Meet fictional solo mama Carla

Christian author Julie Arduini debuts her latest novel, Entangled, and is here to tell us all about it!

EntangledCover

“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Single mom Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla – loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:

Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464881433&sr=1-1&keywords=julie+arduini

Entangled is book #2. Although it can stand alone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=

Curious to learn more about Julie? Here’s her bio.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed) http://eepurl.com/bXAW0L

 

 

Wise as Serpents: If the Word You are Hearing Does not Set You Free, it is not the Word of God (Part 25 of Sermon Series)

A powerful read on how some church folks twist or distort Scripture to justify mistreatment.

A Cry For Justice

God’s truth brings believers into freedom.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Evil distorts, perverts, twists and morphs the Word of God into a wicked counterfeit which traumatizes people and brings them into bondage. Evil loves to quote God’s Word but always does so with the method and intent of using it to deceive and enslave.

We are surrounded by phoney religion today, just as was the case in Jesus’ day when the religious establishment in Israel was corrupt. The temple was not the Temple, but had become a den of robbers. The righteous were put out of the temple while the wicked not only remained members in good standing but were preeminent in it — exalted with trumpets. When the Lamb of God came…

View original post 4,753 more words

Cover reveal for new release Paint the Storm

Hey friends, it’s almost that time — August 1, release date for the long-awaited Book 1 in my new Golden State Trilogy! And to satisfy your curiosity, here’s a peek at the cover:

PainttheStorm-Final2

To see what the book is about, click here. Then leave a comment below. I’ll choose one commenter at random to receive a gift copy on August 1. And be sure to let your friends know, too.

 

Only Love will win in the end

“When we gloat in the low moments of others, regardless of our self-justifying reasons, we break the rule of love…”
The attached post tells a story of a photo of a Muslim woman remaining seated when everyone else around her was standing. The photo made the rounds on Facebook, and the conclusions  and comments that followed tell a sad story of human nature. The judgmental people bashing the Muslim woman probably felt a lot better about themselves after they put the whip away. See full post:

mumford & psalms

I wrote the post below a few days ago and am editing it here in light of this billboard that went up today just 10 miles from where I live.

white again

The You can listen to Rick Tyler in a new interview argue why America would be better off if we didn’t have “people of color” around.    The sentiment behind this billboard is found everywhere in America.   The picture you see below, for example, which made it’s way around social media, served to stir up even more animosity towards “non white people.”    As I try to make clear in the words that follow, if you cheer on pictures like these and get angry because she’s sitting during the National Anthem, you might be more like Rick Tyler than you’d care to admit.   The nationalistic zeal and xenophobia exhibited below is the natural breeding ground for the…

View original post 1,206 more words

Those without sin – Part II

After I published my blog about Brock Turner (read original post here) I was floored, not to mention completely unprepared, for the backlash. It started a heated discussion on Facebook, and you would have thought I was defending ISIS terrorists.

There were so many comments, I’m sure I missed many of them. But here are the main objections I remember:

  • I was misinterpreting/misapplying scripture. In my original post, I used the example of the Pharisee vs. the sinner praying in the temple, and the contrast in their attitudes. Jesus called the remorseful sinner justified. The second example I used was the woman caught in adultery, when Jesus told the crowd, whoever is without sin, throw the first stone, then told her to go sin no more. However, I don’t recall anyone offering a more realistic scenario of how Jesus would respond to Brock. If anyone did, I didn’t see that tree among the forest of comments. To the best of my knowledge, Jesus reprimanded only two groups of people: the Scribes & Pharisees, and the disciples when they demonstrated lack of faith. He didn’t rebuke the Brock Turners. Therefore, I stand by my original assertion.
  • Because his sentence was so light, and his dad’s attitude was so cavalier, Brock deserved his status of public whipping boy. But if people are mad at the dad and the judge, then whipping Brock is misplaced. Unless they are elevating themselves to judge, and imposing a sentence they don’t have the authority to impose. And that’s exactly what I believe was happening. When we get outraged at someone else’s bad behavior, if we’re honest, we have to admit we feel just a little smug, and a little better about ourselves. And that was the point of my first example.
  • One of the commenters asked if I’d defend Hitler, or the Orlando shooter. No, I said. Because the premeditated nature of those crimes put them on a whole ‘nother level for me. A six-month-planned shooting spree is far beyond a drunken rape. I’m betting Brock didn’t wake up that morning and think to himself, “I think I’ll rape someone tonight at that party.” However, Timothy McVeigh DID wake up that morning planning to kill and destroy. So no, I wouldn’t defend them, but neither do I have the right to judge or slander or make a public spectacle of any of those shooters.
  • I stated several times that there’s too much judgment and not enough grace in the world. Surprisingly, a few of my dissenters agreed with that statement. At the risk of sounding judgmental and self-righteous myself, I can’t help wondering if they were in fact blind to their own self-righteousness. (I’m sure that’s been true of me more than once.) The blog post was meant to address that.
  • The debate ended when one particular woman who’d been actively commenting said that Brock could have stopped his behavior any time during those 20 minutes, and the fact that he didn’t proved he had an evil heart. My reply was, Of course he has an evil heart. I’ve never denied that. My point is, we ALL have hearts full of sin that need redemption! That’s why I wrote the blog. She did agree, but reiterated that she disagreed with my Scriptural application. I could have prolonged the debate and asked her, “What do YOU think Jesus would have said to Brock?”  I know what Jesus wouldn’t have done. He wouldn’t have plastered Brock’s face all over social media so that everyone could hate on him.

