A Son’s Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray ~Book Review

by adustyframe ~ February 9th, 2016


About the book:

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.

Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

About the Author:

Learn more about Shelley at her site 

My thoughts:

At first, I wasn’t sure that I was going to love another Amish fiction book by an author I wasn’t very familiar with but I was drawn into the story right away.

An accident at the mill jeopardizes friendships and families and a community. No one is quite sure how to rebuild their lives after the accident and relationships suddenly become tricky.

I think you’ll enjoy this book–you’ll have to read it to see how it turns out! Shelley Shepard Gray writes skillfully and her characters are believable and real.

Find out what other reviewers thought at Litfuse’s Page.

Disclaimer~I received a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.



by adustyframe ~ February 9th, 2016

I’ve mentioned my pain in the neck before. It’s from a decades old injury and it just never gets better.

I’ve been able to control it so that I can at least function with chiropractic care and infrequent massages.

A year ago, I started acupuncture and that also helps. I’ve been getting adjusted at the chiropractor far less frequently since starting acupuncture. I feel that the acupuncture helps the muscles relax so that the adjustment is able to hold better. My acupuncture treatments are farther apart now as well.

Recently, the therapist at my chiropractor’s office asked me to consider regular therapy. She said she felt that if I was getting the bad spots worked on more frequently, I may be able to have  some relief.

She’s working on releasing adhesions in the muscles. They have been injured and coping the best they can for years but she thinks she can work some of that out. I’d certainly be grateful for that–LET ME TELL YOU!


I’ve gone 3 weeks in a row for a therapy session. She finds the spots and works them and oh my! They are very painful. The good news is that I’ve been feeling less tension in my neck and back and feeling like it’s looser (for lack of a better word).

The last 2 weeks, she’s found a bad spot and hollered, “Oh my goodness!” I guess it’s bad if the therapist is shocked at them. :)


I’ve also been taking a supplement to help with inflammation and I think it’s helping too.

I’m praying this will give me a bit of relief so that I can have fewer days feeling horrible. It’s hard to say and who knows, but it’s worth a try!


I’m Baaack!

by adustyframe ~ February 2nd, 2016

The “me” I like to be is starting to show herself and I’m pretty happy about it.

I’ve had more energy lately to tackle some cleaning and organizing projects that have been put off  while I didn’t feel well.

It makes me insanely happy to see order and cleanliness starting to appear around here. The house wasn’t horrific but it wasn’t where I wanted to keep it.

While I was recuperating from Nathan’s birth and the side effects that happened shortly after, I just couldn’t tackle more than basic every day necessities.

Then there were the nursing challenges that kept me tied to the breast pump much of the day for months.

Then when baby started nursing, he nursed a lot and he was a pokey little nurser. I will say that I don’t regret one second of nursing him. I don’t regret the snoozes on the couch or all the TV shows I watched while he cuddled and nursed. I’m so thankful that he did start nursing after his refusal to nurse shortly after birth. But nursing does take time–sometimes a LOT of time and he nursed for a very long time. (This is also something for which I’m thankful!)

Then there was the hernia. I didn’t know what was causing the pain for a long time and I suffered a lot.

When I found out, I had to have a surgery and you guessed it–more recuperating and getting back to normal. It was the week of Thanksgiving before I felt remotely normal. From my surgery until then, I was overwhelmingly exhausted every day then suddenly (Praise God!) it lifted.

Now, a couple months later, I’m truly starting to realize how much better I feel. I beat myself up a little during these past couple years. Many days, all I was able to accomplish was dishes and a laundry and perhaps one more thing. It took me most of the day to do those things and get James where he needed to be or keep the house in a slight semblance of order.

I shouldn’t have been too hard on myself because I had two abdominal surgeries in 2 years time. I had a new baby. I have a teenager. I have a husband who travels for weeks at a time.

And on top of that, I still have to deal with all my previous physical issues–my bad neck and fibromyalgia, etc!

I think the point of this rambling post is to tell you I’m feeling better! But also to remind you and I to be careful when we have a friend or someone in our circle of acquaintances who just can’t keep up.

Maybe they  they can’t keep their house sparkling clean when you feel that’s imperative to godliness.

Maybe they can’t make as many homemade things as others do.

Maybe they can’t take a meal to someone at church with a new baby.

Maybe they don’t live up to the latest “good wife” standard (set by whom?) I’m so thankful that my husband has been understanding of my limitations. He’s actually super sweet all the time and knows I have limitations. And he’s the one that matters, right?

Maybe you think they’re not carrying their weight.

When I could only do a couple things in the day and my house wasn’t up to my own standards (much less anyone else’s), I put pressure on myself.
I certainly didn’t need it from people who know nothing about my situation. But now that I’m feeling better and starting to work through the long list of things that need to be done to get my house back in shape (and my body too by the way….working on that), it was just a huge reminder to me to give people the benefit of the doubt when they handle their life differently than I do.

