I Should Have Known Better

One Saturday this April I decided to take up gardening. I thought about wearing gloves, but I didn’t.

I wanted to look tough like a real gardener, you know, get my hands dirty. And when my husband saw me working, he’d think, wow, she sure knows what she’s doing.

Ha! Huge mistake.

I spent hours pulling weeds around our house and along the edge of woods.

Over the next few hours/days/weeks, I developed a horrible rash–the kind that itches all day and wakes you from a dead sleep.

It started as red bumps on my knee, forehead, and eyebrow and spread to my neck and face. Blistered and oozing.

You’ve probably figured out what I had, but I was clueless.

I argued with my dermatologist. “It can’t be poison ivy. I don’t get poison ivy.” Growing up, I felt smug when my brothers and sister had it.

“That doesn’t matter,” the doctor said. “You can develop an allergy at any time.”

Stupid me! I’d spent a day hanging out with poison ivy–practically befriending the weed.

Warning! Warning! Leaves of three, leave them be!!

Poison ivy is sneaky. It doesn’t look the least bit dangerous. 

There were spiritual truths buried among these leaves.

1. When I ignore that Still Small Voice (wear gloves), I’m going to regret it.

2. When I work to get noticed or praised, my motives are wrong. Pride is involved.

3. Sometimes what trips me up looks incredibly innocent.

Be careful, my friends~

Thoughts on life? Spiritual lessons?

Who’s had poison ivy? What worked for you?








  1. Oh you poor thing! I’ve had poison ivy maybe twice but was in my younger days. Got it hiking through the woods at a local park, totally oblivious to even what it was then. Oh how miserable! I used benedryl and calamine lotion. I had to wrap my hands and fingers so I wouldn’t scratch and allow it to spread. Neat trick while going to school (8th grade) and trying to use a pencil! Also not very stylish and for a 14-year-old girl, that is awful!! But relief, comfort and management trumped all of that until it was over. My husband is not allergic to it and proudly boasts (uh oh) of having eaten it when he was a kid with no problem! I hope he never tries that again to either tempt fate or show off. I’ll be praying for you and that it will clear up fast. I know some have gotten a shot from the doctor for it. Get well :-/

    • Oh, Julie. Surely your husband won’t make himself a poison ivy sandwich!!! Ahhhhh!

      And you still remember how “fun” it was back when you were 14. 🙂

      I’m so much better now, thank you. I ended up getting a shot of cortisone and taking oral steroids.

      Much love to you!

  2. Oh Julie, I am VERY allergic to it. I usually get it every Spring but so far this year I haven’t. Thank you, God!!! I use Bandaid gel for the itch and WASH with Tecnu. It is at the drugstore and you carefully wash with it and it dries it up. I’ll be thinking of you and praying it clears up fast. XO, Pinky

    • Julie says:

      Just now finding your comment, Pinky. You went to Spam! So sorry. I keep hearing about Tecnu. Good to know. I’m all better now. Been missing you!

  3. Those are some amazing truths J! PRIDE…I keep unearthing that reptile in my life and YES, it mostly looks harmless on the surface.
    I’m sorry about your rash, of course I blamed Celiac Disease, so really, poison ivy is something you can control and stay away from 🙂

    • Reptile. Perfect word for pride. Which was the “root” cause.

      I guess this gets me out of yard work. 🙂 xoxo

  4. Anna Haney says:

    Well, this one did not make me tear up, but a very wise spiritual lesson none the less. LOVE the three points. This reminds me of the Beth Moore study “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things”

    • Oh me, oh me. I can’t get the big head over this…You said it reminded you of Beth Moore. 🙂

      Yeah, the pride thing really hit me between the eyes. That’s what was behind it–such an ugly motivation!!

      Hugs, Anna. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!

