Say Yes to the Life God Has For You

Every year, MOPS International chooses a theme that we base our year upon. The theme for this year is “Say Yes”, and I’ve been reflecting on that and what that looks like in my own life. But, I have to tell you that this idea of saying yes hit me hard a couple of weekends ago. We were at our first Friday night football game of the season. My husband and I were sitting in the stands directly behind the marching band. We were enjoying the game and listening to the band play when I caught a glimpse of my oldest through the crowd. He was leading the band in a fight song, and I felt a sob catch in my throat. How did we get to this point in his life already? It seems like only yesterday that he was climbing into my lap for a bedtime story and now he is driving and leading the band. In that moment, I became so aware that time is moving ever so quickly, and my little boy is becoming a man before my very eyes. How do you prepare your mama heart for that?  As I sat there and felt the heaviness of that moment, and a longing for what has been, I asked myself if I’ve done enough. Have I been intentional enough? Have I spent time doing things with him that actually matter? Have I said “Yes” to the things that are actually important? You see, saying yes has nothing to do with striving or people pleasing, but has everything to do with living the life to which God has called you. He has purpose for each of your days. And it’s found not only in the big, extraordinary moments, but also in the small and in the ordinary.…

Continue ReadingSay Yes to the Life God Has For You

A Summer Manifesto

Dear MOPS & MOMSnext Mama, What a joy it has been to spend a whole year together, learning and growing. We got to meet in person all year long & that is something to celebrate! While that year has come to a close and we're full swing into summer, we are really just beginning - as we come together for our summer playdates and anticipate a new year. As we keep turning towards each other - What if we really believed we were already fully known? That we were intentionally and purposefully created and all of our ways, every part of who we are, is already familiar to God. More than we know Him or about Him, what's really important is that He knows us. We are written on the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12). We can never hide from God. (Hebrews 4:13) What if we knew we were already seen? That God watches over all of our coming and going (Psalm 121:8), seeing all that is good and all that is not good (Proverbs 15:3). He knows our hurts - the places that bleed, the tears we cry - what if we lived knowing that we have always been seen? Yes, us mamas with laundry piled on surfaces, crumbs on the floors, groceries waiting to get picked up, lost library books and forgotten homework assignments just living a whole lot of day in-day out ordinary...SEEN. Do you know the first person in the Bible who gives God a name is a woman and a mother who was abandoned, rejected, outcast. She gave God the name - EL ROI, "the God who sees". What if we knew we were unconditionally loved? That absolutely nothing - no trouble, no hunger, no danger, no threat,…

Continue ReadingA Summer Manifesto

All for the Love of Friendship

I buried my toes deeper in the sand and watched as my son Leo, not quite three, splashed and waded in the lake. He walked up to another boy, probably a few years older, and they started playing together. They played for hours - two boys who had never even seen each other before that day.  “Mom,” Leo said to me, as I buckled him into his carseat and piled our beach gear into the back of our car, “When can I play with my friend again?”  I went home that day and I googled MOPS in Meadville. Ironically, I had been invited to MOPS two years before, by a stranger on the beach. I’d refused the invitation, because I was pretty sure I didn’t need a mom club AND if I’m really honest, I wasn’t sure about making new mom friends. Making friends is hard. But the day I googled MOPS in Meadville, I had watched my three-year-old basically become best friends with a stranger and I let myself actually feel the underlying feelings I kept stuffing down inside.  The loneliness. I wasn’t sure I was worthy of community. I had friends, but they mostly lived far away. Born and raised in New England, I had moved 800 plus miles after I married Ryan. In the last year, we had left the church we had been attending since we got married and the youth ministry we had started and led for five years. We were no longer a part of the only community we belonged to, where we lived. To top it off, in one of the most vulnerable and hardest seasons of my life, one of my closest friends betrayed me. I still wasn’t sure friendship and community was worth it, but the day I googled MOPS in…

Continue ReadingAll for the Love of Friendship

Loving Our Kids Well Continued

Last time, we started talking about what it looks like to love our kids well, and part of loving them well is meeting the needs they have. In her book, A Confident Mom, Simple Ways to Give Your Child What They Need Most, Renee Swope identities several needs all kids have, and one of those needs is to feel known, understood, and completely accepted for who they are. We were reminded of how intentional God was when He created each of our kids and how He gave our kids qualities that are unique just to them. These qualities that make our child unique are to be valued and celebrated, and it’s important to know, understand and accept our kids for who God created them to be. Another need our kids have is to feel loved and pursued. This one is so important. For our kids to go through this life well, they need to believe without a doubt that they are loved. We looked at the Five Love Languages of Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service and were reminded that it is important to be communicating all of these love languages to our children. The reasoning behind this is that it can be difficult to identify the primary love language of our child much before the age of five, but it is also important that our children observe us modeling how to communicate love to others in different ways. This will help them understand how to love others whose love language may be different from their own.  Today, I want to talk about some other needs that our kids have. The first, is that character matters. Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, and is built over time…

