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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Welcoming Author Brenda L. Yoder and Introducing her new book: Fledge

     This photo of my son playing college baseball popped up in my memories today from 6 years ago! Good times. I miss this...and him.  I’ll never forget the day we dropped him off nine hours away from home, in the middle of nowhere.  He did not know anyone there and hadn’t even met his roommates yet.  Wow – I tear up thinking about it.  He survived it…and so did I!  He’s still far away from home but he’s doing what he loves - coaching the game.  We raised him up hoping he’d spread his wings and soar one day.  Hooray, he’s doing it…but why is it so hard sometimes?

    I still have one birdie left in the nest and before I know it…she’ll be soaring also.  She’s a teenager, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that somedays I dread it like crazy and other days…well… let’s just say…it could have it's advantages! :) 

     I know that the 3rd time around isn’t going to be easy, and that’s why I’m so thankful Brenda L. Yoder wrote the book Fledge: Launching your kids without losing your mind, just for ME!!  I’m happy to share MY book that she wrote for ME!  Okay, just teasing about the “written for me” thing.  All moms of human beings of any age or stage – this book is for you!

     I have gleaned so much wisdom from its pages, mainly, the self-assessment exercises that follow each chapter called “Building up and letting go.”  Reading it is the medicine I need to heal the mom grief that comes with preparing my daughter for release.  It has also encouraged me to accept myself and reassess who I am as and individual, friend and wife during this season of life.

     Brenda is going to chime in on my blog today!  Woo Hoo – I just love having company! She shares great wisdom with us momma’s.  But wait…there is more good news!  I’m giving away a copy of Fledge!!  So, be sure to comment in the blog's comment section or on the Facebook post where the blog is linked.  I will draw a winner on Thursday!

     Welcome Brenda!..................................

   Why God Calls Warriors to Let God

By Brenda L Yoder

“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.” Psalm 127:4

I watched through the pouring rain as my daughter walked away from the curb hauling two large suitcases. It was a milestone moment—Mama had no tears. 

I had dropped Jenna off at the international terminal multiple times before as she traveled to Guatemala as a short term mission worker during her college and post-college years. She’s now a full time missionary doing orphan care in Mexico. When I dropped her off in the past, I couldn’t drive away without crying and worrying about her safety and nursing my own heart. She has an extra special place as my only daughter and firstborn. 

Instead of tears this time, there was joy. Jenna is a seasoned traveler now, so I don’t really worry anymore. The personal growth she’s developed on the mission field gives me peace knowing she’s healthy and happy where she is. The passion she has for orphans and her relationship with Jesus Christ gives me assurance that God’s taking care of her when she’s out of my reach. 

“Like arrows in the hands of warriors are children born of one’s youth” Psalm 127:4 says. God’s word is timeless and powerful to meet every need of life, including parenting. Psalm 127 instructs us that children are designed by God to be released into the future He has for them. Preparing them includes fledging their arrow. To fledge is to put feathers on an arrow, to equip them to fly. 

This is our mandate as parents—we’re supposed to get them ready, to give them strong feathers for flight. Then we are to release them. 

I appreciate the imagery of warriors that God uses for parents. We defend, protect, and equip. When we release, we’re to be strong. Raising kids is for warriors, not wimps. Raising them to be equipped for the world outside of our quiver is God’s call. 

 Strong warriors release arrows so they can fly far, wherever God takes them.

When Jenna chose a university far away from home, God convicted me it was just a stepping stone to overseas work he was calling her to do. The wimp in me wanted to pull her back in my quiver and say, “no way.” But as a Christian mom, I had to face the fact if I was raising my kids to love and serve Jesus, it meant I had to get out of the way and give up my mom-rights. I couldn’t keep them close because it felt best for me. 

 The moment of no tears that rainy day meant God was strengthening me as mom. It’s something you do over and over again as you let go of your kids to God’s care. God’s word is sufficient to meet our every need, too. It’s on His truth we stand as warriors who let go, again and again. 

For more on everything in the fledge stage of parenting—letting go, mom grief, identity, facing midlife, and everything in between, get Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind. Jim Daly of Focus on the Family says it’s filled with “sensitive, biblical wisdom for moms who want to help their children launch well.”  It’s available online and at major retailers. Join me on Facebook for our upcoming Fledge Parenting Forum, and on Instagram, Twitter, and at the Life Beyond the Picket Fence blog at

Brenda Yoder is a national speaker, author, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and life coach whose passion is encouraging others when life doesnt fit the storybook image. Authentic and humorous, Brenda connects with women and moms in a way that will have you laughing and crying all at the same time.

