I’m not a gifted writer, speaker, or public communicator. But I am gifted at striking up a conversation with anything that requires oxygen and I can make a pretty good pot of coffee while we chat. And that is what my little corner of the world desires to be. A space for community, sharing, challenging and learning together.

Last spring, I was digging up Iris bulbs from my yard to take to James’ grandmothers. The first spring we moved into Randall Riches, James’ grandmother, Nana (pronounce NahNa), commented several times how she loved those Irises. Mine were beginning to take over my front flower bed and even had some spread to the backyard. So I dug them up in hopes of transplanting them to her backyard.

When I got there, she had a shovel and hose ready in hand. I can still see her standing there, “Honey, now this is too much.” She was battling cancer and still determined to do everything herself. A picture of strength. This woman was the definition of impatient, adamant, and also one of the most loving even when you didn’t even know you needed it.

And that day, I didn’t know I needed it. We talked about the Iris and how her grandmother, Evie (a blind dairy farmer), had some of the most beautiful Irises in her yard. She and I laughed about when they bloomed, how they were stunning and commanded attention, but when they went back to the spirally dead bulbs, they looked pathetic.

I responded, “The Iris is kind of an accurate description for 2020, started out great and then just kind of went to pot.” She replied with such ease, “Yes, but once they bloom, they know when their window of time is gone for blooming, the blooms fade but the bulbs are incredibly hard to destroy.”

Iris Tough

And she’s right. If you’ve ever tried to disrupt an Iris bulb, good luck. They are hard and can withstand any weather, trust me, we live in Oklahoma. The Iris symbolizes wisdom, valor, hope and trust. The Fleur-de-lis was inspired by the Iris and was used mainly as decorative purposed for French royalty. I wasn’t aware that different colored Irises represented different things. Outside my windows in the spring I can see Blue Irises bloom that represent faith and hope and purple ones that represent wisdom. That’s why the Iris the header on my page, it serves as a reminder to “bloom and grow.”

That reminder is from the movie, Sound of Music, Nana’s favorite and now a favorite of our five year old, Eliza Kate. It was the second most watched movie when I was 7, right after Grease. I loved the lyrics from Edelweiss, “may you bloom and grow forever.”

And that is exactly what happened next as I was knuckle deep in dirt packing the bulbs into the soft black soil. Nana put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I see so much of you in that. You rise again and again, growing and choosing to serve the Lord in everything you do, regardless of the conditions. “

Valor, Faith, and Wisdom

Nana was a cheerleader of my full time calling and career. She prayed over me, for me and with me so many times over the last decade of being married to her grandson. I had no idea of the impact that would have on me until she left this Earth. James and I have felt the absence of her prayers in good times and not so good times over the last year.

From that backyard conversation I learned so much not just about the Iris but how Nana modeled the iris through faith, valor, and wisdom. May we not walk past the blooms, ignoring them. Instead we should water them, care for them and be there for others to cultivate the words “bloom and grow, forever.” I hope every time you see one you’re inspired to champion someone else in their calling.

That conversation inspired a blog and the symbol for my blog, which now is a cherished symbol for her. If you don’t personally have an example of this in your life, Lydia serves as this symbol in Acts 16. She opened her heart to the words of life taught by Paul, not only was she changed but her household and all those she came in contact with. She used her career of dying purple cloths to allow her to provide encouragement and hospitality to many of the disciples.

“And they went out of the prison, and entered into [the house of] Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

Luke 16:40

That’s the story and heart behind this space. May we live a life that inspires other to “bloom and grow forever.”