What To Do When Your Child Says “I Hate You!”

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What To Do When Your Child Says I Hate You

Hearing the words, “I hate you!” from a child might be one of the most searingly painful experiences for a parent. Whether a son or daughter is 5, or 15, those words bring heartache, often followed in quick succession by anger, and sometimes guilt and doubt about our capabilities as a parent.

We may ask ourselves, “How can I be parenting well if my child tells me he hates me?” And if we did succumb to anger and lash back at our child, the guilt mounts. Let me tell you, I consider myself a pretty decent parent with fairly well-behaved boys and even my kids have said that they hate me at one point or another. I get letters on a regular basis from readers who share their own “hate-filled” exchanges with their kids. You are not alone!

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:

  1. Don’t excuse the behavior, but do keep in mind perspective by considering the developmental age of your child.

Honestly, as adults, we understand the force behind telling someone we hate them. But kids? They simply don’t get it like we do. Are they probably deeply frustrated by a situation? Yes. Are they possibly at a breaking point emotionally? Yes. But the breaking point of a 5 year-old happens when their ice-cream cone falls on the ground. Keep perspective about the true meaning behind your child’s words. It may not be as strong a phrase as you are taking it in that moment. And often, it’s not really about you, so much as a circumstance that is causing them to feel out of control.

  1. Immediately choose to be calm in the midst of the storm and get down on their level. Even if they are a teenager and taller than you!

In a situation like this, one person is already acting childish. The parent doesn’t need to resort to that same level, but they can get down to their level in a manner of speaking. Calmly look them in the eye, and firmly but lovingly tell them that you understand they are upset, but that words like “I hate you” are simply never to be spoken. Don’t overreact, but speak matter-of-factly and gently, otherwise, you will add fuel to the flame and end up saying things that you regret too.

  1. Tell them that even though they are speaking unkindly, that you still love them and you believe they love you too.

You may get a “No, I don’t!” back on this one, but say it none-the-less. Children are immature! They don’t have the same ability to compose themselves and use just the right words to express their feelings. They lash out-body and tongue! They resort to “I hate you” but chances are, they really don’t mean it. I promise! And secretly, they don’t want you to believe it either. Telling them that you love them no matter what and that you believe they really do love you too, releases unnecessary guilt from their shoulders and brings them the comfort they are so desperately seeking in all the wrong ways by lashing out in the first place. We are not our children’s enemies. We are their safe places. The ones who will love them unconditionally. This is the best time to show it.

  1. Revisit the conversation at a later time when you are both calm.

In the heat of the moment, there are a lot of healthy reactions you can have as a parent-walk away for a quick breather, for example. But it’s probably not the time to go into a lengthy discussion as it will fall on deaf ears. At some point later in the day, or even that week, gently approach your child and tell them that you want to talk about the time they said they hated you and explain to them that as a family, we choose to love each other and use kind words to talk to each other, even when we are upset. Assure them that in the future, they can speak to you about what is bothering them but that they simply may never say that they “hate” someone. Reiterate your love for them and their love for you as something that can never be broken, and tell them that you look forward to seeing them use right words to express themselves in the future. Take the time to do a little bit of modeling or role playing as to what that looks like, and then move on. Don’t bring it up again or try to make them feel guilty. This is a time for positive reinforcement and affirmation.

  1. Remember to evaluate your weaknesses as a parent for areas of improvement, but don’t wallow in defeat.

No parent is perfect. We are all learning along the way, so if you see that something you are doing is exasperating your child, then be honest about it and work towards change, but don’t become helpless with concern over your parenting skills and give up. We don’t want our kids to quit, so we shouldn’t either. Make purposeful changes, take parenting classes, or ask someone for a parenting book recommendation, and think positively about your relationship with your kids. Often, our perspective sets the tone for our homes and when we value our strengths as parents and treat our kids lovingly, even when they don’t “deserve” it, we create the kind of environment where hate hits the road and love lingers.

