Pride and Parakeets

I bet none of you have ever withheld praise from someone you love. I’m embarrassed to say, I did this recently. Just plain ugliness. My husband Rick is a man of many hobbies. I have three: reading, cooking, and going to the YMCA.

One of his hobbies is raising outdoor parakeets. Last summer, a virus struck his birds. All forty of them died. I found him in the backyard burning his bird atrium to the ground.

“I’m really sorry,” I said.

“I’m starting over. Building a new one. Some boards were rotten.”

“Why don’t you buy a couple of new birds and keep them inside?”

After he burned the house, I found him mixing cement–for footings and a new floor, he said.

“You mean, like a real house?”


“Seems like a lot of work to me.”

Over the next few weekends, I pretended to read a book, but really, I sat outside studying my husband.

Trying to figure him out.

As the new house started coming together something came over me, but I didn’t tell him how I felt.

That I adored his eye for detail. His creativity.

Mostly, I admired him for not giving up.

For not taking the easy way out.

I would have.

Then one day he finished.

He’d stained the log siding to match our log house–even used the same tin roof!

What happened next completely undid me.

When he put Mr. and Mrs. Parakeet inside their new home, they scooted close together and kissed.

They weren’t shy about expressing their gratitude.

Clearing my throat, I walked toward my man and his new birds. “You amaze me. You did a beautiful job.”

“No big deal.”

“Yes it is. I should’ve told you sooner.”

We kissed like happy parakeets.

Me and my foolish pride.

Pride prevents praise.

Have you ever held back from praising someone? Please…somebody say yes.




  1. Mike says:

    Amazing young man….beautiful work!

    Just curious, how the birds adapt to
    the extremes in temperature swings,
    from January through July?

    • Thank you, Mike! I’ll tell my “young man” you said so. 🙂

      Very good question about the winter. He wraps the birdhouse in a see-through plastic when it’s cold and has a heater rigged up inside the little house. Works beautifully.

      An elderly gentleman gave him the birds a long time ago, along with the white house.


      • Rene' says:

        Thanks for the beautiful reminder.. speak out loud the love we have for others… blessings to you

        • You’re so welcome, Rene’. Thanks for telling me it spoke to your heart. 🙂

          So much love to you and yours.

  2. Beautiful story from so many perspectives. Rick does such wonderful work and I am envious of his ability and his passion for a hobby. You made me chuckle with your pleas for confirmation and now you have me wondering if I have also withheld praise due to pride AND envy…just beautiful! Thank you (and Rick:) Blessings and praise!

    • Thanks so much, Tom. Um-hmmm. Pride AND envy. I’ve often wondered if I’m a little bit envious b/c everything he touches, he knows how to fix or restore. And that’s not one of my gifts. I sit behind my desk with words running through my head. 🙂

  3. I have … I find myself thinking good thoughts so often and my tendency is to keep quiet. It’s become a discipline to speak the good, to Mike, to my kids, to the cashier at Publix! How fulfilling to give blessings with our words…such a small thing that often yields a lot of good.x
    Ricky Amazes me…I’m glad I didn’t know about his birds last year, it would have made me so sad, now I’m excited to watch these two happy little ones…keep us informed xo

    • Felt myself breathe a deep sigh of relief. You do this too, Robin. Whewwwwwwwwww.

      We’ll have to hold each other accountable as we change.

      Yesterday morning, I told him it would be a great reality show if we could have him and his BFF with a room of power tools and some supplies to see who could come up with what. 🙂

      The birds in his old house had lots of babies. Hoping these will too.

  4. Anna Haney says:

    I honestly think God uses you to talk to me. I have been rather exasperated with my spouse and the way it’s taking him ALL SUMMER to get the stuff we FINALLY moved out of his old house (1) out of the garage and (2) into the permanent spot in the house. Clutter stresses me and I am not handling it well. But Don is very methodical. Rather than just get the stuff in the house, then put it where it wants it, he is thinking of the best, most logical place for it to go. Stuff I would have probably donated way back, he is pondering its true value. Could someone use it? I need to appreciate that. Thank you. Have a great day!

    • Ohh, you’re so welcome, Anna. This IS how God is talking to me–just trying to keep it real. 🙂

      Sometimes I go through the alphabet and tell myself all the things I love about my husband from A-Z. It’s taken me so many years to learn the joy in focusing on the stuff I admire and forgetting the other stuff. I think he’s doing the same thing about me. I can drive a person nuts with all my talking!! And obsessing!!!! But he’s so sweet to listen. And listen.

      Hugs to you and Don. 🙂

  5. I’m ashamed to say I have. But thanks to you, I’ll try to do that more often. It’s funny, we think those nice things about them yet forget to voice them. Men don’t know our thoughts. :o/

  6. I have been in your place many times, Julie! When hubby has an idea to build something and I tend to balk at his idea at first and then I see that it is turning out nice, I have on occasion not said anything until later. You are not alone, Julie. And thank you, for bringing this to my attention.

