Balance, Busyness and Not Doing it All; and a Giveaway

By Brenda L. Yoder, MA

BALANCEI realized I only had two years with all of my kids at home and if something didn’t change, their childhood memories of me would be of an angry, contentious woman. That wasn’t the mom I wanted to be.

No mom dreams of being a yeller. New brides don’t anticipate the havoc they’ll wreak in their homes by being out of balance. Women don’t look forward to the times they snap at their kids in public because they’re stressed with too many demands.

But life happens.

It happened to me. Not just once, but so much that it characterized our family. It characterized me as an out-of-balance mom behind closed doors.

Out-of-balance living happens not in the once-in-a-whiles, but in skewed normalcy.

The kids just want to see you have joy” my husband said more than once. I didn’t realize the stress, anger, and mess I felt inside spilled out so much. Normally, you don’t see you own ugliness.

It affected them. I needed to take ownership of it.

I’m a mom of four kids within a nine-year span. After being home full-time for a decade, I was teaching 180 high school kids in our local school at the time of my unbalanced wake-up call. I loved teaching. I loved mentoring kids and pouring into their lives. I received teaching awards. Our house ran smoothly. My husband was an elder and I taught Sunday School. I ran two miles a day and had meals on the table every night.

We looked great with our picture-perfect image

But I was a mess.

In the stress, internal messiness, and out-of-control trying-to-do-it-all, relationships with my family suffered. While I did great with the teens I worked with, I was failing with my teen at home. As a mom to only one girl going through adolescence, I was reactionary, angry, and contentious with her. It overflowed to the younger kids and my husband.

My marriage was bad. My mother-child relationship was out of control, and something had to change.

Then, God reminded me that life with kids is fleeting and change needed to happen. I knew change wouldn’t happen overnight. I also realized

I didn’t like the memories my kids would have if I continued in my pulled-to-the-limit lifestyle.

I took a risk and changed what I could control. I realized I couldn’t change my husband or kids to meet my needs. I assessed what I needed for peace of mind, better life balance, and managing my anger.

I began saying “no” to things to work on the internal mess which needed healing. I said “yes” to repairing relationships and making time for God.

All of these took risk. Financial, personal, and lifestyle risks.

There’s more to this story, which is in the my new book, “Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All.” The book is a practical, spiritual, and personal tool to help women and moms find what’s most important during the busiest years of parenting. It’s part of a larger story of living life well being the storybook image that you can learn about at

I never intended to write a book when change happened. It was truly for survival and healing for me and my family. But as I speak to and counsel women, it’s a familiar cry from most all moms:

How do you balance all the roles and responsibilities you have?

The answer is—you don’t by trying to do it all. It’s found in God’s word, a relationship with Him, and understanding yourself more.

So join me in balance, busyness and not doing it all. I’m still living it while raising kids. Busyness never goes away. Balance is how you live life while it’s happening.

What do you struggle with as a busy mom? What questions or struggles do you have?

Comment below and you’ll enter to win a giveaway for one copy of Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All. I’d love to hear from you!

To purchase the book, go to or Amazon.


Brenda is an author and speaker with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in Education. After teaching middle school and high school, she’s a currently a school counseling professional with a private practice. She was twice awarded the “Powerful Connection” award for teachers.

She’s a parenting columnist for 10 To 20 Parenting, Choose Now Ministries, and Whatever Girls. Brenda has been featured in Chicken Soup For The Soul:Reboot Your Life and two books, Who Do You Say I Am and Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All are releasing in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, can be found at where she writes about faith, life and parenting beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and mom of four children, ranging from middle school to young adult.

Brenda is active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Prayer: The Secret to Freedom {and a giveaway}

By Joanna Teigen

Prayer, the secret to freedomFor many years, the word “prayer” brought up feelings of guilt and frustration. After all, good Christian moms pray all the time about everything, right? I just knew I was blowing it when it came to praying for my kids.

I didn’t pray often enough.

I didn’t pray hard enough.

I didn’t pray specifically enough.

I must not love my kids enough.

I must not love God enough.

