Thank You, Lord, for Celery

The morning after Hurricane Irma hit, I was in the kitchen praying/thinking–talking to myself and to God. With rain still pounding on the tin roof, I wanted to do one thing.

I wanted to cook. 

It’s what I do when I’m feeling unsettled.

I cook.

I decided to make homemade chicken noodle soup, but the lights flickered.  

Any minute now, we’re going to lose power.

Making soup will be a waste of time.

Even if I did, I don’t have any celery.

Can’t make chicken noodle soup without celery.

And the driveway’s probably too bad for me to go to the grocery store.

We live in the woods–at the end of a long, gravel driveway that gets messy when it rains. Sometimes trees fall across our driveway during a storm. My husband made it to work, but I didn’t want to risk leaving home for celery.

I peeked out the window.

So many fallen trees.

Such a powerful storm.

So much destruction.

So many have lost everything.

And it’s not over yet. 

Just like our arbor in the backyard, people’s worlds have been turned upside down.

I walked to the front porch. In preparation for Irma, I’d stripped it bare.

As I studied our bleak-looking porch, a whiff of a thought blew through.

Maybe I do have celery.

I know I don’t. 

Just check.

Why? The power’s going out. 

Look for celery.

Feeling foolish, I opened the ‘fridge.

Buried under a bag of potatoes, I found half a bag. Just enough for soup.

You’d think it would be a small thing–

Finding a few stalks of wilted celery–

But to me, it HUGE.

The same Soft Voice pressed on my heart.

Thank Me for the celery.

Oh, yes, Lord. Yes! Thank You for the celery. 

I had a feeling He wanted me to go deeper.

Doesn’t He always? 🙂

After I finished making soup, the power went out. With the wind whirling around our log cabin, I lit a candle and finally got still and quiet enough to listen.

Sometimes you forget to praise Me.

You’re right. I’m sorry, Lord. 

Praise Me for everything. For celery and for storms.

For storms?

I hesitated. Couldn’t pray. Then I remembered five words I’d memorized in childhood.

Give thanks in all circumstances… 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“All means everything, doesn’t it?” I whispered. “Thank You. For celery and storms. You created them both to draw me closer to You.”

The words tasted soft and sweet and right.

Then I tasted the chicken soup.

The soup I almost didn’t make.

It was so very, very good.

Each time we praise God, we get a tiny taste of how much He loves us. (click to tweet)

What are you praising Him for today? Storms? Celery? Or both?

Did Hurricane Harvey or Irma come your way? 









  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. My heart and eyes are full.
    Today is Wednesday. The last few Wednesday’s I have been terribly sad, drowning in grief. Last Wednesday I stayed home. This morning, as I felt the wave approaching, God whispered “she came home to Me on a Wednesday morning. She’s healed.”
    I am still sad, but I am thankful she’s walking again.
    And I am thankful for you

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Precious Jesus, touch Anna’s heart with peace. Let her feel You arms wrapped around her, Your hands drying her tears, Your grace clothing her. In Thy name we continue in prayer…

    • Anna–

      Holy chills are all over me. Hugging your sweet neck from here. Yes, she’s healed and whole and happy. And even if she could choose to come back, I bet she wouldn’t.

      What a sweet Word from Our Lord. “She’s healed.”

      Love you, my precious friend.

  2. Good morning, Julie. As I read your post, I was reminded of times the Lord has done the same for me. And yes, we do forget to praise Him. But I am so thankful, He loves us enough to remind us of what we forget. Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Julie, for sharing… and reminding us God is always faithful when we are not. <3

    • Ohhh, yes, yes, Gail. I’m so glad He’s faithful when we are not. Amen, sister!!!

      And thanks again for your “share” this morning.

      So much love,

      (Wish we could have a bowl of soup together!)

  3. Oh my dear Julie. How I identify. He grabs our attention on the small things if we listen and know that sweet voice. . Your “slightly” unorganized refrigerator comes from how you grew up. There’s was always something under the potatoes. The celery story is such a powerful visual. Thank you dear daughter.

    • 🙂 My ‘fridge is more than slightly unorganized. It’s big-time unorganized, Mother. 🙂

      But you and I can do other things, can’t we?!

      Thank you for teaching me to love words and to love God.

      Your daughter,

  4. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Mmm…chicken soup! I just responded to a post Loree Lough put up about chicken potpie! Must be the day for it! 🙂

    The “storm” in my life at this moment lies in our house and property needing more than my husband and I can handle. Every day starts with stress just by seeing the needs in every room and out every window. (Not from the hurricanes, though, for which I am grateful.)

