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S2-E15: "Me, Us, Them, and A Calamity of Confusion" with Franco Zavala, The Professional Stepdad
Franco is an actor, host of The Professional Stepdad podcast, 60-second storyteller, and stepfather of five, who loves sharing wisdom, insight, and anecdotes about fatherhood. Driven by his passion to affect real change, Franco is on a mission to challenge the current narrative around the meaning and purpose of being a Step-Dad in today’s world.
Franco and I had a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable conversation, and I hope you learn from it and have as much fun as we did! Below are some of the key quotes and highlights from the episode. Also, be sure to check out all of the resources that Franco offers as well as others that we mentioned during our interview.
"My job for the first few years is to get to know the kids."
"The biggest challenge is always 'the others' in a blended family that think they know better."
"We have to block out the negative noise; the only thing we can control is what happens within the four walls of our home."
Importance of consistent base hits vs. trying for homeruns in every at-bat.
"If you're patient, it'll pay off."
Discipline is the Achilles heel of every blended family situation.
"When we speak badly about the others, we poison the well, and no one wins."
"Me, then us, then them." I need to improve myself, then work on us (the married couple) as a team, and then get to know them (the kids).
"Stepparents: we step up, we step forward, and we step through."
It is important to set goals for our family.
Contact, Franco's Resources:
|Jun 08, 2021|
S2-E14: "Stepfamilies and the Importance of Support Systems" with Laura Petherbridge, The Smart Stepmom
Laura Petherbridge serves couples and single adults with topics on women’s issues, relationships, stepfamilies, co-parenting, single parenting, divorce prevention, and divorce recovery. She is an international speaker and author of, When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”—Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce, The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with stepfamily expert Ron Deal, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom , Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul, a devotional and Seeking a Silent Night: Unwrapping a Stepfamily Christmas. Her most recent project is Stepfamilies of the Bible: Timeless Teachings for Today’s Family. Laura has spoken at numerous events including: The Billy Graham Training Center, Lifeway, MomLife Today, Hearts at Home, FamilyLife Blended, MOPS, and Iron Sharpens Iron conferences. Laura is a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series, which has equipped more than 16,000 churches worldwide. She and her husband of 35 years, Steve, reside in Atlanta. She has 2 married stepsons, and 2 grandchildren.
Laura and I had an excellent and enjoyable conversation all about the complexities of blended families and how support systems and grace are needed in order to make them work. Below are some of the highlights of what she shared during our interview.
After growing up in a blended family and being part of a blended family as an adult, "God just told me to teach others what I had learned and to try to encourage them."
Her #1 plea to the church is to understand that the materials for a first-time marriage will NOT work for someone going into a remarriage. (She makes a wonderful analogy about this; listen for it!)
Stepmoms NEED a strong and consistent support system.
The #1 complaint she hears in blended families: "My spouse won't discipline their kids."
People are often shocked at how complicated blended family life is.
Parents often parent out of guilt, grief, etc., especially after a divorce.
"You cannot parent more than the parent, and you should not try to."
There are perks to blended family life; just keep your eyes open for them.
A question she often asks future stepmothers is, "Are you sure this is the life you want?"
"Being a stepmom taught me more about how to love like Jesus--sacrificially--than any other experience in my life."
"A chosen love is harder than a natural love."
A common prayer for stepmothers is, "Lord, show me how to love unconditionally."
Books, recommendations, etc:
|Jun 01, 2021|
S2-E13: "Self-forgiveness and Vacation with the Was-band" with Bobbi Brooks Wilcox
Bobbi Brooks Wilcox is the founder of Blended Families United, a published author, spiritual counselor, ordained minister, and a blended family coach. She assists blended family clients virtually online to improve their communication with one another, build trust, and strengthening their relationships so they can thrive and not just survive.
Bobbi's book, RECONCILED, is about her search for peace after a painful divorce where she came across a university that taught Spiritual Psychology that brought her healing, transformation, and a Spiritual Awakening. As Bobbi applied the spiritual practices, skills, and principles she'd learned at the university in her life, she began mending her broken relationships with her adult children and her was-band where they reconciled and became friends which ventured into a blended family vacation together with their two families. She wrote her book to inspire others that blended families can be united and work together.
After studying Spiritual Psychology for two years at the University of Santa Monica (USM), Bobbi started her own business teaching listening and communication skills through workshops traveling to different states. She became certified as a Christian Conflict Coach and Mediator and a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist to help deepen her work with her clients. Her passion for helping divorced parents as a DivorceCare ministry leader through her church then led her to teaching The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal small groups at her church. Knowing that God clearly called her to help blended family's, Bobbi started her own business, Blended Families United, where she continues to grow spiritually and expand her expertise in working with blended families.
Bobbi currently speaks on various podcasts, FaceBook groups, and on YouTube. She has had the blessed privilege to officiate one of her client's marriage with their blended family.
Bobbi also has a blended family of her own. She and her husband, Geoff, and their thirteen year old son live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bobbi is also the mother of two adult children from her first marriage and a grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren who all live in Las Vegas, Nevada where she visits them as often as she can.
"Communication is key--specifically, learning to listen is crucial to moving forward."
"Forgiveness and being able to talk about/with an ex from a place of love instead of a place of pain and bitterness...was an opportunity to start to heal."
"Do the inner work of dealing with pain and guilt."
"We understand the importance of getting along well, especially for our kids, even though they're grown."
"Discernment and reflection is key, so we can invite God to help us begin to heal."
|May 25, 2021|
S2-E12: "Understanding the Complexity of Blended Family Finances" with Adam Kol
Adam Kol, known as The Couples Financial Coach, helps couples go from financial overwhelm or avoidance to clarity, teamwork, and peace of mind. He also hosts the Couples Financial Coach Podcast.
Adam is a Certified Mediator with experience as both a Tax Attorney and Financial Advisor. He received his law degree from Duke and a Master's in Tax Law from NYU.
