I was serving at an orphanage in El Salvador when my life started unraveling. Hearing the stories of trauma triggered my own childhood wounds and memories. I was able to hold it together until my term finished, but back in the United States, I had a complete breakdown. I became deeply depressed and developed out of control OCD.
For several years I only tried to deal with my anxiety and depression spiritually—pray more, read the Word more. I didn’t start improving until I was finally willing to look at the physiological aspects. I started going to extensive therapy and taking medicine. It’s been a five-year journey, and I still have the occasional day where I struggle, but I’m thankful to be 90 percent better.
As a child, I had a great interest in flowers and plants. I loved beauty. I followed my great aunt around her little greenhouse and was always picking bouquets for my mom. That interest got buried as I grew older. Then in El Salvador, I worked on some agricultural projects, and the interest revived.
Back in the States, I returned to my old job, but in a new role that wasn’t a good fit. It didn’t feel fulfilling. I prayed, “God, give me something meaningful.”
I started building a small greenhouse as a side hobby. Then my cousin gave me books about flower farming, which I devoured. For the first time, I realized that I could raise flowers for a living. I began dreaming and making plans. In 2021, I started Inspiring Blooms, planting a half-acre in flowers. This year, I’m tripling that and have three part-time employees.
Working by myself in the flower fields, surrounded by beauty, has been more healing to my mind and soul than almost anything else. I mostly wholesale to florists and designers, but on Fridays and Saturdays, I open the flower fields so people can come and cut their own flowers, have a picnic, and walk the fields. I want them to be refreshed and encouraged by God’s creation too.
This summer, I expect more flowers than sales. I’ve invited volunteers to come in and pick the excess flowers, wrap them in brown paper, and deliver them to widows, shut-ins, and others who need cheer. I believe that the beauty of God’s world heals, and I want to share that with others.