“100 Things I Love”

100 things I love activity

Everyone is creative in their own way. God has created each of us with different gifts and talents to be used to reflect His goodness and His image. Creativity is not constrained within the arts, it is included in the processes of thinking, planning, and decision making. Sometimes, we need to remove distractions and shift our perspective so that we can find the creativity that God designed us to enjoy.

At our last MOPS meeting, my creative Co-Coordinator came up with this amazing activity to help us “notice goodness,” “embrace rest,” and to “celebrate lavishly.”  We started our meeting by watching an engaging speaker, Kay Morison, talk about the importance of finding our creativity and embrace it as a way to recharge so we can continue to pour into others. She made a point to say that creativity looks differently in all of our lives and it can be found in things like spreadsheets and in runner’s strides.

“Creativity teaches us to be more present in the moment, enjoy the process, and let go of the end result.”

Kay Morrison-Eyes to See…Creativity 

Noticing Goodness Kit

After viewing the video, each mom was given a “Noticing Goodness Kit.” The kit contained cardstock, numbers, mat, a heart, and writing prompts. We organized the items on our paper, glued them in place, and waited for the next instruction. My Co-Coordinator asked us to think about the many things we love and then led us through two or three examples, encouraging us to be creative in how we numbered and wrote the items on our paper. 

“On your paper, write number one. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what you love? (PAUSE) Write number two. What is your favorite smell? (PAUSE)” 

Once we all had a good idea of what we were to do, she sent us off to find a peaceful, quiet space. Then we were left alone with our thoughts, a pen and our paper.

When you are a mom of little ones, you rarely get 30-40 minutes of alone time without interruptions. The time to think was a gift in itself.

It took me three or four tries to find a comfortable, quiet spot. Once I found a space, I did nothing but sat and breathed. The silence was unfamiliar. A good five minutes went by before I pulled out the prompts and things started coming to mind. Sometimes, they came quickly. Word after word. A few times, I got stuck and sat in silence again. I found that there was no particular order of importance and one word/memory often led to many other things that I loved. Before I knew it I had 100 items on my paper. I could have kept going.

I reread my list and realized that I had missed things that I absolutely love- chocolate-chip cookies, apple picking, Santa Claus, running, the 4th of July. I also realized that I missed many memories- Story Land with my family, going to Cape Cod, my wedding, soda floats in chemistry beakers with my grandpa, and watching Days of Our Lives with my aunt.

It did not matter what I missed or how many things I forgot. This was not a checklist-type of activity. No bonus points for the best or most unique item. This was practice in opening our eyes to notice the goodness in the every day, in the smallest moments, with the people who you do life with. It was also helped us embrace rest and to celebrate lavishly in what we accomplished.

You do not have to have a special kit to complete this activity. Grab a piece paper. Find 30 minutes of “quiet” time- maybe at nap time or when the kids go to bed.  Start one at a time and number your items. I think you find yourself opening up as you go. If you get stuck, here are a list of prompts that you can use:  100 Things I Love Prompts

If you need even more inspiration, check out these pins and the different ways others have completed this type of project:

47cf8424f630cbe354480d34025c660d 100 things

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AY8ichhWgnUDkgUSc6s1DyiIul1JJc6DNunyzFLpTtCXGwgxWIxl4TQ/

936c1ff85216238296c771d3ce8e88f7100things

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/131871095314686653/

1eaaed8f2f645d38cd611e262c983c9e100things

Crafty Island Girl

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267119821626528980/

e15b7e8f80cc914b697f7fd06523c413100things

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267119821626529714/

If you do get a chance to do this activity, I would love to hear your thoughts and how you did.

Embrace your creativity!


EVEREST- Vacation Bible School-

Everest- Group Publishing

This past weekend,  our church held its annual Vacation Bible School program. This year’s theme was “EVEREST- Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power” by Group Publishing.  Church members and the greater church community came together to put on an amazing weekend for about 100 children.

Some churches have a morning program, some have an evening program, but our church has a weekend program.Weekend Vacation Bible School begins on a Friday night, goes all day Saturday, and concludes Sunday morning in a dynamic, high-intensity, family friendly worship service. Five years ago, we switched our format from a week-long, evening schedule to a jam-packed, weekend schedule. Those who worked during the week, were freed up to volunteer on the weekend and our volunteer base increased. The evening program was exhausting for all who attended and volunteered. Some parents told us it was hard for their children to be out so close to bed time. The weekend program was one session at night and “three” day time sessions. It was a successful change and we have been improving and making fine adjustments since .

After stepping down as VBS Director, my involvement with VBS came in the form of heading up decorations. My husband and a great crew of creative people help me bring my grand decorating visions to life. I love working on these types of projects.  People, that may or may not have ordinarily spoken to each other, working side by side towards completing a common goal.

Big projects like this lead to discussions. Discussions lead to discovery. Discovery helps find similarities, common ground, and form and strengthen friendships. As the leader of my Creative Bunch, the completion of the decorations were not the things that made me happiest, it was the conversations and relationships that were built.