Adam is also an experienced social justice advocate and lifelong musician - you can find his Personal Finance Parodies on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram!
In this episode, Adam tells us about how many couples make common mistakes such as trying to go straight to the numbers rather than looking at them in the context of goals.
Money is one of the leading causes of divorce, especially in blended families.
"You want to create a sense of trust and safety when talking about money."
"The number one blended family financial mistake is trying to figure out everything all at once--instead pick one topic/priority and get clarity on that first."
"When having these conversations, start with a common point of wanting what is best for the kids."
Begin a money talk by sharing your experiences with money: what did you like/dislike? habits? etc. Then get clear on your financial situation. Finally, look at your financial goals and how to prioritize them.
Free Diagnostic Quiz: https://ahkcoaching.com/quiz
|May 18, 2021|
S2-E11: "Family Meetings and Why You Should Care What Your Kids Think" with Anna Seewald
Anna Seewald, M.Ed is a Parent Educator, Keynote Speaker, Author and Host of The Authentic Parenting Podcast. With a background in psychology and education, and having worked with children for 18 years, today Anna helps conscious moms and dads to become calm and connected to themselves and their children through trauma-informed education. She believes in helping children by helping parents. She has a private practice that specializes in parent education, where she provides one-on-one parent coaching, parenting, court-ordered, and co-parenting classes. Anna shared some extremely important information from her experience of helping parents who are divorcing or are divorced, and from helping people who are going through custody battles and/or are already in blended families.
To her, the biggest challenges in blended families are communication and discipline.
"If Scott and Stephanie can learn to co-parent, then I have hope that I can help ANY parents!"
"Use your energy for healing as opposed to fighting and trying to punish each other. Shift your energy and things will shift."
Anna ends her sessions by challenging each co-parenting partner: "Can you say 5 positive things that you admire about your coparenting partners?"
"Seeing the humanness in the other person...Have compassion and understanding for the pain of the other person."
Resources and Links:
Melissa Brown - Blended Family Podcast: https://www.blendedfamilypodcast.com/
Dr. Elizabeth Cohen - The Divorce Doctor: https://drelizabethcohen.com/
How to Stop Yelling - https://authentic-parenting1.teachable.com/p/how-to-stop-yelling
|May 11, 2021|
S2-E10: "Unintentional Messages and Learning to Build Slowly" with Heidi Farrell
Heidi Farrell is a stepmom and mom of five, whose ages range from 22 down to 4 years old. She and her husband have seen the full range of child development in their house...often all at once! Heidi loves connecting with moms and stepmoms by coaching and encouraging them on their journey. She writes about her experiences and provides practical strategies for stepmoms, and you can find her eBook about the joys and complications of adding an 'ours' baby on her website notjustastepmom.com.
Heidi and her husband have a full house and a full range of stepfamily experiences! As she shares during our interview, these experiences have taught her family some difficult but life-giving lessons, and so we're excited to share those same lessons with you.
"Find ways to build them up...and build a bridge..."
"Sometimes we forget to laugh...and appreciate those silly, goofy moments during the day."
"Those traits needed to be refined."
"No matter how hard you work, sometimes your efforts are not well-received..."
"Don't respond to absurdity..."
"What do we want to have festering or blossoming in our hearts?"
"When looking for help, find who resonates with you and continue to learn from them."
"How to Survive the Eyeroll Stage" https://notjustastepmom.com/3-tips-for-stepmoms-to-survive-the-teen-eye-roll-phase/ (blog post)
'How to Add An Ours Baby' https://notjustastepmom.com/product/ebook/ (ebook)
Laura Pretherbridge: https://laurapetherbridge.com/
Ron Deal https://smartstepfamilies.com/
Connect with Heidi on social media:
|May 04, 2021|
S2-E9: "Accepting Your Baggage and Knowing Your Triggers to Build A Better Blended Family" with Terrie Vanover
Terrie is a Divorce and Relationship Strategist. Her dynamic, vibrant, inspirational talks for both men and women motivate and educate audiences. Terrie-who is divorced- has overcome abandonment, poverty, and childhood sexual abuse. She uses the trials and her triumphs in her coaching practice, Choosing to Rise. Terrie coaches men and women to overcome their setbacks, create healthy relationships, and find happiness and peace of mind. She is the co-author of two women's empowerment books.
Terrie and I had an amazing conversation about the importance of both personal responsibility and grace in overcoming challenges and setbacks in the life of blended families.
Terrie brought lots of issues from childhood into her adulthood and marriage, and she made the conscious decision to accept her circumstances in order to heal and become the best version of herself.
"Know your own triggers!"
"You have to see what baggage you are bringing into the situation and how they affect you."
"Life presents you with people and circumstances that will show you where you still need to heal."
"The biggest challenge is differences in parenting."
Learn the difference between a request and a complaint when thinking of blended family communication.
"How you show up in your blended family helps shape how others show up as well.
"On the other side of pain is peace, and on the other side of fear is freedom."
"You can't solve internal problems with external solutions."
FB Group for stepmoms: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=stepmoms%20supporting%20other%20stepmoms
Also look for Men Rise Above Divorce and Women Rise Above Divorce Facebook groups
Tunisica O., The Empowered Stepmother https://www.amazon.com/EMPOWERED-STEPMOTHER-Thrive-Harmoniously-Blended/dp/0578425009
|Apr 27, 2021|
S2-E8: "Caregivers, Surge Protectors, and Different Types of Blended Families" with Brock Sellers
Brock Sellers, LICSW, PIP, is an Alabama native with strong roots in the social work field. He obtained both his BSW and MSW from the University of Alabama and is now beginning his 19th year of working in the field of child welfare. Brock serves as APAC’s Training Coordinator where he implements statewide training, webinars, online training, and live conferences with leading experts in the field of foster care and adoption for the benefit of Alabama’s clinical professionals. Brock is also the co-founder of Innate Health Solutions, where he works in the private sector as an consultant and trainer, working with individuals, families, and various service agencies to achieve overall healthier functioning. He is a nationally recognized TAC trainer, the newly accredited Training for Adoption Competency, and he’s facilitated training at conferences locally and internationally. He lives in Hoover, AL, with his beautiful wife and his very active boys, ages 10 and 8.
