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Monday, December 31, 2012

Running in 2012

It's the last day of 2012 and time to assess how I did on my running adventure. I had high hopes at the beginning of the year thinking I could hit 600 miles. I'm sure I probably could of hit that mark if I continued on my half marathon journey but I stepped away from the vigorous running schedule after my 10K sometime in July because I felt I was only running to race and that wasn't my goal. My desire is to run because I want to run, not because I need to know how fast or overly push myself for unattainable goals.
 
Running to me is a joy but I made it feel like a chore and it took on a new meaning so I had to step away. I went a couple months with only running 6-8 miles but that's ok. I'm ready to put my shoes back on and get out on the road again. Well, the treadmill for now since I live MT.. I'm looking forward to running again. I don't regret setting it aside because I needed to get my groove back.
 
So how did I do? Not 600 miles but I did make it to 444 miles. Not bad! When two years ago I would of said I was crazy to even run 1 mile and I did 444 of them instead..I'm not sure what I want for a goal this year. I think I'm just going to get out there and just run. I'll still write down how many miles I run to see how I did one year from today but I'm not going to worry so much about it.
 
I hope to run some races next year. Probably the St Patrick's Day 5K again. I've ran in it for the past two years. (it was my very first race ever running back in 2011), Will also try to run in the Icebreaker.. maybe make that the 5 mile instead of the 3 miler.. I ran that race for the 1st time this past year and did it without stopping. All 3 miles.. It was my best race.. I may run the 10K again to in May to see how well I can do. but we will see..
 
Not sure about the half marathon yet. I had a running partner this past year helping me run and talk and it was great! She had a goal to run a marathon and completed that goal back in September.With her guidance and encouragement she helped me train for the half marathon, until I felt overwhelmed by the running schedule. I got up to running 9 miles and then I just felt burnt out and had to stop. I couldn't remember anymore why I was running! I never wanted to run for the race but to run for fitness and to help me feel better about ME. I lost that along the training route!
 
So I just have to stop for a minute and realize that I love to run.. so that's what I'm going to do.. just run and leave everything else where it is and if it fits when I get there, then I'll add it in..!

52 Books in 52 Weeks Wrap Up

It's the last day of the year already! WOW! Where has the time gone. I'd like to write up a little wrap up post for my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge. I've been writing down the books I read since 2009. In 2010, I saw this challenge online and decided to take it. I read 57 books that year. In 2011, I also read 57 books. Pretty consistent huh? Well, 2012, was a little different. Doing really well most of the year and then we went on vacation to Arizona for 18 days and didn't get a minute to read so that was over 2 weeks of NO reading.. ick.. I know, that was hard! So the final countdown for 2012 is 50 books. I missed it by 2 books.. I tried too. I was reading two books at a time to try to make it but in the end I just didn't have enough hours in the day to read, school, and be a mom.. I am currently half way through 2 books but I'm not going to count them as 2012 books since I didn't get them finished by today. I'm happy with the progress and look forward to beating it in 2013. I will have two books to add to 2013 hopefully by weeks end!! YEH!
 
Here is the list of the books I read in 2012:
 
 
1. "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" by Julie Klassen
2. "The Accidental Bride" by Denise Hunter
3. "Love Blooms in Winter" by Lori Copeland
4. "In Too Deep" by Mary Connealy
5. "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids" by Rachael Carman (non fiction)
6. "Every Body Matters" by Gary Thomas (non fiction)
7. "Winter Promise" by Martha Rogers
8. "An Amish Family Reunion' by Mary Ellis
9. 'Song of My Heart' by Kim Vogel Sawyer
10. 'Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy' by Dannah Gresh (non fiction)
11. 'Twilight's Last Gleaming' by Robert Jeffress (non fiction)
12. 'Chasing the Sun' by Tracie Peterson
13. 'Missing' by Shelley Shepard Gray
14. 'Always the Designer, Never the Bride' by Sandra D. Bricker
15. 'The Fiddler' by Beverly Lewis
16. 'Her Restless Heart' by Barbara Cameron
17. 'Need You Now' by Beth Wiseman
18. 'Prize of My Heart' by Lisa Norato
19. 'The Anniversary Waltz' by Darrel Nelson
20. 'Mary's Blessing' by Lena Nelson Dooley
21. 'After All' by Deborah Raney
22. 'Touching the Sky' by Tracie Peterson
23. 'Love in Disguise' by Carol Cox
24. 'Short Straw Bride' by Karen Witemeyer
25. 'The Search' by Shelley Shepard Gray
26. 'The Betrayal' by Diane Noble
27. 'His Steadfast Love' by Golden Keyes Parsons
28. 'Inescapable' by Nancy Mehl
29. 'The Deposit Slip' by Todd M. Johnson
30. 'My Dearest Naomi' by Jerry & Tina Eicher
31. 'Almost Amish' by Kathryn Cushman
32. 'A Promise for Miriam' by Vannetta Chapan
33. 'Over the Edge' by Mary Connealy
34. 'Healing Love' by Laura Hilton
35. 'The Face of Heaven' by Murray Pura
36. 'Living in Harmony' by Mary Ellis
37. 'Found' by Shelley Shepard Gray
38. 'The Bridesmaid' by Beverly Lewis
39. 'Unending Devotion' by Jody Hedlund
40. 'Mother of Pearl' by Kellie Coates Gilbert
41. 'Hidden in the Heart' by Cathering West
42. 'Susanna's Christmas Wish' by Jerry S. Eicher
43. 'A Wild Goose Chase Christmas' by Jennifer AlLee
44. 'Widow's Redeemer' by Philippa Jane Keyworth
45. 'Accidentally Amish' by Olivia Newport
46. 'A Lancaster County Christmas' by Suzanne Woods Fisher
47. 'Christmas at Harrington's' by Melody Carlson
48. 'Amelia's Journey' by Martha Rogers
49. 'Twelve Months' by Steven Manchester
50. 'Full Disclosure' by Dee Henderson
 
Here is the list of the 50 books I've completed this year. I think I did really well in finding new authors to read. I'm actually pretty happy with the number of non fiction books I read this year as I tend to just spend most of my time reading fiction. I do want to thank the book publishers I review for that have provided me with a large amount of the books I read this past year.. Reviewing has allowed me to read new authors and find new favorites that I wouldn't of known before.. It's great!
 
Over at the 52 Books in 52 Weeks blog they have other challenges to participate in. One that caught my eye for 2013 is reading a book that has a movie called Book Verses Movie. I would like to try to take that challenge alongside the 52 books challenge! I have at least two books I'd like to read and watch the movie one so we will see how this goes..

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Son's 11th Birthday

Today is my youngest child's birthday. He turned 11. My baby.. Time is flying by and you really notice this when you see how old your youngest becomes. Not so much with your oldest.. Mine is 18 already but today it hit me how fast they are growing up when you see your baby hit 11.. WOW!

He's been studying astronomy for awhile and he's really fascinated with the planets and the solar system so I surprised him with a Solar System themed birthday party. Since his birthday is TODAY, and it's a Saturday, we decided to actually celebrate it today! He had some friends over and had an out of this world experience.. hee hee! YES, I had to go there....

