Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life as an open book...

Interesting…this time next year our life could be an open book for all the world to see. That’s right …we “The Superfamily” are being considered for a reality show. They want us to share about our blending…our transition and what it took to get to “one big happy family” (their words not mine). So with this on the horizon..what is the answer to that? What did it take to get to well..”happy”…well 1st lets dispel some misnomers..

1. We are not one big happy family. *shocked are you?* Probably more shocked that I will admit it. It’s the truth. We have some happy moments…we have some hilarious moments…but its not happy happy joy joy all the time…not even close.
2. We are not abnormal. We have a lot in common with “regular” families blended or not. We deal with favoritism, finances, household chores, school/grades/homework issues, scheduling problems, car troubles, issues on the job, unending laundry just like everybody else. However…although not abnormal…we are severely unique. The dynamics that play out on a day to day basis would take a “normal” set of parents out to the psych ward…
3. Blended families are common. Statistics confirm that over 67% of ALL families have a blended aspect at the some level. SOMEbody has a stepdad, stepchild, step uncle, cousins from your dad’s sister first husband… This statistic is going to be even higher after the results from the last census are released. So our mere size (13) makes us a standout…the fact that my husband is a widower and I am a divorcee’…is an interesting mix..but the fact that we are “blended”..well that pretty much commonplace nowadays. It merely means more people are facing what we are dealing with and need direction and understanding.

With that said how DID we get “here”? Pretty much the same way you get anything worth having…”faith and patience”. It takes strong, incredible, over the top faith to believe that things will not always be like you see them now…no matter how bad it is. You have to tell yourself that its just a phase…just a season and if you remain steadfast and believe that this family is “supposed” to be together. You remind yourself that they have been set apart to do something great and you believe that their gifts, talents and abilities are stronger and more dynamic together than they have ever been when apart.

The hardest part…is patience.. People try to force feed a stepfamily like a round peg in a square hole…it doesn’t work. Ive said this can’t thrown everyone into a blender, push a button and we all come out this blended family smoothie. You have a push a little…wait a little..push a little…wait a little..its one of the most frustrating processes I have ever had to endure, but when you see a principle or process that you have implemented actually working…it was worth it.

So now…we are on candid to speak…that too was a process no matter how the audition turns out. It took patience..the right time..the right people…the right moment…and no matter what, if just for the experience it was worth it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The UN-you

When you see this error message pop up in either e-mail correspondence or when trying to log onto a usually means something you did prior to this step causes the computer to question whether you are a "real person" or not. The system will then require you to put in a code or password to prove that you are not a machine...or spam.
Everyone once in awhile you need to do a inner system check to see if you are a "real person" or not. Seriously. When people see you...what do they see...the nice you, the polite you, the ameniable you...? Have you been playing the role of "you" for so long that the mask is glued to your face and you don't know the real "you" anymore. You have forgotten what you like, what you dreamed, what you have been designed to do, what you dislike, what you really feel... Its been a whirlwind...years.. months...days.. that you have spent faking a smile, faking a acquaintence, faking a lifestyle, faking a level of committment. You are so used to lying you know longer notice that you eat pickles, just because "the cool" kids did and you wanted to look cool. You pay no attention to the fact that when you get dressed 50 people run through you mind that you want to impress with your new suit or handbag. You only go to that church because your greatgrandad help build the cornerstone. You go along to get along..Fake.
You have become a shell of who you are supposed to be and if you don't delve deep soon, understand the code and authenticate wont be able to go any further. What does this have to do with blended families and 2nd marriages...TONS! With all the sticky and intricate dynamics of a stepfamily you walk on eggshells and tow fine lines hourly. You are constantly being careful not offend or cross sacred lines, sensitivities or boundaries. So you adjust, you change, you flip, you flop, you hold this become the Un-you. Fake.
You don't want to be compared or viewed anything like the ex-her or the ex-him-nothing wrong with that, uh NOBODY does or should....But the other extreme is that you will go out of your way to be nothing like anyone else your spouse has ever been with. That too is fake.
Enough to drive a person crazy! What's the remedy?
Cling to your faith in Chirst and keep your conscience clear, for some people have deliberately violated their conscience and as a result their faith has been shipwrecked 1st Timothy 1:19. NLT
KEEPING YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAR has a direct effect of your faith. Daily...hourly if you have to...ask yourself one of the deepest questions in the world...WHY? Why am I doing this, why am I saying this, why am I going here, why am I speaking to her, why am I ignoring them, why dont I feel comfortable... You may lie to others, but tell yourself the truth. Relearn you and become genuine, authentic...real. Its time to un-do the un-you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What I learned from AVATAR...3 our of 10 things :-)

I went to see AVATAR with Jordan in Chicago...1st time I saw it and I was glad I did...Some weird things...but some deep revelation as well..I have a list of about 10 things...but here are the 1st three things I wrote down that I learned from watching AVATAR.

