Sunday, October 30, 2016

From Struggle to Surrender

Every aspect of Unify Phx, was intentional to draw women to a place of surrender.  Kristin Pattison, incredibly passionate, spoke about the race we run and how we often get on the circular track that leads no where.  "The track is great...until it isn't".  However, there is a path that has been paved just for us by God.  We need to be on that path and then she said words I needed to hear, "Live Carefree".  I'd fallen back into a familiar pattern; don't make a mistake, don't be embarrassing, don't be so emotional.  When Kristin spoke those words, clarity and conviction washed over me. I know what walking in Freedom looks and feels like, how did I fall back into caring so much about what others might think or say of me? Walking in freedom is like being in a recovery program, you gotta work the steps or you'll relapse. And I had relapsed.

Later we were afforded an opportunity to write something we wanted to surrender.  I wrote "My pride.  So I can I walk in absolute Freedom."  I stepped forward and hung that on the cross with a fresh resolve to walk in Freedom.   Getting back on the path paved for me.

The next morning as I dressed and prepared for the conference. I wore a tie die shirt with leopard print shoes telling myself ' I am not going to care that this does not match. These shoes are comfortable and these are the shoes I want to wear today.'  At the conference, I sang out every song during the worship set, not caring if my voice was off pitch.  I was back on the path of freedom paved just for me.


That morning, Cherie Wagner, a truly gifted teacher nailed home points about divisions in the body of the church.  She shared how important and critical unity is among this body of people.  Her message resonated deeply and stirred a fire in me to break down barriers, to be united, to stand as one with others.  I was inspired to be part of bringing people together in Unity. 

As the conference came to a close, we once again sang a beautiful song, Unify, by worship leader and songwriter Dianne Michelle who crafted this amazing song for this conference.  As we sang the first verse, I was inspired to move towards the front row of women and grab the ladies hands on each side of the aisle and stand together, united as one.  But Pride taunted "What will they think?  What if no one follows you?  It'll be awkward.  Don't do it."  I stayed where I was, glued to the ground as we began to sing the chorus.

The next verse came and I wanted to break down barriers,  be united, stand as one with the women around me but the pride of fear stopped me.  I looked behind me, quickly scanning for a familiar face. Maybe if we made eye contact, they would follow my cue.  No one I knew was behind me.  We started the last chorus and a gentle whisper came, "Pride was hung on the cross Friday night."  I was quietly reminded of my actions on Friday night.  I was standing in a tie die shirt with leopard print shoes and singing about unity in a roomful of women spiritually united but physically divided.

I abruptly grabbed the ladies hand on my left, she was surprised but I didn't let that stop me. Like a train I pulled her with me to the other side of the aisle and grabbed the hand of another surprised lady and I stood in the middle of the aisle.  No barriers, united, standing as one, we raised our hands and I sang that last chorus like I meant it.  If anyone had looked closely they would have seen my legs trembling.  When the song ended, I hugged both those ladies for standing with me but I could tell, they felt the unity too, just like I did and they hugged me back.  The lady from across the aisle whispered in my ear "Thank you." 

Days later,  I saw this picture and I cried over it.  I had no idea the row behind me joined hands and stood together too.  I thought I was alone in that aisle standing for unity but I wasn't.  That's what makes me cry whenever I see this picture. Poignantly captured in this picture is a moment that represents the absence of pride and the presence of Freedom through Unity.  So when the next Unify Phx takes place, let's go together, as One.

From Struggle to Surrender,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

From Fear to Faith

"There's a women's conference in October, would you pray about being a part of it?"

When God puts an opportunity or challenge in front of me, I am like a deer staring into bright headlights.  I freeze and wait because I'm quietly afraid of what is going to happen next.