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Here's the cake I made for him. It has all nine planets.. (he insists that Pluto is still a planet and I agree) with the sun in the middle and the asteroid belt. I have wire hanging with stars hanging off it.. It has sugar pearls on the side to represent star clusters. We even added some constellations like the Big Dipper, Orion, the Five Sisters and Cassiopeia.

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Up close of the sun and you can see the asteroid belt and a few of the planets..

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A cool photo hubby took with the wire stars hanging over the planets with a star patterned fabric behind it..

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Here you can see all of the planets with the stars hanging down..

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My new DS11 with his solar system cake..

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On the kids' birthdays, I take a photo with them..

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He wanted a picture with the cake with me in it..

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Table decorations. The little solar system theme above my son colored, assembled and added stickers too..

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DS11 and his solar system he made

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His solar system and his star balloons. There is 10 star balloons and one bday balloon with a light blue balloon inside (That's his favorite color) to equal 11...

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Candles lit...

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Trying to dodge a photo before we sing Happy Birthday.. I won! Hee hee!!!


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He had a great day. We are now heading out for his birthday dinner. He gets to pick the place.. Happy 11th Birthday Little Bear.. We love you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

College Bound

My DD18 has been dual enrolled in a local college since August. Her first ever college class was an Art Class which she just finished with it last week. That gave her a jump start of 3 credits. She enrolled again for the Spring to take advantage of dual enrollment and to work on some core subjects. The price is a great deal at only $52.00 a credit. She will be taking Human Biology 101 w/ Lab, Intro to Psychology and College Writing I. These total 10 credits which will give her a total of 13 credits which is a nice jump start for the Fall when she starts college full time.
 
With that brings me the reason for this post. College in the Fall. My daughter has finally picked the college she'd like to attend and her major. We couldn't be more proud of her. She has decided to stay close to home and attend the private catholic college right here in town. The University of Great Falls. She will be majoring in Forensic Science and minoring in Criminal Law. She is so excited about this next adventure of her life. I really feel she's made a great choice in a college and a career path. She's always been really good in science and math and this career will allow her to use her talents in her daily life.
 
We love how the class sizes are small. It's religously based. It's a private college which is a huge bonus. And the programs they ask the kids to do not only strengthen them academically but also spirtually, emotionally and physically.
 
She toured the campus during the Summer during their Argo Days. She spent the day at the campus taking a tour, and spent the night in a dorm. She will be staying with us to save on money but she loved the adventure of living in a dorm for a day.
 
There's even more great news attached to this. She already received her acceptance letter in the mail this past week. Even better than that- she will be receiving an $11,000 scholarship from the school to help put towards her tuition. She's earning this because of her grade point average.. She plans to work the next couple months to find more scholarship opportunities to help pay off her college and reduce the amount she will have to pay out of her pocket.
 
With the classes she's taking from her dual enrollment program, everything except the biology class will work to reduce her core classes that are required and the biology class is part of her major and will take 4 credits off of that..
 
We are so proud of all that she's accomplished. She's going to do great! GO ARGO'S!!!!!
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking with Bilbo by Sarah Arthur

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A devotional adventure through The Hobbit
 
About the Book:
 
From the author of Walking with Frodo comes an exciting new devotional based on Tolkien's lighthearted Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. Learn that while the average Christian's life may not include mysterious wizards, cross-country treasure hunts, and fire-breathing dragons, all believers embark on a wild, glorious adventure when they set out to follow Christ! The author takes readers on an adventure of faith with this devotional that relates themes from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to living the Christian life. Unlike the fateful quest Frodo was asked to carry out, Bilbo's journey came as an unexpected adventure. Readers will be reminded that God chooses us to be unlikely heroes in the adventure of life.
 
My Thoughts on this Book:
 
The 'guys' in my family love the Lord of the Rings series and have watched all the movies and read the books. They haven't up until recently read The Hobbit and when I saw this book and had the opportunity to read this I couldn't wait. Since my oldest son, who is 13 now, hasn't had the chance to read the Hobbit, I thought this book would be a great addition to his reading. To start out, the author recommends you read the book "The Hobbit" which makes sense since you will be doing a study that pertains to this book. This book is designed for you to reflect upon the story of Bilbo on a spiritual level.
 
Walking with Bilbo is designed to be a devotional guide. It has short readings that pertain to the book "The Hobbit". It then goes into a section called "Going Further" which are questions for reflection with related bible passages which is called "The Word on Seeking and Finding". The book has a quick reference guide in the back to help you keep the characters straight and to help you relate to the terms used in the Lord of the Rings book series.. 

The book contains 22 Chapters which you can do daily or weekly. Your choice. The book seems to be written for younger adults, teens and older elementary/middle schoolers, which makes sense with the book's original form was written to children (The Hobbit). I would highly recommend anyone interested in reading the Hobbit or watching the new upcoming movie to read this alongside. What a treasure for your Christian walk with God..
 
About the Author:
 
Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of numerous devotionals and other resources on the intersection of faith and great stories. Her first book was the best-selling youth devotional, "Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through The Lord of the Rings," followed by the award-winning "Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through The Hobbit." Her eighth book, released in the spring of 2013, is "Mommy Time: 90 Devotions for New Moms." A graduate of Wheaton College and Duke University Divinity School, she speaks around the country on the role of stories and imagination in spiritual formation. She lives in Lansing, Michigan with her very busy toddler, Micah John, and her husband, Tom, pastor of Sycamore Creek Church. Sarah blogs at www.saraharthur.com.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given..

Friday, December 7, 2012

Growing Up

Yesterday I posted that my daughter had a job interview and that they were going to make their decision by next week and give her a call either way. Well, she got a phone call today and got the job.. I'm so proud of her. Her very first job and she was jumping for joy when she found out. She went into her room while taking the call and then she barreled around the corner with a high pitched squeal screaming she got the job! Scared me into next week but after I was able to regain my heart rate I was jumping for joy with her..
 
With a job, she can now focus on getting her driver's license. I told her that she needed a job to pay for insurance before we even thought of getting it. Now it's more of a reality than a dream for her so she's really happy about that too!
 
 Everything is coming together for her through God's plan for her life. I'm actually really enjoying watching my children grow up to be responsible adults, getting a job, getting her license and applying and attending college. My baby is growing up.

Raising a Man of Faith..Article 4

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I'm happy to share a guest blogger/author here at Ladybug Chronicles. Sheri Rose Shepherd. She is an award winning author using her life experiences to help her to identify with almost any woman's battle. She grew up in a broken home and was severely overweight as a teen. She experienced depression, dyslexia and an eating disorder. Through God's strength, she has become a wonderful speaker at events nationwide.
 
Here below is the last of four articles I've posted this past week that pertains to her new book:
 
Here is the fourth and final article....
 
