Monday, December 22, 2008

We (Wii) Are Family ! GAMES TOGETHER Can Raise Up Blended Family Life! Even improve VISION!


There is all kinds of research that set forth caution and warning of too much video game time for youth. Likewise I've read studies that the games can actually help in some cases mental quickness and acuity. XBox, PSP, PS2, Wii, Nitendo DS and others do seem to grab a large slice of America's children's attention. Many parents limit video game and TV time, and that is wise counsel.

It's Christmas time. More opportunity to bond as a family. Use it or lose it. We encourage you to make the best of the time together.

At The Bonded Family we enthusiastically suggest blended family game time. Treasure the time. Plan for it. Let it be a special time unique to your family. A TRADITION for your family. Perhaps play a game prior to a Family Summit time (we talk about this in conferences). Use the time as a catalyst to unity and fun. Sometimes everyone 'playing' together can help bring down 'strongholds'.

We believe a family that plays together and prays together....... will stay together.

The Bible holds solid counsel to check where our treasures, our hearts, our eyes and our spirit's are. Attitude is everything. Trust God to change hearts and attitudes.

In Matthew 6, verses 21 and 22 holds a message to blended families. To treasure one another by 'seeing' one another and the 'whole body' of the new blended family with good eyes, not critical or negative eyes.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light."
MATTHEW 6 : 21-22

God provides an important message to any age family member there. Parents and Children. Where are our eyes focused?? Importantly in the Christmas season, or any holiday time, we'd like to encourage with this message and include Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles or other people who sometimes impact thinking. If our EYES work to 'look for the good' instead of the shortcomings or flaws, then the 'whole body' of the new family will be more filled with happiness.

In our household, and we have heard from others, that video games that include many family members - children and adults - actually brings laughter, joy, teamwork, playing honorably,fun rivalries and foremost... BONDING MEMORIES.

We own a Wii game. Four controllers, means four people at once. (We are not endorsing one 'system' over another just complementing Nitendo Wii for it's games and inclusive ability) Besides enjoying and seeing via family game time that I still posess "age defying lightning quickness" -- hmmm...along with humility? :-) -- we so enjoy the laughter and joy that comes from the 'time together'. There is nothing better than high fives and belly laughter to bring people together. That is the key...the TIME TOGETHER. TIME TOGETHER can equal BONDING MEMORIES.

Now...there can sometimes be reluctant participants mostly spirit of the heart, stubborness, fear, etc. Pretty much anything the evil one can muster against your family. Look UPward and ask God, then look INward and see what your heart holds.

Remember John 10:10 (grab your Bible and check it out). satan wants to take out your family, wants to hurt you and destroy your family life. YOU CAN WIN THIS BATTLE. Jesus came that we might have Life! And He means for us all - when we trust in Him - blended family life!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008



We always seek to further the awareness of the challenges often faced in blended family life. President Bush started the FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES program and funding arena. President-elect Obama has expressed publically that he sees the value and believes in the work of ministries that are making a difference in America.

Rarely do we reach into Washington DC, yet we do always encourage people to vote and make their voices heard. That is part of good citizenship that all parents should encourage their families to be a part of.

Presently, even the U.S. Census doesn't even specifically track step-families in America. They do not extend exacting questions. Awareness of the uniqueness of situations is important to improving the nation.

We join a host of other organizations nationally, whether faith-based or secular, encouraging the government to become more aware of the unique family dynamics and situations of step-families, and consider them in funding programs that educate and improve society. We do know of Congressmen who have extended an ear to hearing more.

We have worked with the Faith-Based Initiatives office in Washington DC, and know they hold interest in step-family programs. We simply would like to see that continue.

Click below and vote.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blended Family - HOPE + The Will to Win!

Family Experience, Sports, HOPE and Faith...
Pat Williams Knows Blended Families !

To find success and blessings in your Blended Family...observe, listen and learn from those who have proven the ability to rise up, and are sharing their success. Watch for the level of PERSEVERANCE AND HOPE in their hearts. A 'Will to Win' that comes from God, because the trust is in God instruction, not man's.

We have experienced in our own family great joy at times... and... due to the normal dynamics step-families often face... we have experiences some trying times. Be encouraged. That's normal. Be strong and courageous. Trust God. You will get through it.

