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The value of asking myself questions

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”

Operation Christmas Child

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 have power

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 1:1We 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 Bizzell

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.

 

What will be your fatherhood legacy?

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?

Continue reading “What will be your fatherhood legacy?”

Seek joy

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”

Raising a child with ADHD

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”

Do your work

The theme for MOPS this year is Decide to Rise and includes the principle “Do your work”. But what does that even mean? As a fellow mum, I know the work is a never-ending cycle! The constant answering of questions, household cleaning, cooking, feeding, creating routines, stimulating minds, spending quality time, shopping, clothes… gah!

Continue reading “Do your work”

What emotion is this anger really hiding?

Sometimes a random comment will float through the air and land in just the right place to make a difference!  One day I heard this comment: “Someone might seem like they’re angry, but actually they are afraid. It can help to ask them what they are afraid of.” The woman was talking about children with anger management issues, and how to help them identify their emotions and direct them appropriately. However, it came right onto the radar of a person who was feeling angry right in that moment – me. Continue reading “What emotion is this anger really hiding?”

Being a Servant Leader

Servant leadership is not a leadership style; it is a leadership philosophy, and the Bible has a lot to say about this philosophy.

Mark 10:42-45 says:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Philippians 2:3-5 defines servant leadership this way:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

In John 13:1-17 we see an example of how Jesus served those closest to him and showed them the value of servanthood. Verses 12-17 of that passage says:

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

With this in mind, think about what servant leadership actually looks like.

  1. A servant leader values others. She knows that every leader has intrinsic value outside of the work she does. The servant leader understands and embraces the unique qualities of each member of the team.
  2. A servant leader develops others by focusing on the growth and welfare of those following.
  3. A servant leader takes responsibility for herself, her attitude and her work. She is willing to do the hard stuff and works right alongside the team, because the only way servant leaders succeed is if their team succeeds.

Servant leadership doesn’t require perfection, it just requires faithfulness. Servant leadership isn’t about what you do – it’s about how you think. Jesus was the perfect example of a servant leader. Servant leaders lead with Jesus as their example and with others in mind. Let’s focus on leading like that!

Kelli Jordan

Leadership Development Manager (MOPS International) and Mentor

Listen to more about servant leadership in Episode 65 of Connections: The Podcast

You’re invited to Every Mum Conference

It has been a long season of navigating uncertainty, living smaller and experiencing a little more fear and anxiety than usual. We have the opportunity to declare a time of fresh starts and turning ordinary experiences into extraordinary ones. Trying to do this alone is tough though. We need equipping and community with other mums. This is the reason MOPS Australia is running the very first Every Mum Conference this year, and you’re invited!

Are you knee deep in nappies? Or juggling the many activities your kids are part of? Then the Every Mum conference has something for you. Be encouraged and equipped as a mother, a woman and a leader. This conference is open to all mums. You don’t need to be involved in MOPS or share a Christian faith background. Speakers and workshop presenters will cover many topics on parenting, personal development, leadership and spiritual growth.

Making plans in these uncertain times can be a challenge. We designed the Every Mum Conference with flexibility in mind. So your ticket gives you access to all of the content online. You also get 90 days of on-demand access afterwards. Additionally, local hubs (watching in a group) offers an in-person experience that will show the same content as the online conference. Local hubs also offer the opportunity for connection and discussion together. Attending a hub is an optional extra*. The hub details will release closer to the conference date.

The details

Date: Saturday 16th October (with optional Friday night sessions too where you can join MOPS Australia leaders in celebrating MOPS Australia’s 21st birthday and find out about the new theme for 2022- All About Love)

Time: Run live 9 am to 6 pm AEDT (each timezone has a suggested agenda on the website using the on-demand features when needed)

Format: Online (with in-person hub options) including interactive workshop session options

Registration is open now with an early bird discount on offer until 20th August.

Some fun features

  • Attendee website and app- you will get a log in to view the content, find out more about speakers and interact with other attendees
  • Connect with other attendees you know by scheduling an appointment for a video call with them- particularly great for those joining online
  • Virtual exhibition hall: not only can you find out more about our amazing sponsors but also browse the virtual market booths for our Mumma’s online market for some shopping fun. Could be a good way to get some early Christmas shopping done! (see more info below)

Register now

Have more questions? Check out the information in the link above, then email info@mops.org.au if you still have questions.

We cannot wait to gather online or in-person for Every Mum Conference. You’re invited. Share that invitation with your friends too.

*Please note: as the offerings at each local hub will vary, tickets to attend an in-person gathering may incur an additional fee to cover venue or catering costs. The organiser of each hub will set the ticket price for that hub. Locations of local hubs are determined by those in each region willing to host a gathering. Please contact MOPS Australia at mopsconference@gmail.com ASAP if you or your church would like to host a conference hub for your region on Saturday 16 October 2021.

Mumma’s Online Market

Applications are now open for the Mumma’s Online Market.

To apply, please complete the Online Application Form here: https://forms.gle/qfkq5fNshUutT1sY9

Find full details at that link.

Alternatively, please email your expression of interest to mopsconference@gmail.com to receive a PDF copy of the form.

Don’t forget to tell all your mummy friends!

Sponsors

Our key sponsors make this event possible:

 

Opportunity InternationalVision Christian Radio

Pregnancy Problem House