Monday, September 28, 2015

MOPS On The Town @ Chick-Fil-A

Backstage Tour of Chick-Fil-A


Today some of our MOPS mamas and lucky little people were able to go behind the scenes at Chick-Fil-A!  The folks at the Anderson Pavilion Chick-Fil-A (on 81) were so kind to host our group, and each kiddo came away with free ice-cream, a stuffed cow, and a big smile!






And don't despair if you missed today's MOPS On The Town, there is more fun to be had next month!  You can join us for the October MOTT... the Pumpkin Patch at Trinity United Methodist Church!  We have reserved a field trip there on Tuesday, October 13th at 9:30.  Kids participating in this field trip will get to see a pumpkin carving, hear a pumpkin story, play pumpkin games, play in the hay and choose a pumpkin to take home!  It is $5 per child (which includes a small pumpkin, a gift bag with goodies, snack, story telling, and free play) and is always a great time... and photo opp!  Hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September's Devotional

by Abbey Gropp

A few weeks ago I came across an interesting post on Gillian Blogs entitled, "World's Okayest Mom".  The author Gillian explained how she recently saw a coffee cup that read "World's Okayest Mom" and how this gave her a laugh but also got her to thinking.  Mom life is extremely demanding (kids, homes, spouses, friends, work) but beyond those pressures, we also put a lot of demands on ourselves by comparing ourselves to other moms.  (You know... organic mom, fitness mom, scripture memory mom, love-spending-every-minute-with-my-kids mom.)  Gillian goes on to say that we also compare ourselves to our own ideals of motherhood.  She challenges us to stop comparing, count our blessings, and realize that we are OKAY.  Our kids are okay, and our families are okay. (coffee mug photo source)

After reading this post I started thinking about Anderson MOPS.  I hope and pray that it is a place where moms can come and feel cherished just as they are as the "World's Okayest Mom".  That when moms walk in, they don't feel like they are expected to be the World's Best Mom or World's Prettiest Mom or Most Spiritual Mom or Most Patient Mom.  This year, MOPS' theme is A FIERCE FLOURISHING.  In order for all of us to flourish fiercely this year, I believe there are 3 steps we need to take:

#1)  NO COMPARISONS.

Galatians 6:4-5 says "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don't be impressed with yourself.  Don't compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."  (The Message translation)  The thing I've figured out about comparing ourselves to others is that it leads down one of two roads.  We can compare ourselves to others and feel like we don't measure up... which leads to discontent, insecurity and bitterness.  Or, we can decide that others don't measure up to us... which leads to pride, arrogance and becoming Judgy McJudgerson.  Either way, it's a dead end street.

Now I'll be honest.  I'm not the youngest gal around and one benefit of my foray into middle age is that over the years I've learned to be aware of the trap that is comparing ourselves to others.  I don't always escape it, but I know it's there.  However, I've just realized recently that I spend an awful lot of time comparing myself to this one amazing individual.  And let me tell you, you would love her... 

She is the most patient, loving and attentive mother you will ever meet.  She never would lose her cool, scream at her beloved offspring, let them rot their brains with hours of screen time, or play solitaire on her phone while her children need her.  She is purposeful and makes the most of every second of every day, never wasting time.  Her home is clean and organized and decorated like the best of HGTV.  She is disciplined and always makes time for exercise... and you can tell by that hot bod.  (In fact, I think she can eat whatever she wants and actually lose weight!)  She looks great, showers regularly, dresses fashionably, and is enthusiastically ready to satisfy her husband's every need.  She is a great and caring friend, never thinks a judgmental thought, and oozes compassion, selflessness and Godliness.  She never misses a quiet time, always wants to read her Bible, always seeks the Lord's will, and in heaven she'll probably be hanging out with Mother Teresa and the Proverbs 31 chick.

Yes, this is Imaginary Abbey.  And the problem I have with comparing myself to some imaginary ideal is that I never measure up to this perfection.  EVER.  Which leads to my next point...

#2)  GIVE GRACE.

