Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're On the Winning Team!

Of course I couldn't get it to cut and paste but I feel this is a message from God He wants the masses to know.

It's over at my blog today. Check it out!

By the way, the blog is a few years old but the site is new. If you like what you see, would you tell others and/or subscribe? Thanks!

Remember, we're on the winning team!



Victory Pictures, Images and Photos
Image From: Photobucket

Photobucket Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker from NE Ohio. Her most recent work, Who Hung the Moon (Upside Down?) is featured in James Stuart Bell's God Encounters. Julie is excited to launch her Surrendered Scribe newsletter which features a short story exclusive for newsletter subscribers: Discovering Nancy Struthers. To learn more about Julie and her work, please visit her at Julie Arduini.com.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lessons from a Cast Iron Tub




As you get to know me, you'll realize I'm the lady with a story for everything. God takes the daily stuff of life and teaches me, and then I tend to write about it. So here goes the cast iron tub. I sense this is something for someone out there, and I'm learning right with you!

Our house is a 1939 Colonial with a cast iron tub with peeling paint. We've had three different kinds of "tub people" in there giving us their ideas and estimates. Perhaps because the estimators worked with products they always dismissed replacing the tub, but always said they advised against to because it was a cast iron tub.

The tub is too heavy and impossible to move out of a small bathroom and out of an old house.

It's a heavy burden that would be easier to take care of it you buy a pretty shell to surround the tub, throw down a new liner to hide the flaws, or buy a nice kit that you can gloss over the paint.

Gee, that sounds like my approach to how I handle conflict in my life!

Like the estimators, I also get in my head that I have to deal with the entire process that moment. Cast iron tubs aren't meant to come out easy. It isn't pretty trying to picture a group of workers hauling a tub out of a small bathroom because it's not reality.

Last week a new estimator came in and looked at the tub. Without a beat he asked why we never replaced it. I explained the workers before him and their reasons. He shook his head.

"We take the tub out a piece at a time. This way you still fix the problem, but in a doable way, not some cheap fix that will have your tub showing new peeled paint in a year or so."

Knock me over with a feather! That spoke to me on so many levels. Instead of thinking I'm a failure because I'm having trouble trusting God with finances (which is a lingering issue for me) I realize I'm throwing some paint on a tub because I'm afraid I can't carry the tub. I can't. I can deal with it a piece at a time and know God is doing a greater work in me this way. I tend to think in marathon ways instead of sprints. The tub showed me a true work is a work in progress, and one that takes care of the issue, not just temporairly hides it.

Does this speak to anyone?

If you're thinking about fixing a cast iron tub, take it from me, do it a piece at a time.

(This originally appeared in a group message over on the Facebook group: Julie Arduini: The Surrendered Scribe


Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker residing in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. Her heart is to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. She knows that has to start with her, so she's surrendering the good, the bad, and maybe one day, the chocolate. She'd love if you bookmarked her website and signed her blog guest book at JulieArduini.com. She also went all techie and created a gadget you can use on your iGoogle page. Feel free to add it and tell others.


Photo courtesy photobucket

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Give Thanks

The Narrow Gate Girls are thankful for so many things.



































The grace Jesus has lavishly given us (and you, if you accept it)

Our marriages

Our families

Our many blessings

which include...

YOU.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

All You Need Is Love

All you need is love, love . . . love is all you need. Love is all you need.


Are you singing along yet??


Love . . . that is where He is taking me, where He is stretching me, where He is calling me.


The past ten months I have felt a longing to really learn more about Jesus. As a 'young' believer I had spent so much time on the fast track . . . going to bible studies, reading books, attending conferences, . . . searching, searching, searching . . . wanting more more more . . . and then one day I stopped and had to ask myself . . . how much do I really know about Jesus and His time here on earth. I had to ask myself what was I really seeking?


Then at the end of October my family and I went to hear an amazing woman speak, Heidi Baker. She was speaking in a small church in Cleveland so we decided to go. Her message . . . love. Love, love, love. She shared story after story of how a simple hug or act of love had transformed so many lives. She had my children sitting at the edge of their seats for two hours. How did she learn to love . . . from Jesus. She said to me, "You know I just love Jesus."


There it was right in front of me. And I felt like I had missed it.


So last week I made a trip to the bookstore and purchased a book by Max Lucado about Jesus. I opened my bible and my book and began reading. And I am falling in love.


He made it so simple . . . He loved.



And in John 13:34-35 (The Message) Jesus said,


"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."


Love . . . Jesus . . . join me:)

Kim

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Like it Bold


If you knew me growing up, I might have across as confident, but it was the furthest thing from the truth. I had a lot of self esteem issues and unresolved anger. It's my faith, time, and a whole lotta tears that have transformed me from the inside out.

I realized that in the past year, bold is a new part of my identity. My sister remarked that my coffee smells so bold it stings her nose when she walked into my kitchen. It's true. I'm someone who never drank coffee before. I switched off of espresso to Italian Roast because the espresso wasn't bold enough. Tea? That's just dark water to me (sorry my tea friends).

Even my wardrobe is bold. I've never been a small frame girl and a year after surgery, my body type is I think an apple and a pear. It's not pretty and yet I've never felt better in and out. God performed surgery on more than my girl parts, He changed my heart. I get, totally get, that I'm His favorite. Don't get me wrong, I totally get YOU are HIS favorite too. I'll spend my waking moments encouraging you with this truth. As I walk with this extra weight, different body and freedom of identity, my colors are bold. I wear deep purples, blues, corals. For the first time, I want people to look at me. Not because I'm covergirl material, but because I'm feeling bold. I want you to see Him when you look at me, and I'm bold enough to hopefully get your attention.

My actions are a lot bolder. I've always wanted to help people or let them know the nice things I think but for decades wouldn't for fear that you would be too busy to deal with me, or I'd be bothering you. No more! If I'm in your way I'm believing you'll let me know. If I feel moved to do something it's with what I have and am. I'm not Paula Deen nor am I Martha Stewart. I cook and bake simple and my accessories probably mismatch. But I'm done sitting in the shadows wishing I could do more.

I'm bold---believing, offering, living and dreaming.

How about you?

(This originally appeared in a group message over on the Facebook group: Julie Arduini: The Surrendered Scribe


Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker residing in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. Her heart is to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. She knows that has to start with her, so she's surrendering the good, the bad, and maybe one day, the chocolate. She'd love if you bookmarked her website and signed her blog guest book at JulieArduini.com. She also went all techie and created a gadget you can use on your iGoogle page. Feel free to add it and tell others---be bold!

photo courtesy photobucket

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I received the message and link below in an e mail and am not done listening, but enjoying what I'm hearing so far.

