Monday, March 20, 2017

Baby Raccoons // Happy Birthday Lauren

Good morning and a happy Monday to you all! 

A few days ago on March 16th, Lauren and Deborah found three tiny baby raccoons by a tree. Their eyes and ears hadn't even opened yet and they were making the cutest little whimpering noises. After feeding them, mamma and the girls took them to the wildlife hospital. Later, after daddy came home, he and Deborah found two more babies, one of which was almost frozen to death. After feeding and warming the babies up with a hair dryer, we put them in a box in the garage on a heating pad. The poor little things had fleas. The next morning, Animal Control came and picked the babies up to take them to the animal hospital. Here are a few pictures of the baby raccoons I thought you would enjoy seeing.




On a different note, today is my sister Lauren's (sweet) 16th birthday! If you'd like, leave her a happy birthday wish in the comments below.  :)

Also, today is Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen so if you live by one, stop in for a free cone.

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

London In The Dark Book Review and Blog Tour

Hello friends!
Today is the first day of Victoria's blog tour for her brand new book, London In The Dark, and I'm thrilled to help spread the word about her book! 
About the Book:
London, 1910.
Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned. 

Olivia Larken Hartwell, just home from boarding school for the summer, is anticipating time with her adoring parents. She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined. 

Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London...and their hearts. 
 My thoughts:
In December, I had the great privilege of reading Victoria's new book, while it was still being written, when she asked me to be a beta reader. Since then I've read it two times, the last one after it was published. Let me just say Victoria has such a lovely way of writing. One minute everything is calm and everyone is happy, and the next minute you find yourself in the middle of a dangerous scene.  Though this is a very action packed book, Victoria did a fabulous job of adding a touch of humor here and there. She also did an excellent job of creating the characters in such a real, relatable way.  
After Olivia Hartwell's parents die, she goes to live with her brother, Cyril, who is a private detective. He has been absent for such a long time, his heart is cold, and he refuses to show or allow any emotions, even when his heart is full of sorrow. Cyril is involved in a mysterious case that keeps growing as time goes on. The villain ends up being someone no one expected. I won't say anymore about the plot now. You'll just have to read it for yourself.  :) 
 Even though I immensely enjoyed reading this whole book, there were a few parts that were especially good. ;) The villain ends up getting saved, Olivia, one of the main characters, gets married, and three members of a family reunite and now share a true bond of fellowship in Christ.  London In The Dark is a book of mystery, suspense, sorrow, joy, hope, and salvation. I highly recommend this book to ages 13+ and gladly give it 5 stars! 

Thank you, Victoria, for allowing me to beta read your book and be a part of your book tour. :) Congratulations on all your hard work! 

Giveaway!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

London In The Dark by Victoria Lynn

London In The Dark

by Victoria Lynn

Giveaway ends March 17, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
If you're on goodreads, you can enter the giveaway above to win a copy of London In The Dark.

Victoria is having two giveaways! The first winner will receive a signed copy of the book, a tote bag, and a mug.  

The second winner will receive an e-copy of the book and a mug.
Everyone is invited to enter. Just click here -  on this link  where you'll find instructions on how to enter. 

About the author:  
Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she's not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Martin Hospitality - Book Review

Good morning friends! 

I am so excited to share this book review with you all. I hope you enjoy it! 

Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she's been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude. 
The Martins aren't a typical family - even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.  
When Gemma's past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins' trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins' love and God's forgiveness go?  

My thoughts: 
 Martin Hospitality is an amazing book written by Abigayle Claire, who blogs at The Left-Handed Typist
As soon as I started reading, I was captivated by the characters and by the story. Even though this book is not a mystery, I just couldn't stop reading after one chapter. 
The Martins are a family of 12, and Gemma Ebworthy finds herself sleeping the night in their barn. Mrs. Martin shows great hospitality to 18-year-old Gemma and allows her to stay several nights in their house. However, when Mr.Martin arrives home from a business trip, he is a little on edge about Gemma spending so much time with the family. Gemma had a really sad and troublesome life up until she met the Martins. She hung out with gangs, got involved with the wrong type of people and now has a little baby to care for.  With all of her misfortune, Gemma is one of my favorite characters. Josiah Martin, age 19 and the fourth oldest of the Martin children, is another of my favorite characters. When Gemma arrives at the Martin household, she is introduced to who Jesus is for the first time. After much reading of the Scriptures, she has quite a few questions, and Josiah is the one who helps answers them. He is a hard-working guy who tries to do what's right and has his mother's hospitable and kind heart. 
When Gemma's old boyfriend and father of her little baby appears on the scene and has captivated the heart of Evangeline Martin, she struggles as she tries to keep Evangeline from getting deeply hurt. 

 I appreciate the way Abigayle created the characters. They seemed "real" - especially the Martins. They were not just a "perfect Christian family" some authors portray. There was a lot of details in every single chapter, especially about the characters. You can see each person's own personality come out and there's even some parts that will make you laugh.  Closer to the end, Gemma accepts the Lord as her Savior which I was so happy about. :) 

Martin Hospitality is a beautiful story of love, hope, and forgiveness in Christ.
I give this book 4.5 stars. 
I would recommend this book to those age 15+.