Brock was kind enough to be part of my 10CBF Online Conference back in the summer of 2020, and he was also generous with his time and wisdom in this interview! He and I talked about his experiences in a blended family as well as his professional work which has seen him help many families throughout Alabama and the world.
"Every family is multicultural because of the varying backgrounds of its members."
"You can't take the dye out of the water."
"Choose to believe the best...you can't choose it if you don't see it as an option."
Private Sector work: www.innatehealth.solutions
APAC Training website: https://childrensaid.org/training
7 Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency by Roszia and Maxon: https://www.nacac.org/resource/seven-core-issues-in-adoption-and-permanency/
The Relationship Handbook by George Pransky: https://www.amazon.com/Relationship-Handbook-George-Pransky-Ph-D/dp/0971198802
Children's Aid: https://www.childrensaid.org/
Children's Aid Training and Resources: https://www.childrensaid.org/what_we_do/programs/apac/training_resources/training.html
APAC Online Training: https://training.childrensaid.org/
|Apr 20, 2021|
S2-E7: "Forced Family Fun and G.A.S. in a Blended Family" with Scott and Mindee Hardin
Scott & Mindee have been together for ten years this month, married for six and a half. Scott is a Software Engineer at Intel for twenty-five years and Mindee is a twenty-year entrepreneur (Inventor of the popular children's product Boogie Wipes). Scott brought two girls and a boy to the marriage, while Mindee brought two boys and a girl - very Brady. The kids are currently 18, 17, 15, 15, 13, 12. They rely on Jesus, Coffee, Exercise and the Sunday afternoon NapFold...which you will have to ask them about!
Our Blended Family Ministry is called Merge, we run it through @B4 Church in Beaverton, Oregon
In this episode, Scott and Mindee share their 'Brady bunch' story and how it has helped them encourage and minister to other blended families, especially in their church in Oregon.
"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment." - Mindee's dad
"Focus on creating opportunities for cooperation and working together to create friendship and fellowship."
"Who's Who In the Family Zoo?" by Gary Smalley
Ron Deal https://rondeal.org/
'Courageous Parenting Podcast' https://courageousparenting.com/episodes/
'Truth, Love, Parent' https://www.truthloveparent.com/
The Smart Stepmom - Laura Petherbridge https://laurapetherbridge.com/
Joyful Christian Stepmom - Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/210834342313905/
'Through the Word' https://throughtheword.org/ (also available as an app in most app stores
Facebook and Instagram: @scottandmindee @mindeemama @scotthardin11
|Apr 13, 2021|
S2-E6: "What I Learned from Three Decades of Stepparenting" with Claudette Chenevert, "The Stepmom Coach"
Claudette Chenevert, AKA “The Stepmom Coach” works with stepmoms who are striving to create a cohesive family life. She holds a BIS in Psychology of Communication from George Mason University, focusing on stepfamily dynamics and is Certified Coach with Results Coaching System, a neuroscience based program. Claudette helps stepmoms build and create strong and healthy stepfamilies by helping stepmoms focus on what they want as a woman, a partner and a parent. She has over 30 years of experience as a stepmom and 37 years as a mother. She understands what it’s like to be in your shoes and teaches the best strategies to make life as a stepmom more harmonious. Claudette offers online support, self-study programs, and one-on-one coaching. She is also an author and writer for Stepmom Magazine as well as the producer and host of The Stepfamily Summit 2021.
In this episode, Claudette shares the wisdom and lessons she has learned in over three decades of being a stepmom and working with other stepmoms.
"Understanding the power of listening and asking insightful questions is part of creating a cohesive family."
"Creating a blended family can be a lot like merging two businesses, hopefully bringing in the best parts of both and creating a third thing together."
"Parents need to keep contact with the kids and keep the communication open as much as possible."
"Structure and consistency are key for kids."
"People are often afraid to ask for help because they don't want to be seen as weak."
Stepmom Magazine - https://www.stepmommag.com/
The Stepmom's Book of Boundaries https://stepmomcoach.com/shop/the-stepmom-book-of-boundaries-bundle/ by Claudette Chenevert
The Essential Stepmom Podcast https://anchor.fm/essentialstepmom
Stepfamily Summit 2021 https://thestepfamilysummit.com/
Stepmom Coaching https://stepmomcoach.com/
Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block https://www.amazon.com/Community-Structure-Belonging-Peter-Block/dp/1523095563
|Apr 06, 2021|
S2-E5: "A Different Kind of Blend...and what NOT to do" with Bob Brumm
Bob Brumm is a professional award-winning Speaker, Author & Encouragement Engineer serving corporate, collegiate, sales, youth organizations and individuals with encouraging keynotes or workshop presentations. Bob guides audiences to achieve personal and professional growth with positive encouragement and action plans that combat the negativity that inundates our daily lives. Bob is a top selling author of eight books and has been a guest on internationally recognized media outlets regarding his encouraging positive perspective, action-oriented strategies. Bob also created his own podcast, “Encouragement Engineering” to reach out to listeners to combat the negativity that inundates our daily lives with a positive perspective and positive actions. With his diverse professional background in Accounting, Business, 25 years in the IT/Telecommunications and as a husband and father of three boys, Bob can relate to many audiences through his personal and professional struggles and successes. Bob has presented positive, encouraging messages for many organizations and as a direct result, has been recognized for encouraging work efforts that have led to both time and money savings for many groups. For more information on Bob’s books and other information or to schedule Bob for your next event, go to www.bobbrummspeaks.com to see how he can help you or your organization. Bob is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In this episode, Bob and I discussed his experience as a "red-headed stepchild" (his words!) and what it was like to grow up in a blended family that was not always easy. He shared the lessons that he learned as well as how being in that type of family helped him become who he is today.
