Thursday, December 19, 2013

Free Holiday Printables!

Add holiday charm to your Christmas gifts with our free printable Christmas gift tags! These gift tags feature fun Christmas sayings and elements in red & gold. After printed these were glued to Kraft paper for a fun twist but could easily be used alone or adhered to whatever favorite holiday paper you choose!
Another fun idea is to use your favorite holiday saying and frame it! It's the perfect way to decorate for the holidays!
Enjoy these printables!
--Brittany Trautmann

Click Here for the free Christmas gift tag printables!
 Click Here for the free "O Come Let Us Adore Him" printable!

A Beautiful Mess

Our theme this year in MOPS is “A Beautiful Mess”. Can you relate? On a good day, I can relate to the “beautiful” part. On pretty much any day, I can relate to the “mess”.
I am messy. Very messy. I have been this way since I was a young, young girl. I have many childhood memories of being banned to my bedroom as a kid, not permitted to come back out until the room was cleaned to my mom’s satisfaction. In elementary school, my desk was so messy that I was once relegated to the hallway to clean it. High school? If you needed a moldy banana for your science project, you’d probably find it in my locker. My roommates in my first apartment wouldn’t look in my bedroom if they could help it, and the first time I got my own place? Eeek! Even didn’t want to look if I could help it.
I always thought that I would eventually learn the art of being neat, tidy, and organized. You’d think it would come naturally to me. In my own head, I am super organized… obsessively so. That’s the melancholic half of my personality. But I’m also half phlegmatic, and that side wins when it comes to the way I care (or don’t care) for my personal space. And so here I am, thirty-four years old, a wife and mother of four, and have really not come very far at all down the road towards cleanliness.
My emotions about all of this vary, depending on my mood and the circumstances of the season. Sometimes I really just don’t care. Other times I’m frustrated by it, and stressed out. I have been irritated with myself. I’ve been inspired to make myself promises for the millionth time. Sometimes I feel inferior, or gross, or defective somehow. There’s shame attached to it… it can make me feel like a failure as a wife and mom. My home isn’t worthy of Pinterest or surprise visitors. It’s a home to keep hidden… to keep the doors closed. There’s nothing positive about this character flaw of mine.
Or so I believed… until a crazy thought came to mind the other day. What if I’ve been looking at it all wrong? What if, instead of seeing my messy environment as a result of my weakness, I saw it as a result of my blessings?
I’ve taken this thought and run with it, and the result has been huge. My eyes have been opened to the true meaning behind each piece that contributes to the mess. Those dirty dishes piled in the sink? They mean my family ate well last night. The books tossed around the living room? They made it possible for little guy and I to have story time. The gross bathroom? Means we have indoor plumbing and money for toothpaste. The pine needles on the carpet? It was sunny enough, and my kids were healthy enough, to enjoy going outside. And the messy house as a whole? The dozens of things scattered throughout every single room? They mean I have a home that is full. Filled with little ones, and not-so-little ones, and a husband, and a ME… and every bit of mess is just evidence of the joy that went before it. 
And that’s beautiful. Happy New Year.
--Cyndi Sparre

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pistachio, Dried Cranberry, and Toasted Coconut Bark

I saw this on Pinterest the other day and I said "YES! That's it!" I like to make simple goodies for the neighbors and friends for our Christmas Eve deliveries, this recipe looks easy enough and definitely is gorgeous enough to package in a clear bag with cute ribbon and tag! 

It also sounds divine with the combo of green pistachios, deep red cranberries and toasted coconut for a twist! So if you are looking for a quick, easy and pretty edible gift to give, this is the ticket! I think this will give a lot of bang for your buck, or rather a lot of merry for your money :) Merry Christmas!! Xoxo Katie

--Katie Hanchinamani

Pistachio, Dried Cranberry, and Toasted Coconut Bark

  • prep: 15 mins
    total time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • yield: Makes one 9-by-12 1/2-inch sheet or six 2-1/2-by-5-inch bars


Cook's Note

Bark can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


  1. Step 1

    Coat a 9-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet or 6 small loaf pans (2 1/2-by-5-inches) with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on long sides. Pour melted chocolate into baking sheet or divide among pans (3 tablespoons each), and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle toppings over chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Peel off parchment, and break bark into pieces.

