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Book Review: Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

Posted by Julie on June 23, 2015 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

91MAVt6t4OLBook Description:

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.

 

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.

 

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

I’ve read several, if not all of Betsy St. Amant’s books. I loved the premise of this one—two people with a past involving each other have to work together on a restoration project of a movie theater while having even more past the other one doesn’t know about. For Stella, she’s divorced and suffering terrible anxiety because of it. For Chase, he lost his fiancee.

Like a mosaic, pieces are there for a great piece of work. I loved the umbrella aspect of the story, that really stood out to me. But I felt like a piece was missing. That we could get to know Stella a little bit better but we didn’t have access. Like her beauty pageant past we saw a beautiful glimpse of the outside, but didn’t get to know her beyond that. Chase was a bit more developed but I wanted to know and feel more from the both of them.

Their chemistry is great and there’s a lot of conflict to keep the pages turning. It would be a great book to bring to the beach.

To read Love Arrives in Pieces, order here.

I received a copy of Love Arrives in Pieces in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: Waiting on Medicine

Posted by Julie on October 19, 2013 in encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

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Ah, Saturday confession.

The day where I share something I’m learning about myself, or recently mastered, and feel it’s time to share.

So if that’s your issue, you don’t feel so alone.

What’s new is that you’re welcome to link up.

If you have a confession, share it.

Let’s kick isolation to the curb once and for all.

While I have you, I have some slots left for next month’s thankful submissions. 

I hand my blog over to you and you share why you are thankful. As always, the posts are amazing.

Inspiring. Challenging.

Send your thoughts. As little as a few sentences and as much as 750 words to juliearduini@juliearduini.com

with a bio and optional picture, signing off as you want to be known (first name, full, anonymous.)

First come, first serve, and I reserve the right to edit, but rarely do.

Thanks!

***

When I feel healthy, I’m a dynamo. I can maintain many schedules and logistics. Pay bills. Laundry.

Make meals, shuttle children. Write. Minister. Encourage. Laugh. Chat. Rest. Start over.

It took decades to realize and have doctors diagnose that until I’m healed or otherwise with the Lord, I need medicine to feel that way.

It’s hormonal imbalance with menopause. For years it was also PCOS, but a hysterectomy took care of that.

My insurance now has us ordering from mail express, and I refilled late.

The medicine hasn’t arrived.

I did what I years ago didn’t dare to do.

I warned everyone.

I’ve pictured myself clinging to Jesus, just wrapped around His neck, sitting on His lap, wanting nothing but His safety and comfort.

Because for me, I have radical temperature changes. Forget surges.

Constant hunger.

Sleeplessness.

Anxiety with irrational thoughts.

Forgetfulness.

And then the tears.

The tears started Wednesday, and I used to have such shame, because there wasn’t a real reason for them.

This time I tried to look at my schedule one event at a time, dig deep, and move forward.

anxiety

When the tears came, I wiped them with my sleeve and kept going.

I’ve longed for it not to be busy, but it is what it is. The kids are off until Monday.

It’s a full schedule.

The youngest had so many medical appointments. The last including needing 4 vials of blood and a sample taken. She was done. Me too. Usually I can have my strong face on for her. But as soon as we were done, I was blinking tears away.

Hours later I couldn’t remember the name of the heat box in the family room. Yeah, the thermostat.

Then I started to get teary when my husband let me know what he thinks of Pepperjack Cheez It’s. I bought the wrong cheese. I wanted to lash out and justify my attempt. But I knew insecurity would have been talking, and that’s best left until better days.

But I’m getting through.

Thriving? No. But compared to other times, it’s not horrible.

I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, but I promised to be real, surrendered or surrendering,

and I felt like someone out there is going to feel less alone with me sharing.

If hormonal imbalance is your issue, chuck the shame. You’re too amazing to wear such a dud.

Be open, within reason, and stay in touch with your doctor. It might take tweaking. It has for me.

Don’t let a religious person bring you down. I am a straight up Jesus girl with faith in Him big enough to believe for a resurrection if God asked me to pray for one.

It’s okay to take medicine if that is where God directs you.

And it’s okay to keep believing for a supernatural healing while you wait.

But doing nothing, or letting the emotions control you, don’t.

Just don’t.

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Author Joi Copeland’s Life Verse

Posted by Julie on April 24, 2013 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

When someone asks me to sign “Hope for Tomorrow”, I typically sign something personal to them and then I have a special signature. A part of the signature is using Philippians 4:6-7. It is my life verse for several reasons.

By nature, I am an anxious person. Looking back on my childhood, I can see many occasions where I had a lot of anxiety. Looking back to my adult life, as early as last year, I had major anxiety, so much so that the anxiety led to attacks. That took me out of a normal mind set and put everything on hyper drive. It’s scary not to have control, sometimes by choice and other times by choice. That is why Phil. 4:6-7 is so meaningful. When I first became a believer, I had taped the verse into the front cover of my Bible. I recently found that Bible. It made me smile.


