Friday, December 30, 2016

Do Great Things in 2017

By Ada Brownell

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Recently in our Sunday school class, a missionary told how he grew up in a dysfunctional family three doors away from a church. His alcoholic father found another woman and left his family. His mom and his stepfather didn’t live righteous lives, either, but one day his mother visited the church and took her children. She accepted Jesus as Savior and the young lad did, too.

They were empty-pockets poor. The boy didn’t receive great grades in school, but suddenly he had a desire to study. He decided to go to Bible college, and there God called him to be a missionary, and he obeyed. Eventually, Jerry was able to take the Gospel to a village where the people had never heard the story of Jesus. There now are more than a hundred churches there.

Martin Luther brought the world back to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus when he began to preach salvation is by faith instead of works. Evangelists such as Charles Finney, John Wesley, Dwight L. Moody, and William Booth won thousands of people to Christ. Turning from sin changed nations for the better.

Women have even been used mightily by God. William Booth’s wife, Catherine, used to gather women, and they would go down the streets of London and other European cities with a band and bass drum, calling people to Jesus Christ. Catherine would climb on a soapbox and preach. Soon men joined them, and they literally became an “army” drawing people from prostitution, crime, drunkenness, and other sin. Catherine pointed them to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who gives deliverance, joy, and peace.

In one small town a man told another that if the women went on much longer all the publics (saloons) would have to close.  “I went to almost every bar in town the other night and found only four men in them all,” he said.[1]

The Booths and their Salvation Army continued preaching and helping the poor. The Salvation Army still reaches out to the spiritually and physically needy more than a century after the Booths’ deaths. Catherine Booth’s life touched so many, an estimated fifty thousand people attended her funeral![2]

David stood up to negative peer pressure when he fought Goliath, who kept threatening the Israelites and gloating over their cowardice. Daniel stood up in faith when he was ordered not to pray, but kept praying. The lions he had to sleep with didn’t even show their teeth. Three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were the only ones who would not bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, but God delivered them without even the smell of smoke on their clothes. Their act of boldness brought recognition of the one true God to Babylon, which was about fifty-five miles from where modern Baghdad is today.

If we call upon the Lord in faith and correct motives, God will still do mighty things today.

PRAYER: Lord, increase my faith so that I can reach at least one person with the gospel so he will have your gift of eternal life.

[1] Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 191.
[2] Ibid. 291.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Imagine a Unique You in 2017

By Ada Brownell

“You must be born again” ( John 3:7).

Some people don’t seem comfortable with their own identity. A feature in the July 2010 417 Magazine highlighted people who “starred” in Branson, Missouri, shows—but took the role of another person. Tony Roi was Elvis. Dave Ehlert played Mark Twain. Actors and singers assumed the roles of the Beatles, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and other stars. They are greatly talented, but they didn’t become famous for who they are but for being able to impersonate someone else—often a dead person.
All of us, however, copy other people looks, actions, beliefs, habits, and that affects who we are and who we become, making us like impersonators.

But the real YOU shows up sometime. What will you think when you get a good look at who you are?
Like the old man who said, “I wish I could live my life over—as someone else,” you might not like your looks, character, and meaningless accomplishments.

Looks shouldn’t be the top of the list. Beauty comes in all sort of sizes and designs. Every person is uniquely attractive because we all are made in the image of God. Humankind finally figured out it’s not the color of our skin that matters, but we still don’t seem to know it’s what’s under our skin that counts.
Is love there? Compassion? Joy? Peace? Patience? Gentleness? Goodness, like good money that’s not counterfeit? Meekness? Faithfulness? Self-control? Faith? Wisdom?

Truth is, none of us are perfect but we can be “born again!”  Jesus told Nicodemus, “I say unto you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus explained that we need to be born of the flesh and of the Spirit, and explained the miraculous occurrence in John 3:1-21.

The Bible teaches about what happens when we’re born again Ezekiel prophesied that when the Messiah came (Jesus) those who accepted Him as Savior would be changed. God told Ezekiel, “I then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:18-20).
The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Have you been born again?

All you need to do is believe in Jesus, confess your sins to God just as you’d tell a friend, ask for forgiveness, and decide to follow Jesus and His Word. His power will change you.

