How Fleeting My Life Is 

Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. (Psalm 39:4-5 NIV)

Do you ever get busy or take for granted how precious the very breath of life is? 

I still get consumed in the awe of life. Yet, at times, I find myself living as if I have forgotten that I am not guaranteed tomorrow. Being present, in each moment, can be difficult . . . even with the greatest intention. 

Deadlines, chores, kids, running to this and that, daydreaming about the next chapter in my life, you name it, I forget that my time is as quick as the next breath I take in. 

I get busy and complacent and there are many things I don’t do that I should. Even so, God, here with his merciful heart, reminding me just how fast my life has been. He has a way of showing me how important it is to stop, look around, observe, and take it in. 

Lord, you are the author and the maker of life. You have given it through your mouth and also by your son. Forgive me when I am not mindful of the greatest gift and gently pull me closer to where it was designed. I am thankful for every day and every breath that is yours. In your precious Holy name, Amen.

~ Baring His Beauty,

   Tiffany Thomas 

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A Mother’s Faith

She didn’t have much to give to me growing up

It was her love for her Savior

I inherited from her

No one I know love’s Papa more than she does

I remember her smiling through tears many times

As she would became one, with the bible stories she would share with me

Her face would light up, 

explaining to me a scripture, a teaching, a word from her King

Her God became real to me and my family

As we got a glimpse of what He meant to her

One by one

We came to know this King she adored

Early in the morning she would intercede for us

Prayer was her safe place, next to her King

Together they would fight many enemies unseen

Generational curses were cut off

While favour replaced it

We would get the prize 

While she wore the scars

Of laying it all down and paying the price

Her love for His word took me places, 

that I have never been

Seen through her teary eyes 

I had to believe

In a God that I could not see

but only felt through her deep love for Him

She gave me the greatest gift 

A mom can give her children

To love God with all her strength and to cling to His Word

She transfered His love onto all that she come into contact with

Religion was out by the door

She embraced intimacy with her King

She was enslaved by His passionate love for her

She could not let go

Through her prayers we were brought to our knees

To make the King of her heart

Part of our every move

My fondest memories were watching her worship

She would became one with her King

Oblivious of those around

She would go places I have never discovered

Today my favorite position is to worship and to wait on my King

It will be my greatest reward

If one day my children would look back smiling

Remembering a mom who mirrored God’s grace and heart to them

~ Ebigale Wilson 

Thank you to all the moms, mentors, guardians, aunt’s, friends, who still believe that the greatest gift we can give the next generation is a relationship with their Heavenly Father. 

Thank you for passing the baton of faith, to your own children and the next generation.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your forehead.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

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 

The Canvas Of My Life 

Despite my unstable childhood, like most little girls I remember the early arousal of maternal instincts kicking in. I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to cook, clean, and care for my family. Many summer days I remember setting up house in the front yard, caring for my doll, who was of course a girl! I hand washed her clothes, hung them on the clothes line, and prepared pretend bottles. What bliss! What a joyous time of innocence and pretend!

As life unfolded before me, I never lost that feeling. Although I was no Einstein, I knew I was relatively smart and could do just about anything I wanted to do; but being a wife and mom was my first goal and eventually turned into my first ministry.

I write to you today, not as a young mother with little babies, blissfully happy in my career choice. I humbly come to you as a veteran. I’m closing in on half a century in age and 30 years and counting on mom duty. This journey has taken me to the heights and depths of my greatest accomplishments and worst fears. You would think by now I’d have all this figured out. Well, on the raising, I’m still getting there. On the growing, I’ve got a long way to go.

As I was praying while I lay in bed tonight, I talked to God about my fears and short comings. I wondered, after being in the work force again, if I was supposed to be at home, solely a wife and mom. How could I feel this way after all the growth and many, many miles He had brought me through?  

I saw before me a bright white painting canvas. I saw the vibrant and beautiful colors my first 3 boys stroked across the center of the surface; the bright yellows, orange, red and blue! A new beginning, a new generation of upbringing, traditions, and way of raising. Oh yes! This was my goal. To break the curse and raise strong, God fearing, happy children!  

Suddenly the palm of divorce smeared across my beautiful canvas. No! No! My vibrant yellow was rudely mixed with my brilliant orange, and the red and blue bled into all the colors, leaving, mixing, swirling, the beauty together until they left an ugly brownish, black stain across the center of my canvas. 

My painting is ruined. It will never be beautiful again. 

I worked, I provided. I attempted to add color by keeping those glorious traditions and ways of raising. But atop the brownish, black smear, the colors lacked brilliance. Little by little a few bright spots were added. Watching my first-born dive into the Word, mature and become a man, produced some yellow. A splash of blue, a spot of red, a hint of orange as I’ve seen my second son grow with his joyous heart and many talents. A hint of purple and yellow to see my third boy love life and perservere. Still on the outer surface, just at the edges, were the reminders of brownish, black.