Here is a showcase of our work:

Our Stage and Crew Signs–

 

EVEREST Stage- We created three mountains out of wood and white bulletin board paper. It was less expensive and at disposable time -better for the environment.  We followed the directions Group provides for the large cloud at the top of the mountain. Our letters are made out of kickboards from the dollar store. The backdrop we purchased from Group.

EVEREST Stage- We created three mountains out of wood and crumpled, white bulletin board paper. Compared to foam, it was less expensive and better for the environment. For the large cloud, we followed the directions Group provides. Our letters were made out of kickboards bought the dollar store., silver paper, and fiberfill. The backdrop panels were purchased from Group.

Everest VBS Stage Icy Letters

Icy Letters  Crew Signs

Our Entryway–

Everest- Vacation Bible School

Winter Tree with Trail Marker Sign– This tree was created for the Weird Animals VBS theme. Since then, it has been transformed many times and has become a fixture in our church (to the dislike of some-lol.) We brought the tree back to the forefront and decorated it for winter. We created the large snowflakes from paper, made a trail marker sign, and hid Yeddy (a Bible Buddy) in the small pine “forest.”

Yeddy Bible BuddyTrail Sign MarkerPaper SnowflakesBase Camp Store– My husband created this store from an old chalkboard, choir risers, and some old doors. One of my volunteers did the chalk art. We filled the store with donated items.

Base Camp Store           Everest- Vacation Bible School

Prayer Flags- On lightweight fabric, I wrote the names of each child that would be attending VBS. I included the names of each Junior Crew leader, the VBS Directors, and Pastors of the church. The flags were a colorful addition in the entry way. During the weekend, I noticed children and parents finding their flags.

DSC_0985      Prayer Flags- Everest VBS

Hallways and Walls- We covered bulletin board with the plastic snowflake drop, added paper mountains, and some fiberfill clouds. Our Ice Cave was created with PVC pipes and tableclothes. For added effect, we had planned to use a fog machine in the ice cave. We tried the fog machine a few times during the week without incident. However, on the first night of VBS,  my husband started the fog machine just before the first station rotation. It triggered the smoke alarm and the whole church needed to be evacuated. Thankfully, it took about 15 minutes from alarm start to getting back into the church. This was not the first visit from the fire department during a VBS weekend but we hope it will be the last.

How was your VBS? What VBS curriculum does your church use?

 

Snowflake Wall  DSC_0561 Ice Caves

 

 

 

 


25 Things About Me- An Activity in Noticing The Good and Celebrating Life

1.) I am proud to be a New Englander!

2.) I have attended a MOPS group since 2009 and have served on a MOPS Leadership Team for six years. This will be my fifth year supporting MOPS groups and other local MOPS Ministry Coaches with MOPS International.  www.mops.org

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3.) My dad was an off-shore fisherman and a quahoger. He named his first boat after me.

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4.) I love the snow and skiing.

5.) My pastor husband and I have been married for fourteen years. He is also my best friend.

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6.) My first job was at McDonald’s. By the end of my career, I had climbed the ranks to “Birthday Party Coordinator” and Crew Trainer. (I still think McDonald’s fries are the best!)

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7.) I had a life-changing experience walking in the Boston Avon 3-Day walk for cancer.

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8.) I love the outdoors and insects. One summer, I worked as a counselor at an Environmental Day Camp hiking, catching creatures, birding, teaching nature lessons to elementary aged students. It was a dream job!

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9.) The most peaceful place I have ever been is underwater, snorkeling in Hawaii.

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10.) My husband’s family owns a dairy farm in California. The milk from their 500+ cows is sold to a local cheese company. They also farm almond trees. The almonds are sold to candy companies.

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11.) We celebrate Christmas Eve with Lebanese food. Last year, my girls and I rolled our own grape leaves.

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12.) I asked the Lord into my heart when I was ten. With our church watching, my dad baptized me in a pond. He has baptized all his children in the same place.

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13.) I have a degree in elementary and special education. My first teaching job was in a K-12 school on Block Island. It is the only school on the island. I had 5 students!

14.) I had big hair and wore shoulder pads in high school.

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15.) I have jumped out of a perfectly good plane, strapped to a complete stranger, and loved it!

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16.) I ran over the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Marathon.

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17.) I come from generations of strong, short Portuguese ladies. I am glad that my daughter “met” her great-great grandmother before Nana passed.

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18.) The closest I will get to a “Call the Midwife” moment, was in high school when I volunteered as a candy-striper in a local hospital. No babies were delivered but a lot of smiles, cards, and flowers were.

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19.) I was on a Deck Tennis team in Elementary School. It is THE only team that I was selected to play on after going through try outs. I wish that this sport would make its come back!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deck_tennis

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20.) I have three beautiful children. Two daughters and a son.

21.) I thought I would never homeschool but we are going on our fourth year of doing so. It has been the greatest blessing for our family.

22.) I love coffee!

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23.) I owned a small business and Etsy shop making hair bows. I have made bows for babies, special occasions, pageants, parades, AND dog’s birthday parties.

