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Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 3

Posted by Julie on August 18, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Earlier this month I participated in the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge because I wanted to encourage others. I believe I still need to do that, so I’m sharing my posts here. May it give you hope!

Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 3

I know there are folks out there pointing out this challenge shows the smiles and not the hard times marriage brings. That’s why I’m doing this. To be authentic and to give hope. Marriage and parenthood is the toughest thing I’ll ever be involved in.

Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 3

Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 3

This is February 1998. I’m pregnant with Brian and my smile is fake. I’d been so sick for the first trimester, I was still trying to find “normal.” I’d been in a car accident that nearly totaled our new van. I/Brian walked away without a scratch, but it took an emotional toll. My hormones were a mess and I received the message that I was a failure for nearly killing our child with the accident. I now know I was depressed (hormonal imbalance has always been an issue, I just didn’t know it for a long time) and a form of PTSD from the accident. I isolated myself, hiding in our bedroom because I was so ashamed to feel this way during such a happy time. Tom didn’t know what to do, so he left me alone.

If this sounds familiar to you, learn from us. I might have to initiate the talk, but it is worth it. Be honest. Explain you don’t need him to fix you, just listen. If you need a hug, say so. If you need to snot on their shoulder, say it. I encourage you to pray together. It’s talking, not fancy talk or religious speak. That is a powerful tool in your arsenal to break isolation.

We came out stronger (after a long time, it was a process) because of this and from that accident came Brian’s name. Brian means strong, and we chose Paul as a reminder that God can use the most impossible people, and once chosen, you might have an issue/thorn that makes it hard to be used, but be available—and watch Him do mighty things through you.

And that’s why I’m doing the challenge! Thanks, Susan, for tagging me. If you want to play along, please do!

***

Time is running out! Don’t miss my Goodreads giveaway. Details below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Entangled by Julie Arduini

Entangled

by Julie Arduini

Giveaway ends August 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Book Review: Unraveled by Heidi McCahan

Posted by Julie on July 11, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

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Blind-sided by her questionable fiance, Lauren Carter returns to the one place she’s been avoiding, the place she used to call home. As she’s forced to look into the eyes of her past and even worse, her unraveling future she discovers that running only leaves you out of breath on a dead end street. Will she choose to unveil the secrets that haunt her? Or will she bury them once and for all and embrace a new life so different from the one she once held dear?

Blake Tully, wildly successful and breathtakingly winsome owner of a new rafting business, finds Lauren’s unexpected reappearance confusing. As he torments himself with what if’s and what should’ve been’s, he can’t mistake the feeling that crawls down his spine every time he looks at her. Although she broke his heart once, he longs to give his childhood sweetheart another chance, but can he convince her to stop running away when life gets tough? And can he forgive her when he discovers the reason she’s been hiding?

Follow the story of these two shattered hearts as they discover the beauty of grace and forgiveness.

Unraveled is a perfect title because everything in and around Lauren’s life is coming apart. I thought Heidi McCahan did an amazing job crafting a story where a family put band-aids on situations that needed God’s leading and healing. And after running and hiding from people and secrets, everything comes to a head.

I loved this because it was full of chemistry and conflict.  Unraveled had consequences and honest communication. I really enjoyed Unraveled for all these reasons, and I think you will, too.

To purchase Unraveled, please click here.

I received a copy of Unraveled in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

Posted by Julie on April 1, 2014 in Book Review, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description:

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Dancing with Fireflies is in the running for my favorite book of 2014. I read it in one sitting, Jade and Daniel captivated me that deeply. Denise Hunter dealt so gracefully with tough topics. A physical assault resulting in a pregnancy. An unmarried woman expecting a child. Jade was well-developed and her fears were real. Even to trust someone as dependable as Daniel.

Daniel is a hero to swoon over. He cares about his community. He’s loyal. He’s always there. Romantic? Oh, so romantic. But he doesn’t feel safe telling Jade he’s loved her for years.

This is a beautiful romance wrought with conflict. Like I said, so well-crafted I kept turning the pages to learn what was next. I strongly encourage you to pick up Dancing with Fireflies.

To purchase Dancing with Fireflies, click here.

I received a copy of Dancing with Fireflies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: I Don’t Get Emotional

Posted by Julie on October 5, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, Saturday Confession, surrender |

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Each Saturday I’m posting a confession and inviting you to blog a confession of your own and link up. My goal is to build a community of people not afraid to share the truth, and grow from it. And as a reader, you’ll perhaps see something that sounds familiar to your own story. And realize you aren’t alone.

So, please write a post or find an older one and link up at the end.

And here’s mine…

I’m not very emotional. I remember growing up and teasing my mom that she was so stoic she was wooden. Not much happened that would reveal a reaction out of her. She said it was her German heritage.

Well whatever it was, I’m a lot like her. When my now husband proposed, my roommate called my mom, not me. I was happy, elated even, but I’m just not the girl who runs in circles screaming and jumping for joy.

  • Same for pregnancy announcements
  • And births
  • Writing victories
  • And when our teen went to homecoming last weekend.

