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Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Book Review: Melody's Song by Kathleen Friesen

Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

“After the tragic death of her husband, timid Melody Jamison moves to the city of Saskatoon, hoping for a peaceful life, an escape from the nightmares that haunt her, and the safety and salvation of her son, Will.

However, Will is determined to prove he doesn’t need anyone, and God isn’t even a blip on his radar. He’s doing just fine, if you don’t count the times he’s had to crash at a friend’s or sleep in a downtown Vancouver alley. He’s not deliberately messing up; trouble just seems to follow him. But he’s strong enough to deal with it. He can deal with anything—at least that’s what he wants to believe.

Melody keeps praying, even though she’s not sure God hears her. With her faith as fragile as yesterday’s dream, she is shaken when dying friend Rose Martens predicts that God will use her to be a blessing to their neighborhood. As she gets to know her new neighbors, Melody finds herself on a faith journey through demonic attacks, domestic violence, and the revelation of a secret that could destroy everything she’s gained.”

I was surprised to learn this was Kathleen Friesen’s first book because she penned a captivating story that had my attention right away. I could feel the fear and transition in Melody as she is a widow trying to find her way. The anxiety was palpable, I really felt for Melody as if she were real.

I also enjoyed the other characters. They have purpose and are not superficial. More than anything, Melody’s Song has an affirming message on the power of prayer. No matter what your faith level, I believe you too will be drawn in and encouraged by this sweet story.

To purchase Melody’s Song, click here.

I received a copy of Melody’s Song in exchange for an honest review.

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FREE 14-Day Trial with Odyssey Adventure Club

Posted by Julie on July 1, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
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You’re invited to a FREE 14-Day trial to Odyssey Adventure Club.

Think of ways you can enjoy this summer for free:

  • Hiking
  • Visiting parks in your area
  • Swimming
  • Camping in your backyard
  • Visit a public museum or library

Now, add more fun and imagination to your summer through the Odyssey Adventure Club!

The Odyssey Adventure Club will give you streaming access to more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes plus a sneak peek of exclusive audio and video stories, on-line activities and daily devotions you can’t find anywhere else.

Start a free 14-day trial for your family today and make the summer even more fun!

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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

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

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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Excuse Me, But Do You Validate by Sherri Stone

Posted by Julie on June 17, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Excuse Me, But Do You Validate?

“For in Him we live and move and have Our being.”  Acts 17:28

I’ve been a social worker for over twenty years and many times I have said it’s not just a job, it’s who I am. At no time was that more true than when I worked for hospice. I love hospice. A small group of us used to say if you cut us we’d bleed hospice. I poured myself into it for years, and I have the scars from burnout to prove it.

You may know that feeling. You may have a job that fits you like a glove. It’s what you were born to do. Feels good doesn’t it? Until it doesn’t.

There’s a danger in drawing your identity from your work instead of your Creator. For one thing it’s an identity built on shifting sand. Companies go out of business or go bankrupt. They downsize. Sometimes they bring in terrible leaders that make it impossible for you to stay. You could get sick or hurt or burned out and have to leave. You could relocate when your husband gets a transfer or promotion. You are a cog in a machine, important but not irreplaceable. What happens when that validation goes away?

If I can’t do (fill in the blank) then who am I?

That kind of self-doubt gives the enemy a foothold in your spirit that will wreak havoc in every square inch of your life. It sends you scrambling to find meaning and purpose like the old country song says, “in all the wrong places.”

A second danger is that we can easily forget that our job – whatever that is – is a mission field. The skills we use every day are gifts from God given to us with a purpose: to be salt and light to a world without Jesus. That is the higher calling no matter what we do to pay the bills. It is also a reminder that even on days when we feel useless, God is quietly using us in ways we may never know.

It is in the identity of that higher calling that we find the freedom and grace of Christ for our lives.

~No matter what kind of mistakes we make at work and how mad the boss gets, God’s opinion of us never changes. He is never surprised or disappointed by us.

~He delights in us because he knows the finished, perfectly polished, women we will be when he is finished with us.

~Getting our validation from Christ leaves us free to be humble and teachable when we are not slaves to what others may think about us.

~It frees us from the legalism of perfectionism.

~It keeps our perspective in check. In the end it really is just a job.

~Our work may go away but our purpose never does.

~It frees us from the erroneous belief that busyness is next to godliness. You will never read a scripture that says, ‘work harder and know that I am God.’ On the contrary, you will hear him tell you to be still and know him. Commune with him. Hear him.

~Knowing our identity is in Christ gives us a healthy boundary between what we do and who we are. That boundary enables us to live a more balanced life as we understand the importance of play, fellowship, listening to others, and sometimes just being still with Jesus.

Who you are is so much more than what you do. You are a daughter of the King. His uniquely made, uniquely gifted, uniquely placed warrior woman who will be sent off to do battle in many different places in the course of your lifetime. Your tasks may vary, but if you are paying attention and deliberate every day in your walk with the Lord, you will see that the one constant through every battle is the One you serve.

Pray for God to open your eyes to who you are in him. It is a prayer he will be delighted to answer for you. Stay in prayer and in the Word. Protect yourself every day from an enemy who would be tickled pink for you to miss this.

In Him you live, and move and have your being. Now go and live in the grace and freedom of that!

BIO:

Sherris picture_editedSherri is a social worker by day and a writer by night. Her debut fiction novel, Sacred Ashes was released last year and is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. More fiction and some non-fiction inspirational books are in the works and she is looking forward to finding God’s purpose for her next fifty years.