    Our youngest daughter, Faith, had me do a week-long experiment last week. One part included placing a paper in the bathroom where I would see it every morning. It read, “Ask God to NOT let you see the messes, but ask Him to let you see what He wants you to – the potential for victory!” For that week, I did so.

    No, it didn’t completely change my thought patterns…yet…but it did help me look at other “messes” in my life and make the choice to look for “the potential for victory” in those areas. Procrastination…yep, every day, but right now, I’m working on a writing project a little each day I’m home. Eating disorder…yep, I eat all the comfort food (meaning chocolate) I can, but right now, at our daughter’s house, there is none. Laziness – yep, my body says rest more, but right now, I’m enjoying running around the house and playing with our grandson.

    Victory! Maybe only in small battles, but I’m glad My General fights on the frontline! <3

    • Cathy,
      As I read this, I could LITERALLY feel victory oozing from your soul! I love what you said! Love your attitude! Love how you have Grace for yourself. Love how you (we/me) are changing our thought patterns.

      Gooooooooooooooooooo, Cathy!!!!

      Cheering from GA~

  5. Brenda Greene says:

    I can relate Sweet Julie Girl! Storm lurking, lights flickered, out for 30 minutes, back on and I quickly made a pot of veggie soup. Hubby didn’t think it would have time to cook but using my frozen “soup ingredients” it was ready when the power went out two hour later. Good soup and power out for 4 days! Trees down here in our forest but none touched the house…Thank you Father!

    The morning of day 4 found me dumping the five ice chests of food from our freezer/fridge that had “died” (ice could only hold for a short time), along with the pot of soup. As Hubby and I dumped the two 5-gallon buckets of “dead food” into the woods so the wildlife could have a feast we acknowledged it will be nice to begin with a clean freezer and fridge and not clutter it up as we are prone to do. (Pleased it only took $150 to restock.)

    In thinking/praying for all who’ve lost so much more, it’s been easy to praise God for his blessings! Oh…and a generator is on the top of our next big purchase list. Hubby’s anticipating a strong, hard winter with more power outages!

    Thanks for your simple and gentle reminder that we can always find reasons to thank/ praise Him! Love from my front porch table to you this morning and thanks for posting… always love your insights! Brenda

    • Brenda,

      Are you aware of what a wonderful Spirit you have? How you’re seeing only the Best in everything around you?

      I’m telling you, it’s there. HE’S there. He’s with you and in you and shining through you.

      I can just see your squeaky clean fridge/freezer. BTW, we have a generator and it’s saved us several times in the past. My husband believes in “buying a good one” if you’re getting one. 🙂 He says pay a little extra–if you can–so it will last.

      Much love, my friend,
      Julie–who’s thankful you and I are on this side of the storm. And we’ll be making soup again soon, I bet. 🙂

      • Brenda Greene says:

        Awww Sweet Julie you humble me! You live long enough (soon to be 7 decades around the sun) loving Jesus, it just happens.

        Yep, Hubby’s got an expensive generator in mind (Honda) for the same reason! Sounds like our Hubbies are a lot alike…blessed aren’t we?

        And soup again? Youbetcha…already got ingredients for chicken noodle and will be doing that soon!

  6. That soup looks amazing, Girlfriend! I wish I was as good of a cook as you.
    You listened and heard and acted. I always learn from you and from your wonderful blogs. Thank you!

    • B.J. I wish I played golf like you do. You know how to keep score and swing a club–and the difference in clubs. I’m soooo impressed with you.

      Cooking just makes me feel “at home” in myself.

      I love you dearly~~~~~my golf-pro friend!

  7. Elaine says:

    You know we do forget to thank God at times. The hurricanes have thrown us off. I decided to make banana pudding for my hubby. I put my fridge down really low when Irma was coming here in Vero Beach so it didn’t matter if the power went off. Your soup sounds like what my hubby’s grandmother used to make. I would love a bowl of it. I want to thank God for you finding the celery.

    • Hey Elaine,

      Sending you a hug from GA all the way to Vero Beach. And what a brilliant idea to turn your fridge down low! I’ve never thought to do that. Hope you got your banana pudding made!

      Chicken noodle soup is so simple. You probably know, but it’s just chicken, chicken broth (sometimes I keep “real” broth in the freezer and use that, celery, carrots, and onions. S and P. That’s it!

      Much love to you~~~
      Julie–and so glad you’re okay.

