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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Baptism of Dean Emerson on July 31, 2010!

In 2007, I baptized Nora Skye, daughter of Laura and Sam, in my garden. It was a sweet ceremony and Nora was only a month old. Then later on, I officiated the wedding of Laura's mother, Nancy, and her husband, Verne. So, when Laura contacted me recently with news that she and Sam had a new baby boy, Dean, and they wanted to do a baptism ceremony, I was so excited to get to see everyone again! So, that Saturday morning we gathered at Sam and Laura's home in S. Raleigh for this sweet occasion.
This is Nora. She is now 3 years and 4 months old and quite an independent spirit! I don't think she sat still the whole time I was there and was having a lot of fun with all the grandparents and a few other children around.
And here is sweet Dean in his mother's arms. He is a solid boy and was simply taking all the action in. He seemed to be an "old soul" with such wise eyes to be only two months old.
The ceremony was on Laura and Sam's screened in back porch overlooking a wooded area. It was a pleasant cool July morning that later turned into a rainy day. Nora was hiding behind her mother after getting a case of the "shies!"  I lit a Source Candle representing the presence of God and from that flame then Sam and Laura lit a candle for Dean and one for Nora.We were also fortunate to have not only all Dean's grandparents present but also his great grandmother, too.
The sprinkling of water on Dean's head for the Baptism ritual. Babies never mind me doing that! He was so contented.
"May Dean Emerson bring joy to his parents, siblings, grandparents, family and friends. May God look down and bless this child and watch over him throughout his life and continue to help keep him safe, healthy and happy. May he be blessed with wisdom and self confidence to become a great leader and to continue his spiritual journey through the eyes of God."
 It was good to see Nancy and Verne and still so happily married! Laura and Sam both said they don't plan for any more children so I told Nancy and Verne they would have to have renewal of vows ceremony in a few years so we can get together again! Many blessings, everyone!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rhyan's Baby Blessing Ceremony on Sunday June 6, 2010!

I married John and Andrea in June of 2007 at Sisters' Garden in Raleigh. They were such fun to work with and I remembered them well when Andrea contacted me recently to ask if I did baby blessing ceremonies. I was thrilled to hear that they had a baby girl, Rhyan, and wanted me to do a welcoming ceremony for her and their families. So, we set about creating a special ceremony just for Rhyan.

 When Marty and I arrived at Andrea's mother's home for the ceremony everyone had gathered and ready to begin!
And so I began with a welcome and read one of my favorite poems for this occasion by Desiderata.
“You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees and the stars;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
Whatever you conceive God to be,
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
In the noisy confusion of life,
Keep peace with your soul.”

I could tell that John was just thrilled with his little girl. He just couldn't stop smiling and told me that she had truly changed his life! I know Andrea felt the same way. It is so rewarding for me to see my couples building their families and to be a part of that process is an honor.

Alyssa presented a reading by Kahil Gibran called “Your Children:”
"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  For life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and bends you with might that the arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness."

John is making his promises to Rhyan here. She, however, seems to be more interested in the camera! After Andrea and John made their promises to Rhyan, they took rose petals from roses representing the three of them and placed them in spring water with which I sprinkled Rhyan's sweet soft downy head in a blessing and christening.
Rhyan is the prettiest baby! She was so contented, attentive and alert. She never once fussed. I know she is a joy to her parents. Rhyan was wearing the same christening dress that her mother and her cousin Taylor wore. A family tradition being passed down.
It's done! Rhyan is now officially blessed and welcomed into the world by her parents and their families. Andrea's father, Gene who had come all the way from Connecticut for the occasion, slipped a sweet note to me as Marty and I left. The note said: "Dear Rev. Middleton, The Blessing for Rhyan is the second significant event that you have officiated for our family. Thanks for making it so very special." He also included a generous gratuity! It is indeed an honor to be a part of this couple's lives and their families' lives! These baby blessings are truly a blessing for me too. Andrea and John, congratulations to you and your families. I hope you will keep in touch and send me photos of Rhyan as she grows into her true radiant self.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Baby Blessing and Baptism for Sydney Elizabeth!

