Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ringing in the New Year

I don't know about you, but my Instagram feed these days is full of shiny new planners, hand-lettered goals, and everyone's word of the year. 'Tis the season for starting over, for fresh and clean, for new beginnings.

You may be on this bandwagon, a goal-setter by nature and feeling inspired by everyone else. Or you may be feeling overwhelmed and convinced that you are Not Enough. Maybe you used to be a goal-setter, a go-getter, someone who jumped into the shiny and new with both feet, but then.... babies happened. As it turns out, it's difficult to be reflective and intentional when you are sleep deprived and in survival mode.

I'm here to tell you that it's okay if you don't have a "word of the year." You don't need to set goals. If new planners stress you out, save your money! If you just have a vague sense of what you want in 2018, that is perfectly fine! Know yourself, and embrace your current season of life.


I was at the playground yesterday, at a Kindergarten play date, chatting with some moms from my son's school. They were talking about their plans to celebrate on New Year's Eve. Some had date nights planned, some were having friends over. One said she'd be asleep by ten after spending the day with extended family. It's easy to believe that everyone is doing something grand and exciting, or at least something special. And then you make the mistake of searching "New Years Eve with kids" on Pinterest, and you come to the conclusion that you are the most boring, not-fun mom EVER and you'd better start saving up for your children's therapy bills someday.

Listen, let me tell you something: you do not need to make everything magical for your children. It is not a requirement in the "good parent" category. If special celebrations wear you out and turn you into an exhausted, cranky mom, don't do it! Don't buy into the hype that this is what everyone else is doing. On the other hand, if you love doing this kind of stuff, if you keep a drawer just for glitter and balloons, more power to you! You do you. Know yourself, know your family, embrace your season!

Happy New Year! No matter how you're ringing it in, what you're doing (or not doing!), I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you and your family!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I need your input! Two questions!

Hi everyone!

As I plan and prepare for another great semester of MOPS, I have some questions for you.

The first is related to a speaker: behavioral pscyhologist Dr. Max Butterfield (also my husband, haha!) will be speaking to us in February and he would like to know what topic you would most be interested in. Would you cast your vote in the form below?


Secondly, I'm excited to announce that an overnight getaway is in the works for this coming April! The event would be open to current MOPS members who have come to at least 2 meetings in the 2017-18 year. This will be a low-key, laid back, low-cost (hoping to keep the total per person at less than $100) weekend. I'm hoping to rent an Air B'n'B in Pacific Beach for one night, and I need to get an estimate of who would commit to sleeping overnight. If you were only interested in daytime/evening activities, the cost would be lower for you. 

I don't have all the details set in stone yet, but I'm thinking daytime activities would possibly include: paddle-boarding, relaxing on the beach, going out for coffee, riding bikes around. Evening activities would most likely be pizza for dinner (BYOB, haha!) and a game night. Possibly a cheesy rom-com for the night owls ;).

Please note that childcare would not be provided...

Please fill out this brief survey so I can plan accordingly!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Vote for our first book of 2018

Friends, it's time to pick our next novel for our January 24th book club meeting!


Here are the three excellent choices we have for our first book. Take a minute to read the synopsis linked under each title, and cast your vote at the end of this post!

***UPDATE: Our winning title is Left Neglected by Lisa Genova!!***







***UPDATE: Our winning title is Left Neglected by Lisa Genova!!***


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Another Book Vote!

It's time to pick our next novel for our November 29th book club meeting!


Here are the three excellent choices we have for our first book. Take a minute to read the synopsis linked under each title, and cast your vote at the end of this post!

**UPDATE: By popular vote, our next book club title is "Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult! 




**UPDATE: By popular vote, our next book club title is "Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult! 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Table Assignment Survey

Hi friends! Usually I wait until the end of the year to ask for feedback, but I would really like your input about our table assignments. We've had two meetings so far with assigned tables, and if you've been at one of those meetings, would you fill out this brief survey?

We've always been a very informal and laid back group! This is our first time trying out table assignments, in the hopes of getting a "mentor mom" at each table. A Mentor Mom is an older mom with grown-up kids who can offer support and encouragement to us. This usually works best if the same moms sit with the same Mentor Mom in order to foster a meaningful relationship. I have the best of intentions with the assigned tables, but I know there are some who are disappointed with this change.

