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How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother by Teresa Ives Lilly

How Many Times Must I Forgive My Brother

By Teresa Ives Lilly


As a child, you expect to have fun playing with your siblings, but for me that wasn’t always the case.

My brother was seven years older than me, and all I can say is, he was not a nice person.  I have no good Of him, including the fact that we shared a birthday and every year my parents took us to his favorite restaurant and got him a coconut cake (which I am allergic to and HATE).

Years later he became a Christian, met a wonderful young woman and the two of them became Missionaries in Russia and started about 6 of more churches there.

You would imagine, as a Christian I would have been happy and pleased, but I wasn’t.  For years, I was angry.  I didn’t believe my brother deserved such a sweet wife and I struggled believing he could be trusted.

Finally, after a few years from his salvation, I had to surrender it to God and ask God to heal my hurts because my brother never tried to.  Then, once God gave me the peace I needed to forgive, I contacted my brother and asked him why he never tried to make amends to me, etc.  He told me, he thought I had forgotten the things and he didn’t want to hurt me by bringing them up.

Once I understood this, I was able to totally surrender.

So, at this Thanksgiving Time, I pray that everyone finds something to surrender and get free from.

Since that time, God has blessed me with the gift of writing and although I don’t usually write about such deep issues as surrender, my novellas are all Christian and the characters all over come relationship issues and find love.

a1kflm6gtwl-_ux250_Teresa Ives Lilly lives in San Antonio. She has written over 20 novellas, several chapter books and two hundred unit studies. She loves to hear from her readers at

See all her books at  

The one book I wrote which really shows how a woman overcomes many issues is called

Orphan Train Bride.

orphan-train-bride_editedKelli is a nineteen-year-old orphan, who lives and teaches at a New York orphanage. She is sent west on the Orphan Train to oversee the children. When the train reaches Kansas, the end of the line, and Kelli realizes that she must return to New York, she makes a desperate plea to a golden bronzed cowboy; asking to fill the place as of a mail order bride, he advertised for to raise his little girl. Will God help them develop a loving relationship through the hardship of life on the Kansas prairie. Especially after the land is devastated by grasshoppers?


Purchase Orphan Train Bride on Amazon HERE.




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Don’t Miss This: The Amish Firefighter by Laura V. Hilton

Posted by Julie on April 20, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

Julie’s note:

I’m happy to introduce you to another author and book in my “Don’t Miss This” feature. This month I’m excited to highlight Laura Hilton. She’s best known for her Amish romances, and I’ve known her for a few years as we are in the same critique group.  Her writing is always full of romance, conflict, and a dash of humor. Look for tomorrow’s post where I review Laura’s latest, The Amish Firefighter.


If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus) who would it be? Why? 

My mom. I’d like to ask her questions about things I don’t remember and ask her advice about things. I really miss her.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

I have so many favorite Bible verses, it is hard to pick just one. But for today, the one that is coming to my mind is “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

What do you enjoy most about writing? 

Almost everything. I love the creating process, getting to know new friends (in my mind) and learning their story.

What can your readers expect from you next? T

he Amish Firefighter is releasing in May and it will be followed by three more Amish books.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Review on your favorite online retail sites, tell your friends, libraries, and book clubs, and others about it. Word of mouth is the best way to support an author. 

Please tell us a little about your novel, The Amish Firefighter.

The Amish Firefighter by Laura Hilton.

The Amish Firefighter by Laura Hilton.

Can they overcome their past?

Abigail Stutzman’s life is about to change – whether she wants it to or not. Her mamm is getting remarried to a widower with a large family. Abigail is sent to live with her aenti and onkle in Jamesport because she and her new step-brother had dated and their parents anticipate problems. (Her step-brother is needed on the farm.) Abigail launches a full-scale plan to return home to her family—and Mark—when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Abigail and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble, her punishment includes helping a collection of crazy old maids with housekeeping. In the midst of her atonement, Abigail uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Abigail must decide if she’ll continue her messed-up legacy or embrace a new beginning with the man who’s stolen her heart.

Sam Miller has trouble of his own. When Sam and his close friend Ezra Weiss are in a drug/alcohol-related car accident in Pennsylvania, Ezra is killed. Though Sam survives, he is deeply affected by the tragedy and vows to help other victims. Now a new Christian, Sam is a volunteer firefighter and a college student working to earn his EMT and paramedic license. But Sam has a past. When it comes time to confess his crimes, he finds that the truth may set him free—but it might also land him in some uncomfortably hot water. Will Sam and Abigail be able to find a future together?

Where can readers find you online? 

visit my blogs:  & 

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton




Where can readers purchase The Amish Firefighter?



Barnes and Noble:

Deeper Shopping


10628159_10208001517851690_2507809979360088405_nAward winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.


Her publishing credits include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories),  Promised to Another, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards), Surrendered Love and Awakened Love, A White Christmas in Webster County, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, The Birdhouse, Swept Away, Christmas Mittens, and The Amish Firefighter.


Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.




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Book Review: Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

Posted by Julie on April 5, 2016 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

The Prodigal Is Coming Home

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor.  And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?

Ah, I’m a sucker for a cowboy romance and BACK IN THE SADDLE doesn’t disappoint. Colt comes back to the Double S ranch after a time away on Wall Street. He didn’t leave under the best of terms with his dad, and his dad isn’t the same. There’s talk about God, his dad isn’t feeling great, and there’s Angelina.

