Saturday Confession: Why Chocolate is Part of My Surrender

Last week I had an amazing time sharing my faith and writing journey with a group of ladies. I had a little Power Point filled with pictures from my past, book covers from my present and an acrostic to help us all have a powerful future full of freedom in Jesus.

I used to be someone completely obsessed with people pleasing and fear of rejection so putting those things down and trusting God with it was no easy task. It took time. But what I also learned in my journey was sometimes He’s going to ask me to surrender something good. That seems crazy, but I’ve lived it.

For instance, with writing, He asked me to stop writing the newsletter for my local Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, chapter. There’s nothing bad about that task or the organization. I loved it, I still do. But I surrendered it with no idea what was next. I had to trust that Jesus had my back. He also goes before me, and surrounds me. He has me covered. And as I shared with the ladies, it was less than a year later I was invited to a book signing.

As one of the authors.

Last year He asked us to surrender a home we were ready to buy. Boy, that one was hard. But on the other side of it, we have a better home in better condition for a lot less money. I never would have known that had I not surrendered that good thing. For God had something better.

But then there’s the chocolate. My tagline is “Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate.” I explained that although I love the milk chocolate goodness and it has had quite a hold on me in the past, I use it because it is something we can relate to.

There’s another reason.

There are times we aren’t ready to surrender. We’re human. And it’s a process. We are a work in progress and need to understand that.  If the day comes when the Lord says, “Okay, it’s time to lay down the chocolate once and for all.” I’d do it. He’s been faithful and true.  So I share that as part of my tagline so audiences know we’re in this together. Sometimes we need to let go of bad stuff that isn’t good for us. Sometimes it’s good things because God has something better. And sometimes we aren’t ready that particular day, but we’re growing in Him. If He shows us a day and says okay, then we’ll be ready.

I had to giggle because not everyone understood and some handed me their chocolate as a gift, and others gave me their number in case I wanted extra help in giving it up. But everyone there received what God had.

Surrender is a process.

God is good.



Book Review: Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

Book Description:

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

Master storyteller Irene Hannon is back with an exciting new series featuring former special forces operatives now in the thick of the action in civilian life. Hannon is at the top of her game in this can’t-put-it-down thriller that will have readers up until the wee hours devouring every page.

Irene Hannon is a favorite romantic suspense author and Buried Secrets doesn’t disappoint. Lisa is a rural police chief with a health issue she feels she has managed. Mac is a detective getting used to life after being a SEAL. They make a good team as they investigate a mystery a couple decades old. Suddenly bodies are piling up and they have to figure it out before there’s another murder.

I not only enjoyed Mac and Lisa, I enjoyed Mac’s brothers as well. They were strong supporting characters. The villain was chilling and the methods used were not only cunning, but creative. It made for a fast page turner.

To purchase Buried Secrets, click here.

I received Buried Secrets from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kept by HIS Promise Women’s Conference

11025951_10206236725738246_26627730578968076_nDawnita Istre will be the key note speaker. Jill Barlow will lead worship and special music will be provided by Rachelle Joy. Kristi Bull, Dr. Linda McNair and Pastor Paris Yanno will lead the worshops.

I will be on hand with a book table talking about Entrusted and the summer book club.

The conference is open to women throughout Greater Youngstown.


To learn more and to register, please go to Highway Tabernacle’s website.

COTT: Entrusted by Julie Arduini

From Julie:
Well, this is a first! This week’s Clash of the Titles Blog Alliance features me and my Adirondack romance, Entrusted. Isn’t that fun? I hope you enjoy the post!

Before we bring you our featured novel, Clash of the Titles wishes to congratulate Kelly Goshorn manuscript “A Love Restored” for taking home the crown during our Olympia Awards.
Congrats, Kelly!
The Olympia is COTT’s annual contest for pre-published authors.
To learn more about the Olympia and Kelly Goshorn, please visit us at

If you enjoy a sweet romance in a quaint village, you’ll love Julie Arduini’s debut novel. She fills the town with delightful and insightful characters. The story has a good balance of humor, wisdom and love. Buy this book, wrap up in a warm blanket with a cup of team, and snuggle in for a great read.

