Happy Hour—4/23/2015

Michelle Teague collage

“By the way…I don’t need you to think, do, believe, or say things a certain way for me to love you.” – Unconditional LOVE. :-)#‎realLOVEfromarealGOD ‪#‎letsLOVElikeHIM

There is SO much more we can say from a place of love…however, remember also…there is SO much more we can hear from that very same spot.    :-)

If we cultivate our relationship with God…He does all the work…we love Him…He finishes the work He started in us…no struggling…just loving.  :-)

HAPPY HOUR THURSDAYS AT 5:00 P.M.—Kick back after a hard day of work and enjoy the intoxicating goodness of true Love and Wisdom. The GiveMe Chocolate ‘Bar’ won’t put a dent in your wallet!

More about Michelle: Click Here

Toxic Tuesday: Good Parents ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

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Trust.

I don’t trust easily these days. Life has been blinding, littered with betrayal from the last place I would have ever suspected it, and life has been steeped in emotional trauma.

How does a parent trust this world where danger and sexual addictions abound? How do we safeguard our children?

Hindsight has been beneficial for planning how to protect but there is no full proof way to keep child predators at bay.

I’ve had a couple of occasions the last few years where my, ‘Abuser Radar Alert,’ made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

The first: When a man I met for the first time asked if he could sit in my house and watch my daughter, whom he had never met, play the piano since he, 1) Heard me say she plays the piano and 2) He enjoys listening to piano music. Seriously…NO! The man may have been innocent in his asking but for this momma it came across as CREEPY.

The second: When a man I had never met, but who had met my boys at an extra-curricular activity, invited my boys to his house. He was an older man with no children left at home. He told my boys that the next time their mom needed to go shopping or the next time their parents needed to go out, they could stay at his house with him to play and swim.

Since my history includes once upon a time being married to a pedophile pastor who used the ministry to gain employment granting him immediate leadership access to potential victims, my radar is at high alert over such propositions.

My boys thrilled at the prospect of swimming; what a fun invitation to receive!

It never happened.

I’m all about having fun, in fact; one of the questions I always have when my kids are through with an activity, or are finished visiting with a friend, is if they had fun. Fun is important to me; always has been.  But fun doesn’t necessarily equate with safe or beneficial.

Here are a few questions I have learned to ask over the years. I’ve been known to ask these questions after play dates, youth group, extracurricular outings and even after church on Sundays.  I don’t ask every question after each encounter and I don’t question each activity. I ask these questions so casually that I don’t know if my kids are aware of my motives. New people, places and activities are held to a higher level of interest while family, friends and regularly scheduled activities are randomly questioned. This is where the greatest vulnerability can lie; most molestation acts do not involve stranger danger, they are the result of a close family member or friend who gained trust and access to the child. Single moms’ children tend to be the biggest targets for such predators; but not the only targets.

I do not ask my children questions in the presence of other people. This ensures my children feel secure in speaking their heart and mind.

QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION:

What did you do at the event?

What was your favorite activity or part of your visit?

Was there anything you didn’t like or anything that made you feel uncomfortable? (This is a good time to reinforce that children do not have to obey everything an adult tells them to do.)

Did you feel safe? (I’ve been asking this questions since my boys were wee little things.)

Tell me something you liked about the adult/s in charge? Was there anything you disliked?

Is there anything interesting about a helper or kid that you can tell me?

Is there any reason you would not want to go back there again?

Did anyone ask you to keep a secret today?

Did anyone show you something on their iPhone or iTouch that was inappropriate?

Do you have questions about anything that happened?

Did you understand everything that was said or that was asked of you?

Is there anything you want to tell me about your visit today?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next 2 questions I reserve for stranger danger and body/health educational teaching at home:

Has anyone ever touched you in your private places or asked to touch you in your private places?

Has anyone ever shown you their private places or asked you to show them your private places?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When at a private residence or at public places with public restrooms my kids know the rule: 1 person per bathroom/stall, and to never hesitate screaming for help if someone makes them feel uncomfortable.

You never know who has an attraction to children or who has a sick abusive desire on which they plan to act. It could be a trusted adult or it could be a close friend. Sadly, we never know if a friend, cousin or relative has abused or taught a child something they should not know that could be passed on to your child.

If your child has an answer that concerns you or startles you; always believe the child! Children rarely lie about childhood victimization.