I literally could not do anything extra for many months and now I can. I’m getting better and feeling more energy and able to tackle more projects and I’m really happy that’s the case.

Before, I really could not look outside of anything more than things that were absolutely necessary.

If you know people dealing with emotionally difficult or physically difficult situations, they may not need you to come clean their house or make them a meal, but at the very least the need their friends and acquaintances to refrain from passing judgment on their accomplishments or lack thereof.

That’s my little PSA for the day.

And my praise!





I KNOW Why You Did That!

by adustyframe ~ January 29th, 2016

Recently, I had a situation with an online points website. I earned my rewards certificate and submitted my order and waited.

And waited…

And waited….

And waited some more.

Nothing ever showed up. I looked into the process to have it sent again and finally it arrived.

I put in the free code on Amazon (woo hoo love me some free Amazon) and it was invalid–it said it had already been used.

I was not amused. I began to think about how many people use the site and if they send an invalid code to several people here and there, it must add up to a great savings for themselves.

Thieves! Cheaters! Liars! I really was getting worked up and I KNEW that I had not received the code. I also KNEW that they sent me an invalid code.

I considered a social media campaign to warn others of their nefarious deeds. (I knew their motive was to save a few bucks here and there by cheating honest users out of their points).

My motive was only to warn people so that they too wouldn’t be taken in by this site that by all appearances seemed wonderful. Other people I know had never had a bad experience with them, but I knew under that veneer was a boiling mess of thieves and cheats. People needed to know this!

I needed to let them know I was onto them……..so……..I sent an email. It was a nice email–really it was! I said I was displeased that they sent me an invalid code and that I was disappointed that while they seemed to be reputable, they were indeed not and that I didn’t think it was fair for them to tell me “Oh well……nothing we can do.”

A few seconds after I sent the email, I decided to examine the letters and numbers in the code. I went through my Amazon gift certificate history and my cheeks reddened.


Even though I knew for certain I was right that I never received the gift certificate in the 1st place and even though I knew for certain that they were scamming people here and there to shave money off their bottom dollar and even though I sent them an email to let them know I KNEW all about them…… I was wrong.

I was wrong. I had already received and used the code weeks before. That could be why I though I didn’t receive it. I just entered it and completely forgot.

So, I stewed for weeks about it (ok not really, it’s not as if that’s the only thing I thought about or that I was consumed with it but bear with me for the point…..) I wasted time trying to prove to them their thievery and lying. And in the end, I probably looked foolish to them.

They knew they sent the code. They knew they sent the valid code. They knew whatever was going on was my perception of the situation.
And it was!

Could this ever happen in real life? I think so.

I think we can easily be tempted to be convinced of something in our own minds. We tell ourselves the story that we just KNOW to be true. We believe it. We tell other people they are wrong or whatever else we KNOW to be true.

When I  took time to examine my situation, I discovered the story I believed was completely false. I knew no such thing that the company was stealing from me or trying to save money.

I assumed.

I don’t want to be the person who puts themselves in the place of God by claiming that I know what is going on in another person’s heart because only God knows our  motives and  the motives of others.

1 Corinthians 4:4, 5…but the one who examines me is the Lord. 

 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes

who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts;

and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful…….and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hopefully, this silly little gift certificate story of mine will remind me in the future when I want to assume to know what’s going on in another’s person’s life.

Does this mean that I think that there is never a time to speak to people? Absolutely not.

 I’ve had wise people counsel and correct me many times in my life. I’ve had to speak truth to others as well. No, I’m not saying to  never confront but when those times are necessary we have a plan to follow in the Bible and must be done with great prayer and great love.

1 Corinthians 13:5  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Colossians 4:6  Let your conversation be always full of grace,seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


God’s Great Faithfulness

by adustyframe ~ January 23rd, 2016

Lamentations 3:21-26

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.


The Bonus

by adustyframe ~ January 20th, 2016

It’s no secret that I wished for many children.

I have always loved babies and kiddos and my dreams always included a big crazy house full of children.

That’s not the family that God gave us. Once in awhile, I still wish we had more children but  I’m beginning to see the joys and bonuses of having the family that God sent to us.

I’m kind of an old mom (ha!) and so I’m not as easily upset by what the latest blogger, expert, author, or Christian guru says should happen in my parenting.

I’m fairly confident that God has given me wisdom for the boys but once in awhile, I feel the pressure when I see comments on Facebook, read blog posts, or see an article written by the latest Christian author that everyone just loves.

