Playing Fair in marriage and on the football field scores you big points.

There’s a sweet gal named Paula Arrubla-Digrigo and this is her post from today on FB to her sweet hubby. Fits perfectly into the football analogy of my eBook “Playing Fair”.

Enjoy and please wish them Happy  Anniversary in the comments below.

I believe others would love to see the super bowl comparison too, so here goes…

“Happy Anniversary Michael, 14 years and counting! I found this article about how a marriage is a lot like football. I could not have said it better… cheers to many more games together! God bless you and thank you!”, Paula

Playing as a team:

A marriage, or any relationship really, is a team effort. In the football game of life, a husband and wife are teammates driving towards the same end zone. Getting a touchdown involves years of accumulated practice filled with failures and successes.

Playing a good game requires some strong communication. There will be back and forth running and a lot of ball passing. There will be times when the other teams steal the ball. Fumbles, dropped passes, and interceptions will happen; but focusing on the next play rather than the mishaps will always lead to a better game. There will be times when the end zone seems much further away than when you were at the starting line.

But the beauty of football (and relationships) is that you have your team to help you towards that winning touchdown.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

The most important thing about working as a team is that you recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to know when to pass the ball, and when to take the tackle. Sometimes your teammate can do a better job of getting that touchdown, and sometimes they’re still going to be left back at the starting line.

Being ON the team:

There’s more to it than that though; there is also a lot to know about who the team is not. Despite the old adage “I’m your biggest fan”, the team is not the fan. Fans are on the sidelines and can only watch the game from a distance and scream words of encouragement.

The team is not the coach, who will tell you when and how to do things, and get angry when the game didn’t go as planned. The team is not the cheerleaders, who look really great, but probably have no idea what play just happened. The team is not the water boy, who is good for a quick refill and not much else.

The team is on the field together, facing the same opponents at the same time. You make split second decisions together; you improvise; you progress. You show up to practice together and you work really hard to throw just a little bit farther.

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But because you do it together, it makes the game great

From the article:

So what section spoke the loudest to you and your situation? Please share.


Nancy Sustersic

Author, Speaker, Compassionate Entrepreneur


Playing Fair like a Teddy Bear, what I learned from one of the Covenant House Kids

Recently I’ve become involved with a mission in SWFL in the building of a Safe House to help with the rehabilitation of young people when they are rescued from the horrible world of abuse and human trafficking. SWFL ranks #3 in the Nation in Human Trafficking according to the statistics in 2017. Shocking for a place we call PARADISE. This missional team is focusing on raising awareness and signs to watch for in the profiles of the predators so we can educate the families and children before they are victimized. I’m so proud of these volunteers for their hearts and passion for getting in the trenches and being of service.  Stay tuned for more info as the progress too.SO, I’ve had this little booklet for a while from Covenant House called, “Sometimes God Has a Kid’s Face”. by Sister Mary Rose McGeady.

SO, I’ve had this little booklet for a while from Covenant House called, “Sometimes God Has a Kid’s Face”. by Sister Mary Rose McGeady.  It’s disturbing and eye opening and also heartwarming at the same time. While reading it there many little poems and phrases from the children that stayed at the home and wanted to express their thoughts and restoration ideas verbally. Here is a poem called “Learn to Listen” by one of the CH Kids. I found this would be very helpful for my Playing Fair, Mastering Skills in a Multi-Parent Family feedback and book additions.  Please share your comments below and on the FB page too. Here you go with a little overview and the poem:

Covenant House blesses abandoned children and children that have been horribly abused and gives them a new life. In one of their recent mailings there was a poem that was written by a child that had been horribly abused and now has a new life in Christ. The title of the poem is “Learn to Listen” and it could just as well have been titled “Life Lessons via My Teddy Bear”. My hope is this poem touches some of you as much as it has touched me to the core.





“Learn to Listen”


Learn to listen like a Teddy Bear;
With ears open and mouth closed tight.
Learn to forgive like a teddy bear,
With an open heart, not caring who is right.
Learn to love like a Teddy Bear;
With arms open and imperfect eyesight.
Do not ask for your life’s load lightened,
But for courage to endure.
Do not ask for fulfillment in your life,
Do not ask for perfection in all you do,
But for wisdom not to repeat mistakes.
And finally, do not ask for more,
Before saying, “Thank You,”
for what you have already received.
If you’re looking for someone to blame–
Look in the mirror.
There is no challenge that cannot be met,
And dream that cannot be achieved.
Written by one of the Covenant House kids

Lessons learned by a child that had been horribly abused may be more eye-opening than ever and we must  remember that the quality of our lives is determined by the conscious choices that we make each and every day. Living in PARADISE aka Environment alone is no excuse for any of us.
Remembering that some of the greatest, most courageous, noble, and saintly people that have ever lived were raised in the most deplorable circumstances imaginable may be what opens the hearts and eyes of those in need to hear this message of HOPE and HELP.

