Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flowers are a Blessing

      If you have ever received flowers, I'm sure you know just how much of a blessing flowers can be.  To the patient in the hospital, the new mom, a birthday wish, or a sympathy arrangement, flowers can brighten, inspire, and even bless.
      On Wednesday, I was able to see first hand how much a bouquet of flowers can brighten the day of an unsuspecting recipient.  Once a month, my church in Siloam Springs does random acts of kindness for people in our community.  We take groceries to families in need, quarters to the laundry mat, and write letters for missionaries overseas.  Ever since we have started this tradition I have felt the need to provide my talent and services to provide hope and a blessing to somebody in need.  After weeks of praying and trying to decide what to do, I was at work on Tuesday when it dawned on me.  I could take flower arrangements to the nursing home!
      So, on Wednesday morning when the floral truck arrived, I had decided the amount of money that I could spend on flowers and that I wanted to make at least 10 small arrangements for the residents of the nursing home.  While I was picking out the leather leaf, daisies, and Alstromeria lilies off the truck, Scotty, the driver, placed more flowers in my pile and told me that I could have them for free.  That's right, the flowers were all donated.  I also had enough flowers to make 24 arrangements, now talk about a blessing.
Two women from church, my mom, and I all arrived at the nursing home around 6:30 pm.  The residents were getting ready for bed for the night so we walked around the halls looking for people who were awake to give flowers to.  Several times I would have to fight back the tears as a sweet elderly lady would reach out her hand to touch mine as tears welled in her eyes because she had received flowers.   One sweet man wanted to keep the flowers to give to his granddaughter who was coming to visit him on Saturday.  Several times the residents would say "oh no thank you, I don't have anything to put them in."  As I looked around their rooms I noticed that all they had was a drinking cup that they used for water.  The lack of vases or other containers that hold flowers showed me that these patients never receive flowers.  They are never or rarely blessed with the beauty that flowers provide.
      I was particularly touched by a sweet lady with an oxygen mask on.  As I walked in to her room I noticed that she was staring at the wall with a look of sadness.  As I knelt down beside her I asked her if she would like an arrangement of roses.  She looked up at me and said in a whisper through her oxygen mask, "but I don't have any money." "Oh ma'am," I say, "these flowers are free, they are for you."  From that moment I noticed her eyes of sadness turned to eyes filled with joy and jubilation. "Oh thank you, thank you" she said to me, at least twenty times.  I held her hand as I helped her open her card as she read "God bless you" and the verse inside.  As I touched her soft, frail, skin all I could think about was how this small arrangement of leather leaf, one red rose, and a few spray roses, all nicely tied in a pink ribbon, was what this woman needed to brighten her day.
      If you have ever looked at flowers as something that you see everyday, perhaps even on the side of the road on your way down the highway, I urge you to think of this.  Think of how just a small bouquet of flowers can brighten a day and bring hope to the most unsuspecting of recipients.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There is so much more to a flower shop than designing arrangements

Hey, this is Althea's "Personal assistant (I like to call myself that),"  Hannah.  The busy wedding season is upon us and the shop has turned into a maze of flower, vases, ribbons, and buckets.  The black and white checkered floors are just a distant memory to us as we weave our way through the items.  From my work at the computer I hear the usual "ugh" as somebody cuts themselves with a wire, or a nice "ooo" as Althea is please with a bouquet that she has prepared for a bride.  As I look up I see hydrangeas, daisies, football mums, and delphinium.  I often wonder if I am in a flower shop or in a wild garden where the flowers are strangely planted in white plastic buckets.  The phone rings, and email blinks in, or I am awaken from my wonderment and realize that I have a ton of work to complete myself.  You see, there is much more to a flower shop than creating flowers.

Four weeks ago I had knee surgery and well, it is hard to carry flowers, stand on your feet for hours, and create arrangements while on crutches.  I have been given the assignment of office assistant.  Until I was "placed" in this position I guess I never realized how much work goes into a floral business besides the lovely arrangements that the clients and public see.  There are hundreds of emails to answers, flowers to order, contracts to write, contracts to rewrite, phone calls to answer, and consultations with prospective glowing brides.  Not to mention the thousands, okay maybe that was an exaggeration, of letters to write!  Every client that orders flowers from us, bride and groom that selects us for their wedding, recipient of our arrangements, and couple with a one year anniversary receives either a handwritten letter or an email thanking them for their service.  I will be going out of the country in five weeks to Lithuania and have been catching up on the letters for the months of May, June, and July.  That's a lot of writing!  There are bills to be paid, invoices to be entered, contact lists to be updated.  Don't even get me started on filing.  I am often reminded of those cartoons that you see where there are people pushing piles of paper all over the office.  Yes, believe it or not, this is a floral shop behind the scenes.

Although it can be stressful at time and very busy for us all, when Austin brings in one of his delicious peanut butter pies or I break into song along with the radio, I am reminded that we are a family and it is this family that makes Rose of Sharon, Event Florist a wonderful place to work.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From Wedding Vendor to Bride: The Photos

I promised photos from the wonderful Andrea Parnell.  Of course, she sent me the first web-ready photos a few weeks ago, but I got busy working on other weddings and completely forgot to post these!  So here you go...a few photos from our wedding on 1/1/11.
Mom helping me get ready.

Michelle and hairspray--NOT my favorite beauty item!

Giving Adrian my special gift.

Jason making everyone (including himself) tear up.


A quite family moment after the ceremony.

One of my favorite photos.

With Karie (Wonderful coordinator!) and Hannah  (Florist -in-training)

Andrea Parnell (photographer) & Karie Sutton (coordinator)
My bouquet--a full length cascade.

Feather hairpiece

Michelle's bouquet...I finally found some carnations she likes.

Adrian's Bouquet.  These are the flowers I wanted to use, but only got the one bunch.

Jason's boutonniere: succulent and hyacinth blooms.

My Vows.

A hug from Dad.