Flannery Correspondence

May 1, 2010

Letters from Planet Mom

Filed under: MOPS, POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 17:38

February 5, 2010

Dear MOPS, Thank you so much for taking the time to read the newsletter — and a special thanks to those who have written down your comments and concerns via email or the blog. After receiving a few concerns about our last “Men Are From Mars” Article, I wanted to take a moment to apologize and explain.

Let me begin by saying sorry if the “Men Are From Mars” Article has offended you. In the midst of our crazy week, Brian and I accidentally printed a draft of the article instead of the final. While the overall content was the same, we intended to delete some of the less tasteful words that had been printed. (The correct, final draft can be found at MOPSinfo.blogspot.com).

As moms, sometimes our jobs can throw us some PG13 (or even R) material that we must somehow convert into PG or G for our kids. As parents of four girls, Brian and I recently hurdled one of these such subjects. We brought home baby brother and it was inevitable that the girls noticed he was different. So, Brian and I began our discussion. What terms would we choose?

My thought was to use the technical terms “penis” and “vagina”. Brian disagreed: “vagina” is usually not the correct technical term. He’d prefer to simply call them private parts. We still haven’t came to a conclusion but we’re working on it. In the end, what we decide is not nearly as important as choosing something. If we do not direct our children, someone or something will direct them for us. I pray that I never shy away from a subject simply because it’s hard or adult content – but that in everything we do as moms we try our best and trust God to do the rest.

When I took the MOPS position of publicity I was immediately excited about Brian writing an article. Why? For several reasons.

First of all, parenting is not a one person job. Even if you are a single mom, your children need a male-perspective or role model. Our jobs as moms are priceless, but let us not underestimate the role of a father (or father-figure). Boys receive from their masculinity and self-confidence from their interactions with dad, and girls their self-esteem and self-worth (“Wild at Heart” and “Captivating” by John Eldredge, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker, and articles such as those found at focusonthefamily.com all talk about the importance of dad).

Let’s face it, men and women parent differently. “Men Are From Mars” is our attempt at shedding some light on the male perspective. Whether if offers a conversation starter for you and your husband, brings up a subject that you have not yet thought about or simply offers a laugh in the midst of a stressful mommy day, our hope is to enhance your role as a mom, your relationship with your spouse and ultimately your walk with God.

Never hesitate to let us know your thoughts! Send comments (and complaints) to Christa, Brian or post them here on-line.

Sincerely, Christa (and Brian) Flannery

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Practicing What We Preach

Filed under: MOPS — BrianOFlan @ 17:30

December 4, 2009

by Christa Flannery

When Brian and I finalized the adoptions of Ada and Tirza five months ago, I declared that I never wanted to go through the foster care roller coaster ever again. It was too hard to live (and love) with the fear that I was going to lose the girls. Over the past month or two God gave me a little perspective and reminded me of the lesson that I wrote about in the last MOPS newsletter.

All of our children (biological, foster, adopted or step) belong to God. We are called to love them while we have them and trust God with the “how long”. When I was writing “Stewardship and Foster Parenting” I felt very strongly that it was the message that God had for the women at MOPS. Turns out it was for me.

On November 24th Brian and I received a phone call. “Ada and Tirza’s biological mom is delivering a baby boy today. Would you be interested in taking him?” We were a little shocked. Brian and I had just decided to start trying to get pregnant again (and had even begun praying for a boy) but we had expected nine or ten months to prepare. God’s timing is not always ours.

Social Services dropped the newborn off at my grandma’s house just before Thanksgiving dinner. We call him Baby Jude.* Last week I was visiting with Karen, a friend who stopped by to meet the baby. I was grateful for her enthusiasm. Not everyone is thrilled about our newest addition, including some close friends. Shouldn’t Christians be the most excited about new life and taking care of orphans?

Karen told me, “That’s why I’m not a Christian and don’t go to church. So many people that say they believe in God are the biggest hypocrites.” It was a great opportunity for me. I apologized for the inconsistency of others. As for me, all I could say was that I want my actions to meet my words. I hope that Karen and everyone around me sees consistency in my life.

It is our lives, our day to day example, that can show others who is our God. Let us live consistently with the Word of God and what we speak to others. We don’t have to be perfect, just consistent (and ready to admit our imperfection). Christianity is not about perfection. It’s about repentance, humility, forgiveness and loving others.

