Coffee and Donuts Open House!

Be sure to join us for our Coffee and Donuts Open House on August 30.  This will be a great time to see what the group is about, meet other mamas and enjoy some coffee and donuts! This is a drop-in, come and go time, so feel free to come any time between 9:30-11:30am.

Contact us at montgomerymops@gmail.com for more information or find us on Facebook!

Open House

Registration is Open!

We’ve been quiet on the blog lately but Steering Team has been hard at work getting ready for the 2016-2017 MOPS year.  We are excited about gathering with mamas and diving into the theme, We Are the Starry Eyed: seeing the light in the darkness and choosing to live courageously in both.

Registration is open! We welcome moms from all walks of life.  If you are a brand new expectant mother, this is a great place for you to meet moms who have walked in your shoes.  If you have just moved to the area with the military for Air Command and Staff College, Air War College or are stationed at Maxwell/Gunter, it’s a great group to connect with other moms of preschoolers and make some fast friends. Even if you’ve lived in the area your whole life and are looking for a place to connect, grow, and learn, MOPS is a wonderful chance to do all of those things.

If you are interested in registering, please contact as at montgomerymops@gmail.com.  We will send you a registration link for 2016-2017. Be sure to check out the About, Meeting 411, and What to Expect pages for more information.Starry Eyed Courageous

Christmas Party!

We had a fantastic ending to our 2015 at MOPS.  Even though it doesn’t feel like December outside, we were full of Christmas cheer at our annual MOPS Christmas party.  Everyone enjoyed the large spread of food and talking about our favorite recipes. We played a few “Minute-To-Win-It” Christmas games, mingled, and enjoyed a wonderful devotion from our mentor mom, Brenda.  She reminded us that we don’t need to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas decorating, presents, wreaths and trees. We need to pause and slow down and remember the true meaning of the season.

One of the most anticipated events of every year is the Christmas ornament swap. We each brought a wrapped, meaningful ornament and swapped them by listening to a Christmas poem that had us passing them from left and right each time those word were read. Silliness! Everybody unwrapped their ornaments and we each explained the meaning behind the ornament that we brought. Each person was so excited about the ornament they received. It’s so fun to hear about the experiences that bring each person to choose that particular ornament. I think we all loved learning a little more about each other.

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you all in 2016!

November wrap-up

On December 1, we present a wrap-up of all the great stuff we did last month.

We gathered on November 10 for a special service meeting.  Kim Wilson, founder of Footprints Ministry in Montgomery, spoke to our group about the mission of Footprints.  Started in 2007, Footprints is a non-profit organization that provides gift bags to families whose children are in the neonatal intensive care unit.  Footprints has grown to have chapters in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville, as well as the local chapter here in Montgomery.  Our group of mamas got to not only hear about Footprints Ministry, how we can support and pray for the ministry and for the families in the NICU, but also helped fill gift bags. Footprints will give out over 3,000 gift bags to families in the NICU.  What a blessing to be a tiny part of such a great ministry. For more on this ministry, click here: Footprints Ministry Montgomery

We also took the opportunity on our service day to fill 6 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Shoe boxes donated through Operation Christmas Child contain small personal hygiene items, socks, shirts, toys, colored pencils, etc. and are distributed by Samaritan’s Purse each year to children in developing countries.  Operation Christmas Child is a chance for local churches to bless children with gifts and treasures they have never been given before, and also share the Gospel.  We gathered items for three girls and three boys, ages 2-4 and then packed the boxes.  Thanks for serving, ladies! For more on where the shoe boxes go and the children who receive them, click here: Samaritans Purse: Operation Christmas Child

On November 17, we had our first ever Happy Homemakers meeting. A brainchild of our fearless leader Erin, at this meeting we wanted to help our members learn skills that could help them make their homes neater, more efficient, more creative, and more relaxing. We know that not everyone had a mom that taught them the things that our grandmothers all seemed to inherently know. So we thought we could help. Our leadership team and mentor moms jumped in to teach moms to sew on a button, make an apron using a sewing machine, make weekly meal plans, and fold a fitted sheet. Erin even made homemade sensitive skin laundry detergent and gave each member a sample and the recipe! Our moms really got into the fun of it and came in their aprons, dresses, even some in their pumps and pearls! It was a fun meeting, and we learned lots from each other.

