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From the Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose

Posted by Julie on July 13, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray Elliott

Forty years ago, at the age of sixteen my life changed and I found myself in the ashes of pity. My life took a dark turn when my father passed away several months before I turned sixteen. My mother decided she did not want to live in our home state any longer and moved me across the country. This is where my life took a wrong turn.

 

Except from the book:

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray Elliott

 

The year was 1977, the month and date: November 4th, I was sixteen; technically a teenager, but still a child.   I was taken for my abortion.  I have tried to block out the memories, but I cannot forget the cold metal table where I had lain or the baby being sucked from my womb through a vacuum tube. My eyes fixated on the fluid and blood sucked into the glass canister. All I could see were the demons that had taken over my life instead of the love I deserved. The painful, horrific memories are forever seared in my mind, thoughts, and soul.

 It was in my pain and grief through post-abortion recovery, I started writing about my journeys and how God led me through the ashes into beauty. The end result of my grief was hope and healing. It is hope and healing that I want to give to other women who are experiencing pain and grief.

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.

 

You are altogether beautiful, my darling there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV

 

Bio:

Christian author and speaker Debra Gray Elliott began writing at the age of fifteen after the death of her father. She began writing poetry as a way to cope with her grief. At the age of sixteen, Debra once again experienced grief when she was forced to have an abortion. It was in this grief that she found herself in the ashes of pity. Forty years later, Debra found her beauty of purpose.

 

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose is Debra’s first non-fiction Christian self-help, inspirational book to help women through the ashes of pity into the beauty of purpose after having an abortion.

 

Debra is currently working on a devotional for grieving parents. The loss of her daughter four years ago, has led Debra to want to help other grieving parents through their grief into hope.

 

She resides in Alabama with her husband and family.

 

Website: http://anngrayelliott1960.wixsite.com/authordebraelliott

 

Purchase From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose

 

 

 

 

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Stopping by with Interview Announcement

Posted by Julie on July 12, 2017 in About Me, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Happy July!

I’m stopping in to say hello and let you know that Melanie Snitker interviewed me at her blog, and I really enjoyed it. I’d love for you to check it out!

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Come Fly With Me: They Met Jesus by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on July 7, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

COME FLY WITH ME

Novel #8 in THEY MET JESUS series

 

 

Oh what delight it was to write this last book in the series. Jesus came back to life in the last half of novel 7 and appeared to the women and Peter and two men on the road. In this last novel Jesus appears several time to his apostles. He spends time with them answering their questions and training them just a little more with the time that is left.

I loved the chapter called “Power Surge”. That is where he appears to 500 followers all at once and greets them all.  The shepherds are now old, one wise man happens to be there when it happens. He greets people he has worked miracles on. Last he greets his family—Mary, his sisters, and his brothers. All but James; they couldn’t convince him to come. All the time James was growing up at Joseph’s oldest son, he had resented Jesus dominating everything. So Jesus appears alone to James back in his home. They talk. James is shocked and all his beliefs shattered. In the end he bows to his brother who was actually the Son of God.

Then Jesus takes his twelve to their old encampment on the Mount of Olives. Everyone is quiet. They know. Somehow they know. He stops. “Don’t go, Jesus.”

Jesus does go, they recover, and ten days later they receive a special gift to instantly speak in foreign languages. They go up on the roof of the old hostel they bought as their headquarters. They preach to the mob that had demanded Jesus’ crucifixion, three on each side. Peter’s sermon is recorded. “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.” Three thousand do.

They are confronted by the Sanhedrin which had thought they had won. They beat and imprison the apostles, but the apostles turn right around and show up at the temple to teach again. Shortly five thousand more are baptized. The new church grows like wildfire. A few years later, Stephen is stoned to death by the holy Sanhedrin.  Later, one of their own—James—is beheaded. Persecution grows rampant and Christians scatter, The apostles stick it out.

After nineteen years, Thaddeus announces he is leaving. “Jesus told us to go into all the world. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your choice. I’m leaving.”  Their children have had time to grow up. Now with a few gray hairs, they know it is time for them all to leave. They have one last evening alone together talking about the old days in their youth with their Jesus.

Within the next couple of decades, most of them are tortured to death. All but John. Now in his nineties and exiled to an island, he shuffles along the beach, mostly praying. One day he sees someone shining bright walking up the beach toward him. He knows. He had seen that same glow sixty years earlier on the mountain. It is his Jesus. John is taken on a tour of heaven, a glance into hell, and back to heaven.

