Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Break

Good morning, y'all. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at the Morning MOPS blog! We appreciate you and hope our posts are helping to keep you informed of our goings-on and inspiring you to delve deeper into your relationships.

This week, being THANKSGIVING, we are going to take a break from the blog. Have a wonderful week of gratitude, warmth, hospitality, home, family and food! We will see you back here, bright and early, Monday morning 12/2.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Introducing... Mentor Mom #2

Lorna Brooks!

Lorna sent me written answers to her interview questions, so this introduction gets to be from her perspective. I hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about her as much as I did!

It has been my privilege to be a part of MOPS for about 12 years.  And...I have a lot of things I really like about MOPS, but the 2 I would highlight are: the opportunity for young moms to gather, to get to know one another and share about their children, and the opportunity for Christian input and direction for our lives.

My husband and I have been married for 51 years...will be 52 this December...hard to believe; the time goes fast, and I think the way to make this happen is just work together day by day, year by year and learn to grow together, seeking God's direction together.  We have 4 sons, 2 who live in Sheridan, 1 in Jackson, and 1 who still lives in CA (our mother state).  We are very fortunate to have 7 wonderful grandchildren, 3 in Sheridan & 4 in CA.  We have lived in Sheridan for 15 years, which still amazes me, since I thought we would never venture from CA, but we moved to be near our 1st grandchild. Then our oldest son, who married late, decided to marry & give us 4 grandchildren... and they live in California. Who can ever figure's always exciting living with the Lord in control!

My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose."  It's my favorite because it tells me that even when we're thrown a curve, God's in control & knows all about it, allows it, and works for the overall good and right thing.

I think my favorite dessert is apple pie, but I like all sweet things!  Too bad!  My favorite color is green, because that’s the color of the wonderful creation of grass, tree leaves, and plants.  I would have to say that my favorite de-stressing activity is tennis; things seem better after some activity.  My favorite book has to be the Bible, since it gives me direction for life and encouragement to forge ahead.

According to the spiritual gift test I took years ago, my God-given gifts are hospitality, teaching, and faith.

I absolutely hate to be messy & try to get unmessy as soon as I can if I get messy, but the exception is to get messy with grandchildren, because I'll do anything fun with them.

I haven't been around parenting books for too long, but anything by James Dobson is awesome (I know I'm dating myself).

Here are some special ideas for your husbands in the midst of busy lives: make sure you save time for your husband in the evening when children are in bed, go out to dinner once a month just the 2 of you, do little cute things like a "I love you" note in his lunch box or sneak it into his pocket, once in a while slip a candy heart under his pillow; what you do doesn't need to take time, but you need to do some things from time to time so life doesn't seem serious all the time & get weighty.

Words of wisdom: allow the Lord to be the center of your marriage and consult Him every day for wisdom; remember that opposites attract, so your husband will probably bug you at times (& you him); remember why you 1st loved your husband and be thankful for him - God gave him to you and vise-versa; you won't always feel passionate love for your husband, so be patient with one another during the tough times, and hang in there - what sometimes seems like a greener pasture is not.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts with Theresa: "On Braiding Hair and Weaving Hearts"

She sits in the crook of my arm for a good portion of the weekend as we read through Anne of Green Gables. At five, she understands the highlights of the story and may get lost in the details, but she asks for it, and she sits through it, and we bond through it.

These days we connect through reading aloud together, the twinkle of an eye, and an extra long hug.
And I wonder, when did our relationship become so sweet?

I remember how we scheduled our first born's routines by the book and he was so very compliant that we took that method as the golden rule and set out to schedule her routines, as well.

I remember when she was two when her younger brother was born, and feeling that I had not held her enough.

I remember when she was two­and­a­half and we gave her crib to her baby brother, moved her to a toddler bed, and battled her staying in bed for the next year.

