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A Child’s Life of Christ by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on September 1, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A Child’s Life of Christ: STAR SONG

Storybook #1 in Series THEY MET JESUS



It is September and time to think about school. If you home school your children, this series would be perfect for you. If you are a grandmother, you could keep a set in your home for when the young ones come to spend the night.

These story books have the same covers as the grown-up books. The type is much larger and more lively. Each chapter has a good work suggestion for the child.

Book 1 is entirely the Christmas story with Mary Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and everyone else. Here is a sample from chapter one.

1 ~ MARY


Mary was a teenager who loved little children just like you, and grownups just like those who live in your home. She also loved God.


People didn’t have refrigerators back then. So, every morning Mary walked to the market to buy groceries so she could help her mother fix meals for the family.


But sometimes when she did, she saw people walking with canes because their legs hurt, or people coughing because they had a cold.


Sometimes she saw children fighting each other or grownups arguing.


Sometimes she saw foreign soldiers who controlled her country. They wore weapons at their side. Sometimes they took people to jail and made them very sad.


It bothered Mary that bad things sometimes happened to people. But she knew she couldn’t do anything about it because she was too young.


So Mary prayed that God would do something about it. God made the world and all little children and grownups. He loved everyone, so he could help.


One day when Mary was alone, an angel suddenly appeared to her. His name was Gabriel. Can you say Gabriel? He was smiling.


Gabriel had wonderful news for her. She was going to have a baby ~ God’s own Son whom he was sending to live with us. Then God’s Son could help us.


Mary was to name this baby JESUS. He would start a new kingdom of peace that everyone who wanted to could live in.


This kingdom would start on earth. But some day everyone in his kingdom would be taken to heaven to live forever with God himself. Then there would be no more suffering and sadness.


 Mary had always thought she was too young to help people. She found out she could help after all through her baby by taking good care of him.






  1. Every boy and girl can help others, no matter how young they are. Is there something you can do today to help someone who is hurting in their mind or their body?


You will make them smile. You will make God smile. You, too, will smile.

Purchase Star Song: A Child’s Life of Christ


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Thankful for Perspective

I'm thankful for perspective.

I’m thankful for perspective.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.

Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.

But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.

  • I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.


  • My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.


  • My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.


  • Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)


  • A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.


It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.


The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.


Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.


I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.

What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?


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Book Review: The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling

Posted by Julie on July 16, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling.

The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling.

Bestselling author Lauraine Snelling shares a heartfelt story of a couple who put their plans for a peaceful retirement on hold to assume guardianship of their young grandchildren.

Mona and Ken Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Mona’s greatest concern is that Ken will learn of the surprise party she’s planning for his retirement from his job as Dean of Students at Stone University. They’ve already been making plans to travel, spend limitless hours in the garden, and Ken is looking forward to working on his woodworking and fishing with his grandchildren. It’s what they deserve after years of careful planning.

But things begin to unravel when Ken learns that office politics are about to destroy his department. Can he really just leave, abandoning the work he spent a lifetime achieving? Mona is eager to build her event planning business with Ken’s help, but rather than supporting her, he expresses concern that the stress of the work will send her back into the depression she struggles with.

Then, just days before Ken’s last official day of work, their son, a Special Forces officer in the Army, learns he’s being immediately deployed on a six-month mission in Pakistan. Since his wife left him, the only people he trusts to care for his two young children are his parents. In an instant, everything Ken and Mona spent their lives planning changes, and they will need to find strength, both physical and mental, to become parents once more. This is not the second half they wanted, and when their son fails to contact them as planned, they struggle to trust that it is God’s plan, not theirs, that matters most.

THE SECOND HALF is a very realistic look at what I know is happening with baby boomers across the country. Ken is ready to retire and Mona is close to taking on a project she’s always wanted. They have fought hard for this season, including Mona’s depression.

Their son calls, and he’s been called overseas by the military. His ex wife wants nothing to do with their children, and the kids need a home. Between the divorce and his military lifestyle, the kids are hurting and scared. They need the stability their grandparents can provide.

I was immersed in this book because it was so realistic to me. The conflict never stopped, and I wanted to see how Ken and Mona would fare. I enjoyed that they weren’t perfect. Ken was trying to find a balance in retiring when his place of employment wasn’t doing well. Mona carried fears her depression would return. The grandchildren had issues.

The only minor problem I had in the book was the names were a bit complex and I was distracted wondering how they were pronounced. It’s so minor though, these characters will feel like family to you. I had tears by the end. I think you will, too.

