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CD Review: Live On Forever by The Afters

Posted by Julie on September 11, 2016 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Moses to Job to Jesus, the most intrepid heroes in scripture knew times of trouble that multiplied like a plague-—but always led, in the end, to mighty celebration.

It’s easy to assume such stories of trial and triumph are for the Bible’s books or the history books. But miracles happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever began during a season of tragedy.

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—-part of the worship team—-was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise-—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God.

“If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says. “Look at the titles we’ve selected: They reflect themes of ‘rise up, get up, God has your back, you’re not in this alone.’ We thought, ‘Let’s encourage people and let this be a weapon for people’s faith: something they can hold onto.’”

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.

“I remember going to that funeral and seeing a casket that was way smaller than any casket should ever be.” Havens recalls. “I will never understand why tragedies like that happen in this life. It was in that moment of loss and sadness that our thoughts turned to eternity. ‘What is heaven going to be like? We began writing ‘Live On Forever’ and pulled from Revelation where it describes heaven as a place where there’s no more pain, no more crying, no more suffering.”

The Afters have a new release, LIVE ON FOREVER, a CD that took two years to create. In that time, the band suffered loss after loss, and each of their experiences molded what became the music for LIVE ON FOREVER. The members share their losses on their website, and it is well worth the read. Even in grief, they realize God is ever-present and caring.

LIVE ON FOREVER is a great Christian pop CD to listen to for encouragement and uplifting. There’s nothing in their music that reveals the depth of their pain and grief, and I think it’s a testament to how faithful they believe God is, and we get the results of that with upbeat music. LIVE ON FOREVER is already well known, but I also really enjoyed SHADOWS and BATTLES. I enjoyed each song, but the first two really stayed with me in both beat and lyrics.

I highly recommend LIVE ON FOREVER if you enjoy a good pop beat with a positive message. If these band members can endure the losses they did and come out with these uplifting songs and messages, I think they deserve a listen.

PURCHASE LIVE ON FOREVER

I received a CD for review purposes in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Northern Light by Annette O’Hare

Posted by Julie on August 5, 2016 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Northern Light by Annette O'Hare

Northern Light by Annette O’Hare

Civil War has robbed Margaret Logan of all she holds dear, including her beloved New Orleans home and her fiancé. When her family moves to the desolate Bolivar Peninsula to manage a lighthouse that is no longer there, all her hopes for a normal future are dashed. Her world is rocked once again when a wounded Yankee soldier washes ashore needing her help. Despite her contempt for the North, Margaret falls in love with Thomas Murphy. As their love blooms, Margaret’s sister is overcome with neurosis, and her mind slowly slips away. Bitterness, psychosis and depression yield a decision fueled by contempt. Will one fatal choice cause Margaret to lose the man she loves and condemn Thomas to death?

I wish I could write historical romance, because I love to read it. When I learned that there was a review opportunity for a civil war romance, I jumped at it because that’s my favorite time period.

Northern Light did not disappoint.

Margaret is a single young woman living in Bolivar Peninsula grieving the loss of her fiancé who died in the war. It’s not her only loss. Her family had to leave New Orleans and her sister is falling ill, a consequence of the war. The last thing she wants to do is get involved in any aspect of the war, especially when it comes to anything yankee.

She then comes across a Yankee solider who is near death. Her family takes him in and nurses him back to health, something Margaret struggles with despite her Christian upbringing. Thanks to her parent’s example and their prayers, she overcomes her grief and bitterness, only to be threatened to go through it all over again.

This is a solid story that put me smack dab in the south during the war. It felt authentic and I could feel Margaret’s pain and conflict. The characters were all well-developed and well-researched, including Margaret’s attempt to make a meal for Thomas that is ripe of his Irish history. The secondary story of Margaret’s story is one I never thought about when it came to the war. It’s moving and heartbreaking and enhances an already great story.

If you love historicals, are a fan of the Civil War, and read romance, Northern Light is a must read.

To purchase Northern Light, click here

I received Northern Light in exchange for an honest review.

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The Comfort of Full House and Wind Chimes

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

The words for my 2016 are perspective and fierce. Perspective has kept me in check through transition I never saw coming. Fierce? I’m not feeling it, but I’m still reflecting on it.

With the year more than half over, we’ve hit a lot of those stress lists where counselors tell you to only endure one or two. We’ve…

-Had two major job changes

-A wedding

-A graduation

-Two book releases

-Health stuff

and last week, Tom’s dad passed away.

If I had not survived a season similar to this, I’d be reeling. I’m hanging on to God’s word, praying a lot, letting tears come, being honest with my feelings and watching Full House.

