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Movie Review: Voiceless

Posted by Julie on September 9, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |



Jesse Dean is a recently discharged soldier who had a rough upbringing, but because of his wife, found God and now is totally devoted to his faith.

He and wife move to Philadelphia so he can take a new job as an outreach leader at an old church whose membership has been declining. As everything is going well and as he starts connecting to the community, he discovers there’s an abortion clinic directly across the street from the church.

He goes to the pastor and to several others in the church and tries to get their help to no avail. One day something tragic and personal happens to him while he’s going about his everyday routine. He comes to the point that he begins to take action himself. He gets involved but the more involved he gets, the more resistance he gets from those in church and community. His wife, who thinks his actions will get him fired or land him in jail, also comes against him.

Finally, it comes down to him having to make a choice: is he going to take the easy way out and back off, which is what everyone wants him to do, or will he face a major confrontation which will require him to put everything on the line…not just his job, but his freedom and marriage as well.

This film encourages people to stand up for what they know is right, particularly as it pertains to taking God’s truths into society to address social issues. It addresses the spirit of retreat as it pertains to engaging the culture that has developed within the Church.

This is a subtle movie with a wide impact. Jesse moves to Philly with his wife after leaving the military. He has a rough background but is now a Christian with a passion to make a difference. His church gives him a hero’s welcome and he plans a boxing outreach to help inner city residents find a safe outlet and hear the Good News. All seems well until Jesse sees what’s across the street. A business known for providing abortions.

Jesse is invested in the pro-life message and is drawn to the center to share his heart. He isn’t angry or judgemental, he just wants everyone to see all the options and what consequences there are. But as he shares the truth, blood is shed and people take sides.

VOICELESS packs a ton of truth, quietly and reverently. The director of the reproductive center has a great interaction with Jesse and it shows how conflicted it can get. She thinks she’s helping, Jesse does as well. Yet the church wishes Jesse would quiet down. His wife does, too.  Jesse has to make a decision, and it could unite everyone, or implode. The actions more than dialogue speak volumes and leave an impact after the movie is done.

I think no matter where you fall on the pro-life/pro-choice issue, VOICELESS is worth seeing.

This movie opens October 7th. To learn more, visit HERE.

I was sent a link to this movie in exchange for an honest review.


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Kathy Willis: Prosper Where You’re Planted

Posted by Julie on September 3, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Prosper Where You’re Planted

by Kathy Carlton Willis

We were excited about our brand new home, but not so much with our new sod and landscaping. It struggled to survive the move. Of course, the 100-degree heatwave didn’t help matters. The crux of the problem was transplant shock. Those green leafies were traumatized by being uprooted from their comfortable setting and placed into strange new surroundings.

We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. We refreshed them frequently with nourishing drinks of water. But even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants dimmed to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.

It takes time and the proper care for transplants to adjust to new surroundings, and then they snap out of the shock and turn green again.

I know what it’s like to be a transplant, and perhaps you do too. You wonder how it’s possible to prosper where you’re planted when you’re dealing with your own version of transplant trauma. We didn’t get to stay in the hometown of our childhood. No, God uprooted us. Took us from the comfort of what we knew and loved, and moved us to a new area that needed us. God often sends us to parched places—to rejuvenate others with refreshing green ministry.

Sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of the lush green we offer others temporarily turns to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.

Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of what we left behind. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, we are eager to get started in the new ministry, but are confronted by the culture shock of the new area. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.

Are you yearning to prosper where you’re planted? Repeat this phrase with me: “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”


kathywillisKathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold readers back and inspires lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she’s written several books, including Grin with Grace and Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion. She and husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston terrier. Learn more at:


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Surrendering Time

Posted by Julie on February 26, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Speaking, surrender, Writing |

If you’ve read this site or anything else from me, you know my focus is surrender and chocolate. What you might not know is that for the last few months, God has been behind the scenes whispering His plans for me to take that focus and go crazy. global with it.

