Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Devotional

Thank you to Korrie Bennett for her courageous words at our October meeting. Here they are, as written by her. 

This month we focus on Hope. Hope... A word that in one of its definitions means "grounds for believing that something good may happen, or a feeling of trust". In the New Testament Jeremiah proclaims that God is "the Hope of Israel", Paul announces that "Jesus Christ is our Hope". With everything that has taken place recently I know many are having a hard time with this. We are still struggling with how to find this & move forward. I know I was. I was looking at my community, my friends, my neighbors, my children, & just having a really hard time with finding Hope & how to show my children & others it.I  prayed for God to heal us, & help us & to help me & to help me help others. I prayed so much & so hard.

Then watching the news a few days later, I heard Renea's interview after her young son Jacob passed away. I heard her tell everyone how much he loved Jesus & how he had told her just days before everything that he forgives everyone & how she knew he would have already forgiven the teenager. Then, that she wanted a superhero theme for Jacob. She wanted it for the other children in his school. She wanted to give them Hope & not to be afraid, because that for many of these children this would be their first funeral & that she didn't want them to be fearful or scared. This woman who just lost her child was still showing people that she was thinking of others & even if she didn't realize it she was showing them Hope & the love of God. I can remember thinking God is truly working in this Mom & that I didn't know if I was in her position if I could be that strong.

As I was watching & listening all of a sudden an overwhelming thing came over me. Without even telling anyone what I was doing I got on Facebook & went to the Heroes4Higher page. I had seen them do things for friends' children that had & have cancer. I messaged them asking for help in granting this mom's wish. I asked thinking most likely this group couldn't do it but maybe they knew of a local one that could & wasn't sure I would even hear back & then told my husband what I had just done. We talked about it for a few minutes & then my phone rang. It was the owner & the man known as Batman. He told me a local WV reporter had asked him if he had seen what was going on & he had told them yes but didn't know a lot about it. He said before he went to go look it up something came over him to check his email & when he did he saw mine. After reading it he said He knew right then God was telling him he needed to be here & come down with the Hope Mobile & help spread God's word & Hope. 

He asked me to contact someone from the family to be sure it was ok first. I wasn't sure where to start but asked God for help even in the face of resistance to let me talk to a family member. I kept pushing forward til I was able to speak to a family member & knew how crazy I must sound saying, Hi I am Korrie Bennett & I'm talking to you on behalf of Batman. I was able to get the permission from them & get them on the phone with him. 

Later that night at the community service & Jacobs Balloon send off you could just feel God working. Everyone came together. There was no debate issues, police issues, race issues, nothing. It was all just one big group of everyone coming together for each other & for the Lord & praising him.
Something once again came over me there & I prayed for God to give me the right words to say as I stepped forward & spoke to Renea. As she hugged me & thanked me, once again the Lord showed me Hope. As her Aunt hugged me she asked me why & what led me to do it, so I explained. That is when what she said next floored me. She said, Honey that overwhelming feeling, that pushing you forward feeling when you normally wouldn't have, that's God, that's God speaking to you & using you & you listened.

I never thought anything like that would happen to me. While yes, I grew up in a Christian home & been saved, & seen God work through other people, I just never thought it would happen to me. Yet Here I was though & God was using me & I knew then that it can happen to anyone -- you just have to listen & be open to God. I left there understanding more & prayed for God to guide me through this & use me to do his will. 

In the days that followed I saw the Lord show me & others Hope so many times. As Job 14:7 says "For there is hope for a tree if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease." 

When traffic was threatening to keep Batman, Nightwing & the HopeMobile from making it to the calling hours, I got to witness God working in others as North Carolina sheriff's escorted them out of the state & then South Carolina Sheriffs escorted them county by county as fast as they could to get them to their hotel & then to the church. All did this because they wanted to get them there for this little boy, for his mom, for his friends, for our community all of which most of these sheriffs had never met before. 

As they pulled in & we followed behind them I got to witness it again as people's faces changed from sadness & sorrow to smiles of HOPE as they seen the HopeMobile. As Batman got out of the car & spoke to the crowd you could see people change. You could see Hope start to form. While yes this was a Superhero talking, it wasn't. It was God speaking through that superhero. It was God's words. For God is our one & only true super hero. Our only true Hope. 

I don't know how many times I've heard people say since all this, who knew Batman prayed & coould cry. That because of that they changed & turned to the Lord.