In order to ride a “horse” or “bird” in the movie…the rider had to connect with the carrier by fusing themselves together through their hair. Once doing so, you as the rider can “think” where you want their go and the beast will take you.
You cannot use any mechanism (book, product, idea, plan, tape, conference) to take you anywhere if you do not fuse yourself to its principles. You can’t go anywhere without a connection and the carrier (the thing that is designed to take you to the next level) can’t move until you internalize it and command it.

Nearing the time for the major fight at the end of the movie…Jake Sully (main character) went to the “tree” to pray for help. But then he didn’t just wait around for it…he got up and started rallying FAMILY. He went and got the natives, their cousins, tribes from across the planet to prepare to fight. He only sought after those with an intimate connection though blood and commitment. In the end, he had rallied thousands to stand alongside him when it mattered most.
For believers, our Tree is the Lord God, plain and simple. It’s in order to go to God and pray…believing Him for what you need and listening for His will and way. But at some point, to walk into destiny its time to move and you need your family. That’s right some things require prayer & fasting…other things require Nookie, Pojo, Cookie, Nuk-nuk, Longside, Nana, Mu’dear, Aunt Ceesa, Your cousins on Uncle Bubba’s side…in short…your family….your tribes. Don’t be so quick to discard your people and try to replace them (that's another blog for later)for others like your newfound “Christian family” or even your spouses family or “adopted” family. Your people are your people….deal with it and deal with them in wisdom. You say they are this & that…You might as well confront any demons head on because ummm 9 times outta 10 the same ones reside or have resided in you & if you aren’t careful you will face it in your kids.. I am a witness though..when all the dust settles and it all comes out in the wash …NOBODY will ride or die with you like your people, even if you have been funky, why? Because that’s family…that’s what they do. Some of the folks Jake rounded up had probably not talked to their relatives in ages…but when it came time to fight for survival they got in line and fought to the death.

The main character loved being in his “Avatar”. It allowed him a freedom in mobility and possibilities that he could not experience in a wheelchair.
Once you get a taste of next level living, it’s hard to go back to life the way it “is” presently for you. When you visit a home that’s “better” than yours you come home and groan. When you have spent time with people that are thinkers, are wise and movers and shakers in their churches and communities it’s a struggle to be bothered with whiners and complainers. You want to stay in an atmosphere that’s fruitful. If you keep surrounding yourself with this progressive environment you will find a way to get there and remain just like Jake did.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Its half time...time to huddle up!

Our point of reference for "half time" drifts to a sports game...and halfway through the game all play stops, the team comes off the field and goes into the locker room. Most players change clothes, shoes, take a quick shower. Some may grab something to drink or eat to keep their energy up. But after all of the initial commotion stops..its time for the coach to speak. The coach goes over what went well, what went wrong and what the strategy the team will use to work toward victory.

Its July and a little more than half of the year has past. Summertime is finally here and the sunshine, cool breezes and holidays bring about looser schedules..lazy afternoons, and vacations. Nothing is wrong with any of that except that by the time you get your footing again the kids are back in school, its mid September and in three months the year will be over and very few of your 2010 goals have been met.

Every mid year I have learned to huddle up. I come off the field (take a few days off work..or plan a long weekend)..change clothes (no suits, pantyhose or pumps) nourish myself and then prepare to listen to the coach...for me that's God.

I go over my year plans/goals and update myself as to where I am with completing them. I see what I have done well...what I have done not so well and adjust where necessary. I make tasks sheets to give direction as to what I need to accomplish and then determine if there is more I can take on or if there is something I need to let go.

This process rejuvenates a sports team and it does wonders for an individual as well. I also use this time to review my daughters schedule and goals..and plan time off for my husband and I.

