Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding Purpose in the Pain: Be Content

Here is my monthly contribution to Finding Purpose in the Pain: Be Content:  Be Content by Julie Timms   But godliness with contentment   is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 I’ve been thinking about thi... read more over at Finding Purpose in the Pain.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jules Loves Cycling: US Pro's Chattanooga

How can I even begin to describe this weekend? Let's start with the fact that this month has been a tough one since our move. Some of my girlfriends went on the NKOTB cruise, I couldn't go and felt like I was missing out. Then the Amgen Tour of California started, the first year in over five years that Conner and I missed going. I was pretty sad but looking forward to meeting new friends and seeing cycling in Chattanooga for the US Pro Road Race. Little did I know that the weekend would be so amazing.

Return to Camping:

 Our family has awaited this day since 2006. We camped with our friend Jen who stayed with us last year for the ATOC. We planned this trip as soon as we knew that TN was our planned destination. We loved camping again and enjoyed our new camping equipment. We got some great new equipment from Costco that really is outstanding. I thought of our donor Jerry the whole weekend, we talked with Jen about him on Saturday night after a steak and potato dinner.

The Race location and setup:

How exciting to have a race in my new home state!! All I can say is, it truly was the best experience I've ever had at a race. It even tops the famous ATOC when we met every rider. The city of Chattanooga did a wonderful job with setup,access and were wonderful hosts. The city made the parking garage free when they could have made money on parking. Volkswagen USA was AMAZING, their facility is gorgeous, they gave us free waffles and drinks plus let us drive their cars! I will seriously buy a Volkswagen just for the amazing weekend they gave us. It was that good!

The Divas Tour De France:
When I first started my cycling twitter, I met a lady Anita who introduced me to everyone I know on Twitter by introducing me to her friends. They are a group of amazing women, who love cycling and travel to support it. They are famous for their diva tents at races and really know how to do things right.

We had the best view, shade, any supply you could imagine all thanks to Anita and her amazing family. Not only did this family provide us fans with a wonderful spot but they have been so welcoming to my family. 

They live in my new hometown and have helped us out so much since we have moved. I had built in girlfriends in Jane and Anita, a wonderful friend in Jeff ( Anita's dad) who has helped out so much as well. This weekend the F5 and B1 gave us a wonderful gift by showing us how to watch a race! Thank you Anita, Jeff, Vic, Mark and Jane for everything.

It was so nice to meet the other divas in person for the first time:

  D'Andrea has a warm smile and gives great hugs, I felt like I knew her a lifetime the moment I met her. I almost cried hugging her goodbye, I loved being around her and watching cycling with her. I also loved watching her be a great momma to her daughter as well.

I also met another Diva Barbara, who was kind and friendly. It was great to meet her in person after hearing so much about her.

Jane is wonderful, she is already becoming a southern momma to me. I am so lucky to have met her and know her, she is that amazing.

Anita, I always say my friends are all thanks to you. You can out mom me anyday, it was nice to have someone to take care of me. Thanks for everything you've done for me. I am lucky to call you friend and look forward to more fun times

Jeff, DadBurnett! I love knowing you and so does my family. We talk about you all the time and just love calling you friend.

My favorite part is they are a family like my own family. They include everyone,feed them, make them feel like family and do everything together. There aren't many families like this in the world and I am so thankful that I found one like my own.  So nice to be surrounded by people who love being a family!

I love this man.

Lovely ladies

I saw Jane wearing this hat and copied it. I had sunscreen in my eyes all day and after I put it on my eye stopped watering!


I was most looking forward to meeting my tweeps this weekend. I could care less about meeting riders since I had met most all of them and didn't even plan on meeting any. I was most looking forward to meeting people that I talk to on Twitter everyday. I've got to know some of these people very well and yet have never met them.

Anna, I had no clue she would be there until she said she wanted to meet me! I was so excited to meet her since she was one of my first follows on my cycling twitter. She is an amazing young woman with a fabulous personality. Little did I know, we are a lot alike and actually share a lot of the same opinions. I was even more glad to spend time with her and talk about a lot of different things. She made me realize, I really am the cycling Twitter mom after so many call me that already. It was so fun to hang out and spend time together.Saddest part of the weekend was not getting to say goodbye. Follow her @pelotonitis for great race updates

Valerie, We've talked so many times on Twitter and on the phone. It was so nice to finally meet up and spend time together. She has heard about my family and it was nice she could finally meet them. I had fun wandering around chatting with you yesterday. I loved our test drive together, it was so funny!