I recall trying many of the tools for gaining compliance that worked for her older brother, ignorantly attempting to conform her to his temperament, and she demanding in a fit of tantrums that we see her for her own individual likeness.

And although we had countless lovable moments and loved her the best we knew how through the fits, I still recall those struggles more readily than I do the tender moments.

Then just over a year ago I crept into her room after everyone was tucked into bed. I didn't care anymore that I could be forming a habit of dependency. We sat on her bed and took turns braiding each others hair–she telling me stories and singing words she'd think up, spilling out evidences of her heart; then we'd conclude with me rubbing her back, reading Letters to a Princess, and praying with her. It was no less than forty ­five minutes later that I would close the door to her room for the night.

This became our nightly ritual for the next several months.

Today, we more naturally weave tender moments throughout the day. She doesn't need me for forty­five minutes at night anymore. But when I think about how this tapestry of sweet relationship was formed, I can trace it back only as far as just over a year ago when I crept into her room and began braiding hair and weaving hearts.

I didn't know it at the time how necessary this habit would be, but I pray with all of my heart now that this dependency will continue to be a safe haven of treasured moments interwoven throughout her growing years.

And I pray that we will weave this bond strong and tight as I continue to release what I think compliance should look like and study closer the threads of her heart. 

- Theresa Miller, MOPS Mom

This article was originally published on Mom Heart Online in July 2012

Theresa is a wife and mother of four children (3, 5, 7, and 9), who are embarking on their first year of homeschooling. Theresa has been involved in Sheridan MOPS for the last 9 ½ years, serving in multiple leadership positions, including Day MOPS Coordinator in 2007-2008. She took one year off, then started the Sheridan Evening MOPS group in September 2009. Theresa has published an article with MOPS International MOMSnext Ezine, in addition to other on-line publications. You can find Theresa encouraging mothers on her blog, Heavenly Glimpses.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Thanksgiving Crafts

I wasn't thinking I would post any more craft ideas, since there were some good ones on Monday, but then I remembered these:

From National Wildlife Federation website
These Snowy Owl Pals are super cute, super fun and super easy. My daughter and I made them over a year ago & I've used them as decoration for fall, spring and winter. I typically put them away for a period, but then "discover" them anew and just can't resist putting them out again. In this picture from Ranger Rick Jr, they seem very wintery, but in reality the sticks and pinecones lend a very natural, brown look that works very well with autumnal decor. Have fun!

The instructions are here:

And then, I was just surfing around one evening and found these:
Photo from A Place for Us blog
I just have to make these! You can read the tutorial here: So far I've only gotten as far as purchasing brown paper bags, but I'm sure my daughter and I will be cutting and gluing soon together at our kitchen table.

I was also just reminded of a couple kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes. Ella and I made the Pilgrim Hats a couple of years ago - and she needed help, but they were indeed a 3-year-old friendly creative treat. I think Ben and I will attempt the chocolatey mess of the Acorn Cookies this year (he's 3 now). Check these out if you need a tasty activity:

Oh! And don't forget - the classic Thanksgiving craft for kids: Handprint Turkeys! These always turn out adorable and they kiddos think they are fantastic. You can do it with paint like this:
Find directions at

Or, for a little twist, trace your little one's hand in pencil. Let him/her color it like a turkey. Glue on a googly eye. Glue on dried beans to make the "feathers." It is helpful to use card stock. The kids got uber-creative this year and decided to make a "pumpkin turkey" and a Thanksgiving dolphin (covered in beans of course) to go with our 2 handprint turkeys.

Happy Crafting! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Treasure

Photo curtesy of Christa Tiejten Photography

Colossians 3:15-16

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Crafts

Have you gotten yourself into the Thanksgiving spirit yet? How do you do it around your house - in your heart, through your decorating, in the ways you talk with your kids?

This year my in-laws are coming for the holiday. It is rare for our family to have visitors at this time of year. We usually do Thanksgiving on our own, occasionally with friends in town… and I rarely go to any extravagant ends because Christmas is coming and I always decorate for Advent.