PRAYER:  Lord, I need to be born again. Make me a new creature by your Spirit. Thank you for shedding your blood on the cross to wash away my sins and for your promises of new life here and for eternity. 

 Copyright 2016
-- Adapted from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Embrace opportunity in 2017

By Ada Brownell

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Sixteen-year-old Jim White rode his horse through New Mexico’s prairie in 1898, looking for cattle, when he noticed a plume of bats rise into the sky. He investigated where they came from and discovered Carlsbad Caverns.

The huge hole in the rocky hill from which the bats boiled drew Jim back a few days later. He brought a rope and tools he needed. He made a crude ladder, took his kerosene lantern, and carefully descended into the cave. The next day he returned to the caverns with a fifteen-year-old friend.
Extensive explorations began in 1901, and Jim White was there. He helped construct the first trails, stairs, and lights.

Jim had no idea that day when he mounted his horse he would discover one of the largest and most specular caverns in the world. Like Jim, we never know what opportunities will come, but often they do appear because we’re looking for them or expecting God to lead us to them. But frequently that takes time.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”[1]

Behind every apple you eat is someone who looked into the future with hope and imagination because an apple seed takes more than ten years to produce fruit.
Today is the time to work on our tomorrows.
You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. The truth is, you are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Today is the time to seek the Lord, grow your talents, look for opportunities, and create an action plan for your future.

Do you know what should be included in your action plan? Here are some things to think about:

1.      Harness your will and seek God’s will.  Daily spend time with God and His Word.

2.      Make valuable deposits into your mind and detoxify harmful things you’ve been taught or experienced by using scriptures that apply, and believe them.

3.      Capitalize on your talents and what you already know.

4.      Connect with someone who can help, such as someone who has succeeded in what you’d like to do.

5.      Avoid traps that can jeopardize your future.

6.      Keep track of the things you’ve learned and what you want to learn.

7.      Live one day at a time in faith, believing God is working things out for your good. Believe in yourself and things greater than yourself, and don’t get weary with the journey.

PRAYER: The Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Help me to believe I can fulfill great things with your help and strength.

[1] Frank Lutz, Words That Work (New York: Hyperion, 2007).

Note: The above is an abridged version of a chapter from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You
Copyright Ada Brownell 2013.


A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell

Ready or not, you’re going into your future.

If you continue to do what you do now, what kind of future will you have? This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion.

            Also available in Audio. Read or listen to first chapter free! #Teens #Family #Devotions

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

God’s Mercies after Suicide

Jean's son, Josh.  

By Jean Ann Williams

Blurb: What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

God's Mercies After Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart
Devotional E-BOOK FREE WEDNESDAY 12/14 Available at:

Monday, December 5, 2016


By Ada Brownell

Sometimes a person uses his debit card, or writes a check, and discovers there is no money in his account.

In the same way, when people need to know how to do things of importance or how to find the answers to spiritual and even life’s problems, if they haven’t deposited knowledge, there is little in him or her to draw from.

Things of value must be deposited into the spirit and brain like money in the bank. Worthless deposits produce people who, although they are still priceless to God, aren’t worth much to the world. Everything we learn becomes part of who we are. We need to resist that which is harmful, and choose knowledge we can use for good now and that will take us to heaven for eternity.

Jesus wants us to have an abundant life with many blessings—not only for eternity, but here. He expects us to do something with the many talents He’s given us, just like the old-time preacher who, during the Great Depression, prayed for food and found a squawking rooster and a sack of potatoes on his front porch. He didn’t have dinner until he took the chicken, chopped off the head, plucked the feathers, cut the bird into pieces, and put it in a skillet. He then had to peel and cook the potatoes, mash them, and make gravy.

Unless you do something with your talents and the things of God, you may go into eternity without doing anything of significance.

We have to study, practice, and then go out and do what we have learned. Everything we learn is a deposit for the future, whether for good or evil. What you put into your head determines what type of person you will be tomorrow.

Peter wrote, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us and given us precious promises that we could have God’s nature in us, and escape the world’s corruption brought through lust” (2 Peter 1:3).

Then Peter goes on to say, “For this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love.”

Ready or not, you’re going into your future. If you continue to do what you do now, what kind of future will you have? Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

Invest in yourself! The secret to abundant life is to latch on to the supernatural dynamite power available from God, and let Him go with us on this trek.

