Keep It Shut {Karen Ehman & Giveaway}

Keep It Shut {Karen Ehman & Giveaway}

My husband and I are a “perfect” match when it comes to communication. He speaks few words. I speak too many words. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’ve unintentionally tip-toed over the couple-communication-line and finished his sentences for him. Ouch!

Fortunately, I have a good friend who is a communications expert. Her name is Karen Ehman and she just released her new book titled, KEEP IT SHUT: What to Say, How to Say It and When to Say Nothing at All.


I’m super excited Karen is joining us today and has words of wisdom to share about the art of communication. She’s also giving away a copy of her new book, so be sure to sign up for the drawing below! And don’t you just love the book cover? To cute!

Okay Karen ~ take it away …

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There’s more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20 HCSB).

In a group Bible study or a visit with friends over coffee, I can easily monopolize the conversation. And, in the early days, I didn’t even know it was happening. I just assumed everyone was as dazzled by my words as I was.

I’m not sure how I was first enlightened, but I soon came to discover that often when I was talking, other people in the room were mentally checking out. Or I noticed there were other women in the Bible study or the playgroup who never seemed to give their two cents’ worth. I just couldn’t figure this out. Didn’t they have anything to say? Didn’t they have something to add to the discussion?

Eventually, I came to realize that perhaps the problem wasn’t with the other people in the group. Gulp. Maybe I was too ready to jump in the minute there was a gap in the conversation. Maybe the other folks needed a pause or two for their thoughts to gel before they could speak them. And maybe, just maybe, if some of us who talk too much would actually zip our lips a minute then these people could have an opportunity to speak up more often.

I knew that things were going to have to change for me if I wanted to use my words well and shed my habit of gap-filling. In fact, over the years I have given myself a few tools to help in this endeavor.

First — a little rule of thumb (or rule of tongue, perhaps). I only chime in, or respond to the question thrown out by the study leader, about every third time I think I have something to say. And you know what? It comes out just about right, and no one seems to suffer from not hearing the nuggets I withhold.

This practice also works–pause before you pipe up. It works in a group. It also works one-on-one. When the person with whom you are chatting takes a break in their speech, it doesn’t always mean they have finished their thought. They may still be composing the next sentence in their mind. When we take their pause as a green light that it’s our turn to talk, we may actually be interrupting instead. No, not in a rude way–interjecting mid-sentence–but by butting in before they’ve finished their thoughts. Pausing for a bit before we pipe up can help us be both courteous and understanding.

A person who seeks not only to listen but to understand as well is rare — a treasure. And rare treasures are not only hard to find. They are priceless.

We can become such a valuable treasure in the life of those around us when we make listening and understanding our aim.



Has your mouth ever gotten you in a tangled up mess? Maybe it’s time to adopt a new rule of tongue. Check out Karen Ehman’s new book KEEP IT SHUT: What to Say, How to Say It and When to Say Nothing at All.








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


Karen has graciously offered us a sneak peak of her book. Here’s a sample chapter for you to read:


You know what else is exciting? Karen is giving a percentage of the profits from KEEP IT SHUT to Samaritans Purse to help with their cleft lip repair ministry. I just love that idea!

It’s Your Turn:

Now for the giveaway! To enter the drawing leave a comment below sharing a situation that makes it almost impossible for you to KEEP IT SHUT. Then click on one of the social media buttons below and share this post with your friends. Easy-peasy.

{Note: if you’re viewing this post from a mobile device, click on the post title above – which will take you to my site – to sign up for the giveaway}

I’ll go first …. When I walk into my teenage son’s room and see clothes laying all over the floor. Well, let’s just say, I make a noise, but it isn’t a joyful noise. 🙂



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  3. This is somethhing I have been trying to do, but I seem to keep failing. I am constantly regretting things I say! I would love the book, maybe it will gove me more insights.

  4. Mine is with my autistic step son. Because of his autism ge can be very opinionated and talks non stop. For some reason I feel the need to banter with him. Sometimes seems never stops. Lol. Maybe we both need this book! !

  5. One of my favorite verses, Ps. 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth…

  6. Jennifer in NE FL :

    When I have had a stressful day I find myself “mouthing off” about something right when I walk in the door – not even saying “Hi” to my daughter but automatically ranting about something negatively. Needless to say then she gets in a “mood” to, which doesn’t do anything good for our relationship. Can’t wait to read the book 🙂

  7. Used to blame it on a hormonal probleem but way past that now….so it is a “just me ” problem.{sin}…..I am so glad God forgives when we ask for his forgiveness with this…

  8. There’s so many times I forget to shut my mouth. I sometimes give too much advice to friends. When my husband says something that pushes the hurt feelings button, when there’s silence at one of the Bible studies I’m in, when I am being judgmental or feeling insecure. I need to be quick to hear more.

