Category: Parenting

I Changed My Mind!

Several weeks ago, my 4 year old son fell ill suddenly. I dropped him off at my mother’s home to attend a business meeting that was only to last a little while. Within the hour, I received a call from her and he was crying frantically in the background. What could have possibly happened that quickly, was all I could ask! Swiftly, he developed a fever that knocked his little body out with heat and pain!

As any caring mother would, I left the meeting to tend to my child. I was desperate to nurse him back to health as quickly as possible! He had just started kindergarten and his 5th birthday was two weeks away!

God showed up and the fever broke the following day. He was able to attend school but his personality was different. He was not as playful, smiley or talkative as he usually is. I just made a note to monitor his symptoms and blamed it all on the bug he caught.

The Saturday of that same week, my husband, son and I went to a shopping mall. Isaiah was bouncing around, laughing and returning to himself. I had not seen him like this in several days and was delighted that he was coming around!

When I retrieved him from the car and grabbed his hand, we made our way across the parking lot with my husband several feet ahead of us. My son broke the silence among us and said the most peculiar thing! It nearly made me want to yell out “Hallelujah!” for the entire world to hear!!

Isaiah – “Mommy, I’m not sad no more!”

Mommy – “That’s good baby, I’m glad.”

Brief silence

Isaiah – “Yeah, I just woke up this 

morning and changed my mind!”

I was speechless for a moment! How incredibly mature that mentality is for a 4 year old!! Many adults (including myself) struggle to do this at times! He knew, even at this tender age that he has control over his emotions and chose to be happy! Glory to God! What an incredible eye opener that moment was for me! One that I will not soon forget!

We all have a choice every morning when God blesses us with yet another opportunity to see another dawning. We can choose to operate in a healthy mindset or to be downcast in spirit with a whoa-is-me pity-party. 

Many who are under pressure, enduring sickness, financial strains, relationship chaos, death and other losses can oftentimes grieve and stay negative way too long. For believers, this is the act of taking our eyes off of our Savior and magnifying the circumstances vs. the blessings in and around them.

I think we can all learn an incredible resourceful lesson from my baby boy today. Get up and change your mind! It’s practical advice that can reap priceless returns. There is a time to grieve, be sad, offended and more. The Lord knows and expects us to. It’s absolutely part of being human. But there is also a time to get up and live!

What’s that thing that has you so mentally consumed that you can’t enjoy, appreciate or fathom the beauty that is still in your life? Step on the enemy’s head today and join me in the advice of little Isaiah and simply “Change Your Mind!”

Pain Unthinkable – Addiction & A Mother’s Loss – Jennifer Hrischuk



The opioid and heroin abuse epidemic in our country has grown to national crisis status.  The countless lives these drugs adversely affects goes well beyond the addicted.  We are losing mothers, fathers, sons and daughters by the handful to their ensnaring ways daily; by the hour, minute and second.  Not enough is being done fast enough by our government regarding control and intervention.

This post is a very personal interview with a woman, wife, friend, professional and mother that I highly respect and admire.  She was my mentor at the time of this tragedy. The news of her loss was completely devastating and the greatest nightmare of most parents. I was 8 months pregnant with my first child and she was forever changed as she prepared to lay her one and only to rest.

It’s been over 5 years now and the pain still so unthinkable. Jennifer’s courage to share her RealBoldTruth is one story of the gross reality of how lethal this matter truly is.

Reflection on the life of Michelle Lee Hrischuk

By Jennifer Hrischuk


RBT: When you found out you were going to be a mom, how did you feel?


JH – Excited!  This was going to be our first baby together.  Mike had been previously married and I was already a stepmom to Christie.  My pregnancy was great – no morning sickness or physical problems.  We did not find out the sex of the baby until she arrived!   I’ll never forget how it felt to hold her for the first time.



RBT: What was one of your fondest memories of Michelle?


JH – The year she practically stole the show at our church’s Easter Cantata (at least I thought so!)  She was nine or ten and ended up playing the role of a young boy singing his version of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.   She was as cute as could be, in her fisher-boy costume, singing her heart out in perfect pitch.


RBT: What was she like as a little girl? (Her personality, things she enjoyed, was she a spoiled little princess?)


JH – As a little girl, she was fun and adorable.  She was a very smart and high-energy kid, talkative, inquisitive, talented.  She was reading at a high level by age 5.  She enjoyed all sorts of activities, whether it was a school club or visiting the cousins.  As she got older, she developed quite a sense of humor and liked pulling practical jokes.  She was clever and witty, and due to her intelligence, sometimes you could almost forget she was a child.

RBT: What aspirations did she share with you that she had of herself when she grew up? 


JH – As a young child, there wasn’t one particular thing she said she always wanted to do.  When she got older she did express some interest in work related to helping others.  She never developed a specific career path before she was already headed in the wrong direction.

