Mom's Carelink is a ministry of First MB Church that provides encouragement, friendship and wisdom from a Biblical perspective to equip women for their role as mothers of children from birth through the school years.

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From the Coordinator

Opening Comments: Morning Carelink 9/11/12
I stand here wondering WHY each one of you has chosen to make time in your busy lives to come to Carelink? I wonder what you hope to gain that will make these meetings important enough to YOU to keep coming?
It's not an easy task - wake up early, get the kids fed, diapers changed, fight the food battles or the clothes battles. For some of you getting kids to school or on the bus. For others dropping off the crying toddler in the nursery. Bringing brunch, packing diaper bags.... All that just to get into these doors. But the battle doesn't end there.
Some of you know many women and are happy to see familiar faces and catch up with old friends, but for others of you, you are taking a risk this morning - perhaps knowing no one or just a couple ladies, barely. For some, groups are hard, for others, small talk is difficult. I just want to acknowledge that we know it's a decision you make that requires some work for you to be here each week. We are so glad you came!

Encouragement. Friendship. Wisdom.
Those are our Carelink ministry goals. Things we truly want to provide to each of you. My guess is meeting some moms and making some friends are high on your list of priorities. We can have some of the best speakers come in and share with you this year, but if you don't feel like you have a friend (or a few) to find in the group each week, I think you'll leave discouraged. So we hope through your small groups you'll find friendship.
Yet, we want it to be more than a "girls' morning out", so we hope the variety of topics covered help you gain wisdom to be godly women, wives and mothers. You'll have opportunities to learn about all sorts of topics this year - some more serious and others a lot of fun. And we hope through it all that we've created an environment where you leave feeling encouraged. Encouraged through positive conversations, budding friendships, friendly small talk. Encouragement in knowing that you're not alone in the struggles you face or the joys you have. Perhaps leaving with a few new ideas to try from someone in the group on that pull-your-hair-out issue at the moment: potty training, getting your kids to eat, squelching the 6-going-on-16 attitude...or whatever it is this week!
I'm looking forward to getting to know each of you this year! Thanks for making the commitment to Mom's Carelink!
  Mom's Carelink Coordinator

Gearing Up for a New Year - August 23, 2012
Quick update for all the moms looking forward to the fall Mom's Carelink season...

Nearly all our speakers and topics have been decided and confirmed for both Morning & Evening Carelink. Check out the front page of our blog along the right-hand column and you can see a list of topics.

Registration has begun! Stop by the Connect Table at First MB on Sundays 8/26 and 9/2 to drop of your payment and registration form. If you didn't receive one in the mail, send me a note and I can get one to you. Please register in the next two weeks so we can make the best possible arrangements for childcare, brunch and room arrangements!

Our first meetings for both groups will be held on Tuesday, September 11th.
9:15am for Morning Carelink
7:00pm for Evening Carelink

See you soon!

It's Been a While, Huh?!   May 18, 2012
So, I've not posted anything here in six months, but let me just say, that I've not totally dropped the ball! Most of what I've written or summarized or passed along made the "front page". I figure it stands a better chance of getting seen if it goes there rather than on this obscure tab :-)

So, my second year of coordinating Mom's Carelink has come to an end. As I've said before, it's a good feeling to be done. Everyone needs a break now and then, though I'm always glad to have the summer events to attend with the kids. BTW, my kids are out of school ALREADY!

My thoughts on the year? We had a great team of women who took responsibility for various aspects and did a fabulous job. Some fresh ideas this year that seemed to be big hits: The pictorial directory. Never before have we put you through the torture of getting your picture taken - up close & personal - for a photo directory. I absolutely LOVED being able to match up faces with names through that little gem. I showed them to the childcare workers at our thank you luncheon last week and they insisted on having one for themselves! Much thanks to Misty S. who spent time entering all the information & proofing everything for those.

Sara F. gets the credit for the other awesome thing we did this year: "Who We Are" booklets. Each month we got the chance to read a little about a group of moms at one of the table groups. Many of you say how nice it would be to get to know the "other" ladies at Carelink. It's just hard to find the balance of developing closer relationships through small group assignments and giving everyone time to mingle and talk to others. So, these little booklets were a great way to mingle without actually mingling, I'd say!

