MOPS – Developing Relationships

Have you ever really thought about what MOPS means to you, besides being a mother of a preschooler(s)?  As we start to wrap up another year, I got to thinking why I attend our MOPS meetings, why this group is important to me.   I think the most I took out of this year was in developing my relationships with some of these amazing women who I believe God has placed in my life to help me grow as a mom, a woman and a friend.  Even though my attendance wasn’t very regular due to illness once again in my family, I always felt welcome on the nights I did attend.  Yes, I liked having dinner made for me, wait I actually loved that.  I liked making the prayer dice (which is the only way our children don’t fight praying at dinner now, thanks!), and learning how to make my own laundry soap and how to be resourceful with coupons.  I even enjoyed learning how to knit.  Who knew knitting could be so challenging yet rewarding? Thanks MOPS for helping me learn many new things from, and with other women.

When I look back on the year I think about all of our outreach to the community we moms provided.  I keep thinking about the many things our group was able to do for other moms in need, even if they weren’t regular attendees of our meetings.  It was nice to see us provide meals to moms who just had babies, sick moms with sick kids and even teen moms we didn’t even know.   The heart and women in our ministry collectively, as each one does a small part, has been what has made us successful.

Another great thing about this group is that I know I can put a prayer request out there and have moms praying for our family or me praying for others, as God is always ready to listen.  I praise God for the work he has done in Leland MOPS and even in the lives of women outside of our ministry.

I have to tell you, before this year I would have said I liked the learning, speakers and crafts more than the developing relationships part of it.  This is because meeting new people and “letting people in” has been so far out of my comfort zone and was risky to me, sometimes even scary.   But, over the past five years of being in Leland MOPS, God’s work in my life with answered prayers and guidance, and the women in this ministry, I’ve learned how to develop relationships with some of these women; I’ve learned to trust again.  Praise God.  I have met some really great women, mothers, leaders, and friends, some all rolled into one, at this MOPS group.    Do you have a success through MOPS or praise for God?

I believe God has provided MOPS as part of my “survival” in this life so far.  We mommies need to stick together and reach out to more moms.  No one knows another mom’s story until we reach out to her.  That mom that looks like she has it all together on the outside might be broken on the inside.  One would never know if we don’t bother to ask.  Have you ever pretended or put on that everything was just fine in your life, when really you needed someone so desperately to confide in?  When we start to grow in relationship with each other, we grow as a group of moms, friends.  There is strength in numbers and all of us offer each other something different.  Some offer advice, some encouragement, and some prayer.  Some offer a shoulder (or an ear through the phone) to cry on, some babysitting services, and the list goes on.  We have such an important job raising these little people God has placed in our care.  And to be good moms we have to be healthy women; physically, emotionally and spiritually.

     I’m learning God designed us to have relationships with each other, more than just “ how are you?” and not really expecting more than a” fine” or “good.” Our Creator wants us to live true, in depth lives with one another, even though sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and risk getting hurt.  We need each other as strength and support against the schemes and lies of the devil.  I’ve learned more than ever this year how important it is to reach out and lean on other moms for strength and wisdom, no matter how difficult it seemed at the time. To help pick each other up when we have fallen or encourage when we have succeeded; to build relationships.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:8-10

As we approach summer, most families’ busiest time of the year, it is important that we maintain some of the relationships we have started to build this winter.  It is important that we spend our time here on earth wisely, with the people dearest to us and our family.  So I challenge you this summer to be purposeful in spending time in relationship with friends and family, as we never know how much time we have here on earth.

Dear God, I am so thankful for the women and relationships you have brought into my life and children’s lives.  I know I fail at relationships sometimes but I pray you help me through my struggles, as I am not perfect.   I am thankful for all the answered prayers this year in our MOPS group.  I pray that you help moms reach out to each other through good times and bad and that your hand in this ministry continues to be present and help us grow not only in numbers, but in faith and love for one another. Please give the moms that are a part of this ministry and those that will become part of it, wisdom and peace on their mothering journey.   I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Have a great summer- Kim Gordon

