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Preparing to be Starry Eyed

Our Fierce Flourishing year has come to a close. It was an amazing year packed full of lots of speakers and fun activities!

But MOPS International has given the leadership team their kit to start preparing for next year’s theme, We are the Starry Eyed. We are oozing with ideas out of our brain, computers, and Pinterest boards! The MOPS Leadership team will meet for a retreat in August to plan the entire year but for now we are preparing for that meeting. We plan to have some amazing speakers, videos, crafts, door prizes, breakfast, friendships, prayer, outreach, Mom’s Night Out, & playdates with the kiddos. We’re praying now that our plans will be exactly what YOU need this year! Do you have any suggestions? We would love to hear them!

Starry Eyed is…

Seeing the light in the darkness and choosing to live courageously in both.
It is opening our eyes to wonder and choosing hope over fear.
Starry Eyed is significant acts of kindness that send ripples of light into the world.
It is a choice to live fully and wholly and to breathe our way back to life.
If you feel anxious and don’t know why …
If you are busy and distracted from the things you truly care about …
If you are restless for an unexpected encounter with God …
If you long to feel alive, to regain a sense of wonder, to hope a little freer and to be a powerful force of kindness in the world, then we’d love for you to join us in becoming Starry Eyed.

This year we will run wildly toward wonder, hope and kindness because We Are the Starry Eyed and we choose to see the light.

jeremiah

psalm

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MOPS MEETING 5-20-2015

On a Wednesday late in May, members of MOPS at FBC, Midlothian met together for the final meeting of the 2014-2015 MOPS year. Once the dozens of precious, young children were placed safely in the MOPPETS program, MOPS moms entered the MOPS meeting room ready to enjoy a special time of relaxation, fellowship, and encouragement. Upon entering the meeting room, moms were treated to a very delectable assortment of breakfast foods thoughtfully provided by the Gutsy Green table group.

During the meeting, MOPS members enjoyed watching a slideshow featuring pictures taken at various MOPS meetings, MNO’s, and playdates that took place throughout the MOPS year. MOPS moms also had fun playing a whole-group ice-breaker game of “Would You Rather…” The game was both entertaining and revealing! Also during the meeting, the Prayer and Care Team Leader, Suzette, recognized the MOPS members who would be celebrating their birthdays over the summer.

Every MOPS mom was also given the opportunity to enter the drawing to win a door prize. At this final meeting of the semester, there were not two or three door prizes available, but more than forty! Door prizes ranged from gift certificates for massages and pedicures, to Target gift cards, jewelry, free haircuts, wall décor, and certificates for free snow cones. At least six different moms from every table group won door prizes that morning!

Following the door prize giveaways, Becca, the MOPS Coordinator, acknowledged the members of the leadership team who were stepping down from their positions. She thanked them for all of their hard work over the past few years helping to make MOPS at FBC, Midlothian such a wonderful program for moms in the local community. She then took a few minutes to introduce the MOPS members who were joining the new leadership team. Then, Elizabeth was welcomed as the new MOPS Coordinator for the MOPS year beginning in the fall. Becca was also presented with a gift in appreciation for her service and commitment to the MOPS groups since it first began in 2011.

Finally, the meeting was closed in a word of prayer. Once dismissed, each MOPS mom left eagerly counting down the days until the new MOPS semester begins in the fall. The 2014-2015 MOPS year will be remembered fondly for the friendships that were nurtured, the welcoming atmosphere and the acceptance that was shown to every mom, the laughter that was shared, and the tears that were shed. It was a year of growth, of finding our courage, of learning to share our stories, and learning to “Be You Bravely”. It was a year spent connecting with other moms, and finding strength in each other as we grew in our faith and in our relationships with Jesus Christ. It was a year of striving to ensure that as much as possible, the MOPS motto, “No mom alone”, is true for many moms in the Midlothian area.

MOPS “A FIERCE FLOURISHING” 2015-2016

Our theme this year:

2015-03-30.FierceFlourishingHeader

If you are anything like me, you are craving more of the goodness of life.
We have been created to flourish and not just survive.
So what would it look like if we took one year choosing to flourish?
One year choosing to live our one wild and beautiful life with as much celebration as we can muster. One year embracing healthy rhythms of play and rest, one year of noticing the goodness that is right in front of us?
One year of inviting color and beauty to breathe life back into our souls.
If we are being honest, sometimes deciding to flourish scares us, because flourishing is wild and organic. It is unpredictable and hard to define and far from tame. It is a dance with holy goodness. And that is both terrifying and thrilling.
We believe terrifying and thrilling sums up all of the most life giving experiences.
The truth is that some women are content with playing it safe. But, not us.
See, here at MOPS we are a tribe of women who feel deeply and hope wildly. And this year everything is coming into bloom.

