Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meeting Recap - September 11, 2014- First Meeting!

It was so great to be back together and to welcome a host of new faces this year! Laurie opened us in prayer and then we enjoyed an amazing breakfast. Thank you, Steering! Let's start with important announcements first:
  • Please drive slowly in FBC parking lot as children are being dropped off for preschool. 
  • If we know we will be missing MOPS, we need to contact your table leader ASAP as well as Cynthia Pistulka. Her email is
  • Try as hard as you can to be present at MOPS meetings. There are many women who want to be a part of MOPS who are on the waiting list. If you consistently miss MOPS meetings, your spot will be given to a mom on the waiting list.
  • Breakfast is provided on a rotational basis by tables. Two tables provide breakfast each week and your table leader will notify you when it is your turn.
  • For moms who have newborns (up to three months), your babies are welcome to stay in the main meeting. If your baby is three months or older, we ask that you send your baby to stay in the care of the workers. They want to love and hold your little ones, so please let them, and give yourself a break as well! 
  • MOPPETS need to have a snack unless you are notified that your child’s room has an allergy, in which case you will be notified.  Strollers cannot be left in the hallways, but need to be left in the meeting.
  • Consider joining a Bible study offered at First Baptist Church this Fall. She announced that Bible study opportunities are available on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights at the church, including one on "What Women Fear" and one on living and sharing a life of wisdom. On Sunday nights your children can attend Awana (Bible-based scripture memory for children) while you attend Financial Peace University. For more information, please visit the FBC website, 
  • Jen Coon (Service Chair) announced a service project MOPS has an opportunity to participate in of collection diapers for CYFS (Children, Youth, and Family Services). We will be collecting diapers as a community service project, so if you have extra diapers that your kids have outgrown or want to pick up an extra pack of diapers at the store, we will be collecting them at our next meeting, September 25th.
After we had a great breakfast, Jayme Cherry led us in a fun ice breaker so we could learn a little bit about each other at our tables. We used M&Ms to answer the following questions: 1. What is a beauty product you can’t live without? 2. What is one of your favorite childhood memories? 3. What is a movies that makes you cry, 4. What is a baby names you didn’t get to use? 5. What would you do if you had an entire day to yourself? 6. What is your dream vacation destination? It was fun and definitely broke the ice! Thanks, Jayme!

Laurie then introduced the theme “Be You Bravely” and we watched the MOPS International video explaining their purpose in the theme. A few highlights of the video:

  • Are you living or waiting to live?
  • Do you hold back from living? If so, why?
  • Why do we forget to live?
This year, we hope to learn what it means to "Be You, Bravely" -- to take the first step though it is uncomfortable, to make brilliantly bold mistakes as we endeavor to fly, and to spur each other on to choose courage and ask the hard questions. You will see feathers scattered about throughout the year, as the feather symbolizes courage because the feather symbolizes flight. May we find the courage to be brave - to be our true selves.

Laurie then talked about Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert."

She encouraged us that God is going to do something new and bring us out of captivity and make the impossible, possible. It is a promise, and He is equipping us at all times- especially in this season, that at times may feel like a desert. 

The rest of the meeting consisted mostly of introductions, including Steering, Table Leaders, Mentoring Moms, and First Baptist director of women's ministry, Nancy Ryalls. Nancy warmly welcomed us and encouraged us that First Baptist believes deeply in the ministry of MOPS, which is why they invest so much into our children and us. Thank you, First Baptist!

Michelle Cox, our Mentoring Moms coordinator, introduced each of our mentoring moms. Here is a little more information about each one that we are so blessed to have with us:

  • Nancy Ryalls – how to care for parent with chronic illness, inductive Bible Study, balancing work and family, how to develop the gift of hospitality
  • Ruth-  how to survive life as a military wife, living with Mother-in-Law, gardening, adoption
  • Gayle Trevillion – how to cope with losing a parent, adoption, fertility, cooking, traveling
  • Lori Woods – how to mother boys, life as a stay-at-home-mom, how to be intentional about mentoring your children (and have others mentor your children as well)
  • Laurie Miller – adoption, how to teach children the Bible, transitioning from career to being SAHM, organization/time management
  • Darla Rose – life as a single mom, living life with stepchildren, living with your mother, being financially responsible, raising boys with sports, consistency in parenting (especially if you are parenting single), Mormon faith
  • Michelle Cox – pregnant at 39 for the first time, divorce, bipolar parents, parenting children with different temperaments, living with a parent

Amy Vesser announced new babies born this summer, Summer birthdays, and September birthdays. Congrats to the new mamas and to the soon-to-be-new mamas! There are many of you! This led to Amber Young's announcement about Meal calendars for new moms. Please provide meals for these mamas if you have the time and financial means to do so. It is such a blessing to those families! Amber then discussed the prayer jars on our tables. Each jar is filled with pieces of paper that we can use to make prayer requests known. Fill those out and leave them for Amber to pray over. 