Thank you, Abigayle, for sending me your book and allowing me to review it. I highly enjoyed it (I will be reading it again sometime:) ) and hope you write a sequel soon. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What Is Sweet? - Part 1

 A cheerful hello to all you friends!

I was thinking about the song "Oh, How I Love Jesus" the other day.
There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me! 

It tells me of a Savior's love, who died to set me free; 
It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!

It tells me what my Father hath in store for ev'ry day,
And tho' I tread a darksome path, yields sunshine all the way.
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!

It tells me of One whose loving heart can feel my deepest woe, 
Who in each sorrow bears a part, that none can bear below. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because he first loved me! 

What sweet words those are. Though the path we walk daily may be filled with darkness and gloom, there is sunshine in our hearts because the love of Jesus fills it up. Why do we love Jesus? Well because He first loved us, as 1 John 4:19 says: "We love him, because he first loved us." 
One part of the song is really neat. It sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth. Think about that for a minute. As God's children, we really should delight to hear Jesus' name. It should fill our hearts with gladness and put a smile on our face. There are tons of names out there. Probably thousands. But out of all of them, the hymn writer says Jesus' name is the sweetest. Look at what the psalmist of Israel, David, said about Jesus.  Psalm 104:34. "My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord." Wow. He says our meditations, our ponderings, our thoughts of God will be sweet. How wonderful is that! May we be drawing closer to God every day and be so overwhelmed and filled with Jesus' love that we learn to say, His name is truly the sweetest name we know. 

 There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.
 
Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know. 
 
There is no name in earth or Heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessed name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus. 
 
And someday I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessed Son of God called Jesus.
 
 Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Katharina & Martin Luther - Book Review

Hello readers. 
Today I have a book review to share with you. 

Their revolutionary marriage was arguably one of the most scandalous and intriguing in history. Yet five centuries later we still know little about Martin and Katharina Luther's life as husband and wife. Until now. Against all odds, the unlikely union of a runaway nun and a renegade monk worked, over time blossoming into the most tender of love stories. This unique biography tells the riveting story of two remarkable people and their extraordinary relationship, offering refreshing insights into Christian history and illuminating the Luthers' profound impact on the institution of marriage, the effects of which still reverberate today. Together, this legendary couple experienced joy and grief, triumph and travail. This book brings their private lives and their love story into the spotlight and offers powerful insights into our own twenty-first century understanding of marriage.
My thoughts: 
When I first started reading this book, I thought it might be a little uninteresting and hard to get through. In fact, it was the complete opposite! It was fascinating to read and it kept me spellbound the whole way through. It was hard to put it down! I  also learned a wealth of new information about Martin Luther's views on different issues. 
Before Martin nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, he had earned his doctorate along with the official title "Doctor of Biblia" (which is translated as "teacher of the Bible.") Because his mentor made him the official preacher to the Augustinian monks, Martin was required to preach  several times a week. He began to dig into Scripture, beginning with the Psalms, and soon realized that salvation is through grace alone. During this time, Luther's views on marriage changed drastically. His nailing the Ninety-five These to the doors was the single act that set everything else in motion. 

  Martin Luther left his life as a monk, married a runaway nun, and reformed marriage in the process. The Christian weddings of today, as you know them, generally follow a standard protocol. A man and woman become engaged, spend a few months wedding planning, then the couple is marred in a church by a minister or priest. A reception follows the church ceremony. We have Martin Luther to thank for this tradition. Before his alterations came about, we would say that marriage back then was a little unusual or weird. 

I really enjoyed how the author depicted the backgrounds of Martin and Katharina. She not only showed what life was like for nuns, and in Katharina's case runaway nuns, and monks, but also what married life was like for them. I appreciate that the author paid great attention to detail, and obviously she did much research to write this book. I think there could have been a little more said about the Ninety-five These, but other than that it was well written. Katharina and Martin Luther was the first book I've read by Michelle DeRusha and hopefully it won't be my last. I give this book 4.5 stars. 

*Because of some of the content discussed, I wouldn't recommend this book to those under age 15.*

About the Author:
Michelle DeRusha is the author of 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. She publishes a monthly column on religion and spirituality for the Lincoln Journal Star and writes about faith in the everyday on her blog, www.michellederusha.com.  She lives with her husband and their two boys in Lincoln, Nebraska.  

**I was given a free copy of this book from BakerBooks and all thoughts are my own.**

Sunday, February 12, 2017

How Wonderful Is God's Love!

Greetings to you all!
I hope you had a sweet Lord's day. Since Valentine's day is 
coming up, this post is going to be a collection of hymns and 
Scriptures about the best kind of love that has been given, and 
the best kind there is: God's love. 

"O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"
O love that wilt not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul on Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe, 
That inThine ocean depths it's flow
May richer, fuller be. 

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav'n to earth come down;
Fix us in Thy humble dwelling;
All Thy faithful mercies crown. 
Jesus, Thou art all compassion, 
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation; 
Enter ev'ry trembling heart. 

