In life’s darkest winters, remember that hope always follows. In this episode, we’re joined by Julie Kenzler, a bestselling author, international broadcaster, and passionate advocate for finding hope in the face of life’s most challenging moments. As she shares her journey, Julie reveals how she turned her personal tragedy into a powerful message of hope. She’s the author of “Hope Follows,” a book that explores the transformative power of hope in the wake of devastating loss, and she spreads this message through her broadcasts and media engagements. Through her own and her podcast guests’ experiences, Julie’s message is clear: hope is not just a distant light at the end of the tunnel, but a guiding force in even the darkest of times. Tune in and discover that there is always a reason to believe in a brighter tomorrow.
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Hope Follows With Julie Kenzler
It is my pleasure to introduce Julie Kenzler. Julie is the expert on hope following the hard things we face. She is a bestselling author, international broadcaster, and podcaster. Julie is passionate about equipping people to move from struggles to hope in any season of life we are walking in. As an avid hiker, Julie not only works to stay fit and healthy, but she also faces challenges that force her to stay the course and move beyond obstacles. She loves making memories with her family and friends. Julie is a steadfast follower of Jesus Christ and can’t even imagine life without Him as her rock. Julie is going to be speaking to us about hope following. Please everyone help me welcome Julie Kenzler. How are you?
I’m great. That was such a lovely introduction. Thank you.
You’re an incredible person. I have a special place in my heart for my author in The Lemonade Stand and you being one of them. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of you when you come together and connect and share and just make this beautiful experience happen through the book. That’s amazing.
Thank you. Not to mention your mentorship and the whole sisterhood and brotherhood because we did have one guy in our book. The journey and then speaking of the media bootcamp, being roommates and we had so much fun.
That was great. I started wrapping that into the whole package with The Lemonade Stand because I learned how to promote and do the whole media process. After all, if you don’t get the exposure, whatever it is you’re doing nobody knows if you don’t have exposure. For instance, you do several things that you need to put yourself out there all the time.
You have a book, Hope Follows. The thing about a book is it’s a never-ending thing. You don’t just write it and then that’s it. It’s done. It’s a living, breathing thing that continues to be a timeless, wonderful thing for people. You’ve got your book, The Lemonade Stand, broadcasting, all of that. You need to continue to market and get exposure. That’s why I want everybody to understand how I market myself. How do I put myself out there? Hope you got some of that great stuff out of the boot camp.
I did so much knowledge and I have notes and I look forward to organizing my life to where I can put in more full-time effort into that.
You’ve been on fire because I follow you on Facebook and I see all of the things that you’re getting involved with and the different speaking opportunities. I have to commend you for taking the effort. It’d be a lot easier to sit back and do nothing.
That’s not going to happen. Thank you for saying that, Michelle. Thanks for all that you’re doing and for this beautiful summit. This is going to be special.
Thank you. I won’t say you have a great story because we all have way more than one story. The basis of your broadcasting, the book that you wrote, Hope Follows, all of that revolves around having lost your sister to a drunk driver. There were a lot of levels that came out of the situation. It was looking at you after a hard time. Grief is tough yet you manage to look at it in some different and positive ways. That’s where the hope comes in because hope will always be there. I could just keep talking, but I want to hear from you, so I’m going to be quiet and let you talk about what Hope Follows means to you.
It’s two simple words, hope and follows. It’s really basic. It’s that hope can follow any hard thing you go through. That’s where I first felt that hope myself. I had to do some work, some grief, recovery work, grief, and healing, and then I had rediscovered hope again. It was a beautiful experience, even in such a tragic time, losing my beautiful sister Tammy. We’re on 10 years in November 2023. It’s still very hard and sad. I didn’t ever want to stay stuck in my grief. I didn’t want to roll over and quit on life.
In the beginning, I felt that way, but I knew being a mom of four kids and a wife, I couldn’t do that. I needed to move on people say, “Move on with your life,” but I didn’t like that. I did the work that I needed to do. I went to a counselor for a couple of years. I went to grief support groups for two sixteen-week sessions. I read a lot, started journaling, and blogging, and then that’s how it became a book.
I felt that hope again after that hard time. I wanted people to feel and know that. That’s why the blogging started. God would just give me out. I would be at a grocery store and see something, and I would get this inspiration for, “I have a good object. I have a good lesson, a word picture to help someone who’s feeling isolated or lonely.” That’s how my blogs got established. It was in the beginning about grief. Hope follows grief, but it’s so much more than that.
You talked about how you were an event that I watched you present and you did a fabulous job. You used the different four seasons that we go through to talk about the process of grief. Can you give a synopsis of that because it’s fantastic?
There is the season of summer. It’s such a fun time for us. It’s a fun experience. Everything is joyful. You can remember back to your childhood when you were out of school and feel alive. Even in this hard time, you still have this parallel feeling and these emotions. You’re making things happen and you’re productive.
