Wednesday, September 28, 2011

YoungLives Ministry

During our topic meeting on Tuesday, September 27 Jill Bevins from YoungLives Ministry came and spoke to Mom's Connection.

YoungLives, part of the larger Young Life Ministry, helps teen moms find hope through mentors. It's about letting teen moms be teenagers and providing someone to walk alongside them to help figure out who they are and who they will become. It's about modeling Jesus Christ's love to young women who may not have experienced real love before.

Jill shared with us how this ministry is growing in Berkeley County and is being blessed by the hand of God. The mentors are the heart of YoungLives and they are currently in need of mentors. Being a mentor means loving a teen mom right where she's at in her life...becoming a trusted friend who models Christ's unconditional love and show her what life is like when you are walking with Christ. Teen moms need women to help them have hope and look forward to a future for themselves and their children.

YoungLives meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at Rosemont Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, WV from 6-8:30 pm where free childcare and a free meal is available. If you are interested in helping in this ministry, please contact Jill Bevins at 304-919-1681. You can check it out at

A YoungLives Banquet is coming up on October 27, 2011 at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg, WV from 6-9pm. The theme is semi-formal- formal masquarade seated dinner. Please contact Jessica Brown by phone or email for a formal invite and dinner selections at 301-672-7036 or This event is by donation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our Upcoming Topic Meeting

Tuesday, September 27 Topic Meeting- Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in Martinsburg, WV at 9:45 am for a time of brunch, discussion, and fun!

Care Circles begin... We will begin discussing the book, He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen. If you haven't ordered it yet, please do so. You will get the most out of the discussion if you read the book!

Join us after the meeting for lunch at Chick-fil-A at 12 Noon with a purchase of an adult meal, kid's meal will be $0.99 each.

Please remember Mariah Triggs who is expecting a baby boy this November. We are collecting consumable's to bless her as she prepares for this blessing from God. Consumables consist of diapers, wipes, ointments, medicines, lotions, body washes, etc. and anything else you would like to pick up for her! There will be a basket out for you to place these items in at our next two topic meetings!

Don't forget to get started on the Mom's Scavenger Hunt! If you haven't received a copy, be sure to see Christy Shrom, our Hospitality Coordinator, at our next meeting! Have fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And, And, And...

Peeking out from the corner of my desk blotter is a note, slowly yellowing and bent from time.

It is a card from my mother, containing only four sentences, but with enough impact to change my life forever.

In it, she praises my abilities as a writer, without qualification. Each sentence is filled with love, offering specific examples of what my pursuit has meant to her and my father.

The word "but" never appears on the card. However the word "and" is there almost a half dozen times.

Every time I read it--which is almost every day--I am reminded to ask myself if I am doing the same thing for my daughters. I've asked myself how many times I've "but-ted" them, and me, out of happiness.

I hate to say that it's more often then I'd like to admit.

Although our eldest daughter usually got all As on her report card, there was never a semester when at least one teacher would not suggest that she talked too much in class. I always forgot to ask them if she was making improvement in controlling her behavior, if her comments contributed to the discussion in progress or encouraged a quieter child to talk. Instead, I would come home and greet her with, "Congratulations! Your dad and I are very proud of your accomplishment, but could you try to tone it down in class?"

The same was true of our younger daughter. Like her sister, she is a lovely, bright, articulate, and friendly child. She also treats the floor of her room and the bathroom as a closet, which has provoked me to say on more than one occasion, "Yes, that project is great, but clean up your room!"

I've noticed that other parents do the same thing, "Our whole family was together for Christmas, but Kyle skipped out early to play his new computer game." "The hockey team won, but Mike should have made that last goal." "Amy's the homecoming queen, but now she wants two hundred dollars to buy a new dress and shoes."

But, but, but.

Instead, what I learned from my mother is that if you really want love to flow to your children, start thinking "and, and, and..." instead.

For example: "Our whole family was together for Christmas dinner, and Kyle mastered his new computer game before the night was through." "The hockey team won, and Mike did his best the whole game."

"Amy's the homecoming queen, and she's going to look gorgeous!"

The fact is that "but" feels bad--"and" feels good. And when it comes to our children, feeling good is definitely the way to go. When they feel good about themselves and what they're doing, they do more of it, building their self-confidence, their judgement and their harmonious connections to others. When everything they say, think or do is qualified or put down in some way, their joy sours and their anger soars.

This is not to say that children don't need or won't respond to their parents' expectations. They do and they will, regardless of whether those expectations are good or bad. When those expectations are consistently bright and positive and then are taught, modeled, and expressed amazing things happen. "I see you made a mistake. And I know you are intelligent enough to figure out what you did wrong and make a better decision next time." Or, "You've been spending hours on that project, and I'd love to have you explain it to me." Or, "We work hard for our money, and I know you can help figure out a way to pay for what you want."

It's not enough just to say we love our children. In a time when frustration has grown fierce, we can no longer afford to limit loves expression. If we want to tone down the sound of violence in our society, we're going to have to turn up the volume on noticing, praising, guiding and participating in what is right with our children.

"No more buts!" is a clarion call for joy. It's also a challenge, the opportunity fresh before us every day to put our attention on what is good and promising about our children, and to believe with all our hearts that they will eventually be able to see the same in us and the people with who they will ultimately live, work and serve.