“Study to shew yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

©Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Adapted from Ada Brownell’s book, Imagine the Future You

 Read or listen to first chapter free!     

Friday, December 2, 2016


By Ada Brownell

Do you not realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? (Romans 6:16 NLT).

Habits are like the tree in Vashon Island, Washington, that grew around a bicycle until the bike became part of the tree. Somebody leaned the bike against the tree when it was a small sapling. Now the bicycle is lodged into a large tree trunk five or six feet off the ground. It is impossible to remove the bike without destroying the tree.

Dr. Alan Friedman, a botanist at Marquette University in Milwaukee, says if an immovable object comes in contact with a growing tree, the growth that creates wood and bark will eventually cover the object. The only exception is a wire or rope put entirely around a tree, which will kill it.[1]


Habits entwine themselves into us in a similar way and become part of who we are. Some habits make us better people because they cause us to do good things. Bad habits wrapped into our character jeopardize our future.

Habits are one part of our lives we control.

True genetics, culture, temperament, talents, education, beliefs, quirks, and hang-ups of our parents affect us, but we can’t blame them if we end up a drunkard, too lazy to support ourselves, or in prison. No matter who we are, our background, what internal and external obstacles we face, we can scramble over everything in our way and reach a life of joy and fulfillment.
Saul of Tarsus, a strict Pharisee, a Jew and Roman citizen educated under the great Rabbi Gamaliel, developed a habit of hating those who followed Christ. He made a religion –and habit--out of keeping the law and persecuting the church. He’d forgotten God promised a Messiah. Paul forgot about sin, and the need for blood to cleanse from sin.
Saul approved of the stoning of Stephen, the evangelist, and later admitted he held the coats of those who killed him.
Paul continued to threaten followers of Christ. Then the risen Lord came in a great light and apparently struck Saul upside the head. Saul fell off his horse.
 “Saul, Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus said.
Jesus had been crucified. Saul knew the disciples were preaching Jesus risen from the dead. Until then, he didn’t believe it.
Trembling, Saul asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
Jesus said, “Arise go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul’s friends heard the voice but saw no one, except Saul who was stricken with blindness. They followed the Lord’s commands, found Ananias, who prayed with Saul and his sight returned. Saul accepted Jesus as Lord, was baptized and called to preach to the Gentiles.
Saul’s name was changed to Paul, and Paul became one of the greatest Christians to preach and teach. All his life he regretted persecuting the church. But his sinful habits were broken and his sin forgiven.
“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).
God is in the deliverance business. Yet, we must hear his voice and act in obedience as Paul did.
©Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Note: This post is adapted from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You. If you'd like to read the first chapter, listen to it on, or purchase the book you can do so at


Tuesday, November 29, 2016


By Ada Brownell

 “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34 NIV).

The beautiful tune “Dust in the Wind,”[1] recently brought back on American Idol, tells a mournful story of how dreams and lives blow away into nothing but dust. How such a beautiful melody could have these discouraging words is beyond me. Life is a wonderful thing and can be glorious here and forever.  Yet, unless we guard ourselves, all our hopes blow away like topsoil in a wind storm.

A person can’t grow a garden unless he plants, waters, hoes, weeds, and harvests. Often he has to protect plants from worms, animals, frost and pray it won’t hail or flood. In the days when people’s survival depended on growing their own food, most worked every spare moment to reach that dream.

Life is like growing a crop. Yet too many people don’t plant for their future. People who do great things work, try and struggle until they succeed.

One guy who decided to grasp a dream was Paul Tutmarc of Seattle, Washington, who traveled in a band and felt sorry for the acoustic bass fiddle player, who always drove alone because his huge instrument left room in his car only for the driver.

From age fifteen, Paul Tutmarc had an interest in steel guitars—the ones usually used in Hawaiian music. He became an accomplished musician and wanted to magnify the sound of the steel. He looked at the innards of the telephone to see how it worked to pick up sound and began tinkering with it. Bob Wisner, a radio repairman, worked with Paul, and they figured out how to use electronic amplification on musical instruments.

Paul electrified zithers, pianos, and Spanish guitars.

