MOPS MEETING 1-7-15 “Courage to Face Mom Fears”-video Sherry Surratt

It’s been well-established by now that every MOPS meeting at FBC, Midlothian provides an opportunity for moms to enjoy a good breakfast, maybe win a special door prize, definitely visit with friends, and perhaps participate in a few creative activities or games all while their precious children have fun in the well-planned MOPPETS program designed just for them. And that’s exactly what occurred once again when local mothers of preschoolers met together for the first MOPS meeting of the spring semester. And while it is true that this time of food, fellowship, and fun was both necessary and beneficial for the tired mothers of preschoolers, it was not necessarily the most important blessing for the women in attendance that morning.

Perhaps the biggest blessings were realized during those precious minutes that were set aside and dedicated to small group discussion time. For it was within those minutes of meaningful conversation that truth and authenticity were given a chance to reveal themselves, to touch anxious hearts, and to sooth worried minds. For it was during those minutes that the MOPS members bravely explored the real fears they all had as mothers of young children.

And as fears were revealed in a safe environment free from judgment or condemnation, the weight of those fears was lightened as moms discovered that they were not alone in their fears at all. For fear and worry can be found in the heart of every mother at one time or another, and every mother should be encouraged to lay those fears courageously at the very feet of Jesus.

Fear in motherhood can be devastating, robbing mothers of their peace and joy. But, it takes courage to acknowledge those fears, name them, take appropriate actions to overcome those fears, and eventually let them go. Such a daunting task is made slightly easier with the help and understanding, encouragement and prayers of other mothers who understand and can truly empathize, because they have often found themselves in the grip of fear too.

And these authentic conversations, this stripping down of pretense, this journey into vulnerability, and this path into courageous bravery are often the most precious blessings that MOPS has to offer. A chance to be heard, to be understood, and to be accepted is a gift to all moms. A chance to be encouraged, to be supported, and to be loved is what all moms need. And moms find these gifts and blessings at MOPS of Midlothian over and over again. For MOPS moms know that better moms make a better world, and no mom should be left to mother alone.

Lis Espinoza

DGL Coordinator

MEETING SUMMARY December 17th-“MARY, Ordinary But Chosen, Humble But Brave” Shelbi Garcia

Dressed in their coziest pajamas, MOPS moms and their children merrily arrived at FBC, Midlothian for the final MOPS meeting of the fall semester. Perhaps the most anticipated of all the MOPS meetings of the year, the “Favorite Things” Christmas gift exchange was not to be missed! All of the children were eager to go to their MOPPPETS classrooms that morning too, not only to hear the Christmas story telling of the birth of Jesus our Savior, but also to have the opportunity to visit with Santa Claus and have their pictures taken with him.

MOPS moms were equally eager to enter the MOPS meeting that morning so that they could place their three favorite things on the gift exchange tables, and so that they could have ample time to savor a scrumptious breakfast provided by the members of the Strong Silver table group. Following breakfast, fantastic door prizes were given away, and then Shelbi, the MOPS Welcome Coordinator, stood in front of the group to speak about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the hope all moms can find in her story. Shelbi described all that Mary had going against her, but that none of those things disqualified her from being used by God in the most profound way. Shelbi encouraged the MOPS moms to take inspiration from Mary’s story. Mary bravely believed that God could use even her, and through her, the course of history was forever altered. MOPS moms can also be used by God to do marvelous things, if they too would bravely and courageously say yes to the Lord, just as Mary did.

At the conclusion of Shelbi’s encouraging message of hope, Elizabeth, the MOPS Hospitality Coordinator, asked for one volunteer from each table group. The volunteers then participated in a hilarious holiday version of the classic group game, “Chubby Bunnies.” Marshmallows had never been as funny as they were that morning! Not only was the game entertaining for all, but it helped to determine which table group could select their “Favorite Things” gift exchange items first.

Then, one by one, the table groups were given the opportunity to choose items from the gift exchange tables. During this time, the room was filled with moms thrilled to open their gifts to discover the simple treasures that were held within the gift bags and boxes. From homemade salsa, to handmade infinity scarves, to fresh fudge, to cheese graters, to make-up, to gift cards, to homemade body butters and sugar scrubs, moms were treated to a lovely array of gifts from their fellow MOPS members. Not only did the moms share in the joy of the exchange, but they learned more about each other as each gift came with a note of explanation or a story explaining the significance of the gift from the mom who had brought it.

