MOPS Australia has just passed 21 years! So, on Saturday so we held a party! We invited all our friends to our 21st birthday conference – the Every Mum Conference. Over 200 women joined the celebration – leaders, mums, and special guests from around Australia, as well as our keynote speakers from MOPS International. We also added a Friday night Theme Launch for our MOPS group leaders. Continue reading “Every Mum Conference – Celebrating 21 years of MOPS Australia”
Last week in Melbourne we hit 250 days in Covid lockdowns since March 2020. That’s a long time, and only those in Melbourne can truly understand the magnitude of that number. That is 250 out of 558 days. Just reflect on that for a moment. I think it’s been the hardest challenge of my life. Continue reading “Lockdown Reflections”
Is motherhood all you thought it would be? Adverts would have us believe its all snuggling a perfectly sleeping baby, easy nappy changes, and happy parenting moments as they try their first foods or take their first step. We know in reality motherhood is also at times challenging. We all need a little encouragement and camaraderie to help us through from time to time. That’s why there’s MOPS.
The weather is warming up, and many of us have kids on school holidays at the moment. But with many of the normal ‘go-to’ school holiday activities not running depending on where you live; what else can we do to have some school holiday fun at home? Continue reading “School holiday fun at home”
In a previous blog, I wrote about how asking myself the question, “What am I afraid of?” can be useful to diffuse feelings of anger. This was the beginning of my journey to discover the value of asking myself questions in a range of emotionally challenging situations. Continue reading “The value of asking myself questions”
Every October our MOPS group (and many around the county) runs one of our favourite meeting sessions of the year- packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We love pooling our donated items and packing the boxes together over coffee and conversation. The chance to spread love and kindness to an unknown child brings us so much joy.
If you haven’t heard of Operation Christmas Child before, it’s a wonderful project run by Samaritan’s Purse here in Australia (and worldwide) providing gifts to children in need around the world.
How it works
The idea is to pack a shoebox full of gifts for a child. This may be the only gift some of these kids will get in their childhood- so we like to make it special! First you need to think about if you want to make a box for a girl or a boy, and the age group you will buy for; 2-4 years old, 5-9 years old or 10-14 years old.
What to pack?
Typically there are 5 categories to cover off when you pack a gift box
- School supplies- such as pencils, ruler, sharpener, pencil case and small lined books. In many places if children cannot afford school supplies, they cannot attend school.
- Hygiene items – such as face washer, soap, toothbrush, comb, hairbands or a drink bottle.
- Something to wear- like a t-shirt, underwear, hat and sunglasses.
- A ‘wow’ item or toys- maybe a ball, skipping rope, a toy car, necklace or something to love like a small doll or teddy.
We make sure we cover off items from each category then fill the box to the brim with whatever we like. You can even include a photo or letter if you want. (Pro Tip: rubber bands are handy for keeping boxes closed). It’s essential you attach a recipient label to the box so they know the gender and age of the intended recipient.
What not to pack
All items packed must be new. Avoid including any item packaging or cheap plastic toys that will quickly break- we don’t want to add to pollution problems.
These boxes will travel long distances, and often the boxes from Australia land in hot and tropical places. You should not pack any liquid items that could leak in transit (like toothpaste or shampoo). Don’t pack anything that can break, melt or spoil (such as crayons, mirrors, glass trinkets, foods or lollies).
Obviously we need to be respectful of local culture. Do not include anything that could be considered gambling or war related (such as dominos, and playing cards or toy soldiers/weapons).
Don’t forget a Donation
Samaritan’s Purse have box collection points all over the country to drop off your filled boxes during October. They do ask for a $10 donation per box to assist with the freight of the boxes. It is also used for equipping local churches in the delivery area, and providing the box recipient with a gospel booklet in their own language.
In 2020 there were 214,301 boxes packed in Australia and New Zealand. These were sent to the Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Malawi, Fiji and Madagascar.
