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Thankful for What God’s Taught Me in 2016 by Darlene Franklin (GIVEAWAY)

Julie’s Note:

Darlene has graciously offered to give away one physical copy of her book below. Please leave a comment on what you’ve learned this year and I’ll draw one winner on November 28.


I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising, all the generous bounties of God, his great goodness to the family of Israel—Compassion lavished, love extravagant. (Isaiah 63:7, MSG)


Oh, my, the list is endless, as infinite as God Himself. But I’ll limit my list to a couple of things God has taught me over the last twelve months. They seem to state opposite things:

God wants me to want Him. “I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” (Hosea 6:6, MSG)

Two things came together. I’ve spent a lifetime wanting to spend more time in prayer. Also, living in a nursing home gave me a glimpse into my potential future. If I get Alzheimer’s or dementia, what will spew from my mouth? I decided to cram my brain as full as possible of Bible verses as possible.

A little more than a year later, I’ve memorized almost 400 verses. (Try The regular review recommended on the website takes me an hour a day and most of Sunday—and I wish I could do more.

As I’ve spent more time memorizing God’s word (and hearing Him speak to me), I’ve spent more time talking to Him. My barely ten-fifteen minutes a day, maybe fill up a page of a prayer journal has grown to an hour a day, sometimes as many as five pages—often filled with prayers inspired by the verses I’ve memorized. I wish I could spend more time in prayer.

Do I sound like I’m bragging? It’s more like, I wish I had discovered this years ago! But years ago, I didn’t have this kind of time, a reward for living in a nursing home.

Here are one some of those scripture prayers: See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24 NIV) What a burden lifted to learn my anxious thoughts aren’t automatically offensive to You. You test them and weigh them, and then show me the better way. May I take your anti-anxiety pill by following the path You have made clear and straight before me, one step at a time.

Lesson #2: God is a Fire and He burns away impurities in my life. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire! (Hebrews 12:29, MSG) He refines us in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10, MSG)

This is something I’d rather not be thankful for. I’ve been terrified of fire ever since I saw Bambi’s mother die in the forest fire. But from heaping burning coal on our enemies’ heads to the burning coal from the altar cleansing Isaiah’s sins and this passage from Hebrews, I’ve been running into the image of fire as an instrument of sanctification.

God only disciplines His children. So, burn, Darlene, burn—until I shine as pure gold, see through so that God’s glory shines within

My theme for this coming year: hope. I can’t wait to see what God has to teach me.




Author Darlene Franklin

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and more than 250 devotionals.

Website and blog


Amazon author page


Blurb of Blue Ribbon Brides, which has my story, A Taste for Honey:

blue-ribbon_editedMeet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?

Purchase Link


Physical Giveaway copy is possible if you do that kind of thing.

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Book Review: The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

Posted by Julie on June 29, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson


What do you do when hard or painful circumstances turn your world upside down, resulting in a life you never expected? Andrew and Rachel Wilson grappled with this question after both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. Refreshingly honest, this book explores the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, reflecting on the broader question of how to cope with suffering of all kinds. Sharing personal stories from their lives and encouragement rooted in the truth of God’s Word, Andrew and Rachel highlight lessons they’ve learned related to fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials—ultimately pointing readers to Christ, the One who promises to make all things new.

The book starts out with transparency as Rachel shares their vacation experience. With each mishap and missed injury or worse, Rachel reminds herself to breathe. With that honesty, I’m captivated and I join her and her husband as they share their story. They have two children with special needs. They use their own stories, great visuals (I love explaining their situation is like receiving an orange for dessert when everyone else gets chocolate,) Scripture and thoughts that provoke the reader beyond the last page.

They are upfront that although their story is about their children, the book is for anyone looking for hope, and I believe that. It was easy to partner with their story and find the hope to cling to. When they admitted this is the book they needed, I agree with them. When our daughter was first diagnosed with special needs, I saw a lot of academic type books, but none that addressed the million thoughts I had racing in every direction at all times. Although I’m a few years past that time, I still found the book refreshing. I felt less alone.

I absolutely recommend THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED. In fact, I have one to give away (please remember if you comment, leave an email where I can reach you.) Please tell me why you should have this book. I’ll pick a winner July 5th.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

To purchase THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED, click here.

