Monday, December 19, 2016

December Meeting Recap

Some of the goodies available
This month we held a decadent celebration of motherhood and friendship. We indulged in some amazing holiday treats, enjoyed relaxed conversation, and allowed ourselves a break from the stress that often accompanies the Christmas season. We hope that those who were able to attend left rejuvenated and joyful. 

Service Project

Tables assembled "Blessing Baskets" to give to families at Anmed whose children are hospitalized during the holidays. These included care items for parents spending long hours in the hospital with their child. 

28-Day Challenge

Anita introduced an upcoming activity in which we hope that all MOPS moms will participate. Details are contained in the "Becoming Starry-Eyed" book that was included in this year's membership kit. If you have a chance before our January meeting, when we will kick off the challenge, find your book and give yourself a preview!


Margaret spoke about the difficulty of making room for God, particularly during this busy time of year. Here is a small portion of the excerpt she shared from Christian blogger Chrystal Evans Hurst:
Margaret speaks candidly about making room for God
"I ... often find myself in life situations that feel like a bad dream. I might be uncomfortable … stuck … in emotional or physical pain. Sometimes I find myself stressed out, overwhelmed, without peace, lonely, worried or unhappy.
Do I believe this? “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18, NASB). Absolutely.
Do I believe “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NASB)? Sure I do. But I have to admit many times I settle for the ache in my heart or the anxiety in my head. I don’t immediately reach out for the Presence available to me.

...While we can desire more of God’s presence, knowing He desires the same, we have to make room for Him."
To read more, visit Ms. Hurst's blog here.

New Mentor Mom

Joining Ms. Jan and Ms. Mandy as a mentor mom for our group is Dianne Pray. Hailing from Indiana, she spent 30+ years as a special education teacher in a suburb of Chicago. She currently lives in Seneca, where she spends her free time quilting, crafting, singing in the church choir, and stepping in to help out with her granddaughters whenever she can!
Dianne with her husband and grandchildren

All of us at MOPS look forward to seeing you in the New Year! 
Peace and blessings as you celebrate His birth 😇

Monday, December 12, 2016

To My Fellow Moms at Christmas

Dear MOPS Mamas,

In the past, Mondays on the blog have been used to record our mom fails - those ridiculous moments when we find ourselves in over our heads, when all we can do is throw up our hands and admit defeat. You may wonder: Why glorify mom fails? Why not celebrate all of those small, rarely acknowledged tasks that we do well? I have an answer, but the answer is sad. The answer is this: because our successes feel, to us, unspectacular. They are, after all, just duties: feeding children, wiping bottoms, folding laundry, providing transportation to school and activities.

Our days, in fact, are filled with work well done, if only we could see it that way. Have you, today, wrapped your child in a loving embrace, kissed their soft cheeks, looked at them with a gaze dripping with a love as heavy and sweet as syrup? I call this a mom win.

In the past 24 hours, have you had cause to correct your child and straighten his path to walk more like Jesus? Have you prayed with her? Have your words modeled kindness? Have your hands and heart put others first? Then you are doing precisely what you were made to do.

If you have prepared a meal, cleaned a spill, wiped a tear, each of these is a success. If you have found a moment, in the midst of all the demands placed on you, to care for yourself, you are doing well.

Take heart, mamas. Your successes far outweigh your failures. Even when you feel low and unappreciated, too soft in the middle, too frustrated by your kids, too short with your spouse, too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, you are enough. You are the person your children need. You are the person they love - not the version of yourself you dream of becoming, if only you had more time or more resolve. The you you are right now. 

Take a breath. Love in, self-judgment out. Smile. We are on this journey together, thank God, and we will hold one another up and remind one another that life really is filled with joy. This is what MOPS is for, and I am so, so grateful to have this community.

Merry Christmas, all you remarkable women. My wish for you is that you see yourselves that way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November Meeting Recap

The theme of this month's meeting was KINDNESS. We heard about guilt and frustration in our devotional and from our guest speaker, and focused on the steps we can take to be kinder to our children and to ourselves. Even in our craft this month, we practiced the kindness of acknowledging all that we are thankful for. Hopefully MOPS made everybody's list!

