Simply Divine Mercy

Category: Baby Showers

turning prayer into cupcakes…

brunch.png

I am a firm believer in at least these two things: 1. This world can never have too many babies in it. 2. This world can never have too many cupcakes in it. Okay, you can make your arguments that too many people will quickly deplete the world of precious natural resources, forcing us to inhabit Mars and frantically search distant galaxies for a new home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Share Your Story to Help Us Share Ours! Mary Garden Showers would love to hear from YOU!

When

 

Mary Garden Showers is a ministry empowering women in crisis pregnancies through the loving support of baby & blessing showers

We have had the privilege of serving many women & families, and many wonderful people have been a part of our journey as a ministry.  We are grateful. 

We invite you to please consider sharing your thoughts about this ministry, how it has impacted you, how you think it will make a difference, or your related stories with us today.  We would like to include them in a book project, currently titled “When Love Blooms: Celebrating Each Life with Mary Garden Showers.” 

Perhaps you are a mother who has received a shower, a shower guest, a person who recognizes the need for this ministry, a volunteer, or a chapter leader.  We would love to hear about anything you wish to share with us related to this ministry & the importance of loving and supporting women who are pregnant in crisis situations. 

If you are a mother, did you have a baby shower?  We would love to hear about what your shower meant to you or would have meant to you if you had received a shower.  We would love to hear about how you triumphed through your crisis situation, or what made or is making your crisis situation challenging.  How is your motherhood journey going? 

How can this ministry support you and love you best?  Or how might we have been able to support and love you if we had been around when you needed us? 

If you attended a shower, sponsored a shower, or volunteered at shower, what impacted you about this experience?

If you are someone who simply understands the importance of this ministry and its impact on the pro-life movement and on motherhood, we would love your thoughts on this!!!

Other thoughts & stories related to Mary Garden Showers and showers/support for women in crisis pregnancies are welcome.  Your contribution can be any length. 

We would love to hear from you & please share this with others who may have input for this project. 

We hope that this book will enable us to spread the word about what we are doing, and that it will help many more women have an opportunity to receive a Mary Garden Shower.

Please contact us by replying to this post, or by emailing us here if you would like to share your thoughts & stories with us!  We will be happy to send you a submission form if you’d like one.  God bless!

MGS is Featured on the Family Sanctuary Radio Show

Untitled design (2)

Listen in as Michele Hansen, our Mary Garden Showers chapter leader in Columbus, OH, explains why this ministry is so close to her heart, and how you can get involved.  Click here to listen to her interview with Peggy Hartshorn on The Family Sanctuary on 5.1.17!  Thank you so much to St. Gabriel Catholic Radio for inviting MGS to be a part of your show.

“I just can’t believe that this is not going to be something really, really big.” – Peggy Hartshorn, Heartbeat International

“We are hoping to really plant a seed in (the mother’s) heart to really encourage her despite her circumstances.” – Michele Hansen, Mary Garden Showers

Listen-now

 

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

Unveiling a Masterpiece…

untitled-design-8

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could give each mother the same image of Mary & Jesus?” Serena asked, as we browsed through prints for sale at our local Catholic Corner booth.

The only problem was:  which one would we pick?  There are so many gorgeous paintings of our Blessed Mother and her Divine Son Jesus.

God took care of that for us.

When Mary Garden Showers opened a chapter at St. Patrick’s in Columbus, OH, we had no idea that a talented Catholic artist was sitting right in the pews of that very church.

Our chapter leaders knew.  They reached out to her about a painting project.

When artist Bernadette Carstensen was asked to paint an image for our ministry, she says:

“The idea for this painting came to me right away, inspired by the way my daughter sometimes plays with me.  So, I decided to pose Mary and Jesus in an affectionate moment, mother and baby playing together quietly.  Jesus is meant to look like He is crowning her with flowers playfully, but also representing what will come when they are both in heaven.  Mostly, I wanted to show Mary as a human mother in love with her child, awed by His beauty and innocence, hoping that a new mom who is feeling scared or worried could look at it and imagine the happiness she will have with her baby.”

A few months back, we shared a progress sketch of the painting that Bernadette graciously sent our way.  Now, we are thrilled to be able to unveil the finished painting that is such a gift and blessing to this ministry…

Purchase your copy here today!  All proceeds go to Mary Garden Showers.  Thanks for your support.

MaryJesusForWeb

 

Amazing, right?  Ms. Bernadette, we are so grateful and humbled that you painted this for the mothers we serve.

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

5 Ways to Help Celebrate at a Blessing Shower

5Ways toCelebrate at aBlessingShower (1)

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!

IMG_20150709_132208684

 

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 Bare Necessities Baby Registry

cristina-re

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 »

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

i-6

 

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!

A Look Back at Our Year of Mercy!

Thank You for Making 2016 So Special (1).png

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

a small, light blue, plastic baby shoe

untitled-design-8

It was a small, light blue, plastic baby shoe.  Its cash value was likely not more than about 20 cents.

But this woman held it in her hands, looked up at me, and asked, “Would it be okay if I keep this?”

“Absolutely,” I said. “Take any of the decorations home that you’d like.  They’re yours to keep.”

She was so grateful.  She proceeded to tell me that she was going to put this little shoe in a small box that she keeps on her nightstand.

“This will be a reminder for me of an answered prayer!  Oh, I prayed and prayed for this!” she exclaimed, as she held the little shoe tightly in her hands, pressing it against her chest.  She looked like she might burst into tears.

She went on to explain that her small box held many memories and special items.  This plastic shoe would be joining their company.

You see, this woman was the Grandmother at one of our Mary Garden Showers.  And because of the crisis situation going on, she didn’t know if she would ever meet her grandson.

But she did meet her grandson.  And she loves him very much.

For this woman, the baby shower that was held in celebration of her daughter and grandson was a complete answered prayer.  It was the icing on the cake of her daughter’s decision to give birth to the gift of her son.

Many of the women we have showered through Mary Garden Showers have politely asked if they could keep the decorations from their baby showers.

This is about so much more than simply decorations.

I can see it in each Mother’s eyes as she holds a little baby shower banner or asks to take home her pink cups and sweet, decorated napkins.

Yes, this is about so much more than the gifts, the treats, the lemonade, and the decorations.

This is about Christ’s mercy.  This is about bringing people back to Him where they belong.  This is about extending Christ’s mercy to absolutely everyone simply because they have dignity and worth as a human being.

And that mercy sometimes is represented to these Mothers in the smallest ways:  a smile from a stranger, the warmth of a friendship, fresh baked goods, a sense of community, sweet lemonade…

Christ’s mercy can even be represented in a small, light blue, plastic baby shoe.

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

MGS Ministry Update 8.4.16 – A Garden for Mary!!!

This is not just about distributing material stuff and it never was. This is about changing hearts, and changing lives. This is about bringing women into the loving embrace of the Church. The whole Church – the body of Christ. This is about bringing women home – even if only for a few hours on some Sunday afternoon at their baby shower.

My husband caught me off guard at the dinner table the other night.  He said, “Kaitlyn, what’s your absolute favorite thing to do?”

“Would ‘serve God’ be too vague?” I asked, looking for an easy out.

“Yes,” he shot back.

He knew I wasn’t going to say that I love to mop the floors or take long walks on the beach.  I’m more of a medium-beach-walk kinda’ girl.  Long walks near high tide have left me wondering if I’ll have to swim back home with sharks… Read the rest of this entry »