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COTT: Vote for Your Favorite October Read!

Posted by Julie on October 24, 2016 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |



Autumn leaves are falling from the
trees, and we’ve raked in some great books for this month’s Clash of the

Vote for your Fave!
Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your fave.
It’s a tough choice, but it’s up to you to determine our Clash
Love’s Faithful Promise by
Susan Anne Mason
Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with
wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre
O’Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives requesting he use his skills to
help her stricken mother, he has no idea how his life is about to

Feta and Freeways by Susan M.

Nikolos Action is the lead singer of the band and doesn’t
realize love is right in front of him until their manager, Tia, is
almost killed trying to save his life. After years of ignoring her is it
too late to earn her trust…and her love?

Dangerous Alternative by Kelli

Hollywood grip, Levi Boulter unknowingly puts himself in
the crosshairs of a murder plot. Now, he’ll do anything to keep the
woman he loves safe, even if it means losing her forever.

Inconceived by Sharyn Kopf

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means
and how to handle it is another. And, it would seem, Jolene, Uli and
Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is
trying to show them not only in their desire to marry but in their
longing to have children of their own.


Child of Dust by Shoba Sadler

After the sudden death of her parents, Vietnamese
socialite Cao Kim Lye steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to
enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi when she goes to live
with her Amerasian chauffeur and his adoptive family at a shop cum
living quarters.

If you
have trouble viewing the entire survey,
CLICK HERE to load a dedicated page to the survey.

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Sabbath Sunday: Blazing Love


It’s my pleasure each Sunday to share my own nature picture and share a thought or two about God’s love for you.

I couldn’t believe this sunset in the dead of winter.





When I’m feeling:




Guess what?

God’s love blazes just as hot for us when we’re cold.




We just need to take that first step.

Toward the Son.

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Saturday Confession: When the Rose Color Comes Off Our Glasses

I have a few confessions today.

One, I know you’re there. Yep, you aren’t leaving comments for the most part, and that’s okay. Twice a month I check the back end of things here to make sure everything is working and it’s there I see how many of you visit, and for how long. Lately, many of you are coming to me in person or through a private message sharing something that I didn’t know I told you. Then I realize, I wrote it here. Busted! I’m so glad you’re reading. Because, I think my lesson this week might help you, too.






We’ve been moving forward in faith the fulfillment of what we think God’s called us to this year. We’re getting our home ready to put on market and have been praying for the entire process, including buying what we consider our forever home. We’ve been in the area for 10 years and unless God directs otherwise, we believe this is where my husband will retire many, MANY years from now. 🙂

God gave us a great mortgage company that works with veterans and they have been amazing. They have local agents they contract with, and we believe she is a wonderful fit for us. She’s proved to be an advocate for us and is full of wisdom.The other thing He gave us was vision. As you can see in this picture of my husband, his oldest son, and our son, we’re a glasses wearing family.  Third confession, we weren’t all wearing glasses during the tour of the home I’m about to write, but this picture works for the lesson I learned.


Here’s what I learned.

When we first went through that home months ago, we were like the young adults who see each other in the hallway and find instant attraction. Everything is appealing. Flaws? What flaws? At this point, no one is even looking for the negative. It’s all about the positive, and you walk away thinking you’re positive you want a future together.

The second tour for us, we got serious. We took along lists of what to look for. Our agent was with us, giving guidance and wisdom. We opened doors. Looked at paint. Fixtures. The fine print. Details.

And in that tour, the rose colored glasses came off. There are a lot of positives in that house. But, there are some negatives we missed the first time. Enough that we all took a step back and said you know what, we don’t want to jump right in and have regrets. Let’s take our time. Look some more. And if this continues to show up on our radar, then we need to do serious negotiating with the owners. And if not, we know God’s got this.

The illustration I used with my family was before Tom came in the picture, I had my future mapped out thanks to a first walk through impression. Everything looked positive. Any flaws brought to my attention were dismissed. Bringing the agent of my life to the forefront–my heavenly Father–I wasn’t mature enough to consider such a thing.

But thank God, when that didn’t materialize, I recognized His hand immediately and did the craziest thing.

I didn’t shed a tear. Not one. I thanked Him. Because if that wasn’t my future and it had all those positives, then what God DID have planned for me was even better.

And within months, there was a man God planned for me since creation, in my life.

That’s where we’re at. We’re so thankful He gave us the unity to all see the same things during that second look. That we all agreed it is a great house, but it’s not exactly perfect, and it’s worth doing more investigating. Because if that house isn’t it, we can’t wait to see what He does have for us.

My guess is this little lesson might apply to relationships more than looking for a home, but what do I know. But if there’s something in the pit of your belly crashing loud enough for your heart to hear it, I encourage you to slow down and consult the Agent of your life. Let Christ be your compass, and God will be present. Wear the glasses, but allow Him to take the rose tint off so you can see things as He sees them. He doesn’t show you the red flags or issues to rain on your parade, but to be real. He longs for you to lean on Him so He can direct your path. I can’t tell you what’s ahead for you anymore than I can for us and our house process. But I promise, He’s faithful. I’ve yet to be abandoned or let down.

