Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Be CHRISTmas Bravely!

The Christmas Lesson
by: Cheryl Nydam

Objective: to "Be CHRISTmas Bravely" this year
Materials Needed: a Bible, a listening heart, time
Assignment: to study the people of the 1st Christmas Story

Herod: Represents the deceiver in the story. Our culture deceives us into believing that Christmas is about shopping.
Response: Simplify! You don't have to wait in long lines. It's okay to pay a bit more to gain time with your family! Store bought cookies are okay!
Idea: Keep it simple by buying a different Christmas wrapping paper for each member of the family! 

Caesar Augustus: Represents the circumstances that are beyond our control that bring us to Him. The census was beyond Mary & Joseph's control. 
Response: The unexpected will come up. Look for God's plan in the midst of the unexpected. 
Idea: Keep a Christmas journal that you write in every year. 

Magi/Wisemen: They were men on a mission! They followed the star, found Jesus, and presented gifts to Him! 
Response: Give to others. 
Ideas: Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Participate in the "Angel Tree" ministry by buying a gift for a child who's parent is incarcerated. 
Question: What will be your mission?

Joseph: Represents waiting and anticipating Jesus!
Response: Prepare your heart for Christmas! Anticipate Him! 
Ideas: Watch "The Nativity Story" as a family, read Christmas books with your children (The 25 Days of Christmas)

Angels: Represents peace through God's son, Jesus! The closer it gets to Christmas, the more frantic people become. When you're too busy, you do not experience peace. 
Question: Where will you look for peace? 
Idea: Play Christmas music & turn off all the lights in the house except for the ones on your Christmas tree! 

Shepherds: They spread the word of Jesus' birth. They glorified Him, and told everyone they came in contact with about Jesus.
Ideas: Have a birthday party for Jesus with the neighbors. Share the Christmas story or a Christmas movie about the birth of Jesus.
Question: Who can you share Him with? 

Innkeeper: Represents making room for Jesus!
Question: Where is He is your Christmas celebration? 

Mary: Represents a BRAVE mom who pondered and treasured the events of Jesus' life.
Response: Tuck away special moments in your heart. It's not about the gifts, it's about the people.
Question: What traditions would you like to start in your family?

Jesus: Represents the center! All eyes were on Him!
Response: He is the reason for the season. Don't put Him "away" after Christmas. Let him be your focus everyday & all year long! 

Scripture Refernces: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12, John 16:33

Friday, December 5, 2014

Decemeber Mom of the Month!

Our December Mom of the Month is...

Johanna R.

1.) Who's in your family? 

My husband Matthew, daughter Evelynn (3 1/2 Years), daughter Hannah (15 months), and our dog Pumpkin :)

2.) What's your favorite thing about MOPS? 

This may sound bad, but I just love being able to spend some time away from the kiddos to talk with other adults! Haha! I love them, but I need some uninterrupted adult interaction sometimes, and its been fun getting to know other moms.

3.) What is your favorite Christmas tradition(s)? 

Its so hard to pick one Christmas tradition! I must say though that since having children the holidays have become just as magical as they were when I was young. Its like reliving my childhood through my kids.

4.) What is your favorite Christmas memory from your childhood? 

One of my favorite childhood memories would have to be decorating the Christmas tree. I come from a family of 10 so pretty much doing anything was a BIG deal. We would warm hot chocolate and apple cider. Pop some popcorn. Turn on Christmas music. Then we would unwrap all the ornaments. I always had my favorite ornament to hang. A porcelain dancing figurine with a bright holiday outfit.

5.) If you had a day to yourself, what would you do? 

Sleep in as late as possible! Grab a warm cup of tea and a baked good from my favorite bakery for breakfast, then go shopping. Walking around the stores and browsing as slowly as I want, only leaving with 1 or 2 things I need. Then in the evening I would turn on a movie or maybe a TV show (Downton Abbey) and get out my yarn and needles to relax.

6.) What is one piece of advice that you can offer other moms? 

