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Character Confession: Imagine the Timing

Posted by Julie on July 7, 2012 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

When I was a new college grad, the economy wasn’t great. It took me over a year to get the call for a job that was in my field and permanent. Right before that time, there was a corporation that hired me to work as a temp in their PR office. I was young, naive, and very new with my relationship with Christ.

I learned fast I was the thing that didn’t belong in that place. It was cutthroat, you were to work as a team but be about yourself, always ready to move ahead at any cost. I was point blank told by my boss not to have anything to do with the blue collar workers at the plant. We were the white collar employees and we stuck together.

Well, I obeyed that one for, well under a minute. I’m a blue collar girl and the only person who spoke to me was my dear friend’s fiancee, and he worked the floor. He treated me kinder than anyone, including the team I was supposed to be loyal to.

During one staff meeting the boss handed me a little tidbit that haunts me to this day. The way they (and it was assumed if I was ever in her position, which was the last thing I wanted,) operated in the white collar offices was to hire the blue collars as temps with the promise that after a few months, they will be brought on as true employees of the company–permanent and with benefits. Thing was, when the temp contact was up and the person with a family to feed and health care on the line was ready to receive that contact, they were instead let go. Because they were always employees of the temp agency, and the company saved money using temps.

I knew that moment I would never last in corporate communications, even if I wanted to. I also thought I’d never see such bad behavior on behalf of executives again.

Then came last week.

I started watching NBC morning news programming when I was in high school, circa late 1980’s. I had a little TV in my room (believe it or not, it still works and is in our bedroom) where I’d get ready watching the news before the Today show. There was an anchor named Ann Curry that I looked forward to watching. She knew her news, she was objective, and a mom-like compassion that was the real deal surrounded her interviews. I remember her announcing her pregnancies, and I remember her moving to the Today Show.

I watched Today for the news. That first half hour was always the most important to me, and that was where Ann always was. She broke the news to me day after day, year after year. When she received the co-anchor spot last year, I was thrilled for her, but a little nervous. I watched in the last ten years the news get shorter and shorter, and the fluff grow. Anyone remember when the Today show followed JLo and her then boyfriend, Ben Affleck in their limo to a boys and girls club as if it was a presidential motorcade? Interviews with Kate Gosselein?

It wasn’t too long ago I saw headlines popping up, admittedly not from true news, that part of Matt Lauer’s re-signing his contact at I believe 20+ million a year was that Ann would be out as co-anchor, and he would have a say in who would be in. Whispers became roars and I heard Ann would be gone after the Olympics. Suddenly, it was before the Olympics. I blinked, and learned I just watched her last day.

Ann Curry’s short and emotional farewell on the Today show, NBC. Image from Google/PopSugar

When every other co-anchor left, even the recently non-anchor departed to GMA Amy Robach, a big deal was made with a genuine farewell. Merdeith Viera received a flashmob song. Ann? A less than five minute goodbye where she broke down and apologized.

Her seat wasn’t even cold and Savannah Guthrie was named the new co-host. A few days later NBC news president Steve Capus decided to pour gas on the firestorm by saying Ann had a year to prove herself and failed–because she wasn’t great at cooking segments and celebrity interviews.

Wow, NBC. Did you mentor the company I used to temp for? Which by the way, they forgot they shared that nugget with me, and when my contact was up, they left me a voicemail announcing they had no plan to keep me on. I laughed, because by then, the job I was meant to have was mine. But what a crappy way to treat people.

And that’s where I’m at with the executives behind the Today show. What that news president said about Ann is to me, a compliment. She’s so good at news that is why I watched, and I suspect when they were ratings winners, why others watched. The ratings slide, I believe, came as cooking segments, fashion fluff and ridiculous interviews including Sasha Baron Cohen showing up in character from his role as “The Dictator” dominated The Today show. News? Get it in the first ten minutes.

