Purpose Statement

MOPS Purpose Statement: MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Summary of MOPS: April 30th

Given the topic of Friendships and that we have recently gone back to set seating at MOPS (where mums are allocated to a set table with a consistent Table Leader) we decided to keep this morning very social.

After informal chit chat and catching up over Morning Tea we started with news/announcements and then kicked off our Turbo Meet and Greet (basically like Speed Dating but without the romantic dinner for 2 at the end). We split the group in 2 and had one circle seated in a ring of chairs on the inside and the remainder of the mums sitting in a circle of chairs facing them. Mums had 2 minutes to chat together and get to "turbo meet and greet" each other before the bell was run and the outer circle moved one chair to the right to meet the next mum.

Despite some initial hesitation (from the introverts amongst us who prefer not to be put on the spot) a lot of fun was had and rather than being stuck with nothing to say ....it was quite the opposite. The 2 minute intervals sped by and I felt bad/had trouble moving mums along each time and the noise of around 22 woman talking at top speed was rather impressive. I took a little video and one day may try to get it up as it has to be seen to be believed.

We used the remaining Discussion Time to continue getting to know each other and had some Conversation Starters* (see below for the list of questions) on hand if mums wanted to explore a little further and maybe use these questions as a launching pad to get to know each other better.

A great morning.

Morning Tea was anything starting with F for Friendship

The Blessing was a yummy chocolate Freckle heart - well 2 of them to signify that there is nothing sweeter than a good friendship and that life is more fun when there are two of you together.

Craft was decorating a lovely photo frame.

Conversation Starters (the questions that were in the brown bags and on tables during the Turbo Meet and Greet activity and Discussion Time).

Majority of these are adapted from this book.

  • Favourite place to go on holidays
  • Favourite book
  • Favourite song or CD
  • Favourite food
  • Best way to spend some child free time
  • Most romantic date? Real or imagined
  • Best movie you have seen recently
  • Fill in the blank – If I had a dollar for every time I ………. I’d be a rich person
  • Which Walt Disney animated character is your all time favourite
  • If you had to write a brief message on a $5 for all to see as the note circulates what would you want it to say
  • Which punctuation mark best describes your personality?
  • In your opinion what is the most adorable looking baby animal
  • You’ve been asked to create a brand new road sign that will be put up on streets through your town and everyone will be expected to obey it. What would the new sign command drivers to do?
  • If you could rid the world of any one insect or creepy crawly thing which one would it be?
  • Is there a food that you disliked at one time but that you have grown to enjoy?
  • What did you do before you had children?
  • How many children? Names and ages?
  • You have an hour spare to yourself – how do you choose to spend it?
    Least favourite chore around the house?
  • In the classroom of life, what lesson do you believe we must continuously try to master say after day?
  • If you could make one request of all people everywhere what would you ask that they do (or not do)?
  • If for one full year your dinner had to consist of the cuisine of one foreign country (same country 365 days) what country’s food would you choose?
  • If you could create a drive through that would offer one product or service while you waited in your vehicle what type of drive through would you want to create?
  • You meet an alert and wise 100 year old. You only have time to ask one question.. What would you ask them?
  • What is one field or profession that you never pursued but that you think you probably would have been quite good at
  • What is your favourite “big” word to pull out of your vocab when trying to impress people in conversation?
  • In your opinion what was or is the most ridiculous looking fashion trend of all time?
  • What is the greatest distance you’ve ever driven in a single day?
  • If someone offered to give you a dozen of anything you wanted, what would you choose?
  • If someone was looking for you in a bookstore, in what section would they be most likely to find you?
  • What do you forget to do more often than anything else?
  • What was your favourite thing to pretend when you were a young child?
  • On a scale on one to ten (one= low) how well do you like the given first name?
  • If you could teach everyone in the world one skill what would you teach them?
  • What is your favourite season of the year?
  • In hindsight which particular class above all others do you wish you had paid more attention to at school?
  • What is one item (apart from wallet and keys) that you never leave home without?
  • What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  • If you were a contestant on a trivia style game show what category would you most want to see displayed when it came down to the million dollar question?
  • If you could completely eliminate one genre of music which type would it be?
  • What is something that you enjoy doing that would probably surprise many of the people who think they know you well?
  • What creature more than any other would have you scared stiff if it were loose in your home?
  • What is one book you have read that you would love to see made into a movie?
  • If you could receive one free hour long lesson in anything you want, what type of lesson would you request?
  • Besides the standard books mags and TV what is one thing that you would like to see placed in every waiting room in the country?
  • What is the most exciting thing you have done in the last 12mths?
  • If you had to enter a talent competition tomorrow what would you more than likely do on stage?
  • Suppose that income tax still had to be paid but instead of going to the govt your tax dollars would go to any one cause or charity of your choice where would you want your money to go?
  • What song has the power to bring you to tears faster than any others?
  • If your alarm clock could make any sound at all to wake you up in the morning what sound would you want it to make?
  • If rain could fall in any scent what scent would you want it to be?
  • You have the chance to create a message on a billboard along the main highway for all to see but it can be no longer than 10 words. What does the message say?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Summary of MOPS: April 16th

Guest Speaker: Leigh Smith from Inspire Refuel spoke of her experience of motherhood.

