"Life Beyond the Picket Fence"

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

The Great Do-Over In Raising A Girl

Posted on Jul 27, 2014

The Great Do-Over In Raising A Girl

I often share my testimony with women about my almost-near disastrous relationship with my only daughter. Five years ago I made hard decisions to change my lifestyle and behavior so I could salvage our relationship when she was a teen. She’s a recent college graduate whose heart and desire is for the Lord. God has worked His grace and power in our home and family.

I’ve shared a lot of things with moms of girls over the years – young moms exasperated with small kids, moms raising preteens fearful of the path their daughter might take, and moms in the trenches with teen girls. Here are twenty things I often share that I’m glad I did in raising a girl, and twenty things I would do over.

20 Things I’d Do Again

  1. Be a stay at home mom to watch her grow
  2. Have tea partiesIMG_0135.jpg
  3. Play dress ups
  4. Read books to her
  5. Take her to parks
  6. Sing to her
  7. Have play dates
  8. Lay beside her bed and pray for her when she’s sleeping
  9. Take her to museums
  10. Take her on a road trip
  11. Be honest about my life when she asked hard questions

 

Read the rest of the post here at Whatever Girls.

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A Road Trip And A World Tour

Posted on Jul 19, 2014

A Road Trip And A World Tour

The Road Trip

As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere in Virginia on a road trip with my youngest child. It’s hard to believe it’s the last one – last child, last road trip, last summer to make these memories.

The road trips began as a dream. When my firstborn was a little girl, we read the Little House on the Prairie chapter books together. I dreamed of taking her on a road trip to the locations in the stories, a mother-child excursion while she was young enough to like me. A trip of innocence before the unknowns of adolescence stole my child away.

So ten years ago, she and I set off to her destination of choice – Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA.

Though we fought the first three days, by the time we’d toured plantations and seen Monticello, we sang Weird Al Yankovic songs all the way home. It wasn’t the perfect trip, but we made memories.

Being a fair-minded first-born, Baby Girl thought it was only right her three brothers took a rights-of-passage trip with mom.

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The Best Dating Advice You’ll Ever Get

Posted on Jul 12, 2014

Don’t date someone you wouldn’t consider marrying.

Don’t even go out with someone you wouldn’t consider marrying.

Even in junior high.

These are words I’ve told my kids ever since they were in elementary school. The words seem foolish when you’re ten or twelve, but first romances start at those ages. I had my first boyfriend at eleven. He was my first true love. We had secret dates at the school playground when my mom thought I was going on a bike ride. (Though I did ride my bike there, I also was meeting a boy.)

He was my first heartbreak in middle school when he went out with the girl he eventually married.  I learned hard lessons about infatuation and dating between him and the man I eventually married. Lessons that almost cost me my character and virginity. Most of them all happened before I was fifteen.

Read the rest of the post here at Choose Not Ministries. 

 

 

 

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How To Achieve Balance By Finding Wholeness

Posted on Jul 12, 2014

How To Achieve Balance By Finding Wholeness

“Search me, O God, and know my heart.” Psalm 139:23

Do you ever wonder what God was thinking when He made you a mom when you don’t have it all together? You bring your hurts, insecurities, fears and past relationships into motherhood. You bring your coping skills.

God created us to be whole women so we can be nurturers in His kingdom. The key to balancing life is finding wholeness. 

What does it mean to be whole?

Being whole means we don’t have gaping wounds in our mental and emotional make-up. It means we don’t look to our children, husband, or others to meet our needs. It’s facing our hurts and letting Jesus heal us and make us whole in His grace, love and presence.

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Clothed In Christ – Guest Post Laura Smith

Posted on Jul 12, 2014

Clothed In Christ – Guest Post Laura Smith

“What should I wear today?”

So many things factor into my decision — the weather, my mood, where I’m going or who I’m seeing today. I’ll wear certain clothes for a work out and different clothes for lunch with a friend and a totally different outfit if I’m going out to dinner with my hubby. And even the lunch with a friend outfit, the snappy caz look, totally varies with my mood. Am I feeling funky? Artsy? Classic? Frilly?

I’m such a writer nerd I even dress “in character” sometimes when I’m writing. I might wear cowboy boots and a denim jacket like my character, Claire, or a purple scarf since purple is Hannah’s favorite color. It helps me process how they might act, or what they might say.

But there is another decision I must make each day as well. Not about what I’ll physically wear, but about what I’ll wear spiritually. Will I put on old habits, and persistent worries? Will I slide on a little judgment or buckle on my ego? When I get dressed spiritually will I pull on fear or anxiety or shame? Or will I clothe myself in Christ?