Amber also introduced Enrichment groups – something new we are trying as an effort to build even deeper community in our MOPS fellowship. Available groups include- Book Club, Dinner group (meal exchange), Craft club, prayer team, Workout partners team, babysitting swap. If any of those interest you, please sign up at your table or let your table leader know.

We also have created a private group on Facebook called Heavenly Blessings for those who have experienced miscarriage or the loss of a child. If you have experienced it in the past and feel you can offer support, please message Amber privately. If you need support because you have experienced this loss, please contact Amber for her to connect you.

Stephanie Denholm then led us in a cute craft where we made "Be You, Bravely" necklaces with a feather as a remind to have courage. Thank you, Stephanie!

We are off to a great start this year, and look forward to many more great Thursdays to come. See you September 25th! Go ahead and SAVE THE DATE for a night with Mentoring Moms on Thursday, October 2nd at 7pm at the home of Lori Woods. Also, there is a Mommy-N-Me outing at Greenfield Farm in Ruckersville on the morning of October 16th. And MOPS Moms Market will be returning this year on November 6th if you are interested in offering your goods for MOPS moms to buy. More info to come!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Three Things to Know About Cville MOPS...

Three Things to Know About Cville MOPS...

Less than two weeks until the first MOPS Meeting of 2014-2015! That's right, our first meeting kicks off on Thursday, September 11th, at 9:30 am. You can drop your children off beginning at 9:15 am (see below for location). If you are new to MOPS, we are so glad to have you join us this year! And to help you get acquainted with our group, here are the "top three things" to know about MOPS!

1. We meet at First Baptist Church (FBC) Park Street in Charlottesville, at 735 Park Street. FBC is a wonderful, large facility. It can be a bit tricky finding your way around if you haven't been there before. Arriving at the church, you will notice there are two entrances. The easiest one to use for a MOPS meeting is the one to the left if you are facing the front of the church from Park Street (pictured below). It is the entrance closer to downtown.

Once you turn into FBC, you will drive around the building to your left, and make your way to the rear of the church.

In the above picture you can see the playground on your right. You can park in any available space here, however, if you have babies or small kiddos you may want to continue on towards the other end of the buildings so you won't have to walk as far. Our MOPS meeting takes place in the Fellowship Hall (pictured below).  This will be the last building as you drive around the rear of the church campus. You will enter the meeting through the right set of double doors.  If this is your first MOPS meeting at FBC, please come to the meeting room first with your children, and we will be happy to direct you to the correct room(s) for their childcare. 

2. We know it can be crazy getting out the door with little ones, so don't worry about breakfast, it's on us!  Yay! FOOD! After a few announcements, we start our meetings off with a delicious breakfast for our moms.  Our first breakfast will be provided by our Steering Committee; then we will rotate by tables for each meeting.

3. Our childcare workers are wonderful and take great care of our little ones!  We are so blessed to have many wonderful women take care of our kids so that we can get a break twice a month. If you have any questions regarding childcare, please contact our Childcare Coordinator, Cynthia Pistulka (  If you have questions the morning of our first meeting, there will be MOPS Leadership as well as childcare workers stationed around the buildings to assist you in finding the correct room, the bathrooms, etc.

So there are my "top 3." If you have been to MOPS before, what would be in yours? If you have any advice/encouragement for our new moms regarding MOPS please tell us by leaving a comment on this post.  We look forward to seeing y'all September 11th! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Top 10 Reasons We Love Lauren

Check out the Last MOPS of the Year!  We'll miss your leadership Lauren.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Last one for the year.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Meeting Recap - May 8, 2014