Spring Cleaning

Oh the dreaded spring-cleaning, or maybe you enjoy it, either way it has to be done!  I have started to notice the sun streaming in through the windows at home, and while I like the sunshine, it is bringing with it a very unpleasant truth…my house if full of dust and fingerprints!  I don’t just mean on those high shelves you never see, but on my cupboards, coffee maker (although it is used everyday), walls, kitchen chairs, etc.  This sunshine is starting to stress me out!  Every time I sit down to relax and look around the room I see more dust and finger prints.  I struggle with anxiety and worry as it is, and this messy house thing stirs that up and makes me crazy!  I can’t relax until I get rid of the dust I find, or wipe away the fingerprints left behind on just about every surface.  I even get agitated when I clean something off, and then the next day I have to do it again…that darn sun, it is all its fault right?!  I stumbled upon a passage tonight that I have read before, but it struck me differently this time, it was more personal this time.  It reads:

Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  – Matthew 23:26

 

It made me think about what is inside of me. Do I get so upset at how things look on the outside because of way I look on the inside?  Wow.  If I could clean up my insides by letting go of my anxiety and cast it on the Lord as he instructs me to do in 1 Peter 5:7, what would that mean for the outside of me (my relationships, my self image, my house)?  Would I still get upset over such simple things?  Has anyone in my family ever died due to the lack of dusting the house or removing fingerprints on the door of my fridge?  Of course not!  For me this year’s spring-cleaning means more then just cleaning my house, I am working on cleaning up what I hid in the inside.  I am going to get to the bottom of my struggles with anxiety because I know God doesn’t want me to worry.  I can’t fully glory Him if I am caught up in worry and what-ifs.

 

I hope this spring-cleaning season brings you more than just a clean house too!  – Cris

Delicious Black Bean Burgers and Turkey Burgers

Black Bean Burger Photo From Whole Foods

This month I have decided to pass along a couple of recipes that I have not had the opportunity to fix for you. They may be a little different than what you are used to and if so I hope you will take a chance and try one or both of them. We eat a lot of burgers at my house, my husband would eat them a couple times a week if I would prepare them. The rest of us get a little tired of a plain old cheeseburger, not to mention that much ground beef isn’t good for anybody, so I looked around and found a couple of substitutes that even my husband will eat. The first are  black bean burgers which are completely meatless but still offer a ton of protein and have a great flavor. The second are turkey burgers and are enhanced by a delicious pesto basil mayo. I sometimes like make some of the patties small and serve them on slider buns for the kids, it’s just the right amount of food and much easier for their little hands to handle.

Black Bean Burgers

1 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 Tbls chili powder
1 Tbls cumin
1 tsp chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
(I double this recipe for my family)
preheat oven to 375
1. Mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
2. In a food processor, finely chop pepper, onion and garlic. Stir into beans.
3. In a small bowl, stir together, egg, chili powder, cumin and hot sauce.
4. Stir egg mixture into beans. Mix in bread crumbs until mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into 4 patties.
5. Place patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes on each side.
I haven’t decided the best way to serve these. Sometimes I like to put a slice of tomato and some pickles on top just like I would a regular burger but other times I like to put a little dollop of sour cream on with my tomato, either way, they are one of my favorite meals.

 

Turkey Burgers

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup italian salad dressing
2 garlic cloves
1 pound turkey burger
2 turkey sausages, casings removed

 

Pesto mayo
2 Tbls mayo
1 Tbls basil pesto

 

1. Mix together first 5 ingredients and form into patties.
2. Cook over medium heat about 7 minutes on each side.
3. Meanwhile combine mayo and pesto and spread onto buns.
These burgers come together really quickly with the use of a few convenience foods. I buy my bread crumbs, salad dressing, pesto and when I’m pressed for time use minced garlic, 1 tsp equals 1 garlic clove, instead of fresh. Also the recipe calls for two sausages but the pack I buy comes with five so I use 2 1/2 and freeze the rest for the next time I make these.
Enjoy!


Time Well Spent

Kim shares from her life something we can all relate to:

Ever find that your “to-do” list is never ending? That when you cross something off, life throws three more things back at you, that “have” to be done. Especially with the holidays here it seems that my to-do list has acquired another page; decorate the tree, gifts to get, people to see, things to fix, bills to pay, bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, dishes to do, kids to drive, la da da da da.

