The Queen of Bling


I was rummaging through my make-up drawer the other day when I found a compact. For those of you who are not old enough to remember “compacts,” it was a small square or round container that held face powder, Back in the day, a woman would keep the compact in her purse so she could discreetly powder her nose and face when out in public.

Now that I’ve totally dated myself, I’ll continue with my story.

The compact I found was the first one I owned. My mother gave it to me for my thirteenth birthday. It was gorgeous and I fell in love with it immediately. It had a shiny gold finish and the clasp was a circle of “diamonds” with a flower design in the middle of the circle. As a teenager, I felt like a queen every time I used it.Image

As I looked at the compact, I realized it was my first piece of “bling,” and it is what started my love of “bling.” I thought of my mother and how much jewelry she had when I was a child and teenager.  It seems like she had three jewelry boxes—full to overflowing—plus this little plastic hanger on which necklaces could be hung. When she dressed for church every Sunday, everything matched – jewelry, shoes, purse, and outfit. And her compact was in her purse. When she was going to “town,” (i.e., shopping) the casual outfit she chose to wear that day had matching, or at least, complimentary jewelry.  And her compact was in her purse.

I’ve always felt like I did not have much in common with my mother. Don’t get me wrong – I love her and she loves me. But she had all of these wonderful domestic qualities—four letter words such as bake, cook, iron—and other words like sew, clean, crochet. My sister inherited those genes, and I got my dad’s organizational and administrative DNA, which has served me well in the business world. But I wanted something to connect me closer with my mother. And now I have it. My mother passed her love of bling on to me.





Book Review: “On the Threshold” and Interview with the Authors

 After fourteen years of hard work, Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia are thrilled to announce the release of their novel, On the Threshold. Interested in how a mother and daughter can write a book together? Want a chance at winning a Kindle and a business card design from a top-notch company? Keep reading!

Why did you ladies begin writing this book?

Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago Sherrie said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month Sherrie would make the 250-mile drive to Christina’s house and we’d work on it in person. We wanted to share a real look at depression and trying to be good enough to please God–what that might look like in a family’s life.

Fourteen years? Really?

That’s from the first word penned. The very first contest we entered, we actually talked about how we needed to decide how to fight off all the editors who’d be making offers. Instead, we found out we had a lot to learn! Attending writing conferences and reading craft books brought our writing to a higher level.

Tell us about On the Threshold.

We loved having the chance to tell this story! In fact, we have a few more stories to tell about these characters if readers love this one. Here’s what the book is about.

Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what’s worth living for?

Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.

Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s façade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?

And a little about you?

Mother/daughter writing team Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia bring a voice of authenticity to this novel as they have experienced some of the same issues faced by these characters. They like to say they were separated at birth but share one brain, which allows them to write in a seamless stream. Both live in NW Oregon and love spending time together. Many years ago, they were both on a winning Family Feud team!

Sherrie is the Women’s Ministry Director at her church, and loves being the grandma of eight and great-grandma of one. Christina is also the author of The Familiar Stranger, a Christy finalist and Carol Award winner, and runs a thriving editing business.

Please sign up for their Infrequent, Humorous Newsletter at Ashberry Lane for a chance to win cool prizes.

What about this contest?

If you help get the word out, you can earn different points for each thing you do, and every point represents an entry in the contest.

Say, for example, you name your next child “Threshold” in honor of our book. You would earn 100 points (entries), which would greatly increase your likelihood of winning.

Fine print to be read as quickly as those medical side effects are glossed over on TV: A certified copy of the birth certificate must be sent to Ashberry Lane proving the child was born between now and when the contest ends on June 30rd at 10 PM, PDT. Some restrictions apply, such as you must also promise not to change the child’s name to anything else for at least the next fifteen years. You are, however, allowed to use “Thresh” as his or her first name, and “Hold” as the middle.

If that seems like we’re asking a little too much, there are other ways for you to enter the contest.

~ Post about On the Threshold on Twitter or LinkedIn, or share the cover on Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ve doubled your points to TWO.

~ Refer someone to sign up for the newsletter. If he or she notes you as referrer, guess what? You just earned THREE points.

~ Blog about it and reap FOUR points. (We’re available for more blog interviews.)

~ And for those who buy the book (e-book or print copy), you will gain FIVE points.

~ Leave a review—positive or negative—on a retailing site after reading the book, and TEN points to you!

All you have to do to enter is drop us an email to Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net with a description of what you did. We trust you.

Here is a sample email:

Dear Sherrie and Christina,

Fortunately, my last name is Hold, so when my triplets were born yesterday, all I had to do was name them “On,” “The,” and “Thresh.” (Yes, that makes a double “h,” but without it, the name just looks silly and I don’t want a kid with a funny name.) I also got the cover of On the Threshold tattooed on my arm, took a picture of it, and posted it on every possible social media site, including Facebook, though I understand I don’t get points for anything done on there. Next, I forwarded the Infrequent, Humorous Newsletter to a few of my friends and ALL of my enemies. After reading the book in two hours, I posted an honest review on three different retail sites. Please enter my name 349 times.