Instead of a piece of advice, Ill give you a quote that I read that really resonates with me. "Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise."-Andy Stanley

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Being Brave...To Become the Mom You'd Always Hoped You'd Be

As our speaker this week took the stage, she casually removed her wedge booties, able to move about the stage freely. A few sentences in, she removed her blazer and confessed it was from Forever21. She's 53 and shops at Forever21; can I be her when I grow up?

But jackets bought at trendy mall stores and the coolness of removing her shoes on stage were soon overshadowed by Rhonda Stoppe's obvious gift for speaking. With passion and faith, she didn't just give a talk, she gave a sermon.

She began by reminding us of the importance of our work as mothers: we are architects of the next generation. Our children are our mission field. What we do, and how we do it, will change the world. Will we remember that our children are the thing we are here for? Or will we get caught up in the nonsense that the world tells us we need in order to be a good mom?

The fear set in here. With panic, I wonder if I've been preparing for my role in my children's lives. Or if instead I've been caught up in other things, reacting instead of having a plan. Why have I not studied more when I felt I was lacking, or sought guidance when I didn't know what to do? Instead, I let the night come, and another rushed morning go by, and my life is now a series of nonsensical sound bites.

 I am not alone.

We say in unison, and maybe some of us believe it.

I admit, sometimes I feel alone. The reality is that motherhood is a breeding ground for isolation. Or at least it is in our culture. But in the Church, it just should not be.

I am not alone.

We say it again, and I think we begin to see the truth in it.

Did you feel alone when you were struggling to get out the door for MOPS? When your 2 year old refused her breakfast, or your baby spit up all over the only clean and presentable outfit you could find in your closet? Did you feel alone when your husband asked you to make his coffee and you felt like you could just explode if one more person demanded one more thing from you?

The truth is, we all feel this way. And you are not alone. I am not alone.

Not only do we have friends (you really do!) who are ready and aching to help, but we serve and love a God who is full of grace and power, and He longs to help us when we feel like we're on the battlefield facing a giant.

He is there. He is with us.

I know this, don't I? Why don't I often feel the truth of it?

Because motherhood can isolate us, drain us of our rest, mess with our minds, and break down even the strongest of relationships bit by bit.... If we allow it. Or we can claim he truth.

I am not alone.

And instead of believing the lie that you are without help and without hope, call out for it. Find your brave and call a friend. Pray to the One who has the strength when you do not.

I am at a place in my life where I feel very alone. I feel lost, and I'm not sure how to navigate the terrain before me. It's a scary place to stand, especially when you have little eyes (and future mothers) looking at you, waiting for you to guide them. Waiting to see what you do.

And with each passing day, I only seem to tally more failures than successes, and discouragement threatens to take me down to that dreaded place and a trip to the doctor for a Zoloft prescription.

And then I go to MOPS during Thanksgiving week, feeling stressed by my dirty bathrooms, but ready to forget that life isn't super cool right now for just these two hours.

And God brings a speaker (preacher) like Rhonda, who makes you want to fall in love with Jesus, because He is our help. Our love for Him transcends our list of fails and wins we have tallied in our heads, and He offers us grace, and the power to offer grace to our children.

As you head into the holidays, I wish you overflowing love, buckets of grace, and big moments of brave.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and corageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Monday, November 17, 2014

Be You, Bravely, Because You Are FREE!

Lili sharing her testimony

Our very own, Lili, bravely gave her testimony this past Tuesday at MOPS. She got up before her peers and talked about who she used to be, and how Jesus took the broken pieces and completely transformed her. As she hashed over the painful choices of her past, she boldly debunked the lies she once believed and beautifully claimed the truth in scripture. You could’ve heard a pin drop while she was talking. There was only the sound of quiet sobs while truth was proclaimed. Lili stated, “That was my past. I don’t live there anymore.”

How freeing.

I recently listened to a great talk by Jenny Allen. She’s a Bible teacher and author who loves Jesus & has a heart for women. During her talk, she showed a picture of a group of women she ministers to in a maximum-security prison. Here they are singing to Jesus. 

Here’s what Jenny had to say about them:

“Honestly, let me just tell you, they are more free than most people I meet in churches…Let me just say what’s so powerful about this and why they feel so free.

It’s because they’ve been caught.

There’s no pretending. They have nothing left to prove. Nothing left to earn. Nothing left to protect. They long for heaven, because as far as they know they may never get out of this place until Jesus. They love Jesus. They know what forgiveness is. They know what it means to be saved. And here’s they thing, guys. I think sometimes we just need our heads lifted to go, ‘You know what? I am broken. I am messed up. I need help. I need God.’

It feels so vulnerable, and then you say it and the other person says, ‘Me too!’ And then, all of a sudden there’s a freedom that comes…There’s something about being caught. It’s like, ‘Yep! Messed up, need God.” (From Momcon - "Be You, Bravely  - Because you are His http://new.livestream.com/LouisvilleLive/events/3394960/videos/63824366 - at 1:27:25)" 

After Lili’s talk, the room buzzed with conversation. One of the gals at my table said that Lili was so brave - SO BRAVE – that she just wanted to give her a hug. I agree.

Within 30 minutes of testimony, Lili reminded us of the freedom we have in Jesus. We were reminded to breathe in His grace and let go of the former things that have held us captive. We were reminded that we could break the chains of our pasts.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

I loved how Lili encouraged each of us, whether we have an “exciting” or “boring” testimony, Jesus can use it all. 

I want to be like Lili – open, brave, and free. We have an amazing theme at MOPS this year. I hope each of us can be brave in our own ways. I’m hoping we can be brave with each other and hear that “me too.” I hope we remember how recklessly our Jesus loves us. Look at how He pursued Lili! May we not only say, "That was my past, I don't live there anymore," but boldly live it out. And, because of His love, His forgiveness, and His mercy, we can shine in a dark world. We can be brave because we are His. 

Pssst...Watch this:

Love, Jenn 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mentor Moment #1 - Chayote Squash - By Carolyn S.

Our first Mentor Moment is brought to you by Carolyn! She has a wonderful recipe to share with us that was passed down by her Grandma! Thank you, Carolyn, for giving us something special to add to our recipe boxes! 

Chayote Squash


3 Chayote Squash yields 6 servings
1/2 pkg 8oz chopped ham
1/4 lb ground turkey or beef(your choice)
1 lb raw shrimp peeled (small)
All fresh seasonings should be chopped as small as possible.
1/2 stalk celery
1/2 green bell pepper (small)
1/2 yellow onion (small)
1 stalk green onion
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 tablespoons garlic powder
4 whole dried bay leaves
Italian breadcrumbs


Boil chayote squash until tender, about an hour or more. Check for tenderness by sticking a fork in largest end of squash.

While squash is boiling prepare other ingredients. Chop all seasonings and place in bowl. You may add dry seasonings to fresh, as all seasonings will be added at same time. Put aside until later.

Rinse off ham
Peel and clean raw shrimp
Separate amt of ground meat to use
Put aside in separate containers

When squash is tender, pour off hot water and add cold water until cool enough to handle.
Take each squash in hand and slice down middle beginning at the largest end placing the knife between the largest end that looks like lips. Slice in half. With a tablespoon scoop insides of shell carefully cleaning out as much as you can without tearing the outer shell, as you will use shell again later. Continue this process until all shells are cleaned out. Line up cleaned shells in pan to bake in after stuffing complete.

Put all cleaned out squash in large skillet. Allow to fry. Do not add oil of any kind. You will fry squash until most of the water is absorbed. Add chopped ham and ground meat to mixture. Allow to cook for 2 min stirring often. Add all seasonings to mixture. Allow mixture to cook for 3 minutes stirring often. Add shrimp allow to cook for 1 min. Add breadcrumbs to mixture as it may have more water added from shrimp. Add breadcrumbs to dry mixture a little. Do not dry too much, but you don't want it running either. Taste for salt and pepper to see if you want to add more.
When squash cooking is complete using the same tablespoon used to clean out shells, restuff shells with squash dressing. Stuff to your liking. Place stuffed shells in pan sprinkle top with breadcrumbs.
Bake in oven uncovered at 375 degrees until top is brown.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Mom of the Month!

Our November M.O.M (Mom of the Month) is...

Stephanie E.

1.) Who's in your family?
I feel fortunate to be married to my best friend Scott who is a very kind and soft spirit. We have Allison who is 9 (my bonus daughter),  Jillian who is 3 and Benjamin who is 1.5.

2.) What's your favorite things about MOPS?
My favorite things about mops are the swap and shop, & definitely breakfast and play dates.

3.) What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish & favorite Thanksgiving memory?
My favorite TG dish is a toss up between mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. My favorite TG memory is always going to my great aunt Doris' house and seeing cousins that I would only get to see on this holiday.

4.) Describe a fun childhood memory.
My best childhood memory was traveling to Costa Rica when I was 9 and seeing monkeys and toucans.

5.) What advice or encouragement can you offer the moms in our group?
When you feel alone in the middle of the night with a crying baby or sick child, there is most likely one of us awake too. You are not alone! It will pass. Also, I think reading to your child as much as possible, even when you are so tired or tired of the same book, is one of the best gifts you can give to them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Be Brave To Be... Mama Bear

Becoming a mother is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me.

It's also the scariest thing that's ever happened to me. Kids change you, challenge you, and bring out the worst and the best of you.

They also bring you into another level of awareness, don't they? You don't know fear until you have a sick baby, a hurt child, a child that ran around the corner and out of sight at the grocery store. Longest two minutes of your life.

"...For God has not given us a spirit of Fear; but of Power, and of Love, and of a sound mind."

Remembering that verse quite often, I choose not to parent out of fear. I don't want to live that way, and I don't want my children to live in fear of what "might" happen.

But fear doesn't have to be our motive when we choose to be aware of our surroundings and keep our children and ourselves safe.

And the speakers at our MOPS meeting brought just that message yesterday.

Here's what I gleaned from our meeting with John and Tami Popke.

1. Be Mama (Grizzly) Bear! Being our child's protectors and advocates may often mean getting fierce. When it comes to keeping our family safe, being polite may have to take a back seat. I know for me, I want everyone to feel good around me and I try to take people at their word. But trust your gut. And if you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, show that you are confident and not afraid to fight for your children and yourself.

2. Be aware! Maybe you don't really need to go to Target after dark. Or heaven forbid, WinCo. (I know you all have done it!) Putting the kids to bed and going shopping by ourselves is one of our mommy-luxuries, isn't it? But maybe a better solution is getting a sitter and shopping with your man on date night. Or call a mom friend (or two!) and go together. And when you do find yourself in a dim parking lot with shady characters lurking about, be aware of your surroundings. Choose not to be, or behave like, a victim. Choose to wait a minute to leave the store if you see someone hanging around your car. (Char's Tip: You might ask mall or store security for an escort to your car! That's what they are there for, utilize them!)

3. Be prepared! The Popkes suggested some ways we can be prepared in case we end up in a vulnerable situation. First, keep your car ready for an emergency, or in the event you must leave the car behind. Pack a "ready bag" for you and your children. Keep extra food, water, and first aid items. Put an extra pair of walking shoes in your car as well. Keep your gas tank full.

Another way you can be prepared is to either keep a weapon or pepper spray-- either on your person or in your car. The Popke's suggested a stun gun, a knife, or a high beam flashlight, all of which can be purchased online. But don't rely only on these items! Remember, you are fierce, and anything can be used as a weapon. Be aware of what you have on hand that you could use against an attacker. You may also consider taking a self-defense class.

After this meeting, I realized I was lacking. I'm not prepared. I'm not always aware. I may have already put myself and my children in compromising situations.

In spite of that realization, I didn't leave feeling fearful; I left feeling empowered. Being brave doesn't mean sitting back and accepting that bad things happen--it means recognizing that bad things WILL happen, and being ready for them.

As mothers, I'm sure we all wish we could protect our precious littles from every evil in this world. But ladies, evil abounds. It's here, and we are not exempt from it, and neither are our children.  But instead of allowing this to worry us, keeping us up at night, thinking of worst case scenarios... Let's stand up tall, throw our shoulders back, and be the mama-bears God made us to be.

