artist giving podcast

Episode 11: Hope, Love, and Serious Creatures with Amber and Brady Black

Amber and Brady Black are a married couple currently living in Beirut, Lebanon, and they are a true inspiration. Having grown up and met in the United States, they decided to move to the Middle East to teach. The first five years abroad were not easy, and Amber found herself fighting depression, which she courageously shares about in our interview. After some discussion, they decided that they needed to leave the gulf region. In a series of synchronous events, a friend of a friend  mentioned that there was an opening at “Home Of Hope” in Beirut, which is a home for abandoned and abused children in Lebanon. Amber and Brady went for a visit, and knew in their hearts that they had to teach there.

Hope love and Serious Creatures - an interview with Amber and Brady Black on Jump Start Your Joy

Brady had been interested in art in his younger years, and returned to it when things had gotten hard; in drawing whimsical art for a friend who wanted note cards to put in her children’s lunches, something magical was born. Brady realized he had an outlet for his creativity, and it tapped into the imagination of the children and parents that saw it. When more requests came for note cards, Amber and Brady realized they had the beginnings of a business, one that brought joy to them and others, brought more purpose them as a couple, and helped Amber feel a sense of belonging and connection as she came out of her depression.

Joy and love is the through-line for Amber and Brady’s work at Home of Hope, Lebanon, as well. They work with children who have been abandoned, abused, that are refugees, who have been on the streets, some have been involved in prostitution. At the Home, Amber and Brady teach the children, but it becomes so clear in the interview, they also meet each of these children right where they are, provide a consistent presence in their lives, and love them.

I adored getting to know Amber and Brady – they are funny, passionate, open, and so dedicated to both Serious Creatures and Home of Hope. I loved hearing about how Brady’s passion for drawing and imagination truly changed their lives, and how both of them said “yes” to starting a business when the idea presented itself. And, I loved hearing about how much they love working with the kids in Beirut. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them, too.



In this interview we talk about:
– How Amber and Brady met at college, and have “been married every since”
– What it was like to move to Oman from Texas
– How Amber faced depression when she moved to Oman, and how she felt culturally isolated
– How art, imagination, and hope changed their lives, and started a company
– How Serious Creatures got it’s name (hint: there’s some Harry Potter magic involved!)
– The way they were introduced to Home of Hope
– What it’s like to teach children of various ages and various levels of educational background
– How they strike a balance of taking care of themselves while working with children from difficult backgrounds
– Their kickstarter with Serious Creatures (Serious Starters)
– What it was like for Brady to see children reacting to his art for the first time
– What’s next for them and Serious Creatures

I'd give it up tomorrow to work with the kids at Home of Hope, Brady Black on Jump Start Your Joy


Serious Creatures Website
Serious Creatures sign up page to learn about their after Thanksgiving sale
Serious Creatures Instagram
Serious Creatures Kickstarter
Home of Hope Lebanon Facebook page

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  • Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    December 3, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    They sounds like an amazing couple! I think it’s great that they are helping these kids by giving them the gift of art appreciation.

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Robin – Brady is a super talented artist 🙂 and it was so awesome getting to talk to them both!

  • Susannah
    December 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Wow! This sounds like an awesome couple and a great podcast! I love hearing about people’s lives overseas!

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Susannah – it was really fun getting to talk with Amber and Brady 🙂

  • Stacey
    December 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    The world needs more people like the Blacks! I have often thought about teaching overseas when my children are grown. Maybe one day.

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:55 am

      I would really love to teach and/or live overseas. We have a 5 year old, and we’re thinking of taking a long trip to Israel in the next year or so. I hope you can live your dream, too, Stacey!

  • JenniferDawn
    December 4, 2015 at 2:25 am

    what an amazing couple! It’s nice to know there is still good in this world!

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:54 am

      They really are amazing, and their dedication to helping the kids at Home of Hope is inspiring. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Dawn!

  • jenna
    December 4, 2015 at 2:35 am

    Paula, it was so great to participate in your weekend retreat. I love continuing on the journey to learning more ways to make life simple by catching up with your podcasts. Cheers!

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Hi Jenna 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed this episode! I’ll chat with you soon!