YOUR TURN! So what do you think? Have you ever heard those dreadful words from your child? What helped you move past the hurt? Which of these 5 points stood out to you the most?

 

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Our Bedtime Routine-Ending On A Positive Note Instead Of Chaos (And ANOTHER Book Giveaway!)

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Our Bedtime Routine-Ending On A Positive Note Instead Of Chaos (And Another Book Giveaway!)

I’m pretty sure that a woman’s eggs can communicate with one another long before conception occurs and they can actually co-conspire with one another to say, agree that once they are born that they will stand in solidarity to fight bedtime with every ounce of their beings.

I wish I could say that my boys are unified in more positive ways, and sometimes they are, but the grisly reality is that they are most in sync with one another once 7 PM rolls around and they see me begin to gather their pajamas to prepare them for bed. Suddenly, the day’s sibling rivalries over ipads, who cheated in monopoly, or who is touching who in the car evaporate as they collaborate to Delay. Sleep. As. Long. As. Possible.

Anyone? Please, tell me this is not just my kids!

Bedtime used to be torture. I couldn’t take all the excuses for staying up late and at a ratio of 3 to 1, I was outnumbered. And then I remembered that the parent’s best friend is consistency. We lacked routine and so chaos reigned.  I hated ending the day on a sour note!

Over the years of parenting my 3 boys, I learned to approach bedtime with joy instead of dread. I loosened my expectations so that I could go with the flow while balancing a schedule the kids could expect every night.  I wanted that last hour of the day to be saturated in the goodness of God! Don’t you too?

Here are 6 things we implement into our nighttime routine to make bedtime if not peaceful (Honestly, not much is ever calm and quiet in a testoster-HOME!), at least a positive time of day for our whole family:

1. Start Early!

If I want my kids asleep by 8 PM, I need a solid hour head start! As 7 PM rolls around, I give my boys a verbal heads’ up that it’s getting close to bedtime and that they need to wrap up what they are doing in the next 5 minutes. Then we all head down the hallway (or slither, or stampede etc. as boys often do)  to begin our routine!

2. Predictable Pattern!

The first thing we do is get into pajamas (on bath nights, we begin at 6:50 to get into the tub or shower). I lay them out for the boys to avoid jockeying over delays in selecting pajamas. I then give my boys any medications they need at bedtime and then read them a story or a chapter from a book. After that, my husband supervises teeth brushing and one last potty break before heading back to their shared bedroom.

3. Snacks and Water!

The ole “I need a snack” trick is as old as time. We let our kids have one last bite to eat while they settle onto the floor for story time and before teeth-brushing.  Guy gathers water bottles to put beside their beds so they don’t need to wander out and groggily ask for water at 3 AM. Mama needs her beauty sleep!

4. Read A Book, like Jack Staples And The Ring Of Time, By Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark

My boys range in age from 3-8, so their reading levels are obviously different. I like to read “up” and am always surprised at how much my youngest son gleans from the chapter books I read to my older boys. If his mind begins to wander and he gets fidgety, he has some picture books he can leaf through, or Daddy will quietly read to him while I continue with the older boys.

Jack Staples And The Ring Of Time

My kids love books filled with action and one we recently started to read is, Jack Staples And The Ring Of Time, By Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark. It’s the first in a series and follows eleven-year-old Jack whose “ordinary life is upended when he is whisked into a fantastical adventure filled with danger.”  It’s up to Jack to find “the Child of Prophecy who will both save the world and destroy it”.  This book is about true leadership and integrity, and is filled with Biblical wisdom that I want my kids to emulate. I love the positive character-building message, they love the intrigue and suspense-it’s a win, win! AND, Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker) has generously shared a copy with me to gift to one of YOU!! More details on how to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

5. Affirmation (Hang in there with me on this one-it’s so awesome!)

One of the things we implement as part of our bedtime routine is an organic time of affirmation over each of our sons. It’s a simple yet mindful way of breathing life into our kids while also changing our own mindsets to turn from any anger or frustration to believing the best about our kids and choosing to be thankful. It goes something like this as we help them get dressed for bed, or as we tuck them under the covers, or in the form of our nightly prayers:

“Oliver, you did a wonderful job remembering to put your plates in the sink. I think God enjoys seeing you be such a helpful son to me and your good example to your younger brothers. You are a sacrificial leader.”

