December 18, 2012

Unstuck: A Book Review

Bethany House sent me a copy of Unstuck: Your Life.  God's Design.  Real Change by Arnie Cole and Michael Ross.  Here are my thoughts:

Overall, this book has a great message.  Arnie Cole and Michael Ross use extensive statistics along with real life examples to encourage Christians to read their Bible at minimum 4 times per week.  They claim this is necessary if we are to expect spiritual growth in our lives.  A phrase they use repeatedly is to "engage the Bible" and grow in relationship with God, as opposed to simply reading it only and failing to reflect on and respond to God's personal message to us.

One problem with the book is that it lacks organization - it seems to jump around from topic to topic without a logical flow.  This made the book a little difficult to get through.

I also found myself frustrated with the repeated call to "engage the Bible" and not simply go through the motions of religion, but without much "how to."  A believer who is new to Bible study with life application will need to look elsewhere to find more specific instructions.

Each chapter does end with a verse to read each day and a question to reflect on, so that is a good place to start.  The last chapter and appendix get a bit more specific about how to go about growing spiritually, but it took a lot of plodding through 200+ pages of "why you should engage the Bible regularly" to get there.  More of the "how" and less of the "why" would have been more helpful to me.

October 8, 2012

Mommy Anger

Every mom will experience Mommy Anger to some degree, and yet, it's a topic rarely touched.

At Castro Valley MOPS tomorrow our speaker will be sharing with us about ways to manage Mommy Anger.  Teresa Drake used to be an angry mom, as she battled post-partum depression while raising two special needs boys.  After years of personal research, developing family solutions by trial and error and a decade of "focused living," Teresa now shares her experience and key strategies for managing anger with other moms enduring one of the toughest seasons of life: mothering young children.  Moms will come away with tools for managing their anger and simple ways to introduce anger management skills to their children.

"Teresa was so open about her own struggles with anger as a mom and offered great tips for managing it.  She made us laugh and she made us cry.  But most of all she made us realize that it's not unusual to struggle with anger as a mom and it is ok to talk about it.  Moms expressed their appreciation...and were motivated to incorporate some of Teresa's anger management tips into their daily lives." (Hanna Kecskes, MOPS Coordinator, Marin, CA)

For more information go to

September 7, 2012

Register for 2012-2013

Are you ready to Plunge in to MOPS this year?

Our first meeting of 2012-2013 is next Tuesday, September 11.  MOPS meets at Redwood Chapel Community Church in the Williams Chapel, 19300 Redwood Road, Castro Valley.  Enter the Redwood Chapel parking lot from James Avenue, park away from the orange cones along the retaining wall, and look for the MOPS signs. 

Registration begins at 9:00am and the meeting runs from 9:15am to 11:30am.  First time visitors are free.  Registration fees are as follows, and scholarship applications are available for those who have need:
  • $7 per meeting, plus a $24 annual membership fee, or
  • $28 per trimester (3 free meetings per year), plus a $24 annual membership fee, or
  • $77 per year (4 free meetings per year), plus a $24 annual membership fee.
If you do not already have a registration form, you can click this link to print out the form and bring it with you on Tuesday morning:

MOPS Emergency Form 2012 - 2013

After registering, one of our leaders (wearing a Plunge lanyard) can escort you to the MOPPETS classroom appropriate for your child.  Younger babies are cared for in the nursery and older children have fun with crafts, games, music, and a snack while  you enjoy the MOPS program.  (Only non-crawling newborns are permitted in the MOPS meeting room.)  Please bring a labeled sippy cup and diaper bag (as needed) for your child.

After your children are safely in their MOPPETS classroom, then you can cruise to your "island" in the Williams Chapel and enjoy a wonderful brunch buffet provided to you by the MOPS leadership team.  We hope you will feel welcome and enjoy a wonderful morning as you Plunge in to MOPS this year!

Here is our schedule for this year:
September 11 & 25
October 9 & 23
November 13 & 27
December 11
January 8 & 22
February 12 & 26
March 12 & 26
April 9 & 23
May 14

MOPS is for all mothers of children ages 0-5.  Childcare provided.  For more info email

August 6, 2012

Popsicles in the Park

We will have our next MOPS playdate of the summer, this Tuesday, August 7 at 10am at Greenridge Park - 6108 Greenridge Rd, Castro Valley! Bring your friends, your kids, and some snacks or a picnic lunch. We will bring the homemade popsicles to share.  Looking forward to seeing you all there!

July 16, 2012

Playdate July 17 at Ardenwood

Join us tomorrow for a playdate and picnic at Ardenwood Historic Farm!  We'll join Ranger Ira for toddler time from 11 to 11:30 - we will meet and learn about goats through stories, chores and fun.  The park opens at 10am - plan to arrive well before 11 so you have plenty of time to park and walk to the farm animal area.