Her new book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind is a personal handbook for parents in the season of raising and releasing kids. Brendas been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books: Reboot Your Life and Confident and Curvy; the Washington Post, and For Every Mom. Her first book for busy moms, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All released in 2015.

Brenda is also former teacher and school counselor and was twice awarded the Touchstone Award for teachers. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, is found at  where she writes about faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and mom of four children, ranging from teens to adults, and lives on a farm in Indiana. You can connect with Brenda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Join her Facebook page to follow the new Fledge Parent Forum for moms releasing their kids.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Let’s get something started!

These beautiful violets caught my eye today at Meijer.  It’s easy to notice spring like things on cold snowy days.  It seemed the whole shelf of violets were lifting their little purple heads and calling out “spring,” “spring”, beckoning me right into the fresh flower aisle. While there, I took a trip down memory lane as well; back to my childhood and visits to my great Aunt Vertie’s house. 

Aunt Vertie was a very “proper” kind of gal.  She had an immaculate house and was one of the best cooks around.  Her husband was my grandmother’s brother, Felix.  Okay, let’s just stop right there and take a moment. Can we all agree that my Aunt Vertie and Uncle Felix get the award for the coolest named couple in all the south?  They were as cool as their names and always spoiled me when I went to visit. 

My Aunt Vertie worked part time at a local dime store that had a small selection of house plants and violets.  Occasionally, one of the violets would get bumped and a shoot would fall off.  Vertie would pick it up and put it in her smock pocket.  Once she got home she would carefully pot it in a baby food jar full of her special fertilized potting soil and baby it until it took root. Once it took root it would get repotted and join the African violet family that lined the window sills of her dining room.  Oh, how I loved that room.  It was forever spring in there, brimming with every color of purple and every variety of African violet imaginable.  She had a green thumb for sure – or maybe it was a purple one!

She wasn’t stingy with her violet crop and shared them with many.  She shared them with me along with her growing tips and tricks.  Even as a kid in grade school I was proud to have several pots of the purple beauties at our home.

The memories of Vertie’s violets was special to me today.  Not just because it prompted me to purchase the plant and give African violet windowsill farming another try. But it coincided nicely with my study of Roman’s 10 this week.

You see, Vertie could have easily swept the shoot away that was lying on the ground or thrown it in the trash.  But she chose to help it become something better.  Not only did she pluck it into the dirt, it was special dirt loaded with nutrients and fertilizer to help it grown.  She didn’t put it in the dirt and leave it alone, she checked on it daily, gave it little drinks of water (or an ice cube to slowly melt onto the soil – one of her tricks).  When it did finally take root, she continued to nurture it in bigger and better ways, gently taking it from it’s small confines and planting it into a bigger space where it could really grow and flourish and spread its root base.  She sat it amongst other plants in the sunshine and they grew together.

Romans 10:13 says all that call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  But Paul poses several questions here as we read on?  How will they call on someone they don’t have faith in?  How can they have faith in someone they haven’t heard of? How can they hear without a preacher? How can they preach unless they are sent? Wow – Paul has as many questions as a 3-year-old who says…Why? Why? Why?  

But then Paul explains how.  He quotes the prophet Isaiah (52:7)…How beautiful are the feet of those that announce the good news.

 In other words, (taking our clues from Violet Vertie)…

  •  How beautiful are the feet of those who care enough to pick someone up when their down and place them firmly in the rich life-giving soil of God’s word. 
  • How beautiful are the feet of those that take time to provide nurture
  •  How beautiful are the feet of those who check in and continue to offer frequent long cool drinks from the fountain of truth. 
  • How beautiful are the feet of the person who prunes, encourages and sets the example of how to spread their roots so that they reach wider areas promoting new growth.
  • How beautiful are the feet of those that sit alongside them in the “SON” shine and place them in the company of other believers.   
  •  How beautiful are the feet of those that serve others… in the name of Jesus.

Aunt Vertie not only knew how to get something started, she also remained committed to watching it grow.  Folks, I’m sad to say that this is where my beautiful feet tend to falter.  It’s typically easy to get something started – but it isn’t always easy, and sometimes not even possible, to keep the nurture going.  Paul encourages us to get something started anyway.   Why? Why should I bother sharing the good news with someone if I can’t follow through with them?  It’s because of what Isaiah says the feet provide: 

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a messenger
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings good news,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, “Your God rules!”

Note the last three words…"Your God rules!”  Where HE leads WE will follow…and where WE lead HE will follow.  We work as partners with HIM.  We can trust that He is in charge and will finish any good work. Philippians 1:6 says And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  Don’t lose faith as a messenger but have faith in the message!  God will honor the message your beautiful feet deliver to those that need to hear the good news!
Let’s get something started!