Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy New Year

Hello Everyone!

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much as I was earlier in 2016. I had a very busy second half of the year and I am afraid that took most of my time. However, I am super excited about 2017 and I am in hopes you are as well! I have no clue what this year will bring, but I am ready to face it head on.

Although I do not typically make New Year’s Resolutions, this year I did and I am hoping to keep them (instead of giving them up for Lent like I usually do LOL.) I will be spending the next couple of weeks blogging some catch up columns I did not post last year and updating my current columns. I am hoping to do a massive Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It to keep everyone in the loop as to what I am reading and what I am excited about. I will also be re-posting some of my entries for A Catholic Moment, a blog I contribute to that offers daily reflections on the gospel readings. I only post every other Saturday, but if you like what you read, you can feel free to check  the site out and get some daily inspiration from a number of really great people!

Until next time, take it easy. Enjoy the time you have on this planet, have courage and be kind.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fabulous Fridays: #52Lists Project

52listsThis week’s list is to list the difficult moments in the past that have shaped your life for the better. Some of these may seem a little strange, so I have tried to add a brief explanation where applicable.

  • My Father’s Death: I truly do not believe that I would have went to college or became a writer if my father were still alive. I was the kind of girl who believed her father if he said, “Oh, you can’t do that!” So when he died, I spread my wings a bit and now I know he is looking down on me and cheering me on to do even more.
  • My Mother’s Death: When my mom died. I had to learn independence. There was no one to run to like before. I had to learn how to have confidence in my decisions and to plan ahead because any decision I make could have long-term consequences.
  • Divorce: I truly believe there are a lot of lessons in a failed marriage, both good and bad.
  • Having children: Ask anyone, labor is “difficult” but when you hold your children for the first time, it is the only way you can ever understand your mother’s own love for you.
  • Financial trouble: Money troubles are hard, but getting through them shows that you are stronger than you think. It teaches you a thing or two about responsibility and also shows that it takes so much more than money to break you.
  • Crisis of faith: This one is very hard…sometimes it is hard to believe in something that offers no concrete proof. Reconciling the spiritual with the physical is often open to interpretation and some years are easier than others. But I’m pretty sure we grow from these experiences and get better with time.

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:

On Twitter: @JulieYoung14


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fabulous Fridays: #52Lists Project

The list for this week says to list the things that you should ignore. This could take a while: 52lists

  1. Politicians
  2. Pundents.
  3. Negativity
  4. Rejection (Especially if it is coming from agents and publishers. They are only doing their job.)
  5. Things you have no control over and cannot change.
  6. Hate
  7. Religious Intolerance.
  8. The Rules of fashion, music, decorating and writing.
  9. Any and all trends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fabulous Fridays: Catching up with Dean Butler

Dean_Butler     Although it’s been over 30 years since Dean Butler played Almanzo Wilder on NBC’s mega hit Little House on the Prairie, he still remembers the impact his presence made on female viewers of the series. From the moment he arrived at the Walnut Grove School in his buckboard to pick up his sister Eliza Jane, his dashing figure could not only cause a prairie girl’s heart to skip a beat, but a few of ours as well.

I spoke with Butler recently to celebrate the re-release of Season Six of Little House (his first season on the show), find out what it was like to work on the wildly popular series and play the love interest of not only an iconic character, but America’s Sweetheart, Melissa Gilbert.


Q: When you were cast on Little House in the spring of 1979 it was already a very successful show with a solid following. Did you feel a huge sense of responsibility coming into it knowing you would be the guy to “court” and marry Laura Ingalls?


A: “Because I hadn’t read the books at the time, I wasn’t imbued with the underlying literature and didn’t know what was going to happen. Melissa Gilbert was America’s Sweetheart at the time and when you introduce this type of character there is definitely a huge level of responsibility to it. I credit Michael Landon’s casting instincts because he knew what he wanted visually and tonally from the character. I’d been cast in this kind of light before as well and I think that helped.”


Q: Were you the recipient of a lot of fan mail from female admirers?