Those negative emotions held me back even more from approaching God in prayer. It wasn’t until a crisis—when prayer was all that I had left—that

Prayer is the act of placing my children in God’s hands. It’s realizing I cannot protect them from harm. I can’t teach them everything they need to know. I can’t give them real happiness or make their dreams come true. I can’t make them be good or save their souls. Compared to what God can do, I can’t do much. There is freedom in taking those burdens off of myself and placing them on the Lord in prayer.

How can prayer set you free?

  • Freedom from fear

I can’t always protect my children in their own back yard, much less from danger and violence in the world around us. If I make it my job to keep them totally safe, I become a controlling worrier who won’t let them out of my sight. Through prayer, God gives me wisdom in setting safe boundaries and the assurance that he’s watching over them even when I can’t.

  • Freedom from anger

Our daughters can push all our buttons. They bend the truth. They come home late. They argue and complain. They blow off their responsibilities. They resist our rules and limits. No matter how faithfully we teach them or discipline by the book, we see obedience as a hopeless dream. Through prayer, I place responsibility for my daughter back where it belongs. Only God can change her heart. Only God can motivate her to grow and mature. It soothes my frustration and frees me to accept her just as she is today. I can forgive her weaknesses and trust God will work in her life at the perfect time.

  • Freedom from control

It’s tempting to think I know the path my daughter should take. It’s easy to move from enjoying her talents to pushing for achievement and perfection. We can manipulate her social life to steer her to the ‘right’ friends. We can ‘help’ with homework to guarantee an A. We can stay up late researching colleges and scholarships so she has the best shot at success. Through prayer, however, I lay down my own hopes and goals. God quiets me so my daughter can explore opportunities without my interference. I can ask God to reveal his perfect plans and to put his desires in her heart. It sets me free to enjoy watching her life unfold.

I’ve seen the Lord answer prayers for each of my children. I’ve seen my children overcome emotional issues, learning challenges, and physical injury. I’ve seen beautiful healing from loneliness and bullying. I’ve been awestruck as they received salvation in Christ after struggling with doubt and rebellion. God is faithful—he promises to listen and never turns his back on us.

But the unexpected gift of prayer was in how it’s changed me. The freedom from fear, anger, and control allows me to love my children more fully. It sets me free to enjoy my daughters as unique creations of God himself. And it lets me connect with the father-heart of God who loves them even more than I do.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10 NIV)


Enter to win one of Rob and Joanna Teigen’s wonderful books “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter” or “A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son”.

How to enter:

1.  Leave a comment telling us: which book you would like and a prayer request for your child. Joanna will personally pray for your child.

2.  Share this post on social media

Winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 2nd.


When Moms Pray SquareSpeaking of prayer…be sure to watch for an announcement from us on Monday, August 31.


Hope for those who are boy-crazy

By Tracy Steel

I spent the majority of my teens and 20s swooning over countless young men. I was boy-crazy.

Perhaps a certain boy is on your mind 24/7. Maybe you believe that having a boyfriend will make you 100% content and satisfied. If so, I pray you’ll consider reading Paula Hendricks new book, Confessions of a boy-crazy girl: On Her Journey From Neediness To Freedom. What follows is a portion of my story and review of the book.

confessions of boy crazy bk ocver (1)

By the time I finished reading the fourth paragraph (not the fourth chapter mind you, but literally the fourth paragraph) of this book, I was hooked.

On page 18, Paula confesses:

“… I wanted off my merry-go-round ride that never stopped its perpetual spinning. It went something like this:

  1. Spot a cute boy (we’ll call him Boy A).
  2. Dream about Boy A.
  3. Do whatever it takes to make Boy A notice me.
  4. Even though Boy A doesn’t pursue me, hang onto my dream of Boy A…
  5. Mend my broken heart by hating Boy A and finding another cute boy (Boy B).
  6. Replace Boy A with Boy B.
  7. Dream about Boy B.
  8. Make sure Boy B notices me.
  9. Hang on to my dream of Boy B until he…
  10. Move on to another cute boy—Boy C.

The truth is, I went through an entire alphabet—and more—of boys over the years.”

I so get this.