Parents sometimes we need these Teddy Bear reminders in dealing with the stresses of life and decissions of disipline.  May your family and life journey be blessed.

Offered with love and respect,

Nancy Sustersic

“If you love it enough…let it go!” Broken hearts don’t always need to happen.

Lightning Bolt moment for me. During a conversation I say to hubby Joe, “If you love it enough…let it go!” 
I’m always thinking about how can you make a situation better. Some people may say, “What’s the use?”  Here’s why…
The WOODY from Toy Story example: disney-pixar-toy-story-3-ptru1-7016698dt
So, I’m chatting with Joe about how I need to buy a toy for Christmas and explaining the reason WOODY is decapitated.  Story goes, 
“The children were fighting over Woody, and pulling on both ends, until his head tore off and he was thrown away”.  Joe knows the owner of Woody is 10 yrs old, and the other child is 6.  Sounds like the normal kids fighting over stuff, right.  I’m explaining to Joe that I wish they would have just kept poor Woody so I could put him back together again. I’m a seamstress, according to what my Mom used to say, and I told Joe, “Maybe Woody couldn’t have been repaired, and it’s too bad the children didn’t just let go and stop fighting, so that Woody had a fighting chance too.  I wasn’t there, but I’m sure we can all picture the situation of the crying and screaming that must have been going on, and I’d imagine their Mom was trying to get them to STOP!  Then I say how sad this child is that they have to wait until Christmas to get the beloved Woody back into their life.  I say to Joe, “all this could have been prevented if the 10 year old owner had:
  • just stopped to think how much Woody was loved and LET HIM GO for the moment.
  • Next ask Mom for help to retrieve him.

Poor and confused Woody would have been given a chance (to live), and the kids a cooling down time to correct the issue.”

NOW for the lighting bolt! I look at Joe and say, “did you hear what I just said? Woody would still be here if the owner (10 yr old) had just let go.  Letting go, calming down, even being willing to share, would have defused the situation and great lessons would be learned by all. ”  It’s about what is valuable to us and how to protect those things, including feelings and relationships.
ANOTHER AH-HA. I mention confused when I relate to how Woody must have felt because I think children could be feeling the same pulled apart way during divorces. If the parents forget that they are the adults and divorce is their issue often custody and support battles becomes the focus and the children are often caught in the middle of the turmoil.
My thinking: Often we become so close, emotional, to issues that we can’t be proactive fast enough. I feel that reasoning is why I became an author, and motivational coach as well. In “Playing Fair, Mastering Teamwork” my goal is to help people; parents, co-parents, children, stepchildren, extended relatives (think Members of the TEAM) see that sometimes just remembering to back down, let go, may bring back what we feared losing in the first place, and realize that loss doesn’t always need to happen.
As a thank you, this Sunday & Monday Playing Fair eBook
is free to download here  (11/6/ & 11/7/16)
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this blog and my eBook.
Thank you, and wishing you much joy,

Nancy Sustersic,

Author- Playing Fair in a Multi Parent Family, Speaker & Reality Coach


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“I’m Bored”, how many parents hear this, or have said it? Crossover to Joyful.

Boredom! What is it that makes a person say they feel bored or even know that is a word to use during a particular feeling? I wondered for a long time if children using that phrase of, “I’m bored”, especially by day 2 of summer vacation, was just an excuse to have a parent create something to entertain a child? I also wondered if it is a sign that we give so much to our children today that there is no reason for them to have to come up with ideas, plans, and things to entertain themselves.  As a grandparent, I worry that one of many instant responses parents may use is to give TABLETS to children as an amusement tool. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the value in a tablet as an educational tool but I also see the value in limiting time and what they choose to do on them. How fast do the children bore of the games already installed, and want more downloaded, would be a good indicator of a need to intervene.  I doubt you would believe that a 2-year-old was thinking to say that, “I’m bored”,  to a parent while playing with the pots and pans under the kitchen sink. I read recently that being playful was lacking in many people’s daily habits.

The beauty of youthful innocence and adventure could be what we use today as a learning tool to master boredom and bring joy back into lives of all ages. My daughter Julie shared a wonderful daily devotional blog with me recently and today’s message from “Girlfriend in God” is what gave me the desire to write this blog for my FB on hdna499_smjoy


My daughter Julie shared a wonderful daily devotional blog with me recently and today’s message from “Girlfriend in God” is what gave me the desire to write this blog for my FB Playing Fair Community page. I believe that the feeling of lack of joy is what many families are confusing for unhappiness today.

