Feeling like stepparenting is just not your thing? Laura Petherbridge, and Gordon Taylor are here to offer hope. Laura and Gordon tell their stories and offer advice for blended families. Some stepchildren are also here to tell you about their blended experience. Josh and Emily Gangl and Jenifer Thigpen tell their stories.
Jenifer Thigpen resides in New York City with her husband and son. A native of Orlando, Florida, she started her career traveling the world in the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame winning group, TRUTH. From there she went on to becoming a soprano with The Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney World for over 10 years and worship leader for Women of Faith conferences for 10 years. She has sung background vocals for multiple pop and gospel artists and most recently recorded the song “A Place in Heaven” with composer Thomas Bergersen which charted to #1 on the classical music charts. She regularly leads worship at Trinity Grace Church in New York City. She is also from a blended family.
Josh Gangl and Emily Gangl are children of Todd and Tammy Gangl who have just launched CRU Military Stepfamily. The Gangls became a blended family in 2004 when they combined Tammy's family of three with Todd's family of five to create a rather large stepfamily of eight. The Gangl children participate in the workshops and seminars that Todd and Tammy lead which minister to not only the stepmoms and stepdads, but is also a positive difference in the teens that are attending.
Ron L. Deal is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series of books including the bestselling Building Love Together in Blended Families: The 5 Love Languages® and Becoming Stepfamily Smart (with Dr. Gary Chapman), The Smart Stepfamily: 7 Steps to a Healthy Family, and Preparing to Blend. Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, popular conference speaker, and host of the FamilyLife Blended podcast. He and his wife, Nan, have three sons and live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at FamilyLife.com/blended.
Co-Founder of Opportunities Unlimited and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (M.F.T.), Gordon established his practice in California for 13 years before moving to Oklahoma in late 2006 where he currently practices in Edmond. He has Masters Degrees in Education and Marriage & Family Therapy. He has been a Consultant for the California State Dept. of Education and has over 32 years' experience as a Public School District Administrator.
Gordon's understanding and respect for people from all walks of life can be attributed to his experiences in both the public and private sectors. He uses counseling tools that are pragmatic and productive to help each person become the very best they can be.
Gordon is a clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA).
Gordon and Carri have been married since February 1986. Both were previously married; Gordon for 18 years, and Carri for 13 ½ years. Gordon brought three sons to the marriage and Carri brought two daughters. They now have ten grandchildren, and were legal guardians of Carri's oldest granddaughter, born in 1990.
The Taylors have experience speaking to conferences, churches, businesses, large and small groups, as well as conducting trainings for both the public and private sectors. They have two DVD Series with Study Guides: www.DesigningDynamicStepfamilies.com and www.ChildrensToughTruth.com (The generational impact of Children of Divorce and Stepfamilies).
Laura Petherbridge serves couples and single adults with topics on women’s issues, relationships, stepfamilies, co-parenting, single parenting, divorce prevention, and divorce recovery.
She is an international speaker and author of four books including, When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”—Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce, and The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with stepfamily expert Ron Deal and endorsed by Gary Chapman (Five Love Languages), 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom—Expert Advice from One Stepmom to Another and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul-a devotional.
Laura has spoken at the Billy Graham Training Center, and for Lifeway, FamilyLife, Hearts at Home, and Iron Sharpens Iron conferences. Laura is a featured expert on the DivorceCare DVD series, which has equipped more than 14,000 churches worldwide.
Laura and her husband of over 30 years, Steve, reside in Florida. She has 2 stepsons, and 2 grandchildren. Laura can be reached at LauraPethrbridge.com.