Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April Meeting Recap and Devotion

It's true, the MOPS year is winding down. We have been The Starry-Eyed since September, and while we may be tempted to feel sad about being one meeting away from a summer break, there was nothing but celebration at our April meeting.

Craft: Busy Box

Need a way to keep the kiddos occupied while riding in the car or waiting for their food in a restaurant? This month we packed pencil boxes full of fun, creative activities to keep them busy. 

Announcements

  • Lisa Fields will be presenting her 3-week Love and Logic class on 4/23, 4/30, and 5/7 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Upstate Church of Christ. We hope many of you have registered! 
  • Jodi D. announced that she will be collecting new and gently used shoes for the Montessori School's shoe drive.
  • Former MOPS leadership team member Alecia spoke to us about the great need for Hospice volunteers. You are a providing a great service for patients, as well as providing experience on your resume. Please get in touch with a Steering Team member if you were not at the meeting and would like more information.
  • Moms Night Out: Bowling on Tuesday, 4/25. $3.50 per game, plus $2.50 for shoes.

Devotion

Jenny shared her thoughts on the concept of Choosing Joy. Here is her devotion, as written: 



"My mother-in-law, Dianne, got me this necklace and bracelet for Christmas last year. They say, “Choose Joy”. It’s kind of a “thing” in our family- my oldest daughter’s middle name is Joy.

On an everyday basis, though, I find that too often I am shoving joy aside. Take yesterday, for example. Schools dismissed early because of the weather, and I waited in the car line at Concord for about forty minutes with two of my children in the back. They were wonderfully behaved, but that’s forty minutes I’ll never get back. And also a forty-minute nap for my toddler instead of a three-hour nap. Not a lot of joy there. When we got home, the kids were all amped up from the change in our daily schedule, and I felt like a witch when I knew in my heart I was SUPPOSED to be enjoying this unexpected time with them. Then the toddler pooped on my bedroom floor and peed on the suitcases that were waiting to be packed for our spring break trip. The dog wouldn’t stay in the bathtub as I tried to bathe him. Our Church Easter Egg hunt and supper were postponed, and I had nothing in the house for dinner. Joy just felt… absent.

I want to be joyful. Isaiah 12:6 reads: “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Matthew 5:15 says, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” So, I should have enough joy, not just for ME, but to share with the world! (Or at least the people in my house, right?) I should be bursting with joy, because I have a God that loves me so dearly that he sent his only son to the cross for me. So why am I not shouting? (For joy, I mean.)

Motherhood is hard, friends. It is exhausting physically, and even more so mentally. This is why MOPS exists. This is why we’re here. Because there’s no way we’re going to make it through without our faith and each other. During our meetings, for the short hours that we’re here together, I feel like I am able to breathe. I don’t feel like that very often.

After just one year attending MOPS, I decided to join Steering Team this year. I did it to create some deeper connections with other MOPS mamas, and also to be a part of something so important. Steering Team does all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes these meetings, and our monthly activities, happen. They are the ones who open the door for joy to walk on in. I’m so thankful for the experience I’ve had this year, and i hope that those of you who have been considering joining Steering Team will prayerfully consider it. For me, that was my way of choosing joy. And when you focus on bringing joy to others, you inevitably will find yourself just a little happier as well."
Author Jen Hatmaker


Video: Jen Hatmaker on Female Friendship

The gist: As moms, we need the support of friends who are willing to be genuine and honest with us, who will tell us things that are hard and accept us when we are at our worst. When our friends hurt us, we have to fight - just as we would fight for our marriage - to heal the relationship. This is how important it is for us, as moms of young children, to have real, mutually supportive friendships, particularly with other moms. 


A big thank you to Electric City Gymnastics, as well as MOPS moms Jenine Addison and Kelly Arthur for donating items for giveaways this month!

Monday, March 20, 2017

March Meeting Recap

March is a time of beginnings, when we say goodbye to the chill of winter (even a mild South Carolina winter) and welcome the newness of spring. This can apply to our souls as well as to the seasons. What mom doesn't need renewal? Our speaker this month focused on how we can start again with our children to focus on loving guidance.  If you missed it, here are the highlights!

Craft: Spring Banner


Upcoming Events and Important Announcements

  • Thanks to all who donated to the Upstate Kids Consignment Sale! We made $199.00! Thanks especially to Megan Bates and Jenine Addison, who handled much of the organization leading up to the sale.
  • Date change for April Meeting: April 6th (1st Thursday) due to Spring Break!
  • MOPS on the Town will take place at Lucky Acres Alpaca Farm (1024 Milford Rd, Townville SC) on Tuesday, March 21 at 10 a.m.
  • Moms Night Out will be dessert and coffee at Sullivan's on Thursday, March 30th at 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Lisa Fields



Lisa's not-for-profit organization, Heath's Haven, "is an effort to help provide people with the basic tools needed for healthy relationships" and was created "in loving memory of Heath Fields," her son. Lisa speaks to parents to teach them the benefits of the Love and Logic parenting course. Here are some important tips she shared with us this month: 
  • Children need repetition, routine, respect, relationship, and responsive interaction for healthy brain development. 
  • In order to become resilient people, our children need to feel loved and they need to feel capable. This begins from the time they are babies. 
  • Children tend to act up because they want attention. So why do we so often ignore them when they are doing the right thing, such as playing quietly and independently? We don't give them attention until they do something wrong- and they know this!
  • The best way to respond to a child's anger is to respond sympathetically with "I know!" It's difficult to argue with "I know" :) 
  • We should focus on how to make a situation a "Win-Win". We as parents CAN get the behavior we are looking for while also making our children feel loved and capable!
  • It is important to teach children how to own their mistakes and problem-solve to make up for them. (For example, performing extra "contributions" at home.)
Lisa will soon be offering a Love and Logic course in Anderson. Stay tuned for details!



