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Linda Cobourn: Dancing in the Hall

Posted by Julie on October 13, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Dancing in the Hall

by Linda Cobourn

It was one of those rare moments, a spontaneous celebration erupting out of nowhere. The adult students in my Communications II class were learning the rhetorical strategies of pathos, ethos, and logos by presenting short skits. The last skit provoked a lot of noise, with one student bursting into the classroom waving a loaded eraser while the student portraying Pathos cowered under a desk crying. So loud had been her screams that several male students and the dean showed up at our doorway.

To “get back at me” for the disruption my class had caused, the professor of Music Empowerment chose to bring her students out to the hallway to sing “I’m Every Woman.” I led my class out to join in. There we were, forty students and two professors, dancing and singing during class hours.

I watched the faces of my students: they were joyous, elated to be engaging in a few moments of revelry, casting off their cares of being adult students with jobs, families, and financial woes.

Adults need the opportunity to play. In 2016, studies report that 30% of adults are working at multiple jobs. With the responsibility of children still living at home and elder parents needing care, the adult of 21st century America is stressed, tired, and on the verge of emotional collapse. Some adults have also returned to school for greater employment opportunities following job loss.

College programs designed for adult students are different than traditional programs.  Most adults who return to school are only on campus for class and library use. It is no wonder that adult students feel isolated. This sense of isolation is a reason only one out of four adult college students finish a degree. Reasons students drop out range from financial to family concerns, but high on the list is emotional overload.

Continuing education should bring with it joy in acquiring new knowledge and self-satisfaction in reaching a goal, but the opposite is often true. The overwhelming work required of higher education squeezes out the little leisure time left over from other responsibilities. Adults who do manage to finish their degrees report that they feel elated when the process is over.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little elation along the way. We should all occasionally dance in the hallway.

~+~

Dr. Linda Cobourn is a literacy specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. Her research interests include building college-ready skills in middle school students and providing academic support to adult learners. Dr. Cobourn also cares for her disabled husband and autistic son and writes about the experiences at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/

 

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Kathleen Brown: 3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Posted by Julie on October 11, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

by Kathleen Brown

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons

 #1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”

Mom to doc: “No.”

Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.

 ~+~

alzheimersKathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to kbrown.writer@gmail.com.

 

 

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Dr. Michelle Bengston: What to Say When To a Depressed Loved One

Posted by Julie on October 6, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

What to Say When To a Depressed Loved One

by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

What we say to others can either build them up or tear them down. We must take care not to further injure someone in their suffering from something we say.

As a neuropsychologist, I’m witness to the well-intentioned but misdirected words of friends and family to depressed loved ones that only serve to pull them down further.

When people suffer from depression, they often also harbor low self-esteem, guilt, and shame. What they crave is to know they are loved, accepted, and not alone.

Let Scripture help you determine what to say to a depressed loved one: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Here are a few things to say to someone struggling with depression:

-I love you. There is no better time to hear this than when they are struggling to love themselves and wonder if others truly love them too.

-I’m here for you. This is one of the most comforting things you can say to someone feeling alone.

-You are important to me. It’s vital to know they are still acceptable, accepted, and important.

-I’m sorry that you are going through such a painful time. Expressing your sorrow for their pain communicates that you care, even if you don’t fully understand.

-Is there something I can do for you? This communicates your willingness to help and just your offer will lend comfort and encouragement.

-You may not believe this now, but you won’t always feel this way. The depressed individual often needs reminding that there is hope.

-We will get through this together. This communicates your acceptance, and your love.

-Nothing. Actions often do speaker louder than words. I remember when Job encountered great hardship. Job 2:13 says his friends came and sat with him for seven days and nights. During that time, they didn’t speak a word because they saw how great his pain was. Words could do nothing to help his misery, but their company spoke volumes.

Remember, when you are speaking to a depressed loved one, your goal is to encourage and uplift them. “But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (Job 16:5 NLT).

How will you encourage a loved one today?

~+~

DrMichelleAuthor, speaker and neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and their family. She offers practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com

 

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CD Review: Live On Forever by The Afters

Posted by Julie on September 11, 2016 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Moses to Job to Jesus, the most intrepid heroes in scripture knew times of trouble that multiplied like a plague-—but always led, in the end, to mighty celebration.

It’s easy to assume such stories of trial and triumph are for the Bible’s books or the history books. But miracles happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever began during a season of tragedy.

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—-part of the worship team—-was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise-—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God.

“If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says. “Look at the titles we’ve selected: They reflect themes of ‘rise up, get up, God has your back, you’re not in this alone.’ We thought, ‘Let’s encourage people and let this be a weapon for people’s faith: something they can hold onto.’”

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.

“I remember going to that funeral and seeing a casket that was way smaller than any casket should ever be.” Havens recalls. “I will never understand why tragedies like that happen in this life. It was in that moment of loss and sadness that our thoughts turned to eternity. ‘What is heaven going to be like? We began writing ‘Live On Forever’ and pulled from Revelation where it describes heaven as a place where there’s no more pain, no more crying, no more suffering.”

The Afters have a new release, LIVE ON FOREVER, a CD that took two years to create. In that time, the band suffered loss after loss, and each of their experiences molded what became the music for LIVE ON FOREVER. The members share their losses on their website, and it is well worth the read. Even in grief, they realize God is ever-present and caring.