"Be willing to learn and accept each others' differences and grow from them."
"Just be decent to each other."
"What can we learn from the past that will help me and encourage me in the future?"
Website – https://bobbrummspeaks.com
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbrumm/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bbrummSPK
Zig Ziglar - https://www.ziglar.com/
|Mar 30, 2021|
S2-E4: "Baggage, Brokenness, and the Process of Becoming a Family" with Kristie Carpenter
Women’s author, speaker and mentor Kristie Carpenter, aka The Blended Family Mom, has been a blended family/step mom since 2004. Her blended family currently includes four children and four grandchildren. Her books The Blended Family Mom and Blended Mom Moments are both available on her website at theblendedfamilymom.com.
In this episode, Kristie and I discussed her journey from wife to widow to stepmother/stepgrandmother in under a decade and the many lessons she has learned along the way.
"Your mindset going into marriage will make or break it."
"Be consistent every day."
"In your blended family, your priority is your spouse."
"As a stepparent, you have to keep trying different things."
Dr. Gary Chapman: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Kingdom Marriage by Tony Evans https://store.tonyevans.org/purchase/kingdom-marriage-bmarriage
|Mar 23, 2021|
S2-E3: "Stressful Conversations Don't Have To Suck" with Ali Wilks
Stepfamilies have to contend with extra stressors, deeper and more complex layers that just do not apply to first-time families. Ali is well versed in the challenges that stepmoms and stepcouples face in 'blending' together. Ali Wilks MSc is a certified successful stepfamily strategist and couples coach. Driven by her own feelings of doubt and insecurity, she turned her passion to help into her purpose and created the Successful Stepmom Retreats and Successful Stepcouple Retreats. She is also the owner and developer of The Soulful Stepmom where she shares her soulful insights, embraces her otherworldly gifts, and teaches about her heart-earned lessons that came as a result of her stepmom struggles. She can be found on the usual social media platforms as well as Stepcoupling.com, Stepparent Magazine as their Wellness Editor, and on the groundbreaking Stepmomz App. On top of it all, Ali offers transformational coaching programs to stepmoms and stepcouples because she believes stepfamily stress can be turned into stepfamily success and stepcoupples can be an unstoppabble team.
As the bio mom of two smart and sassy daughters, the wife to her husband of 13 years, and the stepmom to three awesome adult stepkids and two adorable grandkids, she is well on her way to having the groove in her stepmom game. FINALLY.
She’s been featured in DivorceForce, Divorce Magazine, YourTango. StepMom Magazine, coParenter app and of course, Stepparent Magazine. She is a recent add to International Bestselling Authors on Amazon for her contribution to the Book BluTalks Series 2.
Ali brought some amazing wisdom and insights to our interview, so be sure to check it out!
"Start your day with 'How can I make your day better?'"
"Communication is one of the pivotal aspects of having a successful relationship."
"Have a plan for conflict. Know your triggers to avoid, and be willing to ask what others need so you can support them in the midst of conflict."
"Myth to bust: don't go to bed angry."
"You can be right, or you can stay connected."
"Gratitude is transformational."
Stepcoupling by Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/192509/stepcoupling-by-susan-wisdom-lpc-and-jennifer-green/
Adversaries Into Allies by Bob Burg https://www.amazon.com/Adversaries-into-Allies-Ultimate-Influence/dp/1591848164
Stepparenting Magazine https://stepparentmagazine.com/
The Gottman Institute (information on relationships, especially conflict resolution): https://www.gottman.com/
|Mar 16, 2021|
S2-E2: "Consistency In Co-Parenting IS Possible? Really?" with Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown, is an entrepreneur who runs several businesses. For over 14 years she has run a successful cleaning company along with her husband. They also have a business in the finance industry, where they train and develop financial advisors, as well as educate people about how money works, so that they can achieve true financial freedom. Additionally, she hosts the Blended Family Podcast, a weekly show about the many challenges and struggles today's blended families face. Having a blended family of her own for well over 10 years, she is now using her experiences to help others. She lives with her husband, their four children, her mother in law, and two English bulldogs in the state of Florida.
In this episode, Melissa and I discuss her blended family story, what she's learned from over a decade of experience in a blended family, and how one of her many goals is to encourage and inspire other families as well. Melissa was kind enough to have me on her show some time ago (http://www.blendedfamilypodcast.com/202/), and I am thankful that she was kind enough to return the favor and come on 10CBF! We had an excellent time, and I hope that you enjoy our interview as well!
"Take it easy with the kids because they develop feelings quickly."
"Become a master at shifting your perspective...consider what the other person might be feeling."
**Melissa also offers free blended family financial coaching, so be sure to contact her about it today!**
Facebook Group: www.blendedfamilypodcast.com/group
|Mar 09, 2021|
S2-E1: "What On Earth Are NACHO Kids?!" with Lori and David Sims
Blended family coaching team, Lori and David Sims are the creators of the Nacho Kids® method and the Nacho Kids Academy. After Lori and David found a way to come back from the brink of divorce and better their blend, they had to share it with the world! As a team, they bring both the male and female perspective to blended family issues. Their mission is to reduce the percentage of failed blended families by empowering stepparents with tools to save their relationship and their sanity by effectively using the Nacho Kids method. Their Nacho Kids method has been a blended family lifesaver for thousands of stepfamilies around the world!
In this interview, Lori and David share with us their story of the origins of the Nacho Kids concept and the Nacho Kids Academy. They tell some of their struggles (including coming back from the very brink of divorce and also Lori's never-ending patience with David's "button-pushing" habits) as well as how they overcame then using the Nacho method. They also share some heartwarming stories of encouragement and inspiration from their blended family. Finally, we laughed a TON while recording this interview! If you're in a blended family and you're looking to laugh and learn, then this interview is an absolute must-listen!