    I am a person who loves anything made out of logs so I immediately fell in love with your husband’s parakeet house. He did a wonderful job on it!

    • Ohhh, thank you, thank you, Eileen. I am not alone!! Why in the heck do we do this!! At least we’re aware now…and working on changing.

      Hugs to you, my friend.

  7. YES, YES, YES! I have done that. I’ve faltered and stumbled and fallen many times. Sometimes my withholding of praise is because of resentment or anger at something I’m harboring. Silly me. I need to lighten up. Working on that. ; o )
    Thanks for the reminder, and what a gorgeous house Rick built. Tell him I love it.

    • It brings me happy tears to see that others do this too. Blogging this one was a little scary…admitting my ugly attitude.

      So relieved you understand.

      I’ll tell him you love his house. 🙂 🙂 He won’t know what to do with all this praise.


  8. Melinda says:

    YES from me as well. Often from being jealous of how well someone else does something. I too have a husband of many talents. Your husband’s parakeet house is awesome as everyone else already said but please pass along my praise as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Julie. They truly do speak to so many of us.
    God bless you!

    • Ohhh, thank you, Melinda. Makes me smile all the way from my tippy-toes!

      You too!!!!!! 🙂 🙂

      Our men would probably enjoy making projects together…not sure how much they’d chitter-chatter, but they’d get their work done!


  9. Wanda says:

    Just rather! Love your beautiful bird house, Rick. It’s bigger than I thought, from looking at the photo which includes you. Lots of room for those pretty parakeets to flutter around. Don’t worry, Julie, you’ve got it figured out so more praise will come and be easier. May God bless you both.

    • Thank you, oh, thank you, Wanda. I’m working on the praise thing…relieved I finally recognized this pesky little trait of mine.

      I’ll pass along your praises, my friend.

  10. Ginger says:

    YES! But isn’t it a relief to finally give the praise so richly deserved. It brings joy to both the receiver and the giver.
    I love the photo of the little “lovebirds”. 🙂 Looks like a picture of contentment to me.

    Looking Up!

    P.S. Your blog is such an inspiration. I’ve enjoyed reading your mother’s stories for years. I’m an avid Guideposts reader. I’m happy to have found your blog.

    • Thank you, Ginger. It does my heart good to see these “yes” responses. I struggled a tad about posting this…telling y’all all about my ugly attitude.

      I’m so glad you found my blog too. Means the world to me to connect with people–see God moving me to write about things that inspire. I guess it’s how I build my bird houses. 🙂

  11. Yes I have. Many times, I’m sure. Like someone else said, I think it, but I don’t always say it. Why not? Sometimes it’s pride. Sometimes I don’t know.

    But I promise you I’m going to try to do better. I LOVE your title! (See, I did it!)

    • Vonda, every time I read another “yes” I just feel so good inside.

      Yes, you did it! You praised me for my title! And you know what? I’m looking forward to your Friday post. Because I love hearing how He’s working in your life. It ALWAYS hits home.


  12. You are so right! I needed to read this reminder to speak my praise, not just think it!

    • Awww, I’m so glad you understand, Elizabeth. I mean, really….it makes us feel good when people read and “get” our writing, so surely this blessing others with our words is a good thing.

      Hugs to you my friend. Still wishing I could sit down in your PEACEFUL house and have coffee with you.

  13. Fleur says:

    I have, many times… Often because I feel it’ll sound silly or that it’ll be taken in the wrong way. Partially because I think of things I want to tell strangers or people I don’t know so well.
    Of course once I do actually say something it’s usually appreciated and understood in the way I meant it.
    Sometimes it isn’t understood right and then I need just a bit more courage to try again next time. But boy is it worth it, even if it takes making a fool of myself a couple times. We all need affirmations that we matter, that we’re noticed for something positive. And when I do manage to share a compliment towards someone I’ve seen their faces light up and their days get noticably better. Ah the power of positive affirmations!

    • Fleur, such a beautiful response. You have a tender heart, my friend. Sounds like you hold back maybe out of shyness…or not wanting to offend. That’s not me. 🙁

      I’ll tell you one thing. When you’ve emailed me, it sure has been a huge blessing!

      And don’t you love it when their faces light up.


  14. Sandra Walker says:

    Another GREAT one, Julie! One of my words this year is VOICE. Need to speak up more, especially to my husband. Need to FOCUS on the positive and not the negative. I slip back too often even though tomorrow will be 7 years since the cancer operation he underwent. Now THAT’s an ugly admission! But I am confessing one to another so I can be healed of it! Enjoyed seeing the bird house. Beautiful!

    • Sandra, I LOVE your honesty, my friend! And what a wonderful word to choose for the year–Voice. I’ve never thought of that being a “year word” but I sure do love it.

      Thanking God for your husband’s 7 years after his cancer surgery.

      May He bless your honesty and your days together.



  1. […] have a parakeet atrium. Years ago, an elderly friend couldn’t take care of his outdoor parakeets, so my husband Rick […]

  2. […] Rick has an outdoor atrium full of parakeets. […]

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