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! ....................

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BLENDED FAMILY Lessons from a Walmart Morning


Follow this guys lead in your Blended Family.

It was a recent blustery, snow-filled Saturday morning and I was off to grab some waffle mix, eggs, milk and cantelope for a 'Dad's Waffle Breakfast Morning'.  Not enough Saturday's free, so I was excited to enjoy that family tradition.  Good 'bonding' time and hey, I even like my own waffles, so while the kids slept I went to Walmart early to grab the 'stuff'.

As I thought I would be in and out, little did I know I would leave the store with much more than food for family, but bigger than that...food for life.  To share with you.

While I was in the waffle mix aisle, I could not help but overhear the joyful voice, from the next aisle over, of a youngster repeating his Father's words and mentoring.  I heard the little voice say 'I am a happy boy!' repeating his Dad. Then it was 'I can grow up to do great things!' following the coaching, then an interesting comment that really sparked my interest,  'I look for the good in people!' followed by 'God made me special!'.

By this time those of you that know me, understand already that my cart was wheeling around the corner to go meet this 'Super Dad'.  Surely I thought I would find Zig Ziglar's first cousin, Anthony Robbins himself, or maybe just some high school football coach in a cap with a whistle around his neck who knew the power of inspiring his players.  Or perhaps one of those 'hired WalMart Greeter' people who usually are fairly fired up individuals themselves.  They seem to naturally have a smiley face on and love people thanks to Sam Walton's legacy.

You see the voice I heard, but could not see, from across the top of the waffle and cereal aisle divide certainly was certainly a character shaper and a giant of a man.  I wanted to meet him and shake his hand!  Tell him I love what I heard!

So when I spun my cart down that next aisle and looked ahead I did not see any of those wondermen of motivation I spoke of, but instead a man in a torn overcoat, scraggly beard and a weary walk.   After greeting the man and telling him how powerfully he impacted me from across the aisle top, he simply said 'I want Joey to grow up with more positive voices in his little head than I did'.  God's gonna make him better than me'.  Wow!  After hugging the man and telling him God's already blessed this little guy with you, I asked little Joey 'are you happy?'.  He smiled big and blurted out 'I'm a happy boy!'

I had earlier especially been taken by the boy following the wisdom of... "I look for the good in people". Worth repeating. 'Look for the good in people'.

Especially in stepfamilies, too often a parent or child is 'looking for error' in a relationship instead of following that wonderful wisdom...'look for the good'.

Blended Families or any family.   Learn from a scraggly bearded man, who might just have been an angel so I can share this story with you.  Encourage your children.  Be a positive and Godly force that echos into their future.

Scripture shares in Proverbs Chapter 17 and Verse 22...
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Go tell somebody THREE THINGS that you like about them.
It will be...good medicine.  And God just may give you one more step on the journey 'from Broken to Blended to BONDED'.

Visit our website    http://www.thebondedfamily.com/

Keep Looking UP!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blended Family Tree

NOTE: Sunday, in our weekly Blended Family Fellowship Class ...Rebecca shared wonderfully about 'tree trunks'.  Made me think about a 2008 blog worth repeating.
See Your Blended Family Tree Grow

After a recent snow and ice storm, I helped my Father-in-law cut down and haul away a very large branch of a giant tree that he had planted long, long ago. It was a towering willow tree planted along a small lake. It had stood the test of time over 37 years. Now one of the willows large cut up branch lay ready to become firewood for our families. As I looked at the ‘tree rings’ depicting the chronology of that tree and the large branch, a smile came over me in a big way … there is a message for Blended Families in this tree.

Each year that a tree is alive it grows another ring, making its trunk wider. The thickness of each ring depends on what the weather, the climate, lightning strikes, fire damage or the storms were like during the year in which it grew that ring. A wide ring indicates faster growth (good conditions), whereas a narrow ring or scar of some sort indicates poor growth (bad conditions). When a tree is cut, the rings can be "read" like a diary of the ‘history of life’ of that tree. Families also can have ‘tree ring’ story in their chronology diary... and by God's hand we can have good growth.

In Blended Families we too have seasons of life or our own family ‘tree rings’. Often in blended families, despite being ‘branded’ broken, there is much joy, happiness and many good seasons, and yes occasionally some will probably be not so good. That is normal. Like all of life, God gives us seasons we go through in order to see His hand in our life. He wants us to know that placing our trust in HIM offers strength through all the seasons. So that our ‘tree rings’ will show genuine growth.

We encourage you to take this to heart in your step-family. Often times in divorce, remarriage and new blended family / step-family life the ‘storms’ seem to be just a little stronger, the ‘heat’ feels a little hotter, and the ‘winds’ seem to blow more powerfully against us, testing the strength of our tree. Parental interaction, children’s behavior and emotions, financial challenges, and cooperation with former spouses can all offer ‘climate’ that sometimes seems to try to knock down or knock out a family.

We encourage blended families / step-families who we coach through difficult situations to look first for patience, perseverance and victory through trusting God. We respect the secular viewpoints that offer insight into the dynamics of step-family life, yet as we have invested years of research, reading, interviews with families, and conversations with family therapists and professionals, we continue to find the real power is in God’s Hands. The foundation of your blended family, your ‘tree ring’ and family chronology success in this sense must be fully planted in the Word of God. The greatest growth of your tree ring can be found through planting, and your family by the streams of living water.

