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How You Are What You Hear {and what you say}

KISgraphic4I am originally from the Midwest. I still live there today. But when I visit Charlotte, NC a few times each year to hang out with our daughter who lives there, I pick up a cultural catch phrase.

I start to say “Y’all”.

Here in Michigan, we don’t usually say “Y’all” when talking to someone. Or say “All y’all” when talking to a group—which I’m told is the plural of “y’all”!

We Michiganders say, “You guys” (which incessantly annoys my sweet-tea sippin’ Southern friends. They’ll say, “You guys? What!? We’re all women here. There isn’t a guy in the bunch!”) Yes, when I head south and hang around these ladies, I begin to pick up their lingo.

Just as when I’m exposed to the “Y’all” phrase it begins to tumble out, the same might happen to the improper attitudes and situations to which you are exposed—you might not only begin to think they are normal, they may become part of your thought patterns and maybe even your actions and speech. It can be the same with any words displayed in print or that we hear spoken out loud.

Are you listening to a symphony of sarcasm as you watch a particular sitcom? Are you experiencing steamy scenarios on the pages of that novel now sitting on your nightstand?

If we are not intentional to choose close friends who make godly choices, but instead surround ourselves with those who make poor or even ungodly ones, it can rub off on us. If not firm in our convictions, we might buckle, becoming like them.

This includes how a person uses their words.

I once knew a woman who regularly spoke ill of her spouse. Constantly complaining about him, she never seemed to have anything positive to point out in his behavior or to praise about his personality. My husband and I both knew this guy well and we thought he was wonderful. He was soft-spoken and kind. Generous and loyal.

The word-wielding woman and I had a mutual friend. This friend told me she’d stopped spending time with Ms. Hubby-Basher because whenever she did, she found she was more likely to complain about her own husband too. The constant criticizing she witnessed seemed to do more than just validate her own feelings of marital frustration.

She felt is also gave her permission to rattle off publicly her own list of complaints about her man. She finally distanced herself from this combative lady and started spending time with other wives—ones who were not card-carrying members of the Husband Haters Club.

It’s a principle I learned in the early days of computers when I was just in high school: “Garbage in, garbage out.” GIGO for short. In other words, poor inputs lead to poor outputs.

The same principle applies to our struggle with words. If we feed our minds a steady diet of cultural “garbage”—entertainment or social media that compromises biblical values—we can be sure those inputs it will leak out in what we say.

Let’s be careful what {and who!} we listen to. What we take in often come out.

Let’s aspire to use our mouths with godly purpose.

To build…..not to break.

To bless…..not to badger.

To encourage…..not to embitter.

To praise…..not to pounce.

Sound good, y’all?


Karen Ehman


We are sooooo excited to introduce Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut!!!!


Want more encouragement for using your words wisely in your home? Check out Karen’s newest book!

Got words? Oh yeah, you do! The average women speaks over 20,000 a day—not to mention the ones she types online. Karen Ehman — a woman whose words have often landed her in a heap of trouble — shares from experience the how’s (and how-not-to’s) of dealing with the tongue in her new book Keep It Shut. Using biblical examples, as well as Karen’s own personal (and sometimes painful!) stories, Keep It Shut will equip you to know what to say, how best to say it, and when you’d better just keep your lips zipped!This book will teach you:

  • The difference between gossip and properly processing with a trusted friend
  • A helpful grid for using our digital tongues as we talk online or on social media
  • How to pause before you pounce, attacking the problem but not the person
  • How to avoid saying something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off
  • What the Bible teaches about making our speech laced with grace, as sweet as honey, and yet seasoned with salt

Also available is a six-week DVD Bible study designed for group or individual use.

Click here to purchase your copy!

We are giving away two copies here at For the Family!! Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Excellent! (And I’m not speaking from the ‘heavily-criticized-guy’ camp, here.)

    What I read, what I see, what I say – these are of vital importance to me, because I’m dealing with an illness that is painful, frightening, and (so they say) fatal.

    There’s no insurance for treatment, but the good thing is – there’s no treatment! Kind of cosmic justice there.

    I won’t listen to negative stuff, sad songs, or sarcasm. I don’t need to have that stuff on my mind. Ditto the ‘steamy” stuff; I am married, but the fight is too hard, and too ruthless, for that to have a place.

    I only watch Christian TV, and movies that I know support me. Ditto for Christian radio. Top 40 is a dead loss.

    When the chimps are down, you really know where the values are.

