Sunday, July 1, 2018

Favorite Parenting Books (as of late)

Book Recommendations

Lord, I Need Grace to Make It Today by Kay Arthur

Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart by Jim & Lynne Jackson

Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia & Wendy Speake

Heartfelt Discipline by Clay & Sally Clarkson  (and everything by Sally Clarkson!)

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

Grace Based Discipline: How to Be at Your Best When Your Kids Are at Their Worst  by Karis Murray

The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids by Nancy Guthrie

No Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

Mom Set Free: Finding Relief from the Pressure to Get It All Right by Jeannie Cunnion

Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman

Humility by Andrew Murray

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson

The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis

Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona Murray

A Small Book About A Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace by Edward Welch

Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem by Robert Jones

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review of Shepherding a Child's Heart

Originally posted 6 years ago here:

Overall, I give this book 2 stars. I really loved most of the first part of it. It was encouraging for me to read for my own walk with God, not just instruction about parenting. Tedd Tripp's overall emphasis is on making sure you reach the heart of the child; do not simply correct behavior but concentrate on the heart. If you focus simply on behavior and raising a "good girl" or a "good boy" you will raise a Pharisee. Instead, you should instruct the heart and bring the gospel before them continually. This resonates with me because I do not want to raise "good" children, but "godly" children.  

I love the overall theme of this book. On the other hand, there are several things, or one main thing that I disagree with. I actually knew that before I even read it. I do not agree with his view on spanking (which I address later). Since I have read this book several years ago, a great alternative has been written that I would recommend to believing parents in a heartbeat. Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick goes deeper into the gospel centrality of parenting that Tripp's book even, and I think has even more of a grace based approach. My personal favorite book after Give Them Grace would be Heartfelt Discipline and I believe the Clarksons have found a very spirit-filled balance of firmness in their parenting, but also grace based/ gentle discipline, that truly reaches the heart of our children for Jesus without inflicting punishment.

This is a summary of his book and main points taken from Chapter 13 Shepherding the Heart Summarized, pp122
"1. Your children are the product of two things. The first--shaping influence--is their physical makeup and their life experience. The second---Godward orientation--determines how they interact with that experience. Parenting involves (1) providing the best shaping influences you can and (2) the careful shepherding of your children's responses to those influences. 
2. The heart determines behavior. Learn, therefore, to work back from behavior to the heart. Expose heart struggles. Help your children see that they were made for a relationship with God. The thirst of the heart can be satisfied in truly knowing God. 
3. You have authority because God made you his agent. This means you are on his errand, not yours. Your task is to help your children know God and the true nature of reality. This will enable them to know themselves. 
4. Since the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, you must set such a worldview before your children. You must help them learn that only in him will they find themselves. 
5. Biblical goals must be accomplished through biblical methods. Therefore, you must reject the substitute methods that our culture presents. 
6. God has given two methods for childrearing. They are (1) communication and (2) the rod. These methods must be woven together in your practice. Your children need to be known and understood. Thus, rich communication is necessary. The rod functions to underscore the importance of the things you talk about with them. 
In part two we will apply these principles to the specifics of childrearing in the various stages of childhood development."

In general, Tedd Tripp teaches about authority in a very godly, Christlike way. He teaches it as it is, a loving, grace filled position given to the parents by God. It is not to be lorded over them in any way. I think he does a great job teaching about the authority that the parents are to exercise.

I love what he says about the heart. It is something I need to be reminded of in my own walk with God. Most all books about discipline or raising children, Christian or not, focus completely on behavior and virtues. The real issue is the heart and that must be addressed. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-35)

I also love what he says about keeping the chief end of man before your children always; to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He also lays out some great examples of biblical goals to have with your children. It shouldn't be our goal to have our children on every sports team and the best academically in their classes at school. Our goal should be to point them to Christ and show them Christ in our parenting.

I have some issues with him on his fifth point. Some of the methods he thinks are "cultural" I believe to be biblical and to stem from a grace-based gentle approach to discipline. I understand where he arrives at his conclusion because of his theology on spanking, but I disagree with him that there is a one size fits all method to instruction and discipline.

I love everything he says about communication and think it is so important to take the time to actively seek to communicate to your children as to the "why" behind everything.  He goes through all the different aspects of communication, such as encouragement, correction, rebuke, entreaty, instruction, warning, teaching, and prayer. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned in these chapters on communication.

However, I think he (and many biblical scholars that I admire and respect) interpret the rod verses in Proverbs incorrectly. A few years ago I would have scoffed at anyone who told me this, but after looking into it myself I believe it to be the case. Simply do a word study in the original language of Hebrew on "rod" and "child" and you will see that the interpretation of many Christian authors and scholars is faulty.  You can read the book review here at Mothering By Grace, where they go through specific statements Tedd makes about the rod and show the correct interpretation. (Please read that review- it's amazing!) Also, for an extensive look at the rod you can look here at  a Christian that does not spank? Let me be clear, that I am not looking to get into a debate on spanking versus not spanking. I am simply critiquing the interpretation made by many bible scholars and declaring that God commands us to spank our children, and makes the conclusion that if we don't spank our children we do not love them. With this train of thought I adamantly disagree.

