"Amanda has a unique gift for becoming "friends" instantaneously with the audience as she shares her heart for the Lord, her journey through motherhood, and things she's learned through living in relationships with other people.
~Jenielle Krusiewicz, founder of Village Moms, Irvine, CA
All My Friends Have Issues
If you're planning a sisterhood meeting, a Girls' Night out, a Galentine's day celebration or a women's luncheon, this is the topic for you. Amanda outlines three pillars of healthy friendship -- authenticity, encouragement, and accountability -- and the "enemies" of authentic friendships (competition and comparison, perfectionism, unwillingness to be vulnerable). She'll discuss what it means to be honest about who we are and what we need, and how to both give and receive grace. Also included are "Deal Breaker" issues: signs that a friend is not able to do her part to create a healthy relationship, and what to do if that is the case.
The Bible uses the word for encouragement (in the Greek, parakaleo) 108 times! We can take from this number that God desires us to develop encouraging relationships with one another. But offering effective encouragement isn't as easy as simply acting as a cheerleader in our friends' lives. True Biblical encouragement is only possible when we overcome the common female friendship pitfalls of competition and comparison, control and unsolicited advice-giving -- and learn essential skills like good listening and authentic, vulnerable sharing of ourselves. In this entertaining and informative talk, Amanda will teach your groups to comfort, console, exhort and encourage one another -- so that you can develop healthy friendships and mentoring relationships that empower you to be all God has called you to be, as individuals and in community.
Choosing Running Mates: Adventures in Authenticity
The apostle Paul describes the process of becoming all God calls us to be in terms of a race: We press on to the goal in order to win the prize. In this topic Amanda presents two goals for us to achieve: holiness and whole-heartedness. Amanda believes choosing women to run alongside us helps us to reach these goals. This talk focuses on cultivating three elements of a "running mate" relationship: Authenticity, Encouragement and Accountability. Accountability is covered in depth, with a look at what the Bible really says about this often misunderstood concepts of "restoring" and "rebuking." This topic is a great follow-up to groups who have already heard the "All My Friends Have Issues" message and also stands alone for groups looking to cultivate deep spiritual friendships.
Great Expectations: Healthy Marriage in the Real World New Topic!
Written in response to requests from several mothers' groups, this is Amanda's first topic on building an authentic relationship with your spouse. Married 22 years to her college sweetheart, Amanda delivers a humorous, raw, and well-researched approach to having healthy expectations of our marriages. She draws on research from the Gottman Institute, Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy, and Christ-centered Attachment Theory, having worked as editor and consultant on the Milan and Kay Yerkovich's new small group series How We Love. A few principles she'll teach on: Expect that there is more to understanding your partner than believing Male vs. Female stereotypes. Expect that you need to speak expectations. And expect conflict: Strive for "Healthily Married" rather than Happily Married.
A Spirit of Power: Mothering Strong and Sober in the Mommy Drinking Era New Topic!
We all have coping strategies that help us escape reality. But what if we were strong enough to face all the stressful realities of daily life and mothering? What if God really does provide us with "a spirit of power, love and a sound mind"? (2 Timothy 1:7). In a culture that is normalizing many unhealthy dependencies -- from drinking, to online, shopping to Netflix binging, to social media addiction -- Amanda encourages women that there is a better way: a way to rely on the power of God, create healthy boundaries in our homes, and attune to our kids' emotions without losing control of our own.
"Motherhood: Fueled by love. Powered by Coffee. Sustained by Wine." "The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink." Find these sayings on t-shirts in Target, kitchen towels in T.J. Max, and all over the internet. These products may make us chuckle, but normalizing using alcohol to cope vs. enjoying alcohol occasionally can have serious consequences for those who actually develop an alcohol dependency or addiction. Drawing on her experience as a three-years-sober mama, her Twelve-Step Recovery experience, and her knowledge of healthy boundaries, Amanda teaches mamas practical ways to feel more powerful and make healthy choices for self care. Ideal for mothers groups, this topic can also be modified to address other women's groups about avoiding addiction.
An Amateur Woman: Living a Life for Love
When God called Amanda out of her job as a professional journalist, she found it at first devastating and then ultimately liberating. In the ensuing ten years, which she refers to as her "Amateur Era," she discovered that the definitions of amateur, (1) one who pursues an interest for love, and (2) an unskilled person, both apply to her as a woman, wife, mother, leader, and follower of God. An Amateur Woman accepts not her unskilled status! But instead, pursues her passions, dreams and God-given talents because she both loves others and is deeply loved by God. This is a message of hope and encouragement to women of all ages, including multiple action steps to care for our hearts and souls so we can rediscover what we most love and pursue it with passion. Then we can take on the new title: Amateur Woman, a woman who is in it for love!
Meeting Needs and Taking Names
The Bible says to love with knowledge and depth of insight. In this talk, Amanda outlines the meaning behind her life motto, "Meeting Needs and Taking Names." Meeting Needs incorporates being attuned to others' emotions and experiences, offering comfort, and receiving comfort for ourselves. Taking Names is the tough side of love: setting boundaries, establishing consequences, and braving disapproval of unhealthy people in order to focus on relationships that can thrive. This talk incorporates knowledge from top Christian psychologists and Scripture, with Amanda's particular brand of authenticity and humor.
