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Character Confession: The Blessed Infertility Patient Named Me

Posted by Julie on April 14, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, surrender |

This is a re-post from May 2011, the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

Tomorrow can range in several scenarios.  I remember as a kid riding down a country road seeing a woman pushing a lawnmower. She looked hot and tired and what I remember the most was who was watching—a man I guessed to be her husband.  As a child I thought why should she be doing that? Isn’t it Mother’s Day?

I also remember watching church services where moms were given hyacinths and carnations, books and Bibles to celebrate their motherhood. During some of those services I was single. Some of them I was married and a mom. But the ones that stand out most of all were the times I was infertile.

Maybe that’s you. I know there aren’t perfect words to give you because as well meaning as so many tried, nothing they said helped me forget a moment that I wanted to be a mom accepting the church gifts on Mother’s Day.  I detest patronizing cliches and believe it or not, I’m not a fan of Bible verses thrown my way in those moments either.  I know the Bible, I knew those verses and they felt like salt on the wound.

What I hope to give is my story.  My story is just me, no one special, definitely not perfect. I couldn’t pay my way to a different circumstance. What I had that you can have is to believe God. No matter what your outcome is, believe God.

I learned in 1995 I had polycystic ovaries, PCOS. This is an endocrine disorder that can render infertility and this was something my doctor spent a lot of time sharing with me. The ironic thing was prior to that appointment, being a mom wasn’t a big goal on my list. Yet I’d recently met the man I knew was going to be my husband and the minute being a mom was taken off the screen, it was the one thing I wanted.

My case wasn’t typical. Beyond having irregular periods I had chronic pelvic pain. My newlywed days were spent going to work and then right to bed. It was hard and there were a lot of tears. My hormones flew all over the place so it was a difficult time. I was fairly new in faith so I felt punished by God.

Now I get I was blessed.

Yes, blessed.

I did all the things a confused infertility patient would do.

I obsessed online with all the groups, medical forums, trying to conceive loops, the whole shebang. The keyword here isn’t shebang, it is obsessed. I let those websites become my Bible and I took their words as promises. I cried when I saw families and I felt a heavy, heavy ache those church services that honored Mother’s Day.

If that’s you, you’re human. I’ve been there.  What will make you blessed is to leave there. It’s a pity rut that is impossible on your own strength to dig out of.

Your story might not have the same variables as mine. If you’ve read anything of mine for a time you know I am a mom. I have two kids. Blessed?  Absolutely. How did I get there?

Medically I had a wedge resection, a procedure not done much anymore that took half of each ovary out. Turns out my ovaries were five times the size of normal. Taking them out that way enhanced my chances to conceive when I thought in prayer when I surrendered my fertility it meant saying goodbye to any biological chance. I felt better immediately and I was pregnant in less than a year.

The blessing was He equipped me to believe Him. I’m not a gal who trusts anyone easily, especially my Heavenly Father. Yet surrendering the dream of my heart was the biggest thing I could give Him. I totally meant it when I told Him I was on His team no matter what. I know He desired to make me a mom and I am very grateful.  What makes me blessed, I believe, is I would still love and trust Him even if He had not. Only God can put that kind of faith in someone like me.

By giving me impossible circumstances and the power for me to believe Him, He calls on me to believe big for others. I don’t always know the outcome, I rarely do. But time after time He’ll have me stand up and proclaim He’s faithful and that they can not just survive this thing, but thrive…in Jesus’ name. I’ve watched people become pregnant with God’s promises against all odds and what set them apart is they believed God…especially if it didn’t go the way they wanted.

That’s blessed.

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Character Confession: The One Where I Became Not Monica, But Her Mom

Posted by Julie on March 24, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

My name means youthful and I loved when I was mistaken for being much younger than I really was. The first time I was called ma’am, I blamed the other person in my mind because certainly, I was too young for such a title.

Well, my birthday is coming up and I’m over 40. I don’t have gray hair coming in, thanks to mom’s genes, my hair is white without help. And help I need.

 

 

 

 

I need my teenaged son to help me find my keys. They are usually in my hands.

I need help taming my tongue. It seems like that people pleasing filter, not a healthy thing taken to obsession, is so set free it completely disappeared. If I feel it, I will speak it. I remember being aghast at the things senior citizens said all those years my office was at the senior center. Now? My family probably will get me a muzzle for a gift.

The doctors! So far in 2012 I’ve seen my regular doctor (sinus infection), dentist (check-up), urologist (lab work follow up that didn’t reveal the results I wanted to hear) dermatologist (changing skin I knew as a fair skinned person I should have checked out) and yesterday, eye doctor. I went in saying all is well, I decided to have an exam because I brought the kids here, to two hours later hearing I’m the worst of us all. My vision has always been bad, and the jump in prescription would be amazing if this were an Olympic event. It’s not, so I left yesterday with my youth in pieces as the office worker said, “Do you know how awful your vision is?”

I’m on medicine to help with menopause symptoms and Ben-Gay sits on my nightstand.

When did this happen?

I’ve been watching Friendson Nick at Night, remembering the first time around, I was the same age or younger as Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Rachel. Watching 16 years later, they look like kids and I’m aware if I tried to live out their premise as a coffee shop friend today, I’d be a creepy middle age nuisance.

Image from Photobucket

There’s a lot to love about aging, and I do. But given this is Character Confession Saturday, I’m grieving those non-white hair days where I was referred to as Miss and I related more to Monica Gellar Bing than I did her mom.

Anyone else experiencing this journey?

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Character Confession: I Am Not a Pez Dispenser

Posted by Julie on March 3, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

 

 

 

 

It’s Saturday, my day to let the words fly double barrel in hopes you can relate and be encouraged.

I’m a visual person and lately, I keep seeing a dollar store item to explain how I feel.

