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Book Review: Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson

Posted by Julie on June 24, 2015 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Book Description:81+S6Fto3OL

Small-town girl Katie Fisher is busy planning her fairy-tale wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn’t managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t enter a contest in Texas Bride magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? Anyway, she’s sure he’ll be getting down on one knee any time now. And a one-of-a-kind designer dress doesn’t just fall out of the sky right when you need it.

But when Katie’s boyfriend takes a job in another town and breaks up with her–on the very same day she wins her dream dress–her world is turned upside down. Dare she go to Dallas to claim her prize? And will the hunky pro basketball player who runs the beyond-swanky bridal shop–yeah, you read that right–discover her humiliating secret if she does?

Every Bride Needs a Groom is a sweet romance that was a quick read but continues to hold my attention for all the right reasons. Normally if we knew a Katie, we’d mock her for planning a wedding without being proposed to. But in Every Bride Needs a Groom, it’s easy to feel sorry for her and yearn for her situation with the contest work out. Usually when you read that a NBA player is running a wedding shop, you would think there’s no way. Well, it works. And I was rooting for Brady.

But more than Katie and Brady, I loved the other characters. Brady’s mom. Katie’s brothers. Grandma. Her sister. The pastor. Each have their own story that flows well with the main characters without taking over.

I loved Every Bride Needs a Groom. This is a perfect summer read. Check it out!
To purchase Every Bride Needs a Groom, click here.

I received Every Bride Needs a Groom from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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To Be a Bridesmaid

Posted by Julie on April 24, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Most girls I know, myself included, grew up dreaming of getting married. Too young to understand marriage, my focus was on the wedding day.

The flowers. Cake. Dress. Presents. A man choosing me.

Imagine the frustration when we reach what we consider the age to make all this happen, and…nothing happens.

Then it does, but not what we thought.

We’re invited to be a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding.

Again.

And again.

And again.

It’s a frustrating season, I remember it well.

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Our daughter, a bridesmaid, in 2011 at her sister’s wedding.

Did you know writers liken the publication process to the bridesmaid/bride season? It’s true. Getting published is something you dream about. Sure, once it happens you realize it’s so much more work after signing the contract, but your fantasies were always about the day you could say you were published.

But while you wait, you wait. And wait. And wait some more.

And you watch your peers upload their pix of signing contracts.

While you keep waiting.

That’s the season I’m in, and it’s tempting to put my tacky bridesmaid dress on and pout. But this is a part of the process.

June Foster was kind enough to ask me to share my thoughts on her blog this week, and it was there I confessed my bridesmaid feelings. I’d love for you to stop by and read. Maybe leave a comment.

We can talk about bridesmaid dresses.

And cake.

Click here to read my guest post at June Foster’s The Traveling Writer at Home

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Book Review: March Bride by Rachel Hauck

Posted by Julie on March 21, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description:

A year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

 

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.

 

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna’s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.

 

Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own—right down to her very identity. When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

What a sweet surprise March Bride was. I didn’t know this novella was a continuation of Once Upon a Price, so readers get to revisit Susanna and Nathaniel’s love story weeks before their royal wedding. Their love is deep, but the conflicts continue. Susanna can’t shake that on her best day, she’s still a redneck Georgia girl and that an entire country is counting on her to be a princess. And she keeps seeing Nathaniel around a woman who is a better fit for him, and has made her intentions clear in the past. When Nathaniel confesses that Susanna has to make one more sacrifice before the wedding, she returns home to clear her head. Will she be able to surrender everything in order to marry her true love?

I really enjoyed March Bride because I still love a good fairy tale, and this is a realistic one, too. Susanna’s battle over identity is one all women can relate to, whether we’re marrying royalty or not. I absolutely related to her anxieties about not being good enough and whether her intended was having regrets. It’s captivating reading full of conflict and romance, and is a quick read. I do recommend reading Once Upon a Prince first. By doing so you learn about how their romance unfolds and the secondary characters who continue to get in the way in March Bride.

If you love romance, usher in spring with March Bride.

To purchase March Bride, click here.

I received a copy of March Bride from NetGalley/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Character Confession: Butt Ugly

Posted by Julie on March 17, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Lately I’ve been looking at Christian/Biblical/Prophetic art. The images that make my heart stir the most are bride portraits where they either are also wearing part of the Armor of God (Ephesians 6, I believe) or are looking beyond, in a longing way, for what I interpret to be her Groom, Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awhile ago a friend shared a story about being a wedding and thinking about the same thing as the bride looked ravishing in her white gown, veil, hair just so, a beautiful woman so excited to unite with her groom. But something happened between the altar and the reception that is one of those images you don’t want to think about—one of those pictures where one of these things doesn’t belong.

The woman in her gorgeous dress and perfect hair was taking a huge drag on her cigarette.

I’m not condemning smokers, it’s the image and teachable moment I personally extracted. Everything about her beauty changed to my friend when she saw the swirl of smoke and ash dripping off the bride onto her own gown.

I had a similar experience a couple days ago.

I was at the post office and saw a woman so put together on the outside I admired her. Her haircut was perfect for her. She wore a navy business suit that looked custom made to fit only her. Her heels would have been a straight shot to the ER for me, but she walked with elegance. I’m not in the habit of looking at women and being impressed by outside features, but she really was a sight to behold. I thought she was beautiful.

