A Memory Garden with no Plants?

What? You can’t garden you say. Your thumb is perpetually brown, not a green sprig in sight?

That’s okay. You can still have an area where you pay tribute to your loved ones that have passed. You can use statuary, stepping stones, garden signs, flags, windmills, chimes, bricks painted with their names – the possibilities are endless.

Here’s a short excerpt from MEMORY GARDENS: Botanical Tributes to Celebrate our Loved Ones (just released at Amazon this week) to give you some ideas.

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MG_heart stumpWhat? You say you don’t have room for a garden? You don’t have a place to put any potted plants? Nothing grows there? You don’t have a green thumb?

It is possible to have a beautiful memory garden area without a single plant. Thousands of concrete and polyresin pieces exist, with loving sayings, angels, rainbows and a multitude of symbolic meanings that can create a memory area at your house, on a patio, in a corner of a room, or on a mantle. Angels in every form or fashion you can imagine are available. Pick up any mail order catalog. Do an internet search. Possibilities abound with something you can use to create a special space for our loved one.

Were they an ocean lover? Fill a basket, or a planter area, with sea shells, driftwood or pieces of smooth edged sea glass.

Were they a bowler? An old bowling ball or a bowling pin inscribed with their name will fill your memory area with special thoughts.

Look around your house or your yard. Find a corner, a niche, an area that you can fill with mementoes that bring your special loved one to mind. It may take a weekend. It may be an ongoing project that you keep adding to as you go along. When you spy that additional little trinket that brings your loved one to mind, think of them as you purchase it and bring it home to add to your collection. Their memories remain alive in your remembrance. Cherish the memories that return to you unbidden, even though they are sometimes painful and saddening. Our tears and emotions keep our feelings alive, and the connections with our loved ones open.

MEMORY GARDENS

MEMORY GARDENS: Botanical Tributes to Celebrate our Loved Ones

TFMemory2_LKO CoverPlanting a Memory Garden is a very special tribute to honor the memories of a loved one, or loved ones. It is a way to have a living reminder, where seeing the plant, tending to it and enjoying the beauty of flowers or fragrance brings your loved ones to mind.

Your Memory Garden can be anything you want it to be. It can be as simple as one plant or one stepping stone to honor someone’s memory. It may be a small corner with a few plants and possibly a piece of statuary. It can also be a more elaborate, full-blown garden with many plants, possibly a winding path and perhaps a small bench or seating area to sit and reflect. Your garden can be any size you wish it to be, according to the space and land you have available, and the number of plants you wish to maintain.

A Memory Garden can be a place of solace, a place to remember and heal. It is a gift you give yourself, a living legacy of memories and love.

A memory garden is just that, a place to recognize and honor memories – the memories of our loved ones.

A garden is a living memorial for us, the living. It does not bring them back. It does not remove our pain or grief, although for many it does help soothe and soften the grieving.

The planning, the gardening, the caring for living plants nurtures our souls; it is a way for us to say — Here. I place this plant, or this stepping stone, or this statuary, in your honor and memory. It is a symbol. It is a symbol of my love for you. I cherished you in my life. I miss you. I will remember you.

I believe they see our tributes. I am a firm believer in the afterlife, and that our loved ones still know what is happening in our lives. I have too many unexplained coincidences in my own life and experiences that confirms it for me. Does it help to believe my brother is here, that he is sending a message, that he is still involved in my life, yet I can’t see him? Some days, yes! It is comforting. Some days, absolutely NO! I want to see him, I want to give him a hug, I want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. But I can’t do that. And sometimes I still get angry about that.

Grief is not a static emotion. It is not a one-way path. We do not walk the pathway of grief, one step at a time, to the end, where we reach ‘non-grief’. We waver. We’re back and forth. Some days we’re good. Sometimes we drift along towards healing. We go on and live our lives. (We have to. We have no choice.) And other days, there will be one memory, one song, one fragrance, one thought – and we are suddenly back to a painful place that we thought we’d left behind.

Just remember this, on the path of grieving NO ONE’S path is the same! None of us will have a journey exactly like another’s. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s ‘normal’, or what’s ‘not normal’. Follow your own heart. Follow your own healing.

