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A Highland Pearl Character Interview by Brenda B. Taylor

Posted by Julie on April 28, 2017 in ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

A Highland Pearl Character Interview

Greetings from 16th century Scotland. My name is Andrew Dubh Munro. I’m know as the Black Falcon of Fàrdach, and I am the Thirteenth Baron and Chief of Clan Munro. My home is located in the Scottish Highlands on the north shore of Cromarty Firth. The seat of my clan, the place I reside, is Fàrdach Castle. Fàrdach is a Gaelic word meaning, home. Gaelic is my first language, although in order to trade with merchants in Inverness and other places, I also speak Inglish and French.

My father, Sir William Munro was killed in a battle with the MacKenzie Clan. The MacKenzies and Munros have been feuding since that time. I wanted to bring peace between the two peoples, but Hugh MacKenzie and his warriors continued to reive Munro cattle and destroy Munro property. While confronting the reivers one day, I was seriously wounded, and thought I would die.

My brother, Gavin, sent for a bonnie lass and healer from the nearby village of Drumainn. Maidie saved my life, and I fell in love with her. She was a strong believer in the Lord of All Creation. I wanted to take Maidie as my wife, but she was hesitant since I, at that time, did not believe.

One night, the MacKenzies burned one of the Munro villages, and I accompanied my brother and our warriors in the chase for the culprits. My injury had not healed completely, and I could not keep up. I insisted Gavin and the band of warriors go on without me. My gille, Colin, stayed with me. We made ourselves comfortable and settled down to wait for Gavin’s return.

I soon learned the burned village was a trap to get me out of the castle. The MacKenzies captured Colin and me, and took us to the dungeon of their castle. We stayed in the dungeon five days, eating rancid meat and drinking foul water. Our physical condition weakened until I thought the two of us would die.

Being thrown into the dungeon was the best thing that could have happened to me. Colin was a believer and taught me the way to the Lord through his son, Jesus the Christ. I prayed and was accepted into the Lord’s kingdom. I wasn’t afraid to die then, for I knew Heaven awaited.

Hugh MacKenzie released us on the urging of my former father-in-law, Bryson Fraser. The story takes many turns and twists before Maidie and I were reunited and I declared my love for her. The miracle was, she loved me in return and promised to become my wife. The Lord truly blessed me with the desire of my heart—Maidie Cameron Munro.

My story is told in the novel by Brenda B. Taylor, A Highland Pearl. Secure your copy today while the e-book is on sale at most vendors. You will enjoy the adventure through the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

A Highland Pearl

A Highland Pearl

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.

 

 

 

 

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Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

 

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Transformation: Relationships Need Change by Toni Shiloh

Posted by Julie on April 27, 2017 in ACFW, encouragement, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

I’m so glad to be here today. I wanted to talk about transformation, specifically the ones we experience in relationships. If you’ve been in a relationship, you realize being in a relationship is a transformation all on its own. When two people decide to become one, there’s a growing process that HAS to happen. Not because we want it to happen, but because you can’t put two unique people in a relationship and stay the same. It’s not going to happen.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. God created man and woman so that we would not go through life alone. We comfort one another, lift one up when the other is weak. Everything we do should be to help the other be better.

Of course, it doesn’t always happen the way we like. We don’t always see changes in our spouse that we want. But reading about relationship transformation in a fictional book, is highly entertaining and oftentimes, offers us an example for real life. In A Proxy Wedding my story in A Spring of Weddings Collections, Carly James and Damien Nichols discover you have to change in order to be in a relationship. There’s a give and take that must occur in order for it to be successful.

But it’s so hard to do and that’s where God comes in. Without His guidance, His direction, and of course His ability to make us better, relationships would be impossible. It is when our relationship with God is at its best, that our relationship with others improve.

How has being in a relationship with God transformed you?

 

“A Proxy Wedding” releasing in A Spring of Weddings Collection May 3rd!

Blurb: Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all. So when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he has to take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.

Will love become real at A Proxy Wedding?

Bio: Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at http://tonishiloh.weebly.com.

