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Julie Arduini’s Favorite Reviewed Fiction Book 2014

Posted by Julie on December 29, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I look over the books I reviewed and choose the ones I enjoyed most and remember even after I finished the book.

Today I choose the fiction book.

I chose this one because it was more than a romance. It was a message, an invitation by the author to draw into a relationship with meaning. She went even further and on Facebook created a Bible study that not only re visited her book, but walked readers through the story of Ruth.

The book?

Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery.

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_Book Description:

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Even though it’s been a couple months or so since reading, I’m still thinking about the story. The message. The Bible Study she had on Facebook.

If you need a book to see you through Christmas vacation, I definitely recommend my favorite fiction reviewed book of the year, Beyond I Do.

To purchase Beyond I Do, click here.

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Ruth and the Comfort Zone

Posted by Julie on November 26, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been enjoying Ruth’s story from the Bible with a twist—Jennifer Slattery is facilitating this study on FB and her blog sharing against the backdrop of her own contemporary romance Beyond I Do.

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_Last week she was kind enough to open up her blog to allow me to share insights.

It’s a chapter in the Book of Ruth I’ve read several times but I saw received fresh insights that I really could relate to as I compared my story to Ruth’s and to Ainsley, the heroine in Beyond I Do.

I’d love for you to read what I wrote.

Click to read about Ruth and the Comfort Zone.

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Creating Lasting Memories by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on November 8, 2014 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Thankful November guest blogger |

They say when you reach the end of your life, memories play back like snapshots.

 

Images of your first best friend, your first doll house, your first day of school … your first surprise birthday party.

 

I was five or six, young enough to have little concept of time, when my parents decided to throw my first surprise party. Had I been a year or two older, their plans would’ve failed, sabotaged by all my nagging:

 

“Did you forget what day it is, Mom?”

 

“What’d you get me?”
“Where’s my cake?”

 

And receiving no answers, or vague ones at that, I would’ve thrown a giant, Jennifer-sized fit likely resulting in me being grounded. On my birthday.

 

But that wasn’t what happened, though, frankly, I don’t remember a whole lot of the details. I don’t remember who came, what gifts I received, or what games I played. I don’t even remember the flavor of the cake, though I assume chocolate. Yes, I was a chocoholic, even back then.

 

What I do remember, however, is spending a chunk of time with my dad who drove me all about, wasting time while my mother prepared for my party.

 

Funny, those memories of he and I doing basically nothing are stronger than my memories of the actual party.

 

Memories.

 

Why is it some events cement themselves in our brain with such impact, such emotional oomph, while others drift away, soon forgotten?

 

As a mom, I find myself considering this, because I know what I do (or don’t do) today, forms lasting memories deep in my daughter’s heart. Sometimes it’s the oddest things that mean the most to her. Listening to her talk about her past, I catch glimpses into her heart, hints of those mental snapshots she’s building.

 

And I’ve discovered something. Most often, her most vivid memories are of those simple, casual moments when she and I did basically nothing. Together.

 

Because it’s not the event that creates the memory but the person we share the event with. It’s the emotional connection made.

 

This simplifies things, doesn’t it? For me, realizing this creates a sense of peace. It reminds me I don’t need to be the most exciting mom, I don’t need to plan outlandish outings and events. I just need to be there. Fully present.

 

That’s the snapshot I long to create.

 

What about you? Consider some of your fondest memories. What sticks out the most—the event or the person you shared the moment with? As a parent or spouse, has your loved one shared any special memories with you? Did those memories surprise you? What are you doing today to create those special snapshots in your loved one’s life?

 

headshot2013_editedJennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently discounted in e-book format for under $3! You can find it here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-i-do-jennifer-slattery/1118903211?ean=9781596694170

She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries. When not writing, Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

 Beyond I Do is on sale for a limpted time at CBD!

Beyond I Do:

 

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

 

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

 

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here:

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Book Review: Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Jennifer is a natural storyteller. As soon as I opened the book and found Ainsley in peril, I felt like I met a new friend. Beyond I Do has strong characters, good conflict, and heart. We could learn a lot from Ainsley and her compassion.

This was an easy page turner and I believe you will feel the same.

I definitely recommend Beyond I Do.

To purchase Beyond I Do, click here.

I received Beyond I Do from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Don’t Be Discouraged or Afraid by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on September 5, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

It started with a burning passion, an urge to do, that arose so strong, you felt you’d explode. So, with heart-felt surrender, you knelt at His alter and responded, “Here I am, Lord! Send me!”

But then life hit with its obstacles and setbacks and suddenly that clear call began to grow dim, muddled by fears and insecurities and all the what-ifs that come from living in a fallen world.

Questions like:

What if I never make it?

Did God really call me, or was I merely justifying my selfish ambitions?

What if I pour everything I am and have into this thing and end my life with nothing to show for it?

Seriously, if God’s really in this thing, shouldn’t it be easy?

Ha. Right. If that were the case, a good chunk of the Bible wouldn’t exist, for I believe the pursuit of every dream comes after a great deal of struggle. In fact, chances are, the moment you took that first step of obedience, trials and troubles started raining down. Whether this was by God’s design in His efforts to strengthen and mold you for the path ahead or the forces of evil bearing down upon you in an attempt to thwart God’s plans, I don’t know. But either way, we know God’s sovereign, faithful, and true, so…

Consider Solomon, King David’s son. As his father was coming to the end of his life, the political waters started swirling. You can read the full account here, but to paraphrase, his brother, who had not been raised to fear or love the Lord, decided he wanted to be king, and he planned to take it by force.

This created a ripple of fear and chaos that soon had the entire palace in an uproar.

Fearing for her life, Solomon’s mother Bathsheba approached his father with trembling and tears. “If you do not act,” she said, “my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.”

So King David immediately crowned Solomon, his God-chosen successor, king. He then gathered all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem—the leaders of the tribes, army commanders, generals, mighty men, and warriors…

And began a ferocious military campaign, right?

Wrong. Once all these powerful military men had been gathered, David turned to his son. Knowing he would soon die, knowing all the pressure and responsibility his son would soon shoulder, he proceeded to instruct him in the most important thing—loving and honoring God with all his heart and completing the task God had given him. (1 Chron. 28:8-10)

That task was huge! God wanted Solomon to build the first permanent temple, one designed to mirror that which stood in heaven.

No pressure there.

I can’t imagine the stress—the terror—this situation would’ve sparked, to which David  replied, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. … Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command” (1 Chron. 29:20-21).

To paraphrase:

Do not be afraid.

God will help you. He will complete the job He has assigned to you, and He will complete it well. He will never fail you or forsake you.

You don’t have to do this alone. He will bring others to come alongside to help you.

I believe God is saying the same to you. So do not fear. Do not grow discouraged. Simply keep walking, keep trusting, whether the journey takes you five or twenty years.

He will perfect that which concerns you.

We all have God-given dreams. Maybe it’s to see our children or grandchildren come to Christ, to climb out of debt, or to start or join a new ministry. What passion has God stirred within you? Are you pursuing it with courage, strength, determination, and surrender?

***

headshot2013Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.

 

Beyond I Do:BeyondIDocover

 Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.



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