.  If we watched television, I would wrap myself up in my blanket and feel warm and safe. It would wrap-around me and bring a sense of comfort to any situation.

When my MawMaw died, I sat in my closet with my blanket wrapped around me, and I felt almost cocooned from the sadness.

Lord, You are a paradise of protection to me. You lift me high above the fray. None of my foes can touch me when I’m held firmly in your wrap-around Presence!”

I want to encourage you today that the Presence of God has everything that you need to feel comfortable and safe.  In this season of uncertainty, fear and for some, grief, allow the Presence of God to be a “paradise of protection” to you as He lifts you high above the natural situations that you see with your eyes.  In the busyness of your mind as you try to work out the “hows” and “whens” of the future, don’t forget to allow His Presence to wrap-around you like an old blanket.

As a child, my blanket was covered in rainbow promises and glory sparkles – and so is God.  He will always cover you with glory and promise and protection when you allow Him to wrap you up in His love.

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Wrap Around Presence

Don’t Blink Moms And Dads

Oh – Momma’s and Daddy’s hold on!

You may be in the trenches of sleepless nights or walking the floors with teething tots ..but this too shall pass.

Dirty diapers and bottles galore

Spit up and drool

Too many words

Toys thrown all around

Drained bank accounts…

but this too shall pass.

Activities and projects and too many school papers to sign about to nut you up …

but this too shall pass.

Lunches packed

Lunch money forgotten

Breakfast of champions rushed

and backpacks left

Homework for too many hours

that cut into dinner time…

but this too shall pass.

Fighting and arguing

Multiple meltdowns

Slamming doors and

whining “I am Bored”…

but this too shall pass.

Dirty socks and dirty rooms and nothing ever put back in its spot

Toilet rolls empty and the last paper towel when you need two…

but this too shall pass.

Prayer and prayers

and more prayers

Uncomfortable topics discussed

Manners taught

Eagle eyes and snooping

through phones and rooms and stalking their social media accounts…

but this too shall pass.

Driving and dating and

late nights waiting…

but this too shall pass.

You wake up one day and BOOM 💥 just like that your babies are 20 and you can’t quite believe that many years have passed and you survived all of this X2!

No more Teens.

I now have amazing adults that work hard and have such an amazing and caring heart and love for God and others.

Wicked Smaht!

And crazy funny.

I always wanted a bald cotton top blue eyed boy and a curly haired green eyed girl…and I got just that!

At the same time!

I am so super blessed that these kiddos call me Mom. I could not have done it without my Jackpot of a Hubby and Baby Daddy.

Happy Birthday C & C

We love you – XXOO

Traveling Texas

Mother’s Day Weekend I had a bit of a #RoadTripReset. I got to meet up with Elfin Morgan for an amazing time to be interviewed for her documentary and God did so much more!

Many a God winks and special moments and some good quiet time to reflect, read and rest.

One of the best parts was traveling Texas.

God downloaded this while driving back home yesterday.

I can hear my Daddy say –

Girl! You’re a poet and didn’t know it!

(Actually he knew it! I have written so many over the years, but this one feels like he and God helped me.)

Enjoy!

****

I set out a traveling

Just my truck and I

I didn’t even need to venture

pass the States line.

You see,Texas is plenty big enough for me

With lots and lots of things to see…

Oh, I saw farm houses and fences

And watering hole ditches

I saw rolling hills and flat lands

Passed by County road markers and

Stopped at old country stores

for cold drinks

I saw people shout “howdy”

Or a friendly wave hello

I drove a many undivided

and divided highways

Uneven lanes in unreachable places

I saw short fat oaks

And tall skinny pines

Plenty of road kill and rest stops

Some deserted shops

in sleepy one red light towns.

I saw so many things

From Main Streets to Moo Cows

Antiques to Armadillos

Gas Stations to Garage Sales

Wildflowers to Windmills

Boats to Bait shops

Dairy Queen’s to Dollar Generals

Dancehalls to Diners

Hospitals to Honey

It was downright funny!

Slow traffic to the right

And sudden merges left

Tons of churches, chapels, and cemeteries

In every town I went.

I saw trailers and tin roofs

And a few taxidermist too.

I saw everything from

Hay bales to Horses

Flying flags to flea markets.

I traveled over bridges

and down back roads

There were big shoulders for sudden stops

or to catch that Texas sunset

Even a right on time Dirt road

for the quick detours to do your business.