Your #1 Fan

Or something like that. 🙂

Where else can we find you gals online?

Buy the book on Amazon or B&N or iTunes or in any other version on Smashwords. The print book will be available shortly–sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be among the first to know when it appears on all the big retailing sites OR email us about buying a paperback directly from us. (Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net)


Thanks for hosting us! 


MY REVIEW of  “On the Threshold”

With the very first sentence of “On the Threshold,” you are drawn into the book immediately; it grabs your heart and never releases it. Written by the mother/daughter team of Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia, “On the Threshold” follows the lives of Susanne Corbin and her daughter Beth Harris after they suffer a great loss. You are transported into their lives as they walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” and their emotions of desperation, despair, and depression flow from the pages. And you experience the hope, peace and joy of Susanne and Beth as they exit the valley and step “over the threshold.”

The theme of God’s forgiveness and His love for all of us is a constant thread in “On the Threshold.” His grace and mercy are woven throughout and His message of salvation is shared in a gentle manner.

 “On the Threshold” needs to be at the top of your summer reading list!  


A Heart Full of Thanks on This Memorial Day

Memorial Day – has become known as the “beginning of summer.” It’s not the official date of the start of summer, but is recognized as the beginning. Most schools are out for the summer. community pools are open, water parks and fun/theme parks are fully operational. Traditionally, for some families, this is the first BBQ of the season and friends and family gather to enjoy delicious grilled ribs, burgers and other family favorites. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities. In fact, my daughter and her son are headed for the pool, my son and his fiance will be over later, and this afternoon we’ll fire up the grill for the first time this season. 

There is a much deeper and more important significance to this day. It is the day to honor the memory of the valiant men and women who have given their lives fighting for our freedom. And it’s a day to say “thank you” to those who fought in the various wars and who came back home to their family. 

Today, my family honors the memory of those who gave their life for our freedom. We thank those of you who fought and who came home. And we are especially and eternally grateful that our son, Sgt. Anthony Kyle Bond, US Marine Corp, served his country for nine years, including two tours in Iraq, and came safely home. To God Be The Glory!Image


Not My Goliaths

In the online Bible study, Stressed-less Living, our chapter for this week was “Overcoming Your Giants.” The Scripture reference was, of course, the story of David and Goliath, found in I Samuel 17.

I believe most of us have Goliaths in our lives. That’s not a typo–the ‘s’ at the end of Goliath. There’s usually more than one Goliath happening at the same time. Some may be larger than others, but still, we are dealing with them–one way or another. 

Presently, I have two Goliaths in my life The background and details are of no consequence to this post, Suffice it to say, they loom large in my life. One Goliath has almost consumed me over the last few weeks. Every thought, word and/or action has been overshadowed, and in some cases, influenced by this Goliath.  So, how have I addressed these giants and brought them back down to size?

Prayer and praying the word of God. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:12 “

  • For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. . . ”  I find scriptures that address the giants and I pray those scriptures until my faith has increased and the giants are no longer giants. It sounds simple, and for some giants it is simple. Pray the word – and the giant disappears. But it’s not always that simple or easy. In that case, I must  persevere.   “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4. 

Finally, one of my favorite scripture passage says “…

  • having done all, to stand.” I have prayed, I’ve prayed the Word, I’ve persevered. I’ve done all I can do, so I stand. I stand on the word of God and His promises. He has never and will never fail me. Blessed be the name of the Lord!




Three Reasons to Listen to the Enemy

Three Reasons to Listen to the Enemy

By Lynn Hare

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 (ESV)

Pay attention to the enemy of your soul. He’s got something you need.

Following a car accident in February, I was laid up with leg, back, neck, and facial injuries. By March, I was still in so much pain, I couldn’t even get comfortable in bed.

I told my husband, “This morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. The pain is winning.” My head dropped to my chest.

But I listened for Jesus’ voice. I heard Him whisper, “Those thoughts are not yours. The enemy is in your head.”

How do we wage war? By listening to the enemy. Here are three reasons:

1.) The enemy will show you where on the battlefield to fight.

When we hear, “I’m not making any progress,” we need to look for growth.

When I said, “I’m not getting better,” I frowned at the bald-faced lie. “Hey,” I said, “No wonder I’m under attack. I’m about to improve!” Determined, I rode my exercise bike and stretched my leg muscles. I was rewarded with a surge of energy. The next day, instead of two crutches, I was on one.

2. Like negatives from a camera, the enemy shows you the reverse of the truth.

Like photos developed in a dark room, black becomes white. Red turns green. Yellow is soon purple. When the enemy shows us an image, we need to declare its precise opposite.