Raising a Man of Faith
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
She made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.”1 Samuel 1:11
I was invited to write a book for mothers of sons titled Preparing Him for the Other Woman: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. To be honest, this topic intimidated me on many levels. I had my own insecurities and fears of failing as a mom, and I grew up in such a messed-up family that I couldn’t see how I would ever be qualified to write a book on this subject.
 
As I always do before I write any book, I put this message to the test. I gathered a group of young men ages twelve to twenty and asked them if they felt they would be good husbands when they grew up. Sadly, their comments reflected their fear of women; in fact, they felt marriage was something to be avoided. Many talked as if marriage were a death sentence that caused a lifetime of pain. Others asked why they should get married since marriage usually ends in heartbreak, adultery, or divorce.
 
My mother’s heart broke for these boys and all our sons, and their answers were enough for me to fight my fears and write that book for the sake of the next generation of marriages. As I began writing, I reflected on one of my favorite “mommy memories.” It took place on a gorgeous summer evening on a California beach with my husband, Steve, and our son, Jake, when he was three. As my husband tended the campfire, Jake and I snuggled together under a blanket and watched the sun set over the sea. A young couple walked past us hand in hand, with eyes only for each other. My little boy watched them for a couple of minutes before turning his sweet face toward mine and asking, “Mommy, will you marry me when I grow up?”
 
I gently explained that mommies can’t marry their sons. I’ll never forget the ache I felt as I saw tears well up in his big blue eyes and roll slowly down his cheeks. In that moment it hit me: not only was I raising a son, but I was raising someone’s future husband. I decided that day to dedicate my time with Jake to helping him become a good husband when he grew up. I knew I needed to stop focusing on my fears that I would fail him and begin to focus on the fact that God appointed me as the first lady in his life, his mother. Later that night I got down on my knees and prayerfully committed my son’s life to God once again. I felt a new sense of peace about being a mom as I realized that Jake ultimately belonged to the Lord and that my faithful God would cover my son where I could not.
 
Years later, just a few weeks before my son would marry his beautiful Southern bride, Amanda, I found myself in a reflective mood. On the one hand, I felt as if I’d done everything I could to encourage him to keep following Christ and to prepare him to be a good husband. I knew I needed to officially release Jake to his new life with his bride-to-be. On the other hand, I wondered, Have I done enough? I feared the years my husband and I struggled in our own marriage might affect Jake’s marriage. In my inward battle to believe I had done a good job raising him, God gave me the desire to write Jacob a very personal letter the week before his wedding. With his permission and in my hope to bring some relief to your momma’s heart, I want to share it with you now:
To my son, Jake,
This morning as tears fill my eyes, I reflect on the past twenty years of life with you, from Winnie the Pooh, goody plates, and snuggles to late-night talks when you were a teen. I remember when I first heard your heartbeat in the doctor’s office and the doctor saying, “You are going to have a son.” Joy and fear flooded my heart at that moment.
What kind of mom would I be, coming from a broken home with no foundation? And could I take on the task of raising a son in this perverse world?
 
I was so afraid of failing you, and I became desperate for God, which kept me in a constant state of prayer for you, knowing that our God would cover you where I could not and cover me where I failed. What I did not know is that I was not just raising a son; I was raising a warrior and a world changer!
 
Today I look at your fearful heart for your future, and I see a man who seeks God’s face with humility, knowing your God is faithful. I see a man who is passionate to do something great for God’s Kingdom. I see a hope in your heart that screams, “I will not settle for less than God has for me!”
 
Jacob, in all my imperfections and insecurities, I am honored God chose me to raise a mighty warrior like you. I know you don’t know how your story will be written, and it seems unclear how you will fulfill your calling. Remember, you are not the author of your own life; therefore rest in Him. . . . He is writing your life right now. Any and everything you are about to walk through, good or hard, will prepare you for His ultimate plan.
 
So as I wipe the tears from my eyes and say good-bye as “Mommy,” once responsible for your care, I now give you away to care for your bride. And say hello as a friend. I will always hold the memories of my little son as a hidden treasure in my heart. I pray that all you have seen and heard these past twenty years, “good and bad,” will become building blocks, as you will now lay the foundation of faith and life for your new family. Jacob, you will fight the good fight, you will finish your race, and your faith will be passed down to many generations long after you’re gone.
 
I love you, Son.
Mom
For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

Check out her book @ Tyndale House Publishing or you can purchase it where paperback books are sold!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All About Homeschooling

I can't believe we are finishing up our 15th week in school already. This time has just flown by. Things are doing great with my youngest son's curriculum- Heart of Dakota. Still truly loving this for him. He recently finished a 13 week study on Astronomy. During this time period we were in Arizona for a mini vacation and were able to take some field trips to an observatory and a science center to learn about meteroids, comets etc. He got to actually touch a meteorite which made his day. I think I have a little scientist on my hands. He was so sad to have the study end but we are now working on learning about planet earth for the remainder of the year and since that is still astronomy in his opinion we are all good!! Also, to hold his interest in astronomy we are having an astronomy themed bday party for him. He'll be turning 11 on the 22nd.. With that comes some astronomy books, educational things that will allow him to learn more and a solar system globe to hang in his room.. It's going to be great! (I'll post what we did when the time comes)
 
DS13 is doing well. I did have to make one change to his curriculum and that's just recently. He's been struggling with the Apologia Science since I've introduced it to him in 7th grade. (he's in 8th this year) and it's really hard to see that this curriculum is not right for him. Science is not his strength and with putting him in Apologia, I think it's really discouraging for him as it's a bit more advanced than other science curriculum's we've used in the past.
 
I've decided to purchase the Alpha Omega Lifepac Science and he'll start with that at the first of the year for the 2nd Semester and work on the last 5 books and we'll see if this change will help him succeed in this subject. I just really want to see him 'get it' and right now he's not and the best part of homeschooling is to find what works for each child so that's what I did. The best part of this year for him is that he loves his history curriculum. This is the first time I've used Mystery of History with him and he just can't get enough of it.. I just love to see the passion come alive in him.
 
Also, the boy that hated to write is loving to write now thanks to Excellence in Writing. WOW! I can't say enough great things about this program and am so blessed that we were able to use it this year for free with the help of my great friend which allowed us to borrow the CD's. I just needed to purchase the student book. I am fairly certain we will be investing in the next year's program with this because now my son is typing up a story that is NOT part of his schooling just because!! Can I say WOW again!!! hee hee!! I'm just one very happy mama!!
 
As for my wonderful DD18. She will be officially finishing her high school credits at the end of December. She also will be finishing up her very first college class this coming Monday. She's so happy with her progress in her class. It's a Fine Arts- Art Fundamentals class and she's doing a fantastic job. I was hoping that she would utilize this class to open up her creativity to things more than what she normally draws and she surely did and loves it too. I can't begin to express how proud I am of her and of both my boys!
 
We just went down today to sign her up for her 2nd Semester of college classes at M.S.U College of Technology. She's working on completing her core curriculum classes within this dual enrollment program. She's able to take her classes at the fraction of the price of regular students so we are trying to take advantage of this wonderful resource. After the 1st semester she's completed her Fine Arts credits needed and now she will be taking Human Biology, College Writing I, and Intro to Psychology. This will give her 10 college credits towards her college career and then an additional 3 credits from her Art class. She's well on her way to getting her college diploma. With this dual enrollment it also counts towards her high school credits as well as college so the classes she takes this year at the M.S.U will also go on her high school transcript!
 