Leigh has experienced a lot in her life and shared this journey with us today (and I apologise that this is not in chronological order/for any errors in this post as I have misplaced my notes from this mornings meeting).

Leigh spoke about uprooting from family and friends and resettling in a new county and starting all over, severe pregnancy complications including being bedridden for large parts of pregnancy with small children still at home due to risk of losing the baby/her own life (haemorrhaging throughout the pregnancy caused by the placenta adhering to the scar tissue from previous c-sections), the heartbreaking grief and loss of several miscarriages, and the sadness of making it through a high-risk pregnancy only to lose her baby (Dylan) a short time after birth due to infections from a complicated labour (septicemia), the hurt of friendships and business partnerships breaking down and the painful journey of discovering her 11 year old son had cancer.

With a lot of hardship and love and prayer, her son Cameron survived cancer and Leigh has gone on to create a Christian Womens Network called Inspire Refuel as a way for women to connect with other women and build relationships so they don't have to do mothering alone.

Leigh has also recently established the Dylan Smith Foundation. Through this foundation and ministry they support other women such as mothers of children with terminal illness or life threatening illness.

To find out more about this email leigh AT dylan-smith DOT org

Keeping in line with the theme of friendship, craft for this morning was making a bookmark to give to a friend.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Small Family Big Family

An interesting post over at Childhood 101 about Michael Grose's advice on raising small families as if they were big ones

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Say No 4 Kids campaign

I just came across this petition and thought would link to it here.

It is trying to lobby to get reduced access to pornography/material inappropriate for children in places where children are likely to go

(such as adult magazines in the racks at kids eye level at petrol stations etc.....)

and thought would post it here.

From what I can gather the goal is to initiate a change whereby these magazines are kept out of view/behind the counter much like cigarettes so kids aren't able to view/access/purchase.

Go here for more information if you are interested in finding out more/signing the petition.

More on Building Resilience

Here is Part 2 of the article on Building Resilience in children

Click here

Monday, April 05, 2010

One of the best gifts you can give your children (in my opinion) is that of RESILIENCY - the ability to bounce back from adversity and deal with what life throws at you - good and bad.

See HERE for an great article on Resiliency

Particularly like the piece on "Mean Mums" in Appensix 7 Page 30 of the Maggie Dent article this post refers to

Theme Scripture

Psalm 139

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Annual MOPS Participation Fee

The annual MOPS Participation Fee of $10 assists MOPS Australia in covering the cost of training for Regional Coordinators to help other MOPS groups to develop around Australia. It also allows more MOPS group leaders around Australia to access regional training.

This will go a long way to helping MOPS Australia bring MOPS to more Mums around Australia.

When you register for MOPS each year, you will be handed an Annual Participation Fee form, and we ask that if you are able to pay this $10 participation fee, please do so before the end of April 2011.

The payment options are...
1. Direct Debit to MOPS Australia bank account
2. Credit card
3. Cheque payable to MOPS Australia
4. Cash to MOPS@MBC front desk

Thank you, from the MOPS@MBC team.

How did MOPS begin?

It was a Tuesday morning, at about 9.30. They each had faced spilled cereal, tangled hair, and a few had even been forced to change their outfits due to a last-minute baby throw-up on a shoulder or lap. They had driven, or pushed strollers, to the church and had dropped their little ones off in the creche. They had made it!

And now they sat, knees almost touching, in the circle of children's chairs from the Sunday school room. Hands held hot cups of tea and biscuits in utter freedom because this treat did not have to be shared with a child's sticky fingers. Mouths moved in eager, uninterrupted conversation. Eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. Hearts stirred with understanding. Needs were met.

That morning in 1973, was the first morning of MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers. Little was it known that from this small beginning in a church in Colorado, USA, the seeds of the MOPS concept and format had been planted. The needs of the women were met even then, through the opportunity for friendship, creative outlet and spiritual emphasis. MOPS International now charters approximately 2,500 MOPS groups in churches in the United States and 13 other countries throughout the world.

How did MOPS begin in Australia?

How did MOPS begin in Australia?

Nineteen years later and thousands of kilometres away, the same mutual need for sharing was realised by a group of mums with children under school age in Melbourne. After reading about the MOPS concept in the US, leaders introduced the program to the Clayton Church of Christ Fellowship in early 1990 and MOPS was born in Australia. From this small beginning, the seeds for future growth were planted, resulting in the formation of an affiliated body to support the ever-increasing number of Australian groups and the mums they served.

