Do you notice the gaps in connection between people these days? It’s unsettling to see families sitting around tables in restaurants all glued to their individual phones, faces glowing, time passing as they miss opportunities to know one another. The space between them grows!

Doctors discovered some time ago the necessity for connection through touch for premature babies. Purposing to touch their small heads, hands, feet, rubbing and cuddling, talking, singing, engaging with them decreased mortality rates of these infants. People need connection. Yet, we are a society that is increasingly more connected through “distance.” We find it easier to connect through social media, emails and such, rather than genuine one-on-one interaction.

the space between us

We recently took a family skip trip to northern New Mexico, it was our best vacation to date.  That’s a big statement! But it honestly was for this reason – the connection we experienced. The ski lifts close at 4pm and with no internet connection or cable television in this remote area we were forced to connect, to entertain one another through conversation and playing games. We laughed more and enjoyed each other more than we had in years.  It took time to adjust and connect in this way and it wasn’t comfortable at first, but as we settled into what was, something changed.  Time seemed to slow down, conversation picked up and connections sparked. We closed the gap of the space between us!

Closing the gaps:

1.     Notice that there is space between you and those you love; you can’t change anything you deny or refuse to see.

2.     Purpose to get off the phone, turn off computers, log out of social media and seek the stimulation of connection.

3.     Gather around the kitchen table, be in the same room, and let that energy awaken your senses.

4.     Be creative and intentional to connect with those gathered around the table.

 

Some creative, intentional ideas:  Play board games – Scene It, Scattergories, Apples to Apples.  Play cards -UNO, Skipbo, Spades.  Ask questions like, “What was your high/low of your day? Would you rather never wear a shirt again or have pinkies for thumbs? –anything to get you talking and laughing together. Make something together- chocolate chip cookies, a bookshelf, artwork.   Plant an herb garden, play volleyball, bless a neighbor, paint a room, picnic, watch old family videos, read out loud. The purpose isn’t the activity – it’s the interaction. Focus on connecting with one another and closing the gap between yourself and others!  

 


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A challenge for you today!

Over the last few years, at the end of the year, I begin to pray and seek God about a “word” for the new year.  A word that He speaks to my heart about what He wants to do with me, in me, and through me in the upcoming year.  My words in years past: “Deep” “Sight” “Intimacy”

Hard words, intense words, scratchy, don’t always feel good, words!

These are not the words I would choose for myself.

When I start praying about my new word, I hear words like “Beauty,” like “More,” and I wait hoping that these are my words…but knowing that I don’t always choose well, I wait!  And usually…He changes my word.  He has a better word, not “better” because I like it, better because He knows what He wants to do with me, what needs to happen in me, and how He will flow through me!  He always knows better!

So I challenge you – pray about a word for 2015!

God has an amazing word just the right fit for you this year!

A word that will encourage you, break you, restore you!  A word that will bring hope, revelation, change!

A word that will define you, a word that will refine you!

Pray….wait…receive for His word for you!

Happy New Year!!

Step-parenting can be a messy job….can I get an Amen?!   A unified front, a cohesive unit, a fortified wall is what it takes to parent a house full of yours, mine, and ours!!

Co-parenting a blended family can be such a challenge but when done well can be a beautiful, amazing experience.  So myours mine and oursuch of how we deal with life starts with how we approach it from the beginning don’t you think?  So start with a change in the way you choose to see your life – not as a problem, not as something negative, but as an opportunity!  There’s so much more at the table..literally, and what fun that can be!  Different personalities and ages can be the spice of life and bring life, if you welcome it!

There is a right way to step parent and a wrong way and unfortunately some of you may find yourself on the painfully wrong way but don’t be disheartened – take a step back, regroup and start anew!

After you and your spouse have a heart-to-heart about the ways you are parenting, what’s working and not working and doing your research on how to do it better (check out this website –www.smartstepfamilies.com).  Your first step may be to sit all those kids down and simply repent for doing it wrong before you can start doing it right!  Listen to your kids’ hearts on the matter and then start laying down some new ground rules for how your family will function and learn to live together.

Marc and I are a blended family – it was mine and then, eventually, ours but now after 13 years they are all ours!  We have worked very hard to blend our family  – Marc loving my children as his own and stepping into his role as their father.  My kids – all of them – don’t experience him as a step parent, he is their “Pappy” and they love him like a Dad!  It has taken us some time to learn the steps to this blending dance and has taken patience for Marc to earn their trust and love to become the Dad they respect, but it has all been worth it!

My oldest daughter, Kamaryn, was nominated for Homecoming Queen her junior and senior years in high school and both times she asked Marc to walk her the night of Homecoming court presentation, not because she had to or felt guilted into it, it was totally her decision.  That is who she wanted by her side to present her as his daughter!   What an honor for both of us (Marc and I) to share in!

So holdfast and keep working, it is worth it!!  And it is so doable!!  Just be patient, unconditional and understanding as you strive to blend all your hearts into the one thing we call a family!