Wednesday, June 24, 2020

We opened registration for the new year "Decide To Rise" for 2020/21!

This link below will take you to register for MOPS/ MOMSnext @ Crossroads in Manteca.

This will reserve your spot and pay your MOPS International Fees.

This fee is a yearly non- refundable membership fee that includes a MOPS magazine subscription and more.... 

Once we start our first meeting scheduled for September 9th, 2020 (depending on Covid-19 State guidelines) we will collect Crossroads Fall semester dues of either $30 (no childcare) or $45 (with MOPS Kids childcare).

We are praying, we will all be able to meet in person by that time! Stay tuned on updates.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A Colorful Approach to an Abundant Life

A Colorful Approach to an Abundant Life

Speaker: Dorothy Skiles 

At our meeting this week we had the pleasure of hearing and learning from Dorothy Skiles, a garden extraordinaire who lives here in the central valley. Her garden is her “happy place”. She can often be found tinkering in her yard or green house and it brings her JOY.

While planting some amazing mixed pots with different succulents, annuals, and other fun fillers, she was able to get us excited about all things gardening. Planting mixed pots can seem overwhelming and scary for some, but Dorothy offered some great advice to get us started! Color, Texture, climate should be the three main things you think about when planting any potted plants and then follow these simple steps:

1. Fill the pot with soil (recommended brand shown in the photo)
2. Apply fertilizer- Osmocote (shown in photo)
3. Disturb the root of the plant before planting it. This means to rub and expose the root to ensure it will not be root bound.
4. Plant and add soil to fill the pot
5. Add tree moss or rocks to help keep the dirt in the pot when watering and hold the moisture.

“Life abundant is not about what I do or what is around me. An abundant life is all about what Christ has done and continues to do through me and for me.” Our theme verse for this year pairs so nicely with this. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have abundant life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
God wants nothing more for us than to seek and find him so we experience this abundant life with Him. He is with us and has a perfect plan for our lives. It is our job to seek and find Him and live according to His purpose. 
God has placed us on this earth at this specific time in History- we have a purpose! Where do you find joy and purpose? Outside amongst God’s beautiful creation may be one of the many ways He shows Himself to you. God created beautiful things for us to enjoy. May you be blessed as you work in your gardens and among His creation! Happy gardening! 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Scars- “Living Life to the Full”

Scars- “Living Life to the Full” 

Written By: Mentor Mom Kerry Harris

Ghost writer: Charlene Mossman 

Scars: everyone has them, and not everyone is healed. Sometimes the things we carry from the past—the struggles, the decisions, and the fears—grow into a silent burden. We try to move on, but sometimes the pain runs too deep. We wish we could cry out for help, but we’re afraid what others would think. What would they say if they knew what I had done, or what has been done to me? 
Today’s speaker was Yesenia Jamison, wife of her collegesweetheart and mother of four. Yesenia has been on the MOPS leadership team at Big Valley Grace Community Church. When she was planning to speak for our meeting today, she considereda lighter subject, but God put this topic on her heart at the last minute. He asked her to share part of her story, and courageously, she said yes.

Yesenia grew up in Patterson in a small, tight-knit community. Her family was Catholic and later became a Christian in high school. She enjoyed holding a strong place in her community. Everyone loved her. They didn’t know that for thirteen years, from the age of two, she was being molested by someone in her family. The abuse began before she even knew what it was, but she always knew something didn’t feel right. Growing up, she struggled with acceptance and building friendships. She was trying so hard just to be loved. People always seemed to say, “Come as you are,” but when you come, there was always something they wanted to change. Maybe your hair was the wrong color, or you weren’t wearing the right shoes. Why was she never enough?
She went to a prestigious Christian college, and while she was there, she found out she was pregnant. Afraid of being kicked out of school, afraid of judgment, and running out of options, she and her boyfriend decided to have an abortion. Yesenia had supported the right-to-life movement in high school and at seventeen, she had even created a list of babies she would adopt. The decision broke her heart. She felt like she was slowly dying inside. Being molested wasn’t her fault, but she knew the abortion was. But she married her boyfriend over a year later and covered up her pain. On the outside, she moved on.
Yet three years after her marriage, she fell into an affair. It was short. She wasn’t talking about her scars, and her heartache was oozing out under the bandages. She confessed the affair to her husband four years later. When troubles come, they seem to come all at once. A few months after the confession, while she and her husband were in counseling, she found out her mom had been diagnosed with advanced cancer. Her mother was her only confidant. Mom knew about the abuse and the abortion and the affair, yet after each confession, her mother had faithfully extended grace and love. Mom died when Yesenia was seven months pregnant with her third child. 
Dealing with the loss of her mom took her through deep places of grief. Wounds heal with time, but they leave behind scars. The tissue in scars is tougher than the skin around it, but it holds the memory of pain. Scars are still there, and they still hurt. Many of us struggle to love ourselves and to love others when we’ve been hurt so badly before. We toughen ourselves and put up walls: we refuse to let love hurt us again. Yet love is a two-way street. We can only give what we’re able to receive. If we’re only open to receiving half of our love-capacity, we don’t have much love to extend to others. We have a comfort limit, a threshold we allow people to get close to, but if someone—a friend or a spouse—tries to love us past our limit, we push them away.
What if we were able to receive just a little more love? Maybe only 1% more. But if you keep adding up 1% here and there, a little at a time, eventually you might reach 100! What would that feel like, being loved and able to love to 100% of our capacity?
Jesus doesn’t blame us for having scars. He has some of his own. After the cross, God could have taken away Jesus’s scars, yet he chose to let His son keep them. It’s the way Jesus identified himself to his disciples when he returned to them in the secret room. This is who I am, he said. Touch me and feel my scars. This is how much I love you.

