Episode 192: Brenda Yoder and Some Encouragement for Moms

This week on “Books that Spark,” we talk with Brenda Yoder, author, speaker, and podcaster, about the different stages in a mom’s life. She offers insight and encouragement to moms. 

Our Guest: Brenda Yoder

Brenda L. Yoder is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, school counselor, speaker, and author of Uncomplicated: Simple Secrets for a Compelling Life. She’s also authored Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your MindBalance, Busyness & Not Doing It All, has been featured in The Washington Post, Guideposts and Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is the host of the Life Beyond the Picket Fence podcast, and co-hosts the Midlife Mom Podcast and Midlife Mom Facebook Community. 

Brenda specializes in faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. You can connect with Brenda at www.brendayoder.comon Instagram oFacebook. 

Books Discussed in this Episode:

Show Notes/Transcript with Links:

Terrie (00:07):

Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship, every day, sparking important conversations with our children. So now let’s join the conversation, talking about some more books that will bless you and your kids. Well today. I’m so glad to introduce you to our guest. Her name is Brenda Yoder, and she’s written some great books for moms. Brenda, thank you for joining us today.

Brenda (00:34):

Thank you so much for having me.

Terrie (00:36):

Well, tell us, first of all, I’m very curious about your “Midlife Moms” Podcast. Can you tell us about that first?

Brenda (00:42):

Sure. So my friend Amelia Rhodes and I started the Midlife Moms Podcast back in 2019 because there were really not a lot of resources for women in midlife. And one of the reasons why we really focus on midlife versus empty nest is that empty nest is only part of midlife. And what I love about the Midlife Moms podcast is that Amelia and I are about nine years apart. She’s in her forties, and I’m in my fifties. And we are able to have these conversations that really encompass all of midlife dealing with issues that aren’t just related to your kids launching or the Empty Nest, but really about your health, about your wellness, about aging parents, raising kids, really everything that is in this very intense season of your life. And as a counselor, I walk with a lot of midlife women through topics in the counseling office. I guess maybe a suggestion is that midlife is really kind of the summer of our lifespan where the heat is on. There’s so many things that are in process that are growing, and there’s a lot of pressure. Oftentimes we have it from all ends, whether it’s career, kids who are becoming adults, again, aging parents, marriage becomes really hard during that time. So there’s just a lot of different factors that blend into that. So I love that we have this conversation that kind of spans two or more decades of that midlife season.

Terrie (02:13):

That’s great. Yeah, so needed. Well, I majored in sociology in my bachelor’s degree and at that point they were just introducing the sandwich generation. And to me, it’s not really a generation, it’s that time of life when–you’re life, that’s your sandwich time where you’ve got your kids pulling at you and needing you, and your parents are needing you. You’re pulled in so many directions, and if you’ve got a career on top of that, trying to manage that, it’s a lot. I think this is great that you have this to really speak into some of those situations, answer some questions, help people have some direction. That’s awesome. And that’s called Midlife Moms?

Brenda (02:51):

Yeah, Midlife Moms Podcast. There’s also another podcast called The Midlife Momma, and that’s by my friend Pamela Henkelman. She is an empty nest coach. Hers really hones in on the empty nest life. You Google it and two come up. This is Midlife Moms. We do have the Facebook community, so the Midlife Moms Podcast and the Midlife Moms Podcast Facebook Community.

Terrie (03:14):

Cool. Okay. And we’ll put that link to the community in the show notes and to the podcast. That’ll be great. Well, you’ve written a couple of very intriguing books for moms. Can you talk to us a little bit about those, the one about balance? Can you talk about that one?

Brenda (03:29):

Sure. So the first one is Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All. That is really a book for moms who are in the busiest season of raising children. I would say probably in your late twenties to very early forties where you are not just raising babies anymore, but you are in the middle of a very busy time of life. It really evolved from a conference that I did in our local community that was called the same title, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All. It was a retreat that I did, and it sold out–125 people, and after the retreat, many of the attendees said, where’s your book? Because my friend couldn’t attend, and she really needed this material, or I wanted to take this home and read more about it. And I said, well, I have all these different blog posts. So I wrote the book really based on demand.

