Thursday, October 5, 2017

MOPS Kick-Off 2017!

Our 2017-2018 year is off to a phenomenal start! Here are a few highlights:

"Free Indeed" Centerpieces

Meeting Devotional from Sydney H.:

Freedom and motherhood seem like a bit of an oxymoron to me.
   For those of you breastfeeding – enough said.
   Uninterrupted sleep has become far off memory
   Sleeping IN even farther…
   We now share our most private moments in the bathroom with little fingers slipping under the door.
   Sometimes all we seem to do is repeat our self. Then repeat our self again. And again. And again. And again.
   We basically live under house arrest after 7 pm unless we make prior arrangements. Then we have to make arrangements for the arrangements so everyone is alive when we return.
   And the list goes on.
Motherhood, especially in the little years, is one of the most self-sacrificing seasons of life. So then, how can we truly live free indeed during this most precious, and exhausting season?
I thought about King David from the Bible. He spent a lot of years in the pasture with the sheep before he became King of Israel. To me, it was not unlike motherhood! Many of his days were spent in obscurity. Dirty. Tired. Alone. Self-sacrificing – all for the welfare of the smelly little creatures that were entrusted to his care AND for the glory of the God whom he loved.
But, it was in those days of obscurity that God shaped him and prepared him for the great future ahead of him.
One story that tells of God’s work in David’s life is in 1 Samuel 17 -- David and Goliath. You may know how it goes -- David was a boy, a shepherd, and Goliath was a big bully that had been taunting God’s army every day for 40 days. David just happened to be bringing some cheese and snacks to his older brothers who served in the army and he was in the right place at the right time to hear Goliath shouting taunts to God’s people.
The mockery didn’t sit well with David and he had to do something about it. He spoke up, faced some opposition from his jealous brother, but ultimately volunteered to fearlessly take down this tyrant. King Saul opposed his plan, but because of what God had done in David’s heart in those obscure days in the pasture, he was ready for this moment. 1 Samuel 17:32 recounts David’s appeal to Saul.
“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”
But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
I love this story because we don’t just see David as a warrior or David as King. We get to see into the process that God used to shape him.
Because he spent so many days with those sheep out in the pasture, David knew who he was and WHOSE he was. He knew the living God and had seen him come through time and time again.
In other words, God let David practice in the pasture.
He practiced faithfulness.
I believe God, in his mercy, does that for us too. In his loving way, God sometimes puts us in seasons of obscurity or the mundane – not because he’s punishing us or because he’s forgotten about us but because he loves us and is transforming us to be like him. He’s letting us practice. He’s giving us the tools, courage and deeply rooted identity we need to do what he has set out for us to do….to be who he has made us to be and to RAISE the people he has entrusted into our care.
So... where is freedom in this season – this season of motherhood?
Friends, freedom is right in the middle of it. Why? Because Jesus is in it with us.  We are His. And He never leaves us. And where the Spirit of the Lord is...THERE is freedom. We know that whatever he is working out in us will not be wasted and he desires for us to be truly free.
Our job in the midst of the pasture is to turn our eyes and hearts toward the author and perfecter of our faith and BELIEVE Him when he says he loves us and that he has a plan for our lives.
So, maybe you find yourself today somewhere out in the pasture of motherhood.
Are you free there?
If not, what are the areas where you need God to set you free? Is it freedom from
I believe God has ordained you to be here today to hear these words because there is work he wants to do in your heart. He wants you to be free. Truly free.
So, let today be the day that we take a step in the direction of the freedom God has already granted to us. May we say YES to God’s ways, humbling ourselves to whatever process or season he has us in because we know he is working all things together for our good and his glory.
Let us stand firm in the truth and in the Spirit...
And then we will truly live FREE INDEED.

Goodies For the Residents at Calvary Home for Children:

Your generosity toward our first service project gave these children something to smile about!

MOPS on the Town and Mom's Night Out Events:

See you at our next meeting on Thursday, October 12th. Bring a friend!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Introducing the 2017-18 MOPS Admin Team!

Free to Be...The Admin Team

Call them our President, VP, and Secretary of State... but much better-looking. These ladies devote their time and energy to the running of our organization. They don't shy away from the dirty work of getting done what needs to get done to ensure that our moms receive all the benefits that MOPS International has to offer. We are so lucky to have them leading the way to freedom, indeed this year!
Anita W.

Anita Wood

Steering Team Responsibility:  MOPS Coordinator
Ages of Children: 2 girls ages 6 & 4
I feel free when I... Focus on MY mission in life instead of the mission God has given other people.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Creating new friendships and strengthening the ones I currently have!

Elizabeth Kunkel

Steering Team Responsibility: Treasurer and Record-Keeper
Ages of Children: A 3 y.o. boy
Elizabeth K.
I feel free when I... Can get outside and enjoy God's beautiful creation with friends and family!
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Meeting new moms and enjoying time with friends!