Historically, my mother did a great job with food - and Thanksgiving was about getting together with family. There was no decorating that I recall. We usually began our Christmas decorating the Friday after Thanksgiving.

BUT, I'm brimming with gratefulness this year. And I have family coming to my house. And I have two children who might just understand the point of this holiday. So, I'm looking for some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving - starting today. I want to decorate and do crafts with my children and look forward with anticipation to our feast.

If you have any ideas, please share them as comments!

Over the next week and a half, I will share some of what I find…

Starting with these cute, easy crafts:
This photo originally appeared in FamilyFun magazine.
Directions to make this Pilgrim Pal can be found here:

This photo originally appeared in FamilyFun magazine.
Directions for these Harvest Linens are here:

Or, here are 21 crafts & activities to do specifically with kids for Thanksgiving:

    - I love the cute Mayflower made out of a coffee cozy!
    - And the idea to make a collage of all the things you're thankful for & turn it into a placemat.
    - And this little guy… come on! Who doesn't want turkey oranges on their table for Thanksgiving!
Copyright Tina Rupp
And if you're in the mood for a banner (or 4), check out this site:
From Organize and Decorate Everything:
Or you could go all out and make this Thanks Giving Tree:
From A Holy Experience

Happy crafting and preparing, my friends! Have a blessed Monday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday's Song

Proverbs 4:18

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Introducing… (Mentor Highlight #1)

Remember, way back at the end of last week, Theresa and I wrote about mentors and their roles in MOPS? Well, today is the first of a series of introductions featuring our 2013-2014 Mentors. We hope that getting to know these gals a little bit more will help us all find deeper ways to connect and grow together.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce to you, Lori Craft.

Lori is the wife of John Craft, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Sheridan, WY. She and John have been married for 21 years and have two sons, Jackson and Cameron. They are also the proud parents of two dogs, Ash and Diggory. John and Lori have lived in Sheridan for four years.
Lori has helped our MOPS group for the last three years, serving as a Mentor Mom. She says her favorite thing about MOPS is getting to know all of you.
Lori’s favorite Bible verses are the benedictions (statements of blessing or good wishes, usually given at the end of a worship service – or letter). She likes them because “they are full of praise and power.” Here are a few examples (these are my examples, so they are not necessarily Lori’s specific favorites):
-- Romans 15:5-6 - May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-- Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
-- 2 Corinthians 13:11 - Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
-- 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Lori’s favorite dessert is either a gooey chocolate chip cookie or brownie with strong coffee. Her favorite color is champagne. To de-stress she likes to polish wood or water plants (I’m thinking maybe right here is an example of mentorship at work! I need to readjust my definition of de-stressing activity and make it align with housekeeping chores!). Lori loves to read, and thus has “too many” favorite books. But, she was willing to name a couple specifically for you: “Because of Winn Dixie” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
When asked if she likes to be messy, Lori replied, “NO! ‘Lord, help me to be peaceful and productive’ is probably what I pray most for myself.” She offers great advice for dealing with messes: “Crank up the radio and get to it” and try to keep the clutter out.
Lori recommends Focus on the Family’s parenting materials and advice. She most highly recommends, however, finding a mentor (or two!). She said what helped her the most along the way was finding a couple of older moms who knew both her and her sons (and loved them all!) who could offer guidance and advice.
I asked Lori if she had any good, easy and quick ideas on how we can make our husbands feel special during these years when kiddos take so much time and attention. She recommended working hard to keep the chaos to a minimum – and let your husband know you’re doing it for him. She also mentioned keeping communication flowing by verbally acknowledging your husband’s meaningful contributions. And, don’t forget to laugh together! And… “be sweet.”
A few last words of wisdom: “Remember the days are long, the years are short and you have a high and holy calling.”

