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Saturday Confession: I’m Looking at You, Coconut Head

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

When our son was three, I took him to a McDonald’s play place. He zoomed to the top and hung out there for awhile. I kept looking but didn’t see him on the move. It wasn’t long before I heard crying.

It was him.

I climbed through the maze and made my way to the top. A pre school crowd gathered around him to comfort him, until they saw me. And zoom, everyone was gone.

I asked what was wrong and with big tears and a shaky voice, he confessed a kid called him…coconut head.

Once I talked him down to the ground and we discussed building up, tearing down and choosing to receive negative words, we went home and I thought it was over.670px-Deal-with-Name-Calling-Bullies-Step-6

I’m not kidding, for two years I would walk in on him playing. Whether it was soldiers or stuffed animals, he re enacted that scene. The difference was, in his role play, he got the last word.

This week I’ve wanted to get out my toys and role play. Our son isn’t three but he got a verbal smack down from an adult that hurt him as much as coconut head did. Like that day at McDonalds, he didn’t do anything to bring it on. In fact, in this case, he took steps to make sure he did all the right things. I suspect the adult forgot and needed to cover their behind and my kid got it. When I tried to get clarification, I was pretty much called a coconut head and the discussion was shut down.

Permanently.

I responded with a blessing. I wished them well, and I meant it. It was obvious it was a fight I wasn’t going to win, and neither would our son. I’ve taught him the way we close one door is the way we open the new. Being positive was the best way to respond.

But in the minutes and hours after, I struggled with the temptation to respond.

I had the right to file a complaint, and I would have seen action come from it.

I had the right to go off on social media, and readers would have felt compassion for our kid.

I could have addressed the adult again, bringing up examples from them and others that negated everything she was saying.

And darn it, I could have called them coconut head.

As I stewed and ate my way through the anger, God kept reminding me that the door was closed and He was not approving my taking the reigns and running after a response, as justified as I felt. In fact, He threw something at me that I think has merit.

Maybe that unfair situation was His way of protecting him from future issues.

If that adult or that place has trouble down the road, my kid won’t have to worry because he wasn’t a part of it.  Whatever the case, I went to bed that night realizing God was covering my kid. Being called a coconut head or being treated unjustly stinks. But sometimes that’s part of a bigger plan that would end way worse had we stayed in it or had the last word.

So, I’m asking God to take away my temptation to respond. And give me wisdom for the next time someone I love is called a coconut head.

Can you relate?

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Saturday Confession: But I Want the Bedbugs to Bite

Posted by Julie on June 6, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Okay, so don’t take the title literally.

I’m thinking of the nighttime ritual I have spoken with the kids as a contest for over ten years. It started with our son, almost 17, and then our daughter, nearly 12.

th_September06022

Circa 2006

“Sweet dreams, don’t let the bedbugs bite, goodbye!”

That’s our thing. We would pray after tucking in, I would shut off the lights, and somehow it became a contest to see who could say this the fastest and first. Somewhere in the contest instead of goodnight someone, probably me, got confused and said goodbye. And there we were.

Night after night, week after week, month after month we said it. When he was on the threshold of teen years I could tell the game was winding down. And I was okay because his little sister was finally able to verbally join in. And the baton was hers.

Last week she was part of a ceremony where she was crowned for completing a three year program in girl’s ministry. She wore her hair in a bun, a fancy dress, got her crown and sash. She turned her head and it hit me.

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Circa 2012

I was looking at a young lady.

And whether it was that night or soon after I heard her, exhausted, but still, just say, “Goodnight.”

No sweet dreams. No bedbugs. No goodbye. No contest.

And a part of me felt empty.

Since then she’s kept up with it but I know soon it won’t be the child I’m putting to bed, but our routine.

I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the bedbugs that is our fun game.

Hey, did you know Write Integrity Press has a new magazine? It’s called Imaginate and it is for readers and writers. The first issue is out and the theme is travel. There is poetry, flash fiction, photography, writing tips and more. Check it out and spread the word!

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Saturday Confession: Loaves, Fishes, Questions and Kickers

Posted by Julie on February 28, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Matthew 16:

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up?

Ever have a verse jump off the page and slap you?

Well, in a way, that happened to me this week.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, earlier this week I shared a “by the way” kind of note from our youngest child’s doctor. The year has already been full of doctor appointments, specialist consults and a lot of lab work. She’s leary and I can’t blame her. Through MyChart online messaging I received feedback on her latest lab work with the new diagnosis of Hashimoto’s.

It’s a term I’m familiar with and it was a question I even asked at the last appointment. But to read it in black and white, to know there’s a new word on her chart, it threw me.

