Simply Divine Mercy

Category: Motherhood

When We Were Eve Blog Tour Stop #4

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What if we could remember who we were when we were Eve?  What if we could recall that pure innocence, that beauty, that freedom of who we were created to be?

Colleen C. Mitchell’s latest book When We Were Eve calls out to the heart of each woman, inviting her to rediscover herself and to grow in intimacy with God in the process.

After the fall of mankind, the Garden of Eden was sealed off with a flaming sword.  Now, on this side of that barrier, we must grapple with the constant effects of sin.

Of particular difficulty for women of course is our distorted view of self and our often troubled relationship with our bodies.  Mitchell reminds us that we are comprised of both body and soul, and that this makeup requires us to maintain both body and soul through gentle physical and spiritual care.

Interwoven throughout the book are several stories from women sharing intimate pieces of their own journeys back to healthy relationships with themselves.  This provides much to reflect upon.

Mitchell’s writing style is a breath of fresh air.  In a world clamoring for our attention, she whispers truth into the weary souls of women.  She is well versed in Scripture and the writings of the saints.  It is also evident that she is very self-aware, making her well equipped to be our guide.

At the heart of her message, we learn that in being kind to ourselves we are not indulging in prideful self-love, but rather we are merely loving God and giving Him due glory.

Every woman deserves to know the truth of her creation story, the truth of her place in the Kingdom of God.  This book guides readers through the pathways that lead back to the Garden of Eden.  It is only there that we can come to know true peace and intimacy with God.

Are you ready to begin your journey back to Eden?  Are you ready to discover the woman you were created to be?  Are you ready to remember when you were innocent, and free, and pure?  Let’s follow Mitchell now on this treasure map she has unearthed.  Let’s travel together through these pages as we seek to remember who we were when we were Eve.

When We Were Eve is available from Franciscan Media here.

*This book, like many on this site, was given to me in exchange for my honest review. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it with you today as a part of this Blog Tour.  

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turning prayer into cupcakes…

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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 »

Pray with Your Senses – Color & Sound Sets Make Great Gifts!

I recently had the privilege of working with these two “Color & Sound” sets for Paraclete Press.  They have paired completely unique, fun, and inspirational, Marian themed coloring books with high quality Gregorian Chant CD compilations.

Set aside your electronic devices and games, and do something with your hands that will free your mind up for prayer.

I wanted to share these with you today just in time for Mother’s Day, but they would also make a perfect gift for a graduating senior!  These books are a gentle way to instill or rejuvenate our Catholic Faith.

You could also use them for prayer time in Adoration, or as a teaching tool for children to help them learn the Rosary and how to meditate on Mary’s many beautiful names.  Children love to color, so teach them also that they can turn their coloring into prayers!  It’s fun to actually pray the rosary as you’re coloring each decade page, too.  I think these also work beautifully as side-by-side adult coloring books for those times you are coloring with young children.

In fact, my daughters love to see my finished coloring pieces, and I enjoy coloring with a picture that stretches me beyond the super familiar shapes of Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty.

So here are two excellent Color & Sound sets for you to consider!  May they enhance your own prayer life, and the prayers of the ones you love.

  1.  Mother Mary – Color & Sound:  An Imaginative Pathway to Stillness and Beauty

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This coloring book has a page for many of the beautiful names we give to Mary the Mother of God.  Each page contains a title for Mary, a powerful prayer or quote related to this title, and a little more info to peak your curiosity about where this title came from, or who Mary appeared to under this title.  The pictures are fun and simple enough for coloring, and the end result is a beautiful picture that might even be suitable for displaying in your home!

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This set includes “The Chants of Mary,” a Gregorian Chant CD sung by the Gloriae Dei Cantores Men’s Schola.  I love having this CD on in the background of my day.  It puts children to sleep like a light switch when we play it in the car.  It keeps me calm in the inevitable challenging moments that arise at home with three toddlers.  It is 65 minutes of Heaven on earth.  Brush up on your Latin with the accompanying CD booklet that contains English & Latin lyrics as side-by-side text, along with beautiful full color pictures and images.

  1. The Rosary – Contemplation with Color and Sound: Color and Music to Inspire your Prayers9781612619194_p0_v1_s192x300

This coloring book takes you all the way through your rosary, with a page for each decade of the Glorious, Sorrowful, Luminous, and Joyful Mysteries!  There’s also a page for the Apostle’s Creed & Hail, Holy Queen.  The pictures are whimsical and leave much room for contemplation as you pray along with your coloring.  Enter into each mystery of the rosary a little deeper, and then go back and remember your prayers when you see a beautiful, completed picture in their place.

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This book is paired with “Feasts of Our Lady,” a Gregorian Chant CD by the Monastic Choir of St. Peter’s Abbey, Solesmes.  It also contains a booklet with side-by-side Latin & English text.  This CD is one of my favorite Gregorian Chant compilations.  The music is very vibrant and rich.  The harmonies are solid.  The sweeping melodies lift one’s thoughts to Heaven.  You will not be disappointed!

Purchase these CDs from Paraclete Press or Amazon!  And remember, God loves you & He is merciful!  Pass it on…

Positive Adoption Language

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This post is courtesy of a little card put out by a friend Callie Jet & the lovely ladies at Talk About Adoption.  They are birth moms, so they know a thing or two about talking about adoption.  It just seemed really important, so I wanted to share it here.

 

The Do’s and the Don’ts When Referring to a Birth Mother’s Decision of Adoption

 

DO:  Unintended pregnancy / Unplanned pregnancy

DON’T:  Unwanted child / Did not want your baby

 

DO:  Birth Mother / First Mom / Biological parent(s)

DON’T:  Not keeping your baby / Did not keep your baby

 

DO:  Make an adoption plan / Made an adoption plan

DON’T:  Adopt out / Adopted out

 

DO:  Choose adoption / Chose adoption

DON’T:  Get rid of / Give up / Put up / Got rid of / Gave up

 

DO:  Place for adoption / Placed for adoption

DON’T:  Give away / Hand over / Gave away / Handed over

 

Check out talkadoption.org for lots of great info!

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

 

Unveiling a Masterpiece…

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“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.

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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

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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 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 »

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 »

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

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