Forgetting What’s Broken

5:30 a.m. last Saturday … Our dog started growling. “Stay down!” my husband whispered. “There’s a man on the back porch with a flashlight.”

My heart pounded. Minutes earlier,  the phone rang at 4:39 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

There was no sleeping now.

No peace.

The man wasn’t an intruder. He was a police officer. The two phone calls were from the phone company. We’ve had phone problems for several weeks. The police department returned a second time that morning.

Our broken phone had alerted 9-1-1.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but our phone situation has been getting the best of me.

No dial tone. Horrible scratchy noise. Sometimes the internet goes out.

So frustrating.

The phone company’s replacing the line. For weeks, we’ve had a tiny fiber-optic cable beside our third of a mile-long driveway.

Our communication runs through this fragile-looking cord over tree limbs, pine straw, and gravel.

So many complications.

Living in the woods, deer, raccoons, possum crossing the path, bad weather ….

And they haven’t buried the line yet.

The whole thing was so bizarre. I wondered if God was trying to teach me something.

This past Saturday walking down the driveway, an idea came. It seemed God said:

Forget what’s broken. Focus on the beauty around you. Your troubles will fade into the background.

Is this really You, Lord? I can’t see how shifting my focus will help.

I glanced at butterfly near my feet.

Because I’d been frustrated about the phone situation, I’d ignored her. She’d fluttered beside me for most of my walk.

The black-eyed Susans in full bloom …

And the best part,

The green archway of trees that sheltered me through the steamy July heat.

I’d overlooked them.

“Lord, You’re sorta like the trees, aren’t You? Always above us. Watching over us. Nothing slips past You. Not even barely visible phone lines. Or bad attitudes.”

Are there “phone lines” in your life today? What “trees” are you’re praising Him for? I’d love to hear~






  1. Melinda F says:

    It’s been a long July. Started off well but have been in 4 different hospitals since then with either my husband or my daddy. Through it all I had wonderful prayer warriors lifting us up and a mighty God sheltering us all. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and praising Him for answered prayer and wonderful weather!

    • Hey Melinda, I’ve been following your FB posts and praying. I’m just taking a deep breath now and relaxing for you. Whew. Nothing better than the light at the end of the tunnel, is there. Tunnels can be awfully dark.

      All my love… XOXOXOX

  2. oh oh oh Julie! how easy it is to focus on the phone lines!!! Thank you for the reminder w/ your gorgeous photos! (your driveway w/ that canopy of trees is just amazing)
    The photos drive home the message by the way…thank you xo

  3. Kim says:

    Hmm, I just sat with my journal and refocused my attitude last night. A sudden last min. decision change by my daughter regarding playing soccer in the fall after all, had me frustrated. This impacts our family’s next 4 mo. and I was so looking forward to a break. I got madder as the evening went on. (my ph. line)

    Eventually, I reached out to a friend who told me to remember now is but a blip in time. My daughter will remember being supported years from now, as she herself remembers all the support she had from her mother who is now gone. (my tree)

    I sat and wrote my frustrations and then focused on some positives. I know this years experience will be so much better than last years. Different (low pressure, no politics) club, closer to home, a team of girls and parents we already like and know…(my forest? maybe, hopefully)

    • Ohhhhh, Kim. Your response– wow. Just wow. I love how you wrote “blip in time.” So true! That’s what God’s showing me today. Other stuff going on, but this afternoon the phone co accidentally cut the power line. Power’s been off for a while.

      Your forest. I just love this.

      THANKS so much for sharing, and reading, and letting me know you’re reading!

      • Kim says:

        Oh my, having your power accidentally cut and by the phone company, is almost funny, but it is so not funny! Praying everything settles down. At least is was a cooler, less humid day for July.

        • Hey again, Kim. I was unusually calm for me. Just carried my cell phone outside, sprayed bug spray all over me, and told the guy running the big machine the situation.

          It came back on in about 3 hours. They’re working again today. Typing as fast as possible b/c I’ve had no internet and phone again this a.m.


  4. Oh, Julie. I need to praise Him for the trees more often. When we do that, the other “stuff” seems to lessen in significance. Thank you for the reminder today. I surely needed.

    • Hey Felicia,

      Yep, we’re all just praising Him for the trees. 🙂 🙂

      I keep on needing this reminder. And Him too.


