Tag Archives: Keep It Shut

What’s That You Say? Keep It Shut Ch. 9-11

Welcome to the final post on Karen Ehman’s book , Keep It Shut.

kis.book_

See the post on chapters 7&8, here. You can link to past posts on previous chapters through that post.

So I’m glad to be able to reread through the book again for this post because I’ve been slipping up and speaking words not so laced with grace lately. I guess this just proves I’m human like everyone else and that this business of keeping it shut is hard. Yes, it’s hard. Especially hard when you’re trying to break a long time habit of not always weighing words carefully. Let’s jump into chapter 9.

Chapter 9 – Hurling Hate or Healing Hearts?

“In your anger, do not sin”:Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:26-27

Karen begins this chapter with her own experiences of being a mama and losing her cool when asking kids to do something for the umpteenth time and they still don’t do it. Been there? I sure have. I love how she points out that children are supposed to obey their parents but no where in the Bible does it mention that parents have the right to holler and scream and carry on at them when they don’t. There has to be a better way. The scripture above can actually lead us to that better way. The book points out that in the scripture, it says ‘in your anger’ which recognizes the fact that we are born with emotions and anger is one of them. It’s ok to feel that emotion. It’s not ok to engage in wrongdoing in your reaction to that emotion. It also says, ‘Do not sin’.In other words don’t do something hurtful or abusive or belittling to someone over your angry feelings. The scripture encourages us to deal with these feelings the same day. Don’t let it stew only to bubble over later. And finally, don’t let that devil into our lives by dealing with anger in a hateful way.

Instead, we need to use better, softer words. Karen calls these Snuggy words because they remind her of her Snuggy blanket. They are warm, soft and welcoming words. Those words make soft answers that we can use to diffuse situations or answer annoying questions. Maybe the challenge for the week should be to use soft words instead of scratchy, hard ones this week when dealing with our family or co-workers. See if it makes a difference in your life?

Chapter 10 – Something To Talk About

I love this chapter because it’s all about using your words to enrich the lives of others. It’s about picking up that pen or opening an email and just catching up with someone. Connecting with a long ago friend or a mentor. I think one of the nicest things in life is receiving a hand written note. Earlier this year I bought the book, The Art Of The Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd and I wrote some special people notes. It felt so good to do that and even better when I received their responses of joy and surprise! If you start by thinking about how thankful you are for someone in your life, it can lead you to pen and paper or keyboard and you can bless someone in a very special way.

We know our words can build others up but they can also tear others down. Are there hurtful words or phrases that have been said to you that have stuck with you all your life? Imagine if the speaker of those words had just thought a bit about what was coming from her mouth and how that might affect the person they said it to. Karen has some guidelines to think about before you even utter one word including imagine trading places with that person, leave some things unsaid, temper your tone, consider your countenance (facial expressions, gestures), believe the best before assuming the worst, be a history changer, notice the one who least expects to be noticed and choose your timing.

Chapter 11 – Gotta Have The Last Word

“To talk well and eloquently is a very great art, but that an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In this final chapter of the book, Karen impresses upon us to remember that the Lord knows our unformed thoughts before we say them. This is a powerful reminder that we should only speak words that please Him. Sometimes in order to be our best selves we need a few minutes or hours of quietness and reflection on scripture and how we can use our words in a pleasing manner. Karen has some thoughts on where to find a moment of quiet including attending a retreat, swapping spaces with a friend who can watch your kids while you have mom time and then switch with her so she has mom time, or go for a walk.

This chapter wraps up with a reminder to build and not break, bless and not badger, encourage not embitter and to praise and not pounce. Do you think you can do it? I know we can. Just remember when in doubt, Keep It Shut!

I have enjoyed exploring this book so much over the last few weeks. I hope you have gotten something useful out of these blog posts. I think Karen’s ideas are going to spread swiftly as I have been informed this week that Keep It Shut is now a New York Times Best Seller. Congratulations to Karen!!

I wish you the best of luck as you journey forward with gratitude in your hearts and praise on your lips.

Sandi

Share

What’s That You Say? Keep It Shut Ch. 7&8

Karen-Keep It Shut

Welcome back to the blog miniseries on Karen Ehman’s book, Keep It Shut.

Click here for previous posts.

Today we are on chapters 7 and 8.

Chapter 7 – But I’m Just Sharing A Prayer Request

This chapter is all about stopping gossip and hearsay (passing on information that did not originate from you and has not been verified). Karen talks about how in the Bible, the word gossip is used as a noun unlike how we use it as a verb- an action word- “she’s gossiping again”. In the Bible, a gossip is something someone is. It’s a label and not a good one! It can be especially hard on us when we are the subject of someone’s gossiping. What can we do when we are the victim?