Romans 5, verses 3 to 5 reminds and encourages us when times get tough... "...but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." .... ROMANS 5 : 3-5

I had the privilege to spend some time and get to know Pat Williams in 2005 during a Ministry Conference that he spoke at. Pat Williams is the Executive Vice President of the Orlando Magic Basketball team, an author of 50 books, AND in a blended family. I didn't realize prior to that visit with Pat that he, through re-marriage and adoption, had walked through the dynamics of large families and is a terrific Father to 19 children. A truly encouraging and entertaining book for a fun read is You've Got to Be Kidding!: Real-Life Parenting Advise from a Mom and Dad of Nineteen Find it and buy this book at our online Bookstore for The Bonded Family

We spent time talking about our ministry - The Bonded Family - and our heart and passion for serving Blended Families. Our vision is to have Pat Williams one day speak at a major conference. Pat Williams understands step-family life. He has experience bringing together children from different backgrounds and circumstances. He also, foremost, knows that FAITH is the key principle to instill into a FAMILY.

Faith best can provide the 'will to win'...because the 'Head Coach' - the Lord God Almighty knows the best ways to win. The Bible is the 'instruction manual'. It is THE BOOK. Pat Williams knows 'the Book' (Bible) If you also reference and dig into THE INSTRUCTION'll soon rejoice in knowing that we always win in the end. Your family can too. Do not quit. That ROMANS 5 :3-5 Scripture will come to life. Watch out for discouragement... the evil one wants you to fail...God wants you to succeed in your new family relationships. We do too. Listen to this video clip from Pat...and be encouraged!

Pat Williams website is
We encourage you to check it out. Pat is a man who loves the Lord, his family, and those around him. He is grounded and gifted and wants to encourage others. You will be blessed by any of his books.

Also, visit our blended family ministry site when time allows.

If your church or community would like to host a B3 Conference - from Broken to Blended to Bonded - contact us at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

God Can Refresh Blended Families!

Rain Refreshed the Morning Sky.
GOD CAN Refresh Your Blended Family!

This morning as I was driving, I noticed the crispness of the air, the sparkle of the morning as the sun was rising. The clouds were parting. The sun was shining brightly through. It was a 'Wow' type moment. The previous night's heavy rain had cleansed the atmosphere. It reminded me of the promise that God's mercies are new every morning. That HE can shine brightly through the step-family struggles of life. If we trust Him and seek Him.

Just then the song 'Who Am I' by Casting Crowns came on. The video is below. There I was, smiling, singing, basking in the new morning sun and the song. I was pumped up. God was giving me a special encouragement treat that moment.

Be still for one moment. Focus on the words of this song.

WHO AM I? That God would care to help me through my struggles. Catch ME when I'm falling. Know my hurts and troubles. Care. Want to be there for me?

At The Bonded Family we work with families all over the country to set forth HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT through growing in one's faith and trust in God. Given the current economic challenges, the struggles are heightened. Now, more than ever, there needs to be a Rock to stand on.

God is the best way to take a step-family...from Broken to Blended to Bonded. If we BOND to God, lift up our issues to Him, it is easier to see the 'new morning sun' and understand it. No, all the trials, challenges, hurts, struggles and pain won't just go away. We understand that. Rebecca and I still feel weekly the fallout and the consequences of family life apart from how God had originally planned for it. What you can be assured in, is that His plan for us, for you and your family, is a good one if we ask Him to help us in our new circumstances. This I can tell you. I am weak. HE is strong. If the worldly solutions were the better answer, why would the divorce rate in step-families hover at 70%, while the divorce rate of husbands and wives that pray TOGETHER daily be less than 10%. Do the math. :-) Trust the Lord.

God is the God of second chances. We can focus on the trouble, or Him. It's like as a child playing tag, and there is a base to run to where you are 'safe'. God is that 'base', He is the Rock. His Word is true. His promises real. His strength and protection are there if you call upon Him. He is in the fresh start business. The miracle business. We have seen it. We have lived it. YOU CAN TOO.