  5. Julie,
    Pictures are worth a thousand words. The beautiful surroundings at your home speak to God’s constant love for you, even in the magnificent butterfly that lay still at your feet waiting for you to see.

    A special treat for you to know – Butterflies will lay on the stones with their wings open to warm their bodies. This is known as basking. Only when their body temperature is about 85 – 100°F can they fly well. God allowed this butterfly to lay in your path for you to see that He wants you to bask in the warmth of his love .

    Yes, the enemy attempts to distract us from seeing this, but I’m thankful that your insight and heart for God brought your focus to what is important in life.

    A timely message for me, too. We’re renovating. Furniture is out of place. Floors are pulled up and dust is everywhere. I continue to kneel each morning in the midst of it, clean around it the best I can, and then go outside in hopes of being renewed with all that God has made.

    I love your thoughts. Please continue to inspire us. We love you.

    • Ohhh, Colleen… dear Colleen. I can’t think about you–not even your name–without smiling. You’re so dear to men. And this revelation about butterflies. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that you know this. Your sweet spirit is so sensitive to quiet people, quiet beauty, and His quiet Truth.

      And I love that you’re kneeling in the middle of your dust. Isn’t that what life’s all about….?? Just takes us a while to bend our knees. Me anyway.

      Thank you, thank you. If the Lord is calling me to be a Wednesday blogger, and He keeps providing these gracious life-nuggets to write about, that’s so fine with me. I’m honored.

  6. I love it! Interesting I had the same experience yesterday. After a long absence I decided to take a jog/walk on my favorite nature trails at a nearby park. Recalling a few instances last year with snakes I found myself early in my run focusing on the trail before me in fear of snakes. When I turned my “fear” to God He opened up my eyes and my heart to beautiful and powerful images. It is amazing to me when I look for deer I can not find them but when I look to God he blesses me with what I love to see.
    With only a few “responsible” peeks for slithering things my eyes were opened too. Blessings and focus my friend.

    • Wow, Tom. What neat insight. I’ve seen snakes too out here. And so profound-thinking about “am I going to see a snake” over the trail. Over everything in front of us. Ohhhh, I’ve done this.

      Thank you for sharing. I’m amening over here as your neighbor!

  7. Anna Haney says:

    Our Father never cease to amaze me in how He gives you the words to write what He is trying to tell me. My example is very different from yours, but here goes.
    I have a friend who has become a professional photographer, specializing in portraits. She has done senior pics, family pics, pregnancy shoots, and even headshots for actors and models. She works between East Tennessee and Hollywood. Her work is quite impressive. Every time she would post some, I was stunned by her talent and the way she brought out the personality of the subject. I asked her, halfheartedly, if she ever photographed me, if she could make me look like a movie star.

    She told me that I was beautiful and she’d show me through her work. I had a professional make up session and hair, did wardrobe changes, and the preview pics amazed me. I looked like a model! Then the whole disc of all the shots came.

    Camera lenses and filters are amazing in what flaws they can take away. In the other shots that hadn’t been edited, I looked horrible. Then God said, “sweetheart, I created You. You are beautiful. In your eyes I see your mom, dad, grandmother, love. I see my precious daughter. I see the person I know loves so many and is loved by others, whose encouragement helps so many. You are blessed.” So I looked all the pics again, even the non edited ones. And I tried to see myself as God might see me. I know He sees things that disappoint Him, so I am working on that. But I also saw my parents, grandparents, friends, former students, etc. And I saw a glimpse of the beauty of God’s creation.

    Thanks, friend! Love you

    • Anna~~~Oh, wow, I saw your pictures! And they are gorgeous. And I see you–the real you–and you are too. I’m tearing up at your beautiful note.

      When we can finally, oh, finally get a glimpse of how God sees us, and remember that image–surely we’ll be “free indeed!”

      Love you right back!

  8. Pam Kulczar says:

    Thank you Julie!

    Thank you for being such a blessing to me each day!

    • Hey, Pam. And thank you for blessing me right back! This blog-writing keeps me on my knees, for sure. Keeps me talking to Him, listening, and praying for my readers.

      So much love!