Karen has 3 suggestions for us that include knowing whose words can you give you comfort and protection, knowing where to go to find these words and our happiness and realizing that the world is watching how we deal with it all. I’m sure you have guessed that the words come from God as does our source of true happiness.

Now let’s flip the situation and you are the one who is gossiping? Who me? Never. I know I’m guilty of enjoying and adding to a juicy conversation at another’s expense. Sometimes it’s just.so.irresistable. How do we stop ourselves?

As Karen explains it, the very first step is seeing how the Bible describes a gossip. Many a verse tells us that gossip is wicked, a gossip betrays confidences and that people avoid gossips. Ouch. I don’t want to be associated with that? Do you?

A gossip betrays a confidence , but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11:13)

The second step is so wise. It is to simply keep quiet! Don’t be pulled into the conversation. Just keep it shut.

The third step is to make a promise to your friends and family that you won’t engage in gossip and then stick to it!

I think our challenge this week should be to notice how often we are tempted to be gossips and then make the effort to not be sucked in by it.

Chapter 8 – Lying, Loving and People Pleasing

Do you have the disease? I know I do. I have the disease to please. I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with this until I read the chapter! It has to with flattery. It has to do with wanting to please someone so much that you might shade the truth a little to smooth things over or make another feel good about themselves. Here’s the problem with that…it’s still a lie. As we learned previously a half truth is still a whole lie! Gahhhhhhh. Read it again, a half truth is still a whole lie.

So what do we do when we have to give some bad or unwanted truths or advice to someone? How can we soften the words? We need to speak the truth in love. Karen says when dealing with her loved ones, she nestles the truth in a cushion of encouragement. She calls this her Wunderbar Pretzel Sandwich technique. LOL! The top half of the bun is an encouraging truth, then you speak the hard truth statement (the meat of the sandwich) and finally you finish it off with another encouraging truth (second half of the bun).

It’s a balancing act for sure. Your best bet is always to ask God for guidance and the right words.

Join me next week as we wrap up our mini series with chapters 9-11.

Share

What’s That You Say? Keep It Shut Ch. 5 & 6

KeepItShut5[1] copy

Welcome back to the blog miniseries on Karen Ehman’s book, Keep It Shut.

If you missed the post on chapters 3 & 4, you can find it here. You can find links to weeks 1 & 2 on that post as well.

Chapter 5 has everything to do with Motives and Manners. Ah yes, we are learning to speak the truth but warned to watch our delivery of those words.

“Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (Proverbs 29:20).

Ouch.

Have you ever said something that was completely true but the reason why you said it was really just to hurt the person you were speaking with? Maybe just a little? A tiny jab or mention of something they did but maybe could have done better? When you think back on that experience, were those words, delivered in that way, truly helpful or necessary?

In this chapter Karen urges us to examine our motives realizing that we can fool ourselves into thinking those words were helpful but we can’t really fool God.

In addition to examining our motives, we also need to think about our sly tongues and how speaking in vague or misleading terms is dishonest. Instead we should be letting God’s words shape our hearts. It goes back to spending time with God’s word and filling our hearts and mouths with righteous words and thoughts. Often when we replay past conversations in our minds, we see the hurt that we may or may not have intended. Have these moments been preceded in spending ample time with God?

Karen’s suggestions for finding more time for scripture include investing in a pocket Bible, listening to the Bible on cd in the car and getting a Bible app for your smartphone.

Now flip these ideas we have been talking about…what about when we are the target of someone else’s hurtful words? What do we do? The only thing to do as Karen suggests is to be tough skinned and tenderhearted. When I saw this paragraph in the book, I highlighted it and wrote RIGHT????? next to it…I’m a person who allows my feelings to be hurt very easily, I felt she wrote this just for me…

“When we harden our hearts and let every little offense poke a hole in our happiness, we only hurt ourselves. We are slurping on a smoothie of poison, and don’t even know it. But when we soften our hearts with love for others, and toughen our skins against their barbs, we are better equipped to show the compassionate love of Jesus to a watching world.”

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-heart-shape-dewy-roses-image17790640

Chapter 6 talks about Behind The Screen, Controlling Your Digital Tongue

This chapter will only become more and more important as time goes on and newer social media outlets pop up in addition to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as email. What could be easier than social media for saying every thought that enters our heads without using a mental filter first? How much trouble can we get into with this? LOTS, that’s how much. It is so easy to throw something snarky out there and not have to say it face to face with the person whom it’s directed to. And email…oh my goodness. Email can not convey our tone of voice or level of sarcasm so it’s easy to misinterpret words being sent back and forth. It’s a breeding ground for discontent and not only for the youth of our world but for the adults as well.