“Quinn, whenever I saw you today, you had a smile on your face. You make my heart happy with your joyful spirit. I bet God has some plans for your life that involve encouraging others with your kind heart and happy attitude. You are so special!”

“Oakley, I saw you building that fort all by yourself today. You are a smart boy and God has given you the ability to be creative like that. I know the Lord is pleased with you when you create things and use your talents. I sure love you!”

I want to encourage you to apply some kind of similar blessing in your daily or nightly routine too. There is always something we can be thankful for about our children! Give them a glimpse of God’s pleasure in them and let them know how much you believe in them too! Imagine if someone spoke those kinds of words over you every night!

6. Singing, Prayer, and FINAL CHATTER

The final stage of our night is to turn off the lights and sing a song or two. Then we pray for the boys and they often want to pray too -nothing blows my mind more than whom and what they pray about-God IS at work in their hearts and this is the perfect time to see the Spirit working in their lives! My husband and I recently went on an overnight trip and the babysitter texted me to say that he had tears in his eyes over the prayers my boys prayed! Nothing better than that!

This is also the time when they really begin to settle down…and before we know it, someone’s little voice calls out for Mommy and the avalanche of feelings from the day, a secret fear, or some other meaningful glimpse into their hearts is revealed. There’s something about the quiet cloak of the night, and knowing that mom and dad are there listening, that cause them to share what is rumbling around in the depths of their hearts-whether it’s a worry about a friendship or a kind word of gratitude for their brothers, it’s often the tenderest time of our day! I used to want them to be totally silent and GET TO SLEEP ALREADY, but I have learned to both expect and cherish this time when they open up to me and their dad. Wouldn’t trade the confidences they share for silence for all the tea in China! Be open to these final moments of chatter-it’s a gift, not an annoyance!

Before we know it, the boys have drifted off to sleep….cared for, nurtured, affirmed, and heard. It takes time, planning, and expectancy that the Lord will help us to end the day well but it’s worth the effort! It’s a refining process for me to be patient and dig deep from the Fruit of the Spirit to bless my kids instead of acting cranky. And I can use all the refining I can get!

How about you? Perhaps a GREAT book is just what you need to jumpstart bedtime! To enter to win the giveaway of Jack Staples And The Ring Of Time, leave a comment here and share with me:

What works for you and your kids at bedtime? Is nightfall a time of dread or delight? What do you think about our routine? Or, share with me which of Mark Batterson’s books you have read before?  (The NY Times Best-Selling, The Circle Maker, remains a favorite of mine!)

I will draw a winner at the end of the day on Wednesday, July 22nd, and announce it on my Mother Of Knights Facebook Page, so be sure to check back in to see if you won!  And don’t forget to pass this post on to others if it blessed you! WINNER UPDATE: Congratulations to Amy!! She won a copy of, Jack Staples And The Ring Of Time! I have emailed her and hope to hear back from her soon, otherwise, I will pick a new winner in a few days! :)

Also, this post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a few cents from Amazon at no extra cost to you-I appreciate you supporting my ministry this way as well! Thank you!

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How To Meet With Jesus When You Want To Stay In Bed

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How To Meet With Jesus When You Want To Stay In Bed

The worst part about having a bad dream is the insufferable feeling that my voice is building in my throat but my mouth can’t seem to release the scream.

It happened again last night. Someone was accusing me of a crime I didn’t commit and try as I might, I couldn’t shake the shackles in my throat to protest. So I woke up, churned up, and shaky for no good reason.