I am not a Joshua charging for battle.
I am a Gideon, hiding and threshing wheat, in a winepress.
God, I'm from a weak family and I'm to weak a person to do this task.  Can you confirm that you really want me,  show me a sign maybe?
Phone rings. "We thought you would be a good fit to facilitate the panel at Unify Phx but we'd like you to actually be a part of the panel."
God, I'm not a public speaker.  I shake, I get nervous, I get emotional.  Then I'm embarrassed.  I wish I could erase those embarrassing moments.  Are you sure God?
Phone rings.  Hello daughter, it's your Dad.  Unbeknownst to either of us, we are gonna to have a conversation where I am going to reverse the message of shame I planted in you so many years ago.  I'm going to tell you that your soft heart is a good thing and don't ever change it.  You'll hang up the phone sobbing and then marvel that this call occurred exactly THREE days before you sit on stage at the conference.
God, I barely know any of the people running this conference, who am I to stand among them?
Email received.  Can you come to a meeting for the lead team?  You'll meet everyone running this conference.  You'll  find you are among women who are like-minded and as sensitive as you.  You won't feel like a stranger in a strange land.  
Okay God.  Messages received.  Help me to do what I'm afraid of doing.
On Saturday at Unify Phx, Christina Lang said "When God knows you are ready, he entrusts you with the next part of the story."

I didn't feel ready but everything that happened Friday at the conference prepared me not to just sit as part of the panel but to also stand in Unity as One.

From Fear to Faith,

Friday, October 28, 2016

From a Shirt to a Stage.

This weekend I participated in Unify Phx; a conference that brought together women from over 40 different churches across Phoenix. The theme of the conference was to reflect Unity among the people of Christ; the Church. This conference was not for a religious organization or a set denomination or a certain culture or any of those types of variables. It was for 2 groups of people; those who follow Christ and those who don't and both were present.

My friend Christin, called me out of the azure-blue and asked if I would be willing to participate. Christin and I met through Mending the Soul and she suggested my name to the lead team for this conference. A different gal, Erica, supported the idea because she was also in one of my Mending the Soul classes. That's how I got involved; 2 nearly new friends, from 2 different churches connected through 2 different MTS classes. Different people, different backgrounds, coming together to share what we have in common. Pretty much the premise of the conference.

Shirt By: Radiance on Fire

The conference began on a Friday night and as I moved about the building, helping to set up before the doors opened, I kept passing a vendor table that had this shirt on display. I walked by this table at least 20 times. Each time I passed that shirt and read the message, my eyes filled with tears and I would almost lose it. Somehow, I kept myself in check but literally every single time I'd walk by, my eyes were drawn to that shirt and message.

Worthless. For so many years, Worthless is exactly who I was. It was my name and my label. I was Worthless to my family, worthless in school, worthless in every job and worthless in every relationship. I was worthless in every interaction, every encounter, every meeting. Worthless permeated my every thought, every emotion, every action. I couldn't get away from being Worthless.

Then Jesus happened. Jesus drew a line through Worthless and wrote Priceless. Over time, I began to understand He changed my name and my label long before I was ever aware of it. He convinced me Worthless was never who I was to begin with. My testimony was on a shirt and I could barely handle it.

The following day, I sat on the stage, with nerves like spaghetti. I wished I had the shirt I had just walked by again. I would have worn it on stage, pointed to the message and said "This is it, this is my story. Love you, mean it, peace out." Drop the mic.

Brene Brown wrote in Daring Greatly, "Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up." I didn't feel brave, I felt shaky and sweaty but I showed up alongside 4 other women and together, we owned our stories. Together, we allowed ourselves to be seen and known. Together, we showed courage through vulnerability. Together we stood as One. I don't think I could have done it any other way. One thing for certain, the deep bond the 5 of us experienced will be remembered for a lifetime.

There's this myth that life becomes stagnant and stifling when you commit to Christ. I have found nothing to be further from the truth. What I did last weekend was the equivalent to riding white water rapids down a roaring river. It was crazy and scary and intense. It was also fulfilling and satisfying to allow God to take my ashes and use them for a good purpose.

That said, I'm ready for a paddle board and maybe a lazy river, ya know? There is another story to tell from this conference but I'll share another day.

