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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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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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Surrender Issues by Alice K. Arenz

Posted by Julie on July 28, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Surrender issues?  Sorry, Julie, but surrendering chocolate is easy for me—not that I have given it up completely. If only that were true! Life issues . . . now that’s a different matter.

The first time I had to go in for surgery, I tried to bargain with the doctor for a way to remain awake. I wanted drugs to keep away the pain, just didn’t want to be zonked out. Even for this insomniac, being totally out of it, not IN CONTROL—I shudder even now to think about it. Of course, I lost and they put me out, but I was told in the recovery room that I woke up faster than anyone they’d ever had in there. No surprise to me. But it has continued to surprise nurses and doctors in subsequent years and other surgeries. Probably not a good thing. I’ve seen those reports where people have awakened in the middle of procedures. Yikes!

            Now, surrendering to God with my writing is the only way I can write. Everything I do, from start to finish, is entirely dependent on what He wants me to do. I accept that. I’ve learned to stop and listen—even though it’s really hard sometimes. And, as with my latest book, not to fight Him when He has a purpose in mind. He told me it was time to stop preaching to the choir, that there would be some controversy over Portrait of Jenny, but He was here with me and I needed to trust Him. So I listened and obeyed.

In the middle of April, my husband lost his job—it wasn’t something we were prepared for. Who is? He’d been laid off nearly six years before, and that was one of the most frightening things we’d gone through.  No savings, a lot of debt, and with my health issues, no help from my quarter—but we kept our eyes on God and we got through with a little help from family and friends. The job he got paid a LOT less than what he’d been making before, but after 14 months, we were thankful for it. Now, here we were again, in our sixties—not as much debt, a little savings, but not nearly enough.

After six weeks and no bites, we had a decision to make—continue looking only in the area where we lived, or for him to branch out and apply to different areas of the country. All I could think about were my children and grandchildren, and wonder how I could move when sometimes it was hard for me to get from one place to another in our house. But hubby was sure God was calling us to not just trust Him to provide, but to surrender our will to His. These last few weeks have been some of the hardest in our life—my life. While the resumes and applications have gone out all over the country, my fears grew—so did my waistline! Phone interviews from one end of the country to another, a face-to-face two and a half hours away that lasted only twenty minutes! But in that prep time, in that quiet time, I’ve tried to surrender, tried to turn it completely over to God. To say, “Your will, not mine.” I’m still learning.

And hubby is still looking for that one job with God’s stamp on it.

Alice K Arenz_editedRomantic mystery/suspense Portrait of Jenny is the newest book of 2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Award: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist), all re-released by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications. Last August, An American Gothic, also a romantic mystery/suspense, was released by Forget Me Not Romances.

Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com

Portrait of Jenny tiny_edited

Surrender Issues by Alice K. Arenz

Not even a beautiful woman can save Richard Tanner from his past.

 Following an explosive—and public—argument with his ex-girlfriend, artist Richard Tanner races into a rainstorm, gripped by a powerful migraine. He wanders to the gazebo in University Park, where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Jenny—a brief encounter that leaves an indelible impression on his mind—and in his paintings.

When Detective Jack Hargrave accuses Richard of the brutal assault on his ex, he finds himself confronting demons of a past he doesn’t remember. A time when little Richie Tanner walked into University Park whole, was beaten and left to die…a time that may hold the key to his future.

Disclaimer: Although Portrait of Jenny contains a Christian message, there is profanity.

Purchase PORTRAIT OF JENNY here.

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Sabbath Sunday: Swampy Yard

April2015rain2

There are times I think my life looks just like this.

Rain day after day after day after day.

Swampy yard.

Wormy smells.

Does it ever end?

It does.

Remember Job?

He lost everything to the point that his wife begged him to curse God.

Noah?

His entire view was a swamp. As in all of Earth.

But one day the dove was able to land.

On those days where nothing goes right, all hope seems lost, remember it has purpose. It’s a growing season.

And soon, like my yard, you’ll be in bloom.

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Sabbath Sunday: Swampy Yard

April2015rain2

There are times I think my life looks just like this.

Rain day after day after day after day.

Swampy yard.

Wormy smells.

Does it ever end?

It does.

Remember Job?

He lost everything to the point that his wife begged him to curse God.

Noah?

His entire view was a swamp. As in all of Earth.

But one day the dove was able to land.

On those days where nothing goes right, all hope seems lost, remember it has purpose. It’s a growing season.

And soon, like my yard, you’ll be in bloom.

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Sabbath Sunday: Swampy Yard

Posted by Julie on May 17, 2015 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Nature, photography, Sabbath Sunday |

April2015rain2

There are times I think my life looks just like this.

Rain day after day after day after day.

Swampy yard.

Wormy smells.

Does it ever end?

It does.

Remember Job?

He lost everything to the point that his wife begged him to curse God.

Noah?

His entire view was a swamp. As in all of Earth.

But one day the dove was able to land.

On those days where nothing goes right, all hope seems lost, remember it has purpose. It’s a growing season.

And soon, like my yard, you’ll be in bloom.



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