We have two more weeks of school and then we'll be taking two weeks off to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to ring in the New Year. DD18 will start her 2nd Semester of college classes on the 9th of Januarywhich will make her a full time student there and the boys and I will be picking back up with their school on the 7th of January and this will be the last week of the 1st Semester and the official half way point in our schooling.
 
My daughter will be graduating high school officially with the homeschool communities graduation ceremony on May 18, 2013. I just can't get over how quick time is flying. My baby girl is all grown up and I've been blessed by God to be able to witness and celebrate in this wonderful milestone in my daughter's life! Speaking of growing up, she's looking for a part time job right now. She had a job interview today and it looks promising. They are hiring 2 new positions and there is 4 people applying. She will know hopefully first part of next week.. I'm so excited for her. Things are really looking up for her. I'm proud of them all!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

15th Wedding Anniversary Cake

On November 8th, my hubby and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. It doesn't feel that long ago we said our 'I do's". It's been such a privilege being married to this man. He's the love of my life and look forward to spending the rest of my life with him... We celebrated simply like most years. We went out to eat at a restaurant called Dante's. A place I've driven by many times since we moved here in 2007 but never went. Really enjoyed it. The best part of lunch was watching the snow fall as we ate. After 15 yrs of marriage it has never snowed on our anniversary or anywhere near our anniversary so this was a big treat. Let's just say it didn't just snow, it was a blizzard.. Really..14 inches fell starting on our anniversary through the weekend.
 
To celebrate I made a cake.. Yep... you can't have an anniverary or a bday here at my house without a cake.. even though we just had a cake 8 days before for my daughter's 18th birthday.. hee hee!!
 
I didn't make it tooooo elaborate. Well, not three layers but two.. You only hit 15 yrs of marriage once.. At least for me (wink..) I love incorporating my wedding colors into the cakes I make each year. They were burgundy and creme so here is the cake below I made for our special day...

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I look forward to 15 + more years with the love of my life and the best husband and father any woman could ask for. I am the luckiest woman in the world that he chose me.. Love you honey always and forever.. Your wife for life....

Daughter Turns 18!

On Halloween, my daughter turned 18. I can't believe how time has flown by that my little baby girl can be an adult already. It feels like yesterday I was holding her tiny body in the hospital giving her her name and now she's ready to embrace adulthood. I wanted to make her day special so I made her an elegant cake. You only turn 18 once you know!
 
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Here she is with her three tiered butterfly cake. She told me I could surprise her with whatever I wanted to make her and thought this would be just perfect for her. She told me this was the best cake I've ever made, so I guess I did my job well.. (smiles)..... She had her friend over for dinner and cake and then she spent the night. It was a great day for her!

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Here's another look at the cake from the side so you can see the butterflies flowing around to the back
 
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The backside of the cake where you can see the butterflies

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The topper....

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On her actual birthday I rented a sign for the day outside our house. It said "Fabulous 18.. Happy Birthday.. We love you! with her name on it! She loved it!

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I always get a picture with my kids each year when I can on their bdays. Here is my daughter and I on her 18th bday!
 
Well my daughter is officially an adult and I'm officially a mother of an adult child.. ummm..I don't feel old at all...hee hee!! So she now gets the new title of DD18 here on my blog...
 
She's growing up quickly. She will be finishing her high school credits in the next couple weeks so she can pursue as many credits as she can at M.S.U. College of Technology here in town as a dual enrollment student. She is finishing up a 3 credit art class for her elective she will need for her college next yr. She hopes to get a math and science class done next semester. She's also looking hard for her first job. It's tough right now getting your first job w/out experience but she's a trooper and she just keeps going... Things are looking up for her and I'm so proud of the woman she's become!!

Doe Down..Doe Down!

We had a long hunting season. Hubby and I spent a lot of days, and weekends out searching for some venison.. Last year we were fortunate to get three deer (two does and one buck) all were white tails.. This year was a bit harder for us as we were on our own trying to find state land to hunt on. Last year we were shown private land to hunt and that's where we got all three of our deer. This year we were competing with a lot of other state land hunters.... We were able to get one mule doe on some hutterite land just south of town. She's below..
 
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During this hunting season, hubby and I spent a lot of time together. A lot of hours in the woods searching and with that we had a lot of time to talk and grow together as a couple! I think that was the best part of hunting....
 
I had an opportunity at the beginning of hunting season before we got our doe for a mule buck. He was really young with just spikes for antlers and he was with four does but didn't get him. Shot at him but missed.. it was a sad day!!
 
One weekend we were able to hunt on my husband's co-workers property out east of town and found a beautiful mule buck. We sat and watched this buck with six does for 4 solid hours waiting for him to come onto the property we were able to hunt on. This 10 point big guy was just sitting about 75 yrds on the other side of the fence on property we couldn't hunt on. It was 5 pm and hunting time was almost over and the buck and his does got up and started towards the property we were on. We were sooo excited. Hubby was crouched down waiting for the moment while I kept my eyes on them. Then out of nowhere the adjacent property owner comes flying up in a big truck and a golf cart full of people and jumped out and scared off the deer and left us empty handed. We were sooo upset. 4 1/2 hours stocking these deer and in 2 minutes they were gone..
 
Hubby also had an opportunity at two mule bucks. One popped up right below us but by the time we realized he was there he was already gone running over the hill.. The second one was in a coulee and was farther away than we thought at over 300 yards and the aim was off because of the distance and he too got away. He was a beautiful buck too..
 
All and all we have one doe in the freezer and was also blessed with about 17 pounds of ground elk from my husband's co-worker. He got an elk and got tired of skinning it and gave us the rest for us to take off the bones which we were happy to do.. This was a true blessing for us as we don't like eating the meat in the stores that are pumped full of fake hormones..
 
My DS13 got his hunting license this year after taking the hunter's safety course. He wasn't able to get a deer this year. The few times he went out there wasn't any deer in the area but he's looking forward to going out next year. He still has a tag for Upland Game Birds and he will go with hubby this weekend to try to find us some birds for the freezer.. They went last weekend but didn't find any they could shoot. Even though deer season is over, they have until Dec 31st to hunt for birds so they are going to give it their all!
 
We'll see if we can add some pheasants to our freezer.. mmmmmm.......

Fighting to Forgive and Forget..Article 3

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I'm happy to share a guest blogger/author here at Ladybug Chronicles. Sheri Rose Shepherd. She is an award winning author using her life experiences to help her to identify with almost any woman's battle. She grew up in a broken home and was severely overweight as a teen. She experienced depression, dyslexia and an eating disorder. Through God's strength, she has become a wonderful speaker at events nationwide.
 
Here below is the third of four articles I will be posting this week that pertains to her new book:
 
 
Here is the third article.. Hope you enjoy..
 