Angelina is the glue that keeps the ranch house running and the Stafford men in line. She has secrets of her own and is torn between where she used to be, and where she is now.

I loved that the author made all the characters strong, not just Colt and Angelina. I loved getting to know Sam, Nick, and the others. There’s a lot of hurt to explore, and I think BACK IN THE SADDLE does it justice. The chemistry between Colt and Angelina is on target, too. It didn’t take me long to read the book, I really enjoyed diving into the romance and the mystery between the characters.

Even if cowboy romances aren’t your thing, I still challenge you to give BACK IN THE SADDLE a try. I really enjoyed it, and I think you will, too.

To purchase BACK IN THE SADDLE, click here.

I received BACK IN THE SADDLE from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper

Posted by Julie on September 8, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.

Poor drug dealers.

Is it wrong to call a mystery “fun?” I don’t care. Deborah Dee Harper’s Misstep is a wonderful mystery that is laugh out loud fun to read. There’s Hugh and Melanie, a couple looking for a quiet retirement when they are called to the pastorate. Before they can process the news there’s a chicken. A blizzard. Vandalism at the church. People confessing murders. A camel. Bad guys holding the women hostage. And then there’s the oldest virgin Mary the church has ever seen.

I read this in an evening because Misstep is full of comical characters and a heartwarming story, wrapped in mystery. Deborah has a strong writing voice and an army of strong characters that make Road’s End. I can’t pick a favorite character because they were all rich.

As for the mystery and the Christmas miracle, I never saw any of it coming. I’m pretty good at figuring out mysteries, I’m rarely stumped. This plot twist was brilliant.

To purchase Misstep, click here.

I am one of the authors affiliated with the publisher and received this from Write Integrity Press. However, all thoughts are my own and the only expectation was that I read it and be honest.

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Book Review: Wounded by God’s People by Anne Graham Lotz

Posted by Julie on October 31, 2013 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I owe Anne Graham Lotz an apology. Everytime I mention why I enjoy speaking and writing to encourage women to find freedom through surrender in Christ, I let them know I’m not Anne. I’m not a forever Christian with an evangelist background. I’m not classy, eloquent, or refined. And more than anything, I’m not perfect.

And I learned by reading Anne’s latest, Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts, neither is she. In fact, Anne is candid sharing that not only has she been deeply wounded by other Christians, she’s also been a wounder.

If Christ is your Savior, or if you’re holding back on seeking a relationship with Jesus because of the hypocrisy you see, Wounded by God’s People is for you. Simply, everyone should have this book.

Like I said, Anne is transparent, raw, and open sharing her heart and the very real and not even close to perfect things that happened to her. How she reacted to them. Why she did what she did. And as you read the very end, you learn she held back. There were even deeper wounds she couldn’t even write about.


But this isn’t a let’s read about Anne’s life, it’s about how you can see that she’s been wounded, probably is still walking forgiveness out, and she’s still living for Jesus. Her book includes great Scriptures and advice. I could have underlined at least one thing each paragraph. It’s rich with quotes that are deep, challenging, inspiring, and yes, infuriating. Because doing nothing would be easier. But it’s not Christ’s way.

I’ve been a wounder and I’ve been wounded, and the latter was fairly recent. I know people who have been so wounded they’d rather call themselves atheists. I also know people who are walking around imprisoned with woundedness with a key in their hands. Healing is their’s for the asking, but it’s not there. Anne’s a straight shooter and said something to the effect that if you aren’t choosing to walk out in forgiveness, hell is applauding. So true, but I know I didn’t always consider that when allowing my hurts to fester.

Simply put, this book is a must have, and a must read. As many times as it takes.

You’re worth it.

To purchase Wounded by God’s People, click here.


I reviewed this because I wanted to. I was not offered anything.

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Guest Blogger Author Susan May Warren: Take a Chance on Jensen Atwood

Posted by Julie on June 6, 2013 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Take a Chance on Jensen Atwood

My name is Jensen, and I’m the reason why Darek Christiansen doesn’t have a wife, why Tiger doesn’t have a mother.  Just for the record, the accident wasn’t my fault, but no one is listening to me, so it doesn’t matter what I say.  I just want to finish my “prison” sentence – okay, community service – in Deep Haven and leave.  Dust my feet off of the dirt of this town and forget the last three years.


People have no idea what it feels like to walk around with a target on your back.  It feels like no matter where I go – the VFW to listen to the Blue Monkeys, or the Shelter to walk the dogs (part of my community service – don’t get excited, I’m not that altruistic), or even the local pizza joint, I’ve got eyes on me, watching. Waiting for me to make a mistake.

Wouldn’t Darek love that. He’d like more than anything to make me pay for Felicity’s death. But how can he make me pay more than the grief I already feel?  He wasn’t the only one who loved her.

In fact, we all loved Felicity.  Especailly Clair, her best friend. Which is why, probably, she can’t talk to me, can’t stand to look at me.  Once upon a time, we were best friends, after all, we spent every summer together on the lake, being neighbors and all.

The truth is, I had – have – a little crush on Claire. The thought of her forgiveng me makes living in Deep Haven bearable.

Not that she will.  If only she’d take a chance on me, hear me out, listen to my side.

Forgive me.

But I’m not holding my breath.  Because really, who could forgive a guy who killed the town sweetheart?

Read my story in Susan May Warren’s newest novel, set in the north woods of Minnesota, Take a Chance on Me.  

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