After the gift exchange, the MOPS moms enjoyed a lengthy time of visiting with their table group friends, and much laughter could be heard throughout the room. Table groups could be seen gathering together to take photos in front of the Christmas tree, and smiles abounded. As the meeting drew to a close, Becca, the MOPS Coordinator, prayed over the group and wished everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. She encouraged all moms to return in January for the start of the MOPS spring semester where moms from all over the local community will continue to find hope and encouragement, support and friendship, and the reminder that they are not alone on their journey through motherhood.

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MEETING SUMMARY-DECEMBER 3rd “Courage to Love People Extravagantly” Bob Goff

T’was the seventh MOPS meeting, and all through FBC,

The children were laughing, and the moms were giddy.

The diaper bags had been packed by the mamas with care,

With things the kids needed while they were there.

The children and babies were snug in their classes,

So the moms went upstairs to fill up their glasses

With steaming hot coffee, or maybe some tea

Plus a plate full of breakfast to savor with glee.

Then, with breakfast all finished, and door prizes claimed,

It was time to begin a fun Christmas themed game.

With paper plates on their heads and pens in their hands,

The moms began drawing scenes that were grand.

Through the course of this game, though they couldn’t quite see,

The moms managed to draw funny Christmas trees!

Then the video started. It featured Bob Goff.

He spoke rather quickly, but his message took off.

“Be not afraid!” was the encouragement shared,

Love is quite powerful, and it must be declared.

Have the courage to love and to let your love show.

Point people to Jesus, so it’s His love they’ll know.

When the video ended, the moms felt inspired,

And the craft time began: T-shirt scarves, no sewing required.

With a few simple snips of scissors so sharp,

Each mom had created her very own scarf.

Then much, much too soon, the MOPS meeting ended.

But the hours spent together were really quite splendid.

So the moms went home happy, with new hope unfurled,

Proving that better moms really do make a better world.

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MEETING SUMMARY-NOVEMBER 19th “Courage to be Significant” Aunie Brooks

With the holiday season fast approaching, the members of the Mothers of Preschoolers group at FBC, Midlothian, set aside a few hours to meet together for their sixth meeting of the fall semester. With so many demands placed upon moms during the holiday season, a relaxing morning of food, fun, and fellowship was truly necessary and simply refreshing.

While their children happily created handprint turkey art in their MOPPETS classrooms, MOPS moms enjoyed a delicious, hot breakfast provided by the members of the Fearless Fuchsia table group. Then, Monica, Heather, and LaCresha were blessed to be the winners of the “thirty-one” gift certificates that were generously donated by Wendy for the door prizes. The fun continued as the moms were divided into small groups based on their addresses so that they could get to know their MOPS “neighbors”. After a good time of visiting, MOPS moms returned to their table groups, and the morning’s special speaker was introduced.

Inspired by the theme of the meeting, “Courage to be significant”, MOPS mom, Aunie Brooks, took to the stage to talk to the moms about the significance of the hidden years of motherhood. Using the book Anonymous, by Alicia Britt Choli as her main reference source, Aunie asked moms to think about seasons in their lives in which they felt hidden or insignificant. Aunie explained that the early years of motherhood are a time when many women feel lonely, unnoticed, or left-behind. Aunie challenged moms to view the hidden season of motherhood as the opportunity to hear the voice of God more clearly without being distracted by the abundant praises or criticisms of others. She reminded moms that while they may feel overlooked and underappreciated by others, God sees them and their children at all times and longs to connect with them, to teach them, to form them, to protect them, to accept them, and to love them. Rather than simply trying to get through these difficult days, Aunie encouraged moms to use this brief time of early motherhood intentionally to get to know God intimately, to connect with him on a deeper level, and to give him the opportunity to perfect their character while focusing their eyes on what truly matters. MOPS moms were genuinely and deeply inspired by Aunie’s message and the table group discussion questions that followed.