From my journal, dated 1-29-15:

"I feel like I am failing.  No, it's worse, I know I am failing.  Every day.  I am constantly failing.  As a mother.  As a wife.  Housekeeper, friend, human, Christian.  At best I am falling short... at worst I am totally ruining my children.  The list is long & the sickening burden of failure is so so heavy.  I feel like who I am is so far from who I want to be.  But who do I want to be?  The problem is that I want to be perfect.  I think I should be perfect.  Why?  I don't expect anyone else to be perfect.  No one expects me to be perfect.  God doesn't expect me to be perfect. (Thank you Lord!)  I need GRACE.  Grace is the antidote to perfection.  I need to grab on to grace, to believe it, accept it, & learn to revel in the freedom it offers... because surely God's grace is enough.  Enough to cover me & carry me & lift this burden of failure and perfection.  So I pray that God will help me & I claim His grace.  I'm ready to travel through this world a little lighter."

2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God's grace is sufficient for us... and that is the good news.  The very best news!  We don't have to be perfect.  We don't have to fear failure.  We have GRACE.  Unlimited grace to receive for ourselves and to give to others.  With God's help we can become "Grace-Givers".  And how does one become a Grace-Giver?

#3)  ACCEPT WHO WE & OTHERS ARE AS GOD'S MASTERPIECES.

What if I told you that I'd been working on a painting for 20 years?  That I'd been pouring my heart and soul and all my creative energy into one work of art.  And that I'd finally completed my masterpiece, my life's work, and that I wanted you to see it.  Wouldn't it be a shock if when I unveiled it, it looked exactly like the Mona Lisa? (photo source) 

While in one sense it would be impressive if I could paint like Leonardo da Vinci, overall it would be a disappointment.  It would mean that I spent my whole life copying someone else's masterpiece.

In Ephesians 2:8-10 we are told, "God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (New Living Translation)  This means that each of us are the handiwork of the Divine Artist.  He made each of us a masterpiece... designed with purpose, gifting and individuality.  His intent was not for us to spend our lives copying or comparing ourselves to others or to some invented ideal we've created in our minds.  We are God's masterpieces, each one of us.  And for me, this means that I give myself grace that I am not the World's Best Mom... I embrace that I am the World's Okayest Mom and the World's Best Abbey Gropp.  (It's true for you too, just take my name out and insert yours after World's Best.)


When we do these 3 things, we can begin to Flourish Fiercely and engage in the 3 elements of our theme.  We can CELEBRATE LAVISHLY because we are not comparing ourselves to others (real or ideal) but embracing that we are the World's Okayest Moms.  We can see the beauty in who we are & where we are right now, and celebrate others as God's masterpieces too.  Once we start giving grace, it becomes natural to EMBRACE REST.  We understand that the world will not stop spinning if we peace out and take a nap, or do something else that breathes a little life into our weary souls.  Give yourself the grace to rest.  Lastly, we will NOTICE GOODNESS when we're not so caught up in trying to be perfect.  Goodness and blessings are all around us, but if we're focused on perfection all we will see are shortcomings.  And we miss out on so very much! 

So here's to the World's Okayest Moms!  May you flourish fiercely this year!!!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September Meeting Recap:  

A FIERCE FLOURISHING Kick off Party!

Last Thursday we started off the 2015-2016 MOPS year with a great first meeting!  It was pure joy to see so many of you mamas there... many returning moms and some attending for the very first time!  We hope you all LOVED it as much as we loved seeing you!!!

Our meeting started off with an adorable and amusing video of our kiddos explaining what MOPS is, and then we introduced a new member of our Anderson MOPS group, Jan Gropp.  Jan will be our Mentor Mom this year, and we super excited to add this wise woman to our group!  She has two grown sons, 6 grandkids, and has worked alongside her husband in ministry for many years.  Jan is kind, caring, and Christ-like and is available to our MOPS mamas for conversation and prayer.  Welcome Jan!

We also reviewed some of our basic MOPS policies.  If you need a refresher on Moppets childcare policies, click here.  If you need info about finances or a scholarship form, click here.  And as always, please contact us with any questions.  We are here to help!

