Hope and Help for Blended Families
by Audra Jennings Thursday, August 12, 2010
Beyond the Brady Bunch
“This book is a treasure chest of encouragement, hope, and inspiration for the blended family. It has been said that some families cannot blend; they can only collide. Not true. The Alsdorf family has ‘collided’ well. They are the real deal and a beautiful picture of a fantastic blended family.”
Dr. Gary Smalley, best-selling author of The Blessing and The Language of Love
“I have had the joy of pasturing the local church where Ray and Debbie have lived out the practical lessons taught in the new book. From the day they first met me until now, this beautiful couple has learned priceless lessons about blending families that they now share with all of us. Through their example they have earned the right to teach us all.”
Steve Madsen, lead pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship in Livermore, CA
“With candor and heartfelt compassion, Ray and Debbie Alsdorf share the complexities and blessings they experienced when merging two homes into one. Beyond the Brady Bunch offers biblical wisdom and practical insights for today’s stepfamily.”
Laura Petherbridge, international speaker and author of When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t” and The Smart Stepmom
Beyond the Brady Bunch is not another series of how-to steps offered by people who are not in blended families, but it is a book written by a couple and family who have lived in the trenches and are willing to be vulnerable to reach out to other people in similar circumstances. This book is offered as a gift of encouragement that lets others know that in spite of the difficulties that often arise when two families choose to blend into one, with a heart surrendered to God, it is possible to leave a godly legacy—one of love, grace, and forgiveness. Blended families aren’t just limited to those who are divorced with children but include those who are in step-families because of the death of a spouse, adoption, or the need to raise someone else’s children. Beyond the Brady Bunch offers practical information to others who are trying to figure out how to keep their spirituality and sanity within this ever-growing family dynamic.
A blended family is foundationally different from a first family in many ways. When unrelated people initially come together, they may not want to be part of one another. The Alsdorfs take the reader through some of the most common difficulties that arise during this initial attempt to build cohesion within the new family structure. Some of these issues include:
• The realization that you need to return to God for strength and real-life direction
• The bond between parent and child that is like super-glue and will defy anyone or anything that tries to rip it apart
• Children’s need for adult help to fit into the new family
• Examination of holidays, visitations, ex-spouses, and other new details of a second family
• Sensitive areas of a second family: discipline, relationships, and ways to build a plan for success
• A look at traps that women can fall into and the top ten mistakes often made as a wife/mother of a blended family
• Examination of a new kind of dad: his role in the child’s life and the financial and spiritual responsibility of fathers
Beyond the Brady Bunch looks at each aspect of this and many other situations through the eyes of both the parents and children involved and emphasizes the need to surrender every aspect of their situation to God alone. The Alsdorf’s four children (now all adults) also contributed to the book by answering questions as children of divorce, and wrote the chapter “From the Other Side.” With Christ, it is possible for a proper foundation to be established for this new family and for everyone to experience hope and healing on the other side of the unique challenges created within the structure of the blended family.
About the Authors: Ray Alsdorf recently retired from law enforcement after 37 years. For the past 22 years he served as a detective/inspector for the Alameda County District Attorney specializing in welfare fraud, child endangerment, and other abuses. He is a Biblical lay-counselor, a member of AACC, and serves in the New Hope Ministry team at his local church. He currently counsels couples in blended marriages or those who are considering remarriage. He and his wife, Debbie, teach blended family classes at Cornerstone Fellowship.
Debbie Alsdorf has served as the director of Women’s Ministries at Cornerstone Fellowship for the past 13 years. She is a teaching leader, a mentor to other women in leadership, and equips and trains about 200 key women’s ministry leaders each month. In addition, she serves as a Biblical lay-counselor and is a member of AACC. In addition to her position at Cornerstone, she is also an international speaker and author and the founder of Design4Living Ministries—a ministry to equip and encourage women in their spiritual walks by providing resources that help them learn truth and line up to biblical truth in the practical places of real life.
Beyond the Brady Bunch: Hope and Help for Blended Families by Ray & Debbie Alsdorf
David C Cook/August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6645-8/240 pages/softcover/$14.99
Audra Jennings is Senior Media Specialist at The B & B Media Group. Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has used its broadcasting, marketing and advertising experience to provide the specialized and strategic publicity necessary to achieve the public relations goals of each client. The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., is a proven provider of exceptional public relations and personal management services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.
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