Have you ever met someone and just had the feeling you know them from somewhere? That’s what it was like for me when I met Julie Fox. I first met her when I was still hot and heavy in the mortgage industry almost 20 years ago. I was out scouting for new mortgage brokers and met Julie in one of the new offices I was visiting. We both had this feeling we knew each other but none of our scenarios we ran past each other found an answer to us figuring out where we knew each other from. I now know when this happens it’s because this isn’t the first life I have done with someone and when I get that feeling so strong, I know this person has been a HUGE impact in my other lives and is probably about to play a HUGE part in this life…. And that was just the case with Julie.
This year I’m paying tribute to 50 women or groups of women who have had an impact on my life and Julie Cartwright saved my life, so she is definitely on this list!
Julie and I were just casual acquaintances for a few years until the world tipped upside down in the financial markets in 2008. When the mortgage industry imploded, the company I loved and was working for went out of business so Julie hired me to work for her as a loan officer. Julie eventually became affectionately called Jules to me as we began to get to know each other more and more. Little did I know the following couple of years would be My Dark Night (lots of dark nights) of The Soul. This is when Jules and I would become best friends.
At first we came into the office and made plans on how to save people money with their mortgage. But when it became impossible to get loans done for people we had to do something else. Jules would call an office meeting. Myself and my office colleague, Chris, would gather in Jules office, shut the door and Julie would say, “I have something very important to show you today.” She would then proceed to show us the funniest thing we had ever seen on Youtube. We all had such an amazing time together finding hilarious videos as the Titanic Mortgage Industry was slowly going down. We were the three amigos just fiddling away up on deck.
Coincidentally, all three of us were going through a divorce and the emotional damage we were each taking from the other side was almost unbearable. I think that’s why the three of us continued to show up at the office and play pranks on each other. It was the only spark of light we each had and it was our island away from the horror. I can speak for myself when I say, the time with Jules and Chris really was the only thing that got me through that year. I never told many people at that time but there were many times I had driven to a quiet place where the Max Train would go by where there weren’t a lot of people around. I would watch the fast moving train and would plan my life’s exit strategy. I thought it would be easier for my children to mourn their mother than to watch the escalating ugliness between their father and mother. It was a very dark time for me. When you reach a place in life where one of the options is to plan your exit strategy, you know you have reached the darkest of your dark night. Until you have truly been to this place, there is no way to understand the thoughts of this place. I have so much compassion for those who believe this is their best option because it was quickly climbing to the top of my list of options. Jules is the reason I never stepped on to those tracks, she just kept loving me and pulling me back into her light so the darkness wouldn’t consume me.
When I separated from my was-band, I had nothing but the car I drove away in. I found a friend that let me rent a house that they had just bought and told me they would wait to remodel. Jules went through her own kitchen and put together a box of necessities so that I could have three plates, three spoons, three forks and loads of blankets and more….. for me and my boys. My finances were pretty messed up due to the mortgage debacle not to mention the heinous divorce I was in the middle of at the time. I remember opening my front door and here comes Jules with this big box of stuff and I just cried…. And cried …. And cried. I didn’t even ask for this assistance, she just knew and showed up. She was in a similar financial crisis because of the mortgage implosion and her divorce….. Yet, she shared what she had with me.
Another time, I hadn’t come into the office for a couple days. My children were with their father and the depression was so heavy that I wasn’t even getting out of bed to eat. Jules showed up at my door and said, “Come on, we’re going out.” I argued with her that I was not socially acceptable, I hadn’t showered, hadn’t brushed my hair or my teeth or anything. I can just imagine what I smelled like! Her reply was, “I don’t care. Get your shoes on your going out like that. We’re getting you out of this house.” She truly saved my life.
As I slowly found my way out of the hole of depression Jules and I became almost inseparable. At the beginning of the new year my phone rang one morning and it was Jules. “Hey” she said, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” I hadn’t thought too much about it as my goals were just daily small goals like, get out of bed and eat something. So I thought for a minute and I told Jules that I wanted to be part of something that was bigger than me. That I wanted to make a difference in the world somehow. She quipped right back with “GREAT! We’re going to do a marathon!” Ugh! If there is one thing you need to know about me is that I despise running for exercise so this was about the worst idea for a goal that I could think of. Still, Jules is incredibly persuasive so we ended up at a Team in Training rally where I fully intended on telling Jules that I was not up for a marathon but in the hype of the rally and Jules big huge smile, I said, “Yes! Let’s do this!” Team in Training is a non-profit organization that trains people to do marathons and gives amazing guidance to the proper way to train. In return the participants earn money for Leukemia and Lymphoma. As Jules and I signed up for the challenge I could feel a huge shift within my soul, this marathon wasn’t just a physical event for me, it was an emotional and spiritual journey. If you’d like to read more about this, you can visit my blog I wrote about it a couple years ago, titled The Finish Line Is Only A Piece Of The Journey The short version is that I earned more money in the first few months of that year for other people than I did for myself and when we entered that stadium for our final lap of the Eugene marathon, they announced that our team had raised over $200,000 for Lymphoma and Leukemia research and assistance to those who need it. I had truly been a part of something that I was bigger than I was and I had made a huge difference in the world. Without Jules persistence and continued determination I would never have checked that off my bucket list…. And it truly was a life changing experience.
Jules is the one person I would road trip around the world with…. And… if you’ve read my other blog, It Matters Who You Travel With, you know how important it is to me to choose carefully those you travel with…. And I’d do it every day, anywhere in the world with this woman. In fact, we have done many road trips together. We’ve spent countless hours road tripping to self improvement seminars. We’d listen to Wayne Dyer audiobooks for days and drive wherever the road would take us. Every single road trip with Jules I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time with her. She has shown up for me in countless ways over our almost 20 years of friendship and every time I’m smiling bigger than I thought possible just by being with her.
Jules was the first woman who motivated me to fight back when I thought I’d been beaten. Jules continually picked me up off the floor and said get back in there and fight for what is yours. She’d pick me up again, bandage my wounds and tell me she believed in me. She saw the best in me in a time when I hated who I was, when I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror. She was my stepping stone into self-improvement and my inspiration for transformation. She has always championed me in all my life choices, even the ones that in hindsight, may not have been the best, like when I decided the year after my divorce would be my “skanky year”…. But then we’d laugh and laugh and laugh about it.
Julie has recently found a fabulous partner to share her life with and moved to Kansas to tame twisters… I guess that’s what you do in Kansas?. She became Julie Cartwright a couple years ago and I was honored to be able to assist her sister in putting on a celebration for her wedding. I am so thrilled she has found a partner to adore her and I just love her new husband, Mike Cartwright.
Jules and I still randomly text all the time and most of the time I laugh until I snort when we start having these text conversations. Even though she is many miles away, it always feels like she is right next door. She’s that friend that is always in your heart no matter how long it has been since you actually talked or have seen each other. You can definitely see how this woman has profoundly impacted my life and my wish for all women around the world is that they will have at least one friend that is an absolute JEWEL like my Jules. I love you so much sweet sister! Thank you for walking me home, keeping my head above water and sharing your light when mine had gone dim.
I know in my soul that Jules and I have done many lives together. It feels like we have truly been sisters before this lifetime. I know in my heart that we agreed to find each other in this life when we needed each other the most. I truly love her with all of my being. She has made such a huge impact on my life, because of her, I’m alive!! Because of her, my life has been changed, for good! Thank you dear Jules, there are not enough words to express just how big my love is for you…. But just one last time…. please know, I absolutely LOVE you!