2018 in our household is the year of pursuing dreams. In the fall, I had the amazing opportunity to sign with a literary agent for my book! While I wait for it to sell, which has somehow proved harder than writing the book itself, I’ve decided to focus some energy into another dream of mine: floral design!
I like to think dreams are planted in us as tiny seeds, maybe before we are even born. And maybe we’re all given a certain amount of seeds, and maybe some bloom bigger than others so we pay more attention to those. But maybe, as the big dreams that we work so hard to harvest finally gain some life and momentum of their own, they allow us to breath a little and take a peek back inside the bucket and pull out another one. And as we brush that new seed off and let it sit and turn over in our hearts for a while, we realize that quieter, less showy dream was there with us all along, just waiting for a chance to see the sun.
When I look back on my life I see in big letters: writing, writing, writing. I wrote my first book in third grade- Redo the Cat, my first series book in seventh–The West Wing Kids. Writing is the way I have created pockets in my universe where time stands still–as I’ve scribbled reflections, thoughts and ideas on beautiful journals and used napkins: whatever I had in front of me. It is through writing that I process, that I understand and order my own world, and it is through writing a new world that I feel most alive. I pray we don’t see babies like we see dreams, because my writing dream will always be my favorite.
But my writing is FINALLY, after years (years!) of pushing and sculpting and practicing and pitching and editing and revising, finally starting to take on a life of its own. Suddenly I am not the only one pushing: I have a team of people who are fighting for this dream with me, and it is the most amazing feeling. Finally, people who are not my husband or parents want to see this dream take flight as badly as I do. But this flight and wait is also giving my heart some space to itch for another dream.
In high school, I loved going outside after school and collecting wildflowers from our garden. I loved putting them in vases and the way their bright colors brought life to our kitchen. In college, my future-mother-in-law would allow me to make arrangements and flower displays for big family events–Thanksgiving, Lobster Fest, Easter. In graduate school, I used my student ID to pay for a membership to Phipp’s Botanical Garden, so that on dull, cold Pittsburgh days, I could wander around in the warmth and lush green and gorgeous, exotic flowers. Flowers have always calmed me and excited me, and every single bloom and design is a testament to the intentionality with which we are created. Every bud screams thoughtfulness, originality, and beauty and it’s both a comfort and a challenge to behold.
In October, my sister-in-law asked me to do the flowers for her wedding. I spent hours putting together the bridesmaid bouquets, planning out the arbor, putting together centerpieces and I loved it. It was so rewarding to work with my hands; to give time and focus to one of the other loves in my life, and to get completely lost in a project so that when I stopped it was like coming up for air. I had enough people ask me about the flowers after the wedding to realize that maybe this was something I could actually do.
I thought for a long time about what to name this little business. When we named our daughter, we prayed that her days would feel like the first day of summer; like an empty backpack and a bike and promises of ice cream and fireflies night after night. I started thinking about what I wanted to do with flowers, and realized that flowers are celebration accents–there to put an exclamation on life-altering, celebrating events: weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, promotions. Flowers give people permission to stop, to smell, to come together in universal appreciation of beauty. Who doesn’t love flower petals, and who doesn’t remember a perfect, free day in their lives, somewhere in a field of wild flowers, surrounded by enough beauty to convince you, even for a moment, that a world that could hold this kind of beauty could also hold hope? And isn’t that feeling of abandon, of uninhibited joy, exactly what we wanted for June?
It’s also the kind of joy I want for this new company. Flowers aren’t usually the cause for celebration–they bring personality and excitement to a celebration. Flowers are a tool that help us see the true colors of the celebration itself. They add a magical, ethereal, childlike quality to life’s most momentous occasions. They add punctuation to every kind of celebration.
I’m so excited to water this seed and bring it up to the light, and can’t wait to see what will grow. I’d love for you to visit my website and Instagram page (@JuneberryFloral), and join this adventure with me. I can’t wait to introduce you to Juneberry Floral Co.