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Answered Prayers by Darlene Franklin

Posted by Julie on August 2, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Prayer is our means of communication with God and God’s given requirement to watch him work. We read stories of men and women of prayer who pray(ed) 2 hours a day and feel like the disciples who couldn’t spend an hour in prayer with Jesus in the garden.

All my life I’ve felt like such a stumbling fool when it comes to prayer. I struggle to fill a single page in mu prayer journal. And I use a prayer journal because it forces me to focus, unlike closing my eyes to daydream—or fall asleep.

I offer all this background so you understand why this—thing­—has me shocked, surprised, delighted.

God is answering my prayers. When asked. As asked. In very demonstrable ways.

I started to notice it a few months ago. I prayed that my granddaughter would either leave her live-in boyfriend—or get married. She moved out. (and back in—but she did move out!)

At our weekly Bible study, our leader asked us to requested that we pray for his voice and his health. We prayed that because God had given him the lesson to share, that He would give him the strength to finish the lesson. And he did.

Later, a phlebotomist showed up for a blood draw. I selfishly prayed it would go easily. At a recent hospital visit, they had needed three-plus attempts every time they drew blood or put in an IV.

I didn’t even feel the needle go in.

A week ago, my vision was so blurry, I couldn’t see the music to play hymns at Bible study. I asked for prayer—vision restored.

Of course I’ve always known God answered prayer. And I haven’t had any significant “deposits” in the prayer bank. But I have never ever experienced this kind of clear, immediate answer. This feeling of—power?—had given me wings, a freedom to pray and actively expect an answer.

When I first starting writing devotionals, I found prayers the most difficult element to

Answered Prayer: A Guest Post by Darlene Franklin

write. But recently, I completed 48 prayers to accompany the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR 2/1/18).  Here’s the first one:

Lord God, the story of prayer might be the story of great achievements, but my personal journey reads more like a survival tale, lurching from one day’s emergency to the next. Not everyone can be like Esther, who fasted, prayed, and wrested victory for her people from the hands of her enemy. I’m more like Hannah, who asked You for a son, and the Phoenician woman who beseeched Jesus to heal her child. I may not be like Lydia who offered her house as a place of worship, but I have often wept before You, like the woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her tears. As I rehearse Your gracious response to my prayers, open my eyes to the grandeur of Your achievements in my life. Amen.

I guess I absorbed the lessons as I wrote them!  Praise God for a very welcome transformation.

 

 

Bio: Darlene has been preparing to write devotionals all her life. She enjoyed the teaching of verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible three times a week in addition to her own private study all the way through school. At Northeastern Bible College, she majored in Bible and theology, and then attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in Religious Education. When she began writing after her divorce, she started with a devotional project focused in about the lessons God had taught her, and her first ever published piece was a devotional in The Secret Place. Since then, Darlene has published over 300 devotionals in various publications as well as three stand-alone titles with Winged Publications.

 

Website and blog

Facebook

Amazon author page

Twitter: @darlenefranklin

 

Book blurb about 12 Months to Better Prayer:

Learn the art of prayer from the hearts of giants of the faith.

Prayer is simply talking with God—yet even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Since then, godly men and women of the faith have given us guidance to a deeper prayer life—and their most insightful comments are included in A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women.

Featuring the words of giants of the faith such as Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, and Hannah Whitall Smith, it’s arranged into 12 key topics.

Ideal for use on a year-long prayer journey, this book also includes prayer starters that will set you on a course of deeper, more personal times of conversations with God.

Book blurb about my fiftieth book, Mermaid’s Song:

At last, the much anticipated 50th book by Darlene Franklin!

Noble Prescott is drawn to the scene of a shipwreck by a sweet song sung in a language he didn’t understand. The songstress is barely alive, holding onto a piece of the ship’s railing. Her dress wraps around her legs like a mermaid’s tail.

Thus begins this imaginative retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale.