I know it's tempting for people to get caught up on the pastors/speakers/prophet/celebrity attached to messages and lose sight of the message. One of the best testimonies I ever read was in one of Donna Partow's books.

There was a woman who opened her arms to Jesus through watching of all things, Tammy Faye Bakker. It wasn't a live telecast and yet Tammy with her wild eyes and big tears spoke to the camera and gave a message of encouragement that God did everything but write Dear....and the viewer's name. The viewer was randomly flipping the channels and the message pierced her for eternity.

I confess, had I whizzed by and saw the Bakkers' back then, I would have kept on going. I get caught up on names too sometimes.

So I'm not asking if you're a Graham Cooke fan. I'm asking if the Bible is relevant to you. Are you sick of the gloom and doom? Are you ready to be part of a solution or a problem?

Like I said, I'm only part way done with this message and Graham explores Isaiah 61. What's the key word to you in the verse? It's interesting what his answer is, and looking back, any transformation for the better you've witnessed out of me really does go back to that key word.

Jesus is the King of Instead.

You on board?
Picture courtesy Heartlight

***
I found this on Graham Cooke's bookstore... FREE MP3 series! Can't beat that. I haven't listened to them yet, but.... It's Graham! :)
Anyhow, here's the link: Recession Busters

***

Help spread the word! By faith I created a website and moved my blog there. I'm "open for business" with a few kinks but am trying to get all readers to make the move with me. My mission at The Surrendered Scribe is to encourage women to find victory through surrender. I get that it has to start with me, so my blog is about surrendering the good, the bad, and maybe one day, the chocolate. There are book giveaways throughout November so leave a comment or contact me on my message page for your chance to enter. Additional entries if you let me know you grabbed the blog button, signed the guestbook, subscribed, etc...


Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker residing in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. Look for her debut at the Exemplify Online marriage blog channel Thursday, November 12. She also recently learned her story, Midnight Surrender,will be in the Healing Power of Prayer book series for Guideposts. To learn more about Julie, visit her website.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slowing Down

Well, I had the complete privilege of getting away to the beach with my beautiful family for an entire week…and I still have “vacation brain.” (I know it has been 2 months, but I still have it!)

I finally had the chance to unwind and truly enjoy my family. Unfortunately, because I work full time, and between therapy appointments with my daughter, and sports activities with my son, I don’t get to actually enjoy the blessings that are all around me every day as much as I should.

Sooo…between the lazy river, the pool, and sitting by the beach---I had plenty of time to talk to the Lord, and watch in amazement as my children took in all the sights and sounds of our beautiful surroundings.

Because of treatments my daughter received over the summer for her muscles, prior to this vacation, she had casts on both of her legs for 6 weeks.
And four days prior to arriving at the beach, she had them removed. So, as you can imagine (especially if any of you have had to wear a cast for any length of time), her gait was very different, trying to adjust to her newly-stretched out muscles….And, because she normally wears braces on her legs daily, her muscles were fighting to keep her balance without them as we trekked to the beach and pool several times a day.

So needless to say, for the entire vacation her gait was very unusual, and she fought every second of the day, just to stay up to walk.

Because of these factors, I had no choice but to slow down.

Literally.

God knew I needed to slow down, and take my time to enjoy this vacation, and He created the circumstances so that I was forced to move slower.

And in the midst of me having to do everything slower, in order for her to be comfortable, I learned an amazing lesson.

Because I was moving at her pace, on her time, I got to see what was really important.

I actually focused on her beautiful face, and how much she is growing before my eyes.

I took the time to listen to each word she spoke, and tune into her amazing curiosity.

As her little body was struggling, her spirit was shining.

In the midst of her using every bit of energy just to stand up and walk, she was full of joy.

True, pure joy that can only come from a child.
The kind of joy our Lord wants us to have on a daily basis.

I learned this simple life lesson, from the most beautiful vessel He placed in my world seven years ago. She knows life no other way—and she perseveres each and every day. She is the epitome of God’s joy, strength and grace.

If she can have joy in the midst of her challenges than what excuse do I have to complain or fret about any challenge I have to face?

So I meditate on Romans 5:3-5, “ …but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

Slow down.
Rejoice.
Persevere.
Gain hope.


A simple, yet profound lesson from my little girl.

And from my God.



Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at http://www.mommiesmagazine.com/.Maria's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Insignificant Significance

Where does the time go? The praise is I had the pleasure of seeing Kim yesterday and God is on the move with her, Maria, and me. I sensed a theme going on in my prayer closet and wondered if it was just me.

Turns out the more intercessors I meet with and talk to, the more this message comes up:

We're learning how insignificant significance is.

For those that want to learn more, I listened to a Lance Wallnau presentation on basic needs. It didn't take long for me to realize one of my needs is significance.

Thank the Lord He's set me free from what I call the Sally Field stronghold. You know it, the "You like me, you really like me" addiction. I know that life well, and I do not want to return to that captivity. I thought significance was conquered through that healing.

I'm catching up on previous Smallville seasons and my attitude mirrored what I saw in a Season 8 episode. It's a long story but one character had a chip implanted in her brain with a final purpose of controlling her. When she was set free, she vomited up a ball of junk, all the computer stuff that had a hold on her.

I feel like I'm coughing up balls of snark. God has done so much in and around me, and it's been big lately. Things I prayed for, stood in the gap over, are in the midst or done. It is amazing, and all Him. I should be jumping for joy.

Instead, I'm snarky. Fleshy. Woe is me. The last two years as I prayed, "stuff" happened. Rejection, criticism, confrontations, things from left field that with His help, I stood steady and kept praying. Now that the waves calmed down---

I want apologies. I want a pat on the shoulder. I want, I want, I want.

Significance.

I wish I had the answers, but the direction I sense to take is it's time to shed the old wineskin, old ways of doing things, old thoughts, old grudges, just get rid of it. I have to take these things to the cross and put on that new wineskin.

The wineskin that has a whole lot less of Julie and a whole lot more of Jesus.

Now THAT is significant.


Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker residing in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. She is definitely going to the cross over significance. She thanks the Lord for His grace as she surrenders fear and creates a website and opens herself up for full time ministry. Learn more at JulieArduini.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Julie's Steam Cleaning Revelation

The house is slowly coming together. Carpet is in, but now comes weeding out and rearranging. Yesterday was our son's room. It took forever because he keeps everything. I'm thankful I tackled most of it during school hours because once he was home, he even asked if I could preserve a piece of string. String!!

Part of the process is steam cleaning. We recently purchased a new one and it works so great. I'm a results person so to watch the dirty water rush into the tank, that's thrilling for me to watch. I'm accomplishing something!