There will be times when there will be no assigned seating: at our Coffeehouse meetings, our Christmas party, and our End of Year Tea. With this in mind, I'd love your honest feedback. All responses are anonymous :)


Monday, October 9, 2017

Dressember

This year at MOPS, we are living Free Indeed! In an effort to bring literal freedom to others, I will be participating in Dressember. Dressember is an international movement that is committed to ending modern day slavery and sex trafficking. Here are the sobering facts:


It's easy to lose ourselves in the numbers. It's tempting to think that there is nothing we can do. 

But WE CAN!

I'll be wearing a dress every single day in December to raise funds and awareness. This will be a creative challenge! I only own six dresses and most of them are short. I'll be piling on tights/leggings and cardigans to keep warm in our California winters. And most importantly, I'll be joining the fight to rescue victims, serve justice, and restore lives. 

If you'd like to join me, you can donate on my page. All funds raised through Dressember make a powerful impact! But BETTER YET! I've created a MOPS International Team because I know my sisters around the world are up for the challenge of raising $10,000 in an effort to bring freedom to so many.




Monday, October 2, 2017

Easy Lentil Burgers

I'm blessed to have a husband who likes to cook. A few weeks ago, he came up with the easiest lentil burger recipe in history of the world! (I do like to exaggerate, but I'm not exaggerating much here, haha!)

He took two cups of cooked lentils, then added half a cup of flour to it (and some salt). Then he mashed it all with a fork, and formed patties. Then he cooked them. That was it! They were delicious, and naturally packed with protein. If you are gluten-free, I have a feeling oat flour would work well as a substitute.

Yields 4 at 190 calories apiece.

I am not a professional food blogger so this picture will have to do!

We usually cook a big pot of lentils all at once then use them in various recipes throughout the week. To save even more time, you could make this recipe with some precooked lentils from Trader Joe's or some canned lentils sold in most grocery stores:

Trader Joe's, a little over $3

These are usually around $2.50 to $3 per can.
I get them for $2 on sale at Sprouts!

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's time to vote again!

It's time to pick our next novel for our October 25th book club meeting!


Here are the three excellent choices we have for our first book. Take a minute to read the synopsis linked under each title, and cast your vote at the end of this post!

**UPDATE: We will be reading "The Wonder" by Emma Donaghue!




Cast your vote now! Voting closes Saturday, Septmber 30th!

**UPDATE: We will be reading "The Wonder" by Emma Donaghue!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Clutter Free Living

This year at MOPS, we are exploring what it means to live Free Indeed! At tomorrow's meeting, we'll be hearing from Stephanie Colson, from Sweet and Neat Organizing, about how to better organize our homes and routines.

In that same spirit, I'd like to share a short devotional from MOPS International:

Clutter Free Living

We put our house on the market recently. You know what that means, it’s time to go through every closet and cupboard with a fine-tooth comb and eliminate clutter. Not easy for a family of seven, but when the lockbox appears on the front door, we all know the drill.  
We scale back and stash away our stuff for this season of selling. I’ve even heard of people renting storage pods where they can throw all of their excess belongings into.  
Between you and me, I have no problem telling other people what to pare down or purge. I can easily spot a tennis racquet that hasn’t been lifted in years or a board game that has never been played. Getting ready for this move, I was incredibly quick to rifle right through my husband’s closet and eliminate his unnecessary items. But it’s always harder when it comes to my own things. Truth be told: I treasure my stuff.  
In Mark 10, there’s a rich, young ruler who asks Jesus what he must do to enter the kingdom of heaven and Jesus answers him: Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. I always thought that story didn’t really apply to me – I’m not rich or young or anywhere close to a ruler. So maybe the words of Jesus aren’t for me.  
Except, they are. 
Jesus is speaking about the things we hold on to – the things which distract us and keep us from going deep with him. When we’re told we have to eliminate some of our stuff, we figure out quickly what we truly treasure.  
Why did Jesus tell him to sell all of his possessions? Just before Jesus gives the young man his answer, Mark writes, Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him. Jesus instructs the ruler to get rid of his stuff because he loved him. He knew it was best for this guy to remove what was standing in the way of eternity. Though God provides abundantly, he doesn’t want our belongings to compete with the longing of our heart for him.  
Why? Because he loves us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to School Mixer

Just wanted to share an upcoming event with you that looked like fun!


There's a good chance my youngest and I will be there.... they had me at free snacks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vote on our FIRST book club book of the new year

As you may have seen on our Meetings page, our first Book Club will be on Wednesday, September 27th.