The nightmare was a symbol of my day yesterday. It was a doozey. It seemed that at every turn, someone was trying to thwart me. Silence me. Minimize me. Objectify me. Reject me. Steam roll right over me and leave me feeling flatter than a pancake. Those who tried to help, hindered. By the end of the night, I was a tearful mess and though I hoped that sleep would bring peace, it only brought panic.

The temptation this early morning is to assign the sinfulness of man to God and to bounce around the idea that maybe God doesn’t really care about me anymore. I had to fight hard against the heaviness of a feather-light bed sheet to untangle both my heart and my limbs so I could read my Bible.

I came begrudgingly to the table that the Lord set before me though I knew that He had run as fast as He could to meet me while I dawdled and drug my feet. I came because the alternative was doing me no earthly good.

There was no magical revelation as I read in 1 Chronicles or Romans that spoke directly to my current circumstances, and there was no flood of peace when I opened my mouth to pray. But there was commitment. And honesty. And I knew that the Lord was listening to the unspoken language of my heart.  Sometimes, that’s enough. It’s enough to know that He loves me unconditionally as it says in Romans 8:31-39 (MSG):

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

I can’t help but believe that I’m not the only one feeling a bit bruised by people this morning. Maybe you can relate? Perhaps you are tempted to turn your cheek to the other wall and avoid God too? To throw the baby out with the bath water?

Let’s not.

Let’s be people who persevere and believe the best about our Savior Who is worthy of our gratitude even when things don’t go “our way.” Come to Him and at the very least, be still and know that He is God.

Let’s meet at His table regardless of our difficult marriages, our messy friendships, our physical pain, or our failures. We may not be at a place to feast on the fattened calf but even the crumbs at the Master’s table are more than enough to satisfy.  The Truth that He sees us and is intentional in the details of our lives is not the stuff of dreams. It’s a blessed reality for those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, even when it seems that everything is against us. He is always FOR us. Sticking up for us. He is our voice when we can’t find our own.

When I meditate on God’s love for me I not only find my voice, it sings.

 

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What Does A Hollywood Producer Do? (And, I’m Giving Away A Book I Can’t Put Down!)

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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!

Leslie Leyland Fields and Amber Lia

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!

John and Tricia Goyer

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!

Brian, John, Guy, and Amber

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!

Prayers That Changed History

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!!

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When Sibling Rivalry And Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer

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When Sibling Rivalry And Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Anger is meant to remind us whose side of the spiritual battle we are on. It is a gift from God, that we would feel deep indignation towards the wrongs of the world-slavery, murder, thievery, destructive gossip, outright defiance towards Godly things, and sexual immorality. And it is meant to motivate us to run hard after all that is good and pure and lovely and to combat the wrongs in the world with all that is right.

What anger is not meant to do is be personalized.

We should feel anger when we see sin in the world and being lived out in the lives around us and we should be filled with humility and repentance when we recognize sin in ourselves. But anger over not having “our way” in life or with our kids is anything but righteous. It’s pride.

Save your anger for the “big stuff” that pollutes God’s design for righteous living in this world. Reserve your anger for those who suffer mercilessly at the hand of evil in the world around you. Go ahead and seethe over the news of that broken family whose mother has been sleeping around and whose kids are now bleeding from a broken heart. Rail against the man who dares to sell drugs to your pastor’s son and your neighbor’s 6th grader. And furthermore, may it move you to action to champion the poor, the mistreated, the enslaved, and the downtrodden.

May it never be wasted over dirty socks on the floor or a mouthy teen. May our anger never explode because an immature 3-year-old won’t eat his vegetables. Let us never sin in our anger over being late to school or become bitter because our husbands don’t help with the dishes. Let’s not be angry because of homework.

Perhaps, our anger is magnified because our perspectives are microscopic.

Pop the bubble of your own ideals for life and self-interested desires for what your kids or your home should like today, and consider that you are not a sex slave, or meeting underground for a Bible study in a dank room lit by candles, or searching for your missing teen amongst drug lords.

