Remembrance, Loss & Solace

I’m delighted to have several christening candles engraved and painted this week, all nearly ready to be sent or delivered but was stopped in my tracks by a lovely priest who phoned me to order a remembrance candle for a baby who sadly died at birth. I was glad to be able to drop all other orders for an hour or so to get the candle with an angel engraved ready for him this afternoon. He travelled some distance to collect it – such kindness! I hope the parents get some solace and peace from the remembrance ceremony and candlelight – my thoughts are with them and other parents who have been bereaved. I’m glad to at least do something small to help by donating 10% on all orders for baby remembrance candles to Feileacháin

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School holidays – good time to say “thanks a million”!

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I know teachers get an awful lot of presents over the last few days of school and recently parents have been asked not to spend so much money buying presents. Sometimes a simple sincere “thanks” spoken or on a card means more than a bought gift. For years I’ve made presents for my children’s teachers, helpers, bus drivers, and school secretaries . The gifts are always small – usually made the night before holidays – bit like tonight!! This year I’m painting wooden clothes pegs to close a little bag of sweets. If I can find my roll of magnetic tape I’ll stick a bit on the back so the peg can be used for notes on the fridge!

I was delighted to be asked to engrave candles for my friend’s children’s teachers this year. I know 2 of the teachers well so it was almost like giving them the gift myself – but it also meant I knew what the teacher might like! I know miss Fitzpatrick loves frogs of all sorts so she got her frog with matching card and ribbon! I like to personalise my candles and gifts not just with names but learning what the person may be interested in and trying to include aspects of that interest. It’s highly unlikely that the teacher will get another candle exactly like this one!!

Hope we all enjoy the break from uniforms, lunches, homework…and I hope the teachers, helpers, bus drivers and secretaries enjoy their little treat! Their painted pegs can be used again for closing packets of tea/pasta/coffee/cereal……until next year!

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Christenings, Anniversaries and Birthdays!

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Delighted to have engraved and painted christening candles for Joshua, Joey & Rena this weekend. Later this week I’ll post some wedding anniversary candles for couples near and very faraway! Don’t want to spoil the surprise!! Lots of teacher thank-you candles and a little boy’s 1st birthday candle. Busy week ahead so because added to this list will be certain special boy’s 10th birthday party, without second daughter who will be away perfecting her français – hopefully eldest post leaving cert sister will step in to help! AND then 3rd daughter is excited at prospect of taking part in 3 school shows!!! Oh I feel tired at the thoughts of tomorrow morning!!

Looking on the bright side

Oh that Monday feeling……….and its Tuesday already!! Bank holidays really have a way of throwing everything out of synch!! However it really was a lovely weekend – Saturday was special with opening of Nartowska school of art exhibition – Milo & Sorcha had work there and it was a pure delight to see their and all Iwona’s students amazing work on display, and for sale!! Sunday was spent with family in Cavan, celebrating joint cousins babies christenings – Saoirse & Ellen. Needless to say they had their own specially designed Christening candles supplied by their rather ancient cousin!! I also had the opportunity to deliver another christening candle to nearby town – I didn’t get around to showing off Ellen & Saoirse’s candles so here’s a pic of another similar one!!

It was wonderful to be able to celebrate such a happy occasion with family, and good weather was a bonus! However my trip “home” was somewhat tinged with sadness as one of the families will be winging back to Canada soon.

Another aspect of my trip was both sad but ultimately full of hope and positivity as I delivered a remembrance/family candle to a wonderful lady who’s son was killed in 2009 – he would have been celebrating his 8th birthday soon so its a difficult time for her. I hope the candle specially designed for her and the family will bring some solace. Her attitude and faith was just amazing – I hope I’m never in her place – yet again I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have 4 fine children all thriving and full of life. Hope you all have a good week, sunshine helping to bring out positivity and appreciation of what we have rather than focusing on what we don’t.

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Lighting up your wedding!

Unity CandlesLighting the unity candle is a truly bright moment and signifies the coming together of two people.

 

The Unity Candle Ceremony is a popular choice for both religious and non-religious ceremonies because it is non-denominational and has no religious significance.

The two outer candles represent your individual lives before today. They represent all that you are from your vast experiences, and they represent your individual families. As you each take a single candle and light the center candle, you will extinguish your individual candles.