"We can create our own happiness, or we can create our own misery, and I'm creating my own misery..."
"Relieve the stress first, then take steps to move forward and create better relationships."
"The goals: identifying triggers, relieving stress, and creating a better blended family through the Nacho Kids method..."
"Let the child lead the re-engagement relationship."
"Do things with the kids that they enjoy, and build each other up to the kids."
"Don't ever do anything once in your life that you wouldn't be willing to do for the rest of your life."
Links mentioned in the episode:
Family Life Blended (Ron Deal, author of The Smart Stepfamily): http://familylifeblended.com/
Laura Pretherbridge, author of The Smart Stepmom (with Ron Deal): https://laurapetherbridge.com/
|Mar 02, 2021|
S1-E16 (Bonus Episode) 'Eucatastrophe and the Gospel'
This episode is different because it is actually a talk that I gave at my high school for our Midweek (chapel) program recently. In this episode you'll hear an explanation of what 'eucatastrophe' is as well as a few stories that illustrate the concept. Finally you'll hear how the Gospel is the great eucatastrophe of history as well as some encouragement from the book of Romans. I hope that you enjoy it and find it both challenging and encouraging! I also hope that you will reflect on your own life's journey and seek to recognize the eucatastrophic moments in which your story went in an unexpected and positive direction.
Also be on the lookout for the beginning of next season as we'll have another amazing lineup of guest experts who are going to share wisdom, humor, and insight into how you can help your blended family!
|Feb 07, 2021|
S1-E15 "Doing the Hard Tasks and Parental Influence in Blended Families" with Judy Graybill
Judy Graybill is a Relationship Healer, Certified Stepfamily Coach, and Executive Director of her company, Sensible Steps. Her formal degrees are in Psychology and Sociology, and she has earned her certification as a Stepfamily Coach from The Stepfamily Foundation. For nearly 12 years, Judy has been a guest speaker on tele-summits, radio shows, and podcasts like 'Reclaim Your Life After Divorce', 'Constructive Uncoupling', and 'The Father Show' With Mike Thompson; as well as having been quoted in periodicals, including alongside Drs. Patricia Papernow and Richard A. Warshak at Care.com.
In this interview, Judy discussed a number of different ways to improve your blended family dynamics, starting with doing the hard work necessary to make your family function in a more cooperative way. We discussed how both stepparents and bio-parents can have a positive influence on the family and why both are necessary to help a blended family reach its potential. Finally, she shares why it's important to seek out resources that speak to your unique family situation and dynamics. Enjoy the conversation and help your family grow!
"Find what the bio-parent doesn't want to do, and be willing to do that."
"Choose to believe the best--this is one of the hardest things for ex-spouses to do because they're worried the other parent is going to screw up their kid."
"Focus on being a more positive influence; kids know and form their own opinions."
"Understand what is unique about your stepfamily and find resources that speak to those aspects of your family."
Connect with Judy:
|Jan 19, 2021|
S1-E14 "Knowing Our Roles and Growing Through Conflict" with Dr. Brittne Murray
Dr. Brittne Murray is a licensed Professional Counselor trained in clinical psychology with over 20 years experience in the field. She received her PhD in Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University (formerly The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in Palo Alto, California, and her postdoctoral education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She was also trained and received a fellowship degree at Tulane University in Early Infant Mental Heath. She began her therapeutic journey in Denver, Colorado, working in a residential facility and as a therapeutic case manager. She later moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she held several roles such as Clinical Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, EarlySteps interventionist, and clinical counselor treating children, teens, adults, and couples. Dr. Murray began her private practice in 2010, consistently working with divorced families, struggling with coparenting and stepparent integration in both Louisiana and Texas, while working with Tulane University, behaviorally assessing children in daycare settings. In 2018, she returned to Colorado and began a new practice, mainly focused on using EMDR to assist individuals in working through current and past traumas. However, she was always felt a call back to the families. In this desire, Dr. Murray created a new organization called Be Better Step-parenting, where she offers a 5-week online course for those attempting to navigate the step-parent waters. She hopes to educate and bring improved support to the marital couple, so that they can avoid the high statistical probability of divorce, and help the child(ren) avoid another break in their family system.
Dr. Brittne Murray's next blended family course begins February 2!
"Conflict is where we grow...conflict isn't aggression."
"The only way out is through." - Jung
"We need to know our roles and be clear about them."
"To teach our kids respect, we need to model that and show them what it looks like."
"Consistency is a big struggle for blended families."
Connect with Dr. Brittne Murray:
|Jan 12, 2021|
S1-E13 "Trust Issues and the Danger of 'Marrying the Outcome 'in Blended Families" with Jay and Esther Hutchinson
Jay and Esther Hutchinson are an amazing multicultural blended family that resides in Florida, and they have been married for eight years. Together, they are the parents of six boys and one girl ranging in age from 5 to 20. In addition to being part of a blended family, Jay and Esther also enjoy the challenges and rewards of being part of a multi-cultural family. Esther is originally from Haiti, and Jay hails from the state of Ohio. Esther and Jay have a heart for marriage and family. One of the missions of their website and YouTube channel, This Big House (thisbighouse.com), is to encourage families and individuals of all ages and cultures to love one another by offering practical, real-life tactics to help navigate through the maze of married and blended family life.
In this episode, Jay and Esther Hutchinson discuss their (unrealistic) expectations going into their blended family and how those changed as they moved forward. They share some of their struggles and some of their favorite blended family moments and memories, as well as some amusing stories about why people look at their family funny when they go out. Finally, they share the wisdom they've learned from having a large, complex, multicultural family and how important it is to stick together through the difficulty if you want to see the joy on the other side.
"I married the outcome before I started the journey..." - Esther Hutchinson on the expectations she had going into marriage with Jay
"Get educated on blended families--it's different than in a traditional family."
