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2

Sisterhood of the Word Bloggers Award

Posted by Julie on January 6, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

My new year started off with a pleasant surprise when Paula Mowery nominated me and other bloggers with the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer 10 questions you’ve been sent.
4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

Here are the questions I was sent and my answers:7203595_orig

1. What is something you would count as a “success” from this past year?

Seeing Entrusted published.

2. Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

Obviously, as a Christian the immediate answer is Jesus. When I finally surrendered everything to Him beyond salvation, I embarked on a relationship full of friendship and intimacy I never would have imagined. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mom. She had so much adversity growing up and challenges as an adult. She’s got tenacity and faith.

3. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Have the heart of a dove and the skin of a rhino.

4. If you could have a week to retreat, where would you go and what would you do?

Adirondacks to write, read and refresh.

5. Looking back on this year, what are five things you are especially thankful for?

Family. Our home. Health. Writing direction. As much as he drives me crazy, our 80 lb puppy, Tucker.

6. What is one lesson you feel you learned this past year?

I keep referring to it, but the picture on Facebook where Jesus is asking a little girl to give up her teddy bear. She’s telling Him she loves it, not knowing Jesus has an even bigger and better one for her. We were on a faith journey for a new home last year and thought we found “the one.” It fell through and I was so angry. That picture came to mind and helped me surrender that anger and home. In less than a month we had “THE home” and it was so much more than we prayed for, for less than what the first house was. It’s cozy and a sanctuary for others to be encouraged.

7. If there were no limits, what is one goal you would like to achieve this year?

I’d love to have control over what my kids have to deal with and hand them the tools to succeed. With a tween and teen I know that’s not possible. There are times I have to let go of some rope and see what happens, within reason. There are choices I’d love to jump in front of, not bad ones, but ways they could go about things a little better.

8. What is one Bible verse that is special to you and why?

Hosea 2:14. It absolutely delivered me during a wilderness season and I refer to it again and again.

9. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?

I don’t. I think they set me up for failure. I do, however, pray for a word for the year and will listen all year long for the ways I’m to learn from and utilize the word. This year is revive.

10. Do you set goals for yourself in your spiritual life? Give an example.

I do. I’m working through a Bible study, Red Hot Faith by Cindy Bultema, to get that kind of faith back. I let life get in the way and put time with the Lord down on the list, and it showed. I was getting burned out. I set a goal to do things to work on putting Him first and keeping Him there. I’m also journaling, doing a plan on Bible.com, and set a timer to make sure I do these things.

Here are my questions:

1. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

2. What temptation is hard to resist?

3. If you weren’t doing what you do weekdays, what would your life look like?

4. What book could you read over and over?

5. What motivates you?

6. What are your pet peeves?

7. What are your goals for 2015?

8.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

9. Would you rather stay in a five star hotel, a bed and breakfast, or a cabin?

10. What’s your favorite season? Why?

I’m nominating Jill Barlow, Holly Hrywnak, Penny Frost McGinnis and Jennifer Slattery! I enjoy your blogging!

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Julie Arduini’s Favorite Reviewed Fiction Book 2014

Posted by Julie on December 29, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I look over the books I reviewed and choose the ones I enjoyed most and remember even after I finished the book.

Today I choose the fiction book.

I chose this one because it was more than a romance. It was a message, an invitation by the author to draw into a relationship with meaning. She went even further and on Facebook created a Bible study that not only re visited her book, but walked readers through the story of Ruth.

The book?

Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery.

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_Book Description:

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Even though it’s been a couple months or so since reading, I’m still thinking about the story. The message. The Bible Study she had on Facebook.

If you need a book to see you through Christmas vacation, I definitely recommend my favorite fiction reviewed book of the year, Beyond I Do.

To purchase Beyond I Do, click here.

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Ruth and the Comfort Zone

Posted by Julie on November 26, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been enjoying Ruth’s story from the Bible with a twist—Jennifer Slattery is facilitating this study on FB and her blog sharing against the backdrop of her own contemporary romance Beyond I Do.

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_Last week she was kind enough to open up her blog to allow me to share insights.

It’s a chapter in the Book of Ruth I’ve read several times but I saw received fresh insights that I really could relate to as I compared my story to Ruth’s and to Ainsley, the heroine in Beyond I Do.

I’d love for you to read what I wrote.

Click to read about Ruth and the Comfort Zone.

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Creating Lasting Memories by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on November 8, 2014 in Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Thankful November guest blogger |

They say when you reach the end of your life, memories play back like snapshots.

 

Images of your first best friend, your first doll house, your first day of school … your first surprise birthday party.

 

I was five or six, young enough to have little concept of time, when my parents decided to throw my first surprise party. Had I been a year or two older, their plans would’ve failed, sabotaged by all my nagging:

 

“Did you forget what day it is, Mom?”

 

“What’d you get me?”
“Where’s my cake?”

 

And receiving no answers, or vague ones at that, I would’ve thrown a giant, Jennifer-sized fit likely resulting in me being grounded. On my birthday.

 

But that wasn’t what happened, though, frankly, I don’t remember a whole lot of the details. I don’t remember who came, what gifts I received, or what games I played. I don’t even remember the flavor of the cake, though I assume chocolate. Yes, I was a chocoholic, even back then.