Hair Bows

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24.) My favorite memories are those with my sister. I wish she lived closer.

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25.) Jesus is my Lord, Savior, and the love of my life. He is the only one that completes me and sustains me. I still am in awe of His grace, mercy and His constant pursuit of me. ❤

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Writing a list is a great activity. It’s a noted celebration of where you have been and a snapshot of some of your accomplishments.  It is a great opportunity to reflect on the good things in life and take notice of the events and experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today.

In a MOPS group, writing this type of list could serve as a get-to-know you or an ice breaker activity. Each mom could take 5-7 minutes to write down 25 things (or as many as possible) about themselves. As a whole group or in smaller Discussion Groups, a designated person (Mentor Mom, DGL) collects the lists and reads a few of the 25 items as clues to the mom’s identity. After hearing the clues, the group guesses who the list belongs to.  We did this is our small MOPS group and it was a lot of fun. We learned more about each other, similarities were found, and we had more to talk about with each other.

With the lists completed, Discussion Group Leaders and Coordinators could encourage moms to pick one thing off the list that the moms want to “bring back” or to “flourish” in again. Skiing was something I put on hold when I had kids. It was something I still desired to do. With a little work, effort and a babysitter, I revived the “sport” and now am looking forward to enjoying more of something that I thought I lost.

Below is a link to a PDF file that I created. Use the worksheet for personal reflection or in an activity with your group.

25 THINGS ABOUT ME  WORKSHEET

25 Things About Me- An Activity in Noticing the Good and Celebrating Life2


Our Summer Bucket List- Camping Edition #1

On Sunday afternoon, we decided that it was time to check camping off our Summer Bucket List. We packed the kids in the car, drove to the sporting goods store and purchased an eight-person tent and a queen sized air mattress. My husband and I decided that the kids would have to sleep on a skinny mats because that is what we had to do and before one gets to sleep in “comfort” one needs earn a certain number of hours in camping experience.

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We set the tent up in the backyard. Pumped up the air mattress. The kids unrolled the mats and sleeping bags. They brought out a few comforts from home- stuffed animals, blankies, and flashlights.We sat up in our tent talking. We made s’mores  and washed up in the house before ZIPPED the tent for the night.

It wasn’t long before the girls were fast asleep on their mats. My son had a hard time sleeping on a mat so we pulled him in between us. It took a good amount of time for him to fall asleep. But once he was asleep, he stayed asleep, on the air mattress, in between my husband and I. We never would have allowed our girls to do this but that is what happened when you are two, the baby of the family, and your parents are old and tired.

Here is how the night went for me:

10:00 PM- My son fell asleep.

10:00PM -11:30PM (?) A metal “dink” sound came from a neighboring yard….dink… dink…dink…It was loud and inconsistent. The type of noise that prevents you from falling asleep. We could not figure out what the noise was but a day later, we saw our neighbor’s son practicing hitting baseballs with his swing trainer. The same “dink” noise followed with each hit and the mystery was solved.

12:30 AM A loud meowing sound came from outside the tent. Our cat had been accidentally left outside and needed to be put in the house. UNZIP the tent. I enticed the cat into the house with treats. Back to the tent. UNZIP to get in and ZIPPED close again.

12:45 AM  The meowing sound AGAIN. I had left the sliding door open and could hear the car meowing wanting to come out back out. UNZIP the tent. Close the sliding door. UNZIP and ZIP the tent again.

1:00AM-4:00AM Various noises outside the tent. Apples dropping from the apple tree. Rustling noises from the woods behind our house. Some animal sniffing around and rubbing up against the tent. My husband says it was a bunny. I say it was something WAY bigger. Regardless, it kept us both up. This was added to the constant sleep interruption by my son’s feet in my face and his body rolling over my head.

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4:30AM Sunrise! Beautiful morning but the kids were still sleeping (thank the good Lord.) The peaceful sound of birds tweeting lulled me back to sleep.

6:00 AM- Kids up. We woke up. Time to take on the day!

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We made breakfast outside on a small camp stove and played Hello Kitty Uno with the girls. We didn’t look at computers or cellphone. The very-short break away from social media was nice.We laughed at the events of the night and imagined what animal really was lurking around our tent. My husband and I were both relaxed.  The kids were having a great time too.We were fully present and having fun.  Total fun score- 85% (15% off for no sleep.) But we can deal with no sleep. We have taken care of three newborns and survived.

With a successful camp-out under our belts, we packed up our camping gear. Rolled up the mats and sleeping bags. Deflated the air mattress. Took down the tent and packed it away. Our backyard was no longer a campsite.

My husband and I decided that this camping thing would be good for our family. My husband went to the basement and pulled out our old camping gear (stuff that has not been used in about 10 years.) We sorted and cleaned and prepared totes for our next adventure. When all of that was finished, we made a reservation for a campsite at a state park. With all the enthusiasm and expectation of great things to come, we are looking forward to our overnight trip. We are happy that we followed through with the activity on our bucket list. This small adventure will lead to many more and memories that will be last a lifetime.