As Brian and I begin the adoption adventure once again, we try to keep perspective. Jude, like our four girls, is not ours. He belongs to God. I am not perfect but I’m trying to practice what I preach. I want to love Jude like he will last forever and trust God with the “how long”. I wrote it; now watch me live it (and let me know if I fall short).

*Jude is temporarily in my parent’s custody because their foster care license is current. Ours lapsed when we adopted the girls and said, “Hands full; no more for now.” Please pray our hands grow and that Jude can be placed in our home as soon as possible.

Stewartship And Foster Parenting

Filed under: MOPS — BrianOFlan @ 17:29

NOVEMBER 20, 2009

by Christa Flannery

When my husband and I were going through the adoption process we experienced some very emotional times. I remember one day specifically, when it looked like the bio-parents had a fighting chance of getting Ada and Tirza back. Ada had been a part of our family for nine months and Tirza for two months (we got her the day after she was born). I just couldn’t imagine them suddenly not being a part of our lives.

How could I lose these children? Or even harder, how could I love them the way that God intended and then give them back? I could not love these girls — pour myself into it — if I thought about the fact that they were not yet my daughters.
It was during this adoption roller coaster that God really taught me about stewardship. In one arm I held Tirza, who was given to me by social services. I was a foster parent assigned to care for her until they decided her permanent placement. In my other arm I held Zella, born to me only eleven days before Tirza was born to someone else. She was mine. No one could take her from me; I was her permanent placement.

But wait… was I? Was she not also entrusted to me for safe-keeping by someone with much more authority than social services? And isn’t it God’s decision when our time has come to go Home? Suddenly I realized that there was no real difference. Both of these lives (in fact, all four of my children) were gifts. All I could do was be thankful for the time that I was given and give it my best as I fostered all my girls.

This evening we received a phone call asking for prayer. Our pregnant friend had stopped feeling her twins move. Tomorrow, she will be induced at 27 weeks and deliver her first children. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the pain that my friend and her husband must be going through – delivering her twins whom she will never see grow up or even breathe their first breaths. I’ve shed many tears tonight, perhaps more than I have in a long time (ever since our adoption finalized).

I went into my girls’ room and said a prayer. I never want to take it for granted; I never want to forget that they are gifts. Sooner or later our children leave. Sooner: they may assert independence, shy from our kisses, go to school all day or vanish in some tragedy. Later: they may grow up, get married, start their own families and move far away. So they are on loan, not ours after all. If and when He reclaims His children, I hope to hear “Well done good and faithful servant” and find the comfort that can only come from God.

Please pray for Sarah and Chris as they grieve the loss of their twin girls. Please pray for every mom in our group who has suffered from a miscarriage. Please pray for every woman who is struggling with infertility. Pray for every parent who has lost a child. And pray that each of us enjoys each moment, each child, and that we don’t forget Who loves our kids even more than we do.

Men Are From Mars Intro

Filed under: MOPS, POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 14:27

September 17, 2009

The “Men Are From Mars” column by Christa and Brian Flannery:

So, here we are “Together on Planet Mom”. Have you ever thought to yourself “where in the world (or out of it) is dad?” In light of the fact that this year’s MOPS theme focuses on community, and one of the most important communities we have is right at home, we thought we’d let the men share a little insight from their perspective.

MOPS and POPS

Filed under: MOPS, POPS! — Tags: , , , , — BrianOFlan @ 14:23

Brian and Christa team-wrote the MOPS newsletter this year (2009-2010, MOPS follows the school year).

Christa was in charge of publication so she had to cultivate advertisements and fire up Corel Draw to lay out two or three articles with small useful information on the side or a featured MOPS bio.

Brian’s job was to fire up the men-folk.  Behind Christa’s group of 80 MOPS women are about 80 men who are equally exasperated with their babies and toddlers.  But we’re just not into crafts and motivational warm-fuzzies.

Thus began POPS!, the male counter-positive to MOPS.  While MOPS stands for Mothers Of PreSchoolers, POPS! is not an acronym.  It’s an explosion.

For anyone out there who is a father or has been a father or will be a father or knows little kids that drive him nuts, here are some selected excerpts highlighting the brief and glorious debut of POPS!

Christa’s introduction to the POPS! concept and the Men Are from Mars series.

For the next few weeks, Christa and I will cross-post some of our favorite articles from there to here.  We are that vain.

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