Not the re boot, but the original. Early in the summer we ditched cable and a friend knew our daughter loves Full House. He gave her every episode on DVD.

Every.

Episode.

You know that show lasted 8 seasons, right?

That means there is a lot of Uncle Jesse.

Funny thing is, a lot of times I’m in the same room when our daughter is and that’s what she has one. At first I was annoyed because I watched it as a teen real time, then as a step-mom when kids visited, then as a nursing mom, and now with her. I know the episodes. I can tell you the next line and what actors played two different characters. I know this show.

And as the summer goes on, I realize when I have the opportunity to turn off the television, I let it play.

Because with such a topsy-turvy year, the show is comforting.

It’s wholesome and light, even with a single dad and girls who miss their mom. There is love and family. Commitment. Laughter.

Full House and Wind Chimes

Full House and Wind Chimes

We also received kind gifts as we grieve. Tom’s work gave us customized wind chimes that play the opening measures to Amazing Grace. I hung them out on our deck and the chimes are so soothing. As I tended to a little crisis outside, the chimes kept me calm.

It’s the little things, isn’t it?

There’s nothing big to take away from this post, just a confession that Full House isn’t driving me crazy but actually helping. Wind chimes soothe me.

What everyday items help you when things are going crazy around you?

 

pixabay

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Celebrate Summer with a FREE and .99 Read!

Posted by Julie on June 19, 2016 in About Me, Julie Arduini |

Oneday_editedNOTE: If you receive this blog via email, the sale might already have started.

Although Ohio has seen 90+ temps already (and snow in May,) it is now summer. One of my favorite things to do is watch our daughter swim and have a book on the deck.

And now, I want to put a couple books in YOUR hands.

If you enjoy the feel of a “real” book, I priced ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED so you could buy both and spend less than $20. Typically, you would see a full length novel sell for $15 each. I believe that much in these stories getting to people and changing lives.

If you have a Kindle, or a tablet, laptop, desktop or phone that you use for reading, I am having a sale on the ebook versions of ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21. Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle, download the FREE Kindle app to your device and start reading!

ENTRUSTED will be FREE. Yep, no cost at all.

ENTANGLED will be .99. You can purchase both books in the Surrendering Time Series (book 3, ENGAGED, due later this year) for .99 ebooks. That’s how to say hello to summer!

About ENTRUSTED:

ENTRUSTED will be FREE (ebook/Kindle version) Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21.

ENTRUSTED will be FREE (ebook/Kindle version) Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21.

Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/RGOs301mVag (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)

“You need to go home, city-girl. You don’t belong.”

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS and a determination to fit in as the newest resident. She wants to live a life without regret and make a difference. Moving to become the senior center director is the biggest risk she’s ever taken, and she believes her ideas are worth investing in. The senior citizens have been hurt by the last director, so Jenna has to work hard to earn their trust. When they embrace her, she thinks it’s time to show the seniors she intends to stay and make the center beautiful for them.

Town councilman and grocer Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving from the double loss of his grandfather’s passing and his former girlfriend leaving town without saying goodbye. His grief is so strong he wants to shut down the senior center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. Re opening the senior center and hiring a new director was never his plan. Jenna isn’t a Speculator Falls local and she has too many plans that will cost money the village doesn’t have. She’s too excited about his dream to expand the store his grandfather built. The harder he tries to keep Jenna at a distance, the more they are thrown together to work on community projects. They build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

About ENTANGLED:

ENTANGLED will be .99 ebook Monday and Tuesday.

ENTANGLED will be .99 ebook Monday and Tuesday.

Purchase Link: http://ow.ly/1ryi301mVyX (Please check to make sure you’ve selected preferred format, and that the ebook sale started. It is slated to begin Monday, June 20, approximately 12am Pacific.)
“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

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Books for the Readers on Your Christmas List

Posted by Julie on December 5, 2015 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, surrender, Writing |

If you’re looking for ideas for the readers on your Christmas list, I thought I’d give you some inspiration.

 

  1. The Heart Seekers Series. This includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. It’s now all in one volume and for the first time, in print. If you’d like to indulge for yourself, the Kindle version is FREE through Sunday, December 6th.

    The Heart Seekers Series contains 3 books +character updates + #1 bestseller, The Christmas Tree Treasure.

    The Heart Seekers Series contains 3 books +character updates + #1 bestseller, The Christmas Tree Treasure.

Not only do you receive those novellas in one place, we wrote character updates (find out what happened to my characters, Nora Laing and Landon Gates.) We also included the #1 bestseller, A Christmas Tree Treasure.
I’m proud of this series and it’s a great deal.

