The Blended Tribe

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary babe. Two years down!! I know that’s not a long time, but it feels like a lifetime already. We’ve been through so much in the last few years together. We leaned on one another through the hardest time of our lives, and we made it through and ended up together. Now, as we have the challenging task of raising a blended family together, we seem to pull through and become stronger each day. I know there are so many challenges ahead of us, but I believe in us.

I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else. I love you and here’s to us!  ♥


 

BE GRATEFUL FOR THE CHALLENGE

Challenge

I listened to a great message yesterday. It hit me hard especially after having a very revealing week. We went to our counseling session on Tuesday, and it was a doozy for me. The counselor finally asked me a little about my past marriage, and after explaining it to her, it ended in her telling me some fascinating things about my previous relationship and what I’m suffering with now as a result of it. I’ll share more about this in another post. It hit me pretty hard though, and I’ve kept quiet for a little bit after finding out the information that I did.  Just need some time to reflect and wrap my head around it all.

Fast forward to church yesterday…….we had a guest speaker. He started talking about how the things that are crippling in our lives are in fact the things that we need to be most thankful about. He was basically saying that the people in our lives that have wronged us are the people that we are learning the most from. The most challenging people that we deal with are the people that are helping us grow and learn. My husband and I had to laugh out loud in church because right away we both know who challenges me the most right now and to start looking at this person as a blessing from God, isn’t the most natural thing to do right at the moment, I’m going to try though.

So, thinking about your past, you can probably quickly think about the people in your life that have wronged you, hurt you, challenged you. Instead of wishing you never would’ve come into contact with that person, be grateful that you did. For through that person you were taught something or are being taught something. It’s a complete shift in thinking. I challenge you to try it and see what happens in your life!

♥ The Blended Tribe


 

DON’T GET PLAYED BY YOUR KIDS!

When your step kid talks crap about the weekend with his other parent, we tell him to stop talking badly about his other parent, and he says “it’s ok because he does the same thing about us when he’s not with us.”
What’s the problem here?!?! We’ve known all along about the crap talking, but hearing him admit it is nice I guess.
DON’T GET PLAYED BY YOUR KIDS!! If they are talking crap to you about the other parent, chances are they are talking crap about you too. Kids are going to try to use any angle they can get. The best way to deal with this situation is to stop them! They have no business being disrespectful to the other parent. You need to let them know you’re not going to tolerate it. We try to turn whatever they are saying into a positive thing. That way we are letting them vent still, but trying to make the child see the positive in what the other parent was trying to do. Or you just stop them and tell them they have no business being disrespectful to another adult, especially their parent. You choose!! Whatever you do, don’t play into it and don’t get played by your kids!

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY DIVORCE


 

 

 

Going through my divorce was a life-changing experience for me. I feel like I learned so much from it and took so much away from the entire experience. It makes you take a good hard look at yourself. It makes you figure out or guess what and where you went wrong. Here are a few key things that got me through my divorce. I’ve lived through deployments, deaths, illness, but my divorce was by far the hardest thing that I had ever gone through until that point in my life.

These are the things that I took away from going through my divorce:

♦ Don’t blame yourself entirely. It’s not all your fault. Even if you were cheated on, usually you had some contribution to what ended your marriage. Don’t take on all the blame, but be sure to take some of the blame. It takes two to make a marriage work.

♦ Don’t make any crazy life decisions while you’re going through this time. You’re going through some hard stuff, and that’s never a good time to figure out life

♦ Don’t say you’re never going to get married again or be in another relationship!! In fact, don’t ever say you’re NEVER going to do anything, that always seems to bite me in the butt when I use the word never…..seriously ever time.

♦Rely on your family and friends. Relying on other people can be extremely hard for some people. Your friends and family want to help though. Let them help if they can.

♦Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs to get you through. If you start drinking to numb the pain, you’re going to create more problems for yourself. I’m not saying not to have a drink ever because that’s just crazy talk, but don’t let it become a problem.