(Although we are personally convicted not to spank, I am not going seeking to argue for spanking or against spanking, as I do not think there is a one-size fits all method for discipline. I am simply stating I do not agree with the interpretation Tripp makes of the rod verses, and most definitely his step by step process he tells parents to employ)

Probably the biggest problem I have with this book though, is that he gives an example of spanking his 8 month old. And the 8 step method he lays out involves taking off the diaper and spanking the bare bottom. I will argue to the grave that this is wrong. An 8 month old can't be reasoned with yet, and can't possibly understand that the spanking is an act of "love and grace" as he claims.

Although I appreciated the first half of the book about communication, I would not recommend this book to any friends. I would instead recommend Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick or Heartfelt Discipline by Clay and Sally Clarkson, and a couple most recent favorites of mine (as of 1.28.18) --Discipline that Connects with Your Child's Heart by Jim and Lynne Jackson, and Grace Based Discipline by Karis Kimmel Murray. A new book I have heard about but not read is Parenting by Paul Tripp, but I've heard Paul speak on multiple occasions about parenting and always hear him arguing for the gospel of grace and reaching the heart of our children, but I have never heard him give a formula for spanking or say that the Bible commands it.

Another great blog review on this book:

Have you read Shepherding a Child's Heart? With what did you agree with or disagree with?

Friday, April 7, 2017

No time for blogging... follow us on Instgram

Find us on Instagram....

@chalisebond  @ben__bondurant

Hi there! It's pretty hard for me to carve out time for blogging, but I've got a couple of accounts on Instagram sharing about our family and homeschool journey so follow along there!

Personal/Private account: @chalisebond &@ben__bondurant

Public/Homeschool account: @stfmem

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kyleigh girl, our beloved retriever mix

On Thursday December 8th we said "goodbye" to our beloved 12 year old retriever mix.

Writing is good therapy for me so I wanted to share some about this sweet doggy. 

My senior year of college at Murray State, some good friends called to tell me there were golden retriever/ border collie mix puppies in the Wal Mart parking lot being given away by their owner. These friends knew I had grown up with a golden retriever mix and had just said goodbye to a border collie mix, so they thought I'd want a puppy. And I did. So Kyleigh (KY for Kentucky and Leigh after my best friend at the time, Annie Leigh) went to my mom's home in IL a couple of days later where she lived until I moved to Memphis 7 months later. It turns out Kyleigh was probably not part border collie, as she grew very quickly and ended up being 80 lbs! She must've been a golden retriever/black lab mix by the looks of her. She was the most beautiful dog ever. 

Kyleigh and I loved spending time walking the beautiful streets of Memphis and hiking at Shelby Farms. Kyleigh loved the large dog park with ponds where she could swim and retrieve. It was so much fun taking her there and seeing how much she loved the water. We spent hours there hiking. I'd hike and pray and she'd walk ahead but never get too far from me. Kyleigh was with me through three house moves as a single gal in Memphis. Then she was with me as I got married to Ben. Kyleigh was with me through 2 kids, another house move, and then one more kid. We've been through a lot together. It's been en eventful 12 years and it's very weird that she is no longer here. 

If you'd had seen Kyleigh three short years ago when she was 9, you'd have thought she was 4 or 5 years old. She still had tons of energy and exhibited no signs of being a senior dog. Then shortly after Elliot was born I found a tumor on her leg. It turned out to be cancerous and we had it removed. Shortly after this I noticed Kyleigh vomiting all the time. Eventually the vet decided a scope was needed and she was found to have inflammatory bowel disease. I tried altering her diet and feeding her several small meals a day, but the vomiting continued. She was put on steroids and had been on them up until her death. In the end the steroids took a toll on her body and she aged quickly over the last two years, especially the last 6 months. It was hard to watch. The steroids bought us some time with her that we wouldn't have had otherwise, but in the end they damaged her body. 

It was such a tough decision to have to make. I knew back in August that the time was coming, and I agonized over the "right timing". Dogs age so quickly and that's difficult. In my mind she was just a healthy doggy yesterday, and then suddenly I was taking care of my aging senior dog. 

We had a great last week with Kyleigh. Her birthday was on December 5th so we celebrated with a peanut butter cake from Three Dogs Bakery that she loved of course. On Tuesday we took Kyleigh swimming at PetFit rehab in Memphis where they have an indoor heated pool. She swam and retrieved and had so much fun. It did my heart so much good to be able to see her swimming one last time. This dog was made for the water and loved it more than anything! We took Kyleigh on walks and played fetch with her Kong as we usually did, and spent a lot of time laying on the floor cuddling with her and watching dog movies. She got lots of delicious food and treats her last week, and her last meal was a medium rare steak. 