Don't let the rest of this year just happen to you. Its half time...and its time huddle up...take stock and plan out the rest of your year...Live on purpose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flying a little lower

Our SuperCape is ripped. We have been together almost three years now. We had some bumps and bruises when we first started but mostly they were from people outside of our home and we eventually sailed through it. But in just the 1st 6 months of this year the flaws, cracks and crevices have begun to come out of hiding and if you aren’t careful, when this happens (and it happens to almost EVERY stepfamily from what I studied) you can easily be overwhelmed.

We’ve got school issues, suspensions, bad grades and the like. We’ve got promiscuity issues and as a result new babies came, are here and are coming. We’ve got self esteem issues and we see desperation for attention in extremely unfruitful ways. There are diligence problems and anger issues and truth is you name it…we have dealt with it…are dealing it…or perhaps will deal it.

Mind you…that’s just the kids stuff..I haven’t shared with you my own struggles and things that John may be facing or working through. This blog entry would be too long.

Now it hasn’t all been rain..we have had some sunshine this year as well. We have had a college graduation and the announcement of two weddings. We got some awesome new furniture after three years of looking . We were proud parents/stepparent of two national band competition winners. One has managed a successful run in a student play. We have had two kids with major repair surgeries and both came out ok, with no alarm or issues.

Somehow, through it all we do not feel beleaguered or under siege. We just recognize that our Superfamily cape has rips and rips are ok...KEEP FLYING..just fly a little lower until you get the pieces back together.. We strongly believe that what we are facing is not just for us, but for other families who may be ashamed to admit to problems that they are facing and not know what to do. There has to be someone who has ridden a storm in order for others to see them and have hope. Willing or not, God chose us to ride ahead of others that are coming and stand on the rock like a lighthouse so others know that they can make it to the other side. A picture of a lighthouse is on our family mission statement and now more than ever God is calling us to be true to what we confessed our purpose to be!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Whether you are in transition by choice or by circumstance, seasons change and you must clean away the old to deal with the new.

Yesterday I spent some time in the yard cleaning away the refuse from the driveway & flowerbeds. It was a peaceful quiet time and of course there was a lesson that God had there waiting for me.

As I got out the lawn bags and looked for the rake, dustpan and broom I was real excited about getting the front of the house clean. I didn’t spend as much time out there last year and it showed. I vowed not to do that this time. I tossed all visible garbage first…the yard lights that no longer worked, the paper and wrappers left there by kids, the empty containers and bottles. It looked better already.

Lesson #1 get what you KNOW is out of order, out of the way first. By doing do so things may look a little better and it will encourage you to do more.

There was much to do and much God had to teach me. I begin to rake out the flower bed area and although we had beautiful mulch there last year it was now cluttered with leaves, pinecones and weeds. The more I raked the more I unearthed what should not have been there.

Lesson #2: If you stay on the surface things may look pretty, but underneath you will find much that should not be latched onto your life. You have to take the time and energy to dig into you to fix errors, edit relationships and take care of yourself to move to the next level. What was beautiful last year or last season…or 10 years ago, needs to be moved out of the way so you can see what you really have and have become.

Soon, I had little piles of leaves and garbage all over the driveway. As much as I had done, there was still more to do. The sun had set, the few people that were outside had gone back in. It was getting dark and cooler. My nose was cold and it was getting harder to see, but not impossible. My first thought was to stop, go in the house for coffee and finish another day.

Lesson #3: Just when you are about to advance, complete a project, lose the last 5 pounds, stop a habit..THAT’s when it gets hard. You will look up and noone will still be on the road with you. It will not be as easy to see how you will get it accomplished but don’t quit. If you leave it, it creates more work later. If you leave it, your health will deteriorate, or your habit will cost you more. So back to my yard….If you leave it the kids will kick the piles and you’ll have to start all over.

So in the waning sunset, I finished cleaning up the piles, swept the yard clean, put the bags and rakes away and breathed a sigh of relief with a smudge of pride that I endured until the end.

Then I begin to dream again…what flowers I want for this year…how I want the fountain area to look… paint for the porch…a re-do of the stairs and repaving the driveway. All of a sudden, I could see what I didn’t see before…a realm of new possibilities.