BELIEVE AGAIN ! Visit us at

If you have friends or family in step-family situations in NW Arkansas... call them and tell them about Nov 14 and 15th. See next blogpost about the National Center for Fathering Championship Fathering Conference.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dads in Blended Families - NW Arkansas

Blended Family / Step-Family Dads Need Encouragement.
NW Arkansas Championship Fathering Partnership.

The National Center for Fathering is hosting a CHAMPIONSHIP FATHERING event in Northwest Arkansas on November 14th and 15th at Christian Life Cathedral in Fayetteville Arkansas.

I am blessed to speak frequently to groups about blended family dynamics on a national level and the impact it is having on families in our country. God is opening doors to allow Rebecca and I, through The Bonded Family to continue to offer resources, encouragement and hope that we can see is impacting lives in our nation.
The recent 'economic crisis' only places more stress upon families. Blended Families then can be sometimes doubly impacted because their lives are touched by multiple homes and financial stress situations. God's strength, courage, patience and understanding only becomes a greater need in times like this. Through our efforts in partnership with the American Blended Family Association we are raising the level of awareness. God is also providing a path to serve through that, that may have not been available.

Another great group we partner with is the National Center for Fathering. Carey Casey is the CEO there and is doing mighty work across the nation. Through their CHAMPIONSHIP FATHERING Experience and conferences Dads lives - their families too - are being changed. I am blessed to be Carey's friend and a partner in seeking to serve Dads and families as the National Center for Fathering provides super resources for Dads, Single Dads and Step-Dads.

For blended family life and fatherhood, the combination of NCF efforts and our own efforts seeks to provide encouragement to Dads. 'Dads in Challenging Situations' (Divorced Dads, Single Dads, Step-Dads,etc) is an excellent session during the special Championship Fathering event. It is exciting to see God move in these Dads hearts. If you are in a 'challenging situation', you will come away blessed and feeling more able to face those dynamics and challenges unique to you. God has allowed me to 'take a mess and turn it into His message' of hope and encouragement.

FOR THE MRS....'The Power of the Parenting Team' session is Friday night and we encourage Wives and Moms to join the men for this fun and educational 'Date Night'.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yes You Can FIREPROOF your Blended Family ! Great Movie Coming Soon !

What will be one of the most memorable and marriage blessing movies in a long time will be released on September 26th, 2008... FIREPROOF.


FIREPROOF the movie is from the creators of 'Facing the Giants'. The Bonded Family is planning in Kansas City and Wichita special FIREPROOF showings via a 'Fireproof My Blended Family' special ticket arrangements.

Starring Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea as a couple on the verge of breakdown, only to see God work mightily in their marriage. Enough said. You must see and feel this marriage, then let God do the rest. Together, you can make a long-term difference in your family relationships and marriage … starting with yours!

Visit the official movie website NOW:

To learn more about the Kansas City FIREPROOF MY BLENDED FAMILY write us at:

As we always say...and this movie will tie into the message...

GOD CAN...take a step-family...From Broken to Blended to BONDED!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blended Families? Do your struggles seem big to you? Wonder if God know about it? Does He care? Can God help my step-family?

Blended Families...does the 'size and scale' of your problems and challenges seem very big? Please know...our problems are tiny compared to the universe.


"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God." LUKE 12: 6-9 Remember not only does God know and love the smallest of sparrows, but He knows ever hair on your head...every planet in every universe...and handles it all. HE is God. He knows what you are reading right now here. What you are thinking. God CAN handle your step-family trials and hurts and challenges and struggles...and answer your prayers. We must ACKNOWLEDGE and TRUST in that.

Bring a B3 Conference to your community or church. Contact us at Visit our website at


Your Blended Family universe and YOU can rotate around God and be on track.

GOD CAN...take a step-family...


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blended Family Marriage Training --- Invest Pennies Upfront vs. $100 Bills Later

"Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand."
PROVERBS 19 : 20-21


Some of you may remember that old television commercial where the man says "you can pay me now...or pay me later" inferring that doing it right upfront is the best way to go. We speak that same thought as we encourage you to...
LET GOD LEAD THE your Blended Family.

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH READING out of three step-family's will stumble, lose hope, give up, fail and get divorced. We do NOT want that to be YOUR FAMILY. Let's together turn around a mess, and turn it into a message of God's strength.