My husband made the comment to me a couple weeks ago, “If you don’t slow down, your life is going to pass you by.” I took a moment, looked at my husband and beautiful kids playing on the floor and realized, how blessed am I. My husbands’ words stung, yet touched a part of my heart. How could I be making the other busy stuff, more important than my time with them? I felt like Martha when Jesus came to visit her home and she was so busy getting ready she was missing the most important part.

It says in Luke 10: 38-42, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, “’you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

That’s how I feel sometimes, “Lord, tell my husband to help me!” You see my husband is very good at playing with our children, when I want him to help me with the dishes. For the past week, even in my crazy, chaotic, can’t-help-it-but-that’s-the-way-God-wants-to-test-me kind of life, I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow down and teach our kids a different meaning of Christmas, about relationships and love, like Jesus offered.

All four of us decorated the tree as a family, and I took the time to share stories about my life and the different Christmas ornaments that were given to me each year as I was a child growing up, and to show our kids the ornaments they have received. I took the time (and patience) to set up our nativity scene with our two small children, even though I was sort of freaking out not wanting them to break any of the pieces that had been so carefully painted and built by my grandparents, to teach them about the manger and answer my daughter’s question of why baby Jesus had to sleep in the barn with the cows. And talk to my son about the three kings giving gifts, and their camels and the shepherds, and showed them that all they owned was carried on their backs (that they didn’t have a house full of toys and things.)

I took the time to see my husband’s shed and how organized he had made it after working all day on it, because it meant something to him and he was proud. I took the time to pretend with our daughter and push babies around and let her be a mommy and I the daughter, no matter how silly it felt riding around in the back of her pretend van, listening to “now buckle your seatbelt sissy.” I took the time for that extra snuggle on the couch with my son, because he wanted “a few more minutes mom” before bed. I still had things on my to-do list and it was hard to just sit there at first, but it ended up being good for him and me. Besides, was cleaning up the kitchen more important than that? I took some time out from the things I thought I had “to do,” to spend some time with my family.

I once heard “people and relationships are always more important than schedules, agendas and things.” Or that, “We fill up our lives with so much activity that it’s no wonder the day is over before we realize it. What you do is important, but we are human beings not human doings.” I love that one.

My daughter keeps singing a country song (revised from her three year old words) “take a little walk, say a little prayer, take a deep breath of mountain air, put on my glove, play some catch, it’s time that I make time for that.” It makes me think about what’s top priority on my to-do list in this busy life. It is time that I make time for that…to slow down and enjoy life and add some new things to my to-do list.

I am so thankful for my family and what we share. Although we are not perfect and whether my children get the lesson I was trying to teach about the manger scene or not, I’m still happy I took the time with them to share about Jesus. I thank God everyday for my family, and for helping me to slow down and see them through His eyes. In my sometimes crazy, stressed out life, it’s much easier and more rewarding

1 Corinthians 13 – Written for Christmas

Cris shares a good reminder for all of us …

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love,

I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love,

I’m just another cook.

If I work in the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity but do not have love,

It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ,

I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and linen.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearls will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

I wish you and your families a very Merry CHRISTmas!

Updates

This Tuesday, November 29, we will be meeting to make gift bags for the teen moms we will be serving on  December 7.  We will meet at our regular place and time but will not have childcare.

Check out this list for ideas of stocking stuffers you might like to contribute to the gift bags for the moms! (compiled by Jenna at jennasjourneyblog.blogspot.com)

1. $5 gift cards (Starbucks, McDonalds, Amazon, Borders etc).
2. A favorite candy (my mom always got us those plastic candy canes filled with M&M’s)
3. Decorative cupcake liners (I found some great ones here)
4. A favorite magazine
5. Camera strap cover (like the one I gave away here) – note, that giveaway is closed!)
6. Packets of flower or herb seeds for planting
7. Personalized stationary
8. Slipper socks
9. Silly putty (another thing I always got as a kid)
10. Rubber coated paddle attachment for a mixer like this one
11. Monogrammed iPhone Case
12. Nail polishes
13. Sharpie Pens
14. Chapstick
15. Hair bands
16. Small crosswords puzzle book
17. Crayons
18. Body wash
19. Piggy Bank with coins
20. Personalized M&M’s that say Merry Christmas
21. Clip on book reading lamp
22. Measuring spoons or cups
23. Cute wine stopper
24. Scarf
25. Stickers
26. Monogrammed coasters (there’s a great how to here)
27. Lottery tickets
28. Deck of playing cards
29. Rubix cube
30. Loofa
31. Hair clips
32. Cuticle set
33. Jewelry
34. Batteries
35. Cooking extracts – vanilla, mint, orange etc.
36. Mittens
37. Scented candles (this site always has things like that & you get a credit for signing up)
38. Bookmarks
39. Fishing lures
40. Knitting or Crochet needles
41. Lotion
42. Play Dough
43. Golf tees or balls
44. Matchbox cars
45. Memory card
46. Cd’s
47. Tools
48. Wash/Dish rags
49. Diaper genie refills (you laugh, but I would love those in my stocking!)
50. Specialty olive oils such as this one
51. Eyeshadow
52. Unusual pastas like this red chili linguini
53. From the Kitchen of labels like these
54. Gardening gloves
55. Tickets to the aquarium
56. Address book
57. An orange – to shape out the toe of the stocking!
58. Ice scraper
59. Small digital camera
60. A teasing comb for all the southern girls
61. Cookie cutters
62. A good book
63. Retractable ID or key holder
64. Makeup bag
65. Nice wooden spoons
66. Gift card to go see a movie
67. USB Drive
68. Small photo frames
69. Wallet
70. Personalized water bottle like this one
71. Speciality teas – here is one of my favorites
72. Garden markers (for herbs etc)
73. Scented antibacterial kitchen hand soap
74. Pumice stones
75. Travel sized games (connect four, uno, etc)
76. Gourmet spice mixes
77. Small sketchbook
78. Fridge magnets
79. Stencils for crafting
80. Tickets to go see a musical performance
81. Kid paint set
82. Extra Wii controllers
83. Small calendar for your purse/backpack
84. PJ’s
85. Wristlet to hold a small digital camera like this one of mine from one of my 1st blog posts!
86. Wine glass charms
87. Freezable teether’s
88. Osis Dust It click here
89. Monogrammed onesie or tee
90. Money clip
91. Set of markers
92. Gourmet hot chocolate like this one
93. Ring holder
94. Wine aerator
95. Cufflinks
96. Pedometer
97. Personalized purse mirror like this one
98. DVD’s
99. Cell phone car charger
100. Child sized harmonica
101. Luggage tags
102. Personalized coffee cup
103. Travel alarm clock
104. Baby legs
105. Personalized mom bracelet or necklace with children’s birthstones
106. Perfume/Cologne
107. Speciality chocolates such as See’s
108. Mini tripod
109. Cute umbrella
110. Earbuds
111. Flower bulbs
112. Monogrammed baby wipes case (this site always has unique kid gifts on sale – you have to sign up for free, but it’s a great resource!)
113. Passport holder
114. Raw honey like this
115. Small digital picture frame
116. Webkinz
117. Snow cap
118. Digital luggage scale: here’s one
119. Chalk
120. iTunes giftcard
121. Digital measuring tape
122. Bubbles
123. Watch
124. Wine thermometer
125. Tickets to the zoo
126. Speciality coffee such as this one
127. Bath toys
128. Monogrammed burp rags
129. Makeup brush set
130. Binoculars
131. Barbies
132. Child “character” flashlights
133. Jewelry box
134. Recipe cards
135. Swiss Army knife
136. Belt
137. Small lint roller
138. Key chain
139. Baby rings to attach toys to a carseat
140. Coloring book
141. Birthstone earrings
142. Throwback candy – Pez dispensers, pop rocks, nerds, fun dip.
143. Kindle
144. Scrapbooking supplies
145. Personalized fortune cookie (you can have your own message put into them)
146. Universal remote
147. Hand sanitizer
148. Silly Bandz
149. Family Christmas ornament
150. A handwritten note from Santa