Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fall Festivities: October Review

October has flown by and before I forget what actually happened, I'm going to write it down! This month felt like a whirl wind. We had some big events like William's Birthday and the Walk for Life, but the rest of the month was busy with day-to-day stuff like school, library runs, classmate birthday parties, and potty training. 

And then there was the Harvest Festival at our church which was a huge success and super fun. I worked a few games for a few hours and then had to leave for a marriage class Chris and I are attending. The boys got to participate briefly thanks to our friend who volunteered to babysit and I'm glad they did. It ended up being one of the only fall events they attended this month. (William did have a school field trip to the pumpkin patch earlier this month, too.)

And then last night of course was Halloween. William had chosen to be Raphael, TMNT after receiving the sais for his birthday. He was super excited about wearing a mask this year too. 

We attended the parade after school and then headed home for a little rest before hitting the streets of Bernal Heights for candy.

Stephen wore the panda costume that William wore two years ago. Stephen must have a smaller head because it fit so much better! He was so excited to wear it and didn't complain one bit (even when it felt like 80 degrees in the sun). He loved petting his belly and saying "so soft." And he was! It is the perfect cuddly costume.

The businesses in the neighborhood pass out candy which makes it fairly easy to load up. Although it does get quite crowded. There are also about a dozen or so houses we stopped at on the way home. There are quite a few that go all out for this holiday. Our boys were super excited about the candy in their bags and handled the restrictions quite well. 

Chris came home early so he could attend the trick-or-treating with us and I have to say that was a highlight for me. It seems like we rarely get to do anything as a family -- especially during the week--so having him with us was really fun and made it that much easier on me. 

I like doing things in our neighborhood and being a part of the festivities. I even ran into a friend of mine randomly on our walk! It took me a moment to recognize her in costume but I was so glad she got my attention! Running into people I know always makes my day. 

October was a great month and I have much to be thankful for. My family of boys are of course at the top of the list.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 Walk for Life: Complete

What an incredible day. I personally had a really hard morning and was not feeling "all-in" even as I made my way to the pregnancy center at 9 a.m. but the Lord redeemed it and reminded me that he does bless those who walk with him.

One of the best parts of the walk is the fellowship that happens throughout the entire event. People from all over the city who stand behind Alpha and believe in protecting life are gathered in one place for one purpose. To bless. So even before the walk begins I was able to connect with people and that turned my day right around. There were so many people from my church there helping with registration and preparing to walk. There were also a few people I hadn't seen in a really long time there as well! 

And then the teams gathered together and I was blessed to be on this mama-team! I had met Brittany at last year's walk and since then she had a baby girl! And Brittany had her mother and her mother-in-law join her on the walk; my friends Beth and Jenny came along with me (but they both knew Brittany as well!) We are all mothers and collectively have over 12 kids (I failed to ask Brittany's mother-in-law how many children she has).

We had a really great time walking to M's house with all of our gifts. Seriously, those bags were full! When M opened the door, she smiled a big beautiful smile and laughed. She turned to her son and said "They're here! Come and see!" She was so excited for us to come. M is the mother of 4 beautiful children and doing her very best to raise them right. She stays home with them and keeps them active in things like karate and Mandarin classes and does a lot of activities with them at home. They live in a very small home in a not so great part of town. She shared a little of her story with us so we could pray for her. 

After we filled her table with gifts and prayed for her and her children we continued on our way to the park where the all the teams were gathering for a celebration picnic. I wasn't able to stay to hear the grand total fundraising amount but trust it will provide for Alpha to do what they do! I believe there were over 180 walkers and nearly 40 families visited!

Just imagining the number of families impacted this morning by the teams that delivered gifts to their doorsteps is quite breath taking. Forty families were told they were loved today. Forty families were told they matter and their children matter. Life matters. This was such an amazing day.

Thank you to everyone who partnered with me in prayer and financially. I had set a goal of $500 and while I didn't quite reach it, but I was really close. Including a few last minute checks received the total was $480!

Let's do it again next year!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

MOMcon: First Year Experience

Last month my friend Beth and I left our children with the dads and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for a three day conference put on my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). This is a conference I have had my eye on for three years but it just didn't workout to go until this year. And I'm so thankful we went.

Mothers of Preschoolers is an organization I have come to love; they bring moms into community all over the world. Essentially, it's a moms group. We meet twice a month in San Francisco, but there are over 4,000 meetings happening worldwide! MOPS provides us with a curriculum, support, encouragement and reminds us of a bond we share with women around the world.

This year, I attended their annual conference (MOMcon) with two hopes in mind. 1) That I would be inspired to be a better mom and 2) grow as a leader (of my family and also my MOPS group I currently coordinate). And the conference did not disappoint. I will admit that on the first day I found myself tearing up multiple times for the sole reason that I was overwhelmed that I was actually there and I think deep down my soul was preparing for change.

The speakers they had on the main stage were amazing. Each one delivering a super-encouraging word of truth I so desperately needed to hear out loud. Some of the strongest words spoken all weekend were "You are loved." Have that on repeat and I started to actually believe it. "I am loved. I am a child of God. He cares for me. He has a plan for me." I tell my kids that all the time and know it is true for them, but often discard it for myself. But it is TRUTH. The Best Truth.

The worship was led by Vertical Worship and they were amazing. I learned a lot of new songs and enjoyed worship in a way I haven't experienced in a long time. Release. Trust. Love. Adoration. Restored.

The workshops I attended were on a wide variety of topics but I really loved each and every one of them. I'm just going to list them for my own sake below:

Mobilizing Your Community to Fight Human Trafficking and Slavery - International Justice Mission
Deciphering What we Put on on Our Bodies - Lisa Bronner
Helping Your Stressed out Brain Chill Out - Jennifer Degler
The Art & Beauty of Living and Loving Beyond Race - Lucretia Berry
Are My Kids On Track? - David Thomas and Sissy Goff
Ending Shame - Hillary McBride

The other things the conference offered were a marketplace to do some shopping which was really fun (no kids to stop you there!), a mom's night out where Beth and I went out to eat and then chatted with my sister late into the evening and a 90's themed MOM PROM (dance). Yes, my sister Molly came from Wisconsin which was totally icing on the cake.

We stayed a few blocks away from the convention center at an AirBnB which worked out perfectly. We had our own space, it was quiet, we had a kitchen and made our own meals and it was nice to get a walk into our busy days.

Okay, to recap the things I LOVED about MOMcon:
 - Meeting Mandy Arioto (president of MOPS) and hearing her speak several times
 - One-on-one time with my friend Beth. We spent so much time talking I didn't even read the books I brought with me!
 - Hearing so many great speakers and coming away with so many resources
 - Meeting other women in leadership roles from our area and really getting to connect (in airports)
 - Feeling more connected to MOPS in a global sense and more equipped to lead my local group.
 - Getting to hang out with my sister and dance together

If you have a chance to go -- I would say "GO!" I am hoping to go again in 2020. Next year it's in Florida and it's just too far for me, but it might not be for you!