Kate's Innocence by Sarah Holman || Book Review

Today I am going to review a wonderful book ... called ...

This book is hands down the best book I have ever read.  It had me at the edge of my seat, and I didn't want to put it down.  I ... ummm ... may have finished it in one night ;P

Sarah Holman did a fantastic job making the "love" in this book so pure and clean.  She did a wonderful job with keeping the FBI work seem real, but yet also somewhat fictional.  Her writing style is absolutely fun to read, she makes the book come to life.  This is the second book in which I felt I was actually there - love when that happens :D

I am really looking forward to the second book - why does patience have to be so hard????? :P

I definitely give this book a five star rating!!!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful evening!!


Seize the Day

Growing up, I've been told:
“Alisha, don't get ahead of God – He has you where HE wants you.”
“There is a season for everything!”
“Focus on today – the here and now.  Let tomorrow take care of itself.”
(There were probably other wonderful words of wisdom, but the ones mentioned are what I remember)

Of course I was given wonderful advice – I mean c'mon!  Parents are great at giving advice (can I hear an amen!?).  However, as a young adult (searching out my own faith), how can I truly know any of the advice is true?  I can't/shouldn't use the stock answer “my parents said so” or “well I've been raised in a devout Christian home, so what my parents believe … I believe”  I need to search out the why behind the advice.  I need to know if the advice given to me is truly biblical.

I almost “regret” (not the right word to use folks, but hang with me) the following verses.  They almost seem to be a biblical stock answer in the aspect of “what verses should I use?”.  However, they really do go along with what I've been searching out!

<< Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11, 17 >>

It is said that the writer of Ecclesiastes promoted a “seize the day” philosophy.  Which, if you read all of chapter 3, you can most definitely see.  But noticing the philosophy, it made me ask:

Is this philosophy scriptural?

I really pondered over this question + asked God to really reveal to me what He wants me to learn.  I came to the following conclusion.

I'd say the writer's philosophy is indeed scriptural!  If we aren't supposed to worry about tomorrow (see Matthew 6:25), and everything has it's season – then we should most definitely seize the day.

If we don't “seize the day”, we are most likely exhibiting anxiety, or showing a lack of trust in God.

After I came to this conclusion, I asked myself yet another question:

What does it mean to seize the day?

It means for rich and poor alike to heed the call, and focus on the most important issue of life – seeking God's kingdom with it's righteousness and justice.

Thinking that God had revealed to me everything He wanted – He whispered in my ear :

Whenever you feel yourself wishing for a different season of life, or worrying about what the future may hold, remember that I'm in control.  Take every thought captive + seize the day.


Called to Africa 2016

As I sit here writing this letter, my heart races with excitement and anticipation!!  Why you ask? Allow me to share a bit of history ...

At ten years old, the Lord laid Africa on my heart.  There was nowhere specific, just simply Africa.  But, being so young I simply thought this was God's way of opening my heart to missions, in general.  Therefore, I tried to put it out of my mind.  However, God had other plans!  As much as I tried, I couldn't forget what I had heard that still small voice whispering.  It seemed everywhere I turned Africa would pop up out of nowhere; pastors, missionary stories/articles, friends, movies, music. Everywhere I turned, I was being shown AFRICA.

I knew missions was something God was calling me to, but wasn't sure exactly what it would look like.  Last year, a mission organization called “Mission Nanny's” was placed in my path.  Thinking this was something God wanted me to pursue, I looked into it, excited to see there were positions open in Africa.  However, after much consideration and personal testimonies, I prayerfully decided this is not where God was leading.
Now, at the age of almost 21, thinking I had made a wrong turn or heard God wrong or missed an open door or something … God decided it was to time to reveal His perfect plan :)  God has placed in my path a godly couple who are missionaries to Ghana, West Africa, ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to orphans and widows.  God has opened a unique opportunity, through Jim & Caroline Driscoll, (apart of Every Child Ministries), for me to go serve along side them.  After talking with the couple myself, I knew right away that I was supposed to go – now to only convince my parents.  However, God works in mighty ways, He already had verified this call to my parents. When they confirmed what I was already feeling, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears.

