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Entrusted: Interview with Kyle Swarthmore

Posted by Julie on December 20, 2014 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

This week I’ve had fun interviewing the characters from my Adirondack romance, Entrusted. Today you have the opportunity to meet bad-boy Kyle Swarthmore.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedKyle, did you grow up in Speculator Falls? What’s the connection?

I visited every weekend during summers. My dad bought a summer home outside Speculator Falls.

Do you call Speculator Falls home?

Yes. Well, during the week I stay in Newark. But lately I’ve been working on acquiring some Adirondack property so I’ve stayed in the summer home. I’m not sure.

Who’s your hero?

My dad. He had nothing and built something of an empire. I love following in his footsteps.

Some Adirondack property isn’t for sale.

Everything’s for sale if the price is right. Do you mean that little grocery store, JB’s?

You and Ben don’t get along, do you?

Ben’s a bit uptight. He doesn’t think I’m a true resident. He’s nervous I’ll take his property because I’ve done it before.

Explain.

Trish Maxwell was his high school sweetheart. He was certain they’d marry. But they were on-off and when off, I pursued her. Then she up and left for New York City. He was devastated.

What do you think about Jenna Anderson?

I think her many talents are wasted here. She’s a good businesswoman. What she sees in Ben boggles the mind.

What about romance in your life, Kyle?

No time. Father has an ambitious plan and I’m going to fulfill it. Or else.

Get to know Kyle and all of the friends in Speculator Falls by purchasing Entrusted here.

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Saturday Confession: Practice What I Teach

Posted by Julie on July 19, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It was a rare summer Wednesday evening where I actually had teaching to do with tween girls. One of the girls was back after missing several weeks for sports, so we played catch up. The unit was “Commitment to Christ.” The lesson was basically why He’s worth following.

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At first I wasn’t very excited because it wasn’t that long ago I read the same lines and gave the exact examples. But this is a girl who is hungry for teaching and in a desperate need to be armed with knowledge and relationship to tackle life outside church walls. I made sure I gave the lesson with enthusiasm, paying extra attention to the second point.

His ways are best.

The lesson explained that our ways don’t always match up with His, and that’s okay. Because He knows best. We should trust Him. I gave examples of situations she might encounter to drive home the point.

And when I drove home, I had no idea that lesson would be of use to me.

My husband let us know that the sellers backed out of the deal. The house we were counting weeks until it was ours to run in the yard, build a doghouse, set up a writing area, invite others to for fellowship and ministry—was gone.

Just.

Like.

That.

My plan was to get a closing date, pack up the rest of our stuff and move in.

And I thought that was God’s plan, too.

I didn’t want to get on board with His plan. The house reminded me of a life I left behind, and of people I miss. I can’t let go of that. Again.

Then the lesson came to mind.

He does know best.

He makes all things work together for good. 

We have to trust Him.

I promised God that I’d never share a thing or teach a lesson if I wasn’t willing to learn and live it first. It took me 24 hours, some mad questions directed His way, a few tears, and a large turtle pecan with chocolate ice cream DQ blizzard to get on board.

But agreeing with His plan is right.

Even if I don’t understand it.

So, we start the house search again.

Trusting Him.

 

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Saturday Confession: When Your Pet Peeve Comes Back to Teach You a Lesson

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I try to be flexible.

I do.

But there are some things that drive me crazy.

  • People in the left lane going 20mph.
  • Movie goers who take forever to open up food bags and then eat with their mouth open.
  • And then there’s the group that veto an idea because “that’s not the way we’ve done it.”

I’ve struggled with all of those and the last is particularly difficult because it’s often in Christian circles. When they back up their decision they’ll recount memories a couple decades old and how successful that was. So much so, they’ve done it that way ever since.

And plan to keep with that way of doing things unless God Himself intervenes.

Well, I’m getting a taste of my own medicine. I’ve been pretty vocal when I run into that argument that although God doesn’t change, the way He reaches people does. What worked in 1950 probably didn’t fly in 1970. Nor did 1970 traditions work in 1990. And on it goes.

So imagine my surprise when I heard myself talking this week.

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“But ten years ago we had an impossible situation and it worked out. We had a straight sale.”

“Rent? Lease to own? But we’ve never done it that way before.”

And that’s where He got my attention. Those ways DID work. They were downright amazing. So much so it is worth remembering ten years later. But it’s a new day, new economy, new way of communicating within real estate, different place and mindset.

