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Book Review: Finish by Jon Acuff

Posted by Julie on September 16, 2017 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Finish by Jon Acuff

ABOUT FINISH:

Year after year, readers pulled me aside at events and said, “I’ve never had a problem starting. I’ve started a million things, but I never finish them. Why can’t I finish?

According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s reso-lutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals.

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly.

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off.

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations.

The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. But they’re based on studies conducted by a university researcher with hundreds of participants. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing something to bomb intentionally works. But the data says otherwise. People who have fun are 43 percent more successful! Imagine if your diet, guitar playing, or small business was 43 percent more suc­cessful just by following a few simple principles.

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.

I’m a Jon Acuff fan and really enjoy his work. When I heard about Finish, I was excited because that’s a problem not only do I run into, but I also hear it from people I work with/mentor/encourage. We have no problem starting, but finishing? A look in a craft room can tell you how real the problem is.

 

I loved Finish because it gave great strategies that are so simple you’ll be mad you didn’t think of it first. It’s also full of stories, stats, and anecdotes that Jon Acuff is known for. It’s motivational and humorous, practical and inspiring.

 

I finished the book a few weeks ago and I’m still going back to Will Smith. In the book it talks about financial challenges Will was having years ago and the simple technique he used to not only get out of that predicament, but keep him on the short list for big movies for 20 years. I won’t give it away, but it blew my mind.

There’s a lot of meat to Finish, yet, it’s a fast read. Don’t go too fast, or you’ll miss something, because there are a lot of takeaways you can and should apply to your life. I think this is a book you not only can start, but finish—and use as a practical tool in your life.

PURCHASE FINISH HERE

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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Book Review: Pierced & Embraced by Kelli Worrall

Posted by Julie on August 20, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

How would you describe the love of God?

Pierced and Embraced by Kelli Worrall

Throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus engaged women differently than He did men. Sometimes the difference is subtle. Sometimes it is stark. Always it is profound.

Sometimes the love He offers them is gentle. Sometimes it is fierce. Always it is powerful.

Sometimes that love feels like a warm embrace. Sometimes it’s more like a piercing jab. Always, it changes everything.

Women today long to experience the same sort of life-changing love that Jesus lavished on His followers 2000 years ago. We still want to be completely seen and known and valued and set free—as painful as that process might sometimes be.

Pierced and Embraced digs deeply into seven encounters that Jesus had with a wide variety of women in the Gospels to show how His love can be equally transformative in our lives today. It mixes attentive Scriptural engagement with personal narrative and relevant application, making the content fresh, accessible, engaging, and practical.

You will:

  • Understand the unique and powerful and complex ways in which Jesus loves the women of the gospels.
  • Recognize your own longings for love and the (often inadequate) ways we seek to satisfy them.
  • Discover how to live in the fullness of Jesus’ love for you.

Includes study/reflection questions at the end of each chapter, inviting women to dig into the passages for themselves.

I wasn’t sure what to think as I confess, the cover really didn’t inspire me. However, once I started reading, I was hooked. Pierced and Embraced reminded me of God’s love for me, showed me things in the Bible I’d read before but didn’t really apply to my life, and encouraged me as I read Kelli’s story.

The bull on the cover made sense as I read. God pursues us, but often it comes with pain. Each woman Kelli profiles has a story, and one I could relate to and be challenged by.

This was an excellent book that kept me captivated.

To purchase PIERCED AND EMBRACED, click HERE.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Book Review: Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

Posted by Julie on August 9, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Review: Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free.

This best-selling author and Bible teacher who has opened the riches of Scripture to millions longs for you to be free as well—to know the Love and Presence that are better than life and the power of God’s Word that defies all darkness.

Beth’s journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul, given by her Saviour and offered to you in Get Out of That Pit—friend to friend. This is Beth’s most stirring message yet of the sheer hope, utter deliverance, and complete and glorious freedom of God:

I waited patiently for the Lord

He turned to me and heard my cry

He lifted me out of the slimy pit

He set my feet on a rock

He put a new song in my mouth

It is a story, a song—a salvation—that you can know too.

This paperback edition with a new cover to celebrate the book’s 10th anniversary is a healing balm to anyone who has been wounded, rejected, rebelled, messed up, or anything in between. With a sobering but beautiful into by Beth’s husband, Keith, Beth Moore earned the right to pen this book.

Centered around Psalm 40, Get Out of that Pit offers Beth’s story, Biblical examples, Scripture, and hope. Her enthusiasm is so strong you will feel like her hand is pulling you out of the pit, the rut, the dark place you thought was your address. She’s your gal pal and favorite Sunday School teacher all wrapped into one. The question is, will you take the information she provides and apply it?

I hope you do, and I hope you get your hands on a copy of Get Out of That Pit.

Purchase GET OUT OF THAT PIT HERE

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on July 26, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the eyes of the orphans she encounters. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

HEALING LOVE is not your average missions story. I loved the complex baggage Brooke brings before she ever steps on the plane to watch over her sister as they travel to El Salvador. They are orphans and Brooke lives in fear in her day-to-day life. She has dreams regarding her career, but she’s got her sister to worry about. The last thing she’s got on her agenda is falling in love.

Brooke doesn’t just fall in love with a person, she falls in love with a people. The transformation in both storylines is beautiful.

Her career goals, her new passion, her colleagues, family and heart all collide when Brooke needs to determine her future. I definitely felt her conflict and was moved by it.

This is a quick read because I wanted to learn what was going to happen. I believe you’ll feel the same, too.

Purchase HEALING LOVE HERE

I received a copy of HEALING LOVE in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Book Review: Included in Christ by Heather Holleman

Posted by Julie on July 21, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A new kind of Bible study…

After the success of her first two booksHeather Holleman received many requests to write a Bible study. And as a college English instructor, she wanted to make sure it really taught and didn’t simply inform. So she surveyed several women about what their dream study would look like, then got to work.

