Julie Carr Releases Faith-Based Memoir

Julie Carr

By Susan Shinn Turner

Julie Carr has written a faith-based memoir about her nearly three-year journey with Stage 4 lung cancer. “Let Your Light So Shine: Reflections of God’s goodness in the storms of life” will be published next month by Diversified Graphics. Julie will host a book signing in Peeler Hall on Friday, April 26, from 6 to 7:30 pm, and light refreshments will be served.

Julie had been thinking about writing a book since early 2017.

“I had been posting a lot on social media and had gotten encouragement from a lot of different people,” Julie says, “but I pushed the idea to the back of my mind.”

In August 2018, Julie contacted me about editing a memoir.

“We have known each other for years,” Julie says, “and we finally had the same idea at the same time.”

To tell Julie’s story, we decided to publish the book with the help of Diane Goodnight, another St. John’s member and owner of Diversified Graphics. With a grant from the St. John’s Benevolent Foundation and gifts from other friends, funding for the project quickly came together. We brought in Sarah Michalec, the marketing manager for the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, who’s lightning fast, we learned, in layout and design.

“Bringing in Sarah was a godsend,” Julie says. “She is awesome.”

Julie marvels at the fact that everyone involved in the project is a St. John’s member. “I think it is the way it was supposed to be,” she says.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to lung cancer research, the church, and to a college fund for Julie and David’s son, Dawson.

This was Sarah’s first book project, and she wanted the design to be delicate and feminine, she says. “Even though I know Julie and I know her story, it made me feel special to be a part of it, and to use my skills to make her vision come to life.”

Although they knew each other through St. John’s, Sarah and Julie became more intimately connected when Sarah asked for Julie’s help on a graduate research project about the patient experience in cancer treatment. Sarah’s father, Steve, had metastatic prostate cancer and died on October 19, 2013.

Sarah adds, “There are so many people we know who have cancer. They are real people who have real lives, and want to continue living their lives every day. When my research was published at Christmas, Julie was so excited for me, but I was excited for her. It’s going out into the world, and it’s going to inform research. I think that’s special.”

In being part of Julie’s book, she says, “I would have done anything for Julie.”

Julie started writing in the fall, mostly during the mornings when Dawson was at school.

“I wrote the story in chronological order,” she says. “As I thought about important points, I’d jot them down. It really was a fluid process. I didn’t get stuck. The words came easily. I just wrote from my heart. I’m really excited to leave this legacy for my son in the form of a book he’ll have forever — regardless of the outcome.”

She adds, “We want to acknowledge all the hope and love we’ve received in this process. Of course, St. John’s has been fabulous, and some of my former colleagues have done fundraisers for me, which was really sweet. And with the donors to the book — the next thing you know, we had everything we needed. People are so good and have been so supportive. We’ve been overwhelmed.”

She continues, “My goal was to tell my story. I hope it will inspire others to put their faith in God during difficult times, and always glorify God. I see Him every step of the way. God has consistently been showing up. For those who are not believers, I want to plant a seed to choose Jesus.”

After her book signing, Julie will be available to speak to local civic groups, church groups and other organizations. If you’d like for Julie to speak to your group, please contact her at juliedawnblair@yahoo.com.

“Let Your Light So Shine” costs $20, and will be available in Seasons Gifts.