I would love to get your take on my question. What do YOU think Jesus would say to Brock?

 

 

 

 

For those of you without sin

After seeing Brock Turner’s face on social media one too many times, I’ve had enough. Today, I even read that some Wiccan coven is bringing hexes and curses down on him, because, legal experts that they are, they don’t believe Brock’s sentence is harsh enough. So they, the media, and Americans as a whole have set out to crucify him. And boy, don’t they feel good about themselves. They would NEVER commit such a terrible deed.

If Brock Turner ends up committing suicide, I can already hear the cheering and the celebratory whoops.

Tragic.

I’m pretty sure I know why this particular rapist, among the thousands already out there, is being made an example of. And I bet I know why this particular CRIME, out of all the murders and assaults that take place daily, is being singled out. But that’s not what I want to write about. I want to explore the question, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO if he had a chance to sit down and chat with Brock Turner?

Here’s an actual example from Luke’s gospel. I’ve just changed a few words to reflect current events.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the church to pray, one an evangelical Christian and the other a rapist. The Christian stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this horrible rapist. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the rapist stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I wonder what the Wiccans would say to that.

And here’s another example that we’re all familiar with. Again, the changed words are in red.

At dawn he appeared again in the courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The media brought in a young college student caught in the act of raping an unconscious woman. They made him stand before a jury, and when the judge sentenced him to only six months,  they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this man, Brock Turner, was caught in the act of rape.  Because he victimized a woman, he deserves to be castrated. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to pick up the knife.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the man still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked him, “Young man, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” he said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

Q&A with former Solo Mama, Angela

Today I visited with Angela, who solo-parented for two years during her children’s formative years. I loved her insights…so many things she said resonated with me. Let’s sit down, sip some English Breakfast tea, and hear what she has to share with us.

tea pot

DVC: The verse Lamentations 2:19 was especially meaningful to me while raising my children alone. It says, “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your children.” Was there a particular verse or passage that really encouraged or uplifted you during your single-parent years?

A: Oh yes! My favorite passages during that time came from the Psalms. I learned in Psalm 34 that the Lord would be my protector, provider, and He would answer me in my time of trouble. He would rescue me from my fears! Psalm 34:6 said I didn’t need to be ashamed. When I felt ashamed at the failure of my marriage, at the shortcomings of being a single mom, I could turn there and find hope.

DVC: Tell us how long you single-parented, and how old your kids were at the time.

A: I solo-parented for two years. My children were elementary through junior high at the time. But as many women experience, the weight of parenting fell on me throughout their earlier years as well.

DVC: During my single years, my parents and my ex’s parents really stepped in and helped with things like transportation and meals. Did you have a strong support network?

A: No, I didn’t really have a support network. Coming out of the abusive situation, I hadn’t been allowed friends and my family had been systematically alienated. It took a lot of prayer, work, and time to build a new support network. But I had a family friend who held my mortgage. She helped me by providing relief for a year of my $300/month mortgage. (That sounds low, but it was an inexpensive mobile home.) I paid off a ton of debt and then started paying on the mortgage again.

DVC: I know there were a few things I wish I’d done differently. Do you have any regrets from those years?

A: Absolutely. I’d do so many things differently. But then, I wouldn’t have the wisdom I do now to help others with what I learned. I think I made a ton of mistakes, flailing around trying to find my way. The dating thing, wow, so embarrassing. But loneliness, even from a bad marriage, is a difficult situation.  If I had it to do over again, I suppose the one thing I’d do is be single longer and not date for a lot longer. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to grow and heal.

