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Transforming for a Life Worth Living by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transforming for a Life Worth Living

By Sue A. Fairchild

When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.

At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.

But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.

My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.

My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.

But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.

Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.

During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.

Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.

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Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Transforming for a Life Worth Living

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW HERE

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Jennifer Slattery: God’s Healing Love

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

I’ve always been thankful for the darkness because it allowed me to see the light so clearly. I’m thankful for every moment I received faulty, incomplete, tainted love because it made the real thing, the agape, self-sacrificing love that can only come from Christ, so obvious. And contagious.

 

For the past few months, my husband and I have been walking beside someone who is living in darkness, choosing the darkness over light. And it’s hard. It’s never fun to see someone completely destroy their life, but it’s more than that. I see myself in this individual. I remember when I bounced from place to place, when I drank malt liquor until I passed out, when I gravitated toward the deceived and self-destroying.

 

But God also showed me the light. And He drew me with His love. His patient, unyielding, pursuing love.

 

It took a long time for that love to truly take hold. For me to truly believe it. Rest in it. In all my healing, I primarily credit two people—Jesus Christ, who saw me and loved me on my worst day, and my husband, who saw something in a homeless girl from Washington and decided to hold tight to her, until his love broke through.

 

Oh, what a road that was! Consumed with past hurts, fears, and distrust, I did everything I knew to push him away. I figured it was only a matter of time before he left me, anyway. Everyone else I knew had.

 

Only he stayed. He held tight, and he continued to love me, even when I was completely unlovable.

 

And bit by bit, his love broke through, until one day, I realized, I no longer feared he’d leave. In fact, I knew with every part of my tattered but healing heart, that he’d stay. Till death do we part.

 

That’s when real intimacy, real healing took place.

 

But then one day, on a particularly hard day, Jesus opened my eyes. I was in the middle of gunk, gunk related directly to my past and the pain I’d experienced, and it felt as if I was right back there, in it. I can’t describe what that feels like, but those of you who’ve been there know. It’s a pain that completely levels you and launches that ugly, snotty-nosed cry no one but your mate has any business seeing.

 

That’s where I was—sobbing. Like I often do, I headed straight for the bedroom, for my bed, where I could fall apart in silence.

 

Why is it, when we’re in pain, we tend to isolate?

 

So there I was, feeling alone in my heartache, until … my husband came in. Walked straight to me, and tackled me in a full on body hug. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you,” he said again and again. Maybe ten times. Maybe more. Making me sob all the harder.

 

Then it hit me, so clear it stalled my breath and my tears. That was Jesus. Jesus was holding and loving me through my husband.

 

Because that’s what He does. He meets us when it feels as if we’re falling apart and He envelopes us in His love. He tells us again and again, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Until that love breaks through and begins to heal all the broken pieces.

 

So that the pain from the past, those old wounds we’ve shoved down, lose their power over us. And His love, His power, His gentle, restoring Holy Spirit makes us new.

 

Jennifer Slattery: God’s Healing Love

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefy, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

 

Restoring Love:

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?

 

Buy it on:

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Connect with Jennifer

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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Book Review: Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis

Posted by Julie on December 18, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Review: Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette

If people saw less of us and more of Jesus, it would make a radical and significant impact on those around us. Read this exciting perspective on experiencing the sacred in the ordinary and loving others as Jesus loves us.
When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. As best-selling author Max Davis puts it, When we are born again, Jesus lives inside each of us. He is very much alive today and still does incredible things — sometimes supernatural things — through us!

Davis’s own life was dramatically altered when he first came face-to-face with Jesus living inside a green-eyed brunette. That encounter started a forty-plus-year journey where Jesus became his best friend. When we see others as God sees us we will love them as God loves us.

Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. By letting Jesus live through us we become a conduit of His love. Authentic Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive His grace — we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book, you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus.

This book definitely had me curious, simply by title. It didn’t take long before I was completely captivated by the author’s story, and the testimonies included. They are all inspiring, but I think the one about the man who was crushed and lost his intestines—wow. That’s all I’m going to say. Wow.

If you aren’t sure what the big deal is about Jesus, or, if you tend to view Him as a stern guy who is mad at you, read this book and realize Jesus is mad FOR you. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

To purchase Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette, click HERE.

I received this book in exchange for review.

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Expectations by B.J. Bassett

Posted by Julie on December 6, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Expectations

 

Many years ago, I was expecting our daughter and her family to arrive for Christmas. I’d taken the day off from work to enjoy spending time with them. Shortly after they arrived they left again to do some last minute shopping, and they didn’t ask me to join them. My heart sank. It wasn’t what I’d expected.

 

The door closed behind them and I slumped into a chair to host a pity party for one. (I read once that a pity party is of the Devil). After a while I stood, brushed myself off, and headed downtown to look in the pretty decorated store windows. I went into our florist shop, and strolled amongst all the lovely gifts and Christmas decorations. I spotted a sign on a stake that read, Santa Please Stop Here. Not a necessary item since I was on a budget, but I was drawn to it, and I thought the grandkids would like it, so I splurged and bought it. All these years later, it is a reminder to me not to expect others to abide by my expectations of them.

