#Spon: @ParasolCo and MOPs Help Welcome New Babies into the World

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of Parasol Diapers in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

best baby diapers

I don’t know if I’ve talked about it on here much or not, but I am blessed to be a co-leader of my local MOPs group. (Mothers of Preschoolers) I absolutely love my position, and I’m even more blessed to have the most amazing co-leader ever.

At MOPs, we love to serve. We are all about community, and helping new moms (and seasoned moms) find friends, find Jesus, and feel loved. (And, we give them time off without kids and a hot meal! Win-win for all of us!)

One way that we find new moms is through “diaper packets.” Every year, for as many years as I can remember, we put together little diaper packets to take to the hospital and give to the new mamas. We’ve always just grabbed a bunch of diapers at the store and used those, but this year, we did something different. Because I’ve worked with Parasol Co. in the past, and loved their diapers so much, I asked them if they would like to be a part of our diaper packets. It’s a great way to get the word out about them, give moms an amazingly wonderful diaper to try, AND spread the word about MOPs.

Parasol Co. agreed, and sent me boxes and boxes of diaper packs filled with samples of their diapers and wipes. They were AWESOME. These moms at the hospital are getting spoiled! 🙂

So, at our last meeting, we dropped in some information about MOPs, tied the packs together with a bow, added our label to the front, and they were ready to deliver to the hospital!

Here’s the finished product:


And some of my favorite pictures from the meeting:





As you can see, we had a GREAT time! And the diaper kits were a hit with ALL of our mamas! 🙂 I dropped a few boxes off at the hospital, and they’ll call me when they need more. I’m praying for good things for our MOPs group AND for Parasol for their participation in this.

HUGE thanks to Parasol Co. for their overwhelming generosity. Folks, THIS is a company I want to stand behind and promote! They are so giving, so kind, and have a heart for MOMs! Isn’t that what we as moms want? A company who loves us as much as we love our products?!

Remember. You can still get $20 off your first box by using code BLESSED16. You are going to *love* these diapers! Hurry on over to the Parasol Co. website, and use code BLESSED16 on your first box. You’ll thank me later. 🙂


Moms, Let’s Get REAL.

I used the following post as a devotional for my monthly MOPs group this month. (Mothers of Preschoolers) It went over so well, and so many moms approached me afterward, I felt it needed to be shared here. I hope this post touches you and helps you realize you are loved, no matter who you really are.

Let's Get Real

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Casting Crowns concert with one of my very best friends. After we left the concert, and had some ice cream, we got into some pretty deep discussion. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this topic. I think this is something all moms need to hear, I’m just praying I can bring it across in a way that points to Jesus.

Tonight, I want us to get real. I mean really really real. Like, spill-our-guts-and-show-the-world-who-we-really-are real.

I start thinking about what Mark Hall said at the concert that night when he said, “As Christians, we feel this overwhelming need to always look good so that we can make Jesus look good.”

Whoa. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I am SO guilty. I feel this need, and it is absolutely overwhelming, to make sure *I* always look good, and therefore Jesus will always look good.

Why do we do that? Why can’t we just be real? As a mom of 8, I often feel like everyone is looking at me. Scrutinizing every move I make, and just waiting for me to fail. And so, I try, with all my might, to NOT fail. To give this perfect appearance of a perfect life all the time.

Oh, what a fake I am. I am not perfect. Nor, should I ever pretend to be, because I am so far from perfect, it’s ridiculous. I have done things that would make you gasp in disbelief and cause you to think little of me. It’s true. I have a past so tattered, that I would do anything to hide it from all of you.

Let me tell you a little secret, and please don’t think less of me because I say this, I just want to be real – to be honest, and to tell it like it is.

The first time I attended my local MOPs group, about 8 years ago, I felt oddly out of place. It was like everyone in the room was so much better than me. Everyone was gorgeous, put together, and so outgoing. There I was, like a bump on a log — a frumpy, overweight, stressed out, exhausted mom of 4, pregnant with her 5th. I had to be better. I had to do better. I had to fit in with everyone around me. (Let me just interject here, if this is how you feel about coming to MOPs, please know that is the exact opposite of what we want you to feel! We want you to walk into MOPs, just as you are, even if it means you show up in your pajamas, and know that you are loved regardless of how much money you have, how stressed out you are, or how long it’s been since you got to take a shower that lasted longer than 3 minutes.)

Back to what I was saying. I felt so out of place, like I could never fit in with these gorgeous ladies. So, I put on a mask. Every time I walked into MOPs, I made sure my makeup was perfect, every hair in place, even made sure my legs were shaved and my eye brows were plucked. I’ve done this for years. Why? Because that’s what I thought I needed to do to give off the appearance of being a good Christian mom that would always make Jesus look good. I had to give off that “perfect life” vibe.

But, you know what? Here’s the thing. It’s not my job to make Jesus look good. He IS good. He radiates good. And if I’m trying to show HIS good by lying? Well, that ain’t doin’ nobody no good! (My high school English teacher is wagging her finger at me right now!) But, it’s true. How can I radiate the love of Christ, if I’m not willing to be REAL and let Him use me in whatever way he chooses?

