MOPS Craft: Courage Key Necklace

Since I posted the other MOPS craft, I figure I could keep going. :p We started out our new MOPS year in September making Courage Necklaces. In our MOPS members welcome kit from MOPS International, we received a Courage Key (The Giving Keys). We are supposed to find someone who needs the message of courage, and give them the key. Our super crafty Creative Activities coordinators, Megan and Kristina, came up with the idea of making the key into a necklace.

10517420_735954056453056_1319747969969472452_o(Photo credit: Kristina)


  • 1 – 30″ bronze etched chain
  • 3 – bronze beads
  • 2 – bronze jump rings
  • 1 – bronze jewelry clamp
  • 2-3 – assorted feathers (I used a 2-in and a 1.5-in feathers.)
  • glue (E6000 recommended)
  • Toothpick
  • Needle-Nose Pliers


  1. Arrange your two feathers (the larger feather below the smaller feather) and trim the feather quills to the same length.
  2. Using the toothpick, apply the glue to the inside of your first bead (the one that will sit lowest on the hanging feather) and thread the feather ends through. Repeat for the second bed.
  3. Lay your clamp over the ends of the feather quills and slide it snugly against the beads. Trim the quills to ensure that they will not be longer than the clamp once closed.
  4. Using a toothpick, apply glue to the inside of the clamp and lay your feather quills in the clamp with the “pretty” side facing the front of the clamp and quickly crimp your feathers into the clamp with the pliers (you want to be sure the hole on top of the clamp is clear of any glue or feather, or the charm will not hang nicely on your chain).
  5. Using the pliers, open the jump ring, add it to the hole on the top of the clamp, attach the same ring to the bronze chain and close using the pliers.
  6. Lastly, using the same method, add a jump ring to your Courage Key and attach to the chain.

10600649_10152748918206155_3563097143993451626_nDo you know someone who needs the message of courage? What message would your Giving Key have on it?

– Joyce

My Brave Emily

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beyoubravely_logoIf you have been around the blogosphere recently, you will see that “Brave” is a hot word! Our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) theme this year is Be You, Bravely! I love it! (You can tell by all the exclamation marks!)

I think most of us who are moms (esp during the new mom stage) sometimes tend to forget about who we are apart from our kiddos. I love how this theme helps us to not only remember who we were, but who we can become as moms, but also as we grow in this journey. I’m sure there are tons of books out there for us about being brave, but I loved when an email showed up in my inbox about a new book series for girls on being brave!

05291089843There are so many things we can be “afraid” of in this world, especially with how fast (bad) news can travel in a tap of a few keys. There are some brave women in the Bible who can show our girls how to be brave in a world that maybe doesn’t really agree with them. I was listening in on a conversation Emily was having recently with some kids she just met. She started telling them about A/OK (Alpha Omega Kids), which is a weekly kids’ group at our church where they have a worship time, attend different workshops (computer, cooking, crafts, recreation, etc.), eat dinner together, and have a Bible time. She told them that it was about God and how God loves them. One of the boys responded that it was weird…or she was weird. I couldn’t hear what he said. I was so proud of her for sharing her faith, but it also broke my mama heart. It didn’t faze her at all, and she just kept right on playing with them. I don’t want her to ever feel defeated by how others view who she is or what she believes, but how much easier it would be for me to tell her now to say those things because someone might not like her. I would hope and pray that those around her would love and accept her whether they share the same beliefs or not.

If you remember, I am not a huge gifts person. It is definitely not my love language, and we don’t always do Christmas gifts and such because we have enough stuff already and it really isn’t what Christmas is about, but I think these books will end up on the list. (The devotionals are available in March 2015 but you can preorder today.)

brave index

It would be neat to have a series like this for boys too. And because I can’t resist, below are some “brave” books for grownups:
*50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith
*50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith
*Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears

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MOPS and Pops {March Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

March Date Night
We were planning a date night on our usual 3rd Monday, but with an unexpected trip to the ER (not that they are ever expected), we decided to have a low key week and just keep our MOPS and Pops night as our date night for the month. MOPS, the mom group that I’m a part of, has a yearly event. There have been different things planned in past years (bowling night, themed dinners, etc), but this year we had a Retro Night. There was childcare for the kiddos (the Gomez family rocks!!) and they had pizza. All the parents got to hang out together for dinner, play some fun games, and heard a great talk by one of the mentor moms and her hubby.

