We’ll Leave the Porch Light On For Y’all

porch 5Recently, I had to step away from “the porch” for a while. The loss of a dear family friend, some unexpected travel, the desire to savor the end of summer with my kiddos… life got a little messy and something had to give.

I skipped my Wednesday blogpost for the first time since joining Southern Belle View more than two years ago, and I haven’t been participating in the daily chats, as I have always loved to do.

So, yesterday morning, with my children off for the new school year, I pulled out my LONG to-do list in hopes of catching up on all the things I’ve let slide.

I skimmed the bullets until I reached Southern Belle View, and then I skipped as quickly as possible right back to our little front porch. There, waiting for me to find my way home again, were a series of beautiful posts from the belles.

But unlike my other visits to our porch, yesterday was different. For the first time, I saw this blog from our readers’ eyes.

I spent an hour or two laughing, crying, laughing some more and feeling both inspired and encouraged by these amazing, strong, talented, beautiful, brilliant women. Their words and their wisdom healed me, and I felt as though I had all of these dear friends right here in my life with me.

Becoming an author has brought many wonderful blessings into my life, but by far… the best part of my writing life are the friends who have entered on account of it.

I realize now, I may have been taking my role as a “southern belle” for granted. Drafting regular blogposts in addition to novel deadlines, edits, freelance contracts, and other responsibilities can sometimes bring a last minute “oops, I forgot about SBV!” kind of post. We’ve all been there. And we thank you for sticking with us through those thin spaces.

But now, unlike ever before, I realize the importance of this cyberporch. I know, if I came here yesterday morning, heart heavy, soul bruised, spirit a well of complex emotions, faith a little out of sorts, then someone else did too.

I arrived hurting, and I left healing. And that is, as my Choctaw friends say, “good medicine.”

Lisa, Kellie, Jolina, Denise, Amy, Rachel, Eva, Shellie, and Nicole — Thank you.

Thank you for living your lives with such open, humble, honest hearts. Thank you for using your talents behind the pen to shape spirits. Thank you for gifting us with your words, your stories, your lessons, your lives.

Thank you for granting me the privilege to call you my friends, and thank you for calling me one of your own.

Most of all, thank you for providing this sacred space, where lost or lonely or lovely souls can gather, where each of us can return at any time… knowing… there will always be someone on the porch, welcoming us home.




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Julie Cantrell

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author at Harper Collins Christian
Julie Cantrell is a tree-hugging organic-farm girl and mother of two who happened into a mid-life adventure as a novelist. She's having fun parenting, writing, teaching, speaking, and living the dream.

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  1. Nicole Seitz says

    I thank you for this reminder that the porch isn’t just another to-do, but a sweet temporary destination in this long, winding journey of ours.

  2. Lisa Wingate says

    Oh, Julie, this is such a good reminder. We all need places to go where love and light waits. We treasure you here on the porch. You bring inspiration, beautiful stories, and a taste of life on the farm. That’s the best thing about SBV, I think. Different lives, different homes. One porch.


  3. says

    Sweet Julie, I’m glad you’re back “home”. It truly is a blessing to be a part of the Southern Belleview porch, isn’t it? Thanks for penning such an eloquent reminder.

  4. NanN says

    … I followed your cornbread crumbs on into this beautiful place, Julie, after reading “Into the Free” & “When Mountains Move” to feel so welcomed and warmed in this cyber-spot.
    … Through the eyes of a reader-not-a-writer, I’ve never felt anyone of you have posted thoughts that were “thin” or rushed, but rather the heart-felt words of women with something to say.
    … Thank you for letting me be here and enjoy this place. I always leave with a good thought in my head and a smile on my mouth because of each of you!

    • Julie Cantrell says

      NanN – This may just be the nicest comment I’ve ever read. Thank you and we’re all SO glad you’re here with us! Have a wonderful day, julie

  5. Lisa says

    I so much want to include my “Amen!” I am a faithful reader, and I truly feel as though I have found 10 new friends. Today, words are such a poor vehicle to express how much the ministry of this blog means to me! I am a pastor’s wife of 20 years, a high school teacher of 30 years, and a “sister of the South” :) for all my life. So many days, especially this summer, your wit, wisdom, humor, and love really impacted my life.and helped me through some difficult days. Thank you for being God’s hand extended! Thank you for the time you invest in our lives–your readers! Many blessings and much love to you all! Lisa

    • Julie Cantrell says

      Lisa, wow…you are am amazing person. How in the world does a “pastor’s wife” (which we ALL know means co-pastor) have time/energy to TEACH on top of that? I imagine you to be the most efficient, giving, compassionate, kindhearted, humble soul…and we sure are glad to have you here on our porch. Thanks for joining us AND for inspiring us with YOUR words today. Cheers, julie

  6. says

    Wonderful post, Julie!! I have been away from the porch so much this summer, but I love knowing that the Belles and their beautiful, inspiring words are waiting here for me to enjoy. Thank you all so much for sharing your time, your words, and your hearts! Love and hugs to you all!!

    • Julie Cantrell says

      Britney — Your absence has been noticed, my friend. We all adore you and your sweet mother and love when you visit our porch. Glad to have you with us today. Much love, julie

  7. says

    Ha…..I’m running onto the Porch late tonight after watching the grandbabies today! I played Santa, pirates, zoo bear, raced cars and made cupcakes….all by ten o’clock am.

    Yes, the Porch is such a great place to hang out. I was a huge reader fan for a couple of years before I was invited to join the Belles. Definitely a great place with great people!

  8. Debora Wilder says

    I just found this blog a few days ago. I have been blessed by each post I’ve read. Thank you all for sharing from your hearts with us.

  9. Bonnie Roof says

    Such a touching, heart-felt post – Julie, thank you!!

    The words echoed my thoughts about this blog. I try to reach as many blogs and FB posts as possible – to encourage and support you wonderful Christian writers/authors, but never have enough hours in the day to visit them all on a daily basis.

    This blog is one of my faves – as Lisa Wingate mentioned, “different lives, different homes – one porch”. I love “hearing” the different styles of writing that come from the 10 of you, but feel the same warmth and inspiration from each.

    My thanks to each of you for such beautiful posts – each of you bless me!!

    P.S. I want the beautiful, cozy, warm porch from that pic, wherever it is!!

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