A Chicago native, Deborah studied education and later worked in computer programming as a systems analyst. She was a single mother of two, having divorced prior to coming to Florida, a move that required her to place her faith in God and trust Him. She says that faith in God has helped her to be a loving, nurturing mother who also had a successful career. She is a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and is president of the Council for Catholic Women. She loves to travel and spend time with her four granddaughters, and her favorite verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things who Christ who strengthens me.”
Renee Matthews is the mentor coordinator. Renee’s best advice for moms is to enjoy the stage of life you are in, because it will soon all change to something new. Celebrating 25 years of marriage with her husband, a commercial pilot, Renee truly knows the struggle of having a husband who travels. As a registered dietitian, she worked while raising her children and understands striving for balance between work and life. Renee loves being a M4M mentor and encouraging moms to teach kids that Jesus loves them and cares about every aspect of their lives. With her kids off at college, she has time to meet you for coffee or for a call to pray about a concern.
Lisa has lived in Florida for 59 years, and has been married to her best friend, Robbie, for 35 years. They have three sons, three daughters-in-love, and two darling grandsons. Her passion has been raising her boys and being involved in their school and extracurricular activities. She tries to spend as much time with her grandsons as possible. Lisa became a Christian at age 8, is a member of St. Andrews in Sanford, and has been in Bible study at Northland for 20 years. She loves being with her family and hosting get-togethers. Her hobbies include tennis, reading, playing Words With Friends, FSU football, volunteering, and spending time in Blairsville, Ga.
The mentor of Table 8, Leigh Kennedy, has made Florida her home for 27 years with her husband, Roger; two kids; and two dogs. Northland is their home church, and Leigh has been a part of M4M for five years. She loves sharing life stories with the precious moms in the group and treating them to home-cooked meals, great wine, and conversation while connecting with each other. Her passions are her family, Bible study, tennis, the beach, and enjoying life. Leigh says becoming a Christian at age 34 was a blessing, and that her marriage has become stronger because of their faith in Christ. She is happy to report her kids know the Lord and are learning to trust His plan for their lives in college and beyond. As she continues to grow and seek God’s will, Leigh is enjoying this great adventure called “life!”
Diane Galasso mentors Table 1. She and her husband, Chris, have been married 35 years. She also is the mother of M4M member Lindsey Coburn. Diane encourages moms to fight the dangerous “comparison trap.” One scripture special to her is Psalm 139:13-14: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Diane’s hobbies are doing anything outside—cycling, walking, playing in the yard—designing cards, and doing other creative things.
Jodi Boncore is the caring mentor of Table 3. Jodi has been married to her husband, Steve, for 32 years. They have three children: Brett, Morgan, and Erin, and they recently added a new daughter-in-love, Emily (Brett’s wife) to their nest. Early on, Jodi worked as a marketing professional, but left her career to be a stay-at-home mom, the title she most enjoys. She has a heart for young moms and has been involved with groups teaching how to disciple your children over the years. Jodi believes so strongly that nothing is possible without God, and she can tell you all about how she has relied on Him every step of the way. For fun, Jodi enjoys walking, “nesting,” hiking, family RV trips, and Bible studies with friends. Jodi recently completed the Master Gardener Program and can usually be found getting her hands dirty, making beauty with God’s creation!
Before she mentored Table 5, Leisa Bilello grew up in western Pennsylvania, but dreamed of living elsewhere. She studied hospitality, moved to Orlando, and worked in hospitality and financial planning. Leisa married, had one child, and divorced in the 1980s; she understands the challenges, fear, uncertainty, and loneliness of being a single parent. But God was faithful, and showed up continuously. In 1992 she married her husband and business partner, Joe, and they later added another daughter to their family. She enjoys time with her children and two grandkids. Leisa believes God was with her every step of the way and gave her love beyond measure. She loves being involved in one or more study groups, for both spiritual and personal growth. She says over the years this involvement has helped her grow in faith and kept her from falling into dark places.
Everyone needs to go say “hi” to Millie at Table 9—she’d love it! Millie has been married for more than 50 years, and has three children and eight grandchildren. Her hobby is stained glass. She loves taking care of her great-granddaughter, who is two and a half years old and into tea parties. Millie worked as a young mother and knows the struggles of moms who have to work outside the home. She hosts a Bible study for moms in her home, and anyone is welcome to join when they start a new book—talk to her if you’re interested!
Millie has found that staying true to your faith and fully trusting in the Lord, even when things seem impossible, always brings you through any situation—and she’s been through some tough ones. If you’re struggling with something and finding it hard to walk with Jesus, get in touch with Millie for some support.
Betty Baker serves Table 4, and she really enjoys being a mentor. She has two sons and seven grandchildren. Betty and her husband, Gene, credit the success of their long marriage to their faith in God and Christ being the third person in the marriage. A breast cancer survivor, Betty feels lucky to be alive. She enjoys her family, traveling, quilting, water sports, Bible study, reading, and occasionally writing. Betty’s passion was always to become a mom, and she suffered a miscarriage before being blessed with two baby boys in two years. She was mentored by both of her moms, but wishes she had been in a group like M4M to learn mothering skills. Betty believes maintaining common interests with your husband, going out on date nights, and worshipping together all work together to strengthen a marriage, which is the best gift we can give our children.
Betty is an encourager and would love to come alongside any mom who needs encouragement or someone to pray with. Consider calling her to chat or meet for a slice of her apple pie. She believes all moms are on a motherhood journey and the scripture for the year, Philippians 1:6, is so appropriate, and is one of her favorite Bible promises: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We know it’s not always easy to attend our monthly meetings. Whether you work, have a sick little one, or have another impediment, we don’t want you to miss the powerful messages shared at our meetings! Gaye Butler shared about “Healing Ruptured Relationships” at our October meeting. You can hear the message via Google Drive by clicking here.