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Write Integrity Press Christmas: Presents

Posted by Julie on December 1, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

All this week Write Integrity Press is celebrating Christmas. Many of the authors are participating with their own blogs and everything culminates with a Facebook party December 5th from 7-9 pm, EST. I’ll be chatting at approximately 8:30. Join me!

I love a party so I wanted to celebrate as well. Given November was another blessed month with the thankful series, I thought why not keep the fun memories going? So each day this week I’m sharing a Christmas memory with reflections from my Write Integrity Press colleagues.

Today is about the shiny presents. It isn’t the reason to celebrate but like it or not, they are a tradition for most families. We were all kids once so I asked  my friends if there was a special gift they longed for, and did they receive it?PresentGirlRedSparkle

 Our fearless leader, Tracy Ruckman shared:

Although we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, we were pretty spoiled. Even if we didn’t get everything on our list, our parents – and Santa – always had lots of surprises for us. My dad always gave us brain-teaser puzzles. And he usually had some kind of fun surprise waiting for us. One year, we had a note that told us our big gift was waiting outside, where we found another note, saying it was somewhere else. He led us on a scavenger hunt for about 30 minutes before sending us to the basement where we discovered a ping pong table. That was great fun and totally unexpected. 

 Betty Thomason Owens, author of Amelia’s Legacy, said:

A “Chatty Cathy” doll (from ancient times, I know) & no, I didn’t get it.


Elizabeth Noyes, author of Imperfect Wings:

Growing up, the one thing I remember wanting more than anything else was a Tiny Tears baby doll.  That year for Christmas, Santa brought me a stack of booklets instead, all filled with S&H Green Stamps. Two days after Christmas, my mom took me to the redemption center … and I got my doll. When I was older, I learned she’d tried so hard to get the doll for me for Christmas, but the stores had run out. She used the stamps she’d been saving for a vacuum cleaner to get my doll instead.

Phee Paradise, A Ruby Christmas:

I can’t think of anything I ever really wanted. When I was 58 I asked for a bicycle and my husband laughed and my children asked if I could ride one. I got it and rode it almost every day.


As for me, I remember being about seven when I wanted a Barbie Dream House. Money was tight and even at that age the stress of that and other things was palpable. I got it. But it didn’t stop me from asking.

Santa didn’t deliver.

I’m sure I got other things that were just as nice but back then, I focused on the negative. For all I had, my thoughts were always on what I didn’t have. When I thought about knowing God in any way my logic always went back to the fact that if God cared, I’d have a normal, happy family. Money wouldn’t be a problem. And I’d have a Barbie Dream House.

As I left childhood and entered my teens, times grew tougher and so did my attitude. My foundation was anger and self entitlement. As I pursued academics, common sense went out the window. Faith? I had none.

Even after I asked Jesus into my life, my defenses remained. Thankfully He was patient and gave me tools and resources to not just heal, but transform.

It was in this season God showed me the Barbie Dream House.

It was a want, not a need.

I confused Santa with God.

I lived the illusion that God was angry with arms closed, never available.

When I want to whine about what I don’t have, my mind goes back to that Barbie Dream House. I have so much more than that plastic thing. I’m in a relationship with a Heavenly Father who I know through personal experience loves me every day of the year with arms wide open. He knows what I want and He knows what I need.

No matter my zip code, no matter where I hang my coat, I don’t have a Barbie Dream House.

But I have the promise of an eternal home.

What a present.



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This Post is Sponsored by the Number 12—12 in 12, That Is

Posted by Julie on January 12, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

That Patty Wysong. She has so many great ideas going for 2012 I’m giddy. Because her great ideas translate to blog post ideas for me here. It also helps me meet new people and learn more about them.

Patty’s latest genius idea is 12 in 12. Anyone who wants to blog about the 12 things they want to accomplish in 2012 can do so and link back to Patty’s blog. As Patty suggests, think of 12 things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Push yourself. Don’t have a blog? That’s okay, share it on FB, Twitter, etc…and let Patty (and me!) know.

Here’s my 12 in 12:

Join us at to share your 12 in 12

1. Finish my first manuscript. That’s right, I’ve never done this, at least not to this scale. I wrote the first draft during NaNo ’10 and bit by bit I’ve been editing. For the first time I’m taking my work through two ACFW critique groups and I’m learning so much. I want to really work on this and finish.

2. Start the agent process. Again, this isn’t normal for me. Brand new territory. I don’t know if it’s meant to be, but it is where God wants me. So for 2012, that’s my goal.

3. Attend a writer’s conference. Nope, I haven’t done this before, either. We’re a one income family so these ideas are far off extras. It looks like there will be a conference later this year in my state, so it could happen.

4. Use a passport. I’m 41 and until a month ago, never even had a passport. I’ll be using it for vacation reasons in 2012, but have a feeling the passport will see more use in years to come for missions.

5. Finish that c25k app. I don’t hate exercise as much as I hate the idea. This app lets me walk and build up running, something I’m not skilled at. As a baby I had braces on my feet and the doctor left them on too long. I have knees that dislocate. This is a small exercise program I’m doing in the privacy of my home set to music I can play as loud as I want.

6. Prune. There is a specific area in my life that needs cutting, nothing deep, but it is an area I dread. When I have to make a change, I don’t like it. It’s time for something new and different and to do that, I have to make some changes.

7. Be social. I’m a natural introvert and that took me a long time to realize and admit it. Now I embrace it to depths where I just don’t enjoy being out and about. A writer’s life is secluded so I have to be intentional. I’m seriously considering starting a Praise and Coffee night, keep the expectations low and the fun high.

8. Date my husband. If you’re married, you know it’s almost impossible to be in the same season of life. When he’s able to get out, I can’t or am too tired. Or finances are in the way. We haven’t even rented movies or watched anything like we did when the kids were smaller. Now the kids are older and we could go out more, even if it was a walk at a park. But I’m not intentional about it. It’s not easy for me, even though he’s a built-in date. If he’s busy or not able, he’ll say so. But I should at least ask.

9. Write a book with my daughter. Last summer we wrote a customized story together and it went so well I want to do it again. Even at 8 she was able to come up with a plot, conflict, resolution, and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. When finished we put it in a binder, and she created the artwork. I created an author’s page for her and my heart swells when I see of all the books she has on her shelf, she still goes for that one.

10. Continue the anonymous wordpress project I have going with my son. It was our answer to a situation and to be honest, I love working with him. This is something I long for others to be a part of, but we’re not putting our names on it. So, read in between the lines and perhaps you’ll find us in cyberspace as I embedded a clue for you here.

11. Visit our local Rescue Mission and perhaps volunteer there. This has been on my mind for a long time and I just haven’t done it. No excuses.

12. Showcase my nature pictures somehow. I’m an amateur, but I receive great feedback when people visit our home and see the pictures. Maybe I’ll make them a blog post or something.


There! That wasn’t too hard. What do you think? Now, show me yours!

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