Hoover Carpet Steam Cleaning shampooer cleaner steamer Pictures, Images and Photos


I also had an ephinany during the cleaning. Years ago I was a work from home mom with a toddler. I was suffocating under the pressure I was putting on myself to be perfect at every role in my life. Needless to say, there was never enough time. When I steam cleaned, I went at it like Speedy Gozales, right down to breaking a fairly new cleaner because I pushed too hard on a rough carpet. I only gave the appearance of clean, but deep down, I left a lot of dirt behind.

This time around, I'm bothered by the chaos but I know it's going to take time and I can only do so much. His room has seen a lot of action resulting in stains and ick I thought would be there forever. I took my time cleaning and as I methodically moved the cleaner back, all the dirt came up.

It hit me, that's what I've surrendered and let God do. It's so much more than growing older and possibly maturing. I yielded my life, my fears, hurts, goals, expectations and all the dirt to Him. He's not done but already I can see the dirty tank resevoir is full and the floors are clean. I'm no longer tied to living the perfect life. In fact, I find I get a bit cranky when I sense someone is trying to pressure me to be perfect.

How about you? In your life, is everything perfect at a glance but deep down the dirt remains? I challenge you to take your time and let God work a deep cleaning within you. I feel as alive as my son's carpet looks---and that's something God is willing to do for anyone that asks through faith in His Son!

By the way, the Love Dare is on over at Christian Women Take Root. If you've tried the Dare before on your own, join us. There truly is safety in numbers. This is open to all approved members of Christian Women Take Root.



Julie Arduini is driving herself to exhaustion trying to balance writing, marriage, children, website creation, working out, and chocolate. Her website is still under construction, but check it out at JulieArduini.com.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The $20K Life

(This is originally from my The Surrendered Scribe blog. I'm still learning off this message, and thought I'd share it).


I'm a vivid dreamer and I've long let go of the thought that it's a bad taco. I'll admit sometimes an interpretation doesn't come to me, but I pray and often one comes. It's rarely what I actually dream about, and it's always such a great life lesson that I know it wasn't anything I came up with. I totally give God credit for those interpretations (mine always line up with the Bible, not once have I had a dream interpretation tell me to leave my family or anything, just so you know).

Anyway, this dream and the interpretation isn't leaving me. Maybe you are in this situation too, so I thought I'd post it. If I already posted it, forgive me. I am absolutely grasping for the finish line called September. This summer is suffocating my sanity!

So here is the dream...

I am back in Upstate NY, arriving at a pawn shop at 6am. I know I only have 30 minutes because my husband has to leave for work by 7. The line is long and I have with me a heavy, thick black necklace to pawn. In addition, I have separate from the cross but at once attached to it, a cross. One side of the cross is a black cross, an actual necklace my husband gave me two years ago from El Salvador. The other side is not actual and was a white porcelain cross with a single rose on the cross.


Once I get to the counter my husband is with me. A lady waits on me and says that the cross is probably worth twenty, but she needs to talk with the manager. I think, hey, $20, pretty good for 6am.

The manager comes over and looks it over. With the white porcelain portion he says, this is a treasure. It is worth twenty. Twenty thousand.

Twenty thousand dollars!? Well I got so excited I woke myself up!

I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the dream to me. Here is what He gave me:

The black double strand necklace is an albatross I'm allowing to hang over my neck. With it is the black cross that my husband gave me two years ago. The last two years have been challenging in many ways, and it's left me tired, worried, and skeptical. By clinging to the black necklace and the burden that hangs over me when I choose this life, I'm living the $20 life.

WOW.

The porcelain cross represents what I can choose. I can let go of the past and trust God. Life won't be easy, but by choosing Him over the bitterness of the past, I get the white porcelain cross life. That necklace was worth $20k.

WOW.

Ever since when I've turned my mind on the past or started to worry about the future, I remember I'm choosing the albatross feeling necklace worth $20. I want to live free from burdens, fear, and anxiety. I want the $20k life.

Anyone relate? I'm struggling, so don't think I have it mastered. If this is your story, try to find a picture or draw one of a white porcelain looking cross with a single red rose on it. Give yourself a visual that you want the $20k life over the $20 one.

I'd love to hear your comments and updates!

PS
The website is moving along. Check it out at JulieArduini.com. I also created a group page on Facebook and a separate Twitter account for my fiction story, Discovering Nancy Struthers. Check it all out and feel free to join!



Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker residing in NE Ohio. Her website, JulieArduini.com, is set to launch October 1 as she shares her surrender journey online. You can find her most recent work in Kathy Vick's Run Like a Girl. She also moderates the Love Dare over at Christian Women Take Root and is a new contributor for the marriage channel at Exemplify. She lives with her husband and two children.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Maria He So Desperately Wants Me To See

Hello everyone!
I hope you all are having a peaceful summer….
I haven’t had much time to enter the gate, and I am happy to be back!

The summer has been busy here…
My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed, along with some injections to help relax her muscles. And now she has casts on both legs to stretch her muscles for awhile…sooo… I have been kind-of in stress mode since June.

In the midst of all of the craziness, I have learned that God uses stress to bring up all the things inside of me that I am still holding on to (even though I have claimed to give them to Him). So, once again, He is molding all of me—my thoughts, my words, my actions---into the Maria He sees, the Maria He so desperately wants me to see.

Thankfully, my daughter’s casts will be off next week, and we are headed to a real beach.
My kids have never seen the ocean, so I am looking forward to seeing the looks on their faces when they feel the sand on their feet, and feel the ocean waves splash their faces.

And I am looking forward to sitting still—something I don’t do very often.

Sitting, basking in the beauty of God’s creations, and enjoying the amazing family He has given me.

I will close the gate door for now, and I will return soon.
Maria

Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at http://www.mommiesmagazine.com/.Maria's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Checking In...

Remember me? I don't know where the summer went but I can't believe it's been this long since a Narrow Gate post. I know a bit is going on with Kim and Maria, but today I'll give you my update. God is downloading a lot, and I hope in the coming days and weeks I can share it here.

This summer is "watch Julie spin her tires trying to know it all by fall" season. With both kids in school full time this fall, I want to know His plan yesterday. If you follow me on Facebook (Julie Arduini from Ohio) you know I recently wrote how I relate to Noah. I have specific blueprints, limited vision, no rain before, and people most likely think I'm nuts. The praise is I've read the rest of the ark story and things go well for Noah. I serve that same God.

I know I'm meant to write and public speak. I know encouraging women is at the heart of what I do, and that surrender seems to be the brand most people identify my name with. My husband and I are taking baby steps in creating a website. The little vision He's given me is big. Pretty big for someone who doesn't have a finished manuscript. Talk about faith walking!

