Amber Koehn

Amber is currently a full-time wife and mom, whose past careers include journalism and bank management. When she isn't neck-deep in room-mom duties or laundry, she can be found in the driver's seat of her minivan chauffeuring her four girls to gymnastics and soccer. Grief warrior, football fanatic, collector of lip gloss, wannabe health nut, humor addict, completer of bucket lists, and drinker of coffee... music is her love language. Her three guinea pigs, two cats, and one dog think she walks on water.

Want to Be in Style? Spreading Kindness Is Always Beautiful

Want to Be in Style? Spreading Kindness Is Always Beautiful

“I always say that kindness is the greatest beauty that you can have.” –Actress, Andie MacDowell I will be the first to tell anyone that I am not an expert when it comes to beauty and style. I’ve never really been up to date on the latest fashion or beauty trends. For instance, I have this old, comfy sweatshirt. I got it for Christmas in eighth grade (1993). It is fuzzy and cream-colored with a plaid pig right in the middle. It says “Ham Wear” in faded letters across the front. And I still wear it…in public. My husband teases me every time it’s cold enough to pull that sweatshirt out of the closet. He can’t believe that: 1. It still fits […]

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To the Mom Who Feels Like It Never Ends

Your Guide To the Best Momisms All Moms Use

“When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.” How many of us heard these words from our mothers on one or more occasions growing up? If you’re anything like me, you heard these words quite frequently. And if you’re also anything like me, you swore you’d never say anything that ridiculous to your children because, quite frankly, it was never clear exactly what you were supposed to understand. Moms have their own special language, passed down from their mothers and their grandmothers before them. It’s like a secret code, and you can only decipher it once you become a mom yourself. I know this, because I am now a parent, and all of a sudden, I magically understand. A Mom’s Special Language: Momisms As

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14 Ways to Save Time and Money on Family Meal Planning

14 Ways to Save Time and Money on Family Meal Planning

When I first became a stay-at-home mom, my children were younger and fairly easy to please. At the time, I had an infant, a two-year-old, and two in elementary school. Family meal planning was virtually stress-free because my girls would pretty much eat whatever was in front of them. My kids were great at giving me a false sense of what homemaker life would be like. Eventually, they went and did what every child in the history of children has done: they got older. And with that, my days of making small, simple meals every night went right out the window. I didn’t realize an eight-year-old girl could eat like a teenage boy! Not only was my growing family draining my pantry,

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When You Go All in on the Life Hand You've Been Dealt

When You Go All in on the Life Hand You’ve Been Dealt

“It’s not about the cards you’ve been dealt, but how you play the hand.” -Randy Pausch Hello. My name is Amber. I love God, my family, coffee, sports, and a great lip gloss. I have received accolades and awards for my academics, music, athletics, and writing. I have a wonderful husband and four beautiful girls who make me proud every day. My friends are some of the best, and I laugh daily. On the surface, I’ve been dealt all aces. But underneath the surface, the cards tell a different story. My name is Amber. I also battle depression and grief. I overreact in situations that upset me, and my mind races and imagines scenarios way beyond reality. I have struggled with my weight

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Keeping a Record of Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Keeping a Record of Gratitude Can Change Your Life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” —Melody Beattie Since my mom’s passing in 2015, I have tried to be extremely cognizant of year-round blessings. The easy blessings. The hard blessings. The punch-you-in-the-gut blessings. The everyday blessings. The tiny, unexpected blessings. The blessings that sneak up on you. The blessings you don’t initially think of as blessings until they surprise you and become some of the greatest blessings. Belly laughs. Farmers markets. Birthday dinners. Mermaids. Where does your mind go in times of trouble? In 2016, I went through a major transformation. I’m not talking about beauty, fashion, or weight loss; I had a complete mental makeover. I was suffering from grief-induced depression, and

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You Need to Read This If Your Life Hasn’t Gone as Planned

If Your Life Hasn’t Gone as Planned, Read This!

October is my birthday month, and when the year I turned 39, I discovered it was OK to start over in my professional career. For the previous five years, I had been a stay-at-home mom. I decided to leave the corporate world when my fourth child was born, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I became comfortable in the new routine I had established, and I loved being able to have that quality time with my two little ones before they went off to school. My two oldest were already in school, and I felt like I had missed so much of their younger years. I wanted the opportunity to just be a mom, even if it

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Simple Guidelines for Traveling With Kids and How to Enjoy It

Simple Guidelines for Traveling With Kids and How to Enjoy It

Let’s just get this out in the open: vacationing with children is a daunting affair to think about. There’s planning and packing and food and travel and lodging and food (because they always eat). Should you plan a lot of activities? Should you keep it simple? What is on the menu (because they always eat)? The stress of the process can make even the most seasoned travel mom want to fold and plan a staycation instead. The getaway becomes more like a chore you have to do rather than an enjoyable experience for everyone. But no matter if it’s your first trip or your fiftieth, I’ve got a few tried and true tips that will leave you anticipating your next vacation, not

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forgiveness is the key to living a bitter-free life

Forgiveness Is the Key to Living a Bitter-Free Life

I have a lot of conversations with people in my job as an office administrator for my church. Most of the time, these conversations center around family and friends and sports and the weather—surface stuff. Every now and then, someone will walk into my office seeking council on a deeper level. Sometimes, I’m just a listening ear; other times, I’m asked to provide advice or weigh in with personal experience. And when this happens, 99% of the time the conversation is about forgiveness. Someone is hurt by someone else by either actions or words (or both), and they’re looking for answers or for a way to feel better. And in my experience, the person who is hurt rarely looks within themselves for

