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Book Review: Finish by Jon Acuff

Posted by Julie on September 16, 2017 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Finish by Jon Acuff


Year after year, readers pulled me aside at events and said, “I’ve never had a problem starting. I’ve started a million things, but I never finish them. Why can’t I finish?

According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s reso-lutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals.

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly.

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off.

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations.

The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. But they’re based on studies conducted by a university researcher with hundreds of participants. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing something to bomb intentionally works. But the data says otherwise. People who have fun are 43 percent more successful! Imagine if your diet, guitar playing, or small business was 43 percent more suc­cessful just by following a few simple principles.

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.

I’m a Jon Acuff fan and really enjoy his work. When I heard about Finish, I was excited because that’s a problem not only do I run into, but I also hear it from people I work with/mentor/encourage. We have no problem starting, but finishing? A look in a craft room can tell you how real the problem is.


I loved Finish because it gave great strategies that are so simple you’ll be mad you didn’t think of it first. It’s also full of stories, stats, and anecdotes that Jon Acuff is known for. It’s motivational and humorous, practical and inspiring.


I finished the book a few weeks ago and I’m still going back to Will Smith. In the book it talks about financial challenges Will was having years ago and the simple technique he used to not only get out of that predicament, but keep him on the short list for big movies for 20 years. I won’t give it away, but it blew my mind.

There’s a lot of meat to Finish, yet, it’s a fast read. Don’t go too fast, or you’ll miss something, because there are a lot of takeaways you can and should apply to your life. I think this is a book you not only can start, but finish—and use as a practical tool in your life.


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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Reading News You Can Use

Posted by Julie on June 13, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

There’s a lot going on with ENGAGED releasing this month. I thought I’d share an update with reading news you can use!

  • Patti Shene hosted me last week and time is running out on the giveaway opportunity to receive a copy of ENGAGED. Learn more HERE.


  • Sarah Ruut interviewed me yesterday and there’s a giveaway opportunity for ENGAGED as well. Check it out HERE!


  • ENGAGED is available for eReader pre-order on Amazon. Don’t have a Kindle? No worries. Amazon has a free Kindle reading app for your electronic device.


  • The print version will be out later this month.


Reading News You Can Use


Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back unemployed. With no prospects, she works at her mom’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.

As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?

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iBloom Life and Business Planner Available as FREE August Sample

Posted by Julie on July 30, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
This is what my iBloom Life and Business Planner Looks like.

This is what my iBloom Life and Business Planner Looks like.

Last month I shared how I was an iBloom lurker and this year took the plunge and bought the planner. I was so sold on it that when there was a call out for women to partner with iBloom, I wanted in.

The iBloom Life and Business Planner has been the one tool I keep using as I move forward as an author and speaker. As a wife and mom. Volunteer. Friend.

Great news is, you can try it for FREE the month of August!

iBloom Life & Business Planner Sample

The iBloom Life & Business Planner:

  • Has enough space for me to fill in all my tasks and activities

  • Has monthly accountability with goals, relationships, victories, and more

  • Weekly, monthly, half-year and yearly goals and how they are going. Space to dream and journal

When I first got my planner in the mail, the first thing I noticed was how organized yet comprehensive it is. Every aspect of my life is covered in the planner, but the planner is organized. I’m not overwhelmed, but inspired. I want to hit those tasks and mark them off, not the planner collect dust.

I wasn’t sure I would use the space above each week, but I do. I use that section to write out sermon notes. Already I’m going back to read them. At the bottom of each day is a box. I know some mark off their workout stats. I use it for business mileage. There is just so much to this planner, right down to a holiday guide to keep track of your purchases.

I hope you’ll grab your free sample of this planner while you can! Follow the link to download your August sample now.

iBloom Life & Business Planner AUGUST 2016 SAMPLE

You won’t be disappointed.

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Book Review: The Plans I Have for You by Amy Parker

Posted by Julie on January 13, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
The Plans I Have for You Devotional and Journal by Amy Parker

The Plans I Have for You Devotional and Journal by Amy Parker

Book Description:

Part of a new brand in the Zondervan family, The Plans I Have for YOU! is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children’s book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love and joy and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.

Journal Description:

Part of a new brand in the Zondervan family, The Plans I Have for You journal prompts creative thinking and exploration of the talents and personalities that make us special, and then helps explore how God may use our unique traits to spread love and joy and make the world a better place.