 

            Over the years, my expectations of myself have changed as well. I do not stress over the holidays. I do not do things like bake Christmas cookies or make candy, yet our home is filled with goodies others give to us. I don’t accept every party invitation. To help family members on tight budgets, we no longer buy a gift for everyone. Instead, our family exchanges names. Since I enjoy reading, I take time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

 

I encourage you to put fewer, or no, expectations on others and on yourself. Enjoy the peace and joy God provides during this time when we remember and celebrate our savior’s birth.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

 

BIO: B J Bassett’s writing is favorably compared to Grace Livingston Hill’s. Her historical novel, Lily, and contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, includes the gospel. You are invited to visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

 

 

 

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house? PURCHASE GILLIAN’S HEART HERE

9781462000067_cover.inddLILY

California, 1900-Nestled in the foothills of the northern California coast, the town of Laurel Springs is home to high-spirited Lily Blair, the daughter of Rev. William Blair. Lily delights in being spoiled by her grandmother and father, and even though she lost her mother to childbirth, she glories in life itself and continuously pushes the bounds of propriety. Having her every whim indulged as a child leads to a tough road as an adult. Lily falls in love with James Conti and wants to marry him, but James heads off to fight in the Great War, leaving Lily alone and heartbroken. When her father wants to send her off to boarding school, Lily makes yet another rash decision and marries a man she does not love. In the ensuing years, Lily endures hardship and loss, a sharp detour from the pampered existence she once enjoyed. Yet as Lily struggles to cope with these unexpected changes, she discovers just how powerful God’s love and forgiveness can be. But will it be enough to get her through the darkest days yet to come? Full of vivid historical detail, Lily is an emotional coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.

PURCHASE LILY HERE

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My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

 

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior Who drew me from the pit of suicide loss and remolded me to need Him for everything.

I love my husband of forty-six years, and who I’ve known since I was eleven when he took me on motorcycle rides with me sitting on the tank of the bike. And, yes, after we married, we rode together on his motorcycle for over thirty years.

I adore my thirteen grandchildren of age’s twenty-two to three, and my three children, of which two are still here on Earth.

The friends who did not leave after my son, Joshua’s, death by suicide, I’m so very grateful to them. And to the acquaintances who drew closer because of my loss.

Does being thankful for God’s beauty on Earth count? Yes, I love the mountains surrounding our tiny valley. The fox sparrows when they sing. They seem to sing at the perfect moments when I’m struggling with difficult people and or with my own sins. Fox sparrows in our part of the country are rare, and I don’t take them for granted.

My health is something I’m thankful for, since I’ve been ill for over five years. Two years ago, I even prayed for the Lord to take away some of my old injuries pain. He did. Right away. And I’m grateful. I had struggled with intense pain in both shoulders and my neck from a long ago car accident. After I began praying for God to heal me from some of my pain, I fell one evening outside with palms down and my neck jolted forward and backward. Even though I was extra sore the following morning, by the evening my neck and shoulder pain disappeared and has never returned as a constant pain.

God’s free adjustment and it cost me to only trust Him and to understand it had to come as His perfect will.

I’m thankful my two remaining children are in good health and they are still here and not gone to the Great Beyond like their brother. But, God taught me to not place anyone, including my children, above Him. This is a gift of extreme relief and abiding in Him.

My thankful list would not be complete without my acknowledgement of God’s Word. I’m grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins, and I look forward to Heaven with Him.

 

bookfunmagazinephoto_edited

Jean Ann Williams

Bio: Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She writes regularly on Putting on the New blog and her own Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their other two children. They live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.

See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/yvNDlNHEyok

God’s Mercies After Suicide:

What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

Purchase links for God’s Mercies After Suicide

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Mercies-after-Suicide-Blessings/dp/0997701609/

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/6569595

Jean’s Blog: http://Joshua-mom.blogspot.com/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl

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How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother by Teresa Ives Lilly

How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother

By Teresa Ives Lilly

 

As a child, you expect to have fun playing with your siblings, but for me that wasn’t always the case.

My brother was seven years older than me, and all I can say is, he was not a nice person.  I have no good Of him, including the fact that we shared a birthday and every year my parents took us to his favorite restaurant and got him a coconut cake (which I am allergic to and HATE).

Years later he became a Christian, met a wonderful young woman and the two of them became Missionaries in Russia and started about 6 of more churches there.

You would imagine, as a Christian I would have been happy and pleased, but I wasn’t.  For years, I was angry.  I didn’t believe my brother deserved such a sweet wife and I struggled believing he could be trusted.

Finally, after a few years from his salvation, I had to surrender it to God and ask God to heal my hurts because my brother never tried to.  Then, once God gave me the peace I needed to forgive, I contacted my brother and asked him why he never tried to make amends to me, etc.  He told me, he thought I had forgotten the things and he didn’t want to hurt me by bringing them up.

Once I understood this, I was able to totally surrender.

So, at this Thanksgiving Time, I pray that everyone finds something to surrender and get free from.

Since that time, God has blessed me with the gift of writing and although I don’t usually write about such deep issues as surrender, my novellas are all Christian and the characters all over come relationship issues and find love.

a1kflm6gtwl-_ux250_Teresa Ives Lilly lives in San Antonio. She has written over 20 novellas, several chapter books and two hundred unit studies. She loves to hear from her readers at teresaiveslilly@yahoo.com

See all her books at http://www.teresalilly.wordpress.com/  

The one book I wrote which really shows how a woman overcomes many issues is called

Orphan Train Bride.

orphan-train-bride_editedKelli is a nineteen-year-old orphan, who lives and teaches at a New York orphanage. She is sent west on the Orphan Train to oversee the children. When the train reaches Kansas, the end of the line, and Kelli realizes that she must return to New York, she makes a desperate plea to a golden bronzed cowboy; asking to fill the place as of a mail order bride, he advertised for to raise his little girl. Will God help them develop a loving relationship through the hardship of life on the Kansas prairie. Especially after the land is devastated by grasshoppers?

 

Purchase Orphan Train Bride on Amazon HERE.

 

 

 



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