Surrender fear, loss, & Change with Julie Arduini

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Transformation: The Split Second

Posted by Julie on January 8, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

The word for my year is transformation and as always, I’m constantly looking to see how that word applies to my life. A few days ago I received news that I can’t stop thinking about. A little girl is gone and her parents, amazing parents who were great to us when we lived in NY, are shattered and forever changed. A tragic accident that took place in a split second.

Then I saw the breaking news coming out of the Fort Lauderdale airport. One minute passengers are focusing on travel, the next, diving for cover because of gunfire. I read on one of the sites I belong to that a cousin was one of the victims. Again, everything transforming in a split second.

I realize those transformations can come with good news, too. A marriage proposal. A birth. Hearing about a job promotion, or even getting a call that you got the job. It means in a second you go from that title to a new one. A change in address, perhaps. And always so much more.

Transformation: The Split Second Change

I am one of those that is always so far ahead in my thinking that I am guilty of missing out on celebrating the present. My dear friend told me her goal for the year was to choose present over perfect. I love that. I want to embrace what I have in my life. This week showed me that can all go away in a moment. I don’t want to have regrets. But in search of perfect, I’ve missed out on the present. That’s not how I want to approach life.

Are there examples you can think of where your life changed in a split second? What are transformations you can think of?

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Thankful for Perspective

I'm thankful for perspective.

I’m thankful for perspective.

I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.

Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.

But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.

  • I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.

 

  • My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.

 

  • My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.

 

  • Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)

 

  • A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.

 

It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.

 

The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.

 

Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.

 

I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.

What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?

 

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Thank God for Memory by Patti Shene

THANK GOD FOR MEMORY

Two deaths in the space of four months—first my mom in February, then my husband in June—labels 2016 a tough year in my history book.

Death of a loved one is never easy, but to experience two losses in such a short period of time is like having the ambulance transporting you after a car wreck you just survived T-boned on the way to the hospital.

You’ve barely had time to catch your breath from the first gaping wound when another is inflicted.

Grief is nebulous, yet poignant; crippling, yet cleansing; personal, yet universal.

The last word that comes to mind when hearing the word “grief” is “thankfulness.”

Yet, would grief exist if joy, happiness, and love had not precluded it?

When I struggle to put grief in perspective with the goodness of God, I am drawn to the book of Job. We all know of the misery he suffered, the unspeakable sorrow he bore, the devastating despair that enveloped him. Yet, how did he respond?

His wife said to him, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?”

10 Job answered, “You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God – Job 2:9-10

dorothy-k-shene_editedIt was harder to accept my mom’s death than I thought it would be. I was so sure I was “ready” when Mom passed. Although mentally keen as a knife drawn across a sharpening stone, physical maladies, pain, and exhaustion warned us her days on earth were nearing their end. To be honest, my sister and I prayed for her relief from suffering.

Since her death, too many moments have come and gone that I wish I could share with her. The fact that I can’t produces a dull ache, kind of like the nag of an arthritic joint on a cold, cloudy day.

Although we had been forewarned of the gravity of his condition, my husband’s passing was much more difficult to bear. Reports from the surgical suite were optimistic, so much so that I went to the hospital chapel and thanked God for his mercy in bringing Manuel successfully through yet another surgery. It was upon my return to the waiting room that I was informed he had suffered cardiac arrest and was unable to be revived, despite heroic efforts by the surgical team.

Kind of reminds me of Job in a remote way. I’m sure that iconic Biblical character asked more than once how life could be so good one moment and so bleak the next.

The loss of my husband has inflicted a more acute, more frequent pain that throbs like a knife slash to the gut. His death has forced me to examine myself as a widow, a self-sufficient woman, and a child of God.manuel-pat_edited

The drug that renders my pain bearable through both of these losses is memory. Sure, photographs, videos, greeting cards, and conversations with others whose lives they also touched trigger vivid recall of the part these loved ones played on my life stage.

Yet, it is the intimate moments of laughter and tears, triumphs and failures, dreams realized and hopes dashed, shared within those relationships that bind me to Mom and Manuel across the span of time. Without that treasure trove of deep seated memories that allows me to drink my fill, the pain would be so raw that it would surely crush my spirit under its weight.

There is much in my current circumstance that I have to be thankful for, but the one gift from God that stands out most prominently for me during this stretch of my life journey is memory.

My sentiments about this blessing are reflected in the following poem, recited by me at my mom’s funeral service and printed on my husband’s memorial card.

