When Two Families Become One

0 comments Posted on April 28, 2012

by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer & Marty C. Lintvedt

Writing a book about your family can be stressful. Co-writing a book about your family can be stressful. But what if your co-writer was a licensed professional counselor given liberty to dig through your messy mental closets? The authors of We’re Not Blended—We’re Pureed began this adventure when Diana was asked if she knew of a professional counselor who could help turn her book from a wonderful narrative to something that was also practical.

Diana knew two. One was a pastor, married to a long-time friend of hers, and the other was her pastor’s wife, Marty. After careful consideration of what the dynamics would be writing together, she chose Marty, her pastor’s wife. “I knew there would be many late nights and maybe walks in the park and phone calls needed to get this book written. I felt it wiser to work with a woman… someone who could follow me into a bathroom with a box of tissues. With that in mind, opening my home and life to Marty’s gentle demeanor seemed the obvious choice.”

Diana decided to write We’re Not Blended—We’re Pureed after being prodded from other moms suggesting that her story could be helpful for parents in the process of or considering blending two families into one solid lump. “Sometimes blending is more like trying to make a smoothie with blocks of ice clinging to the metal blender blades and grinding everything to a halt. Several times while writing I found myself stuck like those ice blocks, frozen with fear and wondering if I should do this.”

“Yes, is the answer I gave her,” comments Marty, “Diana should write this book.” The project appealed to Marty, and she knew there was a need for this book. She had worked with many families during difficult transition points as their family dynamics changed. But Marty had her own concerns and fears. Word count was a prominent anxiety. Unfamiliar with this type of project, the process of sharing files as the two authors worked on a joint manuscript was daunting. Marty also spent time considering what her role would be co-writing this book. She has a family, church obligations, and a thriving counseling practice. Would there be enough time to take on a project like this? Would she have to spend time helping Diana through mental minefields? Marty carefully weighed these important factors. This project was appealing on a number of levels. Marty’s previous writing had been articles featured in academic material published by Concordia Seminary. A book was a new venture. Writing with a published author would be a good learning experience. The biggest attraction was working with Diana. “I had read most of Diana’s work and loved her writing style. I thought this would be a great opportunity for professional growth as we completed the manuscript. I treasured our friendship and thought this could be a wonderful experience. Or it could be horrible.”

“It wasn’t horrible though,” Diana reassures. “Yes, painful at times. But the best part was the blessing God brought through this process in the friendship I now have with Marty. One night, she sat with me while going through old photos, listening to my stories of my past and present family. When she left I thought I might have shared too much! I feared she wouldn’t come back.”

But Marty did come back. She explains, “What we didn’t realize starting this adventure was how little time we would spend together in the same room writing. There were several meetings to outline chapters and to pick headings, and then I waited for files to appear in my inbox. Sometimes I was hundreds of miles away working on my response to the previous section and another chapter would pop up in my inbox—the files kept coming and coming and coming. Invariably, a demand for immediate revision would come from our editor during one of those times when Diana or I were at a conference and facing tight schedule constraints. We really supported one another through the chaos (maybe becoming a little pureed?) and leaned on God.”

“Leaned on God? Seriously, Marty? I was crawling on His lap! And He let me stay there.”

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