The end of an era

27 Jun

“The Orange Tree is symbolic of generosity for it’s far reaching branches and plentiful fruit.”

 

How many times in the last 4 years did I say that exact quote, which I learned from you? Mom, you have adopted, embodied and fulfilled the purpose of the Orange Tree better than any ACTUAL orange tree I’ve ever seen.

You have adopted a spirit of generosity that has always been a spiritual gift of yours, emphasized even more through your pursuit of creating a warm and inviting place for people to reach within themselves to discover their own generosity.

You embodied what it means to be generous time and time again as you constantly sought to take the high road and show others love, patience, and Christ-like forgiveness (even when there may have been an easier alternative). You were generous by not only sharing your talents with our entire community, but you were generous with your employees, many of whom have been permanently shaped by your love and leadership.  There are a lucky few who can say they have had the privilege of working with and for the amazing artist, leader, and friend that you allowed yourself to be, and as one of them, I can confidently say that I am forever shaped by your influence as my boss (forget the fact I’m lucky enough to also have you as my MOM!).

You fulfilled your mission at Orange Tree, and successfully accomplished a lifelong dream.  What began over 30 years ago in “My Favorite Things”, just a small seed of ambition to someday open and own your own gift gallery, has become a building block of our community. You shared your mission and your passion for local commerce and helped ignite a fire in the lives of thousands (THOUSANDS, Mom!) of people to support their local economy and support the handmade artisan community around the country. You know that awesome feeling you get every time someone places a wholesale order from you? That feeling that you are growing as an artist and you are leaving your mark on another store, another store owner, and hundreds of consumers around the country? Through your dedication as a buyer to purchase handmade items from American artisans, you allowed countless other artists to feel that very same electrifying thrill of sharing their craft with others. You helped countless artists support their families. You gave countless artists the chance to make a career out of their dreams, just as you had made a career out of yours (and continue to grow that career through your own wholesale business).

I feel so privileged to have been your employee, your apprentice, and at times, your partner in business.  You know that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing anything near what I’m doing today. And whether my little venture in my basement ever becomes anything remains to be seen, but the important fact is that you sparked in me a passion to create beautiful things because I always saw my mom creating beautiful things. I believe with everything in me that God has given each of us a special gift, and it has been my ambition over the last 4 (or 24) years to follow your lead, and cut a path in a wilderness where there is much resistance, but where the path is adorned with beauty not seen on the path of least resistance.

I can’t thank you enough for all of the things you’ve done for me, and for all the ways you’ve shined your light in my life, and in the lives of so, so many. You are a revolutionary woman, a woman with passion, ambition, dedication and a dream that cannot be contained by any framework other than your own. And so, as this chapter closes, I want to congratulate you and wish you the best of luck and all the success in the world as you embark 100% on your next venture. You’re my #1 role model, and I hope that someday my kids look up to my just half as much as I look up to you. I’ll follow your example and do my best to make that happen.

I love you, OrangeMama. Onto the next chapter. Thanks for keeping me along for the ride. Xoxoxo.

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One Response to “The end of an era”

  1. Mamie June 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    The orange didn’t fall far from the tree! So glad to have shared this with you…memories.

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