The Place
We were at Redwood Chapel for MOPS and Pops. I liked that this year we were in a smaller room, so that we didn’t seem so far away from other tables. Some of the leaders did a fabulous job setting up the room according to the Retro Night theme.

There were TVs with Atari games that we could play.

The centerpieces on the tables and on the buffet table were great!

The Food
Our food was catered from Texas Roadhouse! Yum!

It was a great spread of food along with the Texas Roadhouse meal – fruits and chips and salsa.

The mashed potato bar was a great idea from MOMcon.

Hostess cupcakes

Activities and Friends
We didn’t do too well on the trivia questions, but our table won Pictionary.

There were some great retro outfits. We were boring and didn’t participate. :p

Great talk about mentoring our kids

A wonderful evening with some great people 🙂

Woohoo! There’s a photo of us for this date night because there was a photo area. 🙂 Thanks Genevieve for some great pics from the night.

A huge thanks to my sister who came at the last minute to hang out with the girls since E’s wound was still pretty fresh and sore.


Review and Giveaway: Praying God’s Word for Your Life

Giveaway is now closed. The winner of Praying God’s Word for Your Life is Deanna!

Praying-Gods-Word-for-Your-LifePraying God’s Word for Your Life
Written by Kathi Lipp
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Last year we got to hear Kathi Lipp speak at our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. She shared about The Husband Project. (If you like projects, you’ll love Kathi!! There’s also The Me Project, The Getting Yourself Organized Project, The Marriage Project…) We had her back this year to talk about Connecting With Your Kids. (Also a great book!!!) Of course, I had to snatch up a copy of each of the new books that she has.

And I remembered to document my encounter with her this time, because that’s what bloggers do, right? :p


I love Kathi! She is hilarious and real. She’ll tell it like it is. 🙂 Read my review of PRAYING GOD’S WORD FOR YOUR LIFE on our review blog (for an extra entry to win your own copy). I’m not telling you all her books are good because she gave me a free copy of this book give to you either. I actually personally own a copy of every single one of her books!

One lucky reader will receive a copy of Praying God’s Word for Your Life. Giveaway ends Thursday, July 25 at 1:24pm. Emily chose that ending time. :p

To enter, leave a comment telling about the last book you read, or if you have ever met an author before, or anything related to prayer…or say ‘Howdy!’ Thanks!

For extra entries, you can leave one comment on any post on our blog ONCE A DAY ONLY until the end of the giveaway, or leave a comment on our review of Praying God’s Word for Your Life.

– Joyce

Operation Christmas Child 2012

This year we had Operation Christmas Child on our minds all year long. We did the same thing that we did last year, saving up a few items here and there. It helps to really connect these items that we send to the child who will be receiving it.

Our MOPS group collected 85 shoeboxes this year!! And we added the boxes that were collected to those collected by Redwood Christian for over 200 shoeboxes. 🙂 Can’t you just imagine the smiles on the faces of the 200 children who will be receiving these boxes? It might be the only gift that some of these little ones will receive all year. National Collection Week has come and gone, but if you weren’t able to pack a shoebox, it’s NOT TOO LATE!! Click on over to Samaritan Purse’s website to BUILD-A-BOX!

Some more exciting stuff about Operation Christmas Child…..
OCC was started in 1990, and this Christmas, the 100 MILLIONTH shoebox will be delivered! Not only that, but it will be delivered by one of my blogging friends who I serve with on the Inspired to Action team, Amanda! And….not only that, but the 100 millionth shoebox will be delivered in the Dominican Republic where our Compassion child Solissa lives!!

Wrapping paper, collected items, and shoeboxes, oh my!

Choosing their shoebox wrapping paper

Bracelets – we’ve got lots to share!

We divided the items into the 2 shoeboxes.

Emily’s Box

Melody’s Box

Choosing which toothbrushes to put in

Squish – our method to put as much as possible into the boxes is to put smaller items into the bigger items

It fits!

Squish some more

And all the stuff fit into Melody’s shoebox as well. 🙂

There were actually a few more items not pictured that we put in there as well. I wonder how they go through all those shoeboxes to check on items before sending them off. I’m hoping that one day we will be able to go to a collection center to volunteer. How fun would that be!?

We totally did ours early this year (at the beginning of October I think…??) and then I completely forgot to take a picture of the girls holding their boxes. 😦 But here they are filling in their letters:

Did you pack a shoebox this year? What did you put in there?

Operation Christmas Child 2010 Shoebox Packing | Update | 2011