Yes, go on living. Definitely do so, as we are still alive. But we can do that while keeping the memories sacred and honored.

I take comfort in the actions of caring for zinnias, believing that my brother will know that when I tend to them, I’m thinking of him. When I tend to the red rose, I’m thinking of Grandma Jones. When I clip the carnations, I’m thinking of Grandpa Jones.

For many years, families were the caretakers of loved one’s gravesites. The whole day was spent there, often with picnics. A celebration was created around the loving care of the final resting places. Nowadays, some people still do this, but not many. I loved to take flowers to the graves of loved ones at Christmas. Now, I’m too far from any of them to be able to do that. So tending the plants in my backyard is a way of making that connection. That is something I can do every day, not just on holidays and honoring special dates.

Why plant a memory garden? For our own healing. For our own souls. For a tribute to the ones we loved that no longer walk this earthly planet with us.

Stay tuned …. MEMORY GARDENS: BOTANICAL TRIBUTES TO CELEBRATE OUR LOVED ONES is slated for ebook publication next month!

Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude

attitude1This small change in our attitude is not always easy. However, it can be one of the most important tools to improving our lives and keeping a smile on our faces during difficult days.

It took me a long time to learn this lesson. And it’s one that I have to keep relearning periodically.

I was grumbling to myself on the way into work one day. I didn’t want to be up at that hour. I didn’t want to be there. I don’t make enough money. I wasn’t looking forward to my tasks for the day. Blah-blah-blah … I kept my internal gripe session going all the way across the parking.

Then, I remembered I should be having an attitude of gratitude. What? For THIS? For THIS job? Gag.

But … it could be worse, I reminded myself. I could have NO job. I could be working outside in the heat. (It was June in Texas). I could not have the ability to perform my job.

I turned it around and started listing out what I WAS grateful for.

Thank you for this job.

Thank you for the groceries I can buy and the supplies, gasoline, and meals I can purchase because of this job.

Thank you for my legs that work, which enable me to get to this job.

Thank you for my arms that work, that enable me to do this job.

Thank you for my mind, which gives me the knowledge I need to do this job.

Thank you for my sight.

Thank you for my car, which gets me to work.

Thank you for the house with its roof that keeps me dry and the air conditioning that keeps me cool.

Thank you for the dogs and cats at home that slather me with love.

Thank you for where I live, with no smog and blue skies filled with fluffy white clouds.

Thank you for my life and breath, there are worse alternatives.

Thank you ….

gratitudeOnce I got on a roll, the things I saw in my life to be grateful for rolled on and on. All through the day I kept seeing new opportunities to be grateful. (After an encounter with a particularly rude customer that morning, I even had a ‘Thank you that I’m not grouchy and rude like that lady’ moment.)

It was amazing. This literally changed my attitude and my life.

Do I remember to do this every day? No. I get busy. I get rushed. I get stressed. And before I know it, I’ve fallen back into my old habits. But I find that I don’t dwell there for as long. Something reminds me and I start my litany of gratitude’s again, resurfacing to a life that is filled with blessings once again.

Give it a try!

The Amazing Quilter

trishafaye:

What an amazing and inspirational lady!

Originally posted on fourfoxesonehound:

Diane Rose

We have another free week! This time, rather than writing about a group or people I’m going to tell you about an individual who’s touched my life. About two years ago, while I was working on a book for the Stitching Post Series (which includes The Calico Heart and The Friendship Star Quilt), a friend sent me a video of a blind quilter in Texas named Diane Rose. I was touched by this video – as a quilter I depend on my sense of sight constantly as I choose the fabric for a project, cut it and piece it together. I couldn’t imagine how this lady managed to create over 900 quilts. How did she do it? Take a moment to watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

 After watching the video, the storyteller in me came up with a plot about one of the quilters in…

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Breathe and Count to 10

Is it possible to work in a retail job and survive … with your sanity?

Yes it is.

Most days.

And then there are others.

Some days the most effective survival technique is simply … breathe and count to 10.

