Headshot Julia Gabriel

About Me

Under Construction, but then aren’t we always.

Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. – Shannon L. Alder

Boy, this is harder than I thought. Do I share with you the basics, or get down to the nitty gritty?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first…

Hello, it’s me, Julia.

I’m a mother to 5 beautiful kids who are growing up way too fast. My children have defined my being for the better part of 14 years, but now that they are finding their independence so am I.

My Kids

My oldest is 14, almost 15, and determined to become a world renown brain surgeon. When she’s not busy studying, she’s an artist with talent that astounds me.

My second oldest, at 13, is a firecracker. She’s busy, sporty, opinionated, stubborn, and a born entrepreneur. I’d say I don’t know where she get’s it from, but I can so clearly see myself in her eyes.

My middle daughter, at 11, is a the typical middle child, but only the good parts. She’s got determination, organizational skill, a sweet temperament, and is the peacemaker in the family. If something needs to get done, she’ll be the one to do it first.

My boy, oh my sweet, sweet boy. At 10 years old my son is just starting to come into the tween years. He’s got a brilliant mind that focuses on everything but what I need him to. We call him our encyclopedia for a reason, and it’s not just because he spent the summer when he was 7 reading them cover to cover.

Miss V, my wee one, I blinked and she was no longer a baby. We’re still trying to figure her out, but at just 7 years old she’s got time to come into her own. One thing is for sure she’s my nugglebug. If I’m feeling blue she’s the first one to come over and comfort me. It could have something to do with all the babywearing we did when she was little.

My husband and me

I’m a wife to a husband that both delights me and drives me nuts. That’s probably because I’m the hippie and he’s the republican. We’ve always done things the wrong way, going from kissing in a tree, straight to pushing a baby carriage, but it’s worked for us. After 16 years together, in which we’ve had multiple cross country moves, never ending home renovations, rough patches, sick parents and more, we’ve managed to not only weather the storms but come out of them a more cohesive unit. It hasn’t always been easy, but who ever said making a marriage work was?

little me

As for me I’m an enigma. I grew up in Alberta as an (almost) only child to a mother who suffered from agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder. Welfare, food banks, and begging were all that kept us afloat most months. My father did his best to be a part of my life, but living with her, or even far away from her was a challenge. My young life was spent trying to avoid her when she was down, and riding the highs of the good times. For good or bad all of those experiences shaped me. I now can face almost any challenge, problem solve my way out of the worst situations and know that the only way to succeed in life is to work hard.

When my brother came along I was just 14 years old. I quickly stepped into the role as a caretaker, but a teen can only take the pressure for so long so did what most teens do and rebelled. I went a little further than most by finding a job, leaving home and declaring myself an emancipated minor at the tender age of 16. I tried to make it on my own but quickly realized that I wouldn’t get far in life without an education. I went back to school, worked my but off to get decent grades, held down a part time job that helped to support my mom and brother and graduated high school only a year behind my peers.

Life has never lead me down the easy path, although I have tried to take it on occasion. Moving to Calgary to be with my Dad, Step-Mom, and new baby sisters, was supposed to be that easy path, but when my mom suffered her second psychotic break just a year after I moved away, leaving the well being of my little brother in question, I knew that I could never break away from her completely. I decided that no matter how hard it was, I was going to protect my brother at all costs. That meant a summer spent in court, while holding down a job, to gain joint guardianship of him. I knew that this wouldn’t be her last episode and I wanted to make sure that he never went into foster care.

The gift for intuition my mother always said I had was sadly true and just a short two years after gaining joint guardianship of my brother I became his sole caregiver after my mother took her own life. At just 22 years old I was responsible for the well-being of a boy who had many challenges in life. I had to navigate his needs while trying to manage my own sense of loss. We struggled through the first few months, I moved us back home to Edmonton, and I got on with being a responsible adult.

A less than a year after moving back home I met my husband and the rest, as they say, is history.

family silhouette

Little known facts include:

  • I struggle with anxiety
  • I have a temper and have been known to give sailors a run for their money when it comes to colourful language.
  • I have a gift for reading the Tarot and I-ching although since marrying a Catholic I no longer practice
  • I was raised a Wiccan, but I also explored many different religions before setting on being spiritual, but not religious.
  • I Love nothing more than stretching my creative muscles, whether it be in writing, through video or photography, or even in the culinary or textile arts.
  • Supporting the local food bank and seasonal toy drives are two ways that I give back to my community.
  • Speaking out about the loss of my mother to mental health issues and my own struggles is a way I help myself heal.
  • My husband and I are DIY’ers when it comes to the home and hate paying people to do what we can figure out on our own. We do know when to call in reinforcements though.

If you want to discuss partnering with me on a project email me at info@justmejulia.ca.

If you want the short version of my About Me click here. – link to come

 

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