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COTT: Book Giveaway Contest Ends TONIGHT!

Posted by Julie on March 18, 2014 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

Is your to-be-read pile getting low? Do
you love FREE things? Then toss your name into the hat for a chance to win
these three new releases!


Winner announced at Clash of
the Titles
Wednesday, March 19, 2014


By entering the contest, you understand
The books may arrive in Kindle, Nook, or paperback format, according to
each author’s preference.
Each author will send his/her book directly to the winner.
COTT cannot be held responsible for prizes not received.
Entry in this contest does NOT subscribe you to any feeds, newsletters, or
other publications or networks


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Video of the Week: Murder a Cappella by James Callan and Diane Bailey

Posted by Julie on February 12, 2014 in ACFW, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Writing |


Book Description:

Two lost lives. Four lost crowns. It’s musical mayhem at the Alamo.
When the Sweet Adelines International Barbershop Competition brings Tina’s chorus to San Antonio, she kicks back. For a week, she can forget about her career as a police officer. Time for fun, glitz, and as much a cappella singing as she wants—and she wants to hear it all. Who knows, there may even be four winners’ crowns for their local quartet! But when two members die singing “Mister Sandman” in front of the Alamo, Tina discovers that bullets and barbershop are anything but a harmonious combination. 

Although police work was the last thing on her mind, Tina sifts through racks of sequined costumes and whispered gossip, desperate to discover who might want the lead and bass singers dead. Could it be the protesters who hate that the Sweet Adelines turned the Alamo into a theater backdrop? The rival quartet that lost a contract because of their group? The director with a reputation as a ladies’ man and a bad habit of poaching the best singers?

As the notes and the stakes rise higher, it becomes obvious that the killer has more on his mind than a song, and Tina may be next in the crosshairs.

The book trailer for Murder a Cappella is this week’s featured video at Each week I post a book trailer from Christian authors and/or members from ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers.)

I love a good mystery, so this was fun to post.

Why not check it out? To purchase Murder a Cappella, click here.


By the way, I’m near my 100oth post. Yep, you read that right. It’s the 1000th post on this server/domain, I know I’m actually closer to the 2000th mark. I’d love to celebrate by sharing some books with you. I’ve been in a reviewing frenzy, and I’d love to send some books to you.

Change Before You Have To and Smitten Book Club are just a couple I have available. I’ll get the full list to you soon.

How do you win?

Be the first person in my dashboard that comments on that 1000th post. I know what post is that big number. You don’t. But it’s close. Very close. So start commenting!


Have you signed up for the Julie Arduini newsletter? On February 14th subscribers receive the first installment of my contemporary romance, Match Made in Heaven.

Beth Prescott realizes there’s more to her new job with the Hammondsport senior citizens when her clients keep trying to match her with their grandsons. She wants to excel at her job and push past the memories of a bad romance.

Dean Kellerman returns to the area to help his grandfather and forget his mistakes.

The two run into each other and find the only thing they have in common is Walt Kellerman. As they work together can they enjoy a friendship, or, will their secrets divide them once and for all?

Visit and sign up through the right sidebar. Make sure you activate by looking for the email from Julie Arduini/Mailchimp


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COTT: Carlene Havel and Why She Wrote about the 1930’s + 3 Book Giveaway Info

Posted by Julie on January 13, 2014 in COTT, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |
It’s a new year, full of new books! But you can make Christmas last a little longer by enjoying Carlene Havel’s latest novel, “A Sharecropper’s Christmas.” 

Also, help COTT ring in the New Year by entering our giveaway for a chance at three novels! Entry instructions can be found at the conclusion of Carlene’s guest article. Enjoy!



