Downton Abbey and Blended Families


Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the season finale of Downton Abbey stop reading now.

Really, if you haven’t seen it stop reading or don’t blame me for telling you part of what happened.

Downton Abbey and Blended Families Wooden door in stone building England www.dianabrandmeyer.comCopyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

In the last episode of Downton Abbey, Isobel Crawley tells Lord Merton she can’t marry him. She refuses to live the last years of her life with children who do not like her and say they never will.

Never mind these are not small children they are Lord Merton’s adult children. Isobel Crawley gives up love, a position in society and amazing gardens because of bratty adults.

Did she do the right thing?

As a blended family mom I’m conflicted. True, the widowed Crawley has already had a child, seen him married, buried and has a grandson. She’s experienced a lot of living in her many years, has good friends and no serious need of someone to support her. That does make it easier to send someone away.


She let love slip away.

She wasn’t willing to see if God had an amazing plan for her.

She wasn’t willing to see if those adult children would come around and find a way to at least like her.

I find it sad she wasn’t willing trust that love can work miracles. While I watched the last show, I understood her reasoning and for a second considered she was making an admirable choice by not bringing discord to Lord Merton’s home. After all, would he continue to feel a deep love for her if his sons refused to accept her? Perhaps even refused to come home for holidays?

Blended families didn’t have the help that’s available now. Maybe that’s one of the reasons she didn’t marry Lord Merton. Would she have made a different decision if she’d had someone to discuss this with? Another couple whom married despite objections and found a new world of love?

Something to think about.

For me, I’m so glad I was willing to remarry and blend a family. It was hard at times but so worth it. I don’t mind telling others-wrote a book about it so others considering blending would be aware of issues and find a way to work through them.

It isn’t always fun, but hey do you know a family where every day is like a trip to Six Flags?

Check out the book. We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed a Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.

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10 Reasons To Get Away

Do you need 10 reasons to get away? I’ve got some for you.

It seems like we all should plan yearly vacations to exotic places or just to the beach and yet many of us don’t. Some jobs allow you to take a vacation but it seems like you can never get away.

If you work for yourself  leaving town means zero dollars are being added to your bank account. That’s our life but we decided to take a 36 hour break from our work and head to Michigan. Brr! Though it was cold and the winds were brisk at 40 miles per hour I came back relaxed, happy and ready to commit to writing a new book.


Tree on frozen lake

1. Leave behind a to-do list that will never be finished.

2. Bolster creativity with a new environment. This is the first time I saw Lake Michigan with ice. Impressive. 

3. Reconnect with your spouse or family.

4. It’s a chance to break out of the ordinary, Meatloaf Monday, Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday menu.

Snowman made to look live Elvis

5. Working out in a new environment–hotels have great underused equipment.

6. There are no expectations of being on the job the moment you finish breakfast. As a freelancer, I’m at my desk as soon as my tea is made.

7. Long drives gives you a chance to talk with your spouse about dreams, the future or the reality of your lifestyle .

8. Someone else will take care of the pets. I love my cats but when I’m gone I don’t miss cleaning the litter box or opening the door 50 times a day.

Cat sitting on desk

9. Time to read without interruptions! (hint: grab one of the books I’ve written)

10.  A chance to take amazing photos for your Project Life scrapbook. 

Don’t wait to get away until you have a free week. Let these 10 Reasons to Get Away inspire you to take a short weekend trip.

And don’t forget to keep you memories to enjoy later in your Project Life scrapbooks!

iphone photography book

David Molnar has an amazing iPhone photography book that he is giving away free! I’m taking his course right now and am learning so much about how to use the iPhone camera.

The book he is offering for free has the aps he uses to capture amazing photos on his phone. I don’t know how long it will be free so grab a copy now. Even if you don’t have an iPhone some of these aps are available for other phones–snapseed for example.

iPhone photography tool kit bookYou can download it here.

Using the iPhone to get photos is easy–it’s the camera you always have with you! Using a few aps can change the appearance of your photos from not bad to amazing!