Then he carved an electronic “bass fiddle” about the size and shape of a cello and the first electric bass guitar came into being in 1933. Paul eventually made a forty-two-inch-long solid-body bass, which was lighter and smaller. The guitar was featured in the 1935 sales catalog for Tutmarc’s company, Audiovox.

The bass guitar, however, didn’t become popular until the 1950s, when Leo Fender, with employee George Fullerton, developed the first mass-produced instrument.

Next time you hear a loud, pulsating bass guitar behind a band, remember Paul Tutmarc,[2] who began his music career in a church choir and caught a dream. Paul’s dream took work, practice, and trial and error, and so does becoming the Christian our Creator hopes for us to be.

 Desire and talent don’t necessarily guarantee success, according to experts. Often it is the less talented and gifted who achieve great things because they won’t stop working toward their goals—no matter how many obstacles they face or how often they face rejection or disappointment. On the other hand, greatly talented people can go to their graves without doing anything of significance.

What makes the difference? We decide to take what we were born with and grow it into something greater.

Jesus said, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NKJ).

[1] Released by American Progressive Band. Written by Kerry Livgren.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Patti Shene Sees Beyond Grief

Looking Ahead


Patti Shene

Wow, a lot happened in my life in 2016! I knew in January that by the time December rolled around, I would have crossed the line that qualified me as a Medicare recipient.
Yep, I hit that big age 65 landmark in July.

What I did not anticipate was the death of my mom in February, although I was certainly not shocked when God called her to her heavenly home at age 86. I accepted her death with a mixture of relief that she is finally free of pain, and grief that our relationship here on earth now exists through a window of memories.

I anticipated more leg surgery for my husband this year, having been told in 2013 that the graft inserted into his left leg would only last twelve to sixteen months. Miraculously, that artificial vein lasted a year and a half beyond the projected time.

Still, God called him home during open heart surgery in June of this year.

Crossing into widowhood is not something I anticipated at the beginning of this year. I had faced the possibility of caring for my husband as an amputee, but that never happened.

Despite the sorrow, pain, grief, and losses that will mark 2016 in my memory forever, I look to 2017 with a sense of adventure and anticipation.

I’m a new person now, an orphan in place of a daughter, a widow instead of a wife, a child of God seeking His peace, comfort, and the contentment that only He can provide.

I have no doubt new challenges lie ahead. As I see myself in a different light, I am examining my weaknesses and drawing on my strengths.

One of the ways I manage my grief is to reach out to others who are fighting their own battle of hurt, pain, discouragement, and disillusionment. The main focus of my two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer is to give authors a place to share the stories behind their work, the struggles they have encountered, and the encouraging words they have for others.

My Blog Talk radio Show, Step Into the Light, is another source of encouragement for those who find themselves in a dark place. My guests share their own experiences with darkness and how they found their way back to light, or the venues they use to lead others to light from the shadows we all encounter in life.

Right now, I feel this is God’s calling for me, although deep inside, I still sense the desire to get my own struggles, life lessons, and insights into print. God has given me a wide range of experiences over my lifetime for a reason, and I sometimes wonder if he placed those twists and turns on my life path so I can guide others through them.

Despite the ruts and gullies I’ve had to navigate over the past year, I have felt the presence of My Heavenly Father every step of the way. I look ahead with confidence that He will guide me out of the valley to the mountaintop.

My prayer for 2017 is that I will make the trip as a willing and eager servant of His.

BIO: Patti has had short work published in two anthologies and local publications. She has three novels in progress. She has conducted workshops at Christian Writers conferences and served as an editor with a small publishing company. Patti loves to promote writers, both published and unpublished, on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. She shares stories through personal interviews of those who have found their way from a dark place back to light or those who help others back to light on her weekly Blog Talk Radio show, Step Into the Light.

Patti lives in Southeastern Colorado and is fortunate to reside in the same town as her daughter and fifteen year old granddaughter, her only grandchild. Still, her heart brims with memories of the Adirondack North Country of New York, where she spent many childhood vacations and still returns periodicallyto visit family.


Facebook (Step Into the Light page) -

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

  What’s in that Heavy Load You Carry?  

By Ada Brownell 

Why am I cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I will yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5

            Yes. I praise Him, especially at Thanksgiving for some BIG blessings.

