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Character Confession: Real Life Isn’t for Sissies

Posted by Julie on August 17, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last week on Facebook I shared how my husband and I evaluated the changes we’ve survived in the last year, and what we see coming.

  • Loss of his mother
  • Two job related changes
  • Broken wrist, surgery, therapy
  • Changing how we travel to NY (we usually go separate, he visits his dad and I visit my mom.)
  • Church split and healing
  • Kids first experience on an airplane and cruise
  • Son started high school
  • Son having a girlfriend
  • Daughter with a new diagnosis and revised IEP
  • Daughter starting 4th grade with a locker and switching classes
  • Finishing a manuscript and moving forward
  • His oldest daughter turns 30 this month
  • We’re praying and looking into making a change in our home life.

And that’s just off the top of my head.
Brave photo Character-Confession-brave.png
There were days we stumbled through. Many where we didn’t even see each other. Nights I fell asleep with tears dotting my pillowcase. Afternoons I realized fear ruled my thoughts. Opportunities where it was clear I had a choice to act in the flesh, or through the Holy Spirit. Times where laughter ruled. More instances where silence and the unknown moved in. Doors opened. Doors closed.

It was a sober conversation, especially where we’re looking to make a change, and most of the above were things we didn’t see coming. We have no guarantee the changes we plan to make will even come to pan out. It will be all faith. I suspect  frustration will tap my shoulder. Fear will try to take us down.

How did we end our chat?

Real life.

It’s not for sissies.


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Saying Goodbye to a Beloved TV Character

Posted by Julie on March 15, 2013 in About Me, Christians Read, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

I posted at Christians Read this week about saying goodbye to a beloved character—the Dallas tribute episode to JR Ewing. I share reflections on why I watch the show, what made it personal, and as a writer, why it was done so well.

Check it out here.dallas-honorjr-gallery-18-thumb-220x140

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Thankful for the Season by Holly Hrywnak

Fall has always been my favorite season—from the array of colors found in the changing leaves to the fresh-picked crisp apples to the coziness of a worn in over-sized sweatshirt. What’s not to love?

We all go through different seasons in life—from the curiosity of childhood to the angst of teenage love to the contentment of adulthood. Again I ask, what’s not to love? Well, a lot. It’s been an interesting 28 years for me. I use the word “interesting” because nothing else quite fits. I’m not sure there’s a word to describe the many different things I’ve experienced.

At the age of 28, I find myself miles from where I’ve come and still more miles than I’d like to admit from the place I’d like to be. I had thought by now I’d have complete healing from my hurtful childhood that the anger and bitterness would long be dissipated. And yet, here I am. Some days feeling MORE angry, MORE hurt, and MORE bitter.

Then, there’s my singleness to contend with. My high school sweetheart married to the skinny, young, French woman he met while teaching in the romantic European city. He turned from Jesus long ago, and labels himself an atheist. From all outward appearances—he appears blessed. The woman, the job, the life. Or most painful of all, the amazing man I was blessed to love and be loved by has been dead six long years. All of our dreams for the future buried in a grave in the hills of Pennsylvania.

It doesn’t seem fair. And when you look at it like that—it doesn’t seem like much to be thankful for, but I am.

I’m thankful that I experienced a childhood that daily brought me to the arms of Jesus. I lived in constant fear, but I learned to cling to a God who never left. Through every tear, every suicidal thought, every hurtful word He was there drawing me closer to Himself. I learned early on that I could only depend on Him and that He would take care of me.

I’m thankful for the one that got away because it made room for God to bring a man who would show me what genuine faith and unconditional love looked like. Instead of slyly crafted put downs I was lavished with kindness and accepted for who I am. He never asked me to change my appearance, but treasured my gifts and the person God made me to be. And I may still be single, but I’d rather be single than wishing I were.

And some days, not always, I am thankful that in the midst of losing the man I thought I’d spend my forever with that God brings me hope and renewed dreams. God had allowed me to go places and serve in ways that I never imagined possible. He’s brought me friends and family who walk beside me in the valley of the shadow of death and laughed with me while on Cloud 9. I may not be where I had hoped, but I’m thankful for this season. For this time. It’s not always pretty or fun or pain free, but I get to walk through it with a God who knows my most intimate and deepest thoughts and loves me anyway. What’s not to love about that?

 Holly Hrywnak is 28 year old with a dream to write more. She is currently addicted to Nutella, Matthew MacFadyen movies and Pinterest. Her other interests include serving at youth camps and a regional young adult group in her area. Most importantly, she loves Jesus. 

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Character Confession: That Comforts Me

Posted by Julie on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized |

I can’t believe it has been 8 years.

My dad’s been gone that long and yes, time helps, but the grief never ends. It evolves, I think.





How can I feel comforted?

It’s a choice.