Then, guided by his Jesus, he is returned to the little island on earth. Jesus stays only momentarily and begins to back away. As he hovers, then rises higher and higher he calls out to John, “I am coming to get you soon.”

Me too, Jesus? Me too?

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 Come Fly with Me HERE

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Coming Out of Hiding to Say Yes to God by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on July 6, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Coming Out of Hiding to Say Yes to God by Jennifer Slattery

From invincibility to hiding—for years, my life seemed to follow the opposite path God desires His children to take. He created us to live bold, brave, and intentional lives. He’s given us everything we need, in Christ, do this. I know this now, but for over a decade, fears and wounds from my past kept me in bondage.

 

You never would’ve known it to look at me. I went to church. Smiled. Served. Had friends for dinner and went to their place, all the while engaging in polite, acceptable … filtered conversation.

 

I felt like a fraud, convinced if they were to find out who I truly was, who I’d been, they’d want nothing to do with me.

 

Then came the call.

 

That sounds exciting, right? Except for when you’re spending your days hiding out, trying to play the part you believe is expected—by people. I’d kicked my people-pleasing up to such intensity, God’s still small voice faded into the background.

 

I felt certain the two were in opposition of one another. If I were to do this thing, to follow God with everything within me and surrender to Him, I might irritate a few folks. Maybe even turn others away.

 

It was the latter that scared me most, because God wasn’t just calling me to serve. I’d been doing that. He was calling me to serve Him transparently. To be completely real, with my sins, my struggles, my ugly side.

 

An ugly side that can be easy to hide when I all is going well, but when I feel squeezed or overtired? Those are the times when my ick, the part of me that God is working to chip away at, is most likely to rise up.

 

And yet, God was calling me to live authentically. To be real.

 

Not just real, but to put this transparency into writing, for all the world to see. Knowing some reading would judge me. Would see the worst in me. Would misunderstand. Maybe even choose to use my words against me.

 

So I hid. I continued to reveal only slivers of myself, and thus, only slivers of what God was doing within me—those things that made me look good, like I’d grown and conquered. And day-by-day, God’s still, gentle voice grew softer and more distant.

 

Until the chill between us became more than I cared to bear. I realized I craved intimacy with Christ more than anything else, even my pride. So I said yes, and have had to make that choice many times since, for pride never seems to stay dead for long.

 

What I found—the more I let God in, the more I say yes to Him, the more I begin to live.

 

Consider this quote by Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling: “Living our lives to the full is precisely what it means to be good stewards of our lives. … We live fully by living in a way that is deeply congruent with who we are.” (p. 18).

 

Congruent with who we are. Living authentically. No more hiding. No more pretending to be someone we’re not. No more trying to please others or avoid their rejection or judgment.  Simply leaning deeper into Christ and allowing Him to use as—our past and our present, our strengths and our weakness, our quirks and qualities—for His glory.

 

I believe that’s when we truly begin to experience the full freedom available to us in Christ and the peace that “surpasses all understand.” A peace no amount of ridicule, “failure,” or rejection can take away.

 

What about you? Are you living authentically, or are you in some state of hiding? Can you sense God saying to you, “Come out, my beloved, chosen by God. Let my Spirit flow, unhindered, through you as I use you to bring about my good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

 

Say yes, friend. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Bio and Blurb:

 

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

 

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com 

 

Healing Love

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

 

Blurb: A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

 

Learn more about Healing Love by visiting Goodreads.

Pre-Order Healing Love HERE

 

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God is Waiting to Bless Your Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbush

Posted by Julie on July 5, 2017 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

God Is Waiting To Bless Your Broken Road: Just Surrender!

 

My new novel (soon to be a major motion picture) God Bless the Broken Road, is a textbook on surrender. After two years, the protagonist, Amber Hill, has still not been able to completely surrender the loss of her military husband to God and it’s starting to create great havoc in her life. No spoilers, but in her efforts to try to control her life, emotions, and circumstances, she almost loses the most important thing her husband ever gave her.

 

When writing the script (which I actually wrote before writing the novel), I always kept in mind this concept of surrendering our will to God’s will. The question of surrender drives Amber’s every decision in every scene and chapter.

 

God is Waiting to Bless Your Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbush.