I was parked at a high school waiting for my child after an evening event and couldn’t keep myself from observing students. The teens playfully insulted one another, juggled offensive language into the air like rotten apples, wrapped arms around a few girls, punched buddies, and then I noticed one of them was drunk.

Although his boisterous laughter filled the air, his eyes spoke louder than his mouth. No smile glistened there. My car was parked close enough that I could see the same hopeless look on the faces of other young people around him. Were the youths from broken homes where the single parent also lacked hope? Dysfunctional foster homes? Did the kids’ have a parent who was ill, abusive, an alcoholic, or just unloving? Or had these teens’ own rebellion consumed them?

I’ll never forget the kid who didn’t look over 12 or 13 lying unconcious on the grass in our neighborhood green space. He lay there alone while someone called an ambulance and a half dozen or so of us stood by. I prayed for him, thinking perhaps an accident had happened. I discovered later he suffered from alcohol poisoning, caused by consuming too much alcohol.

I wondered what on earth would cause a nice-looking youngster his age to overdose on alcoholic beverages?

People everywhere are trying to kill the pain of the weights on their minds and their spirits.

If we rummage around in the bag of burdens people carry we find heavy things: anger, grief, hurts, sickness, pain, handicaps, poverty, guilt, grudges, bitterness, lust, hatred, envy, covetousness, rebellion, self doubt, and the agony of never filling the God-shaped place inside us.

Perhaps they have not heard the prophecy about Jesus: “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3NLT).
            Jesus confirmed the prophecy was fulfilled in him: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Then He added, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 21KJ).

I’ve often thought the reason suicide rates, and the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs coincide with the erasure of faith in God in our homes, schools, government and among our leaders. People try anything to relieve the pain except what works—redemption from sin and the accompanying peace and joy that only comes from God.                                              

The Psalmist experienced discouragement. David wrote the quote at the beginning of this chapter, and sometimes there was a reason for his anguish, because he knew he’d sinned. Perhaps The most notable sin was observing Bathsheba while she was bathing and coveting Uriah the Hittite’s wife. He seduced her, and then called Uriah, one of David’s warrior’s, home from battle thinking if she conceived, the husband would think the child was his.

But Uriah was committed to the war and insisted on returning. So David ordered that the man be sent to the front lines where he would be sure to be killed. He was fatally wounded, and the king married Bathsheba.

The Bible says “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), and David was rebuked by the prophet Nathan for what he had done.

Bathsheba was pregnant and in a few months a boy was born. Yet, the infant was sickly and despite all of David’s crying and seeking God for his son’s life, the little one died.

As he does with many of us, even after David repented, Satan kept accusing the king and his sin haunted him. Yet, even before he lay with another man’s wife, he was a sinner. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Since Adam and Eve sinned, we’re all born with a sinful nature. That is the reason we’re all prone to sin, destined to die and need a Savior and Redemption.

Sin is a horrible thing and one of the nasty things about wickedness is its effect on us and those against whom we sin. Paul told the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7NKJ).

Although wickedness thrived in every generation, it seems a huge crop of wickedness waves in the fields today.

 Yet, there is an answer. “Plant good seed. Connect with God and His mercy will change your life for the better. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus will pull with you!

Don’t forget this promise also, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John: 19.)

Copyright 2016 Ada Brownell

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Excerpt from Chapter 5: Peach Blossom Rancher
By Ada Brownell
As soon as John Parks opened the gate to the north pasture and lifted the new leather bridle off the sleek animal’s long quivering neck and nose, the black stallion galloped away, stirring the wind
like he’d do on the prairie hills when leading a wild herd. His hooves pounded until the ground trembled under John’s feet. The stallion’s majestic body, head stretched forward, tail and mane flying, streaked along the morning skyline like the champion he should be.

Pinions scented the cool breeze in the early morning light.

The horse came to the white three-rail fence at the north end of the pasture, pivoted abruptly, and rounded the pasture again at a full run.

Bile filled John’s stomach and tongue. Would the formerly abused animal jump the fence?

The mare grazing nearby in the green field tilted her head toward the galloping stallion and neighed.

The regal horse swung toward her.

John and Abe walked a distance away to let them get acquainted.