Bring a blanket and lunch for a picnic afterwards in the Farmyard Picnic Area.

Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children age 4 and up (under 4 are free). 

To Reach The Park

From I-880 in Fremont, take the Decoto Road/Dumbarton Bridge/Highway 84 exit. Go west on Highway 84 toward the Dumbarton Bridge. Take the Ardenwood/Newark Blvd. exit and turn right (north) onto Ardenwood Blvd. The park entrance is ahead, on the right. 

June 16, 2012

Girl's Night Out!

Our MOPS Girl's Night Out at Knudsen's Ice Creamery is this coming Tuesday night, June 19, at 7:30pm. Join us as we eat some yummy treats and chat! This is a mommy's night out so please leave the kids at home (nursing infants are welcome).

3323 Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley, CA 94546

Hope to see you there!

June 3, 2012

July 3 Park Playdate

We will have our second MOPS playdate of the summer, this Tuesday, July 3 at 10am at Greenridge Park - 6108 Greenridge Rd, Castro Valley! Bring your friends, your kids, and some snacks or a picnic lunch.  Looking forward to seeing you all there!

May 7, 2012

Early Registration for 2012/2013

I am excited to announce that early registration for the 2012/2013 MOPS year is now open! You will receive an incredible discount, along with some fun summer benefits, if you register in May. We will have registration forms available at our May 8 and May 22 MOPS meetings. If you prefer, you may also download the new form right here:

CV MOPS Registration Form 2012

The early registration costs are as follows:
MOPS International Membership - $22 ($2 savings)
All CV MOPS meetings for 2012/2013 - $63 ($42 savings! That is the equivalent of 6 free meetings!)

So, plan to bring your check for either $22 (MOPS fee only) or $85 (MOPS fee and a whole year of meetings!) and get ready to Plunge into MOPS! After May 31, the cost of a MOPS membership increases to $24, and the cost of annual meetings dues goes up to $77. If you do not want to pay ahead, you will still have the option to pay the regular $7 per meeting charge, and we will also introduce a new trimester payment option in September.

In addition to saving some money, moms who register in May will receive access to special features on the MOPS website this summer. You can join MOPS CEO and President Sherry Surratt for a special summer video series that will refresh you, your family and your friendships. Wherever you are this summer, you can log in and connect. In addition to the monthly videos with Sherry, we will have new features each week on MyMOPS to provide practical tips and inspiration for your summer. This special opportunity is only open to moms and leaders who register for membership by May 31 – so don't wait to register.

May 1, 2012

Spring Tea - May 8

You are invited to our MOPS Spring Tea next Tuesday, May 8!  This is a free event for all women, so invite your mother, sister, or another friend to come share our "garden party" at MOPS.  Bring your own tea cup and come enjoy yummy treats, special music, and the humor and wisdom of our speaker Wendy Hagen. 

Wendy grew up in the San Francisco Bay area with her Mom, Dad and two older brothers. She enjoyed roller skating, pop warner cheerleading, softball, dancing, acting and bowling with her Dad. She left for Hollywood in 8th grade and returned home to graduate from high school her senior year. Then it was off to UCLA to pursue a degree in Mass Communications. She was a member of the UCLA Dance Team and Athletes in Action. Wendy continues to be a diehard Bruins fan.

While on a retreat with the Bel Air Presbyterian College Group, Wendy met her husband, Shiloh. They got married in 1998 and moved to San Mateo, CA where Shiloh served as a Youth Pastor for two and half years. They have lived in the Bay Area ever since. Shiloh and Wendy experienced heartbreak when they learned during the 5th month of Wendy's pregnancy that their baby had a fatal condition, Trisomy 13. Their daughter, Faith, was born on December 11, 2002 and went to heaven four days later. It was a very difficult journey, but it was a time when Wendy experienced the love and presence of God like never before.

They were blessed with Elijah thirteen months later! He was fat, healthy and happy. Along came bossy and assertive Lydia in May of 2006. Their latest addition Jordis, came out of the womb in July of 2008 and has given the family much joy. Most days, Wendy loves being a stay-at-home. Some days she wishes she could be . . . anything else. She knows that she is not alone in these sentiments and is passionate about encouraging moms as they navigate through the challenges, surprises, triumphs and craziness of motherhood.

To learn more about Wendy (and enjoy a few laughs) check out her blog, Tales From the Motherhood:

Hope to see you next Tuesday!

April 23, 2012

April 24 - Strategy: Mothering Boys & Girls

Mentor Mom Connie will be sharing with us about strategies to mother boys and girls at our MOPS meeting tomorrow morning.  Bring a friend and come ready to listen and discuss the special joys and challenges of mothering sons and daughters! 

For our craft, you may choose to make either a tutu or a cape.  Bring good fabric scissors if you have them!  It will be fun to see all the creations everyone makes!

