Give Me No Bananas

Image by Juan Zelaya from Pixabay

Every day I will praise You. —Psalm 145:2 NIV

When I taught fulltime and wrote in the early morning or evening hours, I had little time and energy to do special things for my husband, such as slip a banana in his lunch box or wash the plastic container he used for cake. I was lucky to get supper on the table before 7 p.m. and the dishes stacked in the dishwasher before I went to bed or ran out of my second wind. Often he made supper and cleaned up afterward to give me time to write.

But one summer day, I decided to show my gratitude for all his hard work by slipping a banana into his lunch box. But did he appreciate my thoughtfulness? Oh, no. He complained the banana was too ripe.

“I like them almost green,” he said.

Couldn’t he have lied just a little bit? I wanted to hear “Boy, that banana hit the spot! Thanks!”

Biting back a sharp retort and stuffing the hurt, I pulled out the plastic cake container from his bucket and stacked it with the dirty dishes.

“You don’t have to wash that thing every day,” he said in a tone that made me feel like a reprimanded child. I knew he was trying to save me extra work, but I’d wanted to make him feel appreciated. Instead I got negative, negative, negative.

“Thanks for reminding me of why I stop doing little things to please you,” I muttered when he left the room.

The next day, after I’d filled my journal with two pages of anger, I opened my Bible to the day’s reading. 

“Every day I will bless thee,” I read, “and praise thy name” (Psalm 145:2). 

A heart full of anger has no room for praise.

God has a funny way of nudging me when my attitude isn’t what it should be.

I opened my journal to the entry I’d made just two days prior to my whining session when I’d filled four pages listing things I love—laundry blowing in the wind, white cotton ball clouds skimming across a summer blue sky, a soft breeze caressing my cheek, a quiet snowfall, a neon rainbow arched across a storm-studded sky, a misty morning, a blazing sunset, the blush of dawn, a field of pristine, unbroken snow….

The old hymn “Count Your Blessings” reverberated in my mind, and the anger dissipated from my heart. In light of all these priceless blessings right in front of my nose every day that don’t cost me a cent—gifts from God for me to enjoy—how trivial my reasons for being angry were!

A heart full of anger has no room for praise, but a heart full of praise has no room for anger.

With what, then, will you fill your heart? The choice is yours. Only one will bring the satisfaction and joy you crave.

When I think of all the wonders You created in the world around me and the awesome deeds You have wrought in my life, Lord God, I am humbled by Your greatness. Sometimes I forget who You are and act like a spoiled child. Forgive me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 145.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Cabin Fever Woes

winter scene 3-19-17
View from the front deck of our driveway on March 19, 2017


Do everything without kvetching. –Philippians 2:14 CJB

“Quit your kvetching,” my mother often told me.

She used that Yiddish word whenever I complained about something, like when I’d gripe that my nose didn’t look right on my face.

“Imagine what you’d look like without a nose,” she’d say.

No sympathy. At all.

But she knew there were things in life I’d have to deal with – things I couldn’t change and things I could (like my attitude), but I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Pity parties may be good to air bottled-up emotions, but they don’t remedy the situation.

My friend Rebecca is a lot like my mother in that way. I have to admit, sometimes I don’t appreciate her words. All I want is a little sympathy. I don’t get it. Instead I receive a verbal boot in my feeling-sorry-for-myself attitude.

Take, for example, my grumbling on Facebook this past week about being cooped up during this messy winter with its manic weather and the resulting cabin fever. Every time I plan to make the 12-mile drive down the mountain to town to get my hair cut, precipitation is forecast. I don’t drive on roads that may freeze up in the blink of an eye or if there’s even an inkling of the possibility of freezing rain. I’ve rescheduled my appointment three times. And from the looks of Tuesday’s forecast, it’ll be four.

“I find if I get cabin fever,” Rebecca wrote, “it usually means I have too much time on my hands.”

Too much time on my hands? I resented that. I have a schedule packed with things to do: prepare services and sermons, write my weekly column, schedule my blog, work on my novel, do laundry, make meals, clean up after the cats.

Oh, did I mention I’m kitty-sitting my grandkids’ two cats? And vacuuming up hair (they’re big, fuzzy cats) and cleaning up you-know-what because one of them won’t use the litter box.

But there I go, kvetching again.

Rebecca was right. Although I have items on the to-do list, I wasn’t doing them. “I don’t feel like it,” I’d tell myself. Or give myself some other lame excuse.

Instead of centering down and focusing on being productive, I’ve been wandering cyberspace, chasing rabbit trails, accomplishing nothing – and making myself more depressed.

Rebecca says I can regain my focus, motivation, and momentum by getting busy. And she suggested some activities:

  • Cooking/baking for an elderly friend or neighbor;
  • Putting together little packages for moms at a homeless shelter;
  • Rearranging or redecorating a room in your home that you have wanted to do for a while;
  • Start a new Pinterest board or web page;
  • Make a craft and do a video of making the craft and post it online so others can try it out too.

Her suggestions go right along with what Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT).

Cabin fever? Focus on doing one item on your to-do list at a time and find ways to help others. Getting your eyes off yourself will pull you out of the pit of self-pity.

And it’s a sure cure for kvetching.

 Take this winter day, O Lord, and fill it with Your peace. Show me someone I can help and make my grumbling cease. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Philippians 2:1–18

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.