Lives for the Moments, Part 1

Jule Furr with white hatAs Jule* approaches her 50th birthday this year, she realizes she has faced one type of health struggle or another for many years of her life. Her beautiful smile and positive outlook on life would cause you to think she’s lived an easy life.Unless you asked her, like I did for this interview, you’d never know all the hurdles this overcomer has had to face.

* Her real name, used with permission.

You Are Brave. You Are Strong.

Her first health struggle came at age 11, when she had a nodule taken out of her neck, only to be told she had Hodgkin’s disease. She was treated with radiation. The doctors told her parents they were sure the radiation treatments would cause her problems later in life, but they couldn’t predict what kind of problems those would be.

One night in the hospital, Jule roamed the halls to get her mind off her upcoming treatment. She was scared, but she felt God whisper, “It’s going to be OK.”

Two years later, the Hodgkin’s disease came back, but this time in her right lung. Her treatment was six months of chemotherapy and radiation. Her classmates made fun of her and pulled off her hats to reveal her bald head. Jule was so sick from the medicine that she was home-schooled during 7th grade.

Even with the treatments, Jule continued to have problems. She underwent exploratory surgery. Her spleen, gall bladder, and part of her liver were taken out. Her ovaries were also moved down with the hopes the radiation wouldn’t affect them. Her doctors were amazed by her courage: “You are so brave! You are so strong!”

A Much Needed Break

Jule and Bryan Furr datingJule experienced a much needed break from her health struggles  during her teens and twenties. She enjoyed the freedom and fun of college life. Shortly after college, Jule met Bryan at a merchandise mart in North Carolina. A year later they ran into each other at a dance club and began dating. They married a year later.

Jule’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer during the early years of her marriage. She remembers her mom waking up in the night and calling for her. Jule rushed to check on her. When her mom looked up at her, she asked Jule if her name was Sunshine. Such a precious time for Jule.

Jordan and FuzzyJule and Bryan were blessed with a daughter (Jordan) and then a son (Christian).

For twenty years, Jule lived a life free of health struggles. But because of her radiation and chemotherapy at a young age, her OB-GYN encouraged her to have a mammogram when she was 33 years old. The radiologist delivered the news that she had stage 2 breast cancer. She asked her doctor, “What would you recommend if I were your wife?”

She followed his recommendation and had a double mastectomy. She endured three months of chemotherapy and had reconstruction surgery. “My son colored on my bald head, because I once again lost my hair,” she remembers.

One of God’s Favorites

Jule Furr's book coverJule focused on playing games and spending time with her kids instead of focusing on how sick she was. To help explain such a difficult topic to her young children, Jule wrote The Scarf Game. She read and reread the book to them. She still shares her book with young people with the hopes that they too can understand the difficult challenges we face in this life.

It was during this time that Jule decided she was one of God’s favorites. I catch her smiling when she shares this declaration with me. “I’ve always thought I was touched by God and He chose me for a reason. Because of my struggles, my faith is stronger. I want people to see Jesus in me. We are here to shine a light.”


Jule definitely shines a light everywhere she goes. Her story of struggle and overcoming is not complete yet, so please check back next Friday when I share part 2 of her story.


Share with me: Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Jule definitely lives out this quote. Despite her numerous struggles, Jule lives for the moments when she has inspired, comforted, helped, and encouraged others. Share how you or someone you know takes advantage of the opportunities that appear in the midst of life’s difficulties.


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19 Responses to Lives for the Moments, Part 1

  • Susan says:

    Mama Furr is by far the strongest woman I have ever met. She is one big ray of Sunshine wherever she goes. God bless you, Jule Furr! Lots of love from the Barto clan.

  • Laine Hood says:

    I first met Jule when her son, Christian, was in my two year old preschool class. With all the struggles she was going through at the time, she was still an encourager and great preschool Mom! I am blessed to have been a room mom with her as Christian and our daughter, Nicki, shared the same ECS grades! Jule, you are definitely a gift from God to our family! Love from the Hood Gang!

  • Stacy Brungardt says:

    God is so good. We could all use a dose of that Sunshine! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and trust in The Lord. His love endures forever…

  • Melony Brown says:

    Susan and Laine,
    Isn’t it a joy to know Jule? She has taught all of us so much about the heart of an overcomer!

    God has been so good to Jule, and she knows that despite all that she has been through!

