Monday, December 13, 2010

13 December 2010 Delivery

December Holiday Freedom Petals Flower Event

December was truly a celebration of life and freedoms. This month was literally adorned and abundant in blessings. The Lord made it possible for Freedom Petals to deliver Christmas Holiday arrangements and sparkling corsages to Walter Reed Army Medical center today.

Our day of creation: On Saturday I felt His presence in my kitchen when 19 volunteers came to create Christmas arrangements at one of the busiest weekends in our lives. I taught everyone how to make corsages. There were many new faces that came to help, just because they saw the amazing articles in the local papers… I enjoyed the smiles, heard lots of laughter and couldn’t believe in this busy season that so many people were committed to this cause and came to share their talents for our Saturday event. We together completed 43 arrangements, over 50 corsages adorned with shiny Christmas balls, beautiful bows (we had professional bow makers and you know who you are). And the dining room crew made 36 poinsettia pens. Whew!

So today at 8:30 am December 13, 2010 – Mary Beth and I loaded up her car to celebrate the holiday season with our wounded warriors at WRAMC and bring them the healing gift of flowers. Howard (VIP Ambassador) met us in front of the Hospital with one Cart…. No really? One cart. Oh no! Mary Beth said, “Can we leave them here and come back.” Howard said, “Can we make two trips….” I said, “Pack them on, no coming back and please not two trips.” So off we went, with a few tumbles and a lake on the top of the cart. Oh well! The corsages were delicately packed in two shopping bags so everyone could pick one out; even the pens were in a bag since there was no room on the cart. We left the basket at the front welcome desk. We delivered two arrangements to the family assistance center and also left them corsages for their patients. We then placed the two fluffy white, blue spruce and pinecone arrangements at the Chapel alter. They were beautiful. After that we moved through the halls handing out corsages in the elevator, to moms, sisters, kids visiting their dads and nurses. We shared our arrangements with many veterans and shared lots of “thank-you” to our service members. We could see the spirits lifted before our eyes and we left with comfort in our heart. Success your hard work certainly was appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who came to help, thank you for the vases you brought, ribbon, cases of florist tape, corsage pins and silk poinsettias. To Eunice, Eileen and Coleen – my consistent Friday volunteer angels’ thanks for your donation in lieu of not being able to help on Saturday. We used all the silk poinsettias.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We are in the local news! November 2010

If you haven't heard already we made the local newspapers.....Wow! There is an article in the Oak Hill / Herndon Connection (Nov 17-23) and the Centre View. Both center around a speech I gave at the Western Fairfax County Womens Club in October. This was their recruitment meeting at the Chantilly Library. Since then this group (WFCWC) has raised over $600 dollars for the Freedom Petals cooler, donated more than 500 vases, collected ribbon, oasis and silk flowers for our cause. Many new volunteers from this club are also attending the flower events to create beautiful flowers for our wounded warriors. I appreciate all the continued support they have provided Freedom Petals, the organization is made up of many talented women who are committed to share our message.
The Greenbriar Garden Club is also an important partner to Freedom Petals, I spoke at one of their meetings last spring and since then this group has been donating vases and supporting our volunteer needs. I received a call from their President Barbara this past week and the Garden Club will be making a monetary donation of $500 to Freedom Petals. Thank you so much!

Everyday I thank God for his guidance to keep this message of hope and healing through flowers alive every month. A simple way to say "Thank You" to our service members. I couldn't have done this without the help and support of family and volunteers.
Thanks to all who have donated their time and for all the vases/robbon/flowers that show up at my front door. Also thank you for the special monetary donations that I have received. Thank you notes are coming........

***Needs for December's event - Green and Red ribbon 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide, green florist tape, silk poinsettias for our pens, Pens with caps ( no clickers or buttons) as we cover up most of the pen with the florist tape.
Corsage pins with pearl tops.