 Links:       

 Blogs:   sherristone.net

              hospiceheartbeats.com

 Facebooksherrilynnestone    

Twitter:  @sherristone2

Pinterest:  pinterest.com/sherriston

About Sacred Ashes:

Kindle Cover_edited

Excuse Me, But Do You Validate? Sherri Stone’s guest post.

The man who killed Dani LaClere’s entire family has died in prison after ten years. She expects closure, but her grief is alive and well, and so is her anger at God – and Christians. She plans to deal with it like she always has, by not thinking about it. Easier said than done when she witnesses a murder and becomes the target of a stalker. Her fear escalates as evidence begins to suggest a tie to her family’s murder. When a handsome prison chaplain confirms her suspicions Dani is forced to deal with the pain of her past and a killer she will not see coming.

Purchase Sacred Ashes Here.

 

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The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

The Surrender of Life

By Ginger Solomon

 

Our society sees surrender as a dirty word.

But is it?

Imagine for one moment: What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been unwilling to surrender her body to the Holy Spirit and give birth to Jesus?

Not only would she have deprived the world of a Savior (well, to be honest, I think God would have chosen another maiden, but we’ll never know on this side of heaven), but she would have missed out on raising the Son of God. What about all those times she treasured a certain memory in her heart? She knew her baby was special. But what if she’d not surrendered?

What if Peter, James, John, and the others had refused to surrender their livelihood when Jesus called to them to come follow him? A great deal of our New Testament would have been written by someone else.

What if Jesus decided surrendering his life for ours was too much for the Father to ask? Can you say up-the-creek-without-a-paddle? Except it wouldn’t be a creek. It’d be a raging river, and we’d be in a baby float.

Let’s add one more what if to our surrender list. Let’s make it a little more recent.

What if Thomas Edison’s mother hadn’t surrendered her quiet time to teach him at home when he had trouble at school? The man had over 1,000 patents for his inventions. The light bulb, motion picture camera, and alkaline storage battery are among them. In addition, he started the first electric company, which later became the General Electric Corporation. (source: www.biography.com)

When we surrender our lives to God and believe in His Son, Jesus, we are giving up something, but we are gaining so much more.

So it was for Princess Anaya, my heroine, in my most recent release, Second Choice. The man she had chosen to be her husband disappeared, leaving a note with no clues as to the reason for his departure. Her wedding was scheduled to take place in three weeks. She’d dreamed of the life she’d spend with him for the last six months. And then nothing. Her plans collapsed around her. Her dreams slipped through her fingers. Her hopes for a bright future faded.

She had to surrender her expectations. It wasn’t easy, but what she gained was so much better than what she gave up. It just took her time to see it.

The end of the tunnel is not always visible while we’re going through it. We know there’s a light at the end, but we can’t see it. Surrender is that way as well. If we’re surrendering to something GOD wants for us or wants us to do, then we can be sure that what we’re gaining will be better than what we’re releasing—even if we can’t see it.

Ginger 7 - brightened_editedGinger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.

Author Links:

Website

Inspy Romance Blog

Facebook Author Page

Twitter @GingerS219

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

 

Second Choice Blurb:

The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.

 

Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.

 

But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.

 

BUY LINK:

Amazon Kobo Books iBooks Barnes and Noble

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My Women of Faith Experience

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen to review the February 18th screening of Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey, and I can’t wait. I went to a conference with friends from Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, and I invited some MOPS moms who could use some laughs to come with  me. I can’t wait to go, and of course, to share my thoughts here with you.

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Check out the Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey Movie Event

Before I do, I thought I’d talk about that experience. It was probably eight years ago, but I can recall it like it was yesterday morning. Beth Moore was announced as the pre conference speaker and I was determined to go. Her study, BELIEVING GOD, had transformed my life. The conference was in Cleveland, about an hour away, and MOPS moms thought the entire event would be a great experience as a local chapter.

Seeing Beth Moore in person was breathtaking. I do not worship her, don’t get me wrong, but I watched her worship. I was in the fifth row and I could see clearly.

Should I have been paying attention to my own worship?

Yep.

But I learned something by watching Beth Moore.

She was in a cute little business outfit and we were inside the Q, where the Cavs play. The floor was cement. And that little lady went face down in front of 5,000 women and gave her complete focus to Jesus as her worship leader, Travis, played. I was in awe and it struck me how hungry she was. And that I want to be all in for Him.

I have far to go, but I keep in mind I’m not Beth Moore and because the Lord looks at the heart, He sees beyond my worries that my pants would split or my knee would dislocate. We’ve had great conversations where I ask about why certain things happen with others and not with me and I loved his intimate answer. But I’ll always remember that worship. It was amazing.

The main conference made me laugh and I felt especially blessed as I realized it was the best of both worlds. The original group was starting to retire, but I believe it was Marilyn Meberg and Lucy Swindoll had me in stiches. I remember being mesmerized that when I closed my eyes, Lucy sounds exactly like her brother, Chuck.  From the younger crowd I could relate to Sheila Walsh. She was so transparent and uplifting. Her accent was beautiful.

I went home feeling energized, uplifted and refreshed. It was during a season where I was still trying to process the upheaveal my life took a couple years before through grief and change. The Beth Moore pre conference and the Women of Faith event were a prescription for mental and emotional healing. I am grateful for events like these that can touch and change women like me.

Have you ever been to a Women of Faith conference? I’d love for you to tell me about it.

 



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