Justine Battineaux, an Acadian forced from her homeland on Cape Breton Island by British decree, finds herself adrift in the Maine colony. She doesn’t know the language and is distrusted as a foreigner.

Noble lives up to his name, providing shelter for Justine—and protection, as distrust turns into danger. For himself, his family—and the woman he comes to love.

How will Justine and Noble overcome the evil woman’s schemes to find their own love everlasting?

 

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Road Trip of Delusion by Jean Ann Williams

Posted by Julie on July 17, 2017 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Road Trip of Delusion by Jean Ann Williams

Thanks, Jean Ann for providing this character interview with Kari Rose Holt.

I have Kari Rose Holt from Pismo Beach, California, here at the Shasta City hospital. Single-handedly, Kari drove her granny’s 1960 Cadillac through a blizzard of the century.

How are you today, Kari?

Tired.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you find yourself caught in this blizzard?

Well, uh, it’s a really long story, but, my great-granny decided to take a 500-mile trip to see her son, my papa, Joel. At three in the ridiculous morning, as my sister, Leah, has said. I think I was so sleepy, I couldn’t think straight and decided she couldn’t leave my sisters and me. After a while, I realized my mistake because our parents would be furious.

When did you realize this?

Only a few miles down the road, especially when my two sisters began complaining about the trip.

As the eldest sister, did you feel a responsibility to have your grandmother turn back for home?

I did. But, Granny was determined and even had a crying fit, and so we kept going. By the time the Cadillac broke down on the freeway, I was biting my fingernails. Also, I realized then the trip was about over because of the car.

This did not stop the trip, though, did it?

No, it didn’t. It seemed nothing could stop the trip. When the auto shop replaced the part needed, I made plans for Papa to meet us partway.

By then, something happened and you took charge. Would you tell us about this?

Well, yeah, I had to drive the Caddy because Granny had fallen and could no longer drive. I planned to go as far as the next motel, but the storm had hit and a blizzard was coming.

So you drove in a snow storm, correct?

Yes, and I didn’t have my license. It was Leah who pushed me to drive, because we were at a rest stop and we needed to get to a motel.

Did you feel it was wrong to drive without a license?

Oh, yeah! But, the weather scared me more. A lady we met back at the auto shop told us she feared it would be a blizzard like the one this area had back in 1860. I believed her, and so this pressured me to make my decision.

Tell us about when the blizzard hit. Where were you?

Oh, it was scary. I was driving really slowly as the traffic finally moved on the freeway. Snow was so thick it was hard to see even with the windshield wipers. This snowplow pulled off the freeway as it was plowing the snow. I quick followed it to an off ramp. We ended at the top of the hill at a vacant lodge. We were stranded there for three days, but safe from the weather.

What helped you the most with all the decisions you had to make?

Prayer.

Really? Just simple prayer?

Yeah. I even remembered a scripture while the Caddy tires skidded up the hill toward the lodge. I just knew God could help us.

And did God help you?

Yes. He helped me to make hard decisions. He sent the plow guy, Derrick, to help us get to the lodge. He gave me courage to do hard things like climb a roof. I feel braver now. He helped to save Leah from freezing and from me suffocating in a pile of snow. And, he heard our prayers for Granny here in the hospital. She’s going to be okay.

Because of the changes in you, do you still regret taking the trip?

Yep. Mom was really mad at me, but I think she’s starting to forgive me for my decision to go with Granny.

Kari, thank you for answering my questions, and I’m glad you and your family are safe. Watch this interview on tonight’s local weather news.

I’m going to be on TV? I wonder if Harry will see me.

Who’s Harry?

Kari bowed her head and grinned.

 

Bio: Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over three hundred articles for children and adults, Road Trip of Delusion is her second book for ages twelve to ninety-nine. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes regularly at Putting on the New blog, Book Fun magazine, and her own Real Stories for Real Girls website. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods, practicing archery, and her favorite game is Scrabble.