Weariness seemed to spread in John’s young bones as he walked. He felt the weight of caring for the people in his home. How long had it been since he’d had a good laugh and no worries?

He sighed, and Abe turned and looked at him.

“The young mama we found in the barn is lots better now.” Abe puffed a little and sounded out of breath as he climbed up the hill. “The babe doesn’t cry as much, either. What you gonna do with ’em? Polly said you was a prayin’ ’bout it.”

John rubbed his cheek. The scar seemed to be shrinking some. “You know I wish God would talk to us out loud. Abe, how do you know what to do when it comes to making hard decisions?”

Abe blinked his dark eyes. The fluttering lashes now had grown white, like most of his curly hair. “Oh, God speak to us all right.” He patted the area near his heart. “Sometimes I hear ’im right here. Other times, when I’s reading the Bible, his will is loud and clear. Right regularly when the preacher gets wound up on Sundays, he say things straight from God. The main thing is to decide to do God’s will even before he shows it to you. Then when things develop a certain way, you know what ya s’pose to do.”

“I think I need to do more readin’ and prayin’.” John trudged toward the house.

After John cleaned up for dinner, his gaze followed Bellea Peabody as she brought the baby to the table and sat down shyly, tipping her face downward, letting the light show freckled skin as pale as a bucket of milk. Her shabby dress clung close to her body, and he guessed her bones filled out the garment.

Abe prayed another powerful prayer for each person around the table, and goose bumps raised over John as he whispered his own prayer before lifting his head. Tears pooled in Bellea’s eyes but didn’t spill onto her cheeks.

“My daddy used to pray.” Soft and shaky, her voice barely broke the stillness. “Thank you for praying for me and helping me. But I must be going. I can’t keep eating your food forever.”

“You’re welcome to stay here until you find a job.” John didn’t even need to think about it.

“I … I don’t know if I can get a job with little David Jonathan to care for.”

A horse and carriage rumbled into the yard. Taking another gulp of coffee, John stood. A woman in a fancy black hat and velvet cape hopped down and charged forward like a rooster ready to flog.

Bellea gasped and ran for the bedroom, leaving her plate.

A fist or a foot rattled the door.

“I heard you have a young woman and baby here.” The red-faced woman barged through the door. “I’m Mrs. Davenport. I have reason to believe you harbor a girl who used to work for me. The boy she delivered is my grandson. I’m not leaving the child for a trollop to raise. I want the babe.”

John stared at the woman until he realized his jaw hung open. He closed his mouth tight.

“She enticed my son, and now she can bear the consequences. Besides, she has no money to care for the boy.” Her voice rose to a higher pitch. “Let me see him. Where is he?”

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Apology: The publisher notified me Sunday afternoon that KDP wouldn't allow this book to be free on Sunday, so the dates were changed. So sorry for those who tried to get it!


