Positively Paula

Why Cheer for the New Mrs. Delaware United States?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Let's hear some cheers for the newly crowned Mrs. Delaware United States! Francine Edwards, who was announced as the winner this month, happens to have a platform that certainly caught my attention. There are several interesting reasons why I am cheering. Not only is she an assistant professor at Delaware State University, but she also won at the age of 43 when many of her competitors were "mostly in their late 20s to early 30s,..." according to MiddletownTranscript.com. Drumroll, please... 
The biggest reason why I am rooting for Edwards is that her platform is "Blended and Blessed: Step Parent and Step Family Support," according to the MiddletownTranscript.com, "Townsend woman crowned winner of 2012 Mrs. Delaware United States." (photo of Francine Edwards by John Dodd)
This is one stepmom that I really hope to interview on my RemarriageWorks show on The Stepmom's Toolbox Network. And, according to the article, her strategy for the fitness part of the competition involved P90X with her husband. She had me on the first round of applause; P90X with her husband is just icing on the cake. Congratulations Mrs. Delaware! And, good luck at the annual Mrs. United States Pageant in August.  I'll be cheering for you as you help bring awareness to the needs of stepfamilies and blended families.  

Win a FREE Second Wedding (aka Encore Wedding) from WINC FM!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Do you know anyone who is planning their second wedding? engaged to remarry? having an encore wedding in the next year or so? If you or anyone you know is planning to get married again after divorce or widowhood, you have to check out an exciting contest from WINC FM in northern VA/DC. WINC FM is giving away an encore wedding (aka second wedding). This could be a great way to start off on the right foot with your second chance for happiness! The contest package includes some fabulous prizes.

WINC FM, out of Winchester VA, our media sponsor for our upcoming Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides, which will be held at River Creek Club in Leesburg, VA on March 10, is having an encore wedding giveaway on-line now!  Prizes include, but are not limited to: 
  • second wedding invitations custom-designed by Carla David Design
  • a Luxe Wedding Experience package from the extraordinary event planning company, A Splash of Elegance; 
  • wedding photography by Jones Photography
  • a wedding gown from the fabulous new bridal couture boutique, Soliloquy;  
  • flowers by Graceful Flowers;
  • music by Music Unlimited;
  • the fine venue Piedmont Club in Haymarket, VAa ClubCorp club; and, 
  • if you are going to have a stepfamily, four coaching sessions from The Stepmom Coach, Claudette Chenevert.  
Even if you aren't located in northern VA/DC, consider making it a destination second wedding! (Please note: travel and lodging are not included.) 
All you have to do is submit a video that is 30 seconds or less telling WINC FM why you deserve an encore wedding. If you or your fiance' have had some rough times, and I'm guessing you may have if one or both of you is getting remarried, check out this opportunity. 
WINC will be announcing the winning couple at our Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides on March 10. 
And, for those of you who may be wondering.....
Q: How are second weddings any different from first weddings?
A: I invite you to check out my article, "Top 5 Reasons Why Remarrying Brides Deserve Their Own Bridal Show." 
Q:  What? Are you kidding me? What's up with RemarriageWorks.com, WINC FM and these sponsors? Are they promoting divorce?  
A:  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Here are the plain facts.  Nearly 100 million people in the U.S. are either considering remarriage after divorce or widowhood, or are already remarried. Over 1000 stepfamilies form daily. The divorce rate for second marriages is between 60-70%, and that rate is even higher than the divorce rate for first marriages. Our mission at RemarriageWorks.com is to help remarriages and stepfamilies succeed. Remarriage and stepfamily living and blending families can be a challenging road, an often very rewarding and joyful journey, but it can be very tough and often takes a lot of hard work. 
We want to make the remarriage journey a little easier for you by bringing you credible and valuable resources, inspiration, and hope with a positive twist!  If you like this, please spread the word about our efforts and WINC FM's encore wedding giveaway contest.  I really think the time is coming where we can start supporting healthy remarriages and stepfamilies from the start!


Join the USA Blended Family Association and You May Win "Journal for Stepmoms"

