Small Acts of Kindness: MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers

december2016daycareBy Julie Arduini

It was an organization that made me feel important and normal. At meetings I was encouraged that my toddler would not graduate in diapers or with a pacifier. As a new mom, we were given refreshments that weren’t first touched by our child’s sticky fingers. We heard powerful speakers who challenged and grew us as wives and moms. We even made crafts that perked up our home and often made life more efficient. I was a MOPS—Mothers of Preschoolers fan before I even realized the extent they were available to their moms, and more than once this organization met me in my deepest valley.

In 2001, they were the first to bring meals for a week after I miscarried. It was such a blessing because I was hurting in every way. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but I had a small child to care for. Those meals, their cards, and most of all, their prayers carried me through that horrific first week. It was a dear friend and fellow MOPS mom who met with me to let me grieve. It was a gift of her time and love I will never forget.

By 2003, we had a baby daughter and she was chronically ill. Things were so critical at one point that we nearly lost her due to doctor error. My local MOPS chapter came with meals once again. They let me cry and vent. When some suggested we take legal matters, they didn’t push when we felt that wasn’t what God wanted us to do. And when they sat me down to tell me the doctor’s practice was an upcoming speaker for a meeting, they begged me to stay home. Yet, when I felt again, God wanted me to be there, it was a beautiful moment of public forgiveness we all got to be a part of.

mops

Once we recovered, we then learned we were moving to a state where we knew no one. MOPS was the key ingredient to why I was able to make the move. I made sure there was a chapter in our new area. When I reached out and let them know I was moving there, they called me every week to see how the move was going. My husband was already in Ohio, but I was back in New York trying to sell our house. I was taking care of a sick baby and homeschooling our son. My dad passed away. Those calls from my new MOPS home was a lifeline for me. When I finally made the move to Ohio, they met me the first day there with flowers and meals. There were meals for a week, as well as cards and greetings. They continued to reach out as we got used to the area and placed our daughter with specialists and therapies.

MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. Although I have now “aged out” with my kids long out of pre school age, I was honored to serve as a mentor mom and remain a cheerleader for the moms I stay in contact with.

If you are a mom with a newborn through kindergarten age child or children, I hope you visit http://mops.org and find a group near you. As the website states, check out the grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers.

 Click to Tweet: MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. https://ctt.ec/OL0ef+ @JenHWrites


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/

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Why I Keep Saying Yes to The Proposal

May2015KeptconferenceBy Julie Arduini

I love movies. Most of the time I enjoy action/adventure movies with my husband, perhaps as a way to unwind after serving others or writing all day. People think it’s funny because I write romance, and yet romantic movies are not always my go-to.

There is one romantic comedy that no matter where I see it playing, no matter what I’m doing, every time it’s on, I’m watching it. I stop everything and watch as if I haven’t already watched it a dozen times.

What movie?

The Proposal.

Starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, this movie focuses on a New York City publishing company that only wants the best. Sandra Bullock is the best but it has come at a cost. She’s not nice and everyone fears her.

Ryan Reynolds is his assistant and I love his backstory. He hails from Alaska where his father wants him to take over the family business. Turns out his family is very successful but it isn’t where the character wants to be. He wants to be an author. He’s even given his manuscript to his boss to read. But she told him it wasn’t publishable in order to keep him as her assistant. He’s the best she’s had but is too wounded to let him know.

What makes the story fun, although not completely believable, is that Ms. Bullock’s character, Margaret Tate, is going to be sent back to Canada if she doesn’t get her Visa straightened out. The only way she sees this working to her benefit is to force her assistant, Andrew Paxton, to marry her. This is strictly a business arrangement and feels more like blackmail. But Andrew is savvy and uses the situation to his advantage. He forces her to attend his Grammy’s 90th birthday in Sitka, Alaska.

I loved The Proposal because it did a grthe proposaleat job blending in their backstories. Margaret had a lot of loss and that’s why she’s wounded. It would have been easy to let her just be a mean boss, but she was complex. She was vulnerable. She was funny.

The chemistry between the two was great. Their comedy had great rhythm. I root for them all the time even though I know the ending. That’s the mark of a well written movie.

There are business lessons to take away from The Proposal as well. Margaret sacrificed everything to feel safe within the walls of the corporation. She had no friends, no romance, nothing but her job. When she has her citizenship crisis the job can’t save her. She needs others. For Andrew, he could have also lived safe within the confines of the family business but he left everything to work with a tough boss to pursue his dream.

The Proposal showed me romantic movies are great entertainment, business premises can be funny, and there are lessons to learn even in a comedy.

If you haven’t watched it, I encourage you to. It is PG-13 for language and a couple adult situations.

Like Margaret, Mercy wants to feel safe within her own walls. But she knows its time to step out…

Unlikely Mergercover of unlikely merger

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ through surrender. She’s the author of the Amazon bestseller, Entrusted and co-author of the international bestseller The Love Boat Bachelor. She also shared her story in the Amazon bestseller infertility devotional, A Walk in the Valley. She’s the fiction contributing editor for the digital magazine, Imaginate, and blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com.

 

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