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Surrendering Personal Possessions by June Foster

Posted by Julie on September 8, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

 

Surrendering Personal Possessions

My husband and I recently decided to travel the US while we still have our health. We sold our house and moved back into our RV, giving up most of our worldly goods. All of our furniture remained in the house, about half of our other things went to family members and friends, and the other half to a storage shed. If I hadn’t surrendered my attachment to material objects, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it.

Here’s the story.

Some years ago, we lived in Germany while Joe served in the army. I bought gold charms for each of the memorable places we visited, as well as a solid gold bracelet. A double-decker bus in London, the Parthenon from Athens, a beer stein from Germany. Other charms were from Denmark, Austria, Norway, and Italy. Then I attached other special keepsakes such as my sorority pin from college and a medallion my stepfather gave me when he retired.

I treasured my bracelet, not for the monetary value it held, but for the sentiment. Each charm had special meaning. When we returned to the states, I began my teaching job. One day when I came home from work, I made a shocking, no, devastating discovery. Our home had been robbed. Probably some druggie trying to feed his habit. Yes, you guessed it, my solid gold charm bracelet was gone forever. Along with a lot of other valuables as well.

To top it all off, my husband was back in Europe on another tour of duty and couldn’t even be there to comfort me. I grieved for my bracelet. Every perfect, unique charm was gone . I’d been violated. Someone had taken something I valued—something that belonged to me. Finally, I had to seek resolution. As usual, God provided His word.

A Christian janitor who cleaned the school where I taught came to me one day with a piece of paper in his hand. In his masculine scrawl, he’d written: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21.

His note was the reminder I needed to move on. I’ll always remember how the light of God’s word lifted me out of my situation. Nothing on this earth is more valuable than the Lord and His word. And no one can take that away from us.

The realization that I can take nothing with me when I leave this earth helped in the process. Yes, going from a 4000 square foot home to a tiny RV took effort, but I didn’t grieve over the loss of my possessions. I have something of greater value.

About Christmas at Raccoon Creek by June Foster

Christmas at Raccoon Creek by June Foster

Christmas at Raccoon Creek by June Foster

Emily Eason wants to distance herself from her parents’ opulent lifestyle in Birmingham, Alabama, and enjoy life in the rural village of Raccoon Creek and her fifties-style home. But after gazing into the little snow globe she purchased from Hardwicke’s Drugs and Gifts, she finds herself transported to another time—her grandmother’s era.

Lance Hardwicke is the pharmacist and owner of Hardwicke’s Drugs. Four years of pharmacy school didn’t allow for much of a social life. Gorgeous Emily Eason, nurse and resident of Raccoon Creek, has captured his attention. The next time she comes in the store, he’s determined to ask her out. Maybe take her to Birmingham to see the Christmas lights in his brand new orange and white ’53 Pontiac Pathfinder.

Can love span the fifty-year gap standing between them? 

 

Purchase CHRISTMAS AT RACCOON CREEK HERE

 

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The Comfort of Full House and Wind Chimes

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

The words for my 2016 are perspective and fierce. Perspective has kept me in check through transition I never saw coming. Fierce? I’m not feeling it, but I’m still reflecting on it.

With the year more than half over, we’ve hit a lot of those stress lists where counselors tell you to only endure one or two. We’ve…

-Had two major job changes

-A wedding

-A graduation

-Two book releases

-Health stuff

and last week, Tom’s dad passed away.

If I had not survived a season similar to this, I’d be reeling. I’m hanging on to God’s word, praying a lot, letting tears come, being honest with my feelings and watching Full House.

Not the re boot, but the original. Early in the summer we ditched cable and a friend knew our daughter loves Full House. He gave her every episode on DVD.

Every.

Episode.

You know that show lasted 8 seasons, right?

That means there is a lot of Uncle Jesse.

Funny thing is, a lot of times I’m in the same room when our daughter is and that’s what she has one. At first I was annoyed because I watched it as a teen real time, then as a step-mom when kids visited, then as a nursing mom, and now with her. I know the episodes. I can tell you the next line and what actors played two different characters. I know this show.

And as the summer goes on, I realize when I have the opportunity to turn off the television, I let it play.

Because with such a topsy-turvy year, the show is comforting.

It’s wholesome and light, even with a single dad and girls who miss their mom. There is love and family. Commitment. Laughter.

Full House and Wind Chimes

Full House and Wind Chimes

We also received kind gifts as we grieve. Tom’s work gave us customized wind chimes that play the opening measures to Amazing Grace. I hung them out on our deck and the chimes are so soothing. As I tended to a little crisis outside, the chimes kept me calm.