It amazes me to see the wealth of nasty comments left on the blog posts of folks just trying to share something in their lives as simple as a recipe or funny story. I can’t get over how people think it is possibly ok to say such nasty things online. So what can we do to break this cycle?

Karen has some great rules for what she calls The Cyberspace Playground. Her rules include praying before you post, imagine the recipient sitting next to you, remember that being online is like being on stage, ask yourself if your opinion is even warranted and most importantly, when you do speak, let your speech be laced with grace!

This chapter also includes a lesson on salty speech. Salt is a wonderful flavor enhancer used all over the world. Could we use our words to enhance the lives of those around us? Salt is also a preservative. Could we use our words to be the salt of the earth and preserve God’s truth both in person and online? Salt can do a lot of other things that Karen explores in depth including how too much salt can ruin a dish!

I want to share a story with you about an experience I had on social media a few years back. I was sitting in the waiting area of my doctor’s office to have a yearly exam. There was a young, pregnant woman also waiting for an appointment. When this young woman was called to have her glucose sugar test, she asked the nurse if she could step outside to have a cigarette first. I was fairly new to Facebook and I immediately whipped out my phone to post something like, “Please tell me this pregnant person didn’t just…” and you can figure out the rest. Of course several people replied to my post of how terrible that person must be and how ignorant. Later that day, I saw a Facebook notification come through on my phone from a long ago friend that read something like this: Maybe that mother is trying to quit smoking and she’s finding it very hard and that was her only cigarette of the day.

Huh. I was stopped in my tracks. I went online to Facebook to reply to her comment and the comment was gone. She had posted her comment and deleted it believing I would never see it except that it came through on my cell phone as a notification. A few days later, that friend passed away. I believe with all my heart that I was supposed to receive that notification. I never responded to her regarding the post before she died. I hope she knows what a valuable lesson she taught me in her final days.

The challenge for the week ahead is to practice thinking about your digital words before you type them. Are those words encouraging or cutting? Are those words called for from you? Are you the best person to advise another on a particular topic? If the answer is no, then perhaps you should Keep It Shut.

Share

What’s That You Say? Keep It Shut Ch. 3 & 4

KeepItShut3-2[2]

Welcome to the Keep It Shut miniseries on chapters 3 and 4 of Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut.

Click here for week 1.
Click here for week 2.

Karen is a self professed ‘gap filler’. Do you know what that means? It means that from the time she was in grade school she had an innate ability to speak when there is a lull in the conversation. A gap. She filled it. Instead of that earning her high marks on her report card, it got her into trouble as it was pointed out that she needed to improve her listening skills! Are you a gap filler? I know I certainly am. It drives me crazy to have awkward silence in the car or at the dinner table. I gab and gab and the worst part? I know when I’m doing it. Often I end up just talking about nothing while the kids stare into their dinner plates or at some far away place out the window. It’s exhausting to be honest.

Karen has developed a few rules of thumb for this gift of gab dilemma. During her bible studies, she has decided to only raise her hand once every third question which gives others in the group a chance to participate. She also now pauses before she pipes up. This means when the person she is speaking with takes a pause, she doesn’t interrupt or interject before that person has had a chance to finish their thought. I think this is great advice. Here’s more good advice from the apostle James 1:19-20…

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

In order to stop filling the gap, we need to heed a few simple warnings – don’t speak too much, don’t speak too soon, don’t speak without first listening (boy, do I need this one) and don’t speak at all. Wait, what? Don’t speak at all is an option? Genius. Karen has a nice way of explaining these concepts in chapter 3. I love this quote she included from Publilius Syrus who was a Roman writer, “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence”.

The challenge for chapter 3 is for 24 hours to not give your opinion unless directly asked. Instead, ask the other person questions to try to really understand what they are saying and other that, keep your thoughts to yourself. Can we do it? I know we can.

Casual group of friends holding hands outdoors in a park on a beautiful day

Chapter 4 focuses on zipping our mouths and praying more. Instead of doing 19 things to process a problem in our lives, why don’t we pray first? Why don’t we make prayer a daily priority and become prayer warriors? Spending much needed time in prayer gives us a chance connect with God and usually after connecting with God, we feel better. We are little slower to anger. We are more forgiving and patient. Our words come out more smoothly and less harsh. Devoting time to pray and sticking with a prayer schedule can be difficult. Often times we start out praying and then our thoughts just lead us in another direction. That direction might be the grocery list or something pressing at work. It seems we need some help focusing on how to pray.