Purchase Links:

https://tsw.createspace.com/title/6697585

https://goo.gl/mxJVKn

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/road-trip-of-delusion-mrs-jean-ann-williams/1126630252?ean=9780997701623

Road Trip Trailer: https://youtu.be/jYXeRQfqnvc

Book Fun Author Page: http://www.bookfun.org/group/jean-williams-author

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14840858.Jean_Ann_Williams

 

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From the Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose

Posted by Julie on July 13, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray Elliott

Forty years ago, at the age of sixteen my life changed and I found myself in the ashes of pity. My life took a dark turn when my father passed away several months before I turned sixteen. My mother decided she did not want to live in our home state any longer and moved me across the country. This is where my life took a wrong turn.

 

Except from the book:

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray Elliott

 

The year was 1977, the month and date: November 4th, I was sixteen; technically a teenager, but still a child.   I was taken for my abortion.  I have tried to block out the memories, but I cannot forget the cold metal table where I had lain or the baby being sucked from my womb through a vacuum tube. My eyes fixated on the fluid and blood sucked into the glass canister. All I could see were the demons that had taken over my life instead of the love I deserved. The painful, horrific memories are forever seared in my mind, thoughts, and soul.

 It was in my pain and grief through post-abortion recovery, I started writing about my journeys and how God led me through the ashes into beauty. The end result of my grief was hope and healing. It is hope and healing that I want to give to other women who are experiencing pain and grief.

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.

 

You are altogether beautiful, my darling there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV

 

Bio:

Christian author and speaker Debra Gray Elliott began writing at the age of fifteen after the death of her father. She began writing poetry as a way to cope with her grief. At the age of sixteen, Debra once again experienced grief when she was forced to have an abortion. It was in this grief that she found herself in the ashes of pity. Forty years later, Debra found her beauty of purpose.

 

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose is Debra’s first non-fiction Christian self-help, inspirational book to help women through the ashes of pity into the beauty of purpose after having an abortion.

 

Debra is currently working on a devotional for grieving parents. The loss of her daughter four years ago, has led Debra to want to help other grieving parents through their grief into hope.

 

She resides in Alabama with her husband and family.

 

Website: http://anngrayelliott1960.wixsite.com/authordebraelliott

 

Purchase From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose

 

 

 

 

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Coming Out of Hiding to Say Yes to God by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on July 6, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Coming Out of Hiding to Say Yes to God by Jennifer Slattery

From invincibility to hiding—for years, my life seemed to follow the opposite path God desires His children to take. He created us to live bold, brave, and intentional lives. He’s given us everything we need, in Christ, do this. I know this now, but for over a decade, fears and wounds from my past kept me in bondage.

 

You never would’ve known it to look at me. I went to church. Smiled. Served. Had friends for dinner and went to their place, all the while engaging in polite, acceptable … filtered conversation.

 

I felt like a fraud, convinced if they were to find out who I truly was, who I’d been, they’d want nothing to do with me.

 

Then came the call.

 

That sounds exciting, right? Except for when you’re spending your days hiding out, trying to play the part you believe is expected—by people. I’d kicked my people-pleasing up to such intensity, God’s still small voice faded into the background.

 

I felt certain the two were in opposition of one another. If I were to do this thing, to follow God with everything within me and surrender to Him, I might irritate a few folks. Maybe even turn others away.

 

It was the latter that scared me most, because God wasn’t just calling me to serve. I’d been doing that. He was calling me to serve Him transparently. To be completely real, with my sins, my struggles, my ugly side.

 

An ugly side that can be easy to hide when I all is going well, but when I feel squeezed or overtired? Those are the times when my ick, the part of me that God is working to chip away at, is most likely to rise up.

 

And yet, God was calling me to live authentically. To be real.

 

Not just real, but to put this transparency into writing, for all the world to see. Knowing some reading would judge me. Would see the worst in me. Would misunderstand. Maybe even choose to use my words against me.

