Category Archives: General

Move It And Lose It

Eight weeks ago we moved.  Although it was just down the street, the same moving process had to occur as if we were going cross-country.  As I dug through boxes day after day I began to fall into anxiety.  Having anxiety over a disorderly home isn’t something I’m proud of, but something I’m still struggling with.we're moving

I realize it’s a petty concern compared to more serious life issues, but it’s a real issue for many people.  When I talk to other women, particularly, they also harbor frustration and shame that the state of their home could cause so much distress.  The disorder of unpacking reminded me of a good truth my husband said to me years ago.

When Bradley, our oldest, reached the mess-making age my husband got a full glimpse of my issue with disorder.  Up until then, I had full control over the placement of each toy and blankie.  I wouldn’t go to bed until everything was in its place, so that the next morning I could awake to order.

box headsOne afternoon JD found me in tears as I struggled to sort toys and regain control over my domain.  A much more laid-back housekeeper, I’m sure this behavior was unbelievable to him.  But instead of chastising me or calling me what I was–a control freak–he said something I’ll never forget.  “Macie, it’s OK.  Nothing here can’t be undone.  It can all go back to the way it was.  Try to relax.”

This is a small glimpse into a huge truth.  Life is full of different ways to ruffle your feathers and even steal your feathers completely.  Time and time again families are hit with circumstances that leave them feeling as though there is no hope–as if it can never be undone.

But over and over again the Bible speaks of the Lord’s authority and victory over disorder, injustice and yes, even death.  Throughout the Old and New Testament verses speak of a Lord that will come and “undo” every wrong that was done to His creation.

Nothing, my friend, can’t be undone.

 

The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces;

he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 25:8

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Standards of Measurement

Tonight while loading the dishwasher I noticed my husband had yet again placed bowls on the top rack.  I have repetitively asked him to put bowls on the bottom rack because, in my expert opinion, they don’t come out as clean on the top.

proper dishwasher loading

Oh. Apparently the bowls DO go on top.

I wondered as I worked how I could nicely remind him of my request.  My wondering turned into speculation that he probably never even listened when I asked him to do this simple thing.  My speculation turned into resentment–how could he neglect to do this one simple thing?

As I moved the bowls from the top to the bottom rack, my brooding thoughts came to a sudden halt as I recalled a few things he’d asked me to do recently that didn’t get done.  When I stopped accusing long enough to see both sides of the coin, I realized how much I fall short.

My life illustrated.

My life illustrated.

My husband asks me to do small tasks all the time, yet sometimes things aren’t completed the way he asked, and sometimes not at all.  It’s not because I didn’t listen, or because I’m intentionally neglecting his requests.  Things just fall through the cracks–that’s how life is.

I privately forgave him, as this whole exchange took place silently in my head and heart.  The truth is, if I’m going to hold him to a standard of perfection, then he has a right to hold me to that same standard.

So many relationships–of all kinds–end because we allow these silent exchanges to cultivate into a full-blown irreconcilable difference.  So many relationships are riddled with drama because we hold others to a much higher standard than we ourselves could ever meet.

I know this won’t be the last time I start down a path of measuring another’s performance by a perfect standard of measurement of my calibration.  But I know by the grace of God–and the gift of the Holy Spirit guiding me–next time I’ll be a little quicker to stop and dole out grace instead of judgment. From now on, I’m not going to worry about where the bowls are.

For in the way you judge, you will be judged;

and by your standard of measure,

it will be measured to you.

  Matthew 7:2

 

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Worth Every Step

Next time I'll take a MAP

Next time I’ll take a MAP

Yesterday I ventured into DC to meet up with some friends who are in town for a school field trip.  Normally, I would politely decline, but these aren’t just any friends.  These are friends from the place I still secretly long for and day dream about–Coral Springs, Florida.  Not to mention these friends are from the church we attended and the affiliated school where I worked.  Thick ties, people, I was going into DC.

I prepared heavily–the van was loaded with a full tank of gas, snacks, diapers, wipes,  movies, juice boxes and toys.  Oh, we only live 45 minutes away from DC, but for once in my life I was going to be prepared.

This post may mean nothing to you if you are from a big city, were raised in a big city, or are just  familiar with big city living.  This girl is none of those things.  Y’all, there are like a MILLION people in DC on an average day, and yesterday I promise there were 3 million.  For some reason this didn’t intimidate me like it should have.

Turn turn turn there's PARKING!