DVC: But there were also things I did that turned out to be the best decision for them. I enrolled them in Christian school, taught them the gospel, enforced consequences, rewarded them for positive behavior. Looking back, what are some things you know you did right?

A: I love this question because we beat ourselves up for our mistakes too much. I think I did a good job connecting my children into healthy activities and church activities. I made sure my sons were around healthy men/coaches and my daughter had an outlet around healthy coaches, both men and women. I had to fight for those activities because my ex-spouse tried to force me to stop putting my children in any extra-curricular activities through the courts. He didn’t want to pay for them or take the kids to anything. He won in court, not having to pay, but he couldn’t win forcing me to stop enrolling and allowing my children those activities. So I paid. I worked extra to do it at night while they slept. But I do not regret it. My children explored their talents and callings because they could go to those activities. But they also had healthy adults pouring love and wisdom into them. I see them now, as adults, so much healthier for that decision. I knew I couldn’t be everything for them. I had to find others to help me provide healthy input and grow their talents.

DVC: Can you think of anything you’d like to tell other single moms to encourage them?

A: Don’t get so caught up in the financial support from the ex. That can too easily get construed as the battle when you’re really fighting for your children to have a healthy, happy life. My lawyer(s) couldn’t see the battle wasn’t money. Money was a symptom of the problem. In court, that’s where they wanted to start. By doing that, they lumped me into the exact place that didn’t fit. I felt painted into a character that had nothing to do with me. Instead of the funding issue, get creative with education and employment. I worked in sales and on weekend did craft fairs with my children. By working on weekends in craft fairs, my children did the activities with me (unless they were at a camp or kid event) and we spent time doing it together. That built relationship and a sense of working toward a goal together.

I have to say that my children are all very good with many aspects of business. Doing these craft fairs together built their skills in sales, creativity, and relationships. But I also helped them do fundraisers for their dreams. If one wanted a certain camp, I helped them find a way to make and sell Christmas cards or chocolates or yard work. This way I didn’t have to say no, my child learned to work for what they wanted, and I did it with them to help them learn how and to stay safe in the process. I’d do that all over again! Because of these creative ways to earn money for activities and experience my children have ended up traveling around the country and world. They never felt like they couldn’t do something because we’d find a way to focus on the dream and work toward it.

Yes, there were many meals I ate what was left over after my children finished. Yes, I had to get creative and communicate a lot with bill collectors after the divorce. But one year after, I had gained a confidence that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now, if someone says it can’t be done, I say, “Hmm, I bet there’s a way. I’ll give it a try.” I don’t take someone else’s negative opinion as my fact. Very rarely has that other opinion proved true. But most often, creativity has proven triumphant.

 

Unrealistic expectations and societal judgment

narcissistic-mothers-sm

A gorilla is dead, but a child is alive. And a mom is getting hated on for supposedly not keeping a close enough eye on her son. 

I’ve seen the video, and boy, if it had been my son, I would’ve been terrified. Not only at the danger to my son, but from other folks’ judgmental glares and the backlash on social media. That poor mom probably hasn’t left her house since. She’s the one I feel for.

I can’t stand the way society imposes unrealistic expectations on mothers. Especially single mothers. Not so for fathers. All that’s expected of them is the contents of their wallets. Sure, mothers are revered, but if we make the slightest slip, scorn is flung our way. That’s just not fair.

I’d love for you to share any memories of a scary moment with your kids. Did you ever lose sight of them for a moment, only to find they’d gotten themselves into a terrifying predicament? Or have you ever been the object of judgment for your parenting by observers who thought they knew better than you? Please share in the comments below.

Finally, someone has offered kindness and grace to this boy’s mom – an open letter to the gorilla-loving boy’s mom. Here’s the link:

An open letter to the mom of the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure

Happy Mothers’ Day, Solo Mama!

narcissistic-mothers-sm

In honor of Mothers’ Day — I saw this Facebook post earlier this week, and it just about ripped my heart out. Yes, there really are mothers like this one, who put their love lives ahead of their kids’ welfare. We need to keep speaking out against these Mommy Dearests, and do our best to erase the damage they do to these kids. Kudos to teachers like Lauren who are willing to get below the surface and reach out to these hurting kids.

(Reposted with permission.)