Expect to see those again in the future!
That's all for now!

Notes from Extreme Home Makeover seminar
Mark Holmen, Faith @ Home
October 2011 - Wichita KS
A friend asked me to share my notes with her and I thought I'd post them here, too.

We need to honestly look at what faith behaviors we are NOT doing in our homes. Even “good Christian families” are not spending time in devotions, prayer, bible reading, service projects or faith talks. 60-90% of youth are walking away from church in their 20’s with the number one reason being the hypocrisy they see in their families acting one way in/around church/people and very different at home.

We need a new plan. The plan will be different for every family. One percent of Christian homes have a written plan for spiritual formation for their kids. We all know how much more likely we are to successfully accomplish goals when they are identified and recorded and when action steps are in place to reach those goals. Every family needs a Family Mission Statement. He lists the steps to take to create your own family mission statement. Suggests placing on the wall in a prominent place in your home.

1. Faith Talk –
Time: make the most of every opportunity to talk faith: ambulance on the street, friends being mean…
Repetition: repetition takes it deep, permanent
Acceptance: accept that our family won’t look like any other family, it’s okay to be different
Intentionality: sometimes we need to stop what we’re doing and really talk about something
Never-ending: don’t stop speaking truth and having faith talk with your kids – even when they are old!

2. Constant Prayer
Deuteronomy 6 “when you sit at home, walk along the road, lie down and get up” 4 times to pray. Quiet time that’s dedicated to God, as you go throughout your day, in the morning and as you go to bed. Use prayer journals. Have one next to your kids’ beds and write down their prayers each night. Use a prayer box – every need & praise goes into the box and pray for someone at meal time.

3. Bible Reading
Use different versions, use concordances to look up a topic and read verses, use a reading plan, journal through the Bible (SOAP-scripture, observation, application, prayer)

4. Family Service
Commit to serving others as a family. It changes our perspective. Do random acts of kindness, go on mission trips, serve in the larger community and especially serve in your church.

5. Appropriate Boundaries & Discipline -
Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Agree on boundaries and consequences with your children and your spouse. Be clear and communicate with your kids. Then follow-through. Be better at praising good behavior. This is not the norm. We spend 80% of our attention on the negative behavior and only 20% on positive behavior. If a child is craving attention, which gets more?

Who are we going to ask to help us in raising our kids? Invite Christian grandparents to engage with their grandchildren & be involved. As parents, we need mentors or accountability partners to turn to for advice and encouragement.

Notes taken and summarized by Tiffany D.

Rediscover a Day of Rest, Focus on the Family October 2010 Bulletin - Rachel Medefind

Sunday morning starts the most anticipated day of the week in our house. My daughters bound from bed to the "Sunday drawer" that holds their most enjoyed toys and books. Sure, the girls still have their arguments, and teeth must be brushed and plates loaded into the dishwasher, just like on any other day. But they would also tell you with grins how they look forward to a special visit to the bagel shop before church or a leisurely afternoon with grandparents.

It wasn't always this way. Five years ago, my husband and I began to think seriously about what a day of rest might look like for our family. Until then, our Sunday meant little more than a morning at church. Once we walked out the church doors, the day was just as hectic as every other day of the week.

We settled on starting our day of rest at sundown on Saturday. We begin by lighting a candle-a simple act that invites us to shift from constant bustle to a calmer, slower pace. We turn off our computer in order to draw toward each other rather than toward the demands of our inbox. The door to the laundry room is shut; Sunday carries as little housekeeping as possible.

Knowing that our task list is off-limits frees us to do things we "just don't have time for" other days. The quiet of early afternoon is often spent napping, enjoying extended reflection and prayer, or lingering over a meal in conversation. Picnics, hikes and trips to the park typically fill the remainder of our daylight hours.

Sticking with this habit has required determination. It's tough to set aside the unending cycle of jobs that await us. But the rewards - physical and spiritual renewal, recollection of our Father's kindness, and sweet hours spent with our children - have convinced us that a day of rest is one of God's greatest gifts to our family.