Often the Bride will blow out the Groom’s taper candle and the Groom will blow out the Brides taper candle. This represents the closing of the chapters in your individual Books of Life and the beginning of new chapters as you begin to write a new book of Life as wife and husband!

Another way to do this is to allow the two taper candles to continue to burn. By allowing the flame of the two taper candles to remain lit, it represents that the Bride and Groom accept the individuality of each other as a means to fulfilling their commitment to one another.

Alternatively you could have your friends and family participate, give everyone a candle as they enter. When lighting the Unity Candle, each of you turn and share your light with the first row of seated guests on your side. Let the guests share the flame from their own small candle with the person sitting next to them until all the candles are aglow and you are pronounced wife and husband. The minister can suggest that everyone make a good wish for the Bride and Groom and blow out the candles.

If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the candle for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is an excellent way to involve children from a previous marriage.

Having your unity candles personalized will add a special dimension to the ceremony and may reflect the themes and colours of your wedding –  Hand crafted wedding candles will be as original and unique as yourselves –

 

Wedding candles with Calla Lily, Remembrance Candle & hand painted Name Card

You might consider including children’s names, gift candles for your parents and bridesmaids (and groomsmen too!) ,memorial candles remembering deceased loved ones, favours for your guests and even décor at your wedding reception – consider having personalized globe candles that won’t burn away and can be used again in your home, reminding you of that very special day.

 

Tip:  Make sure that there aren’t any decorative beads, ribbon or lace around the candles – they can easily catch fire. Consider pre-lighting the taper candles and the Unity candle to make them easier to light in outdoor ceremonies. If your ceremony is outdoors, always have several extra lighters nearby in case the wind decides to blow the candles out. Putting the Unity Candle inside a glass hurricane lamp  or using Globe candles can be very helpful in protecting the flame from the breeze.

Globe Candles

There are other “unity ceremony” traditions that might appeal to others including

Rose Ceremony: A simple unity ceremony where the bride and groom exchange roses. Other variations: the families exchange roses, the bride and groom exchange roses with their families, the bride and groom exchange roses, then present their mothers with the roses.

 

Wine Ceremony: The bride and groom each take a carafe of wine and pour it into a single glass, which they both drink from.

 

Water Ceremony: The couple each pour a different colored water into a single glass, creating a third color.

 

Sand Ceremony: similar to the water ceremony, the bride and groom both pour different colored sand into a glass.

 

Salt Ceremony: Indian weddings often include a salt ceremony, where the bride passes a handful of salt to her groom without spilling any. He then passes it back to her and the exchange is repeated three times. She then performs the salt exchange with all the members of the groom’s family, symbolizing her blending in with her new family.

 

Breaking Bread Ceremony: The bride and groom tear off pieces of bread, and then each eat a piece. Sometimes the bread is also shared with family and friends. It symbolizes their future as a family together.

 

Garland Ceremony or Lei Ceremony: The bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers. This is a common part of Indian weddings, where the ceremony is called varmala or jaimala, and represents a proposal by the bride and acceptance by the groom. It also represents their new unity, blessed by nature. In Hawaian weddings, the bride and groom typically exchange leis. The families may also exchange leis with the couple. Leis represent the love and respect you have for the person you are giving it to, and the unity of the new family.

 

Circling: In Eastern European ceremonies, the bride and groom circle the altar three times, which are their first steps together as husband and wife. In Hindu ceremonies, couples circle the fire seven times, sealing their bond. The unbroken circle represents the unbroken committment to each other.

 

Broom Jumping: An African-American tradition that has its roots in slavery times when slaves couldn’t marry. Typically the family places the broom on the ground, and the bride and groom jump over it together. The broom can then decorate a place of honor in their home.

 

Lasso Ceremony: Lasso or rope is placed around the bride and groom’s shoulders, usually by the officiant. Sometimes rosary beads, or orange flowers are used instead of rope. It can also be placed around the couple’s necks, or wrists.

 

 

Celtic Oathing Stone The couple holds or puts their hands on a stone during their vows to “set them in stone (this may be where this phrase comes from!)

 

My favourite alternative is

Truce Bell. A bell is rung on the wedding day, the happiest day of the couple’s lives and then is placed in a central location in the home. If the couple starts to argue, one of them can ring the truce bell, reminding them both of that happiness and hopefully ending the disagreement quickly!

