Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Advent Reads

Whether looking for a gift or a new read to check out at the library, here are some books that embrace the spirit of the season.

  • “The Pine Tree Parable,” by Liz Curtiss Higgs. The story of a farmer and his wife who grow a beautiful pine tree and teach the meaning of sacrifice.
  • “Tiny Baby Jesus,” by Dandi Daley Mackall and Julia Noonan. This book connects Jesus’ birth story to his greater purpose in soothing rhymes and beautiful illustrations.
  • “God Gave Us Christmas,” by Lisa Tawn Bergren, art by David Hohn. This story of a mama polar bear (one in a series) teaching her cub about Christmas has gained good reviews.

Please share your favorite Advent and Christmas reads in the comments!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas craftiness

After your Thanksgiving dinner settles, you may be thinking about Christmas crafts. We got some awesome inspiration from Becky and Caroline at our last meeting, with tons of ideas and instructions they've used to create gifts and decor.

If you missed the meeting - or lost the directions they shared - here are links that will help:

 Caroline's DIY craft directions  
 Becky's blog 

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Devotional for Nov. 15

Our reflection for Nov. 15, from Shana, on the theme of self-control:

"Self-control. What do you think of when you hear that word? Being on a diet? Watching your temper? Spending money in a frugal manner? I want to focus in on on our attitude and emotions.

You have had that moment with your child or spouse where your blood pressure skyrockets, your nerves fray, and the worst version of you begs to come out, right? Of course. It happens to all of us as some point. But what I’m trying to better understand is this whole concept of self-control.

So many times in the Bible we are told to display self-control. But it’s hard to display self-control when it feels like someone else does things out of our control and yanks our emotions into a bad place, i.e. our children seem to have mastered this.

So, here’s one tidbit I’m learning. When someone else’s actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I really do. My choice is whether or not to give them the power to control my emotions. I have also learned that “monkey see, monkey do.” If I react out-of-control with my kids, they are going to learn that behavior as well.

When I react by yelling, flying off the handle or making a snappy comment back, I have lost the battle and taught my child to act the same. So, it seems to me if I’m going to remain self-controlled, I have to have let Jesus work in me. When I react according to God’s Word, I feel His power. When I react contrary to God’s Word, I feel powerless and end up yelling and getting upset.

Isaiah 55:10-11 is such a good reminder of how we can tap into God’s power no matter what situation we are facing:

So it is my word (referring to God’s word)
that will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (God speaks this)

Did you catch that? The answer to having God’s power work in me to produce self-control is to let His Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind and my heart will accomplish things – good things – powerful things – things that help me display self-control.

So, here’s a tactic to try. When facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve you have, start quoting God’s Word in the present tense. Take 1 Peter 5:6-8 for example.

In this moment I’m choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But, I realize I have an enemy, and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now. But, I am God’s girl. That’s right. I am. So, I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me right now. And when I do this, God will lift me and my frayed nerves up from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you right now. So, give me just a few minutes and then we’ll calmly talk about this.

Girl, that’s some power right there. Count to 10, focus on God’s word, and I bet you will find yourself a little calmer than before. With practice, you will be shining with self-control with your kids, spouse and friends.

Dear Lord, I am reminded I am Your child. You created me and know me. And therefore, You designed my heart, mind and soul to receive and respond to the power in your Word. When I lack my own power to be self-controlled help me to turn to Your truth for good, calm responses to be a good example to my children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Devotional for Nov. 1

Shana shared with us the importance of daily time with God and benefits she's found in her life. Three steps can help you establish your own prayer practice.

"Some call it quiet time, others daily devotions, or meditation. It really doesn’t matter what label you put on it, time spent directly communing with God through prayer and Bible reading is what it’s all about.

It’s a time to seek Him, praise Him, thank Him, confess your sin, and seek His forgiveness. It’s also a time to learn from His Word and grow in your understanding of who God is and what He wants to do in your life. It’s an opportunity to daily renew your commitment to Him and to seek His guidance. These moments will enlighten, encourage, equip and empower you like nothing else can, but the goal is not to know more about God, it’s to actually know God Himself.

The key to a joyful and meaningful spiritual life is having that close relationship with God. First you must know Him as your Savior. Then daily seek to draw close to Him. As surely as nutritious food helps the body, so a daily quiet time with the Savior feeds and nourishes the soul. It’s impossible to growth significantly without it.

But your daily quiet time is not just for you! John 4:23 says 'Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.'