Often times, step-families wait until AFTER the challenges start to seek any counsel or help or ideas or wisdom. It isn't about money, it's about hearts and relationships. But spending a $150 for a weekend conference for step-family training vs. $3,000 or more for months of counseling just makes common sense. We say be like a Boy Scout...'Be Prepared'.

On our website at we speak to our current trend in American culture. About how 'SOMEBODY HAS SWITCHED THE PRICE TAGS.' What we should value as highest, our family...we spend little time and money preparing or finding out the 'best practices' in the stepfamily arena.

In America today people study, research, 'do their homework' on:
-- cars
-- 'best practices' and the latest innovations for their business
-- plasma or LCD TV's
-- sports camps for the kids
-- vacation destinations or locations
-- stocks, mutual funds, financial tools
-- companies to go to work for
-- or even GPS devices that 'show us the way on the journey'

We spend hours and days investing to make sure we 'get it right'.

YET...when people are about to step into a 'life-long' commitment with their new family...a step-family scenario that is known to hold challenges...we see people just go get the marriage license.

Our hope what and we encourage - and are encouraging government to likewise encourage those seeking a license - is to invest some 'pennies' upfront... so they can find ways to avoid 'hundreds of dollars' at a counselor or worse yet attorneys.
The divorce rate for re-marriage is over 70% within 5 1/2 years. Spend the pennies. Save the hundreds. Find the joy. See God's goodness and power in your family.

Our hope is that in the near future blended family / step–family couples will see that one of the greatest wedding gifts they can give themselves, and their children, is to invest in a 'date weekend' with a faith-based blended family seminar or conference. It will be 'the romantic thing to do'. Doesn't have to be at one of our conferences from The Bonded Family, there are many good ones out there.

A blended family pre-marriage, and then post marriage program, should be as much a part of the new family as going on vacation. The peace, joy, relief, understanding, sharing and experience you will gain will 'feel' like the joy of vacation.

We would suggest that one of the GREATEST GIFTS A GRANDPARENT CAN GIVE...would be a REGISTRATION fee to a conference somewhere for their soon to be married son or daughter...know matter how old they are. Then you truly, as /Parents/Grandparents, are INVESTING in the health and welfare of your Grandchildren and Children.

In 1 TIMOTHY 4:6...scripture tells us "If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed."

To learn more about our work ... write us at
or visit

GOD CAN...take a stepfamily...From Broken to Blended to BONDED !

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blended Family Legacy in the Mirror


As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.
Proverbs 27 : 19

The incredible smile and inner beauty in the reflection of the young woman's face holds the level of joy and peace we all would like to see when we look in a mirror.

In step-family life, our countenance doesn't always reflect the true level of goodness that we generally hold in our hearts. Quite often parents misunderstand parents, parents misconstrue the facial expressions or comments of children, children take a simple scolding and feel 'thrown out of the house' by a step-parent... and even dogs and cats sense the tension and run fast under the couch or to another room, cause they thinks big trouble is at hand.

Why? Because the 'volume is turned up' in stepfamily life. Normal emotions and looks seem like giant emotions and looks. A look or a comment can mistakenly come across to someone as a scowl or a scream. Everything gets multiplied due to the carrying of baggage, the brokenness and hurt that can exist from either the parent or child's past. If we are aware of that...we can handle the 'volume turned up' scenario a little better.

We discuss this common dynamic in our workshops and conferences as not only being a behavioral aspect of step-family life but also being part of 'spiritual warfare'. It really does take place. There is good and evil in the world. Face it, know it, be prepared for it...and you can handle the moment better. Let there be no mistake...the evil one does want you and your blended family to fail. Divorce is a good thing to the devil. he (I never give him a capital letter) leads the charge in the family battle zone to take out your family. Do you know anyone else who thinks divorce is good?

You can win this battle! You have a bigger, stronger warrior to call upon if you trust God to provide you 'strength in the moment'. We're not saying there are some fundamental underlying and natural psychological family aspects to understand here...but God can 'calm the storm on the waters'. He did part the Red Sea. He did rise again on the third day. Ask Him in the moment of the storm.