RBT: What fun mom/daughter things did you two do together? 


JH – We did a lot together!  We both sang and played the piano and sometimes performed in various church venues.  Hiking and outdoor activities were other favorites.  We liked playing board games – and when she beat me, it wasn’t because I let her.  She was a worthy opponent.   Once we wrote and performed a play all in one weekend, “The Magic Pocketbook”.  When she was older, we took a vacation to Ocean City, Maryland – just the two of us.  On the way home, coming through Salisbury, we unexpectedly visited the zoo.  We laughed so much that day and it was all the more fun because it was unplanned.

RBT: Would you say you had a healthy parental connection?


JH – Yes.  Michelle and I did not experience too much mother/daughter friction.   Throughout the years, we actually could talk pretty honestly about most topics.  Even when her addiction troubles started, we maintained a reasonable good relationship.




RBT: When did you first notice Michelle was in trouble?


JH – One evening when she was 15, she was clearly under the influence of something.  I had already caught her smoking marijuana, but this was entirely different.  Turns out, she was abusing Xanax and other prescription pills.  Then it all snowballed from there – suspensions from school, bad grades, not coming home on time and at night……




RBT:  What things did you and your husband do to respond for her and yourselves?


JH – The school recommended that she see a therapist or drug addictions counselor.  We found someone great who Michelle was comfortable talking with.  I think he extended her life by a few years.  One morning she came home after spending a night with a friend – she was in such bad shape that I called him immediately.  With his help and advice, Michelle went to the Caron Foundation for a 30-day inpatient stay.  She learned a lot during that time and ended up staying clean for at least one year.  She continued to go to NA meetings and some outpatient rehab.  Somehow she managed to finish high school without any more incidents, although her grades and attendance were barely passable.


RBT: How long did Michelle’s battle last?


JH – 5 years – between the ages of 15-20

RBT: You were the one that found her unresponsive, can you describe that moment?


JH – It was utterly awful.  At first I couldn’t figure out what happened.  She was lying on the floor next to her bed, the needle right nearby.  Of all of the drugs we were aware of, this was one she managed to hide from us!  Then I wondered if it was suicide, but we figured out later that it was an accident; an unintentional overdose.  This will be hard for some to understand, but because of everything that had already happened with her, I never could relax about the future.  There was a part of me that was always waiting for the next crisis, the next emergency, the next phone call.  Some part of me was prepared for this, unfortunately.


RBT: How have you been coping?


JH – I’m not sure exactly.  I don’t really see an alternative.  Maybe that’s God’s grace, just helping me to be strong and have a good attitude.  My friends and family have been a wonderful support system.  I also was seeing a counselor about six months before she died and continued with therapy for another few years.  I’m not always a happy camper, but I’ve moved on to the point where I can genuinely celebrate with others about their joys – their children’s successes, weddings, grandchildren.


RBT: Has time helped to ease some of the pain?


JH – Definitely.  It helps put things in perspective.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes when a person dies, their survivors start to forget about all the deceased’s bad qualities and only choose to remember the happier moments?  It’s been that way with Michelle too.  Her addiction took up 25% of her life (in years), but we had 75% of her years that were full of very good memories.  Although her addiction years were very stressful, there were still some bright moments in there.  It wasn’t always a nightmare.




RBT: Do you have a relationship with God and if so how has this affected it?


JH – Michelle’s death changed me a lot and because I am a different person now, I have a different relationship with God.  In the earlier years of her addiction, I had so much anger.  Much of it was directed at God.  Things weren’t going as planned.  Why wouldn’t God answer my prayers?  I finally traded in my anger for peaceful acceptance.  I am thankful for all that we have.



RBT: How has Michelle’s passing affected your marriage?


JH – To be honest, her addiction almost destroyed our marriage.  It was a very complicated family situation.  It was just the three of us living together.  I can’t even put it into words – but any family member of an addict understands the continual strain that the addiction causes all the members of the family.  After she died, somehow we just made it through and have continued to move on since then.  I know she’d be happy seeing that we are still together 5 years later.


RBT: What do you want readers to know about Michelle?


JH – She was funny and smart.  In some ways she was wise beyond her years, but in other ways she was still naïve.  She could sometimes try to give the impression of not caring or being uninterested, but deep down, she did care.  I think sometimes it was an act – trying to cover up whatever was hurting her so deeply inside.



RBT: What advice would you provide other parents with children suffering from heroin addiction?