♦Write things down and journal your experience, what’s happened and how you feel about it. Write it all down!! I haven’t gone back and read through everything yet, but I have skimmed through some of it, and it’s pretty cool to see how far I’ve come and to remember some of the stuff I’ve experienced.

♦ If you have kids, do everything you can to protect your kids and do what’s best for them, even if it’s not the best thing for you. The kids come first.

♦BREATH!! People are going to tell you that you’re going to get through this and it won’t always feel this way, and you probably won’t believe them. I know I didn’t believe any of them, but you won’t always feel this way. Things will get better. You might be surprised at how much better things can get. Breath, you’re going to get through this! It’s going to feel like the slowest process ever, but you’re going to make it through!

→→If you want to hear about my story and how I got here, send me an email at brilee4@gmail.com or fill out the contact info below ⇓ and I’ll send it to you. Everybody has a story. I find it extremely helpful to hear what other people have gone through; hearing others stories can be very encouraging and helpful.


Blended & Blessed 2018

→This is such a cool event!!  You can host a small group or order it for your personal viewing.  This event is live-streamed.  Check with your church to see if they are hosting this event.  

Blended and blessed event


2018 Blended & Blessed Livestream: Keys to Stepfamily Success

· Hosted by FamilyLife Blended
The link below will take you to the registration page to find out more information ↓

Details:

Blended& Blessed® is a one-day live event and livestream for stepfamily couples, single parents, dating couples with kids, and those who care about blended families.

Join thousands of sites around the globe as we unpack key successes that are crucial to healthy stepfamily marriages. With some of today’s most trusted and respected experts, Blended &
Blessed will challenge, inspire, and encourage you. Over 13,000 people from 22 countries experienced the 2017 event, and we’re coming back with new speakers and more crucial help for 2018.

You can sign up today to host the Blended & Blessed livestream in your church or your community or find a location near you to attend. You can even host an event in your home with your small group or friends, bringing together couples for one incredible day of teaching, music, and humor!
Special guests include:


Ron Deal
Dr. Rick Rigsby
Michele Cushatt
Bill Butterworth
Steve & Misty Arterburn
Andy & Heather Hetchler

If you are part of a stepfamily, or know someone who is, this is a can’t-miss opportunity!
Get more information: http://bit.ly/2FIR8sR


Why We Should Teach Our Kids Manners

Manners
Money can’t buy you these things

From the day my kids started talking I made sure always to have them say please, thank you, eat with their mouth closed, use table manners, these are all the basics that get you through life….right?!? Yeah, not everybody teaches their kids these things.  Basic manners are not something that’s just going to come to your kids, you have to instill it in them and the younger, the better. Honestly, I started teaching them this in the beginning just because that’s the way my parents raised me, and now more and more I hear from people how polite my children are, and I’m so proud when I hear this. I don’t care about having a straight-A kid. A’s do nothing for me, don’t get me wrong, I do expect my kids to get decent grades, but I don’t need honor roll students. I’m proud of my kids when they’ve done something kind for somebody else, or get a good report about something reflecting their character.
It’s never too late to start teaching your kids manners!! If this is something that’s fallen at the waist side for whatever reason, that’s ok, but start TODAY!!

Teach your kid’s table manners: Eating with their mouth closed, not talking when foods in their mouth, not passing gas at the table. I mean this is not crazy stuff right?!?

Teach your kids to say hello when they are out and see somebody they know along with looking people in the eyes when they are talking to them.

Teach your kids ALWAYS to say please, thank you and excuse me.

Teach your little girls to be ladies and your little guy how to be a gentleman.  Chivalry is dead these days.  Teach your sons to be courteous to others.

please and thank you

These are fundamental tools that I believe we should be instilling in our kids from the beginning. It’s not too early, and it’s never too late to start! So start today! It’s sad, but at this time in age teaching your kids these skills will make them stand out from the rest. And if you’re already showing your kids these things, then THANK YOU!! We all appreciate it!