LIVE ON FOREVER is a great Christian pop CD to listen to for encouragement and uplifting. There’s nothing in their music that reveals the depth of their pain and grief, and I think it’s a testament to how faithful they believe God is, and we get the results of that with upbeat music. LIVE ON FOREVER is already well known, but I also really enjoyed SHADOWS and BATTLES. I enjoyed each song, but the first two really stayed with me in both beat and lyrics.

I highly recommend LIVE ON FOREVER if you enjoy a good pop beat with a positive message. If these band members can endure the losses they did and come out with these uplifting songs and messages, I think they deserve a listen.

PURCHASE LIVE ON FOREVER

I received a CD for review purposes in exchange for an honest review.

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Crushed, Shattered, Growing

Posted by Julie on April 27, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

The year isn’t even half over and I’m ready for it to be done already. Nothing terrible is happening, yet, it’s draining all the same. I call it the crushing season, for me, a time I’ve discerned is God’s doing to grow me. Take me to the new place in Him.

But it will crush and shatter me in the process.

It feels like you’re in a vise and the handle keeps turning. Everything that can be squeezed out of me is. Although a good thing—I definitely want less of my selfishness and more of Christ, it’s hard.

You’ve been there.

The crushing for me has been a constant onslaught on my mind. Things that I know are lies, but they are before me, running through my imagination, on a loop. It is draining. I’ve had to increase every step I take in my normal faith journey and even add more. I listen to Christian music all night just to combat it. It’s hard.

Growing times for me always involve increased rejection and loneliness. I don’t have a squad like Taylor Swift, and that’s okay with me. The precious few in my life are trusted and invested not in what I can do for them, but how we can encourage each other together. When I’m hurting, it is twice the fight when I only hear from folks who only think of me as their prayer connection. It is an honor, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing in their thinking that says I am a friend. I don’t hear about their good news, nor am I contacted just because. I’ve joked before I am their prayer Pez Dispenser. And it hurts.

The good news about these things is they are a season. I’ve been through enough of them to know I come out better on the other side. Usually there is crazy God favor that defies definition. Good stuff just happens, and I know it’s from Him. There is a new level of faith. I’m learning and applying what He’s showing me. It is worth every tear, and trust me, I shed many.

I share all this to say this month I’ve focused on the crushing process in my weekly e mail called Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate. It’s a brief encouragement to start your week right, and I always include a chocolate mention. If you’re feeling the pain of crushing that includes rejection and loneliness, I pray these issues help you.

Let Sunday's Surrender and Chocolate Encourage You During the Surrender Process.

Let Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate Encourage You as You’re Being Crushed, Shattered and Growing.

Subscription is free and separate from my other free resources, my monthly newsletter filled with updates, surrender tips, Reader of the Month profile, contests and more, and the as needed book release/discount e mail alert.

I’d love for you to subscribe and tell others. Let’s get through the surrender journey together.

Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate Weekly E Mail

Surrender Issues and Chocolate Monthly Newsletter

Surrendered Scribe Book Promotions: Book Release and Discounts Sent As Needed (Infrequently)

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Be Encouraged

Posted by Julie on March 31, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Speaking, surrender, Writing |

Well, hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update and I thought today I would do that.  I’ve been busy behind the scenes building my business as an indie author and speaker. It’s hard when God’s given a vision with an end result, but there are a million steps in between. I’m not sure what number step I’m on, but I’m trying to keep that end goal in sight.

To encourage audiences to find freedom through surrender in Christ.

The biggest project I have is re designing and re branding what was the Adirondack Romance Surrender Series that started with ENTRUSTED. Coming this spring is the re release of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, and the debut of book two, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. The last release will be ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future. I’m nearly done with the covers and I’m excited. They capture the heart of the series. My desire is for readers to connect with flawed characters who ultimately surrender their fears to God through their relationship with Jesus. Hopefully they will want to do the same.

Friends have been sharing their surrender stories here, and if you’ve missed the series, I strongly recommend you take a look. I’ve loved putting these together and presenting them to you.

Take a look at the Surrender Stories here.

I’ve also wrote some posts for others. It’s a good marketing technique, but I love doing this in hopes of encouraging someone who might not be familiar with my writing.

Be encouraged with one of the resources I offer through guest posting.

Be encouraged with one of the resources I offer through guest posting.

Mama Monday: When the Parent is Tired

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud: Your Spouse is not Your Enemy

Sarah Ruut: The Truth About Forgiveness

The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction: Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate

Christians Read: The Information Dump

This year I also created a weekly encouragement via email called Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate. It’s a brief message delivered to your inbox with a positive thought and a chocolate mention. A little something to start your week with a smile.  Subscription is free, and I’d love for you to join us.

Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate

Finally, this year I’ve been intentional to give readers a monthly newsletter chocked full of resources to help them in their surrender journey. Beyond writing updates I share a devotional type message, introduce a Reader of the Month, a recipe, books I recommend, and more. This is also a free subscription and THE place to receive exclusive info on my writing and speaking.

Julie Arduini: Surrender Issues and Chocolate

Anything I do is with the prayer you finish feeling encouraged and hopeful. I pray you not only enjoy these resources, but you let others know about them. I can’t reach everyone, but together, we can. Can you imagine the world feeling free because they trusted God and let go of what was holding them back?



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