TALK? When to Speak, When to Stay Quiet

talkDo you know when NOT to talk?

This special post is timed for the holidays when you’re with people who drive you nuts. Are you tempted to scream or sulk in their presense? Or do you desire meaningful talk time?

cropped-heart_small-e1440804652192.jpgWhile most communication is nonverbal, sometimes you must use words. Right? Unless you plan to play charades and take turns acting out in pantomime, you must talk.

Therein lies the rub: Words can slice and dice like a chef on steroids.

Do you remember way back when you were little, and a kid hurled a nasty name at you on the school playground? It hurt didn’t it?

A new student in eighth grade and shy, I got the moniker “spacey” from a few “mean girls.” You remember them. They increased their power by putting down others. They trashed-talked me on the “predictions page” of the school yearbook too, though I doubt the adult adviser picked up on it. The occupation they chose for me? Astronaut. Not funny.

The best way to learn when not to talk is learning what God says about speech.

Here are two guidelines.

1. Desire to Guard Your Lips

To make a meaningful change in your talk, you first want to want to change. It makes sense, doesn’t it? But it’s simple to say and hard to do!

A greedy person must now prefers becoming a giver. A liar becomes a truth-teller. A gossip now desires to build up with her words, not tear down.

King David prayed,

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

He desired a change and prayed a prayer he knew God would honor. Would you like to change your speech too? May I encourage you to pray a similar prayer to Jesus?

2. Expect Fewer Problems!

Did you that guarding your lips means you’ll have fewer problems? Listen to King Solomon.

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23

Transforming words make a positive influence on the people around you and in yourself. Well-chosen words bring forgiveness, encouragement, praise, truth, grace, thankfulness, discretion, and happiness.

Since God has given you the gift of speech, isn’t is wise to “talk like Jesus”?

Talk About It

What is one change in your talk you can choose to make today?

Sharing hope for your heart,



Talk and Listen Well During the Holidays!

listeningWelcome to “How to Talk Like Jesus!” This special Wednesday Word series is timed for the holidays, when you spend time with some relatives and family friends who make you want to scream, pour another glass of wine, or run like Forrest Gump. “How to Talk Like Jesus!” will share the secret of godly communication just in time. Ready?

In case you first the first post in this series, click here.

cropped-heart_small-e1440804652192.jpgWeek 2: Four Essentials for Better Communication!

In the first post in the series, you found out 2 reasons why God thinks communication is important to successful living: 1) to please God more that anything else and 2) to be humble. The next 4 are listening well, well chosen words, nonverbals, and invest time to talk.

1. Tricks to Listening Well

Listening well isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is more than hearing.

Haven’t you talked with a teen who looks at you and seems to listen but you just know he isn’t paying attention? How do you know whether he’s listened well? Try checking in with him by asking a super simple question: Could you tell me what I just said?

Here are the first 3 tricks to listening well:

  • Not interrupting.
  • Paying close attention to what the other person is saying.
  • Refrain from planning your response while the other person is talking.

He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13, NASB

This is one trick that makes the biggest difference: Ask gentle questions to make sure you heard right!

A couple of examples:

“So what you’re saying is ____.” Fill in the blank with a short summary of what the speaker said.

“Could you explain a little more?”

When you check whether you’ve listened well, your communication skills skyrocket. All of your relationships improve because you valued listening. . .just like Jesus!

Make it practical: In your next conversation, decide to not interrupt.

2. Use Well-Chosen Words

how to talk like JesusCareless words are worthless.

Choose your words well and your communication will not only improve so will your relationships at home, in the workplace, and at church.

But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36, NASB

The best chosen words build others up, they encourage, they comfort, and they show you care. Can you recall a time that someone encouraged you? What encouraging words did you hear? How did their encouragement help you?

Make it practical: Decide to build up someone with your words today.

3. Watch Your NonVerbals!

Crazy but true, at least 75 percent of your communication is your tone of voice and body language, not your actual words.

The phrase “Please bring me a glass of water” could communicate kindness or anger, depending on whether your face is relaxed or scrunchy and your arms are crossed or your tapping your foot or raising your voice.

