Gone Fishing! Pictures Of Life As A Boy Mom-Not Perfect, But Perfect For Me!

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 Gone Fishing! Pictures Of Life As A Boy Mom, Not Perfect, But Perfect For Me!

Do you ever wake up and wonder what happened to the life you always imagined? Maybe the one you are living is much better than you ever dreamed. Maybe not. Mine? It’s just….different. :)

Here’s what I mean.

I spent the last day of summer before school started last week, fishing. I never imagined that I would plan fishing trips with my kids, but that’s part of the deal when you have all boys. I know there are plenty of girls who LOVE to fish, but I’m not one of them. Going fishing is a very tangible picture of my love for my husband and my sons.

My friend Jenny Sulpizio is a mom who understands that our ideas of the perfect family, life, and role as a mom can either derail us or make us thrive. I wrote a guest post for her on her blog about our fishing trip last week and how my ideals of being a girl mom someday had to fade so that I could be the boy mom that God made me to be.

I hope you will go over and read it! It’s one of my favorite posts that I have written this year!

Meanwhile, here are some fun pictures from our escapade to the lake!

Daddy teaching the boys how to hook a worm. Ugh. They loved it, of course.

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Gathering Around

Oakley leans in close while I stayed as far away as possible. I actually enjoy the fishing part, but I can’t handle the baiting. These dudes are all boy, as they should be!

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Guy is in his element here, showing the boys how to hold the pole and cast the line. He is amazingly patient with them, never loses his cool, and is up for anything. I was single much longer than I wanted to be, and everyone told me there were a lot of fish in the sea, but I’m so glad I landed him!

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Daddy Teaching

Oliver, age 7. He was a pro.

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Oliver and Daddy

Quinn, age 4. He was in his element.

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Quinn Fishing

Oakley, age 3. He didn’t love the sun in his eyes but other than that, he was all for it. He is so mature for his age that I can’t believe he is only just turned 3 this month.

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Oakley Fishing

Fishing was fun, but Oakley spent the majority of his time climbing under the pier and throwing rocks at the squirrels who kept trying to steal our lunch. :)

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Oakley Surrounded By Rocks

I may as well admit here that I probably spoil this kid. Can you blame me?

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Oakley On The Rocks

It turns out that the fish weren’t biting much that day. Quinn enjoyed every moment, none-the-less. He is my joy boy. I don’t know anyone who is more exuberant about life. He is a gift.

Hook, Line, and Sinker, Quinn Fishing From Rocks

Ta Da!!! God was good to give us one small fish for Ollie. He caught a fish 2 years ago on a quick trip with his Grandpa so this was his second catch! Never mind the size. It’s a fish!!!!

Hook, Line, and Sinker, It's A Fish!

There are more pictures of me with the boys on instagram! Check them out too! It ended up being a perfect day-which doesn’t mean everything ran smoothly, tears weren’t shed, tons of fish were caught, and the shade lingered. It just means that I cherished what God has given me, and we counted our many blessings. God has a way of multiplying those too.

Don’t forget to read my post,”Fishing For Perfection” over at Jenny’s blog today! :)

YOUR TURN! How is your life different than you imagined it would be? Are you on instagram? Share your account name and follow me too so we can catch up! A picture’s worth a thousand words.

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

A Prayer For Your Child As They Go To School

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A Prayer For Your Child As They Go To School

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this new school year and for the opportunities that my son/daughter will have to learn and mature developmentally and physiologically as well as spiritually. Thank you for Your promises to us that You are always with us wherever we go and that You never leave us or forsake us.

Heavenly Father, I do not want to fear as I send my child to school. Fear and worry are not from You. Replace any of my anxieties or my child’s anxieties with Your supernatural peace and joy. Help me to look forward to and “smile at the future” as you tell us in Proverbs 31:25 because I know that every moment is allowed only by Your good and sovereign hand. Set my mind on things above and help me to have joy as I anticipate this new school year for my child.

Go before ______________ to school today and prepare him/her to learn. Open his/her mind to knowledge and understanding. We know, Lord, that all wisdom comes from You. Give my child Your wisdom for both life and Godliness, even at this young age.

Those areas that he/she struggles in academically, Lord, would you please intervene and open his/her mind so that the teacher’s lessons click and make sense to my child? And Lord, please give me wisdom as his/her mother to know how best to help my child with homework, lessons, and assignments so that I can be a safe and resourceful comfort to _____________.