JH- Don’t try to handle this on your own!  It’s a tough road.  Seek help and support for your child’s addiction and also for yourself.  Most likely you will not have much influence over your child’s addiction, so it’s important that you learn not to hold yourself responsible for your child’s actions.  Nar-Anon meetings were helpful to me.  Be prepared for a lot of crazy emotions and thoughts.  You may start doubting yourself as a parent and your ability to make the right decisions.  Your marriage and relationships with other children and family members can really suffer so it’s important to get educated about tough love and not being an enabler.  Find someone to whom you can totally trust, preferably an experienced therapist, and tell them everything that is going on in your heart and mind.   It’s too much to keep inside so don’t try to be a silent hero.




RBT: How is Michelle’s memory being preserved and honored?


JH – Mainly, I just keep talking about her.  She was part of my life for 20 years and that doesn’t go away just because she’s gone.  Many people are afraid to bring up her name, worried that it might upset me, but it doesn’t.  Death is an awkward and uncomfortable topic for many people.  I try to educate everyone that it’s okay to discuss.  It would be much worse to never mention her name and act like nothing ever happened.
We’ve kept her Facebook page going and that has been a great outlet for her family and friends to continue to remember her.  There is a brick in her memory at the Caron Foundation and we continue to support Caron in the hopes that other lives can be saved.  Her gravestone at the cemetery is a certainly a tribute, and the epitaph says, “Your smile and laughter will be with us forever.”  That has turned out to be true – she still lives in my heart and I am so thankful that the memories haven’t faded. 

*The End*

Sleep well Michelle, for despite it all you are a sweet precious Angel whose life was meant to be. Memories of you are everlasting and your life far from in vain.  I feel certain you are with the Savior due to your measure of faith and all those who also believe will be reunited with you again someday.   -Chanel Walker-Bailey



Order in the Family

One evening last week I was sitting down watching an episode of America’s Got Talent (2016).

A young man by the name of Campbell Walker Fields captured my soul for a moment and had my undivided attention. He is African American, 14 years old and shared a painful testimony about how he was given away by his birth mother and adopted by a Caucasian gay couple who are both males. 

This young man poured out his heart about how he longed to find and meet his mother. Although extremely appreciative of the love and sacrifice from his adopted fathers, he still longed to unite with the source he originated from. The two men who raised Campbell looked on and encouraged their son’s journey. I was completely moved to compassion by their sincerity and support to help their son find closure and ultimately peace. Tears filled their eyes as they clung to one another as Campbell belted out lyrics to a song he composed assuring his mother that he longs to see and has always loved her. 

It was clear that Campbell has never been without love, provision and security. His dads clearly care for him like their own. He wanted for nothing less than the woman who helped bring his life forth but chose not to raise him. His life was still incomplete.

I found myself asking if this young man had all he needed, why would he still long for the woman who gave him away? God answered my question with this statement:

“I have never changed my mind on my original design for the family simply because humanity has.”

The response shook my spirit like nothing has in a very long time!

It was always the purposed intent of our Lord for a concrete family structure: The man who follows God, the woman who follows the man and when they reproduce and bear children, these new lives are molded by the original two. This design, if followed by his Word and instructions for life, is absolutely flawless! Brokenness is inevitable when man changes this design intentionally or unintentionally.

The spirit of our living God is completely grieved when:

Men abandon their families and forfeit their leadership positions as Head-of-household.

Mothers turn away from their children denying them proper nurturing mentally or physically. 

Women are forced to play the role of both parents when the man decides to leave.

Men and Women become lovers of themselves and interrupt the process of natural reproduction.

And so much more….

All of this can leave children left alone, confused, misguided, lacking, and questioning their origin long into their adult years. This vicious cycle can continue into the next generation poisoning our future.

Millions of lives are shattered today because of human divination from the architectural structure of the family defined by the Lord.

No matter how much any other way is justified, His way is the spiritual fabric of our make up, and has been since the beginning of time. This is undeniable under the most intense debate!

The slightest alteration in the perfect family design is the very reason why at 43 years of age, I still feel the obvious void of not being effectively parented. It’s a wound that seems to never heal. It’s the reason why Campbell who wants for nothing still longs to have the mother he was denied of. It’s the reason why other grown and clearly successful figures like Kelly Clarkson  would pen a song about the father who abandoned her entitled “Piece by Piece”. She made something of herself despite his absence but will still breakdown when reflecting on her childhood and how he left her.

No changes of law, fight for freedom, or stances for equality will ever change the original unadulterated hand of God. society can try and has advanced in efforts, but lives will continue to be shattered at the very foundation the more we place resistance on His Will for our lives.

The Never’s of My Life

Today is Father’s Day! An unsung day of sorts that we recognize nationally. Kudos to every man who found it not robbery to operate in selflessness for the well being of their offspring. I salute you!

Unfortunately this level of sacrifice I have and will never know. My biological father chose to live his life for himself, denying me of much and contributing to the many “Never’s” early in my fragile existence.

I never had a birthday party.

I never went to summer camp.

I never went to prom.