I get asked all the time why I teach. I never know how to answer it quite right, so I usually say something sarcastic like, “Because I’m really a huge fan of hearing myself repeat the same thing sixteen times in three minutes,” or “Because summers, obviously.”

There was boy in my morning class, I’ll call him Danny. At least three times a week, he showed up over an hour late to my class. He was always behind, never quite knew what was going on, and his late work caused extra grading for me. Frankly, he annoyed me. Every time he showed up late, I assumed he didn’t care. He wasn’t responsible. He didn’t respect me. Finally, I asked him. “Danny, why are you always late?” He shrugged. I said nothing, and waited for a response. He sighed, “My mom got this new boyfriend, and whenever she stays the night at his place, no one is home to make sure my little brother gets on the bus. I make sure he’s awake and get him on his bus, but that means I miss my bus and have to walk.” How far is your house from school? “A little over a mile.”

Whoa.

Danny IS responsible. Danny DOES care. Danny DOES value his education. See, whenever Danny was late, he would miss the school’s free breakfast and go hungry until lunch. He’s frustrated with his mom, behind in his classes, and is hungry. Of course this 13 year old boy is acting out! Now, when Danny shows up late, instead of greeting him with a detention slip and an eye roll, I get to greet him with a genuine smile and a granola bar.

Danny humbled me. To be completely honest, I get humbled by my students daily. They make me realize that I can be impatient, judgmental, and imperfect. But the thing is, there’s no eleventh commandment that says, “Thou shalt be perfect.” Jesus just showed up, met people exactly where they were, and loved them. Then he taught, but only after their immediate needs were met.

I teach because I get to ask kids “why” every day. Why are you late? Why aren’t your clothes clean? Why aren’t you doing your work? Why do you want to sleep in my class? Why are you so afraid to take a risk? Why don’t you trust adults? Why are you acting out? Why are you arguing with me? (Sometimes the questions are ridiculous: why are you hiding in my closet? Why did you think it was a good idea to throw your shoe out the window? Why did you just lick your neighbor’s ear?)

The “whys” teachers ask aren’t to be punitive and shame kids. Teachers ask kids “why” because we get to treat students like human beings worthy of love and respect. Those “whys” show kids that we care, that they’re worthy, that they matter, and that they’re safe. We ask why, and then we listen… Really listen to these kids.

Welcome, Ginger Solomon!

I enjoyed Ginger’s visit so much in March, I invited her to drop by again! Just in time for her new release. But first, she has something on her heart she wants to share. 

On Being Flexible
By Ginger Solomon
Has life ever thrown something at you at the last minute that you’re not sure how to deal with? Or maybe it was a lot of somethings all at once. Either way, you had to adjust your expectations to meet with your new circumstances.
You had to be flexible. Go with the flow.
I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at it. I prefer events where I know what to expect and approximately when.
When my husband and I got married over 25 years ago, my wedding was just such an event. I planned things nearly to the minute. It was scheduled for two in the afternoon. Most weddings I’ve been to start a few minutes late. Not mine. I was walking down the aisle at 2:00pm on the dot. According the video, guests walked in behind me.
I’d love to say that everything moved like clockwork during the entire ceremony, but it didn’t. My cousin, my matron of honor, dropped the wedding ring when she went to hand it to me. We were standing on a platform and that ring decided it wanted to roll all the way down the stairs. Not in my plans, but I managed to be flexible and go with the flow—really, what choice did I have? As soon as the ring was recovered, we continued on.
There have been many other such times in my life when circumstances made me step outside of my organized comfort zone and be spontaneous.
Princess Anaya, the heroine in my newest release, Second Choice, faces such a challenge. Her father gave her one year to choose a husband from five candidates, whom he thought worthy of her hand in marriage. She met with each one individually, and six months later, after much consideration and prayer, she chose one. They spent several months getting to know one another and planning their wedding.
Then he disappeared. Three weeks before the wedding.
What would she do?
Knowing her father the way she did, she knew he would insist she make a second choice so the wedding could continue forward as planned.
She had to be flexible.
And she was because we all do what we have to do to make it through any given situation. We make choices that we may later regret, but we do the best we can with the knowledge that we have at the time.
What about you? Have you been in a situation that required you to be flexible?

Now, let’s learn more about her new release, Second Choice.

Second Choice, Ginger Solomon

Second Choice:

Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.

Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.

But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.

Learn more here.

Ginger 8 - brightened

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.

Author Links:

Website

Inspy Romance Blog

Facebook Author Page

Twitter @GingerS219

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers