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FREE Educational Pamphlet from The Foundation Fighting Blindness #ffbamd

Posted by Julie on March 25, 2017 in Guest blogger, Life Lessons |

Every year nearly 10 million Americans go blind due to AMD or Age-related Macular Degeneration. The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, we need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures.

With your help and your reach into the digital world we can continue with our important work of helping the blind to see.

FREE educational pamphlet on AMD from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, FFB. Download HERE.

To watch the video, click HERE.

To help spread the word, click HERE.

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Traci and Marc’s Transformation by Alexis A. Goring

Posted by Julie on March 23, 2017 in ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Traci and Marc’s Transformation

A Guest Post written by Alexis A. Goring

 

Today, I want to write about the transformation that Traci and Marc experienced. Traci and Marc are not real people, though their story is true to real life situations and stories.

 

Traci is the heroine and Marc is the hero of my new novella, A Second Chance. When the reader first meets Traci, they see that she is bitter and cynical about love because her fiancé left her at the altar on their Wedding Day. He ran off with her Maid of Honor who she thought was her best friend, leaving Traci with a broken heart and a pile of debt from the expenses for their wedding that didn’t happen.

 

The reader gets to see Traci at her most vulnerable moments and witness her private struggles. They get to see the highs and lows on her faith journey with God. Most of all, they get to see how she learns how to trust again as God uses Marc to strengthen her faith and win her heart.

 

When the reader meets Marc, they see that he is smitten with Traci at first sight, but he’s also very wary because of his pattern with women. All of Marc’s ex-girlfriends said that he was too nice to keep. So they dumped him for someone more dashing and daring. They broke up with him with the line, “Let’s just be friends.” Marc is tired of being in the friend zone and due to these patterns, he has trouble trusting women in romantic relationships. But that may change when he meets Traci. However, falling in love with Traci is not a carefree stroll in a flower garden because of the obstacles that stand in the way of their happily ever after.

 

As they read Traci and Marc’s budding romance, the reader will see how God works everything together for their good. God even uses Marc’s sister Gina who is a bestselling romance novelist, to gently encourage Marc and Traci’s romance toward the altar.

 

You’ll have to read the story to find out if Traci and Marc make it to the altar and if their love lasts.

 

I hope that if you buy my book, A Second Chance, that you will be inspired and encouraged by its message. May the God of Universe who loves you, transform your life with His love.

 

God bless you!

Love,

Alexis A. Goring

Author of A Second Chance

 ~*~

Connect with Alexis:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennedbyAlex

Website: http://www.screenwriteralexis.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capturingidea/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260528.Alexis_A_Goring

“God is Love” blog: http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com

Traci and Marc’s Transformation by Alexis A. Goring

 

Book blurb for A Second Chance: Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life. 
Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death. 

Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

Purchase link for A Second Chance (book):

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2kAP4HX

 

Author Bio: Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

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Transformation Interview: Embracing Hope’s Drew McKinley

Romans 12:2 talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds to discern God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. My guest today, Drew McKinley, has lived through that transformation, but it didn’t come easy, did it?

 

Interview with Drew McKinley from Embracing Hope.

Drew (shaking his head, eyes looking toward the ceiling): Oh, man, it was awful. God had to drag me through the muck, even blood, to get it done. But as I look back, it was the only way He could have transformed me.

 

What were you like before?

 

Drew: I had a perfect life. All the perks of a wealthy family with access to the best education. I married a wonderful woman who, to be honest, was a better person than me; she had a deep faith. My father intended me to inherit the family’s academic kingdom. He’s provost of graduate school education at UConn, and my grandfather taught economics there. Since my older brother is a psychologist, it was up to me to carry on the academic hood. I was okay with it. At first. I got my master’s in academic administration and set out to get my Ph.D. But my wife, Kendra, saw something in me that I didn’t. She encouraged me—strong-armed is more accurate—into taking a deanship at a Christian university in Omaha, Nebraska. I arrogantly assumed I would eventually be president there. But the Lord had other ideas. (Eyes mist, he clears his throat.) The transformation began when Kendra died—suddenly, needlessly. Losing her crushed my heart; crushed my ambition; crushed my faith.

 

I can’t imagine going through such a loss. How did you cope?

 

Drew (running a hand through his dark brown wavy hair): Barely. But God sent people to walk me through the grief and anger. My pastor challenged me to go after hope, not just wish for it or sit around waiting for something better. He insisted that hope was tangible and I had to pursue it. I rejected that concept many times. How can I pursue something that doesn’t exist? (sighs) I tried to focused on work, but failed. The Christmas after Kendra died was torture. My family tried to cocoon me from the hurt. I ended up insulting my dad, brushed aside my mother’s compassion, wanted to slug my brother, and kicked my Ph.D. work to the curb. I hated my job; hated the world.