In Psalms 1: 1-3, we are offered perfect wisdom to follow;

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

So that your ‘blended family chronology’ will prosper, through the “storms” and “climate” challenges, you and your spouse must plant yourself as the parents ‘by the streams of living water’ and draw a line in the sand for your family by fully trust God. He is the root and the trunk, you are the branch. Then you may ‘see things with new eyes’ and ‘hear things with new ears’.We encourage blended families to look for God in all things, good and some seemingly bad, and keep your ‘roots’ firmly planted in prayer and in God’s Word daily. You can be ‘like the tree…which yields fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither. Do not walk in the counsel of negative people, or those who mock biblical wisdom. Stand strong, you will get through it. If you trust God, your tree will stand and reach up to the sky and one day you will see its fruit.
Our family tree, and our own blended family chronology, has had some thick rings with great years of growth, and some rings where you can sense the storms came. In all times, we kept the ‘roots’ planted in God’s Hands, even when the world might say we should crash. We have seen God’s goodness and His glory, and He has firmly planted in our hearts to pass along the encouragement, hope and motivation for you and your blended family.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


BLENDED FAMILIES Have Busy Schedules
Two November Options for a Stepfamily Workshop

Blended Family Calendars Can Be Hectic

My Wife Rebecca recently blogged with great experienced insight about the hectic pace and busy lives of blended families.  We know that our fellow stepfamily marriages can be filled with many scheduling commitments.

We've often heard from people who say 'I want to attend your TBF conference but we have the kids that weekend'.  Hmmmm....we get it.  So...we hopefully fixed that.

We have set up options for you on the back to back Saturday's Nov 13th and Nov 20th in the Kansas City area we are hosting a shortened one day only STEPFAMILY WORKSHOP.  One in Cass County (Harrisonville/South KC metro) and one in KC Metro area proper.

The topics and discussion are the same at either. (see below)  So choose which one fits your schedule.  ALSO...due to the challenging economic times, we have reduced the registration fees from $89 to $49.  Plus offer additional discounts to Military, Police, Fire, College or Seminary Students, Pastors, Grandparents (a new key area for family success) 

Some might say 'Well $49 is still a lot right now'.  Consider that you get 7+ hours of Practical Tips, Encouragement, the Value of 7 years of Research and Study, and over 60 years of real life combined stepfamily experience, a workbook, gifts, discount coupons worth savings around town, lunch, coffee and snacks...then that $7 an hour seems reasonable.  OR...some wait to go to $100 an hour therapist long after it's gotten worse in their family.  $49 is a GREAT INVESTMENT IN YOUR FAMILY. 

The OPPORTUNITY for a Grandparent, Friend, Co-Worker, Manager or Church Group to SPONSOR SCHOLARSHIPS for individuals is ENCOURAGED.

For Details and Register...click below and on the date you are interested in.

• Improved StepParent-StepChild Relationships

• Greater Marriage Teamwork & Communication

• How to improve the co-parenting with 'other house'. ('The Ex')

• "What a Child Sees, Feels & Hears" - Hear from a Child of Divorce

• Family Court System Ideas, Suggestions and Coaching

• Blended Family Huddles and Bonding Traditions

• Greater Understanding of Stepfamily Dynamics

• Practical Tips to Succeed Week to Week

• Coaching & Sharing via Small Group Breakouts

• Answers from Multiple Live Q&A Sessions

After attending one of our conferences or workshops, people often say:
"I wish I knew THEN, what I've learned from you today NOW."

Get 15 years of THEN...NOW.

For that wonderful blog of Rebecca's I spoke of:  http://www.blendedfamilyhope.com/

If you'd like to have your Church, Community Center, Hospital, Military Base or other group be a part of serving stepfamilies and the unique dynamics they face...contact us at: INFO@TheBondedFamily.com

Rebecca Snell on
Blended Family Today radio

take your Stepfamily...
From Broken to Blended to BONDED.

God Bless YOU!  Keep Looking UP!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Blended Families Finding Inspiration to Win!
Blended Family Survey Helps Stepfamilies 'Know'.

"If we only knew in the first year of our blended family, what we've learned in your conference this weekend!"   We often hear this, or read in evaluations, from our conference attendees.  Why?  Because like most any profession, avocation, duty or responsibility in life, the more upfront one has a grasp of what they'll experience ahead, can carry with them some success tips, be knowledgeable of the unique dynamics of the situation, and have awareness of  potential 'landmines' the easier it is to manage the scenario.  It's not always 'what happens', but bigger how you 'respond to what happened' that can measure success in your family or life.

Our own personal 15 years of successes, AND failures too, in our own blended family taught us much as we seek to share in order to help others.  Putting that life experience together with research, study, reading, listening via focus groups, hosting conferences and workshops has taught us much.  We are happy to share every bit of expertise we gather to help other people just like you and your family.

"You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want." ~ Zig Ziglar

For the last 30 years, Zig Ziglar has been the 'gold standard', the 'American Treasure' when it comes to sales and relationship expertise.   He has changed  the lives, and inspired the world across the globe like few others.

Companies turn to Ziglar Corp, led now by self described 'Proud Son' and equally encouraging Tom Ziglar as CEO, to deliver some of the very best corporate training in the nation.   We have been honored to work with Tom, Zig and Julie Ziglar Norman, Zig's youngest daughter, as they too have giant hearts for helping families prosper in America. Zig's classic books 'Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World' and 'Confessions of a Happy Christian' are two books we were blessed by long before ever meeting the Ziglars in person.  Tom Ziglar was the keynote speaker at our January 2010 Blended Family Luncheon.  Julie Ziglar Norman has spoken at our stepfamily conferences and she, along with her inspiring husband Jim Norman, share their very special testimony of success in stepfamily life.

