"We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us." -Pope Francis

5 Ways to Help Celebrate at a Blessing Shower

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A baby shower is often a joyous occasion.  It is a celebration of a new life, a new mother, and a new journey.  At a baby shower, a mother receives needed items for her child, and she is filled with hope and love for her adventures ahead with baby.

Many women in our society are navigating through a pregnancy during a crisis situation in their lives.  For these women, baby showers can be an incredibly important milestone, often a turning point in their pregnancy, when they realize they truly can overcome all obstacles and embrace the joy their child is bringing into their world.

This is wonderful, but we need to remember – not all women and families experiencing a crisis pregnancy situation are anticipating bringing home a baby.

Some babies will likely not live long after birth, leaving behind grieving parents.  Other babies are heading home from the hospital with an adoptive family, leaving birth parents, the women and men who bring the baby into the world, with heavy hearts.

Mary Garden Showers has been hosting baby showers for women in crisis pregnancies for over two years.  We are also being called to serve women through blessing showers.

Have you ever heard of a blessing shower?  Read on to learn more about why they’re important & how you can help!

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What is a blessing shower?

A blessing shower is a chance to celebrate a new little life, and a new mother.  In this way it is very similar to a baby shower.  Yet a blessing shower is different because it is provided in a very sensitive situation when a family is likely going to experience some form of infant loss, or when parenting is not an option.  Blessing showers provide a much needed opportunity for people to celebrate a new life and a chance to heal and move forward during what is likely a very challenging situation.

 

Why celebrate?

In a world that questions whether a pregnant woman is truly carrying a child, and that even encourages abortion at times, there are courageous women and families choosing to carry their babies to term in the midst of a crisis situation.  They are sometimes choosing to give their babies life despite daunting prenatal diagnoses and other challenges, and they are sometimes choosing to give life through adoption.  Let’s rise to the occasion and be there for them!  These mothers and families are doing something absolutely amazing that deserves applause and all our love!

Once a woman becomes pregnant, she is a mother.  Nothing and no one can ever take that title away.  The woman who is pregnant is always a mother, and this beautiful role is to be celebrated regardless of whether the baby is lost to a miscarriage, lost to a terminal illness, brought home from the hospital in her arms, or brought home from the hospital in the arms of an adoptive family.  The beautiful, irreplaceable, precious, incredible child is to be celebrated as well!  Every life deserves a celebration.

 

What about gifts?

Since blessing showers are given to women and families who are not expecting to bring home a baby, gifts given will focus on providing strength and comfort to the baby’s mother and family.  We want these gifts to help mothers feel pampered and supported, and to make their lives a little easier at the moment.  Mary Garden Showers will be assisting women in creating personal registries with self-care items, pampering items, and inspirational, uplifting materials.

Journals, scrapbooks, travel bags, books, mementos, candles, soft bed sheets, tissue, music – all of these will make great gifts.  Baby gifts are typically not appropriate in these situations.  Mary Garden Showers will include them on a registry only when mothers specifically request special baby items.

 

What do women need in these situations?

Every woman is different.  Some women may be eager to celebrate the little life they have come to know during their pregnancies.  Furthermore, for some women, this celebration may be an uncomfortable trigger for many emotions.  Not every woman is going to want a blessing shower in the first place, and this is completely understandable.  But when a woman does want to celebrate her motherhood and her child, we will host a blessing shower.

Every blessing shower registry is going to look different.  Please keep this in mind.  Some women need lots of space to grieve during this time, and they may not be in an emotional state to create their own registry.  In these situations, our loving sponsor groups will step in and suggest some pampering items and other materials based on what they know about the woman receiving a blessing shower.  At other times, women will create their own registries, and we will help them select gifts that will provide comfort and support to them in their time of need.

 

How can I help celebrate?

Here are 5 ways you can help celebrate with us at a blessing shower:

1. Pray – When preparing for blessing showers, we will include the mother’s name on our prayer campaign on our website at marygardenshowers.org.  Please join us in praying for these mothers and babies!