That’s what the agent challenged me to do. Make a shift in my thinking. Change my mindset.

We’re still in the gathering facts stage but honestly, what my husband and realtor shared is honest and wise. Forcing a plan because it worked in the past doesn’t sound so wise anymore. In fact, I realized it made me sound scared and a little desperate.

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Does that mean the plan before me is a plan for everyone?

No. This is my confession, my blog.

But if you’re struggling with something different before you that deep down you believe God’s asking you to trust Him with, don’t say no because it’s not the way you’ve done it before.

Or else you sound like your own pet peeve.

Trust me on that.

 

 

Have you subscribed to my newsletter? Throughout 2014 I’m sending subscribers my contemporary Finger Lakes romance, Match Made in Heaven. A new installment is coming soon, including a publishing update. Subscribe for free in my right sidebar and watch your inbox for activation.

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Saturday Confession: When the Rose Color Comes Off Our Glasses

I have a few confessions today.

One, I know you’re there. Yep, you aren’t leaving comments for the most part, and that’s okay. Twice a month I check the back end of things here to make sure everything is working and it’s there I see how many of you visit, and for how long. Lately, many of you are coming to me in person or through a private message sharing something that I didn’t know I told you. Then I realize, I wrote it here. Busted! I’m so glad you’re reading. Because, I think my lesson this week might help you, too.

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We’ve been moving forward in faith the fulfillment of what we think God’s called us to this year. We’re getting our home ready to put on market and have been praying for the entire process, including buying what we consider our forever home. We’ve been in the area for 10 years and unless God directs otherwise, we believe this is where my husband will retire many, MANY years from now. 🙂

God gave us a great mortgage company that works with veterans and they have been amazing. They have local agents they contract with, and we believe she is a wonderful fit for us. She’s proved to be an advocate for us and is full of wisdom.The other thing He gave us was vision. As you can see in this picture of my husband, his oldest son, and our son, we’re a glasses wearing family.  Third confession, we weren’t all wearing glasses during the tour of the home I’m about to write, but this picture works for the lesson I learned.

Tomboysmarch2014

Here’s what I learned.

When we first went through that home months ago, we were like the young adults who see each other in the hallway and find instant attraction. Everything is appealing. Flaws? What flaws? At this point, no one is even looking for the negative. It’s all about the positive, and you walk away thinking you’re positive you want a future together.

The second tour for us, we got serious. We took along lists of what to look for. Our agent was with us, giving guidance and wisdom. We opened doors. Looked at paint. Fixtures. The fine print. Details.

And in that tour, the rose colored glasses came off. There are a lot of positives in that house. But, there are some negatives we missed the first time. Enough that we all took a step back and said you know what, we don’t want to jump right in and have regrets. Let’s take our time. Look some more. And if this continues to show up on our radar, then we need to do serious negotiating with the owners. And if not, we know God’s got this.

The illustration I used with my family was before Tom came in the picture, I had my future mapped out thanks to a first walk through impression. Everything looked positive. Any flaws brought to my attention were dismissed. Bringing the agent of my life to the forefront–my heavenly Father–I wasn’t mature enough to consider such a thing.

But thank God, when that didn’t materialize, I recognized His hand immediately and did the craziest thing.

I didn’t shed a tear. Not one. I thanked Him. Because if that wasn’t my future and it had all those positives, then what God DID have planned for me was even better.

And within months, there was a man God planned for me since creation, in my life.

That’s where we’re at. We’re so thankful He gave us the unity to all see the same things during that second look. That we all agreed it is a great house, but it’s not exactly perfect, and it’s worth doing more investigating. Because if that house isn’t it, we can’t wait to see what He does have for us.

My guess is this little lesson might apply to relationships more than looking for a home, but what do I know. But if there’s something in the pit of your belly crashing loud enough for your heart to hear it, I encourage you to slow down and consult the Agent of your life. Let Christ be your compass, and God will be present. Wear the glasses, but allow Him to take the rose tint off so you can see things as He sees them. He doesn’t show you the red flags or issues to rain on your parade, but to be real. He longs for you to lean on Him so He can direct your path. I can’t tell you what’s ahead for you anymore than I can for us and our house process. But I promise, He’s faithful. I’ve yet to be abandoned or let down.

And I believe the same for you.

