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Thankful: Excerpts from My Memoir by B.J. Bassett

My Story

Excerpts from my Memoir

            “Mom, you should write your story . . . about how you broke the cycle of alcohol addiction in your family. You’re the transition generation,” my daughter, Melanie, said.

            “It’d be too painful.”

            Yet, I was between writing projects. Maybe I’ll give her suggestion a try. If it becomes too hard, I can always stop. Maybe it will even be a catalyst for more healing.

             So I began.

 

My beautiful mother, Launalee (later she changed the spelling to Launalei) had a Betty Grable figure and auburn hair. An extravert with oodles of friends, she was scared by her parent’s divorce when she was fifteen. Her three brothers were also marred by it. Divorce was not the norm in 1930s Bremerton, Washington.

Daddy, an introvert, came from a very different childhood as the third son growing up in a small town in Minnesota. His mother wanted a girl. His sister Phyllis was born seven years later and they always shared a close relationship.

Jobs were scarce in 1937, so Daddy joined the Navy. He met my mother at a dance in Bremerton, Washington.

When my parents planned to be married, Granddad Harkness put a stop to it. “My daughter will not marry a sailor.” So they waited until Daddy was out of the Navy. They married in 1939 and I was born the following year. I always felt loved.

When I was ten and my little brother Danny was two, my parents came home in the wee hours of the morning. Mama woke me and pushed the car keys between my mattress and box-spring. “Don’t tell Daddy where the keys are.”

So it began—Mama putting me in the middle of my parent’s fights.

I don’t remember if Daddy found the car keys or not that night. What I do remember is it was the only time I ever saw him drunk, and it frightened me. He left that night and returned the next day.

There were also many happy times during those years. I attended Sunday school and church with neighbors. I loved everything girly and motherly—especially dolls and my baby brother.

When I was in junior high it was my responsibility to pick Danny up at the baby-sitter’s after school. Mama had told me to put potatoes in the oven before she got home from work. I forgot. When she got home, and realized I hadn’t done what she asked, she slapped me across the face and called me a cross-eyed baboon. Her words hurt worse than the slap. If my own mother thought that of me, what must others think?         (I had a lazy eye.)

Later, when I was a teenager, I came home from one of my church youth events, Mama was drunk. The living-room was full of people. She draped her arm over my shoulder and slurred, “You’re such a good girl. I’ll give you anything you want. Do you want a car? I’ll buy you a car.”

“No, Mama.”

I never took advantage of her generosity during those times. I knew she was drunk and wouldn’t remember what she’d said the next day. She was a happy drunk. It was years later that she became a mean one.

 

So Melanie, I took your suggestion and wrote about how I broke the cycle of alcoholism in my family. God gave me the gift of not liking the taste of alcohol, and I’d witnessed how it destroyed lives. He also pursued me from the beginning of my life. He put saints in my life to minister to me. He never gave up on me, and has never left me in all these years. I am grateful.

            I don’t want to paint Nana and Papa as all bad. While growing up there were more good times than bad, and they had some wonderful qualities. I wish I had inherited Nana’s generosity and Papa’s playfulness. He was always a good provider, even when money was tight. A hard worker, he balanced work with play. Although they were both somewhat selfish, they were also giving. (If that’s possible.) I felt loved by them, yet it seemed conditional—if I was a good girl and obeyed. It was from God that I felt unconditional love.

            I believe I am who I am because God never let go of me. He saved my soul, put Christian saints in my life, and I learned from my parents—the good and the bad. I was, and am, blessed.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

BIO: B.J. Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a historical novel Lily; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story, and coauthor of My Time with God which sold 55,000 copies while in print. Her recently released contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, is now available.

Email: bassett106@charter.net

Website: www.bjbassett.com

Blog: http://bjbassett.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bunny.bassett

Gillian’s Heart

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 her childhood friend 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

 

 

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Surrendering A Stormy Marriage by Kelly Klepfer

Posted by Julie on September 17, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, surrender |

 

It was a dark and stormy night. Not literally. The sky was clear. We could see for miles. However, the inside of the van was alive with lightning and thunder. As difficult as it is to admit, my husband and I were supposedly fighting for our family but there we were again trying to rip each other to shreds.

 

Let me back up and give some basic details of why we were there and why we were in such deep, deep trouble.  We were high school sweethearts and married shortly after I graduated. Being Baptists we had a lot of practice putting on nice and polite and hiding our real inner uglies. Right after marriage and our first baby our church split in a very public and vicious way. We fled church and in doing so we fled from Christ. Years later we were still reeling from the destruction. My husband developed an alcohol addiction. I developed the mentality of a victim and kept a long list of what he’d done to me ready for flinging at him in any situation that warranted it. My first crushed heart incident was when he chose alcohol over us. We survived through “Christian” counseling. God was nominally involved due to my refusal to give Him more than lip service. The second was when he chose another woman over alcohol. I found out on our anniversary while we were getting ready to go celebrate. She called me to tell me she was pregnant. Let’s just say that was an unforgettable date night.

This time we survived by immersing ourselves in church.

His little girl became involved in our family. We’d pick her up for a weekend a month then take her home and I’d share my concerns with him. I had a lot of material on my laundry list of unacceptable behaviors.