Father, we know that companions can make or break us. I pray Father that you would bring alongside my son/daughter good friends. Godly friends, even. Friends who will love my son/daughter and treat them as they would want to be treated.  Lord, my desire is that my son/daughter, likewise, would be a friend that cares about the needs of others and seeks out the friendless. Allow them to have fun!!! Help them to share with one another and to take much joy from their friendships. Let them relish in the innocence of childhood!

Lord Jesus, wrap your arms around _____________ today as he/she is at school. Use this school year to make him/her more like You, Lord Jesus. Only allow in his/her life those things that will refine him/her for Your glory and shield ________ from any unnecessarily hardship or trials. Use his/her classmates, teachers, and studies to shape him/her into the man/woman that You designed him/her to be. Give him/her direction as the years go by so that he/she will know and step into the calling for their life as an adult.

Father, guide _______________’s teachers, principal, and staff to walk in the path that You desire for them too. Help them to teach well, to lead with integrity, wisdom, and compassion. May they seek to do good and fill them with a passion and desire to foster and mold all of the children at this school to be the best that they can be! Give them strength when the work days seem long, joy when circumstances begin to get difficult, and bless their lives with good things for all the sacrifices and love they pour out on my child.

Thank You, Jesus, for being there every moment with ____________ today. You never take Your watchful eyes off of my son/daughter and I know that You care for him/her even more than I do. Protect __________ and may Your will be done in his/her life as he/she blesses others at school today and every day.

In Jesus Name,

Amen!

YOUR TURN! What concern is on your heart for this school year that you can leave in God’s capable hands? What are you looking forward to the most for your child as this new school year begins?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

2 Things I Wish Every Mom Would Consider

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Meat The Team MOB Society

This is a first for me. Today, I am writing for The MOB Society (Moms Of Boys) and they are introducing all of the writers on the team this month via videos!

I love watching VLOGs but have never done one until today and I have to admit, I liked it! Mostly because I got to “talk” to you guys through the eye of the camera and hopefully you will see my passion for being a mom who loves God and is learning how to honor Him with my role as a mother.

In this short video, I share with you 2 things that I wish EVERY MOM would consider. I truly believe that if we thought carefully about these 2 things, that our parenting would change and our homes would be more centered around what Christ wants us to focus on as a family. Fear would flee. Anxiety would lessen. Harmony would begin to thread throughout our conversations as a family. Sounds good, right?

So, without further adieu, here it is! (That’s my husband Guy in the video with me!) :)

 

Click here to watch the video!

 

There you have it.  It’s a miracle that I kept it to the 5 minute requirement, friends. I could talk about these 2 points all day! May God bless you richly as you seek to understand your child’s physiological and developmental capabilities so that your expectations are reasonable, and may you parent from a place that is not dictated by your fears or your peers! God is with us, friends! Go into today knowing that you are spiritually equipped to be the best mom you can be!

 

YOUR TURN! Did one of those 2 points to consider resonate with you as a mom or dad? SHARE with me, what 1 thing do you wish all moms would consider when it comes to parenting?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

Don’t Be Shocked If You Come Over For Dinner (And Other Insights For Exasperated Parents)

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Don't Be Shocked If You Come For Dinner (And Other Insights For Exasperated Parents)

Here’s the truth about dinnertime at our house:

I don’t make my kids sit at the table for more than 10 minutes. And if they want to go play and come back and graze, then that’s fine by me. They know that dinner has to be eaten before they can have snacks or dessert but if they don’t want to eat, they don’t have to. Our seven year old sits at the table and usually stays for a second helping or even thirds but that didn’t happen when he was only three.

Dinner at our house is pleasant, but I know some would cringe at our routine. It’s just one way that I try to take into consideration my boys’ maturity or lack there of, and pick my battles.

The experts say that 15 minutes is the maximum I should expect for my four year old to focus on an activity. It’s decidedly less for my two year old. I would never try to potty-train a one year old or expect my seven year old to drive to school.

Seems obvious right?

And yet, as parents we often forget to examine our children’s capabilities developmentally at whatever age and stage they are in and that sets us up for unreasonable expectations.

Michelle Duggar from 19 Kids and Counting will tell you that “expectations are the death of relationships” and I agree.

As a parent are you frustrated? Impatient? Yell more often than you like? Then two things may be at play:

1. You may have a lack of understanding of your child’s capabilities and therefore have unreasonable expectations:

I firmly believe that for the early years, all the teaching and training we do is much more about training us as parents than seeing fruit in our labor at this time. Did you catch that? It’s more about training us as parents than seeing fruit in our labor at this time!