You move into fall. Fall is when you look outside. The colors are changing and it’s beautiful. The colors are vibrant. We love those colors, but things are dying. Things are starting to go down, whether it’s, again, grief or whatever the hard thing is that you’re facing. Things are shifting, things are changing, and it’s not feeling comfortable. You’re starting to think, “Do I need to do something about this? What do I do?”
You get into that winter time and that winter time is when things are barren. I always think of a woman who can’t have a child. A barren time for us in our lives is like a complete job loss for whatever reason. Losing a loved one or a friend. Winter is such a cold, hard time in our lives. Again, in that time, you have to find your support group. You’ve got to find people who will carry you through. In the summer and the fall, we can make do, but when it’s wintertime in our lives, we can’t do it alone.
You get into that springtime, and that’s when things are coming alive. That’s when I first realized, “I’m getting this new hope, this new joy in my life.” That’s when you get the good news from the doctor after there was that horrible report of maybe a cancer that was found. You’ve gone through all the procedures and the chemotherapy. You’ve got that clean report that everything is great. The new job that you were offered, the new neighbor that came into your life and you were grieving the loss of someone who was there for 30 years. The new child that’s come into your family. There are so many things that spring represents, that newness.
I know a lot of people love butterflies and butterfly represents new life. You have that caterpillar that’s in the little cocoon. I was at a counseling office once and she had this gorgeous display, beautiful, huge. It was a butterfly. On one side, there were black gems, gray, drab, and boring colors. It just transitioned to this colorful blues, yellows, oranges, reds, and greens, all on this side. It showed that transformation. When we’re in those hard, difficult times in our lives, it looks and feels ugly, but we just stay strong. You do the work to get through it to the other side, other side, you’ll transform into something so incredibly unrecognizable. That’s what God can do.
Thank you for sharing all that, because I’m a very visual person. Even though you have spoken the word, it helped me have a visual too as you can see that drabness and experiencing the vibrant new colors. Hope Follows is another way of saying turning lemons into lemonade. It’s the same language. What I love about that language is the idea of hope. That idea of hope will come because if someone is going through the lemons in their life, they’re just entering into the winter to need to know that that hope will come.
Oftentimes with suicide, that’s a missing piece too. They can’t wrap their mind around the fact that hope will come. Life will be good again because you get stuck in that winter. You can’t see the spring. My message is all about turning it into lemonade. That lemonade’s going to come. Don’t worry. You got to do the work too but it’s going to come. Hope is a beautiful, powerful word. You also have a broadcast station so you’re out there talking to people every day. What does that do for you?
It’s so cool. After this, I’m going to my studio and I’m interviewing a wonderful, beautiful lady who has cerebral palsy. What this woman has done in her life is so fantastic. People who have had very tough stories are coming to me, and I am sharing them on my show. It’s on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network, and it’s all over the world. It is a great opportunity for these people to share their hard stories, sharing their lemon that turned into lemonade. It’s such a liberating feeling for them to share that. It’s good and healthy for them. It is fantastic to see how there are connections made.The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network is a great opportunity for people to share their hard stories, sharing their lemon that turned into lemonade. Click To Tweet
Who knows what country someone is in and they’re watching something about experiencing abuse of some kind? They’re watching this person, this guest on my show, share their story and how God brought them through it, how God helped them heal and work through forgiveness. It’s incredible. To be able to have that nice log that I have of all these episodes, whether it’s live watching it on television with Hope Follows on HSBN, or it’s even on Spotify.
I want people to be encouraged. I want them to see that someone else has gone through this horrific thing I’m dealing with. I don’t want them to stay stuck. I want them to drink that lemonade, Michelle. I feel so empowered and energized. I’m so grateful that God has given me that platform. I don’t take it lightly. It’s a lot of work. I’m a teacher full-time, but I’m just excited for what is next.
You always choose enthusiasm. That’s one of the beautiful things about you. You create this aura of hope and you carry it with you because it is a path and because you’re true to who you are. You are always talking about it. It becomes your daily language when talking to people and that’s a great gift.
That’s so true. Just like lemons and lemonade, it is your language. It’s your motto, your theme, your brand which is what Hope Follows. I love what your previous guest shared about reframing the things that we say. It could be us at Disneyland and we couldn’t get into a ride or something happened and out of my mouth always comes, “Hope follows. We’ll find something to do.” It’s something ingrained in me and now, I’m training my family to say that.
It’s a great message. For your kid to understand that too because this is a hard world to be a young person right now. That I would say is a very positive message. There’s hope. Don’t ever let anything bog you down because there’s always hope it’s going to be there for you. That’s great for your kids. To share a little bit about your lifestyle too. You’re another Arizonan that I know. You love the hiking life and you take full advantage of everything the state has to offer. It helps keep you very family-centered too.
