Blended—> Challenging & Beautiful 

Our large and lively family is what is considered to be ‘blended’.  This means our family is not the traditional family, my husband and I both have been married before and have had children with our ex-spouse.  Before God led us into each other’s lives my husband and I both went through devastating trials as we lost our previous marriages to choices and circumstances beyond our control that left us both faced with the adventure of single parenthood.

Prior to meeting each other during the months we survived being a single parent we each went through our own transformation period, on our knees opening our hearts in complete surrender to Christ.  One of the most traumatic and challenging times in my life led me to a point that my eyes and my heart were opened, I was delivered from despair as I came alive spiritually and found new hope for life.  God gave me strength and carried me through every day, every challenge and every trial I was forced to face.  I prayed each and every night to let it be God’s will for me to meet someone, I prayed specific details on the man I desired to be led to, and less than a year later God answered my prayers.

Psalm 102:1. —–Hear my prayer, Lord, let my cry for help come to you.

Psalm 143:1 ——Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.


Our faithful and wonderful God brought Matt and I together. We quickly connected as followers of Christ and grew as friends and after dating for about a year we entered the covenant of marriage united in Christ.


We both were very aware that there would be some trials and challenges along the way as we entered into our marriage and beginning our beautiful blended family.  We did not do this blindly, we kept God at the center of it all and let Him lead us.  Together we did do quite a bit of research and reading of Christian authors who had been down the same path before.  We went through premarital counseling and guidance with our pastor.  We were bravely prepared as we began this journey over two years ago.  We had ultimate faith in the Lord that He would be there with us and guide us every step of the way.  God is so good and so faithful, He has been with us every step of the way.  Our marriage and blending our family has truly been our greatest blessing.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:34‬ ‭

I feel like there are some misconceptions or stereotypes surrounding the ‘blended family’.  Today’s society now has more blended families than traditional or intact families.   The most recent statistics show that more than 50% of families are in situations where parents are remarried or recoupled.  With such an increasing population of blended families it would be great if there were more resources available to help these families learn, grow and thrive especially in Christian homes.  Our church has embraced and accepted us with open arms, but unfortunately I think a lot of churches are not very loving and accepting of blended families or single parents.  This is very sad because it is the children and parents in these situations that desperately need the love and support of the church.  Thankfully these stereotypes mean nothing to the One who matters, in God’s loving eyes there is nothing second-rate about a blended family.

It has not been an easy or effortless transition, we have had some challenges through this and still continue to have challenges.  Some days are much more trying than others, but all of the good moments by far outweighs the struggles.  Family and parenting challenges are not exclusive to blended families, intact and traditional families are also faced with many challenges.  However there is a different dynamic and unique element to challenges seen in blended families.  My husband and I have learned many things over the last two years, we have made several mistakes along the way.  We are not perfect but we have a perfect Savior to carry us along the way.  We have learned from our mistakes, praying constantly for wisdom courage and strength.

Here are a few of our lessons learned from our experiences of blending our family into one under Christ:

—Love is a choice.  Loving your biological children comes naturally but you must choose to love your stepchildren.  Love unconditionally as Christ loves us.

—Family mealtimes are golden moments of bonding, we love when we are able to have a meal with all of us at the table.  We try and make this a priority, not possible daily during our busy school year but we typically pull it off a few times a week, dinner during the week, lunch or breakfast on the weekends.  Getting 6 kids and 2 adults to sit still at the same time for an extended period can be challenge to say the least!

—Church as a family is a priority, not an option in our house, it’s expected that we will be at Sunday school, Sunday service and youth activities weekly.  No matter what’s going on with our house or family church is a constant.  

—Adults get divorced, kids don’t.  A child still needs the positive involvement and contact with their biological parent that they don’t live with.  We cannot force their other parents to fulfill this role appropriately however we can be there to support and help our children with their relationship with their other parent.  It is vital that we never speak disparagingly about their other parent in front of the kids.  This only hurts the kids and cannot be undone.  This is one are that Matt and I have done very well with, we have refrained from speaking badly of any of their other biological parents in from of them.  This area can be quite challenging, while you don’t want to speak badly of their other parent you cannot lie or withhold certain truths.  For example if a parent fails to show up or follow through with a promise it is not ok to lie and make excuses for them.  Finding the line of not speaking badly but being honest can be very very hard.  Overall we have done well with this and will continue leaning on God to guide us in this area.  We will work to support our children to continue their relationship with their other parents.