On October 14, 2007 I performed a baby blessing and baptism ceremony for Kathy and Todd and their daughter Savannah Grace. See us in the photo below. Kathy contacted me earlier this year and told me that they had another daughter, Sydney Elizabeth, born in December of 2009. They wanted to do a baby blessing and baptism for her too. Both ceremonies took place in St. Mark's Chapel in Raleigh.

So, on Sunday March 28, 2010, I arrived to meet Miss Sydney Elizabeth and see her parents and Savannah again. My, how Savannah has grown into the prettiest little girl. She was a moving target at age 2 but Marty managed to snap a great photo of her here.
The ceremony was almost the same as Savannah's except that Kathy had found a nice reading for this one. Kathy and Todd made their parental promises to Sydney.
Of course we included the grandparents. It was nice to see them all again! They each held a rose for Sydney then placed them in the vase of water symbolizing life.
Jana and Dave are Sydney's Godparents. They made their promises to her. 
Jana presented the reading to Sydney who was having trouble paying attention! Well, she is only 3 months old!
Now I sprinkle the water on her little head for the baptism. No baby has ever made a fuss of this!
Here's the whole family of three generations! Congratulations to you all!
Sweet baby! How wonderful these ceremonies are to welcome the wee ones into the world. Such a privilege to be a part of them. God bless you all!

Welcome to the World, Hailey!

I married Michelle and Michael in the Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science in December of 2006. On September 27, 2008, I did a baby blessing and baptism ceremony for their daughter, Amanda. Then late 2009, Michelle called to tell me they had a new addition to their family, another daughter named Hailey. They wanted to do a baby blessing and baptism ceremony for her in March. So we set the date for March 27, 2010 in their home in Wake Forest.
We had the ceremony in their living room and Mike had set up a video camera to record it. We had to wake Hailey up from her nap but she was such a good sport and happy baby.
 She even seemed to be listening to my every word!
During their wedding ceremony, Michelle and Mike had poured sand together representing the two of them. Mike's son, Shane, from a previous marriage, also poured sand into the same container signifying family unity. In 2008, we added sand for Amanda to the container. And now Mike is adding more sand to it for Hailey. It completely filled up their container and they have so many pretty layers of sand that keep getting shifted with every move they make. Mike and Michelle told me that this will be the last sand they add because they are blessed with their son and two daughters and their family is complete!
The grandparents were each given a rose before the ceremony symbolizing their love and support for Hailey. During the ceremony I had each of them place their rose in this vase of water which is the symbol of life. This ceremony marked the third time I had been with these parents and grandparents. I would love for there to be another occasion--maybe a renewal of vows for Michelle and Mike!
"I hereby baptize you, Hailey Nicole, in the name of God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (It amazes me that babies don't mind having me put cool water on their little heads!)
 So, here we all are. Shane, now age 10 and big brother to two sisters, Amanda age 2, and Hailey age 6 months! Michelle and Michael, you have such a wonderful family. Many, many blessings!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sweet Ceremony for Scarlett!

Scarlett's mommy, Michele, contacted me in August to do a baby blessing ceremony for her in the Fall. We decided on November 22nd which turned out to be a bit chilly but no one seemed to mind, including Miss Scarlett who was so well behaved and attentive! She is 7 months old.

They decided to have the ceremony in my wedding garden which was perfect for the gathering of family and friends. When they arrived, Daniel, Scarlett's daddy, remarked that he knew some of my neighbors as he had been across the street doing some plumbing work just recently. Small world. Now I know a good plumber!

Sedona, Scarlett's older sister, age 5, sang an opening blessing. She was so cute. Then I began the ceremony with a sweet little poem that Michele found. She told me that Scarlet was her "fairy baby" and this is the poem by Sir James Barrie about fairies, entitled "On Fairies:"

When the first baby laughed for the first time,
The laugh broke into a thousand pieces

And they all went skipping about,

And that was the beginning of fairies.

I like fairies too and had just recently found a metal statue of a fairy for my garden and for the ceremony she graced the top of the table for the ceremony.  I passed roses around to the guests and asked them to tear off a petal, infuse it with their blessing for Scarlett, and place it in the crystal swan bowl of spring water.

Then I sprinkled Scarlett's head with that water to bless her.