Here are the three excellent choices we have for our first book. Take a minute to read the synopsis linked under each title, and cast your vote at the end of this post! **UPDATE: Our next book will be "Eight Hundred Grapes" by Laura Dave




Voting Closed! Our next book will be "Eight Hundred Grapes" by Laura Dave

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lots to Look Forward to

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer! I'm excited for our new year ahead.

Take a sneak peek at our new theme, straight from MOPS International:



And be sure to save the dates for our fall semester! (For a detailed list of all our events and our speakers, check out our Meetings page)


Did you know that MOPS Point Loma now has a public Facebook page? It's now even easier to share our group with friends. Feel free to RSVP to our Kickoff event either on our Facebook page or on our Meetup page, whichever option is convenient for you!

I can't wait to see you all!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reflections on our year as the "Starry Eyed"


Last year, when MOPS International unveiled our theme: “WE ARE THE STARRY EYED”, I never imagined that so many of us here would be going through our own seasons of darkness. In ways big and small, we’ve had to wrestle with the night.

I want to share an excerpt from Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Learning to Walk in the Dark” as an encouragement to us today: (BBT is an episcopal priest turned professor)

“A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise.

She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther.

We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf.

Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.”

So if you feel like you’re being dragged through the sand, disoriented, and a bit lost, take heart! This season is not forever. It may be that this darkness is revealing the stars, which are otherwise invisible in the blinding light of day. It may be that the darkness is bringing about something new in your life. As Barbara Brown Taylor writes “Let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”

And I want to say how thankful I am for this little community we have here. That we have stepped up to be a light for those in darkness. That we have surrounded our hurting friends, our struggling friends, our lonely friends. That we haven’t shied away from the darkness of others, that we haven’t kept a safe distance, but that we’ve walked alongside our sisters in the best ways we knew how.

I love that this little group makes motherhood less isolating, less lonely. I’ve found comfort in all the ways you’ve said “Me too” when I share my struggles, in knowing I’m not the only one who yells at their kids, or who wakes up angry.

So thank you for another great year of MOPS, thanks for showing up in ways big and small - you’ve brought so much fun and joy and encouragement to me personally!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Time to Vote!

**UPDATE: We'll be reading "Nine Women, One Dress" by Jane L. Rosen for our April 24th book club meeting!

We're meeting tonight for our next book club meeting! Last month we chose a book called "The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" and it was delightful!


But it's already time to pick our selection for our April 24th meeting! These three options are all great contenders. I don't think we can go wrong! Please click the link to read the description, and cast your vote at the end of this post: (winning title announced on Thursday)






A Fireproof Home for the Bride

**UPDATE: We'll be reading "Nine Women, One Dress" by Jane L. Rosen for our April 24th book club meeting!


Friday, March 3, 2017

Deconstructing Play: A Workshop for Parents


Monday, February 27, 2017

Vote on our next novel!

**UPDATE: We'll be reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick for our 3/27 meeting!

We're meeting tonight for our next book club meeting! Last month we chose a book called "The Chaperone" and it was phenomenal!


But it's already time to pick our selection for our March 27th meeting! These three options are all great contenders. I don't think we can go wrong! Please click the link to read the description, and cast your vote at the end of this post: (winning title announced on Thursday)






Faithful

**UPDATE: We'll be reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick for our 3/27 meeting!


Monday, January 23, 2017

Let's vote on our next book!

**UPDATE: Our next book will be The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty

We're meeting tonight for our next book club meeting! Last month we chose a book called "The Bette Davis Club" and it was a very entertaining read!


But it's already time to pick our selection for our February 27th meeting! These three options are all great contenders. I don't think we can go wrong! Please click the link to read the description, and cast your vote at the end of this post: (winning title announced on Thursday)

**UPDATE: Our next book will be The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty






Monday, January 9, 2017

Redbrick Preschool Fundraiser!

Hi everyone! If you'd like to let your little one run off some steam AND contribute to a worthy cause, consider going to KidVentures on Friday, January 13th any time from 2 to 7 PM. Twenty percent of the admission price will go to raise money for Redbrick preschool!

Kidventures is like a magical play land for kids at Liberty Station. I love that there are tables, chairs, and a little coffee shop area for us tired mammas. When you go on January 13th, everyone wins!!