 

So I hid. I continued to reveal only slivers of myself, and thus, only slivers of what God was doing within me—those things that made me look good, like I’d grown and conquered. And day-by-day, God’s still, gentle voice grew softer and more distant.

 

Until the chill between us became more than I cared to bear. I realized I craved intimacy with Christ more than anything else, even my pride. So I said yes, and have had to make that choice many times since, for pride never seems to stay dead for long.

 

What I found—the more I let God in, the more I say yes to Him, the more I begin to live.

 

Consider this quote by Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling: “Living our lives to the full is precisely what it means to be good stewards of our lives. … We live fully by living in a way that is deeply congruent with who we are.” (p. 18).

 

Congruent with who we are. Living authentically. No more hiding. No more pretending to be someone we’re not. No more trying to please others or avoid their rejection or judgment.  Simply leaning deeper into Christ and allowing Him to use as—our past and our present, our strengths and our weakness, our quirks and qualities—for His glory.

 

I believe that’s when we truly begin to experience the full freedom available to us in Christ and the peace that “surpasses all understand.” A peace no amount of ridicule, “failure,” or rejection can take away.

 

What about you? Are you living authentically, or are you in some state of hiding? Can you sense God saying to you, “Come out, my beloved, chosen by God. Let my Spirit flow, unhindered, through you as I use you to bring about my good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

 

Say yes, friend. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Bio and Blurb:

 

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

 

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com 

 

Healing Love

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

 

Blurb: A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

 

Learn more about Healing Love by visiting Goodreads.

Pre-Order Healing Love HERE

 

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God is Waiting to Bless Your Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbush

Posted by Julie on July 5, 2017 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

God Is Waiting To Bless Your Broken Road: Just Surrender!

 

My new novel (soon to be a major motion picture) God Bless the Broken Road, is a textbook on surrender. After two years, the protagonist, Amber Hill, has still not been able to completely surrender the loss of her military husband to God and it’s starting to create great havoc in her life. No spoilers, but in her efforts to try to control her life, emotions, and circumstances, she almost loses the most important thing her husband ever gave her.

 

When writing the script (which I actually wrote before writing the novel), I always kept in mind this concept of surrendering our will to God’s will. The question of surrender drives Amber’s every decision in every scene and chapter.

 

God is Waiting to Bless Your Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbush.

It’s easy to relate to Amber. I know I do! When we’re in those “bad places” of life, we don’t always see God with us. We don’t feel like He is and it can be really hard to seek Him. But He is always there and He is always providing us with amazing blessings, even if we don’t acknowledge them. One of the keys to surrender on our broken roads is to turn our gaze to Him so that we can start healing. As we begin to recognize Him along the path, we can become filled with His hope and renewed purpose. When we turn to Him and humble ourselves, He can start to guide us and shape our brokenness into blessing. Grab a copy of GBTBR to see how this pans out for Amber.

 

But wait! Surrendering to God is only the start. God’s healing work is complete when we surrender in the context of our community. This is great news! It means we don’t have to travel our broken roads alone. God has given us friends and family to lean for support and encouragement. This can make a huge difference when we are going through trying times.

 

Now, I get it. It can be difficult to let down your guard and let people into your pain (the people who love you don’t always “get it”). This takes a great deal of vulnerability and courage. Mother Theresa said the greatest poverty we have today is the feeling of loneliness because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  We see this in GBTBR with Amber, who consistently refuses the well-meaning help of her family and friends. She has forgotten that she belongs to God and God’s people here on hearth. Instead, she chooses time after time to exclude those around her in her pain. And she becomes really, really lonely.

 

Of course, Amber’s despair eventually leads her to hit rock bottom and she is finally ready to surrender… with the help of an unlikely character. In that moment of letting go, Amber’s life turns and she finds a renewed purpose, joy, love, and a community very eager to have her back in the fold.