A: “Yes. It really has been a tremendous to have women of all ages give me this gift of acceptance, affection, crushes or whatever you want to call it. It’s all been so positive. Little girls, grandmothers they all had a reaction to this character and I was blessed to be that guy.”


dean1     Q: It’s no secret that during your first season on the show, you were 23 while Melissa Gilbert was 15. Did that make for awkward situations, especially as the relationship between Laura and Almanzo progressed?


A: “Melissa was very gutsy in the way that she stepped into this. She put all of her anxiety aside and she had enormous faith in Michael Landon and that he would never put her in a compromising situation. It was a very large age gap but we were always very careful when approaching that aspect of the Laura/Almanzo relationship. We always wanted the audience to feel like Laura was in control of the situation. It was a lot to put on Melissa, but she did an exceptional job with it.”


Q: Do you have a favorite episode?


A: “’Sweet Sixteen’ is one of those episodes in the series where the direction changed big time. It is the book These Happy Golden Years all wrapped up into one episode and it changes the dynamic of the show. Until then, the Pa/Laura relationship had been so central, but now Laura is a young woman and she’s falling in love and it forced Michael to go into other directions. Another episode I like is ‘Days of Sunshine/Days of Shadow’ because I got to do so much as an actor. “


Q: Lastly, what is the correct pronunciation of Almanzo’s name?


A: “This is a bit of a controversy because it was Lucy Lee Flippen, who played Eliza Jane, who said ‘Al-mahn-zo’ when she’s introducing me to Laura and Michael never said anything about it…but right away we heard from book aficionados who were quick to tell me we were saying it wrong. Eventually I heard a brief recording of the real Laura talking and she referred to him as ‘Al-man-zo’ so that ended the debate for me.


Follow Dean Butler on Twitter @callmemanly and @deanmbutler

On Facebook at

On the Web:


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The extreme home makeover (LONG)


The bookcase that started it all.

It all began with a tiny bookcase my father bought for me on a trip he took to Florida when I was seven-years-old. It came with several little books that could really open and close and as he gave it to me, he said it was for a doll house he was planning to build me.

I was elated. I’d been wanting a dollhouse for as long as my mother told me I should have one and now that Dad was going to build it, I was over the moon. Mom and I often oohed and ahhhed over the dollhouses and tiny accessories we saw in the craft stores and hobby shops and while I had my eye fixed firmly on some three story Victorian model that cost nearly $100 in a pre made kit, Mom assured me if Dad built it from scratch, it would be even more special.


The book my father used to help him get started.

I was skeptical at best. Now, don’t get the wrong idea or think I was ungrateful because I wasn’t, but when Dad showed me the book on dollhouse construction that he’d also picked up in the Sunshine State, I was unimpressed. Aside from the cover, there weren’t a lot of photographs in the volume. How was he supposed to create my Victorian dream home complete with wrap around porch and rounded turrets if the whole book was comprised of nothing but theory and schematics? There wasn’t even a blueprint to get him started!






The doll house not long after its completion.

Now, before we go any further, you need to know a few things about my father. My dad was the kind of guy who did not jump into any project without a plan. However, that plan always had to be flexible and must have room for modifications that would occur over time. He was the kind of guy who would read a book in order to learn the basics and get the general meaning, then proceed to do his own thing. Stability and function was ALWAYS more important than style and fashion and if there was a way to do something on the cheap while achieving a reasonable result, by all means do it! He felt being thrifty was better than investing one’s life savings into a project that was, at the end of the day, a child’s TOY. (Just typing that made me realize how much I take after him! LOL)
So this explains how I ended up with a dollhouse that measured 3’x 9″, 2’x 4″, and 2’x 5″ and looked as though it could withstand a tornado. It looked nothing like the dollhouses I had seen in the stores or at my friends’ houses. Dollhouses were big in the 80s and several of my friends had Victorian mansions constructed from kits or made by their own beloved fathers and grandfathers. However, none of them looked like mine and none of them had outer walls fashioned from 3/4″ plywood.

