Art of Eloquence and Grape Stuff Teaming Up for Family!

Family 1Here at Art of Eloquence, we have always been about family.  Better communication means happier families so, when an opportunity presented itself to team up with Grape in support of families, it was a perfect fit!

Grape Stuff is a new company with a mission to provide great (grape) products in support of families.  It’s first product, the Grape Grill Buddy BBQ Grill Mat helps families by allowing them to get together outdoors without technology (that often gets in the way of real communication) and just be with each other, making memories.

Grape Stuff recently had a blog article about how doctors now prescribing the Great Outdoors for what ails us.   Art of Eloquence has long been prescribing old fashioned communication for what ails families.

So in the interest of families everywhere, we are getting the word out about the importance of families, family time and old fashioned communication.  We suggest you all spend as much time in the great outdoors with family and friends and having good, clear communication so that you can make memories.  We join together with Grape Stuff and highly recommend the Grape Grill Buddy BBQ Grill Mat!

We’d love to hear your family summer BBQ stories.  Please leave a comment sharing some fun memories you and your family have made this summer and over the years.

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I bet you won’t read this!

keep-rightIt’s not as much a lack of training these days that gives way to communication issues; it’s currently a lack of interest!

I’d be willing to bet that 95% of the people who see this article (or any other article or blog post, or Facebook post or …you get the picture) will just scroll past it without giving it a second thought.  I’d be willing to go one step further and say that almost the same amount of people will do so even if the topic is of great interest.  I’d also be willing to bet that at least 75% of people don’t take the time to really listen when a friend or family member speaks and that about the same percentage don’t pay close attention to others enough to notice when a co worker, friend or neighbor is upset.

Nobody takes the time to pay attention these days!  We have become a nation so frantic about trying to make a living and attend to our lives that we don’t take the time to really listen or read anymore.  We also don’t realize that these short cuts actually take MORE time (confusing communication which has to be ironed out) than it would if we took the time to read it or listen carefully in the first place.  We are a civilization divided into microwave nanoseconds.  Don’t think so?

* What is most popular on FB?  Not in depth articles on important matters of life, no–but silly pictures of cats.  Even videos don’t get much attention anymore.  Those are three minutes and fifty seven seconds too long to justify taking time away from liking three hundred dog photos on Facebook.

* What happens when someone posts a picture they don’t immediately understand?  Do they look at the accompanying text to see what the person posting said?  No, that takes too long!  They ask or they assume and post a response that doesn’t fit the post.

* What TV shows are popular?  Not the ones that make you think!  Thinking is now a spectator sport.  The popular shows are the ones that tell you what to think, give silly laughs and the dreaded reality shows that don’t bear any resemblance to reality.

* By the way, how many of you noticed that the Keep Right sign has the arrow pointing the wrong way?

No wonder nobody cares enough to learn to communicate effectively. 

It doesn’t matter.  You can be the most articulate soul on the planet, but if nobody reads what you write or listens to what you say or pays attention because it takes longer than three nanoseconds, your message is either lost or twisted and someone has probably unjustifiably taken offense at what they THINK you said.

Blog posts are almost a thing of the past because you actually have to READ. I commend you who have continued on this far.  You are in the minority these days.  Kuddos!  You’ll learn stuff.


For quite some time, studies have shown that there has been a significant decline in communication effectiveness. 

College professors report an increase in papers with text speak, slang and poor grammar.  Employers have reported a serious lack of communication skill in their new hire candidates and that it’s one of the reasons employees are not promoted.

You and I notice it every day when we speak to people, and chat with them on social media.  Sometimes the lack of communication skill is so apparent we can hardly make out what the person is trying to tell us.


However, it’s not as much a lack of training as it is a lack of interest.  The bottom line is that most people today don’t feel communication is a subject that merits any attention.  Why?

Undivided attention is overrated.  Multitasking is a valued skill, but what isn’t generally taken into account is the fact that the less you concentrate on something, the less efficient you are at it.  While you may be able to cook dinner, do the laundry and listen to little Johnny’s story, you probably didn’t catch everything he said.