Recipe can also be found here!

Restaurant Pick--Dickie's Barbeque Pit

Dickie's Barbeque Pit

If you've ever seen Steve Martin's "Father of the Bride", then you may recall that you don't want to have the word "pit" on your wedding invitation. However, weddings aside, this is a "pit" worth checking out! You can make up your own meal combo out of the wide variety of both meats and sides that they have. My favorite? Turkey breast and chicken breast - the two meat combo! Along with the sides, this gives me plenty to share with my youngest child. And, speaking of children, on Sundays you get a free kid's meal for every adult meal purchased. Score! Our family has visited the Lynden and Auburn locations but never fear - there is now a location right off 128th in Everett and one coming soon in Bellevue!

Some people have lamented that out of all the sides available it's a crime that cornbread is not one of them. Perhaps...but I'm also completely in love with the dinner rolls that come with every meal. Addicting, to say the least. I'm not missing the cornbread. Another little perk is that they have a soft serve vanilla ice cream machine that is open to all their customers. If you actually have any room left in your stomach that is! I've been known to get some soft serve ice cream and root beer in my cup to go. Hard to go wrong with a root beer float, my friends.

Visit the website here:)

4.5/5 stars

--Emily Hoornstra

When Christmas Loses its Magic

When I was growing up, Christmastime always had this magical element to it. There was just something whimsical in the air that made everyday exciting. The lights, the tree, helping mom put the ornaments on. The possibility of trading school days for snow days. The Christmas outfits and cookies for Santa. Knowing he wasn't real but still kind of hoping maybe he was. Family time, board games.Sleeping in sleeping bags out in the living room and watching Christmas movies with my brothers. There was always this cozy, secure, protective feeling the holidays brought. As if life wrapped me up in a giant-sized, holiday down comforter that I just cozied my way into and wanted to stay forever.

I don't remember how old I was, but I was still fairly young on that Christmas morning when my grandfather died. I didn't know him. He lived in India and at that point in my life I had met him twice and once was when I was too little to remember. So, my memories of him aren't many, if any. But, that Christmas morning was the very first time I saw my indestructible dad and uncle cry. It was the year Christmas kinda lost its magic and I thought it might never come back.

It took a few years before Christmas went back to the way it was, but ever since then, my heart gets a little heavy around the holidays because I know that it's not always all it's cracked up to be. This expectation of magic is hard to hold up when you're in the middle of the things of life. Pain doesn't pause when Black Friday starts. This year, I'm thinking of a friend who is celebrating his first Christmas without his dad, a wife without her husband. I'm thinking of a friend who just went through traumatic, physical pain and is learning to live and function through that. I'm thinking of friends who are watching their families fall apart and others who have shattered, broken hearts.

There is all this pressure to join in with the glamour of the 'holiday spirit' when reality might be the next carol-er at your door is gonna get punched in the nose or you have to change the station when you hear "Joy to the World" because it's just so hard to find joy in your world right now.

And yet, the real Christmas story was not a glamorous one. An unwed mother gave birth in a barn and a king wanted to kill her baby--who happened to be the Savior of the world. The real beauty of this season is that it reminds us that grace stepped into a world of pain and suffering so we wouldn't have to endure it alone. We have a God who brings comfort and peace when Christmas lights and songs cannot.

The one who created the world didn't come with glamorous, flashing lights. He chose to come in a posture of humility and vulnerability. He created a place for all of us to fit.

So, whether this is a magical season or a difficult one---you fit beautifully in it, just as you are.

--Lisa Barton--Til Kingdom Come

Recap of Meeting--11/26/2013

In the midst of an unusually busy week we had MOPS. Did you miss it? Do you remember it? :) That’s how I’m feeling tonight, recovering from the insanity, I mean joy, of decorating for Christmas, enjoying Thanksgiving festivities, combing the Internet for deals on gifts, and still battling sickness in our house. Our MOPS meeting from last week feels more like last year!

Before we even got to hear from our speaker, we had an ice breaker activity to help us meet the other MOPS moms in our neighborhood. In the adjoining room, we created a “map” of the neighborhoods and cities near Westgate Chapel and asked each mom to stand where she lives and meet her three closest neighbors. I loved seeing where everyone lives and getting to meet moms who aren’t at my table, but nearby. 

