Last week, I had a dishwasher full of dirty dishes and an empty dish cabinet. The reason? I was out of my little dishwasher tablets. And I kept forgetting to get some at the store.

The dishwasher was really, really full. I thought about taking them all out and washing them by hand, but who wants to do that? So finally, and this brings me to the really dumb part . . . I put liquid dish soap in the dishwasher.

Just a tiny bit, mind you. I knew that too much would cause a bubbly, sudsy spray all over my kitchen. But I was desperate, and I thought surely, just a little bit won’t hurt.

So I turned on the dishwasher and washed that off my list, relieved that in about an hour, I would have clean dishes. But I got more than I bargained for. I got a really clean floor, as well.

A few minutes later, I returned to find bubbles spewing out of the bottom of my dishwasher. I guess even a tiny bit was too much. I turned the dishwasher off, took a towel, and got to work. Then I grabbed a plastic cup and baled out the Everest-size pile of suds in the bottom of the dishwasher—cup after foamy cup of fluffy white spume—until I finally got to the bottom of it. But then I had to bale out the soap-contaminated water. I knew if I left it, I’d just have more suds on my floor.  

An hour and one aching back later, I had overcome the chaos. I finished the dish cycle with plain water, and there were no more mishaps. But honestly. It would have been easier to do the dishes by hand.

The whole experience reminds me of the garbage-in-garbage-out lecture my mother used to give me. You put the wrong stuff in the dishwasher, you can’t expect it to operate properly. You put the wrong stuff in your mind, you can’t expect your life to run efficiently.

But the good news is, I went to the store that very day and got some dishwasher tablets, and my dishwasher hasn’t spewed bubbles since.

The same is true for our minds.

Sometimes we do dumb things. We contaminate ourselves, thinking that surely, just a little bit won’t hurt. And before we know it, we end up with a big ol’ spewy mess.

But if we take the time to clean it up, and to bale out the bad stuff, we can always start fresh. Then, if we fill our minds with good content, things that are healthy and positive and gracious, well . . .  our lives operate more smoothly.

And hopefully, we’ll remember next time not to put the wrong stuff into our minds and hearts. Even a little bit of it is too much.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at