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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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Julie Arduini’s Favorite Book of 2014

Posted by Julie on December 31, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I have fun looking back at the books I’ve read and choosing a favorite. Earlier this week I shared the favorite fiction and non fiction books I read for 2014. Today I share a book I reviewed this year, but it was released in late 2013. I wasn’t sure what it was about and I thought it was a genre I probably couldn’t relate to.

I still can’t haven’t forgotten this book.

What is it?

Fistful of God by Therese Travis

911CUzb9DUL._SL1500_Book Description:

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

I read this back in March and I was blown away by how this reached beyond the YA genre. It was real, gripping and all these months later, I haven’t forgotten it.

You can read my original review here.

To purchase Fistful of God, click here.

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Book Review: Fistful of God by Therese Travis

Posted by Julie on March 7, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

911CUzb9DUL._SL1500_
She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

Fistful of God is categorized as YA-Young Adult, but I’m telling you, this is a page-turner for adults, too.  Therese Travis writes a heart-wrenching story full of real tension and consequences from alcoholism. Aidyn Pierce is a teen who has experiences to last a lifetime–a father that died too soon, and a mother that she’s had to parent because of alcoholism. Aidyn lost her best friend and has trust issues. And if she has to hear the word AlaTeen one more time…

This was an excellent read because I’ve walked in Aidyn’s shoes, and Therese hit all the right notes in creating a complex daughter. There’s anger. Hope. Resentment. Fear. Sometimes all at the same time, and she showed that. She also crafted the mom with authenticity. Recovery is a process full of physical issues, as well as emotional. Therese also crafted strong supporting characters that also understand the complications.

I recommend this for teens and adults. It’s an emotional read, especially if alcoholism is something you’re familiar with, but it’s so well-crafted. You will root for Aidyn and her mom.

To purchase Fistful of God, click here.

I received Fistful of God from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Now Available: Forager, Dystopian Novel, by Peter R. Stone

Posted by Julie on December 12, 2013 in encouragement, Julie Arduini |

forager cover final

I have a confession.

For the longest time, I didn’t know what dystopian meant. But freedictionary.com defines dystopia as this:

An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.

So when Peter R. Stone contacted me to let me know his novel, Forager, is now available, I knew what kind of novel he’d written.

And Dystopian is a hot genre to be reading right now. Thank you, Hunger Games.

I know Peter from FaithWriters and I let him know that I’d let you know Forager is available. Young adults especially love novels like this, and they are typically hard to buy for. So let this be an idea for Christmas.

Here’s what Forager is about.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones lives in Newhome, a town built upon the decaying ruins of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, ruins haunted by the ferocious Skel, a nomadic tribe of degenerate savages.

The Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome’s foraging teams and infesting Melbourne’s ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town’s doom?

Meanwhile, the last thing Ethan expects when he and his companions rescue a two-car convoy from the Skel is a Japanese teenage girl with an outlandish dress-sense, who after they take her back to Newhome, goes to great lengths to ingratiate herself into his life. But is it in gratitude for saving her life or is she seeking something more?

And what a quandry she places him in, for he knows the rules, that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman. But how can he drive such a gentle soul away when she touchs his heart so deeply, even though she clearly carries the pain of a broken heart.

At the same time, Newhome’s police force, the Custodians, are suspicious of Ethan’s foraging team’s successes and are pulling out the stops to find out which member of his team has the illegal mutant ability that gives them an edge over the other teams. Should these peacekeepers discover Ethanis the mutant they seek, they will haul him away and dissect him like a frog.

To purchase on Kindle or a Kindle app, click here.

To purchase Forager as a paperback, click here.

To preview the first four chapters, click here.

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COTT: Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman

Posted by Julie on December 2, 2013 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

For all those who need to unplug from our high tech world, Clash of the
Titles presents a novel about reconnecting with those dearest to us, about
turning off the cellphone and living in reality. Although written from the
perspective of a new teen, Edna in the Desert applies to all
ages.

About Edna in the Desert:

Edna is a precocious trouble-maker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills
school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an
alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her
grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service,
Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an
older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to
know him from the edge of nowhere?

PURCHASE:

What readers have to say:
* “Maddy Lederman is a
21 st Century Judy Blume”
* “The author displays literary maturity in
her subtle, nuanced and patient treatment of Edna’s movement from
self-centered to other-centered.I recommend this book to all – not just the
YA group & I hope to read other books from this author.”
* “Loved
this book, brought up so many things I think about in terms of kids,
technology and our materialistic society.”

About the author:

Maddy Lederman’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los
Angeles Times and The Sun

Runner, a magazine about California deserts. Maddy has an MFA in Acting
from Brooklyn College. After school she discovered what it’s like to wait
around at auditions all day, and so she did not pursue an acting career.
Edna In The Desert is Maddy’s first novel.

Q&A with Maddy:

What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

I wanted to write a warm, amusing story about how a modern teenager would
react to being totally unplugged. Some of my friends’ kids don’t even look
up from their phones to say hello, and I wonder where this is taking our
culture. My character, Edna, is thirteen, so the YA market was naturally
drawn to my book, but I wasn’t drawn to a particular market. I’ve found
that adults enjoy Edna In the Desert as much as teens.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’ve done many quirky things, a lot of them in the desert! I took a “sound
bath” at The Integratron. I hiked up a mountain in 110 degrees on a first
date and eventually married the guy. My job in film and TV creates endless
quirky opportunities, for example, covering Adam West, TV’s Batman, in
creamed corn. We met years later in Palm Springs and laughed about it.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

On Facebook
and my website, MaddyLederman.com.

Visit Clash of the Titles
for the latest in Christian fiction!

*taken from Amazon
reviews

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Book Review: Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Posted by Julie on March 9, 2012 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last week I said although it wouldn’t be fair to books releasing later this year, I could be ready to announce my favorite books of the year. The non fiction book I loved was I am Second.

Today, I can’t wait to tell you about Betsy St. Amant’s Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK.

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Courtesy of Betsy St. Amant.com

I know this is a YA (Young Adult) novel geared for teens but trust me, this 40-something mom of a teen ate this book up like a box of name brand chocolates. There was so much I enjoyed about this story. First of all, Addison. She is a contemporary teen that the targeted age can relate to whether parents like me want to admit it or not. Teens are insecure and want to fit in. They have fears and frustrations and the pressures on them are real.

I also like Addison’s spunk. She sees life as black or white and people are either Gummi Bears or Lemon Drops. I confess, at my age, I chat with my BFF about people either being Barbies or Misfits. I know Addison’s frustrations because they were mine back then, and I still struggle with them.

I also enjoyed Addison struggling with change. I remember from my teenaged years and now through my son, friendships change, sometimes in a day, without a reason. It hurts and it’s awkward. New friends come on the scene and can speak truth that hit dead center, even if the new friend barely knows you.

Parents change, and in Addison’s case, her dad is a widower back on the dating scene, and he isn’t dating just anybody. Transition is hard, and Addison has no idea how to handle it in her black or white world.

Then…there is the bad boy. It’s hard to resist a leather wearing boy with a motorcycle but most parents aren’t up for the scenario. If dad is the pastor, forget it. And Addison knows liking the bad boy spells trouble. But still…

This is a heartfelt book with strong characters and real situations like marriage, eating disorders, purity, peer pressure,transition, love, secrets, dysfunction, and true faith. Again, my teenage years are a distant fog and this is on target to be my favorite fiction read of 2012.

Do yourself a favor and get your hands on Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK.

 

This book was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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