—Holidays, weekends and summer vacations will be forever changed, better just to accept this reality of custody and visitation schedules and be flexible and be as positive as possible, especially for the kids, unfortunately the little ones involved are the ones who get hurt and impacted by the complications involved with visitation schedules.  My husband and I put a lot of effort into protecting the kids from the adult pieces of this but we cannot control what happens outside of our home and we have learned to efficiently handle damage control when needed.  We have failed in maintaining joyful and positive attitudes at times but we have learned a lot and have moved on to be best example and support we can for our children.  They look first to us so we must handle conflict and complications with grace and patience.  Lord give us strength!

—As parents my husband and I have no power or control of what happens outside of our home, particularly in the home of the other parents.  However at times what happens in the other home directly impacts our home and family.  It is hard and at times impossible to accept the powerlessness of watching your child be hurt, disappointed, emotionally neglected and spiritually attacked in the other parents home.  We can do nothing to stop, prevent or change this, we have to release control and trust God in these difficult and heartbreaking circumstances.  This has been by far one of the biggest challenges for me as a mother to accept and learn to endure.  It has been a slow learning process for me, I have been stubborn (yes Matt I am admitting to being stubborn;), angry, had an unchristian like attitude, and this has made this process for me painfully long, I have been kicking and fighting this area that God has been working on me.  I’m still not where I should be but have come along way and continue making progress.  As parents we need to let go of not being able to protect our kids when they are with their other parents , we cannot bubble wrap their heart from feeling rejection and hurt and  we are unable to cover their eyes, ears and hearts from being exposed to ungodly and evil things of this fallen world.  Thankfully what we can do is so much more POWERFUL!!!!  We release them to God and rise up in PRAYER.  It has been an excruciating process for me to get this but I am still learning and will continue improving in this area, thank You Lord for being patient with me.

‘Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.’ Romans 12:9


Blending a family takes time, it does not happen easily, without hard work, without love or overnight.  It is essential to keep Christ at the center of it all.  He will give us what we need and He will not let us down.  When your marriage and family stay God centered amazing things happen.  He is good and faithful and He loves us.  He has called us to love one another as Christ loves us.  Praise and glory to God!!


“Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.”  Romans‬ ‭15:17‬ 

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Fearfully and wonderfully made

This past year has been a year full of blessings, changes, challenges, growing and blending for our family. God is good all the time and all the time GOD IS GOOD! Anticipation and excitement is growing as rapidly in our house, almost as rapidly as our sweet baby Nathaniel is growing- in just over a month we are expecting our son to be born. My husband and I were married last June, we joined our lives together forever with our vow and promise to love and cherish each other as God loves us. In our marriage we joined our families, my three children and his two children became OUR children and we united together as one with God the center of our home.

The upcoming birth of our son is so exciting and such a wonderful blessing from God. It is so very exciting to be bringing the unity of our family to a new level as all of our children will now share in one sibling. Nathaniel will hold a very special place in our home as he will be little brother to all 5 older siblings, he will be a connection to join them together in a different way. The kids are all so excited, just this morning debating on the car ride to school who would be first to hold him in the hospital. A lot going on over the next month as we make all of our final preparations to be ready to bring Nathaniel home. During this time the kids are finishing up at school, finishing spring sports getting ready for summer vacation and the excitement will continue building as we make our home ready to welcome and celebrate this new child of God.

Psalm 139:13-14
‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’

BABY @ 31 WEEKS_6

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Finding my way to prosper during this season of BUSY

Since the kids started their football and cheer practice at the end of the summer right before school started our family has been busy day in and day out, it feels like we are constantly on the go and always running to get somewhere. In the peak or our busy and chaos there are moments when I can feel completely overwhelmed with the feeling that I will never have enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, EVER. Between working full time, church activities, kids sports, household responsibilities, exercising, there will never be enough time in a day, and I will never get everything done, but that is ok.

Instead of waiting for things to slow down…which realistically with 5 children in our home (we pray to be blessed one day with a 6th:) it is not likely to happen for the next 15+ years, I have come to terms to accept this as my season of busy. This is the time in my life I am going to be on the go, full of activities surrounding the kids and our family. Instead of getting overwhelmed and frustrated with the busy, constantly waiting for the season to change or slow down, I need to enjoy all the blessings God has packed into this season of busy. I need to remind myself that I am not here by accident; God built me and equipped me to handle my season of busy. How AWESOME that He entrusted me and my husband with raising these 5 amazing children. Then when I have reached my season of slow, our little ones are grown and on their own I can look back on the season of busy and know that I was able to enjoy and cherish the many blessings of busy to the fullest.

