Family on beach cropped b&w\

In 1993, I moved to Maui to try life on an island for a year.  I was born and raised in Oregon, the youngest of 4 children.  At the age of 22, I thought life on Maui would be a fun adventure.  A year went by too quickly, and before you know it, I had planted myself firmly on the island.  I met my husband and we married in 2000.  We immediately started a family, having our daughter, Seraya, a year after we married.  We followed her with a son, Will Jr., in 2003.  In 2005, we moved to Oregon to try mainland life, but quickly moved back to Maui before the year ended.  We then completed our family with the birth of our youngest son, Colton, in 2006.

We enjoyed a simple life, and loved spending time with our rapidly growing children. Willy worked as the Irrigation Specialist for the County of Maui, Parks and Recreation Department.  I worked in reservations and accounting for the Kapalua golf course.  We were happy.

In 2012, life blind-sided us.  In March, Willy came home from work with what we thought was an injury from digging holes. We quickly realized that it was something worse.  In April, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. We started treatment, but the cancer was too aggressive.  May 27th, 2012, Willy went to be with our Lord and savior.

I found myself a widowed mother of 3 children at the age of 41.  Not what I had planned for my perfect little life. I began the very difficult task of rebuilding my life, creating a “new normal” for me and my kids.  The journey of grief is a hard road to travel.   I learned quickly that my friends and family did not know how to help me on this journey.  I have lost many friends, simply because they didn’t know how to talk to me, or how to help me.  Many family members have stepped out of my life of their own choosing. Grief is hard.

I am hoping that by sharing my story, others can learn a little about grief.  Maybe learn how to support a friend or family member who is going through what I have been through.  I have good times, I have bad times.  I am on a real life roller coaster.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I am still grieving.  I think I always will be.

So, join me on my journey.  Through my blog, you will hear stories of my daily life, the good, the bad, the funny, the sad. Laugh with me, and cry with me.  Explore my website and learn about my work, my faith, and all that I do.  I am an open book. Tell me what you want to know, and I will share all I can.  I am hear to teach, learn and inspire.

Together let’s learn how to thrive, not just survive.

This is my favorite picture of Willy and the kids. This was right before we found out he was sick.


Favorite pix of Willy and kids





10 comments on “Home

  1. Candace Walston

    I’m sorry for lost and I’m glad you are sharing your story, there are women like you need your support.
    Thank you

  2. Darlene FunkhouserKliewer

    We are cousins once removed—distant family. I have kept up through facebook posts. I feel your pain and experiences and pray for you. We ask those “why” questions but all we can do is TRUST—at times so hard. You can be grateful for your wonderful kids and the job you are doing with them. Please add me/us to your postings as we are interested in the lives of each of you.

  3. Pam

    Julie, I enjoyed reading your blog. It is healing to share your thoughts. God bless you and your children.

  4. Melissa Taft

    Thank you for sharing Julie. I know you personally and have always known that God would Guide and direct your ways so that you would Bless others in a mighty way!

  5. Angie

    So proud of you, Juli. Your are amazing! So blessed to have you in our lives!

  6. Jennifer

    Sorry it took so long for me to read this. Now that I have I just want to read more! I can’t wait for your next entry.

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