When you notice that someone’s words and nonverbals do not match up, ask a followup question or make an observation. For instance, when your son says, “Mom, I cleaned my room, just like you asked,” but his voice sounds strangled and you see a sneer, you’ll probably wonder whether he’s lying or has a bad attitude.

Nonverbals to watch:

  • Tone of voice
  • Volume of voice
  • Hand gestures
  • Body posture
  • Facial expressions

Make it practical: Ask a close friend or family member to watch your nonverbals for a few hours or a day and jot them down and share them with you. As you review the list, ask where you can make changes.

4. Take the Time to Communicate

Says biblical counselor and author Stuart Scott, who wrote The Exemplary Husband:

“We need to talk when we don’t want to and listen when we don’t want to. . . .Just because we are ill, tired, or not much or a talker, we are not released from the responsibility to work at good communication.”

Make it practical: Name one way you can communicate better even when you’re busy.

In next week’s Wednesday Word, you get a story revealing the two fundamentals of great communication. Watch for it. 

A Resource for You

Everyone needs someone to talk to. Would you like a complimentary counseling session to share what’s on your heart? Please leave a brief message here. Confidential. Learn more about my heart for women, marriages, and families who hurt here.

Counseling hope to your heart,




Mending a Broken Heart: Death of a Child

Don’t you wish young ones always outlived their parents? Are you hoping for the day that the loss of a child hurts less? Especially the death of a child, whatever his or her age?

Here’s the fourth of eight posts in the blog series “Mending a Broken Heart.” My prayer: hope and healing as we journey through the pain of tough stuff like abuse and divorce and addiction and the death of a child. You can read the first three posts in this mini-series here.

My new Facebook buddy Kc Christman Hutter, author of A Broken Heart, has mourned the death of her son Cam, who died of acute leukemia at age 32. Cam and his wife, Susan, were expecting their first child when he received the diagnosis. Instead of picking out baby names, they huddled in a hospital bed and prayed for recovery.

Have you had a dramatic change in plans? Did you think life was going one way then turned upside down?

Kc recounts the week her son died. Listen and discover that you are not alone in your pain.

Unforgettable Week

When death closes in, time refuses to stand still.

On Sunday, Susan called, ‘I’m a little worried about Cam. He had a teeth cleaning on Friday and his gums won’t stop bleeding.’

‘Susan, don’t worry, maybe Cam is anemic. He just needs some iron,’ I said, not at all concerned. ‘Cam’s strong. He has never been sick with anything serious.’

On Monday afternoon, Cam drove to a clinic and had blood work done.

On Tuesday, Susan called, ‘The doctor wants more blood work on Cam. I’m driving him to the hospital.”

On Wednesday, Cam was told he had acute leukemia. Walking into Cam’s hospital room, I said, ‘Hi, how you feeling?’ Cam and Susan were both lying on his small hospital bead. Instead of picking out baby names, they were studying charts about his recovery.

Lord, oh Lord, I know You are here with us. Cam needs to hold his baby. Susan and I love him and want to spend our lives with him. Hear my prayers!

I called everyone on my prayer chain list.

On Thursday, I met Pastor Miles in the hospital hallway. He was just leaving Cam’s room and said, ‘Cameron is on the fence, could go either way, heaven or hell.’

‘Mom!’ Cam said as I walked into his room. ‘I know the Lord and believe in Jesus.’ Tears rolled down his cheeks.

‘I know you do, my darling,” crying right along with him.

On Friday, Cam was taken by ambulance to another hospital, where Susan had medical connections to the best doctors to help Cam beat the leukemia.

On Saturday, Cam was in a good mood. ‘Mother’s Day is tomorrow. Please pick up something nice for Susan for me. I’d like to surprise her.’

‘Sure, I’ll pick up a couple cut maternity blouses for her. See you tomorrow, love you.’

On Sunday, beside his bed sat a large cardboard box. ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ Cam said. ‘You’ll love what’s in the box.” Later, as we were leaving, Cameron’s blue eyes and my blue eyes blinked a good bye. It would be the last time here on earth I would ever see his eyes.

Quiet Deathly Quiet

The next day, Kc sensed something was terribly wrong and talked with God as she sped to the hospital. Why did you tell me to drop everything and go to Cam? Calm my anxious thoughts. Make this feeling of dread go away.