From a shirt to a stage,

Friday, October 21, 2016

For Middle Aged Women Like Me

My heroes are often everyday people who do something extraordinary, in my humble opinion.  Extraordinary by definition means very unusual or remarkable.  Such is the case with Annick Rbsn from Canada.  I do love the Canadians and I am so glad we are neighbors. : )
If you are a middle aged women like me, I will be 45 in February, then you will very likely love Annick response to a salesperson selling some products guaranteed to make her look 'younger'.

Read and enjoy her Facebook post regarding this encounter:

So. I was kind of a brat yesterday. And I don't regret it one bit.
I was in the hallway at the airport, headed to my gate, when a man from a spa suckered me into a conversation by handing me a free bar of natural soap. NOTHING IS FREE PEOPLE! At least, not in airports, am I right?
This is basically how the conversation went, although I admit, this is not verbatim.
Man: "your skin is so natural looking, you aren't wearing any make-up, right?"
Me: "Um, nooooo?"
Man: "Let me guess your age..." Proceeds to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.
Me: "I look my age and that's ok actually."
Man: unsure how to handle that.. "let me show you our face serum, because if you aren't careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper, by 45, creams won't help anymore."
Me: "what's wrong with a woman looking 40?"
Man: "Well let's talk about the bags under your eyes, and smile lines, my eye cream could improve those in 15-minutes."
Me: "What's wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven't slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them, and my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look... I don't think I need your cream."
Man: (nervously) "They may be manageable now, but by 50, it's too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles, unless you act now, only surgery can correct those."
Me: "what's wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can't wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we'll be this funny wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too, we all are. It's kind of how life works."
Man: glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in... "Wait, if it's the price that's an issue, I can offer you our special this week, all three creams for $199 - that's cheaper than Botox!"
Me: "I look fine now, and when I'm 45 I will look fine, and when I'm 50 I will look fine, because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don't appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products, and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don't want or need your cream."
I was so horrified by the normalcy of his sales pitch, and the sales ringing up at his cash register, that I took a picture of that wrinkled baggy face he was selling to, right on the spot.
This is the face my children and my husband love. I think I'll keep it.

UPDATE *************
I am shocked that this post has been shared upward of 12k times to date. I was really excited for a couple of minutes (that was my ego talking) until I realized what that meant. It means that in 2016, refusing to accept self-loathing as a beauty standard is a radical concept. And that is just depressing on a whole other level.
I have been reading some of the comments and wanted to clarify that this wasn't a post about natural beauty over those who wear make-up, its not about being insulted by a salesman. Its not even about the salesman, who I am sure is very good at his job and following a script. Its about a billion dollar industry that depends on women hating themselves.
And its not about how pretty or not I am. According to whose standards can we decide what is beautiful anyway?
I could have been a supermodel, but I still would have been told there was something terribly wrong with my face. And odds are, I would have believed it. Its hard-wired into us from the cradle that our main value as a woman is beauty, and a standard of beauty that we can never actually attain. Even our supermodels get photo shopped.
Let's start a movement peeps, let's end predatory marketing practices that sell self-loathing to women from cradle to grave. Women have more important things to do in 2016 than spend a single other minute worried about our wrinkles or the acceptability of our thighs.
Flip the script when you hear it. Every time. Until it loses its power. The next generation needs you to change the game.
There is nothing more powerful than how you spend your money, way more powerful than FB views and shares.
Let's start a movement that says no to brands that require you to hate yourself in order to sell their products. Don't give them another one of your dollars.
*And for those of you worried I was too hard on the salesman, don't worry, tone doesn't translate well, but I'm Canadian after all. I was very, very polite. ;)
Extraordinary.  My hero.  Women, we need to flip the script.  Today, I'm starting with myself.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

DaBrickaNate YouTube Channel

Nathan has started a YouTube Channel, DaBrickaNate, reviewing Lego sets.
We have now posted 2 videos and he's already planning to review some custom builds.
He is so cute, I can't even handle it. And I'm partial to the user name he used; DaBrickaNate is a variation of DaBrickaShaw, which is what we called him before giving him the name Nathan. I love it but the challenge will be keeping up with his videos and getting them posted!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Why VidAngel has my Support.

