If only you had never been born....
I wouldn’t have suffered through migraines in pregnancy
I wouldn’t have spent 9 months with morning sickness
I wouldn’t have had to have major surgery and a painful recoveryRead More
If only you had never been born....
I wouldn’t have suffered through migraines in pregnancy
I wouldn’t have spent 9 months with morning sickness
I wouldn’t have had to have major surgery and a painful recoveryRead More
It's time to review my top 10 posts from 2015!
I LOVE reading and reviewing all the top posts from my favorite bloggers and writers! It's also a blessing for me to go back and see how God used this blog to encourage readers. I'm learning so much as a wife, mother, friend, and Christ-follower so it's amazing to me that the areas where I see God working on me are often areas of growth for you too! Iron sharpening iron, right?
Thank you all for hanging with me through a very sporadic writing year and for your kind encouragement to me in my vulnerable moments!
Without further ado, here are the top posts from Mother Of Knights for 2015! And here's to many more (And more consistency too!) in 2016!
7 Steps To Radically Change Disobedient Kids Into Obedient Ones Without Conflict--This post went viral and for good reason! If you want to have peace in your home and learn how to help transform your kids into obedient children, read on! Then check in and let me know: Are you a reactionary parent or a proactive parent?
Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades of Gray (And You Shouldn't Either)--Another viral post! I knew this one would probably put me in the crosshairs of hot debate and boy, did it ever! Thankfully, most people championed what I had to say, even though it was controversial. I think the topic applies to any kind of protests/bans that Christians may want to stand for--this post will make you think twice.
When Your Child's Personality Rubs You Wrong--This one went viral too! I wish I had known this stuff when I first had kids! Personally, this may be one of my favorite posts from the year. Wake up and read this one in the morning to prepare your heart for parenting the kids that "challenge" you! The message here will bless every mom...and dad!
Is There Room In Your Marriage For One More? How My Intimacy Idol Almost Ruined Us--Oh, man. This one hits me right between the eyes every time. Maybe your marriage isn't the ideal you imagined it would be? You aren't sure where to turn or how to make it better? I get it. Read this one, ASAP. I hope you can avoid my mistakes......
When Your In-Law's Don't Respect You--The words here can help us with any difficult relationship, truly. I'm betting that some of us are feeling bruised and battered from time with difficult family members over the holidays. Maybe this will help towards healing!
10 Bible Passages For Exhausted Parents--Yawn....if anything or everyone is keeping you up at night, this is for you! This one comes from a place of complete and total sleep deprivation. Pass it on to your tired friends!
When Sibling Rivalry and Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer--This is a foundational way of thinking to keep your sanity over clutter and chaos! Here's why our anger is actually a gift and what anger is NOT meant to do. If anger is an issue for you, I hope this post will reframe your thinking and give you hope!
The Key To Stop Yelling In Anger At Your Kids-And Why Anger Is NOT A Sign Of Unforgiveness--This one is a vlog! If you have ever wrestled with anger and yelling, today can be the last day! Take the time to watch my message in the video and find freedom from guilt and anger. I recorded it in the aftermath of a migraine, straight from a long flight from the airport-I felt THAT compelled to record and share it, disheveled state aside! And if you have ever wondered why it feels like you simply can't get past deep anger and hurt from someone who has harmed you in any way, this will bring FREEDOM to you too!
What To Do When Your Child Says, "I Hate You!"--Dreaded words, but it happens! It can send a parent into a frenzy but it doesn't have to! Here are some practical tips for when your child speaks to you in anger.
The Christmas Stocking That Exposed My Shaky Marriage--So many spouses can relate to this one. It's another of my personal favorites because it's something I need to keep working on and remembering! If you have ever been disappointed by your spouse, this post will speak straight to your heart!
There you have it! My top 10 posts from 2015! I am continually praying that God uses this blog to impact the Kingdom! Thank you, again, for taking the time to read and be a part of my blogging family! I love you guys!