Keep praying with your one year old at night before bed, patiently teach them to stay away from a hot stove, and remind them lovingly that they need to be content with what they have. Don’t expect them to get it right now. Just persevere, and the harvest of your consistency and loving-kindness will bear a more meaningful harvest than you can imagine while you sow these seeds of life.

2. You may need to investigate your own heart to determine if you are parenting out of your own need for authority or because of what other parents might think of you instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to refine you spiritually:

Teaching our children takes time, patience, understanding, heaps of grace, and devoted prayer. Does that describe you? Don’t rush through it. Never allow your parenting to be a “reaction” but instead a loving response. I’m convinced that more than God’s desire for me to parent well is His desire to first refine me well. He uses my kids to reach my own heart and to reveal the areas of my life where I am struggling or downright sinful.

Kids are gifts. We need handle our gifts with care and appreciation for the Giver. Instead of your focus being on a result, allow the desire for relationship to drive your parenting.

Embrace freedom to parent without comparing yourself to others, or feeling guilty because your kids are not responding to your parenting overnight. Rewire your brain to approach your day with the goal to honor God with your own responses to parenting-regardless of whether or not you are “successful” in getting the behavior you are seeking or whether or not you look like a “good mom” in the eyes of others.

How would your parenting look different today if you did not place your worth and feelings as a parent on a result?

What if you focused on doing only your part-setting the standard after carefully examining your child’s maturity and uniqueness, treating them with reasonable expectations, disciplining out of love and compassion, and speaking only what would edify those who listened? What if you did not feel like giving up in exasperation based on your child’s response?

How would it feel to know that God is the one who will change your child’s heart, and that your role is simply to lead them to Christ and to model the Fruit of the Spirit?

Take the focus OFF of changed behavior and just keep modeling the Fruit of the Spirit towards your kids.

Don’t look for the results as a sign of worth or good parenting. Just do the good parenting!

Allow God to work in HIS time to change the results and hearts and reactions of your kids. This isn’t a soft let-them-do-whatever-they-want kind of parenting. Have high standards for your family, encourage your kids to do the things they don’t think they are capable of doing, pursue a high calling for your family, and strive to be excellent in all you do for the glory of God, but do everything with gentleness, compassion, empathy, reason, understanding, and especially love.

My kids may not be the ideal dinner guests if I’m looking for quiet conversation and clean plates, but I don’t feel embarrassed about the standards I have set for them. That should be true for any area of our parenting. Consider this time as training for you as the parent and entrust the results of your child’s behavior to God.

YOUR TURN! Do you tend towards focusing on the “response” of your kids when parenting instead of the relationship?  And what does dinner-time look like at YOUR house? :)

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

 

Should A Christian Mom Be A #MeanMom?

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Should A Christian Mom Be A #MeanMom

The hash tag pops up on my feed and my heart drops right before my blood boils. Another Christian mom goes on to explain how she Put. Her. Foot. Down. She’s a #meanmom. And she knows that her kids will thank her when they are older.

Except probably not.

Because nobody I know that had a truly “mean mom” came away unscathed.

I understand that for some of these women, the premise of what they are saying is that they are trying to teach and discipline their children so that their kids grow up to be productive members of society, if not altogether Christ-like.

But I’m afraid. I’m afraid that even the hint of the connotation of being a “mean mom” sets us up for failure.

I know that my heart is naturally drawn to doing the wrong thing. The last idea I need in my head is that being a “mean mom” equates to being the authority in my home. It will taint my approach to my kids and be a seed for pride that I don’t want growing anywhere near my heart.

Why do we have to call ourselves a “Mean Mom” and wear it like a badge to prove that we are the boss of our kids and that we make choices for them that are for their good?

As a Christian mom, yes, I DO want them to listen and to obey (but with reasonable expectations and understanding of their maturity level and Spiritual growth).

I DO want them to know that I say what I mean. But I also believe that if they think I am a “mean mom” then I have gotten off track somehow.

God draws us with LOVING-KINDNESS, moms:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

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.” Revelation 21:4

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13

I can’t imagine God saying to me, “Yeah, I’m a Mean God/Mean Father” and I’m just doing what is best for you cause I’m the Dad so don’t throw a tantrum. It may be semantics but I think it’s dangerous thinking to refer to ourselves as a “mean mom.” The world will do a good job of showing my kids what mean looks like. Heaven forbid they get even a taste of that from me-the one God gave these gifts to in the first place so that they would know His love for them.  Personally, I want to always err on the side of grace in my parenting.