VidAngel | Watch Movies However The BLEEP You Want

SURVEY: Would you have watched Avengers: Age of Ultron without a filter?


COMMENTS: The ability to filter out profanity and sexual content is the only reason I allowed my 9 yr old son to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron. He's a Marvel fan but I haven't felt comfortable letting him watch many of the Marvel movies until now. After watching this movie with my son, VidAngel alleviated all my concerns. This is the solution we have needed. We now plan on watching all the Marvel movies and my son is ecstatic. Thank you so very much for this service, thank you for the ease & usability of customizing the filters and thank you for the affordability to make movies family-friendly. I'll be certain to share my positive experience with family, friends and across social media to make others aware of the superb service you have provided.

Thank you again,
Julia Hull

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Unify Phoenix Women's Conference, Oct 21-22

Tonight, I met with a group of 4 women in preparation for a women’s conference taking place in Phoenix next month. We come from 4 different churches in the area & in preparing for this panel, we shared our stories. The idea is afterwards, women will break into smaller groups and share their own stories with each other. I was incredibly moved by the personal depth that was shared by each woman. We talked about real life, real pain, real tragedies. There was no masking, no covering up, no hiding behind shiny smiles. Each person brought her darkest and worst into the light. Timidly and carefully though. These were not badges of honor or stories of valor being shared. These were stories filled with deep pain, much shame and the kind of despair that changes the course of life. Then how God has restored, redeemed and renewed our lives. That part is super easy for me to talk about.

I drove away completely humbled. Is there another word that bypasses humbled because that is how I felt. I was asked the question “How is God using your story today?” My honest answer was “I see that it serves a purpose with the Mending the Soul groups at my church but I really don’t know, I don’t have any idea, mainly because I feel totally awkward when I’m sharing my story.” Then she told me to go first and she was going to video tape it. Cue Awkward Self.

I don’t even know how I was sitting in that room sharing my story with these women. I didn’t seek this out. What I do know & what has become crystal clear to me, is that it keeps happening. Sharing my story. And every single time, I feel totally and completely awkward. Afterwards, I mentally grade myself and try to measure “was I off the chart awkward? Or was I just minimally awkward?” Greg says I have to stop doing this and just let God use whatever words come from me and leave it to God. I think Greg is right. So I think the right thing to do is to just tell everyone I know about my social-story-telling-awkwardness as a means to bringing it all out in the light. If everyone knows, then there is no secret about my Awkward Self and I can be free to be awkward.

Unify PHX from Neue Thing on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Psalm of Julia

Thank you God that I am no longer who I used to be.
Thank you God that I am not who others said I was.
Thank you God that I was not left alone & forgotten.
Thank you God that you restored my heart and made it whole.
Thank you God for a life that is worth living.
Thank you God for more goodness than I ever deserved.
Thank you God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Picture Perfectness is a Myth.

Some days, this is the reality of my 44 year old self: a mom's ponytail, no makeup and a compression stocking for varicose veins. This is how I look today.

I share this because I don't want to perpetuate this socially driven lie that life is just picture perfect all the time, every day. It's not.

We never hesitate to share pictures of our good hair days or fun-filled days or proud milestones. We are quick to display those moments and there's no judgement regarding that. However, we are less inclined to share moments that picture honest-behind the scenes-real life.

Listen friends; Life happens. And its not picture-perfect all the time, every day. If you believe the lie that everything has to be perfect to be good, it will set you up for an unrealistic expectation followed by crushing disappointment. When you look across social media and compare your tough, ugly moments with someone else's 'perfect' moments, you are setting yourself up for a dose of loneliness. Especially when you are struggling or barely managing life or just coping. Comparison is the thief of Joy, so stop doing that.

Let's stop perpetuating the lie of perfectness. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be good. Lets share that message more because that's the truth.

I'm personally committed to live in truth, so here I am pictured with a compression stocking for varicose veins that hurt! Who knew? I didn't...cause who talks about these things?!
Agreed? Disagree? Agree to disagree?