To purchase THE SECOND HALF, click here.

I received THE SECOND HALF from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: My Marriage Reminder Courtesy of Donnie Love Jenny

Posted by Julie on January 17, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Sometimes it’s easy to write a confession down and share it with you. Afterall, chocolate is something people can relate to. Admitting I’m not over a situation, we’ve all been there, right?

Then there is a confession like today.

Sometimes I get sucked into reality television.

I’m proud to say I’ve never watched a bachelor show or anything about a housewife. I could care less about anything Kardashian and I only watched American Idol when visiting my mom and she was watching.

But, I’ve enjoyed a few episodes of Wahlburgers, the look at life inside those crazy Wahlbergs from New Kids and Marky Mark fame I knew as a teen and have grown up and old with.  Poor Paul can’t catch a break as he runs the restaurant and takes flak from Donnie and Mark. I enjoy seeing fame doesn’t seem to have changed those knucklehead boys, especially Mark, who still has the same friends he did when he was a teen.

I thought that would be the end of it. A safe little reality show about a family I enjoyed as a teen.

But then Donnie fell in love and married Jenny McCarthy.

And now that’s a reality show.

And it was on after Wahlburgers.

And well, I didn’t change the channel.

I was ready to hate it. Afterall, she got her start in Playboy. She caused a lot of controversy talking about autism and vaccinations. She was on The View, the show I titled in 1998, The Only View. I can’t say as a book loving nerd that Jenny’s going to be on my top ten list. Jealous or whatever, she’s just never been.

As the show progresses I realize something.

Image courtesy of Donnie Loves Jenny FB page/A&E

Image courtesy of Donnie Loves Jenny FB page/A&E

This wacky couple is convicting me regarding marriage.

Scripted or not, what I saw on screen was a good lesson to remember.

Although they are newlyweds, their deeds are for all married people, myself included.

Jenny worked late and Donnie wanted to help out by taking her son to school.

He wanted her to have a restful day off. It meant getting up earlier. Fixing a meal he wasn’t perfect at. Taking a boy that isn’t biologically his to school. Then he promises him lunch, which means traveling from his Blue Bloods set to the school and back. Then he picks him up after school.

I don’t know where Jenny’s son is diagnosis wise but if he is on the autism spectrum, I know schedule and routine are imperative. Jenny mentioned it and added something I never thought about. It was just the two of them for over a decade. Every morning she had to get him ready for school and make those eggs just so. It was the two of them working on Science projects and school pick ups. For Donnie to come in and offer to help rattled her. How would the son react? Would the mess her husband make be worth it?

Her dad enters the picture and he sees the conflict. But he reminds her how many nights she prayed for a man to come and help them be a family. Where she could sleep in and her son would have not only a safe place, but a safe person.

With that, she wants to show Donnie how she appreciates his efforts.

She can’t cook, God bless her, but she calls her mom and tries. She puts on a candlelight dinner and dresses down, if you catch my drift, as grandpa takes the boy for ice cream.

Again, I don’t know how much was scripted and if a maid was on hand behind the scenes throwing down some rose petals and candles, but the message still got to me.

When do we stop trying?

I know I have and we’ve been married almost 19 years. Those times when we know they should sleep in, but we don’t want the extra burden. Thanking them with a special dinner? That’s so much work, I say in my whiny voice.

But it’s worth the effort.

That boy ran and gave Donnie a hug. Again, if he’s on the autism spectrum, affection like that is not easy. And if not, he’s a boy entering teen years. Either way, Donnie got a miracle. It spoke volumes to me. He didn’t care that he’s not “the real dad.” He gets they are a family and he wants to be hands on.

She could have done her nails all day long but she went to the store and bought ingredients to make a dinner.

How many times I’ve kept writing when I had a little nudge to do something extra.

My confession isn’t that I enjoyed Donnie loves Jenny.

It’s that they taught me something about marriage. I remember as a newlywed hearing this at a FamilyLife Marriage conference:

“Every day you make one of two choices—isolation or oneness.”

I think those crazy kids have “The Right Stuff,” and for that sweet boy’s sake, I hope they never stop doing those extra things for each other and the son.

And may I never be complacent in my own marriage.

Can you relate?

