If you've followed this blog for awhile, you've heard about "While We're Waiting" before. WWW is a ministry to bereaved parents, and you can read more about it here. Basically, my husband and I, along with another couple, host retreats for Moms, Dads, and couples who have lost children. We hosted our first couples' retreat last April, and have another one scheduled for the first weekend in November. Our first Dads' retreat is coming up October 7-9 (more about that in a future post) and we hosted our first Moms' Day back in June. These retreats provide an opportunity for Christian parents to meet each other, talk about their children, and discuss issues that grieving, but believing, parents face on a daily basis....all in a safe environment, where they can share whatever is on their hearts without fear of being misunderstood or judged.
So, we had our second Moms' Day this past Saturday. We have our Moms' Days at my friend Janice's lovely home overlooking Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Our desire is to provide these ladies with beautiful, comfortable surroundings, delicious food, and a time to feel pampered and loved. Each Mom is given the opportunity to share her child's story, and then she is lifted up in prayer by the group. We also spend time discussing a variety of topics that grieving Moms deal with on a daily basis. In the afternoon, a massage therapist comes and gives each Mom a 30-minute private massage, and the highlight of the day is a 5-course gourmet dinner, prepared and served by our own private chef!
There were five sweet Moms who came last Saturday. Another Mom had signed up, but she got sick the night before and was unable to come. As in our previous Moms' Day, their stories varied...from losing a child prior to birth, to losing a premature twin several days after birth, to losing a young child to cancer, to losing a grown child to cancer...and one Mom had even lost her child to murder. One Mom had lost her son just a month ago, and one Mom had lost her daughter over twenty years ago.
But once again, as different as our stories and experiences were, we discovered that we had an incredible bond as bereaved Moms. When you're a bereaved Mom yourself, you find yourself fascinated by other Mom's stories of their children. And the bond that forms is almost instantaneous...It's a God thing -- that's all I can say. As we shared our experiences on into the afternoon, a couple of the Moms forfeited their opportunity for a massage...they didn't want to leave the discussion!
Around 4:30, our chef arrived, and at 5:00, we sat down to an amazing dinner. The last time we had a Moms' Day, the food was excellent, and I honestly did not think that Chef Franklin could do any better than that. In fact, I would have been very pleased if he had just prepared the same exact meal. But no, he wanted to do something different...and although I wouldn't have thought it possible, he actually outdid himself!
Like last time, I took some pictures. You'll have to forgive me, though...a couple of times I got so excited about eating that I forgot to take a picture until I had already taken a bite or two! So, if these dishes don't look quite as good as last time, it's my fault, not Chef Franklin's!
First, a shot of the beautifully appointed fall table...
The appetizer was melon balls with proscuitto in a sugar-rimmed glass. Hard to imagine that combination, I know, but trust me, it was amazing!
The salad was an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with raspberries, almond slivers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a basalmic-type dressing (can't remember exactly what he called it)....This is one of those that I started eating before photographing. It was delicious.
The intermezzo (to cleanse our palates) was a combination of three sorbets...black cherry, pomegranate, and mango. I'm not really sure if it was meant to be this melty (it wasn't last time), but it didn't affect the taste at all. In fact, if I wasn't trying to be a proper hostess, I would have turned the bowl up and slurped every last drop.
Next up was the entree. This was a chicken breast covered with a red and green pepper sauce that was absolutely amazing (and I don't even like peppers), along with a wild rice pilaf with sun dried tomatoes, and sliced zucchini and yellow squash.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it was time for dessert. Dessert was fried ice cream on top of a soft sugar cookie, and covered with a bananas foster sauce. Can't you just taste it? Yeah, I took a couple bites of this one before photographing it, too.
Yes, the food was amazing, but that wasn't the best part of the day. The best part was spending time with other Moms who understood our sorrows and our joys, our tears and our laughter. And now we have a new group of friends that we know will continue to lift us up in prayer in the days ahead. I'll close by sharing (with permission) what one Mom said to me in an email after she got home...
"I told you Saturday, I thought of every reason in the world not to come but at the same time I knew I was going to. Making plans and telling my family I was coming and trying to talk myself out of it at the same time.. I think one of the things that comforted me Saturday was I came away thinking that God gave me 34 years with my son and I am so thankful. I got to see him graduate, go to college, have a family and become a wonderful adult. So many of you mothers never had that opportunity. I felt so comfortable in Janice's home and with all my new friends. I could have stayed for days and never run out of things to talk about with all of you. Hope I didn't talk too much! Thanks for this wonderful ministry. It was a day I will never forget." ~Glendon's Mom
Oh, one more thing...Our next While We're Waiting Moms' Day is scheduled for January 28th! Spread the word!