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Saturday Confession: Permission Denied to Pee on My Fire

Posted by Julie on September 21, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s morbid but for years I contemplated what I wanted on my tombstone before I started thinking about cremation (my mother-in-law was cremated.) I decided for all the wonderful quotes and attributes to be remembered by, “She believed God” was the most accurate.

Thanks to God using Beth Moore’s Believing God to absolutely change my life, I no longer just believed in God, I believed Him.

It hasn’t been without setbacks and people put in my path that I not so ladylike declare, “You don’t have permission to pee on my fire!” They said things out of honesty and love. But deep down, I think the foundation was fear.

And like Jon Acuff states in his latest book, Start, you have to punch fear in the face.

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NEW: It’s a Saturday Confession!

But I almost forgot that.

We believe God has laid on our hearts to make a change. It’s less about a cosmetic neighborhood change for me than I think God has purpose for us in a new place. Will I be leading Bible studies in a new community? Will we host small groups in our new place? I don’t know. But right now, those things aren’t possible. We don’t have the room, not even to park.

We spent the summer cleaning, updating, and repairing. I prayerfully formed a team to specifically pray over the process. Although we have three repair projects left, we’re nearing the end. We asked for prayer regarding a realtor, and started holding “blind auditions” via attending open houses and a showing. We called one to visit us that we felt good about after reading the reviews online.

And she peed on our fire.

We get that we live close to an inner city, even though we are in the suburbs.

We know the area took a huge hit after the recession and is still in a slow recovery.

But she wasn’t done.

She said our street was the worst in the town. Given the age of the house, the repairs she didn’t hear us say several times we have scheduled or plan to, and her lack of being impressed over the new things we’ve added and replaced, she said something that all but took the fire out.

She pretty much said she wasn’t interested in listing the house. Oh, if we decide to use her she’d do it, but she actually suggested to not even hire an agent. The process would be so tough and impossible, we’d be better off selling it ourselves.

And for 24 hours, I drank her Kool-Aid.

  • I forgot when doctors said I’d probably not be able to have biological children due to a severe case of PCOS, I had two. The first one came about before I finished the first round of fertility drugs. The second, no fertility drugs at all.

 

  • I forgot when our baby was gray and near lifeless in a rural hospital waiting for a children’s hospital to stabilize and save her that a nurse walked by and suggested I start planning her funeral. I called on my prayer partners instead, they stormed the gates so hard and raw I could feel heaven and hell fighting. She was home within days. She is now 10.

 

  • I forgot when we sold our home in Upstate NY we lived in one of the poorest, most rural counties in the state. Our home was a blessing thanks to previous owners who instead of having children built additions and added a barn and shed. The school district at the time had a poor reputation. The situation was so hopeless the realtor sat me down and told me I was blinded by grief and confusion. Six weeks later she came looking for her check, apologizing for not believing with me. The house didn’t just sell, the owner came by with cash and told us to name our closing date.

 

  • I forgot when our daughter remained chronically ill and needed multi day therapies that insurance denied her treatments and we owed around $10,000. We believed God had a “total and complete victory” in store, but couldn’t figure out how. After three losing appeals I attended a service where the guest pastor (from a church called Victory, mind you) challenged us not to put God in a box. Trust Him. I ran to the altar in tears. When I arrived home I received a message and called back. The person felt I needed to know not to put God in a box, that I had to stop trying to define that total and complete victory and trust Him. And by the way, they felt God asked them to pay the bill in full. Total and complete victory.

 

  • I forgot our son was struggling with peers and teachers who didn’t want to be there and morale wasn’t great. I challenged him to agree with me for the people to prosper elsewhere and for God to bring people who wanted to be there. In 2 weeks, every person we prayed for moved on.

 

  • We were asked to pray by a woman who wanted to be a mom. There were challenges. I asked her if she was serious, because when we agreed in Jesus’ name together, God tends to move fast. She was pregnant right away and had no complications.

This isn’t my track record, it’s God’s, through faith. I’ve learned when He calls, He equips. That He takes us through the fire, not around it. 

I don’t know what the future holds, but we believe He’s asked us to trust Him to sell this home and find that “last home” where we can serve Him in the neighborhood, with each other, and with those that will grace the doors.

Let’s believe God together.

And don’t give permission for those living in fear to pee on your fire.

YOUR TURN!!!
I’d like to make this a weekly event. Share your confession, make sure it is one that encourages your readers, not embarrasses you or others. The goal is to visit the posts, feel uplifted, and realize we’re not alone. Link up below, and tell others. Let’s make this a huge thing!




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