And if I ever forget, I have my mother's note to remind me.

"And, And, And" by Robin Silverman copyright 1999 from "Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul: 101 Inspirational Stories of Overcoming Life's Challenges" by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Heather McNamara

Thank you to Tina Burton for sharing this with all of us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What beautiful designs!

Thank you for coming today to our first meeting for the fall semester! Look at our beautiful toilet paper designs which were modeled by these great moms!

Monday, September 12, 2011

He loves me!

Introducing for this year of Mom’s Connection, our book of choice , is “He Loves Me” by Wayne Jacobsen. This book is about learning to live in God’s love for you.

Read this excerpt:
"The little girl stands in the backyard chanting as she plucks petals one by one from the daisy and drops them to the ground. At game's end, the last petal tells all: whether or not the person desired returns the affection."

"Of course no one takes it seriously, and if children don't get the answer they desire, they take another daisy and start again. It doesn't take long even for children to realize that flowers weren't designed to tell romantic fortunes. Why should they link their hearts' desires to the fickleness of chance?"

"Why indeed! But it is a lesson far easier learned in romance than in more spiritual pursuits. For long after we've put away our daisies, many of us continue to play the game with God. This time we don't pluck flower petals but probe through our circumstances trying to figure out exactly how God feels about us."

"I got a raise. He loves me!
I didn't get the promotion I wanted. He loves me not!
Something in the Bible inspired me today. He loves me!
My child is seriously ill. He loves me not!
I gave money to someone in need. He loves me!
I stretched the truth to get myself out of a tight spot. He loves me not!"

I grew up believing God loved me and for the most part I believed it to be true. It’s easy to believe it in good times. But like the author, I had some hard times that made me question God’s love for me.

What about you?

My prayer for you this year is that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the other mom’s here, to grasp how wide and long, and high and deep is the love of God, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Growing Roots

When I was growing up, I had an old neighbor named Dr. Gibbs. He didn't look like any doctor I'd ever known. Every time I saw him, he wore denim overalls and a straw hat, the front brim of which was green sun glass plastic. He smiled a lot, a smile that matched his hat--old and crinkly and well worn. He never yelled at us for playing in his yard. I remember him as someone who was a lot nicer than circumstances warranted.

When Dr. Gibbs wasn't saving lives, he was planting trees. His house sat on ten acres, and his life's goal was to make it a forest.

The good doctor had some interesting theories concerning plant husbandry. He came from the "no pain, no gain" school of horticulture. He never watered his new trees, which flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Once I asked why. He said that watering plants spoiled them, and that if you water them, each successive tree generation will grow weaker and weaker. So you have to make things rough for them and weed out the weenie trees early on.

He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots, and how trees that weren't watered had to grow deep roots in search of moisture. I took him to mean that deep roots were something to be treasured.

So he never watered his trees. He'd plant an oak and instead of watering it every morning, he'd beat it with a rolled-up newspaper. Smack! Slap! Pow! I asked him why he did that, and he said it was to get the tree's attention.

Dr. Gibbs went to glory a couple of years after I left home. Every now and again, I walk by his house and look at the trees that I'd watched him plant some twenty-five years ago. They're granite strong now. Big and robust. Those trees wake up in the morning and beat their chests and drink their coffee black.

I planted a couple of trees a few years back. Carried water to them for a solid summer. Sprayed them. Prayed over them. The whole nine yards. Two years of coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be waited on hand and foot. Whenever a cold wind blows in, they tremble and chatter their branches. Sissy trees.

Funny thing about those trees of Dr. Gibbs'. Adversity and deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways comfort and ease never could.

Every night before I go to bed, I check on my two sons. I stand over them and watch their little bodies, the rising and falling of life within. I often pray for them. Mostly I pray that their lives will be easy. "Lord, spare them from hardship." But lately I've been thinking that it's time to change my prayer.

This change has to do with the inevitability of cold winds that hit us at the core. I know my children are going to encounter hardship, and my praying they won't is naive. There's always a cold wind blowing somewhere.

So I'm changing my eventide prayer. Because life is tough, whether we want it to be or not. Instead, I'm going to pray that my sons' roots grow deep, so they can draw strength from the hidden sources of the eternal God.

Too many times we pray for ease, but that's a prayer seldom met. What we need to do is pray for roots that reach deep into the Eternal, so when the rains fall and the winds blow, we won't be swept asunder.

from "Front Porch Tales" by Philip Gulley copyright 1997

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our first meeting this fall...

Join us on Tuesday, September 13 at Bethel Assembly of God in Martinsburg, WV (just past City Hospital) in the MACE building (large activity building behind the church) in room 109 (large center room on first floor) from 9:45- 11:45 AM. Our topic meetings usually consist of enjoying brunch together, sharing our ups and downs, and discussion in small groups. There is no fee to join.

Childcare is provided by trusted, approved childcare workers in Bethel's Nursery department for ages 6 months and up. We also have a homeschooling classroom for students to study, complete homework, and do fun activities together. Using our childcare is encouraged but not manditory.

Come...take a deep'll be among friends.