My list of dream hunks spanned the entire English alphabet, as well as the alphabet of several foreign languages. By the time I entered my late 20s, I wanted to be married like everyone around me. I found myself on this same merry-go-round of thinking and feeling. I was incredibly unhappy, and God’s presence seemed to elude me no matter how hard I prayed or no matter how hard I tried not to “like” another boy.

Is there hope for those that day dream about a boy after boy? Is there hope for those who need to have a boyfriend ALL the time (and who will do anything to get one?)


Confessions of a boy-crazy girl, is full of wisdom and encouragement for young girls who want to break the habit of moving through an alphabetical list of love interests, and for those wanting freedom from heartache and hopelessness. I love how this book combines snippets of Paula’s personal journal entries with solid Biblical teaching. Paula addresses issues such as temptation, beauty, jealousy, and the danger of forcing a “happy ending” in an honest, wise, and sometimes, humorous manner.

Teen girl, if you feel rejected or guilty for having boys constantly on your brain, or fear spending the rest of your life alone, you are more normal than you think. You are NOT beyond the saving and redeeming work of God in your heart either. I am proof of this.

Overtime, my need for male attention decreased as my desire for God’s affection increased.  When God decided it was time, He brought my husband into the picture. Was I perfect in every way when I met Chad?

No way.

Yet, God helped me find deeper security and contentment in His love for me so I could freely love the husband He has given to me.

The merry-go-round in my mind has ceased…

How did Paula’s journey from “neediness to freedom” end? Did God finally bring Mr. Right into her life? You will have to read the book to find out! I believe the final sentences of this book will truly inspire your heart- especially if it is occupied with Boy “C” or “Q” or “Z” right now.

Enter to win a copy of Confessions of a boy-crazy girl

The author has graciously donated an autographed copy of this book- thank you Paula! We would like to give it away to one of you. Simply comment below. We will us Random Number Generator to pick and announce the winner on February 23, 2014.

The Winner of an autographed copy of Confessions of a boy-crazy girl is Jo Cook Millett!

Jo look for an email from Whatever Girls to claim your prize.

Sisterhood Magazine

*The winner of our Sisterhood magazine giveaway is  Laura Wells! Congratulations!! There is more exciting news, if you haven’t had a chance to order your subscription yet, you can get $2 off print subscriptions!! All you need to do is,  go to and enter the code SWEETBLESSINGS before finalizing your order.*

Have you seen the  magazines geared to our precious daughters lately? They are filled with absolute junk! Colorful pages of beautiful girls they should look like and boys they should crush on. Pages filled with reasons why we need to look this way, be that thin, like this boy, like that band, and try this product. And it leaves you to believe if you don’t, they you don’t measure up. It is overwhelming, confusing and disheartening to our girls.

Who doesn’t love a good magazine? I know I do! I love clean, wholesome mags that inspire me, show me modest fashion and leave me feeling encouraged.

It is time for some clean encouragement for our girls too!

In our home, we love Sisterhood Magazine! Sisterhood is filled with great articles for teen girls. From encouragement in their walk with God, advice on relationships, fashion tips and even cute and easy DIY projects for teens! Sisterhood is the perfect magazine for our teen girls. Just take a look a few of the fabulous articles in the July/August issue:

  • Shapin’ Up: Take it outside
  • Ask the Doctor: Here’s help for cramps and acne
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Zzzzz: Two ways not to fall asleep during prayer
  • Father’s Love Letter: An intimate message from God to you
  • Secret Prayer Power: Power walk your way to new intimacy with God and
  • Brittany’s Kitchen: You can make these easy apple dumplins

And have I mentioned that this issue features Skillet!? Skillet is my daughter’s favorite obsession band. I think my friend half way across the country heard her screams of utter joy when she saw Skillet on the cover! They have also featured greats like Jamie Grace, Gabrielle Douglas, and Britt Nichol, just to name a few! So not only our girls getting so encouragement and fashion advice but they can keep up with their favorite Christian celebs!

Not only is Sisterhood a great magazine, but it is a great online tool for where moms can go to discuss Sisterhood articles together and girls can go for great blog posts and to connect with other teen girls. Sisterhood Magazine is definitely a great sisterhood for teen girls!