Thank you, Lori for your contribution to our group this year! We look forward to getting to know you even further. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit (Philemon 25) and may his peace rule in your heart today and always (Colossians 3:15).

- Bethany Tippin, Publicity Leader

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Thoughts with Theresa: "In Which Grace Is Found"

With my cheek sunken into the pillow, I jolt from my sleep to the sound of her cry. My thoughts will the sound to stop. My eyelids fall shut again. It seems they just gave way to the weight of the day and the book that lies beside me. I hear it again, my body is tense and I haven't been woken like this in months. I've gotten used to calculating my days down to the hour, where I finally have time to breathe, rest and refuel.

I lie and wonder if she is just searching for that comfortable position like she does, or if something is really wrong? She didn't have a fever all day and the doctor said her ears were just fine.

I lie their stiff, waiting, not wanting to fully wake up and I think about those cuspid teeth I suspected were coming in earlier. I relax a little. Then I hear it again and throw back the blankets. I creep into her room and adjust the light to see her sitting up, hand over her ear again, or is it her cheek?

I gently pick her up, reach for the Tylenol and sit with her after I give her a dose. She straddles my waist with her head pressed against my chest. I had forgotten how wonderful the weight of her felt in the wee hours of the night. Within minutes I hear her breathing heavy again and I think about lying her back down. But the weight of her pressed against me holds me back and I just hold her.

I close my eyes, arms wrapping her frame. I feel her weight and I'm thankful for the disturbance of my rest and for the weight of the day that I traded for the weight of her, and I remember, that this is where grace is found...always in the un-calculated moments. 

- Theresa Miller, MOPS Mom

Theresa is a wife and mother of four children (3, 5, 7, and 9), who are embarking on their first year of homeschooling. Theresa has been involved in Sheridan MOPS for the last 9 ½ years, serving in multiple leadership positions, including Day MOPS Coordinator in 2007-2008. She took one year off, then started the Sheridan Evening MOPS group in September 2009. Theresa has published an article with MOPS International MOMSnext Ezine, in addition to other on-line publications. You can find Theresa encouraging mothers on her blog, Heavenly Glimpses.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meeting Recap 11/13

Thank you, once again, for a fantastic MOPS meeting, ladies! The food was delicious, the company spectacular and the discussion stimulating. For those of you who missed us, here's the scoop:

We enjoyed breakfast as usual - hot and sans children. We talked and talked.

Lorna Brooks, one of our Mentor moms, shared a short Thanksgiving devotional from Ann Voskamp's devotional book One Thousand Gifts. The excerpt was about the whirlwind messes our children leave behind them - and our reactions. Ann shared her journey from frustration into thanksgiving and thus joy as she stepped away from a focus on the mess and into a place of present gratitude. She began giving thanks for the arms she has that allow her to pick up said messes. And thanks for the children who surround her and are able to help. And it transformed her anxiety-filled afternoon into a time of peace and rejoicing as they all continued on into the kitchen for a delightful chocolate treat. She wondered for us, "When did I stop thinking of life as dessert?"

Then Robin showed a short video clip by Lysa Terkeurst on Controlling Your Emotions. Lysa is always entertaining, with her personal examples, and she brought up some good points. She reminded us that conflict is going to happen when we are in relationship with other people, emotions are going to rise - and then she asked us to consider what we do with the conflict and emotions. She broke down four basic negative reactions for us and then offered some ways to spin them more positively. She said, "Conflict arises when we feel either Exposed or Opposed." Her four groups were:

     - The Exploder who blames others

    - The Exploder who shames herself

    - The Stuffer who builds barriers

    - The Stuffer that collects retaliation rocks

She recommended thinking about these things: the problem with blaming others is that you are attacking the person instead of the issue, in order to avoid shaming yourself - bring yourself a little perspective before you react, if you are a stuffer - don't build barriers and thus shut down communication - instead, implement honest boundaries and continue in communication, ask yourself if you are trying to prove that you're right or improve your relationship.

