Field Trip to the Frozen Zone

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Ice Cream Parlor and American Restaurant

Field Trip on Tuesday, April 15

11:00 am

 

In lieu of our normal meeting, since APS and Rio Rancho are off for spring break, we’ll be taking a field trip to a super cool ice cream shop that combines yumminess with a big dose of wonder, amazement, and science. Kids get to make their own 6 oz. ice cream (from four flavors) and watch the ice cream being made using liquid nitrogen.

Cost: $6.50 per child (includes a Nathan’s jumbo beef hot dog, a drink, and 6 oz. ice cream). Adults can have the same package, order from the main menu or not order at all.

The Frozen Zone is located at:

223 Montano Rd. NW

Albuquerque, NM 87107

505-345-1415

 

Check out their Facebook page!

Tangled Mess

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Sometimes my kids unintentionally provide me the greatest object lessons. This morning my son pulled out all my jewelry and mixed up all my necklaces into an unrecognizable ball. Getting those necklaces untangled sparked some deep thoughts.

I thought of how I’ve attached meaning and memories to each of these necklaces. There’s the necklace I bought for the big class party when Stephen graduated from medical school. A necklace that I’ve never worn, given to me by my uncle when I graduated from college and just before a falling out with my mom. Two gorgeous pearl necklaces my mom chose for me for birthdays, which will always be special just because she loved them for me. The bird’s nest necklace I made with our steering team last fall during our retreat, complete with a neat little magnetic clasp.

I thought of how each of these necklaces is like each of my friends and family—each special for it’s own reason, vastly different in appearance and design, but all important to me.

I realized with a laugh that the one that will always remind me of MOPS is the one with the magnetic clasp. So as I tried to separate the individual necklaces, that MOPS one kept getting stuck to everything else, tying them all together and making it nearly impossible to pull them apart.

And it hit me—MOPS is like that! Motherhood has a way of connecting our past with our future, deepening our bonds with friends, moms, and husbands as we grow into our roles. And MOPS represents everything about motherhood for me. My years in this group have been incredibly transformative, challenging, and fun. I’m so grateful to each of the MOPS moms who have walked alongside me as I navigate motherhood, who will continue to tie things together for me in a way I never could have foreseen. I’m so grateful for our beautiful, tangled mess… and for children who continually create moments for God to speak to me.

 

 

Counting Blessings

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Kids are such blessings!

No, really. (I know someone out there read that first sentence and thought, “It doesn’t always feel like it.” Maybe you even rolled your eyes. I know, because I thought it as I typed it.)

Our children are the ones who challenge us to be more patient every day. They’re the ones who can bring out a smile with their unexpected antics and goofiness. They’re the ones who melt our hearts when we sneak into their rooms and watch them sleeping, to see their little lips parted and sweet breaths flowing in and out. They’re the ones who keep us up at night with worries, illness and potty accidents. Our kids are the ones who made us moms, and no one can take that away.

I’ve been pondering lately the things we’re blessed with—individually, and together in community. We pray and hope for blessings from God; more money, more stuff, better clothes/hair/shoes/makeup. Insert your own wishes here. But when it comes down to the root of the matter, we’re already incredibly blessed. We have working minds and bodies to care for ourselves and our families. We have access to medical care, clean water, and everything we could possibly need to keep your home clean and food on the table. We have the greatest gift—our salvation—and through that, we are able to whisper our deepest longings into the ear of God. Yet I find myself all too often setting my heart on things that will only serve to make myself comfortable.  And I see now that in mothering my children, I’ve been modeling the love of God for us… to my kids and also to myself. I’m far from perfect, but I can see how God has set his heart to caring for us.

So, I guess I’ve been feeling a little guilty for caring so much about needless things—smooth transitions, an easy life, perfect scenarios—when I know that life will never fulfill these expectations. In reality, God may not see easiness in life as all that important. What really matters is setting our eyes on Him and hanging onto our faith in Him, even in the darkest moments.

I find it so funny that our kids can bring out sunshiny feelings and also be the harbingers of destruction and weeping. They have a habit of bringing out the best and worst in us. But they are wonderful, amazing blessings whom God is using to shape us, as moms, into stronger and yet gentler women.

Count your blessings!

 

A New Year for New Leaders

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Every woman in our group has special talents, skills, vision and character. You all bring something to the table! We hope that you prayerfully consider joining the steering team for the 2014-2015 year. There is a great need for members to step forward in dedication to seeing our group thrive. Each year almost every steering position is open, and each has varying degrees of responsibility/time demands.

Commitment:

  • Monthly steering meetings (generally, first Fridays for about 2-2.5 hours).
  • MOPS meeting setup/cleanup duties
  • Personal time, variable with position

Benefits:

  • Be involved in group decisions and vision
  • Free childcare at Steering meetings
  • Steering is like a little family—bond more with mom friends.

You won’t regret it! Talk to Jen Bogart, or any other steering team member, for more information. Steering applications will be made available in March.

Possible positions: Group Coordinator/Co-coordinator; Discussion Group Facilitator; Finance; Fundraising; Creative Activities/Historian; Publicity; MOPPETS curriculum or worker oversight; Programs; Hospitality.

 

 

Changing Winds

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Right on cue, the windy season has started here.