For information about MOPS International, visit their website: mops.org.

MOPS MEETING 5-6-2015 RECAP

On a mild, spring morning in early May, MOPS moms gathered at FBC, Midlothian for the penultimate meeting of the 2014-2015 MOPS year. The breakfast buffet overflowed with good food prepared by the ever-smiling moms from the Gutsy Green table group. MOPS moms spent a few minutes loading up their breakfast plates with servings of egg and sausage casseroles, donuts, muffins, banana bread, fruit and yogurt. Then they hurried over to their table groups to eat, chat, laugh, and sip coffee all while hoping this was their week to win one of the amazing door prizes. As door prize tickets were drawn, three surprised moms were excited to win pedicure gift certificates for a little pampering in honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend.

When the last bites of breakfast had been eaten, MOPS moms settled back in their seats to enjoy one more inspirational video from MOPS, International, featuring Jackie Alvarez. Bringing the theme of the year full circle, Jackie shared her story of how she has intentionally pursued a life of bravely being herself. She encouraged moms to be active participants in writing their life stories, to bravely play their unique roles in the bigger stories around them, to courageously pursue the dreams that are ingrained in their souls, and to offer their greatest selves to the world. She reminded moms not to let fear, rejection, or expectations stop them from living a life of brave intention. She explained that ultimately, people do not want to see others who are just fractions of themselves. Rather, they want to see others who are being themselves bravely, and who are doing the hard things when the bigger story requires it. She challenged each mom to shake off the dust, get in motion, stay in motion, and “Be you, bravely.”

As the video ended, craft time began, and each MOPS mom was given a terra cotta clay flower pot and unlimited access to a rainbow of acrylic paints. With foam brushes, painter’s tape, and a lot of imagination, the clay pots were decorated with stripes, polka dots, geometric designs, solid colors, and even baby hand prints and footprints. Each flower pot became a unique creation, reflecting the preferences, artistry, and talent of the MOPS mom who painted it. It was a project that fostered creativity and fellowship, and it was greatly appreciated by MOPS moms at every table group.

Even though the MOPS year is drawing to an end, this meeting did not disappoint. Laughter, food, fellowship, and fun flowed generously, and MOPS moms enjoyed yet another opportunity to be refreshed, to be accepted, to be creative, to be encouraged, and to be reminded that they are not alone on their journey through motherhood.

MOPS MEETING RECAP 4-15-2015

Not long ago, in the middle of April, MOPS moms met once again at FBC, Midlothian to enjoy a time of breakfast and fellowship. Following the delicious breakfast provided by the moms from the Courageous Coral table group, several amazing door prizes were generously given away. Then, while seated at their table groups, moms could be heard enthusiastically laughing through an entertaining game of “Never Have I Ever”.

The truths that were humorously revealed through the group game flowed nicely into the theme of the meeting, which was “Courage to Share Your Story”. In the MOPS, International DVD segment that was shared, Carol Kuykendal, explained that there are three levels of vulnerability that women enter into when sharing their stories. The first level of vulnerability simply reveals basic information, while the second level becomes more vulnerable through the sharing of feelings. The third level of sharing is the most vulnerable as life-defining details are revealed.

Carol explained that fear often stops women from sharing their stories beyond the first level of vulnerability. Women often fear their stories will be too boring, or that they will reveal too much about themselves. It takes real courage to share a piece of oneself, but it is through authentic sharing that connections are made. When women tell their stories, they experience a sense of freedom, because they have let go of the fear they carried when holding the weight of their stories on their own. Sharing opens the door for healing, because the details of our stories help to provide validation and promote understanding and acceptance. Carol encouraged MOPS moms to be brave and to share a little bit more of their stories than they thought they could. She challenged moms to practice “courageous vulnerability” in their relationships with other moms.

