Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Walking on Eggshells

So, at the risk of being vulnerable, I'm going to be transparent and tell you all what's on my mind. Those closest to me know that I have a history of experiencing post-partum depression after having a baby. The first two times were gradual and different from the third and I've had general depression at other times in my life. After my 3rd baby, ppd hit suddenly at 5-1/2 months. I couldn't stop crying, didn't want to hold or feed my baby (though I did anyway) and wanted life to be like it was a few days before. I was thankful for that 5-1/2 months and wanted it back. I hope to soon be sharing with you, more intimately, about my walk through those dark days.

Well, my baby is 5-1/2 months. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells, wondering, waiting to see if it will hit again or if this time will be different. I won't know until it hits or until my baby is 18 months old, which is when the research indicates a woman's hormones have leveled out.

I'm so thankful that I've been well and enjoyed this time with Micah. While I hate that I have ppd in my past, and maybe future, I'm thankful that I've been able to talk about it and even relate to others going through it. God comforts us in times of trouble so that we can then comfort others with the same comfort He gave us. While I can honestly say I didn't feel like He was comforting me when I was experiencing ppd, in hindsight I see how He was with me and the people He used to help me. My husband is more than awesome and a woman in church was very encouraging. My friend, Karen's, honesty with her simple words, "I'm sorry I don't know what to say or how to help you feel better" told me she cared.

Sometimes it's the little things and sometimes it's the big things that make a difference. We simply don't know how our actions or words or body language may impact someone going through a hard time. I was going to ask for prayer that I keep having good days, but then I realized that none of us knows if tomorrow is going to be a hard day. How about we just pray for each other, being kind with our words and actions towards one another? And if you know someone is going through a rough patch, love them through it even when it's hard.

Whether exercising random acts of kindness or smiling while holding the door open for someone, you can make a difference every day. How do you plan to make a difference?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review - Parenting UnChained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents


Everyone has an opinion on parenting and everyone has an opinion they are eager to share, sometimes leaving others feeling inadequate or incapable of parenting their children. Every parent, at some point, questions if they are handling a situation "the right way." Am I wrong? Are you included, here?

The pressure we face to raise Godly children who express Jesus' love to others and who are compassionate and obedient. Ah, there's that word that we all seem to emphasize so much: obedient. Do your children obey all the time? Do you want them to? Do you find a hard balance between them being obedient and having their own personality? Did I strike a nerve, just by mentioning the word obedience? Do you wonder if you had a better relationship with your children, would they be more obedient?

Parenting is hard stuff. In fact, having been a full-time college student while working full-time, climbing the corporate ladder, and planning my wedding for the day after college graduation, I would go so far as to say that parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the longest-running job I've ever had. Being in charge of other people and thinking I'm responsible for their behavior is even harder. How about you? Are you with me on this?

Enter Dr. James D. Dempsey and his book Parenting UnChained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents, published by National Center of Biblical Parenting. Now, I am sure there are more than 10 deceptions that shackle Christian parents, but this sure is a good start to guide parents through breaking those chains with which Satan grips us. We often don't even realize we've been shackled until we find ourselves struggling. After all, I'll say it again, parenting is hard. "Parenting UnChained helps you keep the most important principles of parenting in mind while avoiding Satan's traps." (page 13)

However, by breaking those chains, it doesn't have to be as hard. We have to realize we've believed lies and understand how to combat those with lies with truth. We have to look at the relationships we have that influence our parenting and realize that the only opinion that really matters is God's; the most important relationship to mimic to and with our children is our relationship with Jesus. Dempsey walks us through this process. Many chapters include activities and suggestions to introspectively examine the reader's heart, helping the us to combat the lies and overcome the deceptions we've believed so we can apply biblical truth to our marriages and parenting and grow our children with a more firm foundation of faith. Some of the areas of emphasis are re-building relationships, understanding we don't have to do it all or all by ourselves, focusing on the heart first and then obedience, modeling the attributes of God and building the character of our children, using effective discipline that evolves as our children grows, talking openly about or faith, helping our children determine their goals and direction for life, and how to overcome the challenges of life.

Initially, Dempsey gives a background of himself, in the early days of his marriage, to give the reader a glimpse of how he came to recognize the deceptions that he outlines in Parenting UnChained. Then he describes how our experiences and relationships shape us and influence our relationships with our children and how to adjust them, if necessary. He discusses how obedience flows from the parent/child relationship and the impact of discipline on obedience. As the book goes on, in chapter 14, Dempsey uses Jesus as the model and breaks down characteristics, personal skills, and general habits of Jesus for parents to model. I don't know about you, but I could read this chapter over and over again to solidify these qualities in myself. Towards the end of the book, Dempsey brings us through how parents need to adapt as their children grow older and more mature. "Consistency" is drilled into us by society, but it's another deception. As our children mature, we need to be letting go of how tightly we parent them, preparing them for the freedom of adulthood and trusting them to make choices based on the firm foundation that we have helped them form, being adaptable as our children grow and their behaviors and needs change.

Dempsey doesn't claim to be a know-it-all on the subject of Christian parenting. He includes recommendations for a few additional books that are also helpful resources for parents, but reminds us to not read so many parenting books that we become confused or lose sight of where our focus should be. I appreciate this because there may be areas of our parenting where we may need more encouragement or modification in our character development, maybe we still have some challenges from our past that negatively influence our parenting or our relationship with our children. The resources he provides can be helpful. He doesn't just leave us hanging at the end of the book,as if it were the perfect resource. Obviously, he points us to the Bible throughout Parenting UnChained.

With every chapter, I found myself thinking how helpful the information was. The biblical references and examples were so clearly influential within the context of parenting that I don't know how I missed some of it in general bible reading. (Sometimes I need things spelled out, I guess, or given clearly in a context of application.)

I think Parenting UnChained would be beneficial for any Christian parent to keep available. Reading it during the toddler years will yield some benefit and re-reading again during the grade school, junior high and then high school years would be a great refresher because sometimes we, as parents, get into a rut. This is not a book to read and pass on to someone else. Keep it and read it again in a few years. It would also be a great asset for those providing biblical family counseling for parents and for church libraries.

You can purchase it here on Amazon. It's available in paperback or on Kindle. From 12/8/14-12/12/14 you can purchase the Kindle version for 99-cents! Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still read it through the free Kindle app for computers or devices.


For more information about Dr. James Dempsey or Parenting UnChained, visit D6Culture.com.

Disclaimer: I received Parenting UnChained for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Receiving it free did not influence my opinion of this book and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for my opinion.

This post contains affiliate links, for which I may receive a percentage of your purchase if you purchase through clicking my links.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Parenting UnChained Giveaway

Have you ever wondered if you're on the right track raising your kids? Should life always be easy for them? Ever know you're NOT on the right track and wonder how to stop and redirect yourself, your kids, your family?
Dr. James Dempsey understands that a Christ-following family is very prone to attack from the enemy. When parents believe satan's lies, they misguide their children, affecting the very foundation of faith that their children are forming. In his book, Parenting UnChained, Dr. Dempsey addresses 10 deceptions that shackle Christian parents and redirects parents back to God's truth.
I can't tell you how many times, before I had children and shortly after having my first, that someone told me that children don't come with an instruction manual. As early as my first birth, nurses in the hospital would tell me, "If only they came with a manual..." This is part of the lie that satan tells parents, "that they can handle life's problems in their own strength. The lie sounds like this: You're capable. You can do this. But God didn't intend for parenting to be done apart from Him. You need the wisdom found in His Word. If we look, God reveals himself in the Bible as a model for parenting." (pg. 11) See? God gave us an instruction manual and we should use it, seeking His wisdom and not trying to figure it out on our own. Proverbs 3:5 tells is to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." "Parenting UnChained helps you keep the most important principals of parenting in mind while avoiding satan's traps." (pg. 13)
In a couple weeks I will be publishing a review of Parenting UnChained. In the meantime, don't pass up the opportunity to win some great products below.
Parenting Unchained Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway To celebrate the release of Parenting Unchained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions That Shackle Christian Parents, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with a Kindle Paperwhite, $25 Amazon Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of more than $300! Here's what you could win: 

Kindle Paperwhite 6" eReader ($119 value)  

Unlike tablets, Kindle Paperwhite is designed to deliver a superior reading experience:
  • No screen glare in bright sunlight
  • Read with one hand—over 30% lighter than iPad mini
  • Battery lasts weeks, not hours
  • Built-in light—read without eyestrain
Your Kindle comes loaded with 2 biblical parenting books right at the start: 

Parenting Unchained Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

In Parenting Unchained – Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents, Dr. James D. Dempsey reveals the ten most destructive lies about parenting. He writes from the heart about the way these lies infected his own parenting, and illuminates the Bible's powerful truths that counter each lie. Both Biblical and practical, each section ends with home activities to help parents take immediate steps to develop their kids' character--character that lasts when they leave home. 