DO NOT approach or question the accused and keep your child out of the accused’s presence.  Call the child abuse hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) or call your local authorities. Professionals will know how to legally investigate your child’s allegations. You would not want to jeopardize the case being thrown out of court due to leading the witness with wrong lines of questioning.

Seek medical attention from the child’s doctor or at the emergency room to find out if he or she was physically harmed. Creating a paper trail will be very important in seeking justice.

Find a licensed counselor to guide your child through the psychological trauma of abuse and victimization which will continue beyond the physical trauma. Ongoing therapy for coping and healing is a must.

There is wisdom in asking questions at the right time.

Listen and learn from your children.

Read: How Sexual Predators Choose Victims

Protecting Children from Predators

Pedophile or Molester: *Content Warning

Happy Hour: 4/16/2015

Michelle Teague collage

Years ago…I kept having this nagging feeling I was carrying things around that were so “heavy” and/or “yucky”, and I could not put my finger on what all it was. I prayed one morning asking God to help…to show me what “it” was…and to please, even, take it away. As soon as I asked Him, I saw a picture of Jesus coming toward me with a laundry basket and a BIG smile on His face. I was thinking, “That is JUST what I need, Lord, to do more laundry!” And as if He read my mind  ;-)… He quickly said, “No, I have come to do laundry.” At that point, I looked down at what I was wearing, and was horrified at the site! I was covered from head to toe in the filthiest rags I had ever seen. As I looked back at Him holding the basket, He said, “If you will give Me those…I have a gift for you.” What girl doesn’t want a gift!? I walked into a small “dressing room” and threw all the rags in the basket! He picked up the basket and said, “I will be right back!” As He returned shortly after…He said, “Look!” I looked down, and was now wearing what looked like a robe a Queen would wear! It was purplish blue, the threading was gold, and it glistened with diamonds and jewels! I “gave” Him garbage, and He gave Me a covering of Royalty!! #‎muchbetter ‪#‎ragstoriches  ;-)  #‎truestory  :-)

Happy Hour 4/9/2015

Michelle Teague collage

A list of things to do, can become our idol…One day, quite some time back, I was overwhelmed by my (dreaded) list! As I was trying to “get it ALL done”, I felt an Almighty nudge… a chance to listen. Thank goodness I chose to be still… God challenged me in my spirit to circle the 2-3 main things each day on my “list”, and He would fill in the rest as the day went. This was one of my best, God, Ah-Ha moments with Him ever!! He knew that, for me, looking each day at a list not completely done…meant a type of daily failure, and affected me in ways I didn’t even realize. It’s not even that a lot more would not get done in my days…it’s just that by getting those 2-3 main things done…I went to bed feeling accomplished, and with a smile! And here’s the kicker…I actually, overall, began to get more done and be more productive than I ever had before! So, if your list is making you crazy… I invite you to try this approach…there were even some days…I circled one…and it always worked!!! Here’s to a GREAT and productive day!!! :-) #‎keepthatlistincheck ;-)  :-)

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Toxic Tuesday Guest Post: Dealing with Toxic Family Members, Part 4

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Here is the last installment from Ron Corzine, of SCOPE (Simple Concepts of Practical Equipping) to help us sort through family discord in part 4 of Dealing With Toxic Family Members. The Bible offers practical applications for any problem, conflict or question; forever and always. We can count on God’s word.

Today we will conclude this series by looking at two more powerful prayers one can pray.

Click her to read Part 4 of: DEALING WITH TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS, Part 4

For Part 1: Dealing With Toxic Family Members—READ HERE

Part 2: Dealing With Toxic Family Members: Part 2

Part 3: DEALING WITH TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS, Part 3

Happy Hour 4/3/2015

Michelle Teague collage

As we observe this Good Friday; we remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus knew, knows, how our Father loves us and Jesus did not, does not, want us to miss out on eternity sharing in God’s perfect love. “It is finished,” included the free gift of salvation offered to everyone who receives Jesus as their Savior; because of God’s great love! 