Brenda (04:17):

It really, I believe, helps women to know how to prioritize and also understand that there’s two different types of busyness. There’s the busyness of us doing things that really aren’t important and really trying to hone in on what is most important during your season of life, and for every woman that’s different. So it really walks women through kind of the priority and value clarification, but then also just some practical tips. In the end, I bring women back to their relationship with Jesus. We can try all of the best practices to try to be less busy, but the bottom line is that we have to foster our relationship with Jesus, and that then defines what our priorities are, and it helps us to be able to know really what we should be giving our best guess to.

Terrie (05:06):

That’s great. Yeah. We’ve been talking a lot in my blog lately about busy moms, moms with toddlers and babies and how to find time with God, how to find our own quiet time. Do you talk about that in the book as well?

Brenda (05:20):

I do, because I think there’s a perception that it has to look a certain way. It has to look like getting up early, and it has to look like 30 minutes of reading the Bible in prayer. The reality is that even with your best efforts, that is not going to happen and probably happen the way you hope to. So I really encourage women some practical strategies, which is whatever you do, just make it consistent. So it could be that there’s only two days during the week where you can really have time that is carved out. Maybe it’s during nap time or maybe it’s before you go to work or before the kids go to school. Maybe it’s a more extended time on Saturday morning. Maybe your husband can watch the kids while you have really an extended time with the Lord. It could be those short snippets of sitting in the car.

Brenda (06:07):

I have four kids, and they were all three years apart, so I was always sitting waiting for someone. So with a lot of the Bible apps that are out now, or just throwing your journal in your purse when you’re going places, reading the Bible on your phone, there are a lot of creative ways to be able to spend time with God. And I really encourage women to find what works for them, because we’re all different, and I think that Proverbs 31 ideal that we have that has to look this certain way, we’re always going to feel like we’re failing because when you’re raising children, especially young children, there’s hardly anything that is predictable. So I really encourage women to make a more consistent practice that they can stay at over time rather than setting a bar that they continually feel that they’re failing at.

Terrie (06:54):

Yeah, that’s great. I desperately want to talk about your next book, Fledge, and this is about helping your children to launch into adulthood, I’m assuming? I think so, right.

Brenda (07:05):

So Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind really is kind of that next step of parenting, but it is really a handbook for the season of parenting when you have kids that are launching, but you’re still raising children because really there’s not a lot that is talked about for that phase because it’s different than the empty nest. The empty nest is when all of your children are of age that they can do life on their own, and you’re not raising children anymore. What I found was when my third out of four was a senior, I was just shipwrecked that year, and I couldn’t figure out why. I already had one that was in college, one that was actually a missionary, and I had two that were home. One was a senior, one was a freshman. I found myself crying a lot that year. I found myself stuck.

Brenda (07:53):

I found myself almost missing his entire senior year because I was grieving the loss of having children in the home, and yet I still had a senior and a freshman, and I had to kind of tell myself, if I only had two children, a senior and a freshman, then I would not be crying his senior year away. I would be fully engaged in their life. What I realized was that as I looked for resources, there weren’t any out there. There were resources for the empty nest and there were resources for parenting teenagers. I was a little bit of both. I had already raised two teenagers. I had already been through that launching process with two kids, but our family life was like a constant revolving door. There were so many times where I felt vulnerable. You’re also midlife, so you’re facing all of these endings.

Brenda (08:44):

So when a publisher approached me about writing a parenting book, I pitched this idea to them originally as a devotional, and they said, no, I think there’s really–a trade book really needs to be covering this material. That’s what I wrote. I wrote pretty much about every facet of that stage of life when you are launching some but still raising kids and you’re kind of in this very transitional stage between the full house and the empty nest. It really is a book for moms to know how to navigate all of the different dynamics, the changing family, the changing hormones, the marriage, the grief. The first chapter is all about grief, and I tease out multiple kinds of grief that you experience during that stage and talk about the changing family system and how to really navigate parenting both young adults and teens and even younger kids because you can’t parent them the same way.