At The Bonded Family we have one purpose.  To extend Encouragement, Hope, Inspiration and Biblical insight to the 23+ million homes in America.  Over 140 million Americans go to bed each and every night facing some form of stepfamily dynamic challenge.   There is a way to reduce the wounds, stress, conflict and pain.  Our mission is to share that nationally.  If we could bring 10% of the inspiration, confidence and encouragement that our friends the Ziglar's did in this world then we will feel blessed mightily. 

As part of the ongoing research we do, quarterly we conduct a BLENDED FAMILY SURVEY.

Please click on this BLENDED FAMILY SURVEY, invest 90 seconds to fill it out.  You'll help us serve families. Strictly confidential.  No names or email request.   If you are not in a stepfamily environment, forward this to someone who is.  They'll truly appreciate you caring enough to think of them this hour.

As the population and awareness of stepfamily dynamics grows, more and more are seeing the glass isn't half empty, but indeed for blended families it can be half full, and why not make it overflow!  Divorce, remarriage and struggle is not God's perfect plan for life, yet He does love us and does have a plan that we can follow to succeed in our 2nd chances. 

In the meantime....we ENCOURAGE You to KEEP LOOKING UP!

Visit our website at: www.thebondedfamily.com
Follow us on TWITTER :  www.twitter.com/blendedfamilies

FOLLOW TOM ZIGLAR ALONG WITH 34,000+ others at:  www.twitter.com/TomZiglar

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Please Help CHARGE UP our Blended Family Efforts!


That's what we try to do on a weekly basis via this Blended Family Today blog, our BLENDED FAMILY TODAY radio broadcasts and free podcasts, as well as conferences, coaching, mediation and resources.  Find those and more information at www.thebondedfamily.com

Interstate Batteries.comTo keep things rolling with any organization, some form of revenue is needed.  We work to keep registrations to conferences and resource prices as low as possible.  So when you see us once in a while with brief promotions like this, please know we are just trying to fund operations.

We discovered a way to help that revenue effort, and for you to also help our cause.  We have partnered with Interstate Batteries, a nationally recognized name who just happens to have a CEO who is a strong man of faith.   They will pay us a small percentage of the battery sales we do, even while keep their BATTERY PRICES DISCOUNTED +++ FREE SHIPPING.   Please click below.  They have ALL KINDS OF BATTERIES.  You need batteries right?  Instead of waiting until you are out, buy them now.  With FREE SHIPPING it is less than using gas to drive to the store.  Click to check it out.  Let us know what you think.

If YOU RIGHT NOW, would buy some batteries, and the other thousands of readers would buy some batteries, you'd be saying THANKS for us blogging and PAYING FORWARD your support of another stepfamily that might need some help down the road.
Please help us help blended families by CHARGING UP your house and funding up our mission. THANK YOU and God Bless Your Family!

Interstate Batteries.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Set the Plans. A VACATING PLAN for your Blended Family! 'Vacating' = Bonding Time! http://ping.fm/mfxmx

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blended Families Should Get "5G" Coverage

  Blended Families Work Best With Super '5G Communication'.
5G Provides Total Coverage' for your Family's Heart.
Get 'The Best Plan' When You Say "I am a Friend of God"!
Forget 3G.  We say 'move over 4G'.  If you want the most powerful signal that always works, always communicates, always is up and available, you can get it.   The Bonded Family presents 5G for blended families.

What is 5G you ask?  It's the Global, Grace, Glory & Goodness of God.  Get it?5G coverage.  It's available FREE.  All you have to do is ask Him for it.
Remember the old spirited song 'He's got the whole world, in His hands, He's got you and me sister, in His hands....'?  Well for this coverage that's the Truth.

Stepfamilies often face unique and challenges dynamics.  Marriages and Children often throw up their hands, get wounded, mad, misunderstood or speak from a hurt heart.  Then sometimes they let stubbornness or pride set in.  The world and culture seem to often foster adversarial situations, or even roadblocks to cooperation, understanding, patience or perseverance.  The Court System is NOT the answer.  They have neither the time nor interest in really creating true family success.  So look UP!  That's where we have seen God's love and redeeming qualities for families stand alone as the answer.   The success rate in those having a foundation of faith is almost three times as strong as those without. 

It's easy to look at blended family struggles and relationships with a skeptical, can't work, don't want to try, this marriage is not pleasing me, there's no hope for this child or that stepchild, or on and on.  The statistics show almost 70% say 'I quit' in stepfamilies.  Then... all we do is recyle the pain the hurt and the long term wounds for children and adults.  No one wants that.  That's why we started The Bonded Family ministry.

With "5G Coverage", you have a Friend in God who knows, cares, understands, wants to help, encourage, bless and give you victory in your marriage, family and life.  He provides the Life Manual.  The Bible IS the best marriage handbook, parenting guide, relationship advisor, finance counselor or pschology book around.  There is a reason it's the all-time best selling book in history. 

It is always a privilege to speak to groups to encourage them to support and strengthen families or their hearts.  I WANT TO GIVE SPECIAL THANKS to the Men's Ministry at Scheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City for a great evening recently.  While their worship team was playing and praising about the Glory of God is when the whole "5G idea" was plopped into my heart by God.  Music is a way God often inspired through history and still does today.  So thanks to all at Scheffield Family Life Center !