“Should be potty trained by 18 months”

“Should never sleep in the parent’s bed”

“Should always eat xyz” 


We do some things “right” and some things would make the “latest guru” cringe but you know what that’s ok! I’m a firm believer that in the details and specifics of life, we should each do what works for us–not what works for our friend, or the author, or someone else’s situation.

But the other night, little guy and I were snuggling and I thought, “Something has to be done. This child takes way too long to fall asleep.” He does sometimes! And I get impatient and feel like I have so much to do and “Why won’t you just go to sleep!?”

Lots of people would read between the lines and wonder why I am laying down with our little guy and why don’t I put him in his bed and tell him good night and you know he’s never ever going to sleep on his own and……fill in the blank.

I was starting to think, “Oh man! If they only knew.” If they only knew that I snuggle with my 2 year old til he’s asleep. If they only knew he sleeps in my bed almost every night. If only they knew we watch songs on Youtube before he snuggles in to go to sleep.”

When I was thinking these things, I was thinking of the shame and pressure I’d feel if all those perfectly put together moms knew that I don’t do things they way they do. That if they knew, they’d make comments or shake their head. That if I tell everyone these things, when there is a struggle in the future, I’ll hear, “Well you started out by letting him rule the roost.”

But the Lord whispered to me, “This is a bonus.”

It’s a bonus to snuggle in bed with my little guy and feel his head nestled on my shoulder while we giggle over an Elmo video on Youtube.

It’s a bonus to get his big smooch on my cheek and hear him say, “I forgot to give you your big squeeze.” His big squeezes come complete with sound effects.

It’s a bonus to lie down in the evening or at nap time and relax and rest my old self.

It’s a bonus because of our family structure.

I know that if I had a house full of little ones, I would not be able to do nap time and bed time like we do. I wouldn’t have the time or patience to snuggle a bunch of kids to sleep and it would take all day.

It’s a bonus because James is able to carry on with school or chores and not tear the house down while I’m occupied.

It’s a bonus.

And then I smiled and reminded myself what I tell other moms, “You do your family how it works best for you. Not how it’s best for someone else.”

I’m going to take my own advice and enjoy the bonus…..and my big squeezes!



Your Grace Finds Me

by adustyframe ~ January 19th, 2016

We sang this at church on Sunday.


Have you heard it before?

YouTube Preview Image Lizzie

The Elder Brother

by adustyframe ~ January 12th, 2016

James is reading through C S Lewis’ Screwtape Letters with a group of guys at church.

Since I’ve never read it, I decided to read along as well. As I was reading this morning, I read the letter about how to cause disharmony in the family. The demon said, “Remember the elder brother.”

Hmmm! What a thought.

So many times, we’re thankful that God accepts us as the Prodigal son. We accept His mercy and forgiveness. We attend the party thrown in our honor. We take our place as an esteemed child.
But when another prodigal returns, we’re the Elder brother. We want to turn up our noses. We want to punish them. We don’t want to attend the party. We can’t understand how God would forgive them.


We went through this a lot when Lee came home. Some people who had happily accepted God’s grace in their lives were definitely the Elder brother in our lives. It’s sad.

But what would be more sad is if after going through all that, I become the elder brother in someone else’s life.

Interesting to think that perhaps the devil uses this attitude to keep us from being all that God desires us to be.


This & That Chat

by adustyframe ~ January 8th, 2016

It’s cold, rainy, and gloomy here today. Which is odd for our neck of the woods. Usually this time of year, any precipitation we get would be snow or sleet.

It makes me want to curl up and take a nap though but that’s not on my to do list!

I have a get together with friends tonight.

James has a men’s breakfast tomorrow morning (yes, I said James has a MEN’S breakfast–how did that happen!?) and then he’s hanging out with friends for the day.

I hope to get some knitting done and more of my to do list which never seems to be a “to done” list!

I have an order for a hat for a baby gift that I need to get busy on. I don’t take many knitting orders, but my sister asked so of course I said I would.

Lee is on the road far far away but at least he’s in the warm part of the country. I detest it when he’s in the ice and snow and driving.

Nathan is snoozing right now. He’s a little whirlwind so I’m thankful he still takes nap.

Which reminds me if I’m going to tackle that to do list, I should be doing some of it while he’s sleeping!


What are you up to this weekend?



New Years Questions

by adustyframe ~ January 4th, 2016

Did you make any resolutions or goals?


Did you pick a word?


In years past, I’ve chosen a word for the year, but I didn’t really feel like doing that this year.


I did set some goals in the fall after my surgery that I’ve been plodding along at–working on weight loss, purging things in the house, etc.


I would like to figure out a way to wake up earlier in the day but I don’t know if that is ever going to be a thing that I’m good at!

What about you? Have you set any goals or chosen a word? Let me know or share your link to your blog post. I’d love to read it.