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Now that I’m Grieving My Mom, I Wish I Appreciated Her More

Growing up, I had a tendency to act like a spoiled brat whenever I didn’t get my way. Many people have done this, I know, but what took my behavior to the next level was that no matter which parent made the decision to tell me, “No,” I would always take my frustrations out on my mother. It didn’t matter what the situation was or why I couldn’t have my way, my mom was always the victim of my emotions. In between complaints about how everyone else’s parents got them xyz or how everyone else’s parents let them do xyz, I would berate my mom with incredibly harsh and seemingly unforgivable words and sometimes even become destructive (on more than one occasion,

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making these 3 changes helped me reclaim my joy

Making These 3 Changes Helped Me Reclaim My Joy

It started with one word: shutdown. At first, it wasn’t really noticeable. I went about my days as best I could, navigating the “new normal,” and even reveling in the fact that I had more time to slow down and enjoy life. I was reading more books, I was doing more one-on-one activities with my girls, and I started spending more of my days on social media to stay connected with people. I was so thankful for technology and the ability to get updates on friends and family from afar. I was grateful for the accessibility of news reports and pandemic updates. But over time, I became consumed by the dark side of social media, and like a slow leak in a

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Why i stopped deep cleaning my house to start enjoying my kids

Why I Stopped Deep-Cleaning My House to Start Enjoying My Kids

There’s an old adage that says, “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.” A long-time friend of mine, who is years ahead of me in the parenting game, sent it to me one afternoon while I was in the middle of a mommy meltdown. I only had two of my four children at the time, and I was exasperated at the thought of never having a clean house again. It was during my full-time corporate days, while my husband was also running a restaurant and attending school full-time to obtain his accounting degree. Cleaning my house was

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To the Woman Who Cleaned up After My Autistic Son

You Don’t Have to Make an Income to Contribute to Your Family

All my life, I wanted to be a mother. It’s just something I knew, deep down, I was meant to be. I also knew that I would have to work outside the home, because if I stayed at home all day with kids, I would go crazy. To me, I didn’t think I could be fulfilled or feel important if I wasn’t working full-time. It’s kind of funny sometimes how life proves a person wrong. After my first two daughters were born, I thought I had a system all figured out. My husband ran a restaurant at the time, so he was never home. He also decided to go back to school full-time and earn his degree, so I was the one

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Why This Girl Mom Thanks God for Unanswered Prayers (For a Boy)

Why This Girl Mom Thanks God for Unanswered Prayers (For a Boy)

Life has a funny way of working out sometimes. Have you ever heard the song, “Unanswered Prayers,” by Garth Brooks? It’s about a man who takes his wife back to his hometown, and they run into his high school sweetheart. The man reminisces about asking God to make the high school sweetheart his wife, but he ends up marrying this other woman instead. In hindsight, he realizes it was a blessing that God did not answer his original prayer, even though he couldn’t understand why at the time. Growing up, I just knew that when I became a mom, I was going to have two boys and a girl. For years, I operated under the assumption that God would agree, my plan

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This Is Why We All Need Holiday Traditions

This Is Why We All Need Holiday Traditions

I love Hallmark Christmas movies. It drives my family crazy, but each year on the last weekend of October, my television is tuned to Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas through the end of the year. And if I am unable to view a premier, I record it to watch later. I have a checklist, a system, so I don’t miss any of the new shows. One of this year’s movies I had to record for later was Two Turtle Doves, a film about continuing treasured holiday traditions in the midst of grief and loss. I’m going to be frank: it hit a little too close to home. Now, initially when volunteering to write about holiday traditions, I was planning on providing a generic

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This Is Why I Love Hallmark Holidays and I’m Not Backing Down

This Is Why I Love Hallmark Holidays and I’m Not Backing Down

If I had to pick a favorite week of the year, hands down it would be the last week of October. It’s the week of Halloween, and you know what that means, right? It means handing out Halloween candy amid Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, and Hallmark Christmas movies! Not what you were expecting to read, huh? I live for Hallmark Christmas movies (like, literally, they’re my lifeblood). And when the last week of October rolls around, it’s a sure bet you can find me parked in front of my television ready for the first premier of the season. I have my Countdown to Christmas premiere list, and I check it twice (or 10 times). My DVR is scheduled and ready

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Here’s How to Embrace Growing Older With Grit and Grace 2

Here’s How to Embrace Growing Older With Grit and Grace

When I was working one of my first “real” jobs in my early 20s, my brother invited me to his 21st birthday party. I worked the night shift as a copy editor for a local paper about 30 minutes from his school, so after I finished for the night, I drove up to see him. He was hosting a get-together at a bar where he worked, and as I walked up to the door, the bouncer met me and asked to see my ID. This was nothing out of the ordinary, but when he wouldn’t give it back, I became a little concerned. The bouncer called another employee over to look at my ID then said I wasn’t allowed to go in.

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What Your Grieving Friend Really Wants You to Know 2019

What Your Grieving Friend Really Wants You to Know

When I first lost my mom, I had so many well-meaning friends, and relatives offer help, advice, and words of encouragement. The outpouring of support was amazing, yet a little overwhelming at the same time. Everyone meant well, and I certainly appreciated the sentiments, but it was difficult for me to express what I really needed at any given time. It wasn’t until I started speaking with several friends and relatives who also lost loved ones that I discovered I wasn’t alone. Several told me they too, had a difficult time figuring out how to help their friends help them through the grieving process. People have a tendency to want to “fix” the bereaved, but many times, all we’re looking for is

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