Spiderwebs and Sticky Thoughts

One Saturday last fall, my husband Rick and I took a walk through the woods behind our house. The leaves were just beginning to change, and the sky, unbelievably blue. As soon as we got into the woods, Rick found a big stick. He waved it around in front of us like a sword, as though fighting an imaginary enemy.

“What are you doing?” 

“Knocking down spiderwebs.”

“I don’t see any.”

He smiled.

“Oh.”

This past Saturday, Clyde, our Lab, and I walked through the same woods.

I remembered that day last fall.

The stick.

The spiderweb discussion.

The imaginary enemy. 

Are there really spiderwebs back here? 

Just in case, I grabbed a stick and twirled it in front of me.

Pretty soon, I decided I really didn’t need the stick.

It was a lot of work.

And I looked silly.

Rick was probably teasing me. If I see any spiderwebs, I’ll knock them down. 

I dropped my stick and kept walking.

It wasn’t long before I felt a sticky spiderweb all over my face–yuck!–and a black spider in my hair.

I never saw it coming.

I walked smack-dab in the middle of it.

Finding another stick, I had an aha moment.

All spiderwebs begin the same way–

With a barely visible thread.

Then the spider spins her web and sets the trap.

Soon her unsuspecting prey is gobbled up.

The same way one tiny thought can spin a web of destruction in my life.

Fear.

Envy.

Lust.

Doubt.

Bitterness. 

Wrong-thinking has taken me down too many times.

Waving my stick is like guarding my mind. 

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.” Proverbs 4:23 CEV

Do you carry a big stick and guard your thoughts too?

Love,

Julie

A Heart-Post from my Best Friend of 40 Years

I’m on vacation this week. It’s an honor to introduce Robin.

Hi Julie’s friends! I’m so excited to be visiting you today- I’m Robin and my blog is All Things Heart and Home!

Profile Picture 2014 Mike, who is known on my blog as The Husband, is my partner in projects. We are always busy making or remodeling something around the house 🙂 If you have a minute, I’d love for you to visit me sometime!

Julie and I have been best buds since the 9th grade and I love her heart as much as you do. Today I want to share a heart post while she’s enjoying some time at the beach!

***

furry friend

I woke early, just after three with thoughts clamoring loud for attention. When the coffee was ready I made my way out to the screen porch to have my quiet time. I think sometimes when God wants to talk to me, He coaxes me out of bed extra early. Five animals followed me to the porch, four pups and Reba-the-Cat. As we settled in under blankets, they fell asleep and I sipped coffee and listened for Him.

“Thank you that you have everything under your control…” I’m whispering my prayers when a tiny creature moves quick around the edge of the room towards that hole in the screen.

I’ve seen him before, this tiny thing, on another too-early morning. But that time he ran so fast toward his exit that I couldn’t be certain if he was a chipmunk or a mouse. That time I mildly freaked out and my sleepy pack of animals all jumped up and ran towards him.

Not this time though.

This time he scurried, but not entirely frantic-

This time the pups lifted their heads to see, but never even got up-

This time Reba-the-Cat stood and watched him disappear through the hole in the screen before folding her legs back underneath her and settling down.

“Sorry to bother you,” I told him as he made his exit.

Isn’t it strange that we’re almost accustomed to the little vermin, I thought. Leaning back into my comfy chair I heard:

What thoughts and habits barely make you look twice anymore?

The question came quiet to my thoughts but rang loud in my heart.

What is it in you that comes through the hole in the screen?

It was one of those God-Moments so I grabbed my journal and began making a list of things that are unwelcome but that I’ve become accustomed to…

~worry

~stress eating

~not exercising

~living on the computer

Those were some of the unwelcome vermin that are so familiar they seem like they belong in my life. I think the hole in the ‘screen’ comes from neglect. Neglecting to pray. Neglecting to read my Bible. Neglecting to worship with a group of people. It’s not that we have to do those things to be accepted or to be loved, but to neglect those things means there will be consequences, holes in the screen so to speak. And something unwanted will probably find it’s way in.

Father, help me to fix the hole in the screen…

Has there ever been a season in your life when you realized you were allowing unwelcome things to be the “norm”?

Sending love sweet friends

xo

Thank you, Robin. What a treat.

Y’all, you’d love her blog. Such creativity! She’s been inspiring me for years–long before she started blogging.

Love,

Julie

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.

Love,

Julie

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

Shut Up and Get Out!

Some people may not understand this. Oh, well. Here goes.

I’m learning to be careful with my thoughts. The worst kind are the sneaky ones that tiptoe in like a gray mouse scampering across a stage. He whispers evil tidings.

For instance, my husband and I were having a date night last Friday and a pesky thought interrupted dinner.

What are you going to blog about next week?

You don’t have anything, do you?

Your blogging days are over.

I used to sit fearfully chewing my fingernails listening intently to every negative word the mouse spoke. The longer I listened, the bigger and louder he grew. Sometimes, I wanted to take notes. I didn’t dare miss any of the scary scenarios he predicted. I had to be prepared for the worst.

I’m learning. Slowly but surely.

Friday night, in my mind, I ran toward the mouse. I stamped my feet and bellowed, “Shut up and get out! Take your foolish worries with you. I don’t have to listen. There’s a Higher Authority.”

He shrunk and stumbled off, coward that he is.

I heard sweet silence. Then a gentle, loving voice spoke inside my heart.

My child. The enemy has no rights to your thoughts. You are Mine. See? The blog is written.”

Does anybody else holler at mice? I hope so.

Love,

Julie