The next morning we got to witness another sign of Hope as we went with Batman & Nightwing to visit the Elementary & God spoke to them & called them to go to the Playground. Then again as they called my son to play on that Playground. We saw it at the service as people listened to Batman speak & the pastors. As people raised their hands saying they prayed the prayer to ask God to come in to their hearts & life & be their Lord & Savior & let themselves be rescued by God. Then at home that night hours after the service, hours after of any mention of the playground, hours after seeing anything to do with it. A picture of Jacob came on the news & my son Karter got all excited & yelled thats Jacob thats my friend I played with him today. We instantly paused the TV & asked him where. He said on the playground, Him I was on the thing {teeter totter} with Nightwing as Batman & God watched us.Then we played on the slide, & the swings & we had so much fun today. We started crying & I truly believe that Karter seen something on that Playground. As they say out of the Mouths of Babes in Matthew 21:16. Right then I felt HOPE in it's truest form. I knew then that this sweet 6 year old Godly boy who lost his life in a tragic senseless act & God was truly orchestrating everything. They were showing us all that even though they are not there in physical form, their Holy spirit is & bringing us all together & showing us how to Hope again & come out of this tragic event changed. 

Hereos4higher has a few sayings & two of them have stuck with me like many others too. Tough Things Make You Stronger & Turn Pain into Power. I intend to do just those things & keep spreading Hope & teaching my children to spread Hope & God's word whereever they go. As John 14:6 says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

October Meeting Recap

The theme of this month's meeting was HOPE. This is a message that we all crave in a time of life when we can get discouraged and down on ourselves: Will things always be this hard? Will I ever feel like a good mom? Will I recover who I am after defining myself for so long as just "mom"? Can I rebound from the setbacks that life throws my way? From our devotional to our fabulous speaker, hope abounded in MOPS this month. 

Craft: Fall Banners

We approached the craft table hoping that our finished product would look as lovely as the examples strung across the window. Judging by these photos, our hopes were realized. 

Giveaways and Icebreaker

After giveaways from The Olive Shoe, The Fashion Shack, and Boulevard Lanes
Tamara and Crystal led us in a mobile phone scavenger hunt. We had a chance to get up, mingle, and find out who spends their days playing Candy Crush. 


For the text of Korrie's moving devotional, please see the October Devotional post!

Speaker: Sharie King

Sharie began by speaking about the origins of her name- literally, her name mean "double grace". However, she said she never felt like a graceful person; she believed, when she was younger, that one could earn God's grace if only they went about being a Christian in the "right" way. Later, though, God helped her to learn the real meaning of the word "grace". 

After the birth of her first son, Sharie suffered from postpartum depression. She felt like a bad mom, and she felt like she didn't have enough faith, and she was afraid to open her Bible because she worried that the words she read would condemn her even further. Her step-dad wrote a song about her at this time with the lyrics, "When you're dow at the bottom looking up to see the ground." That's how low she was. 

But God taught her that no matter what, she was a part of His family, and He would love her and lift her up. Nothing she did wrong could sway Him or make Him want to give up on her. Similarly, that's how a mother feels about her children. Sharie told a story about doing homework with her older son. He became so frustrated that he gave up and went to his room, where he berated himself for how stupid he was, how he couldn't do anything right, and how his family was going to give him away. She likened her son's feelings at this time to the feelings she had when she suffered from postpartum. 

Even Moses, she said, didn't do everything right the first time. Just like Moses we will make mistakes, but we need to keep trying, even when the going gets rough. We have to endure. We have to have hope that God will get us through it.

Sharie King shares advice for "Hope Through the Seasons of Motherhood"

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 5

Happy Monday, fellow MOPS moms! While it can be a little difficult to get back into your weekday groove, Mom Fail Monday is here to make the transition easier. This week we have two exceptional Mom Fails- we'll just go ahead and call today's edition "MEGA MOM FAIL MONDAY!"

Jen and the Boy Who Yelled Fire 

While his mama was helping with MOPS setup on Wednesday evening, one little guy decided that he wanted to be really helpful, and he pulled the lever that shall not be pulled. That's right, the fire alarm. Luckily his mom recovered enough to send me some pics, so it looks like she's not going to disown him this time. 

Congratulations, Jen, I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!

Brittany and the Case of the Sticky Paws

Because she tells her story best, here's Brittany: "When we moved into our house 2 years ago there was a mouse. So like any responsible adult I put out a mouse trap. Caught the mouse and haven't since had a mouse. Mom win. 

"Marlee is home from school healing from getting her tonsils out. So in an effort to get some work done I agreed to let her play with Rockin' star (her hamster) in the same room with me. She said, mommy Rockin Star is stuck under the dresser. I brushed it off and ignored her because I thought the hamster was just hiding from Marlee and this would keep Marlee entertained for a little while longer while I finished some work emails. 