Don't be afraid, be aware. Don't be a victim, be a fighter. Don't just be a bear, be a Grizzly.

Monday, October 27, 2014

It Works for Me - Michele's Table

The Black Table was full of great ideas on Tuesday! Thank you, ladies, for all of your fun tips and mommy tricks! It was so enjoyable to listen to each of you speak! What a fun group you are!

Michele F. - She saves the kiddie Jamba Juice cups, and is on the look-out for coupons and deals! Jamba Juice has a "Buy 1, Get 1 FREE" deal sometimes. She'll get 2 larges, and divide them between the Jamba Juice cups! She's spent as little as $8 for her family of 6! That's a fun treat at a reasonable price!

Karen P. - "Ding Dong Doughnuts" - When her kids are in a cranky mood, she takes the opportunity to get them thinking about others. She has the kids think of someone they'd like to bless with doughnuts, or a gift basket full of goodies. They take it to their house, ring the doorbell, and watch the fun reaction! It always puts the kids in a great mood!

Loni D. - She prepares a 2 week meal plan! She gathers recipes, and gets 2 weeks worth of groceries at a time. It makes dinner time much easier!

Linnea T. - Her kids like movies, and she found a great way to organize DVD and save space with Discsox. You can find them on Amazon.com or the Container Store.

Sophia S. - Poo-pouri...Kinda self-explanatory! :-)

Lili L. - (1) Easy hair-do that saves time: Part your hair into 2 sections, twist them, and use a banana clip to secure it into place. Go about your day, and when it dries, you get beautiful curly waves. (2) Long trip = Pull-Ups for all the kiddos!

Regina B. - (1) Buckling her kids into their carseats was taking up too much time. She has her girls race to see who can buckle in first. She no longer has to buckle them in, and they get on the road quickly! (2) She doesn't like handling meat, but her family loves meatloaf. She has her girls mix all the ingredients together as one of their chores.

Joy S. - She prepares the night before for the day ahead of her (ie. lays out clothing, makes lunches, ect.) This makes allowances for the unexpected events....like chasing chickens on the loose! ;-)

Corrine C. - Her family loves visiting multiple pumpkin patches each fall. They end up with lots of pumpkins. Instead of keeping them all, she has the kids pass them out to people who might not go out and buy pumpkins (ie. elderly or young singles who live by themselves).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I AM MOM! By Megan Ostlind

Jenny Dean Schmidt hit the nail on the head when she said media and society have put a lot of "false lights" in the spotlight. The image of motherhood has gone from one of significance to an image of boring and useless. Well, I and Jenny Dean Schmidt vehemently disagree. As Jenny said, society is so blinded by who they hold in roles of importance that they miss the significance of mothers raising the next generation. The real issue is not that society is like this, but that moms look for their self-worth through society and the media.

As a mom who most of my interaction with the outside world is achieved via internet, I know how easy and heartbreaking it is to get caught up in what I "should" be. I SHOULD be a size 2. I SHOULD be a working mom. I SHOULD go back to school. But I'm not any of those things because they don't work for me. Then I thought, who's picture would I be fitting into if I did all these things? If I had done what society says to do when you find out about a surprise pregnancy at 19, I would not be a mother. Society says that motherhood isn't worth it at 19, that there's no way I'd be a good mother. Well, I'm glad my God is bigger than society, and I'm glad he instilled a desire for mothering in me when I was young. So, when most 19 year olds think an unplanned baby is a travesty, I knew she was a blessing. (...children are a gift from the Lord... Psalm 127:3)
Motherhood is not the good for nothing job society makes it out to be. No, God made women to bear and raise children for a reason. Nothing society says or does can negate that. I especially loved how Jenny put it: "the world would fall apart without moms!" How true is that?! What we do as moms is so significant and so worthwhile.

Our God, the Creator of the universe, the Maker of all things good, made you a mom. He knew what He was doing when He gave you your child(ren). Regardless of what society says, I believe God thinks our jobs are so very important. He chose us, He entrusted us with the future.

