The Day I Saw A Tourist Drown

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motherofknights:

This was a day I will never forget…..

Originally posted on motherofknights:

 The Day I Saw A Tourist Drown

It was a coastal wind and it was biting. We were at our usual spot on the beach in Santa Monica early-at a time when few others had yet to wake up from the night. Towels served as insufficient blankets, noses popping out for air as we sat on the sand, watching our brothers surf.

Eventually, the usual crowd of sun-seekers would come, but for now, it was just our small group and a few tourists who had come to take advantage of the beach outside their hotels. A typical morning that would soon become the day we stood trembling, our hands formed in teepees against our lips, eyes strained open in fear.

The boys had finished their morning surf session and we all sat on the wet sand, watching the tumultuous waves of a sudden riptide.

We had learned from a young age to allow the vast ocean…

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God, Are You Avoiding Me?

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God, Are You Avoiding Me

The Lord woke me in the middle of the night and my mind went straight to thinking about a hurtful situation in my life. No manner of fluffing of pillows and tossing or turning allowed me to ignore it.
So I prayed-with tears.

Some situations in our lives require lengthy grieving-and for me, this injustice towards me is so unfathomable that I have to keep my eyes on Christ and not on those who seek to hurt me.

I’m not alone in these feelings-it’s a dilemma as old as the origin of sin. I’m betting that some of you can relate to a similar experience at this very moment!

The Psalms have always been a source of comfort to me when deep emotions surface in my heart. This morning, Psalm 10 fit the bill and perhaps it’s what you need to hear too.

Psalm 10, (MSG)

1-2 GOD, are you avoiding me?
Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.

3-4 The wicked are windbags,
the swindlers have foul breath.
The wicked snub GOD,
their noses stuck high in the air.
Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls:
“Catch us if you can!” “God is dead.”

5-6 They care nothing for what you think;
if you get in their way, they blow you off.
They live (they think) a charmed life:
“We can’t go wrong. This is our lucky year!”

7-8 They carry a mouthful of hexes,
their tongues spit venom like adders.
They hide behind ordinary people,
then pounce on their victims.

9 They mark the luckless,
then wait like a hunter in a blind;
When the poor wretch wanders too close,
they stab him in the back.

10-11 The hapless fool is kicked to the ground,
the unlucky victim is brutally axed.
He thinks God has dumped him,
he’s sure that God is indifferent to his plight.

12-13 Time to get up, GOD—get moving.
The luckless think they’re Godforsaken.
They wonder why the wicked scorn God
and get away with it,
Why the wicked are so cocksure
they’ll never come up for audit.

14 But you know all about it—
the contempt, the abuse.
I dare to believe that the luckless
will get lucky someday in you.
You won’t let them down:
orphans won’t be orphans forever.

15-16 Break the wicked right arms,
break all the evil left arms.
Search and destroy
every sign of crime.
GOD’s grace and order wins;
godlessness loses.

17-18 The victim’s faint pulse picks up;
the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood
as you put your ear to their lips.
Orphans get parents,
the homeless get homes.
The reign of terror is over,
the rule of the gang lords is ended.

Just like the Psalmist, I’m praying honestly to God about how I’m feeling and that includes some protesting and a lot of frank language. By the time the Psalmist finishes his lament, his “pulse picks up” and his perspective shifts to the eternal when “The reign of terror is over.” It’s a perfect example to me of how we must take the time to communicate with the Lord and that our hearts and minds change for the better when we do.

Has some hurt been stewing in your brain and heart lately? Maybe it’s time to pray Psalm 10.

So often we want to circumvent suffering-escape it, rush it, or avoid it altogether. But we can’t be disciples if we don’t accept suffering. Instead of viewing your cross as a burden today, carry it with purpose and gratitude knowing that you hold a sacred symbol of God’s love for you. Change the way you think about your trial and believe God when He says that you can have joy in any circumstance, and that He will make beauty from ashes.

God’s not avoiding me. In fact, the trials that I face are the very things that draw me to Him. I’m limping along today as the thorn in my side twists deeper, there is no doubt about it. But the more that I turn to my Comforter, the easier it will be to eventually stand up under it.

YOUR TURN! Do you need prayer today too? Let me know, and I will pray for 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!

 

I’m No Longer The Only Girl In My House! Meet Rosey!!

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Well, we finally did it. It’s been three years since we made the promise to Oliver (7), and this weekend, we followed through.

My husband says that a boy must have a dog. I was never sold on that idea, but I was pretty sure that I would be outnumbered in our house, and I was right.

You see, I’m just not a dog person. I love animals, but I prefer to have cats.

Three years ago, Oliver began asking for a dog. I knew that he needed to be old enough to handle some of the responsibilities so we agreed that if he still wanted a dog after he graduated from kindergarten, that we would get him one.

Honestly, I anticipated that he would forget about it. Or change his mind.

He didn’t.

Kindergarten came and went. Oliver’s excitement for a dog grew. Summer came and went. Oliver’s excitement grew. First grade came…and Oliver began to question whether or not we were going to keep our promise.