It’s easy to relate to Amber. I know I do! When we’re in those “bad places” of life, we don’t always see God with us. We don’t feel like He is and it can be really hard to seek Him. But He is always there and He is always providing us with amazing blessings, even if we don’t acknowledge them. One of the keys to surrender on our broken roads is to turn our gaze to Him so that we can start healing. As we begin to recognize Him along the path, we can become filled with His hope and renewed purpose. When we turn to Him and humble ourselves, He can start to guide us and shape our brokenness into blessing. Grab a copy of GBTBR to see how this pans out for Amber.

 

But wait! Surrendering to God is only the start. God’s healing work is complete when we surrender in the context of our community. This is great news! It means we don’t have to travel our broken roads alone. God has given us friends and family to lean for support and encouragement. This can make a huge difference when we are going through trying times.

 

Now, I get it. It can be difficult to let down your guard and let people into your pain (the people who love you don’t always “get it”). This takes a great deal of vulnerability and courage. Mother Theresa said the greatest poverty we have today is the feeling of loneliness because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  We see this in GBTBR with Amber, who consistently refuses the well-meaning help of her family and friends. She has forgotten that she belongs to God and God’s people here on hearth. Instead, she chooses time after time to exclude those around her in her pain. And she becomes really, really lonely.

 

Of course, Amber’s despair eventually leads her to hit rock bottom and she is finally ready to surrender… with the help of an unlikely character. In that moment of letting go, Amber’s life turns and she finds a renewed purpose, joy, love, and a community very eager to have her back in the fold.

 

Maybe you are the one being called to can help someone on their broken road? It’s so simple to be there for someone. You don’t have to be a professional counselor or therapist to help someone heal from a wounding. Most time the very best thing is to just to take a moment from your day to pause, listen, and lend a hug or word of encouragement. How exciting to think that God may be using you to bless someone’s broken road! How will show someone today that they are deeply, deeply loved?

 

 

Author Info:

 

Author Website: www.jenniferdornbush.com

 

Facebook: Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.graeserdornbush

 

Instagram: Jennifer Dornbush

https://www.instagram.com/jenniferdornbush/

 

Pintrest:

https://www.pinterest.com/jenidornbush/

 

Twitter: @JGDornbush

https://twitter.com/JGDornbush

 

GBBR Book link:

https://www.amazon.com/God-Bless-Broken-Road-Novel/dp/1501159593/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497487120&sr=8-1&keywords=god+bless+the+broken+road+jennifer+dornbush

 

GBBR Audiobook link:

https://www.audiobooksnow.com/author/jennifer%20dornbush/

 

GBBR Movie Trailer link:

https://vimeo.com/191227455

 

 

Jennifer Dornbush Bio

 

Jennifer is a writer, speaker and forensic specialist creating diverse range of stories that shed light on the dark places of the human experience.

 

Her story creation is bred from a very unsheltered childhood as the daughter of a medical examiner whose office was in her home. She investigated her first fatality, an airplane crash, when she was 8 years-old and from there gathered a decade of on-sight experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy.

 

The stories she creates stem from the unique range of human experiences.  Because of her background, she does not shy away from telling stories about tough circumstances and how characters choose to deal with them. Jennifer’s characters encounter light in their darkness… redemption where none seems possible… and bits of levity to sweeten the journey.

 

Her feature film, God Bless the Broken Road is slated for release in 2017 in conjunction with the novel released on June 6th by the same title published by Simon & Schuster.

 

Jennifer has several crime drama series being developed for television and a bi-lingual kid’s show, Team Abuelita, in production with Baby First TV.

 

Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she scribed non-fiction work, Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions, hailed as a north star to creating authentic crime dramas.

 

As a forensic specialist she has consulted with TV writers on network and cable TV shows.  She regularly leads seminars and webinars on forensics and crime fiction and has taught screenwriting on the high school and university level and mentored new writers.

 

Sign up for her newsletter and YouTube channel at: www.jenniferdornbush.com

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Wholly Loved

Posted by Julie on June 27, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

It’s been busy yet again, but I have great news!

 

ENGAGED is available! Right now it’s ready for electronic devices, and the print version will be early July. If you don’t have a Kindle, no worries. Download the free Amazon Kindle app and start reading on your device!

I’ll talk more about ENGAGED this week, but right now I wanted to let you know I share some very transparent and vulnerable thoughts with the Wholly Loved team today. It started with a bird feeder I wanted on Amazon and how I thought about our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Read An Open Invitation (With an Add-On Clause) HERE

I love how Jennifer challenged me to dig deeper with this post, because I had to confront feelings that aren’t quite resolved. From that is coming a beautiful dialogue with readers on the Wholly Loved Facebook page. I hope you will join me there!



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