Day 19: The best words

perfect placement via kimberlyanncoyle.com

“Poetry: the best words in the best order.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Have you had your daily diet of the best words today? Do you have a favorite poem? Please share.

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This is the 19th post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.

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Day 18: Scarcity isn’t always a bad thing

fall berries via kimberlyanncoyle.com

“When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.” ~ William Shakespeare

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This is the 18th post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.

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Day 17: Speak Blessing–A Guest post

Today, my friend, fellow writer, and co-founder of Circles of Faith, Kimberly Amici joins us to talk about Speaking Life through speaking blessings over our loved ones. She’s currently writing a wonderful 31 day series on teaching kids how to pray. If you have or love little ones, I encourage you to check out her blog, Living in the Sweet Spot.

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 “But when a person speaks what God has revealed, he speaks to people to help them grow, to encourage them, and to comfort them.”

~I Corinthians 14:3 (GW)

virtues via kimberlyanncoyle.com

The Bible says that our tongue carries both life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Our words carry power. They have the ability to hurt, discourage, and even knock the wind out of us. But they also have the capacity to carry healing, encouragement, and restoration.

Traditionally throughout the Bible, the patriarch of a family would bestow material possessions and a blessing to his eldest son in the last days of his life. The blessing usually consisted of words of success and abundance spoken prophetically over the father’s heir. In Genesis 27 we read the story of how Jacob tricked his father into giving him that blessing instead of his older brother Esau.

When Esau found out about his brother’s deception his heart was broken, not over losing his father’s wealth, but in missing out on the words he had waited years for his father to speak over him.

The tradition continues today in Jewish families as children are blessed on Shabbat as a way to reinforce that they are loved, accepted, and supported by their families.

We can speak blessing into the lives of others, both in the words we speak, when we are in their presence, and in the prayers we pray for them in private.

When I pray for my husband, children, loved ones, I find scriptures that supports what I desire to see. For example, just this morning, I prayed that my children would make wise choices and follow God’s guidance.

“Dear Lord, I thank you that Ava, Eliana, and Aaron trust you with all their heart and do not lean on their own understanding, but acknowledge you in all their ways so that they will hear Your clear direction in the choices they make. “ (Proverbs 3:5)

By doing this, I pray the Word of God into their lives and into their future. I don’t just pray this once. I continually speak it into their lives, through prayer, even on the days when they clearly haven’t used good judgment. Sometimes the kids and I will even pray it together.

As we pray, we can sow seeds of life into the lives of others that God will cause to bloom.

How are you using your words?

Dear Lord, it is my heart’s desire to be like the woman in Proverbs 31 who opens her mouth in wisdom and has the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. May the words I speak bring life and healing. I pray that You would help me to consistently speak words of encouragement and blessing to others, especially to ________ …

Kimberly Amici is designer, writer, blogger, and co-founder of Circles of Faith. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is also a community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended. She seeks to live a life that is spirit led with her husband Carl and their three children in the NYC suburbs.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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This is the 17th post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.

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Day 16: Words that feed the soul

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My mother in law is a health nut. The kind that leaves the rest of us scratching our heads when she announces things like, “I really need a refill on my Cat’s Claw supplement.” Or shark’s tooth, or hair of the dog, or unicorn blood. Whatever’s in vogue at the nutrition store this month, inevitably ends up in her pantry. My son spent the night at her home recently and called me to check in. He whispered into the phone something about there being nothing good to eat, unless I considered “good” the Costco-sized Seven Grains of the Ancient World and a refrigerator full of bell peppers. I popped another cookie in my mouth and told him it could be worse. He could live there.

She’s a firm believer in the building up of her immune system by the nutrients she puts in her body. I shudder to think what she would say if she saw the Pop Tarts sitting in my cabinets. Or the candy corn. She never passes judgement, she just silently sips her distilled water and crunches her kale while the rest of inhale three slices each of  meat lover’s pizza. I think she might live forever.