Fighting to Forgive and Forget the Former Things
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
How do we forget the former things? Is there some magic prayer that wipes out our memories so we won’t feel the pain of our past? I wish I could say that this is the way to find a new foundation for your life. Yet God teaches us through Isaiah 43 that our past does not determine our future. He wants us to embrace the new beginning He offers us and to stop living in yesterday. However, to let go of our past, we will have to leave it where it belongs . . . at the Cross.
 
I was powerfully reminded of this again through Alice, whom I met recently at a retreat. I had been talking about rebuilding relationships, and when I finished, I walked over to the door to say good-bye to each of the ladies. I loved hearing how God spoke to them throughout the weekend, and Alice gave me renewed hope. She was seventy years old and had been married over fifty years.
 
I was captivated by the joy that lit up her face. She radiated from the inside out, and her smile made me feel at home. I thought Alice must have lived a wonderful life to glow with God’s glory the way she did. I had to ask her what her secret was. Her response reflected a woman who was beautifully broken.
 
She said, “When I lost the husband I loved to my best friend, I lost everything that was dear to me, including my children. However, I discovered how much my Lord truly loves me because of that loss, and I have never been the same because of His love.”
 
My eyes welled with tears as she shared with me the story of how her husband had served her divorce papers on their fortieth wedding anniversary. Devastated and overwhelmed by grief, she set the papers aside without signing them. She fought to understand why God did not protect her marriage after all she had sacrificed to remain faithful, even in the hard and unhappy years.
 
Despite their challenges, she said she loved this man and never dreamed she would be alone in her older years. Though they lived apart for seven years, something inside her soul continued to keep her from signing those divorce papers. Late one night, though, she finally decided to move on and let go of the man she loved. With sad resolve, she signed the papers. Once she had done so, she felt free for the first time in many years.
 
Until the doorbell rang. It was 2 a.m., and she was a little fearful of who might be at her door in the middle of the night. When she opened the door, she was shocked to see her husband, Bill, on his knees with tears in his eyes and torn-up divorce papers in his hand.
 
He looked into her eyes and asked her for something he did not deserve: “a chance to finish my life with you.” Bill told her he had just awakened from a dream he believed God had given him, showing how his actions were crumbling the foundation of the faith of his children and grandchildrenall for the sake of his own pleasure. When he woke up, he could not wait until morning. He had to run to his wife.
 
He knew he owed her a sincere apology, but he wanted so much more. He wanted a second chance, and he was willing to do whatever it took to rebuild what he had broken in her heart. She stood there silently until she heard the Lord whisper to her, “Today, Alice, is the day I am giving you a choice between life and death for your family. I am asking you to trust Me with this broken man and choose life, so that your legacy of faith can live on in your children through your obedience to Me.”
 
She asked for a few days to pray; Bill told her to take whatever time she needed to decide.
 
Alice said she fought through the biggest internal battle she had ever experienced as she reflected on the past seven years away from this man. After all, she had finally healed from his betrayal and feared she might reopen the wound that had taken so long to heal. She wrestled through every emotionfrom feeling ripped off, being rejected, and now receiving an offer to be rescued.
 
Alice knew her choice would write the rest of her life story and her husband’s story. After many tears and much prayer for the strength to forgive her husband, Alice surrendered to God’s will and gave up her rights to take revenge. God blessed the hard choice Alice had made to forget the former things and finish her life with her husband in spite of all he had done. And they finished strong!
 
Yes, Bill was wrong, and yes, he was unfaithful and caused much damage to many lives, including his own. There is no excuse for his actions, and Alice had every right to make him suffer for what he had done. However, her extremely hard decision to forget the former things will leave a legacy of love that will live on long after they are gone.  
 
For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

Check out her book @ Tyndale House Publishing or you can purchase it where paperback books are sold!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!


You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Madison Street Publishing (October 12, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rosanne Spears for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Known to her friends as Pip, Philippa has been writing since she was 12 in every notebook she could find. Although she would love to take full credit for her writing ability, she has to admit her faith in Jesus gives her the inspiration and desire to write. She also has a passion for reading, history, and horse-riding, and these interests have led to a love for Regency romances.


Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation.

London, 1815: After her husband’s untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

A chance meeting with London’s most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

Based on the biblical story of Ruth, The Widow’s Redeemer is a Regency romance depicting the pain of past hurts, the grace needed to overcome them, and the beautiful gift of redemption.

My Thoughts on This Book:

1800's in England sits a  story of the book of Ruth. What a creative way to show one of my favorite books of the Bible. Letty's husband dies and leaves her to live with her mother in law, Clarissa, who insists after tremendous financial unrest to return to London's society again to make her mark after her own husband's death. Letty meets a few people, Sophie, the Major, and the Viscount. Each giving this book a vibrant storyline that keeps you guessing until almost the end. Well written book about love, redemption and committment..





Product Details:
List Price: $13.95
Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing (October 12, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983671931
ISBN-13: 978-0983671930


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.



Confucius







“I don’t understand your meaning, sir.” A little crinkle appeared between Letty’s brows. She folded and unfolded her stitchery, her hands becoming more agitated with every second that passed.



She cast the sewing onto a small side table and began teasing the frayed cuffs of her muslin day dress before standing abruptly. Leaving the doctor behind, she walked over to the small window set deeply into the farmhouse wall. Silence followed. She stared at the rugged slabs of stone that made up the thick wall and kept the winter winds at bay.



The beginning of the week had brought her husband back from the gaming hells of London. He had been sickening from exposure to rain and cold on his journey home and had fallen from his horse. Could life be so ready to change? Were the cards being dealt as she stood here?



The physician was packing up instruments into his old leather bag. There was the clink of draft bottles as they slotted into place, the creak of un-oiled leather, and the click of a stiff clasp.



Letty swung back round to face the retreating doctor. “But surely there is something more that may be done?”



His small white head shook in a well-acted sadness. Perhaps he had given this news a dozen times, perhaps he had given it a hundred times over. His headshake was so perfected and his eyes so full of sympathy. It was a slow and definite last retreat.



“It is merely a matter of nursing him until his time comes.” He paused, wetting his bottom lip before taking a long breath. “Has he drawn up a will?”



Letty’s thoughts scattered everywhere at once. She had not thought about a will. Even the mention of one but two days ago would have seemed unwarranted, almost absurd. Yet here John lay, with waxy skin and red-rimmed eyes, the smell of fever on him. The scent was curious; body odors were mingling with the wood smoke and damp, producing a rank and stale smell.



A will, was that what the doctor had said? John had been in charge of business matters, and he would not have had the forethought to write a will at seven and twenty, or at least not the care.



“I am not sure.” She reached a hand up, unconsciously checking her hair. These were not things she had expected to confront in her second year of marriage.



“I suggest you summon your lawyer as soon as possible. It is hard to estimate how much time your husband has left.”



She nodded dumbly, blinking quickly in a last, vain attempt to understand the enormity of what was happening. A sad smile marked his lips, as though that settled the business. With no more to be done, he took up his case and descended the tight spiral staircase.