It’s the little things, isn’t it?

There’s nothing big to take away from this post, just a confession that Full House isn’t driving me crazy but actually helping. Wind chimes soothe me.

What everyday items help you when things are going crazy around you?

 

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The Hourly Taunts

Posted by Julie on June 30, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Yesterday I shared over at Christians Read that years ago I struggled with what I knew was a call on my life. It’s not only come to pass, it’s more specific.

I gave advice on how to avoid taking over and failing because we are not equipped.

What I didn’t say is how hard I’m struggling.

Early on I was so guilty of trying to save everyone. It never worked because that isn’t my job, and my health took a hit. A friend said, “Keep it up and it will kill you.” I have to hand the burdens over to Jesus. He fights for me. For the women I pray for. Not only does it have to be enough, it IS enough.

This year, even with that wisdom, I have been overcome with how unequipped I am. I battle guilt. I want to have the answers, the resources, the magic wand when they reach out to me. But the call isn’t any of those things. I’m only to pray and say as I feel I’m supposed to.

And guess what?

The silence is deafening.

He doesn’t want me to do a lot of talking right now.

In its wake, come the taunts. It’s not God’s voice and it isn’t mine. It’s the true defeated one, the one with so limited resources that he’s trying to convince me I’m the defeated one.

And it is a battle, my friends.

The hourly taunts drive me to prayer.

The hourly taunts drive me to prayer.

Surrendering not to the defeat but the taunts is draining. I’m a girl that wants to know why, and often with this prayer thing comes two things I hate and grieve, and deal with often. Loneliness and rejection.

Those things have been so intense this year I’ve thrown myself on the ground and just cried it out. I’ve realized there is power in tears, those are prayers that transcend language and I’ve got to get it out.

But it takes a lot out of me.

And once it subsides, I want to process it. Is it something I’m going through for my own life, something within our family? Because this has been a year I feel like those are critical prayers where my voice is the only one. Is it for those I’m standing in the gap for? Because never before have I had so many women coming at once with heartbreaking needs that hurt to hear. I hate hearing women are hurting. I see so much potential and most of these situations are strong women believing maybe not today, but someday they won’t just survive, but thrive. If I have to go through the valley for them, I’d do it. But not knowing the why I am having these times is hard.

Trust me, there is a lot of good stuff going on. We pressed in hard for our son to find steady employment and gradate from high school. The Lord gave us a picture of what his life looks like to Him and it is happening. It’s a beautiful thing. Our daughter is enjoying a good stretch of health after a rough spring. I’m finally okay with my husband’s job change and working from home. There are two books out with my name on the front that God is using to speak to women. Those are amazing praises.

But I’m the one that vowed to talk about surrender and make sure before I challenge anyone else, I’m doing it first. To be authentic even if no one else wants to hear it, or understand. So here I am. Maybe I’m waving in your imagination. Maybe I’m collapsed on a rug with a mouth full of chocolate and tears. Whatever you see, I’m all in.

And by faith, I have to believe that’s got the gates of hell shaking.

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Thankful: Clairol

One of the things my husband admitted he took into consideration was how youthful my mom looked. He thought perhaps if mom was that young, maybe I had those genes.

My reaction?

“Those aren’t good genes. It’s Clairol!”

Mom turned gray at age 16, and I found my first strand at age 25.

The year I met my husband, just sayin’.

imagesRSJW38ZKSeriously, it isn’t gray hair that runs in our family, it is white. Those that chose to let it transform have a beautiful white color. But, they are grandmas who look the part.

My mom looks like she’s in her 50’s. She’s over 70.

I’m 45 and I am not ready to call it quits on Clairol.

My husband might be ten years older but he has a youthful look to him. I don’t want to be confused with his mom or someone older. Is it vain? Absolutely.

Clairol has been with me since 1995 and we’ve seen bold reds, a blond, and a palette of browns.

In a season where gray is the in color, color me with Clairol.

Lightest Golden Brown, please.

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Saturday Confession: I’m Looking at You, Coconut Head

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

When our son was three, I took him to a McDonald’s play place. He zoomed to the top and hung out there for awhile. I kept looking but didn’t see him on the move. It wasn’t long before I heard crying.

It was him.

I climbed through the maze and made my way to the top. A pre school crowd gathered around him to comfort him, until they saw me. And zoom, everyone was gone.