After viewing the video, MOPS moms were given the opportunity to practice “courageous vulnerability” by sharing their stories on a more intimate level with the other women at their table groups. It was truly a meaningful time of small-group discussion that made it possible for deeper connections to be formed and friendships to be strengthened. When the discussion time ended, MOPS moms left the MOPS meeting with encouraged hearts and a renewed sense that they are not alone on their motherhood journey.

MOPS MEETING 4-1-2015 Annual Tea & Testimony Meeting

Each of us has a story to share. Each of us has words inside of us that can be spoken aloud, words that encourage those around us, words that shine with the redemption and grace that nurtures hope and perseverance. In our own, unique ways, each of us is a survivor of hard things. Each of us is a woman, a dreamer, a seeker, a learner, a teacher, a giver, a daughter, a mother, and a friend. Each of us knows pain, pleasure, despair, and joy. Each of us is full of experiences that have defined us and refined us. We are multi-faceted, and our stories are powerful, especially when they are shared with authenticity and vulnerability.

And it was the sharing of these stories that brought MOPS moms together at FBC, Midlothian for the 4th annual Tea and Testimony meeting this April. While sitting at beautifully decorated tables, MOPS moms spent time enjoying a special breakfast of chicken salad sandwiches, quiche, fruit, and cookies. Then, they turned their attention to five special speakers who shared their stories of pain, perseverance, and victory through Jesus Christ.

Speaking to an audience of more than fifty moms, Elizabeth, Liz, Leann, Amanda, and Stacie, each took her turn sharing her testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness in her life. While each story was different, each story was thoroughly wrapped in the truth that God is love, that God pursues us, that God never gives-up on us, that God uses us for his glory, and that each of us has a significant role to play in God’s plan for our family. Though our circumstances may overwhelm us, God’s plan for us is always good. Though our faith may falter, God remains strong. He holds us in his gentle hands, he looks on us with love, and he will always be near to us when we call upon his name.

Though tears were shed in the telling of their stories, those five, brave MOPS moms breathed new encouragement into all who listened to their words. Once again, MOPS moms were blessed with refreshed perspectives, with renewed hope, and with the knowledge that they are not alone on their journey through motherhood.

MOPS MEETING 3-18-2015 RECAP

When they met together at FBC, Midlothian for their second March meeting, MOPS moms took the opportunity to reflect on the Easter story and the hope they have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since the cross is a meaningful symbol of Easter and Christ’s sacrificial love, and also serves as a reminder of the salvation that is made possible through Jesus, a special craft time was planned for the moms to make beaded crosses out of nails and wire. While the MOPS moms strung beads, twisted wire, and created their special Easter crosses, they also bravely shared their testimonies and their stories of faith with their table group friends.

In addition to fellowship and crafting, MOPS moms also enjoyed eating a scrumptious breakfast provided by the members of the Audacious Auburn table group. Then, door prizes of specially chosen books were given away to three MOPS moms who were delighted to receive them. An extra opportunity for fellowship was appreciated when moms were given the chance to visit with members of other table groups in order to describe themselves in three words and begin developing new friendships.

From hearing encouraging stories of faith, to reflecting on Easter and the cross of Christ, to sharing a meal with friends, moms from all over the local community were blessed once again by the MOPS program and the hope it endeavors to provide to women as they journey together through the joys and struggles of motherhood.

MOPS MEETING RECAP-Speaker Sarah Beth Marr “Fuel for Mommas”

We may all have different ideas and opinions about diapers, feedings, discipline, and myriad other issues we face as mothers raising young children, but something we all have in common is the need for rest. Motherhood can be exhausting physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and we must each find practical ways to nurture our own body, mind, and soul. When guest speaker, Sarah Beth Marr, visited the MOPS group at FBC Midlothian at the beginning of March, she shared practical strategies that tired, busy moms could use to incorporate self-care into their daily routines.

To take care of their physical well-being, Sarah suggested that MOPS moms try to take a walk outside everyday as an opportunity to breath fresh air, pray, and de-stress. She suggested that moms might also want to let go of the guilt and make time for activities that make them feel good, such as getting a massage, a pedicure, a manicure, or even a nice haircut. Tired moms would also benefit from drinking plenty of water, taking an occasional nap, or soaking in a warm bubble bath.