I plan to offer a newsletter with the website. If folks subscribe, I want to offer them a free short story via PDF file. The story is called Discovering Nancy Struthers. What sets this apart is that this story will continue on Twitter and through the newsletter. I will create a separate Twitter account where readers can learn more about Nancy Struthers and her escaping ways. My hope is to add a chapter with each newsletter.

That's as far as I see it, and that's ok. I've worried, fretted, ate, whined, vented and cried my way through the summer wanting more answers and I am at peace. The vision is coming and He's just asking me to be prepared and obey.

Please join me as I leap off that proverbial faith cliff!

To read my work on a more regular basis, please find me at The Surrendered Scribe.


Julie Arduini is a writer and public speaker living in NE Ohio. Her latest work is included in Kathy Vick's Run Like a Girl, available now. She also moderates the Love Dare over at Christian Women Take Root and thinks she is going to make her superficial goal of watching Smallville Seasons 1-7 on Netflix.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Taken With You

I shared this over at Christian Women Take Root and will tomorrow at the Surrendered Scribe. Yet, it's a message resonating so deep in my spirit, I wanted to share here as well. As you can see, it's a very busy season for each of us. We're so grateful you stopped by and we will post as God leads us. Thanks!

Recently I watched the Liam Neeson movie, Taken. It's an action adventure thriller rated PG-13 for violence, language and theme. I'm not saying it is a Christian movie at all. I'm sharing what God showed me about His intense Love for us in relation to the movie. If this kind of movie is something you typically watch, does any of this resonate with you?


Taken is about a dad who after losing his marriage gave his successful career as a government "preventer" up to be closer to his teenaged daughter. They have a good relationship, but he wants it to be better. The ex wife is very bitter and not helpful, the new husband is the epitome of wealth, nice guy, but possible secrets.

The daughter has an opportunity to go across the world and spend time in another country, so her dad is led to believe. He learns it's more than that and feels betrayed, but allows her to go with restrictions.

She ends up taken almost immediately in the country for human trafficking.

And you can bet, daddy is going to do His all to get her back.

Here is what God Showed Me:

---Our Havenly Dad/Father is taken with us, even when we betray and/or let Him down.

---His arms are open and He will pursue you with unconditional love to the ends of the Earth.

---He is not a stern, miserable father, but a warrior dad who will protect and cover you with His undying love for you.

---Even if you can't see it, He is violently fighting the forces against you.

---No matter what you've done, said, thought about, He WILL come back for you. You just have to ask Him.

---The world offers so much and mocks boundaries, but in the end, things are just things and the One setting boundaries is the One who offers the most freedom in the world. The world will end up bowing down to the Dad who everyone made fun of at first.

If nothing else, KNOW He is TAKEN with YOU!

I'm not on my computer today so you're spared my picture! You can learn more about me, Julie Arduini, at The Surrendered Scribe. My next published work will be a story in Kathy Vick's giftbook, Run Like A Girl, by Howard/Simon and Schuster. It releases July 7.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Just Can't Keep Quiet On This One: Especially for Memorial Day


I need to warn you---you are either going to totally understand, or roll your eyes and think, here she goes again.

I am the girl that cries when Neil Diamond's America plays. I devour history books and although I've never served in the military, for years I've had this burden to write to soldiers if nothing else, just to say thank you. I've never left North America and yet there is something in me that understands we are a blessed nation.

And I get pretty agitated when contemporary "intellectuals" try to re write history. I hate that my schooling never once mentioned creationism. I'm peeved that children today are to think that the Bible really has no place or memorial as a cornerstone of history.

What?

That is why the American Patriot's Bible needs to be in your hands.

I'm not kidding, I got choked up picking up the book. Just looking at the cover, it just is a gorgeous book for subject matter and artistic mastery. It made me think even further back in history when people died trying to print Bibles, and how carelessly society today treats the Bible in recognition and touch.

This will be our family Bible for a lot of reasons.

I enjoy the translation, New King James Version. I thought the font was easy on the reads for all ages, I even tried to imagine a senior citizen veteran perhaps, picking this book up. I think it would be very special to them.

There are also amazing features:

Full color presentation page and family record section

48 full-color insert pages, presented in 12 four-page sections

1,632 pages including illustrations, two-color Bible pages, 254, articles, and 66 book introductions.


I wanted to review this book right away for Memorial Day and because I was so excited. This book exceeded my high expectations. There are even text boxes that highlight Scripture that US Presidents used for their inaugurations. I loved that.

The profiles on founding Fathers, people throughout American history who used the Bible and believed in it, amazing profiles I did not know about. It is obvious a ton of research and editing went into this endeavor. From Patrick Henry to the crew of Apollo 8, it gives great information that stirs a patriotic feeling from head to toe.

I can't say I always tell readers to read the foreward, introduction and anything precluding a beginning chapter, but in this case, I'm begging you to. In a day where God is trying to be removed from everything, I relished reading the Seven Principles of Judeo-Christian ethic. The Call to Action page is impressive as well.

There is also a map of the United States, a list of each state and when it joined the union. There is a map at the back regarding the journeys of our patriarchs and a comprehensive concordance and subject index.

Are you sold yet? Summer is so much more than baseball and picnics--to me it's a season above all to really celebrate our country and all she means. If you are looking for a family Bible, a gift for a soldier, a veteran, a history lover or even a gift for yourself---look no further.

Book Description:
THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW ‘A LIGHT FROM ABOVE’ SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot’s Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation’s history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.

A You Tube video featuring The American Patriot's Bible
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjHaNCre6do

You can buy here!






Julie Arduini knows the call on her life is to write and encourage others. She maintains a personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe, which reveals her writing resume. Her next published work will be a quote in Kathy Vick's Howard/Simon and Schuster gift book, Run Like a Girl. This will release July 7. She's also working with an awesome group of ladies at Christian Women Take Root who are journeying through The Love Dare. This is ongoing, so there is no wrong time to join!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Agent of Truth

I confess, I enjoy Facebook. Not the changes so much, but the opportunity it gives to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. From a writing ministry aspect, it's opened many friendship doors.

One of my Facebook friends is someone I haven't met in person but she is a sister in Christ who is kind enough every once in awhile to respond to my updates. My updates can range anywhere from my espresso addiction to deep thoughts. After such a deep thought she gave a nice response in return. With it, she said something that caught my attention.

I sound like an agent of truth.

You know, this isn't a bad thing. The way she worded it is a whole lot better than how it's said in the Freaky Friday remake: "Fun sucker." Seems like when I just utter something that makes total sense, I'm most likely killing someone's fun.

But I'd also like to think more than not I'm sharing His love and encouragement. That kind of truth needs to spread a whole lot more, but we're so politically correct, we hope we smile and our message spreads through our pained expressions on our faces.