  • LauraOinAK
    December 4, 2015 at 5:29 am

    What an interesting story to hear. I have friends who teach in Cairo, Egypt and I can not imagine living in that environment. They came back stateside, but returned after 2 years in Florida. I guess when you find your calling it is where you have to be.

    • Paula
      December 4, 2015 at 6:53 am

      Hi Laura – thank you! I’d love to visit Egypt 🙂 And yes, I think you’re right, you have to listen for your calling and strive to live the life you want.

  • Ana De- Jesus
    December 4, 2015 at 9:02 am

    What a wonderful couple we need more kind hearted souls like this pair too look after our world and the people in it. It gives me faith that there is still selflessness left in the world!

    • Paula
      December 5, 2015 at 9:21 am

      They really are an inspiration, and I don’t think I mention this in the interview, but I believe they are volunteers at Home of Hope. Thank you for stopping by and listening, Ana!

  • Denea
    December 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Seriously this couple sounds lovely. We need more people in the world like them. Thank you for sharing!

  • alexandria
    December 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    They sound like a great couple. Thanks for sharing their story. I’m always intrigued by who just start their own business! Congrats to them.

  • ashleigh
    December 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I love their determination. What a great way to inspire joy in others, love their story.

  • Roxanne
    December 4, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Wow- that’s a power couple for sure! Amazing where you end up when you follow your passions!

  • Dogvills
    December 4, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    They are a beautiful couple and they sound amazing. I love the interview.

  • Di
    December 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Having also moved countries I can totally relate to Ambers depression. It’s tough being away from friends and family. I know a few friends in our ex-pat community that suffered with depression. Ours wasn’t such a culture shock as Ambers but it’s definitely difficult knowing you want to be somewhere new, then realizing the isolation. Love the work they are doing now!!!!

    • Paula
      December 5, 2015 at 9:15 am

      I can only imagine that living abroad would be hard, and I LOVE how open and transparent Amber is about facing depression. Thank you for stopping by, Di!

  • Donna
    December 5, 2015 at 3:48 am

    My goodness, this sounds like such an amazing couple! I have a friend who opened an orphanage in India, and I am always amazed at the experiences these people have. But they would never trade it in, as these kids become their family – so beautiful!

    • Paula
      December 5, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Wow, opening an orphanage – that’s amazing work! I’d love to learn more about them, too! (you may be getting an email from me, Donna!) thank you for stopping by!

  • Debra
    December 5, 2015 at 4:36 am

    I love anything with some Harry Potter Magic involved! I am going to have to check this out!

    • Paula
      December 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Debra – I think you’re going to LOVE the way Harry Potter plays into their business name 🙂

  • Cathy M
    December 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    I LOVE that Serious Creatures got it’s name from something Harry Potter-related! So stinking cute! They sound like a great couple and I bet they are just as nice in person as they are on podcast!

    • Paula
      December 8, 2015 at 8:00 am

      I was super honored that they revealed how they got their name on Jump Start Your Joy 🙂 Thank you for listening, Cathy! 🙂

  • Dia @ All The Things I Do
    December 13, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    It would be amazing to go and do such great work but even more amazing to b able to do it with the love of your life. Thanks for sharing their story.

  • Becki S
    December 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    What a wonderful adventure and a great read for this Monday morning. We need to see more stories like this, thank you for sharing.

  • lexie
    December 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    wow they truly sound like an amazing and extraordinary couple! I can’t even imagine uprooting and moving to Lebanon and how it would be trying to adjust a new way of life. But helping others is truly such a moving experience and I am so happy for them that they are doing something they love so much together.

  • Episode 12: "Welcome Home," The Crossroads of Joy, Transformation and Self Acceptance - Jump Start Your Joy
    April 2, 2016 at 1:18 am

    […] Resources Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic on Amazon Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel on Amazon ACT in San Francisco BATS Improv in San Francisco Walter Capps of UCSB Episode 1: Kathleen Davies Episode 2: Aimee Eyvazzadeh Episode 3: Matthew Wood Episode 10: Molly Larkin Episode 11: Amber & Brady Black […]