I have been told that I give off a vibe that I am very difficult to approach, a holier-than-thou vibe, if you will. You have no idea how much hearing this hurts my heart, but it is very much my own fault. It’s all due to the fact that I feel the need to give off that “perfect” appearance. Instead of perfect, though, I am making myself appear stand-offish, and completely unapproachable. Oh, how I hate it! (I have also been told – by the same friend that was willing to give me the brutal truth – that once you get to know me, you see how far off the initial appearance is, but I fear that many people won’t take the time to get to know me simply because of that initial vibe. It hurts my heart so badly to think of all the friendships I may have missed out on because of my overwhelming desire to be look perfect.)

So, my sweet friends, let me confess to you how real I am, and how perfect I am not:

– I yell. A lot. And loud. There are times when my kids make me so angry, I will literally turn into She-Hulk and can only grunt commands. “GO!” “EAT!” “CLEAN!” “QUIIIIEEEETTTT!!!!” Seriously, it’s not pretty.

– I am not Super Mom. I cannot do it all, even if my Facebook posts show otherwise. I am simply a stressed out mama who needs a super God to get me though my day. Every day.

– I am not patient. Sometimes, I’m certain God gave me children to teach me patience. And He gave me so many kids because I need a LOT MORE practice in patience than most women.

– Laundry is my nemesis. I have 15 (yes, 15) tubs of clothes stacked on my back porch. They are not clean and sorted by season. Oh no. They are dirty clothes from before our move. IN NOVEMBER. I still haven’t touched them. And at this point, I’m thinking I should just burn them so that I can have the 15 storage tubs for other junk.

– Every day is not perfect. Facebook is only one part of my life. There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that no one even knows about. I fight with my husband, who is wonderful, but still a man. I can barely make ends meet with one income and 10 people in our household. Some days, I don’t know where dinner that night is coming from. Sometimes, I don’t want to be a mom. I want a day off to myself, and I want to SLEEP.

After I had written out this devotional before my meeting, I started to get ready for church. Standing in front of the mirror, I had had enough with my bangs. They were too long and too straggly, and they needed a change. So, I grabbed the scissors and…. oh, shoot! Too short. Oh my gosh. Way too short. So much for the perfect representation of my non-existent perfect life. I sure took care of that, didn’t I? I guess I really needed to keep it real. As I’m standing in the bathroom, tears streaming down my face, my 11 year old puts an arm around my shoulders and says, “It’s not so bad! Look! Now we have the same hairdo!” Just what I always wanted… the same hairdo as my 11 year old… SON. Sigh. I’m just keepin’ it real here, ladies. Really real.

I could go on for hours, there is just so much more I could share. But, I think you get the point. I’m a frazzled, crazy mom, who hates laundry, her hair, and can turn into She-Hulk on a whim. And I am definitely not holier than you!

Before I close, though, I want to leave you with this verse:  Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Do you get that? We are his workmanship – created in Christ Jesus. God made me this way. God made you that way. He knew I was going to be a mess, and yet He loves me anyway. Even when I yell. Even when I have a bad day. He’s still there, still loving me, still wanting me to serve Him in whatever capacity I can. He wants us to walk in good works, but it doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly every moment of every day. In fact, we don’t have to do it perfectly at all!

So, ladies, can we make a pact with each other? Can we promise to just be real from here on out? Really real?

Let’s just do our best, and if we have a bad day, don’t hide it. Embrace it, and discover what the Lord is trying to teach you through it. Your bad day might be a blessing to another mom who is trying to hold it together when it seems like her whole world is falling apart.

Always remember, YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made!

fearfully and wonderfully made

Day 17: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 17: Today, I am giving thanks for my local MOPS group.

30 Days of Giving ThanksFor those that don’t know, MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. It’s for pregnant moms to be and moms with children ages 0 – kindergarten.

When we moved down here, my pediatrician invited me to our local MOPS group. I shrugged it off time and time again. I was too busy – after all, I had 4 kids, and we had just moved to this crazy little town from a much larger city. I was certain I would never have anything in common with any of these people, and I would just be out of place.

After numerous invites from the pediatrician, I finally gave it. And I am SO thankful that I did! What an AWESOME group of moms! I have made more friends than I can count, and every month, I look forward to one night off from mommyhood. I get a hot meal AND a night of fun with a room full of moms going through the same things I am. I have heard amazing Bible lessons, health tips, been able to serve people in my community, and so much more.

I am so very thankful for my local MOPS groups and all the mommies that are a part of it. Thanks, ladies, for making the 3rd Thursday of every month my favorite night of the month!

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

If You Were Attending a Photography Talk…

What would you expect the person speaking to discuss?

The reason I ask is because I will be doing the speaking at my local MOPS group next Thursday night, and I’m having a hard time narrowing down a specific topic to discuss.

In December, I gave a short photography “teaser.” I offered the moms at our meeting 7 tips for taking better photographs. It was short, to the point, and was a ton of fun. There were even handouts!

But now, I’ve got to come up with enough discussion to cover at least 45 minutes. I could talk about photography for hours on end, but I need to hone in on a specific topic.

So, I’m coming to my wonderful readers. You always have the best ideas, and I KNOW you can help me out.

I will not be standing in a room of professional photographers. I’ll be talking to moms who want to get better pictures of their kids. Most of them will be using point and shoot cameras. I want to be able to help them get the most from their cameras and take the best pictures possible.

So, if you were going to a photography talk, what would you hope the photographer would share? What questions would you ask the photographer?

Do you think it would make sense to bring along my 6 kids and use them as props? I can show different poses, and such. Would that benefit you if you were at the meeting?

Help me out, friends. I’ve got one week to come up with something awesome. 🙂