Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our final meeting...

Well....the year has reached its end! I cannot believe how fast it went.

You have all been such a rich blessing to me, personally, and to the leadership team. We were so grateful to have been given such a kind, generous, loving group of women to serve. You surely made it easy!!!

We pray, with everything in us, that you were transformed into a refined version of your beautiful self this year. Our intention from the beginning of the year was to love on you and trust God to teach you and encourage you in whatever way was necessary for you, through us and the MOPS ministry. He did it for me so I am trusting He did it for you, too!

We pray that you have a wonderful summer with your families, that He meets your every need (inside and out) and brings us back together in the fall.

Thanks for being my sweet companion on this adventure!

With all my love,

Sara Guilfoyle

Your MOPS Coordinator

Monday, April 26, 2010

Summer Cookin!

I don't know about you all, but I hate cooking in the summer time. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but the majority of my cooking involves standing over a hot stove/oven. Stir-frying meat and veggies means standing over a hot wok, or making a casserole means having a hot oven heating up the house. The last thing I want on a hot summer day is to get all hot and sweaty or to heat up our house, so here's a simple salad that you can make if you're feeling to hot to "cook" dinner! I will be the first to admit that the combination of salmon, blue cheese, pears, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and vinegar sound like the craziest combination ever, but I promise it's good!!! All those flavors really do compliment each other somehow. And, the salmon makes it a full meal. Serve with your favorite kind of crusty bread. Enjoy!

(P.S. It's an awesome and easy meal to make for company - plus it looks all fancy when it's all put together, so you walk away looking like a gourmet chef without much effort! Hee hee!)

Salmon and Pear Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6

(the salad was adapted from this Real Simple recipe: , salmon was added by my friend!)


Salmon (however much you like to eat - I tend to make about half a large fillet)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 bag of any kind of dark green leafy veggie (spinach, arugula, baby greens, etc.)

1-2 pears, unpeeled (or peeled), thinly sliced (I like bartlett, but any pears work)

1/2 cup (3 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled


Season and cook salmon however you like to. I tend to salt and pepper both sides, and then bake it at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into individual-sized servings. If you like to grill, put it on a sheet of tin foil, and toss it on the grill!

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil; set aside.

Arrange the greens on individual plates and top with the pear, salmon, and blue cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve!

MOPS Mom: Lois Stolee

Friday, March 19, 2010

A life transformed

A few months ago my life was a mess. My marriage was falling apart and I was emotionally drained. I can admit that a lot of the problems I was going through were based on my own actions and I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made. Then something happened. I decided to finally accept an invite from an old friend. She had asked me previously to attend her group and I always found reasons not to go. The main reason was because it was at a church and I had huge reservations about entering a church even though she swore it was not a "God thing". I questioned how God could be. If there was a God, why was he not taking care of me and my family? God is supposed to provide and take care of you. But my life was a total wreck and everyday it was getting worse. There could be no God that would do that.

But I agreed to attend this group to see what it was all about. After all, it couldn't kill me, right? So I went. I sat and listened to the speaker talk about meal planning. I didn't really contribute anything to the conversation or really think I would go back. And no, it was not too much of a religious activity. We prayed before we ate and again before we left, but that was about the extent of anything having to do with God. And even though I left there not really feeling a connection to this new group of women and moms I decided right then that I would go back. If for nothing else, just to get out of the house for a few hours.

At home nothing was changing. My marriage was even worse and my kids were resentful that Daddy was not at home anymore. Christmas had just passed and I lay in bed one night realizing that it was the first Christmas in over 10 years that I had not spent with my husband. He had been deployed three times in our marriage and had missed birthdays and anniversaries, but this was the first Christmas we had not spend together since we were a couple. And this was at our own will! How could we have gone from wanting so much to be together all the time and missing each other over the deployments to deciding to spend this holiday apart? So I did something that I had not done in a very long time. I prayed. I cried as I told God what I wanted and how unfair it was that this was happening. I asked God to prove what he was. To show me. To make me believe.

At our next meetings the topics began to change. The speakers told us about honoring our husbands and our marriage through Christ. At home things began to improve. Brent (my husband) came home. We were talking and listening to each other and my girls were happy to have their Daddy home. I asked Brent to go to church with me. He laughed at me and that was the end of the conversation. I still had a lot of questions and over the next few days questioned that maybe it was just a coincidence that I was getting my family back and not the conversation I had in my bed that night a few weeks before. So I asked God to show me more (if there was a God this would be simple right?).