“I wanted to build you a dollhouse that could be played with,” Dad told me. “Not one that was so delicate and flimsy you had to be careful. I wanted something that could withstand the shenanigans of a rambunctious and often clumsy kid.”
From the size of it, he also wanted something that would dominate any room that it was in. As I watched the monolith take shape in the basement workshop I couldn’t help wondering if it would ever get finished. Though I knew he couldn’t build it overnight, the days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months and months turned into…you guessed it…years! To determine it’s depth, Dad measured the doorway of his basement workshop and the width of the staircase leading to the upstairs. It wouldn’t be able to corner the landing and be carried into the kitchen, but he reasoned they could take it straight out the back door, around the sidewalk and in through the front of the house in order to get it into my room. He decided the pitch of the roof would be based on the pitch of our own garage, which had a loft and would provide permanent storage for the house when I grew too old to play with it anymore. As to how he determined the length….I’ll never know.

Of course all of these plans hinged on whether or not the darn thing would ever be completed. The way he went about it, I surmised it might be done roughly around my high school graduation. Of course to play fair, he could only work on it for a couple of hours at night (provided he didn’t have a lodge meeting), on the weekend and at times when other projects did not take precedence.

To make matters worse, every Christmas, birthday and other gift-giving occasion meant that some well-meaning relative would buy me yet another piece of furniture for a structure I couldn’t play with and that technically didn’t exist. There was the yellow canopied bed from my grandmother, the kitchen hutch from my aunt, the bathroom set from Santa and assorted other mismatched items that set in my closet collecting dust. Heck, I wasn’t even allowed to take them out and look at them for fear I would break something before I ever had the chance to really play with it. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate my relative’s generosity because I did, but when you are a kid, is there anything worse than getting a present you can’t play with? I don’t think so, though waiting around for a doll house to be completed may be a close second!


My mother inspecting Dad’s work during the doll house construction. Note the front panel isn’t attached yet…I would later discover that he wallpapered that panel before installing it making renovations to that wall a NIGHTMARE!

As the odd shapes of lumber eventually became something recognizable, the real fun began. After learning how much pre-made shingles would cost for the removable roof panels, Dad decided to make his own from the slats of the 1970’s style closet doors we once had. I swear there is not a material on this earth as versatile as this stuff and my father had a limitless supply of it. When my father replaced our closet doors with vinyl retractable ones in the early 1980’s, he saved the old ones to use on an untold number of projects. In the dollhouse alone, it can be found on the roof, on the steps, as trim around the windows, as window pane dividers , window framing, etc…I’m telling you he used it everywhere!

I can remember watching him cut the slats into shingle pieces, creating little grooves to match the store-bought variety and then gluing them one by one to the roof panel. Every night, I would take my bath towel down to the washer and beg him to let me glue a few on. I was so eager to contribute something to speed this project along and every once in a while he would let me. (Though he insisted on staying in charge of glue distribution.)

“Now, put it exactly where I tell you and don’t mess around,” he cautioned.

“I know, I know,” I would say.

Dollhouses are not inexpensive things to build. every item costs a bundle. Windows were a fortune so dad opted to create his own version using plastic sheeting and the afore mentioned “wonder slats.” (These would always be a pain in the butt, but they were cheaper and if they broke it wasn’t a huge deal to replace them.) Wallpaper with teeny tiny prints might as well costs as much as a whole role at Wallpapers To Go and Dad was quick to curtail the budget by purchasing only 4 rolls of dollhouse wall paper and using leftovers from our own house and my grandmother’s house to finish out the interior. When I look back on the blinding assortment of patterns we had in the house at the time it strikes me as an amazing tribute to bad taste.

“The Victorians were known for having tons of patterns in their houses,” my mother assured me when I questioned her about it. “It looks very authentic.”  Her explanation satisfied me. After all, my parents knew what they were doing and when in doubt, I blame everything else on the ’80s mentality that too much was never too much.