 

(Slight smile) In the meantime, God placed a remarkable woman, Allison, in my life who could relate to what I was going through. Her father had died suddenly, which like me, crushed her heart and her future. But she was determined to get an education by working two, even three jobs at a time to pay her tuition and expenses. Allison had the hope I rejected; it was tangible, a decision, action. She began to challenge and inspire me.

 

Did you ever think of giving up?

 

Drew (snicker): Almost every day. I won’t lie to you; my anger was ugly. And I inflicted it on others. I actually told God that I hated Him. I’m surprised I wasn’t struck by lightning for that. I was so despondent at one point that … (voice lowers to a whisper) well, I won’t go into the details.

 

How did you turn the corner toward transformation?

 

I lived the verse in First Peter about being tested by fire to be refined like gold. God painfully opened my eyes to the harshness and unfairness of life, not just to me and the people I loved, but those outside my realm of experience. He showed me ways to alleviate the suffering of the “least, last and lost”; to give them hope, which in turn gave me a glimpse of hope. He also gave me the strength to dig deep in my heart and take steps to forgive people who hurt me, and forgive God for taking my wife. And my faith grew, my hope grew, my mind was renewed and finally, I experienced His good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

And what is His perfect will for you today?

 

Drew (a growing smile): I’m still in higher education, but not day-to-day administration. I’ve heard it called God’s Administration. I also jump-started my Ph.D. work. I don’t know all the details of what lies ahead, but I’m where God wants me to be for now—living the Big Three of First Corinthians Thirteen: Faith, Hope and Love.

 

Love? For a woman, as well?

 

Drew (eyes again misting): Yes.

“Embracing Hope” Book blurb
Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring. He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

Purchase EMBRACING HOPE HERE

Author Bio
Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota.

 

Links
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=janell+butler+wojtowicz&sprefix=janell+butler%2Caps%2C400&crid=2RKNVF7OLH34B

Website http://janellwoj.wordpress.com

Twitter @janellwoj

Facebook www.Facebook.com/janellbwoj

 

 

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Sue A. Fairchild: Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

Posted by Julie on February 15, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Losing More Than the Weight with God’s Plan

By Sue A. Fairchild

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)

I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s been a plague on my life since I can remember. I was always “huskier” than other kids and often felt the sting of my peers’ disapproval in the process. Once, in high school, I was asked when my baby was due. I wasn’t pregnant.

One prior boyfriend loved to work out and encouraged me to do so with him, so I did. He pushed me daily, taking inventory of what I’d eaten and condemning me if I hadn’t attended the gym that day. He convinced me it was because he was concerned for my health, but eventually he ended our relationship because I wasn’t thin enough for him.

These things, along with others, caused me to spurn working out. Going to a gym sparked anxiety in my soul and reminded me of my boyfriend’s harsh words that I wasn’t trying hard enough or eating healthy enough.

When I met my husband, neither of us loved working out, but we both needed it. We were unhealthy, overweight and I was often sick. I longed to be thin, but, more so, I longed to have the stamina and strength to simply do. I knew God had placed it in my heart to work with Christian authors, to write His words for others to read and to be His light in the world. But it’s hard to be that light when you’re exhausted, sick or don’t have the strength to do so.

I’d tried various exercise programs and even tried to do exercise by myself, but it never stuck. The old fears and the old doubts always came rushing back in and I’d quit before I’d begun.

So, in April of last year, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and started working out with a personal trainer. Yes, I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to fit into smaller jeans and to look good in all my clothes, but I also simply wanted to be stronger so I could do God’s work in my life. I didn’t want to fail myself, or Him, any longer.

The trainer I chose was a Christian and, within one of our first sessions, she expressed to me how important it was to her to show others how they could take care of the temple God had given them. Her personal training work was more than helping people be thin—she wanted people to wisely manage what God had given them.

I’d never considered this thought before. My body is God’s—not mine. By overeating and not exercising, I had been, essentially, destroying His temple. Plus, I’d let others, not God, determine my journey. I was weak and sick from within because I hadn’t been managing what He’d given me.

The truth was a harsh blow. I have been working hard the last few years to follow God’s purpose for my life, but the entire time I’d been neglecting the vessel He’d given me to do it!

