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Guest Blogger: Recipe for Single Moms by Dawn V. Cahill

Posted by Julie on July 9, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Recipe for Single Moms

Many years ago, my three-year-old son discovered a love for food preparation. He’d come up with all kinds of concoctions. Here’s one of them:

½ gallon of milk

2/3 quart chocolate milk powder

Approx 8 tbsp salt

¼ can of pepper

¼ jar of onion powder

½ box of petit fours

In a saucepan, stir all ingredients together on medium-high heat, stir, and enjoy. Note: In order to capture every subtle flavor of each ingredient, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to prepare before 6:00 am, before anyone else is up. I promise it will fill your home with a mysterious yet enticing scent, and will bring the rest of the family scurrying to the kitchen.

chocolate shake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious? A half-gallon of milk mixed with chocolate powder sounds like a promising beginning, doesn’t it? Funny how life can imitate recipes. In my own case, life as a single parent started out not so bad. Once I rid my home of my alcoholic husband’s toxic influence, the atmosphere lightened as if the house itself breathed a big sigh of relief.

But then life threw a lot of salt into the mix. And way too much pepper. One of my sons began getting in trouble at school for disruptive behavior, and he was only 6 years old. His grades nosedived and his behavior grew increasingly unruly as the long year wore on. As this was happening,  another son, the chef wannabe, was diagnosed with delayed development.

Sweet had turned to bitter.

I had eliminated one problem – abusive husband – but had acquired umpteen more. Child support was erratic, at best. Financial problems, like onion powder, is only tolerable in small doses.

Life had turned into a disaster that made me gag.

I decided I needed a way to sweeten up my life, and came up with the perfect solution: a delicious new romance! A purely selfish, yet pleasurable way to make life bearable again.

petit fours

Of course, it didn’t work. Petit fours soaked in salt, pepper and onions aren’t so tasty anymore. Neither is romance when the rest of life isn’t working.

But here I am, twenty years later, my sanity still intact—at least, I hope it is. My son the aspiring chef is on the verge of graduating from college. My unruly son made it through school and has been on his own for many years.

So, you might wonder, how did I get from there to here?

It’s a long story, one I’ll have to save for next time. But it’s a testament to God’s grace. His merciful concern for the widow and the orphan.

Be sure to come back HERE for the rest of the story.

~~Dawn V. Cahill~~Since I was a small child, I’ve loved stories, both reading and writing them. One of my earliest stories got high accolades from my third grade teacher. It was about a little Manx kitten whose mother rejected her because she didn’t have a tail. Until an older, wiser cat helped the mother understand the importance of accepting her children the way God made them.

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Thanksgiving 2013: Perspective and Abundance


Thanksgiving speaks so many things to me.

Pumpkin pie.


Thanksgiving parade.


Time passing on traditions in the kitchen.

No matter where we are, Ohio or New York,

just the four of us or extended family,

I always try to take extra time to reflect on our blessings.

The word God gave me for 2013 was abundance.

What a beautiful word.

And what a faithful God.

Abundance of healing after losing my mother-in-law.

Abundance of family time with a vacation we saved years for.

Abundance of unity with fellow believers as we chose forgiveness together.

Abundance of God’s provision as we have a new pastor we know God handpicked for such a time as this.

Abundance of time to write so I could finish my first novel.

Abundance of prayers from others to help direct my writing steps.

Abundance of laughter as I navigate life as a wife, mom, writer, mentor.

Abundance of healing as my wrist is well.

Abundance of unexpected blessings as I was able to travel to the Adirondacks with my mom.

Abundance of new opportunities as we close doors and open new ones, with His leading.

Abundance of clothes on our backs and closets.

Abundance of food on the table and in cupboards.

Abundance, abundance, abundance.

I also realized this season to have abundance also means choosing perspective, perspective, perspective.

May your perspective this Thanksgiving be about abundant blessings!

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you!

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Sabbath Sunday: You See a Sunset, I See a Promise


This sunset was one of the few days the sun came out in March in NE Ohio.

It was on the way to a gathering with women who I believe are moving past brokenness and hurt to freedom and abundance.

But it’s a process, and it’s hard.

This scene is my reminder that even on those cloudy, snowy in April days, He hasn’t forgotten His promises.

Or me.

Or you.

Hang in there.

