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CD REVIEW: Out of the Dark by Mandisa #GIVEAWAY

Posted by Julie on May 21, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Out of the Dark by Mandisa

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called ‘Out Of The Dark’ because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!
You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last week here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mandisa-opens-overcoming-depression-47020463

The first track on Mandisa’s newest CD, OUT OF THE DARK, is a voicemail collage, and the messages set the tone for the journey Mandisa has been on since her megahit, “Overcomer.” By her own admission, the loss of a dear friend, her inspiration for the song, “Overcomer,” took her to a place so dark she isolated herself. Refused visits and calls. Re gained all the weight she had lost. Fought suicidal thoughts. With God’s love and guidance, Mandisa is back and her music is stronger for it.

Right from “I’m Still Here,” there’s something in her voice that conveys the strength in Him she’s gaining from her depression and grief. I don’t know how to explain it, a literal maturity that emanates, and I’m not saying it was something lacking in her before. There’s just something relatable in her words and voice that sends the message she’s not the same as she was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t. But God’s there.

This CD is perfect timing and for anyone fighting grief or questioning God, OUT OF THE DARK is a must listen. There are reflective songs and upbeat ones. Each song has a message, and by the end I realized as Mandisa emerges from the dark, she is now the overcomer.

This was an encouragement and blessing to listen to, and I highly recommend it.

YOU have a chance to win a copy! Leave a comment on this post or on social media on why you would like this CD and I will choose ONE US winner. Please leave a way for me to contact you when you leave a comment or I will choose an alternate.

“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 on the same blog, 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.

Story Behind The Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df27myDpm1c

Acoustic Video for “Unfinished”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFpXcvFI0A

To purchase “OUT OF THE DARK,” CLICK HERE.

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Book Review: VeggieTales every Day with God

Posted by Julie on October 5, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
Book Review: VeggieTales Every Day with God

Book Review: VeggieTales Every Day with God

Book Description:

Newly updated VeggieTales art and content refresh these daily devotionals, giving kids a fun and meaningful way to think about God each day
Every Day with God is the latest 365-day devotional from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer. The content will help children learn more about God and develop a daily practice to keep Him close in their lives. The book is perfect for bedtime reading, family devotion time, or as a fresh way to start each day! Ages 4-7

My love for all things VeggieTales goes back over 15 years. Although my kids are 18 and 13, I still pay attention when I hear a VeggieTale song or learn a new product is out. That’s why I wanted to check out the VEGGIETALES EVERY DAY WITH GOD: 365 Devotions for Boys.

This is perfect for boys ages 4-7. It’s small enough for them to hold, bright, colorful, and features all the favorite characters. It numbers each devotional by “Day 1” instead of January 1, so you can start any time of year and keep organized. The readings are short with a verse, a topic boys can relate to, a thought of the day and a short prayer. I think it makes for a great evening routine where you can keep the conversation going before bed.

I highly recommend the VEGGIETALES EVERY DAY WITH GOD.

To purchase, click here.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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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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Book Review: ESV Family Devotional Bible (Includes Giveaway)

Posted by Julie on May 7, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
The ESV Family Devotional Bible

The ESV Family Devotional Bible

The ESV Family Devotional Bible is designed to help families read and apply God’s Word together. This full-color edition features the complete ESV text interspersed with engaging illustrations and gospel-centered devotions related to key Bible stories—guiding families through the entirety of God’s Word over the course of a year. Each devotion also includes discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading, helping families develop a habit of reading the Bible together and applying its truth to all of life.

This easy to use Bible has a lot to like. For kids, the cover is visually appearing and highlights the illustrations included in the Bible. There are a lot of devotions included that would be appropriate for an upper elementary age child to read and ask the questions that are also included. The questions prompt good discussion for family members, although some questions were worded a little hard for younger ones. I think between the reading, devotions, and questions, families have the opportunity to use the Bible as a catalyst for a daily time together where they can grow in faith.

For adults, there are maps to discover and talk about, and a convenient ribbon bookmark. It’s not a big Bible, so it’s easy to transport or have kids bring it to the dinner table. It’s well laid out. The font is a bit on the small side, but it’s a good price to pay for the smaller size.

I believe the ESV Family Devotional Bible would be a welcome addition to any family, so much so, I have ONE copy to give away. Leave me a comment here or on social media (I’m on FB, Twitter, Instagram, G+. Pinterest and Snapchat as @JulieArduini) on why you want this Bible and I’ll pick one US or Canadian winner May 10th.

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 ESV Family Devotional Bible, click here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review/Movie Promotion: Captive by Ashley Smith

Posted by Julie on August 26, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

51zSoqCfmML._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Overview

CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols – on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son – takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.  

 

The movie stars David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma.

Click HERE for a special greeting from David Oyelowo

I remember Ashley Smith’s story well. She was the single mom who was held hostage in her home and read The Purpose Driven Life to her captor. She went from victim to instant hero with an onslaught of publicity. It was obvious she wasn’t comfortable with the attention and as time went on, I heard bits and pieces of her story. She was a recovering addict. She didn’t even have custody of her daughter. And then, the story disappeared.

Captive is a haunting read because in Ashley’s words, she re tells her story and puts the reader right there in the apartment with her. I was completely absorbed into the story and read it in an evening. As the scenario unfolds it is obvious God had His handprints all over this. It’s amazing for all the places Brian Nichols went, he arrived at Ashley’s neighborhood. She was in the process of unpacking. She was new. Faith was a very new thing for her and it was her lifeline. But she had a plan B. She still had a stash of drugs.

I loved Captive because it’s an intriguing story that shows what God can do with a willing vessel. What I found surprising was she didn’t read a lot of The Purpose Driven Life to him. I had the impression she read chapter after chapter. I came away thinking God guided her conversation. She kept talking to him. He was a churched man. And that’s what made his story so sad.

I Googled the two to see “where are they now?” Ashley is married with two more children. It appears as if she is doing well and is active in her relationship with Christ. Brian Nichols? I see no mention that he transformed for the better after all the conversations he shared with Ashley.

This is going to be a major movie this month and I believe it will be not only solid entertainment, but a solid message, too. Captive, the book, was. I hope you read it.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER

To Purchase Captive by Ashley Smith, click here.

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Movie Review: The Identical

Posted by Julie on January 12, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

soundtrack_home1Movie Description

The Identical is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his father’s desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success and failure, and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really is. It s a captivating story about a family restored, and a life discovered.

This is my first movie review courtesy of FlyBy Promotions and I loved that I was able to watch a movie that is suitable for family viewing.

The Identical takes the viewer through multiple decades—wonderfully through wardrobe and music, I might add—to tell the story of a PK, preacher’s kid, who can’t quite find direction. His dad wants him to follow his footsteps into the ministry, but he loves music. As he follows his dad’s call and tries to find his own, he uncovers a family secret that once he recovers, is able to follow his heart as God leads.

This was an entertaining musical journey with Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green and newcomer Blake Rayne. As a writer there were a few places I would have taken the story differently, but I really enjoyed the overall message, music, and the journey through the decades. The wardrobe, hair and music for the time periods were well done.

I also enjoyed watching the bonus feature. Hearing Ray Liotta talk about what drew him to the project and what he learned and applied as he portrayed the preacher was interesting. I think Blake Rayne did an admirable job carrying dual roles and going up against Hollywood notables like Liotta, Judd, and Seth Green.

If you’re looking for a clean film to watch and something that gives your toes a reason to tap, consider The Identical.

To purchase The Identical, click here.

I received a copy of The Identical in exchange for an honest review.



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