So many blessings keeping us busy,
-loving marriage honoring God
– 5 amazing children
– 2 working parents, we are blessed with security in our careers
– Amazing church home and family
-kids that are motivated to be active, social and play sports
-beautiful home to take care of
-pets to love and cherish
In every area of our life we are blessed, THANK YOU LORD for all you have given us!

Isaiah 41:10
‘Don’t be afraid for I am with you, don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand’

As I embrace being blessed with this season of busy in our lives I am tasked to keep God at the center of our lives. Keep Him front and center in all we do is essential and key to being successful, successful in obedience to Him and successful in what we set out to do. Being busy day in and day out is for pointless and insignificant unless we keep our eyes, hearts and focus on our Amazing and Awesome Lord. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He is intimately involved and cares about every detail of our lives, every detail of our lives should involve Him.

For this past month I know we could have done better, we are not perfect there will always be room for improvement but overall I am very pleased with some of the progress we have made as a family to work on keeping God our focus. Here are some of the highlights where I can really feel our focus has remained on God.

—–>Scripture to go; during the week the older kids ride in the car with me to school which is a good 25 minute car ride, after we drop the youngest our 3 year old off at preschool and each of the older children take turns reading scripture. We started at the beginning in Genesis; they are required to read a minimum of 3 verses each, some days they choose to do more some days they read their minimum. This has been a great start to the day, not each day has been perfect but they are starting each school day reading and listening to scripture. HOW AWESOME! They are pretty excited about the idea of reading the bible cover to cover eventually if we keep this up. At the end of the week if they have done well all week we get a treat on the way to school, breakfast sandwiches and a drink at Wawa. They think this is great 🙂

—–>Wednesday evenings before going to church for Teamkid and youth group, we have made it a point to set aside an hour to sit down and have dinner together and hold a family meeting and devotion time. In order to make this work we do frozen pizzas and salad, which require little prep and clean up allowing us more time in the middle of our crazy busy week. Kids love routine and do so well when they know what to expect every Wednesday. They are each allowed time to talk about anything they want to, any concerns or praises. The family devotion each week varies. Wednesdays are not always a complete success, we have 5 kids sometimes their silly behavior gets carried away but overall this has been awesome and effective for all of us.

—–>Sundays after church we go home and make lunch. Over lunch we have discussion and questions about the sermon. We ask the kids different things to see what they picked up in the sermon and discuss the message and review the commandments and verses.
—–>My incredible husband Matt and I have made it an effort to add onto our devotions together, we had been getting up early and starting each day with scripture and prayer, we are not always successful in this as some mornings we are so tired and hit snooze one too many times but we don’t’ beat ourselves up over a missed morning or two. We have added on scripture in the evenings while kids are getting ready for bed, we make it a point to sit at the kitchen table and read scripture together so they can see up doing this and making this a priority, we are trying to set an example for them.

Psalm 16:8
‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’

Psalm 18:30
‘As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

Proverbs 16:3
‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.’

“Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for Your many blessings. We are so undeserving and yet you still show us unconditional love, mercy and grace. Thank You for answer prayers. Thank You for the honor and blessing of being a parent. Please guide us and strengthen us, give us wisdom to triumph through this season of busy. I pray to keep our focus and hearts on You Lord, that You will always be center of our home. I pray that we can be an example of You to our children and those around us. Our children are a gift from You, daily we need Your strength and wisdom to train them in the way they should go. Give us patience and a joyful heart. Forgive us when we are too busy to listen to Your voice, help us to take a breath and experience Your presence and so we can hear what You have to say.
In Jesus name I pray~ Amen”
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Shame on me….time to refocus and CHOOSE JOY!

In our home my husband and I both work full time, we blessed with 5 animated, active, industrious and busy children; the daily routines and responsibilities are usually layered with elements of commotion and chaos. Since school began 3 and a half weeks ago, football and cheer practice and games in full swing and activities at church on top of keeping up with meals and house work, it feels like we are trying to fit into 24 hours what should take us 36 hours to complete, always rushing and never having enough time in the day to balance all of our responsibilities to the best of our ability.

