My Spouse or My Kids?

My Kids or My Spouse?

You married for love. You married forever. But you never expected your marriage would involve having to choose between your new spouse an...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Cell Phone Safety - I.C.E.

We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence this 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency) Campaign

The concept of 'ICE' is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell(mobile) phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name 'ICE' ( In Case Of Emergency).

The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn't know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose.

In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as 'ICE.'
For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.

A great idea that will make a difference!

(Verified at

On Turning 50 ...

Well, it finally happened - I had my fiftieth birthday last Saturday (9/20/08) and it was all I'd expected: daunting, disconcerting, unsettling, and also enjoyable. During the week before my demicenturian birthday, I became much more reflective about my first 50 years of life.

I dreamed much more about events and places where I spent time as a child (see my personal blog at where my favorite music list is also playing) and actually found myself trying to make sense of some of the things I've been through: two marriages, a step-parenthood, my faith, my friends, family, and pets, careers as an artist, a journalist, a writer, a bookkeeper, a minister, a coach, and a mediator.

I thought a lot about you, too, my friends. I thought about what I have to offer to you and your families, as well as what small contributions I've been able to make to a modest number of stepfamilies around the world. I've got some particularly eyebrow raising compliments from Russian, Chinese, Irish, African stepparents who claim to have benefited from my suggestions and (mostly) my willingness to share my mistakes and victories in my own family.

I have been invited into the secret inner workings of so very many couples' tumultuous relationships, which is a privilege beyond words. I have been allowed to participate in those relationships in trust and I remember each and every one of you. Not all of the details perhaps, but the couples and families. And I treasure each of you.

I've written many thousands of words of advice - mostly directed at one family or another, but applicable to most. I've been blessed to have met and known you all. And I look forward to knowing more of you. You are a great deal of my life, you know. I think of you all often and regularly and I pray for those of you whose situations I'm familiar with.

I hope to be able to serve you for another few decades. You are not alone. You have at least one friend in your corner. God bless you all, my friends.

Bob C.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Support in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

Support in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

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Meet Me in the Stairwell: Remembering 9/11


You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said.
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan ...
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take
my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you. But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
'ready to go.'

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

Monday, September 8, 2008

But I've no Hairbrush!

A dear friend sent this to me and I share it with you. How many times have you felt like you should do something, but were reluctant or embarrassed or too timid to do it. This puts a whole new slant on those times.

(For those of you who are not Christians, please read this and get a glimpse at how difficult being a Christ follower can be sometimes!)

This is by Beth Moore, an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters. This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville , waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you.
You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones.

The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, 'Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane.' Then I heard it....'I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.'

The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, 'God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.'

Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. 'That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.'

I looked up at God and quipped, 'I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?' God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: 'I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.' 
(2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, 'Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

He looked back at me and said, 'What did you say?'
'May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

To which he responded in volume ten, 'Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that.'
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, 'SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?' At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, 'If you really want to.'

Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, 'Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush.'
'I have one in my bag,' he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair.

It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally
as soft and smooth as an infant's. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said, 'Sir, do you know my Jesus?'
He said, 'Yes, I do'
Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, 'I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior.' He said, 'You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.'

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it.

Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, 'That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?'
I said, 'Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!'
And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way ... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 'The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth'
Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, 'Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!'

And she was all, like. You know?

Oh boy. Some days it's almost too hard. Sitting here at Panera, trying to get the day going. Laying out my tasks: update blog, answer emails, set appointments for week, go to .... But across the room, just threetables away, some poor dear child is struggling with this new language she is learning. OK, she looks like she's about 24 and her accent is completely American. But the way she's falling all over herself to make a statement is, like, well, she's all >face<. You know?

I'm sorry, but I have such a difficult time not walking across the room, sitting down with her, looking deeply into her eyes and saying, "Now ... honey ... what ... is ... it ... you ... are ... trying ...
to ... say? Can ... I ... help ... you ... form ... a ... simple ... sentence ... my ... poor ... simple ... child?"

To paraphrase Professor Henry Higgins, who taught her to say "and he was all like," instead of "and he said"? Who taught her to place the burden of translation on her listener ("you know?") instead of on herself by actually describing what she means? And who in the world taught her to say, "I was like >face< >shrug<" instead of saying, "And it made me feel uncomfortable, so I couldn't think of what to say to her"?