  9. I think children make wonderful teachers…my daughters are young women now, but still there are times I find myself being interrupted, etc. As a result, it forces me to look at the way I interact not only with them, but with my husband, friends and those online….everyone, really. I can’t wait to read the book.

  10. It is hard for me to keep my mouth shut when my adult kids are sharing something that I think they should or shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes I act like they are not capable of making good choices for themselves, even though I know that is not the case! Thanks for the give-away offer!

  11. Being newly married, I’m finding it very difficult to keep my filter in place when it comes to my in-laws. I know no one likes hearing negativity when it comes to their own family…but keeping my mouth shut is proving to be more difficult than I ever imagined!

  12. I too have been guilty of the unintentional cut-off while in conversation. In fact I was thinking about a conversation I had earlier in the day and feeling convicted just before I ran across this devotion in my e-mail. Confirmation? Uh… yeah. I ‘d like to read this book. 🙂

  13. Girls I SO LOVE reading all of you honest and sincere thoughts here about how to–and not to–use our words. I appreciate your sharing and am praying for us this afternoon to make sure our words please God. Hugs to you all!

  14. I would love to read this book. I too have found myself finishing sentences for not only my husband, but my kids too. OOPS.

  15. I need to ” keep it shut” when arguing with my children. I often speak too much and get sarcastic. I’m looking foward to this book. Thank you

  16. I need to make sure that my FILTER is in place before I open my mouth. SO much comes out that should have been filtered first.

  17. When I am shopping in a busy store and people around me are rude and show no courtesy towards others

  18. when I am busy working on a project and my husband asks for the umpteenth time if I will get him _______ or fix him _________ when he is sitting in front of the television

  19. I have trouble keeping it shut when no one else speaks up during a Bible discussion and I have a relevant comment. I try to wait and give others a chance to respond too, but when no one else does, I kind of feel responsible to “help” keep the discussion going even if I’m not the one in charge of leading it.

    • Jen, I’m sure your Bible study leader sees you as a tremendous asset to the group. I teach a large Bible study class each week and having the women share during class discussion time is such a treasure to me.

  20. Wow – so apropos right now. Gift of gab can be a curse sometimes. Sometimes I have so much I want to share that it bubbles out of me and that isn’t always a good thing! Also I am on the cusp of another segment of the ongoing adventure of my life and this could be incredibly helpful. I would love the book but I also would just appreciate prayer as I step out and “freefall” into His plan and surrender it all to Him. Thanks!

    • CJ, I’m praying for you today. Trust that even when you feel like you’re free-falling, God is securely holding you. He always has your best interest in mind.

  21. When negative words are expressed about something or someone and I want to interject for the good to be seen in there. Timing, bad timing in doing that can causes more trouble.

  22. I struggle with keeping my mouth shut because one of my best friends thinks everything is “all about her”. I struggle to keep my thoughts to myself , because I have things I need to share too!

  23. I can’t keep it shut when husband “helps” with the laundry by tossing the clean clothes in a heap…to become wrinkly…again and again.
    I can’t keep it shut when someone misunderstands something I’ve said or done, causing hurt feelings. Instead of keeping it simple “please accept my apologies if I’ve said or done wrong to you” I feel like I have to over-explain what the true sentiment was…like I’m defending myself or something. Then before I know it, so many words have come out of my mouth that I can’t remember what the issue/conversation was in the first place! When in doubt – zip it shut! Haha that doesn’t even rhyme but it’s a good rule of thumb.

  24. I can’t keep it shut when I really want to help someone who is struggling. I fear that I am using my mouth more than my ears!

  25. When I attend a school committee/school board meeting and three of the five elected members do not have a clue…I turn into a rude, annoyed other self that sometimes can’t keep it shut and that leads me to a sad feeling when I don’t control myself!

  26. When I’m having a conversation with a friend and listening to her concerns, I can relate n want to interrupt BUT need to keep listening and not make it about me.

  27. I can’t wait to read … I so struggle with “listen before I speak”, which really means “pay attention to what they are saying, instead of being so busy figuring out what I’m going to say next”!

  28. Dirty dishes left in the sink when the dishwasher is empty.

  29. Nikki Stettes :

    I cannot keep it shut when I have asked my husband to do something that needs to be done immediately & he tells me to “Relax!”

  30. I need to learn when to speak “in love” and when to just keep my thoughts to myself.

  31. I need to learn to keep it shut when I get very upset about something!

  32. Jacki Bornaman :

    I talk so much I can’t hear myself think! That is an old quote but true for me! Nervousness brings out more blah, blah, blah. It has only been recently that I have realized how much I do talk. Time to reign in and listen and learn.
    P.S. My adult son just recently shared with me, with love, how I use to carry on a one sided conversation with every cashier in the stores!