At one point in my life…before I was a Christian…I believed a HUGE lie! I actually believed My Heavenly Father was angry at me for the things I had not, and was not “doing right.” After I became a Christ Follower…I still believed His Father (my Father) was not always happy with me. I kind of avoided Him and conversations with Him. One day I felt like Jesus said to me… “You know…My Father, Our Daddy in Heaven loves you all the way…He is completely and utterly in love with you.” I crinkled my nose, and had no idea how to receive that Truth over my life. I was just happy loving Jesus and fully knowing HE loved me, HE was now my very best friend EVER and FOREVER…that was good enough for me! I could survive on that truth alone, surely. Over time, He would bring up this subject and I would listen…I was the type that didn’t really, down deep, want to miss anything I was supposed to have…especially when it came to love, acceptance and assurance. One day He took me to a verse I had seen and read before…But this time, I felt something lift off of my blind eyes…”If you really know Me, you would KNOW My Father as well.” (John 14:7) And it hit me! How I saw Jesus, how I knew Jesus…all of His Love, Patience, Kindness, Grace, Mercy…It was all from His Father! My Father! He was and is a spitting image of His Father’s heart…My Father’s heart! My life has never been the same from that day on. Today, I want to tell you the other good news…You have a loving, caring Father in Heaven…who loves you with an everlasting love… He sees you! He loves you! He cares for you! He hears your every cry, He sees your every tear! He celebrates you and desires a relationship with you…He won’t force you to receive His love… and He doesn’t base His love on what you do or don’t do “right”…or what you do or don’t do “wrong“… He simply 100% just loves you! ;-) Enjoy that truth today and rest in that love.   #‎nothingbetter ‪#‎noonewilleverloveyoulikeHim :-)   ;-)

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Toxic Tuesday Guest Post: Toxic Family Part 3

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallToday I am once again turning to, Ron Corzine, of SCOPE (Simple Concepts of Practical Equipping) to help us sort through family discord in part 3 of Dealing With Toxic Family Members. The Bible offers practical applications for any problem, conflict or question; forever and always. We can count on God’s word.

How would you answer the below questions?

“Suppose you find out that there’s someone in your family that has been spreading some ugly gossip about you to other family members. I know. This is a totally hypothetical situation. It never happens in real families. Just suppose that happened. And you find out about it. You know we just talked about forgiveness. You know I want to forgive them. What should you do? Should you forgive them immediately? Should you wait to forgive them until they ask for forgiveness? If you forgive them immediately should you write them a note or call them immediately and say “I want you to know I’ve forgiven you for what you’ve done.” How should you handle that?” ~Ron Corzine

Do you think there are cut and dry answers to these questions?

Hold off on that, “I forgive you” note until you have read the entire article.

Click her to read Part 3 of: DEALING WITH TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS part 3

For Part 1: Dealing With Toxic Family Members—READ HERE

Part 2: Dealing With Toxic Family Members: Part 2

Happy Hour 3/26/2015

Michelle Teague collage

 

I woke up in the middle of the night with this verse going through my mind: Matthew 6:33-“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Him, His Word, His ways, His Provision, His total forgiveness, His Love, His understanding, His insight, His direction…) and all things will be added to you.” And before I could go back to sleep…I felt like the Lord said, now…read/say this verse over emphasizing each word from beginning to the end… SEEK first the Kingdom… Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God…Seek first THE Kingdom of God… Pretty much figured out my job is to seek all things Him and He will take care of all things me.  :-)  ;-)

READ MORE: About Michelle Teague

Jer 616 promise

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Toxic Tuesday Guest Post: Toxic Family Part 2

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallToday I am once again turning to, Ron Corzine, of SCOPE (Simple Concepts of Practical Equipping) to help us sort through family discord in part 2 of Dealing With Toxic Family Members. The Bible offers practical applications for any problem, conflict or question; forever and always. We can count on God’s word.

“So what do we do about toxic family members?  First let me say I hope you are not thinking that just a few quick steps or applied principles with fix all your toxic relationships.  It won’t be that easy.  So often we think if we can just do a couple of little things, then everything will begin to get better. Maybe – maybe not.   I am going to approach this by suggesting at least four prayers you can begin to pray. This is really the place to start.  Today we will look at the first prayer.” ~Ron Corzine

Continue Reading: Dealing With Toxic Family Members: Part 2

For Part 1: Dealing With Toxic Family Members—READ HERE

Happy Hour 3/19/2015

 

Michelle Teague collage

Wow! God has given this next generation a very special anointing of His Spirit to lead them and guide them in ALL things the future holds. Be constantly in prayer over them—they are rising up to His call with boldness and courage! I stand in honor and amazement…if we are not “for” them…I believe we are against Him.