She ended with this fabulous verse out of The Message: Proverbs 18:21 - Words kill, words give life; their either poison or fruit - you choose.

So, after the video we enjoyed chatting with one another at our tables about her message. And then, we did a craft. To get us prepped for the holidays, we made Holiday-Themed Flour Sack Towels using flour sack towels (duh, I know), fusible interfacing (stitch-witchery) and fun fabric shapes. Those who finished theirs at the meeting left with a pretty great kitchen jump-start on the holiday season - and everyone else took their materials home for a fun afternoon craft during nap time. :) If you missed out on this activity and you're interested in getting a picture or the instructions, please email and I'll make sure you get everything you need!

Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving everyone!!! See you the 2nd Wednesday of December (for our Christmas meeting - it's always festive and very fun - don't miss out).

Meeting Today

This is simply your friendly reminder that, once again, TODAY IS A MOPS DAY! So, get yourself ready to go & come join us for great food, conversation and a craft. Discussion will be centered upon Controlling our Emotions. We'll see you at 9!

P.S. Please remember to bring an old towel (a small one we can use to iron something sticky) and fabric scissors if you have them. If not, no worries! Just come and use the supplies we have on hand.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Treasure

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dinner on the Wrong Night

The Bible is full of regular, everyday folks who heard the voice of God. They were usually quite busy, going about their everyday jobs like keeping wolves from eating their sheep, when God would single them out and say something profound that would end up being historical.
“Old age isnʼt an excuse, Noah. Get down to the local hardware store, because you really need to build this giant boat. If you Google the weather, youʼll see itʼs about to change.”
Those who were faithful and righteous were usually quick in their obedience, too.
My friend, Katie, hears God speak quite often. She once told me that the Lord had encouraged her to go on ahead and lay herself off work. As in, she was quite certain that her friend, Jesus, said, “Tell your boss youʼre laying yourself off from the company, and that you wonʼt be taking a paycheck from them any longer, while the company is struggling with some things.” Katie, being one who is quiet enough to know when itʼs the Lord speaking to her and when itʼs just a pesky mosquito buzzing in her ear, did just this. I was stunned. I would have argued relentlessly with Jesus and said, “Seriously? Lay myself off? Because you know thereʼs this thing called a mortgage, right? And you might not have to pay those in Heaven, but I have to pay it right now, and WHERE WILL THE MONEY FOR STARBUCKS COME FROM?” Iʼd like to say that my first instinct would have been faithful obedience, but I know myself. My first instinct would be to fight what I thought couldnʼt be right.
Katie laid herself off work. In the end, Jesus showed off a little bit and worked everything out for the better. Things didnʼt go back to how they WERE before Katie obeyed – things catapulted themselves into being even better than they had been.
Thatʼs kind of Jesusʼ MO. His Method of Operation. How He does things.
But your heart has to be still enough to hear Him speak, and you have to understand that sometimes He asks people to do strange things. In the book of Judges, Gideon didnʼt think he was capable of fighting a massive army with 300 soldiers, but God asked him to do it, and he did. And through Gideonʼs obedience, the Lord shone through, and a small army conquered one that was believed to be undefeatable.
A few years ago, I had a strange request made of me. Iʼd like to say that I blindly jumped to do exactly as I was called to do, but I didnʼt.
My husband and I know a family. A few years ago, they were a young married couple with a pack of very young children. They had children of every age, it seemed, running all over the place. The husband was very outgoing and friendly. He was easy to like, his sense of humor was incredible, and he was downright friendly. Although strikingly beautiful, his wife was the exact opposite. She was hard to get to know because she didnʼt talk much. When she did talk, her conversations were usually full of judgement toward others, and how her tribe of children were so much better than everyone elseʼs children. She was rude, she was unfriendly, and frankly, I wasnʼt interested in getting to know her very well, because she was quick to present a cold shoulder towards everyone she met. She always presented the feeling that she was much better than the world around her, so she couldnʼt be bothered to befriend those beneath her.