2.  Attend a Blessing Shower – Being present at a blessing shower is a great way to show you care!  Invite others to come along, too.

3. Write a Letter – We will also invite everyone to send in letters of hope and encouragement for the mother we are celebrating.  Help us spread the word!  You can send letters via the contact page on our website, to our email address, or you can mail them directly to the church hosting the baby shower.  Addresses for the hosting churches can be found on our website.

4. Purchase a Gift – Please consider purchasing a gift that will bring comfort, strength and hope to a mother who is likely going through a grieving process.  Check out our blessing shower registries if you’re not sure what to purchase, and please keep in mind that these registries will look much different than our baby shower registries.

5. Sponsor a Mother – If you would like to walk alongside a mother, providing love and mercy to her in this time of need, please reach out to us.  We are always looking to connect mothers in crisis with women who can lovingly guide them in their journey of motherhood.

 

Thank you for your support of our ministry.  May God bless you abundantly.

Love the Mother

P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you!  Pass it on…

the curse of comfort

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I found this quote in high school and placed it in a scrapbook.  Though I just stumbled upon it the other day, these words have resonated with me now for years.  Do you know the curse of comfort?  Here is the secret of what to do when you feel that comfort seep upon you…

 

“Is thy curse of comfort wasting? 

Rise and share it with another;

and through all the years of famine,

it shall serve thee and thy brother.

Is thy burden hard and heavy?

Do thy steps drag wearily?

Help to bear thy brother’s burden

God will bear both it and thee.”

-Elizabeth Charles

 

in every age…

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In every age, songs of beauty and praise rise to the Heavens. 

Lyrics speak of God’s power and might and unfathomable Divine Mercy.    

Melodies weave through time lifting our thoughts to His amazing grace.

And in every age, voices join the feeble instruments we have here on this earth, to give praise and glory to God.

Now imagine that at the end of our days on this earth, we all come together as one people, one Israel, one nation truly of God.

Can you imagine the songs we will be singing as we journey to Heaven all together?

Can you imagine what it will sound like when voices of people throughout history, throughout time, all join together to give God his due glory?

In every age, songs of beauty and praise rise to the Heavens.

And oh, that glorious day, when we will be able to hear these songs sung all together in harmony!  When from the east and the west, and the south and the north, God’s people sing as one,

walking Heavenward, homeward, together.

 

P.S. God loves you & He is merciful!  Pass it on…

The Bare Necessities Baby Registry

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What does my baby really need?  This question is on the minds of many mothers who make the potentially daunting, often exciting trip into a baby store to set up a baby registry for their child.

What does my baby really need?  This question is also on the minds of the many mothers who are pregnant and raising children in dire conditions, in impoverished areas of the world where they can only dream about stepping foot in a luxurious baby store.

It’s important to keep this worldly perspective in mind when you go to set up a baby registry, because you really don’t need everything advertised. Read the rest of this entry »

roasting marshmallows and sanctity…

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My husband is awesome because he loves making campfires.  He’s awesome for a lot of reasons, but every once in awhile, my daughter will ask in her not so sneaky way, “Hey Daddy, how about… we have a little campfire tonight?”

And if it’s a weekend, and my husband doesn’t have to work the next day, and if the girls have been listening well to Daddy and Mommy, and if it’s not raining, and if it’s not too late, we will have a little campfire, and we have a blast.

Last night after we put the girls to bed, the fire was still dying down, and my husband and I sat outside talking.

As I was roasting a marshmallow slowly to perfection, I thought about how it can really take awhile to get the marshmallow just right.

You can’t rush this process of roasting a marshmallow. You have to wait and it takes patience and endurance.

I thought about how you have to keep the marshmallow close to the flame, but not so close that it burns it to a crisp – unless you’re one of those people who loves burnt-to-a-crisp marshmallows.