 

 

Links:

Purchase: http://amzn.to/2opjTko

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116452363653059921235/posts

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonishiloh

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-shiloh

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonishiloh

Blogs I’m part of: http://puttingonthenew.com  ; http://heartwingsblog.com  ; http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

 

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RESOLVE: Infertility Etiquette, Part 2 #NIAW

Posted by Julie on April 25, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Julie's note: April 23-29 is #NIAW---National Infertility Awareness Week. Although my infertility experiences are not recent, I remember the anguish, comments, and the devastation as if it were yesterday. I will be sharing information from RESOLVE.org in hopes of helping readers better understand infertility.

If you are looking for more personal resources, A WALK IN THE VALLEY is a workbook/devotional that takes readers through six different infertility experiences from diagnosis to doctors to where we are now. I am one of the authors and it is a raw, but helpful book I so wish had existed when I was hurting. You can purchase A WALK IN THE VALLEY HERE.

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

RESOLVE: Infertility Etiquette

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband’s sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend’s privacy, and don’t share any information that your friend hasn’t authorized.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother’s Day
With all of the activity on Mother’s Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother’s Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother’s Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother’s Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven’t “forgotten” them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

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COTT: As a Shield by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Posted by Julie on April 22, 2017 in COTT, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

 

Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are
longtime writers of non-fiction books in the educational and inspiration
markets. They have for most of their lives been avid readers of
mystery/suspense. AS A SHIELD and a previous mystery title are the
result of a desire to entertain themselves and others as well as drive
home important spiritual messages. Their passion is now “mysteries with
a message.”

 

https://www.amazon.com/As-Shield-Danny-Pelfrey-ebook/dp/B01N4UBKXR
CLICK COVER to
BUY

AS A SHIELD is one of four planned Davis Morgan mysteries set in a small
North Georgia town. Davis, a pastor for almost twenty-five years,
returns to his hometown after the death of his wife, to operate a rare
and used bookstore. He is promptly appointed chaplain of the small
police department and recruited by city officials to write a history of
his home town. Mystery and romance seem always to be lurking around the
corner for the popular bookseller.The reoccurring characters such as
Charley Nelson, young police officer; Amy Morgan, Davis’s young daughter
who is an English teacher; her roommate Deidre, who Davis is more and
more drawn to as time passes; Miss Helen, the local historian and a host
of others add to the fun and excitement.

A visit to little Adairsville, Georgia will surely be a memorable
event for anyone who chooses to drop-in. In AS A SHIELD, Davis, through
his encounters with two strange villains, comes to experience for
himself the truth of Psalm 5:12, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the
righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”


About the Authors: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife
team who in the past were active writers of non-fiction material,
having, between them, cranked out several books. They are both graduates
of Point University and Danny has a Masters from Kentucky Christian
University. Danny has spent most of his adult life as a pastor and Wanda
as a teacher.Their interest at present lies in the creation of mysteries
with a message.

Danny and Wanda are the proud parents of two daughters and five
grandchildren. They reside in a little Cape Cod style cottage in the
small town in North Georgia that is the setting for their mysteries.

About the Book: Davis Morgan, having left the ministry after the
death of his wife, returns to Adairsville, Georgia, his hometown. There
he operates a used and rare bookstore while being appointed chaplain of
the police department. He and Charley, a young policeman, after
discovering the body of a tattooed man find themselves in a serious
battle to bring justice to two strange villains who are threating the
safety of Davis’s daughter. While all this is going on, Davis is
struggling with interpreting his relationship with a young history
teacher who happens to be his daughter’s roommate.

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Transformation: God & Me After the Loss of My Child by Jean Ann Williams

Posted by Julie on April 21, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transformation: God & Me After the Loss of My Child

When my son died within my embrace and in our home, I was certain the world had gone insane. Utter disbelief coupled with harsh reality ravished my broken heart.

Over the weeks and months after Joshua’s death, I didn’t know one could cry so many tears. Nor feel this lonely and misplaced from Joshua’s absence. My presence in the house caved in around me, and I believed I would go crazy and join him.

As the months became three years, and I still lived in the house where Joshua died, I told God it was too much. What did He expect from me as I walked the hall and past the door of my son’s room? What was the purpose of me in this home?

Wasn’t the loss of Joshua a teachable enough experience?

I cried unto Lord God and my spirit wrestled with His. I demanded a blessing from Him. Good had to come from this wreck of my life. Didn’t it? And, I hounded my Lord for relief from the pain and agony of losing my youngest child.

My prayer became simple: Make me stronger or allow me to die.