Unfortunately, this is exactly why so many struggle in relationships, marriages and friendships these days. Relationships are all about communication and very few seek to master it these days. I teach communication skills and for the last ten years there has been a decline both in the skills demonstrated and the interest in learning and applying them.  If you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of a misunderstanding, you know what I mean.


Need more proof?

Folks are busy and they are trying to find short cuts for whatever they do.  I can’t count the number of times I have sent an email to someone and had them reply asking for the very information that was still included in the original email which was attached underneath their reply!  Ever seen one of these?

From: Sally45
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 9:49 PM
To: Mary
Subject: Re: Coffee on Friday?

Hi Mary,
What day and time?


>From: Mary
> Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 9:47 PM
> To: Sally
> Subject: Coffee on Friday?
> Dear Sally,
> How about coming over on Friday at 9am for some coffee?
> Love,
> Mary

Not only did Sally take extra time to send a reply to Mary asking for the very information Mary already gave her, but she has communicated to Mary that her email wasn’t worth her time to read properly in the first place.  Additionally, it communicates to Mary that Sally doesn’t think Mary’s time is as valuable as hers.  She is now requesting that Mary spend more of her time to answer a question she has already answered.  Furthermore, it takes even more of Sally’s time to have to read through another one of Mary’s emails.


It’s time we, as a society, take back the responsibility for what we say and how we say it. 

It’s time to learn to speak effectively and in grace.  It’s time to be proactive…because what’s at stake is everyone one of our relationships!  If you don’t, I can promise you there’s a storm coming!  A miscommunication storm that will leave your relationships in its wake.

The economy is down and, it appears, we are all just too broke to pay attention.  In today’s microwave society people are always looking for ways to save time…but are we actually spending more time because of miscommunication?  You know that old phrase, “Do it right the first time” and you won’t have to spend time doing it again.  I think our nanoseconds would be better spent if we heeded this time honored time saver!

Life’s busy in the 21st Century, but if we all take just a few moments to really read or listen to the other party, we might actually save ourselves a great deal of time and frustration.  Read those emails carefully before you reply.  Actively listen to the speaker before you respond.  You just might answer your own question…before you spend endless nanoseconds to ask it!

I could have said more about this subject, but this blog post is already MUCH longer than most people will take time to read as it is.  😀

Check out and take your stand now!  We have studies for PreK through adults and for every communication situation from speech and debate to sharing your faith and social skills!

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The truth isn’t relative, but it is conditional

Nose growsHave you ever been asked a question that you had a hard time answering?  Not because you were trying to deceive, but because you were trying to be honest.  The truth is that the truth isn’t relative, but it is conditional.  Case in point…

When people ask me where I’m from, I have a difficult time ascertaining if they mean where I was born, where I spent most of my childhood or where I just moved from.  For you, this might be just a case of semantics, but for me, it provides a completely different answer.  I was born in Colorado, but only lived there for two weeks.  While I am currently living in Indiana, I just moved here from Arizona.  However, when I say that, people assume I had lived in Arizona all my previous life so I end up having to tell them that I only lived there for 5.5 yrs. That begs the question, where did I move to Arizona from.  And the answer to that is California–so they assume I grew up in California, but I actually grew up mostly in NY.  So they assume that means that I moved to California from NY, but that’s not true either.  I moved to California from Virginia.  So then they assume that they now know everywhere I’ve lived, but I also lived in Florida for a few years after my family left Colorado.  For those of you who are now dizzy, that translates to Colorado, Florida, NY, Virginia, California, Arizona and Indiana.

So you see how truth can be conditional.  It depends upon the meaning and context behind the question.  For another example, I point you in the direction of your driver’s license.