The last lesson…well..I assume you can see that for yourself now can’t you?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Facing the music on the results of choices can be tough. ..especially bad choices. Or even worse, dealing with choices that others made that are affecting you. I tell my son all the time, issues you are dealing with now are results of the choices you made two weeks ago, two months ago, two years ago, what different choices are you making NOW that will result in outcomes in two weeks, two months, two years?

Everything is a choice. Who you call, who you ignore, what you eat, what you put away, what you spend, what you save, where you go, when you decide to stay home, what rules you break, what ones you obey, what you say, what you hold back, what bills you pay and what bills you put-off....

I hate to see cycles coming look up and you are in a familiar place ..and its not a good one. I mean you are still cordial, polite, smiling and hospitalable, but deep inside you know...something is coming...something is not right...I will not be able to hold back this storm...this time its coming and I will not be able to stop it. Actually, I don't want to stop it..come what may...lets just deal with it once and for all....and THAT too is a choice.

I've figured out that sometimes the "run" wears you out. Running from your past...running from your future, running from the phone, running from the mailbox, running from those that can help, running from the fallout of previous choices. At some point you need to stop running, and that is a choice. You need to just stop trying to juggle all the balls alone. Take your superman cape off for a minute and be honest. Be vulnerable, be humbled. I know most of you are saying you must BE crazy..I'm not. I just know that continuing to try to hold it all together when the dam is about to break can kill you. This time make a different choice. Let the chips fall where they may, sincerely turn it over to the only one that really knows all the right choices ~God.

Or, you can continue to do what you've always done in your family, your job, your marriage, your church, your friends, your home, your relationships...hold it all together by the skin of your teeth...but if you'll continue to get what you've always had. If you want something different, DO something different-make a different choice. Ask for help!! I know "FOREIGN..."

Trust somebody, your spouse, friend, pastor or even if its nobody you can trust but God. But this time...don't go it alone...this time the stakes are higher and you may not make it me.. make a different choice. I'm working on doing the same.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And I'm back...

Been away about a month spending the time I used to spend on the blog catching up with my other writing that needs to get FINISHED once and for all. Its looking I thought I would stop back by and let cha know what's been going on.

Let's see..

Kids-The youngest girls are getting ready for a trip to Florida to perform with the school band. John's youngest son just finished a weekend run of a drama production at school. John's daughter Jerica just went back to school for spring. My son's Bryan, Jaivon & daughter Jerica have been working pretty much daily & extra. John's oldest Jayna/John have ben working as well. Stevan got his driver's permit & is taking his road test on Monday. Jaivon got engaged earlier this month. John's son Jason got engaged earlier this year. Jason is getting married in August and Jaivon will be married in Tennessee in November. Jaivon graduates in May from Rhema.

John- Is currently working on a drama production at church..well its not a play perse' its a human video, very simple and standard. He was awarded a new "title" at work and is doing very well on his new AMI project. He is still working out with a personal trainer and preparing to compete in a weightlifting competition soon. He sings with two groups at church as well as participates in our mens ministry. He teaches a weekly bible study at work on Tuesdays and will be working on the Blessing of the Bikers outreach in May.

Me- Not doing any plays or anything this season..may tryout for something next season. Working at the office on a few projects.. Working behind the scenes helping with the Blessing of the Bikers outreach and the Legacy Choir reunion outreach..those are my focus points right now...winning the lost...keeping it simple. Writing on my next book, I've changed it several times but its nearer to completion than it was :-). Helping my son & his fiancee plan their wedding long distance (not so easy, but I have time), offering assistance to My husband's son and helping to plan his wedding ( a little easier, but much less time).. I was nominated and confirmed for a leadership position in government affairs for the Junior League for next year and an officer position in the state PAC committee.
I've lost 14 pounds since November! I did it the old fashion way...NOT EATING SO MUCH, eating correctly and watching portion sizes..Weight Watchers is a GREAT program. I highly reccommend it if you are looking for a way to lose and learning how to eat properly for LIFE, not just until the weight is off.