I really want to know! WHO is teaching people to non-talk like this? Surely there has not been some rebellion by the teachers of America who have decided to pay back their insolent students by teaching them to speak in a way that virtually guarantees them to be rejected by any hiring manager at any job for which they might apply? Except McDonalds or Taco Bell, that is. Do they actually walk into an office, hand over their resumes, and say, "Hey! I'd like to, you know, like, really work for you guys! I think it it would be, like, you know, totally, you know >face<>

And watching her talk to her similarly disabled friend was as painful as listening to them. The eye rolls, shrugs, and exaggerated faces that accompanied their frequent "you knows" reminded me of nervous ticks or mini-seizures. What are they, Italian?

And so I say, on behalf of cognizant humans throughout the free world: parents, please teach your children to speak and express themselves. Otherwise, someday they may need help and only be able to say, "Hey! I'm like totally, like, you know, like ... " before passing out. Or, if that's not incentive enough, imagine yourself at 75, sitting in your nursing home room, unable to get up and run away from their twitching, babbling attempts at communication every time they visit.

Nurse! Isn't it time for my sleeping pill?!!

Bob Collins, CDM
Certified Domestic Mediator
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Tongue (not in cheek) Part 1

Lying back in the dentist's chair as my dental hygienist scraped my teeth (lovely mental image, huh?) I was struck by that familiar urge to reach into my mouth, detach my tongue, and stick it in my pocket where it would be out of the way of all the sharp, pokey things also in my mouth at that moment. I even asked her if she'd like me to do that. Which lead to a lively exchange about how nice it would be if we could actually do that. (I really like my dentist's office!) Sherry the Hygienist and I proceeded to develop a line of detachable tongues in various colors, with pre-set piercings, maybe with extensions so you could have a "snakey" tongue or a long "Gene Simmons" style slurper. On and on. Hardly felt a thing.

But that took me on to more serious musings - of course. And I got thinking about a particular couple I used to meet with quite often in session. They had what some might call impulse control problems - I just say they had trouble controlling their tongues when they got angry with each other or their mutual kids. He'd say something, she'd fire something mean back, her kids or his would enter the fray, and before you knew it I'd get a call to help settle the dust.

I figure that if I could really develop that detachable tongue, I could make a fortune. (Well, OK. Sherry and I could share a fortune.) Think of the blessing it would be to be able to reach in your mouth and yank that flapping trouble-maker out for awhile. Even better, let's ground your teenager's tongue for a week instead of her cell phone privileges!

What is it about that little flap of muscle in our mouths that gets us in so much trouble? The Bible says that the tongue is a "sharpened razor," a "deadly arrow." The tongue is described as deceitful, smooth, perverse, lying, malicious, sly, stammering, and incomprehensible. In over ninety references, the Bible points out the power of the tongue, of which James says, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." Whew! Pretty strong words.

But think of some of the things you've popped out of your mouth that you wish you could have taken back or, better yet, not said at all. They really did burn.

But the same Book also says the tongue can be instructed, gentle, flattering, and healing. You've seen the effect of a mother's soothing words on a crying child. You've felt your sweetheart's words calm your fears and ease your sorrow. You've probably even been the giver of peace with your words.

So, what's the difference between a malicious, cutting tongue and a gentle, healing tongue? Well, the heart behind it, of course. If you are actively loving your mate, your child, or your stepchild, you are almost certainly incapable of slicing them with your sharp tongue. If you have love and true caring for them in your heart, it will come out in your words. Jesus said that what comes out of the mouth begins in the heart.

But, you say, I love my mate. I love my kids. So why do I hurt them so?
(You're not going to like my answer.)

Selfishness. If you continually find yourself saying things that hurt your family, then you are focusing on the wrong person. If you regularly have to clean up after harm you've cause to your loved ones, you are more interested in your own feelings, your own point of view, your own rights than those of your "loved ones." You are falling into the trap of letting your own welfare distract you from taking care of theirs.

What an awful thing to say! (you say.) Yes, it is awful. Especially if it's the truth.

Think about the last few times you've bitten into your dear ones' hearts with your words. What was really behind it? Defending yourself? Protecting yourself? Keeping yourself from being stepped all over? Who were you more interested in? Your self. That's selfishness.

Then who looks out for me? ... to be continued ...

Show your STEPfamily Pride!