Our vet was wonderful and came to our home to put Kyleigh down. He spoke so kindly to Brooklyn to explain the procedure and why this was a humane kindness to Kyleigh. He sedated her while she licked up a spoonful of peanut butter and we said our goodbyes as she fell asleep. Our vet then prayed for us and Kyleigh before administering the drug. He spoke such nice words to me while it was happening to distract me from what was taking place. When I began to sob he had more kind words. It was like he had done this before. :) Brooklyn did really well, and Annalise and Elliot haven't seemed to have been affected at all, which is strange to me but they are young. 

The few days after were extremely hard. But with enough people reassuring me of our decision and of how much Kyleigh knew we loved her, it has become easier. I am still extremely sad and miss her so much. It's very surreal. I keep looking out the window expecting for her to be looking back at me and she's nowhere to be seen. Walks will be so different without our Kyleigh girl with us. Going to Shelby Farms will just seem empty now without her for awhile. She was my first dog as an adult and my children's first pet. 

It deserves to be known that Kyleigh was always so gentle with the kids. She never snapped at them or growled, even when she was old and sick and not feeling well. I couldn't have asked for a dog to be a better pet for my children. Her and Brooklyn had especially developed such a special bond over the last few years. It was so sweet to witness. 

The house and yard seems like something is missing and it certainly is. She was a stubborn dog that we never properly trained so there were many frustrations, but the joy and love she brought us outweighed all the negative. She was so sweet and loved us so well. I hope we were decent owners and gave her a good life- I think we did the best we could. I'm sure we will get another dog one day, but no dog could replace Kyleigh or be as beautiful. She will always have a special place in our hearts, especially mine. 

We love you and miss you Kyleigh girl.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Bells...2016 Christmas Reflections

by Carl Larsson

Christmas Bells I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men! * And thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rolled along the unbroken song of peace on earth, good-will to men! * Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day, a voice, a chime, a chant sublime of peace on earth, good-will to men! * Then from each black, accursed mouth the cannon thundered in the South, and with the sound the carols drowned of peace on earth, good-will to men! * It was as if an earthquake rent the hearth-stones of a continent, and made forlorn the households born of peace on earth, good-will to men! * And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!" * Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men." by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 

 This poem was written during the Civil War, but it seems as if it could have been written yesterday. This is one of the poems our family is reading and reflecting on during this Advent season and almost every time I have read through it, I tear up in the last two stanzas. There doesn't seem to be much "peace on earth" right now does there? Hate is very strong and animosity is very real right now. Our nation may not be in the middle of an actual civil war, but it seems more divided than it has been in a long time. My heart has been heavy when I think of the evil and the pain and the social injustices in our country and in the world. There certainly doesn't seem to be much peace abounding these days. I have definitely bowed my head in despair a lot lately.

 Then I continue reading the last stanza and I can almost hear Longfellow shouting "God is not dead." Or maybe that's just how I read it, because I need to shout it to myself. I need this truth to get down deep into my soul. You see, I know God is not dead, but when I sink into despair and sadness I can almost begin acting and feeling as if He is. Yet, He is not! He is very much alive. He's alive and He is still in control. Although we might not be able to find much peace in this world right now, we can turn to Christ, who is the ultimate Peace. Jesus says in the Scriptures, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. " Jesus gives us a peace that transcends current events and the circumstances of our lives and the world. Jesus gives a peace that passes all understanding. He gives peace to the family that just buried their baby. He gives peace to the young widow left with 3 small children. He gives peace to the refugee wandering from country to country. He gives peace to those worried about our country's future. He gives peace to those who know Him as the Prince of Peace.

 You see, "peace on earth" was forfeited when Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, and we've been sinning and forfeiting our peace ever since. There's always been hate, and murder, and strife. A simple survey of human history will clearly show this. There is nothing new under the sun. Yet, 2,000 years ago a man came to bring peace to each human soul. Without a relationships with Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we will know only turmoil, anxiety, and even hate at times--more often than we'd care to admit probably. But because of God's great love for mankind, He sent Jesus into this world of hate and turmoil to demonstrate His love for us. He gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sin, while we were yet His enemies. He took our sin, shame, hate, turmoil, etc. onto Himself on the cross, and when we turn to Him to follow Him and love Him, He gives us forgiveness, healing, love, and PEACE.

 Jesus gives this peace to those who turn to Him and call out to Him by faith, through His grace. For those who follow Christ, the right will prevail, because Christ prevails. He will one day make everything right and those who follow Him will enter into His eternal kingdom and we will know Him- our peace, and we will know nothing but peace for all eternity. There may not be "peace on earth", but there is peace IN Christ while we still yet live on this earth, and a perfect peace that we look forward to and long for. I pray we will all turn to Christ as our peace, some maybe for the first time ever this Christmas.

 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6