MJ, Thank you for all the hugs and smiles this weekend. We are definitely kindred spirits, sometimes people  just meet, it doesn't matter who or how, we are supposed to know one another! It was so fun meeting up and chatting with you this weekend! I will come visit you in Asheville soon. If you don't follow him, your missing out @dudeinavl

Rox, Thanks for the ride up the mountain and my picture with Ted!! I loved being able to talk to you in person and finally get to know you better. I just loved spending time with you and Anna together, I love that you're such great friends and so welcoming. You helped make my weekend great! Follow her for great pictures @cyclingrox

Steph, It was so nice to get to know you this weekend and meet up. I loved watching you watch cycling and wandering around with you. It was fun to spend your birthday weekend with you. I look forward to getting to know you better.

Dan, it was so nice to finally meet you and watch you in action. Conner and I have always been thankful to know you and learn from you. I loved seeing your beautiful family and enjoyed talking with your wife. I was so glad we finally got to chat a bit yesterday. We are blessed to know you. He is a funny tweeter who writes for VeloNews @Dwuori

I also got to meet the hilarious and sweet Emily aka SpazMcSpazzy, she is hysterical and definitely worth the follow @spazmcspazzy 

Also was introduced to Jebbie, a wonderful mom of a well known cycling tweep. She is adorable and came all the way from Virginia for the race. I look forward to knowing you better.

The Riders

For me, this weekend was about falling in love with women's cycling. These women are underpaid, under appreciated and virtually unwatched. It was the highlight of my weekend watching these inspiring women race with little or no support. Even Conner walked away saying, ''Mom, we need to support the women more, everyone loves the men but hardly pays attention to the women.'' and he wasn't talking about the way they look. My kid isn't that kid, he was talking about the honest truth of women's cycling.

We planned on just watching, not trying to meet riders or get autographs like in the past. We've been there done that and really are over it. I did have one rider I have been wanting to meet, it just happened that he was in the same area and I was able to meet him. Then I got to meet a couple others at the end of the race since they were close to the area of the tent. I loved watching my friend Jen meet Tyler Farrar.

Personally, I wanted to meet Heather Nielson @ridempowered. I met her on Twitter when I first started tweeting and learned her story. This girl has sacrificed to follow her dream, she has scraped by and fought tooth and nail to overcome. I don't admire many people in the way I admire her, I rarely look up to someone but I look up to her. She has guts, determination and a feisty spirit. She's always been wonderful to me on Twitter and we are both California girls. I looked forward to finally meeting her this weekend and watching her race.

How amazing to see someone you know start a race and be able to scream loudly for them. There really are no words for how this felt and how much it made me adore her more. She thought she wouldn't have any fans, so I fangirled it up for her ( we all know I am a pro fangirl). I even timed a bathroom break to make sure I didn't miss her passing by. So imagine my sadness to see her rolling up the sidewalk when I came back, she had been pulled from the race earlier than expected. I was so bummed for her, the best part was I could give her a hug, listen to her frustrations and be able to be a support for her. What an amazing unexpected blessing.  I will be a diehard fan as long as you race, I only hope that I can come support you at more races.

I love my Colgate Smile picture with Tyler. What a kind and gracious man, I will now cheer him on even more

Lucas Euser was so friendly and kind

Poor Ted King, he thinks I am crazy. The only reason I ever wanted to meet him was because of two followers Em and Jennifer. I made him take this picture for them. Someone tell him I am a nice mom.

Jen, Thanks for the wonderful weekend of camping,riding and racing fun. You are one of the family now and we love spending time with you. I love being able to mom you and take care of you while we are together. Thanks for printing out all the race info and keeping me straight all weekend. We are so much alike and you're definitely a sister of the heart.

Marty, I am so lucky to have a husband like you. You put up with all of my hair brained schemes and antics. Thank you for going and watching racing with me. For driving all the way home to take the kids to camp and back.  Thanks for understanding my love of cycling and my love of tweeps, I am so glad you could meet them this weekend.

Conner, gosh, who would have thought that you watching the Tour De France in 2005 would lead to this. I love that we have a hobby together. It's so fun hearing you talk about cycling, your thoughts on riders and the peloton. I can't wait to become bigger women's cycling fans together.

Lizzie, I know you hate it! So I am glad you go and tag along. Hey, at least you get fun free stuff. Wait until you see the light up necklace I got you.

Long story short, I am one happy, heart full of joy, short peppy redhead. Life is good and this weekend reminded me of that. I was sad to let it go and leave it behind, truly made memories of a lifetime.