"...see, I have you inscribed on the palms of My hands..." Isaiah 49:16. THAT'S how important you are and that's where you find your self-worth.

I want to thank all you lovely ladies for taking the time to read my very first blog post! I was so nervous for a week about this and I want to thank you for letting me open my heart to you. For those of you who don't know me, I'm (I think) the youngest mom in MOPS. I'm a whopping 21 years old, married to my best friend, Ben, and mother to our beautiful 16 month old, Catalia (ask me about the name in person if you're interested). I've lived in Modesto and attended BVG for about two and a half years. My interests include writing, instagram, and Batman. I also love to read but I can't even find the time to read my emails! Anyway, I might not have many years on me, but I do have quite a few ridiculous life experiences. I'm an open book and I love to chat!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Mom of the Month (M.O.M.) - Renee R.

M.O.M. (Mom of the Month) - October

Renee R.

1. Who's in your family?

My family consists of my husband, Seth (my high school sweetheart). We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary in June. I love doing life with him. We have 2 daughters. Haley will be 3 in November and Samantha is 2 1/2 months old.

2.) What is your favorite thing about MOPS?

I love how I always leave encouraged and inspired. I love the speakers that come and it is SO nice to be surrounded by a room full of moms who I can relate to because we are all at the same place in life. Raising little ones.

3.) What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?

Ha! Well, I attended a very conservative church school. Every Halloween they held a "Fall Gathering" but costumes were NOT allowed.Sooooo.... (shock alert) I never went Trick or Treating. 

4.) Describe your dream vacation.

A trip to Italy with my husband. No kids. :) I'd love to be tucked in a villa for a week or two eating lots of Italian food. Doesn't this picture look dreamy?

5.) What is your favorite sweet treat?

Ugh....I have to narrow it down to one? I love Boysenberry pie. It MUST be warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream.

6.) What advice or encouragement can you offer the moms in our group?

Have grace. Grace for other moms (I have NOT mastered this....work in progress). It is easy to cast judgement on the mom who is in Target with the toddler who is throwing a tantrum. It is easy to think, "Wow. She needs to discipline those kids". As moms, we all have good and bad days. Treat others as we would want to be treated. Maybe offer a word of encouragement to her. I have been the recipient of cards that have said, "You are a GREAT mom, keep up the good work". I have saved them and re~read them over and over. Oh how those words have blessed me. Let's encourage one another and have GrAcE.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Being Brave: Honesty

It takes bravery to be honest, to tell the truth to ourselves and to others. The video by Shauna Niequist at our meeting yesterday was probably the most honest part of my week. I sat with tears brimming, nodding frequently, because yes. Just yes.

So often I tell myself lies: I can do it all, I don't need help, I'm alone in this. And I'm not doing myself any favors by fibbing my way through the day.

Not only that, I'm not allowing my husband or my friends the opportunity to a.) really know me, or b.) show me how much they love me.

You may have already guessed this, but I have a problem asking for help. Help me. I am frequently dishonest when it comes to my limits, my desires, and my needs. The trick is that if you tell yourself the lie often enough, you come to believe it, and you won't be tempted to let someone else into the carefully orchestrated tornado that is your life.

Did you ever see the movie One Fine Day, with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney? So funny. Anyway, there's a scene I think about sometimes when my day gets really crazy and I get a glimpse of how control-freaky I'm being: There's an argument between the two characters about her juggling all the balls, and how she doesn't trust anyone with her balls, and why should she let any of them go?

It's funny, if you haven't seen it, it's pretty great.

But anyway, the chick is totally coming unhinged because she's being forced to let someone else help her. She can't do it all, but she also can't trust another human with her weakness.

I often feel like that woman with all my balls in the air, my life precariously "perfect," pushing away the helpers, dishonest about how tired I am, and how lonely I am... And what happens when I get bumped or pushed and it all goes awry?

Well, it's not pretty.

