Monday, September 18, 2006

Missional Mom on: The Ministry of Touching Toads.

missional toad

Yes. Touching Toads.

I love kids. I love how they think- I love how they communicate and soak in the truth. But- ocassionally- there are a few "challenges". See- I am a GIRL. My friends would say- the ALL CAPS in this case is necessary.

I'm not just a girl, I'm probably a "girlie girl". Yesterday? I surprised a few little guys with the fact that I'm not afraid of Toads.

I was surrounded by some of the most fabulous little ones ever. We were havin fun- at a Baptism in my friends backyard- and pool. The grills were lit, smoke from ribs and burgers tickled our noses.

The boys were doin "boy stuff" like bossing around the girls--- and chasing each other- and chasing--- well- NOTHING. They were playing with cars, "Rescue Heroes" were being segregated from the "girls toys".

Then, Joe- (one of my favorite- very big kids) found a toad. He was gonna let it go over the fence----

NO WAY. Here is my moment....what do little boys like more than a toad?


"Joe, Is that a toad? Can I have it????????" Was out of my mouth before I could think it through.

"Yeah, just let it go on the other side of the fence, when you're done.." Was the answer.

(I don't know why - maybe there is a toad infestation to be reckoned with, just outside their fence.)

I haven't held a toad in years. It had been even longer since one pee'd on me. Let's just say- today? It hasn't been long ago. I'm "current" with my Toadie quota at the moment.

It was only seconds before the "Girlie boundary " as broken. Little guys swarmed.

They wanted to hold the toad. I think they were a little surprised, that I was holding it. We giggled when the toad jumped pee on my leg. Then we giggled again, when I scooped him up. Everybody gently touched Mr Toadie. No- we won't get warts- that's an old wives tale. (take it from an old wife;) We managed not to squash him.

Then, I put him outside the fence.

OK--- so maybe you're thinking a little funny- yes. Gross- too. But was it ministry?

Well... when we go to where others are--- and reach past ourselves- to touch toads... we often find ourselves touching hearts.

Maybe it was in the reaching past the pre-concieved notions-(girls don't touch toads) or maybe it was in the shared wonder of Creation... toads may be ugly--- but they are cute and definitely are amazing. (

Maybe it was just in taking time to talk to them... but those little guys? (And girls) well- we hung out on a blanket and goofed for quite a while after that.

I think we connected.

Sometimes- we miss finding the little toads that could connect us with our kids- we're too busy- or or distracted.

Truthfully- sometimes--- I'm just not that "into" the same things as my kids.

My boys love video games. I think they are a waste of time. But- you know what? When I strap on that plastic guitar, and play a few songs on "Guitar Hero" Ok.. so I cna only play ONE song- and I'm Awful! But-aftwards.... I get a whole evening of heart to heart with them. (Once they've finished laughing- of course.)

I can't play games all day- nor can my kids, (although they'd like too, I'm sure) and I sure I can't always have a toad in my purse-(although- I suppose its possible there is one.. somewhere in the bottom- you never know what you'll find in MY Purse;)

But- what if- for just a few minutes each day- we "touched toads?" We got involved in what our kids are into---- not invading their play and not allowing them to BE... but joining them, and letting love "happen"?

sounds like ministry to me....

1 Corinthinians 9:22-24

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. "

Dear Lord- help us to see the missional toads in our midst- help us to love our kids- and the kids of others- in a way that makes a difference- everyday. I love you Lord- amen.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coount down to Convention....MOPS Convention, that is;)


OK... so picture this.... some 4,500 + Mom's (without their kids!) from all over the world, gathering in Nashville, Tennesse, to worship, learn, ecourage and be encouraged. For 3 days.

Can you say Pajama Party?

I'm going. Are you? MOPS International Convention.

What? You say you hate mopping the kitchen floor? Me too. MOPS has nothing to do with mopping floors. (Well- you COULD pick up hints about removing gum from carpet, I suppose, but that isn't the point;)

MOPS is not some strange cult for floor fanatics. It stands for: Mothers Of Preschoolers.

