Monthly Archives: July 2017

3 Important Tips For Building A Blended Family

blended family

Merging families is tough work. My husband recently found himself the stepfather of two boys, and the parenting learning curve was steep for him. The US census reports that around 1300 new step-families are forming each day. If you find yourself in a blended family situation maybe some of these tips can help you out.

1. People don’t blend:

I personally am not a fan of the name “blended family”, as it implies you can throw a bunch of people together, blend them up and make a polished finished product. This is almost never true, outside of television and movies. It’s important to recognize that there may not be a perfect finished product right after the vows are spoken, because people aren’t fruit you can throw in a blender. People need time, forgiveness, and patience to learn to adapt in a new family situation.

A better analogy, one used in Ron L. Deal’s book “The Smart Step-Family” is that of a slow-cooker. A slow cooker doesn’t immediately take apart the attributes of one ingredient and put it with those of another, it allows time to mix the different flavors of the ingredients into one dish, while still retaining the separate ingredients’ own character and flavors. Let your family be individuals, celebrate them for who they are, and don’t expect them to lose that to be part of a new family.

2. Parents parent, Step-Parents support:

This may be hard to take in at first, but if parenting standards aren’t set by the biological parent of a child, then you can set yourself up for disaster. Step-parents should support the parent’s decision, even when they disagree, and disagreements should be discussed privately, to present a unified parenting team in front of kids. It’s hard to come into a parenting situation as an outsider, especially because every parent/child relationship has flaws. Remember, relationships aren’t created in a day, and parent/child relationships won’t change overnight, even if you have the best ideas on how to change them.

3. Patience is Key

As with the slow cooker analogy, patience is the key to a successful step-family. Studies show that it takes an average of 7 years for a family to hit the “honeymoon” stage most couples experience when they start out in marriage. Have realistic expectations, if your family finds that sweet spot earlier, celebrate! If not, just keep working at it, remembering that people, especially family, are always worth the wait.


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Simple Tips to Loving People No Matter How Difficult



We all have those people in our lives. The ones who are just really difficult to love. They might have an annoying habit that grates our nerves. Or maybe they have a negative attitude all the time, or are never respectful of our time or space. Whatever reason you have for considering that person difficult, here are a few tips on how to love them anyway.

Remember your own faults

None of us like to admit that we are probably difficult to love in some way. Maybe we have our own annoying habits that grate on other people’s nerves. We all have our unloveable moments, so when you are in that situation with your difficult person, take a breath and remember that you have your own moments of difficulty.

Try to understand their back story

Everyone has a back story, no one became who they are today overnight. If your difficult person isn’t all that close to you, try to find out where they come from. Did they have a difficult childhood? Did they just go through a painful divorce? Do they suffer from a mental health condition? Knowing more about what you are dealing with can help you navigate the best way to love that person, through the difficulty.

Speak up

Sometimes people do things that annoy us, and they never know about it, because we are too polite to say anything. If someone is doing something that is disrespectful or annoying, say something. It doesn’t have to be a fight, you can lovingly say “Listen, I love spending time with you, and I need you to know that when you do ______________ (insert annoying thing here) it really makes me feel disrespected”.

Make a choice

This sounds so simple, but often we don’t make the choice to love someone. We let them earn love, by being beneficial to us in some way, however love shouldn’t have to be earned. It is a gift best freely given. So in those moments of difficulty, take a moment and decide to love them anyway. Think about it, you want to be loved through your difficulty, so choose to love your difficult person through all the mess.

10 Practical Success Tips From Oprah Winfery


I don’t think there’s a person in the world who hasn’t heard of Oprah Winfrey and her incredible success as a daytime talk show host, actress, and philanthropist.  She overcame difficult circumstances early in life in order to chase her dreams and she’s a person of integrity who never ever gave up.  She’s now worth billions. As the saying goes “successful people leave clues”,  below are some of her proven tips.

1. Understand the right next move

If you want to move forward in life, but are being faced with problems and difficulties, the best thing to do is calmly choose the right next move.  Then move forward and pick the right next move again and again.

2. Seize your opportunities

Oprah claims she doesn’t believe in luck.  She says that luck is “preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.”(2)  When you are prepared for your moment, magical things happen.  You will have experiences in your life that will prepare you for your magical moments.

3. Realize we all make mistakes

Oprah reasons there’s no reason to hold yourself hostage to who you used to be.  You can change.  You can adapt.  You can overcome your past.  You don’t have to be that person anymore. The sooner you accept that you can change and become better, you will grow in grace as you realize that everyone makes mistakes in life– and that’s ok.

4. Work on yourself

The best way to keep going is to keep your own cup full– which means you are actively building yourself up.  Oprah encourages you to find your power, your gifts, and your talents and then to work to improve those things about yourself.

5. Run the race as hard as you can

Oprah’s advice for getting ahead is to stop worrying about what your competition is doing. Don’t look back while you’re running to see how close they are.  Don’t even worry about them!  You run your own race and run it as hard as you can(3) and everything will work out.

6. Believe

Oprah recalls a time as a child when her grandmother was hanging clothes on a line and telling her to pay attention because someday she would have to hang clothes on a line too. Oprah says she was only 4 or 5 years old at the time, but in that moment, she knew that would not be her life.  She just knew that she would do more and be more and wouldn’t be hanging clothes on a line to dry.  She believed in herself from that day forward.

7. We are all seeking the same thing

As humans, we are all trying to find our highest, truest self.  Oprah’s success came in large part because she was able to recognize early on that no person was better or worse than she was, but that we are all seeking the same thing (4) and that we are all equal.

8. Find your purpose

“If you don’t know your purpose, then that needs to be your number one goal.”  Life without purpose is a life that wanders to and fro without any goals or objectives and without really accomplishing anything.  Figure out what your purpose is– why you were sent here– and then do it!

9. Stay grounded

Oprah’s show, and all the other things she’s gone on to do because of it, came because she was always able to stay grounded.  Her greatest desire was to connect with other people, to show them compassion and kindness and her viewers could relate to that.  Be the kind of person that other people look up to you (5) and you will do a great deal of good in this life.

10. “Relax, it’s going to be ok.”

Oprah wrote a letter to her younger self and in it, she recalls when she landed her first big job as a reporter.  In a photo, she looks calm and smiling, but on the inside she was feeling very nervous.  Oprah tells her younger self to just, “Relax girl, it’s all going to be ok.”  It’s easy to worry and stress, but remember that you will look back with fondness on those moments.  They are the moments that make you who you are.