The new year, fluctuating temperatures and changeful winds seem perfectly fitted to my mood lately. My little family is on the brink of major change as my husband finishes his medical residency and is hot on the job search for his first position out of training. And as many of you realize, it is hard living far from family. All of the job interviews so far have been on the west coast, closer to “home”. We’re praying for the best job for him and the best community for our family. And I’ve been reflecting, with the windy weather, that our lives for the past eight years (coming up on our ninth anniversary) have been a lot about us floating where the wind—where God—is leading. We’ve picked up a little bit of every place we’ve been… terminology, cultural expectations, pronunciations, tastes in food. We’ve left a mark in the communities in which we’ve lived. And right now, everywhere we’ve lived feels a little like “home” to us, while at the same time nowhere feels like home.

There are so many things for us to look forward to, and so much to be grateful for.

What I’ve learned is this: be flexible, and be prepared. God has a special plan for each one of us; my family and yours. Things can change unpredictably. We can be stuck in a rut or perhaps have all our expectations hinging on a specific event or indeterminate date, and life may not always turn out the way we foresee. God’s plan is bigger than ours. Make this year a memorable one, in which you may be hanging on tight to keep hold of relationships or finances, just enough to make it by for one more year; or maybe you’ll be letting go and getting caught up in the winds of God’s control. My prayer is that we will be strong enough to hold on, and flexible enough to recognize when God asks us to adapt.

Cheers for an adventurous 2014!

 

Autumn Glory

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Something about swirling leaves and blustery autumn days seems to pull at my soul, lifting me out of everyday drudgery and inspiring me to get back to work on things I’ve neglected. I’ve been organizing, cleaning, and purging closets like crazy; started working on my two-year-old’s baby book; and generally been much more proactive about daily chores than has been the norm in the past few months.

So, why would the sight of leaves falling from trees inspire me? I suppose it’s because it reminds me of the circle of life, how summer leaves are strong and healthy, but come fall they burst into a gloriousness of rich color and beauty. I hope that my life looks like that to God—that as my summer turns to fall, before my final days, my life would be expressed in a joyous brocade of color and light, of changing winds, of joyously changing seasons.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what the future may hold me for as well as for my family. But Scripture points me back to the importance of attending to my tasks today, in order to meet goals for the future. Psalm 90:12 states, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” In other words, we need to have a long-term vision for our lives, and be sure that each day we should take whatever small steps are necessary to work toward God’s plan for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11-14 gives us a steady promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

God will be found when we seek with all our heart.

Finally, in Psalm 103:15-18 we have a reminder of the long-term benefits of setting our feet on the path of God’s will:

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

God has plans, and he wants us to seek him out. When we follow and obey him, we can look forward not only to reaching the blazing glory of autumn, but to passing on that fire and legacy to our children and grandchildren. The heritage of our faith will shine like a beacon in our families—and in our communities.

 

Breathe

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I sit down to write this after an all-too-common type of day—a two year old in the throes of the tantrum phase, with diaper rash, no nap, and what can only be described passably as a snack instead of dinner. He got to go to bed at 6. He thought I locked him in his room, which is a surefire way to guarantee he cries himself to sleep, rather than continually hopping out of bed until 9:30. The daughter stayed up a little later because she’s for sure prepping for a growth spurt, and needed three snacks to feel full before bedtime. Forty minutes of bedtime stories later, and I have the house to myself. Because, ya know, my husband was naturally scheduled for a nineteen hour call shift tonight. My house is disaster but all I want to do is veg out and enjoy the quiet. There hasn’t been enough of that in my life lately. Even when things are quiet, my brain is humming along, reminding me of all the things on my to-do list, my forgot-to-do list, and my how-will-I-ever-get-that-done list.  Feels familiar to you, too, I’m sure.

Thankfully we have a God who understands us—who created us to serve him and who knows that we are constantly overworking ourselves, overthinking life circumstances, and driving ourselves over the proverbial edge (or maybe our kids are doing that…).

Let this sink in: God KNOWS you. And in spite of what may feel to you as your unworthy, crazy, busy, messy lives, God LOVES you. He knows you can’t do it all (I’m finally admitting myself that I can’t do it all).  He knows that you sometimes lock yourself in the bathroom for some alone time and still get chased by little fingers under the doors, little voices through the door, and sometimes in my case, little hands picking the lock with a hair clip. He knows that at the end of the day, you’re exhausted and still have to summon energy to finish those last few chores before letting yourself relax, still have to summon energy to do it all over again tomorrow. He knows, ladies. He understands. And so do the rest of us.

Remind yourself to breathe. To BREATHE with your whole body, to re-center yourself in the midst of insanity. Remind yourself that these moments will pass, which can be good or bad at any given time. Remind yourself to seek God’s mercy when you feel like a failure, and to seek out the companionship of another MOPS mom for commiseration and encouragement.

The next few months will be a flurry of activity, preparation, big holidays and, hopefully, a lot of family time. Remember to breathe! When we take in these sustaining breaths, let them be a reminder to you that God is our sustainer, our hope, and our encourager. Let these moments of peace, however fleeting, carry you through the busiest, most exciting time of the year.

Aaaand…. GO!