Guest post by Carlene Havel
Someone asked me why I wanted to write about the 1930s.
As a child, I loved to nestle in someone’s lap after dinner at my grandparents’ ranch while one story teller after another spun yarns from the Great Depression. “I tell you now, Boats, back in 1933, times was hard,” signaled the recounting of an adventure softened by subsequent years of prosperity. Great-uncle Boats got his nickname from the impressive size and shape of his shoes.  In addition to those extraordinarily long, thin feet, I inherited my family’s love for telling stories.
I was in high school before I realized my experiences were atypical.  For example, I saw my grandmother kill a rattlesnake when I was about four years old.  We were drawing water from the well in the back yard when the snake poked his head from beneath a pile of rocks. After arming herself with an iron crowbar, Alice calmly climbed onto the rocks–wearing her tall cowboy boots, of course.  The rattlesnake’s next peek was his last.
She didn’t normally use tobacco, but I remember Grandma Alice chewing a plug to apply to my bee sting. Long after others modernized, she prepared meals on a coal oil stove and churned her own butter. She could cook and sew and was pretty handy with a hammer and saw, too.  She let me feed the chickens and pet the horses, while Grandpa showed me the proper technique for milking a cow.
I never saw my grandmother measure an ingredient, but her cornbread, biscuits, and cobblers were legendary.  Her recipes include instructions to add liquid until the mixture looks right, and stir until the consistency feels good.  If she ever had a cooking failure, it must have been before I was born.
“A Sharecropper Christmas” is a novella loosely based on family stories and my own memories.  It is my tribute not only to my grandparents, but to a tough generation who endured enormous hardships.  My goal was to portray the determined perseverance of ordinary folks in the face of desperate poverty.
Description of “A Sharecropper Christmas”:  The Great Depression left the Shoemaker family hungry and homeless. Their desperate prayers are finally answered when Herbert Shoemaker finds work as a sharecropper. Alice makes the best of the hard times without complaint, though she dreams of giving her little family a special Christmas.

Carlene Havel writes Christian-themed romances and historical novels set in Biblical
times. She’s lived in Turkey, Republic of the Philippines, and all over the
United States. Carlene worked for a banana importer, a software development
company, and everything in between. She attended several colleges and
universities, including one that–to her mother’s surprise–granted her a
diploma. Carlene and her husband live in South Texas, surrounded by their
extended family.


Twitter  –

Facebook  –




Winner announced at
Monday, January 20, 2014

By entering the contest, you understand that:

*The books may arrive in Kindle, Nook, or paperback format, according to each author’s preference.

*Each author will send his/her book directly to the winner.

*COTT cannot be held responsible for prizes not received.

*Entry in this contest does NOT subscribe you to any feeds, newsletters, or other publications or networks

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COTT: Birthday Bundle of Books Give-Away

Posted by Julie on November 4, 2013 in Guest blogger |

Besides a giving way a

Birthday Bundle of Books,

Clash of the Titles in showcasing

can’t-pass-it-up new release.

by Ruth Trippy


“And the soul of the rose went into my blood…” This line from a Tennyson
poem enchants young Celia Thatcher, who supposes every woman’s heart hopes
to be the rose that captivates a man. Celia is searching for her own sense
of hope after the tragic death of her closest friend. Moving in 1876 to
work in a Massachusetts bookstore to start life afresh, she soon catches
the eye of not one, but two men: the elite but unkempt Edward Lyons and the
charming law student Charles Harrod. One is hiding from his past and from
God. The other promotes a religious belief Celia had never before
considered. Both leave Celia wondering if either are right for her. When
one of her suitors is accused of murder, Celia is challenged with a deeper
choice: should she follow her heart or her faith?


Ruth Trippy was born in western Michigan to a Dutch family with values
similar to the Victorian era she loves. She left home to teach high school
language arts in Florida, focusing on American and British literature, and
also pursued her interest in apologetics. In addition, she worked as Public
Service Director for a radio station in Ft. Lauderdale.

Her writing originated from experiences in her marriage. Her husband was a
tough, adventurous Louis L’Amour type individual and needing encouragement
in the relationship, she found it in the pages of a 19th century romance


To learn more about The Soul of the Rose, visit the author at her

PURCHASE the book


Clash of the Titles Turns

So we’re giving away THREE

to ONE lucky winner.


Winner announced at

Monday, November 11, 2013


By entering the contest, you understand

*The books may arrive in Kindle, Nook, or
paperback format, according to each authors’

*Each author will send his/her book directly
to the winner.

*COTT cannot be held responsible for missing

*Entry in this contest does NOT subscribe you
to any feeds, newsletters, or other publications or

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