Scarlett's cousin, Chrishawna, read a closing poem "From Many Winters; Poems and Poetry of the Pueblos" by Nancy Woods:

Hold on to what is good
Even if it is
A handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
Even if it is
A long way from here.
Hold on to life even when
It is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.

Isn't she a doll? She has the prettiest gray-blue eyes that are huge!

Here is the happy family: Sedona, Dan, Michele and Scarlett. Many blessings to you all!

Double Baby Blessing for Lanie and Grady!

Michele and Patrick wanted to have their son, Grady, baptized and so Michele contacted me in July to find out more details. She also mentioned that her sister, Julie, and her husband, Charles, who live in Atlanta also wanted to get their daughter, Lanie, baptized and they would like to do a joint ceremony in NC. I wrote to her:
I call these sweet ceremonies the generic term “baby blessings” which may include christenings or baptisms or baby naming ceremonies. Each ceremony is created according to the faith and beliefs of each family. We can include christening or baptism or anointing. I do them all as I am a non-denominational minister and honor all faiths. All my ceremonies for babies are a welcoming to the world to the baby and usually include parental promises or pledges to the baby, grandparents, god parents, siblings of the baby, etc., whatever the parents want. The ceremonies can be religious or spiritual.

So, we set a date of August 22, 2009 and began creating the ceremony for these two babies and their families. It turned out to be a beautiful day in August when we all gathered in the garden area at Michele and Patrick's home.

Grandparents, friends and siblings gathered for the event.

Grady did not seem to mind me sprinkling water on his head.

But, Lanie was not too happy about it!

The ceremony was a spiritual one. Michele and Julie included this poem by Amanda Carter that I really like:
If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

Grady is the sweetest thing! He was fascinated with my bracelets.

Lanie would not let me hold her so here she is with Mom holding her but she still looks quite suspicious of me!

It was a delightful day, delightful families, and here we all are after the ceremony!

Baby Blessings from my Archives!

Baby blessings are the sweetest ceremonies! It is such a wonderful gesture for parents to have a ceremony to bless their child and welcome him or her into the world. It is such an honor for me to be asked to preside over these ceremonies and, I love doing them. Some parents choose christening or baptism rituals, others choose anointing--or none of the above. The content and tone of the ceremony is written to fit the beliefs and values of the parents of the baby. Some are religious, some spiritual. Some are baby naming ceremonies. Parents, grandparents, godparents and siblings get to take part in these heart-felt ceremonies. There are readings of all sorts, promises and well wishes for the baby and their families. To get this new blog started, I have compiled all the baby blessings for which I have photos going back to 2001 into one post.

Ryan's Baby Blessing, July 12 2009

On Sunday morning July 12th, we gathered at Lake Wheeler to celebrate the birth of Ryan exactly 4 months prior. It was a beautiful and quiet Sunday morning with a nice breeze off the lake. Both sets of grandparents were present as well as Ryan's god parents. We did the ceremony on the deck under the canopy. The parents and grandparents were in the big rocking chairs flanking me as their family members and friends watched the ceremony.

Misha and Kevin chose to have Ryan baptized and so I did the honors, sealing him in the protection of the Holy Spirit.

I LOVE to cuddle the babies!

Proud parents, Misha and Kevin, with son Ryan.

Father and son!

Ryan's godmother Rachel (dear friend of Misha), Mom Misha,
Dad Kevin, Ryan, and godfather, Scott (Kevin's brother).

I was honored to be a part of Ryan's celebration!

Zoe's Baby Blessing, June 28, 2009

On Sunday June 28th, I arrived at the home of Zoe, almost 2 months old, and her parents, Marni and Michael, and older brother Zachary. The ceremony took place in their front yard since it was such a beautiful day.

Zoe had a hard time staying awake during the ceremony!
It was her nap time too! Here are her Mom, Dad and Grandpa Joe!

Zoe did not seem to notice when I touched her head with water for the baptism.
I think it must feel natural to all babies!

Zoe's maternal grandparents, Joe (center) and Anne (right), traveled from Corning, NY, for the occasion. So did Marni's sister, Katie (left), who is not only Zoe's aunt but also her godmother. Zachary was so wired up for the occasion, we barely got him to slow down long enough for me to ask him if he promised to be the best big brother to Zoe that he could be! Of course, he said he would.

