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Book Review/Movie Promotion: Captive by Ashley Smith

Posted by Julie on August 26, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |


CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols – on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son – takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.  


The movie stars David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma.

Click HERE for a special greeting from David Oyelowo

I remember Ashley Smith’s story well. She was the single mom who was held hostage in her home and read The Purpose Driven Life to her captor. She went from victim to instant hero with an onslaught of publicity. It was obvious she wasn’t comfortable with the attention and as time went on, I heard bits and pieces of her story. She was a recovering addict. She didn’t even have custody of her daughter. And then, the story disappeared.

Captive is a haunting read because in Ashley’s words, she re tells her story and puts the reader right there in the apartment with her. I was completely absorbed into the story and read it in an evening. As the scenario unfolds it is obvious God had His handprints all over this. It’s amazing for all the places Brian Nichols went, he arrived at Ashley’s neighborhood. She was in the process of unpacking. She was new. Faith was a very new thing for her and it was her lifeline. But she had a plan B. She still had a stash of drugs.

I loved Captive because it’s an intriguing story that shows what God can do with a willing vessel. What I found surprising was she didn’t read a lot of The Purpose Driven Life to him. I had the impression she read chapter after chapter. I came away thinking God guided her conversation. She kept talking to him. He was a churched man. And that’s what made his story so sad.

I Googled the two to see “where are they now?” Ashley is married with two more children. It appears as if she is doing well and is active in her relationship with Christ. Brian Nichols? I see no mention that he transformed for the better after all the conversations he shared with Ashley.

This is going to be a major movie this month and I believe it will be not only solid entertainment, but a solid message, too. Captive, the book, was. I hope you read it.





To Purchase Captive by Ashley Smith, click here.

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My Bucket List

Posted by Julie on July 16, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s a rare post where I don’t have a book to review or a confession to share. I have the time to blog about something in  the surrender realm.

Having a bucket list.

I never gave it much thought. It wasn’t that I thought I was invincible, I didn’t take the time to think about why one was necessary and what would be on mine. Then, I read a book recently that although it wasn’t the best book I ever read, dealt with a heroine who created a list.

Then I received an email that there was a CaringBridge post to check. It was from a family friend who has battled cancer for a very long time. She has no idea how courageous or inspirational she’s been. She’s been given the news that everything that can be done, has been. It’s time for her to pack in everything she wants to do while she can. And she plans to. God bless her.

With that, I really gave it some thought. What are things I’d like to do before I can’t? I really have been blessed. I wanted to write, and I do. Any goal I had family and life purpose wise, I’ve pretty much been able to accomplish thanks to God’s favor and mercy. So, what does my bucket list look like?Bucketlist

1. Travel to Colorado.

My husband has worked here a lot and he loves it there. I’ve never once met anyone who gave the state a “Meh.” I’ve been told it’s breathtaking and clean. Perhaps if he’s called there again, someday I can go with him.

2. Travel to Montana and/or Wyoming. 

Any pictures I see make it seem like a sweeping western John Wayne would want to take his horse on and just go. It sounds picturesque and beautiful.

3. Take a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour complete with stars from the 1970’s series.

I know they do this already, but time and money have always been an issue. I would be obnoxious during this trip. No average fan can go with me, and certainly no one that made fun of the show (ahem, my husband.)

4. Go to Italy for our 25th. 

With a name like Arduini, I think you have to take this trip at least once. We’re both interested in learning about the country my husband’s ancestors come from, so who knows?

5. Be an invited speaker for women that has an international impact.

Hey, go big or go home.

6. Meet George and Laura Bush.

We could talk books or baseball, or barbeque. I wouldn’t care. They seem down to Earth and I miss seeing them on a daily basis via the news.

7.  Watch at least one of my contemporary romances turn into a well-made movie.

That’s my list so far.

What’s on yours?


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You Again: A Great Object Lesson

Posted by Julie on February 17, 2011 in encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Uncategorized |

It’s been a crazy week filled with jury duty and following God’s lead no matter where it may take me.  One of the places He took me was to the couch. I had a day off from jury duty and spent the day resting and catching up on Netflix. One of the movies I watched was You Again. This released last year and featured Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver and Betty White.

I thought it would be a great movie to relax with and it was cute. I didn’t plan on seeing such a great object lesson on the consequences of not being able to let go of the past.  On the right sidebar is a box where I can play a video so I included the trailer to this movie.  I invite you to check it out.

I realized last year I was struggling with the stuck in the past issue. I realized anytime anything remotely connected to that period in time took me back and I stiffened, my eyes narrowed and most likely steam came out of my ears.  It was something I couldn’t solve on my own and once I surrendered it, the past didn’t consume me anymore.

You Again does a great job setting up the past, how easy it is to stay there, and the consequences of not being able to let go.

Have you watched it? What did you think?

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