To Learn more about our work visit http://www.thebondedfamily.com/

Remember I said that you and I can both say...
"I am a Friend in God"... well enjoy the song and be blessed.

Keep Looking UP!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Blended Family Strongholds? What?

Release The Chains

Find StepFamily Joy

Often times we will see in blended families, an unseen stronghold holding the family back from God's wish and desire, and theirs too, to 'bond' and have a truly loving and peaceful family.  A Dad we are coaching asked me the other day..."What do you mean 'stronghold'?"  I explained to him that there was something I've observed over a period of time in his new family's setting.  Something that, based on our personal and professional experience, was holding his family back. The Bible speaks of that as 'discernment', or a sense of something or an atmosphere that surrounds a person or situation.  This Dad said "Gosh, if I don't know what it is, how are we going to work through it?".  I applauded him because he's got the right attitude.  He's Looking UP!  We can tear down strongholds in a family with clear awareness, God's help and strength, and some genuine effort in your marriage and family.

FIRST... TAKE TO HEART WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS HOW GOD MADE YOU... Psalm 139, verses 13 - 14 are for you to read, re-read and count on.  YOU, and your new family are in God's hands.  He made you.  You are WONDERFULLY made. God doesn't make mistakes so quit trying to think you are one. You are wonderful!
'For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.'
                                          ~ Psalm 139 : 13-14

Let's get back to just what is a stronghold, as indeed you might ask?

The Greek word for STRONGHOLD is 'OCHUROMA', meaning a a large castle, a compelling fortress or a warrior's position of strength.  In ancient battleground terms, a STRONGHOLD means an area where an entrenched power exerts control over an individual, group, generation, or territory.

In 'spiritual warfare', there is clear fertile battleground when it comes to divorce, re-marriage, wounds, brokenness and stepfamily situations.  A stronghold is deception that's taken hold of you or a person in your family's mind. It's an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie.  A lie of the enemy of your family.   A fantastic battle ground for the enemy (satan - never give the dirty dog a capital) who is by his own being wants to take out all joy, togetherness, goodness, happiness in every marriage, child and family.

The wisdom we can find in John 10:10 ...
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
                                           ~~ John 10:10

We come to you now and ask "Are there any strongholds impacting your marriage, family and stepfamily situation that God needs to work on?"  Do you feel like something is working to destroy your marriage, a child or your whole family?

What might it look like?   It's a lot like a heavy chain around your relationship, weighing it down, holding you back from the joy you truly wanted when you formed your new blended family. It could be pride, a stubborn spirit.  An old wound.  That inside your brain voice telling you what's bad about you, your family, a person in your family.  Perhaps for a man or woman some deep anger that surfaces from time to time.  Could be a inability to forgive someone or something.  Might come across as a habit or addiction.  Could be a child that was wounded by one parent and won't allow love to be received.  Could be a deep fear of another breakup of a family.  The list goes on.  Know this.  Those thoughts are not God.  He made you SPECIAL!

We find that the first step, is to recognize and acknowledge the stronghold as a couple or family, talk about the stronghold as the 'enemy' of your family's happiness and not a person in the family.  Then together you can 'break the chain' that holding you back.
In working with families as we serve via The Bonded Family Rebecca and I have observed that the most prolific strongholds and challenges are often ones people don't recognize or know exist.  They just know somethngs wrong.  Why we stress a strong foundation in your relationship with God is that you may not be aware without some special discernment from God, without 'seeing' with new eyes and 'hearing' with new ears.  God can provide that new understanding, powerful healing and your fresh start.  Ask Him in prayer.  Not casually.  Ask Him fervently for healing and a fresh start.
This isn't hocus pocus stuff.  Yes, it's supernatural.  God says so.  Trust Him.  He'll open your eyes IF you let Him.  Not allowing God in your life is a giant stronghold that statistically proves true.  The divorce rate in stepfamilies is 65%+.  When families are attending church and trusting God, that's cut in half.  You choose where you'll trust.

Five Steps to Tearing Down Blended Family Strongholds
1) Take Life Inventory, Recognize, Acknowledge Your Stronghold(s).
2) Commit to one another, forgive, genuinely work toward positive change.  There are no perfect people - Dad's, Mom's or Children.  Let's grow.
3) Read, Listen to CD's, etc, find faith-based help, counseling or coaching.
4) Create a DAILY Prayer List + Time for Husband + Wife TOGETHER.
5) Keep Looking UP!  Hold onto an attitude that God has already design your plan for greatness in your new and special Family.  You are a Winner!  Live it!

Do NOT give up or in.  God's promise are real.  He can and will help you face the strongholds and defeat them if you truly set your heart to doing so. That's up to you.  Excuses are easy.  Even as you read this if you're saying 'it's easy for him to write this, he doesn't know'.  You're right.  But God does.  We've been through probably 95% of the challenges that blended families face in our family.  Our we perfect...NO.  Yet...we know who will win the day.

God is on the throne.  He's already got your solution, the way out, the 'recovery plan' for you and your family.  Do you want help?

God Bless You and Keep Looking UP!

