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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – Blended Family Reunions

Posted: August 11, 2012

Many months ago my husband Jack and I announced: “It’s time for a Family Reunion!” It makes we wonder if some of our children secretly shuddered when they heard that we wanted everyone to come home for 3 days of blended bliss. Let’s be realistic, it’s not always easy blending two families! When you have a mixture of 19 people, all with different personalities, career paths and opinions, and who live spread across Canada and the United States, you have a potpourri of blended surprise.


This blog is to pay a tribute to my wonderful family, because I am so proud of each and every one of them. Some of our children and grandchildren had not seen each other for a long time, and yet I observed intentional acceptance and love. Here are some tips as to what I believe made our “Blended Family Reunion” a tremendous time of fun and blessing. I hope some of these ideas will help you.

1.         For many months, my husband Jack and I prayed for each of our children and grandchildren; that our home would be a place of love and acceptance.

2.         For weeks leading up to the reunion, I sent regular e-mails and videos of what everyone could expect, along with information of upcoming surprises.

3.         I asked different children to become involved and “host” different aspects of the event.  Here are some of their tremendous ideas that were incorporated.

            i. A “Whacky Putting Competition”.

            ii. A “Back to the Future 80’s Night”.  This was an astounding success! We asked everyone to come prepared to engage in the fun by dressing in the 80’s theme. My son-in-law Tim set up a projector and huge screen in our back yard. Sprawled out on duvets, blankets and munching popcorn under the stars, we watched the movie “Back to the Future”. What a blast.

            iii. I arranged an afternoon of “The Amazing Race.” This was a 3-1/2 hour adventure of teams of 4 people that had to accomplish certain tasks around the City of Kelowna. The incredible stories we heard of their whacky adventures had us laughing late into the night.

            iii. “An Italian Grill Night.” This was hosted by my son Donovan who astounded us with a feast of delights that put smiles on all our faces.

            iv.  Thanksgiving Prayers. I had asked everyone to bring a sample of something that depicted the city and country where they lived. We had seeds from Alberta, sea shells and driftwood from Vancouver Island, fruit and an American top hat in the middle of our dining room table. We stood in a circle around the table, holding hands and giving thanks to God for all the different and wonderful places we live, and all our unique lives. It was a visible display that when we take the different aspects of our lives and when they are gathered together; they are all breathtakingly beautiful. There was so much to be thankful for. Before each meal, we always stood in a circle, holding hands and praying a blessing over the meal and over each other.

            v. A Blessing Night. Jack and I wrote a blessing for each of our grandchildren, together with a bible verse and prayer. We also had special lanyards engraved that said “Conley-McLaughlin Reunion 2012”.  As each child received their blessing and lanyard, they were told that they are a family star. 

4.         The most important, visual evidence I saw all weekend was the word “acceptance.”  Let’s face it, we are all a bit quirky and we all see the world through a different set of lenses. Yet I believe that every child that walked through our front door at the beginning of the reunion came with this intention written on their hearts: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7 NIV).

We can be as creative as humanly possible, have good intentions for getting along-but if we do not ACCEPT EACH OTHER, in the same way that Christ has accepted us with all our sins and junk, then we cannot have those loving and intimate relationships. So I believe in order to have a successful Family Reunion, it has to begin by accepting each other. Then throw in a lot of fun and laughter and good food, and you have the ingredients for a Family Reunion that will imprint all out hearts for years to come.



Posted in: Anticipation, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Pleasure, Prayer, Understanding each other, Valued

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