My antics became famous. A newspaper reporter wrote about our chalking party on Lookout Mountain. You can read about it here:

Some pics Marty and I took this weekend.

Women's TT podium

Men's TT podium

Chris Butler's dad chalking his son's name. Loved this moment

Me watching the peloton

The winners

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The smell of ocean air, sand, smoke from a campfire, eggs being cooked on an open flame. I love the feeling of camping and have my whole life. Ever since I was a little girl, my family camped all over the state of California. When my kids were little, our family started the tradition for them as well and then life took a sharp turn and our camping days were over.

One of our many camping trips

Growing up, my family had a tent trailer. We often went to San Onofre and camped along the train tracks, over the shoreline of the Pacific. Our mom gave us baths in the same tub she washed dishes in ( clean water of course) we ate chorizo and eggs for breakfast and played at the beach all day long. What fond memories of Carpenteria, Doheny, San Simeon and the Sequoia National Park.

After Marty and I moved the central valley, we joined a group of friends that went camping. I experienced tent camping for the first time in my life and new campgrounds never before camped at. I remember spending E's second birthday camping at Morro Bay State Park. My dear friends and I went camping the weekend after 9/11 at San Simeon State Park.

With my good friend Stacy camping in Morro Bay

For my 30th birthday, Marty and my mom planned a camping trip to San Simeon, my favorite place on earth. We went to the beach, visited Hearst Castle and then Marty took me to stay at the famous Madonna Inn for a few days by ourselves. Little did we know, that would be our last camping trip for the next seven years.

When Marty was diagnosed with renal failure our life came to a stop. We longed to go camping but because of his dialysis shunt and infection, we couldn't go camping. Then we started planning our move to the south and just haven't had the chance.

Next weekend we are remedying this and going camping! One of my cycling friends Jen, asked us if we wanted to go camping next weekend in Chattanooga for the US Pro Championship race. We jumped at the idea of going camping and watching cycling.

We are so excited to be going camping again and getting back in the habit. As we drove through the state on our move, we noticed all the campgrounds. We are so looking forward to exploring the state and camping on the east coast.

Look for updates after our trip!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Finally my Mom has internet access and can read a Mother's day blog that is long overdue!

I have the world's most fun mom, how many people can say they have a fairy Godmother for a mom! When we were little,she taught preschool and we always did the most fun crafts. We sang fun songs, she made our dresses and taught us about many different cultures.

As we got older, she took us to do fun things. She has worked for Disney most of my life, so on days off of school she would let us stay in Disneyland while she worked. Then on nights she didn't feel like cooking,she would take us there to eat dinner. She drove me on many crazy adventures, let me stay in a school far from our house and drove me there daily.

She instilled a love of all things Disney in me. Not many girls had to call their mom the day Annette died knowing that she would be crying! She taught me to watch Haley Mills movies, the Mickey Mouse Club and Alice in Wonderland.

She let me throw silly little parties like Pauly Shore wedding parties ( don't ask, it was a phase okay?) and Halloween parties. She took us camping, it wasn't her fault I drank the bacon grease that one time thinking it was hot chocolate!

We had a lot of  fun together. We haven't lived together since I was 18 years old, I remember the days of living in our apartment in Orange together fondly. We had some fun times in that apartment planning my wedding, going to the mall and other fun things.

Mom has always been a good friend to me. The kids love her and called her ''Best friend Grandma'' when they were little. She and Conner are particularly close, I often will find him talking to her on the phone during his school lunch breaks. They've loved their Disney grandma, she always takes them on fun adventures, buys them fun treats and helps them out on special trips. How many kids get to go to Disneyland as much as they want? My kids have been more than some kids have been in their entire life.

She helped Marty plan a 30th birthday camping trip for me, she helped us with our move across country and many other things. Last year, she even helped me get cookies to my favorite cyclist! Now she is hooked on watching cycling since she watched it live!

Mom, you taught me to be kind, loving, patient, a good mom to my kids, a hard worker, a Pollyanna, someone who loves to do crazy things,and you taught me to bake great Christmas cookies too! I am so thankful for all you do for me and my family, we all love you so much. Happy Mother's day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Little Voices in My Head

I may be weird,silly and a little nuts but I am not that crazy! These are the voices in my head:

 A few months ago, when we moved into this house in the middle of winter; I was walking around on the wood floors with no socks on. My feet were cold, suddenly I could just hear my Grandma saying, '' Put some socks on those feet. You''ll catch a cold.'' Not literally, it was just years of her repeating that sentiment that somehow, it finally sunk in!