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Thankful: It’s Hard to Pick Just One by Jill Barlow

Posted by Julie on November 18, 2014 in Guest blogger, Life Lessons, Thankful November guest blogger, Writing |

In the beginning of 2013, I felt led to start my own blog. I wrote about God, but nothing in particular. I also ended up going through a divorce that year, which completely changed my life. I was married for 19 years. I was a stay at home mom for a great deal of that time. The last 3 years had been dedicated to my three children, because we pulled them out of public school to home school.


As I sit and type this up, I am thankful for so many things. It is hard to pick just one.


I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who has gotten me through the rough spots. This  journey we call life is not an easy one. Being a Christian is not a “get out of trouble” free card. We are still going to have hard times. Jesus even said, in John 16: 33, “33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”john16_33


It’s not an IF, it’s a WHEN type thing. God is always here for us, no matter what.


I am also thankful for my children, friends and family. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. They have made me laugh, hugged me as I cried and told me the truth when I did not want to hear it.


God has really moved in my life and heart over the past several months. He has started talking to me in every day ways. I have started writing those things for others to see that He is there, daily. He cares about our daily lives and He just wants to help us make it to tomorrow.


Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. Maybe it’s totally different from me. And, guess what? That’s ok. 




Jill Barlow is a mom of three, an administrative assistant to two, and a writer. Divorced after a lengthy marriage, she started finding God in her every-day life. Jill says, “God really cares and is interested in talking to us through the little things. Showing people His love and character in a way they might not have ever experienced is my passion.” You can find Jill at and on Facebook .

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New Beginnings by Sharron Cosby

Posted by Julie on December 21, 2013 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.


New Beginnings
by Sharron Cosby

Christmas. The mere mention of the word sends thoughts and memories skittering like a box of spilled ornaments. Some roll toward sweet remembrances of times shared with family. Others bounce to the let’s-not-go-there corner of our minds.

I recall Christmas 2009. The one I wanted to cancel. My only son is an addict, and this was his worst year ever. I had convinced myself it would be his last, assuming he would be in prison or dead by the next Christmas. I told my daughters we would exchange gifts and have our usual holiday dinner, but no tree or decorations. I couldn’t dredge up the emotional energy to plaster contrived cheer around the house.

I’m usually the decorator, gift purchaser, food preparer, and mess cleaner-upper. Executing the necessary holiday tasks takes time and effort. Worrying about my son had left me drained of the required get-up-and-go. I couldn’t do it. Thank goodness for online shopping; at least there would be presents to hand out.

My pastor’s message four days before Christmas cut straight through my Scrooge-like attitude. His sermon points were: The holidays are too much trouble, count your blessings, and forgive someone.

Considering Christmas too much trouble reflects a selfish attitude, according to my pastor. What if Jesus had thought that way? My icy heart began to thaw.

The second point, count your blessings, stopped me dead in my tracks. Count blessings with a broken heart? I considered my husband’s love and my two daughters who have stood by their brother. I smiled as I pictured the faces of my four grandsons and the joy they brought our family. Yes, I had many blessings to number.

The third was the hardest: forgiveness. Forgive my son for the pain and suffering he had caused? “God, you can’t be serious,” I protested. “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on him, he’s broken our hearts, and he’s in worse shape than ever before.”

“Forgive him,” the Spirit whispered.

Tears slid down my face as I chose to forgive my son. No strings attached.

After church I headed home with a changed attitude. When my husband left for work, I retrieved the ornaments, dragged the Christmas tree from the garage, and set it up, my gift to the family. Decorating our tree with the children’s handmade ornaments is always a joint project, but that day I worked alone. I held the clothespin reindeers, popsicle stick picture frames, and monogramed angels and remembered the good times.

With tear-filled eyes, I watched as amazement etched the faces of my daughters when they came to our home Christmas morning and saw the decorated tree. “Mom! You put up the tree after all,” they said.

The biggest surprise of the day came when our daughter’s boyfriend knelt in front of her and asked, “Will you marry me?”

The discouragement of addiction was replaced with the joy of new beginnings, which is, after all, the message of the Christ Child.


Sharron Cosby has been married to Dan for thirty-nine years, is Mom to three adult children and “Mimi” to five grandchildren. Her family was rocked by her son’s drug addiction for fifteen years until he laid it down on February 18, 2010. She uses her life experiences to offer hope and encouragement to families caught in the chaos of addiction. Sharron is available to speak to groups on addiction related topics. Sharron recently published her first book, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90, a ninety day devotional for families in recovery or those wanting to be. Receive weekly encouragement at her blog,, and Twitter @sharroncosby or contact her at moc.liamg@ybsocnorrahs.
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