Shannan is an ordinary girl who finds beauty in the everyday. She is the wife of a man who thinks all of her jokes are funny, and who regularly indulges her late-night, thinking-out-loud ponderings. They have three funny babies who came to them across rivers and oceans. Together, they are embarking on a fresh adventure and they are confident that God will meet them there. To learn more about Shannan and her brood, visit her at Flower Patch Farmgirl.

I have always been drawn to stories of craggy farmers with their industrious wives at their sides. I’ve come to know them quite well. They are suntanned and serious, eyes fixed to the horizon, sniffing the air for rain. Always overalls, always apron. They are church-going, but with faith that runs deeper than the pond waters of their rebirth. Their foreheads are lined as much from heartache as from years. This is what I decided, as I plucked from the shelves, again and again, a novel with a white farmhouse on the cover.

I turned the pages and I sewed those seeds vicariously, longing for an apron and a tin of Gardener’s salve of my own.

I turned the years, and found myself living in a white farmhouse, with a slice of acreage just begging to be tilled.

Sod gave way to chocolate cake earth. Rows were staked. Hope was sewn.

We waited, brim-filled with expectation.

And then, I fell in love. With the beans and the Brandywines, of course; but also, with the weeds. Ever-persistent, they forged green. Ever-persistent, I plucked. With each pinch, my soul settled. Things made more sense. My mind exhaled. It was up to me to protect my seedlings. I was dutiful, even without the apron.

As that first summer became the second, then the third, my confidence grew. I dreamed of ranunculus – that dreamy combination of symmetrical and ruffled and cotton-candy colored, with the occasional willy-nilly stem. I balled up hope and tossed it into the sky as hard as I could. I whispered practice condolences to myself, “It’s ok if they don’t grow” and “Even if they don’t bloom, as least the leaves are pretty!”

And then.

The blooms arrived and the Sugar Snaps clapped and the spinach bowed and the honeybees delighted. My heart ached, in the best kind of way, to see the tight-fisted buds of lemon meringue and watermelon sherbet.

I set out to clear the intrusive green, always knocking, knocking still. I plucked and I dreamed. I considered what it took for them to become what they were meant to be: dirt diet, perpetual rain, sun scorching. But beauty can be hard-won, and hard-won beauty is lasting, and lasting beauty is really the only kind that matters.

My fingernails packed tight with grit, I considered the woman I have always wanted to be. It turns out it’s not the fictitious farmer’s wife with the sun bonnet and the sensible shoes. It turns out, the woman I want to be is the one who knows all the way into her heart and back out the other side that the only life worth living is the one that was decided from the Beginning. So, let the sun burn me a bit. Let the drops fall. I have learned first-hand what it means to grow. I know for a fact that there is One very near to me watching, protecting, cheering me on.

Any day now, the fuzzy claws will unfurl rows of ruffled deliciousness and we’ll host a ticker-tape parade fit for a garden queen.

I will look to the horizon and my heart will beat one less with the thought of what might lie in wait. And I will know it’s sure to be good.

“The Sugar Snaps clapped!” Y’all, I’m in love with this girl and her writing. I am blessed to have her here today, even if she does put my just-learning-to-grow-things self to shame. Her home is lovely, her photos are beautiful, and her writing is laced with humor and charm. Please welcome her and visit her at Flower Patch Farmgirl.