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Transforming for a Life Worth Living by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transforming for a Life Worth Living

By Sue A. Fairchild

When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.

At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.

But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.

My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.

My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.

But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.

Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.

During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.

Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.

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Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Transforming for a Life Worth Living

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW HERE

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Ten Years Later

Posted by Julie on December 31, 2016 in About Me, ACFW, COTT, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

I clearly remember the night. While most people were out for New Year’s, I was staring at the little box on my laptop screen. Clicking the “Create Blog” box in my mind felt as tense as dismantling a bomb.

Around 2006

It was my first act after promising God I was done with fear.

Afraid of what people might think.

Afraid of rejection.

Afraid, afraid, afraid.

I can’t put into words how scary creating that first blog was.

December 31, 2006.

Fast forward, and here we are. A decade later. A blog or two after.

Not afraid.

And so much more.

For years, blogging was my baby. I was content to make that my only writing outlet if that was all God had for me. But it wasn’t. I don’t blog as much as I want to, and I’ve watched blogging popularity ebb and flow as much as my own life has. But I still love it.

2011

I’ve shared parenting journeys from pre school age milestones to teen drama.

Middle school drama to college achievements.

Thirty-something wife and mom to forty-something grandma to-be in 2017.

Seasons of friendships, heartbreak, betrayal, creativity, hardship and mountain views.

Companies wanting my space. And only this year did I agree because I personally use their products and believe in them. I hope you check out iBloom and love them as much as I do.

Oh, and writing.

2016

Anthologies. Gift books. e-How. FaithWriters. ACFW. NaNoWriMo. Spectacular Falls to Entrusted. Entangled. Now, Engaged.

Wow.

I saved the best for last.

You.

I’ve heard from you in comments and on Facebook. Pulled aside at church and through text. E mails. You have been so, so kind.

Let’s keep it going.

Another ten?

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All About an Author: Interview with Sharon Srock

Posted by Julie on November 7, 2012 in Book Review, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Leave a comment on today or tomorrow’s post and you are entered to win a basket full of goodies from Sharon!

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?

My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

If someone approached you and announced they “had a book in them,” what would you say?

That they should pursue their dream, but not to forget that there is more to writing than just words on paper. Pursuing the dream needs to include learning the craft.

If you could have a do over on one day in your life what would you pick?

Fourth of July, 1996. It was the last day we spent with our little grandson before he was murdered. I wish I’d spent more time with him that day.

What is your favorite food?

I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.

What is something that very few people know about you?

I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my book review and the first page of Sharon Srock’s Callie.

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Booksneeze Book Review: Eileen Button’s The Waiting Place

Posted by Julie on June 17, 2011 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

I love surprises, don’t you?

Thomas Nelson Publishers gave me a surprise when they shipped Eileen Button’s The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life’s Little Delays through the Booksneeze Blogging Program.

Eileen Button writes a variety of essays about different places in her life where she had to wait. I thought they would be nice lessons that I could walk away feeling encouraged by or tuck her words away for a time I’m in the predicament. I got so much more than that from The Waiting Place.


 

 

 

I found much of The Waiting Place was a mirror of much of my life.  I was very familiar with some of the areas Eileen lived in Upstate NY. I nodded my head relating to her remembering loving family members who spent their life preparing to die. Although I’m not a pastor’s wife I have a husband that for a season served in leadership in ministry. Although there was support there were also the comments and commentaries that left me shaking my head and becoming bitter. I’ve sobbed over my own burn out and watching it happen to one I love. I’ve had severe health issues with children. Personal goals that I was certain were a green light in God’s eyes only to come to a red light where I’m still waiting.

This was a book that made me nod my head. I reflected. I bit my lip. I cringed. Waiting is hard. Eileen’s stories are examples of a human, not a superhero. She loves the Lord and wants to serve Him well.  Yet her sharing is authentic. I was very moved by each example she shared.

 

Thomas Nelson Book Description

A collection of essays describing the beauty and humor that can be found in what often feels like a most useless state—The Waiting Place.

We all spend precious time just waiting. We wait in traffic, grocery store lines, and carpool circles. We wait to grow up, for true love, and for our children to be born. We even wait to die. But amazing things can happen if we open our eyes in The Waiting Place and peer into its dusty corners. Sometimes relationships are built, faith is discovered, dreams are (slowly) realized, and our hearts are expanded.

With humor and heart-breaking candor, Eileen Button breathes life into stagnant and, at times, difficult spaces. Throughout this collection of essays she contends that The Waiting Place can be a most miraculous place—a place where beauty can be experienced, the sacred can be realized, and God can be found working in the midst of it all.

Includes stories on waiting for:

the day to end* a place called home *the fish to bite* a baby’s healing* church to be over* a husband’s return* children to grow* a mother’s acceptance* a loved one to die*

As Eileen says, “To wait is human. To find life in The Waiting Place, divine.”

To purchase The Waiting Place by Eileen Button, click here.

I received The Waiting Place from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.



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