 

About Michelle: READ HERE

 

Jer 616 promise

Toxic Tuesday Guest Post: Toxic Family

DEALING WITH TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS

 

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallToxic family members have existed since the first family—go read through the book of Genesis for multiple examples. Unfortunately the examples don’t end there. The Bible is full of sin, dysfunction, rebellion, murder, betrayal and more; among and against family members.

I’m grateful God loves the unlovely, calls the unqualified, forgives the sinner, and gives purpose for the pain; which is often self-inflicted by foolish souls. He takes the smallest bit of faith, smaller than a mustard seed, and credits it to us as righteousness.

In today’s society, functional families are the exception because dysfunction is rampant in every demographic across the globe.

The good news is: It’s never too late to begin the detoxification process; by faith!

Today I am once again turning to, Ron Corzine, of SCOPE (Simple Concepts of Practical Equipping) to help us sort through family discord. The Bible offers practical applications for any problem, conflict or question; forever and always. We can count on God’s word.

Here are excerpts…

Definition: toxic is when two people are stuck in a way of relating that is poisonous to one or the other. It’s affecting them both. They just can’t seem to move on. It only causes hurt and more hurt. It can be destructive physically, spiritually, and emotionally. That’s what it means to be toxic. That’s what we’re talking about.

So you don’t say, “How poisonous is it? Are you more toxic than I am?” No. You do something about it. When it’s toxic you have to act. You can’t just leave something that’s toxic alone and expect it to get better. It doesn’t! You have to do something about it.

CONTINUE READING: Dealing with Toxic Family Members

 

 

Happy Hour 3/12/2015

—with Michelle TeagueMichelle Teague

Happy Hour 4

 

 

About Michelle READ HERE

Jer 616 promise

 

 

Lack of sleep

Toxic Tuesday: TOXIC SLEEP

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Are you aware the computer screen stimulates our cognitive processing? It does! And it has been scientifically proven that when the brain’s electrical activity increases the neurons start to race. I don’t know about you but I don’t want any part of my body racing right before bed time. I want to slow down, relax, and turn my mind off to any distractions.

I recently came to the realization that my adrenal glands are fatigued and my cortisol levels are not balanced. I’m not blaming this on electronics but when electronics accelerate our brain responses, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland, cortisol, is freed to produce anxiety; tension.  How many of us think, “I’m ready for bed. How can I stress myself out and ensure a restless night of sleep?  Better yet, bring on the insomnia!”?

Allow me to explain to you a bit of information about the hypothalamus. I learned this vocabulary word after my son, A.J.’s, severe traumatic brain injury. His sweet little brain was squished in about every direction which damaged his hypothalamus. One more reason he is a walking, talking, answered prayer. I referred to his hypothalamus as his, “Hippothalamus” just for fun.

Back to the hypothalamus: This area of the brain controls several sleep activities and delays the release of melatonin; a sleep-inducing hormone. When the blue light  from the computer screen, or your tech gadget of choice, passes through the retina into the hippo the melatonin’s release is shut down.

Back to A.J.: He had a difficult time sleeping for several months after his accident because his hippo was not working properly during the healing process. His hippo is now healed!

As technology takes up more of our time; down to our last moments of the day, we are actually sleeping less and we are resetting our internal clocks. Our hippo isn’t relaxing when it’s processing is supposed to be slowing down and feeling weighty, creating heavy eyelids for bedtime.

As I have recently learned through the diagnosis of an auto-immune disease; a minimum of 6 hours uninterrupted sleep is essential to good emotional and physical health; and a total of 7-9 hours sleep achieved each night. Take good care of your brain chemistry and it will take care of your body.

 

Here are a few tips to unwind for restful sleep:

  1. Plan 15-30 minutes of technology free time before going to bed. Be old-fashioned: Read a paper book.
  2. Keep the bedroom free from all tech gadgets; including TV’s and iPods/MP3s.
  3. Keep the room as dark as possible. This contributes to increased melatonin production.
  4. Don’t set the snooze button to gradually wake-up. Use the alarm, once, and maximize sound sleep.
  5. Don’t use Tylenol PM to achieve sleep. Why? Read this Medical article. Plus, Tylenol PM causes irreversible memory loss.
  6. If you must use technology before bed buy a pair of amber blue light eye glasses and use them 1-3 hours before bedtime. These glasses filter/ eliminate the blue component of light and allow melatonin to naturally produce.