God does not want you or I to be discouraged, upset, dissatisfied or unhappy. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. That's a promise you can trust. We are to look up to Him for answers... not unlike the young boy alondside his father in the bathroom. The son 'wants to be like Dad'. The Dad 'wants to care for his son'. The Son trusts the Father. That's where we should keep our focus as parents. Seek to be the strong Father, and a good listener to THE FATHER'S voice. Our Heavenly Father.

Seek to be the wise parent. Whether biological or step-child, children are the same in God's eyes. If they are the same in God's eyes, then let them be the same in yours. Yes, it can be hard. It's hard for the children too. Parents must lead.
It is important for parents to take the lead in letting God be the foundation and level set point for blended families. If you have a daughter - we have three - picture her as a young adult gazing into a mirror. Do you want to see her looking lost? Do you want her to go forth into life with a foundation that will last? What will our children's future hold? Can we look up to God and know that He can make a difference. YES.

In a recent blog post I shared a statistic that is worth repeating. THE HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO PRAY TOGETHER DAILY HAVE A LESS THAN EIGHT PER CENT (8%) CHANCE OF GETTING DIVORCED. Take that to the bank...or overdraw your life account and face the fees associated with trying things the broken ways.

God Can take a stepfamily from Broken to Blended to Bonded !


Climbing the Blended Family Mountains!

Then we'll...See You at the Top !

Zig Ziglar's signature phrase is "See You at the Top!" Those of us who admire the 81 year old motivational phenom, know that his faith guides his life, and he credits the Lord with his rise to the pinnacle of speaking success. Zig links himself to Christ. As we have, Zig has seen God's goodness and glory in his life. He still teaches a Sunday School class at his home church, Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas TX. He arranges his schedule to make sure he is available to serve his home church. He stands strong in his faith as even in secular, non faith-based arenas, he always draws the large crowds to understand his ascension to the top of public speaking and business comes from his sold out faith in Christ.

BLENDED FAMILIES too can ascend to success by climbing the seemingly high mountains by hooking themselves to Christ...and each other by prayer and trusting God. When people are serious about climbing, the fully understand the gear that is needed. A 'Carabiner' is a way to hook each other together. It is generally locked. Can't be easily unhooked. That carabiner creates trust. The two people can trust they are on the ascension of the mountain together. There is safety that if one stumbles, the other is there. Then if they link their carabiner to God, they have found the ultimate safety cord.

In our seminars, we give out 'Carabiners' as a symbolic statement that the Husband and Wife need to be hooked together in their marriage. Neither outside pressure, internal family dynamics, nor children issues will allow them to fall. The 'carabiner' is a reminder that God has place the couple now together, without possibility of 'unhooking'. Then we place into the picture the ultimately third carabiner hook up to God. He is the total trusted safe and solid connection and the absolute link up.
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.
A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Let's face it. Blending a family offers unique dynamics that rarely can be understood unless you are actually in the arena. We have been blessed to live through our own blended family ascent, facing the trials and stopping to enjoy the family 'vistas' that brought us great joy along the climb. Rebecca and I are absolutely 100% hooked together and our 'carabiner' is hooked to the Lord God Almighty.

Know this. I have stumbled fully at times in my life. Only by the grace of God am I climbing mountains today. You can too. It takes turning around your life and accepting that we need Jesus Christ in our lives.


Bring some 'Carabiners' to your church or local community.
Visit us today at ......
or email us at .........

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blended Family Peace = A Praying Dad & Mom blended families...when things seem very tough...and you can't figure it out...or find the right words...emotions may be hot...the 'step-family dynamics' are swirling...this is an alternative that will work...if you have enough faith to 'be still and know that God is God'.

HE can handle it. REMEMBER...the Red Sea did part.
Smile, this too shall pass.

Exodus 14:13-14
"Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest."

the Red Sea did part and they passed through the challenge of the day...and the enemy they thought would destroy them.

And God's Promise to us for peace...if we lift up our prayers to Him in Phillipians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

We have seen in our own family God's hand...and His power...and His peace..and His Goodness and Grace. YOU CAN TOO.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tell Me When Blended Families Get a Fresh Start?

Sometimes blended family parents feel banged up, beat themselves up emotionally, believe in a lie that they can't go on and are failing, and are struggling to find answers to lifes most important questions. They feel like 'man...we need a fresh start'.