Connect with Jay and Esther:
|Jan 05, 2021|
S1-E12: "Acknowledging and Overcoming the Struggle" with Laura Gertz Hernandez
Laura Gertz Hernandez and her husband have ten (yes, TEN) children, a combination of biological and foster children. Laura is a homeschool mom to her biological children, and all four of their foster children have special needs. Laura is also the creator of MamaSystems.net, a website designed to help busy moms bring peace to their homes through putting systems into place that create calm out of chaos. Her website offers online courses, coaching, and a lot of free resources including articles, blog posts, and more.
In this episode, Laura is extremely vulnerable and shares some of the difficulties and struggles that their family has faced, and she also shares how her family has tried to address and overcome the struggles that they have faced. She says, "Gratitude is the key to being able to love on kids when it's hard," and "That's been our journey: learning that it's just different, and that's ok."
Her big tip to help anyone who is struggling is to have great community around you: make friends who either know the same struggles or can help you through yours, who will encourage you and challenge you, and who you can also help and encourage.
No matter what kind of blended family you're in, this interview will help you understand that the difficulties you face are not insurmountable, and that if your blended family is different than others, or different that you expected, that's ok too.
Find out more about Laura and her work at:
|Dec 29, 2020|
S1-E11 "Drama and Tragedy of Parental Alienation" with Tracy Poizner
Tracy Poizner is a certified life coach who leveraged 20 years of professional training and expertise in alternative healthcare to help herself and her family find their way through the wilderness of stepfamily life. She says her dream job is helping other stepmoms find their way to the light at the end of the tunnel so they can feel useful and appreciated in family life, grounded and confident in their personal life. She’s living the dream from her home in small-town Canada where she produces The Essential Stepmom Podcast, heard in 64 countries around the world. In her spare time, she helps the dads of the family learn to parent from a place of leadership so they can make the impact they truly want in the lives of their kids.
Tracy and I had an excellent conversation in this episode, discussing some of the causes and effects of parental alienation and how blended families can help cope and overcome it. She talked about her personal experiences as well as her professional work with other blended families, and I strongly encourage you to also check out her podcast called The Essential Stepmom.
You can find her at:
Nacho Kids Academy: https://nachokids.com/
|Dec 22, 2020|
S1- E10 "New Traditions and Reverse Engineering in A Blended Family" with Monica Tanner
"I'm Monica Tanner, married to my best friend, boss mom to 4 small humans, weekly podcaster at On the Brighter Side of Marriage and relationship and intimacy expert. I get it, entrepreneurship and marriage are HARD...they both take work. There are lots of ups and downs and sometimes it all just feels like TOO MUCH. But can I let you in on a little secret? It's easier than you might think...you may just need some simple, time-saving, life-saving skills and strategies. That's where I come in...
I firmly believe that there are no two people on planet earth who love each other more than me and my husband and I would love to help you believe that about your own marriage as well. I help Passionate Female Entrepreneurs prioritize their marriage while crushing their business goals. My goal is to help you embrace your unique femininity and gain courage, confidence, communication and connection skills enabling you to create a marriage that supports your business and a business that supports your marriage. I'm here to help!"
Monica is an amazing guest, and in this episode we discussed the importance of purposefully creating new traditions to help your family blend, and we also talked about how to reverse engineer your family to help it become what you want it to be. She shares her story as well as stories from her work as a relationship expert, and she dropped some amazing bits of wisdom in our episode. Check them out, along with links to her work, below:
"Don't take the little things for granted because they make up the fabric of your life."
"Remember that your kids are always watching you."
"You can always control how you choose to experience a situation."
"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
Curiousity + vulnerability = creativity
Freebie: 5 Things I Do Everyday to Keep My Marriage Sizzling Hot - https://onthebrightersideofmarriage.com/5things?fbclid=IwAR0VG3ThSgVz9QQuDvOyuoOtEzmUbNPlpvhnmjrLRQlKe75d_cNinz116w8
|Dec 15, 2020|
S1-E9 "Secrets and Boundaries in Blended Families" with Michelle Perry
As a bi-racial woman growing up without a father, Michelle Perry struggled with identity and self-worth issues. Poor choices led her down a path leading to academic failure and a lack of purpose. Until January 2, 1992, when one experience changed her life forever, propelling her into purpose and service to others.
Michelle established herself as a subject matter expert over the course of her career as a clinical social worker that spanned over 20 years. She then transitioned into the corporate world where her leadership and coaching skills were refined, producing results in all that she works with. As an Empowerment Coach, podcast host, speaker, and online course creator, Michelle contributes to the journey of others by supporting them to see results and experience an increase in confidence and momentum in their lives.
Michelle is an absolutely amazing woman with a powerful story, and in this episode we discussed how one of the biggest issues facing blended families is the keeping of secrets. We also discussed the importance of how to pay attention to non-verbal clues in addition to the actual words being said.
Her favorite blended family resources included the Bible and some goofball named Hawbaker. Michelle and her work can be found at all the following links:
https://successfuldiligence.ck.page Newsletter signup landing page
If you would like to be a guest on the Successful Diligence™ Podcast, work with Michelle or book her to peak, you can Schedule a meeting with me
|Dec 08, 2020|
S1-E8: "Stranded Strangers and Trapped Teammates" with Mike and Kim Anderson
Mike & Kim Anderson have been coaching and supporting step-couples for almost two decades and they host a weekly podcast called The Blended Family Coaching Show. Mike grew up in challenging stepfamily dynamics and when Mike & Kim were married in 2001 — they formed their own stepfamily. Mike and Kim have experienced the joys of 'blending' as well as deep valleys of pain and struggle. They are passionate about helping step-couples to experience breakthroughs, overcome challenges and thrive in their unique blended family dynamics. They reside in the Pacific Northwest and are grateful for their three beautiful children, Annika (25), Phoebe (17) and Jacob (16).
