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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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Transforming for a Life Worth Living by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transforming for a Life Worth Living

By Sue A. Fairchild

When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.

At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.

But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.

My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.

My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.

But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.

Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.

During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.

Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.

******************

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: Transforming for a Life Worth Living

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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Joseph: The Other Father by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2017 in Julie Arduini |

JOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER

Jesus grew up in a violent world. Just how violent was it? The Romans and Zealots were constantly having skirmishes along the highways and in towns. Sometimes their own king or government attacked the people by the thousands, often at the annual Jewish feasts held in Jerusalem three times a year, such as when Jesus was eleven years old.

Sometimes the violence came from outside. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was in charge of the Province of Galilee where Jesus lived most of his life, and he had a habit of making people made. When Jesus was ten, Herod made the King of Arabia mad. So he joined forces with the legate of Syria and they invaded Galilee with 100,000 soldiers.

Nazareth was just three miles from Sepphoris where Herod’s palace was. Where were 100,000 soldiers supposed to camp while bulwarks and trenches and other such things used in war were made? Surely Joseph and the other fathers of Nazareth knew they had to defend their families against soldiers molesting and even killing Nazarenes so they could take over their houses. Joseph surely barricaded his family in and nailed the front gate closed, and put barriers up on the roof so the soldiers couldn’t climb ladders to get to them.

In addition to all this, there were the hazards of the job of carpentry. Joseph surely took Jesus with him up into the hills to chop down trees. There were bears in those hills.

Nazareth was just a small unwalled village of five hundred people then. Joseph could not support a family in such a small village. He surely did a lot of work in Sepphoris three miles away. It was rebuilt after it was burned down and a lot of carpentry was required then. Later, Tiberius over on Lake Galilee was built. Also, Bethsaida was turned into a walled city at that time and many government buildings added.  Travel was always dangerous. Working in close areas where there was a lot of construction work going on was dangerous.

Joseph

Through it all, Joseph had his assignment: Protect the Son of God. What went through his mind day after day through those twenty-nine years before Jesus began his public ministry?

How many times did Joseph jump in front of little-boy Jesus because something falling would kill him, but only injure Joseph?  And the teasing in town. People could count. They knew Mary was pregnant when Joseph married her. What names did they call Mary? What names did they call Jesus? And when Jesus was twelve and they couldn’t find him for three days: As they frantically searched street after street, knocking on doors and asking, “Have you seen our little boy? He goes by the name of Jesus and he’s such-and-such tall.”  And going through the markets and down alleys and calling out, “Jesus! Jesus! Where are you?”

What responsibility. I cannot imagine taking it on. Can you?

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 JOSEPH: The Other Father HERE

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MICHEL: The Fourth Wise Man by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 17, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISE MAN

 

It is January. What happens after Christmas? What happened after the original Christmas? What brought the wise men from the East in the first place? What did they do after they left Bethlehem and returned home?

We take too much for granted. We just assume there were three wise men (magi) because there were three gifts. Perhaps ten magi went together, pooled their funds, and financed one gift.

We also take for granted that the wise men saw the “Star of Bethlehem” and automatically knew the divine king of the Jews had been born and the needed to rush right over to “the little town” so they could be in the same scene as the shepherds.

Much of my book, Michel: The Fourth Wise Man, is about the magi’s search for the meaning of the star. As pagans, they had always believed the birth of a star meant the birth of a god, and that is all they had to go on.

But there is a side issue in this retelling.  In the book, Michel, a Jewish descendant of Daniel whose ancestors elected not to uproot and return to Jerusalem, lives among pagans. He wants desperately to convert them to the one true God. He wants desperately for God to walk the earth again as he had done with Adam and Eve.

He lives in one of the capital cities of Parthia which is in today’ Iraq, just south of Baghdad. The Bible says the Garden of Eden was located where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers meet.  Iraq’s slogan even today is “Land of the Two Rivers”.

Michel has such a missionary’s heart that he gives up everything to buy the desolate land where the Garden of Eden had been thousands of years earlier and replant it so God will walk the earth again and draw pagans to him. He loses his home, his father, his wife—everything—to buy it.

He sees the “Star of Bethlehem” as an interruption to his life’s most important work. After a year, the other magi agree to investigate the Jewish scriptures and find the meaning of the star there. They go to Bethlehem, see Jesus, now a nearly two-year-old toddler.

Did you ever wonder what the wise men did after they left Bethlehem and returned to “the East”? 