And it occurred to me that this process of roasting a marshmallow bore a striking resemblance to the process of becoming holy.

In order for us to reach a higher level of sanctity, we must slowly work at being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.  It can take awhile for us to come out just right.

You can’t rush this process of achieving sanctity.  You have to wait and it takes patience and endurance.

You have to stay close to the flames of Divine Mercy.  You have to stay close to God.  But at the same time, we are not ready to see God in His full glory yet.  God is not ready to fully reveal Himself to us just yet.

Eventually my marshmallow was just about perfect.  I’ll admit I didn’t wait until it was golden brown, and my husband questioned whether I had waited long enough.  But my s’more was wonderful, nonetheless.

I hope I can be a little more patient with myself as I work to become more like Christ.  While I know I won’t be able to really be perfect in this life, I will keep striving for it so that I can continue to be the best I can be.

Jesus doesn’t want us to settle.

I hope that I won’t settle for anything less than what Jesus has asked of each of us: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Let’s just remember: perfectly roasted marshmallows must stay close to the flame.

 

P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you!  Pass it on…

Baby Showers Anyone?? Bring Mary Garden Showers to Your Parish!

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At Mary Garden Showers, we are passionate about serving women in crisis pregnancy situations – any crisis.  We work closely with pregnancy resource centers, churches, and also accept referrals from individuals.  Basically, we go where the Holy Spirit leads!

We are praying fervently about spreading this ministry throughout our country that is in desperate need of love and truth for women and families. 

We believe that every mother deserves love, support, and mercy as she walks through her pregnancy!  So many women feel that they have nowhere to turn when they are pregnant, and we feel strongly that the Church needs to be present and available to them. 

We lovingly try to direct women to Mary as a beautiful example of a Mother who followed God’s will and carried her pregnancy to term, ultimately resulting in our salvation.  We also have become friends with the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy (thanks be to God!) and they are providing beautiful canvas Divine Mercy images for us to share with each mother we shower!

Starting a chapter at a church is a pretty simple process.  We would just need to identify a chapter leader(s) at your parish.  Then we would send the leader(s) our Handbook, do a video chat to answer questions, and if everyone is on board, there’s a little form to sign to make everything official.  We then support you all in any way we can.  We will create graphics for each shower, advertise baby showers on our website, social media & nation-wide newsletter, share thank you notes on our website & newsletter, ship items to your chapter as needed (banners, brochures, thank you notes, prayer cards, etc.).

Once we establish a chapter at a parish, people can personally become a sponsor to a mother.  This is super exciting, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve in this capacity in the past.  It’s a lot of fun, and it’s what you make of it!  You can take the mother out for coffee, get to know her, set up a baby registry with her, share mom-to-mom advice, and just be there for her in this special time of need.

But no need to wait for a chapter to start up at your parish to get involved!  

You can shop online registries through our website and gifts automatically ship to the baby shower location of the upcoming shower.  Or you can send a note or gift or a note to the shower locations on our website.  Or we always need prayers!  You can sign up for our prayer campaign at marygardenshowers.org as well.

If you have any questions, or if you feel called to get involved, please let us know!  We’re happy to help in any way we can.  Peace!

P.S. God loves you & He is merciful… pass it on!

Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God

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Mary’s way can be our way, too!  Judy Landrieu Klein opens her heart in this beautiful book of affirmation, hope, and encouragement for all mothers. 

Klein takes readers through her own personal journey of motherhood, with all of its sorrows and joys.  Just like Mary, we all must bring our children into the world, nurture them, love them, and then let them go into the world to hopefully become the adults God desires them to be!  This is no small feat.  And motherhood is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

Klein had a beautiful turning point in her life when Mary spoke to her heart.  From that moment on, Mary played a large role in Klein’s motherhood.  She encourages readers to trust in the Blessed Mother, and to turn to her for wisdom, guidance, and strength. 