My plan is (Lord-willing) to go to Biriwa, Ghana, West Africa for three months; June - August, 2016. My goals I hope to achieve from this trip are:

:: to grow in the knowledge and likeness of my Savior
:: fulfilling God's call in my life
:: sharing with the orphans the transforming power of the one and only True God
:: showing the orphans the unconditional love of a complete stranger
(I will be staying at the orphanage for about two weeks)
:: ministering to the teen girls caught within an immoral generational curse
...and so much more that is still yet to be determined (by Him)!

I truly stand in awe at how my Lord is putting all the little things together, without my help.  From the immutable conviction in purity woven into my heart at the age of nine, a burden on my heart for these immoral generational curses, all the way down to my family giving stateside orphans a home. Without my help, God has put everything together so perfectly and equipping me for even climate and bugs (read Luke 10:19 for the bugs).  God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called and He has called me.  I can't explain the peace/excitement/joy/anticipation I am feeling right now!  Who would have thought the someone He would choose would be ME?

I am very excited to heed this calling in which God has placed in my life, and cannot wait to see what He does.

If you would like to support me financially, you can donate here:
Called to Africa 2016

If you would like to keep up with the trip, you can follow along here:
Hearing the Call


Time to Share - part 1

2016 is proving to be kind of a busy, some-what hectic, exciting year for this family of four!

Sadly {for the time being} I can only share part of the hectic excitement with y'all - so enjoy the following two pictures!

Our new church home:

God has provided us with a wonderful little church to go worship Him in every Sunday!  The pastor is incredible, the preaching is beyond phenomenal, and the warmth makes you feel - well it makes  you feel like you're at home :)

God has opened the door for me to be church pianist!  I love it :D

the congregation January 3, 2016
The pastor:
Pastor Dan is a wonderful man of God - you can definitely tell that he loves the Lord just by the way he lives his life!

Pastor Dan

If any of you live in the Shenandoah Valley and are looking for a wonderful conservative, somewhat charismatic, non-denominational church to visit - then check out this website:

I pray that y'all have a wonderful and blessed day!

>> Stay tuned for "Engagement" this Thursday <<


Choose Joy || free printable

I love when blogs have printables!!  So I thought "hey, I'll do one myself too!"

So, hope you all enjoy this printable .... I know it isn't much, but hey - I'm just starting out ;)

What printable would you like to see next month?
Comment and let me know, that's the only way I can improve ;)


Prayer & Purity

Instead of this week's post being about engagement {like originally planned}, I am going to answer several questions a faithful reader has asked.

Is it good to pray for your future husband + children even when you don't know them?
If so, why?  And what if you pray for them and God doesn't want you to get married?
Is it good to give your whole heart away in a courtship?
What if you're not sure God wants you to marry that person, but you've already given your heart to him?

These are wonderful questions, and I will attempt to answer them to the best of my ability.  So let's begin :)

Is it good to pray for your future husband + children even when you don't know them?

I absolutely believe in praying for your future husband + children.  You have the ability to pray for your future man's life and faith.  As well as having the ability to pray against any generational curses and for your future children's faith.

Just praying for your future husband's health, faith, purity, work, etc. is critical!  And the joy of being able to say “I've been praying for you for x amount of years” makes it even better.

The Bible says, “pray without ceasing” {1 Thessalonians 5:17} … never cease to pray for your future husband and children.

I really like the verse in 1 Samuel 1:27, “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him.”  Praying for your future children's well-being, faith, purity, modesty, education, etc. is also really important.  Why wait until you're expecting your first child to start praying?

Pray for your man + children now!

If so, why?  And what if you pray for them and God doesn't want you to get married?

Dear reader, prayer is extremely powerful and extremely important.  Allow me to tell you this way:

You're future husband is out in the world, living a normal day (just like you).  In fact, he's probably thinking about YOU right now.  However, he may going through a very tough trial right now.  Perhaps he feels lonely.  Maybe a family member ran away from home.  Maybe his dad lost his job.  Or perhaps his grandpa/grandma passed away.  Whatever the case maybe, your man may be struggling – and he needs prayer.  No you don't know that he's going through any of the above mentioned trials, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pray for him.

Prayer isn't meant to be for an easy-peasy believing journey – it's meant for every circumstance of life.