Turn turn turn there’s PARKING!

So off we go to DC in a rolling grocery store, and everything’s great until we actually get into the District.  Hmmm, my husband was right, there’s no street parking like you find on the weekend.

That’s OK, I’m prepared for this.  My GPS tells me there’s parking at the Ronald Reagan Building.  I parked and confidently exited the parking garage with two kids in a double stroller.  I asked the security guard, “Which way to the Capitol?”

“THE CAPITOL?!”, he laughs and says, “That’s FOURTEEN BLOCKS from here.”  A bit shaken, I pulled up the Capitol on my iPhone and realize, “Hey, fourteen blocks is only a mile. I’ll be about 15 minutes later than expected–no biggie.”

YUM!

YUM!

I stopped halfway and got the boys some treats and tried not to think about the fourteen block hike back.  When I reached the Capitol, I find it’s roped off for a Police Memorial so I can’t enter to meet my friends.  This is starting to get annoying.

Then I had a stroke of genius–I’ll meet them at their HOTEL!  A bit more shaken and lacking confidence in my directional intuition, I asked a nearby DC police officer where the hotel was. He pointed and directed me on my way–right to one of the Smithsonians.  At least that’s where I ended up.

I’m telling you the truth, once you get into DC, you are basically in a concrete maze.  Every building–whether it’s the Department of Justice or a department store–looks exactly the same.  Asking yet another police officer, I found my way to the right street and saw what appeared to be a bright green “Holiday Inn” sign.

Did I mention I’d been needing a restroom for the last 18 blocks?  Did I mention the baby had fallen asleep, and I couldn’t just leave him outside in the stroller while I utilized any restroom I might have found?

I ran into the hotel and located the restrooms, only to find the stroller wouldn’t fit through the restroom door.  This is the moment it came full circle and I became very very thankful for the Police Memorial taking place at the roped-off Capitol.

Houston has solved a problem

Houston has solved a problem

A police officer sees me dancing outside the restroom trying to cram the stroller in and says, “Ma’am, I’ll be glad to stand with your kids so you can go in.”  I tell him my husband is in federal law enforcement, and he gave me his card and an official patch he was carrying for the event that day.  Just wow.

I thanked him profusely then turned to find the elevators.  That’s when I saw several familiar faces running towards me, arms outstretched.  I didn’t even shush them to not wake the baby.  I just fell into the moment of finding what I was looking for.  All the stress and sweat of the previous 90 minutes vanished in the midst of hearts reunited in a hotel lobby.

Students I was so happy to see! I even wore my MARLINS shirt in their honor!

I got to see John, who was Bradley’s kindergarten helper and (don’t tell anyone) my favorite student ever.  I chatted with Kim, a former ballet student of mine who said she thought about us “almost” every day.  I told her not a day went by I didn’t think about my friends in Florida.  Stacy had grown a foot and Mariah–who was in my Sunday school class–was a little lady.  It was bliss.

Rita and Macie

Rita and Macie. Not only a dear friend, but a fellow mommy of 3 who’s youngest was born just a few weeks after Benjamin, my youngest. There is no bond like journeying through pregnancy together. Trust me.

I think this is only a small glimpse at what stepping into eternity will feel like.  In this life we’re all experiencing highs and lows along the way.  We think we’ve done everything we can to prepare, and still life proves to us we are no match for it.  We approach a goal, only to find it roped-off and just out of reach.  We endure long intervals of feeling lost and spent, yet frequently enjoy small glimpses of grace and mercy from others.  Overall it’s quite an exhausting journey.  But one day–one day–we will fall into the moment of what we were looking for.

For this momentary affliction is producing for us

an eternal glory, far beyond compare.

2 Corinthians 4:17

 

 

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Mama, Rock Me

My husband and I lived in Nashville as newlyweds, then moved to Meridian, Mississippi for our first assignment with his current job.  It was there we bought our first home, a precious 1950’s cottage-style, gray with white trim and massive bow windows.

First House, Built 1951

The front yard was an ocean of azaleas and people in town were known to drive by just to view them in the Spring.  The bathrooms had intricate tiled floors and walls that a current builder could only dream of duplicating.  But the best part about this home was the 80 year old hands that designed and built it 50 years prior still lived right next door.

Fred Snowden, a quiet yet strong Southern gentleman, was a well-known builder in Meridian.  He continued to be sought out for his knowledge and skill well after his retirement, but Fred was also filled with knowledge and skill on a topic we’d soon be in need of–parenting.