My mom teared up, grieving the little boy that is no more.

But I just took pictures.

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I’m pretty sure things will change. It sure isn’t because I don’t care about these things, these people and events mean the world to me. I think the clinker will be when the oldest leaves for good. He’s very like minded, so we get the same jokes, stories, and we’ve had great conversations. He’ll be the first to leave, and I think that’s going to unpeel the layer that unleashes my emotions.

Anyone else not that emotional?

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A2Z Meme: Ultrasounds

Posted by Julie on May 29, 2012 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Boy, writing a post on the letter “U” is a toughie. I wanted to do something out of the box, so I’m going with ultrasounds.

I’ve had a few. For those that have enjoyed good health, maybe you don’t realize ultrasounds can highlight the best of times, the blandest of times, and the worst times.

For me, I’ve had an ultrasound reveal ovarian cysts.

I’ve had tears of joy when the doctor announced healthy pregnancies.

Wouldn’t tell me boy or girl.

Strong heartbeat.

Early labor, but all was well.

I once was the first ultrasound of the year, but for all the wrong reasons.

That ultrasound confirmed a miscarriage.

I’ve had to drink lots of water for some, none for others. Some inserted in one place, others started somewhere else.

I’ve felt everything from uggh, urgency, to underwhelmed.

And that’s my ultrasound summary.

How about you? What was your experience? Anyone not have one?

 

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Surrendering Needless Suffering: Guest Blogger Shawna

Posted by Julie on February 24, 2012 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

One of my favorite things to do is to serve as a mentor mom with my local MOPS-Mothers of Preschoolers chapter. Earlier in the year a MOPS mom shared her story with the group and I was really impacted by it. I have a feeling many moms suffered and didn’t receive encouragement like Shawna has to give. If you know a pregnant mom with HG, please pass this information on. Thanks, Shawna, for sharing!

 

Growing up I had always heard how sick with morning sickness my mother was while she was pregnant with me. I never truly understood how sick she was until I became pregnant with my first child. I was so ecstatic that God had blessed me with this miracle. My husband and I were overjoyed; all of our prayers had been answered. Until one day, I woke up one morning with a wave of nausea flooding over me and the extreme urge to vomit. I then made the now all too familiar run to the toilet and this became the beginning of nine full months of misery.

I threw up multiple times a day from the first couple of weeks and it lasted until I was at the hospital ready to push. The first two months were the worst. I could barely get out of bed let alone eat or drink. I began to waste away. I had trips to the ER for IV fluids and medication. I was in such misery that one day I found myself laying on the bathroom floor in agony, crying and pleading to God to stop this. My lowest point was me telling God that I would not be upset if I had a miscarriage. I was begging for an end and I knew God was the only one who could help me.


I was diagnosised with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum or extreme morning sickness. 90% of pregnant women suffer some sort of morning sickness and of those only 8% of women have HG. I was one of the lucky 8%.

I was given medication that enabled me to function but did not take away the nausea or vomiting. I felt that I was on a constant roller coaster 24 hours a day.

I was thankful that my family understood what I was going through but they were all in California and others were not so understanding. Everyone wanted to know what was wrong with me. I was asked by a friend if I had cancer because of the grey color of my skin and the medications that I was taking. My mother in law was certain that I was harming the baby and even my best friend told me that I looked like crap. No pregnancy glow for me.  If you have never had HG you cannot understand what it is like. Many other mothers would tell me, “Oh, I was sick every morning for the first 3 weeks. All you have to do is eat some crackers and club soda; you’ll be good as new.” If one more person told me to eat a cracker I was going to scream! No one understood what I was going through and I felt very alone and spent many hours praying for help.

I was told about this awesome group called the HERS Foundation and its website. It is a great forum for research and treatment of HG. The message boards are filled with horrible stories of women suffering. HG is little known by the public and even by some doctors.

There are stories of women who were told by their OB’s that this was all in their head, it can’t be THAT bad, or that they just did not want this baby bad enough or even being referred to see a psychiatrist. Some women even went to the extreme of ending their pregnancy to stop the suffering.

There is no know cause or cure but many think that it is genetically passed from mother to daughter. HERS is doing genetic research to find a cure. You can have HG and a healthy pregnancy. I luckily had a great and helpful doctor. I went on to lose 40lbs and looked terrible but other than that I had a normal pregnancy and thankfully an easy delivery. I even went on to have another child and this time I only lost 35lbs.

Looking back on this I wonder why millions of women become pregnant each year but the things that we go through during our pregnancy are still a secret. God has given us an amazing gift so why don’t women share what really happens. I think that it is our duty as women to share with others, teach them and speak freely. How many of you while you were pregnant sat there and said, “Why did no one tell me about this?” I ask you here today to help spread the word about HG and help women who are suffering needlessly.

All in all I ended up with two beautiful and healthy kids and I learned many things by going through this. I learned that I am a lot stronger both physically and emotionally than I had thought. I learned that God does answer all of your prayers but does not always give you the answer you were wanting. And my last lesson is that I now know why I am an only child!

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