The Christmas songs are swirling around in my head, on endless repeat. My kids are coming up to me again and again, telling me they have a secret, then yelling "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!" in my ear. (The lovely darlings.) The lists are steady. The pressure is on. Sometimes I really wonder about this whole peace on earth thing. I can't seem to even create peace in my house. Sometimes even in my heart.
This Christmas season I've been trimming our gift list and being willing to say "no" occasionally and making food that may not look entirely like the pictures on Pinterest. And I'm okay with that. Because something else I've noticed is that I've had more time to spend with my kids and my heart is delighting in them more than it has in months. Something that I am learning is that the only thing my kids need more of from me is....well, me. Me and my time to invest in them and their faith. And an added benefit...it creates a very real sense of peace in our home.
I wonder how all of you are handling Christmas this year? Would love to hear from you in the comment section as to what you is encouraging you or what you're struggling with. Is anyone else avoiding Wal-mart entirely? Is anyone else remembering Barb Kelley's advice about Santa? (which is mostly to say that the issue is not as important as how we handle others when discussing the issue)
We had our MOPS steering team Christmas party the other night, so here are some pictures to share with all of you. Such great women, so much laughter and good conversation. Thanks Barb Kelley for capturing it all.
So I thought a good way to mentally prepare for our meeting tomorrow is to have a refresher on our meeting from 2 weeks ago. If you weren't at MOPS last time, first of all...we missed you and hope you make back tomorrow. Second of all, you missed a great meeting. 2 weeks ago was our marriage panel and honestly, I was just scrambling to write so much of that good stuff down. So I'm sure I didn't get it all and would love for your to add on to my notes in the comments section if you were there taking notes too. But at the very least, here are some key points from our awesome mentors.
- We talked about Ephesians 5:21, which reads "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". When we simply say "Make your marriage like that of the relationship between the church and Christ", we can easily feel burdened. Let's try to focus more on using this passage to get a picture of what marriage should be like.
-God purposed for marriage to be different and set apart...the MOST important earthly relationship we have.
- Speak appreciation to your spouse! Affirmation is wildly contagious. If you spread it around your family, it will come back to you, even from your children. Also, if you need affirmation from your husband, come out and just tell him what you need. It still counts, even if you had to ask him for it.
- We often spend time with our friends, discussing marriage and developing ideas of what a "good" husband is and does. Then we go home and expect our husband to meet those expectations, without even discussing it with him. (In my opinion, this is sort of like trapping our husbands with our expectations. How would we feel if they did the same thing after spending time with other guys?)
- Speaking of expectations...if he wasn't doing it before marriage, he likely won't be doing it after marriage. (personal note: On my wedding day, an older woman approached me and said, "Here is some advice: Lower your expectations." Inwardly I balked and thought it was such a harsh thing to say on a wedding day, but now looking back, I see she was just trying to help me in an area that is a common pitfall for women.)
- It's hard for a guy to lead if no one is following. So think it through...what does it look like to follow and support your husband?
- If you want to pray more with your husbands, start with "How can I pray for you?" Then later, try asking him to pray for you regarding something specific. Then a little later (build up to this), ask him if he will pray together with you about something. This gives him a time frame and an objective. Afterwards, thank him and say "I'd love it if we did this more."
- Regarding discipline issues, sometimes it may work best for just 1 parent to handle a child's conflict. Hard for one to jump in when the other is already handling it. Stay a team and stay on the same page. Agree that you won't let the kids play you off of each other. The idea is, "Your dad and I are one. If you've said it to one, you've said it to both."
- People like to act like pornography is just a normal part of a man's life. But it's not normal and it's not okay. Gently ask your husband about it and help him to be open. There is a website (www.covenanteyes.com) where men can sign up to hold each other accountable for what they're viewing online. Also, for those of us who are raising boys, one way to handle this issue is to make them aware of human trafficking so that they will see from the start that pornography is not a matter of entertainment. These women may very well be victims, enslaved for someone else's profit.
- Marriage has everything to do with obedience and will, not simply feelings.
- "Let's talk about sex, baby"....we often think that sex will get better after the kids are grown. It won't get better unless you are working on it now.
