September 24, 2013

Interview with MOPPETS Worker Robin Gomez

Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of our MOPPETS coordinator, Robin Gomez.

Photo Credit: nan D photography

Tell us about yourself and your family.

My name is Robin Gomez and I'm the MOPPET's Coordinator. I've been married to John for 22 years on September 14th! We have three kids who all help in MOPPETS! Ben is 19, Alex is 17 and Tori is 15.

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.

I attended my first MOPS when I was pregnant with Ben - that will be 19 years ago in January. In June I was asked to be the Coordinator for the following year! I encouraged my friends to join me so I wasn't in it alone! Besides Coordinator, I have also done Crafts, Hospitality, Publicity, and now MOPPETS. There was also a homeschool room that I helped in after Tori graduated Kindergarten. I started helping in MOPPETS 2 1/2 years ago because my daughter wanted to help and she couldn't help unless I was there. It has been a joy to serve alongside her in this ministry.

What age group do you work with? Which room?

I work in the Nursery with the babies.

What is your favorite part of working in the MOPPETS ministry?

Knowing that you MOMS are getting some adult time and conversation. I enjoyed my time in MOPS so much, that I want to give back so that other moms can experience it, too.

When you are not serving in MOPPETS, what are you doing? Work/hobby?

I homeschool my kids (the first graduated in 2012). I am a Creative Memories Consultant (18 years) and a LifeVantage Distributor (9 months). I enjoy walking and exercising and cooking healthy food. I enjoy camping (I only wish I could do more of it!) and spending time with my family.

What is your best MOPPETS memory?

I like seeing how God provides just enough volunteers every week to watch your kids. I also love seeing special smiles from babies and moms!

Anything else you would like to share with the MOPS moms?

Enjoy your MOPS years! They will help you be a better mom and wife. They sure helped me!

September 17, 2013

Interview with Mentor Mom Judy Poling

Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of one of our lovely mentor moms, Judy Poling.

Tell us about yourself and your family.
Wife of Rick Poling for 37 years.   Mother to Ryan/Charissa Poling and Nathan/Aimee Poling.  Grandmother to Caleb 9, Logan 7, Maile 5, Dylan 3 1/2, Landan 3 and Jacob 21 mos.

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.
I think this is my 7th year in MOPs as a Mentor Mom.

What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
Connecting with young women

What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received?
Will this really matter in 5 or 10 years?

What is your favorite Scripture verse/passage and why?
Philippians 4:20 - "I can do everything through him who gives me strength".  When life gets hard (and it does) this verse helps me to have more of a 'can do' attitude in the midst of the tough stuff reminding me that it's not about me and my abilities, but Christ and Christ alone.

What were your thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with your first child?
Oh my - this isn't easy to admit - but I cried like a baby at the doctor's office.  I had only been married 5 months, we just put a down payment on our first home &  thought I was going in to see the doctor to have a DNC procedure.  Of course after the shock wore off we were excited.

As a new mom, what kinds of things did you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?
I surrounded myself with other moms going through the same age and stage of motherhood.  We didn't have MOPs, but my church family was a great support system.  LOL- not sure I was ever a 'relaxed' mom, but on occassion I did try to take a 'one night a week' evening class to help keep my sanity.

What was your favorite thing about being a mom of preschoolers?
The hugs and kisses & seeing the world through their innocent eyes.

What is your favorite "mommy memory" when your children were preschoolers?
When one of my sons was 5, without my knowledge he emptied his piggy bank of all of his money and gave it to a little boy of a single mom at school so that his new friend could buy a new pair of shoes.

Share about your most memorable family vacation.
We have several - but one memorable camping vacation we had a mouse in our tent in the middle of the night AND our path crossed with a disturbed bee hive on a hike - we all got stung :(.  Plus, the friends we were camping with accidentally set the wooden picnic table at their site on fire.  And Yes, we still enjoy camping as a family!

How has motherhood changed you?
It's taught me how to give complete unconditional love.  The kind of love that our Heavenly Father has for us.  Not based on performance or expectations.

What has been your proudest parenting moment?
Watching our two sons interact with their children.  They are both very loving daddies to their little ones.

What was your biggest challenge as a mother of preschoolers? Did you overcome it? How did you overcome it?
Having a 'strong willed child' had some very difficult moments. 
Hmmmm overcome it - Well, thankfully we didn't kill each other - LOL. 
It wasn't easy, and I don't think I always did the 'right thing', but I tried very hard to be consistent.  I prayed alot, read some books like James Dobson's "The Strong Willed Child" and tried to apply biblical principles.

