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Julie Davis’s warm smile draws people in for a chat, but it takes more than small talk to learn what drives her creative determination.

If you spend just a few moments with Julie, it is easy to see why she says “socializing” is her biggest strength. Julie has attended almost every shop event since The Blue Umbrella celebrated its grand opening in early 2019. At the one-year birthday celebration in February 2020, she led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” – twice!

She loves to talk about her work sold in the shop. Julie’s many specialties in The Blue Umbrella include handmade jewelry, paintings on canvas, and décor for the seasons. Creating items for the shop is hardly work for her, she says, because these are her favorite things to do.

Julie likes to help people and make them happier. She would love to be a candy-striper at a local hospital to give back to her community, but she believes using her talents at The Blue Umbrella is her way to impact Arkansans.

Julie is proud of her work, but she is most proud of her children and grandchildren. She dreams of moving closer to her family. She says when she meets new people, they first notice how happy she is. Julie is happy, but she says she has had to overcome some hard things in her life, like losing her dad and other loved ones.

To get past those hard times, Julie says, “I learned to pray and stay busy.”

Julie adds that she is inspired by her hero, Michael J. Fox, and she has three specific reasons why:

  1. She thinks he is a great actor.

  2. She loves the "Back to the Future" movies, for which he is known.

  3. He has Parkinson’s disease just like her. She says he is overcoming his disease, and he doesn’t let it stop him from following his dreams.

Julie is determined to follow her dreams, too. She wants to work, and she loves what she does. She knows that when the focus is on her disability, some people might think she isn’t capable of contributing, but she won’t give up no matter what others think.

“I want to work because it’s healthy for me. I can work. I might not be fast at it, but I can do it. Making these things relaxes me, and I get to make money,” said Julie. “When people buy things I make, it makes me feel good. I like to make people happy.”

Help Julie follow her dreams. Check out these necklaces she made and watch for them in the shop as soon as it reopens!

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