So there you have it. Lots of great things to mull over and think about and as you feel led, apply. Not to make this into a marriage to-do list, burdensome kind of thing. The one thing that kept getting repeated was "What worked for my marriage may not work for your marriage." Giving attention to our marriage is going to look different in each situation. The important thing is that we're putting effort into it and not just assuming that it'll carry itself through this difficult phase of life. I'm in my early thirties now (shhh...) and my body does not stay tone unless I exercise it and work it hard. Same with marriage, which is obvious if you look around and read statistics.
None of us are perfect. Our marriages are the same. If you're looking around thinking that the rest of us have got it all together, then please be assured, none of us do. But the least we can do is encourage each other. That's what MOPS is all about.
Hope to see you tomorrow!
So first I just want to mention that I'm so glad that you're in our MOPS group...you, yes, you...the one reading this. The one who just sat down at the computer, feeling tired, maybe a bit dazed, wondering what to pack your kid for lunch tomorrow, or how many hours of sleep you'll get tonight. Feeling the pull to get things done, even at this time of night, and yet wishing you could just relax on the couch. (Here's hoping you get the latter). For the record, I really love all the new faces I'm seeing at MOPS. It's just plain awesome. I'm thankful for each one of you.
So this past MOPS meeting, we started talking about marriage. As much as we want to support each other as fellow moms, we also want to support each other as fellow wives. I'm sure with the variety of women in our MOPS group, we have situations that are spread across the board...from good marriages, to struggling marriages, to mediocre marriages, to single parenting. The good news is that we can all learn from each other and no matter where you're coming from, there's someone else who likely needs the perspective that only you can give. That's the beauty of being real and genuine with the people around you.
I'd love to hear if anyone has used the craft that we made. If you weren't there, we used Popsicle sticks to create 3 groupings of date ideas. One was date ideas for home, one was for going out, and one was a wish list of 1 or 2 big ideas (like a weekend away). Keep those out where you can see them, if nothing else, as a visual reminder that marriage deserves priority.
We also talked briefly about the 5 love languages. As I mentioned in the meeting, I'd strongly encourage you to explore that more, even if you've done it before and know what your love language is. As seasons of life change, so will our love languages. And knowing your husband's love language can be such a huge help as we seek to strengthen that connection.
If you weren't at the meeting and desire to know more, here is a web-site with tests and tools you can use:
At our next meeting, we'll be hearing from a panel of our mentors regarding marriage. So be thinking of any questions you might have for them.
Also, don't forget that this coming Friday night (Oct 11) is date night at Alliance Bible Fellowship. 5:30-8:30 PM. If you need some time with your man, but can't justify the cost of a sitter, then sign up for free childcare, drop your kids off, and spend 3 uninterrupted hours with him. And lest you feel guilty in any way, my kids always have a blast playing with all the other kids. It's like an evening play-date basically. So its good all around! Here's the web-site where you can sign up, if you haven't yet:
Did I mention its FREE??? Just wanted to be sure you got that part.
So please try to make it to this next meeting. Let's make it a great time of transparent discussion, truth-filled encouragement, and practical ways to help us grow in our marriages.
As it turns out, summer is almost over. If you're like me, it feels like a time warp because I'm pretty sure it just started yesterday. Or maybe all the rain has muddled my brain...
At any rate...the good news is that MOPS is about to begin! Yay! This year we're going to be looking closer at what it looks like for God to take the messiness of our lives and make it beautiful. As moms who often feel stuck in a world of diapers, spit-up, muddy shoes, or worse yet, muddy emotions, we realize there will always be messiness, right? But in the midst of it, we are beautiful to God and He will bring that beauty forth through our lives, if we let Him.
One of the best parts of MOPS is that we come together, no matter how messy our lives feel, and we are instantly met with other moms who can relate. There is always empathy and always support as we seek to encourage each other. And there are also mentors who, being a little ahead of us in the journey, offer much perspective and insight.
Whether this will be your first time or your fifth year, we are so excited that you're coming. And if you really want to get involved in a deeper way and see how the Lord wants to use you, consider joining our MOPS steering team. We are especially seeking a few people to help out with MOPPETS.
