Monday, February 7, 2011


Saturday February 5th
I said to the girls of Lewis County....  
Just be who you are girls.  Don’t try to be like anyone else.  God made you special and He made you the size He wants you to be.  He doesn’t want you to harm your body because you think you need to look like the girl on the cover of a magazine or on your favorite television show. You are beautiful and please promise me you will always follow your dreams.  Don’t ever give up on your dreams! You Promise?

We promise!” said the group of 130 girls aged 10-14 in Lewis County, TN this past Saturday……….

Monday February 7th
I woke up this morning, just two days after that speech to the Lewis County girls. I started my day like usual, did my gym routine, came back home, opened my computer to check emails, and realized I was kind of sad today. I thought maybe it’s the dreary weather, but I don’t think it’s the weather at all.

Last night, I went to a Super Bowl Party and had a great time but also had a very definitive moment for my life there.  At the party, a very successful songwriter was talking to me, and he said,
 “Are you singing at all anymore?”
“Yeah!  I’m singing!  Making a new record,” I quickly said.
“Oh great, I can’t wait to hear it,” he said.

Now, to most all of you, that probably sounds like a very nice conversation and it was.  But truthfully, it killed me inside and I was pretty embarrassed.  I don’t ever want to be asked if I’m still singing.  Singing is my purpose and what makes me happy.  If someone asks me that question, what does that mean? It means I’m not doing what I was born to do!  I’ve thought about this since I left last night and I haven’t been able to get it off of my mind.  My conclusion is I need to get my stuff together and get back out there.  This transition time for me has taken long enough and now it’s time to move forward.  No more excuses about the flood or anything else for that matter.  Those things happened and I need to learn from them and move on!!  

Some days I get so overwhelmed at trying to figure out this path I chose for myself when I was a little girl.  It seems so easy right? Just get booked and play shows.  The reality is, it’s not always that easy and as I’ve been searching for ways this morning to make it all happen, I got a little down. 

I talked to Patti this morning about all of it and she reminded me that I shouldn't take that question so personally.  Simply because one person did not know what was going on in my life doesn't mean I'm not on the right road. Just because I am not where someone else thinks I need to be doesn't mean that I'm not exactly where God wants me to be. Then she reminded me of one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11 which says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  I've said it a million times about my conversations with Patti...I am little bit wiser now!!!

I also talked to God this morning and pleaded with Him to show me where to go next and what to do to get back on the scene singing my songs. I don’t want anyone to ever ask me if I’m still singing.  As I thought about these things, it occurred to be that on Saturday ( just two days ago), I was standing in front of 130 young girls begging them to not give up on their dreams.  Why is it so easy for me to tell someone that?  I need to take my own words and live by them.  I gotta tell you, I will NEVER give up on my dreams, but like most people, I have days where I beg for a miracle or I beg for a sign or I beg for another break to get me back out there.  Today was that day for me.  Mama always says, “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.”  And like always, Mama is right.  I know one day I will look back on this period of time in my life and see how much stronger I am because of it.  I will see how much my faith grew and I will see that God was always there.  He never leaves my side and He is walking with me every step of the way on my journey to figure out how to get where I want to be. 

I had to get that out there today.  It was on my mind and that’s exactly why I started this blog…so I could tell you everything about my journey.

Now, I want to finish telling you about my trip to Lewis County.... 
I was asked by 'Get Fit Tennessee' to visit a few counties in the state and speak with girls between the ages of 10-14 (5th-8th grade).  My focus for these girls is explaining to them why living a healthy lifestyle is important to me.  I am very passionate about this subject (as you know from my bikini blog) and I believe sharing my story with them is something I’m supposed to do.  I want them to have a chance to hear about eating healthy and exercising before they even have a chance to develop an eating disorder or poor self-image.  If someone had spoken to me on this subject matter when I was growing up, I would’ve probably done things a lot different as far as diet/exercise goes.

Here's me talking to the girls!
I introduced myself to the sweet girls and told them that I remembered being their age. I don’t remember everything about being 10 years old, but I do remember knowing that I wanted to sing country music.  I knew I wanted to get to Nashville and that I was going to make records one day!  I followed every move my idols made and tried to be just like them.  I’d watch music videos or read articles about my favorite artists just so I could see how to dress or how to wear my hair.  I would also notice their shapes and sizes.  They all had perfect bodies in my eyes and I wanted to be just like them. 