Letty followed behind, grappling with the feeling of shock but still aware of her obligation to see the doctor out. In front of the house, the small boy who looked after the farm’s horses, waited with the doctor’s animal. Letty watched the physician mount the small Dartmoor pony. The animal shook his head in impatience for his hay and stable and was only happy once his hooves were falling in a steady beat. John’s wife waited at the door until the creature disappeared from sight.



For a moment she stood silently, contemplating the sentence which had just this evening been hung over her life. The gathering gloom descended upon her still figure, leaving her a lonesome silhouette in the evening farmyard. Dew settled unbidden upon the landscape, the droplets disturbed a little by a sea breeze. The sky was dark—hues of blue, gray, red, and purple all slowly merging into one as night formed above her. In a far off pasture the soft moo of a cow could be heard. The familiar sound brought her back to the problems at hand. She shook off the desire to sleep and, turning on her wooden heel, walked hastily inside.



The moonlight was firmly in control of the rugged landscape outside the window when she finally drifted off. The large winged armchair in her husband’s room had become her home in the past week, ever since he had been taken ill. The heavy woolen blanket, which was now draped across her unconscious frame, had become the roof over her head.



The farmhands had brought John back after finding him unhorsed and drenched on one of the farm tracks. After all, a drunk man was no horseman. Letty had not heard from him while he had been in Town and even his return had been a surprise.



A small fire, which had been lit early in the evening, was glowing sluggishly in the grate. The scent of it had gradually penetrated everything in the room. Objects surrounding the bed were cast in an unusual light. Several rapidly drawn up letters scattered a small desk in the corner of the room, the little amount of wax on each one looking like a small arachnid in the dim light. A bowl of tepid water reflected a little of the firelight, giving the depths an eerie, luminescent appeal. A rag hung over the side of the basin, like a lone shipwreck survivor crawling to safety.



Letty was awakened by nightmares only half an hour after she fell asleep. Too many worries consumed her mind which, until settled, would prevent her from further rest. Soon, realizing the cold had frozen her aching joints, she rose to dab her husband’s brow. He made no indication of consciousness. Pausing a moment, she watched the knitting and un-knitting of his feverous brow before turning and making her way to the desk. She shuffled the letters that lay there into some kind of order and gingerly placed another log on the fire.



“Lettice?”



She spun on her heel at the sound of the rasping voice. Small feet bore her swiftly from the fireplace to John’s side. She knelt on the wooden floor to better look into his weary eyes. He was groggy, his eyes roving about the room, though Letty could see lucidness as they settled upon her.



“Yes, John? How do you feel?” She dunked the cloth in the basin and made to wipe his beaded brow.



“No, no more of that. You have made me cold enough.” He turned his head from her.



She nodded slightly, placing the rag back into the basin.



“Why has this come upon me?” he cried out suddenly. “I am in such pain!” He writhed on the bed and upset the soiled bed linens.



“How can I make you more comfortable? Your pillows, do you wish to sit up?”



“That’s the last thing I want to do, Lettice. My back, it aches terribly.” He paused. So little strength was left to him; it was an exertion even to speak a single sentence--especially a sentence filled with anger. “My mother was right. We should never have left Town. None of this would have come upon us.”



Her eyes dropped to the disordered bedcovers. “We would never have met.”



He made no response and turned his head away once again. Letty could not stand the feeling of ineptness. She stood up, pausing by the chair, and then made her way to the fire. There was an old loaf of bread left on a cutting board by its side. She was hungry; it was early morning, a long time since she had had her frugal dinner. She started sawing off a piece to toast over the fire.



“Will you not ask if your sick husband wants something to eat?”



“Do you?”



“No, but you could at least act the caring wife.”



Letty did not answer. It was best she refrained while John was in this mood. Then, with a sobering feeling, she realized that perhaps there would not be many more of his moods to bear.



“The doctor said…well, he said the fever is not abating. He was worried. You are weakening rather than strengthening.”



“And so I expect he thinks I should call the lawyer.” John coughed, a wracking sound that clawed at his lungs and rattled his core.



“He did mention it, yes.” She did not mean it as an attack, but John took it to be one.



“So quick to make me sign over my fortune. I have been ill but a week.” The well-known scowl lines of his face deepened in a sneer.



“John?” She turned to face him. Despite their differences, to tell a man he was dying could never be an easy thing. How could she approach it? How could she say it?



As it was, she would not have to bear the discomfort of speaking it. He had turned his head away again, and he would not turn it back now. He had read it in her anxious eyes all too clearly. Death was inevitable to all men and to him it would come sooner than to most.



She stayed by his bed, quiet, trying hard to clear her mind of all the thoughts that clamored for attention. It was still dark beyond the walls of the house, dark like her mind which was filled with a hundred worries. She would go on through the night worrying, waiting by his side and watching his pain.



Dawn came slowly. She rose from the chair she had been waiting in and walked round the bed to face him. As her gaze fell on his face, the cockerel crowed. His eyes were cold, distant, and lifeless. His body was pale and hard, the worries of a lifetime written in the lines of his harsh, heavy face. She left him there. She did not close his eyes but walked through the cold house in search of her shawl so that she could go to the village and fetch the funeral men. The lawyer never came and neither did her tears.



John’s body was made ready for burial, and the farm’s tenants were duly informed. Letty would be the only one following the coffin to the graveyard on that bleak walk. No friends came; even family, it appeared, were unable to attend. Letty wondered that John’s mother did not come to bury her son, to see the last trace of his earthly self disappear into the ground. It would not be until later that she would receive a letter explaining that, upon hearing of her son’s death, the mother had locked herself in her room and was refusing to eat or come out. To lose a husband had been the first trial for that mother to overcome, but now a son also within two years was more than she could bear. So Letty was left to walk behind her husband’s coffin alone.



The last of the rich brown earth was tossed carelessly by the gravedigger. The soil sprayed across the grave that contained a body that was once a man. Feeling a cold northerly breeze spring up, Letty clasped the material of her thin pelisse closer. She looked around the deserted graveyard, sighed quietly, and then turned to make the lonely walk home.



* * *



Letty’s mind was absent. Her body, however, was seated in a large leather armchair, the springs of which were becoming rather too obtrusive, while the stuffing was half there and half missing. The chair was in a tiny room at the back of a building that constituted the solicitors’ offices. The rambling structure was situated in the village, a little set back from the other buildings, and was condemned by many to be in a worse state of repair than the infamous blacksmith’s. This was partly due to the age and personality of the main law-working occupants, but it was also because their clientele possessed a low standing and, therefore, a deficient income.



Despite the building’s exterior and the general tattiness of the objects within, it was a tidy little office. Nothing seemed out of place and, unlike most solicitors’ desks, paperwork was not scattered across it. Letty was alone in the room for a long while. The faint mutterings and voices, muffled by the wall, floated in to her. The noises all washed over her, and she did not pay them much attention. How could she be interested in the chit-chat of persons she had never met when her future was being located, shuffled, and glanced over?