Our second-to-last meeting of the year featured a local Wellness Coach and registered dietician, and we also heard from our MOPS Coordinator for next year, Laurie Burke. But first, let's get to those announcements:
  • There's only ONE more meeting for this MOPS year - NEXT WEEK - May 15th. That's right, we're meeting two weeks in a row this month. Don't forget, ladies!
  • Please bring any cards or gifts you'd like to give to your MOPPET worker(s) to next week's meeting.
  • MOPS Family Fun Day is Saturday, May 17th from 4-6pm at the Dunlora Clubhouse
    • Bring a picnic/snacks for your family. Drinks are provided
    • Feel free to bring lawn/outdoor games for yourself and your kids
  • VBS Registration is open at FBC! The dates are July 7-11th, and volunteers are needed and welcomed! Your bed baby or toddler will also get to come to VBS if you volunteer. See the FBC website for more information.
  • FBC will start a summer Bible study series on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm starting June 3rd. The study will be on Divine Design, True Woman 101 by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the church website for more information and to sign up.
Laurie Burke
We were in for a special treat this week, as we heard from Laurie Burke, our MOPS Coordinator for next year. Laurie is a Texas girl through and through, and never thought she'd find herself in Charlottesville, Virginia - a place she had never heard of until relocating here! Laurie grew up in a family of faith and always knew and trusted God. However, it took a series of challenges and uncertainties the past few years for her to fully trust and fully surrender her heart to Him. Laurie shared that amidst the difficulties, the one thing that was consistently a huge blessing to her was MOPS - a group she is thankful for and is excited to be leading next year. She shared one of her favorite Scripture passages that has been a source of comfort - Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Thank you Laurie, for embracing your story and encouraging us with it!

Our guest speaker this week was Kris Bonham, a registered dietician and Wellness Coach at ACAC. Kris spoke to us about Emotional Brain Training, or EBT, which is a tool to teach people to how to optimally process their daily emotions and can be an effective tool for dealing with stress, depression, anxiety and weight issues. EBT can help individuals change the "wiring" of their brain, so that when dealing with a highly stressful event, the person will not fall back on a pattern of unhealthy, unconscious reactions.

Kris shared that 70% of our brain patterns were formed in the first 3 years of life and were directly impacted by our parents - especially our mom. A daunting thought to this room full of moms with young children! However, Kris told us that no matter how good or bad our patterns are, EBT can help us to "re-wire ourselves" - essentially change our thought patterns to ones that deal effectively and optimally to stressful encounters

Kris Bonham
Kris went over brain state characteristics and gave suggestions and tools for going from a brain state of 4 or 5 (stressed and highly stressed) to a 1 or 2 (optimal and healthy). Such an interesting topic sparked a lively question and answer period - including (from a nursing mom) how do hormones affect my brain state?! Ha.. only at MOPS, ladies!

For more information on EBT, you can check out the website, or contact Kris at ACAC. Many thanks to Kris for introducing us to this fascinating topic!

How sad to say we only have 1 more meeting of the year.. next Thursday, May 15. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meeting Recap - April 24th, 2014

It is the meeting we have all been waiting for...Janet Mancini!  But contain your excitement ladies, and read these announcements:
  • The Young Lives Charlottesville Yard Sale will be on May 10th at Cross Life Church on the corner of Old Brook and Rio Rd. The sale will be from 8am-1p. Young Lives is an organization that mentors teen mom.  Proceeds will benefit their summer camp trip to New York.
  • Items are being collected on May 1st and 2nd at FBC for a "Free Yard Sale" at First Baptist Church on May 3rd; contact Megan Stephens for more information.
  • Vacation Bible School at FBC will be held July 7 - 11. Volunteer registration is now available online. Children must be 4 years old by 9/30/14 to participate; however the children of volunteers who are younger than that may participate. 
  • Congrats to Shannon T. and Amy V. on the births of our newest Moppettes! Both mommies gave birth to healthy baby boys!
  • Thanks to all of those who hard work made the MOPS Dinner Party Possible! It was a lovely evening for all involved!
  • Mundy Richards' birthday is on Wednesday, April 30th. Please remember her family in prayer this week and especially on that day.
  • The door prizes were provided by Wendy F. and Gina L., and the winners were Melissa R. and Kathy F. Congrats ladies!
  • For those who attended this meeting, you may remember Michelle C. wasn't feeling well. I am happy to report that she and the baby are doing fine now!

Michelle Cox
Our meeting began with our very own Mentoring Mom Coordinator, Michelle Cox. Michelle was asked to give her testimony only a couple of days prior and she definitely rose to the occasion!  Michelle started by telling us that we should not be intimidated by giving our testimony, even if it doesn't seem "exciting". Every story is wonderful, and God asks us to be prepared to share the reason for our hope. Believing that our testimony is unworthy of sharing is a lie, and Michelle shared with us a few other lies from the book "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The first being that as women we don't have enough time. Second, that if the circumstances in my life were different, I would be different. And thirdly, that I shouldn't have to live with unfulfilled longings. Each of these things is a lie that a woman might believe.

We learned that Michelle accepted Christ at age 7, but that she recalls her real walk with the Lord beginning in high school. She was blessed to have a wonderful pastor in high school. During a short mission trip to Mexico she recalls really beginning to memorize scripture. One of the verses that stands out is 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you." Michelle went on to attend college in Kansas. She then went overseas to Slovakia. She didn't know the language and had few distractions, but she felt far from the Lord. She met and married a man she believed to be a Christian, but during the relationship she endured much physical abuse. She felt deep shame and very far from the Lord. Michelle describes it feeling like she was wearing a scarlet "D", which stood for devastation, destruction, and divorce.