Traditions: How to create memories, have fun with your kids, and not lose your mind

Lisa Powell has spoken to the Montgomery MOPS group many times, and this is the third time I’ve heard her speak about traditions. I never get tired of hearing her wisdom and learning from her. First, let me be honest, I kind of want Lisa to adopt me because it just sounds like it is SO FUN to be in her family. And this is why we are grateful that she is happy to bring her ideas, her sense of fun, and her love to us. She has a passion for helping you create memories in your home that are fun, never stressful, and that build up your kids and family for years to come.

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Lisa and her bowls for “mixing up memories”. She’s so clever!

According to Lisa (and we know she knows!), the best traditions are:

  1. Unique. They should be a reflection of who you are as a family. There’s nothing better than an inside joke or a wacky tradition only your family can claim.
  2. Spontaneous. The best traditions are the ones that happen when no one is watching. That really fun night you all chased lightning bugs, or the time everyone ended up in the bath with their clothes on are the things that stick whether you want them to or not. Lisa says, “One time a tradition makes.”
  3. Flexible. Forcing a tradition means you squeeze all the fun out of it. Maybe a tradition changes over time as your kids get older. Maybe mama thinks it should look Pinterest-worthy but her kids are just littles. Letting go of how it “should be” and letting it be what is can free you to make a great memory.
  4. Easy & fun. If mama spends all weekend cooking, cleaning, and prepping for that big tradition she wants to start, there’s no way she’ll be able to repeat it next year. Lisa LOVES little parties, celebrations that happen everyday. She advocates for cheap, festive paper plates and napkins that turn a school lunchbox into a holiday and an after school snack into something special. Also, Lisa loves to name food to go along with the holidays: Boo Burgers or Witches Brew (beef stew or whatever) for Halloween, or Pot-o-gold Mac and Cheese or Green Eggs and Ham for St. Patrick’s Day. Even that meal you’ve made a thousand times before can be something the kids gobble down with a silly name!
  5. Memorable. The things you’re telling stories about year’s later are the really good ones. This means everyone had fun, and this means you’re bonding your family.
  6. Handled with Care. If no one had a nap and the dog got into the trash, it’s not a good day for a party or baking cookies for Santa. If this means you make that special dish or celebrate that moment days after you normally would, it will still be fun and special. And that tradition will be more likely to survive if no one has a tantrum!
  7. Back by popular demand. The thing your kids ask you “Hey mom, when are we going to do that again?” or “Are we gonna do that again this year?”—those are the things that are worth repeating. That means they hit all the above qualities.
  8. Memory focused. Take pictures. Inscribe books with memories of special moments. Lisa loves to give books as gifts, and to use them to create memories. Do something with your kids that a character in a book does (Go get cookies and read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Take a picture and put it in the cover of the book with a story of what they did. Fun!) Kids love to talk about that fun trip to get donuts with Grandpa or the time they went to the zoo with Aunt Deb, so help them keep those memories.
  9. Generational. That special pound cake your grandma made every Christmas? The silly way your mother packed your Easter baskets? Do those things with your kids. And tell the story. Your children need to know where they came from. This will ground them later on when the wind blows hard in the wrong direction. Plus, it will make you feel great to share about the people, and memories, you love.
  10. Christ-centered. All that we do, in small or large ways, is to quietly, lovingly, lead our children to their Savior. Creating memories will bond them to you and to each other, and this love and grace will seep its way into their hearts. One of Lisa’s favorite traditions is to wrap up the baby Jesus from her nativity set as a present. He sits wrapped all season long, and then on Christmas morning he is unwrapped by the youngest child and placed in the manger (Because He is arrived!). Find simple ways in your celebrations to keep the focus on the one who made us, the one who loved and saved us.

