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...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just Breathe

  • Some days you just need to concentrate on breathing. When the demands get too many & the load gets to heavy, just breathe.
  • When the stepkids are getting to you; when your mate is frustrating you; when it's too much. close your eyes, relax, and just breathe.
  • Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Everything doesn't have to be immediate. Everything can pause occasionally.

Breathing is terribly underrated. As basic as it gets, and yet so very vital. Focus on breathing in, then out. Just breathe for a bit.

  • Far too often, we ALLOW the world and demands on us to determine our pace. CHOOSE to slow down. Just breathe.
  • If you don't set a manageable pace, you will run out of breath before the end. Slow down and do things right. Just breathe.
  • Rushing around does NOT get more accomplished. It just confuses your soul. Focus on one thing at a time. Just breathe.
  • Life was never meant to be so damaging to your soul. God promises to lift your burden if you ask. Just breathe.

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New SC! Report on Children of Divorce

COMING SOON! ... A brand new Special Report for parents and stepparents of Children of Divorce. I'm working frantically on finishing up a new vital resource for second families which details how to help your children overcome the challenges of divorce and succeed at moving on. I hope to have the full report ready in just a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, here's a snippet to let you see where I'm going. This is from my working notes, so remember that the final will be more polished. But I want to let you know what the report will cover - and to get your feedback.

If you have any suggestions, or any questions you'd like addressed in the final report, NOW IS THE TIME to let me know. Just use the "Comment" function at the end of this article if you have any thoughts to share about the topic of helping children survive divorce.


A few basic tips regarding your Children:
  • Assure your children that both parents still love them, regardless of changes in the parent’s marriage.
  • Assure your children that the divorce was not their fault in any way (most children blame themselves).
  • As much as realistically possible, tell your children the truth about upcoming changes in their lives, including living arrangements, school, sleeping arrangements, pets, toys, visitation with family, etc.
  • Learn all you can about how divorce affects children emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
  • Listen carefully to your children’s questions, concerns, and fears. Never discount their importance.
  • Maintain as many routines as possible in your children’s lives (sports, hobbies, visits to relatives, etc.).
  • Never bad mouth your children’s other parent where the children can hear you — never.
  • Never use your children as spies or to carry messages to their other parent. 
That is not their job; it is yours. Their job is to be children.
What do you think? ...

More Toxic Toys recalled

This article lists 61 toys made in China that are being recalled due to safety issues, most because of toxic lead paint.
Here are a couple of the most scary:
High School Musical Manicure Kits

Fantas-Eyes Inc., of New York, N.Y. has recalled about 15,000 High School Musical manicure kits manufactured in China because the glitter lettering "High School Musical" on the pouch that contains the manicure kit contains excessive levels of lead.

The recall was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Jan. 27, 2009.

The 7 1/2-inch by 4 3/4-inch plastic see-through pouch has a pink zipper with "High School Musical" printed in yellow gold with glitter and "Sharpay" printed in dark red on one side.

The manicure kits was sold by LTD Commodities and ABC distributing catalogs and Web Sites and on from September 2008 to November 2008 for about $11.

Consumers can get a replacement pouch by contacting Fantas-Eyes at (800) 352-7419 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or at

< NOTE: a manicure kit! How many kids have you seen chewing on their finger nails? So, they use the kit, transfer the paint to their fingers, then stick them in their mouths! GACK!>


Muniré Crib and Matching Furniture

Muniré Furniture Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., is recalling 9,000 pieces of baby furniture, including 3,000 cribs, because red paint underneath the black top coat is laced with lead.

One child has already been diagnosed with lead poisoning after chewing on the crib, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The "Newport Rubbed Black 4-in-1" cribs and matching furniture are made of wood and have a rubbed black finish. Only the "Newport Rubbed Black" cribs and matching furniture manufactured in Indonesia between April 2006 and November 2008 are included in this recall. The model number, date and country of manufacture are printed on the label attached to the side panel of the crib and the date of manufacture is on the back panel of the furniture. Models listed below are included in the recall:

    Model No. / Name
  • 7900 / Newport Lifetime Crib
  • 7918 / Hutch for Combo & Double Dresser
  • 7915 / Mirror
  • 7908 / Combo
  • 7902 / Nightstand
  • 7907 / Conversion Kit for Lifetime Crib
  • 7905 / 5-Drawer Dresser
  • 7929 / Armoire
  • 7975 / Guardrail for Lifetime Crib
  • 7906 / Double Dresser
  • 7914 / Bookcase
  • 7901 / Newport Olde World Crib
< NOTE: So, will somebody explain to me why we are still having China build our kids' toys? GOOD GRIEF!>

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vegan Living: Gossip Girl's Vegan Joke

[from Huffington Post link]
UltraClassic said
"most vegan types I have seen appear weak and unhealthy and unable to fight their way out of a paper bag."

To which I reply:
"weak vegans? HA!" ...