Karen suggests several ways in this chapter on how to be a good prayer warrior including praying over the items on our to do list, being intentional about our time with God, reading and writing our thoughts down (devotionals and journal keeping) and making a recording of scripture to play when we are driving around town. All of these items will bring us closer to God and affect our daily moods and behaviors.

Let’s try to carve out our own God time and stick to it this week!

Share

What’s That You Say? Keep It Shut Wk 2.

KeepItShut2 copy

This is the second post of a mini series here on the blog centering around Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut. You can find PART 1 here. Today is release day for the book and you can find ordering information on Karen’s site here. You can also read a sample chapter on her site.

So chapter 2 of this book is titled Squabbles, Spats and Such. I’m thinking we all know a little something about those words. The scripture verse at the beginning of the chapter is Proverbs 10:12-13 and it reads: Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.

Oh, how I love this. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning. Maybe I love this so much because my word choice for 2015 is ‘wisdom’.

This chapter deals with how we are all not alike which of course leads to conflict from time to time. As a result we will feel anger, frustration and resentment towards others. This is natural. It’s how we deal with it that makes all the difference. Like Karen, I tend to deal with non family members with a bit more grace and patience than my family members. It’s easy to lash out at the ones who are stuck with us!! Why do we do that? How can we stop doing this? Chapter Two explores how Joseph was able to exhibit kindness to the brothers who betrayed him and offers us some guidance on how he did that.

Remembering to say what honors God, giving God credit where He is due, being kind and not boastful are all ways to speak from our hearts and “lace our words with grace”.

The challenge this week is to not lose our cool with family members or co-workers who drive us nuts. Will you use speech that drums up fights and squabbles or will you use kind words that heal and encourage?

How about last week’s challenge? Did you remember to think before you spoke and did you notice a difference?

My favorite part of Chapter 2 is when Karen points out that all the humans we encounter in the course of our lives are artfully placed in our pathways. I don’t believe in coincidence and this affirms my thoughts that God knows well before we do, who we will marry, befriend, be a student of or a teacher to…it’s all orchestrated intentionally and beautifully for us. I want to share a story with you that occurred this week…

Very recently an older man was at my home doing some repair work. We chatted a bit as he went about his work regarding raising children as he is father to 8 grown children. In my ever lasting quest to fill up silence, I asked more and more about his family. As he finished up his work, he spoke of how difficult life can be when you watch your loved ones battle addiction. I silently sent up a prayer asking God how to respond to this man who I fully believe was meant to be here talking with me that day. The answer was to just keep my mouth quiet and listen to him and tell him that I would be praying for his family daily. I could feel his heavy heart as if it were my own. He then spoke of his own prayers asking God to help his family as he felt he had tried everything else. I don’t know why his path crossed mine but I do know it was for a reason. Maybe he left feeling slightly less burdened having had a chance to speak of his worries out loud. I may never know and that is OK for I know it was just meant to be.

Join me next week to chat about Chapter 3.
Sandi

Share

Back To It!

It sure is quiet around here…kids are back to school and I’m back to Quilt Cabana today. I can’t wait to jump into that clean sewing room and touch fabric and thread! I’ll be working on this angel quilt for my aunt’s friend this week. The gold bias tape outlining everything has been glued down but not stitched and it needs some basting and quilting.

photo

For Christmas I received this set of redwork embroidery mitten ornaments. It became the project I relaxed with while the kids were on school break and last night I finished stitching the 6th and last ornament. I’m thrilled to have gotten them all stitched over vacation. Now I need to cut out the mitten cuffs and mitten backs and then blanket stitch them together.

photo (7)

Tomorrow’s post will be the second in a series about Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut. I’ll be focusing on chapter two of the book.

Sweet and Salty-Karen Ehman

Pre-order 1 or more copies of Keep It Shut by midnight 1/5 (tonight!)& get tons of FREEBIES! http://bit.ly/1IB608N

See you tomorrow!

Share

What’s that you say? Keep It Shut!!

For the next bunch of weeks, I’ll be having a mini series of blog posts centering around Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut.

kis.book_

Karen is a Proverbs 31 teacher, speaker and author. I have enjoyed reading her blog very much over the last year. When Karen asked for a “street team” to receive an advanced copy of the book and then to talk about that book on social media, I jumped at the chance. Plus…I sometimes have a hard time keeping my mouth quiet when I should. Sound like anyone you know?

