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Answered Prayers by Darlene Franklin

Posted by Julie on August 2, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Prayer is our means of communication with God and God’s given requirement to watch him work. We read stories of men and women of prayer who pray(ed) 2 hours a day and feel like the disciples who couldn’t spend an hour in prayer with Jesus in the garden.

All my life I’ve felt like such a stumbling fool when it comes to prayer. I struggle to fill a single page in mu prayer journal. And I use a prayer journal because it forces me to focus, unlike closing my eyes to daydream—or fall asleep.

I offer all this background so you understand why this—thing­—has me shocked, surprised, delighted.

God is answering my prayers. When asked. As asked. In very demonstrable ways.

I started to notice it a few months ago. I prayed that my granddaughter would either leave her live-in boyfriend—or get married. She moved out. (and back in—but she did move out!)

At our weekly Bible study, our leader asked us to requested that we pray for his voice and his health. We prayed that because God had given him the lesson to share, that He would give him the strength to finish the lesson. And he did.

Later, a phlebotomist showed up for a blood draw. I selfishly prayed it would go easily. At a recent hospital visit, they had needed three-plus attempts every time they drew blood or put in an IV.

I didn’t even feel the needle go in.

A week ago, my vision was so blurry, I couldn’t see the music to play hymns at Bible study. I asked for prayer—vision restored.

Of course I’ve always known God answered prayer. And I haven’t had any significant “deposits” in the prayer bank. But I have never ever experienced this kind of clear, immediate answer. This feeling of—power?—had given me wings, a freedom to pray and actively expect an answer.

When I first starting writing devotionals, I found prayers the most difficult element to

Answered Prayer: A Guest Post by Darlene Franklin

write. But recently, I completed 48 prayers to accompany the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR 2/1/18).  Here’s the first one:

Lord God, the story of prayer might be the story of great achievements, but my personal journey reads more like a survival tale, lurching from one day’s emergency to the next. Not everyone can be like Esther, who fasted, prayed, and wrested victory for her people from the hands of her enemy. I’m more like Hannah, who asked You for a son, and the Phoenician woman who beseeched Jesus to heal her child. I may not be like Lydia who offered her house as a place of worship, but I have often wept before You, like the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. As I rehearse Your gracious response to my prayers, open my eyes to the grandeur of Your achievements in my life. Amen.

I guess I absorbed the lessons as I wrote them!  Praise God for a very welcome transformation.

 

 

Bio: Darlene has been preparing to write devotionals all her life. She enjoyed the teaching of verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible three times a week in addition to her own private study all the way through school. At Northeastern Bible College, she majored in Bible and theology, and then attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in Religious Education. When she began writing after her divorce, she started with a devotional project focused in about the lessons God had taught her, and her first ever published piece was a devotional in The Secret Place. Since then, Darlene has published over 300 devotionals in various publications as well as three stand-alone titles with Winged Publications.

 

Website and blog

Facebook

Amazon author page

Twitter: @darlenefranklin

 

Book blurb about 12 Months to Better Prayer:

Learn the art of prayer from the hearts of giants of the faith.

Prayer is simply talking with God—yet even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Since then, godly men and women of the faith have given us guidance to a deeper prayer life—and their most insightful comments are included in A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women.

Featuring the words of giants of the faith such as Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, and Hannah Whitall Smith, it’s arranged into 12 key topics.

Ideal for use on a year-long prayer journey, this book also includes prayer starters that will set you on a course of deeper, more personal times of conversations with God.

Book blurb about my fiftieth book, Mermaid’s Song:

At last, the much anticipated 50th book by Darlene Franklin!

Noble Prescott is drawn to the scene of a shipwreck by a sweet song sung in a language he didn’t understand. The songstress is barely alive, holding onto a piece of the ship’s railing. Her dress wraps around her legs like a mermaid’s tail.

Thus begins this imaginative retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale.

Justine Battineaux, an Acadian forced from her homeland on Cape Breton Island by British decree, finds herself adrift in the Maine colony. She doesn’t know the language and is distrusted as a foreigner.

Noble lives up to his name, providing shelter for Justine—and protection, as distrust turns into danger. For himself, his family—and the woman he comes to love.

How will Justine and Noble overcome the evil woman’s schemes to find their own love everlasting?