Because here's the thing...if you think MOPS is great to attend, you should try being behind the scenes. This is my first year on the MOPS team and there is a whole range of people helping, from "been doing this for years" to "I've only been to MOPS twice". So wherever you're at in your journey, we've got room for you and would love to get to know you better. So let us know if you want to step up and be a part of such a great group of women.
As it stands now, our first meeting is Tuesday, September 3rd. So come on in to Alliance Bible Fellowship at 9:30 AM. We'll have good food and hot coffee waiting for you. Drop off your kids with our amazing MOPPETS care workers. Then sit and relax, as together we seek to understand how God has made (and is still making) ALL things beautiful. I look forward to seeing you there.
Well, it has been a long winter and I can hardly believe that it has been three months since the last time we were able to get together as a MOPS group. It was so good to be with all you ladies on Tuesday. I truly missed being together. This week our steering team brought together the marriage panel that we had originally scheduled for one of our February meetings and I am so glad that they did.
Barb Kelley opened us up with a mentor moment and encouraged us to learn from our marriage panel but not to feel like our marriages need to be just like those that are speaking to us today. Especially if you are struggling with abuse in your marriage. The answer to abuse, either physical or emotional, is not that you need to pray more or to submit more. She asked me to put the Oasis counseling line onto the website so that if you find yourself in an abusive situation that you would know of a place where you would be safe. Oasis is a safe place here in the high country that offers services to women who find themselves in abusive situations.
Oasis (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter)
828-264-1532 (office. M-F 8am-5pm)
828-262-5035 (24 hr Crisis Line)
If you missed us this week, four ladies shared their experience from married life. So much wisdom was shared and I felt encourage and blessed. We also discussed the coming Hope Pregnancy Baby Shower on March 18th. Check in with your group leaders for the list of things that need to happen for the shower and how you can get involved.
As usual I am terrible at taking notes, so if you would, share below in the comments one thing that you took away from this panel. I think that would be great! Thanks!
Looking forward to the sunshine this weekend. Hope that you can get out with your families and soak up some vitamin D!
Its been a long time but we are finally able to start MOPS again (Lord willing and the creek don't rise)!
We will be starting back after a LONG winter hiatus on FEBRUARY 5th from 9:30-12:00pm. Marci Parker will be talking to us about the importance of the words we think and say to ourselves. Should be great!
Roberta has also asked us to bring some things for the Hospitality House: Bottled Barbecue Sauce, Canned Green Beans, and/or some donations to purchase chicken and bread. If you can bring any (or all) of those things, that would be
Look forward to seeing you there!
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas. We are set to start MOPS a little late this year on January 22nd. Bummer.
BUT....the great news is that when we return all of our child care rooms will have brand new carpet!! Won't that be wonderful?!
This week we packed Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes! It was so fun and actually packed 19 boxes. Then that evening a couple Moms went to the warehouse to help process the boxes. Here are some pictures of the fun times they had.
At this weeks meeting Barb Kelly spoke on hospitality. It was a great meeting. She reminded us that while some are more skilled at hospitality than others, that everywhere in the bible being hospitable is commanded. Not that hospitality looks the same worked out in every person but that when we show hospitality it actually produces a picture of the gospel. As we welcome other people into our home we demonstrated how God welcomes us into his home. We followed with a great time of discussion.
Next, Vanessa Smith and Becky Parker showed us some practical ideas for hostess gifts. One was 123 cake, a small cake that can me made with a mug and a microwave and the other was simple ideas to create your own stationary. We were encouraged to make one or both and give them away within the next two weeks.
123 Cake Recipe
One box any flavor cake mix
One box angel food cake mix
3 TBS 123 cake mix
2 TBS water
Mix in a coffee mug. Cook in th microwave
Today we had the pleasure of listening to Laura Barbee share some practical ways to forgive and how when we forgive we live out the gospel.
One of the main points that Laura stressed is that when we live to please God, then we take the focus off of ourselves and put our focus into honoring and pleasing God. When pleasing Him is our goal we will find several of the instances where we need to approach offenses will resolve themselves. She encouraged us to share and reflect on how the gospel is shown and shared in our homes when we forgive. It was a great time of discussion.
Please add December 4th to your calendar. We will be packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child during our meeting and then that evening we will be volunteering in the processing center.