I ignored the stirring at first, because I honestly felt what I was doing and how I was accomplishing it was just fine. At the end of the day argument with God that I had no chance of winning, a door opened and I knew I had to go through it.

So here we are. logo

I am now pursuing writing and speaking full time where I share my passion for audiences to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. I’ll keep writing fiction, I think it’s a key part of God’s plan. So many readers, women especially, are wounded. They are looking not just for escape through romance, but for encouragement. I want to be a vessel that gives them hope and the desire to find that freedom in Christ that comes from surrender.

My first project is taking my Adirondack series and re brand it as the Surrendering Time series. I’m re releasing ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present and making ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past available this spring. ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, will be available this fall.

I’ve sat down and mapped out a number of goals and projects and they take me into 2017. It’s part of the shift I keep talking about on Facebook as my husband is in a new position and often works from home, our son is transitioning to college, and our daughter, to middle school.

Surrendering Time isn’t just my contemporary romance series, it’s where my life is at right now.

Can you relate?


I have a couple FREE surrender resources available. My monthly newsletter, Surrender Issues and Chocolate, gives surrender tips and encouragement, recipes, Reader-of-the-Month profiles, giveaways and more.

Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate is a brief, weekly e mail with encouragement and a chocolate mention.

Both are available in the left sidebar of my website.

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You’re Invited: Share Your Surrender Story in 2016.

Posted by Julie on December 21, 2015 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I mentioned Saturday that I’m being very intentional in 2016 about how to best get my Surrender Issues and Chocolate messages to the masses. One way is subscribing to the sweet, weekly encouragement delivered straight to your inbox that will start your week right. It’s the Julie Arduini’s Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate, a short message that will always include a chocolate mention. Want to subscribe for free? Click here.

Share your surrender story here in 2016.

Share your surrender story here in 2016.

Another method I’m using is asking for more guest bloggers to share their story right here. We ALL have a surrender story.

  • Maybe you learned something about time management.
  • Perhaps someone is reading right now that has victory over a life controlling issue like an addiction.
  • Other surrender stories could be financial, relationships, health, parenting, work related, ministry related, about food, pets, gadgets, the list could go on.

I’m not looking for professionals, I’m looking for real people with a story they want to share. These are folks that don’t need to worry about grammar or saying the perfect thing. They simply want to share their surrender story and hope at least one person can relate and be encouraged.

Does that sound like you? I hope so. Because I truly believe everyone qualifies.

To learn more about guest blogging right here, I invite you to read my invitation and sign up. It’s so easy, truly.

Let’s get started.


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Saturday Confession: That Face

I’ve mentioned here and there that we have a child with what we deem minor special needs. Her first year was critical and much has stabilized. As she’s maturing, I’ve been preparing myself to watch for new things.

Already lab results have changed and we have a new specialist to call. It would be easy to worry and at times, I fall prey. For the most part, I’ve learned to trust the promise regarding her, that she is an overcomer. And trust the One who gave her that promise and created her. She’s been through so much and has overcome.

In the hardest times where care was constant, her face kept me going. Always smiling. A twinkle in her eye. If she wasn’t falling apart, how dare I? That face continues to encourage me, because it still has that smile that chooses sparkly things, loves to write, and is so creative.

100_0542What I learned not too long ago was that face was also an indicator that something was off. There were so many other things to tend to when she was younger everyone missed the signs. The blessing was most people with that diagnosis also were having seizures, and she never did. Another reason she wasn’t diagnosed as early as others.

Even as her face is something for a specialist to realize there is an issue to monitor, that same face ministers to others. She was maybe six weeks old when I was on a Wal-Mart run. I was used to running in and out but that day, and many, many times after, someone stopped me and because of her face, was drawn in. And they open up and start confessing their lives. My life changed that day. I no longer plan to get in and out of places. God’s often stopped everything to have people start sharing with me. I’ve learned to encourage and pray. She keeps smiling. And lives change.

My life has changed thanks to that face. I too look for sparkles and pizazz. I’m not afraid to try new things. I learned there’s quite a fighter in me because of that face. I realized a face can be a prayer request and a ministry at the same time.