Then I saw her pivot just enough that I realized she wasn’t going inside the post office just yet, she needed to finish her smoke.

It was so much more than having a cigarette that ruined the image. The ash she had going on that thing was longer than the cigarette itself. The smell enveloped her like an invisible jail cell. When she entered the building shortly after me, the ash was gone, cigarette expired, but the aroma was anything but beautiful.

And in a flash, I couldn’t hold onto that beautiful image anymore.

It was more than a visual experience, it was a reminder about my choices. Earlier in the week things didn’t go my way and I reacted in a way that wasn’t holy, or even mature. No matter how great my pants fit that day or how perfect I thought my hair turned out, I spewed butt ugly everywhere I went while I was in my little snit.

I think we’re all guilty of that. And as a woman who would like to be identified as a woman in a deep relationship with Christ, I need to remember the way I conduct myself and treat others could very well come across as a beautiful bride dumping cigarette ash all over her dress.

There’s nothing beautiful in that.

The good news is God gets us. He knows we’re going to mess up, and although that doesn’t excuse my choices, His forgiveness is wrapped even tighter around us than the ring of smoke that surrounded the post office woman. In fact, that’s an aroma I want, His forgiveness and grace.

How about you?

 

 

Bride image courtesy of katya_alagich

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WFW: Love Extravagantly

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Word-Full Wednesday! It’s that “Battery re-charge” for your week where God’s word is glorified. Go ahead, join us. Take an image and a verse from the Bible, post on your blog, and link your post URL to the Internet Cafe.

Not only is it WFW…it’s our 15th anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 31, 1996

 

What makes this anniversary and this picture so special is that the lovely lady to my right in this picture is going to be a bride herself. There are so many things I want her to know. As beautiful as the wedding might be, it is the marriage that matters. Every hour, every day. It is work. It is the best and can feel like the worst. It is a choice between oneness and isolation every single day. It isn’t about changing them, it’s about asking God to change you.

If you are married, you know I could go on and on.

But I have every day as a blogger to share those things.  Let’s bring the best marriage instruction book of them all to this post.

1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Our 15 years featured these seasons: infertility, high-risk pregnancy, real estate transactions, birth, depression, surgeries, parent sickness, parent death, sibling life changes, miscarriage, job changes, major move, near death of child, church changes, financial struggles, financial blessings, friendship transitions, ministry additions/subtractions, travel for work, fun, and family.

On a computer screen they don’t seem too hard. In reality, they threatened, at times, to crush our spirits and destroy our marriage.

What gets us through?

Trust steadily in God

Hope unswervingly

Love Extravagantly

At this moment our marriage is still on a solid rock. We’re closer than ever. But… we are shells of who we were 15 years ago. We have been not around the fire, we have been through it (and will again). We are better for all these things.  But the Bible knows what it is talking about.

Cling to His word today.

And love extravagantly.

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Character Confession: Because Jealousy Doesn’t Look that Good On Me

Posted by Julie on May 14, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

It’s my Saturday Character Confession. I could post 10 graphics today.

1. Smallville finale was last night. I’m posting ahead so I have no comment except I can tell you I sobbed. There is no bigger Superman geek than this girl.

2. A new show I thought was really sharp with writing and acting was canceled before it had a chance.  Fox slaughtered about 6 shows off the schedule and my Breaking In was one of them.

3. I just plain feel lousy. I most likely overdid it and pulled something in my recovery. I believe fun hormonal issues are switching it up and I’m not sleeping well at all. I’m hungry a lot. I’m a bucket of tears for no reason. I see the doctor for laparoscopy follow up and I’ll bring it up.  If not I’m sure my family will call ahead before I get there.

But with that whining, here is a character confession you probably can relate to.

 

 

 

 

I love encouraging people. I’m thrilled to be this little library of info that if someone has a need, I can most of the time point them to the person, place, organization or verse to help them. I noticed it early on but it didn’t really get to me but it is happening more and more. I’m making up these examples but you’ll get the hint.

I show someone the Bible study to help them surrender an issue and they call me back two months later 80 pounds lighter while I gained.

I point an interested writer to the resources that I believe in and wish them well. They write me 6 months later to let me know they signed a 10 book deal.

I help someone with a resume or a speech and learn they performed so well for their presentation they are going to be the VP of the entire place or be the newest member of the Women of Faith team.

Remember, I’m making these examples up but to a very small degree, these kinds of things happen to me.

Lately it’s been dogging me.  The little voice I shouldn’t even be entertaining has made it clear in the wedding of life I’m nothing more than a bridesmaid and that is all I’ll ever be.

But God.

Even if that is true, that’s where God wants me and I don’t want to live an inch apart from His will. I’m not someone who wakes up wanting to have a best seller, I just want to write. So why I even entertained getting all ruffled when those I interacted with me had their dream fulfilled is kind of goofy on my part.

This bridesmaid gets to make sure the bride looks great and has a wonderful start to her new life.  That’s a good gig.

Jealous doesn’t look that great on me.

But being truly happy for others does.



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