Hospitality: Hope Blossoms
We are thrilled today to introduce you to a wonderful woman, an amazing ministry, and a hospitality concept we adore! The concept is amazing–big hearted, effective, and ecologically responsible. In essence, it’s the perfect way for a whole family to truly participate in “pure and undefiled religion” by giving your floral arrangements new life and beautiful purpose. We’ll let our guest blogger today tell you in her own words.
It’s so simple to serve Jesus. People make religion and faith so complicated. Love on God. Love on people. I don’t believe you have to pray about something the Bible has already told us to do. I also don’t like being one who talks a big game but doesn’t follow through.
Since I was a young child, James 1:27 has been one of those “life verses” I claimed as my own. Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit/care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Before I keep on yakking, let me introduce myself. I’m Sarah-Kate. You know Daja—from here—I’m her little sister. I’m going to take a second and be cheezy and say I’m married to my BFF. Because I really am. He and I hung out like every day before we entered into a real relationship and formal courtship. He’s a wonderful chiropractor– the best in our town (Or for that matter– ever! Move over, D.D.!), which is Paso Robles, California. We have four children—two biologically and two by the gift of adoption. Due to my life verse, I’ve always had compassion for orphans, thus a passion for adoption. Our family also has a passion for home education, music and the arts.
But back to what I was saying…
I didn’t want to ignore the other part of James 1:27 though. I asked the Lord “How do I care for widows?” In this day and age there are not many “widows indeed”. (1 Tim. 5:3) They have close family, multi-generational households, social security (psh!), pension plans, life insurance, they’re still working, have active social lives, etc. What can I do, really? As I was lamenting this concern of mine to a big sister in the Lord, she comfortingly told me that the Lord will bring whatever ministry we need to do in our path or He will lead us to it. I pondered that. Then the Lord showed me that I was ministering to widows.
My family has always made comments about my “old lady friends”. My parents raised us with such open-mindedness when it comes to social interaction. Being home-educated myself really nurtured that. So even when I was a teenager I would brunch with all my co-workers who were literally grandmas. I never really noticed it, until my family starting pointing it out. So I looked around and realized I was still hanging out with and caring for old ladies and widows—be it my grandmother (even sending her mail daily and I live in the same town!) or the widows I was picnicking with at the summer concert series every Friday. I was excited to realize I was on-point as a Christ-follower, and not even “on purpose”. It’s encouraging to know that your instincts to do—whatever!—is what you’re supposed to be doing.
But I digress…
I didn’t feel it was enough though. I knew I could do more. I wanted to be a better example for my children.
I was reading a magazine this past year and I was so inspired by what a woman was doing with recycled flowers in another part of the country. The funny thing was she started doing her thing when she had read an article about another lady who was using recycled flowers in another part of the country. The second lady tore out the article about the first lady and tucked it away. I tore out the second lady’s article and tucked it away. I had a “Why didn’t I think of that?” and a “I could do that…” moment. Inspiration can come from so many places. Only a matter of months went by when the Lord told me to get it out and go for it! So I did! My own way! I teach my children what we call “instant obedience”. And I tell them that one day they’ll be able to transfer that right response they had towards their parents to the Holy Spirit. Far be it from me not to do the same. So I did. (No excuses, you guys! I had no idea what I was doing. That’s when the Holy Spirit breathes a fresh batch of much-needed creativity! Thank the Lord.)
That’s when Hope Blossoms was born.
After your event, aren’t all your flowers dressed up with no place to go? Wouldn’t it be awesome to give back to your community in a big way—by doing nothing? We don’t want all that beauty (and the cash people spent) to go to waste! Hope Blossoms is the responsible and “green” option in disposing of flowers from events and it also benefits the local community! We have made it possible that flowers can be dropped off 24-hours a day. So after the long night, cleaning and packing up, donors can bring them and leave them. No paperwork! (Unless they want to sign our guest book.)
