Mission Accomplished!

It’s been way too long since our readers have heard from us.  Why?  Because our lives have been moving way too fast: work, kids, and the outside attacks on our marriage/family since that began when we first got engaged.  The attacks never seem to dissipate, however, we are getting much better at dealing with them.

We have some amazing news to announce.  After beginning to blend our family together in August of 2017, we can now comfortably and publicly state: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

That’s right!  We have reported on some pockets of success in the past, but today, we are a solid family unit.

When we started this site to share our lives, we referenced what the experts said about blending families.  “The average family takes 5-7 years to combine; some take longer,” renowned Stepfamily expert Ron Deal.

Believe it or not, we even had leaders in our church tell us that “there is no such thing as blended families, it never works.”  Did those words get us down?  You bet they did.  We hoped for encouragement from our church.

But we kept at it.  We worked on our marriage so we could love and serve each other better.  This is no easy task with the relentless attacks against us.  We parented our children the way we know is right — with rules and boundaries.  This also is difficult when we only have them 50% of the time.

Most importantly, we prayed for God to bring our family together. And He did!

With the grace of God, we successfully combined our family in about 2.5 years!

Here’s what we see in our family now:

  • Loudness and laughter at the dinner table instead of quiet and forced discussions
  • All the kids teasing each other
  • All the kids teasing the parents!
  • The stepbrothers sending each other tons of texts when they are apart
  • The boys ganging up against the one tough girl we have
  • The stepbrother sticking up for his stepsister
  • The stepbrothers scheming together to get what they want from the parents
  • The stepbrothers wrestling instead of coming to the dinner table
  • And they now look forward to vacations – TOGETHER!

Of course, those are just some of the highlights of the more typical sibling interactions.  One thing we did recognize — they haven’t begun to fight with each other yet. This would probably be the ultimate in “coming together” when they can fight and yell, and then love each other the next day…or day after that.

One thing is certain: WE ARE BLESSED! And we thank God every day for His phenomenal work in bringing our family close.

Stay tuned for our posts in the weeks ahead which will detail some of the things that worked for us in hopes that it may work for you!

The Sibling Whisperer

That’s right.  We have the “Sibling Whisperer” right here in our home.

We have known for a long time just how special Liam is to us.  But his abilities, or gifts we should say, never cease to amaze us.

As we enter the third year of blending our family, many challenges remain.  We have written quite a bit about the difficulty in bringing four very different kids together to live and love in one family unit.

However, we had a breakthrough during our summer vacation.  And that breakthrough was led by our very own “Sibling Whisperer”.

Let us tell you a little more about Liam.  He was born with Down syndrome.  Continue reading “The Sibling Whisperer”

Summer Is Busy! But I Have A Lighthouse.

We have been quiet this summer.  When you have 4 kids off from school and full time jobs, summer can just be sheer craziness.

You try to enjoy time as a couple…

You try to enjoy time as a family…

You try to stay on top of your duties at work…

BUT – you fail because you can’t do it all.

As Joya and I approach our second wedding anniversary, I am so thankful to have found my earthly Lighthouse – my love Joya.  Joya is an amazing woman who has endured more than a wife should in the first two years of marriage.  I have seen and witnessed her pain.  And as her husband I feel it too.

Together, we have faced more struggles than couples should face during our honeymoon period – almost all of it out of our control.  Yet, how we approach those struggles IS within our control and we continue to work on our marriage, and our communication with each other, so we can weather the storms when the unexpected ones hit.

I know these struggles have and will continue to make us stronger.  We are aware of the blessings we receive every week.  We know God is preparing us for good and big things ahead.  And we know we are here to share our struggles and triumphs with YOU!  Throughout this crazy summer we have shared some great times as a family!

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We’ll share more about our summer at a later time.  In the meantime, I hope you find time to spend with your spouse – and family – all while working your job!  Just know you can’t do it all and that’s ok.  No one expects you to do it all.  You just do your best while trying super hard to remain a loving and respectful spouse.

Blessings to you all!

–Mike

 

 

It’s Just Another Day?

Joya and I usually write posts together but I’m taking this one solo.

Father’s Day has taken on a much different tone since my divorce. For several years now I have not had my children on Father’s Day. I try to convince myself it’s not really a big deal. I’ll see them in a few more days and we’ll do something special together.

Probably the hardest thing is that everyone else makes a big deal about Father’s Day (understandably) starting first thing in the morning at church. So when churches ask Dad’s to stand, I don’t get to thank God for my kids and look at them at the same time. As much as I try to escape everyone else’s focus on it – it’s just plain hard to avoid and pretend that it’s just another day. Continue reading “It’s Just Another Day?”

Mike and Carol Brady had it right

We know, we know.  It’s just television and it wasn’t real.  BUT!  Mike and Carol Brady modeled some great behavior for us married folk!  And who doesn’t love the clothes, house and decor from the 70s? (NOTE: Michael Dennehy is a 1970s freak)

As you may know, we are both remarried and blending a family together.  Thinking way back to 1969 when The Brady Bunch first aired is a pretty remarkable storyline.  A couple remarrying, each having three kids and blending a family was not something that was very common.

Now, of course, we know firsthand that blending a family is not nearly as easy as it is on The Brady Bunch.  No one is screaming – “you’re not my real Dad!”, or “my real Mom would do it that way!”  However, it is pretty much understood that both of the Brady’s first spouses passed away which made it easier to blend 6 kids together when they only have Mr. and Mrs. Brady and the kids live together full-time.  But, still hard to believe it can ever be that easy!

Let’s get to what is realistic in the show and is a great modeling for marriages and families. Continue reading “Mike and Carol Brady had it right”

FUN FACT FRIDAY! The happiest year of marriage is…

Today, we are starting Fun Fact Friday!

There are so many facts out there on marriage it is hard to sift through and consume them all.  So we want to make it easier for you!  These Fun Fact Friday posts are meant to be educational, inspirational, informational, and…well…FUN!

Our first fun fact is from a study of 2,000 people that found couples are happiest in their – wait for it – THIRD YEAR OF MARRIAGE!

The study says:

The third year marks the point when couples begin to settle into comfortable co-existence, having come to terms with each other’s imperfections.

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Of course, we all can change statistics and Continue reading “FUN FACT FRIDAY! The happiest year of marriage is…”

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