Hey...help us help you.  Visit the BLENDED FAMILY MALL.
Whatever you buy there, a small portion goes to fund scholarships and research for our ministry to people just like you.  From Books to Batteries, Travel to Toasters, CD's to Coupons... there are items there that EVERYDAY YOU USE.  Please click on the BLENDED FAMILY MALL.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blended Families and a 'Winning Recipe' for Life

Step-Family Moaning and Groaning
Equals a Recipe For Failure.
'Fruit of the Spirit Salad'
is a Winning Recipe Solution!
We believe America can rise UP and be a winner when it comes to Marriage and Family. WE CAN create relationships, grounded with a foundation of faith, that follows a more 'WINNING RECIPE' for Marriage and Family success.

In our work at The Bonded Family have not once found a engaged or newly married blended family that stated 'we don't care about how everybody gets along, or if we are all happy together'.   A fresh start mindset scenario like that just doesn't exist.  What couple would enter into marriage saying 'I don't care!'  It is within all of us to desire to have a positive and peaceful home. To live in an atmosphere of love, peace and caring.  We all enter into marriage and family with a 'married forever' vision.  'Happily ever after' still lives on in our hearts and is our desire for life.

Society and the 'quit when it gets tough' or the 'I deserve better, I'm out of here' atmosphere lends to why we have such a high divorce rate in America. Look around and one will see a propensity to 'moan and groan', instead of working to find a solution.

Our culture has historically not been supportive of step-families and that created an image that placed further dynamics and challenges upon a husband, wife and children.  Even upon grandparents, teachers, coaches, neighbors and all who was a part of the lives of the new family.  The term 'step' itself, which we are very cautious to use, reflects it's fictional story board use in Cinderella, Snow White, or even the 2009 movie release of  'The StepFather'.  

With that image and mindset, blended families can find themselves living in the arena where we find others 'accepting' even 'encouraging' an atmosphere of many people being receptive of  'moaning and groaning' about kids, or parenting, or the stepfamily situation.   Too easily does someone fall into the 'listen and agree', instead of 'listen, ask a question or two, filter through emotion and truth, and then suggest finding a solution'.    Can that be tough.  Yes.  Worth it.  Double Yes!

We suggest an immediate and extended family goal and guideline, hopefully evolving into a rule - which naturally will see human failure at times - that we live in a "NO MOAN OR GROAN ZONE".

Marriages get broken by taking the challenges outside the relationship and 'moaning and groaning' to another person, at work, in the neighborhood, or worse a member of the opposite sex that sets up 'special' communication that can escalate to further 'stinkin thinkin'.  Kids can easily find receptive ears to 'my (stepparent) is too ________'   Often 'the other parent house' takes a position to let that thought be nurtured to bolster their own position. 

Wouldn't it be a powerful building block for families and our nation if rather than going along with the negative...instead say 'let's talk about this, not trash another person, find a solution and just complaining won't get us there'.  CAN YOU IMAGINE what super 'happily ever after' foundational principles you are building there?  Our children watch us, learn from us, see how we face trials.  Finding the solution  is always a better teaching foundation than just 'moaning and groaning'.

Same can apply to a grandparent or neighbor or workplace friend who 'allows and fosters groaning and moaning'.  That's NOT a true friend or caring family member.  Listening...YES.  Nurturing turmoil and discontent...NO.    What kind of true ally wants to see another family breakup?   Shouldn't be an option.   So I issue a challenge here to ALL who come across 'Moaning and Groaning' to say 'hmmmm....what's the solution'.

At The Bonded Family, we believe we can, you can, change the culture.   We all can impact lives for good.   We strongly believe, and it's statistically proven, that having God in the mixture is a part of that 'Winning Recipe'.   "Happily Ever After"....can come true.  Believe it.

So you say 'Dan!  Okay I got it...what's the suggestion?'    I say 'Glad you asked!'   How about working on what character areas we'd like our family members to excel in.  Ones that will help the for life in family, school, sports, work and everywhere they go!
SCRIPTURE holds a solution as a 'what to nurture and work on checklist'.  It's found in Galatians Chapter 5, verses 22-23.  You'll hear this WINNING RECIPE called 'the Fruit of the Spirit'.

'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.'
                                                                            Galatians 5 : 22-23

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. Talk these over. Discuss what they mean? Would they help in the family? Can we write these on our refrigerator, bulletin board or maybe bathroom mirror? Possibly have fun cheerfully reminding each other in a positive way of each one. (pretty hard to take a stand arguing against God's Word). If we start coaching and modeling in our family things like Patience, Self-Control, Joy and the others wouldn't we have a real 'WOW!' Family? I think so.   Take the time to 'dine' on the winning 'Fruit of the Spirit' recipe this month.

Visit us at http://www.thebondedfamily.com/   

Read Rebecca's blog at:  http://www.rebeccasnell.com/

Listen to our radio program BLENDED FAMILY TODAY podcasts at either iTunes or at:  www.thebondedfamily.com/radioarchives

We bring to bear with speakers and family coaches always more then 70 years of step-family life real world experience and practical success tips.

God Bless You and Keep Looking UP!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


THREE MINUTES A DAY = A "Listener" For a Lifetime
Make The Time.  Invest The Time.  Bless  The Time.

How often do parents hear or say.... "My kids just don't listen to me!"
Or kids thinking 'parents just don't understand!'.   Both sides are right at times.  We all fall short.  That's why God created family.  To give us the opportunity to build together a safe and secure place where God shares His steadfast message that 'His mercies are new every morning'.  (Lamentations 3 : 21-23) 

I was blessed to coach all of our six children in youth basketball, except one who was extra talented in debate and speaking so that was her passion we supported.  She WAS successful pushing around up her younger brothers - lovingly - on the basketball court in our backyard.  I smile as I think our boys would deny such an allegation of her basketball prowess.  I believe regularly the girls beat the boys in pickup games.