It does. I do have a story. I love to hike with my family. The funny thing is some of them like to hike with me and some of them don’t. They never know where I’m going to take them. One of my sons, my youngest, Evan, and my oldest son, Jack, and his wife, Alex, the three of us with one of the boy’s friends went and hiked Mount Humphreys here in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s 12,000 feet up so you’re hiking about 3,500 feet.
We were caught in the most horrific thunderstorm. Talking about thunder over there, lightning felt like it was right behind us. I’m training to hike the Grand Canyon, and I thought I had everything with me, but flashflood, hail, lightning, and thunder. It was so scary. I did say hope follows a lot on that trail. I prayed for two and a half hours straight. You wonder, “Am I going to make it through this?” My boys, my daughter-in-law, and my friend have bonded. It was hard. It was scary but we bonded. We have this feeling of accomplishment like someone who’s going skydiving. It’s such a natural high when you get out there, get outdoors, and appreciate what’s around you.
I did Mount Humphreys once with my sister. That was one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever had. It’s beautiful. Fortunately, we didn’t get a thunderstorm. The thing is you can be doing something so innocent in your life as hiking, but the reality is, and you notice living in Arizona, it can happen. Something could have happened in that storm and that moment might’ve been lost. Not only hope follows, but what’s important is always to remember to embrace every moment that we can and what we have. When you were bonding in that scary thing, probably somewhere in the back of your mind, something could happen.
The whole time. We thought that. We were able to text some people to ask for prayer. A couple of times we felt like sitting down and giving up. Letting the storm take us wherever it takes us. I feel it’s such a word picture because sometimes, we do need to sit in the storm and be present. If you’re someone who’s of faith, reach out, sit with God, and just be present.Sometimes, we do need to sit in the storm and be present. Click To Tweet
When I lost my sister, I remember dropping my kids off at school. I would listen to this list of songs that would make me cry, offer me hope and healing, and give me inspiration. I would lay my head on the couch and hyperventilate type crying and picture that I was laying my head on Jesus’s lap. I felt that comfort, like a little girl who has hurt herself and lying in mommy or daddy’s lap. That’s how I felt.
You just need to be held.
In the storm, I needed to just sit. Sometimes you go and fight through it. Squeeze the lemon out, get that sugar in there, mix it all up, and add ice.Sometimes you go and fight through it. Squeeze the lemon out, get that sugar in there, mix it all up, and add ice. Click To Tweet
We’re dancing now, we’re tap dancing, you name it. We’re doing it now. Taking positive proactive opportunities to turn our lives around and help others as well. I’m all about lifting people. You lift me all the time. You do have that great method and keep doing what you’re doing because you’re helping more people than you know. That’s a horrific thing. Not to think it out and life has all kinds of different tragedies, but death is such a finality. It’s such a hard thing to deal with. It’s a little harder to come out of.
This is the 55th anniversary of losing my oldest sister. This is a very special day for me. She was eighteen years old. She died from an illness. Things happen. Isn’t it amazing years later where you still feel that? I don’t feel the wound so much as I love to go back to the memories and sometimes ponder the what-ifs but in a very positive way. I wonder what she would’ve done with her life. She would’ve done some amazing things. Kim, I know you’re up there shining your light down on me. I wanted to make mention of that because it’s a hard place to come back from and bounce back from, but hope does follow. I’ve certainly been able to see that come into my life planning of time. What’s next up for you?
I am working on creating some corsets in Finding Hope. I’m going to have three different modules and have that come out. It’s going to be super simple, video-led, and allow people access to me once they buy it. I’ll be working on creating that and then marketing it. Thankfully, I have a son who’s talented with marketing, just like you have a talented daughter who’s helping you with your entire business.
Keeping it out on the family.
I would love to travel and be able to share this message somehow. I’m waiting with hopeful expectancy. I’m also enjoying where I’m at right now. My mom is elderly so I’m trying to spend a little more time with her and doing that. Embracing where I am right now with my kids and their lives, traveling up to Northern Flagstaff, Arizona more.
You bought a house too. You’ve got a second home to be able to get to. If you know Arizona, then you know how important it is to have that place to escape to, especially in the summer. Julie, you’re a delight. Thank you so much for being here, for sharing, and for being vulnerable enough to share your story. I do so much appreciate that. I appreciate all for tuning in to this episode. We’ve just finished our dance with Julie Kenzler. Go check out her book Hope Follows and look her up watch some of her broadcast and enjoy what she has to say because she’s got a very important method. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Michelle, Thank you for having me.
About Julie Kenzler
Julie Kenzler is the expert on HOPE FOLLOWING the hard things we face. She is a best-selling author, international broadcaster, and podcaster. Julie is passionate about equipping people to move from struggles to hope in any season of life we are walking in.
As an avid hiker, Julie not only works to stay fit and healthy – but she also faces challenges that force her to stay the course and move beyond obstacles. She loves making memories with family and friends! Julie is a steadfast follower of Jesus Christ and can’t even imagine life without him as her rock.