                                                                    –Amazon customer

About the book:
Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

Special offer from the author, Julie Arduini!
Subscribe for free to the Julie Arduini newsletter and receive her novella, Match Made in Heaven plus monthly installments to the sequel, Crumbs and Embers. To subscribe, visit the left sidebar of to complete the form and watch for activation.

What COTT voters had to say:

–Julie Arduini I love this book & am beyond thrilled to hold your passion in my hands. I am happy to be able to vote for you, but as you know, you’ve already won!!

–Julie Arduini can’t wait to read this book.

–Julie Arduini so excited to see what God does with your book!!

–Love the cover and the novel Entrusted by Julie Arduini.

–Congratulations on your novel Julie Arduini!!!

–Julie Arduini, the setting of your book and the language brings me back home.

–May God keep blessing your writing ministry for Him, Julie Arduini

–Julie Arduini, this sounds like my kind of story. I like the term, “the fir flies.”

–Julie Arduini has a heart of passion and the gift of penmanship!!! What a Blessing!!

–Love the cover Julie Arduini!!

–Julie Arduini is one of my favorite people– including one of my favorite authors. Love her book “Entrusted”!

–Just so exciting to watch God work in your life Julie Arduini . Surrendering your writing to Him and Wow look what he does …and he’s not done ! ??

–Julie, I loved the book. Thank you!! Blessings, Jenn

, the characters, the setting, and Julie’s good writing!

The author shares how Entrusted came about:

My writing includes surrender issues and in Entrusted, Ben and Jenna both struggle. Jenna wants to

belong and Ben’s afraid of loss. They have to surrender those things to their Heavenly Father and trust that He’s taking care of them. Book 2 and 3 also give a clue to the surrender journey with Entangled and Engaged.

The book came about after my first visit to the real village of Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. As I walked the street and drank in the mountain air, the characters came alive. I’m excited to return to Speculator June 12 as I share my writing experience at the Lake Pleasant library. Then, starting June 25th I’m participating in an Entrusted book club in Youngstown where I plan to share exclusive footage of me visiting the places I used in Entrusted.



Enjoy this trailer for The Love Boat Bachelor by Jerusha Agen and Theresa Anderson!


Find more great new releases all year at Clash of the Titles!

Sabbath Sunday: When I See a Cave

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. John 20:8, NIV

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. John 20:8, NIV

Every time I see a cave, I think of the empty tomb.

I think about Jesus.

What were His first thoughts as He looked and saw the linens?

The angels as they received that assignment and positioned themselves?

The guards, when the cave started to shake?

Mary, when she realized the tomb was empty?

The questions consume me as much as the curiosity of a cave.

What about you? If you’re not familiar with the story, read a chapter a day from John in the Bible.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This is the Kunjamuk Cave in Speculator, NY, the area I based my contemporary romance, Entrusted, on. Photo credit by CT

Saturday Confession: Walking with Whoppers

91LVPrvc+FLApril is Infertility Awareness Month and the release date for A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey through Infertility. I am one of the authors and I thought today I’d give a snippet of my life as an infertility patient. The book takes each author’s story from diagnosis to where things are today. None of our stories are the same, especially the endings. I believe any woman who has experienced infertility and/or miscarriage at any time, even years ago, would be encouraged by this book. It’s real, but infused with hope from God’s Word.

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in 1995 but looking back, I had symptoms not long after puberty started. I had pelvic pain. Acne. Depression. As I grew into my twenties, each symptom became much worse.

I was engaged when the diagnosis came and the book goes into detail what life was like. But a typical wedding planning and newlywed experience wasn’t mine. Imagine monthly shots in the backside administered by someone scared to death to give them. The wide mood swings that took me very dark places. Pelvic pain so bad I had trouble walking.

My answer to prayer came in a surgery that is rarely performed anymore. I had a wedge resection where half of each ovary was taken out. At the time I thought that would end my chances to conceive. My surgeon explained it would enhance them. I was so desperate for relief from pain I surrendered it all. I just wanted to live.

After the surgery my doctor let me know why I was in so much pain. My ovaries were each 5x the size of normal. His words? “You were walking around with whoppers.”

I was pain free for years.

To pre order A Walk in the Valley, click here.

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