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Ten Years Later

Posted by Julie on December 31, 2016 in About Me, ACFW, COTT, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

I clearly remember the night. While most people were out for New Year’s, I was staring at the little box on my laptop screen. Clicking the “Create Blog” box in my mind felt as tense as dismantling a bomb.

Around 2006

It was my first act after promising God I was done with fear.

Afraid of what people might think.

Afraid of rejection.

Afraid, afraid, afraid.

I can’t put into words how scary creating that first blog was.

December 31, 2006.

Fast forward, and here we are. A decade later. A blog or two after.

Not afraid.

And so much more.

For years, blogging was my baby. I was content to make that my only writing outlet if that was all God had for me. But it wasn’t. I don’t blog as much as I want to, and I’ve watched blogging popularity ebb and flow as much as my own life has. But I still love it.

2011

I’ve shared parenting journeys from pre school age milestones to teen drama.

Middle school drama to college achievements.

Thirty-something wife and mom to forty-something grandma to-be in 2017.

Seasons of friendships, heartbreak, betrayal, creativity, hardship and mountain views.

Companies wanting my space. And only this year did I agree because I personally use their products and believe in them. I hope you check out iBloom and love them as much as I do.

Oh, and writing.

2016

Anthologies. Gift books. e-How. FaithWriters. ACFW. NaNoWriMo. Spectacular Falls to Entrusted. Entangled. Now, Engaged.

Wow.

I saved the best for last.

You.

I’ve heard from you in comments and on Facebook. Pulled aside at church and through text. E mails. You have been so, so kind.

Let’s keep it going.

Another ten?

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New Kindle or Echo? ENTANGLED eBOOK FREE December 29 & 30

Posted by Julie on December 29, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Still taking care of the Christmas wrapping? Trying to figure out how to use your new tablet, Kindle, Echo, or Echo Dot? I have an idea if you’d rather be reading.

ENTANGLED is book two in my Surrendering Time series, and it is compatible with Alexa. That means if you have the Echo or Echo Dot unwrapped and ready, she can read my books to you.

To help make things easy, ENTANGLED is FREE December 29 and 30. Although the sale for ENTRUSTED is over, the price is for your convenience at $2.99 eBook, $7.99 print. Both books are free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

ENTANGLED:Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Thank you for being loyal readers. Here’s believing 2017 will be full of exceptional blessings!

Feel free to share this with your favorite readers!

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Amber Schamel: How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella

Posted by Julie on December 27, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella

It was a summer evening, I was in the kitchen making dinner while my little siblings (for some odd reason) were watching The Toy That Saved Christmas, a Veggie-Tales movie. My publisher had asked me to write a Christmas story and I was deep in thought wondering what I should write when I suddenly tuned in to what was playing on the screen.

Grandpa George was reading a scripture to Bob, Larry and Buzz-saw Louie. “And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in baby clothes and laid him in a manger.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, the passage didn’t say baby clothes. In the King James it says swaddling clothes. That got me to thinking, what exactly are swaddling clothes? Are they just baby clothes? Or is there another meaning to them?

I looked up the passage in Luke chapter two and noted that it was mentioned not only once, but twice that Mary wrapped her first-born son in swaddling clothes. So I began my research.

I found out that swaddling clothes did not necessarily mean that Mary and Joseph were poor or destitute. Swaddling clothes were used by people of all classes to wrap a newborn in hopes that it would help their limbs grow straight, as well as calm the babe. But if swaddling clothes were so common during that era, why was it specifically mentioned as a sign to the shepherds of who the Messiah would be? So I searched some more.

Another source said that in the eastern countries they would use a cloth to put between the yoke of an ox, and the ox’s shoulders. When Mary and Joseph were in the barn, they had nothing else to use, so they used this ox’s cloth that was translated as swaddling cloth to wrap the Messiah that would carry the yoke of our sin and bondage.

Many hours and websites later, I emerged armed with a ton of information, four different theories, and a story forming inside my head. So, I guess you could say that my new book The Swaddling Clothes was inspired by a Veggie Tales movie.

The things that inspire people, or give them an idea is very interesting to me.

What are some odd things that have given you an idea or inspiration?

 

 The Swaddling Clothes Synopsis:

Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.

Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling “intriguing…thought provoking… a fresh twist on an age old story.”

“I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life.”

“Heartwarming…truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God’s wonderful power and His amazing love.”

Purchase Swaddling Clothes HERE

 

Author Bio:

 

Amber Schamel, author

Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”.  She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

 

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New Kindle or Echo? ENTRUSTED Free eBook December 26-28

Posted by Julie on December 26, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Writing |

If your Christmas was like mine, you’re overstuffed on fudge but hungry for books to put on your new tablet or Kindle. I’ve heard many talk about their new Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, and guess what? Alexa can read books to you.

I wanted to end this crazy but amazing year by celebrating. I never thought 2016 would have me publishing books through my new writing and speaking ministry, Surrendered Scribe Media. In May I re released ENTRUSTED and released ENTANGLED. The reviews for Carla’s story on surrendering regret are more than I could have hoped for. That was a HARD book to write, and now I get it. I’m thankful God is using it to help people let go of their past.

So to celebrate these things AND put some FREE reading on your new device, ENTRUSTED eBook is FREE December 26, 27, and 28. Wait, I’m not done. ENTANGLED will be FREE December 29 and 30. Both books are compatible with Alexa.

(Check price first.)

ENTRUSTEDJenna Anderson leaves her Ohio hometown for the unknown in Speculator Falls. She’s determined to make her new job as senior center work and become one of the locals.

Ben Regan’s family is the backbone of Speculator Falls and he’s made a vow to protect the rural village. When his grandfather passes away and his former girlfriend leaves without even saying goodbye, Ben’s determined to prevent further transition in his life.

But Jenna produces a lot of change for Ben in a book about surrendering the present fears we have about change and wanting to belong.

ENTANGLED:Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Thank you for being loyal readers. Here’s believing 2017 will be full of exceptional blessings!

 

Feel free to share this with your favorite readers!

 

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Jean Ann Williams: Christmas After A Loved One’s Suicide (GIVEAWAY)

Posted by Julie on December 22, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 

My son, Joshua, died by suicide on March 16, 2004, and I will never be the same. Nor do I want that old person back. God has given me His strength as I journeyed through the most difficult time in my life. And, I’m not a novice to loss. I began losing important loved ones by the age of ten, with the mental illness of my mother, and the death of my dear Nana and my baby sister Maria.

During the year of firsts in noted celebrations after Joshua’s suicide, Christmas was indeed the hardest after Joshua’s birthday in November. My husband and I felt tossed about in waves of denial, pain, and just plain not-caring-to-recognize the traditions part of Christmas.

As the celebration of Jesus’ birth came closer, our eldest granddaughter, Morgan Ann, age ten at the time, found out our plans to skip Christmas traditions. Below, is a chapter from my book, God’s Mercies after Suicide, and how Morgan Ann helped us, her nana and papa.

***

“Nana, please, we have to bake cookies, and you need a Christmas tree to decorate.”

 

Our eldest grandchild, Morgan Ann, would not quit on the topic of Christmas. I did not want to bake. The idea of a tree saddened us; Joshua had always been involved with the choosing. When Morgan pleaded more than once with us, we relented.

 

Morgan and her two sisters, Lynsey and Carley, came over early one morning. My heart’s desire was to hang only handmade ornaments on this year’s tree.

 

Our granddaughters created a mess with glue, glitter, and construction paper. We decorated cutout egg cartons for bells and strung cranberries and popcorn on strings. The girls hung the ornaments on a three-foot-tall tree.

 

A welcoming inspiration, Morgan insisted we make Joshua’s favorite cookies. We baked thumbprint cookies, and hand-decorated snowmen, Santa Claus, and angel-figure sugar cookies with pink, red, and green frosting. The colored frosting got on the table. My granddaughters howled with laughter over smeared frosting on their faces. I snapped oodles of pictures which I shall always cherish.

***

If you’ve lost a loved one recently and don’t feel like celebrating, it’s really, really OKAY. The only reason we went ahead and acknowledged the traditional part of Christmas was to not disappoint our granddaughters.

In return, we did everything on a smaller scale this first Christmas after Joshua’s death. And at the end of the season, my husband and I looked back and smiled at what one little ten-year-old had accomplished in an otherwise confused and difficult time in our lives.

Twelve years later, we still talk about what Morgan Ann did for us.

