I had someone apologize to me recently for being very direct. I replied, “I’m married to a lawyer. I deal with blunt everyday. Doesn’t bother me a bit.”
It’s true. I love my wife and I rarely have to ask where she stands on something. It makes life a lot clearer!
When I met Julie Cannon earlier this year, I found the same, straight-forward and honest spirit I’ve come to appreciate in my wife. I met Julie through her husband, Chad, my publishing coach. I was excited when I got to introduce Julie and Chad to my wife earlier this spring when we went to a baseball game here in Phoenix.
I’ve enjoyed Julie’s photography for a long time and I’ve found her writing just as compelling. I was so excited when she said yes to an interview and I’m even more excited as I share her thoughts with you today.
Meet Julie Cannon
Scott: Julie, thanks so much for sharing with us. Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. What do you do and what are you passionate about?
Julie: I would describe myself as an old soul. I long for the simple life, surrounded by a few people I love dearly, ideally somewhere near the mountains. I owe everything I have and all that I am to Jesus. It is the one of the few things I am certain of in this life.
I grew up in Oregon surrounded by the beauty that is the western United States. I’m passionate about the outdoors, about the beauty and peace that is found smack dab in the middle of nature.
Beyond that, I love to travel and take in the culture of new cities. Give me a local coffee shop and a delicious restaurant concept and I’m a happy girl. I’m a “professional” home barista. Because, COFFEE, it makes this big old world go ‘round. It’s the nectar of the Gods, a gift straight from heaven!
I’m happiest when my home is full of old and new friends, and family. I love to host. To cook, serve and love on people. All of the finer things in life!
Scott: Having been on the receiving end of your hospitality, I can vouch for this. You’re an incredible host! Julie, I think I first discovered you through Twitter and Instagram where I found your amazing photos. This may have even before I met your husband, Chad. How did you get into photography?
Julie: I’ve always had an interest in photography. It’s an art form where I can express how I see the world, whether it’s people, places or things. When I have a camera in my hand, I have a confidence that I don’t otherwise have.
I had a dream to do photography full time about 7 years ago. I didn’t have enough paying clients to dive in at first, so I took a job with a company that produced virtual tours for real estate agents selling homes. It wasn’t a glamorous job. I spent 8-10 hours a day, mostly driving 200+ miles a day in order to build a sustainable business on the side. I was thankful to get to pursue a passion and eventually built enough clientele to start my own business, Thrive Photography.
Julie Cannon on Loneliness
Scott: Recently, you shared a post on Instagram that struck a chord with me and others. Tell us about that post on loneliness. Where did it come from and what were you trying to communicate?
Julie: Prior to that post, I was having conversation with my husband who was feeling weight and pressure that he felt alone in. It was a powerful reminder to me that nobody is beyond loneliness. We tend to put on a happy face and fake it till we make it in today’s culture. This comes at the risk of completely isolating ourselves, and that’s the perfect place for the enemy to scream lies and provoke fear and shame.
I talk to people all the time who feel alone. I have certainly experienced it. It’s a horrible place to find yourself. In the Instagram post, I was just trying to let people know that they aren’t alone. Ultimately, everything I share is with the purpose of giving others some hope. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are all more alike than we are different. There is beauty in asking somebody how they are and really listening. And there is even more power in feeling seen and heard.
Julie Cannon on Fear
Scott: Julie, would I be accurate in saying that you battle the voice of fear in your life and in your work as an artist? If so, what does the voice of fear sound like for you?
Julie: Fear has always been my number one enemy. That’s hard to admit as a believer, when God instructs us to “fear not” repeatedly in His scriptures. Over the years, by the grace of God, that voice has grown more faint in my life, but it has been a daily battle. At one of my lowest points, it landed me in the ER with a heart that was literally beating out of my chest.
I’m sure so many can relate, but for me I often feel unworthy or not enough. In other cases, it’s the unknown that stops me from moving forward even when I sense I’m called. It can be all together paralyzing. Over the years, my prayers have changed, but recently I’ve sought God for two things. Peace and joy in spite of and even because of my circumstances. God never promises a smooth sea, but He does promise He will never leave us or forsake us.
Scott: What has fear kept you from doing in the past?
Julie: I’m not certain of many things in life, but I have always had a deep sense that I was created to be a mom. That longing becoming a reality has been a hard road for my husband and I as we have struggled to have biological children.
We have always shared a desire to adopt, but that all consuming fear of the unknown has held me back from starting that process sooner. I don’t want to share much, but we have begun walking in that direction. Even as I write this, I’m fighting back the fear that this may not work out. Fear of putting it out there and fighting disappointment.
Recently, I have taken hold of the word of God with more fervor than ever before. I have chosen courage in place of fear. Promises instead of “what if”. I have decided I would rather chase after God’s heart in caring for orphan believing His promise are true. I’ve decided walking the “what if’s” with God is better than never even taking the first step.
Scott: Thanks for being vulnerable, Julie. As you said earlier, I know you’re not alone in that struggle. I’m curious – what helped you become courageous in the face of fear?
Julie: Everything I have I owe to Jesus. My fuel for courage is staying rooted in His word. It is literally my lifeline. I’ve dropped any false sense that I can do this life on my own, and choose to believe that He is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Life has never looked as I have imagined anyway. Call me a slow learner, but His ways have always been higher than mine, it has just taken me longer to figure that out. It’s the only true help I could ever find.
Scott: We still have over 2/3 of this year in front of us, Julie. I know you and Chad are big planners. What are you excited about doing in 2016?
Julie: I’m most excited about building our family. Beyond my deepest desire to become a mom, I am so thrilled about seeing Chad become a dad. It would be our greatest honor, Lord-willing, to raise up children. If I’m thankful for anything in our struggle, it is the perspective that hardship brings, and the way it has fixed our eyes on Jesus.
Chad and I celebrate 10 years of marriage this May. I can honestly say it has been the most rewarding, most humbling 10 years of my life. We would be beyond grateful, humbled and overjoyed to see our family grow this year.
Julie Cannon Speaks Courage into Our Hearts
Scott: What would you say to encourage readers who are battling fear?
Julie: Like I said, I’m a slow learner. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get to this point, but I know for certain that fear is a horrible dictator. If you find yourself paralyzed by fear, you’re not alone. God is more near than you know. I don’t say that flippantly. He is near with an outstretched arm. His word is true and His peace is real. With the risk of sounding cheesy, all you have to do is ask with an open heart.
Beyond that, people are more willing than you realize to listen, and often are struggling with the very same thing. We just don’t have to do life alone. Be honest with yourself and with others. Life together is far better than tackling these things alone.
Julie, thank you so much for your transparency! I know you struggled in sharing these words, but I know (with complete confidence) there are some people who read these words who needed them today!
If you want to read more from Julie, check out her website – relentlessjourney.com. Her newest post about full lives and empty souls is so rich!
Also, if you’d like to see some of her amazing photography, visit thrivephotography.com.
If you know someone I should interview on the blog in the future, leave a comment below with their name and why they have a story or perspective worth sharing!
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