 

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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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What 47 Looks Like on Me

Posted by Julie on April 8, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.

How 47 Looks On Me

I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.

One problem.

My SON is the college student, not me.

In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.

Wow.

It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.

Weird.

I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.

If ever.

But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.

So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.

Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…

It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.

I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.

It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.

I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.

And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.

I’m ready.

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Please Join: Regan’s Acts of Kindness

Posted by Julie on March 27, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Julie’s Note about Regan’s Acts of Kindness:

Although I never met Regan, I know her parents from when we all lived in Upstate NY. Mark and Kelly were great friends, especially to our then-toddler. Back then we knew they would be amazing parents. When I went through the loss of my father, the chronic illness of our baby, and the 300 mile move my husband made for a new job while I sold the house and cared for the kids, Kelly was there.

What Mark, Kelly, Gavin, and those that love Regan are going through is beyond comprehension. Recently they were asked what is something those at home could do to help as they grieve.

Please join Regan’s Acts of Kindness

Enter Regan’s Acts of Kindness.

The following is from the Regan’s Acts of Kindness page.

Regan Elizabeth Shetsky was taken from her family on January 4, 2017 when she was hit by a car in her nursery school parking lot. Regan was 3 years old, about to turn 4. This spunky, bubbly, and funny girl was loved by all who met her.

Regan Elizabeth Shetsky was born March 3, 2013 to Mark and Kelly Shetsky. She was her mama’s “love bug”, daddy’s “sweet pie”, and everyone’s little helper. She loved the playground, the beach and went hand-in-hand with her beloved big brother and true best friend, Gavin.

Regan’s acts of kindness is a campaign started to make sure that Regan and her smile are never forgotten and to continue to spread the smiles that she so easily was able to put on the faces of every person she encountered.

Please consider joining the Regan’s Act of Kindness movement. A Regan’s Act of Kindness could be anything that you would normally consider a random act of kindness, something that would put a smile on another person’s face. Feel free to print out a flyer to include with your act of kindness in Regan’s name.

Regans memorial fund –

https://www.youcaring.com/reganshetskymemorialprojects-775305

http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf/2017/01/family_remembers_3-year-old_girl_killed_in_eastwood_crash.html

Please consider joining the Regan’s Acts Of Kindness movement by performing your own act of kindness in Regan’s name by including the Regan’s Acts Of Kindness flyer found in the comment section of the Regan’s Acts of Kindness page.

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Jean Ann Williams: Christmas After A Loved One’s Suicide (GIVEAWAY)

Posted by Julie on December 22, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 

My son, Joshua, died by suicide on March 16, 2004, and I will never be the same. Nor do I want that old person back. God has given me His strength as I journeyed through the most difficult time in my life. And, I’m not a novice to loss. I began losing important loved ones by the age of ten, with the mental illness of my mother, and the death of my dear Nana and my baby sister Maria.

During the year of firsts in noted celebrations after Joshua’s suicide, Christmas was indeed the hardest after Joshua’s birthday in November. My husband and I felt tossed about in waves of denial, pain, and just plain not-caring-to-recognize the traditions part of Christmas.

As the celebration of Jesus’ birth came closer, our eldest granddaughter, Morgan Ann, age ten at the time, found out our plans to skip Christmas traditions. Below, is a chapter from my book, God’s Mercies after Suicide, and how Morgan Ann helped us, her nana and papa.

***

“Nana, please, we have to bake cookies, and you need a Christmas tree to decorate.”

 

Our eldest grandchild, Morgan Ann, would not quit on the topic of Christmas. I did not want to bake. The idea of a tree saddened us; Joshua had always been involved with the choosing. When Morgan pleaded more than once with us, we relented.

 

Morgan and her two sisters, Lynsey and Carley, came over early one morning. My heart’s desire was to hang only handmade ornaments on this year’s tree.

 

Our granddaughters created a mess with glue, glitter, and construction paper. We decorated cutout egg cartons for bells and strung cranberries and popcorn on strings. The girls hung the ornaments on a three-foot-tall tree.

 

A welcoming inspiration, Morgan insisted we make Joshua’s favorite cookies. We baked thumbprint cookies, and hand-decorated snowmen, Santa Claus, and angel-figure sugar cookies with pink, red, and green frosting. The colored frosting got on the table. My granddaughters howled with laughter over smeared frosting on their faces. I snapped oodles of pictures which I shall always cherish.

