Welcome to a Blog for Blended Families !

Blended Families often seek Encouragement, Hope, Motivation and Insight. Join us here each week for practical & powerful ways to rise up & defeat those challenges that can weaken, damage or destroy your family.
.................... God has a plan for victory for YOU! ....................

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

American Blended Family Association

American Blended Family Assn.
Blended Families...
Now Have A Voice


We were honored and excited to have been asked to consult in the creation of, and subsequent invitation to become a Charter Member and Founding Partner, in the American Blended Family Association. Robert Sherwood, himself a long-time blended family Father, as well as a nationally recognized expert in many legal, corporate, internet and technology arenas is the CEO of ABFA (American Blended Family Association). ABFA will offer a united voice of support and strength for the 25+ million households where step-families / adoptions / foster homes... all forms of 'blended families'... can connect and be served as they work through unique and special dynamics. Close to 120 million Americans are directly affected by blended family life issues.

Discounts on products and services, political advocacy at state and federal levels, and family resources for improving blended family life are all part of the value of membership in ABFA. Giving up just one cup of coffee a month will allow you to join and be a part of something bigger than oneself, and make a difference for blended families across America.
For more information go to: http://www.usabfa.org/

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blended Families and Sunflowers?

Blended Families and Sunflowers...
Should Have One Thing In Common...

They Look Up...to the Sun (Son)

As Rebecca and I work with blended families / step-families throughout the nation we offer a clear message that trusting and 'looking upward to God for success' has been for us, and can be for most, a key to blended family success. I found an interesting 'looking up' analogy for blended families, that also would be a great 'day trip' for families within a 100 miles of Kansas City. A visit to the World's Largest Sunflower Collection in Lenexa, KS. (which by the way has terrific parks, hotels, restaurants, etc)

Bill Nicks, an Advisory Boardmember of The Bonded Family ministry happens to be the curator of the World's Largest Sunflower Collection, which is an incredible mix of over 3400 items that use the sunflower as a design element. The state motto of Kansas is "Ad Astra Per Aspera". That motto translates from the Latin to: "To The Stars Through Difficulties." (some excerpts from Bill Nicks blog) When the Kansas State motto is joined with the Kansas State Flower, the two speak volumes about the type of people who settled Kansas."To The Stars Through Difficulties" seems to describe the Sunflower's, and Kansans', lot in life. The Sunflower keeps her eye on the Sun (A Star), all the while her roots are dealing with difficulties. And Kansas has her share of difficulties, such as: drought, strong winds, floods, poor soils, tornadoes, snow drifts and temperature extremes. (I wrote on these 'climate' trails in a previous blog about TREE RINGS)

Just as it took hardy people to populate Kansas long ago, the message from the state motto / state flower to "LOOK UP" and 'follow the Sun' jumps out. Blended Families should 'look up' and 'follow the Son'...in this case the Son of God. If we all - parents, children, former spouses, in-laws, grandparents, etc - would all keep looking up and just like the Sunflower does look up and follow the brightest light that gives light, in our thoughts the Son of God Almighty, perhaps our step-family success might represent the hardy nature of Kansans long ago.

Bill Nicks has a special blog with great stories: http://wlsfc.blogspot.com/

So if you find yourself reading this and a Blended Family parent, become like that field of Sunflowers, LOOK UP and FOLLOW THE SON and you can rise up with your family in success.

Monday, January 21, 2008

NO CAMPAIGN ZONE in Blended Families



In recent weeks we have been flooded by the messaging of the candidates for President. As one who spent 10 years in elective office, I appreciate candidates who set forth ideas, vision and hope. I like the candidates who truly share their positive reasons to choose them as the person to trust and lead us into the days ahead. A LEADER is what our nation needs, not a politician. Too often we see it common place for negative advertising to work in political campaigns. We have become a nation of 'you can win if you paint the other side bad'.
This is neither good for a nation...or families. With over 110 million 'constituents' in blended families across America...BLENDED FAMILY LEADERS must arise. It begins in your home. You are the LEADER as a parent. We are called to lead our families...positively.