In this episode, Mike and Kim discuss what it's like to address and overcome a variety of blended family challenges by "connecting through conflict" and working with each other instead of against each other, even when it's difficult. They suggest an exercise designed to help you clarify and begin creating the type of family that you want by focusing on the values you want to teach your children. And they encourage listeners to go and learn as much as they can about blended family life, the challenges you'll face, and how to have realistic expectations for your family.
Find out more about Mike and Kim and their work at:
They also strongly recommend the following book by Dr. Patricia Papernow: 'Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn't'. You can find it below:
|Dec 01, 2020|
S1-E7 "Complexity and Resiliency" with Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin
Dr. Pion-Berlin is a passionate and compassionate leader and expert in resiliency, shared leadership®, family strengthening and prevention with more 38 years of research, advocacy and program implementation focusing on Evidence-Based Services and Initiatives. Fondly called Dr. Lisa, she is also an experienced clinician and Clinical Hypnotherapist working with Parents, Adults and Children of all ages to address their underlying emotional issues, change behaviors and reduce anxiety, fear and loss just to name a few. She has a Ph.D. in Social Work from Ohio State University, Masters in Social Work & Masters in Public Administration from University of Denver, and Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Georgetown University. Dr. Lisa believes Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength® and she envisions a just society where all Parents, Children & Youth thrive in resilient families and communities. She is also the President and CEO of Parents Anonymous, Inc.
"Your first reaction is usually an emotional over- or under-reaction. Take a breath."
On our show, Dr. Lisa shares a number of strategies designed to help the adults in blended families take care of themselves so that they can take care of others. She says each day it's important to laugh out loud, smile, and meditate, and she also talks about how important it is to ask for help and continue asking until you get the help you need. She also discusses how crucial it is to acknowledge our children's feelings and then helping and encouraging them in solving problems.
Find out more about Dr. Lisa and her work at:
You can also get help by calling the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-427-2736
|Nov 24, 2020|
S1-E6: "Healing from Pain and Helping Dads in Blended Families" with Dr. Michelle Watson Canfield
Michelle Watson Canfield, PhD, LPC, is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of 24 years, and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose daughters are in their teens and twenties...and she's straight-up awesome!!! She writes guest articles for various online and print journals and magazines, hosts her own radio show/podcast called The Dad Whisperer, and she and her husband Dr. Ken Canfield are soon going to re-launch the Father-Daughter Summit and a Let's Talk curriculum for dads of daughters.
We had such a great time chatting today about blended families and her work with dads of daughters. Recently married for the first time, she just realized that she is part of a blended family tribe of twenty-four (24!!)! Michelle shared with us wisdom from her family and from her work, and she gave us numerous immediately practical strategies for helping build better relationships between dads and daughters. We discussed a variety of books and resources that she recommends (links below!), we shared some laughs, and she even graced us with a song at the end (in addition to everything else, she has a great voice and has been a worship leader for years). Michelle has written two books that are specifically aimed at helping improve communication and connectedness between fathers and daughters, and they're both going on my Christmas list! Below are some of the quotes from the episodes as well as links to her work and to the various resources that were mentioned during the interview. Be sure to connect with her, reach out to her, and go get a copy of her books!
Office Phone: 503.244.6160
Podcast: The Dad Whisperer
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Blessing of the Father ministry with Pastor Ed Tandy McGlassen
|Nov 17, 2020|
S1-E1 "The 10 Commandments for Blended Families" with Joel W. Hawbaker
Mae l'ovannen! Welcome to the 10CBF Community, and thanks for joining me for this inaugural episode of 10CBF: A Podcast for Blended Families! In this episode you'll learn about:
1) the 2 Pillars for Blended Families
2) the 5 Discussions Every Blended Family Needs to Have
3) the 10 Commandments of Blended Family Life
Be sure to check out the blended family resources listed below and also come and connect with me on social media.
If you'd like a free copy of my Complete Blended Family Toolkit, just email me at email@example.com or send me a message on social media.
Also, for more information about blended families and the work I do, please check out the following websites:
|Nov 14, 2020|
S1-E5 "Parental Alienation and Keeping a Longterm Perspective" with Sarah Pendleton
Sarah Pendleton was kind enough to be a speaker at my 10CBF Online Conference in the summer of 2020, and here she again shares the wisdom that she has learned in over 20 years of working in the field of mental health along with her experience as a stepmom for a decade. In this episode she discusses many of the difficulties of and consequences associated with parental alienation. She also discusses, from personal experience, just why it is so vital that blended families keep a long term perspective in their families.
Bio: Sarah R. Pendleton is a licensed independent clinical social worker in Birmingham Alabama who owns Journey Clinical Services, a 100% online counseling practice that is dedicated to providing counseling for very busy people who place a high value on confidentiality, efficiency and convenience. Her niche in her private practice is blended families, particularly stepmoms, but serves clients with an array of needs. She is a two time graduate from the University of Tennessee and her professional experience includes working with clients from across the lifespan from children to adults and has over 20 years experience in the field of mental health. She has been a stepmom for 10 years and has a very real and felt need to minister and help the hearts of other stepmoms and families who feel hopeless and powerless about their blended family situation. She is active in Bible Study Fellowship, a nationwide, nondenominational bible study, loves getting together with her close knit group of friends from college, spending time on her family's farm and travelling. She lives with her husband and 2 young kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a lizard that has lived much longer than any of us thought when we agreed to let my son keep it!
Recommended Resources by Sarah:
Books by Dr. Amy Baker and Paul Fine (Surviving Parental Alienation https://www.amyjlbaker.com/books/surviving-parental-alienation.html and
Co-parenting With A Toxic Ex https://www.amazon.com/Co-parenting-Toxic-Ex-Ex-Spouse-Against/dp/1608829588
|Nov 10, 2020|
S1-E4: "Forgiveness and Minding Your Own Business" with Tuniscia O.