While in 2020 we could not meet as a group to pack the boxes together, we still took joy in packing boxes individually. Its also a great opportunity to get kids involved in doing something for others. They will have fun picking items out for a kid their own age. It’s a fun way to spread some love and kindness in these challenging and uncertain days.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Kelly McCrohan MOPS Australia Blog Administrator
Words are not simply sounds caused by air passing through our larynx; words have real impact and power. We can use our words to encourage or complain; praise or put down. As we enter Spring, many people give their homes a “spring clean”; clear out the dust, the items that no longer serve us and the clutter we have accumulated. What if we also spring cleaned our vocabulary?
It starts with a word
You may be familiar with the well-known account of the world’s creation where the world was created by a mere word from God. “And God said let there be light” Genesis Chapter 1. God himself is also referred to as ‘the word’ in John 1:1. We could all learn something from these well-known Bible verses. Even beyond the religious overtones, there is a message to be found in this for everyone. Everything begins with a word.
It’s our words that provide a bold affirmation of our innermost thoughts. Our words confirm to the world how we see others, our lives and ourselves. Our words provide the means to enable our thoughts to manifest into reality. So why do we so often choose to misuse our most powerful asset on both ourselves and to others? Our words have the power to destroy and the power to build up (see Proverbs Chapter 15), so we need to choose them wisely.
Watch our words
As a Sisterhood of Mums, our words are the foundation of our relationships. We all know the fatigue, tantrums, chaos, busyness, and interruptions that come with raising children. Sometimes we don’t feel like being with even ourselves, let alone being around other people AND watching the words we use! We also know that just because we have little kids or a busy job, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make time for our friendships. And the words we use around our friends can have a great impact.
Build up others
Lysa Terkeurst, a well-known Christian author, suggests some simple phrases that we can use to help build and maintain our relationships. Whilst they aren’t incredibly profound, they are a good way to remind a fellow mum that you see her. When a friend steps in with a gentle smile and a few simple words of encouragement, suddenly you’re not alone.
With Spring finally upon us, perhaps we can consider a “spring clean” of our words in this season of life for the benefit of those around us and ourselves. Consider these encouraging words:
“You’re wonderful” – In a world full of negativity and competition, what a precious gift to remind a friend of specific ways you notice that she’s a wonderful mum, friend, wife, co-worker…
“Me too” – It acknowledges that I’m no better than you, but together we can get stronger. It is such a loving and disarming admission that we’re all in this together.
“I’ll pray” – When you have experienced the power of a friend faithfully praying for you and/or your circumstances, it is a powerful gift.
“I’ll share” – When we notice a need in a friend’s life, might we be willing to step in and at least be a small part of the solution? A meal, baby-sitting, a smile. (Romans 12:13, “Share with God’s people in need…”)
“Come over” – The floor hasn’t been swept in a week and the laundry is piled high but, hey, come over with the kids and we can just chill for a bit. We can share our broken hearts and celebrate the small parts of us that are still intact. (Romans 12:13, “Practise hospitality.”)
Being a mum is a tough job. Let’s lift each other up by choosing kindness in our words and in our deeds.
Natalie is a wife, mum to 3 grown children (and mother-in-law to 3). She is a part-time primary school teacher, small business owner and Mentor at Humeridge Church of Christ MOPS.
Have you ever stopped or slowed down and reflected on everything and everyone around you, and considered what kind of impact you will leave behind? I have found that Australia’s biggest need is for fathers- fathers who love their wives, who love their children and who have an intentional presence in the home. This year’s MOPS theme “Decide To Rise”, is just as important for fathers of preschoolers as it is for mothers. Father’s Day is defined as “a holiday to honour and celebrate fathers and father figures”. As we celebrate Father’s Day, what will be honoured about you? Your indifference, your indulgence, or your positive influence? What will be your fatherhood legacy?
In the busyness of life, I often forgot to seek joy in the mundane and everyday moments of life. When my youngest comes into our room at about 5am, requesting a cuddle I obligingly pulled back the covers. I lay there with a snuggling one beside me, thinking (worrying) about what was going to happen in the minutes and hours to come. Continue reading “Seek joy”
Being a mum and a Paediatric Occupational Therapist at the same time is an interesting journey. I daily work with parents who come to me looking for help with their children, many of whom have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I am raising a child with ADHD myself. Many of my close friends also have at least one child in their family who is diagnosed with ADHD. Continue reading “Raising a child with ADHD”