Dear Sleep

Happy Hour 3/05/2015

—with Michelle Teague

Michelle enjoyed warm, breezy temps last week.
Michelle enjoyed warm, breezy temps last week.
And came home to, brrrr!
And came home to, brrrr, this week!

 

“Sometimes after we have been praying for something and/or someone and the prayer is not answered, or we don’t see it being answered the way we expected, or in the time frame we were desiring we begin to wane in our faith. We wane in our expectancy and wane in our hope.

One time when I was praying about a situation like this I felt God speak to my heart, ‘Daughter, I have heard you. I am answering this prayer. You have fought long enough. And now, I ask you to simply rest. Let me have all of your expectations of how this will turn out…how this will happen…and when you will see it answered.’

I asked Him, ‘How in the world do I do that?!’

And I felt Him say, ‘With praise. That will help you take your focus off of what is going on around you. And in the praising…your heart, your mind, and your eyes will see things in an entirely new way. One of the BEST weapons you have on that little warrior belt of yours…is Praise. The enemy cannot stand in its midst…he cannot stand to hear you praising Me, especially in these situations.’

From that day on…Praising Him became my preferred weapon of choice!”

 

About Michelle—READ HERE

 

Jer 616 promise

Toxic Tuesday: Warnings and Red Flags

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Toxic Tuesday: Warnings and Red Flags

I’ve found a few articles written by other bloggers that I know will appeal to the GiveMe Chocolate readers. I’m finding the, ‘cream of the crop,’ articles to help you possibly avoid toxic relationships. I posted one such article recently, “Ten Toxic Traits.”

A question I have often been asked is, “How do we protect our children from abusive, toxic personalities?”

I wish I had an answer. If only there was a full-proof way to avoid such relationships. A 100%—fully healed—heart back—guarantee for those who find themselves living in such a relationship. There isn’t. Christians who are mature, prayer covered people with a daily relationship with God can find themselves in an abusive, toxic relationship. In scripture we find a God-ordained toxic marriage between Hosea and Gomer; recorded in the book of Hosea.

I found another well written article, “Deal Breakers: Advice to Unmarried Women (and Daughters)” at Visionary Womanhood: Because to live courageously, we need to see clearly. The article was written to help women avoid marrying abusers.  In today’s world, full of self-centeredness, pornography, and personality disorders; specifically, narcissistic personality disorder—it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recognize false advertisers; also known as: A wolf in sheep’s clothing, a street angel and home devil, a biblical fool, a toxic person—an abuser.

Occasionally I can see the search terms entered when people stumble across my blog. Take a look at what some of the search terms are:

  • How to avoid toxic people
  • Help for an abusive Christian marriage
  • Interacting with narcissistic people
  • Why do I allow abusive Christian people to bother me
  • Abusive missionary husband
  • Help for abused missionary married to narcissistic personality disorder
  • How to thrive in an abusive relationship with pastor missionary
  • Difference between immaturity and controlling abusive boyfriend
  • How to confront an abusive person
  • Christian therapeutic separation
  • Covert narcissists
  • Toxic relationships in scripture
  • Does the Bible say I have to stay in an abusive marriage
  • What would Jesus do in an abusive relationship
  • Christian narcissistic personality disorder
  • Leaving a toxic relationship
  • Biblical fool modern-day narcissist
  • Wives that predators choose
  • Emotionally toxic people
  • How to protect from crazy makers
  • Detachment in verbally abusive relationships marriage
  • Scripture to help me trust God to handle abusive person
  • When a narcissist invades your boundaries
  • Writing a letter to someone toxic in your life
  • Manipulators abusers defending yourself
  • How to keep calm and walk away from abusive relationship
  • How to pray for someone in a toxic relationship
  • Biblical fools
  • What does the Bible say about divorcing the mentally ill
  • Traits of a crazy maker husband
  • How toxic people keep you off guard

And the above are just a sampling from a list far too long to include here.

 

“An abuser doesn’t introduce himself like this, “Hello – it’s nice to meet you. I’d like to take you on a whirlwind romance, sweep you off your feet, marry you, and then abuse you until death do us part.” Tweet This They follow in the footsteps of their father, the devil. They enter your world like an angel of light. A thing of beauty and wonder.” ~ Visionary Womanhood

You NEED to read this! For yourself or for someone you know or love. There are excellent points to ponder, clues to look for, applications to be made, and at the end; there is a humorous video to break the mood of this heavy topic.

 

Be empowered: Advice to Unmarried Women and Daughters