Then there was the wiring. There were only two jobs around the house my father avoided like the plague: plumbing and electrical. Now he was having to run wire through a miniature house using white tape, tiny light bulbs to a small switch box that contained a ridiculous amount of D-cell batteries and gave off as much illumination as a lightening bug’s butt. (The man actually warned me not to use the lights very often as it would be a nightmare to replace everything and the first time the bulbs went dead, he never replaced them.)

After two years of hard work and determination, the house my dad built was ready. His careful plan was about to come to fruition…kind of. Due to a request I made for a front balcony somewhere around the halfway mark of this production, my father learned that the house could no longer fit through the basement doorway and would have to be played with in the basement. As he put the finishing touches on the house, he asked me if I was OK with this and I said sure. Our basement was kind of our playroom anyway so I didn’t mind. With one last turn of the screwdriver on the front door, he announced I could finally move in. I remember it well. It was the night before my ninth birthday.


Me and the doll house at age 9.

For all of my misgivings and second thoughts about the house, there was never a more special present on the planet. It was truly a labor of love for him and aside from a few “I love yous” and extra hugs and kisses, he got nothing out of the deal. He did it all for me. I didn’t have the amount of furniture it would take to fill the place and I used a lot of makeshift pieces here and there, but so what? I had hours of fun in there and when I turned 13, it was time to put it away for good. With my permission, Dad removed the balcony in order to carry the house to the garage and up to its storage place, the exact spot he always intended for it to go. A few years later, he installed a garage door opener which essentially prevented the house from ever coming out of there without the door opener being dismantled. (You gotta love the guy!) I shook my head at his haphazard brilliance never imagining a time I would be without him.


Showing off the inside of the structure. Circa 1981.

But that time came…far too soon, in fact and 11 years later Mom was gone too and I was alone. Not long after her death, my brother and I were at their house sorting through some things and deciding what each of us would keep when I made the off-handed comment, “We need to take apart the garage door opener.”

He looked at me like I was crazy for a half-second then a big grin broke out across his face. “Yes ma’am,” he told me. “I know what’s up there. Don’t worry Sis, we’ll get your house out of there for you.”


The house was in amazing shape for the number of years it had been neglected. The windows were gone, there were some mouse droppings in the corner, but the wallpaper still clung to the plywood as if its life depended on it. I moved it to my new abode and slowly but surely I began to tackle the father-daughter project of my life. A renovation was long overdue and I was a determined to get it right. There were so many things Dad told me he would have done differently if given half a chance so I decided to take up his mantle and turn the dollhouse into the showplace I knew it could be. I had to be careful in order to stay true to what he built, while still putting my own stamp on it.


Same girl, same house…but 33 years later, it’s a very different picture.

There were times I didn’t know what I was doing. I would stare at his construction and wonder “How did he do that?” I noted the shortcuts and the places where he must have gotten tired, but I  couldn’t help being in awe of what he had accomplished. It took me years…probably as long if not longer than he took to build the thing in the first place. Because I had no “wonder slats,” I bought enough balsa wood trim I probably own stock in the company. I sewed curtains, I made my own curtain rods, I installed real windows (they have not gotten any less expensive, by the way) and painted some of the furniture. I removed all of the wallpaper save for a small floral print in one of the bedrooms because it had been in my grandmother’s house and I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons. I recovered the canopied bed with a cross stitch piece of my own making and bought new accessories to complement what I already had.


Recreating the photo from when I was 9….The house has come a long way, but I think Dad would be proud of the job I did. Don’t you?

There were times when I got stuck, worked too far ahead of myself and had to redo things. There were times in which I waited for a small voice inside of me whispered the solution to my problem. There were times I had to accept it would never be “perfect” but as long as I could hold my head up and be proud of it like my dad was, that’s all that mattered.

Now, 33 years to the day after he finished it the first time, the doll house is completed again. Once more, it is the best birthday present I could have hoped for and something I will cherish for my lifetime. Hopefully he is somewhere watching me and happy with the end result and perhaps somewhere he is saying what he said to me so long ago: “Happy birthday, Baby.”