I want you to know you are loved. You need to know unless you completely turn around and grieve the Holy Spirit, you most likely don't need to worry about your place in Christ if you've already asked Him to be your Savior. The fact that you ask tells me you most likely didn't take your name off the books, so to speak.

Are you going to get the same reward as Mother Theresa? Probably not, but her faith and service were for eternity, just like mine. But our rewards are going to be different. Is this a license to sin---not even. Our goal on Earth should be not just a relationship with Christ, but a resemblance to Him that others recognize. Hard to accomplish that drunk off your rocker, don't you think?

I don't want to be an agent of conflict or an agent of dissension, but I don't want to hold back, either. This agent of truth upholds life, the Bible, and marriage between one man and one woman. I don't have a monkey for an uncle even though I'm sure some of my family may accuse me of being bananas.

So I've been called a lot of things, but agent of truth sounds like a keeper.

How about you?

By the way, you can find me on Facebook under Julie Arduini. There are two of us, I'm the older one who lives in NE Ohio. I am not the (Julia)track star in college nor am I the young lady (Julie)living in France.

I'm also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JulieArduini

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Inviting you to the Christian Women Take Root Love Dare Challenge

This originally posted at my personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe.


It's Character Confession Time!



(This is a long one, but sometimes that just are how confessions are! If you want to pass any of this information on, especially about The Love Dare Challenge at Christian Women Take Root, please, please feel free. We don't want any women left out!)

To give my confession, I'll share a story. Years ago when I was a new mom I was at a church where once a year a guest preacher came to play his guitar and pray. I know folks squirm at the thought of someone praying over them and I get that, because I've seen the "thus saith the Lord" prophetic moment abused. But I'm also living proof God still uses donkeys to talk. Not that the preacher was a donkey, but I get I'm dust. I also get how fine the line is when someone prays over someone. So to be responsible with you, I will not say "thus saith the Lord" and if I feel like I'm supposed to share something, it's something I want you to go to God with, don't take the generalization I have in Him as gospel. I can assure you none of my prayer moments in this vein have encouraged anyone to drop everything and run to Africa---or Vegas--or leave their husband, etc...Simply put, people have asked me to pray for lost things and I have and returned with a thought that is not mine because I'm not that smart. I've said pray about it, and look there, that location kept coming back to me. And they did, and it was there, even though they looked there before. It's not a Julie thing, it's a God thing, and if you disagree, I understand, but it's central to my confession, this background. By the way, I'll jump on the soapbox for a second and say I'm not afraid of authentic prophetic moments due to the new age movement, counterfeit, psychic stuff the enemy has out there. Any tricks evil has is a counterfeit of what God already had going for His glory. We just saw it abused and got afraid. There, I'm off my soapbox.

I say all that to say at the end of that service, there was an altar call and this man prayed over people. Again, it wasn't thus saith the Lord, and it wasn't quit your job or marry that person. It was direction I believe at least for me, was Holy Spirit directed. This is what was imparted:

"You are frustrated because you look around and see all the people dealing with the little things, stressed because of the little things, and you get the big things. You wonder why doesn't that person over there have to deal with that? Why me? You know you are dust in My hands, that's why I use you. And as your faith grows you will continue to have those hard times, but you will have faith to speak to those big issues and say in His name, mountain move, and you will see it, in Jesus' name, move."

That's the gist of it. But no one, not even my husband, knew my heart then, and it was exactly where I was. Where peers were wondering about clothes and whether they would get a raise or not, I was nearly bedridden and infertile. I was so scared, but I prayed. Each day my prayer got stronger. That mountain disappeared.

The same for so many other issues. God uses our family to go through injustice or crisis for lessons in grace, forgiveness and trust. I am not a perfect example in any of these times, but I am learning to be a willing one.

And here I am.



On May 4, the social network Christian Women Take Root is kicking off The Love Dare Challenge At our own pace we each have a copy of the book The Love Dare, by Stephen Kendrick. This is a book from the movie Fireproof. Character Caleb Holt faces the end of his marriage when his dad hands him the book and dares him to give it a real try before divorce.

We're offering this as a group at Christian Women Take Root because I guess the cliche goes, "there's safety in numbers." The group is private, Christian, and for women only. Although we encourage women to take the challenge with their spouse, this is a place you can go with daily discussions that can encourage and show you are not alone. It's called dare because it isn't easy. No matter where your marriage is, God is asking you to take it to the next level. That can be scary.

That's why I'm a fraidy cat!

I'll be overseeing the group but trust me, it by no way means I have marriage perfected. It means God gave me a burden for marriages to live in a consistent state of oneness, or strive for it. There are times I fall flat on my face through my own selfishness, or I give what I think is my all and that oneness is not returned, again, because my spouse is human. I know the defeated one hates marriage, and I know anyone daring is going to have a target on their back.

That's where I'm done being a fraidy cat.

I am personally inviting you (unless you are a guy, then I ask you to pass this info on to your wife, mom, sister) to join Christian Women Take Root (if not already a member, membership is free) and then join the group, the Love Dare. There are so many other groups for women available, please check them all out. If you want to find me, I also facilitate Finding Freedom Through Surrender and Marriage: Striving for Oneness.

Discussions are going on at Love Dare group right now, and you are welcome to start your own. Your information will stay within the group and we absolutely will not tolerate someone having the courage to share in the group find that their information be passed on at a place like Facebook or Twitter. The Love Dare is a safe place where we can hold cyber hands together and trust God to change our hearts and our marriages.

One thing I want to really emphasize is just because it kicks off May 4, it doesn't mean we end in exactly 4o days. I'd rather we do this as we can, and from what I've heard and read, there are days where applying the challenge that day is going to take some "wrasslin'" with the Lord, yourself, and that takes time, been there, done that. Each lady is to take this at her pace as He directs. There will be a discussion for each day, but approach it as you feel led, and please don't feel obligated to participate in discussions, although we'd love it. Just come and feel encouraged, share your wisdom or experience.

But let's not be fraidy cats. We have mountains to move.

In Jesus' name.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alter Call

photo from Flickr

Last night I was at a concert where our home church was the message and entertainment. One of our pastors was giving his testimony. I turned around to see the sound booth above and a projector giving the order of service.

The projection read thank you and alter call.

I turned again. Alter call? Isn't it altar call?

Or is it alter call?

Listening to the testimony I realized perhaps the correct spelling is altar, but the application is alter. I know when I step forward with that "burn in my belly" it's because I know God has something for me. It's going to transform me into a closer image of Him. It might not be that moment or that week, but it will happen.

And it will be altering.

Think about the next altar call you experience. Do you go forward? Do you respond in your seat? Do you respond at all? If you do, do you go forward in faith your life will change?

