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CD REVIEW: Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman

Posted by Julie on July 28, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Nichole Nordeman’s newest CD, EVERY MILE MATTERED, carries the theme that no experience is wasted. God uses everything, even the mistakes.

She explained that our life is full of mile markers, and those thoughts make for a reflective and encouraging CD.

Her hope is that listeners are encouraged and no longer carry regret. With Dear Me, a letter she wrote her younger self, or Hush, Hush, when we want to know the why behind things or what’s next, I don’t think it will take much for listeners to be moved.

This is a perfect CD to play while reading or having quiet time with God. If you loved last year’s hit, Slow Down, it is also on this CD with an additional voice.

Even the cover is thoughtful and muted. Nothing showy is needed, it would distract from the message. I really enjoyed this CD and believe Nichole Nordeman hit the mark in her hopes to encourage and give hope.

SOCIAL – CORNER

 

Official website – http://nicholenordeman.com

Buy links – ITunes http://capcmg.me/emm?IQid=b

Spotify http://capcmg.me/emm.sp

Amazon http://capcmg.me/emm.am)

 

She has a book “SLOW DOWN” coming out in August, pre-order here:

http://slowdown-book.com .

I received a CD in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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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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Book Review: Brave is the new Beautiful by Lee Wolfe Blum

Posted by Julie on May 5, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Brave is the New Beautiful by Lee Wolfe Blum

In a culture that bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection, women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.

There’s nothing that inspires me more than reading other people’s stories. I love when there are anecdotes and testimonies full of encouragement that leave me with an attitude that I can do this. BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL is a wonderful encouragement because it offers hope among the pages.

The author shares different stories about overcoming, and they inspire. They are transparent, but not depressing. Each story is just right in length, yet you get the details needed.

Lee Wolfe Blum is a new-to-me author, but now she’s on my radar. I look forward to more, and I definitely recommend this book.

To purchase BRAVE IS THE NEW BEAUTIFUL, click HERE.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own.

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ACFW: March New Releases

Posted by Julie on March 10, 2017 in ACFW, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

March 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:
reunion-at-crane-lake
Reunion at Crane Lake
by Robin Bayne — Colt’s memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family’s inn, but he’ll have to partner with his former fiancée to be able to afford it. He’ll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia’s goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she’ll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart…can she ever trust him again? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

hope
Hope
by Fay Lamb — She’s a starving artist facing a serious illness; he’s the doctor who’s her only hope of survival. If only she hadn’t caused his sister to die. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

muffins-&-moonbeams
Muffins & Moonbeams
by Elizabeth Maddrey — Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf. Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

hope
Then Came You: A Bradford Sisters Novella
by Becky Wade — Garner Bradford, heir to the troubled Bradford Shipping empire, doesn’t know much about babies. But he’s going to have to learn fast because he’s just become a single father to his newborn daughter. Career girl Kathleen Burke is wholly uninterested in settling down. She has big dreams, and none of them include Garner and his small hometown in Washington State. Yet she can’t seem to get her handsome boss out of her head or her heart…. (Romance Novella, Independently Published)

General:
when-the-bough-breaks
When the Bough Breaks
by Ane Mulligan — Her dream job has a Catch 22—and time’s running outRookie lobbyist Sienna O’Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York’s capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she’s searched for her birth mother, but when she’s handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna’s agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna’s inner circle. (General, Independently Published)

the-memory-of-you
The Memory of You
by Catherine West — Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her? (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Cozy Mystery:
murder-is-no-accident
Murder Is No Accident
by A. H. Gabhart — When murder comes to call at a stately Victorian house, the town of Hidden Springs looks to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane to solve the crime before anyone else dies. (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

Historical Romance:
a-rocky-mountain-romance
A Rocky Mountain Romance
by Misty M. Beller — When Zeche takes shelter from a blizzard in a remote cabin, he doesn’t expect to find a beautiful woman and her father, a disturbed Civil War veteran. Zeche’s instincts tell him Greta is endangered and he should stay and protect her, but his own presence aggravates her father’s condition. With a dangerous snowstorm outside and growing hostilities inside, can he find a way to keep them all safe from harm? Or will it be to the detriment of his heart? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

a-stolen-heart
A Stolen Heart
by Amanda Cabot — From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners–like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared–and that he left behind a pregnant wife–Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

carmela's-quandary
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis — Experience the Wild West as Carmela seeks freedom of body and soul. Forced for years by her uncle to pose as a survivor of an Indian kidnapping so he can profit on the speaker circuit, she longs to end the lies. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with a deputy US marshal and his handcuffed prisoner. When the stage is attacked, will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

