This morning I finished reading the aptly-titled [Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace: A Stepparent’s Guide to Success ](http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Gift-Stepfamily-Peace-ebook/dp/B00AETOHQK)by Gayla Grace and Heather Hetchler. The book deals with the issues all blended families face during the holidays, and is full of solutions and tips. Stepfamily Peace (wouldn’t that be a great seminar title, too?) has a kind spirit, reasonable suggestions and a foundation of experience by the book’s two authors. I’ve read other books about navigating blended family life, and none had the instant credibility this one does.
One of my favorite quotes, in Chapter 4’s section on journaling, is: “When we write our prayers on paper along with the feelings associated with our need, we process our thoughts and emotions with expectations of hopeful resolve.”
I’ve always thought, as this quote suggests, that prayer’s power is more practical and psychological than magical (though I do believe in the magic as well). Keeping a prayer journal is an essential element of the self care that Stepfamily Peace encourages explicitly in chapter 7 and subtly throughout all of its pages. Think about it. When you establish new traditions for your family; set healthy boundaries with regard to each other and your exes; and engage your family plans with a flexible approach–aren’t you caring for yourself as well as your loved ones?
Hetchler and Grace’s advice isn’t just for the holidays. The principles here can be a great support to blended families throughout the year, which is why this book is a perfect New Year’s gift for those of us making resolutions for 2013. If you can carve out a couple hours with your partner or spouse on New Year’s Day, read it together and think about how you can incorporate its helpful tips going forward.