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Book Review: Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell

Posted by Julie on September 25, 2017 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Book Review: Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell

What will my life be like? Who will I be? Whether girls put these concerns into words or struggle anxiously with these thoughts, during this season of change, girls have questions. Sometimes these questions also come with fears and they need a safe place to process these fears. From Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and blogger, Lynn Cowell, comes Faithgirlz Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You. For girls 8-12, Brave Beauty brings tweens 100 courage-building moments to reflect on Scripture and find confidence in God, rather than in someone, some place, or some thing, as culture will all-too-soon tell them to. Lynn will also prepare girls to:

Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts and stand on who Jesus says she is.
Shape her self-worth on Christ and overcome the temptation base it on environmental factors.
Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.
Find security by turning to Christ as she steps through the exciting, yet scary world of growing up
Formatted as theme-based mini chapters, these moments can be read as one-a-days, one-a-weeks, or at the reader’s own pace. Simple and empowering, Lynn’s voice is relatable and conversational, making it easy for girls to feel like they’re spending time with a friend. This inspirational read will be set as a gorgeously foil decorated hardcover, with beautifully formatted pages in line with the well-known and loved Faithgirlz look, and with an easy-reference index to look up any topic.

I had trouble reviewing BRAVE BEAUTY because I showed it to my daughter, she thumbed through it, took it to her room, and I had to take it back. It disappeared again. When I grabbed it again so I could read through and write this, she asked me to please hurry so she could have it, and keep it. I’ve done a lot of reviews for books for girls, and this is the first one she’s taken and not wanted to give back to me.

 

I’m not surprised. BRAVE BEAUTY tackles a subject girls are crying out to learn more about, and this book offers relatable information that is Bible based. With social media judging girls with a simple click of a keyboard, girls need to know they matter and are loved. That they are approved of as is. The author does a great job making the book feel like they are at a coffee shop sharing together. There is space to write. There are quizzes and prayers. Everything is about showing the girls who they are in Christ so they can stand in God confidence when the things of the world come at them.

 

The cover is attractive and it is just a breath of fresh air in the form of a book. I can’t give a higher recommendation than telling you my daughter has this on her nightstand. I definitely suggest you get a copy of BRAVE BEAUTY for the 8-12 girl in your life. (Our daughter is a little older with some comprehension delays, so I am finding this perfect for her.)

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

To purchase BRAVE BEAUTY, click HERE.

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Gail Goolsby: Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month

Posted by Julie on September 22, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month

by Gail Goolsby

 

Goodbye to lazy days of summer and vacation leisure. Hello to set schedules for kids and adults. Time for school and daily routines. Fall is here.

 

Freshly sharpened pencils. New clothes and unscuffed shoes. Sports teams with unblemished records. Blank report cards ready to register best grades ever.

 

Fall presents new opportunities. Make the most of Self-Improvement September by focusing on areas of your life left unattended over the summer or needing a reboot. Here is a brief checklist to get you started.

Gail Goolsby: Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month

 

  1. Take inventory. Identify dissatisfaction with your current life patterns and habits. Ask God what could be working better in your relationships. Physical and emotional health? Career activity? Home tasks? Spiritual growth?
  2. Recognize feelings but focus on actions. Feelings are important and you need to read the signals they send. But, in truth your actions impact your feelings and so behaviors should be assessed with sound reasoning. Feelings change easily and can form a trap and hindrance to life satisfaction. What actions need to be ramped up or altered to feel better about your life?
  3. Check self-talk. Do you constantly criticize or speak negatively to yourself? Do you cheer yourself through hard tasks or easily give up and then berate your poor performance? Taking on new challenges requires a positive attitude and ongoing encouragement. Remember past accomplishments more than recent failures.
  4. Set steps for reaching goals. Once a plan of action is formulated toward self-improvement, smaller, measurable steps are needed at regular intervals. This requires commitment and work, but gives motivation as advancement is documented and you inch closer to your goals.
  5. Utilize resources. Prayer and God’s Word offer powerful inspiration and reminders of Who is always working for your good (and His glory!). Friends, co-workers, life coaches, and family members can be earthly gifts of accountability and encouragement. Let them celebrate with you as they support your efforts (and maybe join you in their own self-improvement goals).
  6. Embrace hope. As you develop new activities, relationships, and daily disciplines, keep your head up and recognize each day signals possibility and hope for better. Look for God helping you in small and big ways. Tell yourself this truth, you can improve.