To improve their emotional well-being, Sarah strongly encouraged MOPS moms to take breaks every day. Whether the break ends up being 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or more, it will help moms to refresh their emotions. Other activities that overwhelmed moms can include in their daily routines in order to nurture their emotional well-being could include date nights, social media breaks, decluttering, keeping a simplified schedule, writing dreams and goals in a journal, making time for a hobby, and participating in a support group like MOPS.

To nurture their spiritual well-being, Sarah recommended that MOPS moms strive for daily time with God in practical, realistic ways. Moms can pray while holding their children or while folding laundry. Moms can read one Bible verse every morning, or even read one chapter in their Bible before checking email, texts, or social media. Moms can play worship music at home while doing chores, or in the car while driving. Wherever moms are and whatever they are doing, they can always talk to God and improve their spiritual well-being through prayer and worship.

Not only did this MOPS meeting feature a great, guest speaker encouraging moms to rest, to relax, and to take care of themselves, the meeting also gave MOPS moms the opportunity to do just that. The MOPS moms were able to relax and enjoy a delicious breakfast provided by the members of the Audacious Auburn table group. MOPS moms were also excited to win the door prizes of relaxing spa-themed items, and they even had fun playing an energetic game of musical chairs. Table group discussions on the topic of rest and self-care made the meeting experience even more encouraging. MOPS moms left feeling inspired to make various little changes that would have big impacts on their overall physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being as women and as mothers.

MOPS MEETING 2-4-15 “Courage to Be Passionate” Speaker Ben Condray

Whenever Ben Condray speaks at a MOPS meeting at FBC, Midlothian, empty seats are hard to find. And that was certainly the case when he spoke at a recent MOPS meeting. Since MOPS moms have been exploring “bravery” and “courage” throughout this MOPS year, Ben took the opportunity to speak about the “Courage to Be Passionate in Marriage”. With a topic so relevant to MOPS moms, everyone in the meeting room listened attentively and took detailed notes on the wise ideas that Ben shared with his customary humor and openness.

Ben explained that in order to have passion in her marriage, each MOPS mom needs to have the courage to pursue her husband by showing interest in what interests him. She needs to have the courage to protect her husband’s privacy, his pride, his reputation, and his feelings. She also needs to praise her husband often and pray for him with a thankful heart. A MOPS mom wanting to promote passion in her marriage also needs to pull her husband close and make physical intimacy a priority.

A meaningful message from Ben was just one part of this highly anticipated MOPS meeting. MOPS moms also savored a full breakfast provided by the members of the Bravely Blue table group. Then, haircuts, generously donated by the talented MOPS mom, Laura, were given away as door prizes. Also, everyone enjoyed a lengthy time of authentic, table group discussion.

It was truly a meeting that did not disappoint. When the MOPS moms left, they did so with the encouragement they needed to courageously pursue passion in their marriages even as they continue bravely on their journey through motherhood.

LIS ESPINOZA

DGL COORDINATOR

MOPS MEETING 1-21-15 “Courage to Raise Brave Kids” video Mandy Arioto (MOPS Craft picket fence post boards)

Old fence boards may not seem like much, but in the hands of MOPS moms, they became works of art at the most recent MOPS meeting at FBC, Midlothian. While their children played and learned in their wonderful MOPPETS classrooms, MOPS moms enjoyed a delectable breakfast provided by the members of the Valiant Violet table group. Between bites of sweet doughnuts and comforting casseroles, MOPS moms chatted and hoped to be one of the lucky winners of the special Mary Kay goodie bags given away as door prizes that morning. Then, with just a little paint and lots of creativity, MOPS moms made something new and delightful out of old, weathered fence boards, creating wooden signs with hand-painted charm.

As the crafts were completed, MOPS moms turned their attention to the MOPS, International video featuring Mandy Arioto. Mandy spoke about having the courage to raise brave kids. She challenged moms to find opportunities for their children to take risks and practice being brave. As the video ended, table group friends enjoyed a time of discussion on what it means to be a brave mom raising brave kids.

From breakfast to fence boards, to good friends and brave discussions, moms from all over the community enjoyed their morning at MOPS. They not only left with new wall art to display in their homes, but they also left with a better understanding of the importance of raising brave kids. Perhaps most importantly; however, they left feeling encouraged, feeling connected, feeling supported, and feeling strengthened by the knowledge that they are loved and they are not alone.

LIS ESPINOZA

DGL Coordinator

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