God gave us memory,

A dear and precious gift,

That on our darkest day

We could receive a lift.

 

He knew we’d suffer pain

Along life’s rocky fall,

And so He gave our brain

The power to recall

 

Our loved one’s tender smile

Or kind, devoted touch,

The guidance thru each trial

That fueled our love so much.

 

Though gone from here below

And where we cannot see,

Love leaves our heart aglow

Thanks to our memory.

 

So when your day is long

And sadness in you burns,

Your loneliness is strong

And there seems nowhere to turn

 

Take a moment from the day

To get down on your knees,

Bow your head to pray

“Thank you, Lord, for memories.”

Patti Shene

Can you find thankfulness in any grief you may have experienced this year?

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

Patti Shene is thankful for memories.

BIO: Patti has had short work published in two anthologies and local publications. She has three novels in progress. She has conducted workshops at Christian Writers conferences and served as an editor with a small publishing company. Patti loves to promote writers, both published and unpublished, on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. She shares stories through personal interviews of those who have found their way from a dark place back to light or those who help others back to light on her weekly Blog Talk Radio show, Step Into the Light.

Patti lives in Southeastern Colorado and is fortunate to reside in the same town as her daughter and fifteen year old granddaughter, her only grandchild. Still, her heart brims with memories of the Adirondack North Country of New York, where she spent many childhood vacations and still returns periodically to visit family.

Website-www.pattishene.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PattiShene

Facebook – http://ow.ly/QN1u306koqf

Facebook (Step Into the Light page) –  http://ow.ly/CRNS306koSJ

Blog talk radio show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stepintothelight

 

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Book Review: Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on October 7, 2015 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s Note:
Don’t forget! I’m looking for YOUR thankful thoughts to post here during the month of November. Click here to learn the details.

cover71157-mediumBook Description:

Abandoned by hubby for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator finds herself in an altercation with a doctor. Now she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, they soon discover their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? This could this be where life begins again.

I don’t think there are tougher topics to conquer in fiction, and life of course, than divorce and death. Jennifer Slattery does both with her newest release, Intertwined. Tammy is newly divorced and trying to find a “new normal” with an ex-husband who deeply wounded her and isn’t much help, kids with needs and only one parent at home to help, and a demanding job as an organ donor procurement coordinator.

Nick is divorced and unable to see his kids thanks to a cruel, ex-wife when one of the sons passes away. Tammy, an old flame from high school, is there to walk him through the organ donor process and they get to know each other and help each other through divorce and trusting others again.

I really enjoyed this book. The conflict is there and is on a constant acceleration. It feels awkward and uncomfortable during the tense moments, and I love that, because that means the reader has been put in the scene and is involved. I thought the moments where Tammy’s called to work but needs childcare were especially realistic for a single parent.

What I would have liked is a little more time to dig deeper into the romance between Nick and Tammy. I think as readers we just scratched the surface as a lot of time was on Nick and Marianne. But for all Intertwined represents, Jennifer Slattery did a great job keeping the reader turning the pages.

I definitely recommend.

To purchase Intertwined, click here.

I received Intertwined through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Earth and Sky by Guy Delcambre

Posted by Julie on July 25, 2014 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Guy Delcambre writes, “In grieving, grace strengthened me every sinking moment, every day. Steadily, the pain dissolved.” Earth and Sky is the story of a traveler walking through the deepest valley and the highest mountain, through great heartache and unexpected joy. It is not a book about grief, but a book about grace and the goodness of God in the darkest night. With a refreshing frankness and raw emotion, Guy shares his journey from happy husband, to grieving widower, to single dad and victorious believer. It is a journey filled with great spiritual insight and hope. It was not a journey he chose for himself and his three young daughters, but one in which he declares, “God reframed my life with His truth and grace.” If you have experienced great loss you will find here a reason to persevere and find peace through the storm. You will be inspired to learn how God descends into the messiness and loneliness of life, and grows faith watered by grace.

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Guy Delcambre shares his own story about losing his wife, Marianne. A natural storyteller, the author puts the reader right in the hospital, right in the room, right in the moment as he has lived it. It’s agonizing and personal, yet not so much that the reader feels like they’re intruding. Woven into his story are insights and Bible verses that could encourage anyone who is in a place of grief.

I could relate to some of what he wrote as I lost a parent. However, I think those who will respond the most will be those who have lost a spouse. The person might not be able to read it right away if the loss is recent, but when they do, they will be comforted. And blessed.