  9. Brenda Osborne says:

    What a beautiful and encouraging post! God is all around us everyday, we just need to
    be still and know that He is with us~

    • Thank you, Sweet Brenda. I know–such a powerful yet almost invisible Truth. Unless we’re looking for it. For Him!


  10. Beautiful, Julie. Such a reminder to enjoy life.

  11. Patricia Martin says:

    What beautiful walks you must have in the morning, Julie! I am glad that we do not need a phone to talk to God!!!!!! That means no cell companies or bills!((((: I hope Gene and your mom are well and that everything works out with your phone line.
    Sending AZ sunshine your way,
    Patricia xoxox

    • So true, Patricia! And sometimes my phone is such a major distraction. Keeps me FROM God.

      I keep texting Mom (she’s finally texting :)) and I’ll say, “No phone today.” And now she can respond. And for me to use my cell, I have to go outside and stand in a certain spot on the driveway. 🙂

      Which really cuts down on chat-time.

      It’s sorta dark in GA today. Looks like rain. Thanks for the AZ sunshine, my friend.

  12. Oh, pesky problems can eclipse our serenity and our happiness. Sometimes it is all we “see.” But you opened your eyes to God and the beauty of nature and now you see beyond the pesky problem. Good for you, Julie. You get an A+!

    • Amen, B.J.!!! And thanks for the A+…sometimes I remember the Truth buried inside me.

      Internet and phone were off, and now back on. Am responding quickly. Men are still working…..

      Nevertheless, I’m looking out my window into these tall trees, remembering who’s in charge.

  13. Eileen says:

    I find that I worship God best when surrounded by nature. It is then that I am quiet and notice the beauty of His creation that surrounds me. We all need to take time to slow down and give Thanks to Him who gave us these things to enjoy.

    “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit”. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

    • Me too! I just need to remember the beauty and power–and WHO created it, Eileen.

      Ohhhhhh, love this by RLS.

      Thank you, my dear friend.

  14. Georgia says:

    Julie: Thank you so much for this post. I really needed it today. Things are a little rocky at my house right now and I needed a reminder to focus on the positive and not the “phone line”. Have a peaceful day! Georgia

    • Georgia, doesn’t it help to know that we all have rocky days? Stuff’s going on here too. Maybe this side of heaven, there always will be.

      Thank you so much for letting me know this touched your heart. That’s why I write.

      Let’s keep our eyes on the trees and off the phone line…by the way, mine’s still there. They’re working in my driveway today. 🙂

  15. marci says:

    It always amazes me at how many lessons you get from every day things and how thankful I am that you share those things with us.
    How I can relate, as I am sure many others, to the frustrations when our phone lines / internet is not working. It is something how we have gotten use to having these things. When we can’t communicate- it sure is hard. It makes me very glad that we do not have to depend on phone lines or the internet to pray.
    It is so good that you were able to take the focus off of the problem and see the beauty around you.
    The pictures you took sure were a treat for the eye. How wonderful to have so much beauty.
    My phone line I guess right now it a friendship that I see slipping away, and maybe that is the way it is suppose to be. I have prayed about it, and am trying to leave it in God’s hands– No big blow up, just drifting away from each other as our lives take different directions. I am OK with that- but I was finding myself thinking about this person quite a bit. I will always wish her well.
    I am trying to enjoy the moments more, and fret less. I was so glad to see you enjoying the moments through your pictures.
    Thanks for the lessons.
    I have you in my daily prayers. I know God will always supply what we all need, and I am so inspired by your faith in each week God giving you the exact thing to write about.
    I cannot tell you how many times this year, your word, enough has helped me.

    God Bless you

    • Thank you, Marcia. I discovered what a discipline it is to stop being annoyed/angry at the phone situation. I have to make the decision to turn my thoughts somewhere else. And as soon as I did, oh, wow–it was all around me. God was all around me.

      Your friend situation touched my heart. I’ve been there. It’s a tough spot, but also a trusting place. A new place–where you say, “God, I don’t understand all of this, and I wish I could snap my fingers and everything be healed, but I’m going to have to let go. The friendship is in Your hands.” And we keep praying, don’t we? Praying and letting go. I understand. Hugging you from here….

      Each Thursday after my post goes live, I have a few moments of….uh-oh…what am I going to write about next week. But these moments of panic are shrinking, thank You, Lord. And He’s so faithful to provide.