The man who would be the bearer of all news concerning her future eventually opened the door. He paused on the threshold. Letty could hear his steady breathing though she did not look round. Her head remained perfectly still, her eyes forward, and she had a politeness about her carriage. She clasped her hands loosely in her lap, ready for whatever would be thrown into them. She may not have had a governess who had taught her fine languages or clever mathematics but, thanks to her parson scholar of a father, she was no fool. That pause upon the threshold was one small thing which warned her of what was to come.



Why would a solicitor pause on the threshold, run a handkerchief over the perspiration that had suddenly beaded on his brow, give four brisk sniffs, and then straighten his plain cravat before facing his client? The answer was plain and it was simple. It whispered itself into Letty’s mind. It said: fear.



She smiled faintly as the solicitor took his seat. He was a short, wiry old man and rather outmatched by the much too large wooden desk. He managed a small, polite smile before he placed the papers he had been carrying carefully out before him. With all of them equally spaced and perfectly straight, he cleared his throat and began.



“Now, Mrs. Burton, ah, here we are, ah, yes. Now I have drawn up and put together all the estate’s values and assets including the farm and the house.” He refrained from using the term “your house”, and that was when she began to realize her true predicament. “I have then compared them to repayments needing to be made, yes, um, now….” He readjusted his wire-rimmed spectacles while the small tuft of white hair in the center of his head quivered. “Yes, ah….”



Letty’s heart was tugged a little by the awkward situation this man had been placed in. She rested a tentative hand on the desk but took care to distance it from the solicitor’s own hands. She captured his gaze with her frank brown eyes. “Mr. Glenville, I am led to believe that sometimes husbands have little to leave to their wives due to unfortunate business circumstances leading up to a sudden death. I understand that this cannot be helped.” She kept her eyes on his, speaking far more with them than with her mouth.



“Yes, yes, of course. So glad you understand, Mrs. Burton. It can cause such upset, you see, when the value of the estate and assets comparative to various debts is read out. That is why—well, never mind that.” He reshuffled the papers then took them up again and read on in a calm, precise voice. When he had finished, Letty remained poised for a few moments longer, allowing the information to take its rightful place in her mind. She had been completely unaware of the debts and the precarious position John had been in before he died.



“I see,” she said finally, with far more firmness than Mr. Glenville had expected. “And now tell me truthfully: can the assets fulfill the repayments in their entirety with anything left over?” Her eyes fell back into focus as she spoke, containing a hardness that had not been there before.



“Well, Mrs. Burton, this is where it gets rather more complex. You see, your husband’s affairs had fallen into, well, how shall I say? Difficult times. Therefore, through my calculations of his estate and the debts he accrued from purchases, as well as the debts from ah…several respectable establishments in London.”



Letty’s neck could not help but tense at the reference to her husband’s regular appearance at some of London’s most fashionable gaming hells. It had not been unusual for him to be away from Cornwall for weeks at a time while he entertained himself in London. She remembered the look of disgust and the lack of farewell as he journeyed away from their house each time he went to the metropolis. How could he, a bred gentlemen, stand to be in the country with little or no entertainment? Coupled with this was the severe lack of society that had attended him ever since his marriage to Letty. So severe were the consequences of his disadvantageous marriage that to spend only moments in his wife’s presence was too much for him to bear.



He would be off, of course, entertaining himself in some hell or another, chasing days of past glory in the far-gone seasons. He met his friends, the ones she was never permitted to see, the ones in front of whom she could only prove an embarrassment. She had often wondered what those friends had heard of her. If it were spoken from John’s lips then it would not be praise. There had been a few times when his words had stung more than his hand upon her—not many, but a few.



“Oh, I beg your pardon, Mr. Glenville. Could you please repeat what you just said?” Letty’s back straightened and her mind returned from that far off place.



“Have no fear, Mrs. Burton.” Mr. Glenville smiled slightly. He liked Lettice Burton, even if she had married above her station. She seemed a sweet girl and yet, as he saw her sitting there, he reflected that she was much changed from the girl he had seen on her wedding day. She no longer looked an innocent, fresh-faced child; she was a woman now, at least about the eyes. There was a sort of wisdom there, a lack of that childlike naivety she had once borne. “I understand this is a difficult time. Losing a spouse is a terrible thing, especially at so young an age.”



Letty bowed her head in assent but behind the eyes that Mr. Glenville had deemed wise, there was no grieving heart. Was that wrong? Letty felt pangs of guilt and yet, as she raised her head again and felt the slight bruising at the back of her neck, the guilt bled away.



“What I was beginning to explain was the financial plan for Highfield. In order to cover the debts owed, I am afraid that the only way is to sell the house and the farm along with it.”



Letty, after several days of widowhood, felt the first tears pricking her eyes. The guilt came back, but it was overcome with sadness. She thought with fondness—and bitterness—of the home she had shared with John, and for a moment could not bear the thought of its inevitable loss.



“I understand, Mr. Glenville. I give you all the authority to see to the matter. I shall prepare the house and farm for a new owner and take my leave of the tenants.”



“Madam, I know this is outside of my authority, but I just wish to inquire—have you anywhere to go? I would not go about selling this property for you if you have no safety.”



Letty smiled at him, his kindness a surprise yet fitting with his winsome face. “It is quite all right, Mr. Glenville. I am sure that my family will take me in.” She said it with a certainty she was far from feeling. “In the meantime, the debts must be paid. Please sell Highfield, and before other debts are settled, take your own wages out of the sum. I do not wish to see you underpaid.”



Mr. Glenville looked down at the desk, shuffling papers in a brisk fashion. He pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and fluffed it about his nose. He was trying his hardest to smile his thanks without seeming impertinent. When he looked up, he saw a large smile brightening Letty’s mouth and it instantly put him at his ease. The smile remained, covering the anxiety inhabiting her mind and protecting her from further sentiment or questions. She rose to exit.



Mr. Glenville came out from behind his desk and made to take her hand. The sudden movement caused Letty to shrink back instinctively, her arms moving to protect her body. Mr. Glenville’s owl-like eyebrows rose and crinkled in confusion. Letty, her wide eyes taking in what she had just done unconsciously and the harmless gesture of the man which she had misread, dropped her hands to her sides in embarrassment.



“Thank you, Mr. Glenville,” she said, trying to speak as though nothing unusual had just occurred. “You have been exceedingly helpful. If you could send me a missive here and there, to update me on the sale’s progress and debt repayments, I would greatly appreciate it.” She made no move to give him her hand.



The small man, willing to ignore the strange episode, bowed deeply before straightening again. Something flashed in his eyes, but Letty missed the look of admiration he bestowed upon her. She was already crossing the threshold, planning in her mind what needed to be done next.



***



Letty had barely eaten a thing at lunch, and now, as she was walking to the farm tenants’ houses, a feeling of weakness came over her. She would not be eating until the leave-taking was done, however long it took. The sky was overcast though it was not likely to rain. Letty observed the sun-whitened clouds that threw everything into an oddly naked light.



