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Help for Stepfamilies with a Christian twist
Blending Blog

The Miracles of Christmas

If the Christmas story happened today, would anyone even notice?

A teenaged couple is out on the streets. They aren’t married yet – mostly because everyone keeps telling them to stay in school - but she’s pregnant. He doesn’t want to leave his girlfriend, even though he’s pretty sure the baby isn’t his. So they set out on their own, looking for a better life north of the border. On the way, she goes into labor. They talk about going to the ER, but with no insurance, and Immigration breathing down their necks, that thought is too scary. So they have their baby in the middle of the night under a bridge.

Some guys that work the night shift at the local convenience store are outside having a cigarette, and notice that there is an unusually bright star overhead. Suddenly they hear the cry of a baby, coming from the direction of the overpass. They go and investigate – and are awed by the sight of a young couple and an infant. The guys get on their cell phones and start texting their friends. One calls for an ambulance. The air is filled with the sound of ringtones.

The story of the first Christmas was filled with miracles: a young Jewish girl having a baby in a stable; her frightened fiancé Joseph not turning his back on her (even though he knew the baby couldn't be his); shepherds being woken up by angels; the heavens resounding with the sound of mysterious singing; a bright, wandering star; magi knowing what was happening without the benefit of CNN, email or cell phone alerts. And let’s not forget the fact that we’re still discussing these events 2000 years later!

People complain today that there aren’t any more miracles. Really? I believe miracles occur all the time, but in our world - with wireless internet, space stations, organ transplants and trillion dollar financial dealings – it is just a lot harder to impress us. Joyce Meyer put it beautifully recently when she said, “If He needs to, God can grow bananas on telephone poles!”

We take so much for granted: overnight shipping, text messaging, microwave popcorn, the fact that we are free to choose which Christmas Eve service we attend for worship… the list is endless.

This Christmas, look for all of the miracles in your life and in your blending family. Remember why we still celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth so long ago. And don’t take the miracles for granted.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matthew 5:8



The sounds of summer

All four kids and one boyfriend are hanging out here today, along with our two dogs AND the stepdog...chaos doesn't even begin to describe the atmosphere or noise level... And somehow I'm supposed to be working. Sigh.

Related by heart

This past month we celebrated a Quincinera and a graduation! It has been blended family fun galore!

In May, my stepdaughter turned 15, which in her Mom's native Peru, means a great big celebration - a Quincinera. We ate Peruvian food and danced the night away - although my hips complained the next morning that I "salsa-ed" way too much! I am always impressed by the warm welcome I receive from the Peruvian side of the family - hugs and kisses from aunts, uncles and grandparents who speak no English, but consider me family and treat me as such.

Ten days later, we were all in Las Vegas for my daughter's high school graduation! That meant dinner with kids, stepkids, in-laws, out-laws, parents, stepparents and nieces on my ex's side of the family, and I was again blown away by the love and acceptance shown by everyone. It was really fun gathering everyone for dinner with my parents, my current in-laws and my first mother-in-law all together! My daughter was thrilled to have so much family around to help her celebrate!

The only snag in all of this was trying to figure out how to answer my son's question, "Mom, how am I related to all these people?" 

I suppose we're related by heart.




Happy Birthday, Alice!

Today is Ann B. Davis' birthday. Who is that, you ask? Ms. Davis played Alice, the Brady's housekeeper, on the TV show The Brady Bunch!

We who live in blended families KNOW that life is nothing like The Brady Bunch. First of all, how many of us have a live-in housekeeper like Alice? Very few, I'd guess. Alice was a great cook, kept the house neat and tidy (even with 6 kids running around), helped the kids with homework, and helped Mr. Brady with his schedule. She loved the whole entire family, and chose not to marry Sam the butcher because the Brady's needed her more. Alice was always polite, very wise and sometimes snarky. Everyone in America liked Alice.  I always kind of wished I had an "Alice."

Ah well...I guess we have to pick up the slack and do all the "Alice work" ourselves. Besides the housework, the most important things we can learn from Alice is to help our stepkids with their homework, keep our spouse's schedule on track, put our family's needs at the top of our priority list, and to choose to love our entire family. Think like Alice (it's OK to be snarky occasionally!)

Census and surveys

Well, I'm sure you did your patriotic duty and filled out your census forms. I found it sort of confusing - not the form - just trying to decide which of our children actually lived in our home more than 50% of the time on April 1st! That tends to change from day to day, you know?

Anyway, there is a huge survey available for stepfamilies to make their voices heard! StepfamilySystems.com is asking 10,000 stepfamilies to participate - and you can too!

Go to: http://stepfamilysystems.com/id1.html, fill out the survey and email it in. You'll be helping with a large research project. It's kind of nice to have someone actually care what you're stepfamily is going through!! You aren't alone!

Ciao!

Good Friday

It's Good Friday. My kids asked me why we call it "good" when it was the day that Jesus was crucified. Shouldn't it be called "Bad Friday,"  or "Black Friday" or something more dire?

It's an excellent question. But we have to remember that while Jesus was crucified, and He did die on Friday, He didn't stay dead! He is risen! He conquered death and was not in the tomb on Sunday! He conquered death - not just for Himself, but for us. And that makes it Good.

Have a blessed Easter!

Time in a Bottle

Do you remember the song from the 70's by Jim Croce, called Time in a Bottle? OK, I guess I'm dating myself here, but bear with me. There's a line in the song that goes something like,

"If I could save time in a bottle,
the first thing that I'd like to do, 
is save every day until eternity,
and then I would spend them with you." 

Well, guess what? We all have the same 24 hours in each day and we can't bottle them (or the energy that toddlers have, much to my annoyance!) So who are you spending time with today??

Love by any other name

You may or may not be aware of the Love Languages. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five Love Languages. They are:
  • words of affirmation,
  • acts of service,
  • receiving/giving gifts,
  • quality time,
  • physical touch. 
And, you have a primary love language - one of the five resonates with you more deeply than the other four.  Seldom do a husband and wife will have the same love language.  We tend to speak our own language. So think about how you know that you are loved. Do you feel most cherished when your spouse gives you a present, or when they tell you how fabulous you are? Do you appreciate hugs more than your spouse offering to do the laundry? Whichever one resonates most with you is probably your primary love language.

What about your spouse? What about your kids and stepkids? We each have a different primary love language. Do a little detective work and figure out how your family members most want to be loved - then try speaking their language!


Merry, Merry!

I just want to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas, and a wonderful New Year.
Be Blessed,
~Susan



Being thankful

It's the season of Thanksgiving.

As a special project
this month, I've chosen to report on my Facebook page everyday one thing I am thankful for.  I have no shortage of amazing things in my life to be grateful for: love, my husband, our kids, my parents, God, flowers, sunsets, the telephone, my dogs (well, at least on a good day!) music, laughter, children, crayons, colors, the fact that I can get out of bed each morning, sushi, Listerine, diamonds, art, fish...you get the idea. I could go on like this all year!

So what are you thankful for??