After her marriage ended, Michelle began meeting with a Christian counselor. The counselor told her when we conceal secrets we are trapped by them. So Michelle chose to let people know her story, and she chose to forgive her abuser.

Michelle tells us that she has learned that suffering always has a purpose with God. Sometimes as Christians we expect that God should make us happy, but that God is far more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. She concluded by sharing a line from a Matthew West song, "I am no longer defined, by all the wreckage behind." Thank you so much Michelle for sharing the awesome way God has worked in your life!

Janet Mancini
And next up we heard from Mrs. Janet Mancini! Janet came to this meeting to talk to us about marriage. Janet has been married for 26 years, and she has gleaned much wisdom from her experience as a wife and mother. Janet describes marriage as "the promised land", or the "land of milk and honey".  She likes to think of herself as like Joshua or Caleb, reporting back to us that the land is indeed good! She cautions us on who we go to for counsel in our marriage; she says seek wise counsel from a "Joshua" or "Caleb" and avoid "one of the ten".  

Janet tells us of the beginning of her relationship with her husband. Janet was a nurse and her husband a doctor. She had no plans to ever marry a doctor! After her wedding in April she became pregnant in June, and felt overwhelmed by all of the changes in her life. She describes the first year of her marriage as very bitter. She soon found herself home with three small children while her doctor husband worked long hours at the hospital. The hour she dreaded most each day was the "arsenic hour" between 5 and 6pm. She grew very dissatisfied and angry with her husband and her whole life. All of her prayers started with "I"..."I need this Lord" and "I deserve this" and "I, I, I". Janet calls this an "I problem". She says she gradually came to realize that she had really wanted a husband, a family, and to stay at home with her kids, so why was she blaming her husband for all of her problems? She learned that she needed to focus on the good things about her husband - that he was providing for her family, allowing her to be at home, and so she should be thankful instead of resentful. Janet began praying that God would keep her focus on the blessings.

Another point Janet made is that we should examine how we think the world sees us. Or how is our countenance? Are you seen as perpetually angry, overwhelmed, and unapproachable? Or are you a breath of fresh air to those around you? How do your children see you? If they think you cannot handle your own life they will be less likely to share their trials with you when they are older.  Are you discontent? Janet tells us that a lack of contentment is not a product of your circumstances, it is a state of the soul. If you are discontent you won't be happy even when you get what you think you want. She reminds us that we reap what we sow; if you are discontent now don't be surprised when you have discontent teenagers ten years from now. The cure for a lack of contentment? It is a thankful heart!

Janet went on to share 1 John 4:19. "We love because He first loved us." Jesus loved us even when we were dead in our sin and shame. So we should love others first, and love our husbands first, even when we don't feel like it. And while yes, that includes sex, just sex will not cut it. Your husband needs to feel affirmed, respected, and desired. Janet urges us to support our husbands; he should know that you have his back. 

While sex is not the only thing, it is very important! Sex can make a huge difference in how your husband perceives you.  Often as women we expect to be romanced and then we will be intimate; but Janet says we should reverse that. Have sex with your husband and then see how much more willing he is to talk to you and share with you!

Janet then explained that we should learn what our husbands main needs are. In her experience those needs could be 1. Sex 2. Exercise 3. Food. Ask your husband! She says that when something seems awry with her marriage she thinks of those three needs to see if one or more are not being met. 

A great piece of advice for wives whose husbands travel  is to never let him leave town with a "full tank". In other words, be sure to have sex before he leaves.  Yep, Janet keeps it real ladies. She also thinks it a great idea to have the kids write little notes or draw pictures to sneak into his suitcase.  

Another idea (one that Janet is rather well-known for) is to plan a big surprise for your husband. When you are planning the surprise, make sure the first thing on the agenda is sex. So if you plan a weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast, don't get there and immediately drag him shopping or off for a hike, go directly to the bedroom first!

Finally, Janet advises us not only to be thankful for our husbands, but to tell him you are thankful for him. And also teach your kids to tell Daddy that they are thankful for him and all that he does.  She says that when we honor our husbands they are amazing!  God made them to be leaders, providers, strong, brave, and willing to die for us! She says the world needs good marriages, and God made your husband to need you!

Thanks so much to Janet for her humor, candor, and wisdom. It is always a pleasure to have her visit us!

Our next MOPS meeting is on Thursday, May 8th; hope to see you then!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The April 2014 Newsletter is now online.

Click here to download and read the April 2014 MOPS Newsletter.