What our Front Porch Really Looks Like

Lately, if I’m not careful, I can lose my porch party peace in a hurry. Every morning, my husband and I start the day by having a porch party. We sit in rocking chairs, drink coffee, light a candle, talk a little bit, read Jesus Calling, and pray.

If you were to come over, at first, this is what you’d see.

Then you’d walk up our front porch steps and discover a huge mess. Everywhere you looked, things would be out of place.

The trouble started this spring when squirrels chewed holes in our porch ceiling.

Which meant plywood had to be replaced all the way around the house.

Which meant my husband had plenty of measuring and figuring to do.

Which means ceiling fans are now resting in our hammock.

Hoping to deter the squirrels, he used corrugated metal instead of wood.

The corners are the toughest, he says.

Even with our son helping, it’s a slow process.

After they get the new ceiling up, they have to stain a bunch of boards for molding.

You have to watch your step, or you could trip and fall.

Sometimes I get impatient.

The other day Mother and I were talking about struggles. Difficulties. Mess.

“For as long as I can remember,” she said, “we’ve had problems. Sometimes I think, as soon as this gets worked out, everything will finally be okay.”

“But that’s not how life goes, is it?”

Later, on the porch, I sensed God nudging my heart.

Somewhere, there’s truth buried in this chaos.

I spotted Kitty Thelma. Napping. Smack dab in the middle of the disarray.

And Jesus Calling.


Maybe that’s it.

Maybe there’s always a place of Peace and Rest in His Presence.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. John 16:13 NLT

I know some of you are in a season of chaos. I’m praying.













  1. I love this, Julie. Yeah, we are such messes … but with Jesus, we can rest in the midst and know the final outcome–“His” work in progress–will be glorious! Thanks for such a sweet post.

  2. Margaret says:

    Oh, Julie,

    House remodeling/repair work is such a hassle to live through. Kitty Thelma’s got the right idea. Notice she put her furself at the outer edge of your porch, the better to catch any breeze since the fans are in the hammock. The table she’s under keeps stuff from falling on her. I bet she enjoys watching Rick and Thomas at work.


    • Amen, Margaret! I have to admit–I felt a little jealous of Thelma, all stretched out sleeping in tiny patch of sunshine. 🙂

      And you’re absolutely right. She positioned herself just right to catch the breeze. I’d missed that.

      Such positive observations! Wonderful thoughts!! Love ’em.

  3. Ahhh…disarray. Life is disarray. It’s kind of like a novel. If there was no “problem” or conflict, there would be no story. There would be no rooting for the characters, hoping they find what they are looking for, praying for them to see themselves as we readers see them: with foibles and missteps and less than perfect judgment, and how we cheer for them when they find happiness even if just for a little while.

    Because life is disarray. Some days will be smooth, like a pond without a ripple. Some days will be rough, like a lake churned up by a strong gale-force wind. It’s in the times without a ripple that we inhale deeply and say prayers for strength when the gale-force winds try to blow us down.

    But God is always there. In the mess, in the disarray. In Thelma lying content beneath the table (and I love her in the first picture near the steps on the porch). She’s kind of a representation of God…always there, showing us how to be content in the midst of disarray. Thanks, Thelma. And thanks, Julie, for the reminder that in my mess there is peace.

    • Such deep insight, B.J. I’d NEVER related this to a novel. Or heck, to even novel-writing–which is incredibly messy. At least for me.

      Love you, my friend. And I’m so grateful you love my often messy self.

  4. I love your house! Even with the chaos. We’ve had squirrels chew through the eaves in our house, too. Hubs used metal underneath to keep them out. It seems to be doing the trick. It’s funny, though how we want everything to be perfect and quickly. Nothing will be perfect until we go home to Jesus. Then all things will be perfect. 🙂

    • Amen, Ane! Amen on the perfection thing. Good–about the metal working for y’all. Will pass this along to my husband. 🙂


  5. marci says:

    Seeing the view coming up to your home- so perfect. I am glad you used that picture first. It says so much. We can’t always see what is under the surface. A good lesson there,for homes and people. I am relating to the chaos, and know what that is like. How wonderful that your husband and son could fix the problem. We are blessed when our husbands are so talented, and for you of course your son also. Yes, aren’t we always hoping for a day when we don’t have some situation to deal with?.. That is life. . . I do like what you inspired BJ T. to write also. You inspire us all.
    Thank you for stepping out on faith, writing, and blessing all of us.
    I keep you in prayers as you share your journey with us.

    God Bless, Marci’a

    • You’re absolutely right, Marci. Actually, I was kinda hoping readers might grasp exactly what you mentioned–outside vs inside. And looking beneath the surface.

      Marcia, my friend, that’s what it feels like each week… stepping out in faith with my writing, praying what’s moving around in my heart touches my readers.

      Thank you. Your kind words mean so much.

  6. Julie, I’ve finally figured out that if we don’t have peace in the middle of the mess, we’ll never have peace at all. Thank you for reminding and reinforcing. Blessings, Bev

    • Love, it, Bev!!!! I’d love to quote you on that one. SO TRUE!