  2. I want to read Karen Ehrman’s new book because every day I pray and ask God to help me watch my mouth. (it doesn’t always go so good) thx

  3. I am so excited read the book Keep it Shut. I have a bad problem putting my foot in my mouth. Sometimes I feel I just talk too much, I just need to learn to “keep it shut”

  4. Boy, how I could use this book — I would love to read it and share it with my 4 teenage children and husband!

  5. My tongue is my own worst enemy, plus I’m surrounded by negative women, at work and at church! I need all the help I can get to be a positive influence on others.

  6. I would love to receive this book, I know I definitely need to learn how to speak words of kindness and as well learn when not to speak at all. Definitely a struggle for me at times.

  7. The description of this book completely defines how I have learned to be good at apologizing! Any help would be great! Also, in Ministry, I would love to have this as a tool for discipleship!

  8. I would love to win a copy of Keep It Shut. I have such a hard time trying to remember to stop and think before I open my mouth. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy and thanks for printing it. SN

  9. Words can bless yet also unintentionally hurt if not heard in the proper way or communicated with poor tone, etc. I would love to bless with my words. Thank you for the chance to win. (btw…when I entered my email address for Rafflecopter, the last letters entered were .cm and not .com. Just correct that if I win to contact me. 🙂 )

  10. This is just the book I have been asking God for! What a blessing it would be to win it! Thank you Karen, for letting me know that others struggle with their words as well! And for the fact that God can help us change.

  11. I try to watch my mouth too. You become very aware of your words as your children get older, because they will point out every flaw! lol My daughter is 11. She just moved to a new school this year (a ‘Christian’ school), and she seems to be picking up some very bad habits regarding her ‘mouth’. She has a new attitude to match. The school’s classes are much larger here than at her previous school, and I think the teachers have a harder time controlling the students, therefore they act out a LOT! The girl drama is much higher here, and the boys throw things and writhe all over the floor. I hope that that actual ‘class’ days are better than days when there are parents there to witness them being ‘crazy’. I am going to contstantly work with my daughter to be nice, kind, respectful and accepting of all – which is what she knows – rather than the opposite, which would be what she is learning in this new environment. 🙁
    Blessings to all,

  12. I want… need… to read this book, because I suffer from forgetting the pause and going straight to the pounce. I WANT to do/be better!!

  13. I want to read this book because I do struggle with what to say sometimes and sometimes what not to say! I love that poster where she says that we need to use our words to ‘build, not to break; to bless, not to badger; to encourage, not to embitter; to praise, not to pounce’. I want to copy those words on sticky notes and post it all over my house!! 🙂

  14. Sounds like a great book, especially for someone like me, who has done much damage with my tongue. I am praying to do better continually, to speak life and love.

  15. Oh how many times has my mouth gotten me in trouble 🙂 i would love a chance to read through this book!

  16. I do need help with my mouth, but even more so with my thoughts. Even though i don’t say the words out loud they are there in my thoughts which is just as bad. In fact I was thinking that would be a good way to start the New Year by asking God to put a guard over my mouth and a thought make-over. Just reading about the book has really made me aware of this very real need in my life. I really hope i can win a copy of this book, that would be awesome! Thanks for the chance to try.

  17. I need this for me to learn how to hold my mouth when I talk to other people. It might even help me with the way I talk to my mom. We are having problems with talking to each other. I always thought that she loved me but I guess it was my dad. My dad just died last year and we are having problems with talking.

  18. This post so hit home for me. I always start out thinking and planning and praying to not get caught up in negativity, but I find myself slipping into loose lips when others continue to go on and on…I just don’t stand firm in what I know is right! I never give up, but I have been waiting forKaren’s book since she first spoke about it! I would lo e to read it and to Keep it Shut!

  19. I would love to read your book. Mama always said-“You catch more flies with honey…” It’s important also to clear communication.

  20. I am really trying to use my mouth ONLY to glorify HIM (especially so I can show my kids by EXAMPLE!) This book would be a great tool!

  21. I am a teacher and work with women all day. I want to be a good example of keeping it shut and not giving into gossip. Can’t wait to read this book

  22. My whole life I have struggled with learning to keep my mouth under control! I really need this book!

  23. I’m interested in this book for a different reason than most people. I grew up being taught NOT to speak up because it wasn’t my business. As believer I know that there are times that we come along side one another in love and support. Sometimes this means difficult conversations. My problem isn’t keeping my lips shut, it’s opening up my mouth when God asks me to. I’m looking forward to this book helping me search scripture to better understand His way of supporting one another with our words. Boundaries are God given and important for us to understand and use, both in when to talk and when not to.

  24. I say a little prayer almost every day – Lord put your arm around my shoulder and your hand on my mouth! I am always in trouble for speaking my mind. This book would certainly help me not to say what I shouldn’t say!

  25. Although I have developed a filter as I have “matured”, I could benefit greatly from this book! It is no fun hearing your littles speak to others in the way that you sometimes speak to them!

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