Cross stitch by Fred's late wife Helen. Given to me before we moved. A cherished possession in the Anderson home.

Cross stitch by Fred’s late wife Helen. Given to me before we moved. A cherished possession in the Anderson home.

My husband and I had been married about 3 years when we found out we were expecting a baby.  Both of us still way too young to be put in charge of another human, we nervously awaited our new role as “Parents.”  In an effort to be the best parents ever we both read On Becoming Baby Wise, a book that instructs new parents on how to train a baby to sleep through the night.

I highlighted passages and held long, intense conversations with women who already had children.  I compared various sleep-training techniques, and made lists of what I would and would not do.  Because if there was one thing I was certain of, it’s I get crazy with no sleep, so this baby was going. to. sleep.

I’ll never forget that first night with baby Bradley.  Who can forget that first night?  The baby that slept for 48 hours in the hospital now screamed for 6 solid hours.  He took 2 hours to eat then only slept for 15 minutes.  None of this looked like the “first 7 days” section in my sleep-bible, except the “more than 8 wet diapers a day” which I charted (yes, charted) on a clip board in the nursery.

W. T. H.

What’s WRONG with him ????

The days went by and and the frustration continued, and Bradley was not falling into any sort of pattern like the book said he would.  Sure, he’d eat every 3 hours for one week, then the very next week eat every 1 hour.  He’d alllllllllllllmost sleep through the night for 3 nights, only to relapse into waking every 2 hours.

Once I was certifiably wacko from lack of sleep, I went running to anyone who could give me an alternative approach to sleep-training.  A dear friend recommended The Happiest Baby on the Block–finally someone smart enough to write a book told me it was okay to rock my child…for the first 3 months.  I bought the book when Bradley was 10 weeks old.  Do the math.

Enter Fred.  My back yard was basically Fred’s side yard, so we’d frequently meet at the fence and talk about how pretty the irises were that year, or how much he loved his new great-grand baby, Avery.  But one bright Spring day I’ll never forget, I saw Fred out and quickly bundled Bradley up to visit his neighbor.

PaPaw Fred, Ms. Doris and Bradley, age 2

PaPaw Fred, Ms. Doris and Bradley, age 2

Fred asked how it was going–was the baby well? — was mama resting?  That’s when I explained that I was really excited because I’d been letting the baby cry a lot, but now I’d found a book that said I could rock him–until he was 3 months old, of course.

Fred tilted his chin down, looked at me and–in the most wise, loving, slow drawl– said, “Macie, I rocked my daughter Becky ’til her legs drug the ground.  You rock that baby, and don’t mind what the book says.”

We finished our chat, and I went inside and rocked Bradley for at least an hour.  And of course, I cried as I rocked, and rocked as I cried, because that’s what you do with a 10 week old who you thought you only had 2 more weeks to rock.

It was around that time we started calling Fred, “Papaw Fred,” and still do. During our years as neighbors he gave us little gifts, some in the form of encouraging advice and some tangible mementos.  He let us borrow any tool from his shed anytime, “Just go get it, don’t even ask”, he’d tell me again and again.  PaPaw Fred gave us a sense of belonging and stability in this town where he was a fixture, and we were just passing through.

fred nursing home

Just one gift from PaPaw Fred, showing his great sense of humor

We lived in that little gray house until Bradley was just over 2.  It was so hard to leave–it’s even hard to write about now–because I loved that house, I loved that town and our time there as young parents.  I also loved having PaPaw Fred as my wise neighbor.

I still visit him each time we travel to Meridian to see old friends.  He always gives the boys a Coke, and although it breaks my heart that Bradley doesn’t remember all the Cokes he enjoyed as a toddler, PaPaw Fred doesn’t mind.  His wise old heart knows that time passes, kids grow, and even though they don’t remember all the details, we remember.  And we are grateful.

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Mommy Madness

Mommy guilt is just about the worst guilt there is. It lurks, victimizing innocent moms, day-in and day-out–and sometimes through the night. Mommy guilt is very real, and it doesn’t matter if you are at home full time with your little ones, or dropping them off at preschool before your full time career. The universal guilt sneaks in, piles up, and eventually suffocates.

drop kicking mommy wars Drop-Kicking Mommy Wars

There’s currently a lot of buzz about “Mommy Wars,” and writers are offering encouragement to stop the madness of comparing ourselves to other moms. And while I’m certain there’s an aspect of mommy guilt that stems from “Mommy Wars,” I’m more certain that the ultimate battle is raging not among moms, but in moms–the battle is really against ourselves.

