Ashley Astley

Worship Music Leader

Waiting…for the BIG REVEAL…of God’s hidden path. Let’s follow some of the hidden paths of a few of our Biblical sisters. We find the culture and their journey’s different but many parallels exist between our Biblical sister’s steps of faith and our own. We find one desperate sister heartbroken on the shore of the Nile watching her infant son drift away in snake infested waters. In the distance we see another sister walking her path as a poor widow, both of her only sons are dead and she’s now journeying with her daughter-in-law. She’s lost all hope for the grandchild and life that she once dreamed of.  These sisters walk their paths literally…one to the banks of the Nile, the other to the gleaning fields of Bethlehem. They didn’t know those paths would lead to God’s BIG REVEAL. They felt hopeless and desperate. But their steps were leading them to God’s plan…His BIG REVEAL…‘the path that no one knew was there’. Do you feel like you’re walking to the Nile or to the gleaning fields…there seems to be no way out for a situation you’re facing? Then come hear the message from the Word by The Notebook Café Publisher, author, and speaker, Shelly Thompson. Shelly is a Des Moines native, who grew up surrounded by a tribe of faithful women in Highland Park. She has transparently spoken to hundreds of women about the sexual abuse of her then 4-year-old daughter 25 years ago, and how despair took her down a path away from God for several years. But then God opened up her own path…’that no one knew was there’ and opened the door for her to start The Notebook Cafe -- Inspired Words for the Journey an online cafe community of readers looking for inspiration and encouragement on this earthly journey. She is the Publisher of The Notebook Cafe and author of Entwined, now in its third printing. Shelly has a passion for writing and speaking about what God places in her heart.  What started as a small outreach in February of 2015 now reaches over 35,000 people each month and has a women's ministry 'The Cafe' in Walnut, Iowa. Shelly has found the road in unknown territory is not always easy, BUT GOD always finds a way to bring about what He has promised. Since 2015, The Notebook Cafe has held four conferences for women, with the 2017 fall conference featuring guest speaker Karen Abercrombie (Miss Clara from the movie War Room).  Shelly lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband. They enjoy spending time with their parents, three daughters, seven grandlittles, and many weekends working on home renovation projects.

Whose joining us on September 22nd...

Worship | Teaching | Testimony | Music | Prayer

Ashley is married to her best friend, John. They live in rural Iowa with their dog, two cats, and two beautiful young daughters who often sing in the car with their mom making up silly songs. But there's nothing silly when Ashley steps on the stage to use her beautiful voice for praising God and leading women in worship music. Her heart for the Lord has caused her to be bold in her own faith walk and that comes across in the rich, beautiful vocals as she sings. Her voice deeply touches hearts and moves people to the very core of their soul. Ashley has enjoyed singing since a young girl who often impersonated Reba as her first favorite female vocalist. You'll be blessed by the voice of this gifted vocalist.

Shelly Thompson, Publisher of The Notebook Cafe, Author, and Speaker

The Notebook Café

Like our faith sisters Darcy Aune will share the steps of her pathway taking several turns…adoption, pornography, abortion, promiscuity, divorce, cancer…and Christ! What a journey Darcy has had finding her own ‘pathway known only to God’! Her honest and open sharing of her journey from the depths of her heart will make you want to shout BUT GOD! Darcy Aune, is a farm girl from rural Iowa, who takes us along the rocky path that finally led to the BIG REVEAL in her life…salvation. With an intimate café setting on the stage and coffee in hand…Darcy will be interviewed by her news anchor husband, Bruce Aune. It will be like nothing we’ve done before as through their transparent interview as husband and wife they share how they’ve managed to put Jesus at the center of their lives and marriage. Bruce and Darcy Aune live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Bruce works at ABC affiliate KCRG-TV9, anchoring the 5, 6, and 10:00 newscasts for more than 30 years. He and Darcy married in 2013 and still consider themselves newlyweds. Darcy stays busy managing Bruce, her two teenagers, and doodle named Chester full-time. She is working on her first book and loves sharing her journey with others through writing on her FB page. We will truly be setting the stage for ‘The Café’. 

You’ve probably heard the saying “All paths lead you home”…our hope for The Notebook Café 2018 4th Annual Fall Women’s Conference is…”All roads lead to the pathway known only to God”.