Do you ever respond to an alter call?



Julie Arduini is a wife, mom and surrendering writer. Her personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe, shows her writing resume. A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild, she is also a columnist with Take Root and Write. She has a tentative story to contribute to the Jeanette Littleton book, GodSightings. Her verse for 2009 is Deuteronomy 11:11-12. She's a new columnist with the daily online newspaper, The Cypress Times.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

After All


I have had some very personal, bumps in my road of this life lately.

It would be so very easy for me to gripe and complain most of the day.

My flesh would like to lash out in my fear and anger that surrounds the sound of the enemy’s voice. I have been working on quieting his voice. It is a minute-by-minute conscious struggle.

Before I knew the Lord, I was a top-notch worrier.

I was so very good at it. I was taught by the best, could compete with the best.

I was also very well trained in the negativity department. I knew so very well how to over analyze and see the bad in any situation.

So when the enemy tries to come in now, these are the things he uses--
My thoughts mostly.

I am so grateful that I now have the ability to discern the voice of the enemy vs. the voice of the Lord.

I can sense evil before the thoughts even come.

I am so thankful to the Lord for choosing me, seeking me out, and finding me. If I didn’t know who he was these days, my life would be different. I have to admit that I continually fight the voice of evil, and some days I still let it in.

But I know that I know that my God is who He says He is. And He really is in control.
I am thankful for the road that He has prepared for me, and I know He is counting on me to follow His lead.

The good Pastor Osteen says often, “The enemy fights you the hardest when he knows God has something good in store for your life.”

I am fighting this good fight of faith and standing on His path—through His word and His promises. I am ready for the next turn or twist in the road—ready for what He has in store. I will keep my eyes fixed on Him, and I know His light will lead the way.

I have to trust Him.

I choose to trust Him.

After all, I’ve given Him my life.

Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at http://www.mommiesmagazine.com/.Maria's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

Friday, April 3, 2009

All or Nothing


heartlight.org

It has been weeks, too many weeks, since I had the strength to sit down long enough to focus my thoughts and write. My mind and thought life have been a battlefield. It is as though I am fighting in the front lines and honestly, there have been times when I wanted to pull the white flag out of my pocket and give up. But I didn't, and I won't.

I have come to a place in my walk that He either is or He isn't. Black or white, no gray in between. For me, it is all or nothing. I either walk in His fullness or not walk at all.

A few weeks ago I had a difficult situation occur in my life where I had a choice to make. Was I going to put my hope and faith in what God says in His word or was I going to rely on what the world was telling me? The situation was very close to my heart and my mind raced constantly. Day and night I would re-wind and re-play all that had happened over and over again like a broken record. I kept thinking about it, talking about it, and thinking about it some more. I was making myself crazy!! I went to God, gave it to Him, but then moments later I would pick it back up again. I would talk to my husband, whose wisdom lined up with the word of God, and still, I could not shut my mind off. I prayed and prayed, cried, and worried. I knew then that I had a choice to make. Did I truly believe?

I asked myself . . . did I really believe in this God who I sang to and worshipped at church on Sunday? Did I really believe that His son walked the earth among common people 2,000 years ago and died for me? Did I really believe in the Holy Spirit? Did I believe that He dwells in me, leads me and guides me? If I didn't then what was I doing.

Then I read John 14.

Sure . . . I was going to church, volunteering my time, reading my bible, praying occassionally but I was missing it!! I was missing who He is, why Jesus came, the power of the Holy Spirit, . . . it was like I was dabbling in it but not submerging myself. I was like the child at the seashore running in the water a bit then running back out. I had to take the plunge!

All or nothing, it is who I am. I am praying that my days ahead are filled with Him. Today is a new day, time to immerse myself in Him. To the world I may begin to look like a freak, one who is 'out there' but for me, I have no other choice. I cannot continue to stand where the waves of this life toss me around and try to cloak me in discouragement and defeat. I have to believe with my whole heart, my whole being. I have to stand in who I am and who He is. All or nothing, for me there is no other choice.

Kim

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Day at a Time

Maria wears a lot of hats and one of them is as a columist with Mahoning Parent magazine. She finds as she encourages special need families with her own experiences, many of those writings are God breathed and fit in here as well. This is the case with today's post!


I have been on this special parenting journey for six years now, and the most valuable thing I have learned recently is that we have to take this one day at a time. Some days, one hour at a time…can you relate?

My prayer this month is that you will become more aware of the precious present with your child—and not be consumed by the next appointment, treatment or therapy that you have scheduled or would like to try. Our kids are doing amazing things right before our eyes—and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

This took me a very long time to see. I enjoy my daughter—all of her—now more than I ever did. I enjoy both her strengths and her weaknesses, because they both are a part of who she is. For far too long, I focused on the limitations of her body, instead of seeing all of the amazing things she was capable of. And in the meantime, I missed out on so much valuable time with her that I can never get back.
In order to accomplish focusing on her capabilities, I had to first change the way I thought about the disability that is only a part of her. Honestly, this took time. Changing the way we think about the disability itself takes time.

If you are still in the process of accepting the disability—changing the way you think about it will naturally fall into place. With acceptance comes a certain amount of peace—peace in your mind, mostly. That’s how it played out for me. I was searching for some kind—any kind of peace so I could take care of my many other responsibilities in my life, and still know my daughter was going to be OK—no matter what the outcome of the next thing we were going to do for her was going to be. I knew this peace was the only thing that would enable me to take just one day at a time, and enjoy the beauty of the person that God made her to be. Webster’s definition of peace is, “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction or anxiety; serenity, tranquility.”

Some people find this peace in research—books, articles that have proven to have solved something related to their child’s different abilities. Others find it in sharing their experiences with other families that understand. Still others find it in a non-stop race to find the latest therapy or tool that may get their child to accomplish their next goal.

All of these things are great, and I’ve been in and through them all…
But in the midst of each and every one, I didn’t feel content. Sure, my intentions were good, but I was driven by fear and worry for the future. The opposite of peace is worry. You can’t have them both at the same time. Our minds weren’t wired that way.

I finally found this peace through God and His word.

There, I found my feelings put into words—coupled with words of encouragement and hope for the future. Not just for my future as a mom—but hope for my daughter, and my entire family. My faith in God and the fact that He chose me to be Olivia’s mother is what gets me through each hour, each day—and all the future appointments to come. You see, I’ve given all of the decision-making to Him. He’s the light on my path of this journey, and since I came to know who He is, it’s amazing—I can see the road so much clearer! With Him leading my way, I am able to truly enjoy my daughter, instead of worrying about her future. This peace is so very special to me.

