Thursday, September 13, 2012

In It for the Long Haul

One might wonder in this day and age if it's possible to have a successful blended family. I say with emphasis that the answer is, Yes, it is possible! I have the good forture of sharing how that might happen at THE REFINE CONFERENCE in just one week at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you are in a blended family, or know someone close to you who is, please join us next Friday and Saturday. In my breakout session I'll be sharing the tools that make the unique relationships within a blended family work, with helpful tips for both the newly-formed family unit and the long-term blended family.

In It for the Long Haul

When John and I first met and married in 1988, he was the owner of small business in Minneapolis. About a year later that business closed and he opened a new one in the suburbs, requiring another move for us and another new school for my girls. The distance between our new home and John’s three children brought a change in visitation, from twice a week to every other weekend.

As many entrepreneurs know it’s extremely hard to be competitive operating as a small independent store against the big-box corporations. In three short years we went out of business and lost our only source of income. The stress weighed heavily on our shoulders. John was responsible for child support for his three children and ultimately we were responsible for the well-being of six children, the youngest only three years old.

John’s first instinct was to ‘run away’ in a sense. He suggested we move out of state, someplace where we could start fresh and no one would know we had failed. As John outlined his reasons, I knew in my heart it was wrong. Leaving Minnesota would mean far fewer visits with his children, and I felt that my daughters had already been through too many changes in recent years. The five older kids had formed a bond, and it was evident they felt equally close to our youngest son. The kids were all doing well in school, but this type of a move could easily disrupt the foundation we had worked so hard to build.

We talked it through, prayed about it, and ultimately agreed we would stay. Within a matter of three weeks John and I had each found a new job. Not just temporary jobs—something to make do until something better came along—but good jobs, ones that paid well and suited our individual skills. It renewed our sense of belonging and allowed us to keep our home and remain in the community.

In the years that followed the ties within our blended family continued to strengthen. Thanks to God’s grace and mercy we made it through the various ups and downs that life brings. One by one the kids graduated from high school, moved on to college, and sought their own paths in life.

As we celebrated the third wedding in our family a few weeks ago, one of the guests commented it was neat to see that the program listed all the attendants as “sisters” and “brothers” of the bride. And that’s how the kids feel about each other today, sisters and brothers. For John and I, that sentiment is our reward, 24 years later.



In November John and I will celebrate our 24th anniversary. The biggest blessing of all is when we all gather together, usually now for special occasions. Our family has expanded to include a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law, and two beautiful grandchildren with one more coming in March. I can honestly say we are looking forward to the next 24 years!


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