This activity tied in so nicely to our speaker for the day, Brenda Vladyko, and her talk on Friendship: The Importance of Living in Community. Brenda covered a number of different issues about friendship, but since I only took notes on the ideas that struck me, I apologize for a very slanted recap this time. She began talking about how difficult it can be to make friends as adults, especially if you are not living in the area you grew up in. She likened finding friends to dating, which I thought was so hilarious and true. She continued to describe the difficulties us moms have in friendships, because not only are we looking for other women we enjoy spending time with, but then there is also the dynamic of our children and how they get along, and do our parenting styles correlate enough to be friends with our children around too. That’s why MOPS is such a great platform for building community and finding those women that we can make friendships with that last beyond our MOPS table group or beyond a playdate at the park.

Once you are ready to make new friends, Brenda’s best advice is to remember to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is hard, because it’s not always pretty and can leave you open to hurt. Just thinking about my own friendships, the women that have showed me they don’t have it all figured out are the women I want to spend more time with. It’s intimidating to be friends with someone who seems perfect. This advice was a good reminder because with all of our social media it is so easy to hide ourselves and put out an image that doesn’t reflect who we truly are.

The last topic about friendships that Brenda covered was that not all friendships are meant to be bffs. There will be women in your life that you will create friendships with that will survive time, distance, family dynamics and all sorts of other situations. Hold on to those friendships and cherish them. But some friendships are specifically created for a season of your life. Especially while we are “in the trenches” of mothering young children, sometimes a friendship will happen very quickly and deeply. This friendship is new and exciting, but also feels like you have been friends forever. When the day comes that someone moves, or commitments draw you in other directions, that super close friendship will fade. As tough as times like these can be, they help us through seasons in our own lives and help us move on too. I also appreciate the idea that the I don’t have to be best friends with all the women I meet, and it’s okay when I am not close friends with some women anymore.
So many great reminders Brenda shared with us about being in community with one another and developing friendships. I hope this crazy, busy holiday season is also a season of cultivating new friendships in your own lives.

--Kristine Manz

Monday, November 25, 2013


“Shapes” is the next theme for BOZ Treehouse Time at MOPPETS. To introduce this topic, please help your child identify circles, triangles, rectangles and squares during everyday activities. For example, your child might feel the circular quarter in your pocket, eat a triangular piece of pizza or rectangular granola bar and use a square napkin. Have fun exploring the world of shapes with your child!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Books in Abundance--Thankful for Good Books

Happy November, MOPS moms!  Now is a great time to start thinking about finding meaningful books to read to your kids about Thanksgiving so they feel more connected to this special holiday in our American tradition.  While most public school children will have some of the history of this day drilled into their heads over the years while they make their construction paper turkeys and pilgrim hats, preschool children may not have had the opportunity to build the background knowledge yet.  Enjoy this selection of Thanksgiving related books with your little ones this month and beyond!

Spot's Thanksgiving by Eric Hill, 2003.
This board book is great for the birth to 2 year crowd with familiar characters and a simple plot.  Spot helps make a pumpkin pie for his family's Thanksgiving family gathering.

1, 2, 3 Thanksgiving by W. Nikola-Lisa, 1991.
This book combines beginning counting skills with relating what goes into preparing a Thanksgiving meal.  I like the happy family represented here.

Thanksgiving Mice! by Bethany Roberts, 2001.  There are several books in the "Mice" series, talking about different holidays.  In this story, the mice put on a play to tell a little Thanksgiving history.  The text is brief, and the illustrations are charming.  There is plenty of room for discussion about what is happening on each page.

Over the River: A Turkey's Tale by Derek Anderson, 2005.  Using the text for the familiar song "Over the River and Through the Woods," a family of turkeys scramble through the woods on their perilous journey to the grandparent turkeys' house, avoiding the hunter and his dog.  The illustrations really help tell the story well.

This is the Turkey by Abby Levine, 2000.  Following some of the repetition of the "This is the House that Jack Built" poem, this story rhymes its way through describing the preparations of a Thanksgiving dinner with a large happy family and a table full of food.  But when "the turkey to shout about" is suddenly ruined, the family finds more to be thankful about than the main entree.

Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell, 1999.  This is my favorite preschool / early elementary information Thanksgiving book I have reviewed.  A group of young school children put on a play to relate information about the first Thanksgiving.  I like the inclusion of the African American family celebrating together, as well as the less stereotyped depiction of the Native Americans that the Pilgrims encountered.  Thankfully, however, the information is not too deep, so younger readers will not lose interest.

I hope you all will find many things to be thankful for during this season, whether you have large families to celebrate with or small intimate dinners instead.  We have many things going for us, if we look hard enough.  Let's help our kids remember those good things, no matter our current circumstances.  

Tune in for my next blog entry, when I will review some of the fun Christmas books available on the market today!

--Emily Hawkins

Slow Cooker Beef Stew IV

This recipe is similar to one I made the other day! The men or meat eaters in your life will love this comforting and hearty dish! Serve with warm crusty bread and butter and a side salad and call it a day! If you don't have red wine, white will work as well or cooking sherry.  Let the slow cooker work for you all day and throw everything together when making breakfast! Enjoy! Xoxo Katie 

Original recipe makes 12 servings
  1. Place meat in a large plastic bag. Combine 1/4 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt; pour into the bag with the meat, and shake to coat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Transfer to a slow cooker along with the carrots, potatoes, parsley, and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups of boiling water and dry soup mix; pour into the slow cooker.
  3. In the same skillet, melt butter and saute onions until softened; remove to the slow cooker. Pour red wine into the skillet, and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Remove from heat, and pour into the slow cooker.
  4. Cover, and cook on High for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to Low, and cook for 6 hours, or until meat is fork tender. In a small bowl or cup, mix together 2 tablespoons flour with 1/4 cup warm water. Stir into stew, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until thickened.

(Recipe can be found here)

--Katie Hanchinamani

Journal Prompt #2

Last week's question was about your personal fall memories from childhood. Now, think forward 30 years to how you want your own children to remember fall as a child. Write down some ideas and then think of a way to implement the easiest idea!

Recap of Meeting--11/12/2013

There have been times where I've wondered how our MOPS meetings even happen. Here we are, a large group of women with numerous children, making our way to Westgate Chapel. Each woman carefully juggling kids, purses, phones, diapers, toys, snacks and sometimes even a quiche! (I even went out and bought an insulated casserole carrier to help with this task  despite my idea that women under 60 aren't supposed to own those.)  All of this after we have conquered waking up (read drinking an entire pot of coffee), making sure our sweet angels are snuggled, fed, dressed, brushed, clean and packed. Oh yeah, and if we can do some of those things for ourselves, even better. Then we battle traffic and any number of other obstacles that impede our progress to our MOPS meeting. That was me this Tuesday. And I know I was not alone. I was late because I had forgotten Nicholas‘ lunch in the kitchen, so yay for me, two trips to school before 9am! Upon arrival I find that I was not the only harried Mom coming in late. One Mom divulged to me that she had such a hard morning with her kiddos, she considered not coming. Another mama was consoling her little one that was just not interested in being in Moppets today. The last mom I saw was upset because in the process of getting everyone here this morning she had lost her phone. Fast-forward an hour into our meeting, we are all settled in, further caffeinated, fed, and the chaos of our mornings is fading away.  

This meeting we heard from Emilie McFarlane, a mom of three young children, and a contributor to the blog This Beautiful Frugal Life. Emilie came to share with us how to celebrate Christmas on a budget. She began by sharing a story about a past Christmas where in an effort to save money she chose to hand-make many of her gifts. Through this she realized that home-made does not necessarily cost less, and that planning your time is of key importance as she was still putting her gifts together on Christmas morning. I so have been there myself. Remember the t-shirt scarves we made last year? Yup, I was still cutting up t-shirts on Christmas morning last year. The first thing Emilie suggests doing is to make a plan and set limitations. Your plan can involve goals and priorities over the season, knowing time specific information like shipping or craft projects, making traditions, and gifting ideas like drawing names or having a theme. Next, Emilie addressed having a budget for your Christmas expenditures  This could be as specific as including wrapping, decor, cards, clothing and even gas into your finances, or keeping it simple and focus on just the gifts themselves. Her #1 biggest tip for saving money over the holidays is to use cash. When the money is gone, you are done. 