  5. marie says:

    Oh, Julie! How miserable you must have been! I’ve never had poison ivy, so can’t say what worked for me. I do know an interesting tid-bit, I do a program on Laura Ingalls Wilder, and she said her husband Almanzo never got poison ivy–no matter what. He attributed it to drinking goats milk. He claimed that since his goats ate the poison ivy and he drank the milk, his body developed an immunity. So, Julie, my advice to you is to buy a few goats….. 🙂

    • Marie, this makes sense. I think I read something about it on a natural remedies website. Now to find a goat and learn to milk her….or can you buy goat’s milk?

      THANK YOU. Maybe it doesn’t taste so bad. Something to consider, for sure.

      • marie says:

        Oh, Julie– I was just teasing about you buying and milking a goat. But if you ever decide to do it, I want to see pictures! 🙂

        • Ahh, red-faced. Hiding under my desk. Seriously, my husband talks about getting goats just for fun. Don’t worry. If we ever do, it’ll make a blog post for sure!

          I can’t believe I fell for the goat’s milk!! remedy :/

          • Marie says:

            I keep forgetting you can’t hear voice inflection with the written word–so my mistake, not yours! The goat’s remedy part is supposed to be true, by the way. I just thought the idea of milking one was funny. I guess that’s because I can’t see myself doing it. I am fond of goats cheese, so maybe one day. ….. Nah.

      • Jan O says:

        And if you do get that goat, remember it has to eat the poison ivy–which now that you have the allergy, might not be good for you. Can the goat idea! : )

  6. I’ve had it and never want to get again!! I’m horribly allergic to it. THe doctor gave me some meds and I went through bottles of calamine. Oatmeal baths helped, but staying away from gardening (except plants in pots) is the best. ;o) Poor thing!!

    • I’m not surprised you’re allergic, Ane. You and I are fair-skinned redheads. 🙂 I bet that’s what you might have had the night of our WORD meeting.


  7. Ahhh….that still small voice. I try to listen closely and heed the call. So glad you now know what not to touch!
    Hugs! Well…ummmm…is poison ivy contagious? I’d hug you regardless!

    • And the still small voice is so small I chose to ignore it..HIM.

      We’ll wear raincoats and hug regardless. 🙂

  8. Thankful for those unearthed spiritual lessons.
    Oh! Stupid stupid PRIDE — you get me into soooooo much trouble! (Sneaky, too, hiding amongst all sorts of good deeds…)

    • That’s the thing, Melody. It was a goooooood deeeeeeed that was so sneaky. You’re exactly right, my friend. Good things with the wrong motives get us in trouble. And cause a lot of pain!!!

      Thank you.

      • haha! & you know the “funny” thing? It’s so easy to spot in somebody else’s actions.
        Pretty sure my spiritual gift is rooting out the other fella’s egocentricity.
        That’s what I am — BLIND to my own pridefulness (is that a word?)

      • mix a bottle of Palmolive miarnel spirits/paint thinner 1/2 1/2- mix well use this to wash affected area multiple times, dry then apply calomine .the sap of poison ivy is not water soluble!!!!!! the spirits lift it the suds put it in suspension carry it away.everything else you read ( cures ) is crap!I looked like someone had beat me with a frying pan, suffered for 3 days, was all better after this fix!!!

  9. Jan O says:

    I think pridefulness is a word–sounds like a southern word, but still, a word. Know what it means, too.

    My neighbors both got involved inknowingly with poison ivy this year–I haven’t ever, but learned pretty young what it is and to avoid it. Can you eradicate it from your yard, or at least your flower patch, so the joys of gardening are not lost to you. Bare hand IS a good way to go–unimpeded fine motor skills. Else try container gardening! With weed-free really good potting soil. Fun!

    Have never (knowingly–could be me) suffered such a fierce penalty for not heeding that quiet voice, but maybe I’m not hearing it at all most of the time. Will aim to pay attention much more.

  10. Good ideas, Jan! Thanks.

    My husband sprayed the area for weeds. Now I know what it looks like for sure, and that poison ivy and I don’t get along. Happy gardening!!


  1. […] through our woods. Last summer, I paid the price–tics, chiggers, and my first case of POISON IVY. After my poison ivy cleared up, guess what I did? I went right back to the woods. More poison ivy. […]

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