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

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Pause Button 

   I haven’t really been able to blog much this past month. I feel like my inspiration flew out of me and perched itself on a far away tree branch. It’s not that I am sad or upset. I am sitting in a pause button mode. 

I’m like a character on a program and I just got stopped in mid air…a freeze frame. Everywhere I go I’m getting these deep thoughts watching my surroundings. If I wrote about them you would think I had flipped my lid. For example, right now I see a sweet slow elderly couple walking out of a restaurant. I pause to watch them. She is eating her ice cream cone. He is walking ahead watching out for her. I’m thinking if she only knew how that ice cream is made. I was just made aware by my daughter who works there. How long have they been married? Were they on a date? 

Lord, don’t let anyone ambush them. It’s dark and probably past their bedtime. I know it is mine. I whisper a prayer of protection over them. 

I’m now freeze framing them in my mind and coming up with my own dialogue about their life. 

 Lately, I have been saying “live in the moment“, “enjoy each day” as if to bottle it up and stick it in a jar. I want to keep it preserved on a shelf to pull down later and remember it all over again. See that’s my deep thinking!  

     It’s hard sometimes to let your kids go off to college when they have lived with you their whole life. It’s challenging to have them come back at times and refit back into their spot of departure. It’s disheartening to look at your youngest and know she too will be leaving soon to do the whole college thing. We know seasons change. We know it’s weird to stunt their growth and keep them in diapers. Can we not stick them in those same jars and neatly stack them on our shelf? These are all inevitable happenings of life. You can’t push the pause button here and stop the natural progression of life. 

So you ask what’s my point??
I think just a friendly reminder to……
Push the button and take a pause!

Stop and take time each day to notice new people, places and things. 

Nouns on Notice!!

Take delight in them and continue onward tucking away any new found discoveries. 

Push & Pause, 

Kelley Allison 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

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 

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 

Restoration Stories – Jules M 

Divorce was one of those things that was never going to happen to me…like NEVER in a million years. And if someone had told me that I would be on my own as a single mum for 10 years, I would have said…no way, not a chance, not going to happen!

This was not meant to be my story.

I met my husband when I was 22 while we were both working for the same church. I had purposefully not dated and had “waited for the right one”, played by the rules and ticked all the boxes, naively thinking that this would somehow guarantee me a blessed, happy, life-long marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way regret any of the choices I made, but my faith was in my own goodness (which was actually self-righteousness!) not in God’s goodness…which I was soon to experience in so many ways.

After six years of marriage and two beautiful boys, my husband had met someone else and would ultimately leave me for her. When it all came to light, our marriage was over almost immediately. In the months leading up to this, there were signs. I knew deep down something was very wrong and that our marriage was in grave trouble. I didn’t know what was happening but I just remember desperately praying, “GOD YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS!!” I never would have imagined He would instead allow it to finish.

I remember sitting in church alone, feeling heartbroken and confused, and felt God tell me that our marriage would soon be over…NO.GOD.NO!!! My heart knew it to be true but my head couldn’t accept or even imagine it. I was filled with shame and fear…a failed marriage…how could I face people?! The thought of our beautiful children, only 2 years and 6 months old, not growing up in a whole family, not having their dad walk through the door at night or being there for every milestone was the most devastating part of all. Every ideal about marriage and family I’d held so dearly was crumbling away.

It was just a few weeks later I found “that text” and our marriage was suddenly over. Yet through all the pain, hurt and confusion was an underlying peace and calm I could not explain. What at first seemed like my worst nightmare come true became the beginning of a journey from brokenness to wholeness and in trusting God like I’d never had to before.
 
A Path of Peace…
When my marriage ended, I felt like my world had been turned upside down. Everything was so uncertain, emotions were incredibly raw, and insecurities were at an all-time high…it was a little fight or flight…and it could have gone either way. Yet, in those early moments and days, amongst the shock and devastation, I felt a definite sense that God was calling me to walk the narrow path…a path of peace…which meant taking the high road and doing the right thing before God, even when I didn’t want to.

By choosing to obey and walk that path of peace, I saw God do incredible things for me and my boys and bring the best out of a not so good situation. I was able to navigate a peaceful and amicable relationship with my ex-husband which we still have today and I’m so grateful for. If I’d gone up against him, wanting to make him pay and get my vengeance, it could have been a very different story and very ugly for all involved. God’s ways are so much higher and better than ours!

Keep your Heart Right…

I also knew that, regardless of what had happened, I needed to keep my heart right. I had to fully forgive my husband. As a Christian who’d grown up in a loving home and in church my whole life hearing many a word about forgiveness…I couldn’t really pretend I didn’t know any better! As much as I would have liked to have justified and indulged myself in feeling angry and vindictive out of my pain and brokenness, here’s what I quickly realised – if I was going to call myself a Christian…I had to act like one! If I wanted God to make me whole and bless my life, then I had no choice but to forgive.

When we intentionally forgive the person who hurt us, we’re allowing God to bring the best out in us and keep our hearts and lives flowing with goodness, grace and blessing. Likewise, when we don’t forgive, we will find bitterness, resentment and vengefulness taking hold of our heart and then flowing into and toxifying our lives.

Through my divorce and the years to follow I would pray and bless my ex-husband and his partner. It’s actually really hard to hold a grudge against people that you’re praying for and asking God to bless because God literally changes your heart towards them. Trust me, there were some days I may have prayed a blessing through gritted teeth haha! But seriously, doing this totally kept my heart on track.

It’s been quite a journey and through it all I’ve seen the goodness, faithful, kindness, protection, provision and favour of God over myself and my boys time and time again. Yes, there’s been plenty of hard times but through it all God has always been with us. I am now re-married after 10 years on my own and have been blessed with a loving (gorgeous!), godly husband and 3 more amazing kids. But the journey doesn’t end there as happily ever after…re-marriage and blending a family is a whole new level of trials and navigating through challenges – fun and games!

I pray you’ll be encouraged by my story and know that in God there is ALWAYS hope, no matter what comes our way. God promises us Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a future and a hope for us…and He is always true to His Word.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. 

              ~ Psalm 40:1-3 

Be blessed!
Jules M

Jewels & Pearls

 

You can read more of my story at jewelsandpearls.org and follow Jewels and Pearls on Instagram @jewels_and_pearls for little quotes of godly wisdom, encouragement and hope.

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 

Pokemon Go Or A No Go 


PokeCrazy! The world once again has gone PokeCrazy. Everywhere you Go- it’s Pokemon.

I remember in the 90’s my kids loved Pokemon. They collected the cards and bought every Pokemon Video game created. 
They had Pikachu and Squirrtle and Charmeleon and my son’s favorite shirt was a Pokemon shirt. 

I watched the show a few times with him and didn’t get it; but had no real cause for concern.  

I did not really understand all the hype but I allowed it. Some of the cards I did not like and made them trade or give away. They would trade cards with friends but they had no clue how to really play the game. 

Then one day when his voice started to crack and he got some armpit hair, he decided he was done and they both packed up and sold all their stuff at a garage sale. 

  We never heard of Pokemon again …

Until recently.

My kids, now 17, were taking about this new app that was Pokemon Go; a virtual scavenger hunt. Before they even got it all out I immediately said- “You will not play that, it opens the door for the enemy.”

They begin pleading their case that not everything is evil and that it encourages activity and community. I could see that they were not buying what I was trying to tell them, so I relented and said- “Ok, seek God and I will seek God and pray for Him to reveal if you should keep playing. ” 

I woke up Monday to post after post on social media about the new Pokemon Go Game App. I defended our decision to allow it on a post and felt at peace that we would seek God and we didn’t really see any harm in the game. I thought –Balance and no playing while driving, and they should be fine.   

Then headlines and news circulated that people were using it to lure people for not only robberies but for pedophiles luring unsuspecting children.  

Wow! The new candy or puppy lure is now- Hey kid, I got a Charmeleon for you.  

As the day wore on I began to have no peace about my kids playing it.  

I then read posts from friends in deliverance ministry taking about that it does open a door for oppressions.  
I started to think back about how as a young child my son was gripped with fear a lot.  

As my mind raced to all the debates and opinions and news stories I didn’t know what to think….

So I stopped and asked God to reveal to me something I am missing and to lead me to know for sure –Is this game a Go or a No Go for my kiddos?

Shortly after stopping to pray I was sent an article about an interview from the creator that said he created it out of rebellion against his overly Christian parents. 


It did not sit well with me. 

See the article and read it Here

So I shared it with a few and even got some resistance that it was fake and so forth.

Then my friend Stella reminded me that it does not line up with our Biblical Worldview.  


Thanks Stella! Now I had my groove back! 



We are not to dabble or entertain those things like Pocket Monsters, or Demons, or mystical religions or witchcraft, sorcery, evolution, psychics, tarot cards, tea leaves, mediums, etc.  

So I went to Google to try to find more things to plead my case to my kiddos.  
I found this article that helped me explain it a little further and I thanked God for revealing it all to me.

Read that article Here

 

And if that is still not enough to convince you ….my friend Stella sent me this article on what the Bible says….

Read Here

Still not convinced …..

 
Check out today’s round making posts about privacy and how people are deleting the app. 

Read more here

Lastly, I was told about a book by John Paul Jackson regarding the dangers of Pokemon

Here is the link for the book

I am not a Ghost Buster, or Demon Chaser. I do believe that what the world views as insignificant is not what God thinks. I am learning every day about things that can open doors for oppressions and many other things. I am a parent that did not always get it right, and I still don’t. But I seek God and ask Him to intervene when I may not see the obvious staring me in the face. I am thankful for great friends that point me in a better direction and I am so grateful to a loving God that forgives me and my kiddos when we repent for seeking things that are not His best for us. 

So for our house- 

 Pokemon is a definite No Go for us.

       ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Rejoicing In The Circumstance


As I sit in a hospital room, holding my precious grandbaby, my heart is aching. Watching my daughter’s heart breaking for her daughter has been wearisome. Nevertheless, my heart is faithful, and consumed in the hope for a complete recovery.

Looking down at Emery’s precious little face, at the peacefulness it displays, while sleeping, I am overwhelmed in gratitude to my Heavenly Father.

He has watched over her.
He sent angels to surround her.
He has kept her safely in His promise.

I find myself reflecting on the condition of my Heavenly Father’s heart at every step he took walking beside me.

Whenever I have felt alone, confused, scared, hurt, or couldn’t find sense to a situation…..He was still there. He watched over me. He kept His promises.

Life has a way of sending us reminders. It shows the gentleness of our God and the mercy he offers through the blessings he shares with us.

In every circumstance, He is there, even when it seems scary. He hears every prayer and sees every tear that falls. We may not understand every lesson that he teaches. But He certainly does. Each one pertains to the conclusion of His will.

Today, I find myself grateful that He chooses to walk on the same path with those who believe according to His plan. I am rejoicing that my granddaughter is going to be okay.

Rejoice always, pray continually, 

give thanks in all circumstances; 

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NIV

~ Baring His Beauty

 Tiffany Thomas