We give the residual flowers and arrangements a second life to make a difference! Who doesn’t love flowers given to them? I mean even if flowers aren’t your preference of a treat—you can’t help but feel loved when someone graces you with your very own bouquet. So the donated flowers are rearranged into bedside and table bouquets, then delivered every week around the community. We strive to bring love, joy, and a little bit of sunshine and hope to local widows, widowers, the sick, and those in hospice by gracing them with some flowers and a smile.
We accept all flowers, bouquets, centerpieces, sprays, and arrangements from weddings, banquets, holidays, funerals/memorials, church services/mass, etc. We also accept the flowers that get pulled daily from grocery stores. (Shout out to Trader Joe’s in Templeton, CA! You guys rock!) We are always trying to network with florists, churches, event planners and companies to get the word out about what we do. We get referred a lot. And besides flowers, we strive to be environmentally conscious in all our materials and supplies, so we accept donations of used vases, jars, bottles, etc. In fact we ALWAYS need them. (hint, hint) Apart from our faith, people get a kick out of being “green” so what we do appeals to the secular world, too.
Since I’m a stay-at-home mom who is home-educating my children—ages 7, 6, 5, and 5—I take them with me everywhere. So they’re a big part of Hope Blossoms. When I was a child my parents (pastors) would drag my siblings and I to nursing homes because we were told that the senior citizens find such joy in our cute little faces. It’s pretty surreal saying the same things to my own children now.
One of the main character qualities my husband and I strive to instill in our children is the heart of a servant. We are always looking for new ways for our children to serve– to practice that spiritual discipline of serving. That’s what it boils down to most of the time around here. In Matthew 20, even Jesus had to deal with sibling rivalry and squabbles between his disciples. (And over seats, mind you. Does anyone else have to deal with fighting over seats that have been “called”? Go ahead, look it up, I’ll wait. You’ll never read Matthew 20 the same way again.) Anyways, Jesus said whoever is greatest must be a servant. Anyone else wants their kids to be the best!? There’s your answer. This tiny video of an excerpt from Dr. King’s sermon Drum Major Instinct really sums up why we focus on servanthood a lot around here.
Cool, huh? So simple.
The heart of a servant doesn’t come by osmosis. As parents, we have to give our children opportunities to be trained in service—with each other at home, at church, with the lost, orphans, widows, the sick, etc. Hope Blossoms is a great outlet for that! My garage has been turned into my little workshop. My children come out there because I want them to be a part of it, but as you mommies know, it’s hard to get stuff done sometimes with little people underfoot. I let them punch holes in our tags that are tied onto the bouquets. I let them “rearrange” the ribbons over and over. Then let them pick what bow or ribbon goes on an arrangement. They empty our trash and green waste cans. They help me clean up. I let them create and decorate their own floral arrangements sometimes. (They don’t always make it out the door. Ssshhh…) But delivery is where they really shine! They love it! And the recipients love them!
Pure religion is this: to visit widows… James 1:27
A merry heart does good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22
The kindness of God leads you to repentance. Romans 2:4
I was sick, and you visited me…
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine,
even the least of them, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:36 & 40
It’s a big world out there. We each have our own little sphere of influence. God has you there for a reason. Don’t take it for granted. Do whatever you can to leave a mark. Be it big or little. And you don’t have to do it like everyone else. Don’t compare your calling to someone else’s. Ever. Just being willing and obedient is half the battle. Don’t think “So-and-so would be so good at that!” or “I wish I could…” YOU CAN! WHEN (not if) God places a creative thought and idea in you to do something—be it a one-time thing or an ongoing ministry—do it! That doesn’t mean you have to do it ‘til eternity. Most likely He’ll give you another idea later, anyways.
It’s amazing what God will be able to do through us. Even leftover flowers. So simple.
You can find us on Facebook (where we regularly update with photos of the latest creations) or email us at email@example.com Or if you’re ever driving through Paso Robles on the 101 in California and want to drop off a donation 🙂 … 1908 Redwood Drive.