So, we let our “yes be yes” and we began the process of seriously looking for the right dog for us! Sure enough, after years of praying for just the right dog for our family, countless hours of researching pet care and supplies, and hunting down the best rescue facilities in our area, we brought home our new puppy this weekend!!

And, it’s a GIRL!!! I’m no longer the only female in our house. Phew.

MEET ROSEY!!

Meet Rosey

 Oliver chose Rosey and named her, himself. He also chose a pink dog tag for her, and a pink leash, since she is a little girl. I wasn’t complaining. Pink at our house! :)

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When we went to the rescue shelter, we got a chance to play with several other dogs but Rosey was the very first one we saw and played with there. We left the shelter empty-handed, and then went back a second time later that day to make sure she was the right dog for us and we were the right people for her. Several other people were interested in her too-and she had only arrived at the shelter the day before! When Oliver and I went back the second time, we knew that she would be coming home with us.

Rosey is a black Labrador and she is 8 months old. We hit the jackpot with Rosey because she knows how to sit and stay, go outside for potty breaks, and loves to ride in the car! She also spent her first night in the house with us and never barked or had a potty accident!

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It turns out that Rosey wants to sit on the boys laps while driving in the car. We are learning things as we go along! Yikes!! :)

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We took her for a long family walk to our local park with my dear soul-sister friend, Joanne who is an expert on dogs and a life-saver in helping us get situated with Rosey. Then, today, we took her to a local dog park to socialize with friends! She did GREAT!

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These little guys were happy to stand on big rocks at the dog park to observe and stay out of the way!

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Auntie Joanne came with us to the dog park too and brought her rescue dog, Sierra.

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At this point, we are training her to not jump up on us, go potty in a designated area of the yard, and not to bark on the rare occasion that she does so.

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We have a SERIOUS drought in California right now and many families are letting their grass dry since we can’t water it well. Rosey doesn’t seem to mind our dustbowl at the moment.

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Even though I’m not a dog person by nature, I do love Rosey and she is a very good girl. God blessed us with just the right puppy! For me, this is one of those areas where I am trusting and yielding to my husband’s leading about getting a dog as well as going outside of my comfort zone for the sake of my little boys. It’s all about love!

So, I’m taking a big breath heading into this next week with this new addition to our family and I’m counting on you guys to pray for me!

YOUR TURN! Do you have any tips or recommendations for dog training, accessories, must-have items, or other insights about dogs and puppies? Do you have a Lab? We are all ears for whatever you can share with us!!!

 

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!

10 Ways To Help Your Struggling Teen At School, From A HS Teacher

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10 Ways To Help Your Struggling Teen At School, From A HS Teacher

The couple sat down in the desks I had pulled together at the front of the classroom into a semi-circle as I opened my lesson plans and grade book. Their son, Adam, was in my 10th grade English class and we had just finished the 1st semester.

“He’s just not doing his homework.” They sighed. “We don’t understand! How can he let his grades drop and not do his homework?”

It was more of an accusation than a question. But it was desperate.

“I know exactly why.” I said calmly.

They leaned in close for the answer.

“Because he is 16.” I stated simply.

Crickets chirped momentarily while they let that sink in. I went on to explain that often times, teenagers simply don’t grasp the “big picture” of how doing tonight’s homework is truly the foundation for their work ethic years down the road in the future.

So what’s a parent to do when they get frustrated by their high schooler’s lack of motivation and immaturity? What can you do when their grades are slipping?

Here are 10 tips to help you keep your sanity and hopefully equip your teen to be successful too!

1.) Understand That They Are Immature

I saw the gamut of parental involvement as a teacher for nearly 10 years. The worst kind of parent was the one who required that their child behave like a 30 year old and expected them to make the same choices they would as a parent-even though the teenager had not had the advantage of years of maturity!  Keep your expectations reasonable! On the flip side, don’t be dismissive that “teens will be teens” and throw all standards out the window. Balance is key! Evaluate yourself as a parent to determine if your expectations are reasonable at this age.

2.) Don’t Punish Them. Enable Them!

Parents often have a knee-jerk reaction to a low report card or some other indication that their child is falling short. They dive head-on into restrictions and ground their child or take away a privilege until their grades improve without really getting to the heart of the matter. Then the student feels completely defeated and becomes bitter and hardened. Not exactly fertile ground for growth either personally or academically.

Is your child spending too much time playing video games? Then lovingly explain that game time will be decreased or rearranged temporarily so that you as the parent can help them focus and get their work done. Consider carefully to determine what needs to change, instead of drastic changes in one fell swoop. Go back to some of the basics and make sure that your child has a quiet place to work at home, encourage them to get better sleep, and monitor their grades online if your school has that capability.

3.) Negotiate

Now that your babies are no longer babies-they have arrived at a new level of independence. As they mature, I believe that it is more important than ever to give them a VOICE.

Instead of approaching conversations about school as an authoritarian who tells them exactly what to do, allow them to be part of the conversation. Ask them what they think needs to happen in order to improve. Give them an opportunity to evaluate what is going on and share that with you.

