Planting seeds of possibility amid a stormy season

 My Dad, Ken, and I at our first Austin ALS Walk together in 2011.

My Dad, Ken, and I at our first Austin ALS Walk together in 2011.

The Reason

It was the Summer of 2010. "Jen, I have some bad news...." my Dad's voice cracked. "The doctor said it's ALS. I don't know a lot about it. But I know it's not good...I'm so sorry."  And so began my family's six year journey with ALS - a neurodegenerative disease with no cure, whose victims progressively lose the ability to walk, speak or breathe...and typically die within 2-5 years.  And so also began the season in which the first seeds of Prune & Bloom were planted. 

 My parents previous home in Ohio - where the seeds of Prune & Bloom were first planted in Summer of  '11!

My parents previous home in Ohio - where the seeds of Prune & Bloom were first planted in Summer of  '11!

Summer 2011. The disease progressed swiftly in the first year. Dad was now a wheel-chair bound quadriplegic and could no longer navigate - let alone live in - my parents' home. In anticipation of downsizing, I spearheaded the daunting task of sorting thru the trappings of their 40 year marriage. Art projects from my childhood; the harvest-themed china we'd used to celebrate family holidays; mementos acquired during Mom and Dad's many travels together. And there one night, amid the arduous process, I sat alone, paralyzed amid a cocktail of stuff and emotion - unsure of what exactly to do with so many things, so many memories. And in that moment, a reassuring voice seemed to whisper: "...something good will come of this...someday."  

3 months later, amid trusting that some greater purpose must be unfolding, I bought the URL "pruneandbloom.com" and shared an idea with my Dad: help people let go of stuff; stuff that distracts them from what really matters to them in life; stuff that holds them back in some way; and help them move forward and do good in the process. We toasted to what felt like an inspired and auspicious start. And then? I did...pretty much nothing. Other then wait for the "right time."  Why? Ironically, life felt too busy. Between a demanding corporate job, personal obligations and routine appointments, who had the time for anything new - let alone to follow a dream?

The Season

February 2016. It was nearing five years since I purchased the URL. Now approaching his 6th year with ALS, Dad was "in extra innings" with the disease as he liked to joke.  He was still my biggest cheerleader on the Prune & Bloom front. Yet also knew that the security of my longtime corporate job was holding me back. He asked me: "Jen, what are you waiting for?" I hemmed and hawed, at a loss for how to convince someone with a terminal illness of the merits of "ideal timing."  He gave me that Dad-look: "...it will never be the 'perfect' time. Turn the page now and start a new chapter...the world's waiting to read it."  

The following month, Dad passed away. And I made a promise to myself and to him: I would indeed start that next chapter. And so I finally began. Truly began. The only way I knew how: one step at a time.

 The single bloom we saw at Dad's memorial felt like a wink from above! The service - held on the first day Spring in Ohio - included the reading of reflections ranging from the biblical (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8) to the poetic (ee cummings' ''I carry your heart with me.').

The single bloom we saw at Dad's memorial felt like a wink from above! The service - held on the first day Spring in Ohio - included the reading of reflections ranging from the biblical (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8) to the poetic (ee cummings' ''I carry your heart with me.').

The Blooming

March 2017. To commemorate the 1st anniversary of my Dad's passing, we buried his cremains in a Veterans' cemetery. We read heartful reflections on love...seasons...and hope. And celebrated my Dad's character and legacy.  After the service, I paid homage to Dad the best way I knew how: I officially launched Prune & Bloom and took my website live.

It just so happened that day was the first day of Spring...a seemingly heck of a perfect day for new beginnings. Coincidence? I think not. Thanks Dad. ;-)

The Legacy

 A  portion of every Prune & Bloom service purchased will go towards helping ALS patients & their families.

A  portion of every Prune & Bloom service purchased will go towards helping ALS patients & their families.

To honor how Prune & Bloom came to be, and continue to support those with ALS, a portion of your Prune & Bloom investment will be donated to the Texas ALS Association -who puts $.90 of every dollar received directly towards helping local PALS (i.e. patients with ALS) and their families. So when you Prune & Bloom...you're not only making your own life better, you're also paying it forward and supporting a PAL like my Dad. 

Clutter-busting meets charity: How's that for a warm-and-fuzzy 'win-win?'

 

 

"To everything there is a season...a time to plant, and a time to uproot ...

a time to keep, and a time to throw away...."

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8