Often in step-families it will appear like a 'campaign' is underway. Sometimes adult parents who share "Joint Custody" tend to move into 'campaign mode', using tactics that are undermining the other parent and are clearly not positive for a child's development. Such tactics teaches manipulation, which raises up a generation of children of divorce that cope using methods that damage people. Often a parent struggling with a step-child, or a parent favoring their own child will 'campaign' in their marriage. We also see children, perhaps struggling to find their identity, create images that aren't really the truth about a parent or step-parent. If you are experiencing this and feel like a 'campaign' is taking place, know that this is common. If we could look into a 'demographic map of blended families' across the USA, 'campaigns' are perhaps taking place in about 4-5 million other households. While that doesn't make us feel better, knowing you're not alone might help bring a sense of balance to what seems shaky.

A lot of the blended family 'campaign' issues (grabbing attention like a FOX NEWS TV ALERT) causing step-families to struggle are often due more to hurts and gaps within the human heart, than long term damage to an adult or child. Children sometimes act out or feel emotionally compelled to state they like one home over the other because of a 'campaign'. It is 'vote for one parents way or feel the consequences'. Adult parents unknowingly don't realize that children simply want to love and be loved by both homes.

We see too many situations where, to please parents in divorce, children will speak the indoctrinated message they know a parent wants to hear. If a parent seeks to hear the bad of the 'other home' they are not providing good leadership for their children. It is saying 'I win the election because the other guy is bad'. As parents, we must LEAD positively and stop this pattern which is rampant in America. With the same fervor we would not let a child emotionally or physically attack a younger sibling, or perhaps even a puppy or kitten, we must let them see we stand for positive and cooperative relationships within the confines of extended family situations.(this of course is barring any true abuse or danger) Often, some parents can't stop the need to punish the other side because of emotional baggage they are carrying.

The Bible gives us encouragement and wisdom that can conquer all these strongholds:

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32

We founded The Bonded Family, our ministry to blended families, because we have ourselves lived through some campaigns, and know them to be part of the trials of step-family life. http://www.thebondedfamily.com/

You can get through a 'campaign' if you look upward for strength. There is only one vote that counts, it is the Lord God Almighty. In many circles we hear, 'sure, sure, easy for you to say'. Secular psychologists get mad at us...but statistics prove the fact of the matter. Those marriages who place God as their foundation, who pray daily, hold a less than 10% divorce rate. The 'world's' divorce rate for re-marriages stands at 70%+. If you are here...reading this...seeking help...wanting hope and encouragement...which stat do you want to be a part of. God is often set aside in blended family scenarios, yet He is only one truly able to be the clear cut 'breakthrough' in any quagmire of circumstances.

Ask yourself the question? Have you ever campaigned to make 'the other house' look bad? Or a step-child? Have you looked inside your heart, or into the heart of the child, or the other parent, to see what really is the root of a 'campaign'? Have you offered forgiveness where forgiveness is needed? Have you offered kindness when that may seem hard? Have you placed yourself in the other persons shoes and wondered 'how would I like to be treated'?

We coach families of the value of holding regular 'Family Council Meeting'. These offer a calm and regular arena to not only bond as a family, but to discuss challenges facing the family. Start meetings with a short game or contest or something fun. It gets the classic 'oh no a family meeting' feelings lessened. In this case of 'campaigning', set forth the clear rule that we do not lie about others, or campaign against a person or a household. Remember to let the children share their hearts, but that the Parents are the "Mayor", hold the gavel, and have the authority. Parents must lead and not let a child grow up in a world where at a young age they believe they are in control of the house.
In this area we recommend a tremendous book by ED YOUNG, JR. called KID CEO. "How to Keep Your Children from Running Your Life". Children should know and feel in the situation of step-family life they matter, they are special and their input counts...but the Parents make the rules and have the final say. By that, you teach them respect, honor, humility, acceptance, loyalty and many other qualities lacking in today's world.

The Golden Rule is timeless in it's eternal messaging. We should live it, and model it, as parents. Then, watch as one day our children grow up to rise above the 'politics' of the world's ways, and become LEADERS in our land.