Let’s shift our anger to gratitude for all the good and ease with which we live life compared to the outright tragedy of rampant sin in the world today and let’s reposition our perspectives to combat that same permeating darkness by honoring God with our own lives well-lived. Let’s not rub shoulders with the forces of evil by yelling at our kids over sibling rivalry and giving Satan ground in our own homes. There’s far too much darkness in the world already.

Get good and angry over the sin of the world. But there’s no place for sinful anger in the home of a Christ-follower.

Your kids are gifts who are apprentices under your master teaching. They need loving guidance and wise instruction-not angry moms. Don’t think for a second that God is naïve enough to send you into battle unarmed and ill-equipped. Call on the Holy Spirit to help you today and do the good that is set before you. It will often look like a calm response to an angry tantrum. It will require setting aside dinner to talk with your teenager and tell them that even if they “don’t want to talk about it,” that you care. It may very well mean denying yourself the luxury of a break so that when your husband comes home, you offer him some rest. And it will probably look a lot like time in God’s Word, being filled every hour by His love and grace so that as you pour out, you never run on empty. But may we never underestimate the effectiveness of defeating darkness in the world as a whole by scattering it within our own homes.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Galatians 3:8

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

 

YOUR TURN! What circumstances in the world cause you the most righteous anger? Is there something troubling you-how can I pray for you today?

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This List Is Changing Our Family’s Lives, Why You Should Make One Too!

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This List Is Changing Our Family's Lives, Why You Should Make One Too

Ever feel like you were created for MORE in your life?

Is there a personal area of your life that you feel is stagnant and that you are not living up to your God-given potential?

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to take your family on a missions trip together-building houses for the poor in Mexico or digging jiggers out of the feet of Ugandan children?

What would be your dream vacation or your ideal staycation?

Are there some God-sized dreams you have always imagined for your life that you think may remain dreams instead of reality? I sure did.

As a planner, I tend to put many of my ideas and thoughts into action, but they sometimes lack purpose and drive. My boys are growing up quickly and I am beginning to realize that if we want to live the full life that God has given us and live up to our potential, then we need to be intentional about it. I don’t want to ignore the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life either and I wonder how many times I have missed out on blessings because I simply didn’t act on those promptings.

My husband and I recently began compiling a personal and family life goal list after reading Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker.

I love lists in general.  I even had custom stickers with lists and little check mark boxes made to fit into my daily planner! But still, I wanted to be more in tune with the desires that God has put on our hearts and writing them down has become both a vibrant prayer request list and a way for us to move towards achieving some of our God-given desires and goals.

The categories are broad, ranging from “fun” activities to ministry goals. Like Batterson says in his book, we prioritize them according to our means and through God’s leading, so giving a car to someone in need may very well trump a trip to Atlantis!

I want to share just some of the items on our list to inspire you. As Guy and I wrote these out, we prayed over them and continue to do so as we add more or make adjustments but we can already see the impact that compiling a family life goal list is having on our spiritual lives. And some of the items are stretching us in BIG ways, so we have to be prepared to step out of our comfort zones!

Two days after I wrote down my goal of speaking at an entertainment industry event on a guest panel, I was invited to do just that. Sure enough, that event happened this week, and I believe that God was honored by what I had to share with the audience. Even though it challenged me and was a little scary, I felt the confidence to say “yes” because I knew that God has placed the desire on my heart and then opened the door for me to walk through.

One of Guy’s personal goals was to compete in some form of a race or mud run twice a year. When we came across a discount on a local mud run last month, we signed him up and cheered him on as he completed his first grueling race! In this situation too, there was good reason to back out. The day of the event fell on the same day as a fun activity I planned to attend with some girlfriends-a rarity for me. Even though Guy encouraged me to go, I knew that this life goal was more important. It was an easy decision for me to pass on my activity so I could support my husband’s goals.

Although we just started compiling this list this year, we already have plans in place and are working towards many of these goals so that they can become reality. We feel strongly that God places desires on our hearts and though we are always willing to yield and adjust our thinking to the Lord’s plans, we are dreaming big because we have faith that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine!

