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

Thursday, April 26, 2012


What Do Referees and Blended Families Have in Common?
How Calling Fouls (On Your Stepchildren) Changes The Game.

Blended Family Life and Sports have similar scenarios.

I was a basketball referee for 10 years.  Was accepted into the NBA Referee Development Program in the early 80's. Great season of my life.  Then I went into a 'Public Service' season (politics is the ugly side of Public SERVICE) for 10 years.  Seems I always picked avocations where you get yelled at. Referee.  Elected Official.  Sooner or later.  You get booed.  Could be some form of a character quirk there huh?  Heh, heh. 

On the basketball court a ref is half right or half wrong depending who someones cheering for. You'll be told 'great ref' to 'get some glasses you bum'. In politics you can go from 90% 'great guy popular' to 90% 'throw the bum out' with one vote on an issue. From Hero to Zero in a day I called it.

That tenuous balancing act in refereeing and politics holds some similarities to our modern day world of stepfamily life and it's dynamics.  Often there are 'commentators' or 'broadcasters' who want to prognosticate about you as a parent, spouse or member in a family unit.  Some are just drooling and waiting for you to slip up so they can air the famous 'I told you so!'.  Sometimes family members are quick to point fingers instead of slow to speak, quick to understand and extend grace.  We've become the 'arm chair quarterbacks' of family life in society.  We say 'We can do better America.  Let's look for the good in every person!'

In traditional nuclear families a parent can 'make the call/call a foul' on a something a child did wrong or inappropriately, yet the child has full knowledge that the parent loves them unconditionally.  With stepchildren, sometimes a parent can 'make the call/call the foul' and a child feels less secure in the circumstances. That even the 'home crowd' is against them.  That they have no 'home court advantage'.  Great blended families work together, support each other, work together unselfishly to create a great home turf, the home court advantage. (Zig Ziglar speaks on this)

To some stepchildren, especially early on in a new family situation, every 'foul' called seems like they are being called for a 'Technical Foul'.  Throw out of the game. (relationship or love) As parents, we can work together to set household rules upfront and out front.  To make sure that we as husband and wife also upfront know WHO is to make the call and when.  To be slow to let the play unfold.  Don't rush to 'blow the whistle' on every call or behavior.  Work to let God guide you and say 'Be still and know that I am God'. (Psalm 46:10) Call the game with a clear understanding that it's a 'long season' and you don't want to crush a player (child) with a poor judgment call.  Make sure you create - again as our good friend Zig Ziglar says - the 'Home Court Advantage'.  That your family knows you love them and are here for them no matter what.  That we learn from mistakes, we are growing and bonding one day at a time.  Trials will exist, but remind them always 'this too shall pass'.   Encourage 10 times for every 1 discipline. 

One thing we learned in the NBA Referee Development Program was to 'see' the whole court.  Not just one action.  To scan what is going on.  Many refs focus just on the basketball and lose track of the other 'stuff' going on on the court.  How can you relate to that as parents in your 'home court'.

Parents...be aware of your 'home court'. Be keenly aware of body language, countenances, friendships, activities, Facebook, cell phones, etc.  While we should allow for reasonable freedom for our children, there is an overboard and damaging myth and trend that promotes 'let a teen make their own decisions'.  We've seen this in some families and 'freedom' actually 'slows maturity' in kids in teens or early 20's.  They are impacted by a lack of foundational guidance to do the right thing, and this can create an 'all about me' selfishness that is clearly too evident in society in general as a whole. 

Children deep inside want boundaries from parents.  They want leadership.  Unconditional love.  Research clearly shows the safe and solid boundaries, coupled with solid encouragement and support create healthier children.  We like to share to 'Encourage 10 times to every 1 discipline.'  You'll create a champion child who understand love, respect, authority and honor...all while knowing they are able to both stumble and do great things and you will be with them just the same in all circumstances.

Be cautious not to let divorce / two homes for a child create a 'never call a foul' environment in order to 'win' love.   That's not good either.  Parents in both homes, remember, you are not in competition for the children.  It's okay for children to love both homes.  Kids are not 'wired' to have to choose.  They want to feel safe to love.  It is generally the parents who create a 'they must be bad, so I am good' sad scenarioMost everybody is good.  Nobody is perfect.  Look for the GOOD in all people.

My great friend Jesse Hall holds a double special place in my heart.   He was one of three people who talked to me the most about the Lord and thus brought me to Him.  Jesse also got me into the NBA Referee Development Program.  One is eternal. Both are thrilling.  Jesse still is in the NBA record books as being the referee in the highest scoring game in NBA history.  In triple overtime it was Detroit Pistons 186, Denver Nuggets 184, on Dec 13th, 1983.  I tease Jesse that he took the old adage 'let 'em just play ball' a little too far.  He is a great friend and super speaker should you ever need some great sports or life stories from an incredible guy.  Jesse can 'bring the wood' as they say in some churches.