In basketball, most young players don't easily dribble with their weak hand (for a righthander, their left hand).  It takes practice and more practice.  I'd coach my teams to dribble, dribble, dribble with their weak hand, so the get 'good' at being able to use both hands successfully.  To have it become second nature to their game.


Learning to communicate as a Family member also takes practice, practice practice... especially in stepfamily scenarios.
  Make a point to seek out three brief minutes each and every day to share the clear message of caring and interest in a child's life.  Three (3) minutes.  Try to make it a habit - like dribbling with off hand - of INVESTING THREE MINUTES to gain a lifetime relationship.  You may miss a day, or two, but create a conscience effort to BONDING in your new Family and watch the results.
For years child psychologists have shared a wise piece of wisdom about communicating with a child.  The tip, is often forgotten and unused by parents, so it's worth repeating here.   EQUALIZE the height level and create eye contact from a level that makes a child feel most trusting. 
Come down to their eye level.   This automatically creates the 'caring' appeal to a child.  This very simple physical movement that can be a GIANT COMMUNICATOR for a more caring RELATIONSHIP.  And in blended families, relationships come before the enforcement of rules.  Especially for the non-biological parent. 

Social scientists study interpersonal communication. Their expert studies state that regarding actual interpersonal communication 'less than 10% in the clarity of the message comes from the 'WORDS' themselves.  Around 40% comes from our 'TONE OF VOICE'. Foremost, the most impactful form, over 50% of our true interpersonal communication is 'FACIAL EXPRESSION and BODY LANGUAGE.'
In stepfamilies this can be GIANT.  Pay attention here.  Remember this.  A 'brief gentle scolding' to a biological child is often just that, a 'brief gentle scolding'.  That child KNOWS your love deeply, from the first hour you held them after birth.  A 'brief gentle scolding' to a stepchild might be viewed internally to them as a 'giant scolding'.  They don't have the 'history' with you.  Remember this.  Just be aware of it.  It's not just your 'words'.  Check your own body language and tone.  Know it communicates 90% or more of your message.  We're not saying a scolding might not be appropriate.  Just remember that 'relationship' must come first before the ability to scold, for lasting success.

Remember...we can learn as much in life from our slips ups as we can our victories.   So if you stumble... make it a learning experience.

I believe those esteemed 'social scientists' who studied communications unknowingly may have gleaned their concepts and lead from the MANUAL for Life, the HOLY BIBLE.  Scripture, as always, shares WISDOM for the ages in James 1 : 19-20
'...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.' 
In other words, LISTEN more.  HEAR your child's and your spouse's HEART. LISTEN for the HEART...not the words.  SEE their COUNTENANCE and what it saying, and not just react to a potential smirk or eye roll.  Speak only after you 'understand' their deep hurts, joys and thoughts.  Be clear not to jump to 'wrath' (upset, comments, judgement, etc) as that is not what God would advise.

As you work yourself into the routine of 'three minutes a day' keep it upbeat, positive and casual, especially at first.  Some sample idea questions to ask the first few efforts into your LISTENING time.  You don't have to ask them all at once.  Be casual and comfortable.  You're investing in a RELATIONSHIP.  It will take time and PRACTICE.   Consider questions like...
1)  Tell me what you think our family is doing well in your eyes?
2)  Tell me something we could do next week to hang out together?
3)  What areas in our new family 'pinch' your heart a little?


Even LEBRON JAMES had to practice what didn't come natural.  So to be a championship level parent...practice championship communications.

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Want your BLENDED FAMILY STOCK to go up!  If you know of someone in the WICHITA KS area, share with them about the Saturday May 1st BLENDED FAMILY WORKSHOP.  The host church is Believers Tabernacle in Wichita.  A wonderful family oriented and friendly place.
Send your friends or family in the Wichita area to http://www.thebondedfamily.com/ and click on the Wichita conference.  Julie Ziglar Norman, daughter of ZIG ZIGLAR, J.J. Jasper, American Family Radio DJ and Comedian are just two of the super lineup of speakers.   Over 125 years of stepfamily experience we have compiled for this day.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bitter & Broken ... to Better & Bonded

BITTER ROOTS in Blended Families...
Always Leads to Ruptured Relationships.
Break Free from the Bitter and Broken...
Get Better and Bonded!

Our friend Zig Ziglar draws his foundation from the Bible. I'd say that's a pretty good place to garner encouragement, hope and teaching from. Zig is noted for saying a couple of things. One, he detests "Stinkin' Thinkin'" and advise we should shy away from people who are full of negativity. In fact Zig also shares 'Positive thinking won’t let you do anything but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.' Where Zig is coming from is not self-help motivation but by his personal faith in trusting in a God whose promises are real and tells us 'we can do all things through God who strengthens us'.

Thanks and way to go Zig! Zig Ziglar is a person we could all emulate as he doesn't have one ounce of bitterness in his being! He thanks God for everything...even his trials. His life verse is Romans 8:28 'ALL things work for good...' Later this year Zig and 'The Redhead - Jean' will celebrate 64 years of marriage.  Congratulations and Thanks from America!

Across America today there are ruptured relationships. Hurts, Wounds, Divisions, Stubbornness, Selfishness and Bitterness normally are the cause. It is 'heart disease' at it's worst. It can be fatal to your spirit and your family. When it carries over as baggage in a blended family, it weakens the children's chances to develop relationships in a positive way. No parent would want to make that choice or to be a part of such a legacy of brokenness. We believe GOD CAN help you rise above the hurts and wounds. Ask Him. He's there for YOU!