I encourage you to find your own peace, so you too can know you are not taking this journey alone. I’m not claiming I have this calm, tranquil peace each and every hour--but I do know that with God by my side, I have the strength to walk this journey one day at a time.



Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at http://www.mommiesmagazine.com/.Maria's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And the winner is...

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
The streamers are down, the refreshments picked over. Party time is over---for this year at least. We've had a great week meeting bloggers and new friends at Twitter and Facebook. We probably met new folks who had no clue what they were clicking on as Julie accidentally signed this blog up for the "not so family friendly category". Oh every party needs a goof, right?


Anyway, the cheese fries are long gone so it must be time to announce our winner of the Jan Ross & Jeanice McDade anthology: Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God. Both Julie and Maria have work included in this book, along with other writing friends. This particular giveaway, because we get awesome international hits we appreciate, is open to one winner anywhere we can deliver mail.


What a blessing, this is truly an international winner...RUBY!!!!

We're hoping to connect with Ruby for her address so she can get her copy of this book. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book either for you or for a gift, please click here.

Thanks for stopping by during the Ultimate Blog Party '09. Our hope is you'll become a regular reader we can get to know better.

Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Utimate Blog Party '09: Virtual Cheese Fries and a Real Book Giveaway!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009




Come in, Come in!





It's party time!









So glad you're here!



We're the Narrow Gate Girls, otherwise known as Kim Zaksek, Maria Spencer and Julie Arduini. We live in NorthEast Ohio within minutes of each other. Last year we obeyed God's call to blog on deeper matters of faith.

None of us have the journey in Christ mastered, in fact, most of our blogging shows what we're learning, fighting, or re hashing a mistake or experience. Our party is different because we don't want to wear masks. What you see is what you get with us. And it's okay. In Jesus Christ we embrace that, and our hope is you embrace that fact about you, too.

We tend to get caught up analyzing what God is doing, so much so you might have to tap us at the buffet table and tell us to stop staring at the forks. We've gone out before thinking there might be a message from the Lord in the utencil area.

But we're fun, at least we think so! The rare times we get together we require one item:
CHEESE FRIES!!!!

So please, make yourself comfortable, grab some cheese fries, ignore us lingering over the forks, and have fun. We'd love for you to visit often. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or Feedblitz. You can also follow, or both! You can learn more about each of us by reading the sidebar here, and of course, through our individual posts. Feel free to invite others to visit, virtual cheese fries for all!

To make this fun for you, we have a book giveaway!


Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God is by our friends Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade. Maria and Julie both have work included in this book. Leave a comment on this post with a way on how to contact you if you win. We'll take comments from 12:00am March 20-11:59PM March 27. On March 28 we'll randomly pick one INTERNATIONAL entry and send a copy of this book (it's in English) to you.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Eat the Cabbage


Granted, it was St. Patrick's Day when most wear green and talk shamrocks and leprechauns for the day. However with Italian relatives extending a dinner invite before our weary family trekked 300 miles back home, I assumed we'd be eatingItalian. All morning my mind partnered with my stomach and together they concocted a great menu: garlic bread, lasagna, salad with homemade dressing, ziti and sauce chocked with so much meat my cholesterol rose imagining the simmering pot.

I walked in their kitchen, eyes wide open and took a whiff. My gut repulsed at the smell. Cabbage. Corned beef. Not a sauce or salad in sight. My meal wasn't quite what I expected. It spoiled the rest of my day and definitely made for a long trip home!

I believe surprise menu choices aren't the only area where expectations fall. There are people we love, respect and look up to that we desperately await a serving of lasagna-type praise. Instead, the plate we find before us is filled with foul smelling cabbage.

For instance, many of us can relate to loving our parents and we're excited to share our report card. With a cursory glance and a sigh it's handed back with the bland response,

"Nice job. How come you didn't get all A+'s?"

There isn't much to savor when we're criticized or discouraged. Most people we love don't wake up and decide to dash our dreams with the curse of their words. Usually they have been served their own corned beef where the typical reaction during a dinner is to pass the plate and keep serving the food. Words like lazy, ugly, stupid, no good, ignorant, and clumsy are sadly passed around as often as salt during meal time. Worse yet, those offerings sting as much as salt on an open wound. Time doesn't help, nor does the ridiculous phrase that 'sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.' Too many negative words tossed our way and we can leave the dinner table smelling like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon.

Is it possible to overcome a lifetime of meals where the menu every time was a fresh plate of discouragement? Absolutely! Grab a new plate called His Word. No matter what meal is on special at your home, school or place of work, grab the Bible and dig in. The appetizer, meal and dessert are all from the Master Chef. His words are always special. When you receive anything discouraging or negative, toss it off that new plate. As it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

As diners, we're special, beloved and heirs. Just because we've been served the corned beef and cabbage surprises of life doesn't mean we have to eat it.

May this prayer be a tasty morsel to chew on as you enjoy this day:

"Lord Jesus, continue to be my Master Chef who helps me push away the discouraging meals and instead feast on the scrumptious truth found in Your Word. Every day I'm your special of the day. Thank You Jesus for loving me. Amen."


(Scripture taken from the NIV Bible)


Photo from Flickr

March 20-27 is Five Minutes For Mom's Ultimate Blog Party 09. This is a great way for women bloggers to connect and meet new cyber friends. There are always a ton of great giveaways and The Narrow Gate Invites and The Surrendered Scribe both are going to be in on the party.
This site will be giving away one copy of Women of Passions:Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God by Jeanice McDade and Janet Ross.
Both Maria and I have works included in this book. It's a wonderful book with many stories, poems and testimonies by women you may know in the blogging world. As a reader I have to tell you I was blown away by the depth the women shared. They opened a curtain up of their lives and totally let the reader in. The book blessed me and we are excited to give it away.
So stay tuned and let folks know about the Ultimate Blog Party. It's an awesome event!



Julie Arduini is a wife, mom and surrendering writer. Her personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe, shows her writing resume. A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild, she is also a columnist with Take Root and Write. She has a tentative story to contribute to the Jeanette Littleton book, GodSightings. Her verse for 2009 is Deuteronomy 11:11-12. She's a new columnist with the daily online newspaper, The Cypress Times.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Peace



I have been seeking this peace for quite some time.
Ever since I came to know the Lord, I have been searching.
In His word.
In His promises.
In my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Where is this peace?” I have asked frequently over the past four years. “Why don’t I have this peace always?”

Recently my world was rocked. Everything I thought to be true within my marriage and my life were not so true. I have had absolutely no choice but to present all of my requests to God. Actually, my entire life.
Finally.
He’s been waiting for the past four years.

I put my life in His hands—all of it. My kids, my marriage, my everything,
I now trust Him to have His way and do His will.
I have been broken into pieces, and I trust that He is putting me back together daily.
I have surrendered.
I will obey.