I asked what was wrong and with big tears and a shaky voice, he confessed a kid called him…coconut head.

Once I talked him down to the ground and we discussed building up, tearing down and choosing to receive negative words, we went home and I thought it was over.670px-Deal-with-Name-Calling-Bullies-Step-6

I’m not kidding, for two years I would walk in on him playing. Whether it was soldiers or stuffed animals, he re enacted that scene. The difference was, in his role play, he got the last word.

This week I’ve wanted to get out my toys and role play. Our son isn’t three but he got a verbal smack down from an adult that hurt him as much as coconut head did. Like that day at McDonalds, he didn’t do anything to bring it on. In fact, in this case, he took steps to make sure he did all the right things. I suspect the adult forgot and needed to cover their behind and my kid got it. When I tried to get clarification, I was pretty much called a coconut head and the discussion was shut down.

Permanently.

I responded with a blessing. I wished them well, and I meant it. It was obvious it was a fight I wasn’t going to win, and neither would our son. I’ve taught him the way we close one door is the way we open the new. Being positive was the best way to respond.

But in the minutes and hours after, I struggled with the temptation to respond.

I had the right to file a complaint, and I would have seen action come from it.

I had the right to go off on social media, and readers would have felt compassion for our kid.

I could have addressed the adult again, bringing up examples from them and others that negated everything she was saying.

And darn it, I could have called them coconut head.

As I stewed and ate my way through the anger, God kept reminding me that the door was closed and He was not approving my taking the reigns and running after a response, as justified as I felt. In fact, He threw something at me that I think has merit.

Maybe that unfair situation was His way of protecting him from future issues.

If that adult or that place has trouble down the road, my kid won’t have to worry because he wasn’t a part of it.  Whatever the case, I went to bed that night realizing God was covering my kid. Being called a coconut head or being treated unjustly stinks. But sometimes that’s part of a bigger plan that would end way worse had we stayed in it or had the last word.

So, I’m asking God to take away my temptation to respond. And give me wisdom for the next time someone I love is called a coconut head.

Can you relate?

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Saturday Confession: My Relationship? It’s Complicated

Posted by Julie on September 26, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen the relationship status choice: It’s complicated.

Yeah, that’s me.

Not my marriage, but me.

And Jesus.

What makes it so frustrating is Jesus isn’t feeling any complications. He knows.

And I’m really having a hard time with that.

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There are things I know about me that I finally receive.

  • I’m an intercessor. I’m called to stand in the gap and pray.
  • I’m a scribe. When He tells me to write, I do. I write what He tells me to write. Every time.
  • I’m a vessel of surrender. When He asks me to do something, I’m on it. What used to take years to obey is now down to days. There is such freedom in that. But it is a lonely, crushing road.
  • I believe God. He gifted me a mountain moving faith. If He’s asked me to believe for it, I do. Because, He is.

But I’m still human and within the above come complications. Whether it’s one of the above, I’m an introvert, it’s a Julie Arduini thing, I don’t know but I’m stuck in the cycle of I enjoy being alone and yet the loneliness of life at times is so harsh I wonder at times if I can stand under it a second longer. This year has been particularly tough.

Then there’s the prayer life. There are some prayers that are 20 years old and they are not only not answered, they are worse. I get people and their free will play a part but where is He in this?  The fallout are death to promises and I fear death itself.  How do I raise my hands in worship when I can’t come to terms with this?

There’s the mixture of the two. The loneliness of prayer. I used to long to be invited to a dance—any social event that featured the very people who remembered my number when it came to prayer. Then I realized I probably would stand in a corner and wish I were home. Now I wish people reached out and asked if they could pray for me or if I had any needs. There is a very, very small group that has done that this year and they have no idea how lifesaving that was to me at a critical time. But the ache and pain of people who ignore me until they have a prayer request, honestly, what can I do but go to the Source for this?

In full transparency, my attitude hasn’t been perfect. There are more times than not, especially this month, where I felt entitled. Because I did A, I deserve B. Well, that’s not true. There are so, so, so many things that are on hold in and around me. Picture a roller coaster taking those baby steps to the top. When does the fun part come? When do the answers and release come? That’s where my thoughts are at.

The good news is I fight this out for a bit and I’ll settle down and in time I’ll look back and see what He saw all along. I’ll confess my attitude and He’ll pat me on the shoulder and we’ll move forward together like we always do. The loneliness part, that I don’t know how that’s going to work.

For now, this is Saturday Confession and here I am telling you, it’s complicated.

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