A Standard of Respect, Focus on the Family, October 2010 Bulletin – Alice Crider
Looking through Scripture, Adam and Eve sinned because they did not respect God’s command. Cain killed Abel because he did not respect his brother’s life. Lying, stealing, vandalism, strife and disobedience stem from an attitude of disrespect toward someone or something. When your toddler pulls the cat’s tail or your teenager rolls her eyes, it’s –you guessed it – disrespect.
When my kids were younger, they often heard me say, “You don’t have to agree with me or like me right now, but you will be respectful.” With a standard of respect established in our home, the reward was relationship. My children became people who were enjoyable to be around. Peace reigned and communication flowed between us.
Ultimately, emphasizing respect and honoring people are biblical concepts. Believers are told to respect the law (Proverbs 13:13), honor parents (Deuteronomy 5:16), and live lives worthy of respect (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). With respect woven throughout Scripture, it’s no wonder that it makes for a strong foundation for family and offers meaningful reward.

The Dream Book by MaryBeth Whalen, Sept. 1, 2010
Heads bent together, they study what to me looks like a mess but to them looks like something beautiful. The table is littered with glue sticks, magazines, scraps of paper, and scissors. "Mom," my daughter informs me as she looks up, "We're making dream books." Her eyes shine with possibility. It is clear that she believes in the dreams she is pasting in her book.

"These are my twins," my daughter says, her face shining with enough pride that they could be her real children. "Their names are Hunter and Hannah." I don't tell her that her husband may not like the names Hunter and Hannah. That she may not be blessed with twins, with children at all. I don't cloud their dreams with the realities of adulthood. I turn my attention to the dinner that needs to be cooked, the pressing needs that seem to overtake what I once dreamed.

But in my heart, I feel God whisper, What are your dreams? Have you forgotten? Have you lost hope? You could take a lesson from your little girl. I am challeng ed to hang onto what I once believed about life—to not let setbacks and heartbreak scream louder than the echoes of my dreams.

God has planted dreams in all of our hearts. He did not intend for our dreams to get trampled by our own busy feet. Just like my daughter and her friend catalogued their dreams, maybe it's time for you to take some inventory in your life. 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (NIV). That includes your God-given dreams.

Who did you dream of becoming? It's not too late to dream dreams, to envision a future that accepts reality, yet embraces potential. Whether it's starting your own business, writing a book, having a great marriage, or running a marathon... whatever dreams stir your heart, don't push them aside today. Create your own dream book, even if the pictures are just painted on the canvas of your

Devotions Through Music
Music has a way of going deep into the recesses of our souls, doesn’t it? It solidifies events in our lives. Play the first few lines of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” and I remember making up a dance routine with my junior high girlfriend one summer day. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” record brought hours of entertainment when I was in upper elementary. Yes, I said record!

When I was in high school, I used to help my grandmother clean an office building every Sunday morning. We usually had the radio on and often times a pastor would play a popular, mainstream song from the radio and then dissect the lyrics with scripture and Christian perspective.

Years later, I find myself listening to Christian artists wanting to do the same thing. Thinking to myself, “Oh, this is such a good message! Boy, I needed that! I know someone else does, too.” Even though music has never played an “active role” in my life (I quit band in junior high & can’t hold a tune), God has used it to touch my heart in countless ways – especially the past couple of years. So, here’s my attempt to experience music not only as a way to worship God but also to remind us of scriptural truths. I hope these little “musical thoughts” will encourage, comfort & challenge you in your personal walk of faith! No promises on how many of these I’ll write, but check back if it interests you!

Song: More Like Falling in Love
Artist: Jason Gray

Just the title of the song makes me think back to when I first met my husband. You have those dating memories, too! I would sacrifice sleep to see him. Put off responsibilities to take a call from him. Spend hours emailing him. It would be impossible not to think of him throughout the day. I was falling in love.

Question: Have I ever felt that way about God? Okay, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but really, isn’t that all God truly wants from us? Our hearts. Our love. A relationship. In John 14:23-24, Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

We really cannot separate love from obedience, can we? If we are to be transformed into Christ’s likeness, we need to be “doing”. Sanctification, to make holy or more like Christ, comes through prayer, bible study, corporate worship, caring for others, trying not to sin, etc. Until we experience a “truth that lives, moves and breathes” our spiritual lives will see these disciplines as burdensome rules or a task to check off a list each day. Given a few exceptions, the practice of our faith will be tiresome, unrewarding, empty and distant from Jesus. Who wants to have a relationship like that! My relationship with Bob certainly would not have lasted if those terms defined it!