Indiana was the first state to voluntarily comply with the new facial recognition software.  We were required to take off our glasses and NOT smile intoOld woman the camera (if you could even find it after taking off your glasses–a big assumption if you happen to be legally blind without them!).  Now, I will stipulate that saying you weigh 100lbs when you are really 145 is not being truthful, but what about your hair color?  I put down brown.  That is my natural hair color…or is it?  Truth be told, if my hair was left to its own devices, it would be almost entirely gray.  Or should I put down red?  Truthfully, I say to you that until my dying day, I’ll be coloring my hair red.  Purely as an aside, my face (you know, for that facial recognition part) doesn’t ever look like that!  They told me to take off my glasses and look at the camera.  What camera?  Without my glasses I opened my eye wide and then squinted to try to FIND the camera and that is why I have that deer in the headlights look.  I don’t think a criminal would have that look. She’d probably be wearing her glasses!

So, while we are still on the subject of recognition software, how truthful is it to trust a driver’s license which shows that I’m a brown haired woman with bug eyes who doesn’t wear glasses?  As a matter of fact, if you ever find a brown haired woman fitting my description with bug eyes and not wearing glasses, call the police!  It means I’ve been abducted by someone who has (done the unthinkable and) prevented me from dying my hair long enough to have had the color fade…oh and has stolen my glasses!!

Is it just me or do any of you find the truth to be conditional?  Share your story below.  Truth is, I’d love to hear it.  😀

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Don’t let social anxiety control your life (or your child’s) any longer!

Shyness promo2Do you avoid potentially enjoyable or even profitable situations because you’re uncomfortable relating to people?  Does your child feel self-conscious, left out or lonely?  Do social events scare or intimidate you?  Does your heart ache for your child who dreads school events or parties? 

Does this sound like you or a loved one?  You’re not alone.  Polls indicate that 40% of people consider themselves shy, but I have great news.  You may not be shy at all!

Everyone has something to say, something that only they can share, something others really need to hear. Don’t let shyness keep you from it!


Most people believe that you are born shy and there is nothing you can do about it.  HOGWASH! 

And I’m living proof.  I was a painfully shy young girl and remained so up until my late teens.  In fact, I used to hope the person waving was directing it toward the person behind me so I wouldn’t have to wave back!  THAT’s how shy I was!!

It took me many painful YEARS to overcome my shyness. I once thought it was part of my personality and that I was destined to be shy and lonely for the rest of my life. I was wrong!  Shyness is usually just anxiety brought on by a lack of effective communication skills in social situations.  Once I learned these vital skills, I found I wasn’t shy at all!  And you’re probably not either!  You’ll understand more when you read my testimony in this ebook.

Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety takes you through my painful struggle and teaches you to overcome your social anxiety in a fraction of the time.  Even better, it allows you to do so in a fun and creative way.  Yes, this eBook will not only give you the tools to become more comfortable in social situations, but it will take you through mastery and on to excellence!


What you or your child will learn in Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety:

* Seven Habits of Highly Successful Communicators

* Six Simple Steps to Conversational Self-Confidence

* Preparing to be a Great Conversationalist

* How to Start a Conversation

* Learning from Six Bad Conversationalists

* Creative Ways to Practice

* How to Meet and Greet

*Ten Quick Rules for Disagreeing in Grace

* What to Do for Your Shy Child




"Thank you, JoJo. I learned a LOT, thank you, thank you, thank you!  
I’m a huge fan and have almost all your books, but this seminar gave me 
tons to think about." -Shannon R.
"7 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Shyness was a superb presentation!... 
The webinar was a big help. It was so much more than tips. JoJo tells 
you exactly what to say to help your shy child overcome. She also tells 
you why your shy child feels the way he/she does and what you can do to 
help."-Carla I.


Incredible One Time Offer Just for my Facebook fans and friends!

On Tuesday, May 19th, and for ONE DAY ONLY, This powerful eBook will be available for my Facebook fans and friends for ONLY $10!  Just order on that day using voucher code: 101010 and it will automatically slash the price to JUST $10!


Why are we doing this?

My husband lost his job almost 3 months ago and our daughter’s wedding is coming up in just a few weeks. BUT: Our need FILLS YOUR NEED!  So take advantage of it while it’s available!


Bonus for ordering during this incredible promotion:

Notes from my seminar: 7 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Shyness–That product is worth the $20 right there!  Here is the promotional video from that seminar!

