"Life Beyond the Picket Fence"

Life & Faith Beyond the Storybook Image with Speaker & Writer Brenda L. Yoder

7 Steps for Dealing with Anger

Posted on Mar 2, 2015

Anger is an emotion I’ve struggled with over my lifetime. Do you ever struggle with anger?7 Steps to deal with anger

As a child, I got angry when I didn’t feel heard, when I felt no one took me seriously or when my feelings weren’t validated. As the youngest, the way I got my voice heard was when I yelled or said outrageous things that exploded from inside.

When I reached adolescence, my anger and voicelessness went inside. I learned to silence myself by disappearing, either starving or stuffing my emotions through an eating disorder.

As an adult, I’ve learned self-control with anger, though it’s not easy at times.

How do you control anger? How do you deal with it so that it doesn’t get the best of you ? Here are seven ways to work at anger.

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She Brought Her Mess to God

Posted on Feb 25, 2015

God’s word never ceases to bring new lessons. Lessons hidden in pages and lives of others from whom we can learn.

I’ve been teaching and learning about mothers in scripture this year. Each month, other moms come to my home and we study the “Messed Up Moms” of the Bible. One impacting me is Hannah.

In the pages of 1 Samuel 1-3, we see a woman whose security is completely in God and her relationship with Him. On the surface you see a woman who’s as messed up as you and I are. She’s gossiped about and tormented by her husband’s other wife. She’s disgraced and heartbroken, unable to bear children. She’s so depressed she can’t eat. Her pastor misjudges her character and thinks she’s drunk.

Can you relate? I can.

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25 Tips on 25 Years of Marriage and Parenting

Posted on Feb 22, 2015

This year, I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with my high school sweetheart. We’ve been romancing25-tops-on-marriage for thirty-one years this month. We’ve been through a lot, particularly in parenting, finding that parenting teens and tween are the roughest years in marriage.

So here are 25 tips on marriage and parenting I’ve learned in twenty-five years of marriage.

1. Marriage is hard work, so work at it.

2. Parenting is hard work, so work at it, too.

3. Take family vacations for memories and laughter.

4. Let go of expectations on family vacations.

5. Build other things into your family life other than kids’ sports and activities.

6. Don’t let your children take the important place your spouse should have.

7. Your spouse will be with you long after your children are gone, so make that relationship a priority.

8. Don’t let your kids pit you against one another.

9. Parent together. (Read the rest here at 10 to 20 Parenting).

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#Live2015 Guest Post and A Giveaway

Posted on Feb 18, 2015

              I’m excited to share Laurie Whitesel’s work with you as part of the #LIVE2015 series, in addition to a giveaway of her new book, “What’s Right Here.” I’ll be sending it to one of you! To enter the giveaway, just email me and I’ll put your name in a drawing. My email is yoderbl@gmail.com
               I first met Laurie through her blog, Laurie’s Gentle Healing Notes.  Laurie and I both have a background of an eating disorder and she has journeyed to healing through writing. agt
               Laurie has studied and taught in the areas of early childhood education and dance. She earned a B.A. in psychology in 1995 and worked in special education classrooms for 12 years, before becoming a new mom. It was then, after a long struggle to recover from anorexia, that she turned inward to find peace and healing. She discovered, after searching outside of herself for decades, a place of stillness within that had been with her all along.
                Here are some questions I asked Laurie to share with you.
1. Laurie, tell me how you first started blogging:
I started blogging to integrate all of the healing work I had done. I had spent time with healers, explored on my own, and healed myself from a persistent eating disorder. It had been quite a long journey, and I had absorbed and experienced much truth.
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11 Shades of the Dark Side of Revival

Posted on Feb 14, 2015

There’s revival in northern Indiana,  and a dark cloud is looming as the Holy Spirit is rising.

It’s a cloud the enemy is stirring, one that man and religion are embracing.11 Shades of the Dark SideOf Revival

In my community, churches are coming together in unity. Walls are falling down. People and pastors are crossing denominational lines to pray, worship, and have communion together.

But not everyone’s coming to the table. People are questioning Revive Indiana, pulling back from one another and putting their walls up higher. Evidence of the dark side, that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, the powers of this dark world and against heavenly forces in the spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:12).

Here are eleven truths about the dark side of revival.

1. Speaking truth will bring persecution. The enemy really enjoys this.

2. People are afraid of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is working in our community. It has nothing to do with being a certain kind of church. People aren’t falling on the floor, but are praying, worshiping and sharing together. The Spirit is changing hearts, bringing peace and unity to those open to His moving. People are coming to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

It’s authentic and real. And people are scared.