Propose a few options that you think will equip them to finish their homework or improve in a subject area and then ask them their opinion or for ideas they may have to help themselves. When I did this as a teacher, I was never disappointed in the options the students themselves proposed, and often they were more restrictive on themselves than I would have been! Plus, you are not suddenly the “bad guy” because they joined you in finding a solution.

4.) Reevaluate Often

Once you have had a good plan in place, don’t go on autopilot. Take the time to set up a bi-monthly call or email with your child’s teacher to follow up. Check to see if the new changes you have made are having any effect or not and if something is simply not working, then try a different approach. Be careful not to smother your child in this process. The goal is not to make them feel like a little kid whose every move is being watched. It’s simply diligence on your part-you don’t even have to make your child aware of the parent/teacher interactions!

Again, bring your child into this process and have them reevaluate themselves too. It will take some tweaking along the way!

5.) Enlist The Insight of Their Teachers

I’ll admit, conferences with parents at the high school level were far and few between. But sometimes, it is necessary. Go into the meeting optimistic, give the teacher the benefit of the doubt until you have a decent conversation with them, and look at them as your advocate and resource. There are rare exceptions when it becomes clear that the teacher is not holding their end of the bargain as a teacher, but typically, teachers love their subject matter and their kids. Go into the meeting as a listener first, and then share with them why you are concerned. Ask them for their expert advice and opinions.

And don’t be afraid to politely ask them to consider changes. One time, I had assigned a major paper and given the students a month to complete it. The last week of that month was a vacation. After the assignments were due, one parent approached me and very nicely suggested to not assign papers after a vacation because their immature child spent the whole time writing instead of working ahead of time. It ruined their family time together. That made a lot of sense to me. I never assigned a paper to be due after a vacation again.

6.) Find A Tutor

Personally, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t set appointments with my students or offer hours for kids to come in and work with me one-on-one or have quiet study time in my classroom. I knew that the bottom line was that some kids were going to need that kind of focused attention.

Not all teachers can or will do that. If your child is struggling with a particular math concept or can’t seem to organize their thoughts for an essay, then do not hesitate to hire a tutor, or find a peer or local college student who would volunteer to help your child. I had a peer in my own grade in high school who tutored me in math for several years and eventually, my highest grade in college as an English major would be from my math class. I went on to teach math as part of my 6th grade classes my first two years teaching and I loved every moment of it. There is hope! Tutors can be pricey, but in my opinion, they are worth it.

7.) Lose The Frown. Use Positive Reinforcement!

When those moments of failure or setbacks come, even if your child seems indifferent, train yourself as a parent to focus on positive reinforcement. Watch your body language when you are talking through what happened with your child. Give them hope instead of simply coming down hard on them.

Become a champion and a cheerleader of your child’s progress, no matter how small. Find the good and let them know that you notice. They may seem too cool for school or mom and dad’s affection, but do not make the mistake of believing them. They NEED your affirmation, encouragement, and steadfast love for them more than ever. Not your disappointment. That never motivated anyone! Even if it seems that they are not responding to your positive reinforcement, it’s not about you. Trust me, it’s working. Give it time.

8.) Reward Them

I’m not opposed to setting up some form of reward system but don’t dangle it like an unattainable carrot. Offer rewards of some nature in small doses instead of telling your C student that if they get straight A’s that you will take them to the World Series. That can easily backfire! You may not have an A student. That’s okay! I’ll take a D student who is working their tail off over a prideful and lazy A student any day of the week.

Honestly, I believe that the rewards should be based on EFFORT and by achieving the standards you agree to together-like doing homework right after school or completing homework well for a month at a time. I know it’s easy to focus on the grades, but turn your attention instead to measurable growth. It will empower your child to feel successful instead of overwhelming them and making them feel helpless to achieve an enticing reward.

9) Just Do The Good Parenting

If there is one thing that I hope you will hear the most from these tips it’s this: Take the measure of success off of the results in your child and place it on yourself and how you handle your child personally. Take the focus off of performance and onto relationship. I’m not saying to do away with standards; I’m simply saying that it’s critical to keep your bond with your son or daughter at the forefront. Above all else, give your kids your best instead of simply requiring theirs.

Don’t get exasperated by their lack of care or motivation-just keep doing the good parenting!

10.) Let Them Go 

Ultimately, your child is on their way to becoming an adult in a few short years. Their choices will be totally outside of your watchful eye. Don’t let them go too soon, but know that you have to give them freedom to fail and freedom to succeed.

What will you have when they are gone? You will have a relationship. Protect that now. Speak to them with respect and make choices together so that you are keeping that relationship intact. Acknowledge their maturity and the good choices they make. Even if you advised them to choose college A but they want to travel 1,000 miles away to college B. Allow them to make these kinds of decisions and send them off into the world feeling empowered.

Parenting in the teen years is not easy, I know. But as a teacher of pre-teens and teens for nearly 10 years, all I could ever see when I looked across the classroom was potential.  These challenges are not the end of the world, but the springboard into a new one.

Make it a time neither of you will regret.

YOUR TURN! How many teens do you have at home? What tips would you share with other parents about helping them navigate junior high and high school? If you enjoyed this post, please SHARE it with others!

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!

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!

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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!