In DECEMBER we will deliver to the hospital only. Freedom Petals will make corsages and poinsetta pens for the nurses for the holidays. I know everyone is very busy this month and I wish you all a happy healthy holiday season.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The September event had many gifts and blessings. On Friday there were 4 volunteers flower angels (Jerri, Pam, Eileen, Eunice) and we created 53 arrangements. This month I decided to reduce the number of arrangements to Mologne House because when we depart on Monday we leave so many arrangements on the table and also place many in the Cafeteria. So my goal was only 65 for the hotel. The change in our happy story was the increase in the numbers for the hospital. The week before the delivery I always send off an e-mail to Walter Reed Administrators and the hotel POC Peter to let them know we are on our way. I always ask the Hospital VIPs how many arrangements they will need, mind you we started last January with 9 bedside bouquets and brought 25 in July.
The response I received from the Hospital gave me the chills and validated to me that our mission is more valuable than we could ever understand. The staff at the hospital certainly appreciate and see what an impact we make on the service members and their families when we bring our petals of hope and healing. So Lindsey asked if we could double our numbers and that says it all.
So we made 50 flowers arrangements, 36 silk flower pens and 8 large arrangements in beautiful ceramic pitchers for the nurses stations ( we visited 6 wards). I have since received 2 thank you letters from the Family Assistance Center director and hope I can meet him at the next delivery.
On Saturday we had a few new volunteer angels show up, dear friend Caeci and her mom Sandra came from Montgomery Village to share their talents and see what we were all about.
Teena came with bagels, Yum! Mary Beth and daughter showed up and Christina (my special daughter in law). My father-in-law Bob (age 87) came to organize 1200 vases in the basement.

Even though I purchased $120 in flowers from Costco we ran out of flowers by noon. But when a door closes just be patient and God will open another one or a small window (he likes windows too). I got a call around 12:30 from Adams Green one of Freedom Petal's wonderful partners. They had 4 Fresh arrangements for us. So we loaded up in Caeci's SUV to pick them up. One of them was so large it took the whole back, it was red gerber daisies, red gladiolas, yellow mums/sunflowers and lots of ferns. We were on cloud nine and everyone that was still there made some beautiful fresh arrangements in the pitchers.
Mologne House delivery went without a hitch. No rain, lots of parking and table was ready for us. There seemed to be less hotel residents this month and that is certainly great news. Barbara K., Christina (daughter-in-law), Ginny and I handed out all but a few bouquets. Our numbers were perfect this time. We shared stories and watched smiles grow with every arrangement we gave out. We left by 11:30 and as usual we ended our delivery with a shared meal, lunch at Moma Lucias in Reston.
Tuesday morning off to Walter Reed, Clare K. a workmate came to make this delivery, her first time and Freedom Petals first time with over 50 arrangements. I couldn't believe we got them all in one car. We had a new ambassador and she heard all about us and was so excited to be apart of this joyful event. We brought smiles with lots of fresh petals this time and there were some very emotional moments. A solemn and serious delivery. The nurses went crazy over our pens and we had plenty to go around. Once again its funny how God takes care of us, in all the sadness and seriousness we were waiting for the elevator to go to another wounded warrior ward and Clare with the cart and our purses on the bottom went into the elevator. A friend of one of the patients stopped the ambassador and I to make sure we had left his friend a flower arrangement and as we were talking the door of the elevator closed and off went Clare into the depths of the hospital ( it is a large one). Mind you this was a new VIP Ambassador and she had just lost her customer. I was tickled because we needed this diversion so much. We finally met up with her back in the Lobby where we begin the trek.

I wanted to thank all those special volunteer angels that show up every month to create bouquets, drop by vases, send me e-mails, give flowers, work the deliveries, network with friends and just pray.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


September-10/11 Friday (9-3) / Saturday (8-12) - Deliver Monday - Mologne House, 13 September and Tuesday, 14 September - Walter Reed Hospital

October -15/16 Friday (9-3) / Saturday (8-12) - Deliver Monday - Mologne House, 18 October and Tuesday, 19 October - Walter Reed Hospital

November -12/13 Friday (9-3) / Saturday (8-12) - Deliver Monday - Mologne House, 15 November and Tuesday, 16 November - Walter Reed Hospital

Thursday, July 8, 2010

June 2010 Delivery to Walter Reed

Thanks to all my petal volunteers.... we had a very successful June delivery to Walter Reed Army Medical Center this week. Thanks to everyone who created arrangements this past Friday and Saturday. Thanks to Ann Harvey for teaching me some new tricks to share in the non-profit flower arranging business. We made 92 arrangements for Mologne House (delivered yesterday) and 25 crocks for the Hospital delivery today. The flowers made so many service members and their families smile and just plain feel good. The same couples were there and gave me hugs and thanks. Barbara K. and Pam R. set up our Mologne House flower carpeted table and we saw so many familiar faces. Lot more little children staying with their moms and dads while they recuperate. I could feel that everyone was looking forward to our flowers. One Mologne House employee brings us vases from our last delivery and she is so excited to give them back to us. The front desk loves the pens and our special arrangement for them. Parking is even a little easier now. We left there with a glow in our hearts.

Bill Harvey and I walked into ward 65.67.68 and 57 with two carts full of lovely bedside bouquets. Howard and then our angel Rosa (VIP Ambassadors) guided us around the halls and told us which rooms to set our flowers in. We left large arrangements for 5 nurses stations, left 24 silk flower Pens for them to fight over and gave one large arrangement to the priest for the chapel alter (he was pleased). We heard that Michael Jordon was visiting yesterday and Natalie Cole visited Walter Reed last week. It is reassuring that famous people take the time to give to our war heros too.
I ran into a familiar face from Mologne House a wife of a wounded warrior who is helping other wives who have just arrived (she has been here from Michigan 7 months). She is mentoring them and also planning a baby shower for those wives that are pregnant or have just delivered in the last 6 months. Every-time I visit Walter Reed I meet the most giving people and I am amazed at Gods works going on.

Thank you = Jerri, Pam, Tina, Joan, Liz, Scott, Claire, Barbara, Lauren B., Andrea, Eunice, Eileen, Liesl, Dede and Rachel. The flower arrangements were beautiful.
Thanks for all the vases that have found a home in my basement. Thanks for the plastic trays - they worked great for transporting the crocks today.

My plans may change for the July Delivery since my basement temperature has been warming up after 15 days of over 90 in JUNE. What is with that? I set 17 July as the next Flower event but I may just have a Hospital delivery on Tuesday 20 July and skip Mologne House. So we won't need so many flowers/volunteers and only make 25 arrangments.
More to come.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flower Event 13-18 May

The May flower delivery to our wounded service members at Walter Reed Complex was huge success. This is all due to the hard work of the many volunteers that have jumped on board this wonderful adventure. The Freedom Petal’s garden was once again watered and cared for. I can’t ever thank everyone enough.

Starting on Thursday am, 13 May, Teena H (Lead Flower Angel) and I went dumpster dipping at Reston Trader Joes. This was not in the plan but deemed necessary. Traders had saved my requested flowers in buckets ( less damage) but then someone not part of the FP Club (without malice) threw them away bucket and all. Soooo Funny!

Chris A. from the Cub Run RECenter Nature Program where I volunteer came in the afternoon to help tape vases cut oasis and water the conditioning flowers.Ann (Herndon Florist) called to let me know she had a few flowers (purple daisy mums) for us. So we picked them up too.

Friday, 14 May 2 (way back friends) Elaine R. and Nancy L. showed up early bright-eyed ready to work. We started to make arrangements and then conditioned flowers that I picked up at 10 that morning. We worked in the garage and made an assembly line. We couldn’t believe how fast we got through all the bouquets. Friday afternoon Ann called to let me know she had ordered Freedom Petals a box of silver colored plastic crocks for our next event, When I went to pick them up she had a big box of white bud roses. She is another partner and angel helping our cause.

Saturday was a big day, as we had to create about 100 arrangements. Yikes! Nine wonderful volunteer flower angels showed up (to my kitchen florist) and we worked diligently with lots of creative ideas to create beautiful arrangments. Teena, JoAnne, Mary Beth, Nancy, Chris(my son), Christina (my daughter-in-law) and Jerri (her mom). Tiffany and her mom Mary Belle.

Maureen from Adams Green brought six girl scouts from Ashburn to make arrangements and silk flower pens. The troop had a vase drive in March and collected 30 vases. I had so much fun teaching them the new florists tricks I now know. They worked for one hour to complete their Community Service badge. By 12:30 Saturday we had finished all the arrangements for Mologne House (87)and 25 for the hospital.

On Sunday I received a call from Teena. I had asked her if possible could she come Sunday night to help me package up all the vases/flowers for their travel to Walter Reed Monday morning. Keeping them upright, stable and full of water is a challenge. She called to remind me that Ann (my miracle partner) had told us at her shop that she uses sand bags to add support when transporting vases. I of course forgot that very important bit of information. So Teena who is always so thoughtful had bought a bag of play sand and filled up two-size zip lock Baggies. She came over and we watered all the vases and packed them up for the trip. We were amazed how helpful this simple idea was, it worked well in the blue 2 liter Pepsi crates.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Delivery Schedule

May - 14-15 Create Flower Bouquets (Saturday 15 May is ARMED FORCES DAY)
Blue Ribbons
Deliver Monday, 17 May - Mologne House, Tuesday 18 May - Walter Reed

June - 25-26 Create Flower Bouquets
Deliver Monday, 28 June - Mologne House, Tuesday 29 June - Walter Reed

July - 16-17 Create Flower Bouquets (red, white, blue theme)
Deliver Monday, 19 July - Mologne House, 20 July - Walter Reed Hosp.

August - Month to rest.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walter Reed Flowers

March 23, 2010
The experience of the flower delivery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was numbing once again. The wounded warriors are brave beyond any belief. The joy and healing the flowers bring the patients and nurses cannot be explained. We delivered to sleeping children (our warriors are so young), married service members and nurse's stations. The staff loved the silk flower pens so I plan on making more. Barb and I left with our hearts full of care, concern and the satisfaction that we made an impact. We saw smiles and a lifting of spirits every time we placed an arrangement on a table next to a bed. Thanks to my volunteers once again for the beautiful creations everyone made for the March delivery. Thank you for bringing bouquets to the event we couldn't have done it without them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday Night Freedom Petals Speaking Event

Hi Everyone,
Barbara K. and I attended the Western Fairfax Womens Group at the Community Center in Greenbriar. It was a 5 minute speaking engagement that one of my Cub Run Rec Center volunteer buddies invited me to. When we walked in at 7p.m. there were 7 bags/boxes of vases waiting for us. What a treat. The ladies had been saving their vases all week. It was a huge success and we even got a donation.
See you this weekend! Thanks Michele

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Flower Event

I am excited that here we are again. Lots of flowers coming in my door for this Friday and Saturday. Anne from Herndon Florist has donated Alstroemeria and Larkspur. Here is a picture of Grandpa Bevington, he organized all the vases at the last event!
See you there!

March 10th Update!

I received the confirmation from Mologne House and Walter Reed Hospital, our Freedom Petals delivery is on for 22/23 March. Yahoo!

I look forward to seeing some of you to create flower arrangements next week. Please reply to this note with day/time, if you can volunteer a few hours at my house for our monthly crazy and fun flower event. We will be conditioning flowers, taping vases, arranging them and cutting yellow ribbons for the bouquets on 19/20 March. My plan is to deliver 110 arrangements to Mologne House and 25 to Walter Reed Hospital.
Friday, 19 March 9am - 4pm
Saturday, 20 March 8am - 1pm.

Please don't forget your flower clippers, some of you may have left them at my house last month. If anyone is out at Michaels Crafts I still need yellow ribbon (March is tie a yellow ribbon theme), I have plenty of flags.
Please call me if you have any questions. Thanks for all your support by helping to water this garden. It has been a rewarding journey. I have great pictures in my Freedom Petals album from the February delivery to share.

I will need 3 volunteers (another car) that can help deliver our flower arrangements to our servicemen and women at Mologne House on Monday, 22 March.

Latest Updates:
1.) This week Anne Harvey (Herndon Florist) taught me how to use the sticky thin clear tape for the vases. It makes it so much easier to arrange flowers in water. Anne ordered Freedom Petals 8 rolls of tape, one of many Herndon Florist donations. Please check out her shop in downtown Herndon or call to order flowers for someone special. (703 437-4990). She has been an amazing partner.
2.) I also learned from Anne that an electric skillet is handy for melting glue and gluing the oasis to larger flat pots. Before I go out and buy one. Please check if anyone may have an old electric skillet not being used or in the yard sale pile. Let me know!
3.) This weekend I will work on finalizing my new glitzy BLOG (Chris created it). A link will soon be on the way for those more techie then me.
4.) March 11 I will be speaking to a girlscout unit meeting in Manassas (vase drives)
5.) March 15 I will be speaking to the Greenbrier Womens Club and soon the Greenbrier Garden Club. EXCITING!

See you soon and God Bless,

Freedom Petals Still Going Strong!

Hi Everyone,
I know everyone is enjoying the warmer weather! Can't wait for Spring, I have a few updates to share and I will bullet them to make it easier to read.
1.) I broke down all the remaining flowers from last week's event. The last large basket arrangement was spruced up and I delivered it to the Ruckert Shelter in Reston. They loved it!
2.) I spoke at a girl scout troop meeting in Landsdowne and had so much fun. Their leader is my contact at AdamsGreen funeral home. The troop will be conducting a Vase Drive for Freedom Petals and this will give them Community Service hours for their service badge. At the meeting they wrote thank you letters to the service members, I plan on give them to the red cross to hand out.
3.) Sent out confirmation notes to Mologne House and Walter Reed Hospital for our next delivery dates in March.
4.) Received a touching note and a financial donation from the Air Force Association - Minutemen (Acton, MA) in the name of Ron Mason. He is an Air Force Civilian and many of his employees are deployed soldiers.5.) I did some flower type research and the flower we never can remember is ALSTROEMERIA. They last 10 days in water.
6.) Spent all of today submitting an application to the Pepsi website ( they are giving out money to new idea projects that help our world become a better place. I think it finally flew with Chris's help. It should be on the website in April. Please vote for Freedom Petals.7.) See attached: a really cool document titled Language of Flowers. Sentimental tradition of flowers. Enjoy!
8.) TJ Max in Fairfax Square - near Safeway has floral clippers by Elizabeth's Garden. They have 1/2 and 3/8 cutting width. I bought the 1/2" stem cutting width. They were 3.99, a good deal. They worked great too.
9.) I will try to order the thin clear tape for our next flower arranging weekend. We will be using large water vases this time and the clear tape makes the flowers fall into place easier.
Take care and God Bless,Michele

How I got started:

In August 2009 I was pondering what I would do with my time of retirement and how I wanted start to give back to society. I thank God that I am so blessed; I have my health, a happy family - two beautiful children, a beautiful daughter-in-law and great husband. It is time to use my talents and GIVE to others.

So one day in September, I was reading a magazine and came upon an article about a woman who started a non-profit organization in 2000 that provides bedside bouquets for Hospice patients. I said to myself I could start a non-profit organization, too. But my personal mission would be to say thank you to our great men and women fighting the fight. Some simple way to say thank-you to our troops for sacrificing themselves everyday to protect our freedoms. Right here in the Washington D.C. area we have servicemen and women recuperating from very serious wounds from the War in IRAQ and Afghanistan. Creating flower arrangements to bring smiles petal by petal to our recuperating service members and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center/ Malogne House and Fisher House at Walter Reed Complex. WOW!


Where I am today:

I started with a special friend who volunteers for the Red Cross at Walter Reed Hosp. I explained my story and ideas and thankfully she ran with it, she made some critical contacts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She shared with me two names that I needed to contact and I called both of them. It was so easy to share my passion for this project and it has ignited a little EXCITEMENT to say the least. We will be set up in the front door lobby at Mologne house, deliver small arrangement to Fisher House and will provide a little sunshine to the hospital patients as well.

So now for the rest of the story…………… This is a shared volunteer endeavor and I need everyone’s help at all levels of commitment. I truly understand how busy everyone is so I have very small tasks and others that will take more time to accomplish. But I know with family and friend’s helping hands we can get this rolling towards a January 2010 delivery and continue 10 months out of the year.