Joshua was a unique individual, and I’m not saying this because he was mine. He helped a friend choose life for her unborn child and spent time with her, sharing the gospel of Christ. He defied a high school teacher to his face, who, after class, offhandedly encouraged a student to get an abortion.

There were no gray areas in my son’s life. He stood strong in his beliefs. At Joshua’s grave side service, one of his friends said it best, “Joshua knew how to help others, but he couldn’t help himself.”

At the three and a half year mark after Joshua’s passing, I almost took my own life. At the last moment, though, weary and humbled within my spirit, I reached for the love of my Father in heaven.

Throughout the night after my near suicide attempt, I sobbed hours of tears until I was an empty shell. As dawn peeked through the curtained window above me, I gave my whole being to God. “You win, Lord,” I prayed, “do with me as You will.” It was not a joyous moment. I didn’t feel victorious.

It was a profound shift of surrender in my shattered spirit.

From the dawn of this new morning and the ten years since, I will never regret God kept me in the home where my son died. God broke me and remolds me into someone who can be used by Him to help others who suffer.

Within three months after my near suicide attempt, we had a buyer for our house. Weeks later, we signed the papers and handed over the keys to the new owners. At the seventh month point, my husband and I moved to Oregon on one acre of land where we raise a garden, chickens, and goats.

After our move here, I told a seasoned Christian my story. That God saw fit to keep me in the home after Joshua’s death, and this drew me closer to Him. “This was hard on me,” I told the man, “and I almost didn’t make it. God knew best, and I received His blessing.”

I thought the gentleman would agree with me, and what he said left me speechless and sad. “I wouldn’t have done it. I would have left the house.”

If I had escaped the home like I wanted, and I did make plans to do so, I would never have tasted the deep love and steadfast presence of God and His Son.

Jean Ann Williams published a book on suicide loss after her youngest son Joshua took his own life in 2004. “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” is a devotional style memoir showing how God walked alongside her in the most difficult grief journey of her life.

God & Me After the Loss of My Child by Jean Ann Williams

Where to purchase God’s Mercies After Suicide: Blessings Woven Through a Mother’s Heart: Create Space

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Hearts Afire: They Met Jesus by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on April 14, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

HEARTS AFIRE

Novel #3 of “They Met Jesus”

 

Things begin to heat up in book three.  Jesus recruits Simon the feared radical, Matthew Levi the hated tax collector, and Judas the admired banker. Does Jesus know what he is getting into with these three?

His miracles get more astounding. He communicates with demons dwelling in otherwise holy people. In fact, he takes control of the demons in the synagogue where those possessed continue to attend in hopes of fighting the demons. What better place could they go?

Then there are the lepers. The reader gets to know one of them intimately as he his face begins to have leprous bumps on it and he tries to pretend they are not there so he can continue his lucrative construction business.  Then the day comes he must do it, for he cannot hide or deny it any longer. He leaves his house and wife for the last time, wraps a scarf around his face, and for the first time cries out that which he had dreaded: “Unclean. Unclean.” How would you feel at a time like this?

Jesus turns lives upside down and right side up again: The demon possessed, lepers, the paralyzed.

Then he chooses his twelve ambassadors, his twelve apostles, and what a mess.  How in the world is he going to be able to control them so that they get along?  Matthew works for the foreign Roman government, and Simon attacks them. Peter talks all the time while Thaddeus is quiet. John tries to stop outsiders while Andrew welcomes outsiders. James wants to bring fire down on his enemies, while Thomas declares they should die with Jesus. Philip is a fanatic for facts, while Nathaniel knew Jesus was the Son of God the moment he met him. James the Less cares nothing for money while Judas loves money.

But they all do their part to help and protect Jesus when thousands rush to be touched by him. They divide up and march three on each side, and three front and back as a barrier so he can move more freely.

By now he is so popular, the chief priests and elders at the temple fear the people will make him king and they will lose their jobs. Jesus must be stopped. So, by the end of his first year of public ministry, his life is in danger. It will take them two years to kill Jesus. They will plot and twist things around and verbally attack and lie and spit and growl. They are determined to win.

In the meantime, Jesus goes out, defying them again. He attends the funeral of a boy and brings him back to life. Over and over he outsmarts his enemies. They will not be allowed to kill him until he lets them.

Come. Read book three and get caught up in the political and religious turmoil Jesus is creating among everyone who meets Jesus.

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 Hearts Afire HERE



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