Sunday, July 24, 2016

17th Wedding Anniversary

17 Years from Julia Hull on Vimeo.

The gift that didn't cost any money but cost a considerable amount of time!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Now Hiring: Dishwasher

Woman of the House seeks Dishwasher: No experience necessary. Must be willing to stand in position for 20-30 minute increments. Required to hand wash pots/pans and non-dishwasher safe items. Able to load, run, empty dishwasher in a timely manner. Do not be alarmed or discouraged when more dishes, glasses, silverware suddenly appear after you have completed the above cycle; this is normal. Also fill soap dispensers, wash/dry/store hand towels, wipe down table and counters. This position will last for the rest of your life until the end of time.

Salary: $50,000. Can start anytime.

Disclaimer: This is a joke, I can't hire someone to wash dishes. I wish I could but I can not. Just day-dreaming.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Young DoTK Leads.

I just received this picture last night and my heart swooned over this precious little cutie patootie!  This young DoTK is wearing one of the first tshirt designs for girls from the DoTK tshirts.

I know this cutie personally and one of the things I absolutely love in her young personality is that she's already secure in who she is - pure DoTK.  She can say 'No thank you' without second guessing herself and continue walking without looking back.  I LOVE that about her personality and pray it never changes.

How about us grown women get a good dose of that and walk with some of that kind confidence?  How about we let our 'No' be No, our 'Yes' be Yes and maybe, just maybe we practice 'Let me think about it' when its appropriate.
This sweet little girl is leading the charge and if she can do it, we can too. 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

So Long School!

This is our customary end of school picture of Nathan with all of his schoolwork, which does not include his homework papers.

The difference in this year's caption is that I don't have a breakdown between language, math, writing, papers.

Because I can't. I just can not. I don't have time to count this endless pile of papers nor do I even want to. I have 30 other things to do and counting these papers is not even at the bottom of my list. So there goes that fun & ridiculous tradition. 

I'll just summarize by saying 'Nathan worked really hard this year and he made good grades.' The end.
So long 3rd grade!

Peace out.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

There he is, the very reason I get the privilege and responsibility of Motherhood. And there is more than enough reason in that little 4 foot, 70 lb person to love and laugh and fear and fret and risk and sacrifice like I never have over anything else in this life.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who know exactly what I'm talking about!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Messages in the Messes.

"It's like the game Jenga but with dishes."

This is the picture and caption I posted on my feed.  To be fair, I had a number of those pots and pans already in the dish drainer but I had more to wash so I just kept stacking the dishes, instead of putting the dry ones away. 

Like many women, I spend a lot of time standing at that sink either  loading the dishwasher or hand washing what doesn't get loaded.  I am the chief dish washer in my house.  And to be very honest, I resent it most every day.  This is not intended for shock value...I don't enjoy and love washing dishes. I'm not giddy every time I see dirty dishes laughing at me, mocking my free time.  When I'm washing dishes I'd rather be doing anything else. Except cleaning a bathroom.  I would not rather be cleaning a bathroom.  

All that said, I'm aware there is another way I could look at the daily oppression of washing dishes. When I was in high school I lived a couple of years with a family who provided a home for me. My job in their house was Washing Dishes, it's how I earned my keep. (If they had only known, my real talent is organizing closets, tsk tsk such a shame!)  I'm acutely aware that my perspective can be easily skewed by the past. Or hormones.  Or the snack I ate at 10 PM.  So I consistently pray God will help me to see things from his perspective instead of my own and this morning, a God glimpse came.

I stood in my son's room and stared at the Legos, all-over-everywhere, resisting the urge to immediately organize pieces by size and color.  Does this picture look familiar?  Perhaps you also have offspring that is comfortable in this type of chaos and mayhem. 

As I stared at this mess, a message emerged; this is his creative space.  Just the day before, I had tested him by giving him 45 seconds to run to his room to get a specific minifigure.  Two different times, with plenty of seconds to spare, he knew exactly where Ultron and Deadpool were located.  It's certainly a mess but the message is; he has a place to create and build and imagine.  That is a good thing.
"What is the message in the sink full of dirty dishes?"  Simply, we get to eat. Actually, we get to eat from a bountiful harvest, that we had very little to do with. Can I sidebar and mention how much respect I have for our Farmers? Utmost respect.