Katie was truly amazing and inspiring and I so admire her. She is recovering from ovarian cancer stage III and has done so well. She is giving back to all who gave to her by volunteering her services and inspiration to other cancer survivors. She was tearful through most of the sweet ceremony for Zoe. All the best to all of you!

Please indulge me! Here are more of "my babies!!"


Xavian - 9/6/03 - with his parents, Anthony and Stacey, in my garden.

Savannah Grace - 10/14/07

Rocco Anthony and his godmothers! 1/8/06

Phillip Dylan - 12/9/07

Paul Andrews- 10/7/07

Oliver Kay 3/30/08

I married Oliver's parents, Genevieve and Bernard, and performed a baby blessing ceremony for his older sister, Lauren, in 2005. I don't have a photo of Lauren. Must not have had my camera with me that day.

We added sand for each child to the sand we poured during their parents' wedding in 2003.

Nina Simone - ceremony 9/4/05.

Makayla Rae - ceremony 1/21/07

I married Nina Simone and Makayla's parents, Anne Marie and Sean, on 5/29/04 at Crenshaw Hall. We did a sand ceremony at their wedding and at the baby blessings, we added sand for each child.

Madyson Noel - 3/2/08

I married Madyson's parents, Kimberly and Trevor, on 6/19/05.

Connor Elliot - 12/28/02

Carlie Reigh - 2/3/08

Emma-Brooks - 6/16/07

Gillian Lee - 11/2/03

Twins!! Eva Joy and John Martin - 7/6/03

Jacob Allen - 7/14/01
This was the very first baby blessing I did. I was so nervous! I married Jacob's parents, Pete and Gretchen, in February of 2000 at St. Mary's College but have no photos of their wedding.

Ava Joy - 8/26/07

Baby Blessing for Cullen and Evan!

March 22, 2009

When Marty and I arrived last Saturday morning for the ceremony, I was greeted by Jen who told me that my niece had done the wedding ceremony for her and Hadley in RI. At first I did not get the connection then it hit me all of a sudden! Lisa was the bride whose sister lived in RI who needed a minster and I referred them to Nancy. Now it all connected in my mind! What a small world!! A synchronicity! So, I was just even more delighted to do this wonderful baby blessing for these sisters and their sons who are first cousins. They both remarked how much Nancy and I look alike and that is so true. We get accused of being sisters when we are together, which unfortunately is not often because of the distance between Raleigh and Cape Cod. I actually mentored Nancy in becoming a wedding minister. Go have a look yourself at her website.

The baby blessing ceremony went well despite lots of busy little ones running around! I have learned through the years just to plow on through the ceremony though. The parents gave their pledges to their children and we recognized their godparents. Lisa and Eugene got out the Unity Circle they had stood in for their wedding, redecorated it and stood inside it with Anthony and the baby as they made their parental promises to Cullen. Each person there dropped a rose petal into pure spring water for each baby and then I sprinkled their heads. Funny, babies don't mind at all my putting water on their heads and never fuss! They were both so adorable. It was good to see Lisa's parents once again too--that makes 3 times over the past several years--the wedding and two baby blessings. I feel like I am part of the family.
I married Lisa and Eugene several years ago at the Preston Woodall House in Benson--here is a photo of us on their wedding day. Later Lisa contacted me and told me that her sister, Jen, was getting married in Rhode Island and could I refer her to a minister there to officiate for them. Turns out my husband's niece, Rev. Nancy Wurlitzer, lives in Cape Cod and was most happy to officiate for Jen and Hadley since Providence was not that far from the Cape. In 2005 Lisa and Eugene told me they had a baby boy, Anthony, and asked me to perform a baby blessing for him which I did. We included the grandparents and godparents in the ceremony that took place in their home in Garner and Jen was Anthony's godmother and Jason, the best man in their wedding, was his godfather--see photo. A couple of months ago Lisa emailed me that they had a second son, Cullen, born last October and wanted to have a baby blessing ceremony for him too. We set the date of March 21 and started working on the ceremony they wanted. Then Lisa told me that her sister had a baby son born last September and although they live in Pennsylvania, they wanted to come to North Carolina that weekend and include their son, Evan, in the baby blessing ceremony, and if that was okay with me. I told her "of course" and that I had done double baby blessings before and had recently done one for babies who were first cousins.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Baptism and Blessing for Joshua Charles!