Hubby & I will have a whirlwind year it appears...and I feel the need for a mini vacation soon. I would love to go back to the Tenneessee cabin we visited last year..we had a blast. But in the meantime, I'm learning to pull back, pace myself, not get caught up in hoopla or things that are irrelevant...I'm keeping the main thing...the main thing...and every now and then the Lord will allow someone to come by to encourage me...whether with the reunion, on Twitter, at the office or even at home...someone is always there to remind me that I'm in the will of God, doing what i'm supposed to be doing..being where I am supposed to be. THAT is a great feeling. I promised to write about looking great on a budget and I will be sure to do that soon...AFTER I do some shopping and nab some supernatural deals to share with you...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tha Last Word, Money, Faith & Sex!

The last in the series (3 of 3) from our notes of the Valentine's Weekend with Dr. James & Stacia Pierce. So grateful for the time they spent with us especially when personally sharing about blended families from their own experience. They listened to our personal questions and gave us sound biblical answers, some of them confirming what we knew already or it was a new and creative approach to handling an old issue. We praise God for the wisdom they add to the Body of Christ and are truly blessed to have them in our circle of influence & mentorship.

9. Women want to be loved, protected, covered, feel secure, and be provided for. Men want respect, to feel important, encouragement, the last word, and sex…and a LOT of it. In reference to having the “last word”, women should learn this strategy: Just because the man has the last word in a discussion does not mean he was just means he was last. If you don’t respond, he then has to walk away replaying what he said and how he said it as the last thing he heard.

10. Satan will fight marriages for prosperity, he knows that 75% of major fights and causes of discord in marriage is over money. Your marriage should be geared to financially meet all of your needs, your wants and have some left over to sow into your legacy and to others. Live life in a blessed state. Tithe to put yourself in a position to be blessed. The devourer is rebuked and blessings are poured as a part of that promised. Plan financially together and be willing to make sacrifices if necessary.

11. Don’t be afraid of being in Faith Fight. Both spouses need to be proactive versus passive in the marriage. You and your spouse determine what your faith project(s) will be and lock down on it until it manifests. Have the Discipline to stick to the budget or save/spend according to plan. Confess and post what you are believing for until you see it happen. Follow the habits of the truly wealthy, prosperous or those of faithful character. Successful people always leave clues. Prosperity in any area is not an event, but a lifelong pursuit of overflow and the abundant life.

12. Sexual intimacy is important and isn’t discussed in honesty or transparency enough. Most married couples do not have sex often enough. Your body is no longer your own it belongs to your spouse. You are joined to meet the sexual and intimate needs of your husband/wife. If you submit, God will honor your obedience and give you the grace you need to please them. If your hearts true desire is to surrender completely to your spouse, God will give you stamina, creativity, favor whatever you need if you delight in God’s way concerning marriage. This act was design strictly for the marriage bed for a purpose. Its is a type and shadow of intimacy between Christ and the church. You exhibit the love of Christ at its highest when you lay down your life and your body for your spouse.

And this concludes our marriage retreat LoveWorks review...Tune in next week when I share 10 ways this Mom of many can still be prim and polished even on a budget.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marriage retreat con't...Image Matters and more

Thanks for the feedback so far...there are two more installations.. Here is 2 of 3! Dr. James and Stacia Pierce shared lifechanging information with us at the Marriage Works retreat and we are in turn sharing it with you. They too are a stepfamily and as such, we could learn MUCH from themas to what works and what does not work in a Christian Stepfamily situation. They taught about protecting the marriage with its image, the vision, and the relationships you nurture or weed away. Enjoy and pass it along.

5. Wives you are primarily responsible for the family’s image. IMAGE MATTERS ! Appropriate image brings favor and blessings. Be mindful of how your children and spouse go out of the house. Be mindful of YOUR public appearance. Your husband should never ever look over at you and hesitate to claim you. The family reputation rests partially in how you handle and display them. Know and implement simple manners and study to be a lady and not just a woman. Are you a blessing and a crown to your husband or an embarrassment and a tattered baseball cap? Are you loud, obnoxious, immature, profane, silly, lazy, unkempt, and disorganized and a total liability rather an asset? What are you bringing to the table that a babysitter, secretary, cook or prostitute couldn’t do? Yeah, I said it-We have to be deeper than that! When people think of your family what image pops into their heads? Do you even have a “brand”, something that you are known for…or stand for?

6. Your house should be your dream center. Declutter it and make it a place where dreams can be birthed. Get a library of books and tapes that can teach and train you and your children to think on a higher level. Develop vision boards for your dreams and teach your children to do the same. Motivating things should adorn the walls and the vision of you and your spouse for your family should be accessible and reachable.