 

What are your traditions? How do you want to try to make more celebrations in the every day? What stresses you out about making traditions in your home? We’d love to hear from you about what you think traditions do and can look like for your family.

Noticing Goodness: MomCon, an Oreo, and a notebook

We had our second meeting last Tuesday, and it was so great to see everyone there. We had some more new faces, and we spent a good deal of our meeting just chatting and getting to know one another. The Steering Team had arrived home from MomCon only a day and a half before this meeting so we were more than a little groggy (why didn’t we sleep while we had the chance??).

Erin, our trusty leader, told everyone a little about what we came away with. The first thing is something that MomCon does extremely well for attendees of the conference: they speak Truth over you. There is something very powerful about strangers, great speakers, workshop leaders, and writers and musicians saying the Truth over you. “You are loved.” “You are worthy and worthwhile.” “What you do as a mom matters.” “God loves you as you are, He loves you deeply, as a lovesick Father, even when you don’t believe it.” “You are powerful.” “You are strong.” This year we want to speak truth over you, to tell you the things you need to know about yourself, because knowing the truth brings freedom and joy. Knowing you are truly truly loved can take you from fear to hope. We want to speak this truth over you and give you the chance to speak it over your fellow members.

And Love. Love was everywhere this year at MomCon. Powerful love. Redeeming love. Love that heals. Love that celebrates. Love that breathes new life. One of the most powerful moments for me was a prayer prayed over us by Bob Goff (YouTube that guy, he is amazing), when he said “Father, makes these women strong and brave. Live in grace. Walk in love. So that we won’t be afraid anymore. Amen.” Amen, indeed. We hope to shower love on you, and help you shower love on others. That’s part of loving extravagantly, of flourishing fiercely. Loving others helps you bloom, too.

Here are some highlights of our weekend at MomCon. If you want to hear more, we will be sharing throughout the year, or corner one of us. I promise we will be happy to share!

 

At one of the Sessions, they played some ridiculous games with some moms from the audience. It looked like so much fun, we decided we would do some games with y’all at meetings we kicked it off with a games where two members tried to eat Oreos off their faces, and a very short-lived shake out he ping pong balls with your booty game. If you’re bummed you didn’t get to act the fool at this meeting, fear not. There will be more. Oh yes, there will be more. Some video evidence:


And last but never least, Eunice led us in making a great little notebook for helping us Notice Goodness, one of the three tenants of our theme this year. It was easy and fun, and so cute! Eunice encouraged us to write a little note in this journal, noticing something good. Something good in ourselves, or our children, or our world today. If you’d like to learn more about how to make another journal like this one, let us know! Here are some pictures of us making and showing off our journals:

 

First Meeting

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We had a fabulous first meeting on September 8. We had 30 moms in attendance, and even more that weren’t able to come for one reason or another. We are so excited that you were all there! There were lots of new faces in the crowd, and we want you all to get to know each other better. We’ll be giving you ways to learn faces and names over the next few months. In the meantime, we set up a page on this website about our Steering Team so you can begin to put faces to names and names to Team positions. We want to make sure you know who we are in case you need anything, so head here to check that out.

We had some great food and fellowship, and learned a lot about the year ahead. We gave you Welcome Packets with info about virtually everything about MOPS, the church, MOPPETS, and the year to come. Please read over all that info carefully and then ask questions if you’re unsure of anything.

A BIG THANKS to our fantastic premiere sponsor, Cushion Source.com, for the extra swag in our Welcome Packets and for their financial support. It is already making a difference in what we’re able to provide to you for the year. Another thank you to Chick-Fil-A Midcity (on Ann St.) for providing some delicious breakfast foods for this meeting. We love our Chick-Fil-A, am I right?

Here are a few more pics of our meeting. We hope you had a good time, and we can’t wait to see you all on Sept. 22!

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