How does one still have faith in a God when all seems doom and gloom? Sit back in a comfy chair and visit with Julie as she shares her story. Plus, she's offering a dynamic book giveaway!
Julie is offering one copy of her new release TWANG to one commenter. The winner will be announced next Friday, August 24th. For convenience, please leave your email address within the comment.
Thanks For A Brain Injury?! by Julie Cannon
When I was a Junior at the University of Georgia in 1984, I needed a bunch of P.E. credits in order to graduate. I eagerly registered for a class called Fitness for Life; an intensive, multi-sport approach. My class was biking down Milledge Avenue, sans helmets, when an elderly gentleman’s car slammed into me. I’ve got no memory until some sketchy images weeks later in a hospital physical therapy room; learning to walk between parallel bars, squeezing sponges of water from one bowl into another, bottles of phenobarbitol lining the shelf.
When the hospital sent a brain-injury specialist to prepare my family for their new reality, I was oblivious. Apparently my mother still dwells only on the good things because she often remarks, “You’re a walking miracle! God’s been good to you, Julie.”
Well, at first I was not so sure about all the ‘God’s been good to you’ talk. Trips to the neurologist revealed a “spark” shooting from the right front temporal lobe of my brain. I was told ‘It’s not a good idea for you to drive.’ I certainly wasn’t feeling the need to say thanks to Someone who’d let this happen.
Though I’d been raised by devout, God-fearing parents who carried me to church every time the doors were open, I’d never had the time, nor the desire for any of that religious stuff. Life was all about me. But as the months passed, and as I journeyed along in my recovery (particularly as I saw the drooling folks in wheelchairs in the neurologist’s waiting room) I began to see that I had indeed been spared, and that there was a greater power at work in me. I’m sure you’re heard people say it was their suffering that drew them closer to God, that it was while in the proverbial dark valley they discovered God was all they needed. For me, this discovery was a brand new, earth-shaking realization, one that blew the door wide open to my soul.
Going through that l-o-n-g valley taught me that God uses the hard things in our lives to re-fashion us. It was the catalyst for a trusting relationship, a peace with God that I would not trade for anything in this world.
Sometimes it still hits me right between the eyes - what a miracle it is that I can walk, that I still possess the mental clarity to tell the stories I’ve always loved to tell! The wreck, the brain injury, and my subsequent journey to recovery wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. But as many challenges as I faced, still face, it was worth it all. In an odd way, I’m even thankful for what became the pivotal moment in my life. I wouldn’t erase it even if I could. What it taught me, what it brought to me is of immeasurable value. I want to tell this to the world.
I like what Donald Maass has to say about writers conveying our passions: “They are always stronger in the mouths of characters than in the prose of the author.” One of the characters in my novel Twang is Tonilynn Hamby, beautician to country music diva Jenny Cloud. Tonilynn has gone through her own valleys, times when she was teetering on the abyss of despair. Now she feels she has wisdom to offer recording star Jenny Cloud when it comes to ugly childhood memories:
“This world would be so much poorer without your songs. You’ve got to understand, hon, in God’s economy, nothing we experience in this earthly life is wasted. Please let him pour his love on hurting, vulnerable people through you. He can make something beautiful and good come out of your ugliest experiences, if you’ll just let him! I’m begging you, just ask him to help you dig it all up!”
Jenny is not sure she can trust Tonilynn’s faith or her advice. Tonilynn is not deterred. “It’s the only way to healing, Jennifer,” Tonilynn’s brown eyes went soft with concern. “Believe me, God cares, and he understands our hurt. He used my hurts as a way of ministering to others when I finally looked them in the eye, and he can use yours. Pull up whatever it is that’s still buried and use it to write a song.”
Jenny Cloud is stubborn. It takes a natural disaster to drive her to her knees.
Twang is about how to trust God with a despicable memory, something you think is totally unredeemable, and find out he’s got something beautiful he can fashion from it. If you like spiritually daring stories, I hope you’ll consider checking out Twang.
Can you relate to either Julie's experiences, or that of her characters Jenny Cloud or Tonilynn? Julie will enjoy hearing from you if you'd like to leave a comment ♥
Twang (Abingdon Press) Coming August 1 2012
I'll Be Home for Christmas (Summerside Press)
The Romance Readers' Book Club (Penguin Plume)
Those Pearly Gates (Simon & Schuster)
'Mater Biscuit (Simon & Schuster)
Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes (Simon & Schuster)
Julie L. Cannon is the author of the award-winning Homegrown series, published by Simon & Schuster and described as ‘Southern-fried soul food.’ Her novel I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Summerside Press, Sept. ‘10, made the CBA Bestseller List as well as Nielsen’s Top 50 Inspirational Titles. Abingdon Press will release Twang in August 2012, and Scarlett Says in October 2013. When she isn’t busy tending her tomato patch, Julie can be found listening to country music or teaching memoir-writing workshops. She lives in Watkinsville, Georgia. Visit her website at www.julielcannon.com and connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/julieLcannon and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JulieLCannon