Collateral Damage // Dr. Chirban

A forty-five year old woman who was twelve years old when her parents divorced shared this experience: “My mom put all my dad’s clothes and lunchbox in the car, drove to the woman he was having an affair with, and had me throw all of his clothes on the woman’s lawn, knocked on the door with his lunchbox and told her to make my dad’s lunch for work the next day.”

That is just one of the many raw and revealing quotes from the book Collateral Damage by Dr. John T. Chirban. The book is written to parents as a guide to help navigate the murky waters of divorce. It focuses on steps parents can take to help their children while also caring for themselves through the process.

The book is based on the author’s story of going through a divorce, his education and experience as a psychologist and a five-year survey that was geared toward the parents and the children of divorce.

Dr. Chirban, through his involvement with the Dr. Phil show, was in a unique position to reach many people with the Divorce Study. Over 10,000 people responded to the survey and numerous quotes, like the one above, are shared throughout the book.  Some of the quotes are from the children of divorce and others are from the perspective of the parents. Many of them are heart-breaking as you read the pain and loss caused by the dissolution of families.

Dr. Chirban speaks to the challenges that children face as their parents go through the divorce process.  While he highlights some positive steps parents can take, he also reveals some of the missteps that have occurred in the lives of many.

Here’s just one example from the Divorce Study:” The study showed that 51 percent of divorced parents said they spoke with their children and believed they had met their needs, yet 87 percent of children reported they had no one to talk to about their feelings during the divorce.” (pg. 22)

One of the many challenges that parents going through a divorce must face is how they care for their children, allow them to express freely their emotions and process their feelings while also trying to work through their own hurts and hangups with the end of the marriage.  Dr. Chirban provides a good resource for parents to use to address both sides of that equation.

While I think this book is helpful for anyone who works with children and families and for people who have already gone through a divorce, where I think it would be most helpful is for those who are considering or in the process of divorce.  Dr. Chirban shares good information that can help parents care for themselves and their children.  The quotes shared and steps given provide parents some clarity during a confusing and emotionally charged season.

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Flesh & Hammocks // @syd_the_kyd31

I’ve shared before that my daughter has a blog. As a parent it’s fun to read her posts and see how she expresses herself, what inspires her to write and the conclusions she comes to.

Yesterday she shared a new post. It comes out of a book she is reading again. I’m familiar with the author, but haven’t read the book. In this post, I appreciated the imagery she used as she talked about what stood out to her from the book.

I especially liked this phrase:

But relying on Jesus, the One who hangs the best hammock ever in between the two trees that are the world and the riches of Heaven, that will get us somewhere. I want to be in that hammock.

Go check out the post on her blog: Flesh & hammocks

My Wife Writes About Her Mom @daytonmomsblog

My wife has had several of her posts published on Dayton Moms Blog. While I think all of her posts are good, I really appreciate this one because I know this subject is especially close to her heart; she writes about her mom.

My mother-in-law has been struggling with the effects of Alzheimer’s for the past several years. Much of what I have learned about her is not from experience, but from stories about her from my wife. This post reflects that.

I have seen the influence of my mother-in-law on my wife, especially in how she interacts with her children. Here’s a portion of what she wrote:

My mom taught me to go above and beyond. My mom is a smart woman and as valedictorian of her High School class she expected us to be just as academic as her and do well in school. My brothers followed in her footsteps, but I struggled in school. She pushed me and pushed me to do my best and then she would say, “Do extra”. I’ve instilled that in my own children and have encouraged them to do extra and go above and beyond what is expected of them.

I’ve seen my wife put that into practice in her life and encourage that in her sons.

Take a few moments to read 5 Things My Mom Taught Me. It’s worth the time. We all have things we can learn.

The Beach // Beauty and Simplicity

Last week our family enjoyed a much anticipated and relaxing week at the beach. This summer for a number reasons was more hectic than most. While we always look forward to vacations and holidays, this particular time away was one my wife and I (and the rest of our family) were especially excited about.

One thing my wife and I have discovered is that we both love the beach. Dragging chairs, umbrellas, snacks and towels to the ocean to sit and soak is something we both relish. The beach is our “happy place.” There are some families that love to go camping or make the trek to Disney or Harry Potter World or visit state parks or national monuments. We have done those things and may plan trips like that in the future, but, for us, the ideal place is the beach. Give us sand, sun and ocean and we are good.

As I stood on the beach one day, I was reminded of why we enjoy going there. Two words came to mind as I looked out at the ocean that morning.

The first word was beauty.

You see it quite often on social media feeds: pictures of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, mountain views, lakefronts and much more. We are captivated by the beauty of creation. To sit on the beach or stand at the edge of the ocean and look out at the waves rolling in, you are struck by the beauty of what God spoke into existence. I was reminded of the beauty of what our Creator made.