I caught myself saying, “I feel lonely and isolated.” But then I glanced at the stack of get-well-soon cards and meals friends had dropped off. “NO!” I said aloud. “I have lots of friends!”

I determined to write two letters of encouragement each night.

3.) The enemy unwittingly drops hints that point to our future.

When I looked in the mirror, I thought, “Look at the swelling over my eye. What a loser!”

But instead, I looked ahead to what God was shaping me to become. I said aloud, “I’m a winner!” I doubled my words of encouragement to others. Several told me they were uplifted and strengthened.

And now the enemy was no longer in my head. I grinned, leaned forward and asked, “What else have you got?” He scowled and backed away. “Forget it.”

What lies from the enemy are pointing you to the Truth?

Lynn Hare Bio:

Author, speaker, and certified teacher Lynn Hare enthusiastically provides grace-filled messages about encouragement, prayer, and practicing the presence of the Holy Spirit. A member of Oregon Christian Writers, she lives in Portland with her husband, Tim, of thirty-two years. Her inspirational pieces appear in numerous Christian periodicals. Website: www.lynnhare.com

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through

Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as: 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at kathy@kathycarltonwillis.com.

All other standard copyrights apply.


Bike Riding Anyone? By Jayme Hull Lately,

Bike Riding Anyone?

By Jayme Hull


Lately, God and I have been discussing my need to control things. I read that a control freak never enjoys life. Woah! What a wake-up call. The one thing I treasure is experiencing joy and enjoying life. The second thing I treasure is sharing my joy with family and the women I mentor. God gave me a couple visuals that have been very helpful in dealing with this struggle. I thought I’d share them with you as well.

Consider the visual of riding a tandem bike. Of course, if you’re a leader you love sitting in the front. But God shared with me that He wants that seat. Am I willing to sit in the back seat and allow God to take control? Lately, this is the classroom I’ve been in with God. He teaches me how to give up control on a daily basis. I’m trying to learn and move on to the next lesson.

At times it seems I am not moving so I ask God, “why?”. In God’s goodness He showed me another visual.

Picture getting into your car on the passenger side and clicking on the seatbelt, ready to go wherever God desires. Many times I think I’ve given things over to God but I’m still not moving.

While sitting in the garage I reached into my pocket and realized that I had kept the keys to the car. No wonder I’m not moving. I told God to take control but secretly, I kept the keys. It is amazing, how patient God is with me. The lessons I am learning from Him are the exact messages I share with the women I mentor on a daily basis.

I’m learning slowly day by day that it is time for me to hand it, all over to God and share these God experiences with others.

Do you need to hand God your car, the driver’s seat and the keys?

Today is a new day and God can handle being in control of your life.

Jayme Hull Bio:

Jayme’s ministry is focused on mentoring others with a clear and strong biblical foundation. She is a graduate of New York University, and currently a Bible Study teacher, piano teacher and mentor to numerous women of all ages. She and her husband, John, currently live in Nashville, TN. Visit Jayme at: www.jaymeleehull.com/.

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as: 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at kathy@kathycarltonwillis.com. All other standard copyrights apply.


A Stealth Attack

May: Women’s Healthcare Month

I am honored to have Joanie Shawhan as my guest today. Joanie writes about a very serious topic and one ladies, we should all take heed. 

A Stealth Attack

By Joanie Shawhan

 Do you know the symptoms of one of the most insidious diseases assaulting women today? I thought I did. But despite my background in oncology nursing, I had missed a cardinal symptom of ovarian cancer—nausea. Over the course of several months, I had experienced a few episodes of queasiness, mistaking it for the flu. Fleeting thoughts of ovarian cancer even crept into my mind, but I brushed them away. This nausea is just too infrequent, I rationalized.

During the blackness of night, a late warning sign emerged. I rolled over on a firm grapefruit-sized mass in my abdomen. When I pressed on the growth, stabbing pain clutched my abdomen and sucked my breath away. I hope this is just a uterine fibroid.

My doctor agreed that a fibroid was the most probable diagnosis, but we needed to schedule an ultrasound. In the darkened room, the ultrasound technician shot me a glance. I knew something was wrong. After the scan, I tucked the films under my arm and strode into my doctor’s office. She examined the images, then spun around and faced me. Her verdict? Ovarian cancer—the size of a cantaloupe. While she rattled off the tests and surgery that still needed to be scheduled, I sat numb. Words spilled over her lips, but the syllables sounded foreign and distant. Is she talking to me?

After surgery, I endured the ravages of chemotherapy: baldness, crushing chest pain, nausea and brain fog. Fatigue siphoned my strength and left me winded.

My sister said, “We have to make this fun,” and she sent me my first installment of hats. Fun? Hats—yes. Chemotherapy—no.

But after a while, my hair grew back with perfect summer highlights. A spring returned to my step and the fog lifted off my mind. The anxiety that gripped my chest prior to each follow-up appointment has dissolved into what I now dub “a social visit.”

I won my race against cancer.