Emilie provided us with an outline full of great websites and links on saving time, money and sanity. I had no idea about that posts promotional codes for a number of different retail stores, or that tracks stores price matching polices, and that compiles all the promotions planned for the big day. Great news for many was that unless you love the craziness of Black Friday, most of those deals are accessible either on the store websites on Friday or on the following Cyber Monday. Lastly, Emilie shared a number of creative gift ideas that include the idea of gifting experiences, personal photo gifts, themes like cooking or colors. My favorite idea that was nearly no cost was to make gift certificates for things like an extra 1/2 hour until bedtime, or even let the kids create gift certificates for things they would like to do with Daddy.

This meeting was so full of great, practical information that I’m sure you’ll want to access this stuff again.  Emilie wrote a special blog post with links to all the great websites and other ideas she mentioned. You can find that post by clicking here 

She also included a link for the outline of her talk, so if you missed it or have already lost yours, you can see it again.  Here’s hoping for a Christmas season full of peace, joy and special memories to you and yours. 

--Kristine Manz

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Journal Prompt #1

Remember those super cute journals we made for our first craft project? Well, we are going to start posting journal prompts to get your creative juices flowing to add some content to all those blank pages! Feel free to use the comment box on this post if you feel inclined to share what you've written! We would love it!

Journal Prompt #1:

What was a favorite fall memory or tradition as a child? How old were you when it happened?  For 5 minutes relive that memory or tradition through writing about it. Need help? Think of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings that go along with it. 

Friday, November 8th--Moms and Tots Playtime!

Owning your Story

Like most moms, over the years I have struggled with the tendency to compare myself to other moms.  Here are other moms that I have compared myself to:  moms who have high-powered careers and still manage to raise great kids, moms who have kids really close together in age and have not run away, strangled one of them or been committed to a mental hospital, moms who feed their kids only organic, locally grown food, moms who are in incredible shape, moms who voluntarily travel a lot with their kids, moms who get cranky less often with their family than I do…. 

That’s quite a list!  And that doesn’t even include everything!  I don’t think I’m alone in engaging in this practice, though.  All moms do it at some point, even if we try not to and know that it’s destructive. 

I struggled with comparisons most mightily during the first few years of my son’s life, when I hadn’t yet gained confidence in my own mothering style or in God’s unique plan for my life.  I agonized over the decision of whether to work outside the home after my son was born, with how much to work, with what type of work to do, etc.  I constantly compared myself to moms who had both high-powered careers and great kids.  I repeatedly asked myself things like:  What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I do what they are doing?  Why do I feel so exhausted and unfulfilled?  Why can’t I just pull it together and do what everyone else is doing? 

It took two years of this to realize that maybe God had a different plan for my life.  Maybe God created me with a unique personality, with unique gifts, with unique circumstances and with a unique story to live.  Eventually I quit my job to stay home full time and I could not be happier.  I am grateful every single day that I had this choice and that I took the plunge.  I've learned that I’m happiest when I can do a few things really well, rather than being spread too thin.  I've learned that having a career is not the only way that I can reach my potential and use my gifts.  I've learned that my path is mine alone, that it is no better or worse than anybody else’s, and that living this unique path leads to joy and fulfillment.

None of this is to say that I think other moms’ lives should look the way that mine does.  God made each of us a particular way, with a particular plan, and with unique talents and gifts.  To compare ourselves to others is to wish that God made us differently.  As Romans 12:6 states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”  Romans further instructs, “If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

We were made the way we are for a reason.  God loves us exactly the way we are.  So, find your gifts.  Own your story.  Embrace the unique person that you are instead of wishing that you were made some other way.  This, I think, is what God wants for all of us. 

--Emily Fountain

MOPPETS in November!

“Helping others” is the next theme for BOZ Treehouse Time at MOPPETS.
We will focus on everyday ways children can help around the house, including
picking up toys, making their beds and turning off lights. To introduce this
topic, please look for opportunities to highlight and affirm the way your child
helps (or attempts to help!) in the next few days!

-Hally Thorp

Recap of Meeting--10/22/2013

Wow, three weeks between our MOPS meetings is such a long time. I hope you all have been enjoying the beauty of fall, the leaves changing colors, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and are ready to celebrate a season of thankfulness. I know I am thankful that our next MOPS meeting is next Tuesday! 

