Friday, December 18, 2009

A story about how I got to be where I am.

This is not my life story. I won't go back that far. But just far enough to say, I was unhappy. I should have been very happy. We were living in our own, gorgeous home that we had built with our own blood, sweat, and tears. (Now I know the true meaning of that expression.) I had just had our third child, Hallie, whom we had planned for. (I thought I was ready.) This story doesn't actually start at this point, I guess, but probably 6-8 months later. I found myself home with 3 young children and getting out was more of a chore. I found myself without close friends living near. I found myself lonely and overwhelmed. After several failed attempts to make connections with other moms of young children, I chose to isolate myself and sink deeper into depression. It was at this point that God knew he could get my attention. It started with a Ladies Retreat and a passage in Isaiah 58 aimed directly at me (8-14). Here is what I needed to know: my healing would come (v.8) if I look beyond myself to how I can help/encourage/love/impact others, and the Lord will guide me (v.10-11). Stop following my own desires and the Lord will be my delight (v.13-14). And so that is what I set out to do! It wasn't all peaches and cream, but I sought the Lord's will for me daily and I enjoyed a very sweet communion with Him. He directed me on how to line up my priorities as I sought to move beyond myself, and it started with my family. My first commitment was to my husband and my second was to my kids. From here is where I was seeking the next opportunity to serve Him. I have to say, I was a little impatient. But His timing is always best.

It turns out, someone else had been praying for me too. I had no idea. She is a person I had always considered my spiritual mentor and when we had a conversation about what God had been speaking to each of us, I knew I was to take a position of leadership. It was during this conversation that God impressed MOPS upon my heart. I really had no idea what MOPS even was. But it went through my head and erupted out of my mouth, straight from God. The other thing going through my head was "no, no, no! I cannot be a leader! I've never been a leader. I am scared to lead!" I went home to look MOPS up online to see what I was getting myself into!

When I learned what MOPS was, I was so excited! And almost angry, as I thought, "why don't we already have MOPS in our community?" If MOPS is needed anywhere, it is definitely here, where the long, cold, dark winters keep mothers of preschoolers imprisoned in their homes, with very few opportunities to get out in the community to meet one another! Here, where mothers of preschoolers, particularly stay at home moms, such as myself, are spending long dark days at home without the support of friends in the same trenches or adult conversation, many with 3 or more preschoolers driving them crazy! That's how it my home. The world doesn't necessarily understand. But we understand. We all understand where each other is coming from. But many, such as myself, find it difficult, for one reason or another, to reach out and make that initial connection with another mom. MOPS stands in the gap.

As I read, planned, and attended the MOPS Convention (with something like 4,000 other moms of preschoolers, I might add!), I quickly became passionate about MOPS. It wasn't just about meeting moms' need for connecting with each other, it was about meeting a mom's greatest need: her need for Jesus. Because, had I not already known the One who loved me and who was waiting for me to reach out to and rely upon, I would still be in that pit of despair. What about the mom who is alone and doesn't know the One who will befriend her for eternity and give her joy unspeakable on this earth regardless of any situation? I knew with certainty, this is what He was calling me to do. So, with almost no leadership experience and no experience with MOPS, having never attended one meeting, I took a huge leap of faith.

The MOPS group God led me to start has been successful beyond what I ever imagined. It makes me so happy to know that in this community there is a place for moms to go to encourage and support, to be encouraged and supported. Where all moms are welcomed and loved and hopefully the mom who doesn't know Jesus, the One who loves her most, will get to know Him! I am completely honored and humbled that God would use me to start something this big in our community. I love MOPS and I hope that I will be involved in MOPS in one way or another for a very long time.

for more info about MOPS go to

Pretzel Factory

Matt has a few things he will make and they are "his domain", in my book. I have never had much success with making doughs that must rise. Matt is good at it. And more patient. So, every so often, he gets a hankerin' for Auntie Anne's pretzels. Auntie Anne holds a special place in our hearts, as her pretzels were a special treat for us when we were living down South for those two months. He loves to find the replication recipes for our favorite things and make them at home. These pretzels are good! I'll tell you a secret: the trick to getting that kind of bitter taste that goes with the sweet dough, and the buttery salty flavor is a baking soda bath just before putting your pretzel on the baking sheet.

Oliver's moves.

He was an army crawler at 7 months and speed crawler at 8 months. One of my favorite things he does -- whenever I grind my coffee, I always warn him ahead of time, look straight at him with a big smile while doing it, so hopefully he's not scared, he's used to it, and he doesn't scream and wail every morning. So now, when I grind my coffee, while looking at him with a big smile, he comes racing towards me with a big grin on his face and climbs up my leg. Not sure why he does this, maybe just the reassurance of holding on to me while hearing the loud, obnoxious noise. But he doesn't cry!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I love this girl's style.

Hallie loves clothes. She loves to change her clothes. She has been known to change her clothes up to 20 times a day. I gave up fighting her for a say in what she wears long ago. She comes up with some pretty original combinations. I wish I could get a picture of her in more of her outfits, but she resists. She does not like to model what she wears. I NEVER try to help her choose what to wear for a specific place unless it is just before we are headed out the door, because as soon as I am resting happily in the knowledge that she is dressed appropriately for a particular venue, she has changed two more times before we have left. The other day she had been wearing a cute Christmas dress most of the day, surprisingly, and we were just getting ready to go to the kids' school Christmas program so I was pretty excited that she was dressed for the occasion. Guess what we left the house in? A princess nightgown. Some battles are just not worth fighting.
These are her favorite jammies. (With a blazer-type jacket over, of course.) She will change in and out of them a number of times a day and always insist that they are clean when it's time to put on jammies for bed. Of course, she will often choose to wear clothes to bed -- not clothes that she's been wearing, but clothes specifically chosen for bedtime. And often times she will wake up in different clothes/jammies than we put her to bed in.
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I guess I have to play catch up and I can't put it off forever or it will take me forever to do it! I'll just skip through most of November and head straight to Thanksgiving. I really want to upload a bunch of videos, but it takes so long! In the month of November, Oliver went from an army crawl to an all-out speed crawler. So maybe I'll get around to putting a video of that.

Here are the pilgrim's hat treats we made for the kids' classes and the placecards we made for Thanksgiving dinner all on the same night -- a school night. Talk about stressfull!

We ate Thanksgiving dinner at Matt's parents, where his mom could debut her updated kitchen. Guess who did most of the work? (The kitchen updating, not the dinner...that was Matt's mom, of course. She never lets us do much.)

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