Not the Rice instead of the Barley! - A Dose of Encouragement

Two things I love to eat are homemade vegetable soup and homemade rice pudding so I always have some barley in the house for the soup and some rice to make the pudding.

Often when I am making things my mind is elsewhere thinking of the next thing I need to do, or something I've forgotten to do or I am chatting to whoever is around at the time.

So inevitably, I admit I sometimes end up doing silly things like putting pudding rice into my soup instead of barley.  

Well they did sit side by side in matching containers on a shelf in one of my kitchen cupboards and when someone is not really paying enough attention they could easily mistake one for the other as the barley and rice grains are a bit similar in size.     Yes?

Note they do not sit side by side in matching containers any longer - I learnt my lesson.

Well I did this one day because I was chatting to my husband and one of the kids and I ended up with soup that no-one in the family (not even me) would eat.

A whole pot of soup had to be thrown out.


Because I had, without thinking carefully, added the wrong ingredient to the pot.

It caused a lot of laughter and teasing by the kids of course.

Later I thought about how a conversation can be like a recipe.

Often we probably add the wrong words in a conversation because we are not concentrating properly and can end up with something that is confusing, unintelligible, unhelpful and not edifying.

Do we just say certain phrases
     because we have heard others use them,
     because they seem like they might be the right thing to say,
     because we have misheard the person
or even
     because we have assumed what the other person means.

Then what about when we try to use verses from the Bible which are not right for the situation.

Maybe we just think of a verse 
     because of a certain word we pick up on in the conversation,
     because we have been reading it lately,
     because we have memorized it at some time,
or even 
     because we know the reference for it and that looks impressive to others.

We need to listen before we speak.

Have you heard that before?

Have we honed in on the real topic or just think we have?

Do we need to make sure, do we need to ask a few questions?

We need to think before we speak.

How often have we heard that before?

Are we taking a verse out of context?

Does it really have any bearing on the situation before us?

But we also need to pray before we speak.

Do we hear that as often?

Lord help us to play our proper part in conversations.

May we think and pray before we speak to add the right ingredients into the pot.

We need to listen, think and pray before we speak!

It is always better to listen carefully to the conversation and say little but make sure that what we do say is suitable, the God inspired words and not the rice instead of the barley.


  1. I am going to have to have a potentially difficult work related conversation today. I needed these reminders. Thanks.

  2. Well...barley doesn't agree with my stomach so well, so I'm happy with the rice. But I love the analogy! Going to have to remember it! :-) :-) :-)

  3. Yes! I have been guilty of this very thing more times than I want to remember! Thank you for your gentle words of encouragement to do the right thing. Visiting from Three Words Wednesday.

  4. Love this so much Sandra. Thank you very much for all your posts of encouragement and wisdom. I learn a lot from your blog. Thank you!

  5. Interesting visual! Thank you for sharing this. Once I put cumin in a pot of oatmeal instead of cinnamon...that had to be dumped. ;) Have a great day!
    Anne @

  6. Great analogy, Sandra! With the right words as ingredients, we can create amazing meals to feed our friends and family! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Deborah

  7. I always try to be mindful of that scripture "From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". What is in my heart? What am I portraying to other about who I am? Do my words bring life or death. Great read! Thanks!

  8. I was just recently telling my 5-year-old son he shouldn't use words/phrases he hears unless he knows what they mean. Good advice. :)

  9. Anonymous23:48

    So true!
    These are the kind of stories that families can laugh about for years! :)

  10. I love the picture you painted about adding the right words to the conversation. I always remember this phrase, "I never get in trouble for what I don't say." Thanks for this encouragement.

  11. This made me smile, simply because the relevant truth is foundational to how we need to communicate, both in our every day and in our spiritual conversations. If I prayed before every conversation just think of the outcome!
    Thanks for a valuable reminder.

  12. I'm one of those weirdos who can have barley instead of rice. Then again, rice is more accessible around here so... :D

  13. Good reminder. I'm afraid that too often I'm not giving my full attention to my children and give them a half-baked answer. I'm working on giving them the full attention they deserve.

  14. Good reminder to watch what we say. Although, one of our favorite meals around here is chicken and rice soup. :-) I have never made soup with barley, I will have to try that.

  15. You nailed it! I am not always present for some conversations and for some reason this happens with my sons. They know me well enough now but I do tell them when my mind is elsewhere so they are not too bothered by it. The lesson is one instance when having a conversation but you also bring up a good point when you say not to take God's word out of context or take it for granted because it fits the situation we want to use it for. Great ideas! Thank you for linking up to The Weekend Brew.

  16. Sometimes when I'm talking to my boys or a friend, I'll put one word in place of another - my mind will see something and instead of pencil, I'll put something similar I just passed by - it's like two conversations are going on in my head at one time. I need to concentrate, focus, be more intentional! Very good point!

  17. I have been so guilty of this as well. But I have grown better & now more often say that I need to pray before I will give an answer. Much wisdom in this post. Glad to have stopped here this morning. Blessings!

  18. Love that great analogy with the rice and interesting to think about conversation like ingredients in soup...many blessings to you!

  19. An awesome post, and so glad they no longer sit side by side. We put Barley goes in tomato soup with a piece of ham. Today I cooked a pot of "Black Rice." It was different, but good with our vegetables and slice of chicken. We also like on occasion brown rice for a different taste. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell me a Story." Sorry about the soup you had to throw out.

  20. I think people concentrate so much on what they're going to say next that they don't actually listen and pay attention to what the other person is saying. This is a great reminder to slow down and think and listen before you speak. Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  21. Love the analogy and such a great reminder that our words have consequences too. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup and hope you join us again this weekend. Pinning to our linkup board.

  22. My mother always made barley with keilbasa, a traditional sLOVEnian dish! But I love rice too and rice pudding is a favorite. Now that you have made me so hungry.....thanks for sharing.

  23. I haven't heard of this barley dish but I'm guessing it must taste really yummy.