I’m convinced He brought my personal trainer, my new friend, into my life because no other gym, no other trainer, and no other exercise program would have expressed His word for me. The only way for me to accomplish God’s plans were to take care of me, my health, wellness and body, first.

Now, I’ve started classes that my trainer conducts and have met new friends with similar stories. My trainer pushes me in more ways than with my body. She pushes my mind and my walk for God. Even when I don’t want to go exercise, I do. And I’ve been blessed every single time. My body is stronger, but, more importantly, my faith is stronger, too. I’ll never turn back now. My plan was to lose weight, but God’s plan—His plan to bring me closer, expand my mind and my strength—is what I’ve achieved.

 

 

Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Losing More than the Weight with God’s Plan

What You Think You Know

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase What You Think You KNow HERE

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Kimberly Rose Johnson: My Recent Transformation

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

My Recent Transformation

By Kimberly Rose Johnson

 

Transformation sounds painful, and I suppose it often is. One thing is for certain—it’s a process. Change does not happen overnight. At least it didn’t for me, nor was it instant for Kayla in A Love Song for Kayla.

I’m kind of a control freak, and Kayla is as well. Two years ago, my then publisher, closed the line I wrote for. At that time I wasn’t sure what to do. I sought guidance from the Lord, but I didn’t like the answer He gave me. He was clear that I was to indie publish (publish my books on my own). I did not want to do that. I was petrified at the very idea. Yes, I know I said I’m a control freak and an indie writer is in complete control. However, part of being a control freak is knowing all the variables, and for me indie publishing was a mystery and very scary.

God was gracious and allowed me to publish eight more books with a small press, but this past year He was clear that it was time. So on February first I uploaded my first indie book that I did on my own. I couldn’t believe how easy the entire process was compared to my fear. Talk about a freeing experience! I experienced a complete transformation. I no longer fear indie publishing, and I’m super excited to publish my next book.

A Love Song for Kayla is the book that I published. I recently received my rights back from my original publisher and chose to use this story as my first indie book. I mentioned that Kayla is a control freak too. When she was a teenager some stuff happened that caused her to pick up this trait. Her way of handling it was to create a list of the qualities she desired in a husband—the perfect man. As you can imagine it was close to impossible to check every item off her list but she insisted on hanging onto it. She even framed it and hung it in her bedroom.

When the man for her came along, he wasn’t perfect, and she had to choose. Would she cling to the security of being in control, or would she allow the Lord to transform her heart? I won’t spoil the story and tell you what she did. J

Life is filled with opportunities for transformation. I’m glad I finally obeyed and allowed the Lord to transform me. I can’t begin to explain how different I feel now. I suppose that what transformation does—it changes us from the inside out.

 

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

 

A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA

When two strangers cross paths their lives are forever altered.

 

Ever since she was sixteen Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

 

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

 

Formerly published under the title A Valentine for Kayla.

PURCHASE A LOVE SONG FOR KAYLA HERE

 

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MEFIBOSET: The Crippled Prince by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 27, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

MEFIBOSET: THE CRIPPLED PRINCE

 

Some of the most inspirational people I have known have had handicaps of some kind. You know the kind I mean: You go to see them to encourage them, and come away feeling on top of the world because they had encouraged you.

Poor Mefiboset (spelled Mephiboshet in most Bible translations ~ too hard to pronounce, and too long to fit on a book title) has suffered degredation in every article I have read about him, not counting references to him in sermons and books.  All I can think when encountering them is, “Oh, brother!”

First, Mefiboset was grandson of King Saul who was probably seven feet tall.  Have you ever seen a six-foot man standing next to a basketball player? The player is head and shoulder taller than the six-footer.  Plus the Bible says Saul was the most handsome man in all of Israel. Wouldn’t you think Saul’s sons and grandson were close to his height and good looks?

Another method Bible “scholars” use to degrade this crown prince is to describe the place where he grew up as desolate and worthless.  Yet, Lodebar was ten miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee on a healthy river out of the mountains and near the crossroads of international trade routes.

There are other ways people degrade Mefiboset. They overlook the fact that he married, had a son, and had four grandchildren.  He spent his entire adult life either living in his grandfather’s palace or David’s palace.

THEREFORE, my book about Mefiboset: The Crippled Prince portrays a man with father Jonathan’s positive attitude, and his grandfather’s height and good looks. He loves an adventure. He laughs easily and sees the best in every bad situation and person.

You will come away from reading this book feeling good about yourself and everyone else around you. Rather than depressing, this is a fun book to read, one that will stick with you from then on.

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase Mefiboset: The Crippled Prince HERE

 



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