The answer to that is in the pictures above...and the message at the end.

Our life and experience leads us to share there are indeed answers. They can be found in the ideas, concepts, provision and precepts of the Bible, in prayer, and in trusting that God is bigger than the challenge one is facing. Most of the time God is the 'last place' people turn. Funny how only when our lives, our nation, a family member or friend is on the we turn to God.

A recent Kansas City Star newspaper poll found that 91% of there readers said 'they believe in God', but only 28% go to church regularly. People know God exists...but place Him on the shelf for when He is needed. That is kind of like having an M-16 rifle in your tent, and charging the enemy hill with a slingshot. We say... use the darn firepower if you want to win the battles.

We are trying to help families reverse the trend when thinking of 'looking upward'. We say "go first and go often". Kind of like voting in Chicago. (just kidding to all you Chicago readers) Seriously...we have seen it in our lives and the lives of others.

In our workshops and conferences people come to us with stories that encourage us that through our own examples and stories they were 'renewed' and start each day new.

Now we accept that some people will now quickly tune us out and say "I am out of here...not gonna listen to this God thing... Hey pal I got real problems!" OK... to those I ask read on, let me share documentable and proven research that is not from me. Common knowledge exists that the divorce rate hovers at 50%, whether non-believer or even yes, evangelical Christians. Just going to church doesn't make the difference. But check this out... time and time again studies (i.e. Barna Group) have shown that a husband and wife who prays daily or regularly together... the rate is below 10%. Below 10%! Is that a powerful weapon in the battle for victory or what??

As a Father to six children in a blended family, I would not be truthful if I didn't share that I have done and said some real bonehead things. We all have.
Our human nature simply is incapable of not doing or saying things we would like to then have a 'do-over' chance. I am thankful that the 'do-over' period is the next day. Apologize if needed. Ask for forgiveness and understanding if that is possible.

So that leads us to the FRESH START. We share what we believe should be the FOUNDATION and the ROCK of every family and that is the very basic importance that only God can create the unique and special bond in a blended family.

God does allow step-families - the parents and children - to have a fresh start daily. It's in His promise...the Word of God. God does promise you a 'new morning'. He is faithful. Stop beating yourself up and accept the 'new morning'. Make it better.

Scriptures shouts out to us every morning when we see the sun rise anew. We are told in Lamentations 3 : 21 -23 the following.

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Blended Family Research Increases Knowledge, Understanding & Wisdom

We came across what we believe to be a solid Blended Family article done by LINDA CARROLL, who does research and writes for MSNBC.

The story offers knowledge...and with knowledge comes understand and hopefully brings wisdom. You can take this as encouragement because you can keep hope flowing as you understand that your blended family is not alone. There are over 23 million households in America facing similar challenges. (see ABFA) Linda Carroll's article notes that in most new step-family situations teens struggle most with new step-parents. In particular her research finds teenage boys seem to have the most issues with 'step-fathers'.

We hear this often as we coach and work with blended families. We also saw it at times in our own family. Being a teenager is hard enough in any situation, given the maturing process, newfound freedoms and responsibilities, peer pressure, hormones and relationships. If internal 'whom do I choose as best' loyalty issues arise, or if disrespect is shown and modeled from the other homes bio-parent(s) toward your step-parenting role ... troubled waters will prevail. Parents are to be the leaders and the model that children observe and emulate. Be a positive influence. It will take a patient, positive parent who trusts God to shine brighest and bring long-term benefit to the child. If the struggle is one that maybe a 'peace summit' meeting between child and parents will help, do so. Remember foremost that Husband and Wife must stand strong house divided. Take disagreements into a private room. If the negative influences are external, we encourage all blended family parents to pray and rise above personal feelings, hurts, frustrations, and upset with the 'other house' and make sure you coach and emulate 'respect and honor' in both families home.

IF YOU ARE A TEEN and reading this...we ask you walk the extra mile and try to start each day new. We came across an interesting site for Children of Divorce.
They have surveys there. Children are not alone either.