      • Elaine says:

        We are fine, just a lot of tree and shrubs junk. I did make it, it is harder whipping the instant pudding by hand. When I taught Home Economics we had some of the the old wire whisk with handle and it was a little easier. I don’t know if they even sell those anymore.
        That does sound like what Grandma Goessling’s soup was about, thanks for the info.

        • I’m smiling–how sweet of you to make it by hand. And you taught Home Ec! Wow!!! I’m big-time impressed, Elaine!!!

  8. Julie,

    Your words are heart-warming and the photos mouth-watering! Thank you for listening, praying, praising, and then sharing all that with us. I was just on the website of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (, where they have links to prayers for all sorts of circumstances and there at the top is the reminder, “Pray without ceasing.” (2 Thessalonians 5:17.) Okay, Lord, I get it!! 🙂

    And Marion – “there’s always something under the potatoes” sounds like a great devotional essay. I’ll look forward to reading it in the future.

    lots of love to you both from a loyal and grateful fan,

    • Hey Anne,

      Thank you! Such Kind Words!!

      And one of my sweet readers emailed me to let me know I had a typo in the Scripture. I’d put 5:28 instead of 5:18. 🙂

      Yeah, I love how Mother said, “There’s always something under the potatoes.” Such deep Truth!

      xoxoxoxoxo –By the way, I LOVE your name.

  9. Julie, God continually teaches me through the seemingly tiny things, that really aren’t so tiny at all. Your celery story really resonates with me. I was eating a leftover sub sandwich a few minutes ago and not very happy with it. God reminded me it was His provision. I stopped and gave thanks, then a few minutes later read your post. I think God is trying to tell me something. LOL Love you, Bev

    • You and me both, Bev. He’s started prompting me to thank Him each time I buy groceries.

      Thank you for reading and for your encouragement–and for your publishing news–oh, wow! Mother called me right after she heard.

      Thank You, Lord! You are the Giver of all Good Gifts!!!

  10. Julie, Your soup looks amazing! I can almost smell as it simmers on the stove. This post, brought to mind how we are made stronger by both the celery and the storms. That is definitely something to be thankful for even when we feel as if we cannot go any farther.

    Love and hugs dear friend,

    • Eileen,

      I’m so grateful God joined the two of us together. We just click, don’t we? 🙂

      Love every word you shared.

      Your friend in Georgia~

  11. Marci'a says:

    I enjoyed this blog about the soup and finding the celery. How God provides. And He does! And– that soup sounds so good. I want to make some soup soon. I also liked all the comments here. I will have to come back and re-read through them when I am a little more settled.
    I can think of times God has provided the ‘celery’ for us,, more times than I can count.
    Right now, my mind is a little off, with thoughts and concerns for a friend, whose daughter, after a 4 yr stuggle with Cancer, passed away last night. It was a lot of prayers during that time. You may remember, and believe you also prayed– as we prayed she would see her youngest child graduate. He graduated last spring.

    God Bless, dear Julie!
    So grateful for your writings!

    Marci’ a xoxoxo

    • Marci'a says:

      Correction: I should have said “He graduated in the spring of 2016 ” She fought a hard fight, and now she is with her Jesus.

    • Marci’a…
      Yes, I do remember.

      Ohhh, Lord, we lift up Marci’a’s friend to You–You see. You know. You care. You hurt right along with them, and with Marci’a. Will You comfort them? Will You send Love–even in unexpected ways. Sometimes, Lord, we just don’t understand. But nothing takes You by surprise. We love You. And thank You for Your graciousness in letting this mama see her son graduate.

      In Jesus’ name,

  12. When the Lord speaks and we move our feet in the direction He says, we find unexpected blessings each time. Yes, some times it just enough celery to fill our belly before the power goes out.

    So glad to hear that the down trees didn’t hit your house. Now, you’ll have fire wood for the winter. God is truly in the details. Love your post.

    Continue to brag on Jesus. I’ll be thinking how your faith led you to look for hidden celery when I’m shopping this week.

    Uplifting blessings always.

    • Carolyn,

      I can’t think about you without smiling. God showed up in you so big the day you asked me to have a cup of tea with you. I’ll never forget it.

      You touch so many lives. His love shines through you.

      True. Fire wood! We’ll have firewood for our wood burning stove~~another blessing.

      Perfect thought above. I just need to retype it to let it soak in–“When the Lord speaks and we move our feet in the direction He says, we find unexpected blessings each time.” You’re absolutely RIGHT.

      So much love,

  13. I enjoyed your “celery” post. We are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew from almost a year ago here in Lumberton, N.C. Trees still fall along I-95 with every rain. Glad you are safe. Thanks for sharing. You are a blessing.