To purchase Earth and Sky, click here.

I received a copy of Earth and Sky from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Character Confession: Why I Don’t Stare

Posted by Julie on May 24, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

My mom has a saying I heard a few times.

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“It’s okay to look at the past, but don’t stare.”

That makes a lot of sense. I’ve watched a lot of people waste amazing potential because they still remember that great football game from high school, that one relationship that got away, that one rejection that nearly broke them.

On Monday most everyone will celebrate Memorial Day, and they should. But for our family, it marks ten years since my dad passed away.

Ten years.

A decade.

That’s surreal on so many levels and there are little details long suppressed that are coming back as the date approaches. We recently lost someone that was close to dad who was so good to us after dad was gone. It brought us back in a lot of ways to 2004.

That season was horrific. For my husband, me and the kids, we were in such transition. Tom was in a brand new job on the OH/PA border living in a crappy apartment above a hot dog shop. Everything about the job was different than what he came from. I remember panicking when I heard the apprehension.

He celebrated his tenth anniversary a couple weeks ago.

I was back in Upstate NY with a kindergartner I was homeschooling and a baby that was recovering from croup. RSV. Pneumonia. Near death. Hypothyroidism. She was receiving therapies three times a week. I remember them encouraging me to speak more so she could hear verbalization. But back then all I had to offer was stunned silence and tears.

I worked on selling the house while Tom tried to find one in OH. There were many trips to look at new homes. Fights because we were grief stricken, shell shocked and bone tired.

Someone came to my sister and me and tried to pit us against us each other to see who was grieving more. She was a true Daddy’s girl who learned her work environment was changing while we made funeral arrangements. She found out about the change when boxes were delivered.

We did a lot of ministering to others because so few knew Dad was sick, and there they were at his funeral. He looked great. It was a very small circle that knew his fight.049

Mom woke up the day after the funeral realizing after a life time of caring for so many people, she had no one to care for. That was her role, what she did. Who she was. And that was gone.

Once our move was complete I remember sitting in our new bedroom staring at those towers with blinking lights. Deep down I’m a country girl so I still don’t know what they are. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all. I had no idea how I got there.

And if I’d even survive.

While I set our toddler up with therapies and doctors and made sure our first grader adapted well to school and made sure my husband felt encouraged in his new job I grieved. I missed everything my family was. This new normal was so radical I had trouble trusting God. My husband worked through a Bible study on Job with me to help me take the pain and find the purpose.

And I’m so glad he did.

From that pain, grief, sadness, shock and everything in between I clung to Hosea 2:14. Basically it says when in the wilderness, God will speak tenderly to us. In that season I learned to lean on Him. Listen. Realize it was a season and He did have a purpose. It wasn’t a joke at my expense. I understood it as a preparation season, too. A visual learner, I pictured every tear going into a warehouse that Jesus will show me in heaven, and explain it all to me on that warehouse tour. I picked up His challenge to take that brokenness, knowing I will never see life the way it was, but in that new way, share that broken place with others.

Had I not lost so much on a level so deep, I would not be writing. In that season I surrendered everything, even fear. From there I started writing with no more fear of rejection or people pleasing. I trust God’s timing and words He gives, and am a literal scribe. I’ll put myself out there so people can see there is hope. They can survive this. Thrive, even.

I know.

As I emerged I was reading Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore and I realized I was involved in something toxic that threatened to keep me in 2004 even though a couple years had passed. There was someone not just looking back, but staring. She wanted me to stare too. And when I decided not to, she didn’t like it.

Each year when we mark dad’s passing, it’s always different. This year is a little more pronounced. A decade I think is a milestone to remember. Losing someone so recently that meant a lot to our family brought feelings and memories back. As much as I miss dad and think of so many things every day that we could talk about, I know he’d be proud of how we’ve carried ourselves. Mom took on a project that was his dream and handled every single detail until it was completed. My sister is a mom and her little guy would be a delight to his grandpa. Dad would be proud of how my husband’s worked to provide for us and look out for his family. Our kids? There is so much in our son that is my dad. Our daughter was a kindred spirit to dad. She was less than a year old when he passed, but the bond was deep.

I am who I am because I’ve been emptied and made new. I’ve cried enough tears to fill that heavenly warehouse. Or 4.

But at this special remembrance, I look back.

And thank God I didn’t stare.

If you’re struggling with grief, I highly recommend griefshare.org. This was also key in my healing and moving forward.



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