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Raising Girls When You’ve Had Issues

Posted on Jul 11, 2014

Last month I shared four principles as an eating disorder survivor that were instrumental in raising a daughter with a healthy self and body image. At fourteen, I was anorexic, then bulimic, and lived with an eating disorder until I was married and raising my daughter.

The birth of my daughter forced me to face the underlying issues of the eating disorder. I’ve spent the last twenty-five years dealing with the emotional and physical components of the illness. I chose to break the cycle. In addition to the tips from Part 1, here are three more principles I’ve lived by so I could be a healthy example of womanhood for my daughter.

  1. Have the courage to deal with your stuff. There’s nothing magical about parenting that makes your issues, problems, or past go away. It’s easy to hide your struggles behind busyness or the responsibilities of motherhood.  As my kids grew, their experiences brought up my own hurts. I had to choose to make myself emotionally healthy so I could lead them in emotional health. The healing process for any hurt takes courage and commitment, whether it’s through professional counseling, life coaching or a personal determination to stop destructive behavior. Our daughters take self-esteem cues from us – for them to be healthy, we need to be healthy.
  2. Be accountable to your kids.   Read the rest  of the article here at Whatever Girls.
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Guest Post: Kim Mishler, “Bless Kim”

Posted on Jul 11, 2014

Guest Post: Kim Mishler, “Bless Kim”

I’m excited to share the humor of my friend, Kim Mishler. Kim posted this on her blog, Approaching the Vintage Years,  around Father’s Day and I asked if I could share it with you. Kim’s the mom of three children from middle school to early twenties and is a blessing to those who know her! Here’s her post:

Bless Kim

by Kim Mishler, Shipshewana, IN

Back home when someone did something crazy or absent minded, we never wanted to speak ill of them so we would just say “Bless her heart” or “Bless Joe” (insert the name of your own poor sap here). That was our way of recognizing the poor old sap who screwed up one more time without actually having to say something bad about them. Just those gentle southern ways!  Well, I had one of those “Bless Kim” kind of moments!

At first these “Bless Kim” moments are disturbing to me. It only takes moments after I realize my errors that I begin to start plotting my future, such as what “facility” I will spend my final days in? And also, I wonder if I’ll be that lady pushing the grocery cart down the street with a bra over her clothes!  I spend a considerable amount of time wondering about my mental capacities and the humor they bring, which typically results in a blog!  A girl’s got to deal with this insanity somehow!

So here’s my most recent “Bless Kim” moment!

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Guest Posts, Angry Moms, and God’s Grace

Posted on Jun 26, 2014

Guest Posts, Angry Moms, and God’s Grace

I’m guest posting this week on motherhood with ministry partners at iwokeupyesterday and with Jenny Sulpizio, author of Confessions of A Wonderwoman Wannabe.

First I’m sharing “To Angry, Irritated, Frustrated Moms, You’re Not Alone!” at jennysulpizio.com.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Bad mom” echoed in my head. What am I doing wrong?

I was angry and ashamed.

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5 Ways To Be A Dad To The Fatherless This Father’s Day

Posted on Jun 15, 2014

5 Ways To Be A Dad To The Fatherless This Father’s Day

There’s an epidemic in the United States that’s politically incorrect to talk about. On Father’s Day, I’m compelled to avoid writing another blog post about good dads. Don’t get me wrong – good dads are foundational to the family, society, faith and community. But one in three homes in the United States don’t have dads. Did you know that?

I have a tender spot in my heart for kids without dads. I work with these kids in public schools. A common phrase I hear from kids is “I don’t have a dad.” In reality, the child has a dad, but the child may have never met them, the father may be in jail, or just absent from the child’s life.

There’s something that happens inside a fatherless child on Father’s Day – the hole inside their heart that longs for their father grows bigger. The questions of why their dad doesn’t care enough to be in their life gets louder. The shame of not having a dad in their life grows deeper.

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And Here’s The Rest of The Story

Posted on Jun 12, 2014

Today my daughter’s driving to Washington DC because she’s leaving for Guatemala tomorrow. My son’s coming home from church camp today, so last night when we all prayed together, it wasn’t quite the same.

She’s flying out of the nation’s capital during a time when security alerts are at it’s highest. She’s traveling alone to a country where children are fleeing because of violence and sex trafficking.

Yes, I’m a little scared.

When she gets back, she’ll be starting her first job as a college graduate. She’s be moving to a new city in many hours away from home. Until I know she’s settled, can support herself and is safe and happy, I’ll be a little scared.

I spoke at a women’s luncheon in Ohio yesterday. When I got in the car to leave, there was a voice message from my doctor. The ultrasound results came back and they don’t like what they see. They want to do a biopsy on Monday.

Yes, I’m a little scared.

Really, I’m a mess.

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