“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Epehsians 3:19-21)

There is something about thinking through, praying through, and then following through that makes all the difference!

I hope you will consider compiling your own life goal list and pray over what God might have in store for your life and for your family. Here are a handful of the life goals that Guy and I have compiled. Some of them have already been achieved or are ongoing on a yearly basis:

(G=Guy, A=Amber)

FAMILY GOALS:

Take each child on a mission’s trip.

Build a beach cottage.

Take each of the boys on a 12-year-old covenant trip. (G)

Foster a sport or instrument for each boy.

Live for a year abroad in Europe with our kids. Twice.

Give each child a pet when they enter first grade.

Bring our kids on set for every project we produce.

Use our home as the hub for building friendships and showing hospitality to school and church families at least once a month.

Create new family traditions for the holidays.

 

INFLUENCE GOALS:

Let missionaries use our home.

Make Feature Films consistently.

Make TV shows that break season records.

Abolish foster care-through a local TV show nationwide.

Host a massive banquet with all the bells and whistles for the homeless.

Give away a car to a young person in need.

Speak on anger at workshops.(A)

Be nominated for an Emmy.

Be nominated for an Academy Award.

Dedicate 1-2 bedrooms in our custom built home for a person/family in need.            

Publish multiple books. (A)

Take orphans to the beach.

Participate in an industry Q&A together. (G&A)- DONE

Host and plan a retreat by the beach for women. (A)

Speak to a group of single women/girls about marriage. (G&A)

Teach a class at The Master’s College. (A)

Start an internship for college grads going into faith entertainment.

Reach 1 million followers on social media. (A)

Be a filmmaker/TV producer consistently for the rest of my life. (G)

Host a summer camp for inner city kids.

Create a recreation center for homeless kids with an emphasis on the arts. (G)

Foster/Adopt children-possibly classmates of our kids who will need a home.

 

EXPERIENTIAL GOALS:

Take our grandchildren to Disneyland.

Have high tea in London with 3 or 4 of my best girlfriends. (A)

Go horseback riding as a family.

Take a catamaran/sailing trip with the boys.

Go snowboarding as a family.

Take my future DIL’s on a trip to Kleinfeld’s in NY to buy their wedding veils/shoes etc and use it as a time to tie heart strings. (A)

Attend a Broadway play as a family.

Go on Dancing With The Stars. (A)

Take an epic family portrait.

Host a Lia family reunion on a cruise.

Be room mom for one year for each boy.(A)

Send Amber on a week-long spa trip. (G)

Ride the train to Santa Barbara and go to the zoo as a family.

 

PHYSICAL GOALS:

Bike across Iowa farmland. (G)

Lose 40 lbs by age 41. (A) UPDATE: I have a year and 6 months to do this but as of 7/31/15, I’m down 12lbs! Yay!

Participate in 2 adventure races per year. (G) UPDATE: Guy has completed 1 of 2 as of 7/15!

Learn jazz drums. (G)

Go ice climbing. (G)

Run/Walk/Hike 3-5 times a week with our dog, Rosey. (A) UPDATE: Reality? 5-7 days a week!

 

FINANCIAL GOALS:

Pay for the boys’ honeymoons.

Tithe more than 10% every month of our lives.

Donate 10,000 plus to Children’s Hospital L.A.

Leave an inheritance for our kids.

Provide down payments for each of the boys’ homes.

Be debt free by age 60.

Give away a majority of our income to the poor.

 

TRAVEL GOALS:

Visit ancestors/heritage in Sweden.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Italy.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Ireland.

Take the family on a 3 day white water rafting/camping trip.

Take family to Atlantis Resort.

Take a family Disney cruise.

Spend a family Thanksgiving at the bottom of The Grand Canyon.

Stay at Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite with family.

Take a family vacation on a dude ranch.

Sierra hike with the boys.