Oh, I traveled through a many counties

On roads with no center line

With plenty of folks with no hurry for time.

From Bridges and backroads

I caught a glimpse of it all.

Blinking lights

4 way stops

And the occasional Turnarounds

for fresh peaches pecans

and red ripe tomatoes

I saw Bulls and baby goats

RV parks and Ranches

Game rooms and Guitar shops

Water towers and Watermelons

Red necks and Rodeos

Tractors and Truckers

And some pretty crazy mother “lovers”!

I held my breath passed

DPS and those Car Chasing Yard Dogs

I saw my share of

Buzzards and Bugs on the windshield

Historical Markers and High Game Fences

Beauty shops and barber shops

Bingo halls and Banks

Feed stores to yellow fields

I think I just about saw it all.

From 55 to 30 to back up to 75

I rolled on down the roads

Past the pastures and the prairies

Past pickups and pawn shops

And an occasional pool hall.

I smiled at nature

and got a few good laughs

I prayed and I sang

But it was time to get on back.

I thought about my momma

And missed my family too.

I remembered old times as a kid

Traveling these Texas Roads is what

My Daddy and I did.

Things I have seen a million times

Suddenly felt like something new.

You see,

Sometimes we don’t know

where we’re headed

And sometimes we do…

So how about you go on now and load up

And set out on that next great adventure-

But be sure before you do

Ask the Good Lord to show you

somethings anew.

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

Restoration Stories – Stephanie Palmer 

I am a people person, always have been. People intrigue me, and I have a desire to know about each person. Probably why one of my favorite jobs was at the mall. I would meet practically every type of person on a daily basis. And it some how filled my heart to get to know each of them and somehow make there day special. I didn’t always understand why, but as I look back, I can see how God was able to use that to speak to many who would not have been spoken to otherwise.

Lately as I look around, I see all kinds of people. They range in age and background. Some have money, some are doing there best to get by. Some are very educated and some have little schooling for one reason or another. But, one thing that they all have in common is that they all have a past. As far as I know, none of us, were just beamed down one day from the heavens.

And with a past, comes some sort of baggage. 

Now, maybe some of you only have good baggage, and that’s great. But, it has been my experience that most folks tend to carry the beat up, dirty, stinkin’ kind of baggage from their past with them as they go through this life. I mean the good stuff is in there, but our day to day lives tend to be affected more dominantly by the things that went wrong in our past, the things that we would change if given the opportunity. And this kind of baggage, is the kind that is heavier than we were ever meant to carry. 

The kind that causes us to have mental, spiritual and even physical issues that change the very way that we live our lives. If we let it.

When I was around 7 or 8, I had an experience happen to me that changed who I was. I don’t speak of it often, unless the Lord brings it to mind for use in His Kingdom, so not many people know this about me. It was something that happened with a man who crossed a line physically in an appropriate way, and for me, it was like a switch was flipped on in my life that I was not emotionally or mentally equipped to deal with.

And here is what it ultimately did. It changed who I was on the inside. And it changed who I became on the outside. One moment after it happened, I was changed. The little girl who was innocent and care free, became confused and tainted…in a moment. And it muddied up everything else in my life as I went forward. It took me down a road that I never should have gone down. And I began making life altering decisions based on this one moment in time.
The enemy began to use this encounter as a weapon of confusion against me for many years. And it contaminated the young woman that I was supposed to become. 

In that moment, which was literally a smaller time frame than it takes to microwave a cup of coffee, the enemy tried to take my purpose. 

In John 10:10, it says that the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy”. And on that day, he tried to do just that, take the purpose from a little girl, before she even knew what the word “purpose” meant.

And just like he has done to so many others, starting way back in the garden of Eden, he handed me a set of lenses and said “put these on, and you’ll see things more clearly”.
But, really, everything and everyone began to look distorted and I became very confused about life and the value that I held in this world.

I became broken on the inside.

Years later, the Lord showed me something that changed the way that I processed my original experience.
He took me back to the place where it all began, to the place where I was hurt. He asked me if I felt justified to keep feeling hurt and angry. I told Him that I did. I was hurt, and I was just a kid, so, yes, I deserved to feel hurt. I was a victim so if I went into a court of law, I would win the “case” against the person that hurt me.
He said, “you are right, you are completely justified on all levels. But…if you choose to carry ‘being right’ in your bag, there are things attached”. What did He mean?

