Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tell About It Tuesday -- While We're Waiting Mini-Retreat for Moms

Wow ... I just did a little counting, and this past Saturday was our tenth While We're Waiting Mini-Retreat for Moms.  Our first one was in June of 2011, and over the past two years, we've had the privilege of hosting 46 moms and hearing the stories of their children who are in Heaven.  I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing that has been.  I really can't even imagine how much I would have missed out on by not having the opportunity to get to know these beautiful ladies and their children.  I'm actually a little bit speechless as I think back over these last two years.  Just wow.

Anyway, we hosted our tenth "Moms' Day" on Saturday, and as always, it was an amazing time of fellowship and encouragement.  Each of our Moms' Days has a theme related to the season of the year, and this month's theme was flamingos.  Our desire is to always create a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere for our get-togethers, and what could be more welcoming than flamingos?

Here were just a few of the flamingos who greeted our guests as they arrived ...


And even more as they came inside ...

 Look at this gorgeous table ...

There were even a few flamingos out on the deck, one looking longingly out at the lake ... lol!

Seven moms came this time, which is the most we've ever had at a Moms' Day event.  We even had two moms who came from out of state ... one from Texas, and one from Kansas.  Each of these moms had a beautiful story to share of a precious child who was now in Heaven.  One mom actually had two sons waiting for her there!

After we shared our stories, discussed a variety of topics specifically related to grieving moms, and had some expertly-administered private massages, it was time for dinner.

Now, at all of our Moms' Days, we always have a five-course gourmet dinner.  When we meet in Hot Springs, our dear Chef Franklin always serves up an amazing meal, and we take our Moms' Days on the road, we have Chef Laurie and her sous-chef, Jerry, who spoil us with their amazing cooking.  Well, Chef Franklin was unavailable for this date, and we didn't want to ask Laurie and Jerry to come all the way to Hot Springs on short notice, so we decided to wing it.  Janice and I decided to put our husbands to work, and here's what they came up with!

Our appetizer ... A delicious fresh tomato with sliced mozzarella and proscuitto, drizzled with an Italian dressing ...

Our salad ... Romaine lettuce with sliced strawberries, shaved Parmesan, slivered almonds, and an oil and vinegar dressing...

The intermezzo ... Raspberry sorbet with cherry juice (cherry 7-Up) and fresh blueberries ... Mine was a little melty!

Our entree was chicken with spinach and mushrooms, green beans, and cheesy potatoes.  We cheated a little here ... This was from The Daily Dish in Hot Springs, and it was delicious!

And our dessert was prepared by Kelley Brown, Janice's daughter-in-law.  It was hands down one of the best desserts I've had ... a decadent chocolate mint brownie with this beautiful little frosting topping.  Soooo good!

Here's a picture of Kelley along with our two waiters.  She helped them out in the kitchen and kept them on track with what they were supposed to be doing.  You know, sometimes men need a little help!  Don't you love the guys' Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts to go along with the flamingo theme?

After dinner, each mom headed home with a flamingo gift bag containing a pink "Jesus Calling" book and some other goodies.  More importantly, each mom headed home with a whole group of new friends who will be lifting her up in prayer, and a new determination to live well while she's waiting to be reunited with her child(ren) in Heaven one day.

Finally, here's a picture of our group of Moms.  What a special bunch of ladies these are ... I'm so blessed to have heard their stories of sorrow mixed with hope and faith.  (Yes, we are wearing flamingo leis!)

A few of the moms wrote comments to share ...

"If you can possibly attend -- do -- as you will experience a day of pure Christian conversation with parents who share the same grief as you.  Your heart will feel so much lighter when you leave."

"A day of healing.  I wasn't sure, and it wasn't easy, but I'm glad I went.  Good to be with other mothers who can understand fully and cry with me."

"This group is great.  It was good to laugh and cry with other mothers who are waiting."

Maybe you're a mom who's missing a child who is in Heaven ... Or maybe you know someone who is.  Our next While We're Waiting Mini-Retreat for Moms is scheduled for September 7, 2013, and you can register or get more information by clicking here.  We can't promise you a day full of flamingos in September, but we can promise you a day of healing, encouragement, and fellowship in a safe place with other moms who understand!


Sharon Lakey-Jean said...

This is a very blessed group, one I wish I was not a member of, but happy for the love shared by each of you ladies. Thank you Janice and Jill for creating such a group that when it is said, I know how you feel, they really do. Waiting for that glorious day to join our children in heaven. Sharon Lakey-Jean Mom to Matt Mullen

Jill Sullivan said...

You are so welcome, Sharon ... We are looking forward to seeing you in November. In the meantime, we are waiting with you!