Here are two shots I took this winter both with my camera. The second one was edited using snapseed.

prairie grassPrairie Grass

 If you want to know how to use these aps I’d suggest getting David Molnar’s other book.

iPhone photography book

Get it here.

Here is another post I wrote about some of the iPhone camera aps  I use. 

Please use the share buttons and share this post! Let’s have beautiful photos showing up all over the internet!

Grandparenting Changes Lives

Grandparenting is Life Changing


Today ends the first year of being a first time grandmother. It’s my grandson’s first birthday so I wanted to share ways he has changed my life.


I’ve to learned how to diaper with cloth diapers that snap! (Velcro is much easier!)

I thought my house was kid friendly but forgot how little ones stand up and hit their heads on desks.

Discovering that normal things like magazines and glass doors are giggle-worthy.

Baby food doesn’t always come in glass jars, sometimes it comes in squeeze packets. I had to ask for help on how to open these!

Happy Baby Baby Food

Putting a child in a car seat is a major time investment and you pray you have it right and the baby still has arms when you’re done.

The joy  I feel when he smiles at me—well there are no words!

Holding a little one again reminds me of how precious life is and how blessed I am to have this one in my arms.

Open mouthed, slobber kisses are better than anything I can purchase.

Watching a one year old has the advantage of a high calorie workout.

Pulling out toys that belonged to his father makes storing them worth it when you watch the excitement on his face. It seems even at a young age a new pair of wheels is the best.

 baby playing with truck

One of the biggest blessings I’ve experienced this past year is watching my husband with our grandson. We didn’t have babies together. I didn’t get to see how he gives himself completely, that look of pure love that washes over his face when he’s holding him and the silly but loveable way that he plays with a baby.

Grandfather and baby


Another blessing is watching my son be a dad. Wow. It takes my breath away to see the man caring for his son. Add to that the closeness I have with my daughter-in-law and I can’t imagine life being any better.


Happy Family



Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Birthday Boy

Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyager

It’s time to treat myself. Feeling a bit guilty but it is a work purchase.

Do you have a Kindle?

Do you have the Paperwhite or Kindle Voyager?

I’ve been reading reviews and trying to decide what would be best for me. I will admit I’m a bit of a ‘got to have the newest thing’ but I’ve also learned a lot about money in the past few years -thank you Dave Ramsey. So I’m leaning toward the less expesnive Paperwhite.

Please weigh in on what choice I should buy.

And today is the last day to pick up The Trouble with Ralph on kindle for free!

Christmas Story Released Today!


 It’s here! The Festive Bride is ready to buy and download to your e-reader today!


Festive Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer


The Festive Bride (The 12 Brides of Christmas Book 9)

Roy Gibbons decides Alma Pickens will make a perfect  mother to give his daughters for Christmas. He is sure it will be easy to arrange.

But this is the only wedding Alma will have, and she is determined to make it festive.

Will this bride be more than Roy bargained for?

Festive Bride



And because I’m bouncing on my chair with joy I’m offering these bonuses for those who purchase the book TODAY!


What you get:

Alma’s Painting Day Stew Recipe

Alma’s Griddle Cake Recipe

Alma’s Coloring sheet of kittens

How do you get them?


Put your email in the box and I’ll send them to you within 24 hours.

Festive Bride Freebies

3 Free things


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10 Reasons to Be a Grateful

Being Grateful and Thanksgiving

It’s been a year of ups and downs for my family. Your’s too? I’m posting my top ten reasons to be grateful, join me in the comments please.

Be Grateful 123

  • Family
  • Having two book contracts
  • Finding out why I haven’t felt good for two years and fixing that
  • My grandson–he gets a special mention
  • A pile of firewood on the porch
  • A husband who doesn’t complain about my cooking skills
  • Freedom to do what I want with my life
  • That I still have a mom to hug
  • An abundance of friends
  • Losing a nice number of pounds before the holiday season begins

So what are a few things you are grateful for this year?

Copyright: elosa / 123RF Stock Photo

When Lightning Strikes

Lightning Strikes We Can’t See

Walking through Babler State Park my husband and I discovered this tree.

lightning rips a tree


I’ve never been this close to a tree hit by lightning. I have heard it hit but not seen the fresh results. 