Valerie contacted me to find out if I could perform a baby blessing/baptism ceremony for her baby, Joshua Charles, on 1/31/09 at St. Mark's Chapel. I was delighted to do this for Valerie and her husband, John, to celebrate the birth and entrance into this world of their son last October. Together we designed a ceremony that expressed what they wanted and fit their beliefs. When I arrived for the ceremony, I spotted Kimberly and Wes, a couple I married in 2006 at the Long View Center, who were friends of Valerie and John, and were there with their sweet little 3 week old daughter, Natalie. Here is a photo of them--too bad the sunlight was beaming in behind them for the photo! Natalie was precious and maybe we will do a blessing ceremony for her in the near future. It was good to see them again!

When everyone had arrived the ceremony began and Joshua actually appeared to be very attentive, even dropped his pacifier and did not seem to notice as he was raptly following my every word! Oh, sure! He was so cute. Valerie wrote a special poem for him for this occasion which she recited during the ceremony. His Godparents, Cheryl and David, read a delightful poem by Dr. Seuss called "Oh the Places You Will Go!" His grandmothers held roses representing their love and dedication to him and placed them in a vase of water during the ceremony. We all had a great time welcoming him into this community of family and friends.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baby Blessing Ceremony for First Cousins--Amanda and Caelen!

On New Year's Eve 2006, I married Michele and Michael at a wonderful wedding at the Butterfly House located at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. It was a great ceremony and included Michael's son, Shane, who enjoyed pouring his sand in the family unity sand ceremony. I have done several ceremonies at the Butterfly House. They are quite unique and special.

Michele contacted me in August of this year to tell me the wonderful news that she and Michael had a new baby girl, Amanda, born 5/31/08 and wondered if I remembered marrying them. Of course I did! They wanted me to do a baby blessing and baptism ceremony for Amanda so we set a date and started working on the ceremony that would fit their beliefs. Later on, Michele wrote and asked me if we could include her little nephew, Caelen, who was born on 7/28/08, to her sister Jennifer and her husband Kevin. I said sure! I had done a a couple of baby blessing ceremonies in the past for two children at the same time--one was for twins and the other was for cousins. No problem. So, we modified the ceremony to include Caelen.
I arrived at the Main Street Park in Rolesville on Saturday September 27th for the ceremony at the gazebo. Michael and his father were setting up for the ceremony. It was a beautiful setting! It was good to see not only Michael and Michele and Shane again but also their parents and Jennifer. I met Kevin and his parents and the two babies for the first time of course! Shane was feeling a bit shy that day, unlike his peppy eager self at their wedding! But, I got him in one picture--the one of Michele holding Amanda--that is Shane is in the background looking happy the ceremony was all over! In the group photo, Michael, Michele and Amanda are on the left and Jennifer, Kevin and Caelen are on the right. The babies were so sweet and quiet during the ceremony--always a blessing! We added pink sand for Amanda to her parents' and Shane's wedding sand and included the children's grandparents in a rose ceremony. It was a well planned and fun occasion!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Baby Blessing Ceremony for Langdon!

Amanda and Michael planned a gathering of family and close friends to welcome their nine month old baby boy, Langdon, into the world on Sunday May 11th. We all gathered on the patio outside--the rain had let up and the sun was shining. All of Langdon's grandparents ( Charles, Sandra, Robert and Eleanor)were present and even his great grandmother Katherine was with us for the special occasion. Unfortunately his great grandfather Chick passed away in February but he was with us in spirit. As part of the ceremony of celebration we all dropped flower petals infused with our blessings for Langdon into a bowl of spring water which I then placed drops of water on his head blessing him for all of us. We said in unison "Langdon, we love you, we appreciate you, and we bless you always.”

Then we passed Langdon around for some great pictures of the special occasion. He was so contented and did not fuss at all! God bless you, Langdon!