I am so incredibly blessed, my life is full of answered prayers- God is good all the time! I am a mother to 5 amazing children, a wife, football and cheer mom, I work full time as a nurse practitioner, volunteer at the free clinic 1-2 times a month, women’s group a church, helping with the preschool class at church on Wednesday evenings, community group with church family on Sunday evenings…and last but certainly not least a follower of Christ. Of all of my duties and responsibilities—–being a follower of Christ is by far the most important but yet I have been allowing the hustle and bustle of our routine take over and giving only what’s left from my overstuffed and exhausting day to my relationship with Christ…..that’s not the example I want to set for our children. I want my energy and focus to go first to Christ. How can I teach my children how to live a Christ centered life if I cannot set an example for them to follow in?

The sermon today was quite convicting for me and has moved me to want to be more bold, dedicated and determined in my example of Christ to my children, I am being convicted in a big way and feeling very led to step up to fill the role God has called me to be in. I wouldn’t be here in this place of my life if God did not think I could handle all this. He made me for this, He knew what I was going to be capable of, He knows what I could handle, and this is not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. Yes, this season in my life is so full it is almost busting at the seams and while it all feels so overwhelming to the point I want to scream and cry at times, but I just need to stop take a time out and need to look at it in a different way. How AWESOME that God has given me such huge responsibility, what and honor and blessing that He made me to have all of this in my life! I need to step up and carry these responsibilities for what they are, a blessing directly from GOD, not a burden or stress or too much for me to handle, He wouldn’t have me here if He didn’t equip me to carry out these responsibilities.

I want our kids to look to me and feel Christ’s love and see my joy in Him. Unfortunately this is not the example I have been showing these past few weeks. I have allowed the day to day routine, stress and the extreme busy in our lives overcome me and dictate my moods and steal my joy. Shame on me! Our kids for the past three weeks have looked to me and have the impression of stressed and busy means you need to be rushed, short-tempered and grumpy after a long hard day. That’s it!!!! I refuse to let all of the blessings of this life stress me out and dictate my emotional forefront and allow the circumstance of my stressful day steal my joy in the Lord. I want my children to look at me on the busiest and most stressful days and see not just a smile on my face but see joy and feel Christ like love.

After sitting down with my amazing husband and reflecting on how we have handled the last 3 weeks with our children, we have identified the areas that we are lacking, where we need to make some changes and we came up with a plan of how we can work together as Christian parents to better lead our children by our own example.

#1-One area that my husband and I have done well in, is starting our day together reading scripture and in prayer. We get up early every morning, and over a cup of coffee we sit in bed, read scripture, discuss if anything spoke to us from our reading and pray before we begin our day. This is all wonderful except that during this time all the kids are fast asleep in bed and don’t even realize we are doing this. They should see us reading our bibles regularly; we need to lead by example. We will continue with our morning’s devotional time, this is important for us to start out day with the Lord and quiet time together. To be the example so our kids can see us reading our scripture we will take 10 minutes at the end of the day after whatever activities the evening kept us busy with and sit on the couch and read while they are getting ready for bed, so they will see us doing this.
#2-Our oldest three are in the car for at least 20-30 minutes to and from school each day. During our morning ride in I am going to have them each take turns reading out loud from the bible. Reading the bible is not something that they are going to ‘choose’ to do on their own and not likely something they will want to do but it is so important to instill this in them. It will be something we start with small, I am going to start at the beginning and have them work their way through the bible, only require them to read 3-5 verses each. I will be working on making this a priority with them during our morning routine and setting this example for them.
#3-We are going to work together to keep the stress, schedules, on the go, chaos each day brings us from taking our joy, to be able to smile and support each other through the most trying and difficult days, so our children can see the joy of the Lord through us.

I choose joy….the joy of the Lord is my strength

I choose to live in God’s presence.
James 1:2 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance’

I choose joy on the days when everything feels like it is falling apart, when all 5 children are acting out, all I want to do is cry and start the day over while there are endless things to be done to survive our day….I will still choose JOY
Philippians 4:4-5 ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.’
I will grow in my joy when my children can see Christ in me.
I choose Joy…
Hebrews 12:2 ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
I choose to find joy in my life praising God