Funny how years after she's gone, that little voice remains in my head. We never realize how much we'll miss those little things until they're gone. As the years go on, moving farther away from when they were alive, I miss my grandmothers so much, sometimes it takes my breath away. It does take much to make me miss them, a song, a scent, hearing someone talk about a soap opera one or the other watched.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my kids about my Gramie and how she smelled of Avon Intrigue, Doublemint gum and cigarette smoke. To many that sounds disgusting but to me it was heavenly. I was recalling that scent from memory. A week later, a man walked into my job smelling like Doublemint and cigarette smoke. It took everything I had to keep my composure and not start bawling on the spot. It was amazing on one hand and so heart wrenching on the other hand.

As I moved away from home and family, I thought a lot about my Grandma Brown. She did the same thing many years before leaving her family in Wisconsin for love in California. She raised her family away from her own family and created her own life with my Gramps. I knew she would've been the first to encourage me to go and take a chance.

I hear my Gramie when I iron shirts, she taught me how to starch when Marty was going through the police academy. It was the very last lesson she taught me as she died before he graduated. I can hear her telling me how to iron the crease and put just the right amount of starch.

They are the little voices in my head as I walk this journey of mothering and being a wife. They were two of my best friends in the entire world and my heroes. I love that even though they're both gone, they live on through lessons learned and lessons taught.

As Mother's day approached, I just needed to write this out and remember them in some way. It's been 10 years since Gramie has been gone and seven years since Grandma has been gone. I still get jealous when I hear other people talk about seeing their grandparents, I still miss them just as much as the day they died and maybe more. Not sure I will ever be ready to let go. So thankful for their voices that live on in my head.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"You're So Weird''

  When I named this blog, I named it Just Jules for a reason; I am just Julie being Julie, I've never been one to conform to the norm. Over and over the same phrase is repeated to me, so much so its become my catch phrase, '' Julie, you're so weird!''

For a long time, I struggled to understand why I was so different? I didn't realize that all little girls didn't read books about Princess Di over books about Super Fudge. Or when most girls my age(9) were listening to Madonna and I was listening to Tears for Fears, I had no clue I was different? My after school reading material was ''The Fitzgerald's and the Kennedy's'' before I was reading Bop.

What do you mean its weird to not like baked fruit? my cousin Sarah agrees with me, baked fruit is so gross! Who wants to eat a hot, cooked apple? Not me.

To me this is all really normal, nothing out of the norm. I tend to forget that other girls who liked New Kids on the Block really and truly liked pop music. I never really was a fan of pop music outside of this one act, I was more in it for the boys per say.

Other girls in high school were shopping at Charlotte Russe, The Limited and Gap. Instead, I was out searching thrift stores for vintage clothes and wearing plaid skirts while dyeing my hair bright red. To me it was normal and fun to be different.

I always have preferred to watch old movies, read historical books over new works. I have always been told by my Dad that I was born in the wrong time. I am an old soul in so many ways.  Singers and standards, musicals, punk, and the Cure make me happy

Who knew I had a weird memory skill that most others don't?

My sense of humor is warped ( some may say non existent), I have a nervous laugh, take life way to seriously and have a huge, tenderheart. I've had a strong faith ever since I was a very young girl, its something that has always been there as long as I can remember. One of my best friends calls my strong gut feelings, sixth sense my ''spidey sense'', I always listen to my gut feelings and sometimes have to share some of those with friends about things in their lives. I prefer to call it a ''the gift of discernment''

I prefer to watch pro cycling ( there is a story and reason behind that), I have a weird view on celebrity thanks to living on the other side with friends, I don't have many people on pedestals to me we are all going through this crazy life and are equals.

I homeschooled my kids for many reasons, I moved across country to help a friend, I would rather stay home with my family than go out. I think being a wife, mom, daughter, cousin and friend is the world's most important job.

To me all of those things are normal. I am so not cool and totally okay with that! Truthfully, I don't want to conform or be normal. I like being different, its is what makes I have absolutely no desire to be anyone different than me. I always am striving to be better, change and grow but not to conform to the patterns of the world.

So the next time you call me weird? Just know to me, its a badge of honor.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Around the Table Memories are Made

Today I was moving a rug from under a table, a simple task that brought back a flood of memories. Sitting around the table was and is a huge deal in my family. A visit to family means sitting at the table, talking, reminiscing  playing games and laughter. If you ever visited my grandparents house, chances are you sat at their table and chatted. If not, let me take you on a journey 'round the table where memories were made.