What You Will Learn in these slide show notes alone:

1. Seventeen things parents should do to help their child overcome shyness

2. Seven things parent’s shouldn’t do because it either doesn’t work or reinforces their child’s shyness

3. Seven ways parents can help their children change their thinking about shyness

4. Six things parents can do to change their child’s shy behavior

5. Seven things parents can do to change their child’s shy vocabulary

6. Eight things parents can teach their shy child to say that will help them overcome shyness

7. Seven things parents can teach their shy child to do that will help them practice the skills necessary to overcome their shyness

After your place your order for Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety, forward your confirmation email to JoJo ( )  and ask to receive 7 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Shyness for free and we’ll email it to you!


Don’t let social anxiety control your (or your child’s) life any longer!  Get Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety AND, my bonus gift to you, 7 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Shyness (a $49.95 value) for ONLY $10 on May 19th!  


What is $10 as compared to breaking free from shyness that has a hold over your life or the life of your child?  Order May 19th!


Remember, this incredible offer is good on May 19th ONLY!  So….Order Say What You Mean: Overcoming Social Anxiety!




*Art of Eloquence homeschool Curricula was chosen “Homeschool Approved” and is ENDORSED by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and recommended by HSLDA!



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A new adventure

JoJoisms Header 5I’ve been writing and speaking about communication skills for the last 12 years with Art of Eloquence.  I treasure my experiences and I pray I’ve made a difference both inside and outside the homeschooling community.  That being said, I feel it’s time to move on to a new adventure.

I can be a bit dense so it’s taken me a while to see God’s leading, especially since I had so much invested in this website and its ministry.  Back in October of 2013, I declared that 2014 would be The Year of Faith.  And it has been, but not the way I thought it would be.

You see, I had plans to write a weekly newsletter with tips and insight into the most effective ways to share and defend the Christian faith.  However, God had other plans.  As I said, I can be a bit thick, but the writing was on the wall…or website as the case may be.

After struggling for many years with debilitating fatigue, pain and brain fog, I thought I had found a doctor who would take that away from me.  While I do feel somewhat better, I still suffer from these and many other symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease, Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, Adrenal Fatigue, Reactive Hypoglycemia, Peri Menopause and a few others I can’t remember right now.  But I pulled myself up by my bootstraps (OK. they were flip flop straps as I was in ARIDzona at the time) and resolved to work harder to bring this important subject to light.

In December, we found out that my dh was being blessed with a big promotion at work (ending many years of financial hardships) that necessitated us to move (and QUICKLY) across the country.  In between calling moving companies for quotes and giving away items we couldn’t or didn’t want to take with us, I soldiered on writing in the wee hours of the night while insomnia raged.  I accumulated a few weeks worth of blog posts, newsletters and information for future Year of Faith articles. Then we were off to Indiana to look for our new home.

On January 18th, we were involved in a rollover car accident in the snow in which I broke my hand.  Unable to type, I had to put virtually everything else on hold.  Sounds like a great sob story doesn’t it? LOL  In truth, I did sob and whined and yelled, but I came to understand that my Year of Faith was really MY year of faith.  I had to sit still and listen to what the Lord was saying to me and what I heard will take me (and you) on a new adventure as I adjust to life in my new surroundings both geographically and physically.

So I am closing down my Art of Eloquence blog and newsletter. I’m putting my purple blog and Facebook fan page passion on the back burner and I’m picking up a new baton.  I’m going to leave this website up and will be servicing any customers who purchase our products, but I will not actively be marketing for Art of Eloquence.  What I AM doing, is re purposing my site to reflect a new calling and direction for my life and ministry.

As you can see, the new design reflects my desire to uplift, support and energize those who suffer from chronic illness or issues.  No lollypops and roses or rah rah. Just some good old fashioned fun with frustration, looking on the lighter side with scripture leading us always and ever closer to God.  Join me, won’t you?