    • Judy…

      I’m looking at your beautiful picture right now, and hugging you in my heart. And trees are still falling in your area. Whew………

      Just so sorry for all your area has been through. Now I feel it so much deeper.

      All my love,

  14. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie G — what a nice surprise seeing your blog today! You snuck up on us 🙂

    First, I’m glad you played it safe and stayed home, not going out into the weather just for celery and soup! But I like that cooking is one thing that is comforting to you when your are anxious. Glad also that you found the celery — or that God pointed you to it! I see you also posted the recipe. Thanks for that! I intend to keep hold of it and maybe whip up a batch as the weather (and leaves) start to turn. I remember wanting to fix spaghetti one night. It is my favorite food. Had my heart set on it. To my disnay when I opened my cupboard, there was no spaghetti sauce. I don’t do sauce from scratch and even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the ingredients to do it. I so did not want to go to the store and really didn’t have the time. Then I saw a can of Manwich. Hmmmm. I don’t know. Might work. But, I don’t know. Well I tried it. Most awful spaghetti I’ve ever had, lolol. Except for when I tried to make a low-carb spaghetti out of squash. Yuck! Well, my lesson learned was that I should have either gone to the store or made something else, lol. I like being creative and resourceful though, so it was worth a try. But — never again. I probably would have made the chicken soup without the celery, but then it would never have been quite right. Glad God tucked away the celery just so you could find it when you needed it most. And on a side note — my son Andy and I are binge-watching Doctor Who right now and one of the doctors from the old classic series always wore a celery stalk in his jacket pocket, sticking out of it like a handkerchief in a man’s suit jacket, lol. Now each time I see that particular “Doctor”, I’m going to remember your soup!

    Take care and God bless Julie G 🙂

    — Leafy

    • Love it! What a neat thing for a mama and her son to do! And celery in the dr’s pocket! Isn’t that funny?!

      I was so hoping your spaghetti turned out right. We just never know, do we? I could’ve probably made soup w/out celery, but I think God was leading me on a little journey.

      As I held that wilted celery, I felt Him say, “Write about the celery.” I argued. Put it off. Told Him nobody would understand.

      Thank You, Lord. You Know Best. You even speak through wilted celery.

      Love you, Leafy. It’s almost our time of year–still hot in GA.

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Yes, our time of year is upon us!! I just sent you an email showing you the “celery doctor” 🙂 Hot this week here too though. Hoping for true fall weather soon!

  15. Julie, you made me cry. 🙂 I had no idea that you had been affected by Irma. I’m so sorry. I should have been praying. But the soup … priceless. Thank you, Julie. xoxoxoxo

    • You and I both know it’s an incredible compliment for a writer to bring her reader to tears. xoxoxoxo

      Thank you for letting me know. I’m thinking Harvey didn’t come your way, right?

      So much love, my sweet friend…


  16. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, so happy and inspired to read your post!((((: Are you going to be blogging now at a regular time? I am sorry I took so long to comment, but I did not know if your blog would still be running.(: how are you and Katie? Love the look of your chicken soup–my gram’s favorite soup. How is your novel as I have been thinking about you and know your novel will be great!

    • Hey Patricia! So good to hear your sweet voice. We’re all doing just fine. 🙂

      My novel–I’m waiting to hear my agent’s thoughts on the rewrite.
      My blog–I’m listening for God and blogging as He instructs. When I found the celery in the ‘fridge, I knew He was prompting me to write about it. My blogs will always be on Wednesdays. I’m not sure what the schedule will be. Sometimes I’ll get this feeling to “take a picture” and I won’t know why–or what I’ll be writing about. I just know God’s whispering. A few days later, it’ll come together in my heart.

      And I’m leaving some open time for one-on-one ministry with ladies. I’m speaking in October and twice in November. 🙂

      Mainly, I’m learning to be quiet and listen. And. To. Wait…………..

      Your friend in Georgia

  17. I love it when God works His ‘little’ miracles with me. I’m reminded of how trivial my requests are to His infinite and limitless grace.

    I hope you and your loved ones are safe, Julie.

  18. Jan Olson says:

    The soup looks delicious! Love that the celery was there all along, just waiting for you to find it. And not give up. Glad you were prompted to look for it. Just had that same experience with a missing Sunday school book–not where I looked for it the first time, but in the odd spot it was living in since June. She who has God lacks for nothing. God alone is enough.

    • Nodding right along with you! Yes, Jan!! Love what you said and I’m so glad you found your SS book.

      Miraculous that it had been there since JUNE!!!


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