      Thank you for sharing so honestly. XO

  16. My heart is so touched by reading through your comments Julie! What an amazing ministry I feel through your gifted and insightful words- they truly bless us! I was pulling thistles today- and I was quite ornery about it. They were not only sharp, but strong and stubborn. But I truly started to think- so what is there to be grateful about weeds? And slowly, I realized, they represent summer, and green, and growth- amazing growth, etc. By the time I cleared out a patch, I felt such peace. It takes effort sometimes to turn back to our blessings, versus our troubles, but then we are so rewarded when we do!

    Love to you dear one!

    • Oh, Vicky. I love you too. Pulling thistles? I wonder if you have a weed we don’t have in GA. Or maybe we do and I just don’t pull them!!!!

      Your blog, your insight, your Spirit–you’re always so soothing. So much peace surrounds you. Thank you for what you do–for your ministry. Sometimes it feels like God rearranges our hearts, doesn’t it, so we can write?

      Keep doing what you do. I love you.

  17. Kathryn Richardson says:

    We live back in the woods too with turkeys, deer, raccoons, opossums, lots of beautiful birds and trees. Our driveway is very similar to yours. Sitting and just enjoying the scenery and wildlife gives me peace. Also, visiting nurses for my partner enjoy it too. Quiet and private. We get many complements on the peacefulness. God’s wonders never cease to amaze me especially in the craziness of our world now days. So much sadness, wars, diseases, hunger, and on and on! I so enjoy how you always manage to find the bright spots in life, Julie! Thank you!

    • Kathryn!!!!!! A soul sister! You get it!!

      Love your thoughts. I feel the same way about living in the woods. Sort of like our own sanctuary. And daily, if I look, He shows me His glory. I know you understand ~~~

      So grateful for the visiting nurses who come to your home…. must be such a blessing.

      Thank you for reading and writing and for being so encouraging.


  18. My heart skipped a beat as I read your first sentence! Your point about irritations, like broken phone/internet cables, causing us to loose focus on others things is too true. I’m too often guilty.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. You understand~~ and my heart skipped a beat too–lots of beats that night with all the crazy stuff going on. And then it skips a beat when I get so frustrated over the phone situation.

      But Peace is so close to me. I just have to let go (again!) and pray.

      Phone/internet has been spotty all morning. They’re working on it now–so I’m typing as fast as I can……………………..!

  19. Beautiful reminder for all of us today. And I loved seeing the photo of your driveway. Looks like our driveway of 22 years that he had to leave about 12 years ago. Just seeing the photo brought instant peace and calm to my hectic-paced soul. Thank you.

    Praying for peace and calm to return to your upended life. 🙂

    • Hey Vonda. Love your thoughts. I’m telling you–there’s something about this driveway. I fell in love with it as soon as they cut a hole through the woods. Hope my home in heaven is in the woods. 🙂

      Thank you. They’re still working on phone/internet today, but for now–I have service. Surely, surely, I’ learning something through this ….. inconvenience.

  20. Encouraging Julie! Loved your pictures too! Thanks for sharing!

    Nora :o)

  21. So many phone lines in my life right now. My youngest has been smoking weed. The two oldest are in the process of growing up and moving out (yay!). The animals are sick and injured. Another phase of life to give to God and trust Him with.

    Yet, I see the dilemma with the phone line and ask, “Why does she still have a land line?” Is there a different analogy lurking here? Instead of focusing on something which is outdated, why not replace it? Unless your location means cell service won’t work for you. Which is yet ANOTHER analogy. 😉

    Thank you for sharing such calming photos, reminding us of the beauty we take for granted.

    • Hey, Flea. I love your honesty. I’m with you on the whole letting go/letting God process. And our children are 32, 30, and 22… Been through lots of “phone lines.” 🙂

      I’d love to get rid of our landline. Our cell phones don’t work unless we stand outside in a certain spot and turn our heads at a weird angle. Which I’ve been doing a lot of lately.

      Thank you so much for your comments. I just I’d forgotten that I didn’t have to obsess over the “phone lines” in my life.


  22. Beautiful, as always!

    • Thank you, Sherri! Wish we’d had longer to talk at ICRS!

      Much love to you and yours, and thanks for letting me know you read this. 🙂 🙂

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