7. Get away with your spouse as often as possible. Spending intimate, peaceful time alone is essential to nurturing oneness. Getaways can be as expensive as a vacation or as inexpensive as a day at the museum. Date nights are important as well. Try to do that weekly in some form. Connect for a least 10-15 minutes a day to download your day and share priorities.

8. Disconnect from previous spouses or previous girlfriends/boyfriends family. Develop new traditions together with your new spouse. These people are no longer a part of your new life. You are no longer obligated to them or their traditions. Be cordial, polite and a witness- but not obligated. Allow and encourage the children to participate in their family outings, but your presence is not required and you should be clear that your new spouse and his/her family is your new priority. You are now obligated and in covenant with a new family and new in-laws. Get to know and love them. Unnecessary stress and drama can occur when you try to maintain and juggle relationships no longer on your destiny path. Also, be wary of social media reconnections with past boy/girl friends. It’s not worth the toehold and the door that the enemy can pry open in your marriage. Develop new friends together. Also, find drama free peaceful couples to glean from and spend time with.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Making Marriage work Marriage retreat

1 of 3 in a series...

We attended a Marriage retreat Valentine’s Day weekend that was just incredible. The classes were eye opening and confirmation of things we knew and weren’t doing or clarity on things we needed to know & put into practice. Dr. James & Stacia Pierce were TRANSPARENT like you wouldn’t believe sharing everything from the bedroom to the boardroom. I have an entire booklet full of notes, literally. But I will just share some of the highlights here. This is the 1st in a 3 part series.

1. Don’t come to a conference or another learning opportunity thinking it’s for your spouse or ‘someone else”. It’s for you. EVERYBODY has things they need to work on and change. There will be things that you glean that you need to implement immediately, don’t wait on your spouse. You change and believe God for the things that need to change and grow in them.

2. You need to work with what you have. Dating is a strategy not reality. You may have gotten duped, but who you are married to, like it or not is a product of your intelligent choice. Work with and be faithful to what God has given you in this season. You need to know what you have and work with it.

3. Your mate is your purpose partner. They are your best resource for potential success. They should be your biggest supporter, fan and ally and vise versa. Share everything from your biggest dreams to your smallest goals with your spouse. They should know what you are working on and what you need and are believing for to make it happen.

4. Let your 1st response be your 2nd thought. We often say “On second thought…” Meaning we need to think more before we speak. Be mindful not to blurt out what comes to mind. Think of the implications of what you say and how you say it. Dwell with your spouse according to the knowledge of who they are and what they need. Open honest communication on an ongoing basis is paramount.

More from the retreat to follow..

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lessons on Stepparenting from my "Step-Pastor"

This May I will have the awesome opportunity to go “home” to my former church, direct my old choir and fellowship with some of the saints who had much to do with my spiritual walk today. I am positive that I would not have had the foundation I have today, had it not been for them and I am eternally grateful. I am SO excited about the possibilities and the mandate of evangelism and creativity that we have been given by the current pastor. Although I no longer worship with them…they will always be home. That’s just the way it is. Home is always Home. The current Pastor in an email exchange referred to himself jokingly as my “step-pastor”. It was hilarious, but in a sense accurate. He wasn’t my Pastor, but for a season he is playing a pastoral role in my life. I refer to him as pastor. I defer to him and his decisions because of his position.

All of a sudden, I had a glimpse of step-parenting from another perspective, the child’s. I understand the importance of the level of respect that is given because of a person position not their personality. I also understand the thin line between honoring your step parent at the expense of your current one. Although I am not in leadership at my current church and I have no responsibility in ministry there, because he is my pastor, I give him respect. However, my current pastor, his way of doing things or his perspective has no bearing or authority at my “step-pastor’s” church.

In a stepfamily you have be mindful that there are many sets of rules at play. They way “they” did things… The way “we” did things… The way mom did this, the way dad handled that.. All of those processes may have been “ok” for the previous family or former relationships, but in a Stepfamily all new rules apply. Because of the new covenant between the spouses, the rules, the guidelines, the opinions, the methods, the ideology of previous spouses or family members are null and void. When I am at my home church my “step pastor” is in charge. I have been taught to respect authority and understand fully the backlash if you do not. When I am operating at my current church home, my pastor is in charge and the things that I did at my home church are no longer applicable.