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Character Confession: When Lightning Strikes

Posted by Julie on October 13, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Before I start, I need YOUR thankful posts. My plan is to hand my blog over to you in November so I can write a 50,000 novel in 30 days. All you have to do is write why you are thankful. It can be funny or serious. As short as a paragraph or as long as 750 words. Send to me at with a short bio and optional picture. Sign off as you want the world to know you (anonymous, full name, first name only…) I don’t assign dates, it is first come, first served. I’ve run out of slots the last two years, so please send in as soon as you can. I don’t have words to explain what an impact these have on everyone.


Today I’m sharing a true story to encourage those who thought 2012 would be amazing, and it was anything but. My point of the story is not only does God restore all the locusts have stolen, He outgives what we lost in the first place. My prayer is you know Him, not of Him, because of His Son, Jesus.

I was a junior in college, ready to transfer to a NYS school that had a great reputation nationwide. I worked in retail and was learning the duties of a third key manager. I was the one who made the actual bank drop, so I was the one holding the bag last. I assure you, I dropped the bag at the bank.

The next day the manager tried calling me in the era before cell phones. I was at the school over an hour away, so I didn’t know anything was amiss until later in the day. I called as soon as I got the message and learned the bank bag was never received by the bank. Police were called and they interviewed me and the manager separately.

It didn’t take long before I realized what was going on. The local police told me to fess up and tell them where the bag was. And I learned months later that the manager was in another room insinuating I had it. I was a kid, really, and a naive one. But I was also sassy and told them they were bugging an honor student when every night I try to get to my car and dodge the drug deals. I knew they weren’t equipped to deal with this case, but the cards were in their hands. And they were looking at me.

The company wasn’t as concerned as I was, they were able to write it off. It wasn’t a huge amount, not even back then, but still. It was the mystery of it. I touched the bag last. I dropped it in. And to this day, not one person called to ask why their check never cleared.

The saga dragged on past the summer and into my new college life. I learned the state troopers wanted to give me and the manager a lie detector test. Because I was away, I went to a different barracks and met with a kind but tough as nails man who explained how the lie detector process works. I’m telling you, you can’t fail purely on nerves because I was a 19 year old girl scared to death they were going to accuse me like the local police did.

I learned immediately I passed with one exception, one question. I knew. The question is do I know who might be involved.

It was then the trooper explained that for them, the focus was never on me as ringleader, but on me as naive kid being bullied by another. There was a rumor that a manager on the street we worked on was in trouble with a loan shark and needed fast money. Their eyes were on the manager, and she failed the test.

I admitted I truly didn’t know, but more than one source was coming to me and telling me that the manager was pointing the finger at me.

My name was cleared. They never made arrests, and I went on with college life. Months later the company headquarters called. They wanted to give me a bonus for my trouble.

And they insisted the manager present it to me, while she got nothing.

As you can imagine, it was an awkward meeting and did not go over well. I went on to graduate and pursue a job in my field. A year plus later I was in the running for a job that sounded like a dream. I knew some of the interviewing team, and one of them called me. Did I have any enemies? I had no idea what he meant. Then he gave a name.

Turns out, she was in the running for the same job. She learned I was strongly being considered, and started a phone campaign to stop them.

At this point, I was young in faith and so full of hope. God would redeem this mess, I knew it. I just didn’t know how or when.

I got the job, and part of my duties was to visit where she worked and meet with her, a different position than the retail one we had years before. I was scared, but I called her and told her this is a clean slate and I don’t want trouble. We can do this, if she’s willing. She said she was.

One of our mutual clients was in a home and I decided we should visit her together. She agreed, putting us in a car together. I’m chatting her ear up about Jesus, and my guess is if she could have pulled the handle on the car and jumped out, she would have. Suddenly there was a flash of lighting out of nowhere. Nothing like I had ever seen. The radio flickered, same for dashboard instruments. I kept driving.

A construction worker waved me down and asked if we were okay. I said sure. He said our car was hit by a freak lightning. He couldn’t believe we were okay. Young, chatty me rambles on saying of course we’re okay, Jesus Himself watches over me. I act as if my car getting hit is an everyday thing as I drive with the person who made life challenging for a season and now we’re colleagues. I look over to her, and she’s pale.

“I don’t know what it is about you, but you always come out on top. What I did to you was awful and you never seemed upset. Now this. You have an amazing God.”

Yes. Yes, I do.


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