Take boys on a tour of the South.

Take boys to Iguazu Falls, Argentina where we got engaged.

Take a family sailing trip to the BVI’s.

Take an anniversary barge trip through France. (G&A)

Take our kids on safari.

Visit Prince Edward Island.

 

YOUR TURN! What are some of your life goals? What goals have you already achieved?

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Need Advice? Let’s Talk On The Phone!

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 Phone Amber For Advice

There have been stages of my life where I simply didn’t know who to turn to for help.

Yes, I turned to God, but I also knew that God gave us community to help us grow and give sound advice from Biblical insight. I simply needed to call a wise friend who might know the answer to my issues. Sometimes, embarrassment kept me from reaching out, but at other times, I simply didn’t have that person in my circle of friends or family that I felt could speak to my problem. Often, I needed an objective opinion.

If this sounds a little bit like you, then I want to help.

Scripture affirms the benefits of wise advice. Here’s what the Bible says:

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 24:6

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20

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

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:16-17

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:20-21

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

I have been informally counseling and leading thousands of women in an online support group for moms who struggle with anger for the past year, and every week I lead a group of 10 women through the Bible in my home. I spent 10 years mentoring teens and I love to help those whom the Lord puts in my path online. I often receive emails and messages from women who need advice about parenting, friendships, marital issues, or their personal spiritual walk.

Over the last year, I have selectively reached out via phone to talk them through their concerns and give them my perspective and encouragement from God’s Word. Here is one testimonial:

“My family has been truly blessed through Amber’s ministry. I came across a posting from her blog (Mother of Knights) during a time of many struggles with my son. The Lord impressed upon my heart to reach out to Amber and ask for some mothering advice grounded in the truth of Scripture. Through our phone conversation I was able to ask her specific and practical questions. She helped me think through what parenting and mothering tools might be most effective in guiding my son in God’s truth. I am so thankful for Amber’s heart for moms and their precious children. She continues to encourage me and turn my heart toward the Lord instead of becoming discouraged in the midst of parenting.” -Carol, Northern California

Another mom recently wrote this to me after our phone call:

“Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the advice and encouragement yesterday! I spoke with Amber over the phone through the Phone Amber For Advice program and she was such an encouragement to my heart. We discussed discipline, encouraging our boys, even family planning! Can’t wait to put some of her suggestions into practice. Thanks for being such an encouragement to moms.” -Megan

I see the need increasing and it is an area close to my heart. I am not a doctor or a licensed therapist but I do have a minor in theology and have read the Bible from cover to cover a dozen times in the last 15 years. I have teaching experience that covered more than a decade for all ages-from preschool through college level seniors in high school. I have a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Educational Administration.  I am a passionate Christ-follower and I believe that informally counseling women is one of my God-given gifts and I rely on the Holy Spirit to equip me.  I often feel a longing to be a more accessible and to encourage women.  For the last year, I have been praying about opening up the opportunity to women who desire some informal mentoring or advice.

I have sensed that the time is now.

Here’s how it will work and what I am offering:

For a small fee of $45.00 (via Paypal), you will be able to set an appointment with me to talk on the phone for 2 sessions:

  • The first call will be 45 minutes.
  •  Prior to our call, I will send you a brief questionnaire to fill out in order to prepare me for our conversation so that I can give you Biblical insights and practical tools for your specific need.
  • A few days after our first call, I will follow up with another 15 minute phone call to evaluate how things are going and to encourage you and pray with you.

What do you think? Want to talk? Be encouraged? Find out how to improve your relationships? Figure out some solid parenting tools for your unique child?  Get rid of anger and yelling in your home? Determine how to get your joy back? Get a Christian perspective on a choice you are making? Have questions about blogging? Or being a work-at-home mom? Wondering about dating life as a single?

I am praying over this whole process so that God will be honored in every interaction that we have. I can’t wait to hear your heart and talk with you!

To set an appointment, email Amber at: Amber@StorehouseMediaGroup.org.

 

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