Michelle from Absolute Bliss Massage Therapy is our guest "Mom Business" at tomorrow's meeting. Her massages are great and she also makes her own salt scrubs. Be sure to visit her table, sample & smell her salt scrubs (you can place orders and Michelle will deliver!), book a massage, or buy a gift certificate. Mother's Day is May 13th! Treat yourself or another Mom to a blissful massage & salt scrub!

Absolute Bliss Massage Therapy is also donating a 45-minute massage session, a body scrub & a foot scrub to tomorrow's raffle basket.  All raffle ticket money goes to provide MOPS scholarships.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

February 17, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 5

Project #5

Text or E-mail Some Sweet Nothings

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words, “You’ve got Mail.” I hear nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart… I have mail, from you.”
Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kennedy in “You’ve Got Mail”

Your Project
Send a flirty text or e-mail to your husband.

Getting Creative
  • Use an e-card service ( or to send a cute and flirty note.
  • Don’t know how to text? Ask any teenager in the general vicinity.
  • Most phones have a camera feature where you can send a photo message. Be sure to keep it G rated so that he doesn’t get in trouble at work.

February 16, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 4

Project #4
Heart vs. Stomach

A Treat Just for Him

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
Ronald Reagan

Your Project:
Get a food treat for your husband that he’s not required to share with you or any other family member.

Getting Creative
Stumped for ideas? Here are some thoughts:
  • Get his favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide it behind the frozen chicken. Even if you buy it on Tuesday, you’ll have it ready and waiting for his special night later in the week.
  • Is there a certain cut of meat that your husband loves? How about having the butcher cut something just for him? Most supermarkets will even do the marinade for you – one less thing to think about.
  • Is there a certain candy that your husband loves from his childhood? Check out They have all the nostalgic candy you could want (Black Jack Gum, anyone?) while also carrying any modern favorite you could be looking for.
  • My husband’s family loves something called “noodles and mashed potatoes” (we lovingly refer to it as “The Starch Fest”). I learned how to make this special dish just for him.
  • My guy loves the smell of baking almost as much as he enjoys eating the treat. Have some brownies in the oven when he gets home from work or working out. (I know, it negates the workout, but isn’t chocolate always worth it?)
  • Our friend Scott mentioned that he loves cranberry sauce, but eats it only at Thanksgiving. His wife intentionally made the holiday treat for him this past July.
  • Are you a wife who is an expert at low-cal salads and other forms of chick-food? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at for ideas

February 15, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 3

Project #3
You da’ Man

Spreading Great Gossip About Your Guy

Your Project:
Say something nice about your husband to someone else. Make sure you tell him what you said, and to whom.

Getting Creative
Who are the important people in your husband’s life? Your kids, his parents, his friends? Be intentional about who you chat with when you brag on him – it’s almost as important as actually doing it.
Having a hard time coming up with something? I still brag on my guy for things he did years ago. He loves when I tell the story of how brilliantly he proposed (there were waterfalls and stuffed portabella mushrooms involved…).
Here are some other areas to think about when crafting your brag:
  • His parenting skills
  • His patience level
  • The way he treats your mom
  • His culinary ability
  • His job
  • His loyalty to you

February 14, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 2

Project #2

Back in the Day

Do Something He Enjoyed Before You Got Married

“Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important.” ~ Carl Reiner

Your Project:

Initiate an activity that your husband used to love. Whether it’s his favorite hobby, sport, or pastime, it’s time for you to get involved – be his buddy today.

Getting Creative
  • Many a man’s hobby has gone by the wayside due to matrimony. Is it possible that it’s time you learned to golf or fly fish? Don’t try to beat him, just join him.
  • Possibly the only thing your husband would enjoy more than playing chess with you is teaching you how to play chess. Ask for a lesson so he can teach you something that he is an expert at (or really loves). Just your willingness to learn will be a huge boost to your guy.
  • Pick up a magazine about your guy’s now dormant hobby. Ask him questions about why he loves it so much. Learn a couple of technical terms so that you are better able to discuss it.
  • Do a little research. Find out what the definitive website is on your husband’s favorite subject. Maybe there’s an event in town, a lecture to attend, or a game to watch.