This is MOPS: (excerpted from the MOPS website)

"MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. MOPS International exists to meet the needs of every mom - urban, suburban and rural moms, stay-at-home and working moms, teen, single and married moms - moms with different lifestyles who all share a similar desire to be the very best moms they can be! MOPS recognizes that the years from infancy through kindergarten are foundational in a mother-child relationship and are filled with unique needs.MOPS helps moms through relationships established in the context of local groups that provide a caring atmosphere for today's mother of young children. MOPS also encourages and supports moms through resources such as books, this Web site, the MOMSense radio program and the MOPS International Membership. "

What will we be doing in Nashville?

Learning from some of the top Christian leaders... like:

2006 Convention Artists and Speakers:

Elisa Morgan
Ken Davis
Priscilla Shirer
Wess Stafford
Kim Hill
Donald Miller
Nichole Nordeman
Mark Schultz
Go Fish

And on Friday afternoon--- in a little room in the back somewhere-- (oh--- probably as far from my session before it, as possible.......)

Will be me, and a few hundred Discussion Group Team Leaders.... talking about Conflict.

How to resolve it... not AVOID it;)

I'm excited. Like WAY excited.

I have been involved with MOPS Intl. for somewhere around 16+ years. As a Local group Coordinator (coordinated the local groups leadership team) - as a MOPPET Coordinator (Organized a children's program for around 100 kiddos) and as Mentor Mom- where I team taught the women and developed Mentoring relationships with them.

I am now working with MOPS in a different capacity. As a Field Leader. I serve a number of local groups, with leadership training, encouragement and problem solving.

Ocasionally I get to do things like speak at local groups- or at convention- in workshops/seminars.

How cool is that? Not that I get to do it... but that there is an organization that is so sold out to their mission of growing women, that they encourage and give their leaders opportunities to step up to the plate, in different capacities?

That is awesome.

I've been attending and now serving at Convention for some 16 years.. (well- when I wasn't DUE with a baby- or when nursing made it impossible;) it is a spiritual filling and a time of fun and reflection. Challenge to grow....and eating with sharing ;) I look forward to it every year.

Will you do me a favor? See that list of speakers/artists? Will you pray for them? And me-- as we get ready to both recieve from the Lord- and to pour out to these Moms? Will you pray for the tech crews.. the convention center staff... the Moms who are struggling to leave their families behind? The families that will be surviving on macaroni and McDonald's for a few days in Mom's absense?

Dear Jesus- I pray for the leaders- for The MOPS International Staff- their families- the tech people and all those involved or affected in MOPS Convention- I pray for your presense and direction, I pray for you to fill and send out 4500 women on fire for YOU.... ready to allow you to change their hearts- their families and their world, I love you Lord- amen.

Thnx- i knew you would;)

Want to find a local MOPS group? Or find out how to start one? Click here: Immediately!

Seriously.... go.... now;) Check out the website- the forums! They are AWESOME!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Skittles, Starbursts and Sprite, can make Momma Cry

I hear the shuffle-bump of tired teenaged feet on the porch, the front door opens.....

"Noah! Guess what I brought you???"" Shouts the big boys, In varying tones of voice change.

"Spwite? Skiddles? Stawrbursts?" Guesses the little one, who's been left behind with Mom all day.

"Yep!" Say two teenagers with grins like lighthouses.

"How did you KNOW? I've been WAITING for a tweat, ALL day."

The little Skittle eater hugs the legs of both teenagers. "I love you, you're my favorite brothers" (we giggle- they are his only brothers...but he means it with all his heart. THEY are his favorite brothers.)

The teens retreat to their afterschool "downtime". I don't complain about candy before dinner, or pop rotting teeth. I just.....

Cry. The happy cry.

Sometimes- as a mom... I wonder. Are they getting it? Are we loving them enough? Are we tough enough? Are we too tough? Do they value each other? Will they EVER be thoughtful of somone elses feelings?

And then, they bring home Skittles and Sprite. Bought with their own lunch money.

To the little guy- it means they thought of him. It's like he is a "Part" of their big boy experience. They tell him about the pop-machine. They tell him about the Candy machine. He feels like they love him. They think of him....maybe even miss him.

The best part? They do this on a regular basis. At least a couple times a week, no worries though- I don't cry every time.... just when I'm PMSing;)

Yeah, they get it. And I am so thankful.

Dear Lord- I thank and praise you for my guys- I pray that you'll continue to mature them, draw them ever closer to you Lord- teach them your ways, thank you again- for my wonderful Skittle and Sprite gifting boys.