"Well I looked over and Marlee used a hanger to get Rockin Star out and low and behold the hamster was stuck to the mouse trap I had forgotten about since two years ago. Thank God it was just a sticky board or my child would have been traumatized. Rockin' Star is ok. She just has some sticky paws. You know, kinda like Chevy Case in Christmas Vacation."

Congratulations, Brittany, I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!

Have a mom fail you want to share? Send me (Jenny Pray) a message on FB or email it to . Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 4

I feel like I should reiterate the purpose of "Mom Fail Monday": not to make us feel like failures, because none of us, not one, is a failure. We do the hardest job there is, and inevitably we make mistakes. We avert our eyes for a moment. We think to ourselves, "Oh, how nice it is that the kids are playing so quietly." We have grown accustomed to walking into the next room, or looking up, and realizing just what it is that our kids have done. And hopefully, after the shock and horror wear off, we will be able to laugh. Mom Fail Monday is about resilience. It is about finding the best in a sticky (literally) situation. And us moms are pretty good at that. 

As We Prepare for Winter...

The hat makes the video.


I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Jen!

Because Apparently His Mother is Starving Him

After his family had decided that dinner was over and scraped their scraps into the trashcan, little Jeremiah decided that he wasn't quite finished. I wonder if the trash can gave it that extra flavor he was looking for? I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Crystal!

There's a Snake in the House... No Really, There's a Snake in the House!

Who would have thought that when listing the house rules, "Do NOT bring reptiles into the house" would be a necessary addition? I have a feeling it makes the list now...I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Margaret! (And we don't blame you one bit for screaming your head off. You were 100% justified!)

Do you have a Mom Fail you'd like to share with MOPS? Email pictures to See you next Monday!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 3

It's Monday again, but for us moms it's just another day to do the work of mothering, of guiding our offspring in the way of goodness, of teaching them to be kind and responsible, and of course to find them doing something even the littlest among them know they're not supposed to do. It's a good thing we moms are so forgiving...

Heather and the Hungry, Hungry Humus-Eater

In other words, the kid ate dirt. And liked it. 

Jenny's Third...There are Just No Words

You know the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?" What about three times? Four?

First was the incident with the clean, folded laundry in a basket at the top of the stairs...

Then the whole Q-tip incident while mom was in the shower...

Then a new discovery the next day, while mom was drying her hair...

And finally, we just had to play in the potty. Because potty water is irresistible.

The only justice? Someday, mommy's going to show these pictures to her future husband. :)

Do you have a Mom Fail you'd like to share with MOPS? Email pictures to See you next Monday!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 2

What is Mom Fail Monday? It's one day out of the week to tell ourselves, "I might even be an above average mom, because where I fail, others do too." It's a way to smile once the weekend has ended, knowing that we are all in this crazy, messy life together. 

Jennifer and the Stolen Cup o' Joe

You walk away for two minutes, and suddenly your two-year-old is fully caffeinated. Now all you need to do is push nap time off for an extra four hours. And push all the furniture to the edges of the room to give him space to run. (She didn't really do that last part.) I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Jennifer!

Korrie and the Chalkdust Artist

When they're quiet for an extended period of time, something has got to be up. Or in this case, down, on the floor. And when he's discovered, he just gives you that look that says, "Oh don't mind, me, mom. Just using this chalk to color on the rug." I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Korrie!

Do you have a Mom Fail you'd like to share with MOPS? Email pictures to See you next Monday!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 1

One of the best things about MOPS is that we are a group of real moms. Our children are real: they're messy, they're loud, they wipe their snot on our clothes and sometimes embarrass us. And when we do something embarrassing ourselves, we aren't too perfect to admit it. To promote continued honesty, openness, and- most importantly- humor in our group, we are inaugurating "Mom Fail Monday", a place to reveal our true, imperfect selves, to share, laugh off our mistakes, and promise that it will never, EVER happen again. Even though we know it will.

Katie and the No Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Cereal

Child is found eating cereal. Mom did not serve child cereal. Mom realizes that child has retrieved her sibling's cereal - from several hours ago - from the sink and is now eating soggy Cap'n Crunch. I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Katie!

Crystal and the Climber

Really, does anything else need to be said about this? The cutest babies are always the bad ones... they know they can get away with it. I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL!  Congratulations Crystal!

Do you have a Mom Fail you'd like to share with MOPS? Email pictures to See you next Monday!