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Character Confession—She Calls Me Mama

Posted by Julie on January 7, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Character confession. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? If you’re new, or if it’s been so long you forgot, I try to take Saturdays and blog a character confession, courtesy of Noelle Mena of Pliable in His Hands. I simply write what I’m feeling or a little summary of my week and how it matches up to the cute little graphics.

I find this meme gets quite a bit of viewing, even if not a lot of people comment. Maybe, just maybe, you can relate to my confession. Maybe mine makes you feel better about yourself. Whatever the case, I put myself out there this way in hopes the confession encourages you.




For those that know me offline, you know my experience with our youngest has been filled with challenges. Her first year was all about health issues and therapy. They rocked my world, but I learned a lot from it. I’m excited she’s doing so well with all the things that held her back 7 years ago.

Once her health stabilized, I had a new challenge. She didn’t care for me. It wasn’t that she hated me, it was that I wasn’t even on her radar.

At all.

Her life was all about her daddy. And for those nights he had to work late, or sing in choir, or do anything that distanced them, she was a mess.

And blamed me.

It was a tough balance figuring out what was a daddy’s girl and what needed boundaries before it took a toll on our marriage and my relationship with our daughter. I never knew if I should fade in the woodwork or fight for my place in her life.

So I prayed.

And cried a lot.

In the last few months I’m seeing a shift. We have a lot of mom-daughter adventures. Over the summer we wrote a customized story together. The other night after her shower we talked about 45 minutes and I could feel the proverbial wall between us shatter. She opened herself up to me and let me in.

And ever since, she’s called me Mama.

I don’t know why it’s so endearing, but it isn’t the norm for us. I’m usually mom, and when she wants something, she can lay mommy on thick. But this week Mama seems the new name that signifies the shift, and I can’t hear it enough.

We’re still going to have our struggles, I’m a realist. She still asks after 5pm when is dad coming home, and after church she always chooses him to ride home with, which I have no problem with.

But her spontaneous hugs, including me in the pictures she draws (yes, there was a season I didn’t even make her family pictures) and even working out together doing the Shake It Up DVD was bliss—to this mama.

Am I the only Mama that felt forsaken and is experiencing a positive change? I’d love to hear other stories out there.

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Character Confession: Lost. So Much More than a TV Show

Posted by Julie on August 20, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This week my husband and I enjoyed a week alone while the kids were at grandma’s. He worked during the day and I gave our son’s room a complete makeover. The last night we were alone we were talking and he defined me as “sassy.” This is not a new term attached to my name. I try not to be confrontational, I’m too tired for that. But sassy…guilty as charged. And sometimes I just have to speak up.

I scan my FB feed and Google Reader on a regular basis. Not everything catches my attention but lately I’m seeing a common theme in my reading.

The atheists are struggling.

I’m not joking and it isn’t funny. I’m just making an observation based on my reading. They are vocal about their choice not to believe in God but they also share their issues. Depression. Suicidal. Psych ward stays. Lack of commitment in their relationships and employment.

Even in printed word I can read between the lines, hear it even.


I’m not saying people with a relationship with Christ have an easy life. My life is hard with struggles. Yet my faith in Jesus Christ is real and active on a daily basis for me. Beyond the choice to trust a God I can’t see and believe in His Son, I have something else I’m not seeing in the atheists.


I don’t know a joyful atheist. I truly don’t. But I know too many people with great intellect and wounded hearts who are searching for completion.

I can’t wait to read their updates when they find it. Him.

Want to learn more? Click here.

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Character Confession: I’m in Love, I’m in Love and I Don’t Care Who Knows It!

Posted by Julie on July 30, 2011 in About Me, Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

You wouldn’t beeeelieve the confessions I could gush out today. Since I cried big crocodile tears already, I’ll go ahead and blog about something positive.

I’m in love.





I’ve known about CWA webinars for awhile and Noelle Mena has encouraged me from day one to give it a try. My interest was always there but I felt the timing wasn’t right. This summer I felt it was time to give webinars a whirl.

I’m so glad I did!

My husband is the technology whiz so I was nervous. I ordered the room set up fee and the hour training Noelle provided. I played with my room as I watched the segments. In no time at all I had my room the way I wanted. I started facilitating the book study Made to Crave a couple weeks ago.