The second word was simplicity.

The ocean is like an escape. You are not too concerned about your phone or social media feed (unless you are capturing pics of the kids playing in the surf or the sand). Other than the beach necessities (towels, chairs, some snacks, sunscreen, sand tools and a good book), there’s not much else needed for the day. There’s swimming, sitting or even sleeping in the sun, searching for sea shells, sand castle building, reading your book or just taking a walk along the shore line. Simple really. The beach is less about doing and more about just being.

Beauty.

Simplicity.

Just a couple of reasons why we enjoy going to the beach.

50th Anniversary Celebration

A few weeks ago, on July 21, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. On the next day (July 22), my siblings, spouses and other family hosted an open house in Fort Wayne. It was fun to stand back and watch as numerous friends came by and offered their congratulations to our parents…and there were a number of people who stopped by.

We moved to Fort Wayne when I began elementary school and lived in the same house until I graduated high school. We were members of the same church throughout that time and our family was pretty involved: youth group, Sunday School, children’s musicals, adult choir, Christmas and Easter pageants, various roles in church leadership and probably a few others not listed. Many of the relationships we had were through our church family. So, when the 50th celebration came around, many who attended were from the church.

I saw former Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, friends of my parents and past choir members. I wish I could say I remembered everyone’s name (I didn’t) or even recognized everyone who came through. It was apparent that many of those friendships ran deep as many conversations were going and many lasted for a while.

Several family members were there which also made the day special.

A 50th Anniversary is definitely worth celebrating and it was cool to see the ripple effect of my parents’ marriage. Not only were children, grandchildren, a great-grandson, a brother, a niece and cousin present, there were countless relationships and friendships represented. It’s hard to quantify the influence they have had on people in Indiana, Oklahoma, all the places they have traveled plus the places their family members have lived.

It was a good day and a couple worth celebrating.

Here are a few pics from the day.

Mom & Dad, Uncle John & Aunt Ginny, Niece Emilee and Cousin Janet

My siblings

Just a few of the people that came

A not-so-great family selfie at dinner following Open House

Experiencing Generosity on our Adoption Journey

I shared last week that we are back on the road to adoption.  Eli will be one month tomorrow and we are moving forward with the different steps that lead to finalizing the adoption.

As we have relaunched this journey, we have been reminded that we are not doing it alone.  While we knew that was true, people have expressed love and support in a number of ways.

While I enjoy blogging, I recognize I don’t have a huge audience that frequent my posts.  However, what I shared last week brought about a huge jump in visitors.  I know that is because so many have a heart for adoption and shared our adoption story.

We also saw contributions to our Brackemyre Family Adoption Page. It is a humbling experience when people give from their own resources to support what we have decided to do.  We are nearing 50% of our goal on our page and had a couple of unexpected gifts come in the last week.  With that has been given, we have been able to stay current with our attorneys and other home study needs.

If you are one who gave on our page or shared it or read our storyTHANK YOU!

As we continue down the road to adoption, we’d love for you to join us in one of three ways:

1) Visit our AdoptTogether page to read a little more of our story

2) Share our AdoptTogether page with those in your circles of influence. Perhaps there is someone you know who has a heart for adoption.

3) If you are able, you can give through AdoptTogether toward adoption expenses.

We have had people give us diapers and outfits, provide meals and stop in “just to see the baby.”  We are truly grateful and look forward to the next few miles on our adoption journey.

Back on the Road to Adoption

Many months ago I posted about our bump on the road to adoption. We had made connections with a birth mom and were preparing to welcome a new child into our home. Birth mom decided to parent and our journey toward adoption seemed to stall. We had a number of people who had given toward adoption expenses through our AdoptTogether page.

Then last month – enter Eli.

Through a friend of a friend we were connected with a birth mother who was due early July. She decided to pursue adoption with us. We made plans to meet her on a Monday – two weeks before her scheduled C-section. As it turns out, Eli made an early entrance on the next day. Eli spent several days in the hospital and we were communicating with our attorney to get all appropriate paperwork in place so we could gain custody. A week after his birth, we brought Eli home.

Due to the money already given through our AdoptTogether and another grant we received, we were able to cover some of the initial expenses. There are still other expenses associated with adoption, including some due to this being an interstate adoption. We are adopting a Hoosier!

There are at least three things you can do if you feel lead to help with our adoption.

1) Visit our AdoptTogether page to read a little more of our story

2) Share our AdoptTogether page with those in your circles of influence. Perhaps there is someone you know who has a heart for adoption.

3) If you are able, you can give through AdoptTogether toward adoption expenses. While there are many worthy causes and many other families pursuing adoption, we’d love any support people feel led to give.

In our experience, adoption has been a period of waiting and more waiting followed by a flurry of activity to bring a child home.  Thanks for taking the time to read about and even be a part of our adoption journey.