Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hope in Grief

 "Grief is a hard thing, but when you have hope, you grieve in a different way".

Today we attended a funeral.

You may remember when my friend Brad passed away last year- today was his father's funeral. Michael fought cancer for 4 years, and he finally went to be with Jesus last week. So today we went back to the church, with many of the same people, to celebrate and honor Michael.

As we sat through the service, my husband and I were once again inspired to "live for your funeral". What we mean by this is to live in a way that will make YOUR funeral amazing- filled with people who loved you and felt your love back. Lives that were touched or changed because of your presence. Being remembered as kind and caring. Having so much to celebrate and laugh about, and with the assurance that we will meet again in Heaven.

Just as his son Brad, Michael was a funny guy. And despite all of the jokes and laughs that everyone remembered about him, nothing outshone his love for people and his commitment to relationships. And it was made clear many times that he was the way because of JESUS.

Do you know Jesus? Have you spoken with Him? Heard Him? Felt Him? Followed Him? An entire church full of people could laugh and grieve together because we share his love for Jesus also- and we KNOW where he is now, and we KNOW that we will see him again.

This is called HOPE.

I don't know what I would do without hope. Funerals would be different. Hardships would be different. Marriage and parenting would be even more difficult!

Here are some bible verses about hope:

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

1 John 3:2
 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Revelation 21:4
 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Proverbs 24:14
"Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off."

 Titus 3:7
"So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

1 Peter 1:3
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"

1 Corinthians 15:19 
"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."

I love that last verse. And this is just a handful of verses about hope in the bible. This is just a short post today to share my heart with you a little, and preach a little (because it's my blog...). 
I just want you to think about Jesus. To consider that maybe Jesus is the One. Maybe He is the hope that you're looking for. Maybe He is the rest you are looking for. Maybe He is the answer. 
And maybe, just maybe, it's time for you to come to Him.

 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  
 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.


Be A Light- Michael Piccirillo 

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Intimate Mother's Blessing Ceremony

Hi All! This is the post you've been waiting for... and I've been waiting for!

  DISCLAIMER: There are LOTS of pictures. You've been warned!

What is a Mother's Blessing? It was first called a 'blessingway' by the Navajo nation who created a ceremony to usher pregnant women into motherhood. According to thebump.com "A mother's blessing is meant to inspire and encourage the expectant mom just before she gives birth to baby".

Here's how this happened. I have never planned or taken part in a Mother's Blessing before, but I had heard of them and I was intrigued. I have a mama tribe- it's a group of women who all met and/or birthed at the same birth center, and have grown close over the last 2 years of our children's lives. Many of these women are on their way to become mothers for the second time! That was the case here. My dear friend Sharon is pregnant with her second child. Sharon is not your typical woman or high-strung mother.. she is soft-spoken, relaxed, gentle, and extremely caring. If I have a runny nose, she shows up with soup and snacks. When I was recovering, she brought an entire care package complete with gifts for the hubs and baby as well. Anyone who knows Sharon loves and adores her.

A couple weeks ago, I got a call from her hubby who wanted to see if we had anything planned to celebrate her before the new baby came. Since Sharon is not the baby shower type, we knew what was just right for her spiritual, laid back, hippie self. I told him to give me the night to talk to my mommy friends and I would get back to him. And sure thing, everyone was on board.

Michelle handled all of the food arrangements and money. Krisann took care of most of the decor. I planned the ceremony, location, and the logistics with her hubby. We decided to make it a surprise, since she usually figures things out (that's the investigator in her). And guess what!?! It worked.

We decided to spend a little money on great food, a professional photographer to document the event, and a henna artist. The BEST decisions we ever made. Here's how our Mother's Blessing went down...

First, let's start with details....








Sharon's arrival at the house to her friends waiting for her!




We started with a few pictures together after the "surprise" of Sharon arriving.



Then we moved to food. Oh, the food...We had flatbread pizzas, bruchetta, salad, fruit, nuts, meats, cheeses, chocolates, sparking water (WITH edible flowers!) and wine. LOTS of wine (courtesy of Private Pour.... review to come soon!). It was a heavenly feast!





During our feasting, the henna artist started her masterpiece on Sharon's belly while we talked birth stories and laughed together. And don't worry, we fed her.




When we had our fill, we started the ceremony, which we held outside under the stars. What a beautiful night it was! And because Sharon and I share the same faith, I put a lot of Jesus into the ceremony :).

As each woman stepped outside, we greeted them with a hand washing and the phrase "let your burdens wash away and bring in with you love and support".


Once we were all seated, we began the candle lighting. We had asked each woman beforehand to bring with them a pillar candle and something to say about/to Sharon. As we went around the circle, each woman lit her candle and spoke into Sharon's heart. We laughed and cried together!

            



 (Sidenote: these candles will go back home with each guest and they will light it when Sharon is laboring to remind us to think and pray for her!)

After the candle ceremony, each woman was asked to pick up a stone and a pen from the table and write one word on the stone that she wished for Sharon's labor. We then shared what our word was and why, and placed the stones into a glass vase for Sharon to take home.






The next part was just fun for us all. We filled a cup with warm tea and passed it around the circle. As each woman took a sip, she said "I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful". Throughout the evening we all found that we needed this nice little break from our busy lives, and the reminder that we are all of these things. It was neat to watch each woman's eyes as she recited it!







As a symbol of our unity, we then wrapped yarn around each woman's wrist to create a circle- a circle of support and friendship. 1 Peter 3:8 says "Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble". We also had a few of the


,m    women recite meaningful poems during this time.





Once we were all connected, we snipped the yarn and each tied it around our wrists. This little bracelet is also a reminder to continue to pray for Sharon as her birth approaches.


And to finish the night, we all laid hands on Sharon and prayed. The ceremony was created to move from love for Sharon to hopes for her birth, and finished with uniting us all as friends and mothers.



Oh, and throughout the ceremony we all paid a quick visit (literally 45 seconds) to the henna artist to each get our own little henna creation!


Once the ceremony was over and hugs were given (and a great speech from the guest of honor), we headed inside for dessert! Let me tell you, these mamas can PARTY. Just kidding, we were all tired by 9, but we pushed through!

As Sharon headed home, we hope that she left feeling loved, peaceful and ready for the journey ahead. We hope she feels supported and confident that she is not alone.


And to the ladies who attended, thank you for all of your help and thoughtfulness. We could not have pulled this off without your amazing food, participation, time, and words. I know we all left feeling more connected. And floaty and dreamy!

If you're interested in having or throwing a Mother's Blessing, feel free to contact me! The great thing about these ceremonies is that they can really be whatever you want. Spiritual or not, long or short, serious or light-hearted. As long as the mother-to-be leaves feeling peaceful, supported, and united with her loved ones, you have accomplished your goal.

Thanks for hanging in there with this LONG post! I hope you enjoyed it.

For awesome photography, check out Jenn at ishootpeopleaz.com.

For creative henna, visit www.hennabypurvi.com

For private wine parties and tastings, email Michelle at michelle@privatepour.com

And for the fabulous homemade dreamcatcher, visit Moonlit Lace on Facebook or Instagram!