Friday, February 10, 2012
We're now in an age where the so-called "normal" family is no longer a Mom, Dad, and 2.5 kids. The reality is that there are many stepfamilies across our nation, over 1000 stepfamilies form daily. As many of you know, blended families are a unique system, with their own distinctive challenges and obstacles. And, while each stepfamily is unique in its own way, many of us share a common story. It's important that our community come together as we can learn from and find support in one another. 
I am very excited to be recently named to the Board of Advisors to the nonprofit organization, the United States of America Blended Family Association (USABFA). I am honored to be a part of their wonderful online community geared towards blended families and stepfamily living. USABFA provides a platform to share stories and advice, connect with others, build knowledge, and strengthen communities. You may have a neighbor down the street or across your town that has a family just like yours, looking for the same support for which you're looking.
Or, maybe there's a family in another state experiencing the same difficulties as you. USABFA offers you the chance to connect with not only your local stepfamily community, but many blended families across the nation.
Anyone can join. As a member of USABFA, you have the ability to build a personal profile, upload photos, contribute to message boards, publish articles, and start local chapters. The normal membership rate is $1 per month, but if you join now, you can get a lifetime membership for $9! Plus, they're giving away a FREE copy of my book, Journal for Stepmoms to every 10th person that enrolls. For more information, check out the USABFA home page.
I urge everyone to join this marvelous organization and to spread the word about it. Together we can strengthen our stepfamily community.


Second Weddings in Orange County, CA - What a Trip!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012
I just got back from talking about second weddings, encore brides, and life after remarriage in beautiful Orange County, CA. Thanks to everyone I met at our "meet & greet" pre-events for the upcoming Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides. My goal with the "meet & greets" was to get out to CA and meet local businesses and media who wanted to learn more about second weddings (aka encore weddings), encore brides, and stepfamily life. I love talking to others who care about challenges that blended families face and want to help remarrying couples and stepfamilies!  

I was able to do just that. I met with some great businesses in OC that really want to serve remarrying couples and stepfamilies with their unique needs that come with planning a second wedding and forming a stepfamily. I met a fabulous event planner, Sabrina Cadini-Giacomelli, PBC of La Dolce Idea. It's clear that Sabrina truly understands what people need at their second weddings. I wish I had known her when I got remarried with kids years ago.

I also had the great pleasure of being interviewed on The CW San Diego "6 in the Morning Show" to talk about "Life After Remarriage." I discussed what kind of resources remarrying couples often need, even after the wedding day.

After this trip, we are even more excited about bringing the Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides to Orange County. The venues where we are hosting our events are absolutely gorgeous. Stay tuned for more details about the Remarriage Showcases which will be at Morgan Run Resort & Club in Rancho Santa Fe, CA on October 13 and at Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club in Coto de Caza, CA on October 14. The beautiful view alone will make you want to check out the idea of having your second wedding in Orange County! Or, even if you aren't getting remarried in the OC, you will find helpful, unique resources to help you with planning your second wedding and stepfamily living.


Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides: Pre-Show Business Meet & Greet in OC, CA

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides is coming to Orange County, CA, on October 13 and 14. We are hosting a Pre-Show Meet and Greet with businesses, vendors and anyone who would like to learn more about the Remarriage Showcase events. I will be hosting two "meet and greet" events on January 28 and 29 so area businesses can learn more about how to grow their businesses by serving the unique needs of the remarriage market - those who are getting remarried, planning a second wedding, and living the stepfamily life!   

I think it is really important to support and help remarrying couples before they marry again. Our Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides does just that as it brings together education, resources, expert advice, support and entertainment; we are reinventing the way engaged couples prepare for their encore wedding event, remarried life, and stepfamily living!

I invite you to check out my article, "Top 5 Reasons Why Remarrying Brides Deserve Their Own Bridal Show" on YourTango.com. You'll see why preparing for an encore wedding and stepfamily living really is different from the first-time around.

So, if you are in a wedding-related business or an expert in family law, estate planning, financial advice, mediation, travel,  health, beauty, realty, etc., I'd love to network with you to discuss ways in which we can better serve the high numbers of remarrying couples and stepfamilies in OC, CA.  This is a bridal show like no other! (See our video at the top right of this page!)

There are two pre-event "meet & greets:"
  • Saturday, 1/28, 9:30-11:00 am, Morgan Run Resort & Club, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
  • Sunday, 1/29, 2:30-4:00 pm, Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, Coto de Caza, CA
I'll be giving away copies of my book, Journal for Stepmoms, as door prizes and one business at each venue will win a complimentary Bronze level sponsorship (valued at $250.00) for the Remarriage Showcase for Encore Brides at that location in October. Details will be provided upon RSVP. Businesses must RSVP to attend these complimentary events. RSVP to [email protected] 

Looking forward to meeting you in OC, CA!


Remember National Stepfamily Day is September 16th!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
This past weekend was pretty tough for many people as our country remembered the events of 9/11 and honored so many heroes and heroines. May we never forget. It was an even tougher day for me personally because my father died suddenly at the age of 54 on the same date 16 years ago. I am certain there were many moist eyes, including mine. When I woke up Monday morning and saw the sun shining for the first time in several days, I tried to think about some good things coming up this week. National Stepfamily Day, celebrated on September 16th is one of those things.