YOUR TURN: I would love to write more on the topics that interest you so please, let me know in the comments if there are any topics you would like me to write about! Which of these posts resonated with you--I'd love any feedback you have for me! Do you know someone who would be encouraged by one of these posts? It would bless me if you shared it with them!
There is no question that I am a city girl, but I love nature and being outdoors. The luxury of living in Los Angeles is that you get plenty of each-the best of both worlds! One of my favorite spots to savor the beauty of nature is at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. Besides the fact that you can view collections of rare art and books, explore various gardens that boast some of the most beautiful flowers, plants, and trees in the world, the Library offers one of the most delicious high teas in town! It’s all you can eat, which is dangerously appealing.
The first Thursday of every month offers free admission, which requires an advanced reservation. I scored some coveted tickets a couple months ago so I took my three knights with me. The Library is elegant, as are the grounds-not exactly the kind of place I first think of to take my kids. I wasn’t sure how well it would go over with them, but in the end, I had to drag them away! It broke my heart a little to pass the tea room up this trip but I didn’t want to push my luck with my boys! Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite should you want to plan your own trip to the Huntington Library.
Quinn, Oliver, and Oakley inside the Rain Forest Conservatory! It was humid and damp inside and the boys enjoyed examining every nook and cranny!
If I wasn't a Believer already, these next photos would give me great pause for thought-they are so creatively designed!
The Venus Flytrap was a particular favorite! You can try to introduce your boys to culture and beauty but they will still be most fascinated by the plant that kills bugs! Boys WILL be boys!
There are various rooms with experiments set up for hands-on fun! Here's Oakley (4), trying one of them all on his own, like a big kid. Sniff, sniff.
The dome of the Conservatory let in the most perfect light through the canopy of leaves.
Of course, we headed to the Children's Garden next!
My boys got WET, which was fine by me! One of the things you learn to let go of as a boy-mom!
May he never lose his sense of wonder......
Next up, we took the scenic route towards the Rose Gardens and found some amazing fountains and statues!
I asked the boys to make up a little story about what they think might have happened to the men and women in the statues. They had some wild ideas!
In a moment that caught me off guard, Quinn told me that he thought this angel baby must be like our babies in Heaven....
This little guy was quite busy, buzzing.
I could have stayed all day looking at every rose, but the boys were on a mission so we moved pretty quickly through the girly rose section.
The Japanese and Chinese Gardens were the biggest hit with the kids!
Ahh, yes. KOI! Quinn was especially enamored with these big beauties! He was seriously bummed when it was time to move onward and upward!
Quinn (6) wants to be a scientist when he grows up. It was so evident at the Gardens where he lingered and explored while his brothers pressed on to see the next surprise around the corner. I love them all in their uniqueness!
Oliver (8) is growing up to fast for my comfort. His little bro worships the ground he walks on. Nothing better than brothers who love and admire one another!
When we went into some of the Library's buildings that held artwork, I kept hands held in mine and we moved rather quickly. My littlest is so tempted to touch the untouchable, that I only spent a brief time indoors-just enough to introduce them to the artwork.
And of course, where there are trees and boys....
Finally able to run wild and free!
They often hold hands, just because. Love....
As we headed out to lunch I got a few glimpses of my own favorites-SUCCULENTS!
I was a little nervous about taking the boys to such a widespread and pristine Garden and Art tour, but it was totally worth it! We squeezed it in right before school started and though our schedule is less open for these kinds of jaunts, will be going back soon!
The best part for me was stretching myself to let them find their own engagement, be their unruly selves in a rather dignified environment, and go with the flow. Taking three energetic boys to a pristine environment held lots of potential for me to micro-manage and get stressed out, but instead, I was purposeful to be kind and to speak to them with the same respect that I want shown to me, so we had a truly happy day together as a result. Which reminds me of this post, Have A Kinder Son By Tonight, that I am sharing over at The MOB Society today! Before you go, check it out and see how I cultivate kindness in my sons lives, then tell me what you think! And if you are local, schedule your own day-trip to the Huntington Library sooner than later!
