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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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Goodreads Giveaway Winner!

Posted by Julie on August 30, 2016 in encouragement, Julie Arduini |

You guys!

I received an email letting me know that my Goodreads giveaway was over and the winner is from the US.

goodreads_icon_32x32-f8a49661f7386bd75e9926f4f302e9a3

There is a Goodreads Giveaway Winner!

The message also let me know 790 of you entered to win.

This is my first time ever doing this. I researched and decided to try one winner, but open it up to someone in either the US, Canada, UK or Australia.  For 790 of you to enter, that blesses me.

If you entered and didn’t win, no worries. I am offering ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED as FREE ebooks September 23/24 and October 7-9. Check the price as the promotion usually starts after 12am PACIFIC time. 

You guys are amazing. If you’ve read ENTRUSTED and/or ENTANGLED and enjoyed it, would you be kind enough to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads?

Thank you. I truly appreciate all your support.

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Facebook’s Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 7

Posted by Julie on August 22, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This is it! All week I’ve been sharing my posts from the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. I hope you’ve been encouraged and wanting to apply oneness to your marriage. It’s worth it. Not easy. Worth it.

LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, DAY 7

Image may contain: 4 people , people smiling , tree, outdoor and nature

Facebook’s Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 7

Here we are. In a couple weeks we celebrate our 20th. There were people who questioned the age difference or the fact I was entering in a ready-made family. We went through infertility, miscarriage, parent deaths, job changes, near death of child and then the day-to-day.

We are not a perfect couple. In all honesty, this has been a tough year. We both changed our work situations. We had a child marry and a child graduate. We lost a beloved parent. Just one is what specialists suggest a couple go through in a year. Not all of them. We are both all or nothing personalities and we are both introverts. Affection is not natural for me, and he can be technical. We have different perspectives as parents, especially with medical issues. These truths are challenges.

But, God. We get each other’s jokes and laugh. The jokes we have are precious and goofy. We don’t get away a lot, so our hot tub dates are how we catch up on what’s going on, talk finances, schedule, etc…

We might get annoyed by failure to close cupboards or slurping, but if someone comes against one of us, we have each other’s back. If there’s a good action movie at the cheap theater, we’re all over it.

If you’re contemplating marriage or aren’t quite at year 20, realize those day 1 challenge pictures won’t look the same on day 7. You won’t be the same, either. I pray you are better, stronger, and more committed to oneness than you are right now. It is truly worth it.

***

Goodreads Giveaway…don’t miss out!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Entangled by Julie Arduini

Entangled

by Julie Arduini

Giveaway ends August 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

 

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Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 5

Posted by Julie on August 20, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

All this week I’ve been sharing my posts from the recent Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. My prayer is I encourage you with a realistic look at marriage. That you can choose oneness and isolation and beat the odds. I believe in you!

LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, Day 5

This picture is from a cruise we took to Mexico to celebrate our 15th anniversary. From infertility to nearly losing a child to death of a parent and lots of transition, we had overcome so much that should have divided us. Anything we learned came from the FamilyLife Marriage Conference, something we attended as an engaged couple. The biggest principle we still work to apply is to choose oneness. Any relationship has two choices—isolation or oneness. Marriage has to operate in oneness. This was a celebration trip for sure.

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Don’t Miss out! Click below to learn more about my Goodreads Giveaway.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Entangled by Julie Arduini

Entangled

by Julie Arduini

Giveaway ends August 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Don’t Go to Bed Angry Book Giveaway

Posted by Julie on July 15, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last week I shared a book review of Don’t Go to Bed Angry by Deb and Ron DeArmond. I was called away and didn’t post with it the 5 book giveaway. This ends Monday, so act NOW!

Click on the image to enter.

angry

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CD Winner + Chocolate Reminder

Posted by Julie on January 16, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s time to announce the winner of the Passion: Salvation’s Tide is Rising CD. This was fun. For one, you all were kind enough to leave comments. Yay, you!

If you want me to keep doing giveaways (I’m often asked and usually decline for lack of interest,) leave a comment so I know you’re paying attention. Thank you!

My thanks to this judge for picking the CD winner!

My thanks to this judge for picking the CD winner!

My alarm went off at 12pm EST and with that, our youngest was the only kid in the house. I asked her to pray and choose the one she felt deserved the CD, and I read them aloud, NOT telling her any names. So this was a fair pick because she had no idea that in “real life,” she truly knew the winner.

With that, congratulations to SUMMER! She will receive the CD!

Didn’t win? I can tell you she was torn between three. I have another chance for you to win this month. I will have a chocolate giveaway announced in my February Julie Arduini: Surrender Issues and Chocolate newsletter announcing the person who won simply by subscribing to my new weekly encouragement, Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate. This is a quick email I send on Sundays so YOU start your week with an uplifting message that always mentions chocolate.

*Want to subscribe to Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate for your chance to win chocolate? GO HERE.

Want to receive monthly updates through my newsletter, which has giveaway opportunities including a chocolate contest for those chosen as Reader of the Month? GO HERE.

*For any contest entry to be valid, your subscription to any Julie Arduini newsletter/email must be activated. Make sure you check your spam folders to confirm your subscription.



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