I see it all day long in my own life. The guilt ranges from how much television I allow my kids to watch to how much fast food we indulge in. I routinely go through a silent monologue, reassuring myself that the cartoons I choose for them are safe and educational, and we choose a fruit cup over fries 50 percent of the time. The case against myself is proven when I conclude it’s for sanity’s sake I allow these things anyway, and a sane mother is a good mother!

At no point do images of a better mom feeding her kids organic finger foods while teaching them guitar lessons (on the instrument they made together from recycled materials) factor into the debate with myself. It’s an internal battle that wages, and while outside influences do shape our expectations and standards, I don’t think we are giving credit to the real source of mommy guilt–a mommy’s vulnerable, wavering, insecure heart.

Just today I battled thoughts of what things a “good mom” would be doing versus what I was doing. The “good mom” isn’t anyone else, it’s the perfect “me” I think I could be if I’d just put my back into it. It’s the me who wouldn’t be sitting here writing about her feelings, while her son watches Sprout. It’s the me who wouldn’t make a separate dinner for her kids, because her kids eat stuffed bell peppers like good little adults. It’s the me who, instead of bouncing from chore to chore, bounces from toy to toy with her toddler. This is the mom that haunts me, pressures me, and lures me into the dangerous territory of continual guilt over my performance as a mom.

perfect momI’ve often been told, “Don’t worry, God has equipped you to give your child exactly what he/she needs.” Although true, even that’s of little comfort because the burden still falls on the mother. Something I truly feel God spoke to me this week–while I was going over all the reasons I should be guilty–stopped me in my tracks.

Yes, you were tailor-made to be your children’s mommy. But consider this: God also designed them to need exactly what you have to offer. In other words, your children are tailor-made for you. Chances are, your kid was never going to like stuffed peppers anyway, and adores the creative way you turned the dish quickly into burritos just for them.

So, let’s stop comparing ourselves to a perfect specimen of a mother and get comfortable in our perfectly imperfect reality. It should ease some of the frustration to remind yourself, not only do you have just what they need, they need just what you have. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.

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Thin Mint Theology

Yesterday my husband brought home a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints, and we told the boys they could have one after supper.  Lucky for me, I don’t care for them, but the children were watching the clock and the box like an intense tennis match.banner thin mints

Well, our oldest has never had the most patient spirit–a paternal gene, I’m sure–and he continued to talk about the Thin Mints, and beg for them.  Finally we told him we’d throw the Thin Mints away if he didn’t show us some self-control.  Immediately my middle wails out, “No, mommy, NO! I’m not begging for them. Will you still throw them away even if just he is begging?”

My strange brain immediately jumped to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the Lord is telling Abraham he’s going to destroy the two cities due to their wickedness.  Abraham began boldly negotiating with the Lord to spare the cities, and ends his pleas with, “Will you destroy them if there are just ten righteous people found there among the wicked?”

I giggled to myself at my innocent child’s patriarchal parody.  He may as well have said, “Mommy, if there’s only one righteous child in this house will you still destroy the cookies?”  I couldn’t help myself and replied, “No, Nathan, I won’t destroy the Thin Mints since there is at least one righteous child in this house among the wicked.”

all GS cookiesThe moral of this story is Girl Scout Cookies are anointed and should be brought into the home of all true Believers.  The end.

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Old Man Winter

No matter how much I kick and scream, he comes every single year.  That energy-zapping, unwelcome guest who is relentless in his pursuit to ruin my life.  Old Man Winter.  Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic–but only a little.  I seriously despise being cold and almost everything that goes with it.

Our family lived in beautiful South Florida for four years and although I do recall feeling like we were in a temperature time-warp, I honestly never minded the non-existent winters.  Needless to say, relocating to Northern Virginia was a shock to the system after wearing sunscreen year-round and singing Christmas carols in flip-flops.

Yep. That about sums it up.

If I ever had any doubts about seasonal depression I can say moving here has cleared those doubts right up.  My first winter here, I quickly fell into depression and spent many an hour crying in the recliner.  Of course I was heartsick from a stressful move, but I didn’t give enough credit to the grey skies and bitter winds for my unbalanced emotional state.