Home Improvement Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

This book contains eight principles every family needs written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. You'll learn practical, handon ideas for helping your kids deal with their anger, constructive ways to end discipline times, and keys that will help children change their hearts, not just their behavior. Turansky and Miller offer tried and true strategies in a refreshingly new family-friendly format. This is the parenting book you can read to your kids. 

$25 Amazon Gift Card 

Buy even more books for your new Kindle!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($39.85 value) 

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.  The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

The Family Toolbox ($99.95 value)

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away. As your family works through the lessons, teens learn 16 Life Success Principles and parents learn valuable tools.

Philippians in 28 Weeks Digital ($18.95 value)

It is easier to share the Word of God when it is etched upon your heart. Philippians in 28 Weeks™ is a delightful and painless way to commit the entire book of Philippians to memory. This streamlined approach uses memory cards carefully constructed to present Philippians thought-by-thought, copywork versesjournal questionsweekly reflections,recitation charts to test your retention, and an optional tracking tool called “The Log.” To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. U.S. residents, age 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. a Rafflecopter giveaway Join us for the Parenting Unchained Facebook Release Party. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the author of Parenting Unchained will be present to answer your questions!  RSVP today so you won't forget!  Facebook banner 500

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Tribute to My Mom

My mom and I were not always close. In fact, we would go from best friends to taking turns being hateful to each other. I know she remembered many of the things I said and did as a teenager because she brought them up to me from time to time and I have a hard time forgetting some of the things she said to me. Sometimes I struggle to remember the good times we had, even though I know we had good times.

I've often said that I didn't think I wanted daughters because I knew what kind of daughter I was and I didn't want my children to be anything like I was. God knows so much better than I do. (As of this writing, I have 3 daughters and am expecting a fourth child, whom we will meet in a little over a month. My oldest, "M" is almost 14, "E" is 11, and "S" is 8.) As soon as my oldest was in my arms, I said we'd have as many as we can afford and the house will hold. (Apparently God thinks our small house can hold more!)

Many of the things that I didn't like about her as a mom are some of the things that would have made her a fantastic grandmother to my daughters. My mom would sit for hours and work on crossword puzzles or watch TV. She enjoyed sewing and knitting until carpal tunnel syndrome made them too uncomfortable to enjoy. While she didn't often read for her own pleasure, she would read to children as often as she could. She had a level of patience with children that I could only dream of having. She loved other people's children so much that I often wondered if she loved them more than her own.

My mom had a grandson she loved so very much. She loved being a grandmother and loved being involved in raising him. That was the only grandchild she had the enjoyment of knowing. She passed away just three months before my oldest was conceived. While I wish she could know my children and they could know her, I am so glad that she knew her first grandchild. She was made to be a grandma.

M loves crafts. All 3 of my girls enjoy sewing. E loves to read and snuggle and lean on the person next to her. S has abundant energy and is very imaginative with her toys. She requires a lot of patience, but she also loves to just sit with me and enjoys being read to.

If my mom were alive today, I know she would be delighted to spend hours making various crafts with M and E. She would be patient with the mess and help clean up after. She would help direct their crafts to something productive. I just know my mom would sit on the couch working crossword puzzles or watching TV with E leaning on her and snuggling up to her. I doubt my mom would ever say, "OK, that's enough. Get off of me," like I have, countless times. My mom would be calm while addressing S's energy level, giving her things to do to channel that energy, and then encourage S to come sit next to her and listen to a story when it was time to wind down. Home cooked meals were important to my mom and they're important to me. My girls love to be in the kitchen and I know my mom would spend time with them, teaching them to cook for their family.

So, while I struggle to remember some of the good times I had with my mom, just knowing how she would be with my girls helps me consider how she must have been with me, before my rough teenage years. I don't wish I were exactly like my mom, but I sure wish I were more like her in many ways.

On this Mother's Day, I hope all you mothers are enjoying your children. They are the reason you have the privilege of being celebrated today. I hope your children also appreciate you. Happy Mother's Day!