For one thing, Michel gets out in the desert on the way home and goes into a meltdown. He suddenly realizes God is already walking the earth again through young Jesus.  He has lost his fortune and his family to buy the site of the Garden of Eden.  I am not going to tell you what happens next, because it would be telling you my surprise ending.

But I hope I have told you enough so that you realize perhaps there was more—a lot more—to the story of the wise men than we normally think about. Each wise man had a life. Each wise man had a before-and-after story. This is Michel’s.

 

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 MICHEL: The Fourth Wiseman HERE

A NOTE FROM KATHERYN MADDOX HADDAD

Whoever, makes a comment on my blog gets a free 2017 scripture calendar.  By email you can photocopy as many copies as you want to share with your congregation and family, or one if by print mailed to your home.

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Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Julie:

This is an excerpt from Katheryn Maddox Haddad’s Star Song, Book 1 of her 8-book series “THEY MET JESUS”. Look for places where you can “talk” to the characters.

 

Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

“Mary…” Gabriel grows more serious. “Mary, you are a very favored lady, for the Lord is with you and has decided to wonderfully bless you in a special way.”

Silence. What is he talking about?

He continues.

“Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy.”

“Well, very soon now I will be married. But a boy? How can you know that?” she responds, momentarily forgetting her fear.

Gabriel reassures her. “Remember, Mary, I’m an angel. God has told me everything. Furthermore, you are to call your baby Jesus.”

“Jesus? But my husband will be Joseph. I plan to name my first son Joseph.”

Gabriel continues as though she has not responded. “He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God.”

The words grab hold of her heart and will not let go. Son of God…of God…of God…

Mary’s mouth opens, but in speechlessness. She does not understand.

Oh, Mary. Listen to what he says. Really and truly listen.

The angel continues. “He shall govern this nation forever; his kingship shall never end!”

His words echo through her mind and are trapped there in a confused abyss. She sits on a bench by the wall, her trembling hands grasping its edges.

“The child will not belong to Joseph. You will become pregnant miraculously before you are married. Remember the prophet Isaiah saying a virgin will bear the Son of God?”

Indeed, Mary does remember. Her father had been talking about it just the day before.

Gabriel continues. “And when I said his nation would never end, I was quoting from the prophet Daniel. Daniel even predicted exactly when he would be born. His birth year, Mary, is next year. Do you have a scripture scroll? I will show you.”

Mary, he’s offering you proof now. He’s helping you believe.

He quotes from Daniel.  “Pay attention! It will be 49 years—that’s seven weeks’ times seven days in a week—plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the crowned One comes!’”

“That’s a total of 483 years,” he explains. “Mary, it has been 452 years since our capital city was rebuilt. The descendant of David is due to be born next year and become priest-king when all priests are eligible—at age 30. That will be the 483rd year.”

Grasp what he’s telling you, Mary. Can you do it?

Mary tries with all her heart to believe him.

He has proven himself with scripture, with the Word of God. The final proof is yet to be given.

“But I’m a virgin. How can I have the baby? How can I conceive?”

Okay, Mary. Can you handle it? Can you comprehend what he’s about to tell you? Try, Mary. Really try. Don’t let the moment slip by, Mary. It’s. dynamic. It’s spiritual.

Gabriel remains seated and smiling. He stands now, and walks slowly toward Mary, then kneels in front of her so he can look into her eyes. Full of excitement, he whispers as though telling a special secret.

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you!”

“The Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit helped David write his psalms.” Then, thoughtfully, she adds, “He does other things too?”

Gabriel’s exhilaration swells. His words trip over each other in excitement.

“Mary, the power of God will overshadow you.”

Come on, Mary. You’re almost there. Don’t stop now.

“Therefore,” Gabriel continues, “the baby born to you will be thoroughly celestial.”

“Celestial?” she manages to say.

What is happening?

Hang on to your seat, now, Mary. Here comes the rest of it. You didn’t get it when he told you before. Grasp it now.

“Your baby will…your baby, Mary, will be the Son of God!”

That’s it. That’s the final thing you’ve got to believe. Do you believe it, Mary? Can you? Try hard, Mary.

Divine truth descends to her mind. Dazzles her soul. Ignites her spirit. “I want to believe you. Somehow I do believe.”

Day dawns in the mind, soul and spirit of Mary. And of Mankind.

 

…. Yes. It is night. But Satan has been silenced. Now it is indeed silent night. Indeed, holy night. The dawn comes. And with it all that is calm and all that is bright.

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

To purchase STAR SONG, purchase HERE.



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