That reminds us that the Lord Himself desires our fellowship and delights in our worship. He longs for that one on one time with His child just as any parent would. Why not determine right now, if you haven’t already, that you will make having this special time with the Lord a daily priority? It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered I could have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. Before that, I always believed but didn’t have the personal connection with God that I have now.

Having a quiet time for me helps with my consistency as a mom. I try to focus on God daily and be consistent with that, and then it overflows into how I relate with my kids. It helps me to be consistent in my discipline, in spending one-on-one time with the boys, and to be ever reminding the boys that God loves them.

So how can you have quiet time?

  1. First, set a time that works for you. It may mean getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning, or staying up a few minutes later at night, but try to find 15 to 20 minutes of time that you will set apart to spend with God. Don’t put anything else in that time slot. You may need to set an alarm to remind you that it’s time to pull away from other things and meet with your Heavenly Father.
  2. Second, select a place where you can be alone and uninterrupted. Choose a spot that is quiet and as free from distractions as possible. Keep your Bible study materials and prayer journal in that area so you’ll have them ready for your special time.
  3. Third, Select devotional or study materials that are meaningful for you at that season of life. Of course, keep your Bible as your primary study material. Read and meditate on the word, pray to God your honest thoughts, and listen for Him."

What are some ways that you carve out time to be with God daily? Please share in the comments.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Devotional for Oct. 4 meeting

Shana shared with us another devotional today, and we've posted here for those who weren't able to attend and for others who want to return to it and reflect.

"When you hear the term "seven seas," you may think of the oceans or someone with a wealth of experience. So today, I’m going to briefly cover the Seven C's of how God can guide us when making decisions and how to navigate the Sea of Life.

Every person's life consists of  big and little decisions. You can be confident that God will help you make the right decisions. Although some bad decisions will be made along the way, we can realize and acknowledge our mistakes, and look to God. He will provide us with navigational aids so that proper course corrections for our lives can be attained.

The first of the seven C’s is Communication. We need to be in touch with God through reading His Word and through prayer. While the answer may not be in black and white Scripture, the biblical guidelines can be found in the Bible stories. The more biblical guidelines for making decisions you know and put into practice, the more obvious will be your course of action.

In 1 Peter 5:7 we are told to "cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you." Does this include concern about making the right decisions? Of course. If God has promised us over and over again in Scripture that He cares about our well-being, certainly He will answer our prayer requests for help in making decisions.

The second C is inner Convictions of the Holy Spirit. The convictions from the Holy Spirit will always be in line with God's perfect will for us and are therefore crucial when it comes to making right decisions. 

Common Sense is the third "C," which we generally take for granted, and yet it is definitely a means that God has given us to make decisions. In fact, most decisions are made with common sense. He expects us to use the common sense that He has given us concerning an issue and let Him fit these small decisions into the overall pattern of our lives. God has blessed us with common sense, and it's our responsibility, as much as possible, to use it for wise decision-making about the common, everyday matters of life.

"How God made us" is what the fourth C is all about: Composition. The way in which God sovereignly put us together as to likes and dislikes, looks and brains, abilities and spiritual gifts is actually a means that God uses to guide us. God may be guiding you to say "yes" to an opportunity to be involved in something that you have the natural ability to relate to and communicate with those invovled. We have to decide to the job we were designed to do!

The fifth C is the Counsel of others. Mature, godly Christians can point us in the right direction and help us make right decisions. Getting advice from others about what shirt to buy or what house to buy can help point us in the right direction.

The sixth C is Circumstances. God is sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere at the same time, and he knows what’s going on in your life. There is nothing that happens by mere chance, and that includes every last detail of our lives.

Lastly, there is Control. Sometimes we don’t have any control. God sometimes reaches in and takes control of our situation in such a way that we are no longer even involved in the decision!"

Have a blessed week!

Don't play the 6 o'clock scramble

Thanks to Kendra Stover, nutrition educator with the Shawnee County office of K-State Research & Extension, who spoke with our group this morning and shared great information about the new My Plate guidelines and portion sizes for adults and preschoolers.

We've compiled a number of meal planning, recipe, nutrition and family dinner resources. Check out these links to get some great ideas. And please share your favorite resources in the comments!

Meal Planning

Freezer/Once A Month (OAMC) Cooking

Food blogs are growing exponentially on the Internet. Here are just a few that have healthy, quick, family-friendly favorites. If you have favorites that you look to for recipes, please share in the comments! 

Related articles

We're sure you have lots of great resources in your mom toolbox! Please share in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First meeting devotional (Sept. 20)

Thanks, everyone, for a great first meeting!

Following is the text of Shana's devotional so that you can return to it and reflect if you would like, or add notes to your prayer journal.