At our last meeting we heard from Erica Graf, a local mom, homeschooling parent, and a woman passionate about making learning fun for children. Her presentation, Learning Games for Young Children, gave us her top tips to engage children and how to create a life-long love of learning. Erica began by sharing a little bit about learning styles and how understanding your children, specifically how they learn best, will lead you both into making the learning process fun. Here are Erica’s top six tips for laying a strong foundation to learning:
  1. Read, Read, Read, and oh yeah, Read.
  2. Limit Screen Time - especially solo screen time.
  3. Experience Life Together - be a part of their world and let them into yours.
  4. Get into the Library.
  5. Set the Example - no screens, read, be inquisitive, experience life.
  6. Springboard Their Interests.

Next, Erica began to explain and show us a number of simple, yet effective games to play with our children.  A couple of the games that really looked fun to try in our own home were:

*Lid Toss - Writing letters, or the letter sounds, on concentrate juice lids. Once the child identifies the correct letter, they can toss the letter into a bowl.

*As Long/Heavy As A - Great way to teach measurements since most young children aren't ready for concepts of inches or feet. But kids can use comparisons such as "is that as long as a baseball bat?"

*Laundry Math - How many socks are there?   Now how many pairs does that make? If we fold a wash cloth once, that makes half, fold it again and now we have quarters. (It’s quite possible that I just want to have my children fold clothes under the guise of learning.) Erica also reminded us of a number of games that we might have played ourselves as children that are still fun and still effective as teaching concepts, such as dominoes, dot-to-dot pictures, Mad Libs, and many more.  Although much of her presentation was information many of us moms have heard before, it was a great reminder to enjoy this time while our children are eager to learn.  Take the time to be intentional with our young ones, seek ways we can incorporate teaching into our daily lives, and have fun with it. 

If you want to follow up with Erica you, she is on Facebook as Erica Graf. Her blog is And her email address is 
We got to follow up this talk by creating “Activity Jars” with Kristina.  We each got to write 30 different activites on sticks to place inside our jars.  Now when the kids are restless and we are short on ideas, here is an easy tool to let the kids choose an activity. If you missed out on this, we should have extra copies of the activity lists available so that you can create your own “activity jar” too.

--Kristine Manz

Monday, October 14, 2013

Appreciating Our Bodies

There are a lot of things that I love about being pregnant (including a few that I don’t).  One of the things I love most, however, is having a renewed awareness of the functional role that my body plays in the miraculous process of growing a human life.  In our culture, it is so easy to view our bodies in terms of our appearance and whether we are happy with our appearance.  At least for me, though, being pregnant reminds me of the far grander purpose and miracle of the female body. 

For two years prior to this pregnancy, my husband and I struggled with infertility in our quest to have a second child.  Throughout this process, I became very well educated about the intricacies of human reproduction.  There are literally thousands of tiny little processes that have to work just right in order for a healthy baby to be born.  Now. whenever I hear about a friend’s pregnancy, I want to jump for joy and exclaim, “It’s a miracle!”  This probably makes people think that I’m crazy, but I really believe it to be true!  Our bodies are amazing in what they are able to do. 

Beyond being pregnant and giving birth, our bodies are integral to our jobs as mothers.  Even if our children are adopted, are stepchildren, or came into our lives some other way, we still need our bodies to love and care for them.  We hold our babies and wrap them in our hugs with our arms.  We feed them, change them and play with them with our hands. We listen to their first words, smell their delicious baby smell, wipe their tears, and the list goes on and on.  Our bodies carry us around our homes and our communities as we go about our mothering tasks. 
Throughout our lives, our bodies allow us to experience the full bounty of love and life that God has given us.  We can smell the air after a fall rain, marvel at the beauty of God’s creation, hug the loved ones we are so lucky to share our lives with, and engage in all of the wonderful things that life has to offer.  I have been blessed with mostly good health.  When I remember all the good things that a healthy body allows me to experience and enjoy, I am reminded of how silly it is to be concerned with what I sometimes consider to be my body’s imperfections. 
Romans 12: 1-2 says, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  According to God, our bodies are holy and acceptable.  To have a healthy body with which to love, live and mother is an amazing, precious gift from God.  As far as God is concerned, my body is holy and acceptable.  On good days I am able to remember this.  I hope you will too.  

--Emily Fountain