A few years ago, they bought a house and gutted it. They took that house down to the shell. They designed a floor plan for it, and they were going to turn it into something amazing. The husband was actually quite handy in the line of carpentry and construction, so he was doing the bulk of the work himself. His wife was helping, and somehow they were managing to get it all done while little kids ran wild everywhere.
On one particularly cold, winter day, I woke up and my VERY FIRST thought of the day was that I needed to take dinner to this family. The usual list of reasons for bringing dinner to someone didnʼt apply. They hadnʼt just delivered a new baby... no one close to them had recently died... no one was sick. And yet, all day long my heart was heavy with the thought that I was supposed to take them a meal for dinner that day.
But do you know what?
I didnʼt like the wife. She had never shown any kind of friendliness to me, or to anyone, really. She was snooty and aloof, and I figured that sheʼd be just fine cooking dinner for her many children that evening. I didnʼt WANT to take dinner to her.
I made a big pot of soup in the crockpot for our familyʼs supper.
Iʼd look at it often throughout the day and feel like I was supposed to load that crockpot up and deliver it to them. I just shook my head, because NO WAY.
Our family ate the soup. Even though cooking is my least favorite domestic chore, Iʼll just go on record and say that this soup was FANTASTIC! Paula Deen would have stood up and applauded me wildly for it. Martha Stewart would have put her fingers in her mouth and whistled her approval.
The temperatures dipped well below zero that night.
The next morning, I woke up again thinking about this family. My first thought of that day was, “I was supposed to make them dinner last night.”
So this is what I did. I huffed around my kitchen. I slammed a few measuring cups onto my countertop. I slammed cupboard doors. And in a state of angry irritation, I remade the same pot of soup, from scratch, and tossed it into my crockpot. My husband asked what I was doing. I growled, “Iʼm making soup for THAT FAMILY!” Late that afternoon, I loaded up the hot soup, and I drove to the house that they were doing an extensive remodel on. It was a ways out of town, and I had a hard time finding it in the dark, but I did.
I knocked on their door.
Their kitchen didnʼt exist. Oh, there was a spot FOR the kitchen, but no kitchen was there. They were in the process of mudding the drywall in the kitchen area. Their new stove and refrigerator were in giant boxes in their garage. Theyʼd finished a bathroom already, and it was beautiful. The tile work was amazing, and this was where they washed their dishes -- right there in that bathroom sink. There was a microwave plugged into an outlet on the floor of where the living room would be. There was a dorm-sized refrigerator plugged in across the room. They had no tile or carpet on the floor; it was just subfloors, and the kids were using markers and Crayons to decorate it.
The wife approached me and said, “What are you doing out on a cold night like this?”
I smiled. “I just thought maybe yʼall could use some dinner, so I brought over a big pot of soup and a loaf of French bread.”
She took the soup from me and said, “I already have chili in our crockpot for dinner tonight. I donʼt know when weʼll get to this soup.” She walked off, set the pot of soup on the top of a cardboard box, and picked up a crying baby.
The husband came up to me and said, “Thank you for dinner. Wow! What a surprise. Itʼs really too bad you didnʼt show up LAST NIGHT with the soup! What was it? Six degrees below zero last night? The battery in our mini van died, and I didnʼt have any way to jump it last night, and our neighbors were gone. The kids were starving. Weʼd planned to just get burgers in town last night, but we couldnʼt GET to town, so we fed the kids the packages of graham crackers and saltines that we had for their snacks earlier in the day. THAT was our dinner. Crazy, huh? And then this morning, our neighbors were back. I got the mini vanʼs battery jumped, and my wife went to town to get stuff to make chili. But man! Last nightʼs dinner was slim pickings!”
Yes, God often speaks to plain, everyday people.