  33. I’ll start off with “I love my husband,” however, I’m having huge problems with my BIG MOUTH going off when I see his clothes on the floor, and the mess he leaves in the bathroom, and the lights he leaves on throughout the house, and … I need to tell myself “KEEP IT SHUT!”

  34. Mother in law. Enough said.

  35. Let’s just say, I’m a talker! And often times, I’m a nervous talker. If I’m talking with a person that is quiet, I panic, which in turn makes me talk even more. As I’m talking, I think to myself, “Oh, for goodness sake, will you shut up!” Although, I’m definitely a work in progress, I’ve gotten better in the last few years. I’ve come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, not everyone cares to hear my opinion on everything.

  36. When I think I can help! Have to jump in and offer my ‘tip’ even sometimes my brain is saying…SHUT UP! YOU are going to overwhelm… OH, Heaven Help me! Can’t wait to read this book!!!

  37. I need to keep my opinions to myself when my friends are relating problems, and just listen. They’ll ask me for my opinion if they want it!!

  38. Oh way to often I should just bite my tongue and not give my opinion on matters. I place my trust to easily in others and they have turned on me. I need to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to when I should speak and when best to shut it up!

  39. jumping in on a conversation that I wasn’t originally involved in, basically butting in.

  40. Brenda Schiesser :

    I want to learn to stop before I blurt out my opinion. I have gotten better but could use a bit more polish.

  41. Politics – the extreme ones – on either extreme – get me really rile, and probably speaking loudly as well. Ugh.

  42. I have a hard time being quiet while my husband’s driving. After having rearended 2 drivers myself, I’m putting my foot through the floorboards and saying things I shouldn’t to direct his driving. HELP!!!

  43. My husband is a pastor and when someone is talking to him in a negative way sometimes it is hard for me to shut it.

  44. I’m really trying to be better about not giving advise, unless asked, and praying about the advise I do give. Learning to be selective about what social media posts or conversations to participate in, etc…Trying to be a better listener. With my family (siblings, not husband and kids) trying to not allowing myself to get dragged into drama, and keep my mouth shut instead of engaging in what they want me to engage in! Work in progress on all these things!

    • Valerie, thank you for sharing your comments. You’ve brought up several different situations that I believe most women struggle with. Great insight!

  45. The times I need to learn to “zip it” are when I am disciplining my children. I try to get them to buy into what I’m doing and I take it too far. I don’t want to exasperate them with my long drawn out explanation. Help me Jesus to say what I need to say and then SHUT UP!!

    • Amy, I can so relate. I tend to over-explain things too when it comes to correcting my kids. I’ve learned from my mistakes that if I continue to go on and on, they will start to tune me out. Information overload.

  46. Kimberly Kicklighter :

    I have, at times, regret words I have said in anger with my sons when they have done something wrong. It ends up hurting not only them but me.

  47. GRACE is my word for 2015…learning to speak with God’s grace on my tongue is my goal…thank you for your example of wisdom & grace

    • Trish, I love the word you’ve selected for 2015. Grace … we all need and we all need to extend it to others. Especially those we are closest too.

  48. It’s hard for me to be quiet if I arrive home and my husband has turned the kitchen into a disaster area. Ungrateful, thoughtless words flow from my mouth.

  49. I have a hard time offering my “advice”, especially to my sisters, when it is not asked for. I need the duct tape Dawn mentioned. 😉

  50. My mouth tends to control me. Learning to hush and listen. Guess what it really works LOL

  51. As the grandmother of gorgeous girls I have to remember what my job is and it’s not to tell them how to parent.

  52. p.s. does this book come with duct tape? 🙂

    • Duct tape… what a great idea! I’ll have to mention that to Karen Ehman (the author). I know she’ll get a big kick out of that one! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  53. Sallyann DiMuzio :

    I cannot keep my mouth zipped when my husband does something I believe to be dangerous while he is driving. Arrrrrrrg!

  54. My mind works fast (too fast) and I am too judgment in my opinions. I need the art of grace in my speach.

  55. I finish my husband’s sentences. Come to think of it, I just might finish everyone else’s sentences too. I’m not sure when I became the expert mind reader. Most of the time I am unaware of what I am doing… talking over people, finishing their sentences, interrupting their thoughts. Great. Unconscious speaking. Hmmmmm…
    “When words are many, sin is not lacking;
    so he who controls his speech is wise.”
    Ugh. Guess I’m not such an ‘expert’ after all.


  57. I find myself having a really hard time letting my kids make their own mistakes instead of listening to “my experience”. It seems most the time I am losing the battle to Keep It Shut!


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