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Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Book Review: Melody's Song by Kathleen Friesen

Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

“After the tragic death of her husband, timid Melody Jamison moves to the city of Saskatoon, hoping for a peaceful life, an escape from the nightmares that haunt her, and the safety and salvation of her son, Will.

However, Will is determined to prove he doesn’t need anyone, and God isn’t even a blip on his radar. He’s doing just fine, if you don’t count the times he’s had to crash at a friend’s or sleep in a downtown Vancouver alley. He’s not deliberately messing up; trouble just seems to follow him. But he’s strong enough to deal with it. He can deal with anything—at least that’s what he wants to believe.

Melody keeps praying, even though she’s not sure God hears her. With her faith as fragile as yesterday’s dream, she is shaken when dying friend Rose Martens predicts that God will use her to be a blessing to their neighborhood. As she gets to know her new neighbors, Melody finds herself on a faith journey through demonic attacks, domestic violence, and the revelation of a secret that could destroy everything she’s gained.”

I was surprised to learn this was Kathleen Friesen’s first book because she penned a captivating story that had my attention right away. I could feel the fear and transition in Melody as she is a widow trying to find her way. The anxiety was palpable, I really felt for Melody as if she were real.

I also enjoyed the other characters. They have purpose and are not superficial. More than anything, Melody’s Song has an affirming message on the power of prayer. No matter what your faith level, I believe you too will be drawn in and encouraged by this sweet story.

To purchase Melody’s Song, click here.

I received a copy of Melody’s Song in exchange for an honest review.

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Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 5

Posted by Julie on August 20, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

All this week I’ve been sharing my posts from the recent Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. My prayer is I encourage you with a realistic look at marriage. That you can choose oneness and isolation and beat the odds. I believe in you!


This picture is from a cruise we took to Mexico to celebrate our 15th anniversary. From infertility to nearly losing a child to death of a parent and lots of transition, we had overcome so much that should have divided us. Anything we learned came from the FamilyLife Marriage Conference, something we attended as an engaged couple. The biggest principle we still work to apply is to choose oneness. Any relationship has two choices—isolation or oneness. Marriage has to operate in oneness. This was a celebration trip for sure.


Don’t Miss out! Click below to learn more about my Goodreads Giveaway.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Entangled by Julie Arduini


by Julie Arduini

Giveaway ends August 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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How Surrender Saved My Marriage by Teresa Tysinger

Posted by Julie on February 25, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

How Surrender Saved My Marriage


By Teresa Tysinger

A special thank you to Julie for allowing me to share with you today!

It is my belief that surrender happens at the cusp of time when hope is at a low and desperation is at a high. It usually happens on our knees as we shake under the burden of whatever we must give up to God.  At least, that’s my personal experience.

My husband and I married young, at twenty-one to be exact. Blinded by young love, attraction, and a feeling that we had everything figured out. I realize now what babies we were. (We joke with our parents now, asking what they were thinking allowing us to wed so young!) I supported him as he finished college, he supported me through graduate school, we bought a house and had a baby. But seven years in to our marriage, things were falling apart.

Though I was fully aware of my husband’s love of professional theater and his lofty ambitions, I began to resent the long hours spent on shows – often on the road for months at a time. When he was home, we argued. I felt abandoned, which led to unfair nagging and complaining all the time. We had no idea how to reconcile our different expectations for life together. Finally, we both acknowledged this was not the marriage we wanted. We both began to consider that life might be better apart. It was a heart-wrenching time when finding a solution felt impossible.

Then God began to reveal an escape route. My husband was offered a job in Dallas, Texas – which felt like a million miles away from our home in North Carolina. My exact words, I believe, when he first told me about the opportunity was, “I’m never moving to Texas.” Oh, I’m embarrassed now at my lack of faith!

During this time, we had the least hope and a lot of desperation (and fear, anger, resentment). We decided to lean on the reminders of our family and church friends. We took time to pray. I prayed fervently that God soften my heart. That he CHANGE me in ways I could not change myself. I prayed for my husband, too, of course. And I’m sure he prayed for me.

Then, something amazing happened.

We moved to Texas. We surrendered our own understanding, our own desire to write our story, our fear that expectations might not be met according to our plan. If you ask either of us even today, we’d both say we didn’t want to move to Texas. Even after landing in the Lone Star State, neither of us wanted to be there. Yet, daily, we surrendered to the peace we both felt – undeniable peace – with the decision to move. We trusted God wanted us here. In a place we’d both found jobs to keep us together, with our daughter, working in the same town.

In Texas, we had no choice but to lean on one another for support. The fresh start brought challenges that solidified us as a family unit. We found a marriage counselor and worked on our struggles in therapy for over a year.

And, we fell in love. I sometimes tease him now that the first time we “fell in like,” but eight years later we finally “fell in love.” Through the struggles, we experienced what love really is.