But do you know what? His work wonʼt be accomplished if those regular men and women donʼt take His instructions and obey them. I have no idea what would have happened, had I showed up with a crockpot of hot soup the night before. All I know is that this family saw an ill-timed meal brought to them. It didnʼt show up when they needed it most, because I wasnʼt obedient.

Tammy is a wife and mother of 2 children, ages 13 and 1 1/2. She has recently joined MOPS in support of entering the baby and toddler years once again, blessedly, but somewhat unexpectedly. Her presence at our MOPS meetings is a comfort, her love for Jesus a special and hefty gift, and her sense of humor a brilliant light. She keeps us all laughing at the beauty and difficulty of motherhood through her personal blog Jedi Mama: Life at a Jedi House. We are hoping to hear from her often here on the Morning MOPS Blog!


This week is a MOPS week!

Our meeting is Wednesday morning, November 13th from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at FBC. We are looking forward to seeing y'all again. This month's meeting is entitled "Emotional Messes: Controlling Your Emotions." Seems like a great topic for moms of young kids to me!

We will also be making Holiday-Themed Flour Sack Towels during the meeting. They're a great item to use to spice up your kitchen or kick-start your gift making/giving for the year. We made one during our steering committee meeting last week - and WE ARE EXCITED about this craft. You're going to love it!

To help us with the craft, please bring an old towel and fabric scissors with you - if you have some & they are handy.

Due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the 11/13 meeting will be our only one for the month of November. So don't miss it! And invite your friends. We can't wait to see you there.

Have a blessed week.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday's Song

Christa Tietjen Photography

Psalm 27:4

Living Bible (TLB)
The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Yesterday Theresa shared some thoughts regarding the helpfulness of mentorship within our life network. She spoke of her experience of MOPS and this aspect of its built-in leadership.

Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing our Mentor Moms to you. I'm excited to share about who they are, their passions, experience and desire to grow with you. These ladies have made it through parenting young children. They have passionate relationships with Jesus Christ. They have experienced years of marriage. They love MOPS and want to find ways to encourage, assist and change with you.

Before the introductions begin, I thought it would be helpful for us all to understand what MOPS International has in mind for the Mentorship relationship; what their job description is exactly.

MOPS calls Mentors women who are "a few steps ahead of us." Their job is to provide us with perspective. This means, to guide us into a new space where we can see "the light at the end of the tunnel," or the "glimmer of hope" ahead. Remember, these ladies have done this parenting thing. They have raised their children and know what it is like to emerge from preschool-land. They know how difficult this phase of life can be, but they also have the ability to remind us honestly how precious these days really are. They are full of fond memories, ideas regarding what we could perhaps do differently and an ability to listen with truly understanding ears.

MOPS asks Mentors to seek God's guidance as they come to us as teachers, role models, counselors, friends and advisors. Those seem like pretty hefty titles, but I know these women - and they are up to the task! The beautiful part is that no one is asked to be all these things all at once. As we become friends with our Mentors, we will each find a different relationship grow, with different roles played by each woman at different times.

MOPS International reminds us (and our Mentors) that Mentors are able to mentor us "not because [they] have all the answers, but because [they have put themselves] under God's care." 

We encourage you all to get to know one another this year, especially around your tables. Each table is assigned a Mentor who is actively praying for you, attends our bi-monthly meetings, helps with our Steering Committee and assists with setting up and cleaning up. If you need anything, please know your Mentor would love to hear from you!

We proved to be gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her own children. We were so taken by you that we not only eagerly shared with you God’s good news, but we also shared with you our own lives. That’s how much you’ve come to mean to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (The Voice)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Thoughts with Theresa: "What I Didn't Know Then About Mentors"

I couldn’t have known nine-and-a-half years ago, when I walked through those church doors and into my very first MOPS meeting. I couldn’t have known all that I actually didn’t know and would learn only in hind-sight. I was trudging the unknown territory of motherhood and into a room full of new faces; into a room with four rectangular tables enclosed by about thirty-five other friendly moms and four mentor moms.