Kc looked at her son and knew death was approaching. She screamed for a doctor. In a flurry, doctors and nurses put an oxygen mask over his face and wheeled him out of the room for tests, then to the intensive care unit.

Quiet deathly quiet. Only the hiss, hiss, hiss from the ventilator pumping air into Cam’s lungs. His body made one last movement. Then he lay still. No one told me. I just knew in my heart his soul had departed.

Lord Jesus, was that the sound of angel wings?

Now What?

Death forces us to face our own fears, even our mortality. This unwelcome guest disturbs family and friends, more so if it’s a young person robbed of life. So early, too early.

Can any mother survive such a loss?

The loss of a child dominoes into other losses of unfulfilled dreams. No prom or graduation, no wedding, no grand kids. Awkward moments when an acquaintance asks, “How many kids do you have?”

Thursday’s post at my website delves into grief and what NOT to say to someone whose child has died. Be sure to subscribe to my blog posts for more hope and healing. To order Kc’s book, click the “A Broken Heart” box on the right panel.

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photo credit: faith goble via photopin cc

Hope and Blessings,



Music from Mess

Imagine a slum on a landfill. Picture craftsmen fashioning musical instruments from trash. Hear music and hope.

Today I blog at, where you can see my other posts “because life happens every day.”

The LandFill Harmonic makes music from the trash people dump.

In a landfill as big as hill.

A slum on a landfill called home to families who live off the trash.

The trash belongs in the landfill. The people don’t.

They are not trash.

You are not trash either.

Whatever nasty name a dad or mom or teacher or a commercial or a bully or jerk said to you, it’s a lie. You are treasure.

See the HOPE of the eyes of these beautiful, intelligent, uncomplaining kids, happy to make do with what they have. So unlike American kids. And adults. Like me. Like you?

Listen to this “butterfly” music, as one landfill girl says.

Do you feel the hope?

Landfill Harmonic movie teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

Question: What do you like best about the video? Please leave a comment. Thanks.

Hope to You!


surviving temptation

You can survive temptation. Learn your enemy’s sneaky tactics. Realize the promised “benefit” fails to deliver what you really want.

If someone offered you houseboat a few yards above Niagara Falls, would you buy it?

Of course not.

Would you let your child attend a Homecoming dance with a convicted murderer?

No again.

These are obvious risks. You wouldn’t feel tempted to “give in.”

So why are otherwise wise folks tempted to cheat on their income taxes or have ongoing private online chats with a member of the opposite sex who’s married or gossip or hold onto a grudge for years?

The short answer: Temptation has been around for as long as time, and you have an enemy who wants to snooker you into believing the lie that giving in means more happiness for you.

The Origin of Temptation

Temptation began with Satan. Satan is a fallen angel. He once was considered a most beautiful angel, named Lucifer; then he desired worship that rightfully belongs to God. God, who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, kicked him out of heaven, and now Satan tempts people to sin (or, to do, say, or think something contrary to God’s will).

James 1:13 says, that temptation did not originate with God. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’: for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

Satan has been tempting people since Adam and Eve, who fell for his dirty tricks. He tempted Jesus too, but the Son of God obey his Heavenly Father and passed the temptation tests.

How to Say “No”

An excellent strategy to saying “no” to temptation is to recognize the real reason why temptation entices you. Temptation is an enticement to make an ungodly choice because you think that you will gain something: pleasure or another benefit.

A driver cuts you off, putting you in physical danger, and you’re tempted to speed up and cut him off, believing you’ll gain justice. Or your son has an English paper due tomorrow morning and you know how tired he is and how quickly you could write it for him — rationalizing that you’d use his research notes — and he begs for help, so you’re tempted to write it.

Satan’s strategies for temptation fall into three categories, according to 1 John 2:16. Listen.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

As a man may take credit for a project completed by a coworker, or a prideful mom may carry on about her child’s achievements, or a preacher may commit adultery — each because he or she believes they have something to gain — you and I face temptations daily too.

My Whoops

A couple of weeks ago, while putting purchased groceries in my car, I noticed sunglasses in the corner of the cart. I had failed to the item on the check-out counter and thus didn’t pay for it.

My 13-year-old son said, “Mom, let’s go back in and pay.” Keep reading this post at, where I blog weekly.

With Joy Overflowing!

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