The lightning sends its razor hot light onto the tree and causes the water inside to steam, sizzle and pop open the bark. You can see the bark resting on the bed of leaves.

Will this tree recover? Probably. It’s young and new bark will cover the scar. Or it might not be strong enough to withstand the trauma  of the strike.

lightning strikes tree

In life we are often hit with lightning bolts of a different kind. Your husband has heart issues, a baby is lost, your child no longer calls home, there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. It feels like a strip of ourselves is laid bare for everyone to see.

Except it’s not. The man at the store who pushes his cart in front of you can’t see the pain, a friend has no idea until you mention what  has happened, or we might say “I’m fine” to anyone who asks..

Keeping our scars fresh and hidden can cause them to fester and not heal. Remember when you were a kid and scraped your knees? How you hid the injury under a bandage and tried not to bump it? Then you fell again and the bandage didn’t protect you anymore? Once again you were in pain because the old scrape hadn’t healed.

It’s better to tell someone what has happened. They can  protect you from re-injury before you’ve healed enough to handle another bolt of pain. Even better, take it to God because He understands. He sees your hurts, brokenness and scrapes.

Revelation  21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

Ultimate Christian Living eBook Bundle!

I’m really excited about this Ultimate Christian Living ebook Bundle. There’s so much here that can help you in your walk with God and your family. More than 75 ebooks are in this package! Yes, I love books and this many at one time on a topic so important I can’t pass up sharing it with you.



Who doesn’t want to lead a life worth emulating?


With great kids, a loving marriage, a successful career or business and a closer, faith-filled walk with the Lord. But for many of us, making that a reality is big challenge!

Balancing life’s priorities can seem a bit overwhelming at times. The pressures of work, the need for finances, the demands of parenting and the resulting strain on marriage can leave us weathered, weary and wondering what really works in life?

That’s where the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle comes in. called in some best selling authors, leading experts and top business professionals to address the most common challenges faced by families and individuals today – all from a solid, Biblical foundation.

For $34.95 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of over $1,140 that addresses these issues with stunning clarity and practical application.

For the family…

The bundle contains 10 wonderful books focused on incredibly inventive ways you can craft the marriage you signed on for. To complement that subject, they added 8 more books focused on parenting and passing on your faith to your kids. That wouldn’t be complete without books just for kids so they also included 8 children’s books that parents can read with their children. To close out the content for family life, the highly praised Singing Bible MP3 version was added (a $25 value all by itself). It actually teaches children the story of the Bible not just random stories.

For your professional life…

You will find John Muratori and Michael Pink’s six -hour Christian Wealth Building course ($77 value) which was complemented with Bob Lotich’s 31-day devotional Managing Money God’s Way. There are a total of 14 business related books and courses including Zig Ziglar’s powerful Born To Win course (that Seth Godin and Dave Ramsey rave about), Dr. James B. Richards, Wired For Success – Programmed For Failure and Untold Secrets for Creating Wealth by Brig Hart and John Beehner. You’ll even find one of the best selling Christian business books of all time, The Bible Incorporated – In Your Life, Job & Business.

To ignite your faith…

Rounding out the package, Bridge Logos and Moody Press made a series of classic Christian literature available from generals of the faith like Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, A.W. Pink, E.M. Bounds, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards and more who wrote about grace, prayer, faith and an overcoming life.

In addition to these wonderful classics, the Ultimate Bundles team snagged 12 heart-stirring devotionals from authors like A.W. Tozer and Nancy Leigh DeMoss that speak to matters of faith that are sure to inspire. Let’s not forget Gary Chapman’s Extraordinary Grace or Ray Comfort’s Way of the Master for sharing your faith with others. Both heartbreaking and inspiring, don’t miss Philip Cameron’s, They Call Me Dad, the story of one man’s fight to save orphans from human trafficking.

So as you can see, the Ultimate Christian Living Bundle is an extraordinary value.