Here is what they had to say in the blog: Learning to Give Joy Away Part 2
Oct 26, 2016 | Mary Southerland

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12
Friend to Friend
I once heard a story that offers a great prescription for joy. A young believer came to a man who had followed Christ for many years with the complaint that he had lost his joy. The older and wiser Christian responded, “Go do something for someone else. Repeat that act of kindness nine times. Then you will find joy.”
When we develop the habit of looking for a need and then meeting that need, we will experience joy as never before. Many times, instead of looking for a need, we look the other way.
One of the most amazing paradoxes in the Christian life is that the more we give, the more we receive. We simply cannot out-give God!

If you want joy, learn to invest your life in others. Be on the lookout for a need and meet it. God created us to share each other’s load. A shared load is a lighter load.
F.B. Meyer once noted: “I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another so that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves, one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get.”
• Give your time.
• Give encouragement.
• Give a praying heart.
• Give a listening ear.

The more you give, the more joy you will experience. The more joy you have, the more you will want to give. God always rewards “joy-givers.”

• What do you think the link is between giving and joy?
• What change(s) do you need to make in your life in the area of giving?

So today let’s focus on ways to bring JOY to our family as a team… as well as to others.

See the sidebar for “Action Worksheets from the Playing Fair eBook Series” where I offer suggestions on how to make VISION BOARDS. Feel free to download them and please leave a comment below on how they brought joy to your lives, and your unique way of creating joy in your family.

Have a superb day of joy,

Nancy Sustersic

Author, Speaker & Reality Coach





Like it or not, You Can’t Regift Family!

What happened to Us?  What a great question,  and in “Love the Coopers” there are clues worth gold.


In  writing my first ebook of the Playing Fair Series this movie storyline could have easily been a great chapter.  It covers; miscommunications, misunderstandings, imposed on and self-imposed lack of self-esteem, anger, hurt and separation.  Then it allows the issues to be brought to the surface so the lines of communication could begin without their egos getting in the way.  Finally, the problems became transparent, addressed and solutions found. THE END! But, you know there is so much value in the depths of the story that will help families flourish and children thrive.

So I’m on vacation with the intent to be able to write Book Two of Playing Fair, and how it’s all about how the kids are impacted by family turmoil.  Love the Coopers was like a gift to my mind and heart. John Goodman – Sam, is asking of Diane Keaton – Charlotte his wife, “What happened to Us? For those who haven’t seen it…It’s family holiday reunion time and Sam and Charlotte are about to get divorced. Sam wants to tell the kids but Charlotte wants to wait and get through the holidays.  The family is eating Christmas Dinner and so much turmoil, by many of the family members, of past hurt, and jealousy is going on that Charlotte’s little granddaughter, Madison, shouts to her parents (who are recently separated)…

“Why can’t you quit fighting? Why can’t everyone just get along!”

This is not a question a 5-year-old child, or any age, should need to ask their parents.  After all isn’t it usually the parents who are asking the children those questions, sometimes on a daily basis.  Kids are told to STOP IT, Time OUT, Play Fair, and that mind you is when the kids are acting like kids.  I bet in real life most parents, in a situation like above, wouldn’t even give the child credit for being so aware of what’s happening, let alone how it is negatively impacting them and how much it hurts. As you see in the movie these thought/words etc., that the characters held onto, were impacting them their entire life.

How many times have you heard parents in a public place rip each other apart in the presence of the kids and the parents swear the children aren’t even listening? Even when a child is in the next room with the door closed they are within earshot.

“What happened to us?” becomes secondary to “What happens to the children?”

Awareness and cooperation are the first steps towards healing and I hope today’s blog brings that healing to families searching for solutions to bringing more harmony into their lives. I love the term, Focus on the Family.

One last thought: with statistics from the WSJ of 40% of marriages are remarriages,  there are step-parents, step-children, step-etc so the possibility of issues could be magnified as you add more people to the Family Team.

Watch for eBook Two, Playing Fair, Mastering Teamwork in a Multi-Parent Family. My Life as a Football — the children’s stories of  growing blended families. The Good, the Bad, and SOLUTIONS.

Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear your input.

Quote Be the change you want to see in the world revised

CU soon,

Nancy Sustersic

Author, Speaker & Reality Coach-for what matters most to you.


Writing … who’s life will you impact? Be the voice, no magic needed!

Two excerpts from an interview on Youtube made me think of how failure can work for us – if we choose. Likewise, giving voice to the voiceless may be what drove me to write the  “Playing Fair Series” eBooks. Talk about powerful…  just think of the gift your voice is in helping others…  yes PRICELESS!Play Fair in all you do!