"2 Timothy 1:7
God does not want us to be shy with our gifts, but instead to be bold, loving and sensible.

The apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, a preacher, to keep pushing forward and preaching the Good News while enduring the opposition and local hostility of the growing Church.

Paul is talking about our inner qualities, the spiritual character within us given by the Holy Spirit.  It is not a spirit of fearfulness or shyness. God did not give us a spirit of fearfulness, cowardice or timidity, so that we cower and let our flame die down when confronted. On the contrary, God gave us a spirit of boldness and love and common sense. These three graces were needed with Timothy's circumstances and for us.
What is power? It’s the aggressive energy in the face of difficulty, which overcomes the weakness of cowardice and enables one to work, to endure, to suffer and to die if need be.
What is love? It’s that self-forgetting love to Christ, the church and the souls of men, which exhorts, warns, rebukes with boldness and fidelity at whatever risk of consequences to self.
What is common sense? It’s soundness of mind, self-control, self-discipline, the exercise of using common sense, having a balanced mind.
In small group, we discussed common sense and momsense. We’ve all had times we’ve used them, and then times when we slapped ourselves because we didn’t.
Timothy persevered and kept sharing the good news that we too need to hear, that we are sinners and we need God’s forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross; He took the punishment we deserved, and then rose from the dead. In return, Jesus asks us to put our trust in Him and be obedient toward him. That is the beginning step of your relationship with Jesus.                       
I challenge you to be bold today and use your gifts to serve others and your family."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Countdown to MOPS

With just over one week until our first MOPS meeting, here are some videos from MOPS International that introduce this year's theme: "MomSense: Bold, Loving and Sensible."

Also check out the new page with the calendar for 2011-2012. We have lots of fun activities planned. Can't wait to see you there!

Which video is your favorite?

Which MOPS speaker or activity are you most looking forward to?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friends, fellowship, fun

Whether you're expecting your first child or are a seasoned veteran to parenting small children, the bimonthly MOPS meetings at Covenant Baptist Church offer a chance to share successes and struggles with others who know what you are going through.

Enjoy adult conversation, a delicious brunch, enlightening speakers, creative crafts and prayerful discussion while your children enjoy loving care in Moppets.

And moms and kids come together several times a year for special events like visits from Santa, holiday parties or to rock out with local singing sensation Kyler.

We'd love for you to join us! All moms are welcome. We have moms from all walks of life and many different denominations in our group, from longtime Christians to those still seeking.

Registration is open for the 2011-12 year. Visit our registration page, or call the church office at 785-273-2811 or email cbcmopstopeka@gmail.com for more information.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011-2012 Theme: MomSense!

MomSense: Bold - Loving - Sensible

"Developing a mothering strategy is somewhat like playing a game, and this year's theme is appropriately game related. Have fun being a mom! Playing games involves being bold and taking risks, loving those in the game with us and being sensible while figuring out what works and what doesn't." - MOPS International


Scriptural foundation for MomSense:
"God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold, and loving and sensible."
2 Timothy 1:7 - The Message

The steering team is in the processing of planning the 2011-2012 year, and we've got a fun line-up taking shape that includes:
  • Speakers
  • Crafts
  • Spiritual reflection
  • Brunches
  • Outside meet-ups
  • Opportunities for service
  • and Games!

We'll reveal more teasers as our first meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 20, approaches!

If you haven't signed up yet, visit the registration page and make sure your paperwork and dues are submitted to reserve your spot.

Questions? Leave a comment or email cbcmopstopeka@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Registration open to new and returning moms

We've opened registration to any moms interested in joining the Covenant Baptist Church MOPS group.

We hope you'll join us for a fun year. For registration forms and information, visit our registration page.

Questions? Contact us at cbcmopstopeka@gmail.com.

Want more information about MOPS? Here are a few helpful links:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Registration opens

Registration for 2011-2012 is officially open to returning members, plus a few additional moms on our current e-mail list! We're reserving these spots through Friday, July 8, and paperwork and dues must be received by that date to hold your place in MOPS and/or MOPPETS. You should have received forms and directions from Becky Ericson.
Fall dues are $23.95 for MOPS International and $30 for local dues -- totaling $53.95. Scholarships are available.
Beginning on July 9, registration will be opened to the public.


The 2011-12 Steering Team: 
  • Coordinator - Shana W.
  • Treasurer - Jennifer A.
  • Hospitality - Lynette C.
  • Publicity - Amy B.
Discussion Groups will be a team effort.
Creative Activities will be led by various MOPS moms who are willing to lead an activity.
We're looking forward to the fall!


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