Since its formation in June 2000, MOPS Australia, Inc has grown rapidly and there are currently over 100 groups throughout Australia. In the last year alone, 35 new groups have commenced, with groups starting up regularly throughout different Christian denominations. Groups now meet in every state and territory in Australia, with an estimated ministry to approximately 2500 mums and 3000 children.

How did MOPS begin at MBC?

A Brief History of MOPS at MBC by Karen Askey-Doran (COordinator of MOPS til 2008 and currently Regional Coordinator).

In 1999, the leader of MBC’s women’s ministry caught the vision of MOPS. At that time I was a new Mum with little inclination to help; I was interested but not convicted!

Roughly a year later another meeting was held to generate interest. At this time I had another little baby girl, a 16-month-old toddler and, although I was unaware of it, Post Natal Depression. And once again people were interested but not compelled to lead.

In 2005 Holly, caught the vision of MOPS and began to sow the seeds of interest throughout the young Mums in our church. Robyn Robertson came to our first meeting and inspired us into action…the seeds Holly planted took hold!

People came slowly at first to fill the positions, it seemed there were a lot of blanks for a long time! Holly was going to be our Coordinator and when she filled out the charter she realised that a Mother of Preschoolers should really fill that role…. So she called me! Very graciously, Holly took a side step into a Mentoring role (very appropriate really).

God was moving in our midst, we had been blessed with an inspired team of 15 Mops Leaders and 9 Moppets Leaders, each one having a testimony about how God had lead them to this ministry!

I suspect that God has big plans for our group. I still feel very inadequate sometimes but I do trust God and I want to serve him and to reach out to Mums who are hurting, to support them. I want to encourage, you know, to build up… to make a difference in people’s lives, especially my children’s!

I know I’m not alone… In Romans 8:28 it says “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He planned for my girls, my twins, my battle with PND. He planned for MOPS - at this time - in our church! The door has literally been flung open!

What happens at a MOPS meeting?

When a mum enters a MOPS meeting, she is greeted by a friendly face and escorted to MOPPETS, where her children enjoy their special part of the MOPS program. In MOPPETS, children from infancy through to school age experience a caring environment while they learn, sing, play and make crafts.

Once her children are settled, the MOPS mum joins a program tailor-made to meet her needs. She can grab something to eat and not have to share it! She can finish a sentence and not have to speak in words of two syllables!

The program typically begins with a brief lesson taught by an older mum who's been through the challenging years of mothering and who can share from her experience and from the truths taught in the Bible. Then the women move into small discussion groups where there are no "wrong answers" and each mum is free to share her joys and struggles with other mums who truly understand her feelings. In these moments, long-lasting friendships are often made on the common ground of finally being understood.

From here, the women participate in a craft or other creative activity. For mums who are often frustrated by the impossibility of completing anything in their unpredictable days, this activity is deeply satisfying. It provides a sense of accomplishment and growth for many mums.

Because mums of preschoolers themselves lead MOPS, the program also offers women a chance to develop their leadership skills and other talents. It takes organisation, creativity, and management skills to run a MOPS program successfully.

By the time they finish the MOPS meeting and pick up their children, the mums feel refreshed and better able to mother. MOPS helps them recognise that mums have needs too! And when they take the time to meet those needs, they find they are more effective in meeting the needs of their families.

Meeting the needs of Mothers of Preschoolers

The MOPS program is dedicated to meeting the needs of mothers of preschoolers. These needs have been identified by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall in their book, What Every Mum Needs:

The need for Identity: Sometimes I'm not sure who I am

The need for Growth: Sometimes I long to develop who I am

The need for Relationship: Sometimes I long to be understood

The need for Help: Sometimes I need to share the load

The need for Perspective: Sometimes I lose my focus

The need for Hope: Sometimes I wonder if there's more to life

Here's How Some Mums Describe MOPS

"MOPS means that I am able to share the joys and frustrations and insecurities of being a mum. Our meetings provide the opportunity to hear someone else say, "I was up all night," or "They're driving me crazy!"

MOPS mum, Perth

"As a single mum, this is the first group I've felt accepted in for who I am."

MOPS mum, Canberra

'On my first day at MOPS, I knew my life had changed forever! The women made me feel so relaxed. I had a peace I hadn't felt for a long time. They were so caring, pleasant, helpful…the list goes on! I just want to say, "Thank you MOPS!" If it weren't for MOPS, I wouldn't be where I am today.'

MOPS mum, Melbourne

'When I first started MOPS, I was very, very lonely. MOPS gave me a chance to get out of the house which I was grateful for. The talks were very informative. I found out a lot through these talks. My problems seemed to become smaller. When I first started at MOPS, I thought I was a Christian. I wasn't. Through MOPS I can now say, 'I am a Christian.' MOPS to me is not only Mothers of Pre Schoolers, but My Own Private Salvation!'

MOPS mum, Canberra