* Ridgely Abele
Winner of eight national championships in karate
* Surya Bonaly
Olympic figure skating champion
* Brendan Brazier
Professional Ironman triathlete
* Peter Burwash
Davis Cup winner and professional tennis star
* Andreas Cahling
Swedish champion bodybuilder, Olympic gold medallist in the ski jump
* Chris Campbell
Olympic wrestling champion
* Nicky Cole
First woman to walk to the North Pole
* Ruth Heidrich
Six-time Ironwoman, USA track and field Master's champion
* Keith Holmes
World-champion middleweight boxer
* Desmond Howard
Professional football star, Heisman trophy winner

& many more at

About Gossip Girl

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama

I'll readily admit that I have not been Barack Obama's greatest fan. I have had serious reservations about his qualifications to lead the free world in such complicated and tumultuous times. And there were other issues I have voiced which caused me to lean away from his election. However, a visit with a dear friend yesterday has brought a whole new appreciation to my conservative IrishAmerican mind.

Miss Jonny is a bright light in so many people's day as she sits inside Walmart's front door, smiling and greeting everyone who comes in and teasing and calling to everyone who leaves, "Have a blessed day!" If I ever noticed that Miss Jonny is black, I can't remember, because her smile is so blinding it blocks out most of her face. My wife and Miss Jonny have become friends (as is typical with my outgoing wife), so we stopped by yesterday to say hello in our shopping stop on the way home. After the usual hugs and banter, Miss Jonny asked us what we thought of "her president Barack." I said something general like, it will be interesting to see how he does in office. Miss Jonny's eyes lit up and she said that she didn't care much for how he did, just the fact that he was in was a blessing to her and to us all. Then I asked her why.

With soft eyes and a softer smile, she said, "I grew up with segregation, you know. I have been blessed in many ways, but I've had people look down on me because of my color, too. When my son took me to vote, I couldn't hardly see to vote for the tears in my eyes. I kept thinking about my great-grandfather, my grandfather and grandmother, and my mama who didn't live - who never dreamed to live to see this day. Mr. Obama's election means that the young men in my culture have more hope to be part of this country we've helped build. Now, I ain't angry with anybody for anything ever done to me, but it sure is nice to feel like I and my culture are a welcome part of our own home country."

And suddenly I was able to understand the excitement felt by so many. Through Miss Jonny's words (we talked for over an hour) I came to see that Obama was, to many Americans, more than just one man with some qualifications (shaky or not), and with a peculiar background, and a daunting job ahead. He is a representative of ... well, darn it, hope and change. And while I hope he won't change too many things I love about America, I can see that some important changes have been made.

Of course, things aren't magically perfect in race relations. There is still prejudice to be dealt with. Humans are imperfect. But at least now we have a real opportunity, as a nation, to make the big changes we've, for some stupid reasons, hesitated to make. With one man's election, we've said that we are, at least on a national level, beyond petty bigotry.

I'll still be watching President Obama, and I'll still be praying for him to succeed in leading our country. But now I'll have a deeper reason to pray for his success. Because his success represents the growth of our national culture into much more of what our founding fathers alluded to as divine equality. It really does make me hopeful.

God bless America.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Stuff 4 U

  1. It's OK to day dream! Really! Just be sure to write down those dreams, then make a plan to achieve them!
  2. If you can't laugh at yourself, at least be willing to let others laugh at you, for you!
  3. Problems you face in life are like math quiz problems in school - do your best, pass the test, learn from it, then move on!
  4. Forgiving someone for something relieves YOU of more of a burden than them. Do yourself a favor and forgive someone today!
  5. Your career won't take care of you when you are hurting. Value your family over your dumb ol' job!
  6. Begin each day with "Lord, today let me be a blessing to someone."
  7. Schedule in time each day for a cup of tea and time to sit still. Even if it's only 15 minutes, you need it.
(by STEPcoach, from my Twitter feed)

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Did You Do?

Watched an interesting TV show this week: "What Would You Do?" in which hidden cameras observe man-on-the-street reactions to moral dilemmas. The idea of the show is to catch people either being good or being bad.

The producers provide tricky questions such as what would you do if you saw a man doping a woman's drink, or someone cutting in line at the grocery store ... only to win a prize for being the 5 millionth customer, or if you received an email by mistake that foretold your boss's being fired ... just when boss is buying expensive house.

The show is kind of fun as you watch some folks turn their heads and ignore others' problems, kind of uplifting as you watch others jump in and help, and kind of uncomfortable as you think about what you would honestly do in that same situation.

But it got me thinking that the show is probably pretty accurate regarding our own life review. It's something to consider, whether you believe (as I do) in a Heavenly debriefing in which we get to review our life's taken or missed opportunities, or if you just accept that someday you'll be an old geezer, sitting in a nursing home reliving your memories. Either way, what you do now will affect your future.

If nothing else, your reaction to others' problems teaches your children a lot. They watch you either ignore or reach out to help someone in trouble and they learn that you are honest about what you tell them they ought to do. They then model their actions after what they observe in you.

Watch the show sometime. Then apply the premise to your own life occasionally. Try to visualize how your reaction will look to someone else, or to yourself in a few years as you review it.

Everything you do (or don't do) has consequences. Your actions and words affect others. You have the power of life and death in your tongue, the Bible says. And your children's faces reflect the impact you make on their hearts.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Days ...