Jesse would tell you, as I would that we do have a life 'rule book'.  The Bible.  It's the 'All Time - All Timer Best Seller ever!  It's an awesome marriage manual, parenting book, how to live life guide. The rules were followed to create laws in this country.  The Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments standing on it's building.   Many have tried to prove it wrong and failed.  Some have sought to prove it wrong and now are great preachers and teachers.

Now, there are many other great resources out there to help blended families, parents and marriages.  We own them and learn some things from them also.  Many can be found on our website.  But follow the SUCCESS and CHAMPION LIKE FAMILIES in our nation and you will see a solid foundation in faith and togetherness wins more often.   That scoreboard speaks for itself.

We talk about practical tips, parenting skills, real life examples, experiences and everyday stepfamily dynamics in our conferences, but this we know and stand upon.... GOD CAN take your stepfamily... from Broken to Blended to Bonded.  

We are available for speaking, conferences and resources at THE BONDED FAMILY.

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Friday, March 2, 2012



More TV’s were tuned into the 2012 Super Bowl then ever before.  According to the Nielsen ratings system, Super Bowl XLVI viewership of 111.3 million viewers broke all records to become the most-watched TV telecast of all time.
Eli Manning raised the NFL Championship trophy as America watched on.  We are a nation of football fans. We are also a nation of changing family dynamics and structure. Blended Families, often called ‘Stepfamilies’, has become the largest family demographic in the USA. 
In America today there are over 23+ million stepfamily households.  It is the largest ‘under the radar’ demographic in the USA, and one that grows daily with over by approximately 2000 new stepfamilies formed per day.  While the Super Bowl viewership can list 111.3 million viewers, the population of people living - or directly associated to in their immediate family - in stepfamilies is over 160+ million.  One could say it is a ‘Super vs. Uber’ size comparison.  If you are reading this and you are a part of (husband, wife, child, grandparent, etc) blended family nation and this ‘uber’ population, you are not alone.

THE BONDED FAMILY exists to serve the blended family population in America. The training, effort, practice, repetition of plays, studying film and playbook that the Giants undertook to win the Super Bowl, is the blueprint for any 'championship'. We have seen the great blended families including real study, effort, prayer and trusting God in their daily stepfamily walk and life. GOD CAN...take a stepfamily...from Broken to Blended to BONDED.

And you know what!?  GOD LOVES YOU!  HE WANTS YOU TO HAVE JOY IN MARRIAGE, FAMILY and LIFE!  He knows what you've been through.  Doesn't like it, yet His mercies are new every morning scripture tells us in Lamentations.  For those who are reading and think Rebecca and I might be saying divorce is okay.  Stop!  Rewind! Listen.  We never think that.  We want to drive out divorce in America.  We've lived through it and anyone who has knows the pain.   We completely understand why in Malachi the Bible does say that 'God hates divorce'.  We've lived it.  He knew the challenges, the children's hurts, pain, wounds, generational damage and spiritual battles it creates.  His PROMISES are real.  And that's what we share.

Let's stick together and grow and BOND.  Your family deserves you to make the same 'championship' effort that pro athletes do to be the very best.  The 'loss' column for stepfamilies tells us that over 67% of stepfamilies fail. We don't want YOUR FAMILY in the loss column. Neither does a God who loves YOU!   Preparation and Practice take investment.  Invest some time with Rebecca and I.  Here are some ways...


Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Giants - Patriots?  

Be Enthusiastic That...
The Clock is Still Running...
Your Blended Family 

Sometimes in the dynamics of stepfamily life, we often feel like an 'underdog' role in our families.  Parents or children are often in an 'arena of life' that presents itself with bumps and challenges. We wish there were referee's sometimes.  Somebody to 'blow the whistle' or 'throw a penalty flag'.  This blog entry is about how to find our way to victory..... in the Super Bowl of life.  Even if you feel ONE YARD SHORT...remember... GOD'S NOT DONE!  CLOCK IS STILL TICKING.

Speaking of Super Bowl participants, I want to share a fantastic book and it's relationship to step-family life. In the last few years it has been my privilege and honor to get to know Coach Les Steckel, who is the President / CEO of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). In 2006 he authored his autobiography entitled 'ONE YARD SHORT, Turning Your Defeats into Victories'. It is a 'must read book' for blended family parents. The title is derived from the final play of the 2000 Super Bowl between the St. Louis Rams and Steckel’s Titans, a play that has been called the most exciting play in Super Bowl history. (I remember our family - half cheering the Rams, half cheering the Titans - as our blended family of eight watched that incredible sports moment.)