He said that if I continued to carry my hurt, my confusion, my anger, my trauma, justified or not. I had to also carry shame, bitterness, heaviness, brokenness, and all the other things that were attached to it. And ultimately, the enemy would use those things as a doorstop, to prop open the door of my life to the things that HE wanted me to carry…I would then be serving HIS purpose. He said that I would carry it in my mind, my spirit…and ultimately my body. And eventually, it would contaminate everything in my life going forward, it would even make me sick in body if I continued down that road.

And with that choice, I could never grow in Him…not fully. The weight of what I was carrying, would be too heavy for me to bear and go forward in Him. I would continue to walk in circles, never forward, never completely free. It would be like a bungee cord that would pull me right back to the start every time I tried to step into what He had for me.

I began to cry, but through the tears, I began to think about what I valued more my broken past…or HIS victorious future. I wanted what God had for me and I wanted to be free from all that the enemy had put in my bag so many years ago. And once I understood, that I had to lay one down, to pick the other things up, it got easier. 

And I was able to move forward.

It was on that day, that I laid my hurt, brokenness, confusion, insecurities, anger, and all else that came with it, at the foot of the Cross. Since I did that, God has been able to use me in ways that I never dreamed.

I will not say that I never revisit those wounds. But, I will say that when I do, it is much like a scar. It is numb to the touch, and it is only visible enough, that I am able to show others how far God has brought me so that they can see hope for the wounds that they may be carrying. 
See, scars show up, so that others can see where we’ve been, but they are no longer bleeding wounds, when our healing is complete.

I will not allow the enemy continue to use them as a weapon against me. I will not even give them a forum, unless God is using them to help someone else. I will not speak of them as though they belong to me BECAUSE THEY BELONG TO JESUS! And if I continually revisit them, it’s like I’m taking them back, and I don’t want them back. 

I had to forgive the person that hurt me, because hurt people, hurt people, and to be forgiven, we must forgive.

My prayer for whoever is seeing this, is that if you are hurt, ask the Lord to give you strength and wisdom to let go of that hurt. Unload your bag of hurts at His feet. Don’t allow the enemy to use them against you for one more second!

And let Him heal those places in you that have kept you going in circles. 

A tethered bird can never leave the ground…It can never fly. 
You were meant to fly. 

Don’t settle for the enemies sad imitation of life on the ground, lean in and let God give you wings!

In Him is not only Life, but LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!! (John 10:10)

“He RESTORES my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

~Stephanie Copeland Palmer 

    “Leave Them There” 

Slow Down 

I thought today I was going to write a wonderful tribute blog about my twins.  

                   That did not happen!

For the sake of preserving and getting over my head cold and bronchitis I could not risk the snot session that all the memory unpacking would have created.

Instead I will share a song I ran across months ago by Nichole Nordeman that has been wrecking me with the reminiscing of how fast the years really do go by.

Today my amazing twins turn 18 years old.  

In a little over a month they will be graduating High School and start college.  

It is true – You do blink and they grow up right before your eyes.

To my beautiful children, you are the very breath in my lungs. Despite my short comings and failings I Thank God that He chose me and entrusted me to have the unbelievable honor of being your Mom.  
       
              Slow down would ya-just a little! 
                

                     Happy Birthday
      ~ XXOO Mom aka Michelle Bollom 

A Wrinkle On Your Forehead 


Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead…..

This is your life…
Are you who you want to be?
…..Is it everything you’ve dreamed it would be? 

Today for Song Sunday we are going back a few years to a classic song by Switchfoot, This Is Your Life.  

As you listen to the song and really hear the lyrics…. Ask yourself…. 


Are You Who You Want To Be?

Is life everything you dreamed it could be? 


If not…… Then start making steps to change! 

Yesterday is dead and over….. 

Just a wrinkle on your forehead.   


Make a plan now for a better tomorrow! 

            ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Lyrics:

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead


Yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken


Don’t close your eyes


Don’t close your eyes



This is your life and today is all you’ve got now
And today is all you’ll ever have


Don’t close your eyes


Don’t close your eyes



This is your life


Are you who you want to be?


This is your life


Are you who you want to be?



This is your life


Is it everything you’ve dreamed it would be

When the world was younger


And you had everything to lose?