Allow me to ask a question:
Do you thank God abundantly for giving you life?

If the answer was 'yes', then ladies, thank God for giving your future husband life.  Whatever you pray to God for, pray that for your future husband.

Now, in regards to the part of the question regarding the possibility of not getting married.

That's not for us to worry about, nor is it for us to know God sees fit to reveal that to us.  I say pray for your future husband and children – pray for them without ceasing … don't stop!

I would much rather stay single the rest of my life, praying for my future husband and children, than to get married and not have prayed for those special people.

Is it good to give your whole heart away in a courtship?

I kinda sorta hit on this in Courtship, however, I will go into a tad more detail here :)

There aren't “rules and regulations” when it comes to courtship.  So really when it comes to courtship, we have to keep the whole “what would Jesus do” in our minds – as well as ask “would I do this if Jesus was standing here?” (says the girl who has never been in a courtship haha).

Would you hang on the young man if Jesus was standing by you?
Would you kiss the young man?
Would you go all the way?

Keeping our hearts pure is extremely important!  Just because we are courting doesn't mean we need to throw purity out the window.  We need to be examples to the younger believers.  We need to raise the bar for the next generation.

Here is another reason it's important to save your whole heart.  What if you start seeing red flags?  What if you've done all you can do, and you have to call the courtship off?  If you have given your whole heart to the young man, then m'dear, you will be extremely hurt.  Plus, really you shouldn't call that courting, but dating.

I hate mentioning those what if's – but they're needed.

Keep your entire heart safe – even in a courtship.

What if you're not sure God wants you to marry that person, but you've already given your heart to him?

When you enter into a courtship, you should enter with the mindset of “we are planning on getting married”.  Courtship should never be entered if the gentleman and young woman don't know if the other is who God wants them to be with.  If they don't know for sure, then they need to diligently seek the Lord's guidance before entering into the courtship (no matter how long that takes).

Now, with the above said, allow me to preface with this:

the couple should be able to break the courtship off if need be.  They shouldn't feel obligated to continue if they don't have a peace about it.  Otherwise, waiting to call off the courtship will just make matters worse.

Like I've said before, keeping your heart safe in courtship (and friendships) is important.  You shouldn't give your heart away.

If you have, don't worry!  God will give you a clean and new pure heart (you will still have scars from your past), but you will be given a second chance.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Prayer and purity are extremely important!

Pray for your future husband and children – no matter what!  Don't cease to pray for them … you never know if your prayers will make an impact if they are facing a tough trial :)

Keep your heart pure, not just in your friendships with young men, but also in your courtship.  Don't treat courtship like dating.  Treat courtship like the set apart, Christ-honoring relationship it should be.  Allow your courtship to reflect the love you and the gentleman have for Christ.

What are your thoughts on praying for your future husband and children?
What are your thoughts on keeping yourself pure in courtship?
Let's continue to sharpen iron ;)


I'm Not Waiting {an open letter to my future husband}

Dear Future Husband,

For the past 11 years, I have believed people when they say “wait for your future husband, he'll come when the time is right.”  I have indeed waited, and waited, and waited.

But I'm no longer waiting for you.

When I say that “I'm waiting for my future husband” that is implying that my life is, to some extent, on hold.  It's not.

In about about five months I will be on a plane headed to Ghana, West Africa.  It's exciting and thrilling and terrifying and nerve-wracking all at the same exact time.  I am so excited to be heeding the call God has placed on my heart for the past 10.5 years.

In today's society, people expect that at the ages of 18-21 a girl should have a diamond on her finger {if she doesn't then she's deemed an old maid}.  They have met Mr. Right and couldn't be any happier.  This is true for many girls, I have at least six friends who are courting, engaged, or married.  They all started courting at the age of 18 and married by 19-20.  Their social circles are quite big and overflow with young men {or friends of theirs love playing match-maker LOL}.  That's not the case for me – my life represents that of a pastor's daughter {no social circle or match-maker}.  To some of the young ladies around me, I'm an old maid.  I'm totally okay with that {if I am truly}, however that doesn't change my stand in life.
I'm not waiting for you.