I wonder what my kids would think if they read through my posts about the time I wouldn’t let them go to a sleepover because they didn’t clean their room and saw me refer to myself as a mean mom. Would they listen to me as a junior higher when one of them gets in trouble at school for saying something mean to a peer? Why should they? If it’s okay for me to be a mean mom, then the apple is simply falling close to the tree. When we approach our kids with an “I’m the mom here, so too bad for you” attitude we may get the outward behavior we are seeking but we miss reaching their hearts. That’s not good enough for me.

It that the legacy we want to leave for our kids? Or is it this:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4

Lord, may my kids know that first and foremost, I love them, am tender toward them so that I can reach their hearts, and may they learn that they can be sad or even angry about my decisions for them but that those feelings can co-mingle with respect and love for me too.

As moms we often wonder if we are doing the right thing by our children but having them identify us with being a mean mom is a surefire way to fail.  Let’s focus on a new “hash tag” shall we?  Take your pick:

#CompassionateMom #Grace-FilledMom #LovingMom #EdifyingMom #ForgivingMom #MyKidsTrustMyDecisionsMom #PatientMom #KindMom #JoyfulMom #GentleMom

YOUR TURN! Tell me, what do you think of this #meanmom mentality? What hash tag do you want to be known for as a mother?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

 

When You Think You Missed Your Opportunity, God’s Not Done

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When You Think You Missed Your Opportunity, God's Not Done.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers had just lost to the San Diego Padres and as my husband and I gathered our belongings we hugged the friends around us who were leaving the stadium and headed down to the field for fireworks.

I came prepared.

We double checked to make sure that our picnic blanket was with us and we followed the crowds toward the gates-this would my first time on a professional baseball field!

Except the husband had to make a quick potty break.

So I waited patiently, people-watching.

That’s when I spotted her. My junior high and 10th grade English teacher was striding beside her husband towards the field. I called out to her and rushed over.

The evening had already been filled with fun and fellowship so to get to see this influential teacher who had been the first person in my life to recognize that I was good at something, was the most wonderful icing on the cake. She had inspired me to become an English teacher-truly someone who set the course of my life.

We stood huddled near the gate chatting and catching up-it did my heart good.

And then a groan started passing through the crowd. We were just a couple of feet away from the entrance to the field and a row of imposing police officers was shutting the fences.

The field was full!!

What had been such a happy moment was suddenly a let down. I had been looking forward to these fireworks for months! We threw our hands up in the air with an “Oh, well!” and resigned ourselves to missing the show.

A few minutes of visiting continued and then a loud blast jolted us around.

There, right in front of us from where we stood in the parking lot was the launching point of the fireworks. They shattered through the night and fell in arches of beauty right over our heads.

We had the best view in the house.

And just like that God whispered to my heart as I stood in awe with shards of light scattering down around me. “Amber, what you sometimes perceive as a missed boat or a disappointment is often an opportunity for Me to prove My faithfulness.” I needed that truth from Him at this time in my life when loss has been a real and present part of my daily life.

The tears leaked out, try as I might to contain them. Everyone in that stadium must have thought the show was for them but I knew that God had something special in mind just for us-those of us who felt that we had been diverted from something good when in reality we had been repositioned for something great.

Is that you? Are you reading this today from the perspective of standing outside the massive stadium, feet shuffling, peering over the fences, and feeling left out?

Then you are in a very good place indeed. You are perfectly planted right where our Sovereign God wants you. You can pass off the decisions you have made and chalk them up to lessons learned-like not stopping for a potty break on Fireworks night at Dodger Stadium-but don’t ever believe that disappointments can’t be redeemed into desires come true.

Trust God enough to believe in your heart that whatever you have to let go of is making room for something better.

That’s just like God. He comes to us when our nets are empty after a long night of fishing and tells us to cast our nets on the other side, just one more time. He stands before the stone of a tomb and tells us to roll it away so our Lazarus can walk out. He forces us before the Red Sea and tells us to walk on through it. He jolts us around on our heels and reveals a night-time display of blazing beauty for a young mom and her mentor.

He loves a good surprise, and nothing is too hard for Him. Allow Him to take whatever night you are wading through and illuminate it with His goodness, as he did for me. Turn around and stand in awe at the way He orchestrates your life, and allow the light to shower you with His goodness in His perfect time.