Yesterday is a kid in the corner


Yesterday is dead and over



And this is your life


Are you who you want to be?


This is your life


Are you who you want to be?


This is your life

Is everything you’ve dreamed that it would be

When the world was younger

And you had everything to lose?


Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes


This is your life

Are you who you want to be?

This is your life

Are you who you want to be? Yeah
This is your life

Are you who you want to be, who you want to be? Yeah

This is your life

Are you who you want to be, who you want to be?


This is your life

Is it everything you dreamed that it would be

When the world was younger

And you had everything to lose?

You had everything to lose?

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 

Another Music Legend Has Died


Grammy-winner, Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member, Academy of Country Music Poet’s Award honoree, and fearless raconteur – Guy Charles Clark…. AKA… “Uncle Guy” died today. 

I am not sure if this is where I get my love of poetry, of songs, of writing and rhymes. I have always as far back as I can remember been a lover of words.  


When I was a child my dad remarried when my twin sister and I were almost 7. We had a new Aunt and Uncle and Cousins and even three Step Brothers. 

 Our new Uncle was Guy Clark.  


Fast forward many years and most of the world now knows the legendary Guy Clark too.  


Sadly, I awoke this morning to an email from my former step-mother Jan. She let me know that Uncle Guy had passed. I knew he was on hospice and was getting close and had been praying for them all-but that probably explained why I barely slept a wink last night and found myself praying most of the night. 


Although I had not seen Guy in many years, the flood of childhood memories flooded my mind as big tears streamed my cheeks. I remembered so many fun times growing up and one especially favorite memory was learning to dance by standing on Uncle Guy’s feet as he twirled me around the old hard wood floors. I remember being mesmerized when he would rattle off such amazing lyrics and rhymes while playing his guitar and telling such amazing stories.  


The world lost another musical great today.  
Go rest high on that mountain Uncle Guy! 

          ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 
                    Guy Charles Clark

November 6, 1941 – Tuesday May 17, 2016
Grammy-winner, Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member, Academy of Country Music Poet’s Award honoree, and fearless raconteur Guy Charles Clark died Tuesday after a long illness. 

He was born in the dusty west Texas town of Monahans on November 6, 1941. The family lived at his grandmother’s 13-room shotgun hotel; home to bomber pilots, drifters, oilmen and a wildcatter named Jack Prigg, the subject of Clark’s famous song “Desperados Waiting For A Train.” When Guy’s father returned from WWII and graduated from law school, the Clarks moved to the Gulf coast town of Rockport, Texas. Guy came of age in the pretty little beach town. As captain and center, Guy led the football team. He played guard in basketball, ran the 100-yard dash and threw discus in track and field. He won science fairs, joined the Explorer’s club, presided over the junior class as president, acted in school plays, excelled on the debate team, illustrated the yearbook, and fell in love with Mexican folk songs and the Flamenco guitar.

After a couple of false starts at university, Guy joined the Peace Corps in 1963. He trained in Rio Abajo, Puerto Rico, practicing water survival, rock climbing and trekking, followed by a month of book learning at the University of Minnesota. After turning down an assignment in Punjab, India, Guy moved to Houston, where he opened a guitar repair shop with his friend Minor Wilson. He played guitar and sang folk songs at the Houston Folklore Society, Sand Mountain coffee shop and the Jester Lounge, where he began life long friendships with fellow struggling songwriters and musicians Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kay Oslin, Frank Davis, Gary White and Crow Johnson. He married his first wife, folksinger Susan Spaw, and they had a son Travis in 1966.

In 1969, after splitting with Susan, Guy moved to San Francisco and again joined Minor Wilson in a guitar repair shop. Within a year, he moved back to Houston, met and fell in love with a beautiful dark haired painter named Susanna Talley. Susanna moved from Oklahoma City to Houston to be with Guy and after a few months, she sold a painting to fund the couple’s move to Los Angeles. Guy landed a job building Dobros at the Dopyera Brothers Original Musical Instruments Company. He played with a bluegrass band on the weekends and pitched his songs to publishing companies in between. 