Meet Mr. & Mrs. P

•How did you two meet and how long have you been married?
We were matched on eharmony but didn’t want to pay so found him on Facebook and became friends. We lived 2 hours apart but had long daily phone conversations and met up about once a week. We started dating in February and married in October. We’ve been married a little over three months.

•How long did you date before getting married?
About eight months but it was more purposeful than dating- it was like premarital counseling that whole time, ha!

•How old are each of the children that you brought into the marriage?
One boy is 3, and one is 8

the boys
The Boys

•Did you become an instant family?
Not really, more like roommates who (mostly) enjoy each other. The boys both started out (when we were dating) really wanting a sibling and after moving in together weren’t as excited. We have to know when and how to give each individual space.

•What does discipline look like in your home?
We try to allow the older to be disciplined mainly by dad in order for him to grow a relationship with stepmom. The younger, not having had a dad around, is disciplined by both to set clear authority guidelines for him as a toddler.

•Biggest blessing in having a blended family?
I think both boys are now able to learn what it’s like to share life with others, versus the kid world revolving around them alone before. We all benefit from learning to appreciate and cooperate with different personalities.

•The biggest challenge in having a blended family?
I think while you need to be building strength and unity as a couple, the needs of the kids often emerge and take center stage. So it’s a balancing act. Making sure the kid’s needs are addressed while also prioritizing the marriage and keeping that bond strong.

•What does Co-parenting look like for you?
In my case, I got sole custody, so I don’t co-parent. In my husband’s case, they share 50/50, and I support that process by providing rides, etc. I’m cooperative and cordial with his ex but leave most of the logistics to him/her.

•Any tips you can give other blended families?
I’d say to take advantage of resources like Weekend to Remember and Family Life Blended and their materials and conferences. We make going to church, family prayer and bible time a unifying experience. And we look for ways to put our marriage first to model for the kids what a healthy one should be. They feel loved and secure when our marriage is important.

Blended Wedding
Blended wedding

•Anything else you want us to know about your family?
We both had to understand and sort through the effects of having past marriages with narcissistic abuse. It impacted everything as far as guilt over divorce, lingering triggers related to anxiety and PTSD, and being able to date someone new in a healthy way. If anyone is trying to understand what happens in a toxic marriage and heal, I recommend The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick and Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft. If divorcing and dealing with custody with a high conflict individual, I highly recommend the book Splitting on divorcing narcissistic or borderline people, and pretty much any resource by Tina Swithin and One Mom’s Battle. I know for me, I had to come to a full understanding of what my past marriage had broken and warped in me before I could love again. Now I’m passionate about helping others understand abuse, raise healthy children despite it, and avoiding toxic relationships or dealing with disordered individuals the best ways possible. It impacts way more marriages and families than people even know.
I’m so grateful now to know what it is to have an actual partner in life and have this fresh chance to model that cooperation and sacrificial love for our kids.


→ Thank you, Mrs. P. for taking the time to share with us.  Your family is adorable and you are an inspiration, my friend!                                    ♥ The Blended Tribe

New Year, New Menu.

My friend (you know who you are) gave me the idea of sticking to a weekly menu. So, for an entire month, we are going to make the same meal on the designated day each week. For example, every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, and every Wednesday is pasta night. She was explaining that this will cut out the hassle of menu planning each week and it saves money. We are giving this one a try for these main reasons: I don’t have to figure out a weekly menu and shop for it, the food is the same for the entire month….easy! Also, the kids have been begging us to let them cook more. Cooking this way is the perfect opportunity for them to make a meal four weeks in a row and actually learn how to make the meal instead of cooking it once and forgetting. They should be pros by the fourth time making it.
The kids aren’t thrilled about this idea at all, but I’m excited to give this a try and see how it works for us.

 We’ve been putting them to work!

Here are some photos of them in action

kids in the kitchen
camp cooking

teaching kids to cook

 

WEEK 1 UPDATE: We got through a full week of trying this out, and it was AMAZING!! Takes all the thought out of what’s for dinner tonight and made things ridiculously easy for all of us, now on to week 2.

 

 

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