For with God, nothing is ever a missed opportunity.

YOUR TURN! What is something special or meaningful that God has done in your life to let you know that He sees you and hears you? 

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

A Book List That Will CHANGE Your Life

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A Book List That Will Change Your Life.png

Confession: I feel like some of the authors and characters in books that I love most are true friends even though we have never met or they are figments of a writer’s imagination. In a chapter of my life where friendships in real life often take a backseat to caring for a family of five, I admit that a great book has often filled the gap in my heart and my soul over the years.

And some of these books have literally changed my life. Can you relate?

I recently asked my Facebook friends this question: What book changed your life (besides the Bible)? The answers came fast and furiously. It’s an easy answer for me too, and I thought it would be helpful to compile all the answers and list them here for you as well.

Some of these books include affiliate links and when you make a purchase through that link, I earn a few pennies that help me in my ministry of writing at no extra cost to you! Here’s to wonderful languishing moments with great books-enjoy!

BOOKS THAT CHANGED MY FRIENDS’ LIVES:

Leaves of Grass

The Prophet (received numerous votes)

Isralestine

Created to be His Helpmeet (received numerous votes)

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

My Utmost For His Highest

The Seeking Heart

Knowing God (received numerous votes)

Lord of The Rings

Knowledge of The Holy

For Love’s Sake

Passion and Purity

Stepping Heavenward

Love as a Way of Life

The Pleasures of God

Experiencing God

Babywise

Born Again (received numerous votes)

Don’t Waste Your Life

Mindset

The House on Mango Street

Redeeming Love (received numerous votes)

Tender Warrior

A Confident Heart

The Peacemaker

Shattered Dreams

Conviction to Lead

The Shepherd Leader

The Gospel According to Jesus

Attributes of God (received numerous votes)

The Outsiders

Grace  by Max Lucado

Life of the Beloved

The Practice of the Presence of God

What’s So Amazing About Grace

Breaking Free

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (received numerous votes)

The Power of a Praying Wife (received numerous votes)

The 5 Love Languages (received numerous votes)

Life on the Edge

When God Writes Your Love Story (received numerous votes)

If

Eyes Wide Shut

Velvet Elvis

The Hiding Place (received numerous votes)

Love and Respect

Fresh Faith

Because He Loves Me

Grace Based Parenting

Lioness Arising

PERSONAL FAVES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: 

(received numerous votes)

The Purpose Driven Life-this book is one that I have re-read many times. A perfect book for anyone who is questioning God’s purpose for their lives, or wondering who God is anyway. It grounded me in a time of grief and reminded me that my story is bigger than any one chapter of my life.

Radical-This book echoed the cry of my heart that Christians get off the couch of comfort and live radically-the definition of a thrilling life on the edge with Christ.

Crazy Love-Francis Chan was my pastor for 9 years and he walks what he talks. The passion in his message of what a life devoted to God should look like changed my perspective on religion verses relationship with God.

Heart of Anger: Practical Help for Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children-this book is a must read for ANYONE. Not just for parents. I learned so much about good conflict resolution from both a very Biblical and practical approach in this book. It’s a life changer for all of your relationships.

Jane Eyre-I have read this novel more than any other in my life. The quality of writing and the heroine’s personal journey of forgiveness and integrity through hard choices as well as the most romantic of all love stories weaves throughout this intelligent novel that was way ahead of its time. This is what it looks like to love God more than your own desires and how God honors you for it.

The Mission of Motherhood-This is my number one favorite parenting book. Sally’s heart for listening to the Holy Spirit to guide us in our parenting and her loving approach to dealing with kids is foundational in my life as a mom.

Boundaries : When to Say Yes,How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life-I need to read this one again! For anyone who struggles with how to say no and needs discernment in their lives-this is the book for you! There are several topic-specific versions of this book too!

The Lord of The Flies-I taught this novel for nearly 10 years in the classroom. No other novel I have read so brilliantly depicts the heart of man at its sinful core. If you believe that man is inherently good, read this book and think again.

Day by Day with Charles H. Spurgeon (Out of Print. Similar Collection here)-I read Spurgeon every day. Have done for the last 15 years. If you need encouragement and solace from a word poet, this is your devotional.

YOUR TURN! Please, add the title of the book that CHANGED your life and tell us why!Which of these books do you want to read first?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!