Our next meeting took a huge turn towards talking about God. Another coincidence? No. Not for a second did I think that was a coincidence. I asked God to show me and prove to me what He could do. And He did! I asked God to help me get my family back and I got them back. I asked God to show me more and He did. I sat and listened in almost disbelief. The friend who had invited me to that first meeting months ago explained why this was our topic. In all there were cancellations and other circumstances that were causing the group to become more of a bible study. I asked God to make me believe and he did. He showed me what he could do and he was showing me how powerful he was and I knew right then it was only the beginning.

When my husband came home that night I told him about the topic of the day. He didn't really have much to say. He told me I didn't have to go back if I didn't want to. I didn't say anything to him about what I had asked of God or that God was showing and proving himself to me. Honestly, I thought he would think I was nuts! But a few days later I got a text message from my husband telling me he thought I should continue going. That he thought it had been really good for me and for us. He even told me to go buy a bible (which I did). I asked him again, a few days later, if he would consider going to church as a family. Again, he laughed and that was the end of the conversation.

I know God didn't do any of this on his own. I could have prayed and prayed to have my husband and family back, but if I wouldn't have acted on what I wanted nothing would have happened. At least, not in the way it did. Quoting my friend and speaker from today: We have to be active participants in what we want and what we are asking for. God gave me the strength to bring my husband home. He gave me the strength to go to that first meeting. And if the speakers that were scheduled to speak hadn't have canceled then our topics wouldn't have turned towards the Bible. I feel strong and my life is peaceful and good. I believe and have faith in God.

I know I have a lot to learn and I can't wait.

Now, for my husband... 
By Melissa F.

Why I love MOPS

I remember attending my first MOPS meeting last year. I didn't know what to expect. I was nervous, scared and excited. Would they like me? Would I like it? Will I fit in? My husband and I had begun attending Calvary last March. I had heard about MOPS from a close friend who lost her husband to cancer in 2006. She said her Mops family helped her and her kids through the toughest time in her life. She said some of her best friends she has made through MOPS so I decided to give it a try. What could be better than to meet other moms, to share stories, faith and make new friendships? That's what I was hoping for. To know that I am not alone in struggling to be a good parent, one that God would approve of. Am I too strict? Am I too lenient? Am I doing this right? Do I overreact? Worry too much? (And yes, by the way, I do! I am working on that one) Am I a good mom? A good wife? A good daughter and friend? Are my boys' behaviors normal? I wanted to share my experiences too with others who might have the same questions. I already had many wonderful, loving friends before joining MOPS now God has blessed me with so many more. My expectations were beyond what I could imagine. I have met the most kind, warm-hearted, selfless women here at MOPS. I am so happy to be a part of this group. I look forward to our meetings, to see my friends and have 'me' time. I have made many wonderful friendships here and I feel loved and like I belong here. I can be my goofy, real self here.  So I want to thank all of you wonderful ladies for welcoming me. This is why I love MOPS!

Julie Sherman table #2

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As a wife and mom, I think that worry is part of the job description.  We worry about our husbands, our marriage, our children, our family, our friends, you name it and we probably worry about it. 
The worry cycle tends to hit me late at night right before I try and sleep.  In the stillness of the night, when all of the craziness of the day stops, the little voice in my head starts up.  You know the one…it's the tiny little voice that starts to question every decision that you made that day.  The funny thing about this voice is this:  once you pay attention to it, it gets louder and more obnoxious. 

Fear of the unknown is the main theme through all of my worry.  Especially if our family is under stress, this cycle seems to be exacerbated.  Did the electric bill get paid?  Are we going to be within our budget this week?  Is Pat (my husband) happy with me?  His job?  Is he going to be able to keep this job?  Are the kids safe?  Healthy?  Happy?  Am I doing enough as a wife? Mom?  Friend?

You get the idea.

Pat and I have been married for almost 6 years now.  It seems that we have gone through more in these six years than most couples do in a lifetime.   We have had job loss, child custody issues with my husband’s children, a deployment, birth of our children, several major moves, tragic loss of beloved family members, health issues, serious kid issues, my Mom’s cancer, (not once, but twice!), and financial hardship just to name a few.  There were many nights that I was not able to sleep…I would worry.  And the crazy thing was that I was worrying about things that were completely out of my control.

Growing up, my Mom always told me that “God is not the author of confusion.”  I never got it.  One day not too terribly long ago, I was pouring out my heart to my Mom on the phone.  Things were just crazy in my house, and I was not handling it well.  She told me it again…and this time, I heard her. 

“God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”  (1 Corinthians 14:33)  It took me some time to work this one out.  So if God wasn’t the author of confusion, who was?  Ooooohhhhhh.  Sneaky little devil.  Really?  Satan?  It all just made so much sense.  Who else would love to undermine my marriage?  My family?  My belief in myself?  My belief in God? My faith?