And the internal chaos started.

  • How is this going to affect her now?
  • Through puberty?
  • Through adulthood?
  • Another health issue, Lord? Really?
  • Is she going to be okay?
  • She’s asking tough questions.
  • The whole thing is breaking my heart and keeping me on my toes.
  • Lord, I have some tough questions, too. For you.

And then I read Matthew 16.

At first, I was judging the disciples. I mean, c’mon. Jesus finished feeding 5000 (and that’s just the men, they didn’t count the women and kids) with five loaves of bread and fish. Not only that, but Jesus also inserts the fact that there was so much provision there were 12 baskets left over. And they are wondering, of all things, how they were going to make it when it came to bread?

Then, the kicker. Jesus makes it clear the whole point isn’t about bread or even yeast. It’s to be careful who to follow. Make sure you’re following the true Savior.

And while I’m being all judgy, the same boom comes down on me.

I’m asking a lot of questions for someone who has seen the Lord provide time and time again for this child and her health.

And I’m not fooling Him. Because this isn’t about her or her health or the newest diagnosis. Nope, I’m circling back to that same old struggle that even Eve fought and lost.

Is God enough?

Can He be trusted?

Can He really get the job done?

Ouch. I’m really wrestling with that? After everything He’s done? Healed? Provided? Rescued? Given?

Yep.

Does it feel good to admit that?

Nope.

pen-paper_zps90ecf193But that’s what Saturday Confession is about.  I’m sharing an issue I haven’t mastered. I’m being real. Not to hang my dirty laundry, but to encourage you. If this is your struggle, you aren’t alone.

And He can be trusted.

Even when we whine and cry about the very thing He’s already taken care of.

 

 

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Saturday Confession: The Parenthood Finale Headache

Posted by Julie on January 31, 2015 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

It’s no secret I enjoy a good television show. I’m a fan of quality writing and ensemble acting and this year I’ve been saying goodbye to some good ones.

Parenthood being one of them.

I watched this show from the beginning, and as I’ve been with Girl Meets World, I was skeptical. Could Parenthood the television show pull off the mastery that was the movie? I wasn’t so sure.

Then I was.

Parenthood became the show I texted family and friends as we watched across the miles. We saw Adam, Kristina, Crosby, Julia and Zeek in ourselves and the ones we loved. We threw our arms up when Sarah made yet another mistake. The cousins made their share of mischief, too. Drew, Haddie, Sidney and Amber were a topic of many chats, too.

Then it evolved and became a cheap form of therapy. My mom started watching and I listened as she shared some of the reasons behind her parenting choices. I could tell she was processing our lives as she watched. And it was healing.

As I watched the finale, I had a headache from crying.

Here’s why: (Spoilers below)

Image http://www.tvguide.com/news/parenthood-series-finale-death-postmortem-jason-katims/

Image http://www.tvguide.com/news/parenthood-series-finale-death-postmortem-jason-katims/

  • Zeek with Sarah. When he asked if he had been a good dad, I thought back to the last conversation I had with my father, hours before he passed. Although I was more Adam than Sarah, it took my heart and ran.
  • Hank with everyone. I hated Hank when he entered the scene. I was such a fan of the young teacher Sarah was with, but Ray Ramano’s portrayal of Hank Rizzoli turned me around. I cried when he met with Zeek. Drew. Max.
  • Joel and Julia. I’ve never been a Julia fan but I’ve always loved Joel with Julia. To see them reconcile and face new challenges, they were right, it was crazy. But crazy good.
  • Camille. Camille shattered what was left of my senses. With every scene, every bit of good news, you could see in her silence, on her face, the shoe was ready to drop and she was trying to prepare. When Zeek was talking to Amber about the walks they would take, the look on Camille broke me. She knew. I knew. Zeek knew. Amber knew. Her face said it all.
  • The montages backdropped against the baseball game. It was brilliant to give glimpses of the future and great closure. Camille continued with her art in Europe. Julia ended with four kids, just as she grew up in. Crosby and Amber were a dream team at the Luncheonette, with Jasmine pregnant as they all listened to a couple record what was the theme song to the show. How could you not cry during that? And to see Amber happy and adjusted with her son, a stable relationship, and Ryan have a cameo? Tears.
  • Max. That kid. I bawled during the first season when Kristina wrote a letter to the neighborhood preparing them for Max trick-or-treating. When he hit puberty. When he broke down after the kids bullied him before leaving the regular school. When he kept taking pictures of the girl I loved how they kept the portrayal. Showing emotion and affection truly is difficult for children with Asbergers. Yet, when he gave that smile at graduation, this mom got it. I’ve always identified in marriage as Kristina and as a sibling, Adam. And Max has always had me.