God doesn’t bring hardships and heartaches into our lives on purpose. He isn’t trying to test us or run a quality assurance check on our faith. He allows us to go through it and we might never know why. But the things we throw into the compost pile can become a source of fertilizer for a new story. Yesenia had a mentor who told her, “You’re a book on a shelf no one has opened, but it has the best story because it was written by the best author.” Acknowledgement is power, not a weakness. We usually hide our junk from the public. We don’t want our family or friends or Facebook to see what we’re really struggling with on the inside. It’s dark. It’s angsty and venomous. That’s why it’s so important to let it out. And when we do, it’s one step we can take in our journey to live more fully.
Yesenia offered three points on ways to live life beyond our borders:
1. Acknowledgement of the past. It happened. We can’t change itOwning our story is the first step we take toward healing. 
2. Recovery from the hurt. There’s no prescription for this one. Sometimes it takes years. We don’t know when it will ever end, but Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
3. Allowing yourself to be used. This is the fun one. In God’s timing, He will bring people and circumstances around us and use our story to encourage others. He can use us even when we don’t feel perfect. Yesenia was asked to be a MOPS leader even while she was still carrying around her burdens. God knows what He’s doing, and He believes in us, even when we don’t. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV
She closed out her story by reminding us how important it is to cultivate friendships (like at MOPS!) where we can be vulnerable and real. Life is too messy to be lived alone. Your closet will become your coffin. Recovery is a scary process. Sometimes we’ve been in pain so long, we don’t remember who we are without it. What if we don’t like who we are without the pain? Yesenia reminded us that we were born without scars or pain. That’s our natural state: why not give it a try? You’re not changing who you are, you’re just rebooting. 
She also encouraged us to allow ourselves to have success. What do you love? What are you really good at? When you do what God called you to do, that honors him. It fills you with joy and it makes Him proud, if He can be more proud of you than He already is. Own your success. With a humble heart, of course, but don’t be afraid to be amazing. 
So now we have a challenge. She asked us to try something this week: for thirty seconds at a time, try to live fully. Put your phone down and pay attention to your son or daughter for thirty seconds. Be present in the moment, commit to thirty seconds of life without distractions or a to-do list. And maybe next week you can try it for a minute, and the week after that, for two minutesWe have control over living fully, we just chose not to. If this sounds off or it feels like too much, just ask God to show you what He thinks is best for you. There’s grace for that. He knows you and He knows where you’re at. Maybe having coffee with a good friend or a mentor and sharing your story is the step you can takeYou might be surprised at the compassion you’ll receive from the right person!
Yesenia finished by sharing the lyrics to a worship song you might remember: 
The nails in Your hands
The nails in Your feet
tell me how much You love me.

The thorns on Your brow
They tell me how
You bore so much shame to love me.

And when the Heavens pass away
All Your scars will still remain
And forever they will say
Just how much You love me.
Wherever you are, God loves you. We love you here at MOPS. Don’t be afraid to start your story over againyou might like the new version better!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Marriage- Feb 12 Meeting


Written By: Marge Williams

Our first February MOPS meeting started off big!  The message went out that we had a bagel bar planned for the morning’s breakfast. Wow!  The food came and it was abundant and delicious.  So many yummy choices and plenty for those who wanted seconds, or thirds.  This group sure knows how to celebrate with food!

