Going through piles of paperwork from my dad’s house recently I came across a gem. An article about my mom and how she used promotions to gain a customer base for a new shop, Kelly Blueprint, they had opened back in 1977. It opened a few weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. I tear up as I re-read the article. Oh, how I wish my mom was still here to talk with, to ask for her guidance about my own business; I am certain she would have had some creative ideas and wisdom to impart. I know she would have been my biggest cheerleader. How I also wish I had known back then how smart, creative and ethical she was. In the article she mentions how she tried advertising, coupons and other gimmicks to no avail. “We literally got no response” she said. Then she thought to purchase green carnations from the florist next door and send one out with each order. People loved this! And, thus began a string of promotions such as, candy canes around Christmas, “Heart Fund” lollipops on Valentines Day etc.…She says, “Customers began to think of the newcomer in town as an old friend and looked forward to dealing with Kelly Blueprint.” Word-of-mouth soon took over and the rest is history. She also placed a candy jar on the sales counter as well as a vase full of flowers. Brilliant! People in general, I think, love to get a little extra something, a “freebie”, a gift with purchase.
Another gem I read about in this article was the fact that my mom ran the business ethically, in that, since it was a blueprint and copy shop, people would come in with all sorts of items to copy and she stood her ground. Her words, “I would like to see the return of honor and trust between the customer and the blue-printer. For I am extremely aware of what moral principles have done for me. Some of my customers have gone out of their way to let me know how much they appreciate my stand in these matters.” Way to go Mom! I had no idea at the time, I was too young to appreciate how smart and creative she was. So, I just wanted to honor my mother’s memory during the month of March along with her most favorite holiday (St. Patrick's Day) as she was half-Irish; and to recall her love for me, for dad and for the business she ran so well. What a blessing that must have been for her to get to start a business and watch it grow. All because she thought of ways to make people feel included, special and loved.
Lord, may I be even half as smart, creative and ethical as my beloved mom was. Thank you, Lord, for showing me this little window into her life, this gem of an article. I miss you more than ever mom. Thank you for your example, thank you Lord for my mama.
Would you agree that there are some things in life that we choose and some things we do not? Things we would never choose, for instance Covid or Cancer or any other seemingly awful disease or situation. However, the Lord in his omniscience sometimes chooses to allow these seasons in our lives, for His purposes, ultimately.
Every response from us, however, is a choice. We can choose to accept the situation or not. We can choose to fight back, or not. We can choose to praise Him above all, or not. We can choose to heed His promptings, or not.
If you think about it, everything from the moment our feet hit the floor each morning till our head hits the pillow each evening, everything we say, think, and do are choices. We can choose to love people each day, we can choose how we respond to others, and on it goes. Every minute of our lives involves a choice in how we respond.
All this to say, we can choose to be obedient to the Lord’s calling, prompting, and commandments, or not. There have been two specific times (many more actually) but for this blog I am choosing to focus on two specific instances the Lord has called me to thus far in my life.
Another trip around the sun. A friend gifted me custom pints of ice cream and one of the labels displayed this saying: “Another year sweeter” Super cute, however I don’t know about that. 😉 As I look forward to my birthday each year, this one is hitting me a bit differently than previous years.
As I gazed over at the side table in our kitchen that holds several b-day cards received this week, some touching, some funny, all of them thoughtful, and looked at the material gifts that I had received each day this week as the Lord so graciously ordained. My thoughts turned to my dad (and the fact that he is now gone from this earth as of Jan 6th this year) and the thought that the absolute best gift I could receive (from the Lord) was seeing a bluebird on my birthday. I wept at the thought. As, I have yet to see one since dad’s death.
As I woke up this morning (quite melancholy, knowing that this day will not be unlike most others unfortunately) after a restless night of sleep and continued my day as always, feeding the pups, reading devotionals and praying, making coffee, walking the pups etc.…It does hit me that even though my dad, Lou did not recall that Oct 7th was my b-day for many years preceding his death, which was super hurtful the first year that happened, it hit me that no one loves you quite like your parents. And, when they are gone, nothing will ever be quite the same. There is a deep void in our heart and soul that realizes, no one will love you in the same way your parents did. That is my experience now (in this moment) and I realize that will not be everyone’s experience. I was blessed to have parents that loved me despite my flaws, which were truly my biggest cheerleaders in this temporary life on earth. And, when they are both gone from this earth, it changes things, and that truly did not hit me until this week leading up to my b-day.
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.