Like I said, I’m a fan of quality writing and acting and this show was always bringing it. I still have a headache from crying.

Parenthood, thanks for everything.

You will be missed.

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Saturday Confession: That Face

I’ve mentioned here and there that we have a child with what we deem minor special needs. Her first year was critical and much has stabilized. As she’s maturing, I’ve been preparing myself to watch for new things.

Already lab results have changed and we have a new specialist to call. It would be easy to worry and at times, I fall prey. For the most part, I’ve learned to trust the promise regarding her, that she is an overcomer. And trust the One who gave her that promise and created her. She’s been through so much and has overcome.

In the hardest times where care was constant, her face kept me going. Always smiling. A twinkle in her eye. If she wasn’t falling apart, how dare I? That face continues to encourage me, because it still has that smile that chooses sparkly things, loves to write, and is so creative.

100_0542What I learned not too long ago was that face was also an indicator that something was off. There were so many other things to tend to when she was younger everyone missed the signs. The blessing was most people with that diagnosis also were having seizures, and she never did. Another reason she wasn’t diagnosed as early as others.

Even as her face is something for a specialist to realize there is an issue to monitor, that same face ministers to others. She was maybe six weeks old when I was on a Wal-Mart run. I was used to running in and out but that day, and many, many times after, someone stopped me and because of her face, was drawn in. And they open up and start confessing their lives. My life changed that day. I no longer plan to get in and out of places. God’s often stopped everything to have people start sharing with me. I’ve learned to encourage and pray. She keeps smiling. And lives change.

My life has changed thanks to that face. I too look for sparkles and pizazz. I’m not afraid to try new things. I learned there’s quite a fighter in me because of that face. I realized a face can be a prayer request and a ministry at the same time.

This week I had a lot of unplanned moments where I was listening or sharing in ways I didn’t think would be happening. I got thinking, it all started back at Wal-Mart when that person saw that face and walked over. That this week I have new calls to make and new meds to pick up because of that face.

And it’s worth it.

Note: Her round face is part of what tipped her doctor off that she has albright’s hereditary osteodystrophy. Nothing life threatening, but another issue we manage through prayer, a good doctor, and regular lab work.

 

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Saturday Confession: The Brave Earmuffs

Posted by Julie on January 10, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

Growing up, I believed a lot of things.

  • I was fat and lazy and of no worth to anyone
  • I was meant to stay in the background and have little to no voice
  • I would always be the smart one, good for an answer, but never the option for the opposite sex

After awhile, I shut down and used all my dreams for my characters. I wore the colors I was told I should adopt and the length of hair and style suggested for me.

Deep down, way deep down, I wanted to be the bold one.

  • The girl with fire-engine red hair and spunk to match
  • The one who could be counted on for a smart answer and a smart man by my side
  • The one who could embrace color in everything about me

earmuffsI’ve come a long way since then and God has really transformed me. My hair has the red and I definitely have a spunk about me. As I’ve watched the so-called pretty girls find man after man, marriage and then divorce, I’m closing in on twenty years with the same man. Something I never dared dream.

But more than that, God gave us a child that doesn’t have the fears I was shackled by. Even in the womb she had sass, moving everytime the doctor tried to get a heartbeat. Refusing to reveal herself until she was ready to debut her gender. At five days old she pushed me to a better position for nursing. She has her own drum, and she’s not afraid to use it.

She’s also had to fight for things I never had to. Like her very life. School isn’t easy for her. But even as I’m watching her evolve into a young lady where she’s paying more attention to her hair and overall appearance, she’s got that flair for boldness I wanted so much as a kid.

Like the earmuffs.

She wanted earmuffs over Christmas break when it was in the 50’s. She knew we were going to have a cold spell and she looked between Upstate NY, PA and Ohio in our travels for a pair. There weren’t any. We return home and she went to the local Justice store and there they were.

The boldest, most confident ear muffs I’ve ever seen.

They draw attention, let me tell you. And I’m watching those that see her with them on.

They aren’t smiling out of mockery.

They applaud her boldness and confidence.

And dare I assume, I think they want a pair, too.

Looking at those ear muffs, I realized how much she’s changed me. I now look for things that sparkle and have some pizazz. I too looked for ear muffs but came out with a little more mainstreamed look. But honestly?

I can feel it deep down, just like I did as a kid.

I want to wear her ear muffs.

See what it’s like to wear cat, furry ears in bold colors.

Do a little cat walk with bravado.

Will I?

Probably, but most likely you’ll never see it.

But it will be my little victory, and I’m going to savor it.

Meow.

 



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