To check out Sisterhoodand order your daughter’s one  year subscription, click HERE.

Now time for a giveaway! Sisterhood is offering a FREE one year subscription to one of our blessed Whatever Girls.  To enter, simply click the link below then complete each task in the rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Announcing a BIG Giveaway!

Dear friends,

The Whatever Girls ministry exists to empower teen girls to choose God’s best for their lives by exemplifying the pillars of Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy”. Our mission is: “intentional moms and intentional daughters”.

This ministry is growing like crazy and we want to celebrate.

When our Facebook page reaches 1,000 likes we are going to hold a BIG giveaway!

Each time our page gets 100 new likes between now (553) and 1,000, we are going to add a new prize to the prize pot. Once we reach 1,000 likes we will randomly select a winner who will win every single prize.

Our first prize is a custom made “Whatever Girl” necklace from The Rusted Chain valued at $28.


If you already like our Facebook page, you’re entered in the giveaway. If you haven’t liked our page yet, you can like it “here”.

Want to help us get the word out about our ministry? Please tell your Facebook and Twitter contacts about us.

Wishing YOU a glorious day!!

A Getaway Giveaway for Mom

UPDATE: Congratulations to Elayne Thompson, the winner of this giveaway.

Dear Moms,

Are you tired? Are you scraping the bottom of the barrel? Do you need some encouragement? Do you need some time away from it all just to RELAX and be just you for a couple of days? Do you need a momcation? (I “made up” that word a few years ago and I LOVE it! Don’t you?) Well, as much as we all love our families, let’s face it…moms need to recharge their batteries every now and then.


Just think of it. A weekend away. No dishes or laundry. No carpool. Just you. Getting your mom-tank filled by girlfriends and Jesus. All of this can be found at the MomLife Boot Camp.

Join Barbara Rainey, Dannah Gresh, Tracey Eyster and break out speakers for a weekend filled with fun, laughter and fellowship at the beautiful Pine Cove Camp in Tyler, Texas. Guess who else is going to be there? Yours truly, along with Jen Ferguson, writer at Finding Heaven, founder of the Soli Deo Gloria Ministry and Whatever Girls contributor. We would LOVE to see you there!!

MomLife Today is powered by moms, for moms and it is a privilege to be invited to speak to your hearts each day through posts we lovingly pound out on a keyboard!  We want to connect with you in person too and MomLife Boot Camp is our opportunity to do just that! It is a tremendous blessing to meet with you at Pine Cove – which holds a special place in our hearts!”

My sweet friend Tracey Eyster, author of “Be the Mom” and co-founder of the MomLife Today ministry is generously giving away a FREE registration to one of you sweet mom readers of mine.

Here’s what you need to know before entering the giveaway:

  • MomLife Boot Camp is Friday, April 12-14, 2013 in Tyler, Texas
  • Transportation is NOT provided. You MUST be able to get yourself to and from Tyler Texas
  • The winner of the giveaway will receive a FREE registration to MomLife Boot Camp (a $140 value!), which includes a two-night stay, all your meals and most activities
  • I’m sweetening the deal by giving the winner a copy of Tracey’s book “Be the Mom”, which she told me over the phone today she would be happy to sign for the winner, and, Jen and I will buy you a special cup of Pine Cove coffee when you arrive on Friday. (We’d buy you dinner, but it’s already included!)

The giveaway runs from today (Friday, March 8) through midnight (PST) Tuesday, March 12. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, March 13.

You may enter up to five (5) different times, leaving a separate comment for EACH entry.

  • Share about this giveaway on Facebook.  Post this: “I just entered to win a free registration to MomLife Boot Camp from the Whatever Girls! Enter to win, HERE
  • Share about this giveaway on Twitter by Tweeting this:  “I just entered to win a FREE registration to MomLife Boot Camp from the @_Whatevergirls @Momlifetoday Enter to win!”
  • Share about this giveaway in a blog post (provide the link in the comments)
  • “Pin” about this giveaway on Pinterest  (provide the link in the comments)
  • Leave one comment telling me why you would like a momcation to the MomLife Boot Camp

That’s it, ladies! I can’t wait to see one of you next month!




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