Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
11/8/13 at 02:17 PM 2 Comments

The Busy Woman’s Guide for a Balanced Life #1: Interview with Ramona Tucker, Publisher, OakTara

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How did you come up with the idea for the book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Balanced Life?

*Every woman I know on the planet is busy. We’re multitasking creatures. Jobs and people stick to us like Velcro. It’s hard for us to shake them off. Each Friday afternoon while I was head Editor at Today’s Christian Woman magazine, I read letters from women readers. They poured out their hearts to me. All of them felt stress, identified majorly with the word BUSY, and longed for balance in their lives in multiple areas. I could relate. It’s easy to feel like everything in life is a priority, and to spend our days like hamsters running on a wheel, just taking on that to-do list, just because we’re “supposed” to do it. But it was a single event that actually sparked the title for the book.

What was the single event that sparked the title of the book?

It was late August (1997), and I was running between work, home, and filling out adoption papers to pursue a baby in China. I was also trying hard to be the good wife, who still provided home-baked items in spite of the fact I was working about 70 hours a week for Christianity Today International as the head of Today’s Christian Woman. Every time I went in the grocery store I saw those Martha Stewart and Good Housekeeping magazines at checkout, and the delicious home-baked creations made me feel guilty, so I thought I should make something from scratch.

I whipped up a yeast bread right after work, then realized I was out of time and needed to get to another appt. So I threw the bowl with the dough in the trunk of my car, figuring the heat would make it raise nicely since it had to raise a couple times before baking. Half an hour later, while almost on the expressway, enroute to Chicago, I realized, Uh, oh, I haven’t punched the dough down. So at a red light in town right before the expressway entrance, I jumped out of my car, ran around to my trunk and opened it, and punched the dough down while I stood in traffic. I caught a couple of incredulous looks. What IS that woman doing?

When I got back in my car, I realized just how crazy life had become with trying to do it all, and the idea struck. Wow, what I wouldn’t give for The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Balanced Life—and then it hit me!

I was surrounded, at TCW, with wonderful women writers who probably felt a lot like me and too searched for balance. So the next morning I went back in the office and, by the end of the day, had the entire outline brainstormed. As I did more research and looked at all the research studies we’d done at Today’s Christian Woman magazine as well as the letters I received, I realized that we women are looking for balance simultaneously in at least 9 out of 10 areas of life. When we can’t achieve it, we feel like something’s missing. No wonder we women often feel like we aren’t good enough and can’t do enough.

Stay tuned on Monday for the first three of the Top 10 Life Balance Areas: Family and Parenting, Finances, Friendship.

Adapted from Shannon Perry’s “Grace in High Heels” radio interview with Ramona Tucker (Salem Communications), October 9, 2013,

Ramona Cramer Tucker has been on the cutting-edge of publishing for over 29 years, in a wide variety of positions, including: Senior Editor, Tyndale House Publishers; Editorial Director, Harold Shaw Publishers (now WaterBrook/Random House); Editor, Today's Christian Woman magazine and Executive Editor, Virtue magazine (Christianity Today, International); and as a freelancer for Simon & Schuster, Random House, Viking-Penguin, Zondervan, Nelson, Baker/Revell, InterVarsity, David C. Cook, Howard, Barbour, Summerside/Guideposts, and other publishers. She is Adjunct Faculty for the English Department at Wheaton College and the cofounder and Editorial Director of OakTara (

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