 By Ada Brownell

 From Chapter Nine
     After a short nap, John reached for the thick letter from Valerie with fresh enthusiasm. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad day after all.
    As he read her beautiful penmanship, bad news seemed to hang on every word like those big worms on Polly’s tomato vines in the summer. Little Christian had been injured but was recovering miraculously, with the broken bone healed and the boy beginning to learn to walk again.
     Then she described a court case she and Archibald had filed, hoping to get a young man released from the state asylum. Excitement filled every word she wrote.
     John tucked the letter in a bureau drawer. Valerie’s mother hoped her daughter would marry Archibald. That lawyer would never drag Valerie off to live on a horse and peach ranch in Colorado.
     Valerie had been to law school. John didn’t know if she graduated, but she could practice law without the degree. All she needed to do was get a license, and her father could help. For all John knew, she already had the law license.
     He shook his head, and his heart quivered with it. Being married to an even-tempered beautiful woman like Valerie would help keep him at peace. Ed’s face popped into his mind. He stomped down the stairs, snatched his jacket off the wall, and headed outside. He’d feed and water the horses, check the pigs, load up all the rabbits he could, and go into town.
     Abe met him outside the barn. “Ya look like a mountain lion about ready to attack. You upset about somethin’?”
     John felt himself change into a bedraggled kitten that escaped a gunnysack and swam the river. “Guess I’m too tired to deal with everything.” He swallowed, trying to rid himself of the lump in his throat. Grown men didn’t cry.
     “You too tired. God know about the murder. He know about the horses and ya bills. He know about the peach crop. He know about pigs and rabbits gettin’ out. A heavy load on ya shoulders. We’s gonna pray, but first, let’s think about things we are thankful about. The peach harvest saved by our work in the night. Lift up your eyes. The weather warmed and will heat the soil, so we probably won’t have the danger of another late frost.”
     John nodded, feeling he’d shaken a little sadness from his fur.
     “Your herd of nice horses are grazing in a green pasture. Then you got all those rabbits to sell for Stuart, and that probably will make him and his parents happy. An’ next week would be a good time to take some pigs to the auction. You don’t need to feed all of ’em any longer. It’s time to sell the bigger ones.”
     A horse pounded up to the barn with a smiling Edwina on its back. “Papa connected with some of his friends, and we have the stallion’s stud services lined up for the next month. The telephone gives Papa a chance to do important business.”
     John’s heart did a romp in his chest. “That’s good news. The phone comes in handy.”
     Edwina jumped off the horse and grabbed John’s hand and tipped her face sideways, lips pursed serious. “Are you sick? You look like you can barely stand up.”
     “Abe and I stayed up most of the night keeping our smudge fires going on account of possible frost. We saved the blossoms. Guess I’m tired. Besides the pigs getting out yesterday, Stu’s rabbits got out this morning. We’re taking as many as we can to town to sell. I think Abe will dress them, and we’ll try to sell the pelts.”
     Ed snuggled close to his side. “You should take a long nap. Then you’ll be ready to take the world on again.”
     John searched out her big blue eyes. Some of her sparkle ignited in his heart. He had a good notion to kiss her. Maybe he ought to give up and quit fighting falling in love with her. Yet compared to living with Valerie, life with Ed would be a wild ride.
     They walked together hand in hand, strength from the woman at his side oozing into his heart. Then Ed jerked, wrenched away from him, and screamed. They’d wandered too close to the hog pen again. This time pig slobber dripped from her riding outfit.

 ©Ada Brownell 2016

Summary of Peach Blossom Rancher

 an historical romance

Sequel to The Lady Fugitive, second in Peaches and Dreams series

By Ada Brownell

A handsome young man with a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect. How will they achieve their dreams?
John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help make the ranch all it should be after his uncle, a judge, ravaged it before he was murdered. John has his eye on his sister Jenny’s elegant matron of honor, Valerie MacDougal, a young widow. But Valerie, a law school graduate, returns to Boston to live. John and Valerie write, but while in Boston Valerie and one of her father’s law partners try to get three patients wrongfully judged as insane out of the Boston asylum—and they spend a lot time together.
Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor who has been in love with John since they were in grade school? Edwina’s father is in a wheelchair and she’s taking care of their ranch. John tries to help and protect this neighbor who has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. But John and Edwina fuss at one another constantly. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?
Free Nov. 20-24:
If you would like to know about the first book in the series, The Lady Fugitive, it's available here
The Lady Fugitive
By Ada Brownell
You’ll enjoy this historical romance set in 1908. How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks, 17, escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while traveling about the country peddling household goods and showing one of the first Passion of the Christ moving pictures, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
            Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
2015 Laurel Award runner-up.
#Review The Lady Fugitive. You’ll laugh, bite your nails; wish you had a gun to help.
About the Author
When Ada Brownell sat down to write The Peach Blossom Rancher, she drew from her experiences growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country, picking peaches and working in a packing shed.
In addition, she uses some of what she learned about mental illness covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo on her beat as a journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain. In her work, she received a list from the Board of Lunacy Commissioners showing supposed cause of insanity of patients admitted in 1899-1900 and 1909-1910. She uses part of that list in this book and used that information in developing some characters. However, in Peach Blossom Rancher the mental hospital is in Boston, and everything about the asylum is fiction.
Peach Blossom Rancher is Book Two in the author’s Peaches and Dreams series, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive, another Western/historical romance. Both books will stand alone.
Ada is the author of five other books, about 350 stories and articles in Christian publications, and is now retired from The Pueblo Chieftain.
Get Peach Blossom Rancher here:
Connect with Ada:
Twitter: @AdaBrownell