It wasn’t until Spring came that I realized how heavy Old Man Winter had weighed on my heart.  I remember a few days into Spring feeling as though I’d been slipped a B-12 shot.  My energy and zeal for life was instantaneously restored once I could trust the sun really was going to shine the next day and the next.

For a long time I would dodge saying “I hate winter.”  I felt like that would be publicizing God had created something faulty.  Instead I’d choose, “I just prefer summer” or “I don’t really like cold weather,” as not to sound too grumpy or cynical.  But the fact is, I hate winter.  Mainly because it’s a stimulus for depression, and when winter’s coming I know that’s coming along with it.

In an effort to pull through this winter with slightly more optimism, I made a mental list of great things that can only happen in winter. Here they are:

-Boots and cute scarves

-Soup, lots of soup

-Bundled up babies

-Kids sledding

-Fireplaces

As you can see, my list is short.  But every time I watch Benjamin waddle down the frozen sidewalk, sit beside a blazing fire, or make a huge batch of steaming soup, I remember it’s because of winter I had this moment.  Then I go outside to get the mail and remember–brrrrrrrrr–it’s because of winter that I hate winter.

If you find yourself in a deep funk right now, you are in good company.  If you are usually active and involved, but find yourself weaseling out of events and instead crying in your recliner, you’re not alone.  I think part of making it through life–especially life with depression–is being honest with yourself.  Accept the seasons you know you won’t be fully yourself, and remember it’s only temporary, because Spring really will come!

To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3 : 1 & 4

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And A Happy New Year

Well, better late than never.  Happy New Year from A Little Happy!

funny new yearDon’t you just love all the optimism surrounding a new year?  A fresh page.  A new start.  And my favorite, a “365 page book waiting to be written.”

It’s all very inspiring, and I do believe we should celebrate each new year.  But what happens when you play along, only to find yourself disappointed when this “new year” is really just an extension of the year before.  And the year before that?

That’s sometimes how I feel about a new year.  I know, I know, this isn’t very “happy” thinking, but it’s true.  And if it’s true for me, I bet it’s true for at least one of you.

I try to be festive, and even consider making a resolution or two.  But the realist in me takes over and I think, “Why bother.  It is literally just another day in the life.”

So what’s the good news?  Where’s A Little Happy’s hallmark silver lining?  It’s that “another day in the life” is a wonderful gift.  Mundane?  Usually.  Tough?  Sometimes.  But a gift?  Always.

Right now there are families fighting for just one more day, or at the very least a better day.  When I stop whining long enough to realize the blessing it is to endure “just another day in the life,” I’m able to sing praises to God for those days instead of shake my fist at Him for the small trials.

I’m not attempting to minimize the pain and discomfort that even small trials can bring us, because these prove we are all in an uphill battle this side of heaven.  But I am trying more and more to put my  pain and discomfort in proper perspective.  After all, if I let my trials consume me, what do I have left to offer others?

I’m not sure what your “day in the life” looks like right now.  Perhaps you’re in a very hard place, or perhaps you’ve just received wonderful news to begin your new year.  Either way, I hope God’s mercy and grace are with you as you unwrap the gift of another day.

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Wherever You Go, Mama

Scene: I’m washing dishes after dinner, and a little body is immovable by my side.

“Nathan, go upstairs and get in bed.”

“But, wherever you go, I’m gonna go, mama. I love you.”

“I know you love me. And I love you. But it’s time for bed.”

(Leans head into my leg. Kisses my leg.)

“I’m not going, mama. Wherever YOU go, I’LL go.”

“Ok, fine. I’ll walk you upstairs.”

(Huge grin.)

****************************************************

Our family has endured our share of moves.  My oldest child has lived in 3 different states, and he hasn’t even lived-out a full decade!  Two of my children were born in a tropical town I’d only seen on a map as a child myself.  And our shoe collection now ranges from flip flops to snow boots.

My husband and I did not move a lot as children, in fact, college was the first big “move” for both of us.  Since frequent relocation wasn’t our norm, we both assumed we’d give the same life to our children.  Our ideal was that they be raised in one place to “put down roots.”

Funny how our ideal doesn’t always match up with God’s ideal.  But that’s God for you, always redefining our limited, temporal plans and transforming our perspective to reflect his eternal plans.  Even if He has to use a young child.

Later that night, I thought deeply about what Nathan said, “Wherever you go, I’m gonna go, mama.”  He finds perfect peace and contentment regardless of his zip code.