  • Angie Thomsen says:

    I met Jule at my kids school, and fell in love with her, she is all this and much more, my kids came across her during school stuff and fell in love with her as well. She always has a smile, and makes you feel like you are the only person in the room, she is amazing, and I agree God’s chosen one, Such a blessing, and the most courageous women EVER…

  • Jan says:

    Jule is a ray of sunshine to all she encounters! She brings laughter, joy, a huge heart and a sense of what is possible to all! She exudes a life lived without regret and one lived for Christ and loving others. She is a definite blessing in my life!

  • Melony Brown says:

    Angie and Jan,

    You both captured what makes Jule so special – her smile and her huge heart!

  • Christy Stanga says:

    Our family met the Furr’s through baseball and what a gift and a blessing they are. Led by Mama Furr of course! I have seen her sit in 100 degree weather, sick as a dog, without complaint, to watch her baby boy play ball. And I saw a team of ball players share a national championship with her – rejoicing that she made it to watch them. Thank you for honoring her spirit and zest for life. Everyone who meets her leaves being better than before.

  • Christy Norton says:

    My aunt Jule is truly an inspiration, and I don’t know where I would be without her. She is a wonderful blessing in my life. Thank you for sharing her story!

  • Shelley Bronaugh says:

    Jule is a truly remarkable woman! My family has had the pleasure of taking a couple of beach trips with her and her sweet family. Her light most certainly shines!

  • Maria Price says:

    I am Jule’s cousin only two years younger. I remember learning about Jule being sick so young. We have never lived any closer than 4 hours away from each other. We visit on occasion, and I enjoy taking my nearly 85 year old mother to see Jule and her Dad (my mother’s brother). I’ve never seen anyone with the drive and determination that Jule carries. Not only does she carry it, she freely gives it to others. Jule has always been a beautiful person inside and out. The last time we visited I was going through a painful divorce. The encouragement she gave me will never be forgotten. I remember thinking if Jule can face life with this horrible disease,and offer me encouragement and love, I too can face what is ahead of me. Jule’s spirit is bigger than her sickness and she can’t possibly know the effect she has had on me. I know I am only one of many that she has touched. Jule is a gift~I love her. It’s great that you are sharing her story.

  • Inge says:

    Jule always has a smile on her face. A true joy.
    Love her!

  • Dorina says:

    I met Jule through our sons playing baseball. She is an amazing person. She is the most positive upbeat person I know! Her faith is so strong. Knowing Jule makes me a better person – she is all of our sunshine! Love her dearly!

  • Dana Evans says:

    I first met Jule a few years ago when our boys began playing football and baseball together. She is a true inspiration. I love her zest for life. She always makes me smile when I’m with her. She truly is a ray of sunshine. My life is so much better with her in it.

  • Melony Brown says:

    Wow, Jule! You have made a HUGE impression on every person you meet! Thanks ladies for sharing your sweet Jule stories!

  • Amy says:

    Not only does her light shine brightly but it’s done so for many years now. It is one thing to be brave and joyous during a ‘season’ and an entirely different thing to carry the joy of Christ in you so that it never quits. I just hope I get to tell the gate keeper in Heaven that I’m friends with Jule…God’s special one!

  • Cathy Mintz says:

    I have known Jule since right before she married Bryan. We have been through a lot of times together. Till today, I say, she is the strongest and most positive person I know. She is a great inspiration to ALL…

  • Susan M. Harpe says:

    I must start by thanking you, Melony Brown, for writing such an amazing article about an amazing person that I am lucky enough to call my cousin! Of course in our family we all know how truly amazing and wonderful Jule is but it is nice for others to read this story and especially those that may be struggling with their own health issues. What an inspiration both you ladies are to everyone! She epitomizes what a true Christian mother is suppose to be and I strive every day to be more like her in every thing I do. I wished we lived closer so that I could give her more hugs – but I will count on you guys in GA to do that for me. Can’t wait to read the 2nd part of your article! Love you Julie!

  • Paula Deiters says:

    Jule has lead her life with such grace and has shone us all way “joyful” living really is. Love her!

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Melony Brown I have had numerous opportunities to hear stories about women who have faced life's tough challenges. My writing reflects the lessons I’ve learned from these amazing women.

My blog has their real-life stories, while the book I'm writing follows a fictional character as she faces life's challenges.

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