Look ahead 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. Let's ask of each of ourselves, what attitude will our children learn from? Godly leadership or negativity? If you are a Grandparent, Family member, friend or co-worker, we also encourage you to be a positive role model by speaking peacemaking and no 'stinkin' thinkin'.

What will our children say of us....years from now.   Not 'during' the trials of this season of life, but instead after they have surveyed a little of life, marriage, parenting, joys and trials themselves.  THEN... will the true test of your blended family 'bonding' efforts be seen for the truth.  

Scripture shares in HEBREWS 12 : 14-15 ...

'...make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.'
If you are on the receiving end of negativity or some form of alienation or harsh words, be reminded that in Matthew Chapter 5, in the Beatitudes Christ shared 'blessed are the persecuted'. Some may say, 'you don't know'. We do. We've been there. Many have. It is a sad part of a broken culture we are working to reach out to and point upward. We can make a choice to trust God and let Him carry us all forward, or be stuck in the quagmire or the challenge of the week. Pray for the person coming against you. Pray for the children. Watch what God can do.

In a recent BLENDED FAMILY TODAY radio program, we focused on the concept of the "BITTER ROOT". We'd encourage you to listen to that podcast. You'll be blessed. If you are out there and struggling with a relationship, ask God for assistance. Ask Him to be IN YOUR HEART, not just conveniently AROUND when you need Him. Especially this springtime season, find your way out of the trap of being Bitter and Broken...and into God's way to get to BETTER AND BONDED.

Also...to read Zig Ziglar and Julie Ziglar Norman's outstanding new release "EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE", which is an inspirational read for blended families or anyone facing any kind of challenge... click here: http://ziglarmovies.com/embracethestruggle We're honored to say that the picture on the right we took and is in the brief video you see.

And please don't forget to visit our website at: www.THEBONDEDFAMILY.com

SEE and MEET JULIE ZIGLAR NORMAN live in Wichita at our BLENDED FAMILY CONFERENCE on Saturday May 1st.   Click here for more information.  

Remember...GOD CAN...
...take your stepfamily from Broken to Blended to Bonded.

So Keep Looking UP!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Upset and Angry about PAS? Turn It Over to God. HE can handle it much better than you.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is real and an epidemic in America.   Even Jesus upset the tables in the Temple about disrespect and deception.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we believe in "looking for the best in people" whether in your new marriage, your stepchildren, other people and especially... former spouses (the 'ex').

On our blog posts you are used to finding Encouragement, Hope, Patience, Perseverance and Biblical coaching in all circumstances.  That's our heart.  We coach 'take the high road', Trust God, be still and let Him handle most situations.  We've seen God do mighty things when relationships or situations are turned over to Him.  It's His promise that he will not let us down.  'Be strong and courageous' (Joshua 1:9) and trust in Him.

ONCE IN A WHILE  we come across a situation so upsetting that we have a hard time not sharing in the hurt level for a person. We have to shake our heads and say 'ENOUGH!'.

Today, I simply want to give a little attention to a group trying to help those who are clearly being 'Targeted'.   You WILL want to come back next post to hear the specifics of one TARGETED PARENT that we came across in our ministry and whose story has to be told.  

We want to give a 'shout out' to an organization called TARGET PARENT SOCIETY.  We are familiar with one of it's founders Christy Tusing-Borgeld.  We've had her on our radio program.  Heart of a giant, and truly wants to help families.  TPS is something she cares about and wants to change the nation for the better.  The goal of TARGET PARENT SOCIETY is to help all members of the extended family who may feel the wounds of alienation. 
You'll often hear them speak and publish articles as the....
Target Parent Society - Children, Parents and Relatives Awareness

Rebecca and I have both studied in depth, and seen in our work, the impact and the long-term affect on children whee any form of indoctrination, parental alienation or 'thought-seeding' occurs.  It is just basically abuse to the children and to their targeted parent.  It damages a child's in their current relationships, but more-so their FUTURE RELATIONS.    Like there marriage and with their own children.  Unless the American Psychological Assn and the Family Courts of our nation put a stop to this, we will have a generation of damaged relationships.  It is a SERIOUS and REAL ISSUE in divorce and we see it weekly in our work with blended families.

TPS is on Facebook as well as their website is:    http://www.targetparentsyndrome.org/

At The Bonded Family, while we believe sometimes the 'bully on the playground' (an alienator) should be turn back to and told to stop... MOST IMPORTANTLY, we foremost believe we should turn it over to God, be still and smile with the clear knowledge that HE CAN handle it.  Often that is so very hard to see when one is the 'Target' of alienation.  It is good however to know you are not alone.  The TARGET PARENT SOCIETY team helps people.  Check out their site. 

Wouldn't it be nice to simply KNOW that God was going to deal with a person who is willingly and intentionally seeking to harm a Father (or a Mother).  The Commandment instructs us...Honor your Father AND your Mother.   Not choose just one.  Or let someone denigrate or diminish or alienate until you stop honoring. If fact if you are reading this, and perhaps a grandparent, brother, sister, friend, co-worker of someone constantly alienating and working to take away relationships, then be a hero to those kids and tell them to stop.

