Recently I was asked to be the key note speaker for the very first speaker series for the woman run blog Buffalo Boss Babes. I am so incredibly honored, yet a little nervous to stand up in front of all of these intelligent, creative and all around amazing women - who are starting up or already running their own businesses all around Western New York. This has my mind reeling and wondering what could I possible say that would not only have reason, but have heart.
I have decided to tell my story of why, the whole story!
Walking through my flower fields, carrying my flowers down the aisle or even gifting them to someone you love brings people of our small community more joy than I could have ever imagined.
It all started when my brother in law Nick was our home in Cherry Creek one foggy fall day back in 2013. We were walking through my large personal flower gardens and I was cutting random little bits of astilbe, rudebeckia, lambs ears, roses and dahlias to create a small bouquet for his wife's grandma. Nick looked at me asked me why I don't do this for a living? Honestly, I had never really thought about it. I never really thought that people would like the flowers that came right out of my garden or from just a small town girl with a bachelors degree in Speech Pathology, 3 kids and a life full of chaos.
In all reality I didn't really know that small scale sustainable flower farming was a profession, or that people were wanting more than what was flown in from foreign countries, and wasn't your typical carnation or standard rose. I started reading, researching and began really dreaming of what I could really provide with my flowers. Then devastation and real life situations that I never thought would happen to our little family, did - all within a year too.
I lost my beloved grandmother that June to pancreatic cancer, a woman who meant the world to me. She was my soul sister and my biggest supporter and at some points of my adult life, my only friend. I thought things couldn't get any worse as my heart couldn't take it, the universe just doesn't hand a single person more then they can physically and emotionally handle...no way. Ha, I was a bit naive.
December 7, 2014 my brother in law Nick lost his battle to addiction. It is a day that stays with me in more ways then sometimes I would like it to. That moment when your life happenings are in slow motion and you don't really know how your family will rise up from this tragedy. It was pretty dark in our little world for a solid three months. The outlook for our little family was grim and a dark cloud that I still don't like to talk about was looming over our once happy little family. My life changed again exactly 3 years ago today. I wasn't sure what was going to come of it all or if I made the right decision as a wife, mother, daughter or friend. I was doubting everything that I had known or that I was sure of.
During this time my in laws had found Jesus and all that he offers in a way that I only wish I could seek comfort in. My friends and non immediate family had moved on with their day to day lives and I was so happy for them. I was elated to just hear about all their amazing news and life happenings knowing that life moves on, all the while my soul was so far from being healed or even slightly lifted. I knew I had to start moving forward and I had to climb out of the dark hole that I was subconsciously falling deeper and deeper into.
Flowers - growing, designing and sharing them was my answer. Flowers are what healed me. They brought light and brightness into my life and my family. I started to have more passion, excitement and overall joy for my life again. Surrounding myself with the beauty that is mother nature was what I needed to heal my soul, to become the person that I have always wanted to be. I became stronger, happier and more confident. My mind was now racing with ideas instead of past sadness, my body was feeling lighter with every flower that was cut or every piece of soil that was turned. My small beautiful community that has been overcast by the epidemic that is heroin and opiate addiction, has a new little light...just by a field of brightly colored flowers.
I finally had a zest for life and for sharing a passion that fueled my soul, instead of letting myself get pulled into the darkness that surrounded me. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. Yep, tougher than naturally giving birth to three nine pound babies. Making a decision that could and most likely impact my life and my family, terrifying.
I wish I could tell you all that I started this adventure in growing flowers and designing in my boutique studio because "I just love flowers so much" - but I didn't. In reality my flowers healed me, they brought me back to life and they changed the fate of my family. I am forever grateful for my flowers and the fact that being able to turn a dark situation into one of beauty and color, pure gratitude.
With the help of two of my best friends, and the two women who were there for me during all of this, we created my vision of what my flowers really mean to me. Seeking out beauty in the darkest of times is extremely powerful and uplifting.
Thank you to two women I hold so very dear to my heart -
Robin Ferry (my beautiful friend/assistant/soul sister/model)
Kellie Szkatulski | Belle Idee Photography (my beautiful friend/mentor/sister from another mister/photographer)