Ann will prosper, I have no doubt. I know she received a lot of money, but what makes her valuable is this: her grace. Class. Professionalism. Savannah? She’s in a near impossible position, and I don’t envy her. Matt Lauer? The day of taking his side after the glib Tom Cruise interview, I know I’m over it. Whether the rumor is true or not, his “affection” toward Ann during her goodbye has been dubbed Judas’ kiss. The public reaction to this is overwhelmingly against Matt.

Once I left that corporate temp job, I went into not for profit, where everyone was blue collar. There was team work, and everyone mattered.

As for my news routine? Imagine the timing. I became a Nielsen family the day Ann was let go, and recorded my switch to Good Morning America.

How about you? Do you have any corporate horror stories? Are you a morning news watcher?


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Book Review: Because of Me by Fay Lamb

Posted by Julie on July 6, 2012 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I know the general rule is when you see “stacked” reviews, ones that are usually all 5’s, be wary. In the case of Fay Lamb’s Because of Me, don’t worry, these excellent reviews are absolutely sincere and right on.

I loved this story because it wasn’t a typical Christian suspense. There was rape, murder, a child born out of wedlock, corruption, but most of all, redemption. None of the above elements were gritty, and most was backstory efficiently woven into present day. This isn’t easy to pull off, and Fay Lamb did it well.

The action continued without a pause, but the characters grew throughout the conflict. As I neared the end I wondered if one sub plot would see closure, and sure enough, it did. The story was comprehensive without being overwhelming, dramatic without being exhausting, and sweet without being saccharine.

Because of Me earned every 5 star review.

About Because of Me:
Some young women have to go through a trial of hell on earth and their lives are never the same. Issie Putnam has a son to show for such a trial. Her fiance Michael Hayes is wrongly convicted of a crime and imprisoned, adding to Issie’s heartache.
As if that’s not enough, Issie’s family has distanced themselves from her, suspecting she had a role in the crime for which Michael is accused. When Michael finally returns to Amazing Grace, can he regain Issie’s trust and rebuild the love they once shared? Can he learn to love Issie’s son, a child born of vicious violence, and protect them all from the madman who seeks revenge?

I received this book from the author in response to me commenting to her guest post on a blog. A review was not promised, it was my choice to write this.

To purchase, click here.

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Marriage Monday: I’m the Mom, not the Friend. Yet.

Posted by Julie on September 26, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Speaking, webinars |

It’s been too long since I’ve linked up to Marriage Monday. This is a twice a month meme and I love when it’s Marriage Monday time and I can participate. This time around children are on our minds and e-Mom has great writing prompts for you to consider for your own Marriage Monday blog post.




7 Writing Prompts

If you’re confused and don’t know where to begin, the following writing prompts might help you. Or, you can cover an entirely different aspect of child-rearing altogether.

1. Private, public, or homeschool?
2. Purpose of children in marriage
3. How to discipline children effectively
4. Raising sons versus raising daughters
5. Preventing prodigal children
6. Family fun & traditions
7. Children & divorce

Oh, the choices! I’d love to write about every single one of these. I will point you to this recent post because it’s proof positive that God can redeem all broken things, including children caught in a divorce. I’m still glowing at all the wonderful things I saw and encountered during my step-daughter’s wedding.

I think what I will blog about though, is #3. How to effectively discipline children. It’s a timely topic for me as I’m starting a monthly chat in October to encourage moms based on notes friends of mine kept taking as I talked to them about my parenting methods. I didn’t think what I do is news given I’m just implementing many things I was raised on. But that summer kitchen chat showed me moms are hungry for information, resources and affirmation.  Stay tuned so you know how to join me for that chat and how to tell others about it.

I think the biggest thing we need to discipline our kids with is grace. Don’t get me wrong, when I hear other kids tell their friends that “Mrs. Arduini doesn’t play”, that’s music to my ears. I don’t want kids to walk in fear but I do expect them to respect not just me, but themselves. And I love my kids and other kids enough to say something if I see that respect out of line.