Craft: Thankful Trees


Emily shared some thoughts using Titus 2:4 as a jumping-off point : "They should encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children." It struck her that the Bible tells us that we will need encouragement - some translations say training - to love our children. This can take away some of the guilt we can feel for not automatically loving our children perfectly. It also, Emily said, makes her so thankful to have the Ministry of MOPS and the experienced moms and Mentor Moms we have here. She reminded us of Galations 6:9 :"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Guest Speaker: Jan Gropp

Ms. Jan wanted to be sure that we all understood that we are not alone when we feel frustration and anger toward our children, nor when we feel guilt after those feelings have boiled over. Often, she said, we are not prepared for the sacrifice that is motherhood, but certain principles can help keep us from losing our cool. Here are some of these principles: 

  • It's important to pick our battles with our children, focusing on maybe 2 or 3 at a time. She mentioned the books Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child, both by Dr. James Dobson, as helpful resources. 
  • We all need to set boundaries with our children and to differentiate between childish irresponsibility and willful disobedience, because these would need to be handled differently.
  • We want to shape our child's will, not crush their spirit. Ephesians 6:4 says, "do not provoke your children to anger," but "bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord." 
  • Good planning often disarms confrontation.
  • It takes maturity to deal with the often thankless nature of motherhood, but God does not forget our sacrifices and our service.
  • Our first and highest honor is to serve our children and help them become the gifts to the world God made them to be.
  • Prayer helps. Pray without ceasing!
  • When you mess up, don't carry that guilt around. Jesus offers forgiveness. You can come and admit your frustration and leave your guilt at the cross. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 7

The bad news? I missed "Mom Fail Monday" last week. The good news? We have not one, not two, but THREE mom fails to highlight today. Don't forget, when moms make mistakes, it only makes their families stronger. 

Margaret and the Mysterious Fruit Flies

Where were all the fruit flies in her house coming from, wondered Margaret. She was baffled- until she came across the display she had so lovingly displayed in her formal living room (you know, the room no one actually uses...)

Congratulations, Margaret! I certify this an OFFICIAL MOPS MOM FAIL! (Or human fail, as you yourself pointed out.)

Jen and the Absolutely Appalling Menu Option

The caption pretty much sums it up. 

CHICKEN??? I specifically asked for chocolate ice cream served upon a bed of cotton candy. How dare you, mom.

Heather and the Escape Artist

This kid is no joke, y'all! A mom goes to the bathroom and comes back to find she almost has a Baby Jessica situation on her hands. I second your conclusion, Heather. He's gotta join you in the bathroom with you until he's at least twelve. 

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

Keep the Mom Fails coming! Find me on the MOPS Facebook page or email me at

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mom Fail Monday, Vol. 6

Happy Halloween, MOPS mommies! My hope for you today is that your Halloween festivities will be safe, that your kids won't be too hyped up on sugar to sleep tonight, and that you find your favorite kind of candy in their bag to sneak after bedtime. Now, on to the Mom Fails... 

Rachel and the Hunger Striker

In her own words: "I've been very slack about making my youngest actually sit at the table to eat. Well the last few nights, I've been trying to get that to change. Tonight after SCREAMING for easily 15 minutes, he calmed down to watch Tom the Tow truck on my phone as he protested. His first hunger strike. Needless to say, I let him sit like that... till he decided to eat." Sounds more like a win than a fail to me, Rachel! Let's hope this is the last of the hunger strikes :)

He says, "You can't make me eat that." You say, "Oh, really?"

Tamara and the Thing They Wouldn't Possibly Play With

Try to keep from laughing when you take a look at this picture. Here's what happened: "Sent the kiddos to play in the garage and looked at that piece of Styrofoam and closed the door. Yep, I should have moved it. Baby girl was amused at my face, her brother was not."

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

Keep the Mom Fails coming! Find me on the MOPS Facebook page or email me at Enjoy the rest of your Halloween!

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"