Sunflower Seeds logo

Sunflower Seeds


Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Who Keeps You Honest?

Reece, my grandnephew (age four), said to me the other day, “I have two tummies. One for regular food and one for dessert.” He goes on to tell me that often his regular tummy is full, but he almost always has room in his dessert tummy. He even points to the two tummies on his little abdomen. The regular tummy is on the right side, the dessert tummy is on the left, in case you wanted to know. Reece is quite serious as he explains all of this to me.

Reece peeling apples with his Daddy to make an apple pie for his dessert tummy!
Reece peeling apples with his Daddy to make an apple pie for his dessert tummy!

I smile. Though he is so young, he has already devised a way to get what he wants, namely, dessert, and to avoid what he doesn’t want at times: regular food. The invention of the two tummies gives him a “way out” when his parents tell him he has to finish his carrots before he can have a cookie. He just says, “My tummy is full. But I have room in my dessert tummy!” Unfortunately for Reece, his parents don’t buy it!

But as I reflected on this I thought: don’t we adults do the same thing at times? Don’t we devise ways to get what we want and to avoid what we don’t want?

This Irish proverb says it well: “The church is near, but the road is icy. The pub is far, but I’ll walk very carefully!”

A few other examples might help. We don’t have fifteen minutes to pray, but we do have an hour to surf the internet. We don’t have time to have that serious conversation with a family member, but we do have time to play golf or go to the mall. We don’t have time to visit that lonely relative in a nursing home, but we do have time to watch TV or read that novel. I am not saying that surfing the internet, playing golf, going to the mall, watching TV, or reading a novel are wrong. I am just saying we must periodically take stock of what we are choosing to do with the 24 hours we have been given each day–and what we might be avoiding. And we must be honest with ourselves.

A good question to ask is this: who keeps me honest? Who won’t let me get away with convoluted thinking that supports only what I want to do and not what my responsibilities might be calling me to do? Who challenges my rationalizations that allow me to opt only for my personal preferences instead of choosing to do what God might be calling me to do? (Of course, remember: there are times when what I want to do is precisely what God might be calling me to do!)

Jesus was incredibly honest with himself. He sincerely liked children, so he made time to play with them–even though it scandalized some of his disciples. He overtly expressed his anger towards the hypocritical religious leaders–even though it would eventually lead to his death. He openly wept at Lazarus’ tomb instead of holding back his intense grief. And in Gethsemane, he was honest with God, begging “Abba” to take away the awful death he was about to face–but then adding, “Not my will but yours be done.”

Who keeps me honest? Good friends will. A good spouse will. A good spiritual director will. And children will too. Good prayer will–and even God will! God has an uncanny way of providing situations in our life that will help to keep us honest with ourselves.

So the next time you tell someone you have two tummies–one for regular food and one for dessert–or that the church is near but the road is icy–I hope there’s someone in your life who won’t let you get away with it!

Who keeps you honest?


10 Responses

  1. Well Sr. Melannie, at this very moment YOU make me honest… This is very good, yes these examples are very familiar to me, I must try harder.
    Thank you,

  2. You are right. There are many times I would rather do other things like watch TV or read a book other than what I should be doing. Helping my daughter or taking daddy on errands etc. Thank you for helping me realize that I need to be more sensitive to Gods voice and hear what He wants me to do.

  3. Something told me to come look at your site today and who should appear but one of those people who keep me honest…Reece.

    1. Dear Readers: These words are from Reece’s mother! Yes, I’m sure this precious little boy has a way of keeping you honest, Stacey. Thank you for letting me share him with my readers! Love, Me

  4. You said it best, Sr. Melannie!
    The gospel, family, spiritual mentors, prayer, & God’s grace help me.

    Taking time to get to an early morning mass is one way I retreat with God …and then a walk around a local pond…this helps my disposition to love and serve.


    1. Dear Marian, Yes, those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to get to a morning Mass can attest to how the readings or homily can “hit home.” And I like how you included even “a walk around a local pond” can help our “disposition to love and serve.” Well said, Marian! Thank you! Sr. Melannie

  5. Melannie……… wonderful to have finally gotten to your faithblog….you have always been a person in my life who keeps me honest…thank you..continued easter blessings…Marilyn T. Sabatino, S.N.D….ps…..keep up the good work

    1. Thank you, Marilyn! You always kept me honest too-especially when I was provincial! (To my readers: Sr. Marilyn and I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame together in July of 1962. So we’ve been GOOD friends for many years ago!) Sr. Melannie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts

(Please note: Today’s reflection deals with a very disurbing topic: war. Some of you may find this reflection very difficult to read. I understand. I found it very difficult to write.) Memorial Day will be celebrated next Monday in the U.S. This is the day set aside to remember and

Today I’m sharing with you a famous prayer/poem/ written by St. John Henry Newman. But first, a few words about this saint canonized by Pope Francis in October 2019. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was born in London, England, the eldest of six children. His father was a banker. As a

Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Upcoming Events

Finding God in the Ordinary and Amazing: An Afternoon with Sister Melannie

Sunday, May 19, 2024 – 1:30 – 4:00 Central – via zoom

Sponsored by the Portiuncula Center for Prayer – Frankfort, Illinois

Fee: Donation

For details visit: [email protected]

Weekend retreat at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center, Pulaski, PA
October 11-13, 2024

October 11-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat with the Sisters of Loretto, Nerinx, KY
September 8-13, 2024

September 8-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat at Lial Renewal Center, Whitehouse, OH
August 11-18, 2024

August 11-18, 2024

Retreat at Heartland Center for Spirituality, Great Bend, KS
April 14-19, 2024

April 14-19, 2024

Details to follow