***

If you’ve lost a loved one recently and don’t feel like celebrating, it’s really, really OKAY. The only reason we went ahead and acknowledged the traditional part of Christmas was to not disappoint our granddaughters.

In return, we did everything on a smaller scale this first Christmas after Joshua’s death. And at the end of the season, my husband and I looked back and smiled at what one little ten-year-old had accomplished in an otherwise confused and difficult time in our lives.

Twelve years later, we still talk about what Morgan Ann did for us.

And even if we had not participated in a tree and the baking, we still would have celebrated Jesus’ birth and life during the difficult Christmas of 2004.

 

Jean Ann Williams grew up with a parent who suffered from mental illness. Her son died by suicide at age 25 in 2004. From 1996 to the present, Jean Ann has written over one hundred articles & puzzles for youth related magazines, which included a healthy eating column. She has published articles in eight book anthologies. Currently, she writes a column for Putting on the New blog & Book Fun Magazine on the topic of suicide loss. Her first book “Just Claire” is an upper middle grade novel which touches upon the topic of mental illness of a parent. Her second book, “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” is her memoir devotional about the loss of her son, Joshua, to suicide.

Purchase GOD’S MERCIES AFTER SUICIDE HERE

Julie’s note:

Christmas time is a season when suicides increase. Please, if this is something you are considering, talk to someone you can trust. A member of clergy, or Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255. There is also an online chat from Suicide Prevention.

Jean Ann would like to gift a copy of her book, God’s Mercies After Suicide. Please leave a comment and I will choose a random comment. Make sure you leave a working email in case you win.

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Expectations by B.J. Bassett

Posted by Julie on December 6, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Expectations

 

Many years ago, I was expecting our daughter and her family to arrive for Christmas. I’d taken the day off from work to enjoy spending time with them. Shortly after they arrived they left again to do some last minute shopping, and they didn’t ask me to join them. My heart sank. It wasn’t what I’d expected.

 

The door closed behind them and I slumped into a chair to host a pity party for one. (I read once that a pity party is of the Devil). After a while I stood, brushed myself off, and headed downtown to look in the pretty decorated store windows. I went into our florist shop, and strolled amongst all the lovely gifts and Christmas decorations. I spotted a sign on a stake that read, Santa Please Stop Here. Not a necessary item since I was on a budget, but I was drawn to it, and I thought the grandkids would like it, so I splurged and bought it. All these years later, it is a reminder to me not to expect others to abide by my expectations of them.

 

            Over the years, my expectations of myself have changed as well. I do not stress over the holidays. I do not do things like bake Christmas cookies or make candy, yet our home is filled with goodies others give to us. I don’t accept every party invitation. To help family members on tight budgets, we no longer buy a gift for everyone. Instead, our family exchanges names. Since I enjoy reading, I take time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

 

I encourage you to put fewer, or no, expectations on others and on yourself. Enjoy the peace and joy God provides during this time when we remember and celebrate our savior’s birth.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

 

BIO: B J Bassett’s writing is favorably compared to Grace Livingston Hill’s. Her historical novel, Lily, and contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, includes the gospel. You are invited to visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

 

 

 

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house? PURCHASE GILLIAN’S HEART HERE

9781462000067_cover.inddLILY

California, 1900-Nestled in the foothills of the northern California coast, the town of Laurel Springs is home to high-spirited Lily Blair, the daughter of Rev. William Blair. Lily delights in being spoiled by her grandmother and father, and even though she lost her mother to childbirth, she glories in life itself and continuously pushes the bounds of propriety. Having her every whim indulged as a child leads to a tough road as an adult. Lily falls in love with James Conti and wants to marry him, but James heads off to fight in the Great War, leaving Lily alone and heartbroken. When her father wants to send her off to boarding school, Lily makes yet another rash decision and marries a man she does not love. In the ensuing years, Lily endures hardship and loss, a sharp detour from the pampered existence she once enjoyed. Yet as Lily struggles to cope with these unexpected changes, she discovers just how powerful God’s love and forgiveness can be. But will it be enough to get her through the darkest days yet to come? Full of vivid historical detail, Lily is an emotional coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.

PURCHASE LILY HERE



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