The Plans I Have for You is a great way to teach your 8-12 year old that God cares deeply about you and every aspect of your life. Drawing from Biblical examples, the devotional reminds that God is faithful and He has a wonderful plan for you. Although I felt the devotional was geared toward the younger age, my 12 year old was very drawn to the journal.

Both products are visually stimulated and complement each other well. My daughter loves diary type books so for her, the journal was the bigger draw. However, I went deeper with the devotional and once she knew even more of the stories, she was impressed with the level of faith people took in the Bible when they didn’t know how it would end. I was interested in the message and visuals as well.

I highly recommend The Plans I Have for You. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

To purchase The Plans I Have for You devotional, click here, and for the journal, click here.

I received The Plans I Have for You devotional and journal, sold separately, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: I Like to Hustle

Posted by Julie on February 1, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

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February 1. That means January is done-zo. Weather wise, I’m pretty excited to wave that first month of the year goodbye. The kids had 8 extra days off from school thanks to the cold. We had the polar vortex thingie. Twice.

I’m also pleased because last month I joined a group/challenge/movement and I saw some incredible results.

Jon Acuff asked through his blog if anyone wanted a 30 day challenge to reach goals. I signed up and became a “hustler.” The kind that gets an email everyday with a challenge and the invitation to share on the Facebook group called 30 Days of Hustle. From naming the goal, cutting it in half, finding accountability, measuring goals, learning more from books on the goals, and much more I watched a little goal branch out into many accomplishments I didn’t even see coming.

My original goal was to sit down and talk with my husband. In December I received news that kind of surprised me, and what was even more shocking was how it stunted everything. I felt immobilized and wasn’t bouncing back. But I kept it inside, which didn’t help. So by naming that as my goal and following the challenges, it was achieved.

But there was more.

  • Because of the first talk, we decided another good move would be to talk to my pastor and just share where I’m at and see if he and his wife had any additional feedback. That meeting already took place and really helped break the isolation.
  • I got back on a good eating plan and exercise, even trying Zumba at home. Oh, I’m a hot mess, but it’s fun to try at home.
  • I revised this site. I talked about that in detail last week.
  • I added a gift to newsletter subscribers, scheduled to roll out for Valentine’s Day. It’s a story called Match Made in Heaven with installments set to release throughout the year.
  • I researched podcasts. I’m considering doing this to share surrender testimonies and information I already share when I minister to others.
  • I read a lot of books for reviews that already published or will until mid February. Check my right sidebar to see how many are coming up, and this page for the ones I already reviewed.

Having the Facebook group and community support definitely helped motivate me, and conquering that first goal broke open the isolation and gave me courage to keep moving forward. Although January felt endless with -30 windchills for many days, it was a good month.checklist

Bring on February!

What helps you with goals? What keeps you motivated? Any goals for February?

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My 12 in 12 Update

Posted by Julie on April 12, 2012 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

I missed updating my 12 in 12 list for March, so let’s do this.

Here are the things I’m hoping to accomplish in 2012.


1. Finish my first manuscript. Oh, I’m getting there.

2. Start the agent process. I need to complete #1, but it remains a prayer.

3. Attend a writer’s conference. There’s actually progress here. I didn’t travel to one, but there was an online conference through the Catholic Writers Guild. I learned a lot and am grateful.

4. Use a passport. Not only did I use it for the cruise, I’ve had a meeting explaining my desire to use it again for a short terms missions trip. Stay tuned.

5. Finish that c25k app. Sigh. I lost the pro app. Installed the free. Tried on laptop. Uninstalled on phone. Installed new app. If I worked out as hard with my legs as I have installing, I’d be an Olympian.

6. Prune.  I went for it. I made cuts in my life that needed it. Not easy, became awkward, but I did what I knew was right in a few places in my life.

7. Be social. It’s coming together. On March 15, approximately 20 women met just to chat and have coffee. No agenda. I made a point to visit with every single person. Next meeting is May 8th. It is not in my comfort zone.

8. Date my husband. This needs work. We did watch “The Proposal,” and even “Courageous.” But that’s about it in two month’s time. Pathetic.

9. Write a book with my daughter. As I stated last month, this is a summer project. She’s already asking about it. I can’t wait!

10. Continue the anonymous wordpress project I have going with my son. Wow, forgot about this one. He had a rough month and just getting through it was a goal, and with God’s grace, we did.

11. Visit our local Rescue Mission. I talked about it, but still haven’t been. Thinking summer.

12. Showcase my nature pictures somehow. I blogged some of them, and plan to try to “pin” the rest on Pinterest.

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