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Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All

by Karen Ehman

Keep it ShutHave you ever stopped to think about the “aweful” (and sometimes awful) power our tongues can have? Like, maybe, when you put your foot in your mouth…again? Or, perhaps, you have pondered the good in your life when someone spoke words of kindness and encouragement. Karen Ehman has written a special, down-to-earth book for those interested in taming the tongue: Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All.

This book is humorous and full of anecdotes. It is also biblically based and gets REAL about the issues that all honest women will admit arise in their lives from time to time—especially in this digital age.  Ehman addresses various problems of communication including listening, talking to God before talking to others, gossip, flattery, and anger. She shares verses from Proverbs as the original tweets, and they are powerful. It turns out the Bible has a lot to say about what we have to say.

Ehman concludes Keep It Shut by summarizing tips and tricks derived from the body of her book as a quick and easy way to refer back to those truths. She discusses ways to find time and opportunities to get away with God for a few minutes or hours to be grounded in Him so you can make Godly decisions about what to say and when to say it. She lists ten verses that will “help you watch your words.” She has questions to ponder to help you examine your motives and decide if something is gossip or not. Ehman doesn’t stop at the negative. She also includes “powerful phrases” to speak to various people in your life and Scripture verses, quotes, and phrases that you can photocopy and display around your home or office as reminders.

Keep It Shut had a surprisingly big impact on me, giving me a lot to think about. One example is the “white lie.” Yes, I do tell white lies occasionally to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Ehman discusses the dangers of that and offers alternatives. I recommend Keep It Shut for the humor, the chatty presentation, and the Godly truths found in its pages.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Christian, Nonfiction

Notes: Ehman addresses women in her book because psychologists have shown that women speak a lot more words every day than men (20,000 compared to 7,000). Of course there are exceptions, but in general women have a lot more opportunities to get in trouble because of things they say than men.  Men, the biblical truths in this book would not be wasted on you either!

Publication:   January 6, 2015—Zondervan

Memorable Lines:

Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

All the humans you encounter throughout the course of the day are “on purpose” people. God plopped them into your life for a reason.

When we harden our hearts and let every little offense poke a hole in our happiness, we only hurt ourselves…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.

Lies that Bind–a family’s survival depends on lies

Lies That Bind

by Stella Cameron

Lies that BindLies That Bind is a complex mystery with strong threads. Throughout the book is the underlying story of Sid Gammage who struggles to support his two sons alone. Alex Duggins is the landlady of the pub The Black Dog, where all the locals gather to gossip in Folly-on-Weir, a village where little goes unnoticed.

Author Stella Cameron provides strong characters in Alex and her boyfriend Tony, the village vet, as well as Dan and Bill, tight lipped law enforcement agents who are sent to investigate a murder and end up with so much more. Cameron peoples her book with supporting figures who are interesting without being stereotypes. This is a good mystery that moves along quickly.  Although there are some personal aspects to the story, the suspenseful plot takes the lead. There is a surprise ending as a minor thread emerges assuming major importance.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Severn House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Alex Duggins Mystery Series, but worked well for me as a standalone

Publication:   June 1, 2017—Severn House

Memorable Lines:

The other man, going back and forth between Mr. Nice and something vaguely threatening, unnerved him.

Never mind the game of pass-the-parcel, this was the age-old copper pastime of pass-the-blame—to anyone farther down the food chain than you. Dan O’Reilly didn’t usually play that one but this time he had a list of inept culprits to skin.

A long arch of crooked branches, reaching for each other across the road, closed her in. The bicycle lamp bounced off one tree trunk after another in an eerie ballet that sucked her through a moving, low-light tube enclosed in darkness.

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