Book Review: Parenting Beyond the Rules by Connie Albers

How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

Proverbs 16:16

If I’ve learned nothing else in my 18 years of parenting, I’ve learned that I don’t have all the answers. There are tremendous benefits in staying teachable and gleaning tips from the acumen of others.

This is why I appreciate the wisdom and advice Connie Albers shares in her book, Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy. There is great value in seeking wisdom from those who have gone before me, and Connie has not only been there, she’s gained excellent wisdom and insight straight from the Lord to share with us.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Proverbs 9:10

Between her experiences raising her own five children to adulthood and her 20 years of experience working with teenagers, Connie certainly has the credentials. The wisdom she shares is offered with humility and boldness; both confronting and challenging as well as offering grace and hope for the weary, battle-worn parent.

Personally, I was convicted by chapters 7 and 8 which cover listening to your child and monitoring your own mouth. The chapters served as a bit of a spiritual gut check to me because the Lord had already been addressing these very topics in my walk with Him.

You see, for over a decade, my homeschool mom habit of capitalizing on teachable moments whenever they arose in conversation served me well. However in the teen years, my favorite tactic has failed painfully more than once. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have permanent gunpowder stains from the sheer number of backfires!

Rather than engaging in a lively conversation springing from such “teachable moments,” suddenly my teenagers began to shut down and make their way into another room as I spoke.

Because of this, Connie’s words in Chapter 7 rang true to me:

“But that day – and many others like it – I learned that most teens don’t need our steps; they need a good set of ears if we want them to share what’s on their heart…

…Although our words may provide valuable information, it’s not usually what’s needed at that moment.”

Besides listening more and talking less, God has been showing me how frequently I misuse that most deadly of weapons: my tongue. Here again, some of Connie’s words from Chapter 8 reinforced what my Lord has been revealing:

As parents, we think we are saying one thing, but our teen hears something completely different… Communicating well and with intent begins with being slow to speak.

…When we don’t control the words that come out of our mouths, we hurt the relationships we long for and unintentionally model a pattern our kids will one day use to parent their children.

In Parenting Beyond the Rules, there are many other convicting truths, but I love that Connie also shares how she learned through her own failures – and how God changed those failures to successes as she humbly submitted to His teaching through His word.

She doesn’t flinch away from confronting sin, but neither does she shrug her shoulders at confession as if to say, “Well, we all sin. No one’s perfect.”

No, she goes a step further to show how God has made a way to walk out of the sin and into a rewarding, loving relationship with our teenagers. Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

In Parenting Beyond the Rules, Connie Albers offers real-world, in-the-trenches advice for those of us willing to go to battle for the hearts of our kids. Not only that, but she offers grace and hope, recognizing that it is God who takes our imperfect efforts and through our weakness shows that His grace is sufficient – even for our teens.

You always have the opportunity to add new coats of forgiveness, wisdom, and maturity.

Connie Albers, Parenting Beyond the Rules

Review and Giveaway – Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer by Jeannie Blackmer

Today will be a little bit different from my average post. The Blythe Daniels Agency has graciously provided me with 2 copies of Jeannie Blackmer’s new book, Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer, which I have agreed to review.

In addition, you will find the link to a raffle below the review (near the bottom of this page) which you are welcome to enter. One randomly selected winner will be drawn from the entries to receive the other copy of the book!

So without further ado, I bring you:

Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer 

By Jeannie Blackmer

Jeannie says, “I’ve always looked at these dialogues with Jesus in scripture as interactions showing us the power he has and the miracles he did when he walked the earth. Suddenly, however, my perspective shifted. I began to see the conversations as prayers. After all, these people were just talking to Jesus. This realization changed my prayer life. These dialogues – authentic and desperate – became my prayers.”

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Some days, I wonder what it would be like to wake up and find that nothing hurts.

And yet, in the hands of the Almighty, no suffering is wasted.

If the struggle with chronic migraine (and other assorted aches and pains) were not a part of my life, it is doubtful I would enjoy the rare privilege which is currently mine. Because of my experience with pain, I am able to share hope in God despite it with a certain blonde young lady who is one of my part-time daughters.

You see, I can relate to her pain because I share it myself, and in the sharing, I can point her to a God who can also relate to both physical and emotional suffering. Together, we can help one another pick out His voice above the cacaphony of pain, seeking the light rather than cowering in the dark.

In her book, Talking to Jesus, Jeannie relates a similar message in the stories of two pairs of blind men. Like my young friend and I, they  work together, pushing through physical impediments to find Jesus rather than remaining lost in the dark.

As I read through Talking to Jesus, I truly did find a refreshing perspective on prayer. Although I have always thought of prayer as a conversation between myself and the Lord, I have not thought of Scripture’s recorded face-to-face encouters with Jesus as prayers.

Jeannie Blackmer does just this by artfully weaving imaginative storytelling into selected Biblical narratives without changing any of the Lord’s words. In each recorded experience with Jesus, she imagines what may have gone on in each person’s heart and mind leading up to the divine encounter.

I thoroughly enjoyed viewing these well-known tales through a new lens as well as Jeannie’s personal responses to each one. I also appreciated the honest and grace-filled approach to some of humanity’s thornier habits. For me, the additional Scriptures provided for reflection and the space for journaling my personal observations is a thought-provoking and enjoyable tool to enrich my own prayer life.

If you or someone you know could use a little inspiration in your prayer life, pick up a copy of Talking to Jesus – or enter below for the chance to win a free copy!

You can find out more about Jeannie, including where to buy her book, on her webpage, Talking to Jesus. 

Follow the link below to enter the drawing:

Talking to Jesus Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This drawing will begin at midnight on Monday November 20, 2017 and will close at midnight on Monday November 27, 2017.