Webinars are a great way to communicate. As a presenter I can be in my pajamas and as a participant, so can you. Instead of paying travel and conference fees webinars are the place for chats, meetings, conferences and studies. Made to Crave is an hour a week study where I highlight notes from the bestselling book by Lysa TerKeurst. I share through PowerPoint, webcam, polls, chat function and a question and answer time. Remember, I’m not a technology person and these things have been easy to use. As the participant you can sit and listen through most of the meeting. If you want to chat, take the poll, or ask a question you do so from your own computer. Easy.

What I love most of all is the direction God is giving me now that the room is “open for business.” In the coming weeks I plan to heavily promote what I’m doing.

Here’s a teaser:

CAPTIVATING: Starting the week of September 25th I’ll have an hour a week meeting to discuss the book

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.  I tell people this book is one of the top three things that God used to absolutely change everything about me and set me free. I’ve one this study “in person” and I started to cry with the ladies remembering all God did through the book. I believe the same is available for YOU!  Stay tuned…


OLD SCHOOL MAMA: Starting in October I’ll have a monthly chat with anyone interested about parenting. I’m a Gen X mama that was brought up old school and believe my own mama got a lot right. I’m not saying I’m perfect but I plan once a month to bring up a topic and have a good ole’ chat about it. It’s a great opportunity to learn from each other and share in a non-judgmental manner. I love the chat idea because it shows another aspect of webinars you can take advantage of.

Made to Crave: Join me Thursdays this summer at 1pm EST as we journey through this NYT bestselling book by Lysa TerKeurst. Did you miss the summer study? Did you join but want to go over the material again? I’ll be presenting the Made to Crave study again January 2012. If you have an idea wellness is going to be part of your new year, stay tuned. My newsletter is a great way to know what is going on.  Sign up today!

There you have it. Picture Elf bursting into his dad’s conference room saying, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows about it!”

The following link will always be the way to reach my room whether for Made to Crave book study, Captivating, or the Old School Mama chat. Follow the prompts a few minutes before each webinar starts and just like a house, I’ll let you in!  I LOVE when you share this with others!

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Help! Chocolate Ricecakes Don’t Taste Like a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait…

Posted by Julie on July 15, 2011 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Help! Chocolate Ricecakes Don’t Taste Like a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait…

by Julie Arduini on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 9:39pm

Hopefully that got your attention, I appreciate you being here this summer evening.


But it’s true. Chocolate rice cakes are better than the cardboard kind from my college days but still. I live half a mile away from Dairy Queen where Thursdays are $2 peanut butter buster days. It’s sad I know this. It’s no surprise when I order one, there is no vanilla, buster. It’s always chocolate.


So I make an unusual choice to be the vessel God is choosing to lead a webinar through Christian Women I believe the first study I would like to present is Lysa TerKeurst’s NYT bestseller, Made to Crave. Made to Crave is a transparent and inspiring book that doesn’t give the how to when it comes to wellness, but as Lysa says, “The want-to.” There are enough diet books out there. I loved Made to Crave because it was about a life change.


Join me for a Made to Crave Bible Study at Christian Women

And I’m ready.


This study is for anyone who like me, found reasons to drive out of the way and sneak food or fancy coffees. It’s for anyone that feels food owns them (or something else might like money, status, etc…) Even if you fit in those skinny jeans do you still reach for a Mountain Dew when you’re having a bad day? It doesn’t have to be that way.


Thing is, we were made to crave. The book and study guide contain so much information and resources that I can’t wait to unpack with you. I can’t think of a better time than summer where everyone seems to be running around in bikinis despite the calorie packed picnics.


So let’s do this.

1. Go get the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst AND the study guide at your local bookstore, Amazon, etc…It should be about $20 for both.  If possible read Chapters 1-3 in book and Session 1 in participant’s guide. It’s fast reading.


2. Apply for free membership through Christian Women


3. Meet me THURSDAY, JULY 21 from 1-2 p.m. EST where we’ll go over what we learned in the book. I’ll share my story and we’ll just have a good time.  I promise I will not have any DQ with me!


4. Tell others!


Lastly, I’m updating things and I have enough new FB friends on my personal page that I want to take a second to remind you/make you aware I have other things here on FB.  I’d love for you to check everything out and participate.

My FB Writer Page:


FB Group is also here under Julie Arduini: The Surrendered Scribe


Thanks so much for reading this. I look forward to journeying with you!