National Stepfamily Day and the National Stepfamily Day Foundation were founded by Christy Borgeld, who has worked tirelessly for 15 years to raise awareness about stepfamily issues, and develop programs, research, and support to American stepfamilies. If you ever get the opportunity to connect with Christy, just do it!

This astounding woman, who received an Outstanding Service Award from the Women's Information Network this year has a contagious passion to help step and blended families. Don't miss her video featuring 101 things to do with your family on National Stepfamily Day.

Lately, there has been some debate about whether stepfamilies need or should have a special day, such as National Stepfamily Day dedicated to them. I agree that a stepfamily is a family. And, while as much I may want or have wanted my stepfamily to not be different from a family that was formed by a first marriage with everyone biologically connected, in some ways it just simply is. It is a family no less, as we know that families come in many varieties these days.

My feelings about whether my stepfamily is different from any other family have shifted over the years. At first, I was hell-bent that my new stepfamily wasn't going to be treated as different. We were all going to learn to love each other and get along no matter what. Now I realize that hell, sometimes there are parts of my biological family, 40+ years old in which I grew up that still don't always get along, and I frankly wonder at times where some of the love is.

Here's the bottom line as I see it today. The majority of stepfamilies that I have come across face unique challenges and circumstances. They are families. And, one of the reasons I support National Stepfamily Day is that I know first-hand how difficult it can be to have a successful remarriage and stepfamily. Building a successful, lasting stepfamily requires hard work, dedication, self-growth, time, dedication, patience, love, and more. I'm celebrating what we have built thus far. I hope you do, too.

RemarriageWorks Launches New Monthly Radio Show for "Remarrieds" and Stepfamilies

Friday, September 02, 2011
I invite you to tune in on Monday, September 5, 8-9 p.m. EST as I launch my new RemarriageWorks monthly show on The Stepmom's Toolbox segment of BlogTalkRadio. Keeping with our mission of helping remarriages and stepfamilies succeed, the RemarriageWorks show, airing every first Monday of the month at 8 p.m. EST will cover topics that will help you on your remarriage journey - whether you are divorced and widowed and thinking about getting remarried, planning your second wedding, or living in a stepfamily.

My first topic will be "Remarriage Works: A Second Look at Mortgages, Credit, and Finances" with special guest Carl Delmont, CEO of Freedmont Mortgage, and Board Member of the MD Council on Economic Education and MD Coalition for Financial Literacy. Carl, the first certified divorce planner in MD, is also a weekly expert on WMAR ABC TV in Baltimore. 

Do you worry about blending your credit histories or finances? Are you remarried and thinking about buying a new home? Do you understand how buying a home in your second marriage is different from your first-time purchase? Do you know how child support and alimony are treated when applying for a mortgage?

If you are pre or post divorce and/or remarried, or somewhere in between, don't miss this dynamic guest!

And, last, but not least, we are proud to announce our radio show sponsor, IDEALS of Kentucky. Their mission is to teach people methods of communicating with others, of dealing with emotions, and of solving problems. I don't think there is a remarriage in the world that wouldn't benefit from that!

If you have a topic, you would like to hear about, .

LeAnn Rimes, Gary Busey, and Huh? A Call for Better Stepmom Reporting!

Thursday, August 18, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I tweeted about People.com's "Caught in the Act!" column that opened with a picture of LeAnn Rimes, her husband Eddie Cibrian, and Eddie's sons. The piece consisted of four lines total, and the opening line was "What a good stepmom!" I tweeted about it, and I knew from LeAnn's tweets back to me that she wasn't too happy.

You see, I had tweeted, "'What a good stepmom!' for shopping w/ stepsons. More to being a good stepmom than shopping. Let's hear it." And, once again I learned a lesson about communicating on-line whether it be via email, Twitter, or whatever else. Most of us have had the experience of our thoughts and even feelings being interpreted differently than we had intended.

Here's the real point I wanted to make in my tweet, and I am so thrilled that I have more than Twitter's 140 characters in which to say it. I wish the media would cover remarriage and stepfamilies in a more positive way. (By the way, I just tweeted the preceding sentence because it fit into a tweet.) 

That paragraph that opened with "What a good Stepmom!" didn't really do justice to what LeAnn or the majority of stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. It pointed out that: their family was enjoying a shopping outing; she was wearing leopard print shorts while browsing; she ran into Gary Busey; and, she returned to the area for a romantic meal with her husband later that day.  That's it!

I'm just not getting how the opening line connects in any way with the rest of the paragraph. Good stepmoms do more than shop with their stepkids, and I think the column contributed to the unfair picture of remarriage and stepfamilies that is often painted. (Read more about this in my column entitled, "On ReMarriage: Hollywood Paints an Unfair Picture" in The Washington Times.)