Tuniscia Okeke is a mom and stepmom, an international speaker, the author of 'The Empowered Stepmom', and just an all-around amazing human being. She shares today about her experiences with blended families, both personally and professionally. She tells us about the importance of forgiveness as well as the necessity of sometimes just minding our own business. She tells an amazing story about her family and its journey, and she shares some powerful nuggets of blended family wisdom. You can find her at https://www.forgivenesslifestyle.com/, and you can find her book at https://www.amazon.com/EMPOWERED-STEPMOTHER-Thrive-Harmoniously-Blended/dp/0578425009. You can also connect with her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/blendingour.love.7 and at https://www.instagram.com/forgiveness_lifestyle/ . Be sure to go and follow Tunisca to be both challenged and encouraged!
As always, you can get a free copy of my Complete Blended Family Toolkit by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can check out more of my blended family work at https://reallifeleading.com/blended-families, at http://joelwhawbaker.com/, and at http://stepdadding.com/.
Full bio for Tuniscia:
Tuniscia Okeke is the CEO and Founder of Blending Our Love, Inc.™️, and Creator of The Forgiveness Lifestyle Movement. A global keynote speaker and transformational coach to executive women in Fortune 500 companies and business owners. She’s the author of a #1 Amazon bestseller Empowered Stepmother: Grow, Glow, and Thrive Harmoniously In Your Blended Family, and host of an international vlog “Tea with Tuniscia O,” where she interviews celebrities and influencers and shares secrets to success for keeping a positive mindset to accomplish goals amid all adversities.
From speaking at Tony Robbins’ “Date with Destiny,” and “Unleash the Power Within” to speaking, training and coaching students in Paraguay, South America with John Maxwell in addition to training businesswomen in Nigeria on, “How to Build Wealth through Forgiveness,” her infectious personality and passion to motivate, inspire and empower mothers is her guiding light. One of her favorite interviews was with Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts and Toure Roberts on how they successfully blended their family.
Her passion and mission to empower billions of mothers around the globe to transform their pain into paychecks through healing and forgiveness which is what birthed the global talk tour, “A Time to Heal Motherhood.” Which was in three continents (Africa, North America and Europe) in 2019.
As a result of the strategies, techniques and heartfelt work provided to empower mothers and stepmothers around the world, tens of thousands have had mindset shifts to go from suffering in silence to thriving harmoniously while owning their brilliance within their marriages, families (traditional and blended), and businesses.
She’s an avid reader whose most creative thoughts occur while in “couch potato mode.”
As a wife and mother of three children, two of whom are adults, Tuniscia’s most cherished moments are family time together at home or on vacation, a hot pepper eating contest, making up new funny songs or movie night. Spending quality time with her deliciously handsome husband is by far her favorite extracurricular activity.
“When women come together, we can heal anything.” -Tuniscia Okeke
|Nov 03, 2020|
S1-E3 "Two Interviews for the Price of One" with Joel and Maryellyn Hawbaker
Mae lo'vannen! Welcome and well-met! In this episode, you're in for a treat because my wife joined me behind the microphone! She was kind enough to interview me (so we avoided a Gollum-like situation, with me conversing with myself), and then she really was gracious because she allowed me to interview her (she's a super-introvert, so I'm thrilled she agreed to do this; plus, she NAILED it)!
We share some of our experiences as bio-parent (me) and stepparent (her) and talked about some of our favorite memories as well as things we've struggled with, looking at differences even within the same household. I apologized for being presumptuous at one point (because I've never been a stepparent), and we also laughed a lot (which is pretty normal for us). This episode followed the pattern that most future episodes will follow in being an interview format, with questions and responses, along with follow-ups and general conversation about the topic at hand. Maryellyn shared some excellent wisdom about being a stepparent, and I am already excited about trying to get her to join me again on a future episode. I hope you enjoy listening to this one as much as we enjoyed recording it, and be sure to join us for the next episode where we'll begin doing interviews with other guest experts!
Below you'll find links to some of the resources we mentioned as well as social media links if you want to connect with either of us.
Ron Deal and his ministry http://familylifeblended.com/
Gil and Brenda Stuart https://gilandbrenda.com/restored-remarried/
Tuniscia Okeke (The Empowered Stepmom) https://www.forgivenesslifestyle.com/products/empowered-stepmother-book
Sarah Pendleton https://www.journeyclinicalservices.com/
Mike and Kim Anderson https://www.mikeandkimcoaching.com/
Jay and Esther Hutchinson https://thisbighouse.com/
If you'd like a free copy of my Complete Blended Family Toolkit, just email me at email@example.com or send me a message on social media.
Also, for more information about blended families and the work I do, please check out the following websites:
|Nov 01, 2020|
S1-E2 "My Blended Family Story" with host Joel W. Hawbaker
Mae lo'vannen! Welcome and well-met! In this second episode of 10CBF: A Podcast for Blended Families, I take some time to share my blended family story, beginning with my parents' divorce when I was in middle school, through my first marriage, my divorce, and then my remarriage back in 2014. I share some insights and stories about what caused my mindset to shift, and I also share some of what I've learned about blended families. Thanks for joining me on this journey, and I hope that you are encouraged, challenged, and inspired by what you hear!
If you'd like a free copy of my Complete Blended Family Toolkit, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on social media.
Also, for more information about blended families and the work I do, please check out the following websites:
|Nov 01, 2020|
10CBF Preview Episode
Welcome to 10CBF: A Podcast for Blended Families! In this special preview episode, you'll learn a bit about your host Joel, as well as what the podcast structure will be like. You'll hear key words and phrases that will be used repeatedly throughout the show, and you'll also learn what you can expect from future episodes once they go live beginning on 11/1/2020. Thanks for joining the 10CBF community, and we hope you're ready to learn, laugh, and be encouraged about your blended family!
|Oct 20, 2020|