I started selling my fall crosses in July and have sold all 40 crosses so I decided to make more. Here is a sample of the new batch of memorial crosses.
I started my small online business in September of 2014. I was worried, frustrated, and somewhat confused about selling my handmade crosses online. I survived the first year and have enjoyed ever year since. The best part for me is the creative part of business. Unfortunately the other “stuff” (ie; finances, social media, marketing, shopping, ok maybe not shopping since it’s fun too) all come with the job. I have learned so much and have never been as frustrated with myself all at the same time. So much of what I have learned is from customers, other sites, competition, and trial and error.
I try to learn new ways of creating because I want to improve on my product and make the buying experience enjoyable for my customers. Today I took a trip down memory lane and looked over my past catalog. Yes, it took an hour. I have sold over 5000 crosses since my start in late 2014 and have made no two alike. My crosses are 100% one of a kind
So as I’m looking through I notice a few things about my designs. Maybe I have paid too much attention to my competition and haven’t always stayed true to myself. Is better always better? While trying to keep up with volume have I lost my nerve to be more creative? Is was worth the trip down memory lane. I learned something new today, to stop and think, “is this really my best?”
While visiting my youngest child before COVID we went to some favorite spots , one of them being Gooseberry Falls in Duluth MN. The falls are beautiful as are the trees, streams, and foliage. This time when we went to the falls we saw something we had never seen before- Cairns. What are those? Cairns are small piles of rocks. I decided to look up there meaning, if any. The word “cairn” is a pile of rocks placed on top of one another. This is a deep rooted Scottish hillside tradition that signifies respect. That would explain the word for a small pile of rocks pronounced kern which is a Scottish Gaelic word. This tradition of piling rocks some say goes back much further than that. Some archeologists believe cairns were used as landmarks in the prehistoric era. Cairns are also used to mark trails or routes.
Another use is by Buddhist to symbolize wishes for family, respect for a passing loved one. In Hawaii they are called ahu and the Native Americans call these piles of rock wa-wa-an-quas-sick ( place of many good stones ). Cairns can also be memorials. A pile of rocks placed upon a burial site. Actor Dennis Hopper is buried under a cairn in a Native American burial site in Taos, NM. I learn something new every time I travel outside my own little world, and I enjoy seeing and learning new things.
The Veterans Memorial Park in Wichita KS shows community pride as well as gratitude to all that have served for our country. This park has awinding walkway lined with beautiful trees, amazing monuments, and personal memorials. These pictures are only a small fraction of the memorials in this park. If you live in Wichita and you haven’t seen this memorial park you need to go. As I walked along the river and the walkway that winds through the park my heart began to swell with pride for the community of Wichita and the history to be learned is plentiful. Best veterans memorial in the Midwest!
I have a passion for history. As I have mentioned in other posts that history can have many forms and is not always in the written word. The Davis monument is a beautiful form of history to take in if you are ever in the northeast part of Kansas.
Ok, I realize that this may not have been an item on everyone’s list of things to see but for me it a definete ☑️ on my “life list”.
I have a list.
A list of places I want to go, things I want to see, things I want to do. Now some call this type of list ” a bucket list “. I call my list – “life list”. I’m not planning on leaving this earth anytime soon but I have become more aware that life is for living and the moment is now. These lists, by the way, are often started later in life and after child rearing has been completed. This is the place in life I find myself today.
I try to keep my list realistic. Financially and physically realistic. My oldest daughter helped me to complete my first list item two years ago with a 19 mile bike ride through the Grand Canyon! It may sound like a simple list to some but I enjoyed those few days in Arizonia with my daughter and a memory to cherish.
Some of my list items are within my own state. I live in Kansas and I can honestly say that I have not even see 1/4 of my home state. Which brings me back to my “life list”.
My youngest daughter lives in Minnesota. This summer I took a detour from the interstate on my way to visit her to travel a corner of northeast Kansas. This part of my home state is filled with luscious farms, trees galore, and rolling hills one after the other. ( if you have never traveled to Kansas then you won’t understand the excitement of hills )
Hiawatha, KS has all of the above along with a very unique country cemetery. It’s not the cemetery itself that is unique as it is ONE very unique monument within the cemetery.
The final resting place to John & Sarah Davis tells an amazing story or I should say the monument itself tells a story.
Who are John & Sarah Davis? What is their story?
John and Sarah Davis were residents of Hiawatha in the early 1900’s. They were farmers as most residents of the town were at the time. The Davis couple, childless throughout their marriage, were laid to rest in the town’s cemetery. What is different about their final resting place is that John had the monument built from marble and stone imported from Italy after Sarah passed. Just by walking around it you can see the story of their lives together.
I am passionate about my cross creations because I know that time spent quietly at a loved ones grave can be very private and special. Sometimes a person just wants to recall a memory, or have a conversation that never was spoke, or just a moment to show respect for the life that was part of yours.
I understand that this form of grieving, remembering, or paying tribute is often frowned upon by others. I also understand that it is not what everyone needs and would never ask anyone why they don’t visit a gravesite, just as I think it is unkind to question or belittle those that choose to.
Alfonso is the name he was given when he entered this world
He was loved
His birthday is the same every year……. His mother was the one he shared that first birthday with
His mother enjoys celebrating his life as any mother would on a child’s birthday
A celebration of a life , that is all that should matter.
Thank you Alfonso’s Mom for reminding me how much I love what I do!