“Heavenly Father,
You are so awesome and so mighty! Thank You for all of Your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank You for loving us unconditionally. Thank You for your blessings. Thank You for sending Your son to suffer for our sins. We do not worthy of all that You have given us, yet our lives our full of undeserved blessing, Thank You for always providing for us, thank You for answering prayers even if the answer is no, for being with us and equipping us to live in this sinful world. Thank You for Your word and direction on how to live our lives and serve You.
You know my heart, please forgive me for not seeking you first, for letting the details of our busy lives overtake my time with You. I confess my weakness in being overcome by stress and circumstance. I need You Lord, my strength comes from only You, I cannot do any of this on my own, without You I am powerless. Lord please give me power to be the woman You created me to be, I pray if my words or actions begin to step out of Your will please give me guidance to fall back into Your will.
I come to You today in surrender, I seek Your wisdom and strength as a mother, to live my life with a joyful heart always, whatever the circumstance of my day I pray to have a joyful heart in You Lord. I ask for wisdom and guidance in all my roles and responsibilities, please lead me and guide. I pray to always keep You center in all that we do.
I pray our children grow to know You, to serve You and love You, that our example in their lives lays down the foundation for their faith, they grow into godly people and they can go out into this world as an example of Your love and share You with those around them.
I pray for Your protection over my children, protect them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In Jesus name I pray- AMEN”

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God never fails

What excellent reminders Matt and I had this morning. We read Philippians chapter 4 this morning. It has been less than a week since we have been making a deliberate effort to get up early and spend a few minutes reading scripture and praying together.

Of course it is not easy falling into the habit of getting up a few minutes early and sacrificing precious sleep each morning. Since we started I think we’ve missed two mornings but other than than that we wake up a few minutes earlier than we need to and over a cup of coffee Matt and I read scripture, talk about it and then pray together. What an amazing experience already this is. We are not perfect with this but we aren’t looking for perfection, this is progress. We are starting our day even if it is a few minutes we begin our day with focus and time with The Lord which is essential to help us be the example our children need.

As we strive and work to raise our children to be thankful followers of Christ this morning devotional time in our marriage is progress.

Thank You so much Lord!

“be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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From this day forward…

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Two weeks ago tomorrow Matt and I joined our lives and our children’s lives in the presence of God, our friends and family we took our vows and entered the covenant to love and cherish each other forever. We began this chapter of our lives with our eyes wide open, we are fully aware that with combining our 5 kids into one family under one roof there will be challenging days and many trials we must face. We know that this will not be easy but we are not looking for easy. God brought Matt and I together for a reason and we have the assurance of God’s love and promises. We will do our best to keep God in the center of our love, the center of our family and home, He will lead us and guide us, God is going to equip us and prepare us to handle and survive and rejoice all of life’s trials and blessings. God is bigger than any problem we will ever have.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Psalm 16:8
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The last two weeks has been wonderful and exciting and so busy as we have all moved under one roof. The kids are settling in and adjusting well but it has not been without chaos. Overall everything has going quite smoothly no major conflicts or drama, kids have really adjusted well so far, not one child has been complaining about having to make any changes. I am very proud of each and everyone of our children and how well they have been doing.

All is well as we have settled into our little summer routine, Matt and I go off to work everyday and the kids stay at home with their Uncle Raymond. Noah is off to summer school during the day. I am already looking forward to our family dinnertime conversation each day. The other night at dinner we went around the table giving the kids turns to name the 10 commandments in order and then we discussed each commandment and what it meant to follow it. What a great reminder this meal time talk was for all of us.

This step of our journey finds us focusing on the 10 commandments and laying a solid foundation in all of their little hearts. Reflecting on these I see how I have really been neglecting this with our children. It is our responsibility and duty as parents to teach them the commandments and show them how to follow the commandments everyday.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

If we as parents can successfully teach the commandments to our children, place them in their minds and hearts, then as they grow and walk farther and farther from our home they will have them in their heart, we lay the foundation and plant the seeds and pray to God that the Holy Spirit guides them and grows them into faithful followers of Christ.

“Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for joining our families to unite as one with You in the center leading and guiding us. You are so great and mighty. Thank You for Your love and grace in our lives. Please give Matt and I strength, wisdom and courage to be the parents You made us to be. We are not here at this point in our lives by accident or chance, this is Your will and You have a purpose and plan for us.

Please give Matt and I the words, knowledge and patience we need to continue to lay the foundation of Your commandments in the hearts of our children. I pray Your protection over all of them, over Joshua, Tyler, Emily, Noah and Richard, protect their bodies, minds, souls and hearts. I pray for their salvation that they keep You in their heart and grow to be godly people and those around them can see the light of Your love through them.

In Jesus name I pray ~ Amen”