The orange table shared their “It works for me.’  The suggestion to keep a lined sticky notepad by the coffee maker for reminders, is a great one for all moms. Privilege point’s Appsounds great for positive parenting. Our mentor mom Kerry shared a great book for organization. Decluttering at theSpeed of Lifeby Dana K. White. Who doesn’t want to get and keep the closets and cabinets organized?
Scattergories was the fast paced game this morning.  Shouts and laughter were heard around the room.  The Red table won a Starbucks coffee date for the most correct answers! 

The highlight of the morning was our guest speaker. Our own pastor Brian Hunt shared his heart with all the moms this morning,
Trapping the Unicorn Marriage was Brian’s clever title for the mornings talk.  He began his talk with the reminder that Crossroads Grace Community Church is committed to helping moms become the best they can be. The church wants to walk alongside moms and their families as they strive to raise children to honor God and make a difference in this world. What a wonderful reminder of what the church is all about.

He shared what he wrongly thought about women when he was dating Cherie.  He thought girls never burped, never farted, and never pooped. They were perfect unicorns!  So funny…and makes the point that we all have expectations for our marriages. He said, “even if you’re not married right now, deep down there is the ideal version of marriage that we all are striving for that we think will solve all kinds of things.”
What does the Bible say about joining our lives with another person?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
We all have heard these words spoken at weddings and Brian explained well what they really mean in marriage.  These words were written by the wisest guy ever, King Solomon.  God asked Solomon what he wanted and Solomon answered that he wanted wisdom.  God gave him the wisdom to lead Israel and to go on to write three books of the Bible, including Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 4 addresses the three strands of a cord. The order of these strands is important.   We are the first strand.  Faulty thinking says that our spouse would be the second strand.  But our spouse cannot complete us, we need a Savior, who is the only one who can make us complete. God is our second strand of three. Then our spouse. When we bring God into the cord He completes us, fully loved and healed. “You should feel a great deal of relief knowing that each of you is the third strand in your marriage not the second.” ”God is the sustainer of your strength and your relationship, not you, and not your spouse.”
Our spouse will let us down, just as we will let them down. Our cord doesn’t have to break under the weight of disappointment because your strength is found in God, not in your spouse. 
Marriage was never designed to:
1.    Complete you
2.    Fix all your problems
3.    Replace God

Marriage was designed to:
1.    Give you a Co-Warrior
2.    Give you a shared mission
3.    Bring you closer to God
After Pastor Brian’s talk we had great conversation around the tables.  We talked about our idealistic views of marriage.  What place God had in our dating relationship with our spouse? What we thought about God being the 2nd strand in our cord of 3, and how to keep Him first in our lives.
Wednesday morning was filled with wisdom, laughter and friendship.
Many thanks to the childcare workers, the leadership for MOPS, and all the moms who were able to share in the morning.  

Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect, and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and a wife.  Dave Willis

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Friendship Panel


Written By: Mentor Mom Kathy Van Duyn
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one (wo)man sharpens another”

After Melanie started with some fun friendship facts we could all relate to, we were treated to a discussion panel that included longtime friends Debbie and Bobette, as well as kindred spirits Kris and Amy.

We all need close relationships with other people we trust and respect. Husbands can be our best friends…but they just don’t do girl talk like our peeps! Our lives will include many kinds of girlfriends. Some are lifers, some are for a season.  Some are deep, some are silly and fun. They advised us that when it comes to BFFs to keep your circle small, but to always be inclusive as you surround yourself with a variety of levels of friends in your circle.  

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”– C.S. Lewis

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”— Dale Carnegie

Some people make friends easier than others. Woman are complicated…and they are hard on themselves.  We battle with feeling less than others when we walk in to a group of women and we don’t see their faults, only our own. Comparisons brings disappointment, but friends are strangers waiting! By getting to know them you will soon find out they are not as perfect as you thought and deal with the same issues in life you do.  By investing time in someone, you will soon be saying “I can’t believe I told you that…where have you been all my life!”.  The panel shared that to make a real friend, you have to be one.  We need to open up and let other women in, and that means letting them know our struggles if we expect them to share theirs.  We need to train ourselves to be a good friend and that includes being intentional and investing in them. It’s taking the time to remember both the little details about them, as well as the big things going on in their lives. It means times of laughing with them until you pee, and sometimes crying with them. We should treasure and protect our relationships. A true friend rejoices when the other is enjoying life, and is not jealous or resentful…it’s not all about us! 

No friendship is without drama!!  There will always be ups and downs. The panel encouraged us that we need loyal friends that will pray with us and are affirming, yet not afraid to call us out in love and point us to Christ…and often this can cause hurt feelings. True friends are honest and forgiving with each other, and sometimes the upheaval requires praying about it, waiting for emotions to calm down, and not running from it but talking things out…this can often be when the true blessings happen.  