And guess what?

I’m finding more and more of His peace each and every day.



Ultimate Blog Party 2009
March 20-27 is Five Minutes For Mom's Ultimate Blog Party 09. This is a great way for women bloggers to connect and meet new cyber friends. There are always a ton of great giveaways and The Narrow Gate Invites and The Surrendered Scribe both are going to be in on the party.This site will be giving away one copy of Women of Passions:Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God by Jeanice McDade and Janet Ross.
Both Maria and I have works included in this book. It's a wonderful book with many stories, poems and testimonies by women you may know in the blogging world. As a reader I have to tell you I was blown away by the depth the women shared. They opened a curtain up of their lives and totally let the reader in. The book blessed me and we are excited to give it away.So stay tuned and let folks know about the Ultimate Blog Party. It's an awesome event!





Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at http://www.mommiesmagazine.com/.Maria's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Advocate



If you've read any of my blogging, you know the last few years have been marked with health insurance issues. One of the most awesome things God ever did was give me a word that one claim (thousands of dollars) would end up in total and complete victory. That's another story that indeed in His way lead to the very thing He promised.




But the story didn't end there like I hoped. Ever since we get unusual claims that make no sense. They aren't as staggering as that first claim, but it rocks me to the core none the less. I've written before that my fear over receiving mail from insurance is so strong, I equate it to my personal kryptonite.




When I was recovering from surgery, I received a piece of mail, a bill, from a local hospital. It was a bill dated 10/2008 from a service back in 6/06. Our employer doesn't even use that insurance anymore, so I figured great, here we go again.




For awhile we did. Trying to trace the bill it appeared the insurance reversed their payment, and the hospital decided someone has to pay it, it might as well be me.




What I'm sure they didn't count on was me not giving in without a fight. Sure I had fear, a lot of it, but I called the insurance company we used to have. They had no idea what was going on so they called for a review. They were nice enough to keep in touch with me to let me know they still could not track where they took back any payment. Still, they kept investigating.




I did my part by calling the hospital to let them know where things stood. A couple weeks ago I called with a specific name, department, phone number and extension of the person working with me in case the hospital wanted proof it was truly under investigation. The person on the phone was extremely rude. She wouldn't even take any information, instead telling me to pay up now or go to collections.




Um...no.




I was scared and shaking but I said sorry, I've been screwed by claims before and I'm not handing over my checkbook until I know it's legitimate. She relented and told me to call back later.




Oh did I.




But first, I called the insurance and asked for the person who has been working with me. She was on another call but the girl who answered the phone asked if she could help? What? Another person wants to help me? I asked if it was possible for someone to call the hospital and assure them they are reviewing the claim.




She did me one better. She called the hospital, created a conference call, and pretty much made a poor guy who happened to answer the phone on behalf of the hospital billing department sweat bullets.




By the end of the call she got him to admit he didn't even have proof that the insurance ever took back payment. If that's the case, there is no need to even generate a bill. He promised he'd look for that proof and fax it right to her.




I thanked her over and over for being my advocate. She stood in the gap for me and pleaded my case.




I don't have the end of the story, at least I don't think so. The poor guy left me a message regarding the fax. I never requested the fax, insurance did. When I tried to call with the local number he gave (I believe the hospital consults out) it was a wrong number. When I tried to call the out of state number he originally called on, it just rang and rang.




I'll keep pursuing it but my gut (which I'm believing is the Holy Spirit) is this bill was dismissed. My advocate assured me during the conference call she was sure this event would be resolved immediately. I'm believing with her.




But that lady, no matter what happens, showed me in the flesh what an advocate can do. Just think about Jesus. He stands in the gap for us and pleads our case in front of Our Heavenly Father. I can't put in words how I felt knowing she was for me and on my side.




So why do we drag our feet when it comes to trusting the best Advocate of all?




March 20-27 is Five Minutes For Mom's Ultimate Blog Party 09. This is a great way for women bloggers to connect and meet new cyber friends. There are always a ton of great giveaways and The Narrow Gate Invites and The Surrendered Scribe both are going to be in on the party.
This site will be giving away one copy of Women of Passions:
Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God by Jeanice McDade and Janet Ross.
Both Maria and I have works included in this book. It's a wonderful book with many stories, poems and testimonies by women you may know in the blogging world. As a reader I have to tell you I was blown away by the depth the women shared. They opened a curtain up of their lives and totally let the reader in. The book blessed me and we are excited to give it away.
So stay tuned and let folks know about the Ultimate
Blog Party. It's an awesome event!


Julie Arduini is a wife, mom and surrendering writer. Her personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe, shows her writing resume. A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild, she is also a columnist with Take Root and Write. She has a tentative story to contribute to the Jeanette Littleton book, GodSightings. Her verse for 2009 is Deuteronomy 11:11-12. She's a new columnist with the daily online newspaper, The Cypress Times.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moving Boxes








I thought the Wii Fit would serve as a great exercise for my changing body. I never thought the Holy Spirit would use it for an exercise of my mind!



I was doing the body test and at the end is a balance exercise. One had me standing still, looking at a red circle in the middle. Suddenly moving boxes start floating. I started leaning towards the boxes and not the circle.



When the test ended, I obviously scored low for balance. It gave a tip at the end that could have knocked me flat.







"Be sure you don't follow visual cues. Keep your focus



on the middle to stay steady."



I can't let go of that sentence. Isn't it natural to sway with the front page declaring depression? Nose dive in faith after a phone call questioning your parenting? Tumble after an unexpected bill arrives?



These are the moving boxes I move to, forgetting the steady, red dot in the middle.



I'm working on focus and staying still no matter what's floating around me.



How about you?



***



March 20-27 is Five Minutes For Mom's Ultimate Blog Party 09. This is a great way for women bloggers to connect and meet new cyber friends. There are always a ton of great giveaways and The Narrow Gate Invites and The Surrendered Scribe both are going to be in on the party.



This site will be giving away one copy of Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God by Jeanice McDade and Janet Ross. Both Maria and I have works included in this book. It's a wonderful book with many stories, poems and testimonies by women you may know in the blogging world. As a reader I have to tell you I was blown away by the depth the women shared. They opened a curtain up of their lives and totally let the reader in. The book blessed me and we are excited to give it away.



So stay tuned and let folks know about the Ultimate Blog Party. It's an awesome event!

Julie Arduini is a wife, mom and surrendering writer. Her personal blog, The Surrendered Scribe, shows her writing resume. A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild, she is also a columnist with Take Root and Write. She has a tentative story to contribute to the Jeanette Littleton book, GodSightings. Her verse for 2009 is Deuteronomy 11:11-12. She's a new columnist with the daily online newspaper, The Cypress Times.