Sydney Haskett

Steering Team Responsibility: Fundraising and Steering Team Care
Ages of Children: 2 girls ages 3 & 4
I feel free when I... Get to ride in the car by myself on a cool day with the radio up and windows down.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS:Locking arms with other moms in the trenches as we encourage one another toward God's best for our lives...true freedom!
Sydney H.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Introducing the 2017-18 Moppets Team!

Free to Be...The Moppets Team

Of all the responsibilities taken on by Steering Team, one of the most important is making sure our sweet babies are well-cared for during our meeting times. These four ladies work with our MOPS Kids volunteers, plan fun activities, and allow the rest of us mamas to breathe easy. Read more about them below!

Tamara M.

Tamara Merriwether

Steering Team Responsibility: Moppets Coordinator
Ages of Children: 3 boys (16, 5 & 3) and 1 girl (4)
I feel free when I... Create art of some sort.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: The growth and encouragement MOPS inspires.

Shawna K.

Shawna Kempf

Steering Team Responsibility: Room Manager
Ages of Children: 2 girls ages 3 & 1
I feel free when I... Am in God's creation; walk around holding nothing; share my struggles to a friend; my planner is empty.

What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Friendship and serving others.

Brandi M.

Brandi McAlister

Steering Team Responsibility: Curriculum Manager
Ages of Children: A girl & a boy (4 & 2)
I feel free when I... go barefoot on the beach!

What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Building relationships with other moms and cultivating my relationship with the Lord.

Faith Nesbitt

Faith N.
Steering Team Responsibility: Room Manager
Ages of Children: 1 girl aged 20 months & a baby boy due in December
I feel free when I... Get to go out on my own and take my time!

What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: I'm looking forward to the many friendships this year. As a stay at home mom, and with my child not old enough to be in school yet, my life seems pretty mundane and endless when it comes to chores, diapers, and parenting.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Introducing the 2017-18 Hospitality Team!

Free to Be...The Hospitality Team

When you walk into a MOPS meeting, what makes you feel most welcome? Is it the friendly faces? The smell of food set out on the serving table? The beautiful decorations that let you know that each monthly meeting is a celebration of women and motherhood? All of these things fall under the Hospitality Team's umbrella. In the words of "Beauty and the Beast," these ladies want you to "Be Our Guest"!

Megan Bates

Steering Team Responsibility: Creative Activities Coordinator
Ages of Children: 2 boys (10 & 7) and a girl (4)
I feel free when I... Stop comparing myself to others and just enjoy the little people that I have a hand in raising!
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Building relationships with other mamas! And let's be honest....two kid free hours with food!

Crystal Bryant

Steering Team Responsibility: Giveaways and Service Projects
Ages of Children: A girl (2) & a boy just a few days old!
I feel free when I... Am outside!
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Meeting new moms and helping them get connected! 

Katie Curran

Steering Team Responsibility: Giveaways and Service Projects
Ages of Children: A girl(6)& a boy(3)
I feel free when I... think about the blessed life I have been given.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Sitting at a new table with moms I know, some I don't and building friendships throughout the year with them.

Brittany Kephart

Steering Team Responsibility: Kitchen Manager
Ages of Children: 2 girls (6 & 3)
I feel free when I... Remind myself I'm not in control, God is.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Spending time with my friends and making new friends.

Jessica Heller

Steering Team Responsibility: Kitchen Assistant
Ages of Children: 6 children- 4 y.o. twins, 13, 14, 15, 19
I feel free when I... I am doing something adventurous! And when I truly allow my yes to be yes and my no be no!
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Growth in all areas, specifically deeper & more authentic friendships. I'll can't wait to  dig deeper to find a honest relationship  with ourselves!  I'm looking forward to seeing all of us Moms shed some layers this year and to walk more confidently as woman, mothers and daughters of Christ. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Introducing the 2017-18 Outreach Team!

Free to Be...The Outreach Team

You can think of the Outreach Team as MOPS ambassadors, spreading the good news about our organization with the community, organizing events in the community, and reaching out to individual members through our DGLs (Discussion Group Leaders). Because their job is to reach out, they always have open arms- let them know if there's anything they can do for you!

Margaret B.

Margaret Berry

Steering Team Responsibility: Member Retention, DGL Coordinator, and Newsletter-putter-together
Ages of Children: 3 boys (9, 7, & 4)
I feel free when I... Spend some time praying while walking outside!
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Meeting new friends!

Jenny Pray

Jenny P.
Steering Team Responsibility: Moms Night Out and MOPS on the Town scheduling, Publicity & Social Media
Ages of Children: 3 girls ages almost 7, 4, & 2
I feel free when I... Drive somewhere by myself with the windows down and the radio loud.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Being part of a table group and hearing some awesome speakers!

Emily Walker

Emily W.
Steering Team Responsibility: Meals for Moms Coordinator
Ages of Children: 6, 4, 2, and due in November! (Girl, girl, boy, girl)
I feel free when I... sit down for a few minutes with a good book.
What I'm most looking forward to about MOPS: Continuing relationships I already have and meeting new moms!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Two Weeks Until MOPS!

If you still need to register, visit our "Register for MOPS" or "New to MOPS?" pages. Hope to see you on the 14th!

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. 


  • 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.


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!


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