This hurricane of a night was no different. I pointed out some areas needing improvement. He defended himself. I got more and more agitated. Finally he waved both arms in the air and screamed at me. “I don’t understand what you are saying. I’m doing the best I can. It’s like you are speaking Chinese.”

I gave up and pulled into myself and began to pray. Actually. I was weeping and railing against God. Pointing at Him and mentioning what He was doing wrong. Why the heck wasn’t my husband a better husband? He owed me and our kids. And I was so angry at the idea that our marriage could end over this after it had survived alcoholism, no love, and an affair. I let God have it in tornadic blasts of rage and helplessness and hopelessness.

He let me vent. And then He spoke a quiet question into my heart. I have no doubt it was from God because this question was no where in me. He asked. “Why do you think you are right?”

Silence filled with sniffles and moans. No words came. I couldn’t answer that question. Not to the One who could see right through the lies. Coincidentally, our church was offering an inductive Bible study on marriage starting just days later. I told Him I’d go and I’d try being a wife the way He designed it.

I went alone. And 17 years later everything has changed. Including my husband. My marriage. Our children. Us. And though we’ve still had plenty of rain and some bits of hail and even some high water, our foundation stands. God did some remodeling and replaced the shifting sands with bedrock. Perfection? No. Nothing close. Surrender works. God works. His plan, His suggestions, He’s the answer to all of it.

Bio:

kellyKelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled DregsModern Day MishapsInstagram, Pinterest, FacebookGoodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

frying
To purchase Kelly and Michelle Griep’s book, Out of the Frying Pan, click here.

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Surrender Story: Jean Ann Williams and Her Healing Book

Posted by Julie on January 26, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s note: Jean Ann Williams is my guest blogger today sharing her surrender story.  I think you will be encouraged and inspired. I was!

So many of my struggles with insecurity stem from my childhood when my mother began the decent into mental illness. As the eldest child and only ten years old, it fell to me to raise my six brothers and sisters. The youngest was a baby brother and newly born.  I became more overwhelmed as the months and years passed, but as I look back, and it wasn’t lost on me then either, God provided mentors. The mentors helped me on my journey of me being a child raising children.

You may wonder what happened to my dad. Dad was an alcoholic who chose to not deal with my mother’s problems. Actually, he only made them worse. But, to give him credit, my dad did recognize my hard work. He gave me my own room, where the other children had to share a huge bedroom upstairs. Then, when I became a teenager, my dad knocked out walls and made my room three times bigger.

It was something, but still not enough. I remember calling my neighbors more than once to help me with a sick or hurt child when my parents were gone or Mom locked herself in her room and Dad at work.

Fear, incompetence, guilt, they have been my battle. And now, at sixty-two, and with my debut book Just Claire, which released 1/7/16, I feel a bit of hope. Hope for others who read this book.

In writing Just Claire, I set out to tell a story to show young readers they are not alone with their sorrows. In the process of writing Just Claire, though, I was surprised when one day I no longer felt angry and shamed with my mother. This hole in my heart I felt Mom had left there was mending. How did this happen? Several critique partners told me Just Claire was my healing book. How neat is this? A double blessing.

Jean Ann Williams shares her surrender story.

Jean Ann Williams shares her surrender story.

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Downloads available at Amazon: http://ow.ly/XmCJ5

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-claire-jean-ann williams/1123223218?ean=2940157880842

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/just-claire

See the trailer: https://youtu.be/s8x5lJKZFHU

Jean’s blog: http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanAnnWilliams

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/

JacketPhotoJean 07 2015_editedAuthor Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

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Julie Arduini’s Favorite Book of 2014

Posted by Julie on December 31, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I have fun looking back at the books I’ve read and choosing a favorite. Earlier this week I shared the favorite fiction and non fiction books I read for 2014. Today I share a book I reviewed this year, but it was released in late 2013. I wasn’t sure what it was about and I thought it was a genre I probably couldn’t relate to.

I still can’t haven’t forgotten this book.

What is it?

Fistful of God by Therese Travis

911CUzb9DUL._SL1500_Book Description:

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

I read this back in March and I was blown away by how this reached beyond the YA genre. It was real, gripping and all these months later, I haven’t forgotten it.

You can read my original review here.

To purchase Fistful of God, click here.

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Book Review: Fistful of God by Therese Travis

Posted by Julie on March 7, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

911CUzb9DUL._SL1500_
She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

Fistful of God is categorized as YA-Young Adult, but I’m telling you, this is a page-turner for adults, too.  Therese Travis writes a heart-wrenching story full of real tension and consequences from alcoholism. Aidyn Pierce is a teen who has experiences to last a lifetime–a father that died too soon, and a mother that she’s had to parent because of alcoholism. Aidyn lost her best friend and has trust issues. And if she has to hear the word AlaTeen one more time…

This was an excellent read because I’ve walked in Aidyn’s shoes, and Therese hit all the right notes in creating a complex daughter. There’s anger. Hope. Resentment. Fear. Sometimes all at the same time, and she showed that. She also crafted the mom with authenticity. Recovery is a process full of physical issues, as well as emotional. Therese also crafted strong supporting characters that also understand the complications.

I recommend this for teens and adults. It’s an emotional read, especially if alcoholism is something you’re familiar with, but it’s so well-crafted. You will root for Aidyn and her mom.

To purchase Fistful of God, click here.

I received Fistful of God from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 



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