I want to be “swept off my feet” by my Savior. I want to “fall in love” with Jesus. I don’t want to be a “sinner with a stone tied to my feet.” God has done all He can to demonstrate the unfathomable love He has for us. He fell in love with every one of us a long time ago. I pray each of us will experience the Father’s love and discover a richer relationship with Him.

God loves us and sent His son – 1 John 4:10
We love because he first loved us – 1 John 4:19
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Give me rules, I will break them, Give me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet, It ought to be
More like falling in love, Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart, Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out, Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh, It's like I'm falling in love
Give me words, I'll misuse them, Obligations, I'll misplace them
'Cause all religion ever made of me, Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free, It's gotta be
It was love that made, Me a believer, In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

Friendship by Tiffany Dick
Posted July 2010 (written 3/09)

I got together with a few girlfriends yesterday for a "goodbye" brunch. It was such a nice time. And it got me thinking about friendships. Why does my heart come to life when I find a friend willing to go deeper? Get beyond the superficial talk. There's some deep longing inside me for meaningful relationships.

Why? Is it God-given? Possibly. God is not a single being, but a trinity of three-in-one: Father, Son & Holy Spirit (who happen to know each other very intimately). Jesus' greatest command was to love one another. Love cannot happen outside of the context of relationship, can it?

How well can I minister to those hurting without compassion & love? Will I freely give of my time to serve if I don't particularly like the people I'm serving? Can I fulfill the Great Commission and not care about the dozens of people in my life who don't know Jesus? I think I quickly forget that hell is real and WILL be the eternal destination for those not believing in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. I must overcome my fear of rejection and share Christ's story! This is where relationship comes into play.

I have to make God's purposes more important than my own and spend time developing friendships, so that I can LIVE out my convictions in front of my non-Christian friends (assuming I have some) as well as have opportunity to SPEAK to them about God. So often I hope my life will demonstrate God's truth to others when I'm not brave enough to TALK to them about God.

I spent three years at a Christian college taking bible classes, involved in team sports with Christian teammates & coaches, living with Christian roommates, but I did not accept Christ until someone was courageous enough (or simply loved me enough) to risk the relationship. He sat down and ASKED me if I believed in God. Then I had no choice but to consider my personal responsibility, my eternal destiny...only then did I realize what I was missing. I worry that so many people are just like me - so close to the truth, even exposed to the truth yet still missing the relationship that could change their lives.

So, what can I do to impact the lives of others, to be a sincere friend, to further God's kingdom?

-Get past my circle of Christian friends and seek out relationships with ladies who may not know Jesus. Strike up conversations with women at the gym, at the library and at the park.

-Find the courage to appropriately talk about God at every opportunity - not preachy or judgmental. I read once that no one can argue with your testimony because it's your story. All I have to do is share what God has done or is doing in my life. Besides, everyone loves a good story!

-Remember names. Remember what's happening in a new friend's life and ask her about it next time I see her. Write it down or else I'll forget. Ask questions about her rather than talk about myself.

-Invite women over to my home. If it's important to me, I'll find time for it. My house does not have to be perfect. A meal does not have to be gourmet. Entertaining is a lot of work and usually about me. Hospitality is simple and from the heart. It's not about me and my presentation, but reaching out to my friend.

I might have several acquaintances, but what makes a lasting friend is the ability to get past the small talk to the more important things in life. I've been in groups where a woman opens up about a hurt or a difficult time in her life and immediately others are willing to do the same. Too often we put on our nice clothes and pretty faces and pretend everything is great and that we aren't struggling with our kids or our husbands or our finances or our lives. HOW can we find help and prayer if we cannot be open and honest? It's a risk, for sure, but I've seen amazing conversations and connectedness come out of one woman being able to BE REAL. (by the way, there's usually at least one other woman struggling with the same issue - "...nothing new under the sun" Ecclesiastes)