Inside the book, you’ll find a beautiful prayer for consecrating your children and spouse to the care of the Blessed Mother.  Klein explains the significance of this consecration, and how sustaining these prayers have been in her life. 

I recommend this book for all mothers, but especially for any mothers who have adult children – particularly children who have fallen away from the church, or who have fallen into bad habits in their lives. 

Get ready for an awesome testimony to the power of a mother’s prayers! Don’t miss Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God. 

You can purchase this book from Amazon or Ave Maria Press.

P.S. God is merciful & He loves you… Pass it on! 

dear cecile richards

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Dear Cecile Richards,

I realize that I’m a complete stranger to you.  But I’ve seen you in magazines and on TV, and when I see you, I think to myself, “Wow, she has beautiful eyes.”  When I see you, I think, “You know, she and I actually have a lot in common.”

We are both women.  We are both married.  We both have three children.  We both have expressed that our children are the center of our lives.  We are both driven.  We are both hard working.  We are both stubborn.  We both speak from our hearts.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, I believe that we share common passions.  We both love our families and seek to change the world, particularly for all women and families.  I’ve heard people villainize your efforts, but I’m a Catholic, so I can relate.  I truly believe that we share a common passion of wanting what’s best for women and families. Read the rest of this entry »

Redeeming Joy – help mercy run to the lowest point

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A few days ago, I had the privilege of attending a beautiful jewelry party to benefit Redeeming Joy.  All of the pieces were made by hand by the women being healed through this ministry.  It is a part of their therapy.  The jewelry is just beautiful.

And this ministry is beautiful!

Redeeming Joy helps women find healing, hope, and restoration following human trafficking.

“We loan our hope until each lady has a hope of her own,” says Lanie George, founder of Redeeming Grace.

Currently, Redeeming Joy is raising funds to open up a beautiful new safe home for women.  They have raised $20,000 of their $50,000 year end goal.

Will you help spread the word about this organization and cause?  Hope is desperately needed in our world today especially for these women who are in despair.

Please visit their website at http://www.redeemingjoy.org/ to learn more about this organization and how you can get involved!

Mercy always runs to the lowest point.  The women served at Redeeming Joy are thirsting for mercy.  Let’s help create a pathway for that mercy and give together today!

Peace & Blessings to you!

P.S. God is merciful and He loves you so much, so much, so much!  Pass it on…

 

A Look Back at Our Year of Mercy!

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14 Mothers, 16 Babies, 4 Chapters, and 1 Merciful Savior…

This evening, there are 14 mothers out there who have been touched by your kindness this year.  There are 15 babies warm and cozy tonight in the beautiful gifts you sent for them.  One baby is back in the arms of God.  There are 4 chapters of Mary Garden Showers pulling showers together in 3 states.

And all of this is possible because of the Merciful Love of Jesus Christ, that has come through all of you this year in your love and support.

A huge thank you to our awesome Chapter Leaders who work diligently to make sure each mother and child in their care is loved and cherished in their great time of need.  And a huge thank you to a couple other awesome supporters as well…

  • Debbie – Chapter Leader at Holy Spirit in Indianapolis, IN
  • Michele & Angie – Chapter Leaders at St. Patrick in Columbus, OH
  • Ann & Andrea – Chapter Leaders at Nativity in Indianapolis, IN
  • Kari – Chapter Leader at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte, NC
  • Bernadette Carstensen – artist who created our new Mary & Jesus image in Columbus, OH (we’ll share it soon!)
  • Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy – providing Divine Mercy canvases from Stockbridge, MA

If you feel a little tug on your heart to get involved a little more next year in 2017 with Mary Garden Showers, don’t be surprised.  It just means that God is answering our prayers.  We feel growth coming, and we want to invite you to prayerfully discern what role you may want to play in this ministry next year.  Let us know how you feel called to help!

May God bless you & keep your family close to Him in this season of Advent!

Serena Boykin & Kaitlyn Mason
Co-Directors of Mary Garden Showers
Charlotte, NC

marygardenshowers.org