This week I had a lot of unplanned moments where I was listening or sharing in ways I didn’t think would be happening. I got thinking, it all started back at Wal-Mart when that person saw that face and walked over. That this week I have new calls to make and new meds to pick up because of that face.

And it’s worth it.

Note: Her round face is part of what tipped her doctor off that she has albright’s hereditary osteodystrophy. Nothing life threatening, but another issue we manage through prayer, a good doctor, and regular lab work.


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Saturday Confession: I Want to Quit More Than You Think

Posted by Julie on August 23, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It isn’t every day I want to walk away from being me, but there are days. And my whine to heaven is one I could record and just press play because it’s almost always the same vent.

I prayed for that person.

I did what You asked.

I spent so much time encouraging them.

And they are exactly where they were when they asked for my help/time/prayers.

Or, even worse off.

I’m someone that needs to see progress. I joke that it’s the reason I love steam cleaning. I see the dirt getting sucked up, and that makes it worth my time. But being a surrendered vessel open for Him to use? It’s like steamcleaning only to have the person dump the dirty contents back on the floor.

And it’s heartbreaking.


Part of being that vessel is rejection. I believe there are also times I was used. Cozy up to good ole Julie and see if she can do the God work for them and they’ll be transformed by osmosis. I’ve felt on call. I wondered if I was misunderstood to be a personal genie or crystal ball, which I assure you, I’m not.

What I am is willing, and that’s what most people miss. That’s all God’s asking of us. Be willing, and He’ll do the rest. But I suspect the people who call on me think He wants an entire change done in an evening. So once I pray and direct them to seek Him, they don’t.

I learned that a stronghold is a demonic lie that has been around so long it feels like a safe place. It’s like an embassy to run to. There will always be an open door there. But greater freedom lies outside those walls and very few want to leave. And I can’t make anyone. Oh, I used to try.

I wish I could tell you I dust the proverbial dirt off me and keep going, but…not so. Not at first.

There are times I’ve been absolutely shattered by the rejection. When I walked through doors ready to encourage and was met with the Lucy hitting Charlie Brown with a football up against the side of my head reaction. Some of it has been public and it was all I could do to keep the tears from falling on the spot. I’ve kept praying when I know the people who came to me in the past were now mocking me. Ignoring me when I know they saw me. Lying about things we both knew weren’t the truth. Crying doesn’t even begin to describe my response. Weeping isn’t even accurate. Broken is more like it. Undone. Devastated. Because I can see the potential, and they choose to stay right where they are. It’s heartbreaking.

What does one do when they want to quit? Well, here is what I shared on FB this week:

Another one of those updates that’s my journey, but perhaps someone out there needs the encouragement, too.

I have to keep before me at all times that the battle is the Lord’s. As “justice Julie,” I’d love to be the problem solver, but it isn’t my job. Years ago I’d lose sleep and make myself sick wondering what perfect thing can I say to change that marriage or have that person turn it around for Him. I got no where. It wasn’t my place.

What is my job is to be obedient. When I’m supposed to pray for someone, I do. Whatever guidance I’ve been given to point people back to Him, I do it. And for the person reading, the success track record doesn’t look worth the time. Most people aren’t willing to dive deeper. As Beth Moore says, “the ocean’s right there but they’d rather stay in the puddle.” That still breaks my heart and feels like rejection, but it isn’t. I did my job. My dad used to say “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” And applying that to my life helps, even though I see such potential in each person I come in contact with, and rarely am I able to see that potential come to pass. It’s hard. I’m human.

Why keep being a vessel God can use during those late night emergency calls, the times I miss dinner to hear a hurting person out, etc…when most of the people don’t receive the hope and encouragement they have waiting for them? I guess a friend shared it best a few years ago. I’m not doing this to leave a Burger King crown at His feet. My heartbreak and hard days on earth will be forgotten in eternity. So, I press on.

Do I want to quit? More than you know. But this Surrendered Scribe presses on.

I hope you do, too.


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