7 Tips for Communicating Effectively

Do you ever get in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden you realize communication is not happening?  I know that happened with my husband and me before.  Somehow, we stopped connecting, we weren’t listening to understand, and sometimes things were said that hurt the feelings of one of us.  Solomon, who is considered by many to be the wisest person, has great advice to help us communicate peacefully and effectively:

  • “He who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (Keeps a person from putting their foot in their mouth or hurting someone.)
  • “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (Harsh words can pierce someone’s heart, but wise words will bring healing to a relationship.  We can pray for words of wisdom.)
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (A soft answer makes it easier for the listener to hear what is actually being said rather than reacting to harshness.  It helps keep defensiveness from building up walls.)
  • “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply, and how good is a timely word.” Proverbs 15:23 (The right words said at the right time are good, and joy can be found in it. Sometimes we need to wait for the right time to say certain things.  Timing is so important!)
  • “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:21 (Want to help someone understand what you mean? Use pleasant words to get your point across.  Think of a positive way to get your meaning across.)
  • “A word appropriately spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (Words that are appropriate are going to be thought out, not a just a spur of the moment reaction that will stir up anger.)
  • “A gentle tongue can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15 (A gentle tongue is not weak. A gentle answer can accomplish a lot.)

When voices get louder, people get defensive.  When people get defensive, they stop listening and stop communicating even though they’re talking.  I love how Solomon teaches us to hold our tongues, not use reckless words but careful and thought out words, to use soft and gentle and pleasant words.  Did you notice the proverb that says, “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply,” and their words are timely which means a person waits until the timing is right.  Sometimes that means waiting until the next day.  It means thinking about a response ahead of time so an appropriate reply can be given.

There is so much wisdom from God in Proverbs, a book in the Bible!

How To Be Thankful Even When Life is Hard

Have you ever felt unsettled? Things just weren’t going right or your world turned upside down? Maybe you’ve lost your job or maybe can’t find a job. Maybe you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Maybe you’ve lost someone very dear to you either suddenly or through a long illness, or maybe a loved one is suffering with an illness. Maybe you have children who have lost their way and you’re not sure where they are. Maybe a good friend has betrayed you. Maybe your health is not what it used to be. Maybe you’re experiencing depression or fear. The “maybe” list can go on and on.

Life can be hard!  During this week of Thanksgiving, how can someone be thankful when life is hard? How do you do hard and be thankful at the same time?

Being thankful is a choice and is mentioned many times in the Bible. When it says to come before the LORD with thanksgiving (Psalms 95 & 100, etc.), it doesn’t give any stipulations like “when everything is going right” or “when we ‘feel’ like we have something to be thankful for.” There is always something to be thankful for, and we might have to ask God to open our eyes to see the many blessings around us.

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with  thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.   Philippians 4:6

In every situation..  Not just certain situations.  And thanksgiving goes right along with prayer.  While we are in prayer,  we can give all the hard things in life over to God and give Him our worries.  When we stop feeling like we are in control and realize that God is in ultimate control, then and only then can we stop being anxious.  Somehow that opens our hearts and eyes to see all the things we do have to be thankful for.

The Bible also tells us that we need to come before God like little children.  He is our heavenly Father, our Creator, the God who knows us.

  • He (Jesus) called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   Matthew 18:2

Have you listened to the prayer of a child recently?  Have you noticed that sometimes they pray for everything, simple things, things that adults often take for granted?  God is the Creator of everything.  They are coming before God with thanksgiving for everything, no matter how simple.

Maybe these two Bible verses can help us to open our eyes, come before God as children, give Him all our worries, and truly come before Him with thanksgiving…in every situation!  When we focus on being thankful to God, our eyes are opened to the abundance of blessings we have to be thankful for… no matter how hard our life is at the time.

4 Tips to Keep Your Children Safe This Halloween

Guest post by Charlotte from Home Safety Hub.org.  Thank you for these safety tips.

4 Tips to Keep Your Children Safe This Halloween

blog-pic-safe-halloween-10-16Photo by Antranius via Pixabay

When many people think about Halloween safety for children, they think about horrible things that bad people can do. Not a year goes by when we don’t hear tales of razor blades in candy or apples, poison, or other tampering. This year, in case you haven’t seen the news reports from around the country, there seems to be a rash of creepy clown sightings leading up to the holiday (some of which have actually posed legitimate threats), so parents and grandparents should definitely be paying special attention to the safety of their kids as they set out to trick-or-treat.

The obvious tip is to simply accompany them on their quest for candy and keep an eye on them as they go door-to-door. In actuality, it’s more likely that some type of accident will spoil your halloween than people with ill intent, so our four safety tips start there.