desert-moon-and-honor-bound
Desert Moon & Honor Bound
by Susan Page Davis and Colleen L. Reece — Enjoy an Old West romance adventure from author Susan Page Davis. Julia Newman looked forward to moving home to Arizona, then she got word that her mother has died and Julie’s stagecoach is robbed. If that wasn’t enough, the first person she sees in town is Adam Scott—the man she always loved but could never have—and now he is accusing her brother of criminal activity. Also includes a bonus historical romance, Honor Bound by Colleen L. Reece. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

her-motherhood-wish
Her Motherhood Wish
by Keli Gwyn — En route to the Double T Orphanage to work on its expansion, carpenter Chip Evans and Caroline Hunt discover two orphaned children—and become their caregivers. But Chip’s determined not to let himself get too attached to the children who just lost their widowed father…or to the lovely woman helping him care for them. Especially since Callie and the little ones just don’t fit into his detailed plans for the future. Callie can’t help but fall in love with the orphans, and despite her better judgment, she’s falling for Chip, too. Her dreams of being a wife and mother were not quite like this. But Callie believes a plan bigger than Chip’s brought them all together…and now she just has to help him see it, too. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

the-planter's-daughter
The Planter’s Daughter
by Michelle Shocklee — When her father’s Texas cotton plantation faces bankruptcy, Adella must choose between the man who can her family’s land and the man who can save her! (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

when-tides-turn
When Tides Turn
by Sarah Sundin — When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions–and his heart. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Medical Suspense:
agent-in-training
Dcotor’s Dilemma
by Richard L. Mabry M.D. — Young surgeon Tyler Gentry thought the offer to join the Hall Group of surgeons offered the answer to his problems, but things changed when he received a 3 AM phone call that told him such a move would be hazardous to his health. (Medical Suspense, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:
her-baby's-protector
Her Baby’s Protector
by Margaret Daley and Susan SleemanSaved by the Lawman by Margaret Daley: As an unknown assailant attempts to kidnap family-court judge Kate Forster’s infant son, police officer Chase Walker thwarts the attack—and vows to keep the pair safe. But who will protect the ex-marine’s heart when the widowed mother and her little boy make him long for a permanent spot in their family? Saved by the SEAL by Susan Sleeman: The tragedy that killed Bree Hatfield’s best friends–and left her with custody of their young daughter–has been ruled an accident. But Bree knows it was murder. Scared and alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, navy SEAL Clint Reed, who’ll risk everything to protect baby Ella and the woman he never stopped loving. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

agent-in-training
Agent-in-Training
by Terri Reed — FBI intern Zara Fielding and her K-9 partner, Radar, stumble across a robbery gone wrong and put themselves in the criminals’ crosshairs. Her childhood friend FBI computer guru Dylan O’Leary works for the secretive FBI unit she longs to join, and he vows not to let anything happen to her. As they work to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, new feelings ignite. When she goes missing, it’s only Dylan–and Radar–who can track her down. Will they arrive in time to save her and the future she and Dylan have started dreaming about? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:
ingrid's-engagement
Ingrid’s Engagement
by Kristen Reed — When King Viggo marches through the kingdom of Schlagefilde in a relentless quest for retribution against its wicked king, the Count of Anselm attempts to make peace with him. As the two strike a deal that will protect the people of Anselm, the King of Villriket becomes enthralled with a portrait of the Count’s oldest daughter, Ingrid. The vengeful king vows that he will leave Edmund’s county in peace if he will allow him to marry Ingrid. To prevent her father from incurring the sovereign’s wrath, the young lady hastily agrees and enters into an unforeseen engagement with the grim ruler. Ingrid’s Engagement tells the enchanting tale of a beautiful young woman who softens the hardened heart of a beastly king with nothing more than her quiet wisdom and gentle spirit. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

This list is also on the ACFW blog. Check it out!

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Book Review: The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

Posted by Julie on June 29, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What do you do when hard or painful circumstances turn your world upside down, resulting in a life you never expected? Andrew and Rachel Wilson grappled with this question after both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. Refreshingly honest, this book explores the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, reflecting on the broader question of how to cope with suffering of all kinds. Sharing personal stories from their lives and encouragement rooted in the truth of God’s Word, Andrew and Rachel highlight lessons they’ve learned related to fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials—ultimately pointing readers to Christ, the One who promises to make all things new.

The book starts out with transparency as Rachel shares their vacation experience. With each mishap and missed injury or worse, Rachel reminds herself to breathe. With that honesty, I’m captivated and I join her and her husband as they share their story. They have two children with special needs. They use their own stories, great visuals (I love explaining their situation is like receiving an orange for dessert when everyone else gets chocolate,) Scripture and thoughts that provoke the reader beyond the last page.

They are upfront that although their story is about their children, the book is for anyone looking for hope, and I believe that. It was easy to partner with their story and find the hope to cling to. When they admitted this is the book they needed, I agree with them. When our daughter was first diagnosed with special needs, I saw a lot of academic type books, but none that addressed the million thoughts I had racing in every direction at all times. Although I’m a few years past that time, I still found the book refreshing. I felt less alone.