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Where have all the AoE Blog Posts Gone?

accidentIt occurred to me that I never did explain why my posts suddenly stopped in January.  Life has been a bit crazy since I posted last.  On January 18th, after traveling to Indiana to find our new home, we were involved in a car accident.  My dh fractured his back and I fractured my hand.  I’ve been unable to post more than a few lines without pain for over two months and it looks like it’ll be another two or three months for the healing process to complete.

It took me a while, but I was able to get a post out on my JoJoisms blog.  If you want more of the details, you can read about it there.

I’ll be back in a few months with more blog posts.  Until then, feel free to scroll through the previous posts you may have missed and check out all the free sample lessons, articles and such on the main Art of Eloquence site.

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Rein of Error

This is a new feature here on the Art of Eloquence blog.  Many of my readers feel there has been a rein of error in communication these days.  They cringe when they see misspellings, improper use of grammar and typos.  This new feature of the AoE blog will turn your cringing into giggling.

Here are this month’s Rein of Error entries you can laugh at.  No need to avert your eyes!  It’s safe to look.  Can you spot all the errors?   These are just a few of the ones we had personal experience with.

This was my son’s cake from a few years ago.










This was an SAT Prep Book we chose not to buy for our dd about six yrs ago.

Barron's SAT Prep 23nd Edition










And here is a picture a friend of mine sent me that was in her city.











Did you spot all the errors?  How’d they happen?  Take a guess.  Have your kids try their hand too.  Please post your findings in the comments.

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Year of Faith Postponed Again Due to Car Accident

accidentAs some of you know, last week’s Year of Faith newsletter didn’t come out because the Art of Eloquence site was hacked for the 4th time and my isp was blocked.  It took so long for me to deal with it to where my web host fixed it that I had no time to get the newsletter out before I left for Indiana.  (My family an I were out there for a week to find a new home. )

The day we were due to return to ARIDzona, we were involved in a car accident.  Our car rolled over.  My dh’s back was injured pretty badly an I might have broken my finger.  So I am only able to type with my right hand an d my left index fingr.  It’s taken me a long time just to type this much so far.

handsthe good news is we all walked away and we did find a house.  The bad news is that I’m afraid the Year of Faith newsletters will have to be postponed for anothr week or to when i can rgain full use of my hand.

Please continue to pray for our family so that we may continue to bring you this series.  It sems the enemy is conspiring to keep this information from being publishd.

If you are not alrady subscribedt o our nwslettr, you can do so here.

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I AM responsible for your assumptions

JoJo SeptOne of the most popular sayings quoted in graphics posted on social media right now was popularized by the movie Rush Hour.  In this scene, LAPD Detective Carter on loan to the FBI is asked to babysit a police officer from China to keep him away from the kidnapping case they are trying to solve.  Inspector Lee, played by Jackie Chan, pretends not to speak English in order to get as much information out of Detective Carter as he can.  Later on, Lee lets it slip that he does speak English and Carter asks him why he made him believe otherwise.  Lee says, “I didn’t say I didn’t, you assumed I didn’t…I’m not responsible for your assumptions.”  Oh, wasn’t he?

This article is part of a series I’ll be writing on good sayings that don’t really ring true.  This saying is a myth perpetrated by a well-meaning, self-help enthusiasts meant to inspire and empower those who may have spent a lifetime trying to explain themselves.  However, this quote is a myth.  It isn’t true.  It doesn’t work.  So what’s the problem with it?

Exodus 23:1 says, “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.” So when you say something you know may be misinterpreted, you are raising a false report.  Further, when you knowingly and purposefully withhold setting the record straight, James 4:17 says you are sinning, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

There are three other things we need to consider about this myth:


1. First rule of communication

It is the speaker’s job to be understood and not the listener’s job to figure it out.  So actually, it is your responsibility if your listener makes assumptions that are incorrect.  Only you know what you mean to say.  Only you can communicate what’s in your head to the listener.  And only you are responsible to make sure that your listener understands it the way in which you intended it.

2. Unintentional or not, misunderstandings can and should be avoided

It’s bad enough when someone says something that another misinterprets because of an assumption, because it can lead those hearers to make decisions based on false information and damaged relationships.  How would you feel if a person, acting on an assumption they made from something you said, went on to cause themselves or others harm?