And even if we had not participated in a tree and the baking, we still would have celebrated Jesus’ birth and life during the difficult Christmas of 2004.

 

Jean Ann Williams grew up with a parent who suffered from mental illness. Her son died by suicide at age 25 in 2004. From 1996 to the present, Jean Ann has written over one hundred articles & puzzles for youth related magazines, which included a healthy eating column. She has published articles in eight book anthologies. Currently, she writes a column for Putting on the New blog & Book Fun Magazine on the topic of suicide loss. Her first book “Just Claire” is an upper middle grade novel which touches upon the topic of mental illness of a parent. Her second book, “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” is her memoir devotional about the loss of her son, Joshua, to suicide.

Purchase GOD’S MERCIES AFTER SUICIDE HERE

Julie’s note:

Christmas time is a season when suicides increase. Please, if this is something you are considering, talk to someone you can trust. A member of clergy, or Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255. There is also an online chat from Suicide Prevention.

Jean Ann would like to gift a copy of her book, God’s Mercies After Suicide. Please leave a comment and I will choose a random comment. Make sure you leave a working email in case you win.

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Katheryn Maddox Haddad: Joseph: The Other Father

Posted by Julie on December 20, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Joseph

Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father who raised him, had to be a lot of things: Spiritual, quick minded, strong physically, fearless.

Can you imagine taking on that assignment? I wonder if God chose Mary partly because of who she was betrothed to.

Jesus was born into a violent world. When He was probably about a year and a half old, the king of the land sent his soldiers out to kill him. Because I do not like to write the predictable, but to stretch the reader’s mind, I had them escape the shortest route, that being the Mediterranean Sea. Joseph leads Mary and the toddler across the desert in a run, and he does not stop until they arrive.

Of course, Herod’s soldiers are smart and would have spread out in all directions to find them. Just as Joseph gets them to the harbor and finds a ship bound for Egypt, here come Herod’s soldiers. He shoves payment into the ship officer’s hand, lifts his wife and child on board and personally pulls up the anchor so they can make a quick getaway.

The captain is dumbfounded at his brashness until they see Herod’s soldiers climb off their horses and lunge at the ship, trying to board it, just as it gets a hand-breadth too far for them to reach. Some fall into the water while others get out their bows and shoot arrows at the ship.

Once they are out of range, the ship captain just smiles and says, “Looks like that King Herod is after you. Well, any enemy of ole Herod is a friend of mine.”

Another surprise in my book is that I do not have them settle in Alexandria where everyone speculates they went because of the large Jewish population there. For crying out loud! There were large Jewish populations all over Egypt!

Joseph cashes in one of the gifts the magi had given them back in Bethlehem and they get on board a river boat to head down the Nile to find a place to settle. They go through many adventures, but eventually end up in southern Egypt at Thebes, the reason of which you will have to discover by reading the book. Thebes in the first century is almost a ghost town, but the palace and main temples still stand. That’s where Joseph settles them. They move into the old crumbling palace and more adventures follow.

Time passes and they eventually end up in Nazareth. Joseph could hardly have made a living there since archaeologists tell us it was a village of only about five hundred people. But never fear: Sepphoris is only three miles away—the capital city of the Galilee Province where one of Herod’s sons—Antipas—has his palace.

Young Antipas manages to get the Syrians and Arabians so mad at him (according to Josephus), they arrive with one hundred thousand soldiers to attack and burn the city. Remember, little Nazareth is only three miles away. These guys need a place to sleep at night while the trenches are dug and mounds of dirt piled up at the walls for their attack.

Joseph knows he has to protect his family against the soldiers who will put up tents in the valley between Nazareth and Sepphoris, but some will not bother with tents and crash into unwalled Nazareth, kill home owners, and move in. Mary runs to the market to get as much food as she can. Joseph uses his stockpile of wood to create a high wall on their roof so the soldiers cannot get to then that way. Once Mary is back, he nails their gate closed and puts his cart and other heavy things there so it cannot be crashed through.

These are just two situations of many in my book on what Joseph must have gone through in protecting the child Jesus as he grew up. I promise you many more tense moments throughout the book as now and then when things sometimes look hopeless, Joseph calls out, “Father God! Help me protect our Son!”

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase JOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER HERE



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