After the announcements and closing prayer, MOPS members left the meeting with a renewed sense of purpose and hope having been encouraged by the fact that though the early years of motherhood are often hard and exhausting, they are truly formative and are lovingly used by God in the plans that he has for the lives of mothers and their children. Even during the hidden years, a MOPS mom can live confidently and abundantly in the knowledge that she is significant, her work is important, the Lord is with her, and she is never alone.

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Meeting Summary-November 5th “Courage to Be Generous, Silent Auction, Vendor Shopping”

What could be better than visiting with friends for a couple of hours on a rainy Wednesday morning in November? Visiting with friends while also shopping and raising funds for a terrific MOPS program, of course! And that’s just what MOPS members did when they met together for the fifth MOPS meeting of the fall semester at FBC, Midlothian. The annual MOPS silent auction has always been a favorite with MOPS moms, and this year’s event did not disappoint!

While precious little ones enjoyed their crafts, lessons, and snacks in their MOPPETS classrooms, MOPS moms delighted in sampling the tasty treats at the breakfast buffet provided by the members of the Fearless Fuchsia table group. Adorable framed wall-hangings, generously donated by Charlotte, were given away as door prizes to three happy winners. Then, MOPS moms were invited to begin their shopping at the silent auction tables and the ten, different vendor booths that were set-up in the room.

At the silent auction tables, moms had the opportunity to bid on items ranging from home décor, to baby accessories, to kitchen items, to toys, and other unique offerings. All items at the silent auction were thoughtfully donated by fellow MOPS moms, and all sales from the silent auction items directly benefitted the MOPS group. Most of the vendors were MOPS moms themselves, and their booths gave moms the chance to shop for new jewelry, hair accessories, tote bags, cosmetics, essential oils, wax warmers, homemade jam, and more.

When the shopping and auction time was finished, MOPS members returned to their table groups to thoughtfully consider the ideas shared by Alexandra Kuykendall in her MOPS, International video, “Courage to Be Generous”. In the video, and in the discussion questions that followed, moms were giving the opportunity to think about how they are generous with their money, their time, and their hearts, and how they are teaching their children to be generous too. This meaningful time of reflection was concluded by announcements and a word of prayer.

Much too quickly, this wonderful MOPS meeting and silent auction came to an end. As moms left the room, they carried newly purchased items and gifts, but more importantly they left with a deeper understanding of what generosity can look like in these difficult, early years of motherhood. Not only was the MOPS budget strengthened by a successful fundraiser, but the MOPS members were once again reminded that they can be brave, courageous, and generous, because they are loved, they are cared for, and they are not alone.

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MEETING SUMMARY FOR OCTOBER 15th “Courage to Forget Comparisons”

Enjoying a couple of hours in the company of friends is certainly time well spent, and that’s just what the members of FBC’s Mothers of Preschoolers group did when they gathered together on October 15th for the fourth MOPS meeting of the fall semester. With their young children experiencing their own MOPPETS adventures, the MOPS moms were free to savor a scrumptious, breakfast buffet provided by the lovely ladies of the Daring Dandelion table group. Door prizes were awarded to three, excited mommas, and then all of the MOPS members participated in an entertaining round of the “Name Game” guaranteed to break the ice and nurture new friendships.

After viewing the brief MOPS, International video, “Courage to Avoid Comparisons”, table group members engaged in meaningful conversations about relationships and finding significance in “being” rather than in “doing”. Then, table group conversations continued as the craft project began. With nothing more than pool noodles and burlap, MOPS moms created adorable, burlap wrapped wreaths, embellishing them with bows of ribbon, fabric flowers, miniature chalkboards, and assorted odds and ends. The finished creations were really quite stunning, and the moms were very pleased with their handmade pieces of home décor.

From brunch, to prizes, to games, to bravely exploring the topic of comparisons, to creating something lovely out of ordinary items, this MOPS meeting did not disappoint. Friendships were nurtured, creativity was fostered, and moms were reminded once again that they are not alone on their journey through motherhood.

Courage to Share a Shoe Box

Gathering together at FBC, Midlothian, MOPS members enjoyed their third meeting of the fall semester. With their children having fun in the MOPPETS program, moms were able to relax and enjoy a delicious breakfast provided by the members of the Daring Dandelion table group. With full tummies and full cups of coffee, moms looked carefully at their door prize tickets, hoping to be one of the three winners. One winning ticket was held by Tiffany who was happy to receive Beauty Kit donated by Laci. The next happy winner was ****** who won a beauty kit donated by Laci. Then, Sherri won a reusable, cloth, towel roll made and donated by MOPS mom, Shelbi.