I'm pretty certain that LeAnn Rimes, like most other stepmoms, did a lot more that day to be a good stepmom than what was portrayed. And, regardless of what people think about her, her marriage and the circumstances in her and her family's personal lives, which I was quickly informed about by people whom I doubt even know her in a flurry of Twitter activity, my point was and is this:

Attention media! Let's please hear more about the positive, inspiring, loving things that stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. I'm not looking for "The Brady Bunch" model, nor am I trying to be a Pollyanna. But, when will the media provide us a broader range of views of stepfamily and remarried life?

I  invite LeAnn Rimes and the millions of other stepmothers to join me in calling for a shift in the way media covers stepmoms. Let's talk about about stepfamily life, its challenges, and more importantly, real solutions.

2nd Wedding Wednesday: Where Will We Live as a Stepfamily?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Finding a home to call your own is often far from a walk in the park for remarried couples and stepfamilies. There are so many factors to include. Which house do you keep? Which do you sell? Or, do you just bite the bullet and sell them both? Ideally, the most viable decision would be to purchase a new home that you can truly call your own. But, we all know about the country's current economic woes, so that may not always be possible.

If your remarriage includes children, incorporate them in the search for the perfect residence. According to Jeannette Lofas, with Dawn B. Sova in Stepparenting, "look over magazines together before starting your new home and discuss the pictures in the magazines rather than argue over an actual new home with your family. If there are going to be some deep arguments about your tastes in living quarters, this is a good way to begin developing family cohesion."

One key factor in a move remarriage-style is location. The children are already overwhelmed with the adjustment of what they had viewed as their family, and now they are dealing with new family relationships. To avoid any additional trauma, keeping the kids in their same school district is probably a smart move. More quests for the perfect home are limited to a certain area for this reason.

Some blended families are comprised of more than one or two children who have been accustomed to having their own room. This may drive you to attempt to purchase a home big enough to accommodate each child. Making an effort to have the kids feel part of the family is a top priority. The last thing you want to hear is "Why do I have to share a room, and he/she doesn't?" Or, "Why do I have to change schools, and he/she doesn't?"

Many remarrying couples try to keep everyone happy. That's a major challenge. And, finding a new house can be a financial burden. For couples who are remarrying and older, the idea of buying a five bedroom house when retirement is just around the corner may not seem reasonable.

Despite all the challenges and accommodations that go into selecting the perfect roof for your stepfamily to live under, finding a home is just another step in the so-called blending process. Remarriage and stepfamily living is a journey. And, it is one to handle with care down to the smallest detail.




2nd Wedding Wednesday: Your Second Wedding With Kids

Wednesday, July 06, 2011
For the 65% of remarrying couples who have kids of their own, deciding whether to have children at the wedding is often a no-brainer. Instead your dilemma often revolves around how to include your kids in the second wedding celebration.

First, if you have or want a great relationship with your children or stepchildren-to-be, I highly recommend that you don't exclude them from your wedding. I have heard stories about couples not including their children, and I truly believe your kids should be a part of your wedding event in some way, the very least of which is to be invited. After all, when you get remarried with kids, the reality is you are bringing families together; there is more to consider than just you and your spouse.

"One of the most complicated aspects of stepfamilies is figuring out the issues of belonging - who feels 'in' and who doesn't," according to Jean McBride, author of Encouraging Words for New Stepmothers. Assuming the children want to be included, here are some ways to include them after you get engaged to remarry:

  • Create opportunities for parents who are about to become stepparents to spend time with their stepchildren during the wedding planning phase (e.g., enjoy a make-up session or spa day; shop for wedding attire together; have a pre-wedding picnic; let the "guys" in the newly forming family have their own version of a "bachelor" party on a paintball excursion or golf outing, etc.).
  • Let the kids help sample the wedding food from the wedding venue beforehand. Allow them to create a kid's menu to enjoy at the wedding reception. Have a cake designed just for them that celebrates a new family coming together.
  • Include unique second wedding favors for them. Consider having entertainment for them. When I remarried, we had an antique fire engine on which the kids could take rides, and it presented some great photo opportunities, too.
  • Encourage your kids to participate in your wedding ceremony. Older children can recite a reading or a poem. Or, your entire stepfamily can participate in a sand layering ceremony.
  • Present your children with a wedding gift or keepsake so they can be recognized and have a treasure to help remember the day.  
  • Have a special dance with them. For many kids, they will want to feel connected to you on that day.
You don't have to have a traditional second wedding or reception. You and your children can make it as bold and creative as you would like. Brainstorm with your kids beforehand and discuss the planning with them. Taking these steps will go a long way in setting the foundation for a happy and healthy stepfamily. 


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