It started even before I was born, here is my dad at the table of some family occasion;

My Grandpa,KanKad and Gramie ( paternal and maternal grandparents, they were good friends) celebrating a birthday around the table. My Grandparents were friends and did a lot together

My first birthday at my Grandma's table with Grandma looking on. This was the ONLY time we were every allowed on Grandma's table. One of her sayings was ''Tables are for glasses, not for little @@@es''

Sitting on my Grandma's lap at her table

Playing under Grandma's table was a favorite of my cousin's and I. We would lift the tablecloth, crawl under and imagine our own little worlds. We played casino with poker chips, post office, grocery store for hours on end. Once, I had the bright idea that we should move Grandma's table and the rug under it to play ice rink on the wood floors. I will NEVER forget the wrath of grandma after that incident, lets just say we didn't ever do that again.

My grandparents had five tables in their home. One in the kitchen where you often found grandma and grandpa sitting during the day. One in the living room where we sat as kids and watched MTV. The dining room table that was the buffet on holidays, the place we sat and sang Christmas carols and oldies, the place we played Trivial Pursuit and Encore. 

Grandma and Grandpa round the table celebrating their 40th birthday
Birthday's round the table were a favorite of mine. Here I am celebrating my 16th birthday at the picnic table outback. We had two large picnic tables at Grandma and Grandpa's that were used year round.

 This next picture was my 18th birthday. Three months later, I would sit in the very same seat shaking like a leaf as I announced my engagement to Marty. I remember staring at the lace tablecloth scared of the reaction that would come.

The same table would later hold the food for my bridal shower followed a year and a half later by a baby shower for me.

Our family would later plan care for my grandparents round the table, then the table held food for two funerals eight weeks apart. We would cry and reminisce at the table for months to come. Then the table moved to my aunt's house where it now hosts holidays, family dinners and most importantly this

Baby Drew playing under Grandma's table

This weekend when our family visited my uncle Bill's house, we sat around his table playing games, eating, talking and laughing. Making memories around the table to reminisce about for years to come. A couple of years ago, I asked a friend to make a sign for me. Above my table when you come to visit, there will be a sign that says, "Around the Table Memories are Made''

Come visit, we will make some memories around my table just like the memories I have from many years sitting around my grandmother's table.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thanks for Helping us Move

During my brief stint with writers block, some of my twitter friends sent me blog ideas. It was so nice of them and I have used one of them already. My follower and swim buddy Alicia suggested I write a post thanking those who helped with our move. Such a great idea and definitely something that needed to be done.

This cross country move has been an undertaking of epic proportions. I am so thankful for the many wonderful friends and family that helped us move. We truly couldn't have done it without them and they made the load much lighter.

Thanks to my Mom for helping in a huge way. We truly couldn't have moved without her generous help and support. She drove across country with us, mapping the route, finding hotels and saving receipts. Thanks Mom for supporting us.

Thanks to our friends Matt and Tammy for giving us a wonderful going away evening at your home, for the beautiful words of support and encouragement.  Coming to your house will always be some of our fondest memories of living in Visalia.

Thank you to the Katayama family for coming and doing the really hard work. We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you Kim for organizing dinner with Sandi as well, for bringing us dinner and goodies to take on the way. We are so thankful for your many years of homeschooling support and friendship.

Our friend Michelle, she supported our family for so many years in so many ways. She came and helped so many moves and cared for our dogs for years. She brought us dinner on our last night in Visalia. We miss her so much.

Heather and Huntar, thanks for coming and hanging out, helping clean the last night. Thanks for being Elizabeth and I's besties. We loved our last girls night out with you both.

The Marcelino family: thanks for listening, supporting and being there during my last days in Visalia. I am so thankful for the love and support. I miss you all every single day and never laugh so hard anymore.

Dad: Thanks for coming up that last weekend and working so hard to get us packed up. I am so glad you came and pushed us to do more. We miss you so much and hope to see you soon.

Lee and Flavia: we wouldn't or couldn't have made this move without your prayers, love and support. We are so thankful for all that God is doing with our two families.

The Franklin and Burnett clan: we are so grateful for the kindnesses you've shown and the warm welcome to Knoxville. We look forward to knowing you better as time goes on.

Rebecca J, Thanks for meeting us on the road, giving us goodies and for being so welcoming. Can't wait to know you more and more.

Clare and Bella: thank you for the lovely housewarming gifts. Melissa and Sheila, thank you for the lovely housewarming cards.

For every person that called, messaged or tweeted their encouragement we thank you as well. Grateful to be one loved and supported family. It truly takes a village and we are so thankful for each person who helped along the way.