After a brief time of table group discussion and visiting, Amanda, the MOPS Outreach Coordinator, spoke in front of the group. She introduced the MOPS outreach project for the fall semester, and provided important details to the moms about how they could participate in the project. Amanda explained that the MOPS group at FBC, Midlothian would be joining with MOPS, International to support the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. Amanda shared that 45 plastic shoeboxes had been donated toward this project, and that Rising Sun Hibachi Grill in Midlothian had generously donated $210 to cover the shipping costs of 30 of those boxes. Table groups and individual MOPS members were encouraged to take one or several boxes home to fill with gifts for children in need in countries all over the world.

More information about Operation Christmas Child and shoebox gifts was given as moms watched the MOPS International video, “Courage to Share a Shoebox”. The video featured, Izabella McMillon, a woman who received a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child when she was a child in Communist Romania. Through the shoebox gift, she was introduced to the love of Jesus, and she came to know him as her savior. The video showed children from around the world receiving shoebox gifts containing toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and the gospel message. When the video ended, many MOPS members were wiping tears from their eyes, and in less than a few minutes, all of the 45 plastic shoeboxes had been claimed by table groups and individual moms. MOPS members were also provided with labels for their boxes and instructions on how to fill the boxes with gifts. Amanda shared that filled shoeboxes could be turned-in at the next two MOPS meetings. Table groups then enjoyed a few minutes of table group discussion about Operation Christmas Child, outreach, and generosity.

Before the meeting concluded, Brandy, the MOPS Finance Coordinator, shared that the annual fall MOPS Silent Auction Fundraiser is coming up soon, and MOPS moms may now purchase a vendor table at which to sell items from their personal businesses. Finally, Suzette, the MOPS Prayer and Care Coordinator took to the stage to give announcements about upcoming MOPS playdates and moms-night-out events. Suzette closed the meeting in prayer, and moms were dismissed to pick-up their children from the MOPPETS classrooms. As they were leaving, MOPS members could be seen hugging one another and smiling as they carried their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with them. MOPS members know that “Better moms make a better world”, and this fall, moms at FBC, Midlothian are going to be a part of that truth by supporting the ministry of Operation Christmas Child as it strives to share the good news of Jesus with children all over the world.

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MOPS MEETING-“Courage to Be Honest, featuring Speaker and Author Shauna Niequist via video

Members of the MOPS group at FBC, Midlothian met together for their second September meeting. The theme for this meeting was “Courage to Be Honest”, and moms were looking forward to exploring truth and authenticity in their relationships.

After all the children were placed in the outstanding MOPPETS childcare program, moms entered the MOPS meeting room where a delectable breakfast awaited them, lovingly prepared by the members of the Courageous Coral table group. Becca, the MOPS Coordinator opened the meeting in a word of prayer, and moms at the table groups enjoyed a friendly ice-breaker game of “Two Truths and a Lie”. When the game was finished, door prizes were awarded. Laci won a jewelry set donated by MOPS mom, Joy from Ben Franklin Apothecary in Duncanville. New mentor mom, Kathy, won a collection of make-up donated by MOPS mom, Laci from Amway. Christina won a mom’s mini photo session donated by photographer and MOPS mom, Megan from Megan Lynn Photography. Great food, great games, and great prizes made this MOPS meeting extra-special!

Next, a MOPS International video featuring speaker and author, Shauna Niequist, was shown to the group. In the video, Shauna talked about being honest with yourself and with others. She expressed the value in having hard conversations, because honesty heals. She encouraged moms to be brave in the way they approach conflict. She emphasized the importance of speaking honestly about your own needs, so that others can offer their support. Following the video, MOPS moms engaged in a meaningful time of group discussion at their tables, exploring the difficulties and benefits of honesty and vulnerability.

As group discussions continued, the craft project was introduced by Creative Activities Coordinator, Linda. At this meeting, MOPS moms were given the opportunity to decorate and personalize white mugs using stencils and permanent marker paint pens of various colors. It was amazing to see the creativity of each mom as she designed her own, unique mug.

