Nagging Negative Nelda is Transformed!

During our morning porch parties, my husband and I aren’t supposed to say anything negative or nag. Last week, I blew it. The morning was brisk, the coffee  fixed just right, and a negative thought came to me. Tiny at first. About the size of a flea. I knew I needed to let the thought go.

But I chose not to.

“Before long, we need to trim the bushes around the porch.”

Rick didn’t say anything. Just kept rocking.

Another negative thought. This one seemed bigger. More important. Feeling justified, I kept going.

“Will you fill the bird feeders today? It’s cold. The birds look hungry.” I was taking up for the poor birds. I had to say it.

There were weeds growing in the hay that had held pumpkins in October. Here it was January.  “How ’bout tossing the hay from the fall scene?”


How had he missed those weeds? In my mind, they were humongous…so big, they took over the whole yard.


He gave me “the look” and the porch party fell flat.

I hadn’t meant to ruin the morning. And it happened so fast. In three sentences.

In one single thought, actually.

Scrutinizing what was wrong, I missed all that was right.

Maybe it’s not too late.

“Sorry for nagging,” I said.

“No problem.”

The way out of negative thinking (and fear and self-pity!) seemed too simple to save our porch party.

Gratitude and praise.

But I tried it anyway.

“Listen, is that geese?” I said.

“I think so.”

We smiled at each other–the beauty of the morning restored.

Our thoughts create our emotions.

And we get to choose our thoughts. And our words.



“…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Phil 4:8 NIV


  1. you are so wise … this post gives me something to actually do when negative words come out of my mouth…xo

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Wow! This was exactly how I felt when my husband took FOREVER to get the Christmas tree down and take the ornaments upstairs. I was so tired of seeing the boxes there and I think the fact that I am not supposed to do the stairs only added to my aggravation. Grr. Praising. He did all that so that I didn’t have to put extra stress on my knee. Like Robin said, you are indeed wise.

    • I’m laughing, Anna. Isn’t it “funny” how the littlest itty-bitty things (like grass in a haystack) grows to massive proportions—if we stare at it too long. And forget the good stuff.

      Praying for you today, my sweet friend. And for your family.

  3. Oh, Julie! How I can relate to this post. I have felt the very same way as you and voiced those thoughts at very inopportune times. Thank you for showing me how I can rescue these moments and turn them back into pleasant times.

    • Eileen, I know! Me too! It creeps in so quietly–this need to, ahem, point out….things our husbands might have missed.

      So glad you understand. Hugs to you this morning!

  4. You HAD to go THERE…
    Our porch parties (which are actually our 5 a.m. 2-mile walk) sometimes get that I’m-not-nagging-I’m-just-hinting tone. I hate it! It’s so strident. Love & forgiveness always bring us back from the brink of cacophony.

    • Laughing some more, Melody. Sorry–but I felt that blog rising up in me. And I just HAD TO write about it. 🙂

      Yep, I think the hinting tone counts as nagging. 🙁 🙁 I’ve pretended for years that it didn’t really count. Love that y’all have 5 a.m. walks. So totally impressed!!

      Cacophony–beautiful work.

  5. Hi Julie! Sometimes I find that I get so caught up in schedules and “to-do” stuff that I miss the real connecting that is so important in a marriage. It’s special that you set aside a time and a place where you can go to connect and take time for each other. Although, if you were here in NY today, your porch party would consist of nothing but chattering teeth…it’s 6 degrees!

    • Six degrees!!! Oh, Meg. I don’t think we’ve ever had a porch party in 6 degree weather…But would we? Hmmmm. I guess if we got one of those little portable fireplaces. 🙂

      I’m telling you–these Porch Parties have changed (and continue to change) our lives. xo

  6. I’m printing this one out. Putting it with my special prized readings that make me remember how I truly want to be. Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with our world. Love you.

  7. Julie, I’ve been workng on this very issue. Why is it so natural to point out the negative instead of looking for the positive? And I know that feeling of the urge to say something negative battling the warning to keep quiet. I think I’ll implement your “no negative words” policy to our mornings at the breakfast table. Thanks for being real.

    • Marilyn, I’m telling you the truth–it works. And even if we play by the porch party rules for 10 minutes in the morning (or during breakfast) it just starts the day out right.

      xoxoxoxoxo Thanks so much for writing. Glad to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

  8. Shelley Elaine says:

    Beautifully said…thanks for your transparency…find myself in the same spot so often (like this past Sun. morning). Here’s to the hope of transformation, gratitude, and praise! Thanks Julie!

    • No other way, Shelley. Seems so simple–so easy that I sometimes argue with my stubborn self.

      Thank you for letting me know you understand.

  9. Why is it the negative is so easily verbalized and we have to make ourselves notice and verbalize the positive? I had a similar thing happen recently after a great time with my daughters. Something came out of my mouth that I didn’t even perceive as negative, but as soon as it came out, the whole feel of the moment changed.

    I’m trying. I really am trying to be positive and let the negative go if at all possible. Maybe I’ll learn one day…

    • I know, I know, I know, Vonda. The temptation to speak (or point out) something negative grows–like my little world hinges on me saying that one itty bitty sentence.

      And after I do it, if I let myself, another one pushes its way out.

      It’s a discipline, really. Am so glad you’re with me on this.

      No more Negative Neldas. We’re becoming Positive Pattys. 🙂

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