Julie Arduini

Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate



I plan to teach Made to Crave more than once so if this summer doesn’t work, keep an eye out for future studies. I believe this fall I’ll present one of the most life changing studies I’ve ever encountered: Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

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Character Confession: Seriously Found Joy Through Autism

Posted by Julie on April 2, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Character Confession Saturday! It’s also World Autism Day, a day to spread awareness regarding people diagnosed with autism or are within the autism spectrum.

What makes me choose seriously as my confession is the ignorance I continue to run across when it comes to special needs. When I was growing up people didn’t understand special need situations and I was taught to avoid anyone who appeared or acted different. It’s not like that anymore and I’m so glad. I really regret that I didn’t understand or make an effort.

Character Confession: Seriously

Someone with autism or any other diagnosis shouldn’t be treated as if they have a death sentence.  People with autism have purpose and they should not be ignored, but embraced. The children I know with  autism are the happiest, most loving children I could ever know. When I hear, and I have more than once, that children should be separated or treated different, I want to seriously knock some heads together.  To do so means we lose out on wonderful opportunities to interact with amazing people.

The lesson I learned years ago came courtesy of our daughter. She was in a special needs situation for a season and I took her diagnosis hard. My prayer partner reminded me that perhaps her being in a special needs preschool has purpose and could be a ministry.  Within days she was interacting with autistic peers who weren’t responding yet to teachers. In time she even friended a hearing impaired girl and they created their own sign language to communicate at age 4. I think back at what we all would have missed if I let my pride and worries get in the way.

One of the most happiest moments was watching a child with autism meet a Frosty the Snowman character backstage at our church play. He taught me that joy is a deep down feeling that transcends circumstances. If having autism or any other special need is supposed to be a gloom and doom thing, don’t tell that boy.  He radiates joy 99% of the time.

If you’re not sure how to react around someone with autism, be aware. Visit Autism Speaks or watch NBC’s Parenthood Tuesday nights at 10EST. There is a beautiful storyline playing out with a child having Asperger’s, a form of autism. The writing on that show is so authentic and true to a special need situation and how others handle it I cry every single week. It is well done.

I hope this post makes you seriously consider autism and the beautiful people that live it out well every day.

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Character Confession: The Fragrance Called Mercy

Posted by Julie on March 26, 2011 in Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

He was three months old when we dedicated him, a commitment as parents to raise our son in an environment that models Christ. We were new to that particular church and after the service a man stepped forward and let us know as we prayed, he “saw” our son in a snapshot of sorts, and he was preaching.

That was an encouraging vision but through the years we’ve relied on God to guide us in all the plans He has for our now almost teen. When I pray I often have the words “a modern David” in mind because as flawed as I found David, he remains for all of history a “man after God’s own heart.”

Our guy who resembles that statement blew me away this month. Seventh grade is hard on so many levels. It’s an academic challenge yet his grades excel. Junior High is when changes happen—socially, physically and often spiritually. He’s dealing with all these things, trusting God to show Him the way. There have been great days and days so devastating I thought I’d go to school and sit by him all day to ensure no one mess with him.

God has a better plan than that.

Recently he had an upsetting experience. Some hurtful words were directed his way and he also overheard statements that disrespected elders. These things were becoming a habit and it was starting to affect his day. We talked, agreed on a course of action, and the school was notified. The lines of communication were quickly opened to include everyone.

In a short amount of time an apology was given. More than that, an explanation. Turns out what I tell others played out here: wounded people wound people. A great kid who tried reaching out couldn’t take the rejection and decided to join the crowd and say what too many kids speak so freely. His parents had no idea the hurt he was hiding and the direction he was taking. In minutes the boy was repentant and the family committed to work together to work it all out.

One variable stood in the way.

Our 12 year old.

This One is a Young Man After God's Own Heart

The neatest thing happened. He literally stood. He stood and faced the family and defended their son, the same child that only a day before devastated him with words. He explained how hard it must have been to reach out and not receive anything in return. He agreed with their son how hard it is to keep a Christian stand, even in a Christian school.

Then he forgave. Without hesitation.

Then he made sure everyone knew about this boy, the truth about him. That he is so much more than the words they heard, he was a neat kid worth knowing. And whether or not anyone else was going to try, our son was going to befriend this kid.

And he has.

In return, the boy went to every student in class and asked for their forgiveness.  Do you know adults who would be that strong? I was in school a lot this week and came across this boy often. He came up to me immediately and asked for my forgiveness.

Then he hugged me.


It’s not just a Southern expression, it was a fragrance that permeated my week.


Will you operate in mercy this week?

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