Sometimes, our trash cans are overflowing with the discarded food packages after preparing a meal.  I want to come unglued when our trash cans look like this. CanS-plural. We have two trash cans and they both looked like this on the same day...deep breath. The message remains the same.  We get to cook and feed our family.  Sometime we get to cook and feed our friends!  What a privilege and joy!  

My challenge to myself and for others is to continue looking for a message in the messes as we move through our days. 
"16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it." Matthew 13:16-17

Julia Hull

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Get some rest. Take a nap.

As I studied Mark 4 one morning and read about Jesus calming the storm, a familiar story took a turn.

To summarize, Jesus had been pouring into a crowd of people all day. When evening came, it was time to retreat, it was time to go. As they traveled across the the Sea of Galilee, they were suddenly caught in a storm and Jesus slept.

You ever have those days/weeks/months where you have poured and poured into other people? Your family, extended family, friends, people in crisis, whoever it may be. You look back and find that you have been pouring yourself out, meeting needs, satisfying expectations, rising to the challenges of all the people around you and you haven't taken a break?

Jesus did this the entire time he walked in the flesh. He walked a lot; meeting people, talking to them, pouring love into them. Challenging them, demonstrating all the fruits, modeling the example to follow for every generation to come. What kind of experience could it be to have all the power of God but to be limited by physical needs? To find he was thirsty or hungry or in need of a nap??

There in that boat on the Sea of Galilee, after a full day of pouring into people, Jesus needed a nap. He knew that storm was coming and he still took that nap. And when he was jarred awake, he stood and spoke to the storm; with power and authority, he spoke to the storm.

I don't think the two events are a coincidence. We have to rest. We can pour and pour and pour ourselves out for those around us but we must rest. Because a storm is inevitable. Storms are a natural order of life but if we haven't taken time to rest...what energy will we have to face the next storm? What reserve will we draw from to speak to the storm with any sense of authority? If we haven't taken a moment to rest?

I have to show you this picture of this funny little one who finally passed out in a semi-upright position. We laugh at this but this is exactly what we do and what we look like as adults. This is us. We just keep going and going and going until this happens...

Jesus says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

So what is the truth for today? It's ok to take rest. To pause life, take a nap. Resting is as much a part of our battle strategy as physical training. Let's not feel unnecessary guilt for taking some time for our own well-being.

Daughter of The King,


Monday, March 7, 2016

DoTK = Daughter of The King

The picture above is from the very first event I set up a booth at for DoTK.  My friend, Randi, volunteered to help me out that day and can I just say THANIK GOD for good friends?! There was no way I would have ever been able to put up that white canopy by myself. Ever.

When the Daughter of The King concept first came to me, it began as a single design with a crown and the letters DoTK.  I wanted it to be a subtle design that would invite the question 'What does DoTK stand for?'  Speaking truth can be so powerful and when we answer, 'It means Daughter of The King." we are claiming This is who I Am. There is so much that opposes the truth of who we are in Christ and God is not honored when we identify ourselves as anything less than His. 

For much to long, I identified with being unworthy, inadequate, unlovable. In fact, I repeated the phrase 'I'm a miserable failure.' so much that my fed up husband totally lost his cool one day and told me I was no longer allowed to even speak those words anymore.  I was completely taken aback at his outburst because I was totally unaware that I said it that much.

God is glorified when we speak about who we are in Him and when we announce "I Am a Daughter of the King." we are claiming our identity in Christ.  What could be more powerful than that? So this little logo was created as a means to encourage girls and women to begin seeing themselves as God does. That is the sole purpose behind DoTK.

Something I love is that one of my very first customers was this precious girl pictured below. I love that this girl was totally at ease in her own skin and completely confident with her quirky style.  She was totally rocking the DoTK spirit and I just loved it.