Sonia facilitated a great icebreaker called "Four Corners" where the moms gathered in different corners of the room according to their favorite foods, exercise, etc.  This was a great way to find what we have in common with other moms and to exchange contact info for the possibility of a get-together in the future.  And to top it all off, we traded cute and colorful petals with our names and numbers that we then assembled into a blooming flower, just like our theme! #winning

Abbey shared a devotional encouraging us to embrace being the "World's Okayest Mom" and talked about how we are free to FLOURISH FIERCELY when we stop comparing ourselves to others and our idea of the perfect mom.  (click here to read the devotional)

And we watched a video from MOPS International's Mandy Arioto where she talked about "feasting" and how she realized one day that she couldn't think of a single thing she enjoyed anymore. She decided to practice delighting in the things around her and began to feast as much as she could on life -- living extravagantly, giving generously & being consumed with delight. What would our lives look like if we adopted the attitude that God delights in our delight?

We finished the meeting with some discussion/craft time at our tables - always a great combo - and made decorative blocks that can be stacked and rotated for each season!  Perfect for some of us moms who want seasonal decor change with minimal effort!  (check it out here)







If you weren't able to make it to our September meeting, we sure do hope to see you next month!  xo!

Monday, September 14, 2015

In case you missed it...

Ever wonder what our kids think about MOPS? Well, we asked...and they answered!

Check out this video from our kick-off meeting last Thursday...


video



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Abbey!

Finance Team/Blog

Why ST? I'm basically going to be on Steering Team until I get kicked off. I LOVE THESE WOMEN! If you haven't considered joining ST you should... it will take your MOPS experience from 'good' to 'great', give you a chance to serve others and provide you with some really fantastic mama friends.
Kids' names & ages?  
Zeke - 11, Eliza - 8, Emelia - 6, Jed - 4
Last book you read & would you recommend it?  "The Help" was the last book I read and it was really good! I'd seen the movie a few years ago but had never read the book and I'd definitely recommend it. 
Least favorite chore? Making dinner.  Anyone want to go out to eat??? 
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? I'd like to paint. Like maybe watercolors. Or even just furniture... like the bedside table I pulled out of somebody's trash that has been sitting on my front porch for 3 years. It'd be nice to actually follow through on my creative ideas once in awhile.
If you had an all-expense-paid vacation to somewhere you've NEVER BEEN, where would you choose? I'd love to do a tour of the Mediterranean Sea and visit the coast of Spain, France, Italy, Greece... So much culture & beauty to absorb!
Favorite snack? Doritos and cottage cheese. Don't knock it until you've tried it. ;)
Favorite thing about MOPS? My favorite thing about MOPS is the moms! We're all doing the best we can to love and raise these kids God has given us and I love that MOPS strives to encourage & empower us. I did not have a very graceful transition to motherhood but have come to believe that it is indeed a noble calling. MOPS has helped me to embrace that calling in my life and support other moms as well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Steering Team Intros...


Meet Jennifer!

Co-Coordinator

Why ST? I love working with other Mamas who are in the same "boat" as me, but still find time to make something great for the other Mamas in Anderson.
Kids' names & ages?
Maggie, 8
Sadie, 5 (almost 6)
Miles, 1 (15 months)
Last book you read & would you recommend it? Favorite book(s)? 
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I would definitely recommend it! One of the best books I've read in a long time. As for my favorite book, though....seriously too many to count. I love reading. 
You have 2 hours of unexpected free time... what do you do? First I would hit up the Starbucks drive-thru for a Light Caramel Frappuccino and then off to either Hobby Lobby, Target, or TJ Maxx. 
Favorite restaurant? My favorite restaurant is probably The Melting Pot (if I have a lot of $), Earle Street or Palmetto Smokehouse and Oyster Bar (if I have a medium amount of $), and inside Sam's Club (if I'm scraping the bottom of my purse for change)...for real, their hot dogs are awesome!
Favorite celebrity when you were younger? Backstreet Boys. And they really honestly unashamedly still may possibly be.
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? I want to learn how to smock. Like English smocking, old school style. I have all the books and equipment, but no one to teach me...any takers? 
Favorite thing about MOPS? The best things about Anderson Mops is when I'm sitting in a meeting and I know I'm surrounded by a ton of other Moms who are either in the same stage, heading for the same stage, or leaving the same stage where I am in my life. We all have so much in common and it's nice to know you're not in this crazy motherhood journey alone.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Angel!