Dollhouse Renovation photos:


The great room. I took down the wall paper, painted, added trim pieces, made curtains and purchased the fireplace, piano and artwork. All other furniture is original












The dining room originally had a yellow, spongelike wallpaper that came from my grandma’s house, but it was in bad shape so I removed it. The walls are salmon now and I sewed the curtains, added trim, as well as a pie safe (not very visible but it is on the left hand side. The dishes are new as well, however the dining table is original, but I re-covered the chairs to match the curtains.













The bed, mirror and hat rack are the only original pieces in this room. I made a new cover for the bed, purchased the night stands and armoire and added trim. I have also made a piece of art that hangs above the bed and reads 8/11 Johnson 1981 Young 2015.











The nursery was the first room I finished. I made the curtains, added trim, painted the table and chairs, and made the Peter Rabbit cross stitch piece. I also removed the old toy soldier wall paper and painted it a sea foam blue. (Note the not-to-subtle tribute to my father’s initials on the wall.)












This is one of my favorite rooms of the house. This was the only room that I was able to keep the original wallpaper. Considering it came from my grandmother’s spare bedroom (the one I used when I spent the night) that was VERY important to me. Also, my grandmother purchased this bed for me, however the canopy and spread was pretty old so I made a new one and cross stitched the designs on them. The sewing machine and accessories are the only new items in the room save for the trim and curtains. Everything else is original.













The kitchen has a mix of old and new. The hutch was a gift from my aunt and my father made the center table. Other original items include the pots and pans, fake food, ironing board and butcher block but I did get a new stove, added trim, repainted the room and made curtains to complement the dining room set.


Filed under Uncategorized

Tingle Tuesday: A Biofeedback tape leads to a discovery

outdoors-woman-headphones    Connie was a colleague at hospital who became a dear friend and mentor of mine. In fact, if I had a list of women who have had a profound impact on my life, her name would definitely appear somewhere in the Top Five. She had a way of opening my eyes to new concepts and in an indirect way she was directly responsible for my discovering ASMR. (In fact, if you look closely, I dedicated my portion of the ASMR book to Connie!)

One spring, I contracted an irritating cold that hung on longer than necessary and as a result turned my days and nights around. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were still on night shift, but I was working in the mornings and was dragging throughout the day only to find myself wide awake at night. Frustrated, I said to Connie, “How am I ever going to get my body’s schedule straight?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “Have you ever heard of biofeedback?”

I shook my head.

She went onto explain that that after injuring her back, she too had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. In order to help her out, her doctor made her a tape of biofeedback suggestions to help her relax. She promised to bring me a copy of the tape the next day in hopes that it might help.

From the way she described it, it sounded a lot like the guided visualizations my professor had used on my self-hypnosis class and at that point I was willing to try anything so I agreed. The following day, she brought me the tape and made me promise not to listen to it while driving. “I’m serious,” she cautioned. “You could wind up in an accident.”

I thought she was being a little overly cautious, but agreed to wait to listen to it until I was at home. That night, after getting the kids to sleep, I lay down, slid the cassette into my Walkman and put the headphones over my ears. There was that hum of white noise that occurs when someone records himself outside of a professional studio and then I heard the doctor’s voice, which caused my brain exploded in those familiar tingles I hadn’t felt in quite a while.

“Is it possible for you to become a little more relaxed?” He asked.

There was nothing special about his tone. It was just…calm and over the next 10-15 minutes, he led me through a variety of deep relaxation exercises as well as some guided imagery to help ease my mind and urge me into a peaceful slumber. Some of the suggestions were obvious such as imagining a babbling brook or picturing the branches of a tree spreading out above me, but others were a little…well, weird and caused me to throw all of my energy into places I’d never put it before.

“Can you feel the corners of your mouth touching?” He intoned. “Can you imagine the space between your eyes?”

Although I knew it wouldn’t make sense to a lot of people, I was hooked. When I built up a resistance to the doctor’s voice, I sought out guided meditation tapes at the local library hoping to find that perfect blend of vocal timbre and suggestion. It wasn’t always easy. I didn’t care for a lot of the background music included in some of the tapes and sometimes it all seemed a little “rehearsed.” The thing that seemed to set apart that original tape was the fact that I could actually hear how amateurish it was. I could hear the doctor readjust himself in his seat or change the microphone from one hand to the other and oddly enough…it added to the experience.