YOUR TURN: Have you been to the Huntington Library? Did you have tea? What does your city offer in the way of Art and Gardens that I might want to check out if I come to your neck of the woods? Are there things that you shy away from with kids that you might decide to try even though it makes you nervous to think about how they will behave?
Last year, I had a bunch of credit from an online shop that sold high end sunglasses. Over the years, I went through my cheap shades as if they were disposable and I had been toying with the idea of buying a quality pair that would last.
With the money from cumulated gift certificates, I ordered a beautiful blue tortoise shell pair of uber chic Fendi glasses. It was one of the few big splurges I have ever made!
From the moment I put them on, I realized that all those years of wearing 5 dollar glasses had conditioned me to see the world in a subpar light. But these beauties were of such quality that I could see clearly and in perfect comfort-no more scratches and squinting. No more pinched skin on the bridge of my nose, or headaches from ill-fitting ear pieces. I didn’t have to view the beautiful sunny days around me in off color compromise because I could view them in the perfect balance of shade and light.
I hadn’t known what I was missing. I really did get what I paid for, in both cases.
It reminds me how much the way we view the world alters how we live our lives. When all we can see before us is an uphill battle, or defeating relationships, or messy rooms, then just about everything loses its luster.
When I was a teacher, I had a colleague who had emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba. Ignacio didn’t live a lavish life and he had plenty of trials that he could have focused on, but I never once, in the 7 years we worked side by side, heard him grumble or say a negative word about anything-no matter how small. He was so thankful to live a life of freedom and relative plenty as an American, that he never forgot where he came from and how blessed he was.
He also had a passionate love for Jesus Christ and few people shined brighter than Ignacio. When I think of the word contentment and joy the first image that comes to my mind is a smiling and kind-hearted Cuban man who often showed up at my door with an iced coffee or a sweet roll. I don’t see him as often as I would like to anymore, but I’ll never forget the example he was to me of how much our attitudes and perspectives will either imprison us in misery or free us to live life to the full as God intended.
Ignacio viewed the world through the lens of thankfulness and it made all the difference.
How about you and me?
Negativity and sorrow can be crushing not only to ourselves but to everyone around us. I bet you can think of someone that is a “joy robber”. You know, those people who you come away from feeling kind of “meh” or like you just had the wind taken out of your sails? Instead, we all have a conscious choice to focus on the good, count our blessings, and determine to say things that will build people up. It doesn’t mean we can’t be honest about our struggles, but the believer should always have a confident hope and joy that is contagious, despite hard times or challenges.
As parents, we can “huff and puff” all around the house sighing over this mess or that behavior and making everyone feel our displeasure. We can say that we want to show a Christ-like example to our kids and then grumble our way through each tiny obstacle in everyday living instead of serving our families with joy and gladness as an act of worship to Jesus Christ. It should never be like that for a mom or dad who is pursuing a love relationship with the Lord.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about it:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
My mother-in-law is a perfect example of this. After her husband of 30 years suddenly passed away, she endured several severe strokes that have left her in a wheel chair and in a convalescent home for nearly two decades. I have never heard her complain. She remains in bed most of the time now and yet she continues to talk about her love for Jesus and takes an interest in the wonderful things everyone else is doing outside the small walls of her shared bedroom. Even though she has never had the chance to push her grandkids on the swing or take a family vacation with us, she still shares our excitement and joy over our opportunities to do so as a family. It humbles me every time.
Our joyful and positive outlook on life can make or break the spirits of those around us but one thing is for sure. We waste our own lives when we have a negative mood that permeates our thinking. You and I have this one chance to take hope by the scruff of the neck and be a light that draws others (And our own kids!) towards us like a moth to the flame.
We want to leave a legacy of joy and hope for our children, not discouragement and oppression because of our attitudes and careless words. I wish that it was as easy as donning a pair of designer sunglasses but this kind of legacy involves doing some intentional heart work.
Do whatever it takes to commit to a more joyful outlook. Toss the mediocre lenses of your mind in the trash bin and upgrade them for a pair that gives you a more hopeful and accurate view of the world around you.
YOUR TURN: Would you consider yourself a “joy-robber”? Do all the little demands of everyday life get to you and steal your joy? What kinds of things work for you to keep your perspective balanced and Christ-centered? How do your kids respond when you are a happier mom or dad?
Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENTS and if this post blessed you, please share it with others!
P.S. This post contains an affiliate link and when you make a purchase through my link, I get a little credit at no extra charge to you and that helps my ministry-thank you!
One of the key problems I see in parenting today is the pattern of reactionary parenting instead of proactive parenting. Take a look at this checklist and see which of these describes your parenting style:Read More
Along with my son’s birthday at the beginning of summer, came new video games for his XBOX 360.
The video game world is new to us-our oldest was nearly 8 before we allowed him any kind of gaming and that was just this year. We often set times to limit their video games and Sundays have been our screen-free days.
Still, it didn’t take long for us to experience first-hand the effects of gaming-changes in attitude (not the good kind!), begging and pleading when we have already set a limit to how long they could play, arguing over taking turns, and general fit throwing when it came time to put the controllers down.
Any of this sound familiar?
As their mom, I knew that I needed to set some tight boundaries-not because I needed to control my kids with an iron fist, but because they simply were not capable of seeing the harm their behavior was causing the relationships in our family-between themselves as siblings, and towards mom and dad.
We have a little mantra at our house: Relationships over things.
If something we are involved in or obsessing over is harming a relationship, then we have to deal with it right away. When people become secondary to property, it's time to do damage control! So, this past week we held the very rare family meeting and laid out some new ground rules and more importantly, why we were doing so. I’m going to share with you what we decided to do in case you are feeling that tug on your heart that you need to take a similar plunge.
The night before, we let them know that we were going to have a family meeting the next day-we weren’t doom and gloom about it, just wanted them to know that was going to be an important time for us to talk about some "family stuff". They nodded their heads-fine by them.
Positive Tone And Laying A Founation
First, we approached the conversation with an upbeat and positive attitude, not a serious scolding tone lest we lose and alienate our audience from the get-go. Then we reviewed Ephesians 6:1-3 to lovingly remind them that their role as kids is to obey mom and dad because God, in His love and wisdom knows that obeying us will result in a long and enjoyable life. I had each boy take turns reading a verse or answering some simple questions-short and sweet but keeping them engaged!
More head nodding. So far, so good.
Obey mom and dad because of our love for God? Check.
And because it will lead to an enjoyable life? Check.
I then briefly explained that we were going to be doing something new for the month of August (mind you, this will most likely stay in place but this month is our experimental time). We reminded ourselves that people are important than things and that we need to be outside more and using our brains because that is healthy for our bodies and it honors God when we take care of ourselves.
Then, we took the plunge.
Keeping my tone of voice upbeat, I explained that they would each earn 30 minutes after 3:00 PM every week day to play an educational game or watch an educational YouTube video about a game (They could also play one of their FAVORITE games, Just Dance , because it is physical and gets them exercising-fine by me!).
They can lose the privilege to play but I would give them fair warning if that was about to happen. In general, I don’t parent with the reward system because I don’t want kids to do the right thing to get something. I want them to do the right thing, because it’s the right thing. But I also don’t want to remove games all together at this point, and in this area, it seemed a reasonable approach.
I then explained that on Saturday morning, they could play entertainment type games for an hour each. (But, it also meant that one of the gun-shooting games that I didn’t think was appropriate for my son would be off limits for all of this month-I didn’t share that in the family meeting because I knew it would be a big blow. I saved that conversation for a private talk with my oldest so that I could go into better detail and give him room to cry and grieve over it and I could focus on showing him empathy.)
Sundays would remain screen-free as in the past.
There were a few brave tears as the impact of these new guidelines sank in, but they cheered up a bit when I explained that they we were taking a special trip to Game Stop to buy a used copy of a mom-approved game they had been wanting for some time. They would get to play the game that first Saturday! This helped ease the wound a bit-phew! Which leads to this important next step.....
Set Them Up For Success
As the parent you have to prepare yourself for a few days of complaining, kids being “bored,” and general withdrawal-like symptoms. This part? Not fun, I won’t lie. But, it’s worth it-I promise! As the parent, it’s important not to take their frustrations personally or resort to your own irrational behavior. Take it all in stride and loving and gently stick to your decision. My kids and I both had to adjust and it was important for me to set them up for success.
Swap out old toys from the garage and bring them inside or set up outdoor activities so they have some “new” things to play with.
Plan a few play dates with friends, particularly outside at parks or at local pools etc.
Stop what you are doing more often to sit down with them to play board games or do crafts and artwork.
Implement a reading time where older kids read to younger ones.
Offer constructive options to them before they begin to complain about being bored.
Lovingly remind them when they are doing the right things, that you are proud of them and excited that they are earning their time to play a game later that day.
How Are We Doing After Week 1?
It hasn’t been a perfect transition but honestly, it has been much smoother than I anticipated. My husband forgot about our new guidelines one late morning and sure enough, I came into the room to kids playing video games. We regrouped and got back on track. No harm, no foul! Don’t let little hiccups or poor communication sabotage your new boundaries!
And guess what? My kids are cooperating with one another again. They are playing games with each other, being creative with imagination play, and getting outside on the swing set! I call that success!
We really are happier, after just a week of this new standard in our home. I’m wishing we had done this sooner! If you feel a sink in your gut when you think about your own family’s gaming habits, why don’t you join us in setting limits? Don’t let your fear of your kids’ reactions keep you from parenting them well!
Also, this post contains a couple affiliate links, so when you make any purchase through those links, my ministry gets a few cents at no added cost to you-thank you!!
UPDATE Week 2: Sweet relief-the boys aren't asking me to play all.day.long. anymore. They already know that they will get 30 minutes at the end of the day. And, they don't protest when the time is up! They are SATISFIED, people! Hallelujah! That's what being reasonable, positive, and CONSISTENT does for you. This Saturday, my son wandered in to the living room all sleepy-eyed asking what we were going to do for the day. I reminded him that he gets a full hour to play his choice of entertaining games on his XBOX and he looked at me and said, "But why do I get a full hour?" I reminded him that it was Saturday and that that was the privilege he earned. He threw his arms around my neck in happiness and excitement-he had already FORGOTTEN that he gets this special time! And now? I'm a rock star in his eyes. Happy kids again.......happy mom.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8
It’s an all too common exchange but we don’t have to respond with harsh words or crumple into a puddle of self-doubt. Here are a few things to keep in mind when your child utters those 3 dreadful words!Read More
Like most of you, I wear quite a few different hats. One of my favorites is that of producer. People often ask me what it’s like to wear the producer hat and what exactly it is that producers in Hollywood do, so I thought I would share a little bit about that today since I don’t talk about it very often!
I became a producer by choice and Providence and largely in part because I married a man who was married to Hollywood before he tied the knot with me.
My husband, Guy, is passionate about everything to do with TV and Feature Films. It’s in his soul. So naturally, that rubbed off on me. As an English major and former literature teacher, nothing gets my motor running more than an epic story. It became a natural decision to put our heads together and form a production company. Long story short, it became clear that being partners in marriage and partners in parenting would set us for success as partners in our life’s work as well.
You can read more about those details here in this post from Heather MacFadyen at God Centered Mom!
We started our company, Storehouse Media Group, about three years ago and hit the ground running creating shows that we wanted to watch and that we felt would have a wide appeal to audiences while also honoring God and inspiring others. We feel sort of like unsponsored missionaries so we aren’t shy about pleading with anyone and everyone who will partner with us in prayer to be a force for Truth and the love of God in Hollywood!
So what does it mean to be a producer? What do we actually do?