He can rejoice in the new adventures each move brings, because the people he wants to share these adventures with had come along.  I long to embrace his sweet, content attitude more and more.

Rooted in love
Rooted in love

I get so caught up in eventually settling down somewhere, I miss the settling down happening right in front of me.  My children are “putting down roots,” because God has given them the ultimate root: His love.

Right now for my young children, this love is displayed in the form of a loving family, whom they’d follow anywhere. But as they grow and mature, I pray they’ll realize that it was God’s love all along fulfilling the needs of their little hearts.

Ephesians 3:17 is such a beautiful picture of the type of roots I pray my children will establish.  It reads, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

There is something to be said for residing in one place for a long period of time.  I can’t deny I still long to live closer to immediate family and experience daily life with them.  But I can’t let physical location trump what God says about true roots.

Roots that are established and grounded in His love–these are the best and finest roots I could ever hope for my children to put down.  Then, no matter where they roam, no matter where we move, God’s love will be firmly established in their lives.  And one day they’ll be able to respond, “Wherever you go God, I’ll go. I love you.”

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Speech Therapy

Many things have changed for my family since we were forced to leave the deep South.  We went from a woodsy, affordable, acre lot to a pre-planned, over-priced, 0.1 acre lot.  My sweet tea addiction was terminated due to lack of supply, and we now fully appreciate the term “commute.”  Fully.

But regardless of the changes all around us, things in us have basically stayed the same.  Many of our subtle, Southern ways are only recognized by those who know us well, while others are outright obvious–like when we open our mouths.

Someone wrote a BOOK? Bless their heart.

Someone wrote a BOOK?
Bless their heart.

I have had some of the cutest encounters with people regarding my dialect.  We hadn’t been in the DC area long when I caught a child staring at me in Chick Fil A.  She sneaked over and asked, “Excuse me, do you speak country?”  Honestly, I was tickled because as far as she was concerned, I was bilingual.

The other day in the preschool pick-up line I began a conversation with, “Girl…”–like all Southern women do.  The woman was toting an infant carrier–apparently not bilingual–and before I could continue replied, “No, it’s a boy.” 

Believe it or not, this element of who I am defines me to a lot of people.  For some, I’m described simply as “the lady with the thick Southern accent.”  I don’t mind being recognized by my slow, gentle drawl, but it leaves me wondering, “Are my words themselves just as slow and gentle?”

I’m a natural-born talker, words fly from my lips faster than my brain can calibrate the conversation sometimes.  As our pastor once described it, “I’m an extrovert, which means I think by talking.  And sometimes that gets me into trouble.”

There are a handful of verses from the Bible that keep my mind focused on how God intends for me to use my words. Being a visual learner, there are also a handful of household goods hanging around that remind me of these verses. They bring to memory what I should be doing with my mouth and help me stay the course.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh tone stirs up anger.”

On my kitchen window sill sits a tiny piece of a scrubbing sponge.  I must see it a dozen or more times a day.  As I respond to my husband, my children, my parents, which side of the sponge am I using?  How can I blame them for their reactions when I’m scrubbing away with the brillo side?photo (4)

Colossians 4:6 says, ” Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to give an answer to each person.”

Southerners are known for our food, specifically the fried and the salty.  A common salt shaker can be a useful tool to remind us that our words are like salt, and when used wisely they help preserve and flavor conversation.

A great visual for  Psalm 141:3 is a roll of duck tape. The verse reads,  

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” 

Who doesn’t have a roll of duck tape hanging around? The ultimate Southern fix-it item is a reminder that sometimes I need to slap a piece right over my lips. And leave it there.

Finally, the yummy honey I find reasons to use reminds me of Proverbs 16:24.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, 

sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

I can say all the right words, believe in my heart they are for the right reason, but without them being full of grace they may never reach another’s soul.  Even the toughest conversations can be had, when covered in sweet graciousness.

On the other hand, if you reverse this scripture, ungracious words are bitterness to the soul and sickness to the body.  I pray the honey on my shelf will remind me of the benefit or detriment my words can produce.

If you are a natural-born talker–like me–or have more of a quiet nature, we all need to honor God and others with our speech.  And whether you grew up in the South, or if you were raised in another country, you also have a unique way of reminding yourself how to do that. 

Share these things in the comments section below.  Be it a true Bible verse, or some of grandma’s wisdom, let us know how you keep an awareness of your speech.

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