Funny story, as I contemplated this blog post and went about my way of juggling and pleasing others and meeting every one's needs as best I could, a night went by, and I woke up to a swell of nausea and vertigo. I lay in bed, looking up at my ceiling fan, and decided I could do this. I may have the flu, or it could be a migraine, but I would try to push past it. (Isn't that what moms do?) There were lunches to be made, and bags to be packed, and kids to be woken, and...

Nope. I got up, and then crawled right back onto the bed, helplessly patting my husband to take over for me.

It's scary to ask for help. I don't do it unless I'm forced to. This morning I was forced, and it's still scary.

The "what it's" threaten to overwhelm us: What if he says no? What if he thinks I'm weak? What if I am weak? What if things don't get done? What if things get done wrong? What if, what if, what if...

What if, instead, we honestly admit we can't, and trust someone we love? What of we embrace help, embrace human imperfection, embrace our own weakness? What if we trust another person to show up for us and we aren't disappointed? And so what if we are??

Well this morning, I trusted my husband to show up, and he did. There was no guilt, there was no shame. He doesn't do things my way, he does them his way, and that's OK. The girls get a special daddy-made lunch, and I get a little break, even if I do feel like I'm dying.

I only wish this business of being honest wasn't so risky, or so hard, or so impossible.

I wish I could ask for help before I collapse from a case of the do-it-all's.

So let's check it, ladies. We're women -- human, imperfect, prone to weakness human beings. We may be really awesome, and brave, and strong too. But let's take our bravery to the next level and be truthful about when we need a helping hand, or a break, or when we just need a friend to come over for a "play-date," which is really secret code for "I really need a friend right now, please come talk to me about grown-up things, and bring your big words, please."

Because you know that's the truth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It Works for Me - Yesnia's Table

Yesenia J - To avoid using yucky restrooms at the park, bring a portable potty and a few diapers - size 6. Put the diapers inside the potty. After the child uses the potty, wrap up the diaper & throw it away!

Kelly D- Gives her daughter 2 outfits to choose from every morning. She gets to make the choice of what she wants to wear without a battle.

Dana M - Daughter doesn't like to wear socks. Dana buys solid colored socks and turns them inside out. The seams are on the outside where they can't "poke" her feet!

Amanda B & Amy D - Great minds think alike! Amanda & Amy buy the pouches of rotisserie chicken at Costco! It's great for putting together quick dinners  - such as enchiladas, soups, ect.

Carolyn S - Every parent needs a break! Carolyn and her siblings would take turns watching each others children on the weekends. Each couple would get a night or weekend to themselves!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mom of the Month: September 2014

M.O.M. (Mom of the Month) - September
DeAndra T.

1.) Who is in your family?

My family consists of my husband Matthew, our son Jesse (6), our daughter Gia (4), and half of our time we have our part-time kids (nephews) Jayden and Lawrence.

2.) What is your favorite childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memory is from my junior high years. I would lay in bed with my sister Payton who is two years younger than me and tell her all my "super cool" stories from school.

3.) What is your favorite thing about MOPS?

My favorite thing about MOPS is the weird cheesy potato thing that someone ALWAYS brings. There are mornings when I am too tired to function and wanted to skip MOPS, but those cheesy potato things got me out of bed.

4.) If you had a day to yourself, what would you do?

If I had a day to myself, honestly, I would eat junk food and mindlessly watch tv until I was so full that I'm on the brink of exploding and then call my grandpa to hang out with me.

5.) What is your favorite caffeinated beverage?

My favorite caffeinated beverage is some organic coffee from Trader Joes that habitually resides in my cabinets, mixed with chocolate almond milk...but it has to be delivered to me in bed... by my husband, before I can get out of bed.... oh! And I it can't be after I've begged him for 30 minutes to bring it to me.

6.) What is one piece of advice that you would share with other moms?

The best advice I could ever give to any mom sounds cliche, but I am being 100% sincere... is to live by Proverbs 3:6--Seek His will in all you do and He will direct your paths... I have learned that all I have to do is ask, listen, and be willing to obey. The Lord will provide more than enough wisdom to live a life that is blessed beyond measure!