Fledge turns One on March 13! It’s been an incredible year as Fledge has flown it’s wings and the message has reached thousands of moms. Just this week, I received an email saying,

“I just finished your book, Fledge, and wanted to say thank you for writing this! You articulated the grief and struggle I’ve been feeling and encouraged my heart when I needed it most. I now feel equipped for this new stage in life and bolstered to embrace it with grace!”

Encouragement for today’s parents is critical. In February, I spent three weeks in local high schools talking to teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. There’s a heaviness teens carry with them. Teen in homes with disengaged parents carry a heavier burden.

Kids need adults and caregiver in their lives emotionally available to them. They need it now more than ever.

When I started blogging nine years ago, I was in the thick of the parenting years, with two teenagers and two preteens. I had just quit teaching and was in graduate school full time pursuing a degree that would provide part time or flexible employment during the years my family was at home.

I needed to be emotionally available for my family. While teaching, I was stretched thin, mentoring teens in my classroom, grading papers, preparing lessons, and had little left for my own kids.

I was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was irritable and reactionary and it was harming our family. I had to deal with my stuff so I could be mentally and emotionally available for my kids during their delicate years of adolescence.

As my last child is finishing up his senior year, I would not change any decisions in the last ten years. I’ve lived what I’ve been writing about–fighting for my family, practicing self-care, doing the hard things you have to do raising kids, and seeking God when life doesn’t fit the story book image.

God has allowed my story, experiences, training, and willingness to share to reach other women, youth, and mixed groups to minister hope and healing. It’s been a privilege to do that in a variety of ways, through speaking, writing, counseling, and coaching, Now I’m excited to use technology to further the message of Life Beyond the Picket Fence.

Our new podcast, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, launches on Fledge’s birthday! Younger women have asked if I have a podcast or Fledge on audio book because their world is so mobile and many don’t have time to read. It’s become clear to me that as a teacher and speaker, it’s easier to talk than write. I broadcast weekly in the Fledge Parent Forum, and that’s become a great place for teaching on topics related to Fledge.

But now the podcast will be an extension of the blog and platform of Life Beyond the Picket Fence, where we’ll discuss life, faith, and family beyond the storybook image. You can catch it on the website here or subscribe to iTunes or Stitcher to get all the episodes!

I’ve been feeling an urgency in recent years to support and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters in the trenches with practical, biblical applications for life’s problems. The podcast will be an opportunity to do so. Thanks so my incredible partner Cassie who is making the podcast possible!

Thank you faithful readers for your support, feedback and encouragement for this ministry. May God use this new venue to broaden the gospel of Jesus Christ, for his honor and glory, reaching the hurting and the lost, those of us living life far beyond the storybook image. The blog will still come to your inbox, but you can scroll through the “recent posts” to find the links to podcasts, too.

May God bless you in your journey, using your story, too, to influence those around you!

Brenda

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