What was the one most important principle you wanted to teach your child(ren)?
To be a 'Christ follower', not just a 'church goer'.

What is your mom motto or favorite mom quote?
"What would Jesus do?"  It's a life motto for me.

Any last words of wisdom to share?
Enjoy the moment - the years pass by quickly.

September 10, 2013

Interview with MOPS Mom Christy Mast

Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of our MOPS coordinator, Christy Mast.

Tell us about yourself and your family.
My name is Christy Mast. I grew up mostly in Georgia and spent my 20s working as a nurse and volunteering in youth ministry. Seven years ago I married Steve, and after a 2 year "honeymoon" in New Zealand, we moved to San Leandro. We have 2 children - Meredith is 3 and Philip is 5 months. We also have a cute little Chihuahua mix named Koa. Our family vacations almost always involve mountains or Disney parks (last summer we even combined the two).

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.
I joined MOPS just a couple weeks before I was due with my first child, 4 years ago. The following year I was a Discussion Group Leader. The next year I was asked to be Coordinator, and this will be my third year in that role.

What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
MOPPETS! Almost everything I do now involves my kids, so it is nice to have something that is for me.

What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received?
Pick your battles. This saves a lot of strife at our house. When you see my daughter wearing a red dress with hot pink leggings, you will know that was a battle I decided not to fight!

What were your thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with your first child?
This was a long hoped for baby, so I was happy, but the overwhelming emotion was worry. At just 6 weeks along my doctor thought I would have a miscarriage - that was a nerve wracking several days. Of course everything turned out to be fine, but I still find myself worrying about new things at every stage of development. I used to be an ER nurse, so those memories feed my worries.

What did you learn about being a mom from your own mom?
My mom was a big encouragement when I was approaching my due date and thinking about childbirth. She would say, "your body was made to do this." While labor and delivery was certainly difficult, everything went well and I wasn't anxious about the process.

How has motherhood changed you?
I stay home a lot more and shower a lot less.

What is your biggest challenge as a mom? Have you overcome it? How did you overcome it?
Time management! Without an employer to keep me accountable for my time, I can often get sidetracked from doing the things I really need to be doing. I have some days when I am more productive than others, but it is definitely an ongoing struggle. I find that if I get lots of things checked off my "to do" list one day, then the next day you can probably find me on the couch! I need to focus on moderation - completing a reasonable amount of tasks each day and not wearing myself out.

What is the one most important principle you want to teach your child(ren)?
Grace. I want to ooze grace - walking that fine line between setting and enforcing boundaries and also letting them know they are deeply loved no matter what.

September 9, 2013

A Beautiful Mess

MOPS begins tomorrow!  All registered moms have been sent an email with all the information you will need to get your kids to MOPPETS and you to your table group.  If you did not receive this email, or if you have not registered and would like more information about how to get on our waiting list, please email Christy at  Moms not needing childcare can join right away, but please let us know you plan to come!

This year our theme is A Beautiful Mess: Embrace Your Story.  Moms live in messes.  The toys, crumbs and spit-up are their natural surroundings.  Moms often feel like a mess.  They are exhausted, under-showered and hormonal.  Their past and present circumstances and decisions can leave them feeling inadequate for God's love and purposes.  Like they are the mess in question.

A Beautiful Mess reminds moms that beauty can come out of their difficult spots.  The grime of mothering young children brings the beauty of motherhood. The bruises of life can bring God’s redemption. Embrace Your Story reminds moms that their past, present and future can be used for good. God knows where each of us has been, where we are today and has set in motion where we are headed.

But what does it mean to Embrace Your Story? EMBRACE, to put your arms around and hold tight, to give a big bear hug, that says, you are mine.  All mine.  I take you just as you are.  A beautiful mess.  And it's YOUR story.  You know it like no one else does.  You are the expert.  No one can deny your life's experiences, your feelings, the You of who you are.  They are unique.  No one else has lived it or ever will.  And it is a STORY, it has a beginning, a middle and an end.  But you find yourself today in the middle.  You can examine the beginnings, understand them, embrace them.  You can see how the early chapters impact where the story is today.  And you can plan for the next chapters.  You are the main character in it.  Co-authoring your moves with THE AUTHOR of life.  The Artist of all creation created you and you are indeed A MASTERPIECE.

For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10


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