This is a difficult lesson to re-teach children and it puts step-parents in an awkward role. You wouldn’t believe the horrible, mean and demeaning things that are said or written about stepparents, myself included. Usually its because the child wants to operate in the current home, they way they did in the former home. Parents have to be adamant about the new processes of their current family. Teach the children to respect their outside parents, but remind them that those people and their way of thinking, living, acting, responding or being has no place of authority in your home. Pray for wisdom for the "sticky" parts...and God will hear and answer prayer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What is The State of YOUR Union?

A few nights ago the President gave his State of the Union speech. As most presidents have before him, the speech is a collective annual report of not only the successes of his time in office thus far but it also set the tone and direction for the rest of the year. It usually covers the economic status of the nation, along with the cultural temperament and mood of the constituents and the foreign affairs of our nation.

Before ending the speech, the President gives direction as to where the nation is heading and encourages (or admonishes) with a planned strategy for accomplishing the agenda he has set for the year. The goal is after hearing the report, the nation should have a better idea as to the “state” or condition of the union.

In Marriage, you have to take time at least annually to assess where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. You need to retreat to discuss your economic condition, the temperament of the home and what things you are doing outside of the home (“foreign affairs”). You need to know the “State of YOUR union”.

What types of things are you doing to make sure that your union isn’t suffering or being neglected? Could you really sit down right now and give an honest assessment as to where you two are and where you are going? Are you clear as to what the goals are for you as a couple this year (not your family goals, your kids goals, your churches goals, your jobs goals…). Your state of the union directives’ for the year has to be couple (UNION) focused only. The other goals are important, but they are secondary and in some cases tertiary to what you two need to work on as a union. Your union goals may look like:

1. We work on our communication skills by not interrupting each other; spend time daily talking to each other at least 30 minutes (collectively), and not shutting down when the conversation gets difficult.
2. We will plan a quarterly getaway (overnight optional) and one full vacation for us. While away we will not discuss, kids, money, church or family…just us, the Lord and his vision for our marriage.
3. We will not take on any outside commitments (outside of work & home) at church, in the community or with extended family without full understanding of what is required and clearance from the other spouse.

Being a product of corporate America, I handle things corporately. If my hubby isn’t watchful I will have an agenda, powerpoint presentation and handouts when we sit down to talk. But I have learned now to relax and just lay across the bed and go over our goals and issues I may have with understanding where we are. During Valentine’s Day weekend we are scheduled to go on a retreat. A few days to just see where my husband’s head is about us and what’s on his heart about what we as a couple are assigned to do is priceless and worth way more than roses and chocolate. What’s the state of YOUR union? Instead of a dinner this Valentine’s Day...set up a meeting and get your nation under the groove .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Spirit of UGH!

Ugh...that was as best as I could describe it. It was hard for me to explain what I was feeling today, but I remember a sermon that Joyce Meyer preached awhile back that talked about “dread”. I looked it up and the definition is pretty accurate:

  • feel extremely frightened: to feel extremely frightened or worried about something that may happen in the future
    be reluctant: to be reluctant or frightened to do something because it is unpleasant, upsetting, or annoying
    terror: a feeling of great fear or terror, especially at the thought of experiencing or encountering something unpleasant

Whereas I can’t say its “terror” perse’, I do know that frightful, reluctant feeling…that thing that happens in the pit of your stomach when you have to deal with something that you really don’t want to face. Dread is an energy sapper. As soon as the issue surfaced, I could feel my spirit sink to my feet, my heart began to race and my face grew weary. My whole demeanor changed and as much as I would like to say that I self-talked myself out of it right away, I can’t say that. It has been a process all day to stay focused and to try to strategize my next move. My preference would be for it to just go away. However it won’t, things that pop up in your life for you to face rarely do. They just keep surfacing until you deal with them head on. People say that all the time, BUT I am learning that it is easier said than done.

What am I afraid of? Many things, but particularly I fear the unknown. I fear that I don’t have what is necessary to fix it, that I don’t have the resources, or the knowledge. I fear what could happen if I don’t? I worry that my procrastination will cause me angst or embarrassment and I am not sure that I can handle it. I don’t know where to start and I don’t know where it will all end, again, “the unknown”.