But it still gets better…

The Ultimate Bundles team asked several sponsors to step up to the plate and with no strings attached, provide meaningful BONUS GIFTS. One of the first to step up was Dayspring Greeting Cards who offered a choice of heart-warming gift card packages to choose from. Another, is a downloadable DVD workout series for getting in shape and maintaining health. With a retail value of $62.99 it includes a Biblical study guide for stewarding your health. Bonus gifts alone have a total retail value of over $160

So now you know…

For as little as $34.95 you can receive over $1,140 worth of valuable eBooks and eCourses that address the issues of life most of us face at one time or another, from a profoundly Biblical worldview. The BONUS GIFTS alone are worth more than four times the price of the bundle! So, if you want to ignite your faith, strengthen your family and help your professional life, there’s no better place to start! All the hard work has been done for you…

The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle will only be on sale until Monday, November 10th at 11:50 pm EST.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 18,500 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day guarantee: you have a full month to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s life, you’ll get your money back in full!

Here’s what you need to know about the sale: Get it until 11:59 p.m. (EST) Monday, November 10th (or until 18,500 bundles are sold).

What? 75 eBooks plus eCourses and more, PLUS over $160 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE by clicking the Buy Now Banner below.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth over $1,140, and it’s yours for as little as $34.95. Sweet deal, right? When you’re ready, you can either buy here directly, or right through the website. It’s fast and easy, and you’ll have your bundle sent to you via email within minutes.

Click here for more information or to buy now.



Want to know exactly what’s included in the bundle?

Take a look through the categories, as well as the full list of included resources.

Business & Personal Finance

Christian Classics Series

Christian Living

Devotional Life

For Children

Inspirational Novels

Married Life


Reaching the Lost


This is an affiliate link but I don’t recommend unless I like.

Not sure you  know how to use this Ultimate Christian Living Bundle? Click here for information on how to get it to your ereader or computer.

It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase within the download time frame. The download links will remain available to you until April 30th, 2015. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download. Because we believe so strongly in both the quality and value of our bundles, we offer a full 30-day guarantee.

Learn Scrivener Fast

Learn Scrivener Fast and Get Back to Writing!

Scrivener is an amazing program used for writing books, articles, blog posts and more. It’s inexpensive and it’s filled with so many ways to use it that often I feel a bit lost.

Enter Learn Scrivener Fast!

Have you tried to use Scrivener and become frustrated?  Learn Scrivener Fast is what you need. Joseph Michael, the creator of Learn Scrivener Fast, is easy to understand on the videos. I’d even say he’s erased the panic I’ve felt many times trying to figure out something like ‘How to Add Files and Folders to the Binder.’ Listening to Joseph Michael is a pleasure. He explains what Scrivener can do with a calm voice–always good when you’re frazzled. 

What is it?

Learn Scrivener Fast is a video class on the different aspects of how to use scrivener. There are lessons for both Mac and Windows versions. Each video breaks down Scriveners brilliance into short learning classes about 5 minutes long. And if your internet connection is slow-no problem. There are detailed steps along with photos on how to do the thing you are trying to do. 

Learn Scrivener Fast

Joseph Michael, the creator of Learn Scrivener Fast, is easy to understand on the videos. I’d even say he’s erased the panic I’ve felt many times trying to figure out something like ‘How to Add Files and Folders to the Binder.’

Why I love it

When I’m working on a project I don’t have a lot of time to flip through pages of a book, or long video tutorials on how to do something. Learn Scrivener Fast is set up in to be a time saver. In 5-10 minutes I can watch a video and put the information to work for me. 

What I’ve learned

How to import my files from word and how to get them back out of Scrivener into word for my publisher.

How to use it to write blog posts.

How to use it to make ebooks

How to work Smarter

And so much more! I’m still learning.

If you write books, articles, blog posts or need a place to keep your ideas organized I recommend getting Learn Scrivener Fast before you waste any more time figuring something out on your own.

Click the link and Learn!

Click the link below and check it out. You can preview a video and see what you think. 


*This is an affiliate link but seriously I would not recommend this if I wasn’t using it.