Thursday, January 28, 2016

January's Devotional

Anita shared some wise words from her personal experience with us at this month's meeting!  Read below to find concrete steps you can take to decrease stress and increase peace in your daily life...

My name is Anita. I am from Quito, Ecuador. I came to the States about 18 years ago as a college student. I went to Clemson, met my husband Jay, and graduated with a degree in Financial Management. I worked at AnMed Health for almost 11 years. I left my job behind to care for my girls (Ellyana 5 and Emilia 3).  MOPS has been a big part of my support system as a stay-at-home mom and I am very grateful to have all of you in my life.

2016 is here. A new year and a new beginning. Our meeting today will mainly focus on embracing rest. I want to share with you some thoughts and ideas about finding peace and balance in your life, which in turn will allow you to embrace rest. Many times in our lives, we have something that weighs heavy on our shoulders causing us to lose balance. So, I want to ask you  – what is stealing your peace away? What is keeping you off balance? It could be finances, diet/exercise, the desire to go back to school, the lack of professional realization or the desire to be a better mom to your children. 

I want to share with you some things I did last year to find balance and peace in my life.

  1.     I first had to identify what was stealing my peace. I felt overwhelmed by the lack of organization in my house. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of toys we had, the amount of books and magazines I had waiting to be read plus all the things that needed to be done around the house.
  2.   Then, I had to find a system that worked for me. I tried different things. I talked to different people, I asked different moms to share their ideas with me. Nothing worked – until one day, I came across a system that got me started in the right path. I started to notice a difference in my home, my behavior, and I finally started to feel that peace that I had been longing for. My new system required a timer and 15 minutes of my time. With the idea that “you can do everything in 15 minutes,” I started to pick up momentum – and those very overwhelming tasks were not so overwhelming after all.
  3.   I started to develop routines and create habits. Just remember that your motivation will get you started by your routines will keep you going. 
  4.    Then, I would evaluate to see if I was making any progress. My steps were very small but I was moving forward, I was making progress. Baby steps. One step at a time. Keeping the picture of a child in mind – just because the baby falls doesn't mean he/she won’t walk anymore. Anytime I would fall (get out of my routines), I would pick myself back up and keep moving forward.
  5.    Finally, I rewarded myself for the progress I was making! I decided that I was going to work hard Monday morning through Friday noon. Friday afternoon is my time to rest! That’s my reward. It motivates me and it keeps me going.

I believe that it was because of God’s grace that I found that system. Remember that your Creator is right there with you and He wants you to spend time with him. Make it a part of your routine to spend time with God (whether is at night, if you are a night person; or in the morning, if you are a morning person). Remember what Matthew 6:33 says “But seek his kingdom first and all these things will be given to you as well.” Believe that He will send people/resources your way.

I want to end this devotional by reading John 14:27 “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Make 2016 the year where you find peace and balance in your life – that is my prayer for you. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup

click here for recipe source - photo by yogiclarebear on source page

I love this soup.  And it's got kale in it so that has to count for something, right?  (Or at least balance out the bacon and cream.)  Trust me on this one people - you're gonna love it!!!



  1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
  2. Brown sausage in your soup pot.
  3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
  4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
  5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  6. Add bacon.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  9. Turn to low heat.
  10. Add kale and cream.
  11. Heat through and serve.
  12. Pass out from savory soup happiness!  

Monday, January 25, 2016

January Meeting Recap: Embracing Rest


MOPS 2016 is officially underway, and it was so great to see all our mama friends' beautiful faces after the holiday craziness!  This month we talked more about "Embracing Rest", one of the 3 focuses of this year's theme A Fierce Flourishing.  For many of us moms this may be one of our greatest challenges of the new year.  We know we need to care for ourselves so we can be better moms (& humans) but it is soooo easy to put your needs on the back burner.  Read on for a little mom to mom encouragement about how you can Embrace Rest in this new year.



The lovely Anita shared a devotion with us containing practical strategies we can employ to lessen the feelings of stress and being overwhelmed in our lives and homes.  Because who can embrace rest when you feel like your life is too crazy to relax?  Look for a full post coming soon with Anita's wise advice on how to decrease your stress and increase your joy!




image source
This year MOPS International has supplied us with some awesome video curriculum and this month we were treated to a message from Glennon Doyle Melton, funny/wise/transparent lady and author of the book Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.  Click here to check out her blog called Momastery.

Glennon started out by contrasting the "valley" and "mountaintop" experiences in our lives.  Everyone longs for the mountaintop but in reality, the air is thin at the top of the mountain and we're hanging on trying to not to fall.  The valley is where you find the water; where growth happens.  Glennon shares 3 "Lessons from the Valley" that she has learned over the years:

1)  We need to find what fills us up.
So often women identify themselves by what they DO (mother, wife, etc.) and by WHO they love and serve, but are unable to answer questions like:  What do I love?  What is beauty to me?  What fills my soul and refreshes me?  When do I take time to fill up?  Our families need us to be strong and we must find what fills us up so that we can pour out to & for them.

2)  Be Still.
Glennon describes a lesson she learned about balance in doing yoga.  She learned that balance is actually 2 pressures pushing in at one time and holding something up.  Our goal should not be a life with no pressure, as that's not actually a life at all.  We need the pressure to hold us up, to give our lives meaning.  But we get out of balance when one pressure (community, family, work) is pushing too hard on us.
Sometimes, when life is hard, we just need to be still.  And then do the next right thing.  We may not be able to see the end, so we just do one thing at a time.  Glennon recounts an experience in a hot yoga class where she broke down saying, "I just want to make it through without running out of here."  This same sentiment applies to our relationships and lives.  Life is a hard journey, and pain means we're about to grow.  We just have to stay in the game and keep doing the next right thing, even if it's only one little thing.

3)  Brokenheartedness is transformational.
Whether our hearts are broken for ourselves or for what someone else is experiencing, being broken hearted takes a lot of energy and it counts.  It counts as love.  It transforms people.  We should not feel obliged or allowed to fix someone's pain.  Most often they just need someone to be there and to walk with them through the valley.

Glennon ended with the reminder that love wins.  We can do hard things.  And we belong together.


This month's craft was such a fun idea for a family keepsake!  We made several different types of "celebration plates" - special plates to use on birthdays or other days worthy of a little extra celebrating.  Check back soon for a tutorial post on how to create these fun plates!


Special Guests

Anderson MOPS has long enjoyed a special relationship with New Covenant Church.  As our previous host church, New Covenant has always been a great support to MOPS.  This month the New Covenant school blessed our socks off!  The fantastic high school kids there came and watched ALL of our kids in MOPPETS!!!  We cannot say enough about these polite and caring teenagers!  If you are looking for a church home or a fantastic preschool and/or K - 12th grade program we strongly encourage you to check them out at or by clicking here.

THANK YOU SO MUCH New Covenant School!!! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Bubble Up

This recipe comes recommended by Margaret and looks delish!  

recipe & photo source


  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1 (10.75oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1 (12oz) can refrigerated Grands Jr biscuits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, cheese, Ranch mix, and bacon. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Toss with chicken mixture.

Pour chicken mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

December Meeting PHOTO Recap

Only one week before we kick off MOPS for 2016!!!  Yippee!

In the meantime, here's a photo recap of last month's MOPS meeting.  We enjoyed lots of good food, silly reindeer games, crafts, devo & song, and most importantly, time to celebrate together and enjoy this wonderful tribe of mamas!  Here's hoping that 2016 is our best mothering year ever!!!