 

Maybe you are the one being called to can help someone on their broken road? It’s so simple to be there for someone. You don’t have to be a professional counselor or therapist to help someone heal from a wounding. Most time the very best thing is to just to take a moment from your day to pause, listen, and lend a hug or word of encouragement. How exciting to think that God may be using you to bless someone’s broken road! How will show someone today that they are deeply, deeply loved?

 

 

Author Info:

 

Author Website: www.jenniferdornbush.com

 

Facebook: Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.graeserdornbush

 

Instagram: Jennifer Dornbush

https://www.instagram.com/jenniferdornbush/

 

Pintrest:

https://www.pinterest.com/jenidornbush/

 

Twitter: @JGDornbush

https://twitter.com/JGDornbush

 

GBBR Book link:

https://www.amazon.com/God-Bless-Broken-Road-Novel/dp/1501159593/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497487120&sr=8-1&keywords=god+bless+the+broken+road+jennifer+dornbush

 

GBBR Audiobook link:

https://www.audiobooksnow.com/author/jennifer%20dornbush/

 

GBBR Movie Trailer link:

https://vimeo.com/191227455

 

 

Jennifer Dornbush Bio

 

Jennifer is a writer, speaker and forensic specialist creating diverse range of stories that shed light on the dark places of the human experience.

 

Her story creation is bred from a very unsheltered childhood as the daughter of a medical examiner whose office was in her home. She investigated her first fatality, an airplane crash, when she was 8 years-old and from there gathered a decade of on-sight experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy.

 

The stories she creates stem from the unique range of human experiences.  Because of her background, she does not shy away from telling stories about tough circumstances and how characters choose to deal with them. Jennifer’s characters encounter light in their darkness… redemption where none seems possible… and bits of levity to sweeten the journey.

 

Her feature film, God Bless the Broken Road is slated for release in 2017 in conjunction with the novel released on June 6th by the same title published by Simon & Schuster.

 

Jennifer has several crime drama series being developed for television and a bi-lingual kid’s show, Team Abuelita, in production with Baby First TV.

 

Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she scribed non-fiction work, Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions, hailed as a north star to creating authentic crime dramas.

 

As a forensic specialist she has consulted with TV writers on network and cable TV shows.  She regularly leads seminars and webinars on forensics and crime fiction and has taught screenwriting on the high school and university level and mentored new writers.

 

Sign up for her newsletter and YouTube channel at: www.jenniferdornbush.com

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Total Surrender by Cynthia Roemer

Posted by Julie on May 5, 2017 in God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

TOTAL SURRENDER

By

Cynthia Roemer

I’ve always been inspired by those who are willing to give their all for the cause of Christ.—missionaries who give up home and family to live in foreign lands in less than comfortable places, men, women, even children who stand by their convictions regardless of the consequences. These people have counted the cost and surrendered their lives to God anyway.

Surrendering our lives to God never comes easily. If you’re like me, you can give a situation to the Lord only to take it back again and again in a tug-of-war for control. I suppose that’s why I wrote about the theme of total surrender in my debut novel, Under This Same Sky.

My heroine, Becky Hollister, doesn’t willingly choose to surrender her will to God; instead, adverse circumstances compel her to choose between entrusting her life to Him or turning her back on her faith. It’s touch and go for a while. After enduring great suffering and loss, Becky questions how a loving God can allow such hurtful events to happen.

Under This Same Sky takes readers on a journey alongside Becky as she works through her resentment toward God and seeks to determine what His will for her might be. But just as in real life, it takes the wisdom of God’s word and the love of friends (and in Becky’s case, a godly man) to pull her through.

Becky’s story is a tale of friendship and love, but even more so, it’s a quest for wholeness and deeper understanding of a God who longs to hold the deepest desires of her heart. Fully surrendering to the Lord is something I believe we all struggle to achieve. I hope you’ll be encouraged by Becky’s story and the message of surrender it conveys.

 

Under This Same Sky Book Blurb:

             ~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~

Illinois ~ 1854

Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.

Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under This Same Sky is her debut novel.

 

Contact Links:

 Website:  http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer 

 Purchase Link

 

 

 



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