Producers, produce! That’s what we do. We take an idea and see it through to the end, overseeing every detail of how a TV show or film comes together. It involves hundreds of talented people who excel in what they do whether its scouting for a perfect location to film or working on contracts to make certain every “t” is crossed. Producers are visionaries and detail-oriented leaders. They persuade people to team with them and make sure that every person, place, and thing fits under the umbrella of the vision and purpose of each project. Good producers are great with people, studious decision-makers, and careful at negotiating.
Here’s an example of one of our 20 or so projects currently in development:
Some years ago now, I was introduced to a brilliant best-selling writer, Tricia Goyer, who had dozens of novels under her belt. We talked on the phone and instantly hit it off.
Eventually, that led to gaining the options--temporary rights to develop, sell, produce, and distribute a project based on existing material-in this case, about 15 of her novels! The bonus for me and Guy is that we also gained dear friends in Tricia and John! We consider them family!
I’ll skip about 2,000 other steps between that process and the fun part-attaching an amazing writing team to develop a one hour family and faith-friendly drama around Tricia’s Big Sky book series. Guy and I knew that we wanted to work with some celebrated writers who understood the faith audience. Enter, Brian Bird (Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart, Captive) and John Wierick (When Calls The Heart, Step by Step). These guys are some of the best writers in the industry and they too have become fast friends!
After nearly a year of writing, notes, adjustments, meetings, and pitches (meetings where we present our projects) to major studios, we were able to attach both Sony Pictures Television and Walden Media to produce the show with us! That means they are willing to put up financing and all the weight of their award-winning experience and vast resources to make this show happen. That's a big deal and we couldn't be more excited that they also see the vision and widespread potential for this show!
At this stage, we are meeting with the heads of Sony and Walden to fine tune our presentation of Big Sky so that we can pitch it to networks-the gatekeepers of what goes on air and into your homes! This past week, we had a brainstorming session that involved 8 executives and writers! Guy and I thrive on the energy and collaboration that happens at these sessions!
Meanwhile, we have begun to think about casting and are starting to make lists of names that include our favorites for the many roles this show will offer-this is the really fun part! Because music is a central aspect of this show, we listen to musicians and go backstage to meet them at concerts. Also the fun part.
Once a show is picked up by a network, we hit the ground running to audition cast, approve locations, manage budgets, evaluate costuming, tweak scripts, talk to marketing gurus, and eat too much craft services food.
The flip side of the coin is that you can work for years to develop a show and have it die a sad and painful death in the blink of an eye for any number of factors. And that is why I am constantly asking YOU all to pray!!
I’ll go ahead and beg you to do so now. I’ll wait. :)
We will be setting meetings for Big Sky over the summer months, so keep the prayers coming!
Meanwhile, the amazing Tricia Goyer continues to faithfully pump out new books every year. In July, her newest book, Prayers That Changed History becomes available! I got my hands on a copy early and even though it’s for the kids, I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN! It’s becoming a favorite!
AND, I am giving away a copy to one of YOU!! Who wants it?
Just leave a comment and tell me which of Tricia’s books is your favorite, or tell me a little bit about the reading habits of your family-or even your prayers for me and my husband as we seek to spread the light of Truth in Hollywood, and I will enter your name in the contest!
I’ll draw a name randomly on Sunday, July 5th and notify the winner on my Mother Of Knights Facebook Page on Monday morning! Good luck! Don't forget to share this post with your friends who would be willing to pray for us!
WINNER! There were so many entries that I decided to pick TWO! Congratulations to Loraine N. and Sara Merry! You both are our WINNERS! I have emailed them both and will wait a few days for a response, otherwise, we will choose a new name. Hope you enjoy the book, Ladies!!
A former high school English teacher and best-selling author, Amber is a work-at-home mom of four little boys. She and her husband, Guy, own Storehouse Media Group, a faith and family-friendly television and film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach in Santa Monica or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing here to spur others on with biblical truth and practical insights! Learn more about Amber by clicking here...