Today, I find myself going back to that verse more times than I like to admit. One would think repeating in my mind once would be enough to settle my thoughts and heart. Not this crazy girl! I am not having an anxiety attack. No. More like waiting anxiously attack!
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We have an offer in on another house. This one is smaller than what I would like, but as my friend Justin Moody reminds me, it would be less to clean! 🙂 It has a nice backyard with a fort and swing set already set up. Okay, hold on a minute. Just by writing about it, I am overly thinking about it.
Wait while I go back to my verse. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God (I want this house, Lord), with thanksgiving (I thank you for Your answer in advance and I thank You for the house we live in now), and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (guard my hear, precious Lord).”
I’m back. Not going to go into detail about the house. That gets me thinking. Anyway, I have prayed about this verse most of the day. I’m still waiting for the peace that passes all understanding to guard my heart. That may be my own fault, though. I need to not be anxious. As I wait on the Lord, I know His ways are not my ways, His thoughts certainly are not my thoughts. His ways and thoughts are higher. And so, I shall trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. No matter what the outcome of this house situation is, I know God’s got it. He knows best. I don’t see the big picture. I only see a small snapshot. How I love that God is in control! If He would have given me what I asked for previously, I know I would be very disappointed! God always answers. Sometimes with a yes, or a maybe, or a no. While I pray this is a yes, I will trust God even if it is a no!

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Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom! She enjoys spending time with her sister Steffanne, and loves to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with friends! She’s been a Christian for over twenty years. Following Jesus has been the best decision she has ever made. Joi’s other books are Hope for Tomorrow, Hope for the Journey, Christmas Rayne, and Sheriff Bride Rob’s Story.

Purchase Hope for Tomorrow here.

Visit Joi Copeland’s Amazon page.

 www.booksbyjoicopeland.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Character Confession: I’d Drag My Feet but I’d Probably Have to File a Claim

Posted by Julie on January 14, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Saturday! I hope it means sleep in day, but it also means I share my Character Confession.

 

 

 

 

Back in September I wrote about “Second verse, same as the first” because I continue to face situations that seem an awful like other things I’ve been through that I didn’t want to endure the first time, let alone a second or third.

Well, I’m still struggling. One of the issues I mentioned in that post is something I have to deal with. And I don’t want to.

Insurance.

Years ago I spent a better part of a year and the death of a printer sorting out health insurance denials, appeals, rejections, and a lot of fear and bitterness on my part. When we switched companies I danced. I saw their ad on sports stadiums and shuddered. The mere look at their name made me angry, but yay, I never had to work with them again.

Until the next year when my husband’s employer told us that was our only choice for healthcare.

More than that, they switched the Flexcard provider to one who messed up nearly all employee funds the first week of that year. Although they apologized, I had a “I’m watching you” attitude about it. Why fix what wasn’t broke, I liked the previous company better.

And then that Flexcard company flags every single transaction. Never mind the transaction bears the name of your eye care provider and a detailed summary of buying glasses, I still had to make a copy of every receipt, collect them, and send them in.

I get very worked up and upset over the whole thing, although grateful for insurance. I am, but, I’m still scared about it all.

Right now I’m dealing with a claim that every single time we’ve had lab work done, we owed less than $20. Since August I’ve been fighting a $500 bill for the same procedures. It’s tiring and only feeds my anxiety.

Dealing with this makes me anxious and bitter

I also have to sort through dental claims to prove the ortho payment we used on the Flexcard is real. It’s taking me awhile to track down and figure out, so already the card is frozen until I prove it.

And that’s where I am. I’ve put it out there, and I’ve been praying.

But I know in heaven there is no paperwork, no insurance claims, audits, or the red tape that comes with it.

And I can’t wait to get there and enjoy that promise for eternity!

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Sabbath Sunday: Waving a Flag but Not Living Free

Each Sunday I share my own nature picture with a thought about God’s love for you.

July.

Growing up there was that summer car commercial that sang, “Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.”

July also is a month where freedom is a theme.

In my living room is a world map of countries hostile against true freedom. The freedom to read the Bible, attend a church where the good news of Jesus Christ can be shared without fear of arrest, beatings, acid attacks, and death.

Freedom.

There were a lot of summers where I had an American flag but I wasn’t free.


 

 

 

 

My sense of value came from alcohol.

What others said about me.

I stayed up night worrying about people liking me.

I would become physically ill anxious about possible rejection.

How about you? Do you wave an American flag but not feel very free?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I find I stand the tallest when I’m on my knees in surrender to the One is the ultimate freedom giver.

Do you know Him?

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Sabbath Sunday: Waving a Flag but Not Living Free

Each Sunday I share my own nature picture with a thought about God’s love for you.

July.

Growing up there was that summer car commercial that sang, “Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.”

July also is a month where freedom is a theme.

In my living room is a world map of countries hostile against true freedom. The freedom to read the Bible, attend a church where the good news of Jesus Christ can be shared without fear of arrest, beatings, acid attacks, and death.

Freedom.

There were a lot of summers where I had an American flag but I wasn’t free.


 

 

 

 

My sense of value came from alcohol.

What others said about me.

I stayed up night worrying about people liking me.

I would become physically ill anxious about possible rejection.

How about you? Do you wave an American flag but not feel very free?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I find I stand the tallest when I’m on my knees in surrender to the One is the ultimate freedom giver.

Do you know Him?



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