Oh Come Emanuel: The Cry of our Hearts at Christmas
Do you ever find yourself distracted -- or even dismayed -- by the expectations of cultural Christmas? Consider the lyrics of this song: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your hearts be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight." These high expectations can leave us feeling flat during a time that we long for joy. But the true promises of Christmas are found in these words: Rejoice, rejoice Emanuel, shall come to you, oh Israel! The true promise of Christmas is God with us, in every circumstance, even troubled ones. Christmas is not only for the "joyful and triumphant" but for the discouraged, doubtful and downtrodden. Christmas is not the end of the story, but a promise fulfilled, pointing us to the greater promise at the end: That God will one day wipe every tear from our eye and give us joy eternal.
Boundaries and the Holidays: A Christmas Talk for the Courageous!
The Bible says that giving should lead to cheer, not bitterness and resentment. And having good boundaries, in accordance with God's word, is one of the keys to cheer during the holidays! If we have any issues with setting and maintaining our own boundaries, or respecting the boundaries of others, our families are usually the places we learned this. For this reason, holidays, birthdays and other special times can create difficult-to-navigate situations. This talk is informed by the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, with Amanda's own emphasis on how to be responsible for our own expectations, emotions, limits and desires, so that we can be the loving parents, daughters, wives, siblings and daughter-in-laws that we want to be. Ideal for women's brunches and mothers conferences.
I'm Lame and Other Things I Should Stop Saying Out Loud
Jesus said, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Think of this scripture as you notice the things you say habitually. Also, think that the people around you – especially the children who may be living in your house – are listening to you, and taking you at your word. In this talk, Amanda address three types of negative things we say, what they reveal about our hearts, and how changing these messages can transform our attitudes, our homes, and even our kids' faith. Ideal for mothers' conferences.
A High-Performance Machine: Self Care as a Spiritual Discipline
For years Amanda thought of her body (and the brain housed in it) as kind of a utility vehicle: an old clunker that was requiring a little too much maintenance. And then through a series of events and a loving encounter with God, she began to think of her body and brain working together as a high-performance machine. High-performance vehicles are sensitive! As with a Ferrari, it takes a team of experts and high-quality fuel to keep human beings running at maximum potential. We are a delicately-balanced creation of nerves, heart and soul that science can't fully explain. In this talk, Amanda helps audiences embrace the unique way they are made -- with both strengths and weaknesses -- and encourages them to practice self-care as a way to increase their faith. In an age where we are all stressed out and disconnected, and many of us see a nightly glass of wine as our only "me" time, we'll address the hard issue of finding healthy ways to find comfort ourselves, not just escape our emotions.
Put Away Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism in Mothering, Friendship and Faith
This talk is designed to help moms live with realistic expectations of themselves and their relationships, by changing the way they think. (Romans 12:2) Perfectionism is a very common root of anxiety, depression and dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t always manifest itself in the way we expect: in a high-achieving “perfect” body and a Martha Stewart home. Perfectionism can also cause procrastination and destroy our ability to take risks. Having the skills to recognize when you are thinking like a perfectionist can give you more freedom and joy, and help you raise children who are not afraid to make mistakes! This topic focuses on perfectionism in our mothering, friendships and even our faith. This is a great topic for both seekers and mature believers. Ideal for mothers groups.
Mary Vs. Martha: Choosing the Better Part
Amanda's unique take on the Mary/Martha story examines the strengths of both these women's personality types. Being a Martha herself, she hates the simplistic interpretation of work=bad and sitting at Jesus feet=good. The essence of this story, is that Martha saw a “should” where Mary saw a choice, and, as Jesus said, Mary chose the better part. In order to live a life of joy and freedom, without bitterness, we have to learn to judge situations rightly and know when to work and when to rest and refuel. Amanda's approach to this Biblical story makes it relevant even for women who have never read the Bible, but might just make them interested in reading it in the future.
Boundary Basics for Moms
Based on Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend’s best-selling, life-changing book Boundaries: When to Say Yes and How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. This topic is Amanda's own take on the basics of boundary-setting for moms. When we become moms, virtually everyone one of our relationships changes: with our spouses, friends, parents, in-laws, bosses and spouses. Having healthy, Biblical boundaries helps us steward our physical and spiritual energy so we can give our best to our families and live lives of greater psychological freedom. Amanda taught a six-week course on this book to our MOPS moms Summer Bible study, and it was the most well-attended ever at Mariners Church, because the topic is so deeply relevant for young moms.
What Can Post-Partum Depression Do for You?
Did you know that more than one in four women in the U.S. will experience some form of clinical depression in their lifetime, and that mothers are three times more likely to experience depression than women who have not had children? Amanda experienced Post-Partum Depression personally and found that God used this experience to profoundly change the way she saw life and His love for humanity. In this talk, Amanda weave facts about risk factors and symptoms of depression and anxiety with her own testimony. Other groups have found this talk relevant for a number of their moms, as it helps them know how to help friends with this experience as well as themselves. I also speak Negative emotions like fear and frustration don't disqualify us from a life of faith. This message is also filled with humor about the conflicting emotions we experience as women; it is ultimately a message filled with hope, encouraging each of us to practice self-care. (It’s not depressing.) Ideal for mothers groups.