Terrie (09:41):

Well, that’s wonderful. What I love about your whole ministry is that you’re affirming women in the emotions we’re going through in the times of life we’re experiencing and helping us understand that’s not easy, that it is going to cause grief, it is going to cause struggle, and that’s just normal. I think we need to hear that because we beat ourselves up so much, especially as Christian women, even though we say we’re not perfectionists or we try not to be. Most of us struggle with that, especially when we’re launching our children and helping them to grow up, and they don’t always go the way we want them to, or they don’t always go into that easily. I think we need to have books like yours that help us to walk through that and to understand that it’s going to be a rocky road. I’m so glad that you have these available. We’ll have all of this in the show notes so people can find them, and I hope that they really use them to feel encouraged as moms. You have a brand new book coming out, so I don’t want to leave without getting to talk about that a little bit. So tell us about your newest book that you’re launching.

Brenda (10:48):

My newest book is not specifically a parenting book, but there are many principles in it that can be applied to parenting. It’s called Uncomplicated: Simple Secrets for a Compelling Life. It includes 10, I say they’re virtues, mindsets, and behaviors kind of all rolled in one because they are timeless principles rooted in biblical values that are part of humanity, but we’ve kind of lost. We don’t even know how to implement them. They include things such as contentment, resourcefulness, practicality, foresight, which really is about thinking about the future and not just today. It includes stewardship, interdependence, fidelity, equanimity, and forbearance, which are old, old-fashioned words, but they’re actually the right words for this concept of balance and self-control and how to have a calm demeanor when things in life don’t go well. And as a therapist and as an educator, I have seen these principles really fall by the wayside over the last several years to the point that oftentimes in my head I was saying we need to get back to basics.

Brenda (11:53):

What I discovered is that–I live in a small rural community. I’ve been a dairy farmer’s wife for over half of my marriage, and we live in kind of an Amish Mennonite community, and it’s a tourist area that people throughout the country come to. During Covid, I realized that people were coming here because though our life really hadn’t changed that much, people were coming because we had something that they really were not just longing for, but literally didn’t know how to do anymore. And that’s when I realized, oh, we actually have some of these values and principles that we kind of naturally live out–because things don’t change very much here–that others need. Uncomplicated really is about kind of reintroducing these basic life skills that our grandmothers lived all the time, that we, I think, as midlife women still have in our back pocket because we weren’t raised with technology.

Brenda (12:45):

If we’re Gen X, and I see a lot of women longing for during a lot of the homestead movement that people are kind of seeking that simplified life. This book really is reintroducing these skills and values and then teaching and modeling how to live them out in a very basic way no matter where you live, because they really are uncomplicated. And I think in today’s world of artificial intelligence, of virtual reality, of not having an attention span for more than just a few minutes, we really need to know how to have these skills that God created us naturally with and to really hone into God’s intention for humanity, not technologies’ intention for humanity.

Terrie (13:28):

Yeah, very needed. Well, how can people find you on the internet? What is your web address that they can find you?

Brenda (13:36):

My web address is BrendaYoder.com, and I’ve got some free resources there that apply to kind of all the topics we’ve just talked about. I’m also on Instagram at BrendaYoderSpeaks and on Facebook at BrendaYoderSpeaker. I recently have joined TikTok. And I’m BrendaLYoder there.

Terrie (13:55):

Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for coming on today and sharing with us. I’m really excited about these books and glad that we can share them with the moms who are listening in.

Brenda (14:04):

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Terrie (14:07):

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” where we encourage each other to grasp those teachable moments sparked by great books and great conversations, and to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share so people know we’re here or leave comments on the podcast host sites or on our blog. We truly appreciate you, and we love that you were here today. If you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you, and we respond to every comment and question. We pray you feel empowered to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her newest book, A World of Pancakes, just launched and is available at terriehellardbrown.com. Her devotional for families, Building Character through Picture Books: 25 Family Devotions Based on Favorite Picture Books, is available on her website and through Amazon.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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