Hospitality Team

Why ST? I have been going to MOPS since my oldest was 4. I really enjoyed going and met some great women, and made friends when I really didn't have any. I joined steering team because I wanted to give back and help other moms who may need a friend.
Kids? I have 3 daughters ages 9, 7, and 3.  
Favorite movie? Some of my faves would be Fried Green Tomatoes, Gone with the Wind, and Grease.
Favorite restaurant & menu item? Don Pablos in Greenville. I really like to get the chicken enchiladas w/ sour cream sauce.
Last song you sang & when? I'm not sure. I sing w/ my girls in the car all the time. It depends on the song if it's loud or not... Especially when an 80's or 90's song is on and I'm trying to make my oldest give me a weird look.
Least favorite chore? Unloading the dishwasher. I feel like nothing has been accomplished when I look over and see a sink full still. (that is actually a chore I make my girls do)
You have 2 hours of unexpected free time... what do you do?  I would call a friend to see if they want to get coffee. Because I don't want to do what I need to.
Favorite thing about MOPS? Getting to know other moms.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Crystal! 

Moppets Team


Why ST? I had a great experience when I joined last year. You develop wonderful friendships within Steering Team and you get to see first hand all the hard work that goes into making Mops a great place for moms.
Kids' names & ages? 
-Kylie age 4
-Isaiah age 2
-Jeremiah age 2 months

Favorite time of day? Naptime! I think that is every moms favorite time of the day.
Favorite dessert or snack? Golden Oreos and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel. Yes please!
You have 2 hours of unexpected free time... what do you do? SLEEP! =) I have plenty of things I would love to do with some free time but I would probably fall asleep in the middle of it lol!
Something you've been meaning to do or learn?
Learn to play my cello. 
If you had an all-expense-paid vacation to somewhere you've NEVER BEEN, where would you choose? Anywhere in Europe, but especially Ireland. Also anywhere tropical (this mommy needs a good, relaxing vacation).
Favorite thing about MOPS? Reconnecting and getting to meet new moms! You can't do life alone, especially as a mother. It's nice to know that other moms go through some of the same things as you do. It's awesome learning from each other and making lasting friendships!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

 Meet Pamela!

Moppets Coordinator

Why ST? I have served on MOPS ST the last 3 years, and I really enjoy being involved. I like forming deeper friendships with the Moms on ST.
Kids' names & ages?  
Abby 4, Benjamin 2
Favorite time of day?  Now it is morning because I have both of my kids in school three days a week and I can actually get some things done that are hard to do with kids around!
Last book you read & would you recommend it? The last really helpful book I read was Carry on Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. This is a book for moms, and it gives you the feeling that it is ok to not "have it all together!"
Least favorite chore? Cleaning bathrooms
Something you learned this week? You are capable of more than you think you are!
Something you've been meaning to do or learn?
I would really like to be fluent in Spanish!
Favorite thing about MOPS?
I love meeting new moms at MOPS and being reminded that we are not alone during this stage of motherhood!



Friday, September 4, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Jayla!

DGL Coordinator

Why ST? I decided to continue serving on steering team this year because I am passionate about other moms having community with one another. I love to see moms refreshed and ready to take on the battle of mothering with joy together which is exactly what MOPS is about!
Kids' names & ages? Luke-3, Micah-2, Ruth-5 months
Favorite dessert or snack? I love french silk pie and anything chocolate...especially dark chocolate!
You have 2 hours of unexpected free time... what do you do? Either go out to get coffee and read a book or be crafty!
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? I've always wanted to learn sign language but have never gotten around to do it yet! Maybe someday! 
Favorite quote? "Be joyful always; pray continually, do everything without complaining or arguing because this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:16-18.
I try to live by this.... fail often but it does inspire me.
If you had an all-expense-paid vacation to somewhere you've NEVER BEEN, where would you choose? New Zealand!! To hike and be in awe of all the beauty!
Favorite thing about MOPS? I love everything about MOPS: the breakfast, fellowship, speakers and crafts! I also love knowing I'm not the only one going through the "mommy, mommy!" stage of life! It's great to live life together!



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Sonia!