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5 Lessons about Revival from Teens

Posted on Feb 10, 2015

There’s something happening in Northern Indiana that’s unprecedented. Revival is happening and is transforming the youth.5-Lessons-From-Revival-and-Teens-300x300

I live in Shipshewana, Indiana. The heart of Amish & Mennonite Country. We are a hard-working rural community, steeped in tradition, religion, family and basketball. It’s a place where everyone knows your name and kids are identified by who their parents or grandparents are.

We’re also the place Revive Indiana has come at the request on a local Amish couple to bring revival. Read the rest here. 

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10 Things I’ve Learned From Revival

Posted on Feb 6, 2015

1There’s revival in our area, one that’s gaining national attention. 32oo people gather for a weeknight event. 52 days of prayer, community outreach, and sharing the gospel. 600 kids going into the community on a school day that’s excused by public high schools.


Yet it’s not. It’s God at work through the ministry of Revive Indiana. (You can learn more about it here.)

We’ve been involved. Lots to say, so here are ten things I’ve learned from revival.

1. Revival means the church has to be revived – which implies it’s dead.

2. Revival starts in your own heart.

3. Humility brings healing.

4. When you expect God to work, He will.

5. Bold prayers in His will for His glory brings unexpected outcomes.

6. The Holy Spirit desires to work when you open the door and allow Him to work.

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Why Boundaries and Teens are Essential

Posted on Feb 4, 2015

In the last couple of weeks, two friends disclosed how their daughters, a junior in high school and a freshman in college, have 2015.012experienced various forms of teen dating violence. Verbal abuse, stalking, and controlling behavior. For one girl, the stalking and threats began in seventh grade.

Please read this post even if you don’t think it pertains to you. It will more than likely involve someone you know at some point in time – a daughter, a sister, a niece, a friend’s child or your grandchild.

Boundaries are important.

“You hem me in, behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:4

God is the author of boundaries. He creates them for our protection. As you grow in independence and develop relationships, it’s important you create healthy boundaries with people. Here are a few truths about boundaries.

  1. Boundaries define what your property is – physically, mentally and emotionally. It defines what is yours. You have control over your body, mind, and heart.
  2. Boundaries protect you. They keep the good in and the bad out. They establish the rules of the yard for your life and person. You have the right to say “No” to others who violate your boundaries. You have control over how others treat you physically, emotionally and mentally.
  3. You have control and choice over what boundaries you set. You deserve to be valued, respected and free to be yourself.
  4. In any relationship, you have the right to be treated with respect. In romantic relationships, this means your date or boyfriend: (read the rest of the post here)
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#Live2015: A Reader’s Story

Posted on Feb 2, 2015

I’m excited to share a reader’s story of intentional living, following our theme of #Live2015 this year. Jeannine Williams is a reader of this blog in Illinois, and she emailed me this story, and I’m sharing it with her permission. Thank you, Jeannine, for your obedience!
       “My husband and I attend a church that has a lot of families who either foster or adopt.  One of our friends started a ministry for#-4935 this area called “Chosen”, and it’s been amazing to watch the past few years.  For the longest time my husband (Rick) & I saw this as something we would support our friends in, but didn’t feel the call to adoption. 
      Then in November our pastor delivered a very impacting sermon in honor of Adoption Awareness month.  Two things in his sermon caught my attention.  First, he was talking about when Stephen was martyred, and how Jesus stood up in response to Stephen’s actions; that Jesus wasn’t just sitting at the right hand of God as He was normally depicted. 
       Second, our pastor said we have a duty to at least ask questions, to look into an area of service.  During that service, I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my mind that we have an extra bedroom, and that when my daughter asks why we don’t adopt a little boy that my friend is fostering, my answer really came down to the fact that it would be hard and inconvenient.
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6 Tips To Teach Responsibility to Teens

Posted on Jan 28, 2015

The first article on raising kids in an age of entitlement identified that your kids “absorb” privilege because it permeates their entitlement-gen generation. Being a role model and teaching kids your values about work, finances, and privilege rests on those of us who are parenting. When I polled parents about how they’re teaching values to teens in today’s privileged culture, here are suggestions from seasoned parents:

  1. Requiring kids to pay for big ticket items From college to cars, many parents give these responsibilities entirely to their children, or require their kids to pay for a portion of them. Some parents purchase an inexpensive car for their teens, but then require the student to pay for gas and insurance. Requiring students to pay for all or a portion these big ticket items teaches them that these privileges shouldn’t be taken for granted.
  2. Teaching kids basic bookkeeping. Some parents open checking or debit accounts for high schoolers, requiring them to pay their lunch money, gas, personal products, and other bills (car insurance, etc) out of the allowance parents give them or from money they earn. This is a good option even if parents financially provide for their students because it teaches teens how personal finances work.
  3. Requiring students to be employed. Read the rest of the article here. 
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