our flowers


I’m not sure, but I think age has something to with nostalgia.  I felt it instantly and the tears began to well at church when we were singing This is my Father’s World.  I was instantly brought back in time to a Daily Vacation Bible school; it was our theme song for the week.  We sang it every day and the verses come back so easily without even having to gaze at the words on the giant screen.   I am transported back to love, to community…to JOY.

This is my Father’s world, 

                                     the birds their carols raise, 

                                    the morning light, the lily white, 

                                   declare their maker’s praise.

I am rereading a book that I loved so much at the beginning of new year flying home from Ecuador.  I’m sure many have read The Language of Flowers, a debut novel written by the amazing Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  This novel goes back and forth in time, telling Victoria’s story.  She is an emancipated foster youth negotiating homelessness and making her way in our harsh society.   At the beginning of this book Victoria is leaving her last group home.  The girls in the house maliciously try to burn her room with matches as a birthday prank.  There is little love between them.  But before she leaves she retaliated in a different way  putting a purple Dahlia under each doorway.  As the reader learns early in the context of the book, each flower has a meaning.  Flowers have a language; a ‘Dahlia’ means ‘dignity’.  Victoria gives dignity to the girls remaining in the group home.

 Victoria’s story is realistic as it is amazing.  It isn’t perfect because life rarely is.  But it is a story of rescue and hope and the importance of community.  The story is truthful in the ways of our very broken foster system.  As many of you know we, took our daughter into our home late in her high school career.  She was an emancipated minor, so this story ripped my soul in two.  Our daughter is now a healthy adult who finished college and is living and working near us in the city of Chicago.  I have learned over the years, but one thing is for certain; Kelly needed us.  This young girl would not have bloomed without our intervention.  God knew that our hearts needed to become softer, more alive because of her.  If you haven’t read this book yet, I definitely think that you should.  You will be enthralled with the characters; I promise.

 Many of us in this ‘slicing’ community have started or will start school shortly.  We will begin to recognize that our communities are filled with flowers that are strong and healthy and others that are limp and in need of a cold drink of water.  We will attempt to shower them daily and teach how to love and give ‘dignity’ to each other.  May we notice… may we care.  This is the true common core curriculum.

picture  zinnias and dahlias

This is a new flower bed in our yard this year, it is a primarily a ‘Dahlia’ bed.  Notice how brilliant the colors are.  Notice how they all bloom at different times.  I notice how sometimes one flower will indeed hold up another.

I am also  noticing  lately, that our season with the children in our classroom is also short.  I better start watering.  

new buds



About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

10 responses »

  1. This book sounds both heart-wrenching and hopeful as I am sure the story of your daughter is. I am singing the hymn along with you and enjoying your garden. When I look at a bed of flowers, I think of miracles. I am not very good at gardening, so when anything blooms in my yard, it is miraculous. In my classroom I am more intentional, but I also feel the miracles that happen when a child finds that just right book or writes that just right poem. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It’s amazing when you can find a book that touches your heart and soul. Your flower bed is gorgeous and I loved your analogy. Have a great year nourishing and supporting those under your care.

  3. Nancy, is this your last year in the classroom? Your last year to water the flowers in your classroom? May you water deeply and feel such joy as you spend time with each child.

    Thank you for sharing the story of your daughter and the book you are reading.

    May your tears remind you how much God loves you, and how he is with you each day of this year.

  4. I love this post…I find so many connections. A hymn I love, a book I’ve read (and now want to reread!),foster parenting/adoption, a true educational philosophy (what a definition of common core!), and beautiful flowers, too!

  5. Nanc, thanks for your slice today. I have not read this book yet, even though it’s been on my TBR list for quite some time (too many books, not enough time). The story of how your nurtured your daughter shows how much you care. I know that those little ones that you have this year will be fed and nourished, just like the flowers in your yard. Have a great last year!

  6. As I reread your post and think about what I already know about my students in these first few days, I see the ones who will be holding another up and the ones who need a drink of water. I just hope that I can tend my flower bed so that they bloom with brilliance. Beautiful analogy.

  7. Beautiful analogy Nancy. I hope you have a wonderful year, and that you are nourished with what helps your healthy growth too! I didn’t remember about your daughter. There are different adopted children in our family, including my own grown ones. Blessings all. And thanks also for the book recommendation!

  8. Nancy, you touched my heart! Children are so fragile yet strong. Sometimes in the midst of data, I need to remember that our watering and sunshine is what makes the difference. Our kind words make the difference. Thanks for the beautiful flowers and your post! I needed this today!

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