EDGD_breathe and count to 10

Humor at Work

humor at work'Sometimes humor is the only technique that gets us through difficult periods at work, especially if you’re working in a retail or other service based job.

The story below shows great use of humor in a work situation. Although it’s most probably a joke or an urban legend and not a true recounting of an actual incident, it still illustrates a humorous reply in a difficult situation. (Snopes.com has a similar story, United Airlines but coming out of Denver, that they collected via email in 1998.)

An award should go to the United Airlines gate agent in New York for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.

For all of you out there who have had to deal with an irate customer, this one is for you.

A crowded United Airlines flight was cancelled.

A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travelers.

Suddenly, an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket on the counter and said, “I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS.”

The agent replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first; and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed.

He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?”

Without hesitating, the agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone.

 “May I have your attention, please?” she began, her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.

“We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him with his identity, please come to Gate 14.”

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the United Airlines agent, gritted his teeth, and said, “F*** you!”

Without flinching, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to get in line for that, too.”

Hang in there! When the demands at your job have you ready to strangle someone, see if it’s possible to use humor to defuse the situation. Or, at the very least, can you find any humor in it after the fact so that you can laugh about it instead of seethe?

Affirmations to Survive Retail

i speak and think positively“That’s IT. I’m leaving retail. This is my last Christmas season working a retail job!”

Those were the words I uttered – almost a year ago. And then, there I was, looking at aisles filled up with Christmas merchandise that we’d been receiving for the last four months. Our extended holiday hours started the next week. I was still working retail, despite the courageous statement I’d made at the end of the last Christmas season.

I couldn’t quit yet.

I was locked into another holiday sales cycle, with the long hours (some 12 to 14 hour days), the frenzied work schedule (too much to do and not enough time), a new manager that pushed-pushed-pushed, and a store filled with harried, stressed and irritable shoppers.

Our co-manager had a pet phrase he often used. It was his attempt to inspire us, and remind us that we were in charge of our attitudes. “Every day’s a good day!” he’d bellow out as he unlocked the doors to let us in. “Welcome to where happy people come to work. Where every day’s a good day.”

Most of us, in our pre-caffeinated, still bleary-eyed state, mumbled a greeting in return. It was usually along the lines of: ‘yeah, yeah’ – or ‘right!’ (Said with prerequisite sarcastic tone). Sometimes he was met with stony silence. Often, many of us wanted to take that ‘every day’s a good day’ and whomp him upside of the head with it.

Until the day I left for home and screamed at the top of my lungs for the first two miles. I felt calmer. I was also hoarse for the next two days.

Something had to change.

I started listening to words I told myself.

I’m too old for this.

I’m too tired for this.

I’ll never make it through Christmas.

I can’t keep going like this.

I don’t have the energy or the resources to deal with this.

I realized how negative the words I spoke silently to myself were. My body was only doing what I kept telling it to do.

The first change I made was in response my manger’s morning greeting, “Every day’s a good day!” Instead of scoffing, laughing or coming back with a smart aleck response, I’d answer, “Yes it is.” Whether I agreed with the statement or not, I starting replying with positive, spoken words.

Next, I made a list of affirmations – positive statements to read aloud before I went to work each day.

  • I fly through this Christmas season with ease.
  • My energy levels are higher than ever.
  • I enjoy my job and am thankful for the benefits I receive from it.
  • I complete my tasks easily and quickly.
  • I am drawn to foods that keep me healthy and give me energy.
  • This is the easiest holiday season I’ve ever worked through.

keep calm and use an affirmationI didn’t want to merely survive these frantic months. I wanted to retain a peaceful demeanor and have the energy to enjoy a happy home life after the work hours ended.

Did consistently using these affirmations make every day perfect? No. There were still moments of aggravation that would creep into the day. There were still days where survival was the only goal. But … the days were better. Some days were great. And, here we are moving towards the end of January. I survived the holiday season. I am still sane. I didn’t commit homicide. While very glad that the frenzied days are behind us, I ended the season less frazzled than ever before.

Now I need to change up the affirmations to get me through this next week – inventory week!