... I need to call these guys!

(sign on side of van says: "Brain Location Service")

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get Over It!

In twenty years, most of the petty demands you're making will seem childish and selfish. Do your future self and your children a favor and get over it.

By demanding everything exactly the way you want it, you are setting yourself (and all who love you) up to be constantly disappointed and frustrated, i.e. unhappy.

Why is this so hard? Jesus clearly pointed out that it is easier to be forgiving and nice than to be demanding and mean. Do you just not believe Him, or do you think yours is a better way? To quote that guy on TV, "How's that workin' for ya?"

Just forgive. Let it go. Accept an apology when it's offered - and assume an apology when it's not offered. Or just let-it-go. Do you honestly have so few real needs in your busy life that you have time to throw away on sulking and rehashing your whines?

Love God ( = obey His directions) and love your neighbor (duh! that's the person nearest you, too!). Forgive. Get over it!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's In Your Sidecar?

Saw something really impressive today - and I'm fairly difficult to impress. I was driving through a parking lot and noticed a neat looking bright canary yellow motorcycle with a matching bright yellow side car attached.

Now sidecars aren't in great abundance around here, so I lowed down and took a longer look as the rider pulled into a parking spot just ahead of me.

Inside the sidecar was - are you ready? - a wheelchair! I thought, surely not. But sure enough, after he shut off the engine, the rider lifted the wheelchair out of the sidecar and climbed into it, then wheeled himself across the parking lot.


I sat there for another minute or two thinking about what I'd seen. Here was a guy who could have sat at home, complaining about his disability and waiting for his life to change or for someone to carry him around, or he could have even taken the safer, more traditional path of a specially equipped auto. But instead, he chose to move beyond his "limitations" and live life the way he wanted to.

Quite a lesson to those of us battling against our own demons of disability or family conflicts, huh?

What are you choosing to do about your difficulties? Fold or play?

"Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And the peace of God, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your heart and mind safe in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6, 7)

How Much Knowledge?

[Hypocrisy Alert! The fact that I'm blogging this article is ...]

I just read an article (online) that the FBI is pretty sure our next great terrorist attack will come as an Internet invasion, as hostiles will attempt to or succeed at shutting down our financial infrastructure and bringing down our entire system of government in one fell swoop. All by hacking into and taking control of our computer systems.

Seems that while you and I were sleeping all our banks, government offices, and other vital components were transformed from real life brick and mortar, paper and ink, flesh and blood separate entities, into one huge, interlinked, electronic system of delicate information exchanges. One that is apparently quite accessible to any bad guy with a computer and an Internet link.

Another blessing of the Internet and the Information Age.

Seems to me this whole mess has been more trouble than benefit to mankind.
Oh, I know. I know. Per the Alert at the top of this article, I'm well aware of the hypocrisy of using a blog on the Internet to complain about the Internet. But, just like so many others, if it's available, I'll use it to get the word out to my firends. And the bloody WWW.web has increased our access to services, goods, and knowledge.

But, honestly, how much of what we've gotten from the web do we really need? We got along, as the human race for thousands of years without instantaneous answers to every question we could come up with, from worldwide news, up-to-the-minute weather, and live stock exchanges motions, to Britney Spear's latest crisis, recipes for dinner tonight, and pornographic chat rooms.

Have we really, really benefited from all this in meaningful ways that we couldn't have lived without otherwise?

Yes, today, thanks to the Internet, almost all knowledge is literally at our fingertips. If your son is writing a paper on string theory or on Abraham Lincoln, he only has to "Google" either term and he has millions of sources from which to learn, or copy-and-paste-plagiarize.

But weren't thousands of Lincoln papers researched and written before the advent of www.web? And if it weren't of the Internet, who would even care about string theory?

How much knowledge do we need at our fingertips in order to lead happy productive lives anyway? When we lived simpler (dumber?) lives, we were focused more on our families, our homes, our neighbors and community, and on living life daily. Now we have bookstores (mostly online) packed with books bemoaning our loss of those very connections, and telling us how to find them in the midst of our hectic, ulcer-ridden lives.

Just how vital is it that your daughter knows - and purchases - every Jonas Brothers song? Or that your son has the very latest version of World of Warcraft? How much will the Internet and their addictive use thereof prepare them for life in the real world among bosses, husbands and wives, and competition? In what ways will it improve their health and strength to allow them to live comfortable lives?

The sad conclusion most folk arrive at is that once Pandora's Box has been opened it can't be closed. But, at least in the case of your family and the Internet (and television), that ain't necessarily so. You can determine now, at the beginning of a new year, to slam that lid shut. Set television viewing limits to times you can all share it as a family activity, watching only programs which will honestly improve your family's way of life and your unity.

And as for the Internet, if you don't have a computer, you can't catch the latest batch of computer viruses, can you? Nor do you have to police your children's usages and guard them from predators and scams. With the simple riddance of this one expensive luxury, you can simplify your family's lives and reduce your costs across the board, from software updates to electricity usage.

Want a meaningful change in 2009? Step back to 1959. Carry your family back to a more reasonable, quieter, healthier era.

I dare you.

Show your STEPfamily Pride!