Once I came to this realization, it was amazing how quickly my worries weren’t so big or so many.  God wants us to trust him.  Period.  He wants us to trust in His plan for our lives and for our families.  Is it easy to do?  No…especially if you are a control freak like I am.   Even better, He wants our worries.  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11 28-30)

I have learned that when that little voice starts, it is time to start praying.  I pray with an open and exposed heart and give it all to God.  I tell Him everything that I am worried about, no matter how silly it seems.  I pray for strength and wisdom so that I may make good choices.  I pray for my husband, my children, my family and friends.  I ask Him to forgive me of all of my many shortcomings and to help me do better the next day.  My prayers usually end up more like a conversation that I would have with my best friend, except for one huge difference.  I trust God to take care of it.  All of it.  It is out of my control and it’s His to deal with. He has never let me down, and I know that He never will.   

After I pray and lay down my burden, the voice is quiet.  My mind is at peace and my soul knows that my Savior and Heavenly Father are going to take care of everything.  Then I close my eyes, give thanks, and rest.

-Andrea Kahn, MOPS mom

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rainy Day Fun!

Indoor Fun
This time of year can sometimes drag on when the weather is gray and rainy, and we can't go out to play.
Here are a couple of my favorite rainy day activities.
 Hope your kids enjoy the fun, so you can get something done!

Homemade Play-Dough
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Salt
1 1/2 Cups Water
1TBS Cream of Tartar
1 1/2 TBS Oil
6 Drops of Food Coloring (you can add more if you like)

~Combine all ingredients in a large pot, then cook on stove over med. heat.
~Continuously stir, until dough comes away from sides of the pot, and forms a ball.
~Remove dough from pan, allow to cool a few minutes.
~Knead dough until smooth~ 1-2 minutes.
~You may add a few drops of essential oil, or glitter during the kneading process.
~Get out the rolling pin, cookie cutters, and old garlic press.
~Let the fun begin :)
~Store in air tight container.

Noodle Fun
~Purchase inexpensive noodles in a variety of shapes and sizes.
~Let your children pick out their favorite food storage containers, or other plastic dishes.
~Let them also select their favorite stirring utensils.
~Put everything on the floor or kitchen table, and let them "cook".
~This will keep most children entertained for quite some time.
~Easy clean-up, either sweep up and re-use, or vacuum, whichever you prefer.
~Note: if you re-use the noodles, be sure to label them as "play noodles",
so your hubby does not use then to make dinner :)

~Loree Arthur
Table Leader and fellow MOPS mom

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There will be a day....

On Monday night, while driving home from GNO, I was listening to Spirit 105.3 the radio station and the president of World Vision was speaking about the damage that has been done in Haiti.  Now, to be honest, I don't have cable and only explore email, Facebook and online so I had no idea there was even an earthquake until at least a day after it had happened. Lame, I know. 

Normally when I learn of disasters of the sort I feel, like some of you may feel, very detatched from the situation. I can't fully wrap my brain around the devestation they are feeling because I have never experienced such a tramatic event. For that, I am grateful!   I have to feel it, experience it and go through it in order for my brain and heart to envelope the depth of their pain.  This time was different.

I heard "Some children were sleeping next to the courpses of their mother or father." and "Children were just walking around in the streets crying because they had lost their families and had no idea where to go and who to turn to."  When I heard both of these statements shared by the president of World Vision my heart broke. I cannot even imagine if my Patrick (3) and Jaden (1) were abandoned, crying, lost, scared and alone.  If Matt and I were plucked from their lives early and the world they knew was in rubble form, where would they turn?  Who would be there to protect them, to wipe their tears, meet their needs, shelter them from the pain of life?

After sharing a list of things that WV is doing to support such children as I mentioned above, he called all of God's people to pray;  to pray for those children (and all the others) devestated by this horrific event.  Prayer changes everything...he knows it, I know it and if you have layed your heart bare before Jesus and He has answered your prayers, you know it too!  We may not be able to pour out a financial abundance or even pack up our little family and travel into their pain and help them make a new way but we can pray, which opens up God's power and authority, love and provision upon HIS children.  "Send down manna from heaven for them! Meet their needs! Speak peace to those children! Give them hope!"  I have to trust He can, He will and He is!

Until we see it with our eyes we too can have hope that...."There will be a day..." by Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have

But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that trys to grab

The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth,

that we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings

That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long

You feel your walking on your own

But there has never been a step

Where you’ve walked out all alone

Troubled soul don’t lose your heart

Cause joy and peace he brings

And the beauty that’s in store

Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I can’t wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced

To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery this is why this is why I sing….

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day, He’ll wipe away the stains, He’ll wipe away the tears, He’ll wipe away the tears…..there will be a day.