First Week Back

Moms of Elementary age kiddos… you will want to follow this blog. Jennifer was Katie’s 2nd grade teacher. She is now a librarian at our beloved elementary school. She reviews books and shared great insight. Check it out…

Book Jabber


As the first day of school crept closer and closer, I began to have second thoughts.Can I really commit to book-talking every day for 180 days? How will I find time in my schedule? Will teachers welcome me into their classrooms?

Yes. Yes I can. One hundred and eighty book talks is a lot. But it’s not impossible.

Just like learning to ride a bike, after I started talking about my first book, it came right back to me. Monday was a good day to start with Real Friendsby Shannon Hale.

Real Friends

In fact, I didn’t even wait until the first day of school to talk about this one. It is that good. I told every 4th and 5th grader about the book while looking up bus numbers during registration.

I was never popular in school. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I…

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5 Minute Way to Start to My Day: 6 month anniversary (repost with notepad options)

The 5 minute way to start my day has become a daily habit for me. 6 months strong! And for several others as well. Tracey Simpson posted on Instagram yesterday about it and I have had several requests to purchase the notepads I created. I am not running this as a business but I would love to send out this resource to people. I personally love the notepads and the simplicity of the smaller space. (with a journal, I would not finish in 5 minutes!) SO… I am reposting the blog post from Moms at Hope and providing my email address. If you would like to order a 5×7 notepad with the sheet printed on each page, email me at and we can work out payment and delivery.


Tracey posted a photo of the spiral bound notebook. I can also order those but FYI the 5 minute format is only on the cover. It is a blank notebook inside.




Link to my Original Post



[ M O M S at H O P E ]

(written by Melissa Fagan)

I have been a Mom for a little over 20 years. Parenting and my journey as a Navy wife (and I guess as a woman, in general) has been marked with times of poor stress management and sometimes full-blown anxiety. I am currently in a good season and I am managing my stress well. God has used these uncomfortable and sometimes downright sick times to mold me. To desperately seek comfort from Him and admit my need to others.

I think I could write a 10 part series on all the ways He has molded me in this particular area. And the setting of the first chapter is taboo in some circles – the potty. But we are Moms and “potty talk” is part of the conversation when you have small kids, right? My most visible sign of unmanaged stress is an irritable bowel. And when I…

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How to herd cats … or sheep

Have you ever heard the phrase herding cats?

Herding Cats… brings to mind activities like: elementary school field trips, toddler playgroups at the playground, taking Preschool VBS kids to the gym, pep rallies…

My friend Karen just shared this memory with me and my first thought was the chaos and noise of that bailey bear boogie pep rally .. in fact, I carried ear plugs with me after that day 



and as a photographer… group photos.

In fact, I have an album on our Swim team site that I named Herding cats and other shenanigans… img_5566


Now sheep sound somewhat more peaceful, right?  … you know… those fluffy white guys you can count when you can’t sleep.  So Sheep herding should be less chaotic, right?

Have you ever taken a personality test or a spiritual gifts test?

Well, one of my gifts is Shepherding. Yep! Sheep Herding.

 {okay… i just went down a rabbit hole…I remembered that Hope Church used to have a test on the website… and guess what, It’s still there! so if you are interested… here is a link: Spiritual Inventory from Hope Church Memphis}

As far as shepherding goes, it does sound natural to me. I don’t imagine chaos. I love to gather groups of people. To connect on a deeper level. To care for one another.  That is my basic view of it.  Here is the definition I just found in the rabbit hole:


The gift of shepherding is the special ability to nurture, care for, and guide people toward on-going spiritual maturity and becoming like Christ. The person with this gift enjoys spending time nurturing and caring for others, and enjoys giving guidance and practical support to a small group of people. (Ephesians 4:11-12, 1 Peter 5:1-4 John 10:1-1)

Yep! I do enjoy it!

Do you ever find yourself exhausted from nurturing, caring an guiding others?

I do!  I can get a little overwhelmed and worn out. Whether in parenting, marriage, extended family, friends or ministry. It happens.

But God has shown me some answers.