He signed a publishing deal with Sunbury Dunbar and moved to Nashville in the fall of 1971. He and Susanna crashed on songwriter Mickey Newbury’s houseboat for a few weeks and then moved into a small rental house at 1307 Chapel Avenue in East Nashville. Guy and Susanna returned to Newbury’s houseboat on January 14, 1972 along with Mickey and Susan Newbury and Townes Van Zandt as best man; the five friends sailed up the Cumberland River to the Sumner County Courthouse where Guy Clark and Susanna Talley married.

In that first year in East Nashville Susanna and Townes wrote “Heavenly Houseboat Blues,” while Guy turned out “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” “L.A. Freeway,” and “That Old Time Feeling.” By the time Guy released Old No. 1, his debut critically acclaimed album for RCA Records in 1975, he had written several soon-to-be classic songs including “She Ain’t Going Nowhere,” “Let Him Roll,” “Rita Ballou,” and “Texas 1947.”

He jumped from RCA to Warner Brothers in 1978, scoring a number one song with Ricky Skaggs’s take on “Heartbroke” in 1982 and breaking into the Billboard country chart with “Homegrown Tomatoes” in 1983. Clark hit his stride when he signed with Sugar Hill Records in 1989, and then released a string of significant folk and Americana albums with Sugar Hill, Asylum Records and Dualtone Music Group during the next two-and-a-half decades: Old Friends, Boats to Build, Dublin Blues, Keepers, Cold Dog Soup, The Dark, Workbench Songs, Somedays the Song Writes You and his final 2013 Grammy-winning Best Folk Album, My Favorite Picture of You.

For more than forty years, the Clark home was a gathering place for songwriters, folk singers, artists and misfits; many who sat at the feet of the master songwriter in his element, willing Guy’s essence into their own pens. Throughout his long and extraordinary career, Guy Clark blazed a trail for original and groundbreaking artists and troubadours including his good friends Rodney Crowell, Jim McGuire, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp, and Vince Gill.

His beloved Susanna died from complications of lung cancer in 2012. Due to ongoing health problems, Guy stopped touring and recording shortly thereafter. He is survived by his son Travis and daughter-in-law Krista McMurtry Clark; grandchildren Dylan and Ellie Clark; sisters Caroline Clark Dugan and Jan Clark; manager and friend Keith Case; caretaker and sweetheart Joy Brogdon; nieces, nephews and many, many dear friends, colleagues and fans.

Funeral arrangements are pending.  

        Obituary Written by Tamara Saviano 

Happy Birthday Daddy

  
My daddy would be 70 years old today.  

I am sure he is celebrating Big if they celebrate birthdays in Heaven. If they celebrate homecomings, this November will be his 8th homecoming anniversary. 

 I miss hearing his voice and his great big hugs and kisses and even his sneaky mischievous bite of my nose. I miss all his silly rhymes and poems and his calls just to say nothing but “It’s Your Daddy & I love you

I miss the emails and the phone conversations that lasted for hours and hours never running out of things to say. I miss that he loved large and always tried to help someone even in the times he had not much to give. I miss sharing recipes and what new music we found. I love that he never ever made me wonder if I was loved or special or the apple of his eye. He always said or signed his pictures “My favorite daughter” which he also did that to my sisters too! 

He gave me a love for all sorts of music and taught me to never despise the hard times. I loved how he could tell a story and make you feel like you were right there. He always made sure I knew he was one of my biggest fans. 

Sometimes I imagine my dad and my brother Toby (whose 10th homecoming is in a few weeks) and the amazing mansions with elaborate gardens and koi ponds and all the amazing art Dad is now creating for Jesus and my brother Toby playing and loving on all the animals and babies in Heaven. 

I spent far too many years very sad on their birthdays and homecoming anniversaries. I grieved my brother’s death in 2006 without hope and was able to grieve my dad’s death in 2008 with much hope. 

I am comforted now that because of the sting of their deaths I have come to know Jesus on a much more personal and deeper level. Because of my trust and their trust in Jesus, we will all one day be reunited. The more time I spend in my Heavenly Father’s presence the closer I feel to my earthly Father and my brother Toby. 

I am thankful for the moments that I see my dad’s dimple and quirky smile, his funny and hilarious personality and of course his True Die Hard Dallas Cowboys fan in my son, And I see his amazing artistic talent and fix anything, so creative and kind loving spirit in my daughter.  

Happy Birthday Daddy! No sad tears today –

 I promise not to be a squall monkey.  
   XXOO ~ Your Favorite Daughter, 

                        Michelle Bollom