The result is Included with Christ, a narrative-driven study where you can bring your life before Scripture in the context of community. Together women will discern their personal shadow narratives—ways they are living outside of their identity in Christ—and then rewrite those narratives according to biblical truth.

This in-depth, 8-week study in Ephesians will equip women with six “signature stories” of God’s work in their lives—helping them combat exclusion, loneliness, weakness, decay, emptiness, and silence.

Designed to facilitate honest sharing and help you internalize biblical truth, Included in Christ will provide community and connectedness as well as spiritual nourishment. It will also guide you in how to share your story and the hope of Christ with someone who doesn’t yet know Him.

Included in Christ by Heather Holleman

Heather Holleman is a new author to me, and I didn’t know she wrote books before being asked to create a Bible study. Included in Christ is an 8 week Bible study that explores the truths from Ephesians without being overwhelming. It is written as if the author were sitting down with us. She includes her own story that makes her very relatable. Yet, Scripture is explained and explored as she takes us through Ephesians. Ephesians isn’t new to me, yet Heather pointed out things I never thought about or saw the way she explained. I truly have learned a lot, and for review purposes, I am not all the way done, but I wanted to be timely in getting this out. I am really impressed in what I’ve read so far.

The topic is one all women can relate to. We all want to belong and be included. There are lies we have believed, and this study takes those lies and exposes them, giving us the truth in Scripture that has been there for us all along.

I highly recommend this study to any woman who struggles to belong, no matter what their level with the Bible is. It’s a down-to-Earth study that includes places to journal thoughts and answer questions.

Honestly, it’s everything I’m looking for in a Bible study. I really think you will learn and be inspired just as I am.

I received INCLUDED IN CHRIST from the publisher for review purposes, and all thoughts expressed here are my own.

Purchase Included in Christ HERE

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Book Review: Why the Universe Bothers to Exist by David V. McCorkle

Posted by Julie on July 20, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A Striking Breakthrough in the Origins Controversy! Steinhardt and Turok’s proposed ekpyrotic universe model fits the Genesis account! The implications are profound. The book Why the Universe Bothers to Exist: Theistic Determinism, Evidences and Implications by David V. McCorkle, PhD. is based upon this observation. It explains the likely location and physics of heaven. It proposes that we have heavenly avatars (biblical spirit bodies) close by, but through a fourth spatial dimension. Baby Brady with simulated spirit body. This book proposes answers to many other questions that theists have pondered. What happened to the Garden of Eden? Might it still exist? If so, where? How could information of our personal identity be preserved after our physical death? Why will “redeemed” humans need to be resurrected if they are already in heaven? Why will a new heaven eventually be needed? Numerous other concepts are also dealt with, such as the following. In consideration of Heisenberg uncertainty, what maintains order in the universe? Do natural laws determine outcomes, or does the consistency of outcomes determine the laws? What factor determines the decoherence outcome of probability waves so that consistent, orderly eigenstates result? Cannot this factor be recognized as God thereby actualizing his intentions: theistic determinism? Natural law is thus the outcome of God “holding all things together” (Col. 1:17). It is then natural for God to work through natural process. In this perspective, how is it that new species of organisms originate? Can the process be observed? And what of Adam and Eve as the first sentient humans? In addition to the significance of a message from ancient Babylon, and an account of how what is termed “socionics” relates to the “tragedy of the commons” principle, a near miraculous adventure in Idaho’s Lemi Mountains near Sacajawea’s birthplace is described and credited to divine providence. All of this and more thought-provoking issues are presented in this book with the intent of resolving the origins controversy, but also of planting ideas for further consideration in biblical context. David V. McCorkle Publisher’s website: http://sbpra.com/DavidVMcCorkle

This extremely well-written, deeply researched book asks some great questions about God, the Bible, and questions about the world that the Bible covers. I confess the author is so well-versed in his writing that as a non-academic, I struggled with some of the material presented. That’s on me, because the author covers the questions, the evidence, theories, and implications in detail. It’s obvious he spent a lot of time creating this book and cares deeply about the topics.

Here is what you’ll see in the chapters:

  • Why Read This Book?
  • Has God Left His “Footprint”?
  • Is Sentience Transcendent? Is God Truly Infinite?
  • Biblical Allegory in Physical Science
  • The First Chapter of Genesis and the Ekpyrotic Model Biblical Allegory in Biological Science Context
  • The Biblical Chronological Modification Model Compared to the Instantaneously Complete Model of Creation
  • Scientific Evidence Supporting the Chronological Modification Creation
  • Model Niche Distinctions of the Machaon Swallowtails of the Pacific Northwest A Context for Homo Speciation
  • Speciation and Niche Distinction in Homo Sapiens
  • “Socionics” and the Tragedy of the Commons Principle
  • Social Symbiosis or “Sociobiotics”
  •  “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven”
  • Heaven: Evidences and Implications

The sub-title to me was most revealing: Theistic Determinism, Evidences and Implications—A Worldview Proposal. The research presented was worldview, and religion of course was part of that research. Yet, with the questions asked, I believe faith is needed beyond a religion to answer such important questions. A personal relationship with God, the Creator.

If you are an academic sort that loves science, research, and exploring religion, this is a great book to discover. If you are seeking answers on a personal level, this is a great read, but I suggest you complement it with a chapter a day for a month from the Bible’s Book of John. If you want to know more about heaven on a personal level, I also suggest complementing this book with Randy Alcorn’s Heaven.

To Purchase Why the Universe Bothers to Exist, click here.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own and are of my own free will.



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