I never graduated from high school (GED obtained)

I never had a daddy/daughter date.

I was never treated priceless by the opposition sex.

I never went away to college.

I was never Daddy’s little girl.

I was never mommy’s molded angel

I was never mentored as a youth.

I was never anyone’s sacrificial priority to groom, prepare, and pave a decent pathway towards the start of my future. 

I was never unconditionally loved in the natural.

 I have simply stumbled through life becoming excessively used, abused mistreated and ill regarded. One left to figure out the mass complexities of life alone with no direction.  The scars and mistakes have been many. Mostly invisible to the human eye but tattered and torn fragments were left behind on my heart and soul for countless years.

As a result I have struggled with chronic depression and low self esteem for the majority of my life. 

I was never the life of the party

Never had a lot of friends

Never felt socially acceptable 

Never felt comfortable letting others get too close….

Do you hear the violins playing?? So enough of that broken record! It’s old and redundant! I’ve wasted well over two decades wallowing in self pity over this major void.

These are mere facts of my life that have contributed to the way I was shaped in the natural. I can’t spend the rest of my days reliving how painful these memories have been. My Never’s” as of lates paint a completely different picture!

I have come to believe, accept and adopt in my heart the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He is my Heavenly and Abba Father; the only form of provider and protector I have experienced. It’s the only thing I’ve been introduced to that makes sense and is applicable to my entire situation! 

Because of Him the Never’s in my life have been redefined.

I am never alone for He will never leave me.

I will never be without because He supplies all my needs.

I will never look to any man for affirmation because He thought I was to die for.

I will never be without friends for He regards me as just that.

I never have to be concerned about being loved for He loves and accepts me free of conditions.

I never have to worry about my future for He has those plans covered. 

On this day I give praise and credit where it is due. So I say “Happy Father’s Day to my Lord and Savior” ; the only Example of a true Father I have ever known.

Blessings in Brokenness 


I wasn’t suppose to be a mother. This is what my mindful flesh settled on. I had been barren for 22 years. With age 40 being just two years away and recently divorced, I abandoned the prophecy.
Isaiah 54 was given to me to compliment the prophetic word by a well known Pastor,  but I gave up hope.


For 8 years I read and re-read the passage until I nearly memorized all versus. When I divorced in 2008 after nearly 11 years of marriage, I abandoned the word and walked away from my faith. I was full of anger and completely broken.


Then in January of 2010 I discovered I had conceived. I was out of wedlock and far from the Cross. Just because I abandoned the Word, it was clear that God did not abort the promise that was predestined to come to pass. The ultrasound revealed a boy. For his name shall be Isaiah after the scripture that helped call him forth.

My first child at 39 years of age. I was overjoyed and frightened out of my mind to have the responsibility of molding another human being. I had little to no support from family and friends and questioned if I would be any good at the most important role of my life and his.

Isaiah entering into my world did not come without considerable pain. I’m not referring to physical labor but by mental anguish when I learned during my 5th month ultrasound that he would be born with a disability. A rare birth defect that occurs 1-7500-10,000 births. Mine, my first that I desired for many ages would be that one. My world was shattered all over again and all I could think was “Lord haven’t I been through enough?”


The day my son was born, I remember that I did not smile when the doctors ripped him from my womb by C-Section and showed him to me briefly around that thick blue surgical curtain. I was hoping that what doctors saw on the films would be human error. But when I saw him, his deficiency was overwhelming obvious. He was missing a hand and what we thought were going to be some form of functional fingers were just undeveloped nubbins that never reached their full potential. I was petrified and had no clue how I was going to raise a child with special needs after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just about one year prior. I was single, felt abandoned but realized I had better role up my spiritual sleeves and get it together. If not for myself; for baby Isaiah. He, if no one else, deserved nothing less.


I loved him right away and motherhood instincts kicked in instantly. I surprised myself how much of a natural I really was. I initially thought I had grown too selfish to sacrifice everything for another, but I indeed stepped up to the challenge.




In order to be my best for my son in mind, body and spirit, I so desperately needed God. I repented and returned to His arms for healing, guidance and direction. My Savior responded immediately and began supplying me with the things and people I needed as a new mother. I became overwhelmed by his goodness and vowed never to leave his shelter again.


As for baby Isaiah, he is the most amazing gift besides Christ that I have ever received in my life. He has proven to me and the world that his disability is far from that! Nothing stops this kid. When I once wondered how he would accomplish a task, I now wonder 4 years later, what he will conquer next!

As I reminisce on our beginnings together, my son was my saving Grace from a life I was building that was completely self-destructive. Had he not come when he did, I don’t know how or when I would have returned to my Faith. He’s truly amazing. Everyday when I look in his sweet little face, I thank God for providing me the greatest blessing of all in my most broken places.


For more information about children living with upper limb differences, please visit