Continue ReadingLoving Our Kids Well Continued

Loving Our Kids Well 

If I were to ask you, what it looks like to love your kids well, what would you say? Some of you might say that providing food, clothing, and a safe home shows your kids that you love them. Some of you might say spending quality time together as a family or speaking words of affirmation over your kids are ways you can show them they are loved. Today, I want to talk about some specific areas that we can focus on that will help us love our kids well.  In her book, A Confident Mom, Simple Ways To Give Your Child What They Need Most,  Renee Swope shares different needs that all children have. She offers practical tips on how to meet those needs while also building Godly characteristics within our children. She says, “We can develop the gold of God's character in our children's hearts by offering them the ingredients of encouraging words, God's Word, and an emphasis on character in an environment of acceptance, approval, affirmation, and unconditional love under the conditions of heart connection, belonging, affirmation, listening, quality time, patience, awareness, an accurate portrayal of God's goodness and grace, fun and loving biblical discipline, the power of apology, and forgiveness.” By providing the right ingredients in the right environment under the right conditions, we can love our kids exactly as God has called us. So what are some of these needs that our kids have? One need your child has is to feel known, understood and completely accepted for who he is. We are reminded in the book of Psalm, that each of our children were carefully and uniquely created exactly as God intended.  “For You shaped [my child], inside and out. You knitted [my child] together in my [own] womb long before [he] took [his]…

Continue ReadingLoving Our Kids Well 

Our Men’s Greatest Needs

It’s been over twenty years, but I can still remember so clearly the shock I felt at my husband’s words. “Let’s go down to the beach.” Now, you may be asking yourself what is so shocking about that statement. Let me give you a little background.  Newlyweds for less than a week, my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Myrtle Beach. On this particular day, we left the beach earlier than normal and returned to our rental house. Storms had begun forming all around us and having been struck by lighting already once in my life, I was not eager for a repeat experience. Upon returning to our rental, my husband jumped in the shower, and I turned on the tv just in time to see a local weather alert come across the screen. Several counties in the area were under a tornado warning, and the weather anchor was encouraging people to take cover immediately. Glancing around the mobile home that was home sweet home for us that week, I could feel my panic start to rise. If we were indeed in the path of this storm, I had no idea where we would take cover. We were in the middle of a sea of mobile homes with no basements in which we could take shelter. I called into my husband, who was still in shower, and asked the name of the county in which we staying. His answer confirmed for me that we were one of the counties included in the warning and in the direct path of this storm. Trying to control my now racing heart, I told him we were under a tornado warning and were being encouraged to take cover. His response caught me completely off guard. He suggested we go down to the…

Continue ReadingOur Men’s Greatest Needs

All for the Love of Rest

  • Post category:Community

What makes a mom a good mom? What kind of things do we do for our children - our families - things that we know we should do or want to do because we love our people? Things that another mom looks at and might say, “she is such a good mom.” Examples:  A good mom…feeds her kids nutritious food A good mom…takes her kids out on individual dates regularly A good mom…helps her kids with their homework A good mom…makes sure her kids clothing needs are taken care of A good mom…makes sure her kids get to practices and games and has everything they need to succeed in their sport A good mom…volunteers at her kids school A good mom…plans and hosts a fun birthday party for her birthday kid  The list could go on and on and on. Here’s the deal. Those are all great things and we’re not here to talk down on those things. Some of the things on that list - making sure our kids have the clothes or food they need -are things we should all be doing. Some of the things - hosting a fun birthday party - are optional things. Not all of us are going to be the kind of moms that throw fun birthday parties and that is totally okay. We celebrate the moms that throw amazing parties and confidently know that we do other things for our kids that are just as special and meaningful, even if they are different. Did you notice something about the list we made? Did you notice how all of the things we listed have one thing in common? They are all actions - things that we are doing to show up for our kids and our families and take care of them.  Right…

Continue ReadingAll for the Love of Rest

It’s a New Year & MOPS is back {and why you should go first}

  • Post category:Community

Hey Mama - I'm so glad you found your way to this space & I hope it means I'll get to meet you in person soon. You are welcome here, and MOPS is in full swing as we kick off this new person. Won't you join us? ~ September 1st and the sun shone bright and warm when I walked through those clear glass doors with my three-year-old son in tow. What am I doing? My heart thrummed in my chest. This is stupid. I don’t need a “mom group”.  Mom group. Insert <gag>. Her hair was cut in a cute brown bob that framed her face and she was wearing yellow shorts. Her face was bright and her eyes were warm. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said, as I fumbled my way into the church, “I’m Dez. Let me tell you about MOPS.” Stacy walked me to the classroom for Leo’s age group and Kristin reassured me when I left my kid with people I didn’t know – for the first time ever. “They’re so great back here,” She said. “They will call you if he needs you. He’s going to have fun and make friends! I know it’s hard. Do you want to sit with me?” What am I doing here?  I poured myself coffee and I sat down with a table of women I didn’t know. The morning flew by, I got Leo from his classroom and I went home, feeling more hope in my heart than I had in a long time. I wrote, “Today there was MOPS and new friends, meeting up with 35 strangers and being met by 35 kind and genuine smiles and being encouraged by a whole lot of authenticity and talk of this one, next year, being a year to LOOK…

Continue ReadingIt’s a New Year & MOPS is back {and why you should go first}

Alternate Meetings

  • Post category:Updates

There's a couple different ways we have been meeting again - if you're interested in checking out this MOPS group, please drop a message to us. We would love to help connect you to area moms.

Continue ReadingAlternate Meetings