Steckel’s book chronicles his life journey and his compelling stories and testimony makes it tough to put down once you start. I am in the middle of reading the book currently. It is a 'MEGA-ENCOURAGEMENT BLESSING' book that offers us yet another testimony to trusting in God and His incredible Hand. Anyone in a blended family, adult or teen should read this book. It isn't just a sports book, a guy book, it's a life book. Moms, Grandmas and Daughters will love it also.

HOW DOES "ONE YARD SHORT" RELATE TO BLENDED FAMILY LIFE? Often in the dynamics of stepfamily life one feels like you are often behind, things look tough, it is 'fourth down', that you want to 'punt' and hope seems lost. That's when we really do need to 'put on our headset and call upstairs to get the next play to call'. What I mean by that is to 'look to God for your next move, how to handle a child or marriage scenario'. He will answer. He may not always give us the 'play' we want to call, but the PLAYBOOK (BIBLE) we are called to draw from does not offer mistaken advice. Check out the playbook of life (the Bible).

Find a Bible that holds in the back a "Concordance" or 'topics list'. There you can find answers to blended family common questions in areas like... patience, perseverance, hope, forgiveness, self-discipline, encouragement and most of all the promise you can trust of 'peace that surpasses all understanding.'

YES YOU CAN be a Super Bowl Champion-like Blended Family if you let our Lord God Almighty lead you in calling the signals in your family. Check out your playbook (Bible) today.

For more information on Coach Les Steckel and FCA, go to:

Want to explore hosting a Blended Family Workshop at your Church or in your Community?
Write: info@thebondedfamily.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blended Family Duct Tape Rule 2012

Facing a Stepfamily 'Harsh Word' Moment?

If you are a member of a stepfamily you know the moment.  Something has wounded you.  Somebody as done or said something inconsiderate, probably hurtful and often done in a flash moment that one wishes they could 'take back'.
So let's together all go buy a roll of 'DUCT TAPE'.  Keep it handy as a image to improve we'll explain below.  So we can implement - both for fun and serious improvement for our families - the "DUCT TAPE RULE".   The uses of duct tape have been chronicled, joked about, tested on TV and basically touted as the 'official fixer' of anything.  Well, perhaps we can add yet another line to duct tape legend.  Heard any words like these?
"Your children are not disciplined!"
"I quit.  I can't handle this marriage this way."
"You favor your kids over mine."
"Your not my Dad!"
"This stepfamily stuff stinks!"
Whether age5 or 95, we've heard of sharp tongue moment stories and outbursts like above and more.  Have any of these ever maybe been you? If so, you're not alone.  Over 23+ million stepfamily households in the USA.  So, given the normal human beings we are... probably about 5 million people today said something that should have fallen under the 'DUCT TAPE RULE'. 

Tongue Member

I can laugh and say that if I were to recognize all my former slip ups I might look like the DUCT TAPE GUY on the right.
Scripture shares it so well in James 3:5 describing the power of our spoken word (tongue)... 'the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.   Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.'
American's spend way too little time listening, sharing or communicating with our children.  Then At The Bonded Family we suggest at least 7 minutes a day. It goes fast! Make sure your sitting or standing or kneeling (if they are youngsters) and together you are at their eye level.  Eyeball to eyeball...NOT giant parent to little kid downward communication arrangement.  You'll grow closer at eye level.
Let there be no mistake...our tongue can spark a hurt, a fight or a longstanding squabble.  The more we work to have self-control, the better our family will be.  And in stepfamily dynamics, it IS IMPORTANT to take EXTRA CARE of your tongue and emotions. Every moment or situation, despite seeming big at that instant is not always... 'a hill to take the last dying stand for'.

It truly can be very hard to be still 'in the moment', yet as a potential 'TBF Family Huddle' discussion item, talk about how words can wound.  How things we say in a moment of hurt impact others.  Discuss the Golden Rule when it comes to communicating with one another in our family words. Also even  how our looks at each other. Ask kids to describe 'Mom or Dad' 'I am not happy look'.  That'll bring some laughs.   If your family is a 'word picture', 'symbolic' or 'example' type family, pull out a roll or two of DUCT TAPE and say 'Let's try the 'BLENDED FAMILY DUCT TAPE RULE' from here on out.  "Who is willing to start watching their words better?" 

Get your new family to agree that if you are about to say something...or maybe just said something harsh...go grab the duct tape roll in a way to express that you 'understand' what you said was hurtful and you wish you had duct tape ever your mouth that moment. (**IMPORTANT for 'literal' readers we are NOT recommending duct taping anyone's mouth...it's a WORD PICTURE. Smiling for you.)   

Often times, the recognize a situation can teach and coach maturity in relationships for our children.  After all, we are to 'raise them up in the way they should go.'  Mentoring and Coaching our children to 'hold their tongue' when about to be harsh will SERVE THEIR FUTURES WELL.

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