I was confident, although I didn’t really know what I was doing, as a new mother. And I was passionate - seemingly passionate and confident enough, as a mother and follower of Christ - to be thought of for a steering position the following Fall. And I took it. And I was passionate about it for the next four years. My faith grew, I made friends, and I thought that between me, God and all those amazing women, we could move mountains. The sky was the limit for this ministry!

And in spite of me, a multitude of other steering members, four humble mentors (still present today), and many new mentors along the way, God has delivered.

I’ve brought all four of my children through those MOPS doors, between Morning and Evening MOPS, serving as Finance Leader, Discussion Leader and Coordinator; and watched many other moms walk through those doors for the first time, as I had. MOPS has been a vital piece to the first chapter of my life as a mother.

What I didn’t know then that I know so well now, in this second chapter of my life raising these beloved children, is how valuable those mentors really were.

Oh, I knew they were precious and needed. I loved their presence and that sense of grounding in the ministry because of them. I loved the sense of affirmation I had just having their encouraging spirits always building us up.

But back then, I was embarking on new territory and I was going to conquer this feat and be the best mom I could be, with or without their support. Back then, I strived to do it all even when I couldn’t. And although I couldn’t see it then I, admittedly, thought I knew it all.

Yet over the years and into this new chapter of motherhood, I’ve been humbled. As my children have grown, motherhood has drawn me low, more and more to my knees. Because the beginning was exciting, though exhausting. And the onward journey has been beautiful, though trying. But the journey, through the seasons, has changed me.

And it will you, too.

When you see those little moldable beings becoming their own beings with their own ideas, aspirations and dreams;

when just as much time with them trails behind you as what lies before you;

when you’ve done all you know to do and realize that it has never been and never will be enough, without Jesus;

when you persevere through the trials and hold onto that vision you started with;

and when God brings you to new heights and adds new layers to that vision...

your heart will ache more deeply for who they will become, despite how wonderful they already are.

And you’ll realize how much more you need the people, who have been there.

You’ll realize how much you could still use that consistent encouraging spirit, building you up and more than just a friend who can relate, you’ll need a mentor - a godly woman of wisdom with experience, who can charge you through the good and hard times, to press on.

Because, chances are, you won’t just appreciate one of those mentors you once had in your life, you’ll become desperate for one. You’ll pray for just one to enter your life again.

I miss the constancy and stability of those mentors who sit at your table each week, firmly rooted in faith, wisdom and encouragement. They are lovely.

And although I have many wonderful friendships with those who are right where I’m at, I pray for relationships to take shape in my life with those who are a step ahead of me, willing to encourage and share their wisdom, as well as those who are a step behind, whom I may have the privilege to encourage.

I know this to be critical to our well-being, as moms, because I can see more clearly now, in hind-sight, how that is the very design God has intended for us to grow in.

So the next time you walk through those doors into a MOPS meeting, thank one of those mentors.
Because, just maybe, their presence is more valuable than you can know.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5 

- Theresa Miller, MOPS Mom

Theresa is a wife and mother of four children (3, 5, 7, and 9), who are embarking on their first year of homeschooling. Theresa has been involved in Sheridan MOPS for the last 9 ½ years, serving in multiple leadership positions, including Day MOPS Coordinator in 2007-2008. She took one year off, then started the Sheridan Evening MOPS group in September 2009. Theresa has published an article with MOPS International MOMSnext Ezine, in addition to other on-line publications. You can find Theresa encouraging mothers on her blog, Heavenly Glimpses.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Little Inspiration

Good morning Moms. This video was made as a Mother's Day gift... but I think it works just as well as a gift for today. You are important. You are beautiful. What you do matters. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Have a great day!

Click on it! Do it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Treasure

Christa Tietjen Photography
Psalm 103
Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.