Here is a link to the article we mentioned that we want to credit as fine work:

Friday, February 29, 2008

Blended Family Baby Leads The Way

On our Wedding Day in the top picture you see 5 wonderful children, as part of our blended family wedding.
We encourage that to happen for all couples who are creating a 'step-family'. It is an important passage, a value and connection that takes place not only that day, but years later when the picture is viewed and better understood. It can be a positive message to a child that they fully are 'a part of something God has His hand upon'. It also allows them to be a part of the specialness of your wedding day.

The second picture holds the same wonderful five children at the wedding our our oldest. The picture also holds the girl in the flower girl wedding dress... the 'baby', the 'Ours', the sixth child that was and is wanted, and cherished, by all. This "Ours" daughter is often called the 'glue' of the family because her innocence, joy, and love for all equally offers a special unity to the family. She belongs equally to all in the family, and that is a gift from God to all of us.

Everyone loves her, hugs her with the most special of hugs, and there are no step-family dynamics or feelings outside of pure love for her.

I remember the pre-Thanksgiving night in 1996 when we gathered the five children in the living room... then ages 4,5,6, 10 and 13... for a special 'family meeting'. We shared that they were going to have a little brother or sister. Their smiles and eyes rose up, and if one could see into the heavenlies, you could see their very spirits unite together in a special way. They would have something 'together' and equal. Our youngest child shouted 'I won't be the baby anymore!' and all laughed with joy at the innocence and pure thrill in his voice.

Much has been written and psychologically analyzed about adding an "ours" child to the mix of a new blended family. Should we have a child together? When? What will it do to the other children? How will they feel? Is an 'ours' child a good thing in a blended family? First pray and be sure that the foundation of the marriage is resting with God and solid is your first pillar in the decision. If the love you have for 'family', and 'each other' and 'children' is secure...then we shout out 'Trust God and know He doesn't make mistakes.' Don't let the doubt and fear creep in. Fear and doubt come only from the devil who wants you to fail anyway, right? Know this. Don't anticipate battles with it.

REMEMBER to grab your Bible and head to EXODUS 14 : 13-14

Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

The LORD can and will fight your battles for you if you trust Him. We have seen this happen in our own lives and in the lives of other step-families. Some will doubt this. Remember...the Red Sea did part. :-)

We believe children in step-families truly in their 'heart of hearts' long to 'belong' and seek 'togetherness' in a complete way. They do want the acceptance, connection, and peaceful relationships because that is a basic child-like attitude... to want to have that special sense of family. That's why at The Bonded Family we are proponents of including children in the wedding, and yes, if an 'ours' child is wanted, to trust that God is with you in that.

We do not think that hyper-analysis of how an "ours" will affect the overall family should be allowed to be more than that...hyper analysis. In our own lives, and in working with hundreds of blended families across the nation, we have found that it is most often 'outside interference' that creates any rejection of that basic need to safely belong together. Taht interference is common and damages children and the new family. It is something you have to live through long term and trust God can and will handle and not our 'self'.

We can share that the positive value to a blended family of having a new 'ours' is big. The 'ours' child not only unites the 'yours' and 'mine' together, but it offers the marriage - which should come first in God's eyes - a special gift that no one can take away. There is nothing more special than seeing these six together.

It is by chance that we became a blended family, but by God's Hand we became a family. We would encourage those parents contemplating have an 'ours' child to first look at their marriage and place it in God's hand. Then joyfully and robustly go for it!.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl...Blended Families Win !


Blended Families Win !

As I write this Super Bowl XLII has just begun, the Giants - the underdog - are driving, and all over America many are cheering. I don't know who will win this game, but I do know that in most cases we are a nation that traditionally shouts out 'America loves the underdog!'

Sometimes in the dynamics of stepfamily life, an 'underdog' role is one that is worn by families, parents or children as often the 'arena of life' presents itself with bumps and challenges. This blog entry is about how to find the way to victory..... in the Super Bowl of life.

Speaking of Super Bowl participants, I want to share a fantastic book and it's relationship to step-family life. In this last year 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. Anyyone 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, encouragment 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:

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:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blended Families and Sunflowers?

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

They Look 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' 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:

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.

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.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blended Family Tree

See Your Blended Family Tree Grow
by Dan Snell, Co-Founder of The Bonded Family Ministry

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.