Kitchen Manager & Meals for Moms

Why ST?
I was a member of steering team last year and thoroughly enjoyed serving the Moms of Anderson MOPS as well as developing closer friendships with Moms.
Kids' names & ages? Nolan 6, Isabella 4, Samantha 2

Favorite time of the day? When the sun is going down, because it casts light that makes everything so beautiful, oh, and bedtime because things are winding down and the craziness is at bay and I can engage with my kids and not feel like there is something else we have to do.
Favorite restaurant & menu item? I love sushi! Nami and Saki Zen are yummy! I love anything with spicy tuna, avacado and eel
Favorite quote? "Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  This explains why I am usually up for making a fool out of myself.
Favorite celebrity when you were younger? Paula Abdul...wished I could be just like her. 
Biggest influence in your life? My mom, for her struggles to provide as a single mom. She has taught me things like how to reinvent a previous dinner, to things that I wouldn't do that she did, to the most important thing which is always pray. And also my Nana. She taught me a lot but mostly about how important Faith and Prayer is.   
Favorite thing about MOPS? I get to hang out and interact with wonderful women from all walks of life...some from other countries, states, regions. I love the accents, the stories, the struggles shared and of-course that we as mothers get to lift each other up whether in person through a hug or in prayer. I love to give to and serve God and I get to do that with MOPS. When I serve one of his flock, I am serving HIM and there is no better feeling.

Hey hot mamas!!!
Here's a checklist of 5 things you should be doing between 
NOW and our kick-off meeting NEXT THURSDAY September 10th...

1. If you haven't already done so, REGISTER yourself for Anderson MOPS for the 2015-2016 year.  Click here to do so.  It takes like 30 seconds.  (And will save you the time/hassle of having to complete actual paperwork at the first meeting. Actual paperwork is like soooo 2012.)

2. And don't forget to REGISTER KIDS you'll be bringing to MOPS this year.  Click here.  Also takes about 30 seconds.

3. PRAY for MOPS!  We need it and we want it to be awesome.  Please pray with us for the year.

4. INVITE moms.  Any moms with kids ages conception thru kindergarten.

5. GET READY TO PARTY!!!  We can't wait to celebrate with y'all next Thursday! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Sarah!

Coordinator

Why ST? Can't imagine not doing ST!
 I love it!
Kid's name & age? Rose Frances, age 4
Favorite restaurant & menu item? Summa Joe's downtown! Love the Italian Freschetta pizza with the cracked egg... yummmmm. 
What's the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Favorite book(s)? "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin. YES, would definitely recommend.... everyone should read it! My fav books are "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold & "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. 
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? I want to learn calligraphy. Like real calligraphy with the fancy pens.
Favorite quote? I really love a phrase from this year's MOPS theme... "CHOOSE TO FLOURISH." I like that it reminds me that flourishing is a *choice*, not something that just happens to me if I'm lucky.
Biggest influence in your life? My mom. The greatest compliment anyone can give me is that I remind them of her.
Favorite thing about MOPS? I love Anderson MOPS. I love the friendships, the feeling of support, the challenge of planning a great curriculum, the goal of making MOPS a safe place for ALL moms, the knowledge that I'm a part of something that's serving Anderson (& the world, actually) in a fabulous way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Megan!

Moppets Curriculum

Why ST? I really enjoy serving others and had such a great time last year, that I had to join again! 
Kids' names & ages?  
Caleb  8, Nathan  5, Lily  2
Last grown-up book you read & would you recommend it? I love to read anything and everything! I was kind of the nerd in high school who actually enjoyed the required reading in English and read classic novels for fun. The last book I read was The Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch. I liked it!
Favorite restaurant & menu item? PF Changs! I always try to order something different, but most of the time, I end up with Mongolian Beef. SO yummy!
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? Scrapbooking my kids baby photos!! I have them sorted in photo boxes and some just placed in albums, but I pretty much stopped scrapbooking once my 2nd was born. Maybe when they go off to college....
Last song you sang & when? "Let it Go" in the car with my 2 year old....As loudly as possible, of course!!
Strangest or most random thing you've done? Our orchestra took a trip to Europe my senior year of high school. One of my roommates and I ended up sleeping on the balcony in Chamonix, France because our other roommate was snoring so loud! I am not sure how cold it was, but let's just say we were in the Alps and had toured the snow capped mountains and a glacier that day. Crazy!
Favorite thing about MOPS? I love the fellowship with other mamas and the relationships that I have formed!