“2007 and 2008 were the most challenging years of my life. I began 2007 by trying to figure out what was wrong with my husband Steve. He was deteriorating before my eyes. In March, we received his diagnosis—multiple myeloma, which is plasma cancer.” This cancer type is treatable but not curable.
When this occurred, Julie was 38, and their three sons were 3, 7, and 9 years old. Julie was a Sales Director for a home décor company. “I was really busy raising the kids. I had my part-time work, and my income was very useful. We jumped right in with cancer treatment. It was shocking. I felt like the four walls were closing in on me. I couldn’t function for many weeks.”
“In Fall of 2007, when Steve was recuperating from cancer treatment, my Mother’s breast cancer spun out of control. She’d had it for six years and was in her eighties. At one point, I said to Steve, ‘I can’t handle both your illness and my Mom’s at this moment. You can drive, she can’t. Can I focus on my Mom right now?’ I was at my limit.”
“I spent nine months caring for my Mom as she got progressively worse. We put all our energy into saving my husband and helping my Mom die gracefully. It was twenty months of life and death.” Julie’s mother died in July 2008.
Of living with health issues, Julie says, “We’ve had to work it into how our family functions. My husband accepts his illness and all the doctor’s appointments. To fight it does nothing good for you whatsoever. We get frustrated sometimes, but it’s all in God’s hands. Everyone has a cross to bear. This is our opportunity to grow into the image of Jesus Christ. So I thank God. For us to fight it, that only makes the learning process more difficult. This is what God has allotted to our life.”
“When you go through something like this, you can get bitter or better. I wasn’t willing to be bitter. I said, ‘Lord, what are you teaching me by this?’ I’m a better person, and my rough edges have been smoothed over.”
Julie’s challenges have given her a sense of urgency. After having been in direct sales for 17 years, in May, 2011, Julie decided to do what she’s always wanted to do and began taking classes to be a life coach. She coaches and trains women in direct sales, writers, speakers, and ministry leaders through her business, Aspire Coaching & Education. “I’ve always wanted to be a public speaker, and my business gives me that opportunity. I am interested in helping people to be their very best selves. My calling is to come alongside a person and walk with them and make a difference one on one. I love what I do.”
“My life hasn’t turned out the way I expected. My whole life has been taking care of people—my husband, my Mom, and my three sons.” But coaching has given her a new perspective on parenting. “I want to help my sons be the best they can be, too. God has given me a huge privilege, to help mold their lives.”
Obviously, her faith is important to Julie. Church is a key part of her life, and Sundays are her day to regroup and refresh.
Julie takes care of herself by drinking a healthy smoothie with greens and fruit every day. She takes supplements and eats mostly natural foods. Julie uses an elliptical machine two times a week and works out with weights. She also walks with a friend once a week, except in the winter when she adds another trip to the gym instead. “Walking is more than exercise. It is being in nature and getting fresh air. It’s delightful.”
Julie admits, “I can be slightly OCD in doing the same things in the same order in some areas of my life.” She laughs heartily. “I obsess about doing things the right way, but I’m working on this. When we step out and do something bold or new, that’s when magic happens.”
“I think the whole point of life is to be your highest and best. We need to take 100% responsibility for our lives, but you can’t do that alone. Our highest relationships are with ourselves and with our God.”
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Julie’s Favorite Quotes
- “Worry about nothing, pray about everything.” – Phil 4:6
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil 4:13
- “With God, nothing is impossible.” – Luke 1:37
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What are your favorite quotes? Please share in the comments below.