We believe God will address the true alienators, as they truly are 'sinners'...against their children.  Let's call it for what it is. It's a sin.  We run into alienation or indoctrination in 60%+ of the families we work with that have spouses alive.  It is sad.  Our heart aches.  We want them to KNOW they are not alone and God can and will handle it.  It's a promise.  God said it.  It's written.  What He says He'll do, He'll do.   It may not be in the time or manner that we may want to see, but God WILL handle the accountability for their actions, and WILL deliver the consequence.
Scripture's instruction to us is clear in Romans 12: 17-19
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,  “I will take revenge;  I will pay them back, says the Lord.
It is often hard to take that to heart and live it.  We have to remember...GOD'S IN CONTROL and HE'S NOT DONE.  It just might bring a smile to your face to KNOW...that we don't have to deal with the injustice, the deliberate and willful attempt to diminish relationships with our children.  God WILL handle that person.   Often you will hear the alienator justify their behavior with words like 'best interest of the children'.  Simply ask the question... 'OK, let's reverse the arrangements and situation for 6 months."  We've never seen a single alienator that is willing to do that.  That always shows their true heart, their true colors.

That's the key.  Would an alienator reverse the roles?   Then you see their heart of hearts.

There will be a PAGE TWO / PART TWO of this.  You'll want to stay tuned.
A real life alienation story is included.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


"THE 511"
Encouragement for Step-Families....
from a Terrific Coaching Manual

Last weekend we hosted another Blended Family Conference. We sometimes refer to them as 'B3 Conferences'.  We want step-families TO SEE that GOD IS ABLE to take them 'from Broken to Blended to Bonded!'.   Incredible couples in attendance.  Gifted speakers that truly spoke to the hearts of those there.  

It was Saturday morning early and I was reviewing in my mind my afternoon message.  Was pondering... "how do I truly encourage and lift up these marriages and families?".   Then I know the Lord 'plopped' into my heart, mind and soul (God has an awesome "Plopper" - the Holy Spirit), to look up a verse that 'plopped' to me about 'encouraging one another'.  

So I get to the conference center - in this case the wonderful and supportive First Baptist Raytown, who provided tremendous support and assistance - and I grabbed my Bible.  I knew that in the back of my Bible, in the blank pages, where I write down great scripture to remember, I had an 'encouragement' scripture. 
What a 'terrific life coaching manual' the Bible is.

There it was 1st Thessalonians 5:11...
'Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up...'
Then it hit me.  1st Thessalonians 5:11. Shortened up... "THE 511".  "THE 511"!    We all know call 911 in an emergency, call 411 for information, some places 811 is for digging info, 311 in New York offers NY services and info.  Some states do have 511 as road, roadside support or travel information.  Well, that's pretty good for an analogy for the 'blended family journey' huh?   We are on a journey.  And our "511' can assist you on that blended family road to success, and simply stated... "THE 511" is...  

Encourage one another.  Build each other up.   Don't our children truly need that?  How about your spouses?  It's been studied that for every one negative thing you say to a child, in most kids it takes ten positive affirmations or comments to strengthen back their spirits.  Goes for spouse too. 10 to 1 ratio.
Often times we focus on the negative in our families.  See the good.  Plant 'seeds' that will grow goodness.

How about if you are a Grandparent or a relative in a step-family situation?  Wouldn't it be powerful if you ENCOURAGED your son, daughter, sister, brother, niece, nephew, grandchild.  Due to the often challenging dynamics of blended family life, a word to BUILD UP the spirit of another would be a GIANT GIFT.
We work with Grandparents a lot, give them discounts to attend our conferences. www.thebondedfamily.com/grandparents

Our Daughter Amanda, while hearing Dad pontificate on 'THE 511" drew the below sketch as she set with us last Sunday in our Blended Family Fellowship at church.  We continue to be amazed at her 'eyes that see'.   Her sketch below shares a cell phone on the left with the numbers 511 on it...and the words'... 'we are on a difficult road.  We need to call the 511'.
I'd like to encourage you to read the entire Chapter Five of 1st Thessalonians.  Only nineteen short verses.  You'll find words that truly should be compelling for blended families.  Words and phrases like 'self control' (wise counsel in the heat of a moment), 'be patient', 'be kind to each other', don't pay back wrong doing with wrong doing', 'God did not appoint us to suffer', 'Be joyful always', 'pray continually' and here is one to think about and take to heart...'give thanks in all circumstances'.    Learn from the good and learn from the bad.

As part of your 'journey', we encourage you to continually reach out for resources like The Bonded Family and others.  As Americans we strive to get better in work, in sports, in health, in many areas... SO... PAY ATTENTION HERE!  Do it with your blended family life.  It's the most important.

Encourage yourself to read, listen and learn about how to be the very best you can be and to create in your new family a spirit of T.E.N. - TOGETHERNESS, ENCOURAGEMENT and NURTURING.    I'm not saying you'll be a 'Perfect 10 Family', yet if you simply strive to do those three... you're on your way!

Keep Looking UP!  


 P.S.   If you know someone in the Wichita KS area in a blended family, and facing stepfamily challenges, send them to www.thebondedfamily.com to check out our Saturday May 1st Blended Family Conference, featuring Zig Ziglar's daughter Julie Ziglar Norman and her husband Jim, nationally recognized comedian J.J. Jasper, Russ and Jackie Jones, the Founders and Publishers of the Christian Press, Al and Kay Betz of Outfluence.com.   Rebecca and I are excited to be joined by these talented and gifted speakers.  Again for more information as to the topics and to register go to:  www.thebondedfamily.com and click on the Wichita conference.