The Ugly Truth About Book Sales

The Ugly Truth About Book Sales.

Can a Day in Retail be a ‘Good Day’?

EDGD_ phrase on snowy gateEvery day’s a good day?

Ha! Not if you work in retail.

That may be what many people think – especially those working in a retail job.

Yet, it is possible to work in retail, or in any other service based industry, and keep a smile on your face. At least most days.

Our optimism – or lack of – and our general outlook on life is up to us. Our attitude is shaped by our thoughts and is what we let it be. Unfortunately, many of us, and I’m just as guilty as anyone else, let outside factors determine how happy or unhappy we are. We let life and the unpleasant situations we encounter sour our spirits.

The car doesn’t start. Our tire goes flat. A child wakes up sick. The cat’s left an icky surprise for us on the carpet. The milk is sour. The coffee pot’s empty. Traffic is backed up. We spill our coffee. All the lights turn red on us. And we haven’t even gotten to work yet.

Then, we punch in at our retail job and the real fun starts.

EDGD_then idiots happenCustomers are rude. Demanding. Cranky (to put it politely). And yes, I’ll bet we all have our own horror stories we can top each other with.

If only our problems were just the customers.

We also have the bosses. The immediate managers, who often expect us to perform miracles on very little time. Managers who assign us tasks we don’t like. Managers who expect us to “jump”, yet when we need them the same promptness is not reciprocated. Or, upper echelon managers show up at the store, making everyone’s lives more miserable.

If it’s not the customers or the bosses … we have co-workers. Most we adore. But, there are the others.

How do we even make it through the day with a smile on our face?

It is possible. Maybe not every single day. There will be set backs. There will be days that still make us pull our hair out. With a little conscious effort, it is possible to make it through the day, the week … the Christmas season … still cheerful and feeling that life indeed is good.

There are a variety of ways that help. We’ll look at some of them in future posts. Not every method will be for every person. Sometimes something that works one day won’t work on another. Having an arsenal of assorted tools at our disposal is the best way to survive with a smile.

Some of the techniques we’ll look at closer at, along with others, are soothing music, affirmations, count to ten, essential oils, connect with nature, take a walk, meditation, worry stones, treats … even sitting in the car and yelling. (Yes, it does work. Yes, I’ve done it.)

So what do I know about working with people and the problems encountered? I worked in a doctor’s office for 14 years; patients that are sick and in pain are not always the most pleasant. Next I worked for the city for 10 years, 4 years was with the sidewalk replacement program; residents that don’t get their way are not the most pleasant. (Believe me. One resident was so volatile I had to get a police escort to go talk to him.) And then, I experienced 10 years in retail – 3 years with my own business, 1 year in a hardware store and 6 years in a craft and home décor store. A little bit of everything, except fast food. For that, I’ll have to get someone else’s perspective.

On the next post I’ll start with one technique that helped get me through this last Christmas season. Affirmations.

And, by the way, I can’t take credit for the title of these posts. ‘Every day’s a good day’ is taken directly from one of those managers mentioned earlier (although he’s one of my favorites and not the one that gives me nightmares). We’d be greeted with his pet phrase each day we entered. And yes, there were many days we grumbled on our way past and wanted to smack him upside the head with one of his ‘every day’s a good day’. Until I decided to give myself an attitude adjustment to try to survive the six month long holiday season. I asked him if I could ‘steal’ his phrase. He gave me his blessing. So Angel A, these posts are for you.

If you have anything you’d like to add or contribute to any of these posts, feel free. You can email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com

Every Day’s a Good Day: Remaining Positive in a Retail or Service Based Profession

new year2A new year begins and we are filled with the anticipation of new beginnings, starting over with a new, clean slate.

“Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.” – By Dr. Dale Turner

2015 has a lot of new, exciting ventures planned. One of the additions to the slate of Trisha Faye posts is an every other week post in ‘EVERY DAY’S A GOOD DAY: Remaining Positive in a Retail or Service Based Profession’. The first post is scheduled for this coming Friday, January 9th.

What exciting plans do YOU have for 2015?

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