 

What I do remember, however, is spending a chunk of time with my dad who drove me all about, wasting time while my mother prepared for my party.

 

Funny, those memories of he and I doing basically nothing are stronger than my memories of the actual party.

 

Memories.

 

Why is it some events cement themselves in our brain with such impact, such emotional oomph, while others drift away, soon forgotten?

 

As a mom, I find myself considering this, because I know what I do (or don’t do) today, forms lasting memories deep in my daughter’s heart. Sometimes it’s the oddest things that mean the most to her. Listening to her talk about her past, I catch glimpses into her heart, hints of those mental snapshots she’s building.

 

And I’ve discovered something. Most often, her most vivid memories are of those simple, casual moments when she and I did basically nothing. Together.

 

Because it’s not the event that creates the memory but the person we share the event with. It’s the emotional connection made.

 

This simplifies things, doesn’t it? For me, realizing this creates a sense of peace. It reminds me I don’t need to be the most exciting mom, I don’t need to plan outlandish outings and events. I just need to be there. Fully present.

 

That’s the snapshot I long to create.

 

What about you? Consider some of your fondest memories. What sticks out the most—the event or the person you shared the moment with? As a parent or spouse, has your loved one shared any special memories with you? Did those memories surprise you? What are you doing today to create those special snapshots in your loved one’s life?

 

headshot2013_editedJennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently discounted in e-book format for under $3! You can find it here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-i-do-jennifer-slattery/1118903211?ean=9781596694170

She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries. When not writing, Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

 Beyond I Do is on sale for a limpted time at CBD!

Beyond I Do:

 

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

 

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

 

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here:

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6

Book Review: Beyond I Do by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed, socialite psychiatrist. But as Ainsley’s wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream, a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. If she wants to embrace God’s best and find lasting love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Jennifer is a natural storyteller. As soon as I opened the book and found Ainsley in peril, I felt like I met a new friend. Beyond I Do has strong characters, good conflict, and heart. We could learn a lot from Ainsley and her compassion.

This was an easy page turner and I believe you will feel the same.

I definitely recommend Beyond I Do.

To purchase Beyond I Do, click here.

I received Beyond I Do from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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1

Don’t Be Discouraged or Afraid by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on September 5, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

It started with a burning passion, an urge to do, that arose so strong, you felt you’d explode. So, with heart-felt surrender, you knelt at His alter and responded, “Here I am, Lord! Send me!”

But then life hit with its obstacles and setbacks and suddenly that clear call began to grow dim, muddled by fears and insecurities and all the what-ifs that come from living in a fallen world.

Questions like:

What if I never make it?

Did God really call me, or was I merely justifying my selfish ambitions?

What if I pour everything I am and have into this thing and end my life with nothing to show for it?

Seriously, if God’s really in this thing, shouldn’t it be easy?

Ha. Right. If that were the case, a good chunk of the Bible wouldn’t exist, for I believe the pursuit of every dream comes after a great deal of struggle. In fact, chances are, the moment you took that first step of obedience, trials and troubles started raining down. Whether this was by God’s design in His efforts to strengthen and mold you for the path ahead or the forces of evil bearing down upon you in an attempt to thwart God’s plans, I don’t know. But either way, we know God’s sovereign, faithful, and true, so…

Consider Solomon, King David’s son. As his father was coming to the end of his life, the political waters started swirling. You can read the full account here, but to paraphrase, his brother, who had not been raised to fear or love the Lord, decided he wanted to be king, and he planned to take it by force.

This created a ripple of fear and chaos that soon had the entire palace in an uproar.

Fearing for her life, Solomon’s mother Bathsheba approached his father with trembling and tears. “If you do not act,” she said, “my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.”

So King David immediately crowned Solomon, his God-chosen successor, king. He then gathered all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem—the leaders of the tribes, army commanders, generals, mighty men, and warriors…

And began a ferocious military campaign, right?

Wrong. Once all these powerful military men had been gathered, David turned to his son. Knowing he would soon die, knowing all the pressure and responsibility his son would soon shoulder, he proceeded to instruct him in the most important thing—loving and honoring God with all his heart and completing the task God had given him. (1 Chron. 28:8-10)

That task was huge! God wanted Solomon to build the first permanent temple, one designed to mirror that which stood in heaven.

No pressure there.

I can’t imagine the stress—the terror—this situation would’ve sparked, to which David  replied, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. … Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command” (1 Chron. 29:20-21).

To paraphrase:

Do not be afraid.

God will help you. He will complete the job He has assigned to you, and He will complete it well. He will never fail you or forsake you.

You don’t have to do this alone. He will bring others to come alongside to help you.

I believe God is saying the same to you. So do not fear. Do not grow discouraged. Simply keep walking, keep trusting, whether the journey takes you five or twenty years.

He will perfect that which concerns you.

We all have God-given dreams. Maybe it’s to see our children or grandchildren come to Christ, to climb out of debt, or to start or join a new ministry. What passion has God stirred within you? Are you pursuing it with courage, strength, determination, and surrender?

***

headshot2013Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.

 

Beyond I Do:BeyondIDocover

 Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.



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