It started with me looking for something descriptive on the Hope website about Moms at Hope {pm}  (which is one of the groups that I enjoy… and I get to be mostly a sheep in there) but clear as day was another class that God had picked out as an answer to prayer after a long day of bearing others burdens…. this was the class description ——>

God’s Word and our own experience of the Lord’s Spirit, teaches us we are to “love one another” and “bear one another’s burdens.” This six-week seminar will give our Hope community an opportunity to understand and improve the quality of care we share with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and customers. Understanding how to give care allows us to grow in our ability to reach out to others with Christ-like compassion.

Bingo…. I thought improving my skills was perfect… something I could DO!  But it’s not really all about DOING!  But it was still clear that this was where I was supposed to be.

Yesterday was the 2nd session and we were to read scripture and identify how Jesus showed compassion. Our group was assigned  Mark 6: 30-34  It is the beginning of the familiar story but these 4 verses had a different highlight for me.

30The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Jesus makes clear:

  1. When we are weary, we need to be with Him in a quiet place and rest.

  2. The crowd is still there but we are equipped to show compassion and be a shepherd and/or a teacher after we “land”.


The picture He gave me was from that very morning. Before Moms groups begin, we have a leaders’ prayer time. 30 minutes in a quiet room in His presence preparing for the day. A time to breathe and lower our heart rates. At the final Amen, we have landed. We head across the hall to “munch and mingle” with the large crowd and His presence goes with us. And His love abounds.



Tuning In:  Listening to God Through Open and Closed Doors

I loved the Heart 2 Heart that Jill and Terrian shared with the women of hope last week. I have been a small part in their story and have loved seeing the growth and change AND honesty in their journeys. (And taking photos along the way).

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

(Written by Rachel Pickel)

We’ve all heard the phrase “when one door closes, another one opens.”  Or here’s a good one… “when God closes a door, He opens a window.”  (As if we’re supposed to jump through or just let in some fresh air … I really don’t get that one, but that’s just me!)

It’s easy to use a door as a metaphor for opportunity.

We tend to view success as an open door to walk through and failure as a door closed in front of us.  It seems pretty simple – an open or shut case, if you will. But it’s our humanity, our selfishness, our unwillingness to listen to God’s will which makes this all so complicated … The finding of doors, knowing which ones to open, which to walk through and the act of gracefully accepting when one has been closed.

The most recent Heart 2 Heart featured Terrian Bass and Jill…

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Tuning In: 3 Signs of Spiritual Dehydration

Boy have I been thirsty lately. How about you?

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

(written by Emily Matthews)

It is so hot outside this time of year. We tend to know it’s important to drink lots of water and to stay hydrated because of the temperatures. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

As a runner and a nurse, I know I have to drink a lot of water. Personally, I shoot for 100 ounces of water daily (not including coffee or an evening beverage 😉). That’s a lot and I have to pay attention throughout the day to keep up. We need water all day for our bodies to function properly. When we don’t have it, all kind of unpleasant things result — headaches, hunger, sluggishness. (Don’t worry, I won’t go anymore Nurse on you than that.)  I am ashamed to say that for most of my 20s my fluid intake was almost entirely Diet Coke. Not…

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Our Own “Red Tent”

imageLove, love, love this comparison and that book. Can’t wait to go to my 3 red tents today at Hope. … Still recovering from hosting my bunko red tent last night.

(I just added a graphic of the book. It is historical fiction and a great read if you are looking for a novel to read)

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

(written by: Rachel Pickel)

It’s no secret that we {moms at hope} believe in community. God designed us for fellowship. We are social creatures.

red-tent-painting-by-valoru-e1400426487196 Painting by Valoru

Every time I think of this, I recall the novel The Red Tent, written by Anita Diamant. (If you haven’t read it – I encourage you todo so!) It’s a fictional story that goes way-way back into the Old Testament about the life and times of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah. The essence of the “Red Tent” is back when women lived in close-quarters or villages, their monthly cycles became ‘in sync.’ During that “time of the month,” the women would escape daily life with their village and retreat to the tent together. When women gave birth, they would also retreat to the tent.

All things “woman” happened in that tent.

I like to think of it as a rustic retreat with mothers, daughters…

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