Courtesy of Photobucket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not Wonder Woman. I don’t have the bracelets or the awesome hair that never goes out of place when I spin around. I have sass and amazing boots, but I don’t smile all the time and come off with style and grace. I cry, need sleep, and run way too often when Wonder Woman went head first toward the danger.

I’m also not a Pez Dispenser. That’s the visual I keep thinking about. I’m a human being who embraces the call on my life.  I’m a wife, mom, writer, daughter of the Lord. I’m open to be His vessel in whatever way He asks. He’s asked for some things that didn’t make sense at the time, or were valley experiences, but I knew He’d see me through. And He does.

One of the things I know I was created for is to believe God and take things to Him with faith in prayer. I don’t do so with a business card in hand making sure this is all me, because it is not. I do encourage people to go to God and ask Him, because He’s not a secret keeper. He wants to show them and love them through. When people ask for pray, they trust that I will do it in a way that isn’t treating Him like a genie, but my Heavenly Father, accessing Him through His Son, Jesus, who is my friend. It’s so simple most miss it.

People also miss beyond them having the same kind of mountain moving faith, they could see me for more than a Pez dispenser. In “real life” or online, I’m often asked to pray. It’s an honor, and I do. I dispense it, and believe it’s good stuff they will receive from God.

But I’m more than that. I’m someone that struggles too. Those that see me strictly as a Pez never ask how I’m doing. They don’t ask what prayer needs I or my family might have. Once they have their prayer they don’t share a joke or a book they enjoyed. I’m not saying it’s a  scratch my back kind of deal for me to pray, but I just don’t want to feel used just for prayer sake and thrown aside once the prayer is over. I’m not saying feeling frustrated about this is right, but it’s my character confession.

And sometimes, I totally feel like a “pez.”

This is a confession that is geared toward a 1% or less in my life who won’t even realize this is about them. If you’re worrying, oh my gosh, do I treat her or another praying person this way, most likely you’re fine. I just saw a spurt of these situations hitting me where the people meant well, but I left feeling like the Pez.

How about you? Does the Pez Dispenser visual conjure an image for you? Can you relate to feeling used for a talent/gift/hobby/ etc…?

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Character Confession: Selfish is as Selfish Does

Posted by Julie on February 11, 2012 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

It’s good to be back Saturdays blogging about my week. It’s Character Confession time, and I got a real eye opener last week.

Some Fellow Cruisers Weren't Just Possessive, They Were Selfish

So did a lot of women who decided to fend for themselves.

I was on a cruise ship for the first time in 16 years. We had an entire day on sea and the winds were rough, clocking in at about 35mph. The ship was swaying and I felt green. I took my little motion sickness pills and headed to a meeting.

My first encounter was with a woman who despite the signs behind her, and the slideshow repeating the same thing, she was saving seats and took issue with my husband and I sitting down where we wanted. We moved down but it was clear as day, don’t be saving seats.

Halfway through the show I had that little movie moment where you feel something and you just know you need a restroom quick. I navigate through the row and here I am again, face to face with the woman. I’m holding my mouth I’m that close to being ill and all she says is, “Don’t knock over my glass!”

I sprint toward the back and get out a quick where’s the restroom, but too late. I’m sick everywhere. I apologize profusely and the woman assures me I’m not the first and just wants me to feel better. I clean myself up, change, head back to the show where the saving seat woman is now asleep, mouth wide open. She’s a larger woman, so I can’t climb through. So her friend, one that enjoyed the saved seat, uses the woman’s one cane to tap her and tell her to wake up to let me through.

Show ends, the lady and her posse end up leaving early after all that, and I’m again in the back when that feeling hits again. This time I make it to the bathroom and announce to the line of women approaching the stalls and hovering over the sink I’m going to be sick. For their convenience I’m hoping to grab a stall and let it go.

No one moved out of the way.

In fact, they stood guard protecting their positions.

So I threw up in front of them, just making it to the trash can.

But because I’d already been sick, it was worse this time around because I was dehydrated yet sick. You get the picture.

It was pretty quiet in that restroom, and when I lifted my head up, I could tell I grossed out those women.

And you know what?

They deserved it.

I guess I’m spoiled, most of my day is alone or in circles that are faith based. Time and time again I watched the cruise crowd block people out of elevator rides, take up floor space so no one else could pass through, push others out of the way for the sake of a jewelry sale, and pile plates high with layers of desserts they could never consume just so no one else could take it.

Photobucket image

It shocked and mortified me.

I learned a lot through those observations, sadly about what not to do or how not to behave.

Stay tuned, because on the same ship when I wasn’t throwing up, I saw servanthood at its best.

How about you? Do you witness selfishness on a daily basis to this degree? What would you have done?

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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: I’m not Hot in Cleveland but I’m Warm in Youngstown

Posted by Julie on November 19, 2011 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Saturday and my day to share a confession about my character.

I could use the thankful graphic, because that’s definitely the case. I’m loving the posts you sent in this month and the feedback I’m receiving is feeling the same. Grateful for that.

But, I’m also feeling this.

 

 

 

This is more than a hotflash, it’s how I’m feeling about my husband.

It’s not what you think.

When we first married I expressed my desire for us to cruise together.  But like any couple, that was a dream that seemed destined to stay that way. We were new homeowners. Any vacation time we had we made sure we packed a year’s full of fun for his older children when they came for a visit. Then we had children.  Then we moved. Health expenses. It just went on and on.

But a couple years ago he announced that for our 15th anniversary, it was going to happen. I was overwhelmed by life and I figured he was trying to re-direct me and get me thinking happy thoughts. But this week, he made the last payment.

We’re going somewhere warm and when that time comes, I’m going to be over the moon.

And warm in the tropical sun.



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