The Common Grounds Coffee and Café in Strafford bustled with activity Sunday night as mothers engaged in different board games for the MOM Life Strafford group.

Jessica Martindale, one of the mothers in attendance, said she was happy to reunite with the group for their first meeting for the new year since they didn't have many events in 2020, due to COVID.

"I learned about the group through church," said Martindale. "It really is for mothers of all ages and stages. I'm currently in the empty nest stage and have older children, so that has taken some time to get used to, but these women have encouraged me so much about that transition. One of my favorite events was when we could bring our own China plates and tableware for a Christmas event. We got to see how we each set up our tableware at home during the holidays, which was really special."

The LIFE in Mom LIFE stands for Love, Identity, Fellowship and Encouragement. It is a faith-based ministry started in 2018 by Brittany Erisman, Britteny Taylor and Esther Fetters, to reach out to mothers of all ages and stages in the Strafford community.

"We all had this thought about having a mothers group in Strafford," said Erisman. "We really wanted to see do something here, so we got together and decided to give it a try. We talked to the owner of the Common Grounds Coffee, who said we could use the space."

With the events, it is free of charge and include a combination of a guest speaker, panel, food, fellowship, crafts and music.

"Brittany Erisman and Britteny Taylor invited me to come to the events," said Debby Briggs, another attendee. "I like the group atmosphere here and I'm just really excited for it to start again."

Fetters said she has seen some growth since they first launched the group in 2018.

"It has had ups and downs, but I think the highest we have had is 28 women, which was really nice," she said.

Erisman said they brainstormed ideas about what they could do for their first meeting activity for 2021. The game night was one of the events mentioned during their discussion.

"We encouraged all mothers to come and bring a favorite game or puzzle to share," she said. "A lot of our events in 2020 were canceled due to COVID, but we are trying to get back to meeting on a monthly basis in the new year."

Although their plans for the year are subject to change, Erisman said some of the events they have scheduled for the year include dinners with guest speakers, craft nights and a Mom's Night Out in the summer.

"We're also thinking about a worship night, a Saturday brunch, a bonfire in the fall and a holiday tea," she said.

All of the events are free, but the group does accept donations. It is open to mothers of all ages. For more information, visit the Mom LIFE Strafford group on Facebook.

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