But (sometimes, I love that word) I do know who DOES know what to do. I do know who has the resources, the knowledge and the strength to show up even in my weakness. I thank God for…well..God. I am grateful to have someone I can talk to on the way home to try to sort this out in my mind. I am thankful that he can help me untangle any web I have gotten myself into. I am thankful that he doesn’t toss me out just because I said that I am afraid. I am grateful that he knows, that I know that he hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and strong mind. I am thankful that on the other side of this is freedom and peace and although I can’t see my way clear now, I know if I at least turn in God’s direction, he will never leave me or forsake me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Danger of Doing Nothing

There are major side effects from doing “nothing”. If water becomes stagnant it means nothing fresh is coming in and nothing is flowing out. Stagnant water, just like the picture draws flies and leeches and litter. After awhile, it begins to smell. To be stagnant is to not develop, to become foul, stale, inactive and not moving.

Stagnant is also listed as an adjective which is a word that is used to describe things. You could have a stagnant job, a stagnant mindset, a stagnant relationship, a stagnant family, a stagnant marriage, a stagnant prayer life, a stagnant life…nothing fresh coming in and nothing flowing out. Whatever area is not moving, not growing; not developing is becoming stagnant and its beginning to smell. You will not be able to hold it together long, the stench from your inactivity in any area will waft in the air like sour milk. The flies, the leeches, the opportunists will smell the stench of your inactivity and will see that you are not moving. They will jump in your lane & make attempts to steal your dreams, your goals, your family, your spouse, your position.

Whatever area is lying dormant that you KNOW is supposed to be further ahead, better developed, or more mature you need to do something. For most of us we are not waiting on God, God is waiting on us to change, to attempt, to start, to make the phone call, to send the resume, to follow up, to speak up, to show up, to commit, to say no, to apologize, to let go, to forgive. One of my mentors (Dr. Stacia Pierce) says that “Whatever you want, whatever you are dreaming of is on the other side of what you won’t do”.

You want a better marriage but won’t go to counseling. You want to be a world renowned novelist, but won’t write a book. You want to be healthier, but you eat fast food 3 times a week. You want a better position, but won’t shadow someone to learn more. You want your own business, but can’t get to your current job on time. You want to get out of debt, but won’t save.

There is a danger in doing “nothing”. Do something. Do something TODAY. Doesn’t have to be a big something…but DO it. For me, I have a book to write....time to get this river flowing...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why so downcast Camille?

To those of you that follow me on Twitter ( @ Queencdj) you know I “hit a bump” right at the beginning of the New Year. In just a two minute conversation with one of my kids, the enemy tried to get me off kilter right off the bat. Disappointment, discouragement, anger, hurt, fear, regret in myself and others streamed in and out of my head like a rushing river. I prayed about it. I went to church and tried to stay focused while going through the motions. But off and on all day, all evening my thoughts and fear betrayed me. I was afraid for some reason that God was going to leave me to face this alone. As if he was sitting on his throne saying “just deal with it, chick” Stupid I know, but that’s what I felt.

Then something interesting happened. I sat in my car before coming into work today and prayed for my job, my boss, the president of the company, my co-workers and staff members. Without thinking about it, I was suddenly not thinking about me anymore and prayed about our year at the office and thanked God for last year. I prayed for wisdom, creativity and favor for our CEO and those that worked with him.

After that, I went on into the office as I normally would battling back and forth in my mind as to what needed to be done and being resolute that I would not let my mind dwell too long on the negative things that are going on. Still felt a little down though, I was disheartened that a year starting with so much promise seemed to be getting off to a rocky start. I checked my email and there was...

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5

That scripture was placed there by God ahead of time to be there to minister to me when I needed it. He hasn’t left me or forsaken me. The issues are still there, the problem is still looming, but GOD is there too. So for my first official blog of 2010 I proclaim that I can do ALL things though Christ which strengthens me. I can't say I feel like jumping up and down like the woman in this picture. But I am putting it there anyway as a reminder that one day my joy will be restored and I will smile again real soon.

I believe that by praying for others and taking the focus off of "me me me" for just those few minutes allowed my heart to soften enough to feel the presence of God in the midst of my issues. I thank him for giving me the mind to pray about others and the Word he sent to remind me that “this too shall pass…”