Failing, as we know it, can be in our minds, right! So failing at anything gives us the opportunity and another chance to get back up, Change it Up, and try again. In trying again, as J.K. Rowling shared, we may find a strength we didn’t know we had.

In the “Top 10 Rules For Success”, J.K. Rowling’s said:

# 1. “Failure gave me an insecurity that I never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.  I discovered that I had a strong will and more disciplined than I suspected.                                                                                                                                I also found out that I have friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies. Dancing Girls by Eve Gron 

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.  Such knowledge is a true gift.”

  • #10. If you choose to use your status and  influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice…if you choose to identify with not only the powerful but the powerless, if you retain the ability to imagine yourselves into the lives of those who have not your advantages in life, then it will not only be your proud family who celebrates your existence but thousand and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We don’t need magic to transform our world… we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already….we have the power within us to imagine better.

Also… J.K. shared RE: Children, Parents don’t tell them it’s unrealistic about anything.

New authors, or even parents, may feel some strange feelings about success, like I did:

My takeaway:

  • Before I listened to the interview above, I felt like… why was I pretending to be an author when it wasn’t my passion, as a child, to write books?
  • I was attempting to help co-parents see the need of the children when in fact parents often only could see the hurt and separation anxiety they felt as adults. In reality, it would be hard  to imagine the devastating effect on the children’s physiological growth that bickering and fighting could create.
  • I had a message that needed to be shared. There is power in the message and I had the power to share it.
  • My priceless friendships helped me to realize that I, as a writer, am valuable and my message is urgent, that people will listen and will learn from it. I also needed to hear my message, as a grandparent too, and how I am a valuable role model aka mentor to my grandchildren. Teamwork makes it happen!

What takeaways have you come up with?  Enjoy and please share your thoughts on co-parenting and writing for value to others.  Please COMMENT BELOW!

Have a superb week and share away!!

Cheers to the kids!

Nancy Sustersic

Author, Speaker, Reality Coach for what matters most to YOU!

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Who took away the natural joy a child is born with? Society influence? Us as parents?

Want to see full blown JOY? See a baby’s first smile, or hear that little giggle. Actually if you’re like me that first giggle was really gas bubbling up and of course we could swear it was a giggle, right! How about when your little one first coos at you. Everyone chimes in, “Look they are trying to talk”. Grabs your heart I bet.
Want more authentic visions of full blown joy? Just watch a little child at play. Unaware of who is watching and little legs all curled up under them in impossible bends that we only wish we could get into today. Yes, they call those bends full-squats and most adults cannot get into that position without taking up yoga.  Have I painted a good picture of JOYFUL for you?

 So when does that innocent and au natural joyfulness stop… and then the need or desire to be accepted start in a child’s mind?  I’ve heard, and believe, that children are born knowing they are ENOUGH! So knowing this feeling of enough is inborn, aka instinctive, with children it could make a person wonder, “What is it that changes in the child’s life, in their belief system, that could create a feeling of not being enough or when does the unhappiness or loss in the natural traits of self-confidence start?”  We have a duty, yes an obligation, to figure this out and get it right and of course the sooner the better. I’ve also hear that we are not getting any younger, so let’s get started.

Watch the fun and joy and wonderment that children project from that first smile, eyes fixed on your eyes just looking at you as you rock them and then that daily playfulness as they grow up right before your eyes it seems.  When, and how, do you think that children could lose that belief in themselves and feel the need to start looking to others for worthiness and acceptance?  Of course we all realize that not all children will end up with self-esteem issues but I think you’ll agree with me that many people today have been dealing with self-worth and lack of joy. Is it possible we take that instinctive ability away from them as we start to PLAN their lives? We think it’s our duty to form a child to make them into responsible adults. I’m beginning to think differently about that responsibility of power and the struggle it creates. Please don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying… let the children live like wolves. What I am saying is focus less on status, accomplishments, things to occupy their time like; so many toys they can’t reasonably play with them all, and now the devices that take their glances away from us as they are fixed on media.

What really started me thinking about this lack of natural joy issue was when Dr. Shefali Tsabary said in an interview on SuperSoulSunday, “We don’t have power over our children.” I believe that, I believe we should & can have influence but not take away their authenticity in the process.

True love comes without control. It comes from education and appreciation for each of us having a uniqueness about ourselves and free will (in the absence of hurting others of course) to enjoy the beauty of life without getting egos all involved. Egos both of ours and then out children’s is often what starts the loss of true self in the searching for being better than someone else. That being “better” puts so much stress on little minds that often the joy can’t find a way to get expressed and goes by the wayside.