But—I make sure my discipline is bathed in grace. For instance, I refuse to say things like “You are bad.” “I hate you.” or anything like that. I go out of my way to make sure they know I love them, but yes, I hate their CHOICES.  Big difference. I know too many kids who feel love from their parents comes from conditions. I do have expectations but I get that they won’t be met. They are going to goof up, and so am I. A lot. So when that happens I let them know I am always there to forgive. I will never stop loving. But all choices have consequences and I love them enough to see them through.

With my teen I walked him through a traffic light. We came up with green, yellow and red light scenarios he will most likely come up against in his adolescence.  I was clear that even if he willfully enters a red light situation and realizes he’s in over his head, that I still want him to call home. I don’t care where he is or what time, I promise I’ll get him. Every time. The next morning we’ll talk consequences. But it’s important that grace and unconditional love are at the top of my parenting list.

This sounds harsh but this old school mama…is not a friend. I am the mom. I tell the kids we can be friends when they are in their mid-twenties.  I love chatting with them. I enjoy taking them places and sharing a snack. But don’t mistake these fun things as me being their friend. As a parent I need to set boundaries and enforce them with love. Friends don’t have that kind of authority and I’ve seen too many families fall apart because the parent insisted on being a friend. One of the most telling articles I’ve ever read was an interview with Billy Ray Cyrus. He admitted his parenting mistakes and saw the biggest being a friend more than a father. Even my step-son when he was 15 understood. He said he knew when he came for a visit that we weren’t going to allow him to see certain shows or do certain things, but we did that because we cared and wanted boundaries for him. He got it. He’s 25 now and guess what, I consider him a friend.

I'm her mom, not her friend. Yet.

Like I said, this is a timely topic because starting Tuesday, October 18 at 9PM EST, I plan to have a monthly chat for moms.  I’m calling it “Old School Mama” just because some of what I consider basic principles seem new to many moms. They are just recyled ideas I was raised on. Maybe they aren’t your cup of tea and that’s okay. I just want to get together and share because for too long, moms have been isolated. It’s time to join up and encourage each other. Our October topic will be “What do you do with your kids on October 31.” Again, my answer might be different than yours, and I’m not after a fight. Let’s have an hour of adult chat where we leave refreshed and ready to start over in the morning.

My room link is here. Sign in a few minutes before the chat and you are all set! I’ll see you there!


Disclaimer: The Cyrus interview I mentioned above was in GQ but the link would not come up. I tried to find another online story that matched the heart of the original interview. Perhaps if you Google the GQ article, it might come up for you.

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Character Confession: Simply Amazing

Posted by Julie on September 17, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s one of my favorite blogging routines—-Character Confession Saturday. I post how I’m feeling not because I like to air my dirty laundry but because I’m about surrender. I’m about living in victory. And after 41 years I realize the enemy likes to make us feel isolated, that no one but us feels that way. Honestly, my Saturdays are to shatter that lie. You aren’t alone!





Where do I start?

Amazed that in 15 years I went from bride… …to step-mother of the bride.






Amazed at how friendly everyone was to us. I met many family members that belonged to wife #1 and they not only were so kind to my husband, they went out of their way to meet me and our kids. I didn’t expect anything bad, but I can’t put into words how genuinely gracious everyone was. Amazing.


Amazed at how beautiful the state of Wisconsin is. In their favor it rained poured the entire trip until we reached the Wisconsin state line. Our entire time in “Wisco” was sunny, warm and downright gorgeous. Our 13 year old remarked that he was so impressed with the rural beauty that he wondered if he might live there one day as an adult.





Amazed at God’s provision and favor. We prayed specifically for these things and I asked others to do the same. We needed a roll-a-way bed and received SO much more. We were in the Dells and had a room next to a late night wedding reception. We were exhausted from our own wedding time and wanted peace and quiet. The front desk person not only gave us a new room, she gave a free upgrade in the quietest part of the whole resort. Because we arrived late Saturday, the entire WING was ours Sunday. We had a wonderful time and if a Dells stay is on your agenda, I highly recommend the Wintergreen Resort.

Amazed at how much we missed our healthy ways of eating. My husband changed his diet in February and the rest of us followed suit this summer. Collectively we’ve lost 63 pounds. I’ll be posting next week some tips we implemented but even packing snacks, and bottled water we still ate out. I tried to choose salads and wraps. Yet let’s just say our stomachs still rebelled.

There are so many adjectives in the dictionary, but only one sums our recent wedding vacation up:


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Sabbath Sunday: The Cross Covers

Every Sunday it’s a joy to share my own amateur nature pictures along with my thoughts on God’s love for you.

I took this the hottest night of the summer where the humidity was panting at 81%. I spent the day in and out of stores getting groceries and school supplies. I needed new brakes. It was one credit card (check card) transaction after another, one in the sultry outdoors moment to the chilled hum of the A/C inside.  I overdid it, didn’t have enough to drink and was just plain spent. I was in tears before I was finished unpacking groceries.

Fast forward two hours. My husband prescribed time in the pool alone to help me calm down. I finish my workout and look in the sky.

What do you see?

Yes, the purples and the pinks. God totally and rightfully showing off what a Master artist He is. On an oppressive night weather wise, He gives brilliance that wakes my senses and stirs my soul.

But wait, there’s more.

To the neighbors it’s most likely some “tower” to give more juice to their HAM radio hobby. Or something techy.

To me, it was a cross against the sunset saying I’m in control. I’ve got the heat and the humidity on my radar. Just like Iraq and Afghanistan. Same for the back to school supplies I’m worried about. The hurting families I know. The slave trade market that robs children of everything innocent about them.

The cross covers. If you’ve never heard someone explain what makes Jesus so important that people still fight and die over Him, He covers what we can’t. Imagine a chasm. One side you stand, wishing to get to the other where eternity in heaven lies. Treasures like peace, kindness, love, joy, self-control, meekness and faith live within you IF you can bridge the gap.

But you can’t. No matter how good you are, how hard you try.

That’s where Jesus covers.

He was more than a teacher. He is a Savior that lived on Earth a perfect life. Not one cuss word, not one lie, not one fudge on His taxes, no regrets. No sin. None.  His purpose was to come, love, save and return one day as King of Kings.

And…bridge that gap.

No matter how bad your day is, what your worries are, won’t you embrace the cross? Let Jesus cover the chasm.

So you can enjoy the sunset.

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Sabbath Sunday: Unexpected Snow in Spring

It’s Sabbath Sunday! This is a day where I take my own amateur nature picture and share it with a word or two about God’s love for you.

I took this picture the last week of March where the calendar had in bold it was Spring. I’m a literal person and both my kids have this trait. So when we read it is Spring, well, it should look like Spring. This picture isn’t looking Spring.

I get so frustrated when this happens. Marriage should be happy. Kids should be healthy. Jobs should last. Parents should live a long, long time. Homes should be perfect. Finances should be easy.

That’s how my mind works.

But that isn’t how God works. Thing is, when things don’t go our way we blame God and think He has some cosmic curse on us. It isn’t so. Just like snow on a Spring day, He has purpose for every single thing that happens right down to the numbers of hair on your head. Every. Single. Thing. There are times He’ll show you what He’s up to, and times He won’t. Our job is to trust Him either way. After all, He purposes things for our good and to advance His Kingdom. So what looks like the end of the world could actually be the start of something amazing.

But often we miss that because we’re lamenting over the snow in Spring.

So whatever curveball comes your way, will you trust God with it? I’m right with you, it isn’t easy for me. I’ve already confessed how literal we are. But I know enough about God to know He cares more for me than the birds in the air so i

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