Great friendships are a two-way street. Both of you gain and both have something to offer the other.
My friend Brenda Yoder is young enough to be my daughter (okay, let’s say my younger sister), but she has taught me so many things about Godly womanhood and inspired parenting, in the same way that I’ve shared some of my life experiences with her.
Brenda ministers to women all over the country both in person through workshops and on the internet through her own blog and as a columnist for others. Because so many women asked, Brenda has responded with a book that captures her talks about parenting. “Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All” is a well-written, practical and encouraging book with counsel that is wrapped around scriptural principles. Brenda’s enthusiasm for the role of parent makes this book easy to read and apply in real life.
I’ve asked Brenda to share her qualifications and to answer a few questions about her new book. And the good news is, I’m giving away a copy of the book to someone who comments, likes or shares this post with friends. If you do any or all of the above, let me know in a message on my Facebook page (Ingrid’s Journey) and I’ll put your name in the drawing.
So, who’s Brenda L. Yoder, LMHC? She’s an author, speaker, educator and counselor. Her books, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All and Who Do You Say I Am released in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, can be found at brendayoder.com where she writes about faith, life, and parenting beyond the storybook image. Brenda’s also a parenting columnist for 10 To 20 Parenting, Choose Now Ministries, and Whatever Girls, She has a mental health column in her local paper, and has been featured in Chicken Soup For The Soul:Reboot Your Life. She was twice awarded the Touchstone Award for teachers. When Brenda’s not writing, working, or speaking, she’s a wife and mom to four children, ages teen to young adult. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Periscope (@BeyondPicketFenc) and Twitter.
Now, a few words from Brenda:
1. What led you to write a book about busyness and how did you set aside time in your busy schedule?
I do a retreat on the same subject. Each time after I’ve done the retreat, women have asked for a resource or book they could take home to go over the material or that they could share with a friend or daughter. One woman emailed me literally asking, “Where’s the book?” I originally wrote the book in ebook form, then pitched the idea to an editor who was interested in publishing the book. It needed to be doubled, so I began revamping it. I’ve written a free complementary book, “10 Ways Busy Moms Find Rest” that women can subscribe to at my website.
Taking the time to do it challenged me. Reaching the 35,000 word count took time and commitment. I set aside my fall vacation from my school job for 5 days and turned a room of our house into a “writing cabin” and told my husband and family I was “going away” to work on it, but stayed at home. Other than doing laundry, I didn’t cook or answer to anyone during those days, or go anywhere. I’ve learned as a writer it’s important to have uninterrupted, extended time to work on material, especially under a deadline.
2. What one piece of wisdom do you feel is most important for women to take away from the book?
Find what works for you, then do it.This was something other women also said who read the book and discussed it. Each woman and family is different, so finding what works for balance has to be individual. The key, however, is doing it. It takes commitment. Too many women give up good ideas for balancing life and don’t stick to what’s healthiest and best. I’m passionate about individuals making life work for them. No one else will do it for you.
3. What has been your greatest personal struggle in achieving balance in your life?
Making hard choices and giving up things I love, like teaching, and having to constantly reassess personal and family needs. Part of this is walking in faith when hard choices, like changing careers or decreasing paid work hours, are what’s best for the parenting season.
4. What one principle has been most beneficial for you and for your family?
Corporate family time around God’s word. This has less to do with the tangible principles of balance, but has more to do with spiritual balance, which drives everything–priorities, family relationships, and expectations. I share about this principle in the book. We call it family worship time and we’ve been doing it for several years now. We gather as a family on Sunday evenings for a few minutes before our week starts. We pray with and for each other, share what we’ve been learning about God or where we’ve seen Him in our life. It’s been an important time in our family.
5. Share a couple of the responses you’ve received from those attending your workshops or reading the book.
One woman said every mom needs this book, and another mom who attended the retreat said it freed her from thinking she had to do it all. Women are so bound by what we think we have to do, and women have said the material isn’t another “how to” book which makes moms feel guilty.
6. Is there another book you would like to write?
I’m currently working on two book proposals which also are the content from material I teach and speak on which get powerful feedback. One is a bible study on “Messed Up Moms of the Bible” and the other one is a teen Christian living book from the Blurred Lines seminar for teens. There is potential interest in both of them from an editor, so I’m simultaneously working on both. I’m not sure if that’s the way to do it, but I can’t place one in importance over the other right now. I’m planning busyness if one is called up to be looked at!