Finally, Prayer and Care Coordinator, Suzette, recognized all the MOPS moms who were celebrating their birthdays in the month of September. Then, she closed the MOPS meeting in a brief moment of prayer. As moms left to pick-up their children from MOPPETS, they felt encouraged and strengthened in their journey of motherhood, bravely willing to pursue honesty in their lives and in their relationships.

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MOPS KICK OFF-“The Start of Something Brave”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After a long summer break, mothers of preschoolers gathered together once again at FBC Midlothian for the first meeting of the 2014-2015 MOPS year. After checking-in their children into the wonderful MOPPETS program, MOPS moms made their way to the MOPS meeting room to find that it was cheerily decorated in shades of peach and sea-green with splashes of chevron, flowers, and gold-dipped feathers too.

The table groups filled-up fast as moms happily greeted old friends and welcomed new ones. Moms then took a moment to help themselves to delicious breakfast treats like egg casseroles, muffins, donuts, fresh fruit, and yogurt, all provided by the MOPS leaders. After sitting down to a warm meal that they didn’t have to share with any hungry little-ones, moms paused for a moment of prayer and the meeting was officially underway!

Door prizes were generously donated from Heather Fisk with HeatherAileen’s etsy shop and given out. Then we shared MOPS theme video. The moms were then encouraged to get out of their seats and introduce themselves to a new friend. This was followed by a quick game of “Four Corners” in which the MOPS moms were given a chance to learn more about each other. When moms returned to their seats, they began to create unique name tags for themselves using colored cardstock, burlap, lace, paper cut-outs, pens, scissors, glue, and zentangle doodle art. No two name tags were alike; each reflecting the uniqueness of the MOPS mom who created it. The room was humming with laughter and conversation as moms relaxed and enjoyed the time spent with their table group friends.

Ending all too quickly, the meeting was closed with a word of prayer, and moms left the room eagerly anticipating the next MOPS meeting, and a year of exploring the MOPS International theme of “Be You Bravely”. This first meeting was truly special, preparing the way for what will certainly be an amazing and meaningful MOPS year at FBC Midlothian where they wholeheartedly believe in the MOPS motto, “No mom alone”.

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What to Expect At Our First Meeting on September 3

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at FBC, Midlothian will begin their fourth year very soon! Mothers from all over the local area are excited to attend the first MOPS meeting of the fall semester on September 3rd. Each and every MOPS meeting is carefully planned to provide busy, tired moms with the opportunity to relax, to be nurtured, to be creative, to be encouraged, and to feel connected. “Be you BRAVELY, an Experiment in Courage” is the theme for this new MOPS year, and MOPS moms are eager to explore new levels of courage in their mothering, in their relationships, in their decision-making, and in their personal goals and choices.
When the moms arrive at this first MOPS meeting, they will be greeted by friendly MOPS volunteers who will help them check-in their children into the MOPPETS childcare program. MOPPETS check-in begins at 9:20 a.m. While in the MOPPETS program, the children will enjoy crafts, playtime, and snacks. They will be well-cared for while their moms benefit from a much-needed break.
Once their children are safely placed in their MOPPETS classrooms, moms will go upstairs to the MOPS meeting room where they will randomly select their discussion group table assignment for the fall semester. At each meeting, moms will sit with the same table group, growing and nurturing relationships with a core group of moms. At all MOPS meetings, MOPS members will also be treated to a buffet breakfast, door prizes, and ice-breaker games that give them the chance to learn more about each other.
At this first meeting, moms will also be introduced to their MOPS leadership team, and will learn more about this year’s MOPS theme. Moms will then have the opportunity to create a fun, craft project and participate in group discussions designed to help them grow and develop as women and mothers. The meeting will be closed in prayer, and moms will be dismissed to pick-up their children from MOPPETS.
As the new MOPS year gets underway, MOPS at FBC, Midlothian continues to be a place where moms can be themselves, bravely plunging into the beautiful mess of motherhood. There is certainly much to look forward to this year in MOPS, because MOPS moms know that better moms make a better world, and they believe that no mom should be left to mother alone.

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