To get started, take a look at the book trailer to see if this resonates with you at all?

 

The book is about learning when to use your words and when not to use your words in accordance with scripture. When is it ok to speak your mind? How can you speak your mind prayerfully? When does a discussion become gossip? Oh yes, it’s good stuff.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the first chapter, From Sparks To Raging Fire.

KeepItShut copy

Karen begins the book by describing a time when she was in 8th grade where she used hurtful words about a friend and how it caused her to lose all of her friends. She realized from that incident that words are so important. She gives the following statistic that in the course of a year, women speak 7.3 million words and men speak 2.5 million words…that’s a lot of words flying around. A lot of those words are loving, caring and supportive but so many of them are not. What can we do this year to speak more of the loving ones? This passage she includes from James (3.9-12) was a really an A-Ha moment for me:

“James tells us that a spring cannot suddenly shoot out both sweet and bitter water. Neither can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine decide to grow a whole mess of figs and grapes. You can’t get fresh water from a salt water spring. Lesson? We should not have both righteous and evil words coming from our tongues.”

This first chapter encourages us to take stock in the words we use. To start the new year by thinking before you speak. Consider how many times in the bible speech words are mentioned such as speak, mouth, talk, silence…I’ll give you a hint, it’s a lot. There’s definitely a connection between the bible and how God wishes us to use our minds before our lips.

Join me back here over the next few weeks to delve further into Karen’s book, Keep It Shut. In the meantime, let’s take the challenge of thinking before we speak this week and see how our lives are transformed.

Click here for more information on how to order the book.

Share

WIPS, VAT & New Goals

Happy Thursday Everyone!

The countdown to Christmas is definitely on around here! The shopping is complete, the wrapping is almost done, the fudge has been made, Christmas cards are out, family traditions are being checked off one by one. It’s glorious and exhausting!!

We took some time to head into Boston on Saturday night. We had dinner in the North End and walked around Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall. The weather was great and we had a nice meal at Rabia’s.

photo 1 (7)

I especially love walking through the little shops in the old Quincy Market building (top left). They have some really unique stuff in there.

Sunday was my annual fudge day. I made 2 batches of chocolate, 2 batches of peanut butter, 1 batch of white chocolate/almond/cranberry and then Leah made 2 batches of toffee and Lindsey made peanut butter cup bars…a little photo of the fudge in progress…

photo 2 (12)

My mom started the tradition of making fudge and delivering it to the neighbors when we were growing up and I’ve continued that here in my own neighborhood. It’s fun for the girls to make the deliveries.

I’m sure most of you have heard by now about the VAT (value added tax) in the European Union and how it is going to affect small pattern designers who offer downloadable patterns in PDF form. If you haven’t heard this, here is an interesting blog post that describes it in more detail. The gist of this is that if I sell a pattern download on Craftsy or Etsy to a buyer in any of the 75 EU countries, as of 1/1/15 I will now have to pay the sales tax to that particular country. This means filing tax papers in any of those countries individually…what??? Who has time for that? Ummm, no one. As far I can tell in my limited research, Craftsy and Etsy nave remained silent on the issue for indie pattern designers. Designers can not just hit a button and turn off sales to those countries on Craftsy or Etsy. Sadly, many designers are having to close down their download shops on those sites. Personally, I don’t have a lot of sales outside of the USA but if I do, I will have to file tax papers in that country…the questions is whether that is worth the trouble or not? I’m hoping and praying that Craftsy gets the hint that we need them to change their platform so that we can turn off sales to those countries. I know some software will allow for this as QuiltWoman has done this for the designers already. It’s a lousy situation for sure.

This kind of segues into goals for 2015. I am hoping to sit down this week with my notebook and see where I wanted my business to go in 2014 and if I’ve achieved any of it or not…I know I have. Maybe not all but definitely some and even some things I didn’t see myself doing when I wrote the goals originally.

It will also be time for new goals and challenges. Have you thought about your goals for 2015 yet?

My works in progress this week are pretty non existent. I’ve been focused on getting the Christmas shopping completed and wrapping. I do have to make a few Frozen makeup bags today for an order and after the holidays I’ll be working on getting this beautiful wall hanging quilted for a friend of my aunt’s. Isn’t is pretty?

photo

I’m also just beginning to read an advanced copy of Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut. I’ll be posting more about this as I read more of the book. I’ve volunteered to read it and share my thoughts about it on the blog. You can see the book’s trailer HERE. Karen is a speaker and writer for the Proverbs 31 organization and I enjoy her work very much…more later on this.

Have a beautiful Thursday!

Share