And I believe the same for you.

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Book Review: Be the Blessing by Paula Mowery

Posted by Julie on September 14, 2013 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |


Addy is a pastor’s wife who knows when Conrad shows up, he has a message not only to bless Addy, but bless others. Conrad challenges her to be the blessing, and she experiences blessings in return as she leaves her comfort zone and is intentional about blessing others. When Addy is in need, she realizes she can still be a blessing.

This is the second release from Paula Mowery and it’s a powerful one that can be read in a sitting and still give an impact.  When Addy decides to be the blessing she encounters different situations I know I’ve probably walked past and never thought about, or just did it without thinking. Be the Blessing demonstrates that when we’re intentional and follow that still, small voice challenging us, we’re imitators of Christ. That’s powerful.

Like I mentioned, this is a quick read, yet full of emotional moments we can all relate to. I highly recommend anyone who desires to step out and love like Jesus get a hold of Be the Blessing. You won’t be disappointed.

To purchase Be the Blessing, click here.

I received a .pdf of Be the Blessing from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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Valentine’s Day Memories

Posted by Julie on February 14, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

So, Valentine’s Day…

Hallmark conspiracy or a great day to focus on love?

I’m spending my day in an unconventional way (hint: Cue the Law and Order music) but thought I’d share a couple Valentine memories over the years. It’s funny how my romance meter ebbs and flows.

I’m 6 and in the first grade and I get the stomach flu. I miss an entire week of school including my Valentine’s party. I remember my bag being overstuffed with valentines. I felt so loved. I remember the guy I had a little first grade crush on gave me a Hong Kong Phooey card.  Oh the days!

I’m 26 and a newlywed. My husband comes home and I have such huge hopes that our time together will mirror one of his black and white movies we watch together. He comes home and hands me a plastic shopping bag with an oversized pink kitten sweatshirt. I’ll never forget his words as he handed the bag to me.

“This was on sale.”

I laugh now and it took a long time to communicate my disappointment. He felt pressured by a coworker to buy something and knew I was practical so he thought saying it was on sale would sound practical.  I admitted handing me a bag with those words didn’t make me feel valued. He then confessed the shirt was all that was left. You know what though? I wore that thing for years. It’s a good story to talk about expectations.

The last Valentine’s that stands out I think I was 30. Our son was hooked on the show Lizzie McGuire. We watched every episode including what the heartthrob character wrote in Lizzie’s yearbook. I thought it was a stroke of genius that I wrote that statement in my husband’s card. An inside joke. An ode to Lizzie.

I chuckled all week thinking about him opening the card.

That morning, we exchange cards at the same time.

Would you believe we both wrote the same line from Lizzie McGuire?  We both wrote this to each other:

You rock. Don’t ever change.

I still laugh about that, we became so one in communication we wrote the same thing to each other!

What Valentine memories do you have?

First posted 2/14/11

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Coleen Torres: 4 Reasons to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Posted by Julie on February 14, 2012 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, Uncategorized |

4 Reasons to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year again! Where love blooms, the color red and pink are abundant, fresh roses are on every street corner and chocolates are out of stock in a matter of minutes. Valentine’s Day has a lot of enemies and a lot of fans. Whether you are a naysayer or supporter here are a few reasons to celebrate the day of love this year:

Show you care: Yes we know you should always show your loved one that you love them all year long, but why not make one day a year extra special. Show them you love them by doing something above and beyond your normal affections. It can be as simple as making them a card, buying a single rose or taking them to their favorite restaurant for a romantic meal.

Your excuse to dress up: At one point moms and wives were once high heel wearing, make up loving, hair doing women. And then life caught up with us. Work, kids, marriage and family. Wearing sweatpants is comfortable and all but Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to get all gussied up and feel extra saucy. So go book reservations at that little restaurant down the road or salsa dance lessons now!

Rekindle the flame: Sometimes marriage can be tough. We all go through a rough patch where love somehow gets mixed up and lost in your busy lives. This holiday is for those who need a little push in the right direction. There are cards, flowers, chocolates and restaurants and balloons to your aid. Pick your passion and it’s just up to you to open your heart and enjoy spending time with that loved one.

Valentine's Day is the one day you can eat a lot of chocoate and it's acceptabl









Eat Chocolate: There is only one time a year that devouring a box of chocolates is socially acceptable. Valentine’s Day is that lucky day. So don’t hesitate, ignore that diet plan and dive into those chocolate covered strawberries.

No matter your stance on this ‘Hallmark’ Holiday,why hate on a holiday that is devoted to spreading love and being happy. Plus, it never hurt to tell the person you love, that you in fact do love them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author Bio:-

This is a guest post by Coleen Torres from home phone service. You can find more about her at her profile.






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