Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Experiencing Maine: A Mother, Woman, Author, Speaker Point of View

It’s been a few days since I made it back to Tennessee from Maine, and I’m still trying to process the events. 

A wonderful trip. The kind of experience that was almost too perfect to be real. A dream of sorts.

The history! The breathtaking scenery, and rustic feel! Beautiful homes, Mom & Pop shops, and WHOA, THE FOOD! But the people…the women, the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Bangor, Hampden, Fairfield were incredible. Authentic to the core, hospitable, filled and overflowing with Joy in spite of their personal battles—and they had many.   
Their problems came in a host of varieties, as diverse as themselves. The groups consisted of older women, younger, single, married, divorced, widowed, first time mommas, and adoptive & fostering parents. Some were new in their faith, yet some were seasoned believers, while others were seeing what all this “God” stuff was about.

They mothered their children, cared for each other, and me—an outsider. They carted me around the towns of Maine, kids in tow. I listened to their life stories, and watched in awe of how they wiped noses, settled sibling disputes, and passed out individual sized snacks for their kiddos, while never missing a beat in our conversation. These women loved the Lord. They love their families, each other, and their community. To witness them at work made my eyes wide, amazed. Oh, they kept thanking me for coming and speaking to their MOPS groups, saying how much of a blessing I had been to them, but it was them who blessed me.

And here’s a neat twist…

The woman who invited me to come speak, Amy, had been a part of my MOPS group in Tennessee four years ago (when my youngest was still MOPS age). Four years ago, and she moved almost as soon as she and I were becoming good friends. She moved back to Maine, and started a MOPS group inspired by our Tennessee group. When the MOPS group in Maine grew too large, it split into two groups—the Bangor MOPS, & Hampden MOPS. From those two groups, another group sprang up in Fairfield, ME. 

All because of one woman…

I had the opportunity to speak at each MOPS group that Amy had helped bring to life.These mommas were amazing! My jaw still hangs a bit loose when I think about their life stories, and then my jaw drops a bit lower when I think of how one person made a difference in the lives of these mommas in Maine. 
It makes me think, and wonder what kind of influence I’ve had, both positive and negative, in the lives of people that I may not ever know about.

Amy was impacted by our local MOPS group, and she in return chose to impact her community in Maine. She chose, and we can too.

How do we impact those around us, and how can we impact people in a way that glorifies God, and shares His love with others? 

Definitely worthy questions to chew on, and then act on.

I am thankful to our MOPS group, the MOPS groups in Maine, to my dear friends and family who’ve made a significant, and wonderful impact on my life. 

Anyone up for another trip to Maine?! :) 
I enjoyed my time, and I hope you’ll enjoy a few interesting things I learned & experienced in Maine:

*Lobster fresh from the sea is WAY better than one at Red Lobster, yet still messy to eat.
*Wildlife is abundant! Bald Eagles, porcupine, deer, beaver…y’all, it was amazing to see some of these animals in their natural habitat!
*Waterways are everywhere. Lakes, ponds, rivers, the Atlantic…water all over…and it’s gorgeous!
*Blueberry farms & fields are a thriving industry. Who knew? I’d never given much thought to blueberries for the fact that blueberry farms in existence.
*Millions of bees are shipped in to help pollinate the blueberry bushes. Who knew?
*There is a “mud season,” which I thought was interesting. It comes after all the snow and ice has melted, and the ground is spongy and muddy.
*Stephen King lives in Bangor, ME, and I so got to see his home! Now if only I had the courage to knock on his door. Sad sigh.
*”Going to Camp” refers to spending time in a small cabin by the lake. Apparently many Mainers “go to camp” and have a “camp” that’s been in their family for years. One of the sweet MOPS ladies took me out into the wilderness (No cell service, y’all), to experience a camp for the afternoon.
*Whoopie pies come in like 80 million flavors, and they are worth EVERY CALORIE!
*Moxie is a soda from Maine…and it is…gross! Ha! Unless you like cough syrup, then you may like it. 

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