I absolutely recommend THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED. In fact, I have one to give away (please remember if you comment, leave an email where I can reach you.) Please tell me why you should have this book. I’ll pick a winner July 5th.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

To purchase THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED, click here.

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COTT: After by Joy Ohagwu

Posted by Julie on January 18, 2016 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |
After, an inspirational novel by contemporary Christian fiction author, Joy
Ohagwu, is poised to spotlight the strength in transformation, courage in
love, and hope in times of despair.
PURCHASE

About the book:

One step will transform her life.

Sixty thousand people watched as Candace Rodriguez literally fell off the
stage while performing the national anthem, wrecking more than her
self-esteem. Is her music career over? Now, weighing 350 pounds and jilted
by her fiancé after the shame of her public fall, can she find another
chance at true love? Will her new Christian faith anchor her future
hopes?
Former highbrow stock trader, “JB” Patrickson has had enough of life making
mockery of his best laid-out future plans. His father insisted he’d never
make it more than selling ” chickn” stock in Kentucky. Proving him wrong,
JB succeeded at the NY Stock Exchange, becoming one of the best US
traders…until the market crashed in 2008. Seven years later and mired in
debt, he can’t shake the urge that God is leading him down a different
path. The path of accepting his grandmother’s request to come help manage
her farm, couple hundred miles away, despite his little to nothing
knowledge about farming. Has he fallen low enough to toil with his hands to
eke out a single meal? What future could God plan for him on a farm?Twenty years after returning to the US from a fulfilling medical mission in
Asia, Dr. and Dr. Mrs. Cantwell gratefully send off two sons to college,
purchase a flourishing twenty-acre farm, and prepare to settle into their
empty nest stage. But what will they do if God leads one more life into
their path, one needing stitches of the soul not of the body? Can they
answer His call to service, or will overlooked pain from the past threaten
the fragile peace they’d so desperately coaxed into existence to survive
together?

What our voters had to say:

–I love the book, AFTER! The cover is catchy, and the contents,
inspiring!
–Congratulations, Joy! A lovely book inside and out.~~~Deirdre Lockhart
–I personally saw the love poured into writing “After” and I hope it
blesses everyone who reads it! It’s Awesome!!!
–CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK, JOY!!!! COVER IS ALSO FANTABULOUS!!!!
–Thumbs up, Joy!

Q: Joy, what was writing After like?
A: Thank you for asking. First, I’d like to appreciate everyone that
voted for After during the COTT contest. Thank you all very much. I started
writing After during NaNoWriMo 2013. Then earlier in summer 2015, after I
wrote Candace in as a character for Blossom and Josh’s story(which is now
After 2), her personality and voice got so strong that she took over the
story! It was amazing. I trusted my gut, went with the flow, and ended up
publishing Candace’s and JB’s story as the first in the AFTER series. The
AFTER series is about transformation and positively changing one’s
lifestyle through fitness. But more importantly, After shows us that we
should allow God to assist us in every area of our lives, especially those
places where everyone expects us to fail. You can read the story here.
Although I enjoyed writing about Candace and JB, I’m glad that I finally
completed Blossom and Josh’s story as well and it released as After 2 in
November 2015.
Q: Can you share with us about your next book?
A: Sure. I’d love to. I’m presently writing Uncommon Ground,
the first book in a romantic suspense series, and I’ll share what the story
is about. Stella is a widow who’s juggling a career and raising an older
teen that doesn’t believe in God. A disaster occurs that separates them and
turns their world upside down. Stella’s concerns multiply in the ensuing
chaos after she meets Michael, a Christian man with a mysterious past and
she wonders how many more unseen twists God trusts her to handle. Like
Psalm 68 verse 5 says, God is a defender of the widows. Uncommon Ground is
a story where we can identify with each of the characters’ struggles, and
if we let it, it can potentially kick our faith higher into greater
dimensions. After reading Uncommon Ground, we get to appreciate some
of the things we usually take for granted as Christians. Uncommon Ground
becomes available for preorder Jan 1, 2016, and I pray everyone gets
their copy.
Thank you very much for having me here. God bless you!
About Bestselling Author Joy Ohagwu:
Joy Ohagwu is the bestselling author of The New Rulebook suspense series.
Her novels are romantic suspense and inspirational stories geared to
engage, inspire and entertain readers. She earned a Masters’ Degree in
International Affairs from American University, Washington DC; and a
Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Ibadan,
Ibadan. Professionally, she’s been honored with multiple awards for pioneer
academic research, student leadership and overall excellence. Joy is a
member of the American Christian Fiction Writers(ACFW) organization. She
pens stories during evenings, weekends, and whenever the food takes too
long to cook. Despite the many hurdles she has faced, she counts God as
being faithful in her life. Joy lives in the beautiful State of
Maryland.
You can connect with Joy on her website,
and follow her Author
page
.



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