 

Kick yourself into gear and make September a trophy month of self-improvement!

 

About the Author:

Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well.  Read more at www.gailgoolsby.com.

 

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Book Review: Liked by Kara Kampakis

Posted by Julie on December 11, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
Liked by Kara Kampakis

Liked by Kara Kampakis

For many girls it starts early. The desire to be perfect. The need for approval. The longing for acceptance and being liked by a lot of people.

Thanks to social media, these desires now get channeled online. Girls can curate an image, build a following, and test-drive identities until they find one that draws attention and applause.But in this quest to be liked and noticed, girls often fail to feel loved and known. The result is a generation of girls who hunger for real and authentic relationships – yet are unclear on how to create them.

From popular blogger and bestselling author Kari Kampakis comes a powerful book for girls in the digital age. Designed to empower teens and tweens through the Christian faith, it’s packed with godly wisdom and practical advice related to identity, friendships, social media, and a relationship with God. 

Topics covered include:

  • Living for God’s approval, not human approval;
  • Cultivating a true identity;
  • Using social media wisely;
  • Building a positive reputation online;
  • Spreading kindness, love, and compassion;
  • Distinguishing online friends from real friends;
  • Building deep connections that last;
  • Handling rejection, criticism, and volatile emotions;
  • Activating your Christian faith; and 
  • Making an eternal difference, not a temporary splash.

For anyone exhausted by the quest to impress – and ready to rest in God’s unconditional love – Liked is the answer. Written succinctly with thought-provoking questions, it’s an ideal resource for a small group or youth group study, and a conversation-starter that will quickly unite mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends by speaking to the female heart.

This is a comprehensive look at how to successfully navigate the teen years when the world is pressuring girls to focus on being liked. It’s easy to read, full of practical, yet Biblical tips, discussion questions, quizzes, and more. I could see me going through this with my daughter, but it also is a great book to use with a small group. I see too many girls trapped in the lie that having likes and follows determines their love and success. I highly recommend LIKED to empower girls and speak truth into their precious lives.

To purchase LIKED, click here

I received a copy for review.

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Saturday Confession: The Brave Earmuffs

Posted by Julie on January 10, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

Growing up, I believed a lot of things.

  • I was fat and lazy and of no worth to anyone
  • I was meant to stay in the background and have little to no voice
  • I would always be the smart one, good for an answer, but never the option for the opposite sex

After awhile, I shut down and used all my dreams for my characters. I wore the colors I was told I should adopt and the length of hair and style suggested for me.

Deep down, way deep down, I wanted to be the bold one.

  • The girl with fire-engine red hair and spunk to match
  • The one who could be counted on for a smart answer and a smart man by my side
  • The one who could embrace color in everything about me

earmuffsI’ve come a long way since then and God has really transformed me. My hair has the red and I definitely have a spunk about me. As I’ve watched the so-called pretty girls find man after man, marriage and then divorce, I’m closing in on twenty years with the same man. Something I never dared dream.

But more than that, God gave us a child that doesn’t have the fears I was shackled by. Even in the womb she had sass, moving everytime the doctor tried to get a heartbeat. Refusing to reveal herself until she was ready to debut her gender. At five days old she pushed me to a better position for nursing. She has her own drum, and she’s not afraid to use it.

She’s also had to fight for things I never had to. Like her very life. School isn’t easy for her. But even as I’m watching her evolve into a young lady where she’s paying more attention to her hair and overall appearance, she’s got that flair for boldness I wanted so much as a kid.

Like the earmuffs.

She wanted earmuffs over Christmas break when it was in the 50’s. She knew we were going to have a cold spell and she looked between Upstate NY, PA and Ohio in our travels for a pair. There weren’t any. We return home and she went to the local Justice store and there they were.

The boldest, most confident ear muffs I’ve ever seen.

They draw attention, let me tell you. And I’m watching those that see her with them on.

They aren’t smiling out of mockery.

They applaud her boldness and confidence.

And dare I assume, I think they want a pair, too.

Looking at those ear muffs, I realized how much she’s changed me. I now look for things that sparkle and have some pizazz. I too looked for ear muffs but came out with a little more mainstreamed look. But honestly?

I can feel it deep down, just like I did as a kid.

I want to wear her ear muffs.

See what it’s like to wear cat, furry ears in bold colors.

Do a little cat walk with bravado.

Will I?

Probably, but most likely you’ll never see it.

But it will be my little victory, and I’m going to savor it.

Meow.

 



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