God has touched the hearts of many women through The Notebook Café conferences, The Café gatherings in Walnut, Iowa, the book Entwined, and the many opportunities God has provided for this women’s ministry. Let’s take a look back at the pathway for The Notebook Café…we asked God to Move our Mountains (conference 2015), Ignite the Impossible BUT GOD! (conference 2016), give us Fearless Faith (conference 2017), and bring us to the cross for ‘The Gathering’ in February 2018…and now…


...It’s time we seek God for…A Pathway Known Only to God.

Imagine Moses…surrounded on all sides…with no way out. The enemy is fast on his sandals…pursing him, with a vast army and weaponry he doesn’t have. His feet are steady as the thunder of enemy chariot’s pound the ground. He knows in the distance is the Red Sea. Moses and the Israelites will surely parish, either at the hands of the enemy or drowning in the depths of the Red Sea…there is simply…no way out. BUT GOD steps in and does the unthinkable…the unimaginable to human minds…scripture tells us…God opened “a pathway no one knew was there”. Your road lead through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! Psalm 77:19. The human eye could not see God’s pathway it was visible only to Him, and it was perfect. It was at the perfect time…just when it seemed as if nothing good could come of the situation Moses and the Israelites were facing. What if…in fear Moses had decided rather than trust that God would make a way when he couldn’t see one, he turned and surrendered to the vast army coming against him? What if…Moses decided rather than wait on God he would lead his men into battle in his own strength…rather than just keep putting one dusty sandal footstep ahead of the other trusting God?

Scripture tells us God is opening up pathways that we don’t see. How many times do we take the path that our human vision can see and logically makes sense? How often do we not see a way out…and do things in our own strength and power?  Have we side stepped God’s pathway...taking things in our own hands and missing our Red Sea moments?

I want you to know something…

Moses had a visible enemy tracking him. We too have an enemy tracking us…our enemy is SCARED

REALLY SCARED…that you’ll find out the truth.

Below is something God placed on my heart to share at one of our women’s conferences…

If I were your enemy…

I’d be SCARED…

SCARED you would find out the truth about God.
SCARED you would find out God keeps His promises. 
SCARED you would find out He makes all things new. 
SCARED you would be obedient.
SCARED you would discover God loves you in an inhuman and abundant way you cannot understand. 
SCARED you would discover God Himself created you in the secret place and knows your heart.
SCARED…REALLY SCARED….of YOU BELIEVING in the Word of God. The truth.
If I were your enemy I’d be SCARED…TERRIFIED ACTUALLY…that you would not see a way out…but you would pray and wait…

…until God ‘opens up a pathway no one knew was there’ and you would walk your season on dry ground. Singing praises when you get to the other side and you’ve witnessed the Hand of God on your journey.

The Notebook Café 4th Fall Women’s Conference will be unlike any of our other conferences. We will share a time of worship, a teaching from the word, music, the first ‘Café’ interview by a seasoned ABC affiliate anchorman…of his wife, and a covering of prayer by The Notebook Café’s own Deb Martin. During our time together, we will asking God to encourage you and build confidence in believing God is who He says He is and trusting that He will bring to pass what He promises…at the appointed time…

 ...making a way when you see no way out…as it tells us in Psalm 77:19…Your road lead through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!

What is God whispering to your heart…that He will make a way…on a pathway you don’t know is there?

Join us on Saturday, September 22nd, for The Notebook Café 4th Annual Women’s Conference at Timberline Conference Center in Urbandale, Iowa. The conference will start at 8:30 and conclude at 11:30. The café will be open for you to purchase your favorite cappuccino, latte, or coffee…and we know they make amazing hot beverages. We’ll enjoy a time of worship, teaching, testimony, a covering of prayer, and music. You won’t want to miss this special morning.   

Bruce and Darcy Aune

Bruce an anchorman at the ABC affiliate KCRG-TV9, anchoring the 5, 6, and 10:00 newscasts for more than 30 years sets the Cafe Stage for the Heart Transforming intimate Interview of his wife, Darcy.

The Notebook Café 4th Annual Fall Women’s Conference


A Pathway Known Only to God

Saturday, September 22nd | Timberline Conference Center 4459 121st Urbandale | 8:30—11:30

This conference is a free event sponsored by The Esther Stout Memorial Fund, 

but due to limited seating preregistration is required here.