*"O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"*
~~~~~
Once my way was dark and dreary, 
For my heart was full of sin,
But the sky is bright and cheery,
Since the fullness of His love came in. 

I can never tell how much I love Him,
I can never tell His love for me; 
For it passeth human measure,
Like a deep, unfathomed sea; 

'This redeeming love in Christ my Savior, 
In my soul the heav'nly joys begin; 
And I live for Jesus only,
Since the fullness of His love came in. 

*"Since the Fullness of His Love Came In"*
~~~~~
Of Jesus' love that sought me, when I was lost in sin;
Of wondrous grace that brought me back to His fold again;
Of heights and depths of mercy, far deeper than the sea,
And higher than the heavens, my theme shall ever be.

Sweeter as the years go by, sweeter as the years go by;
Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus' love is sweeter, sweeter as the years go by.

*"Sweeter As the Years Go By"*
~~~~~
Yes, sweeter are Thy mercies, O Savior divine, 
In tender compassion Thou modest me Thine;
With Thee will I journey till life's day is done,
And all thro' the ages give praise to the Son.

O wonderful love that saved me from sin,
O wonderful love that cleansed me within; 
His Spirit bears witness with mine that I'm saved,
All glory to Jesus, I'm saved, I'm saved, I'm saved!

*"O Wonderful Love"*
~~~~~
1 John 4:19- "We love him, because he first loved us."
~~~~~
Christ Jesus my Lord from heaven came,
To save me from guilt and sin and shame;
His death on the cross of Calvary
Brought pardon and gave me liberty.

I love Him because He first loved me, 
He first loved me, He first loved me;
I love Him because He first loved me,
And died on the cross of Calvary. 

*"I Love Him Because He First Loved Me"*
~~~~~
1 John 3:1 - "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
~~~~~
Jeremiah 31:3- "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me,saying, Yea, I have loved the with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."
~~~~~
Have a wonderful, good and godly week.
Happy Valentine's Day.

In the love of Christ,

Ashley 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

 Have you ever thought about what a great privilege we, as God's children, have? We are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace. To obtain God's forgiveness of sins in the Old Testament, a priest had to make atonement for the people.

Leviticus 16:30-34 ~ For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statue for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statue unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.
 
Hebrews 9:6 ~ Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.

So once a year, the high priest went into the holiest place of the tabernacle, but not without blood. For remember, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. And that high priest, the mediator between the people and God, offered the blood as an atonement for his sins and for all the sins of the people. 

Hebrews 9:11-14 - But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified have to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  

Hebrews 9:28 ~ So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;...

Hebrews 5:14-16 ~ Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Now we don't have to have an earthly priest making intercession to God on our behalf for mercy and salvation.  Jesus was offered once for all as the perfect sacrifice, and now sits at the right hand of God interceding for you. What a wonderful thought it is that anyone can come to Jesus and receive forgiveness for sins and eternal life! 

Hebrews 5:4-5:8-9 ~  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee." "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;


~A believer in the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,
Ashley

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Little Humor For Your Day

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening to you all, wherever you may be. 
This is a slightly different type of post than what I normally write. I found these 
quotes on Pinterest...see if you can relate to any of them. :) 


haha! I can relate to that!

So true...so true...


My thoughts exactly....except there needs to be some iced coffee as well. 

hahahahah! *so relatable* 







Amen! 


  
 “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Yep......


Hope you have a wonderful week, friends. :) 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Going Once....Going Twice.....Sold!!!!!!!!!

Good afternoon to all of you!
If you have been wondering what's happened to me, yes I'm still alive, and no, I'm not planning to stop blogging. :)  I just took a very long break is all.   By the way, happy new year.   :)
I have quite a few pictures to share, so without further ado, here are some snapshots from December and this month. 














The middle of this tomato looks like a dove with its wings spread out. 
Do you see it?







 This is the first fresh tomato picked this year. 

As you know, Deborah raised a pig for the South Florida Fair. 
Sarah, Deborah, Lauren, and I went to the fair in the early afternoon
on Friday (the 20th). Since the showmanship was that evening, Deborah
washed Cookie, and then Sarah helped her prepared herself. Enjoy these
photos taken at the fair.


































Now that is some pig!
Here's Cookie, all ready to be auctioned off. (Do you like 
the red bow in her ear? :)

In our family, it always seems like the camera batteries 
die on us at times when we need to take a picture or video, so I 
brought two new ones with me to ensure that wouldn't happen. Well,
the auction started and I began videotaping. Wouldn't you know it, I 
accidentally switched the new batteries out with the old ones, so the camera
died a few seconds after the auction started. After quickly changing back to the
new batteries, I was able to capture the last few seconds of the auction. Sadly, the last
video won't upload. But all in all, it was a fun evening up until the time we had to say 
goodbye to Cookie.  (Deborah, Gretchen (Deborah's friend) Lauren, and I were able to 
go on the rides for free since we had livestock passes. 😃

Cookie weighed 296 lbs. and was bought by U.S. Sugar for $4.50 a lb.

What have you been up to lately? I would love to hear from you!