Then I had my baby boy, Sam. Brilliant white were those outer edges! Stevie’s yellow shined beautifully! Nathan’s array of colors, so vivid! My Jonathon’s starbursts of purple and yellow shined like the sun! With all the experience, growth, and maturity, I just knew my painting was going to come out absolutely perfect, as the Master had planned it!

I diligently prayed and worked day and night to avoid any miss-strokes. If I made a mistake, meticulously I corrected, being sure to do it just as the Master instructed. This time, THIS time, my canvas would be to His liking. I just knew it would come out beautiful and pleasing to Him! 

Another 12 years, another divorce. I prayed, I worked, I provided, but I dared not to look at my canvas. I dared not. No. I cannot bear to see another black smear. To start all over, to recreate. All those years. My heart and courage could not bare it. 

 
That is where I have been for months. I refused to look. Tonight, in my doubt and fear, God raised the veil. He made me look. He forced me to see. I argued. I didn’t want to see. In submission and obedience, I sat, as He held His hand on the tarp, ready for the unveiling. My heart raced, and sank, and raced some more as He slowly lifted. 

I closed my eyes.

“Open, look what you’ve created,” He said.

Tears filled my eyes as I gazed upon my canvas. No brownish, black. “Where is it?’ I wondered. This is not my canvas. All I saw was beauty. But divorce, hardship! Where are they? This can’t be! Surely, I’ve left a mark, a blemish, a smudge, somewhere!

I asked the Master, “Why is there no blemish?”

He replied, “Because you allowed Me to make the strokes.”

Perhaps it’s best to do as the Master instructs. I will remain at home, doing what I’m doing. I did notice there was still a lot of white space on that canvas.

~ Sandra K. Andrews 

One Big Mistake 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Recently, I encountered one of the hardest experiences of one of my children. I think one of my toughest jobs [so far] maybe [forever and always] will be that of a parent.

My child, whom I love more than anything, made an error in judgement, a mistake.

It was a BIG MISTAKE.

Many emotions swirled around in my heart.  

I was angry. I was scared. I was confused. I was sad.

But mostly…. my heart was breaking for my child.

The pain, the guilt, the shame, I know what those have felt like. And the enemy was not far off from the lies he used to implant in my thoughts of myself. I knew what it was like to make a mistake that can’t be reversed or taken back.

I know the heartache and damage that comes by ONE BIG MISTAKE. And maybe, in some way, I was reliving my own past sins.

Maybe….. That is why my heart was deeply saddened for my child to have to live them out too.

I wanted to take it all upon myself. I didn’t want my child to suffer. I sure didn’t want them to experience the consequences that may be for a lifetime, possibly.

I couldn’t help but think about what it must have been like for God to love so deeply, to hurt so much, for his child/children. How much did his heart break over my errors in judgement? I thought about the greatness and depth his heart loves – despite my BIG MISTAKES.

Despite my child’s BIG MISTAKES.

God LOVES SO MUCH. He loved so much that he DID take it ALL on.

He gave because his love was for ALL.

And as much as I didn’t need to be condemned by harsh words of others, neither did my child by the critical words of his mother. My child needed me to demonstrate the same kind of love that I experienced from Jesus.

Jesus, let me be reminded of the magnitude you offer by the love and forgiveness you demonstrated on the cross. You are almighty and NO ONE is like you. Please forgive our sins, and Father direct each one of your children onto the path that was paved by your example. Walk and talk with us, comfort us, while confirming who we are in you. In every lesson, allow us to understand and know you deeper [still].

In Jesus Name, amen. 

Baring His Beauty,

Tiffany Thomas 

Unanswered Questions-Part 2

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord , the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 NIV

One beautiful weekend in July, I was on vacation trying my best to enjoy the present moment. But my spirit was not celebrating. It was troubled.
I didn’t understand what was going on, but deep within that sacred place that we both shared….I knew it had to do with you. 
Something shifted.

A couple days later as I watched the ultrasound technician measure your little head, your arms, and your legs. For a moment, I was relieved. You were a miracle in the making. 

And then the question came:
“Have you experienced any cramping?”
“No. Nothing at all, I replied.”
His look told me what my Spirit had revealed a few days before. Your baby’s heart stopped beating a few days ago based off of its measurements.

Our song had stopped playing.
I didn’t want to accept it. And I couldn’t tell this man that I already knew you were gone. I wanted it to be a mistake. I wanted to experience you alive and well safe in my arms.

I wanted to hear our melody playing at your birth.

God had other plans. I have learned that I just don’t have the opportunity to understand everything that happens here on this earth. I don’t think he designed me capable of understanding it all. 

But I do have the choice to trust his will for my life even when it hurts. I continue to have faith even when it’s hard to see what’s ahead. Someday, when I meet Jesus face to face, I will understand many things differently.

Be blessed in him today. Find comfort in his promises.

~Baring His Beauty,

   Tiffany Thomas 

Unanswered Questions 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.~1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

I remember the day I found out about you. A smile still emerges. And even though it was unexpected, I found myself sweetly delighted and anticipated your coming.

I became a bit nervous over the small age difference that would lie between you and your brother. And I often wondered if I would have the energy to chase after you both.

Naturally, fear caused me to question many things; but mostly, I questioned myself and my ability at being a great mother.

It wouldn’t take long before the idea of you settled, and so did the joy within the secret places of my heart.

After hearing the sound of your heartbeat, for the first time, there was a confirmation that provided comfort to my soul. I would sit back and patiently wait to hear that distinct swishing noise mixed with the sounds of my own heartbeat.

It was a duet, sweetly arranged, and beautifully spoken between us both. And I found my soul needing to search for it over and over again.

You were alive inside of me, and though our lives weren’t connected by the outside world, we shared the same breath, it was the one breathed into us both.

There was peace knowing [that my body] offered [yours] a covering of protection. It was like a cleansing rain that washed over all doubt.

I found myself getting lost and easily entertained by your mystery.
What would you be like? Would you mirror me?

Would I be yours as you were already mine?

Additionally…I questioned if it would be possible to love you as much as I already loved your brother? How could I love more when my heart was already so full?

I didn’t grasp that love is immeasurable by height or depth.

Love just IS.

It was clear.

There was no question.

                 You were love.

Part one. Please join me next Tuesday for the rest of the message.

~ Baring His Beauty 

    Tiffany Thomas 

A Time For Everything 


“There is a time for everything.”

I think I’ve heard this phrase over 100 times. I’ll be honest, I haven’t always appreciated it, but I found myself rejoicing in it this week.

In one glorious day my oldest daughter had her 23rd birthday, I attended the Baccalaureate service for my next oldest daughter, my middle-school daughter played her final softball game of the season, and my youngest daughter tumbled through her gymnastics recital. Oh, and my third-grade son competed in a track meet. Did I leave anyone out?

“Whew” allow me to take a breath as I recap the day.

Needless to say, I don’t believe I accomplished much at work. And that was okay . . . that day required time to participate in the various seasons of my children’s lives.

It hasn’t always been easy for me to just get up and go, choosing the right thing, over expectations of others, or of….myself.

But God has been speaking and my ears are perking-up in anticipation. I have no idea what awaits or where He will lead the next year, I dont even know what tomorrow will hold. What I do know for sure is that God has given me a new direction to my life. A new direction for His purpose.

For some reason, in this season, I find that I am at peace with this. There is actually an excitement stirring, even within this great unknown.

My faith and hope lie behind things yet unseen and I believe HIS treasures are hidden for those who believe to discover as we search for Him. Each new season is packed with new treasures to be found.

What season does the Lord have you in? What treasures are hidden for you to discover?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV) says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you in thankfulness for every season that has brought, and continues to bring me closer to you. I rejoice in the ability to experience time, memories and your treasures. My heart is overjoyed in every new discovery of your wondrous nature. Thank you for every season, good or bad, because it allows me to understand more of you. May I continue to learn who you are in every season.

In Jesus Name Amen.

~ Baring His Beauty

    Tiffany Thomas

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 

Where’s The Meat? 


We implement some Meatless Monday’s in our home. Really any day of the week works and sometimes we even do a couple days a week.   

We weren’t always like that. We ate our fair share of red meat until in 2008 we started eating better after a stroke forced us to. 

So we started eating more beans and legumes

  (which really what is the difference between beans and legumes? Can someone enlighten me?)

But Any Hoo- we have found our favorite meatless dinner.

At first I used brown rice and have slowly replaced the rice with cauliflower rice.

You take a bag of cauliflower rice and steam.  

(I tried to grate my own one time and am still finding it hidden around my kitchen, but if you are brave and just want to try it- knock yourself out. I prefer the pre grated already bagged version.) 

Steam the cauliflower and pour into a 13×9 pan. Season with cumin, chili powder, salsa, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Then add two cans of organic black beans rinsed. Stir together and add a little cheese and bake till cheese melts and beans are warmed.  
We like to top with shredded lettuce, avocado, ( or our Holy Guacamole ) and I let the kids eat with corn chips if they want.  

It is packed full of fiber and tastes — well you guessed it… #YummO.

         ~XXOO Michelle Bollom