When my dad was declining fast from lung cancer and few even knew he was battling, he attended a presentation I was in called Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames. I played a girl in an elevator that crashed. I die, but I go to heaven. My elevator companion did not because she refused a personal relationship with Christ. It was her choice.

After the presentation he wasn’t feeling well and went home. But he gave my mom a message for me.

“Tell Julie I will be going where her (my) character went. I have faith.”

A simple statement, but I knew what he was saying. He made it clear he not only had peace in God, he knew His Son in a personal way. It wasn’t full of fanfare, but his confession and belief was just as real.

And that comforts me.

When his life on earth was down to hours, I was able to speak to him in person. It was the last mutual conversation he had, and I was able to give him a tribute. We were not close when I was growing up, and it was not intentional. We made our peace and enjoyed a good relationship in my married years. To be the last to speak to him and let him know I’d see him again? That his job before I get there was to watch over the baby I miscarried and he nodded?

That comforts me.

When the funeral ended and the crowds stopped coming, it was the same time frame I was supposed to move 300 miles away. Good words were hard to come by because so much hurt to say, write, and hear. It took years to understand, but one of the parting things my mom said to me was she wasn’t worrying about me in all this. She knew I had faith. It took me a long time, but I get it now. I wasn’t devoid of mountain and valley experiences in grief and beyond, but she knew I had an Anchor to cling to that some do not have. She knew I’d be okay.

And that comforts me.

When I see traits in my loved ones–facial expressions, hobbies, mannerisms–that remind me of him–

That comforts me.

What gives you comfort when living through grief?

BTW, I recommend I went through a lot of loss and share in a short span of time, and this helped. A lot.



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WFW: Love Extravagantly

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Word-Full Wednesday! It’s that “Battery re-charge” for your week where God’s word is glorified. Go ahead, join us. Take an image and a verse from the Bible, post on your blog, and link your post URL to the Internet Cafe.

Not only is it WFW…it’s our 15th anniversary.







August 31, 1996


What makes this anniversary and this picture so special is that the lovely lady to my right in this picture is going to be a bride herself. There are so many things I want her to know. As beautiful as the wedding might be, it is the marriage that matters. Every hour, every day. It is work. It is the best and can feel like the worst. It is a choice between oneness and isolation every single day. It isn’t about changing them, it’s about asking God to change you.

If you are married, you know I could go on and on.

But I have every day as a blogger to share those things.  Let’s bring the best marriage instruction book of them all to this post.

1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Our 15 years featured these seasons: infertility, high-risk pregnancy, real estate transactions, birth, depression, surgeries, parent sickness, parent death, sibling life changes, miscarriage, job changes, major move, near death of child, church changes, financial struggles, financial blessings, friendship transitions, ministry additions/subtractions, travel for work, fun, and family.

On a computer screen they don’t seem too hard. In reality, they threatened, at times, to crush our spirits and destroy our marriage.

What gets us through?

Trust steadily in God

Hope unswervingly

Love Extravagantly

At this moment our marriage is still on a solid rock. We’re closer than ever. But… we are shells of who we were 15 years ago. We have been not around the fire, we have been through it (and will again). We are better for all these things.  But the Bible knows what it is talking about.

Cling to His word today.

And love extravagantly.

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Book Review: Melissa Foster’s Megan’s Way

Posted by Julie on June 20, 2011 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Last week I reviewed Melissa Foster’s latest novel, Chasing Amanda. Today I’m back with a review of her first book, Megan’s Way.

With two Melissa Foster books under my reading belt I can say she is a well rounded story teller. Usually you find writers are really good with characterizations or imagery and setting. They work hard to learn the craft so that they can be balanced and write both well. Melissa Foster is already there with amazing imagery and setting talent in her writing yet she crafted diverse characters with depth and emotion.

What I love about a story is when I can’t guess how it works out. In Megan’s Way I was almost cocky thinking I had the story all figured out but what a nice surprise to find it didn’t play out like I thought.

Megan is a single mom to teenage Olivia and she realizes cancer is going to take her away. She’s worried about how Olivia will fare and wonders if secrets from the past should be told and who should know them. Megan and Oliva share an intense connection and Olivia feels something changing with her mom. Holly is Megan’s best friend from childhood who isn’t able to have children of her own and carries secrets from the past.

Here is a product description:

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she’ll be faced with the most difficult decision she’s ever had to make. She’ll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she’d made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia’s world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there’s nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan’s closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

Julie’s disclaimer: There is strong profanity and what some might define as new age practices in Megan’s Way.  If you are sensitive to that this might not be the book for you but I encourage you to give it a try.

I found things I could take away and apply to my life including the importance of transparency and honesty to avoid the need for harboring secrets. I felt re affirmed in what I’ve shared with others for years, you don’t know when your last day on Earth is. Make sure you are ready. Although I might not personally align my lifestyle to everything in Megan’s Way, I still found it a compelling read.

I received Megan’s Way from the author in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase, click here.

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