Children’s book encourages quality family time amid hectic lifestyles

In “The Overworked Shoes,” Barbie Randall tells the story of a couple whose busy lifestyle left little quality time for their family, and a strange encounter that would change their lives forever.

Written by: Haley Herfurth

Media contact: Holly Gainer,

overworked shoes streamBarbie Randall says the moral of the story is to prioritize family time.Barbie Randall knows a thing or two about a busy lifestyle. She has worked in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology for more than 20 years, where she has seen patient families struggle with the work-life balancing act and the bustle of other obligations.

About 10 years ago, Randall says, she felt a calling from God to share the message of a different kind of lifestyle with families she meets — through her work at UAB and elsewhere — to focus on quality time with each other, despite hectic schedules.

So, she wrote “The Overworked Shoes,” published in April by Christian Faith Publishing. “The Overworked Shoes” tells the story of Michael and Stacey Weaver’s busy lifestyle that left little quality time for themselves and their 10-year-old daughter, Lauryn, and chronicles her strange encounter one Saturday evening that would change their lives forever.

The moral of the story, she says, is to prioritize family time — even in the midst of living busy lifestyles.

“Technology has taken the place of a lot of our quality family time and outdoor activities. I feel that it’s important that we incorporate those back into our lives,” she continued. “Put down the phones, computers and electronic games, and spend more time interacting with each other. Our children will forever remember the quality times.”

But even Randall was not immune to the pitfalls of an eventful, demanding lifestyle; the writing process took her about a decade.

“God gave me the idea for ‘The Overworked Shoes’ about 10 years ago, and I started writing it,” said Randall, an administrative associate in the division. “However, due to a very busy life and procrastination, I put it down and forgot about it.”

Picking the book back up in 2017, Randall says, was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things she has ever done. She encountered writer’s block, as most authors do, but also occasionally had fits of inspiration so sudden she had to jot ideas down on whatever was at hand. But ultimately, she says, it helped her take a break from her own hectic life and be mindful of how she spent her time and energy.

“When I write, I have such a feeling of peace that allows me to block out the daily distractions in life. It’s the same as reading a good book,” she said. “I was able to mentally escape into the story that I was writing.”

And the inspiration just keeps coming — Randall says that, while “The Overworked Shoes” is her first book, it certainly will not be her last.

“God has given me several other topics, and I plan to start writing soon,” she said.