February 13, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 1

Project #1

30 Minutes is All it Takes

Create Some Free Time When He Gets Home

“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Your Project:

Focus on your husbands transitional 30 minutes today. Would he like to be left alone to rest and rejuvenate, or does he want some undivided attention from you? The point is to let your husband know you value what he does out in the world, and that he has a safe loving place to come home and get refreshed at the end of the day.
Getting Creative
There are plenty of reasons why it might not be easy for you to give your husband some transition time at the end of the day. You need to look at what can work for your relationship. Be creative, like the stories listed below. Brainstorm with your friends until you find a situation that will work for you and your guy.
  • My friend, Joann, purposely scheduled her daughter’s dance classes twice a week at the same hour that her husband gets home from work. That way, her hubby comes home to an empty house. He gets some quiet, and she gets a more peaceful man.
  • One husband has his workshop out in the garage. His wife encourages him to go and hang out there for a while before dinner. (Since starting this arrangement, her husband has started helping out with the after-dinner clean up. Nice side benefit.)
  • Crockpots are The Husband Project’s best friend. Set your crockpot to be finished thirty minutes after your husband gets home from work. Let him know that you don’t need anything until dinner is ready. Don’t know a crockpot from a flower pot? Check out the recipes in The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at
  • Does your husband already have a great transition routine after getting home? Find some other little thing to bless that time. Maybe it’s making sure the TV is available, his favorite sweats are clean and ready to be changed into, or there’s a cold soda waiting for him in the fridge. It may be so small that he doesn’t even notice. That’s okay – you’ll know what you did.
  • What if your husband works from home? Maybe the best way to help him relax is to ask what he would like the schedule to be. Does he want dinner before or after he gets some time to recharge? Ask him what would make his night better.

February 12, 2012

This Tuesday - The Husband Project

We are looking forward to having author Kathi Lipp come and speak on The Husband Project at Tuesday's MOPS meeting.  We'll also be featuring a mini-Husband Project for 5 days beginning tomorrow on this blog if you would like to follow along.  Here is a little bit of Q&A with Kathi to let you in on what to expect:

Kathi, why did you want to write The Husband Project?
When my husband and I got married, I was determined not to be like so many other couples who turned from romantics to roommates in a matter or months. But, like everyone else, we got back from the honeymoon and had kids and bills and home repairs waiting. It wasn’t long until I packed away the lingerie and was wearing sweats to bed. I knew that if I wasn’t intentional about keeping my husband a priority, it would be easy to let him fall to the middle of my to-do list. I had to get desperate and creative – that is how The Husband Project was born.
Tell me, how does The Husband Project work?
The Husband Project is like a workout program for your marriage – only with less sweat and more chocolate. You commit to do fun and flirty things for 21 days to raise the temperature of your marriage – everything from flirty notes on the bathroom mirror to more lingerie in the bedroom. It is a little bit of work – and a whole lot of fun.
How did you come up with the Projects?
All of these projects are husband tested and wife approved. First I tried things out on my husband, and then I had a group of over 200 women try some of those projects out on their own men. We took the projects that had the highest flirt factor and put them into the book.
Don’t most women want to do nice things for their husbands? Why do you need a book to do them?
Oh, I totally agree. We all have great intentions, but blessing your man is like making dinner: The hardest part isn’t the cooking, it is deciding what to fix. It is the same with the husband project – all the ideas are pretty simple, but the Projects just lay it out so that it is easy to do.
Give me an example of what a project looks like.
Most of the projects take less than 5 minutes or 5 dollars. One woman made her husband’s favorite brownies and put one on his nightstand every evening for five days. Another wife just casually mentioned to her mother-in-law what an amazing man she had raised in front of her husband. That man lived off that compliment for two weeks. We also collected some of the best low-cost dating ideas from the women who have done The Husband Project and have those up on the website at under Free Resources to give you even more ideas than what are found in the book.
Kathi will also have a table with her books for sale if you would like to take home some more great ideas from her.

We hope that you will find these ideas helpful to bless and encourage not only your husband, but also family and close friends in your life.  After all, anyone could use an encouraging note or a surprise gift of their favorite treat!  See you Tuesday morning at 9:15!

January 23, 2012

Lights, Camera, Date Night!

Take the Date Night Challenge! 

Strengthen your marriage with a fun evening out – and an exciting challenge that will help you and your spouse grow closer than ever before! Featuring comedian Jeff Allen, singer/songwriter Michael O’Brien and bestselling authors Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley via webcast.

  • Dinner for adults catered by Texas Roadhouse
  • Childcare available for infants to 5th grade, pizza dinner for ages 2+
  • Tickets $25 per couple ($3 discount for children ages 0-1 only)
  • Purchase your tickets at MOPS on January 24
  • Questions?  Contact

Card Craft Tomorrow

For our craft tomorrow, each person will be making two cards.  We will make and send the first set of blank cards to an organization called Operation Write Home.

These cards will be given to our nation's troops so that they can have handmade cards to write home on.  Each table will have a sample greeting card and supplies, and will reproduce that same card.

For the second card, there will be a variety of paper and pre-stamped images available so that each person can make their own personal card to take home.

Please bring the following tools if you have them:
- paper trimmers
- paper edgers
- any punches that you may want to use at your table.
***please label your tools***

See you tomorrow!

Early Registration for 2018/19!