The panel also shared stories about friendships not always working out, or being on hold for a season. When we experience what we feel is rejection, we often don’t understand it (what’s not to love?) Sometimes we need to set boundaries when relationships are one sided and friends are negative and needy. We need friends that are there for us and love all of us….just not the parts that work for them. Sometime friends are just for a season. Not everyone is going to like us or be a fit for us and we need to extend grace and be okay when they pull away.  

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

All the ladies shared about the importance of having friends to stand in the gap for us. Often when we are going through hard times we isolate ourselves and hold it in and try to ride it out on our own.  We need friends that walk alongside us and love us unconditionally through life when we experience hardships such as loss, divorce, miscarriage, infertility, and a multitude of other things that can change life in a moment. 

The panel concluded by encouraging us to keep Christ the center of our lives, and that when we have all we need in Christ we can enter in to our friendships satisfied. This requires spending time with God and getting to know Him just like a friend, and learning His qualities so we can practice them on others.  Who do you need to reach out and love on today?

Recommended Reading:

Link to purchase the book:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

MOPS 10/9/19 Meeting Recap –Mom Tips

Looking at Internet Safety & Easy Meal Prep Ideas

Speakers: Julie Green & Kerry Harris
Blog Writer: Joanna Metheny
Wow it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve had a MOPS meeting! It was so nice to be able to come back after the long break and reconnect with all you mommas!

This week our lovely speakers were two of our own. Julie Green spoke on Internet Safety and how to protect our children online, while Kerry Harris gave us a delicious demo on how to make quick family meals. 
Julie kicked things off giving us a bit of background on her family. With four kids, and a personal passion for gaming, their family spends a lot of time online. She kept things relatable by sharing a couple of personal stories of things that happened in their family that let us all know that they are learning as they go, just like all of the rest of us. The interactive nature of online gaming, as well as seemingly innocuous sites like youtube can all be potentially very risky for our kids, where they can be exposed to anything from age-inappropriate content to cyberbullying, and even predators. However, Julie assured us that we have a toolbox of measures we can put in place to help protect our children from any hidden dangers lurking online. 

Julie said one of our main jobs when it comes to cyber safety is constant communication. We need to constantly be asking our kids things like: What are you watching? What is that show about? She suggested we sit down and watch shows with them, and to not rely just on our ears, as she has run into age-inappropriate content with a very kid-friendly soundtrack. In their family, personal devices like tablets and phones are checked daily. They check browser histories, text messages, everything, in order to make sure the kids are making good choices.
She packed so many great tips into her talk, some key ones were: set screen time and content limits, which may differ from child to child, NO chat rooms (can be zero truth behind who you are talking to), never upload or download images, never share any personal information, and set up parental controls to block certain content on devices. All in all, while the whole concept of my kids and internet safety kind of terrifies me, moving forward I felt much better enabled to protect them after Julie’s talk. 

After some discussion time, we then got to hear Kerry talk about how to prepare some quick healthy family meals. With 8 kids of her own, and currently 20 grandchildren, Kerry has had a LOT of experience whipping up meals for her family. While she loves to cook, she also understands how challenging it can be to get food on the table every night. 
Kerry said the number one thing we can do to help during the dinner hour, is to be prepared. For some of us, that might mean having a meal plan, or a repertoire of super quick and easy recipes. She emphasized the importance of having staples in the house, and regularly stocking things (like pasta, jarred pesto, frozen veggies, precooked frozen meat) that enable her to whip out dinner in a pinch. She also suggested something I have heard time and time again, and yet continue to ignore myself: don’t stress about it if your kid refuses to eat something, and DON’T force them to eat anything. Your kids will grow up just fine even if they go through a phase of only wanting to eat three things for a year. Just keep putting healthy, varied foods in front of them, and eventually they will come around. 

After some basics, Kerry did a demo for us where she made some super fast Chunky Chicken Soup in her Instant Pot blender, and shared a few more time saving tips with us before handing out samples. She’ll do things like use a food processor to make quick work of chopping things like onions and celery, or cook up a few chickens, and then portion out the meat and pop it in the freezer. This makes future dinners a breeze when she can just grab a handful of protein or veggies from the freezer and not have to hassle with the prep work. 

I always love coming to MOPS because it always reassures me that we all share the same struggles. I leave feeling a little more empowered each time, and this week was no different. Thanks to Kerry and Julie, we each have a few more tools in our belt to help with getting dinner on the table and keeping our kids safe online. Thanks ladies!