However, unintentional misunderstanding aside, you are absolutely responsible if you notice someone is not getting what you are communicating.  It’s your job then, to correct them and not allow them to be confused or make an incorrect assumption, even if it is to your advantage as it was in the movie, Rush Hour.

3. The Spaghetti Test doesn’t work for communication

To test if spaghetti is done, some cooks will throw a few strands of spaghetti up on a wall and see if it sticks.  If it does, it’s done.  That may work for spaghetti, but it doesn’t work for communication.  You cannot simply throw some communication up on the wall (or in this case, in the face of an unsuspecting listener) and hope that something might stick.  What happens is that your listener ends up with a lot of spaghetti on his face.  Or egg on yours!

For these three reasons, this myth is a dangerous one to adopt for we are, indeed responsible for the assumptions others make whether through the sin of omission, a false statement or by allowing someone to assume something that isn’t true.  Politicians are masterful at this.  Christians shouldn’t be.  We are called for greater things.

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Nitpicker’s Annonymous

sticks her tongue outHere is part two of my article from last week called Conversation Correction Patrol:

My advice when you post on Twitter and Facebook (or any of the other social networking sites) is to stop before you publicly disagree with someone.  Yes, even an obscure post on Twitter or Facebook is a public post.  Reflect on these questions before you hit the “share” button:

1. Is it really a mistake or are you reading too much into it?

Are you perhaps being too picky, stretching the meaning, reading it out of context?  Is what they posted really a problem or are you looking for situations in which the statement could be taken another way.  Did the other party mean it the way you are interpreting it or are you pretty sure he meant it in a completely innocent way?

2. Does what you disagree with rise to the level that the person should be made aware of his/her mistake?

If the person did, indeed make a mistake or state an untruth, does it really need to be corrected?  I’ve written many times about my children and their creation of the Conversation Correction Patrol.  I even wrote a children’s ebook by that title once!  Sometimes we look for things to correct in other people, but don’t realize that there is no need.  The other parties involved know that Julie meant 12 noon and not 12 midnight for nobody in their right mind would have lunch at midnight.  The only thing you will accomplish by making a big deal of Julie’s mistake is embarrassing her.

3. Is it best to send the person a private message?

Is this something that should be handled personally or would it be received well if you posted it for all her Facebook friends to see?  Sometimes it’s more gracious to notify someone of a faux pas in private.  Think about how you might feel if someone yelled out at a party that you were so dumb as to think lunch was at midnight.  That’s more or less how it is received when you make a big deal of a small mistake in public (online).

4. If not, have you chosen the most gracious words?

If something needs to be said, even if it is in private, have you taken care to use the most gracious words you can in pointing out someone’s mistake or have you condemned them, made them feel dumb, or called them a liar?

5. Have you said anything positive, encouraging or uplifting to this person or are you only sending them replies when you have something negative to say?

Even if you have been gracious by pointing out something that should be corrected, take a look at what other communication you have had with this person.  Is the only time you have communicated with Martha been when you told he she was wrong?  Did you bother to say you’d pray for her when she announced she was ill?  Did you congratulate her on her newest project or promotion?  Have you uplifted her or have you replied to her only when you spotted an error?

Choose your battles and your words wisely.  Remember that just because you are right, doesn’t mean you are justified in saying so.  Sometimes you will win the battle, but hurt a friend.  “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of the citadel.” Proverbs 18:19  Even if the person doesn’t take offense, this sort of “tug and pull” communication can be draining.

I know that some people see errors glaring at them and feel they just have to point them out.  Anyone involved in any part of the editing process may be a card carrying member of the Communication Correction Patrol.  I’m an author so I know.   In fact, anyone with bright kids might know this intimately!  Those who spot errors feel the overwhelming need to fix stuff, but I implore you to stop and think if this is the best course of action in each particular situation.  If so, please handle with care.  If not, might I suggest Nitpickers Anonymous.   We meet on Thursdays!

JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as and  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit

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