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 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 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 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.