2.

More Christmas Moments

More Christmas Moments

More Christmas Moments. Last year I wrote a blog post over at Christians Read about how to manage When the Most Wonderful Time of Year Isn’t. My CR colleague, Yvonne Lehman, asked if she could use the post in her book, More Christmas Moments. Not only is my contribution in there, but there are so many heartwarming and inspirational stories.
It’s  one to buy for yourself and also purchase for others.

3.

Entrusted is a perfect Christmas read.

Entrusted is a perfect Christmas read.

Entrusted. This is my baby, the bestselling Adirondack romance that explores surrendering fear through grief, loss, and change.

Entrusted is the first of three books and features a village of characters, laugh out loud moments, and inspiration to find freedom through surrender.

To purchase Entrusted, click here.

4. A Walk in the Valley. I wish I could tell you that no one struggles at Christmas.

A Walk in the Valley could help a loved one this Christmas.

A Walk in the Valley could help a loved one this Christmas.

A Walk in the Valley is a workbook designed to help you with healing through infertility. It’s the book I wish I could have had when I was hurting and angry.

To purchase A Walk in the Valley, click here.

If you want to keep informed of my writing so you can buy for Christmas, follow my Amazon page.

PS
Beyond purchasing, the best gift you can give an author is if you liked the book, leave a review. It makes a BIG difference!

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Being Thankful in Grief by Sara Nelson

Being Thankful in Grief

My daughter and I were the best of friends. People who didn’t know us often thought we were sisters, because of our cheerful camaraderie. She was an only child, and perhaps, growing up as an army family with my husband often away for extended periods, our bond as a mother and daughter grew uncommonly close. All the more reason why her passing cut so incredibly deep.

2013 was a rough year. Health problems emerged for which we never did find the cause, but she began having seizures. There were financial hardships. Then, she and her husband separated. As 2014 began, we looked forward to a more hope-filled and brighter year. We had just celebrated her 36th birthday. And then, suddenly, she was gone.

When tragedies happen, everyone wants to know why. Why did this happen? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know this. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Life is not always sunny and happy and wonderful. Sometimes, there’s pain. Jesus said himself troubles would come, BUT not to despair. He overcame, so we could be overcomers.

That’s the kind of promise I cling to in my heartbreak. I am thankful for the overcoming grace of God which sustains us, even in this. I am thankful for God’s loving arms which I cling to in my tears. I’m thankful for my relationship with God, and for knowing, before this ever happened, that God is good and kind and loving. He cares, and He carries our grief.

I am thankful for many things. I’m thankful she doesn’t have seizures anymore, and she is completely whole and well. I’m thankful that the cares and heartaches of this world which were such a burden in the last year of her life, no longer plague her. I know she is joyful in the presence of God.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful years of her life we had together. Such good memories to cherish! I might have been childless, otherwise. She was our miracle. I’m thankful for God blessing us with her and for every year of her life.

I’m thankful for what a blessing she was to others. She was a gifted teacher and touched more lives than she even knew. People still come up to us and share anecdotes of ways she ministered to them or their child. I am thankful for her gifts and talents and the precious legacy she left to us.

I had sometimes thought about my daughter’s eventual grief when she would face losing her father and me. I would rather bear this grief for her than that she should have to bear it for us. I’m thankful she won’t have to grieve for us someday.

I’m thankful for this taste of grief, bitter as it is, because I’ve grown so much in ways I might not have otherwise. I never realized how many people are walking through a grief journey of their own. Before, I might have felt compassion, but now, I know what it’s like. It’s true that we are able to comfort others because of the comfort we have received. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I’m thankful for the promise of heaven for those who trust and believe in Jesus. The movie, Heaven is For Real, came out a short time after her passing, and it blessed us so much. Other books and testimonies have also helped strengthen our vision and understanding of what heaven is like. These things have greatly encouraged and comforted us.

God does not keep every bad thing from happening, but He is very much with us in our sorrow. He comforts, and strengthens, and helps us go on, even when—especially when—we think we cannot. And, that is worthy of thanksgiving.

1378554_10202365435760096_915185415_n_edited Sara Faith Nelson is a retired teacher and aspiring writer. She writes devotions and blogs about her grief journey on her website, Sunshine for the Journey. Many have said they’ve been comforted and encouraged by her sharing. On her Facebook page, she enjoys passing on positive and hope-filled messages. She and her husband live in Arizona. Sara enjoys bird-watching, rock collecting, and adding to her collection of coffee mugs and tea cups.

 



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