      And I was sorta surprised that it’s sort of like an off/on switch. You can actually say, “I’m going to choose peace in the middle of the mess.” And look beyond it.

      Thank you for writing my new favorite quote.

  7. If only we can stop thinking…when this gets worked out then life will be okay…sigh. No, it’s really not how life goes. Like Thelma, I want to rest in the beautiful mess of it all..xo

    • I know, Robin. And just think, MaBWA, who’s 78 says, it’s always gonna be this way.

      Beauty in the mess. No other way.

      Love you.

  8. Julie this blesses me today! I can relate! Our home was built in 1864 and the porch is currently a mess. It’s been, in the past, a sweet place of gathering. But this year the steps are needing to be replaced, paint is peeling, ceiling needs work. Oh, we’re trying. But it takes so much time! As a result of the mess, I’ve avoided the porch – even when a dear friend asked if we could just sit there! Thank you for reminding me that there can be, and will be, peace in this place – eps when sharing time with family and friends.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Shawnelle–my soul sister!! I’m smiling through little happy tears.

      If you came over, we’d find a little corner to talk, and talk, and talk.

      I love you.

  9. K. Richardson says:

    Hi Julie, yes, I agree with your mother…there’s always something. It’s especially so for us since this spring. One thing after another. I just thank God for peace of mind. There’s always wildlife and beauty all around to make it easier.

    • And somewhere way back in our minds, we think, “Once this problem is solved, everything will be just fine.”

      I guess, ultimately it will be. It is. With Him. Only with Him.

  10. Smart kitty. 🙂

    I love your porch parties. Praying you’re able to be back there with everything in its place real soon, my friend!

  11. Patricia Martin says:

    This post was so meaningful to me, Julie! I just found out yesterday that I have Celiac Disease so I am learning to rest in God among all the new things that are going on right now. The pics of your porch are great and I think a little mess now and then can make a home a little more homier. Thelma Kitty is very pretty and smart-cats spend their days resting; not worrying about anything and that makes them an excellent example! Hope you all had a great Labor Day.(((((:
    Sending love from AZ,

    • Patricia!!!!!! You’re kidding me. Oh, wow. Is there any way I can help you? If you ever want to email me privately, please do. I was diagnosed about 7 years ago. It takes a while. And I’m still learning. I blogged earlier this year about a new friend who was diagnosed, and she wanted to open her home for others with Celiac for a bunch/prayer/share time. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this. We’ve gotten together twice…even laughed about stuff together.

      Let me know if I can help you. I think the greatest thing I’ve discovered is Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Flour. You can use it like regular flour. It’s all ready to go with baking powder etc already in it.

      Hugs to you from GA this morning.

  12. Shelley Elaine says:

    Oh, thank you Julie! Needed this message so much.

    • You’re so very welcome, Shelley. Sending you a hug straight from my heart….right in the middle of your “messy porch.” 🙂

  13. Sandra Walker says:

    Loved this one (and last week’s – I have believed SO MANY lies from the enemy!) and all the comments, too! I now have the perfect expression of what God has been saying: I choose peace in the middle of the mess and look beyond it. Life IS one thing after another!

    • LOVE IT, Sandra. I love that we can choose peace–no matter what. And we have to, don’t we!


  14. I love the message and how your photos bring it to life. I often think of your “porch parties,” and to know the porch was under construction was such a surprise to see. Aren’t we always “under construction?” as humans and isn’t it wonderful to so fully see God right in the midst of it all.

  15. I’m with your mom, Julie! I keep thinking a “peaceful, unchaotic” season lies just around the corner. Sigh. 🙂 You beautifully reminded me that His presence in our mess and chaos is what we need to focus on- not the chaos. Love to you and yours- 🙂

    • I know, Cindy. Why do we waste time waiting for the next season. Ha! And we both know it’s probably going to bring lots more “fun.”

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Wish we could meet in real life! xoxo

  16. Oh Julie, I have been away traveling and working long days… When I saw your porch I melted… how I’d love one like yours. How my morning time outside is so VERY IMPORTANT to me. The winter will stop me from having that special porch time but I will find another spot I am sure. Your posts are drawing me back in… rest rest rest.

    • Hope, reading your words right now–such a treasure. There’s nothing like our outside time! And we keep porch partying through the winter. Wearing our coats. Maybe one of those little fireplaces would be nice—can’t think of what they’re called.

      Thank you so much!

  17. Jan says:

    Love the green metal (steel?) (aluminum?) roof. I have wanted one, admired those of neighbors. Do you hear the rain? Is it too noisy ever? When I can afford shingles I will buy shingles.

    • Thank you, Jan. I think it’s a tin roof. My husband’s outside or I’d holler downstairs and ask him. Yes, yes, we hear rain and it’s wonderful. It’s one of my favorite parts about the house. No, it’s not too noisy. Ever. 🙂

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