In my next post I will add ways to find and keep joy in our life and learn from some of the habits that our children can naturally train us on. Stay tuned!

Thank you for listening to my new way of thinking and I look forward to you sharing your thoughts and comments and JOYs in the Reply section below!

Have a joyful day,

Nancy Sustersic – From Naples, Florida is an Author, Speaker & Reality Coach

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Good or bad, it’s still Role Modeling – our parental duty is to get it right!

Being an inspiring role model is a journey and easier for some than for others. Sometimes it’s the role models we had that can tip the scale towards effective role modeling for us.  As a parent is it part of our job description but it is also a wonderful gift, and can influence many people outside the family unit that we many never, in our lifetime, even realize our impact on them.

I just read the most amazing parenting and role modeling quote on Facebook. 

“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.” – Talmud

Those are some heavy – powerful and meaningful works, wouldn’t you say! So, besides ourselves here are some potential role modeling influences on our children. 



  • Teacher
  • Mentor
  • Hero/Heroine
  • Mirror

Now I could see were the teacher and mentor fit in since we either have them during education or seek them as in the case of mentors. I also can see where to a child they may look to you or feel like others could be heroes or heroines, but when it said mirror that just makes such great sense. football mirror role model art cleaned up by mary bode

Remember the money see monkey do analogy? Same- same here.  Remember the quote…

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”- John F. Kennedy,Ralph Waldo Emerson

The great news is whatever kind of role modeling we’ve done until today we can Change It Up if needed.  Just like a teacher who gives their time and guidance to the student it took time for the teacher to learn the skills to become certified and allowed to teach in the first place. They didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to be a teacher and then walk into the school room and start training the students. Teachers go through classes themselves and learn coping skills on how to work with different personalities and how to best keep control of all the classroom as well. Can you see the power we have as parents when we liken it to being a teacher? I would have added the words  Sports Coach to the synonyms, as who believes more in us and is willing to keep encouraging us that a coach does.

When I think of the word mentoring,  I picture; showing by example, taking by the hand, helping over the hurdles, while allowing the student to make decisions and grow.

Please comment is the space below:

  • Who has mentored you to the person you are today?
  • Who has been your cheering squad?
  • What role model skills will you work on today?

Now let’s go out and make a huge impact the the people we love the most…our family!

With love,

Nancy Sustersic, Author of  Playing Fair Series, “Mastering Teamwork in a Multi-Parent Family”.

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‘Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.’  ~Oscar Wilde   

Co-Parenting STRESS words. Do your words build up or tear down?

Co-Parenting is a TEAM SPORT. WORD RULES a strategic starter’s kickoff game plan if expecting the team to score big. There’s stress enough just working through blending of the two homes and new members of the team. Some co-mingling transitions are easier to work thought but often the hurt that goes along with divorce or remarriage prevents positive communication from happening. Think about this…

What do you hear when you read the words below and can you imagine adding emphasis and volume when used in the sentence examples.

You, What, When, Not:

  • You never listen to me,
  • What is wrong with you,
  • When are you going to grow up, or… 
  • Not this time, you’re not going to do this to me again!

Whew, right! Sound familiar? And if these words are used by two parents, or co-parents, having a “loud conversation” just what are the children really hearing? Maybe you are on the receiving end of these tackles, or what if these words are so ingrained from other relationships we’ve had that they come out of our mouths automatically,  just like what happened to me. Could it be if we start the sentences with different words, especially in co-parenting conversations, that the outcome could work out better for us and reduce some of the stress factors? This new way of speaking may also help in communicating with the children involved in these new family ties?

Continue Reading

Special – Playing Fair is on Pre-Sale until Aug 10

Special on Book One of the Playing Fair Series – 3 Steps to Being an Inspiring Role Model is on pre-sale until Aug 10th for $2.99.  After that it goes back to the $4.99 price and worth its weight in gold at any price!

Whether you are part of a blended family, or not, you will find great insights to being the most effective role model for your children and family that you can be.  Your actions as the leader then encourage that positive behavior throughout the entire family unit. The secret to success in the blending process is spelled out in the pages of the eBook and then in the action worksheets that go along with the tips. Plan for success and you can hit it every-time.

Leave comments, ask for help, or just share what has worked for you and together we can make a positive impact in the family team structure… for life. Looking forward to hearing your stories of how blending families and the co-parenting challenge have effected your family. Please share your challenges and solutions.

To purchase, Playing Fair by Nancy Sustersic, please click on the Book Cover. The free Worksheets are available on the sidebar.

Playing Fair Book Cover