Surrendering does not always mean things will have a fairy tale ending.

We’re still in Texas four years later. I’d never in a million years believed we’d still be here. Interestingly, during these four years, my husband even travelled to New York City for 10 months to work on Broadway. But thanks to the hard work we did to reroute our relationship and lean on God at the center, I was able to happily support him through it without resentment or anger.
To many people, surrender is a word synonymous with defeat or weakness. Yet, surrendering my marriage to God’s will feels like the bravest thing I’ve ever done. In my moment of greatest weakness, down on my knees, I found the strength to reach up.

Though I can’t find the person with whom to credit it, I adore this quote and would like to leave you with the thought:

“Transformation happens on the other side of surrender.”

What do you need to surrender to God? How might God transform you through surrender to Him?


TeresaTysinger_Bio_editedTeresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa:






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Three Things About Writing I Learned From Moving

Posted by Julie on September 25, 2014 in About Me, Christians Read, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Did you know I’m one of the bloggers over at Christians Read? Vicki Hinze, Maureen Lang, Elizabeth Goddard, James L. Rubart, Hannah Alexander, Kathi Macias, Lynette Sowell, Sarah Goebel, Kristen Heitzmann and Yvonne Lehman are part of the Christians Read team. I blog opposite Maureen on Wednesdays.

This week I shared what I found to be true for me in writing while I was moving.

Can you relate?

Read on to find out.


I’m going back to unpack more boxes.


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Saturday Confession: It Makes Sense to Me

Posted by Julie on September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized |

It wasn’t that people didn’t offer.

“How can I help?”

“Do you want me to come over and unpack with you?”

And it wasn’t that I was too stubborn to say yes.

I turned down a lot of help because of this—

I wanted to do it my way.

unpacking photo: Unpacking at Compas DSCF0020.jpg

I’m not Martha Stewart but I like to have organization.

My organization.

I haven’t moved a lot, but when I did, there was an anxiety that was hard to shake.

The loving people who came to help who asked, “Where do you want this?” “Where does this go?”

I felt like I’d turn and someone was waiting on me. I absolutely come apart with that kind of pressure.

So, I’d ask what they thought. There was so much wisdom there.


I didn’t feel like I owned the process.

Nor did I feel like it was my kitchen.

Make sense?

Probably not.

But this time around, I unpacked each box and decided where things went on my terms. No pressure. No explaining why I went with this cupboard instead of that one. I might have made some foolish choices.

Yet, they were mine to make.

I’m tired and sore, but I’m pretty excited. I know where things are. I like their location.

And the best thing of all—it makes sense to me.

Do you like to be organized? Do you want help getting to that organized place, or like a toddler or me, do it yourself?

photobucket image 

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Saturday Confession: Close Enough

Posted by Julie on August 30, 2014 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

In the midst of packing my husband shared a revelation.

The day we move to the house we believe is the last one for us is ten years to the day we moved to Ohio.


Some days it feels like yesterday, and others, 100 years.

I know this much—when my husband approached me over a year ago asking me to consider praying about moving, I was absolutely dead set against it. It took months of him talking to me and my praying to move my mind. It truly is a God thing the entire way because if it were up to me, I’d be rocking in a corner and ignoring what I know we were meant to do.

Why was I so against it?

My mind remains traumatized by the last move and to me, any subsequent move would be just like that. The circumstances and grief surrounding the last one were so profound I still think my body threw itself into perimenopause at 37.

It wasn’t a fun time.

And who in their right mind would want to go through that again?

My husband reminded me this isn’t 2004. He hasn’t moved 300 miles away for a new job while I’m with young children, one who is chronically ill. Our family is healthy and not going through loss.

In fact, he assured me the teen and tween we have can pack boxes. So can he. We’d be in the same state, same city, even the same house.

So we moved forward. Started packing in faith. Found the agent. Started looking at homes. It did feel different. I can do this, I thought.

But then summer came. Delays. A deal gone south. Back to square one. Stress. Surprises. Work schedules so insane we don’t seem to be in the same house anymore. Or the same city. Or the same state.

I was packing a box and felt the familiar pang of grief. I missed my Dad. I was lonely.

And it hit me.

This move isn’t like the last one. A decade ago I sat on my bed just looking outside wondering how I ended up in Ohio. This feels like redemption. A new chapter. Fulfilling purpose for this new thing.

As I cried I knew what I was feeling overall was apples and oranges.


But as I missed my dad, dreaded the calls I knew would come between my husband, agents, loan officers, buyers, sellers, renters and everyone inbetween, couldn’t sleep, was sick of packing boxes I cried remembering past tears.

And for just a moment—the first move—where my world was crashing and everything changed—and this one—where a new chapter begins and God answered as faithfully as the first one—seemed close enough to warrant tears.

And a package of cookies.


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