 

 

Here are some wedding reception candle ideas

Candle light is perfect for an evening or night time wedding, you don’t necessarily have to have flowers, but you do need to have candlelight. It adds a lovely incandescent glow and sets an intimate and romantic tone.  You can put votive candles directly inside flower arrangements for a wonderful sparkling effect. Adding light to a flower gives it a really nice glow.

Candles can stand on their own, or in simple hurricane vase or votives that shield them from the wind. Globe candles can be used again and again – the wax globe remains while the candle burns within – you can have the globe personalized with design, names or appropriate quotation – the design and text will be illuminated adding a uniqueness to the display.

Reception candles can also be used to underline the architecture of a building or the shape of a pool, or by running along steps or pathways to invite you guests into a space.

What ever way you decide to decorate, keep it in scale with the space. Engage all the senses. Think about how things will look, feel and smell. Scented candles, fragrant flowers and greenery, and rich fabric will create a quality that is rich and sensual.

 

Competition

Competition advertisement Carlow nationalistLucky winner of prize will receive unique personalized Wedding Candle Premium Set (worth approx €300) which will include Unity candles (set of 3 candles) in a custom made personalized box for safe keeping, remembrance candle (if required), gift candles for parents.  bridesmaids / groomsmen and Small personalized Globe candle for the Main table at the wedding reception.  Closing date for the competition is 5th February  2012 with the Carlow Nationalist

 

Looking forward, with a glimpse to the past

I may seem a bit obsessed with the dead this week, but I think its so important to remember all those we have loved and lost – they have impacted on our lives and many have shaped the people we are today.  Recently at the annual “blessing of the graves” in my home town it was lovely to see so many people there standing by their tidied family graves, honouring and remembering generations of parents, grandparents and so sadly many  young children and babies.  Despite all the controversy in the church these days this was a dignified understated ceremony and felt very like a real community celebration of remembrance.

My young 8year old son Milo never met either of his grandfathers, and is desperate to know all about them and what they were like.  They would both have been so proud of him – its a shame they’re not around to see this enthusiastic, sporty, intelligent, playful and quite fluent irish speaking boy!  We show him photos of our fathers but it takes more to describe their personalities – Milo is fascinated with the fact that he shares my dad’s passion for lego and making things – so he figures they would have definitely got on well and his other grandfather was a gaelgóir so he’s pleased to know that they could have chatted in irish.  He often wonders if the grandads get to meet in heaven and have discussions about him and his sisters progress in life!  One of his sisters wondered recently what accent my dad had – was it a strong Cavan one like my brother and I found my self saddened realising that we have no video or sound recordings of him – wish I had.  My challenge is to bring a wonderful man to life in my son’s mind so that he knows where he comes from and what characteristics he shares with his grandads.  We regularly visit my dad’s grave and occasionally my father in law’s (because its more difficult to get to) and Milo was moved to tears visiting them – seeing their graves and headstones as his most tangible connection to them.  Unlike his experience we will be able to leave a record of speech, movement and colour – one of the many advantages of our digital age.

In the meantime, we can light a candle of remembrance, shining a light on our past, illuminating our future!

Remembering the Dead

About 8 years ago I was asked to engrave and paint the names of the soldiers who died in the Lebanon on a memorial candle.  The candle was especially made by Larry Kinsella of Moth to a Flame Candles.  It was made in 4 sections to make up an entire sized candle of approx 6ft.  Sadly such a large candle was needed to allow space for the names of the 47 soldierswho died while on UNIFIL duty between 1978 and 2000

I never had the opportunity to see the candle in the Cedar Room of Arbour Hill Church of the Sacred Heart (church of the Defence Forces) until today.  The church always seemed to be closed until by chance when passing I noticed the gate was opened so I had to have a look inside.  I was delighted to finally get to see the candle memorial in place together with other mementos of the Lebanon UNIFIL mission which include a book of photographs and details of all the soldiers.  It is such a peaceful and dignified room that fittingly remembers these men and according to Betty, one of the ladies who look after this room and the church, this is a room that is often visited and very recently the church held the marriage of a son of one of the fallen men and poignantly a bouquet was placed on the open memorial book in his memory on his son’s wedding day.

Army Memorial Candle.     

I was honoured have created part of this fitting memorial and so pleased to finally see it in place.

May they Rest in Peace