Thanks to those who contributed giveaways this month:
Alexa Thompson at Crayton Designs, The Corner Bagel Shop,
and Electric City Gymnastics 

Monday, February 20, 2017

February Meeting Recap

February is often defined by the mid-month holiday of love, and so we used Valentine's Day as our inspiration for our February meeting. Instead of the "man panel" that we have hosted in the past, this year we decided to do something different and invited three couples to share with us their wisdom on marriage and parenting. If you missed it, here are the highlights!

Service Project

We packaged up party supplies to donate to Safe Harbor, an organization that provides "a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children" and works to "eliminate cultural acceptance of domestic violence through a coordinated community response, prevention and education." Women using Safe Harbor's services will be able to use these party packs to celebrate birthdays and other important events. 


Upcoming Events and Important Announcements

  • Upstate Kids consignment sale is is March 16-18. We need donations, including baby equipment, toys, strollers, furniture, breast pumps, etc. Clothing donations must be spring/summer and in GREAT CONDITION! Hangers are also appreciated.
  • Date change for April Meeting: April 6th (1st Thursday) due to Spring Break

Couples Panel

Mark and Shawna Asbell
  • Married 16 years
  • Three children ages 14, 13, and 8
  • On Discipline: The book Creative Correction was a huge help; It's important that the punishment should correlate with the behavioral issue. 
  • On Parenting in General: Remember that the Lord is sovereign, and always ask Jesus to take the wheel. 
  • On Marriage: Don't be afraid to ask a professional for help. Counseling can be just what a marriage needs!
Don and Linda Janke
  • Married 31 years
  • Seven children ages 27, 23, 18, 16, 6, 5, and 4
  • On Discipline: Model repentant behavior for your children, and choose what behaviors and values to expose them to, because they will imitate what they see and hear. 
  • On Parenting in General: We aren't always going to get it right. God gives us the freedom to fail.
  • On Marriage: It is important that both spouses feel valued in their roles. Communication and time to connect are key.
Wayne and Jan Gropp
  • Married 45 years
  • Two children ages 43 and 42
  • On Discipline: Sometimes you need to give yourselves a break, and give them a break before you can address a problem. That cooling-off period can be important to staying calm.
  • On Parenting in General: Your job is to prepare them for life, not to protect them from life. 
  • On Marriage: Marriage retreats can be a great way to stay connected and keep Jesus in the forefront of your marriage.

A HUGE thank you to our participants, as well as to the businesses who provided this month's giveaways: J. Salon and Chick-fil-A

See you all next month!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

January Meeting Recap

January is a time to start anew, carrying our Advent sense of hope into the new year. Our meeting this month focused on remaining hopeful in this season of life, when mothering small children can often feel draining and difficult. This message carried through our meeting: hope is never lost when you have Jesus, but the blessing of fellowship with other parents can make a huge difference as well. 

Craft: Verse of the Week Holder


Upcoming Events:

Moms Night Out will be a game night at Sonia's house on Tuesday, 1/24 at 7:30. See our Facebook page for more details!

MOPS on the Town will be a tour of the Corner Bagel Shop on Tuesday, 1/31 at 10 a.m. 

28-Day Challenge

Anita kicked off the MOPS 28-day challenge. Each day until our next meeting we will be presented with both a Truth and a Dare. Through reflection, and by occasionally getting ourselves out of our comfort zones, we will get to know ourselves a little better during this time. When the challenge ends, be sure to have a "big event" planned- something you have been wanting to do for a while, but haven't yet acted on!


Devotional 

Jen W. shared with us her experience with a work friend who refused to accept help in his struggle as a single dad, and whose story ended in tragedy. She wanted to make sure that all the moms present heard her loud and clear: You do not need to do this alone. If you feel depressed, if your burden is too much to bear, tell someone. Get help. If her friend had been willing to reach out, there would have been many hands to make the load lighter. 

Guest Speaker: Charmaine Smith-Miles


Charmaine, who is nearly finished with seminary and is currently acting as Pastoral Intern at First Presbyterian Church of Anderson, wanted to focus on the theme of hope as well. She told of her first pregnancy, and the impact of learning from the doctor that "there was no heartbeat". She was tempted to lose hope of ever becoming a mother, but a priest friend was present at just the right time to remind her that we cannot place our hope in circumstances. Circumstances change, but our God is steadfast. If we place our hope in God, we will never lose hope. Fortunately, Charmaine's prayers were answered, and she now has a one-year-old son, who was able to accompany his mama to the meeting. 

Thank You to New Covenant School for providing this month's childcare, and to the following businesses for providing giveaways:

Electric City Gymnastics
Tres Chic Boutique
Brandi McCalister for providing Mud Pie welcome mats

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!

Devotional 

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



Devotional: 

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.