It felt amazing to know that the funny feeling in my head was some kind of biofeedback response and that a doctor had “discovered” a way to tap into it. Little did I know that I had inadvertently hit the top of a very big iceberg, one that when I looked below the surface would change my life forever.

Until next time, tingle on!


Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @Julieyoung14

Follow Julie Young on Facebook:

Join Indy ASMR:

Read this blog post at:

Read The Idiot’s Guide to ASMR at 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Review of the Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism

This was published originally by the and is copyrighted to them. I do not own the piece, but thought I would share this really nice review!

‘Catholicsm’ isn’t so hard after all
IG Catholicism Cover     Idiots Guide to Catholicism1You can’t judge a book by its title, let alone its cover. Take Idiot’s Guides “Catholicism” (Julie Young and Father Eric Augustein, Penguin Group, 2015. 366 pp. $19.95).

It shares shelf space with such other distinguished titles in the Idiot’s Guides series as “The Catholic Catechism,” “Catholicism for Dummies” and “Catholic Mass for Dummies,” all of which suggest that particular demographic is well catechized.

Flippant title aside, “Catholicism” is a clearly written book, which explains in laymen’s terms what the Catholic Church believes, teaches and doesn’t teach. The particular expertise of the two authors are complementary. Young holds a degree in writing from St. Mary of the Woods College and has written for a number of Catholic publications. Father Augustein, who is vocations director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, holds degrees in philosophy and theology from La Salle University and St. Meinrad School of Theology.
The book is broken down into 22 chapters over five parts: “What is Catholicism;” “The Sacramental Life;” “Living the Good Life;” Prayer and Holiness” and “Catholic Life and Culture.”

The writing is unquestionably orthodox in presentation yet in ways one might not have considered. For example the simple explanation of original sin as it is inherited from our first parents, refers “to people’s natural inclination to reject the will of God in favor of their own selfish desires and personal satisfaction.”

Breakout factoids and ancient and new quotes help to enliven the text, for example: “Ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ – St. Jerome;” “In the London betting houses I was in 44th place. Look at that. The one who bet on me won a lot, of course – Pope Francis.”

In another quote from Francis further in the text, the Holy Father comments, “The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

In its coverage of all things Catholic, the book is indeed thorough, to the point of overkill. Devoting 10 pages to a list of the popes of the Catholic Church is a bit much, unless the authors were paid by the word.

With that quibble aside, Idiot’s Guides, “Catholicism” would be a great supplemental reading for anyone considering entering the faith, good for catechumens and catechists alike. Also it could make lively discussion for parish study groups, no matter what the participants’ foundational catechesis.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Heavy metal midlife crisis? Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ turns 40 in the digital age

Zeppelin Still Rules. That is all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Buy It, Borrow It, or Bag It: Choose Your Own Autobiography By Neil Patrick Harris

NPH     Again, this was a book I had no intention of reading…until I saw that NPH wrote it like a classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” book…this gave him bonus points in my mind for coming up with such a clever way to craft his autobiography AND bring back traditional hold-in-your-hands-and-turn-the-pages-books!

This book is not one that is easily read in electronic format. Though supposedly you can tap on the links to go to the pages you select, sometimes it doesn’t work so I highly recommend reading it in a traditional way. Also, NPH does a phenomenal job writing exactly the way that he talks which makes this a fun read any way you turn it. (Not since Jon Stewart’s textbook formatted America and Earth have I had such fun with a book!)

If you are a NPH fan, then no doubt you will be delighted by the book, if you are a casual fan who wants to learn more about this very versatile actor while reliving your childhood through a Choose Your Own Adventure story, it’s work checking out of the library. Borrow It.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The definitive guide to Rafael Nadal’s 19 bizarre tennis rituals

I keep telling everyone that the boy is quirky. This proves it! But I love him!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized