Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FALL 2014 MOPS DATES



Hi Mamas!

Mark your calendars today for our Fall 2014 meeting dates. We have some fun activities and meaningful topics planned. Be sure to invite a friend!

Registration is $35 for the year, which includes all the supplies & goodies offered during our meetings as well as a welcome package from MOPS international, their monthly magazine and special gift to encourage you to BE YOU, BRAVELY this year as you mother. Sign up today right here. We also do have childcare classes available!


August 14 - Jump Around event at Aerosports Trampoline  - All Families Welcome! (Come register for the MOPS season, bring a friend and reconnect with other mamas!)

September 11 - Be You, Bravely: Facing your Mama Fears (speaker: Dorina Gilmore)

September 25 - GAME NIGHT: Fun competitions forging new Friendships

October 9 - Courage to Embrace your Child's Individuality (speaker: Cori Schmidt)

October 23 - Be You, Creatively: CRAFT NIGHT (speaker: Emily Hope Baker)

November 13 - Courage to Balance Work & Mothering (speaker: Noelle Golling)

November 22 - MOPS Holiday Boutique (Host a table selling your own goods or come shop & snag some fabulous gifts for your family & friends!)

December 11 - Be You, Generously: CRAFT NIGHT (Creating Christmas Crafts & Gifts)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Navigate Transitions with your Mama Heart




This time of year my mailbox fills with invitations for graduations, birthday parties, weddings. My Facebook newsfeed crowds with prom photos, teacher appreciation events, and my personal favorite, Mother’s Day gatherings!


May marks the end of the school year for many.  May speaks of a closing season. May hints at summer days to come. May is a month of transition.


In high school, May was the month our yearbooks arrived. I was always on the yearbook staff, and we had the privilege of paging through the books first. We got an early glimpse at the layouts, the photos, the funny and memorable frozen in time from the past year.

I remember spending hours cutting out pictures and copying down quotes for friends. We used it as an excuse to tell people how much we admired them or to jot down favorite memories with them from the year. We would sign with cute sayings like “K.I.T.” – Keep in Touch – or “2 Cute 2 B forgotten.”

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. It’s a month full of celebrations, but also goodbyes. When I was younger it was about saying goodbye to my school friends. I would often be returning home to be with neighborhood friends or during college years I would be starting a new job or internship.

As a mama, it’s different. I have to help navigate these transitions for my kids. They, too, have to say goodbyes to friends and teachers at school. Our whole family has to adjust to more time together and being in each other’s space more. Siblings are forced to remember what it’s like to play together. 

Transitions can be tough.

Every summer our family heads to Haiti, where our family feels called to serve and bless and be blessed. We must say goodbye to our California friends and family every year. It’s hard. We shed some tears. Our hearts long for those we love the most. Yet, we have the unique opportunity to return to a place we have built relationships.  My girls look forward to their summer days – carefree and unbound by schedules – to jump rope and dig in the dirt with their Haitian friends from the orphanage next to our home.

My challenge to you is to embrace transition. Expect it. Carve out time for yourself and your little ones to adjust. Don’t be surprised if they have some days of irritability or acting out. Plan some down time to reminisce about the past season, the highlights of the school year or that dance class they took.


My girls love photos; I take lots of them. This is another way I help them navigate transitions. We go through photos together on the computer or we make special photo books to help us remember the people and the places that have become meaningful to us. When we travel we take a few of these photo books with us. 

I also give my girls blank books. They can use these like a journal to document their new adventures. If they can’t express themselves in words kids can draw pictures. I challenge them to draw or paint one picture a day. I found this helps them when they are missing friends or having a hard time embracing a new place or season.

In our home, transition is the new normal. How about yours?
  
Dorina Lazo Gilmore is the Coordinator of the Bridge MOPS group in Fresno, California. She and her family serve in Haiti each summer with the non-profit Christian Friendship Ministries & The Haitian Bead project.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Piece of Me



Guest blogger

Some days, I hold it together like a champ from diaper to diaper, from meltdown to meltdown. I patiently load and unload the car, buckling, tightening, loosening, unbuckling 4 kids still in car seats. I speak gently to overstimulated and overtired littles. I wipe snotty noses, snotty cheeks, snotty foreheads – somehow this stuff gets everywhere. all. winter. long. I sweep up the majority of what was served to the twins after breakfast, after lunch, after snacks, after dinner… Ok, except for when I save it all for after dinner…

Some days, at the end of these days, I fall into bed exhausted the way that we are meant to be exhausted after a day of good work. And some days, at the end of these days, I fall into bed exhausted.

And discontent.

I love that I get to stay home with these kids and be Mommy. And I have so many meaningful outlets apart from my kids that my discontent feels absurd. I’m at the gym 3 or 4 days a week, Bible study every Tuesday, a mommy workout group, orchestra rehearsal, and another Bible study on Wednesdays, book club twice a month, MOPS at two different churches. I am not doing this alone. I cherish these opportunities to take little breaks from the kids and focus in on my relationships with other ladies and my relationship with God. I cherish these opportunities because they make me a better mommy. They give me more of those days where I am patient, gentle, and the picture of joyful endurance. But then there are days like today.

By 7:15 this morning, I had tucked my sleepy oldest child snugly into my place in bed, nursed both of the girls, changed 3 diapers, and was out the door on my way to a friend’s kid-free birthday breakfast. After dropping by the farmer’s market (ALONE!) on the way home for some local organic chard, romaine, and asparagus, I walked in the front door and was needed. And needed. And needed. And needed. And tired. My boys played with legos for a good 4 hours today; my husband took the girls for a 45 minute walk so I could have a quiet time while the boys played outside. And still, I was tired. 

Some days I can put my finger on it, but this wasn’t one of them.

It has occurred to me several times over the last year that I love to write. I also hate to write, but mostly I love it. I particularly love to have written. A year ago now, I wrote a blog post. A YEAR AGO. And still, I think back to that blog post with great pleasure. I was on an emotional high for a month having accomplished – having completed – something creative and tangible. Something I was proud of – and yes, it was about the kids – but the writing was not the kids – it was me in a way that I don’t get to be me every day. And I’m ok with that, most of the time.

Today, my weariness reminded me that it is often not my circumstances that make me tired. It is not the demands of my kids that dictate how much I will open my eyes to see the joy that God has for me in each moment – and I do believe that He has planted joy for me everywhere. Sometimes I am tired because there is an essential piece of me – a piece God has knit into me – that I am ignoring.

I taught English for several years before signing up to be Mommy. My favorite class to teach was AP Language and Composition. I have always loved reading, and remain a voracious reader as a mommy – staying up late and carrying at least some reading material around in my car or purse “just in case.” There is nothing to hate about reading.  The writing thing is more complicated. Maybe because I don’t have anything personal at stake when I pick up something by someone else. Writing is baring my soul and my skill to be scrutinized. Once something is written, I have to reckon with it. And then the whole blog thing… to be scrutinized by others. That is risky. And personal. And thrilling.

So, here it is. And because it is, I will be a better mommy tomorrow than I was today. I will be a better wife – a grateful wife to the amazing man who kicked me out of the house to read and write and go to Trader Joe’s (ALONE!).

**This piece was reposted from Then Comes Grace.

Heather Fenton is a mama of two boys and twin girls, and is madly in love with her husband of almost 10 years, Mike. She loves music, literature, camping, and running and has a love/hate relationship with writing.