The current “bucket list” trend is every where you turn.  Adding things you want to do + places to see with your future spouse.  I can't take it any longer.  Sure I want to do things with you + visit different places with you.  In fact, you being here with me would make it much easier.  The country I'm going to in Africa would be much safer if you were to be with me.  Sure, I'm nervous … dare I even say scared?  It would be much easier if I were already married.  Not too mention, would my parents be more at ease about me going if you were to go with me.  But that is not the case.  I'm not putting my life on hold until God brings us together.
I'm not waiting for you.

Kayaks, go-karts, four-wheelers, and roller-coasters are such a delight with two people.  However I'll have to continue to enjoy those things just me and my Daddy.
I'm not waiting for you.

I've heard countless girls {I used to be one} say “I'm saving myself for my future husband.  Physically and emotionally … I want to be his and only his.”  Or some other variation of words.

I'm not doing that either.  Sure I'm still saving myself … but not for you.  For God.  God has called me to live a life of purity, not you.  If I'm saving myself for someone it's my Lord, not you.  I pray that if we ever get married that I'm the best wife God has ever wanted me to be.  If not – at the end of the day, Jesus is my end goal, not you.

So with all that in mind, I'm not doing anything for you.  I'm not waiting to do anything for you.  What I do, I do for the Lord {Colossians 3:23}.  So whatever my future holds – attending a friends wedding, going to Ghana, etc., I'll be doing with or without you.
Whether it's riding a roller-coaster, four wheeler, or a go-kart – I'll enjoy them on my own.  I'll be achieving my hopes and goals on my own, all to the glory of God {1 Cor. 10:31}.

Darling, if we ever get married, our marriage will be God-honoring, Kingdom furthering, and full of crazy adventures.  But for me those have already begun.  I hope and pray you can say the same thing too.

I love you!  Always have … always will! <3


11:37 PM

11:37 PM.  The age of almost 21.  Eyes and mind still very much awake, climbing into my cold sheets {writing this blog post}.  I can't help but think about what lies ahead.  I do this quite often (like every night).  I can't help but think that one day 11:37 will be so much more than just 11:37.  It might be 11:37 – on the mission field in Ghana, West Africa.  11:37 – waiting to welcome the New Year with a man to call my own.  Or maybe 11:37 – laughing at myself once more as I drift off to sleep, falling more in love with my Prince.  Whatever it is, I can't wait to do 11:37 with even more faith in Who holds my tomorrow.

Welcome to my brain!

What will 2016 look like?  What does God have in store for me?  These are the little things that keep me up at night.  Where will I be in my faith at this time next year?  Will I grow exceptionally in the love + grace of our Lord?  I'd like to think I will, but I can't say I will for sure – I don't know what my future holds.  Actually scratch that, I pray I do because that means that I am only growing more into the woman God has created me to be!

Will I meet a young man who has a thing for a messy girl who is preparing to go on a mission trip + lives on coffee {it's amazing stuff y'all!}?  I wish I could just receive an email from God telling me what He wants me to do in 2016.  However, that will defeat His purpose.

What's His purpose?

His purpose is to teach me to fully trust Him in knowing that it will all work out – and to have patience.

I have big hopes for 2016.  Will they all come true – not unless the Lord allows {have you ever heard of hopes coming true??}.  What are my hopes you ask?

Hope 1: I hope that I will be shaped and molded into the woman of virtue and character.  The woman who will leave not only memories, but a beautiful legacy behind.  The kind of woman who, in the face of trial, will be on her knees fighting for victory.

Hope 2: I hope that whatever season I enter into, that I “take notes”, and allow the Lord to grow me and reveal Himself to me.

Hope 3: I hope that I become a pursuer of the presence of Christ, that in my stillness He would speak wisdom, discernment, and vision over my life.  That He will raise me up in victory, just like He did when David stood before Goliath.

Hope 4: I hope {and pray} that I make an impact in the lives of the people of Ghana.  Oh what a joy it would be to know that my trip wasn't in vain, and that I ended up making a bigger impact than I intended.

I guess you can say that the above hopes are my “New Year Resolution” – I hope this “resolution” brings success, and not failure (much like the past revolutions I've made).

What are your hopes for 2016?
Comment and tell me, I'd love to hear about your hopes ;)