I did everything I could to be just like them!  The reason I chose Belmont University was because Trisha Yearwood went there.  And when I was at Belmont, I chose to stop eating so that I could be like my other favorite female singers on television.  I told these girls about how I starved myself and would run miles just to be skinny.  God gave me my voice and my drive to achieve my goals, and I wanted to give myself a skinny body.  I thought starving myself is what I had to do to get a record deal.  I’d come home from Belmont on holidays and Mama would look at me and tell me I wasn’t going back to Nashville until I ate some food.  So, I would eat at home just so I could go back to Nashville. When I’d get back to school, I would stop eating again.  I would make it through my day on a small can of green beans and a few pretzels every now and then.  I was so skinny and so unhealthy. 

I came back home a second time from school and Mama was serious when she said I was not going back to school.  How could I not go back to Nashville?  I have to be in Nashville to get a record deal!  I PROMISED Mama I would start eating and I did.  I knew if I didn’t, she would come and get me and I’d be back home wishing I had done things different.  It wasn’t always easy to stay on the right track because it became such a mental struggle for me. I constantly looked at myself in the mirror and thought I wasn’t good enough. 

Despite those mental battles, I continued to eat so I could stay in school and get my degree and that also allowed me to stay in Nashville and search for a record deal.  After I got a record deal, Mercury hired a trainer for me and it was the first time in my life that I knew what foods were good for me to eat and what exercises I should be doing for myself.

I told that story about myself as honest and as carefully as I could to the girls in Lewis County in hopes to convey to them how beautiful they each are and how much they have to offer the world. I wanted them to know that there are no perfect bodies and there is no perfect person on the entire earth.  God made us each different for a reason.  If we were all just alike, the world would be a boring place. 

I talked about my struggles now as an adult with trying to maintain a healthy weight because I mistreated my body as a young girl.  I totally messed up my metabolism and it has taken me years to get it all back on track. I told them how I still struggle sometimes when I look in the mirror and see things I don’t like about myself. Most importantly, I told them that I didn’t want them to go through all of that too. 

I loved coming off the stage to talk to the girls!

Finally, I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Surprisingly, many of them said SINGERS!!!!  Some want to be actresses, teachers, doctors, veterinarians, and one sweet angel wants to open up a dog shelter!!  These girls reminded me of me.  I got tears in my eyes several times as they shouted their dreams to me.  I want so much for all their dreams to come true.  I told them they needed to keep their dreams alive and NEVER give up.  The road is not always easy but God will guide them and they should NEVER give up.  I told all of the girls who wanted to be singers that I wanted to see their buses pull up next to mine one day at a festival or fair! 

Then, it was time for me to sing a few songs for them. 

I started with “You Aint Down Home” and then went into “Mama Said Don’t”. They really loved “Mama Said Don’t”!!  Some of the girl’s mothers were there so they were laughing with each other at some of the lyrics.  My last song was “Break Down Here.”  I remembered which girls told me they wanted to be singers so I invited them all up to sing the choruses with me.  The girls were SO EXCITED TO BE UP THERE and I just handed them the microphone every time the chorus came around.  Thank goodness they could sing it because I was getting a little choked up listening to them.  They were so beautiful and it just melted my heart. My hope for them is that they never stop believing in themselves, I hope that someone in their life is constantly reaffirming to them how beautiful they are, and I hope that NO ONE ever tells them they can’t do what they want to do!  Most important, I want them to always be who they are and not try to be anyone else.  If you know who you are and where you want to be in life and someone tries to discourage you, you keep going and say to yourself, “you wait, I will show you!” 

Here are the girls right before they sang "Break Down Here"

Thank you Lewis County for giving me some time to spend with your girls.  I had fun getting to meet them all after the show and I am a better person because of my time there.  Saturday was such an awesome day!  I can’t wait to travel to the next school!

Signing autographs for each girl!! 


  1. Dear Julie,

    Everybody needs a friend like Patti. I am very grateful you have her in your life. The guy may be a "famous songwriter", but he obviously doesn't know much about human relations. Perhaps he was just asking because he's looking for somebody to buy his music? Who knows. The truth is the truth ~ of course, you're still singing. You sing everyday, don't you? Whether or not you're booking gigs or nailing down record deals...that's quite a different story, and in my opinion has more to do with EGO than the gift you were given by God ~ and His plans for you.

    Just keep singing. Be true to yourself. The rest will happen, surely as the birds sing in the spring.

    And as for the guy? Hmmm, I think I'd take him off the short list of people I want close to me.


  2. Julie, you rock whether you're 110 pounds or 210 pounds. You don't need to be a stick to be beautiful. You have that naturally. You're an amazing person who just happens to have an amazing voice... so what else matters? Your fans love and support you no matter what! :-)