Some Call It Faith!

Here is a link to an article about The Happy Flower Day Project written by Joan Wester Anderson.
http://www.seniorconnectionnewspaper.com/features/2013/Nov/angels.asp

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This angel is happier giving than receiving

I have never met Patricia Gallagher “in person” (she lives in the Philadelphia area and probably travels more than anyone I know). But, as Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but think that it’s a holiday made for her. Pat is one of those people who is much happier giving than receiving. Show her a need and she will try to fix it, fast.

We met when we were both developing careers as writers. I was somewhat timid, afraid of rejection slips and shy about promoting my literary creations. Pat? When her first book was published, she rented a van, hung a “Buy My Mommy’s Book” sign across the back, and took her four young children on a cross-country advertising trip. The book was a hit; but along the way, Pat had discovered angels, and soon she was designing angel pins (and writing verses) as reminders for those people who needed a hug. She made thousands of angel pins, paid for with her book royalties.

By now, some lean years had emerged. Pat’s husband had developed some health problems, which cast a pall on their otherwise happy household. Women needed a place to go to relieve stress, when times like this happened, Pat thought. Within weeks, she had found a little property where women could pray and support one another.

Pat’s favorite age group was the elderly. As her own nest became empty, she looked around to see who else needed her loving touch. There seemed to be a lack of friendly visitors, she noticed—people who would just bring a little comfort to a lonely resident. During the next three years, she collected more than 11,000 new and gently-used stuffed animals from her postings on Craig’s List to be passed out to seniors. Somewhere during that time, she also found herself reading stories to the residents.

“I don’t know exactly how I get involved in all this,” she once told me in a mastery of understatement. “Things just seem to happen.”

Recently, Pat sent me a press release regarding Trader Joe’s. Since this store sells only fresh flowers— nothing older than a day—Pat wondered what they did with the unsold ones. Within days, she had an answer: Trader Joe’s will give these flowers to anyone who is willing to drive the bouquets around to senior living communities.

“You just need to contact store managers or flower departments at big grocery stores,” she said. “You tell them what you want to do, and schedule a time. I go every morning at 8 a.m. and pick up—sometimes from four stores, usually one or two.”

Pat, of course, is the champion, with more than 4,300 bouquets brought to eager clientele. And, the flowers are not just for women, Pat said. “Men are just as enthusiastic and grateful.”

What’s next for Pat’s career of giving? My own theory is that Pat is willing to say “yes,” when a need occurs, without waiting to see first how it will all work out. And, once she gives her heart to a job for Jesus, she, like all of us, will be given the tools we need. Some people might call that impulsive. I call it “faith.”

For more information on Pat Gallagher’s efforts, email her at yngsparro@aol.com.

The article below  was  written by a NY Times best-selling author who is a friend of mine.  Joan Wester-Anderson’s website is http://joanwanderson.com/ This article appeared in her angel newsletter that she sends out to her subscribers.
Hello Angel Friends,
From time to time I like to introduce you to earth angels, such as my long-distance friend Patricia Gallagher.  We haven’t met face-to-face. She lives in PA and I live in the mid-west.
But as Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but think that it’s a holiday made for her.  Patricia is one of those people who is much happier giving than receiving.  Show her a need and she will try to fix it.  Fast.
We connected via phone when we were both developing careers as writers.  I was somewhat timid, afraid of rejection slips and shy about promoting my literary creations.
Trisha? When her first book Start Your Own At-Home Child care Business (Doubleday, 1989)  was published, she bought a van, hung signs that said Ask me about my Mommy’s book and Have you read my Mommy’s book? The  sign hung across the back. She took her three young children – Ryan wasn’t born yet –  on a cross-country advertising trip.
doubledayvanballoons
The book was a hit, but along the way Trisha had discovered angels, and soon she was designing angel pins (and writing verses) for those people who needed a hug.  Thousands of angel pins, paid for with her book royalties.
example_for_the_overwhelmed
doubledaycatalogpubweekly
By now some hard years had emerged. Trisha’s husband had developed health problems, which cast a pall on their otherwise happy household. www.speakingaboutdepression.com
“No More Secrets – A Family Speaks About Depression, Anxiety and Attempted Suicide” by John and Patricia Gallagher. (Available on Amazon and on their website.)The Gallaghers know what happy times look like – they lived in a great neighborhood, a comfortable home, they had a happy marriage, and four beautiful children. But when their family was ravaged by depression, they didn’t know where to turn, or how to cope. Many lessons were learned the hard way. They have written a book as a family, to help others deal with difficult situations.
Women needed a place to go to relieve stress when times like this happened, Trisha  thought.  Within weeks she had found a little property where women could pray and support one another. She began offering programs at the Team of Angels Friendship Cottage.
By now I had noticed that Trisha’s  favorite age group were the elderly.  And as her own nest became empty, she looked around to see who else needed her loving touch.
There seemed to be a lack of friendly visitors at some of the local nursing homes and wondered how people could team up to  bring a little comfort to a lonely resident.  During the next three years she collected over 11,000 new and gently-used stuffed animals to be passed out to seniors, little “huggables”  from her postings on Craig’s List.
old phone pictures 018
Somewhere during that time, she also found herself reading stories to residents of nearby nursing homes.
trisha_and_friendsakavarstuffed-animals.jpg guideposts
“I don’t  know exactly how I get involved in all this,”  she once told me in a mastery of understatement.  “Things just seem to happen.”
Recently Trisha  sent me an email regarding  Trader Joe’s. Since this store sells only fresh flowers—nothing older than a day—Patricia had wondered what they did with the unsold ones.
Within days she had an answer: Trader Joe will give these flowers to non-profit organizations – folks willing to drive the bouquets around to senior living communities.
(The pictures below are of staff, clients, residents of a variety of places where seniors congregate – senior apartment buildings, senior centers, continuing care communities and other places.)
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“You just need to contact store managers or flower departments at big grocery stores,” she says.  “You tell them what you want to do, and schedule a time. Bring your tax ID number that shows your non-profit 501 C 3 status.  I go over every morning at 8 a.m.and pick up, sometimes four stores, usually one or two.”
To date, Trisha has delivered over  6,000 bouquets to an eager clientele.  And not just women, Trisha says.  “Men are just as enthusiastic and grateful.”
What is next for Trisha’s career of giving?  My own theory is that trisha is willing to say “yes” when a need occurs without waiting to see first how it will all work out.  And once she gives her heart to a job, like all of us, she  will be given the tools we need.
Some people might call that impulsive.  I would say that Trisha has  “faith.”
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For more information, check Patricia’s website: www.patriciausa.com
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book_kidsIn 1995, she wrote a book for parents about saving money while raising a family. That summer, the family went on the road for the book tour.
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Patricia’s family embarking on their second roadtrip related to her book Raising Happy Kids on a Reasonable Budget. (1994)
The kids are all grown up now!
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