I may not have the self-control of my mother in law when it comes to eating, but I like to take her approach when it comes to feeding my soul and spirit. I keep up a steady diet of soul food, good words that nourish the flesh and strengthen the bones of the inner me. Scripture, poetry, spiritual memoir, life-giving lyrics–I want it all to speak life to my soul.

You might take this to mean I avoid swear words and difficult topics and real-world issues in the material I listen to and read. Not so. This used to be my approach, before I knew better, before I knew that a diet based solely on contemporary worship music and sugary pop and feel-good novels leaves me feeling malnourished. Man can not live on pop tarts alone. These things have their place, but for my soul to feel satiated, for my spirit to be satisfied, I need the words of the Psalmist and the prophets alike. I need praise and lament, fantasy and truth. I need all the words, but especially the ones that describe hard things in real, concrete language. I need the poets and the praisers, the saints and the sinners to lead me into the world as they see it.

Some words offer the world nothing but decay and death, so I draw lines I choose not to cross. But for the words that feed souls, my eyes and ears remain open, ready to receive so I have something nourishing of my own to give. Good words live on forever.

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This is the 16th post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.

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Day 15: Mean girls

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Catty, rude, snide, gossip-y, cutting, emotionally manipulative, mean girls.

When I had girls, I worried about the mean ones. I never once believed I would have a mean girl of my own. Like mother, like daughter right?

I like to think I’m pretty nice. Yes, I occasionally bend my ear to an interesting tidbit of information, and I frequently get in a huff with people who drive under the speed limit, but overall I can’t imagine saying something hateful or snotty or downright mean about another woman. I am not perfect, but as a general rule, I don’t share others secrets or talk behind their backs or mock their appearance. And, just as important, I try to avoid women who do.

One of my daughters has the temperament of a lamb. Gentle, sweet, innocent, kind. She attracts kind girls too, and they remind me of the fluttering of butterflies when their together. They bring delight with their light touch and the only sign they’ve been in a room is the echo of laughter and the faint brush of wings.

My other daughter is sassy. That’s really all I can say. And I can see with a gentle push in the wrong direction, how easily she could fall into mean. Her heart is tender, but deep down there’s kindling for a fire. All it takes is one mean girl to strike a match, and my girl’s tenderness will be consumed in the flame. She gravitates towards the mean girls. She likes their spit and their fire. Every year at school, I hear from her teacher saying what a difficult time they’re having with the girls in that particular class. My girl is never the instigator (believe me, I’ve asked), but I began to suspect her involvement when I realized she was the common denominator.

Last year, after multiple conversations with my girl and after discouraging a few less than desirable friendships, I thought we turned the corner. Imagine my surprise, when days away from the start of the new school year, she came to me crying. All summer long, she clutched a secret–last year, she and a friend said mean things and spread rumors about another student.

She carved my heart out with her confession.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a mean girl. Her sister is not a mean girl. We don’t tolerate mean girl behavior in our home. And yet, unbeknownst to me, my kid tore up another kid’s reputation and kept quiet about it for an entire year. We’re talking little girl, petty stuff, but little girl, petty stuff becomes big girl, bully stuff as fast as a mama can blink.

So what’s a mama to do when modeling life-giving, kind words is not enough?

This mama got serious about her girl’s friendships. I cut those mean girls right off. No sleepovers. No coming over after school. No more influence over my kid.

We made amends. First, she prayed and asked God to forgive her. Then, she called and apologized to the other girl for her behavior. It’s never too late to say “I’m sorry”.

We told her Daddy. And by we, I mean she. This was by far the worst punishment for a girl who believes her Daddy hung the moon in the sky just to shine it’s light on her.

We had the talk about mean girls again, and again, and again. I’m going to bang that drum until my arms fall off. We want to cut off any tendency towards meanness at the root, and with every conversation, I want to take her back to tender, to kind. I want to take her back to her true self, a girl with sass and spunk, who knows how to wield her wit without cutting anyone down in the process.

How do you deal with mean girls? How do you discourage this behavior in your children?

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This is the 15th post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.

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