As a single mum of two children under four, Karina’s life was athwart with difficulties she never wanted her family to experience. It was when she cried out to the Lord, “I’m really hoping something good comes from our heartbreaking mess” that she believed the Lord spoke to her spirit.
At this moment, Karina decided to begin writing down the experiences that her son, then 3, and later her daughter shared with her about their lives with divorced parents. Eight years later, the first book dedicated to her children’s experiences, My Two Houses, was published. The following year, Caught in the Middle entered the scene. By this time, the Lord had graciously opened the way for Karina to remarry. Tony, another single parent at the time, and Karina instantly became a blended family of five. Their youngest child was born a year after their wedding.
As time progressed, it became apparent that the books, which were in several Christian school libraries and in the hands of chaplains and counsellors, were having a positive influence on the children and families who read them.
These are some of the comments made by those who found the books helpful.
“Caught in the Middle is one of my favourite books because, whenever I read it, I feel close to God.” – River, 5
“I read My Two Houses with my entire Year 5 class. They loved it! It began a wonderful conversation that allowed many students to be vulnerable enough to be open about their feelings and situations at home as well as gain a better understanding of what some of their classmates go through with divorced parents.” – Primary Teacher
“I have used My Two Houses with a 13-year-old boy during one of my sessions with him. He loved that he could relate so well with the book, stating, “That’s just like me”, and I could see a change in his demeanour and body language in his knowing that there are other kids out there, just like him.” – School Counsellor
“Karina’s books give children permission to have their feelings validated and provide comfort and healing to their souls.” – Tania
Encouraged by these responses, Karina decided it was time to put a name to the growing ministry generated by her self-published books. She resigned from her part-time teaching position, continued studies in Christian Ministry and Theology, then launched Blended not Shaken Ministries.
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Brett Ryan, CEO of Focus on the Family Australia says: “We highly recommend Blended Not Shaken Ministries to help provide some tools to cultivate a loving, blended or single-parent home to achieve a sense of unity in your new family.”
Now, almost 17 years later, with a blended family of six, Karina has published another four titles, including My Family Bush and the graphic novel One Step at a Time, to honour their children’s experiences as a Christian blended family. Karina is convinced more than ever of the growing need for ministries like this in the Christian community. While no one sets out to divorce, become a single parent, and perhaps re-marry with stepchildren in tow, we live in a fallen world, and it happens. The adverse effects of marital separation, divorce and re-marriage need intentional care and grace.
Sing a Song to Single Mums is a sweet rhyming book dedicated to single mothers, especially those Karina ministered to in the five years she facilitated support groups in various locations across Adelaide. Her latest release, Let’s Shout Out to Single Dads, honours the single dads in Christian families.
Karina is available for author visits in schools and ministering at women’s events.
Tony and Karina are in the early stages of writing a remarriage enrichment course for churches and Karina is developing curriculum resources for schools and children’s ministries.
Please share the message of Blended not Shaken Ministries with others so that God’s people see, “He works all things for the good of those who love him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Reach out to Blended not Shaken Ministries via the website Blended Not Shaken – Scripture Rich Books for Children and their Families
Children’s books can be purchased here: https://www.blendednotshaken.com.au/store/