The dirt track, which she had walked down so many times to oversee the farm work while John was away, was slightly damp thanks to last night’s rain. Her black widow’s garb had been bought at the cheapest price, so if a little mud spattered the hemline she did not much care. She was too used to walking in the country to be bothered about hemlines and complexion.



Her small figure went in and out of the few cottages on the farm. She bade farewell to the many families, the familiar smell of animals and earth in her nose. She was touched by the few words of condolences that were uttered, even if the tenants cared little for the loss of John. She saw their many concerned eyes and knew their feelings were for her.



To them she was the kindly parson’s daughter who came and asked after each and every one of them, never forgetting a name. Yes, they would be sorry to see her go, yet the promise of a new master who might not be as tyrannical as the last was something that gave them hope. Why had the gentleman come from Town to a small piece of Cornwall in the first place? It was a piece of the country scorned by the modish, and clearly it had been scorned by him as well.



Letty knew of the many questions that her union with John had raised. They had been worlds apart in station and they would never have married had it not been for one indiscretion. That one incident, which had been so easily misread, was the reason she had been married for two years to a man who did not love her. If only John had not led her into a compromising situation because of his own desires; if only she had not so easily mistaken his lust for love. He had been a man whom she had thought she loved, and it had taken time for that naivety to fade after their hasty marriage. She had slowly realized his resentment of her, and it was a resentment that had in two years grown savage.



Yet, as she spoke to each tenant she felt a slight loss, a slight sense of pain at the parting she was making from the place that had been her home, no matter the circumstances. She remembered that she needed to write a letter to her parents asking their shelter. Would they be able to take her back into their parsonage? Somehow, it seemed impossible to go back to her childhood home--that place where her father had once tutored John, where they had met, where the unfortunate incident had happened which forced them to marry.



Too much had happened to her, had been inflicted upon her, for her to return to that place where she had once been so innocent. She felt as though the innocence she had worn in her youth had become polluted. She could not return to live the life of someone she would never be again. As the last tenant closed the door behind her, she turned towards her home, and as she walked back in the twilight, she knew that tonight, at least, it was too late to think upon the future.



***



The following morning brought a letter from Theodora Burton, Letty’s sister-in-law, who resided in Truro. The small, pretty hand, familiar to Letty, brought a little smile to the young widow’s lips. What had her relative been up to now?







Dearest Lettice, 17 October 1815







How are you? I am so sad to hear of John’s passing away. It was such a dreadful shock! I actually said to Mrs. Grockel, my housekeeper, how sudden it was. I even dropped my paintbrush when I read the letter you sent me about it. (I was in the midst of decorating a small cabinet and now it is totally ruined as I dropped a black paintbrush right in the middle. I have no idea what to do about it. Mrs. Grockel said to paint it one color again. I told her if she wished to spend hours repainting the pattern she is welcome to it!)



Anyway, I am getting quite beside the point! Mr. Burton—well, David to you, I suppose, since you are family—has become quite ill, and as I thought you may be in need of some company and so shall I, I am inviting you to come and stay with us a while. Would you like to? Please say yes, for if I only have Mrs. Grockel to speak to I may fall ill myself, though I do not wish to exaggerate, of course.



I hope everything is well with you, dear sister, and I look forward to seeing you soon.



I send my love, your dearest sister-in-law,



Theodora Burton







Letty folded the letter and laid it in her lap. She turned to gaze out of the parlor window onto green fields that heaved up and fell away outside. Her thumb stroked the thick paper; perhaps it would be good to visit Theo. It had been a long time since she had seen her and it would be a way to save her parents any expense. Her father had been graced with a decent parish, but that did not mean money had ever been plentiful. The thought of her father only brought her mind back to John. If only money had not been so scarce when she had been young! Her father would not have had to take on gentlemen to tutor. She would never have met John, and they would never have married in a desperate attempt to avert the scandal.



She suddenly shook herself. What was she doing? Self-pity would help nothing. The past was set in stone and ultimately unchangeable. She must think of the future. If she could not change past actions, she could at least try to survive the present. She reprimanded herself and then, flicking the long plait of hair she had been fiddling with back over her shoulder, she rose clasping the letter. She sat in John’s old chair at the large wooden desk, the high back overshadowing her, and took out a sheet of paper. Once the letter to Theo was finished, sealed, and sent, Letty went about packing the few dresses she owned into a bandbox. She saw to the business of the farm, and finally coming back to Highfield, she began saying goodbye to her home.



***



And so the farm, the house, and all the possessions therein were left to the debt collectors. Letty took her final leave with only a small trunk and a portmanteau to her widowed name. She removed to her sister-in-law’s house in Truro. While Theodora’s husband remained sick, Letty would be the young wife’s comforter and companion.



The widow remembered with such clarity the day on which she left: the crisp morning air that pinched at her cheeks before she stepped up into the carriage; the sweet smell of earth that was laced with traces of briny sea air; the wind that flung her long hair back and forth, loosing it from the contraptions imprisoning it; the sky that was thick shades of iron gray and layers of towering clouds building above; the heath and shrub covered landscape in all its unruly beauty she knew so well—all was left to the elements behind her. The animals were hidden away in warm homes together, the only farewell being the natural blow of westerly winds.



The harshly sprung carriage afforded a small view of the country which she loved through a murky pane of glass. This view she engraved in her mind’s eye. She would keep it for a time when she needed to know there was a place like heaven, a paradise somewhere.

You Don't Need a Man to Push the Play Button Article 2

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I'm happy to share a guest blogger/author here at Ladybug Chronicles. Sheri Rose Shepherd. She is an award winning author using her life experiences to help her to identify with almost any woman's battle. She grew up in a broken home and was severely overweight as a teen. She experienced depression, dyslexia and an eating disorder. Through God's strength, she has become a wonderful speaker at events nationwide.
Here is the second article of four that I will be sharing on my blog this week that pertains to her new book:
Here is the second article.. Hope you enjoy..

You Don’t Need a Man to Push the Play Button for Your Life to Begin
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

I’m not sure what you’ve walked through or who holds the key to your heart, but if you will hand that key to the Lord, you will find the safe place you’re longing for. Your security will no longer be based on others’ actions. Even those who love you the most don’t know how to love you the way your Lord does. Just listen to His promise in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

If you’re married . . . I know it’s hard to say “I do” and “I will” when you have stood in the gap for your marriage and believed God for restoration—and it hasn’t happened.

The truth is, you are a beautiful chosen bride of Christ, and in this life there will be trouble. But you have a real Prince. His name is Jesus, and He has felt every pain you’ve ever experienced. He endured rejection and crucifixion so you would have the power to finish your life on earth and have everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Yes, we want to pray for our men, and we want to empower them with our words, our actions, our influence, and our prayers. But we cannot allow any man on this earth to keep us from the ultimate relationship with our Lord. There is such security for our hearts when we fall for the One who gave His life for ours.

Please know that I am not in any way encouraging you to divorce your husband to follow Christ. But you don’t have to wait for your husband to change before you begin changing the world around you.

For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.
Check out her book @ Tyndale House Publishing or you can purchase it where paperback books are sold!