     1. Make Sure Your Kids Are Visible

Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance your kids will be trick-or-treating in the dark. Typically, the event begins when there’s still daylight, but this time of year, the sun is starting to go down earlier. Beware of the dark and the dangers that come with it.

The biggest danger is traffic. While drivers should be on high alert during trick-or-treat time, they may not always see kids in darkly colored costumes, especially if they’re distracted or have come from a party where alcohol was served. Make sure your kids are wearing bright colors or have something that glows or reflects on them. This could be as simple as carrying glow sticks along with their trick-or-treat bag.

     2. Make Sure the World is Visible to Them!

Just as others may have a hard time seeing your children in the dark, your children may have problems seeing as well if you don’t take precautions. Make sure their vision isn’t impaired by a mask. It’s also not a bad idea to have them carry a flashlight in case they have trouble seeing where they’re walking. They may be walking through yards and on walkways that have steps or other obstacles they could trip over. You’ll also want to make sure their costume doesn’t have pieces that can be tripped over.

     3. Make Sure They Understand Not to Go Into People’s Homes

You would advise your kids not to go into strangers’ homes any other time of the year, but the very event of trick-or-treating seems to directly contradict the old “don’t take candy from strangers” adage, and could send your child mixed messages. Some people believe it’s best to simply limit trick-or-treating to people you actually know, and that’s certainly the safest bet. In reality, many kids are going to be going all over the neighborhood trying to get their bags filled up. Chances are, you don’t know every person in every house. As I said earlier, it’s best to accompany them and keep an eye on them, but you should still make sure they understand that they should not go into anyone’s home without your permission.

     4. Make Sure Treats are Safe

Speaking of that whole “taking candy from strangers thing,” no Halloween safety list would be complete without the reminder that you must make sure the treats your children received are safe. They’ll be eager to dig in, but you need to take a few minutes to inspect candy wrappers to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. If you were given unpackaged treats, just put them right in the trash (assuming they didn’t come from someone you know personally). Your kids might take issue with this, but just explain to them why you’re doing it and that you have their best interest in mind. Besides, most kids are much more interested in candy bars than baked goods.

Those stories we hear each year about candy tampering are usually exposed as hoaxes. This stuff really doesn’t happen as often as one might assume. However, it only takes one bad experience to cause a serious problem. Choose safety!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

How to Be an Encourager

I think we all like to be around an encouraging person. They uplift us and motivate us. They help keep us focused on our goals or priorities in life. We need those types of people in our lives.

If you read my last post and notice the date, you’ll see that it’s been four months since then.  I truly meant to post and have an updated look.  A friend of mine, who is an encourager, noticed that I’m not posting anything on my blog and is motivating me to write.  He has mentioned it two or three times, and I know Ryan will continue to do so in a caring and uplifting way.

How does he encourage me?  How can we be encouragers?  These are some ways we can  uplift and be a blessing to others:

  • Take the time to do it.  In this busy world, most people are in a time crunch. Just say something uplifting in conversation, in an email or text message, or add it to their “to do list” and surprise them.
  • Show genuine care and concern.
  • Do it more than once.  Follow up on your encouragement and see how things are going.

So what about my new theme?  It hasn’t happened yet.  Not yet anyway.  My daughter and son are going to help me whenever we can all find the time to get together and work on it.  But I’m not going to wait on the theme update anymore.  The content is what’s more important…and having an encouraging friend to keep me accountable on my goal to blog again.

Healthy Home Blog’s New Look

Hi! I haven’t posted in a long time and hardly anything since September 2013.  Sometimes our lives are turned completely upside down and our hearts are completely broken.  But after the healing, we can look back with hearts full of sweet memories and get on with our life.

Just want you to know that I’m back again and Healthy Home Blog will hopefully have a new look this month.  My blog is about home, happiness in life, and healthy habits for body, mind, and spirit.  I’d love to share my experiences with you in this journey we’re all making together.  I’d love for you to share your experiences with me, too.

I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog so we can share the journey!  The Subscribe box is on my home page.  Also, check out my updated About page.  Thanks!

Hope you have a day that is blessed with sweet memories in the making.

Memories

Potpourri can be made from fresh flowers and can be especially meaningful if the flowers were from something that touched your heart.  Just let the flowers dry for several days and then place in a pretty bowl, maybe a crystal bowl.  If you have a bowl that you really like, maybe one that was your mother’s or your grandmother’s, then that is perfect for displaying your potpourri in a doubly meaningful way.

The dried flowers pictured below are special to me, given to us when I lost my husband.  The bowl is special, too, given to me by my son-in-law’s mother on my 50th birthday.  So when I look at this, I remember my husband.  I remember my surprise 50th birthday party which was such a happy time, and the flowers remind me of all the love and support that was shown to me when I lost my husband.  Lots of sweet memories!

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