Last year at this time, I was just finishing up this photo shoot:


And I’ll confess, I’m missing the pure romance, the exquisite beauty of photographing weddings. I drove past the just-blooming willow tree last week and ached to place some young couple underneath it’s swaying branches.

My work these past months has been quiet and unseen– long talks, swept floors, intertwined fingers, handwritten notes and freshly baked bread. I don’t have a spectacular album (my favorite part of weddings) or any sort of paycheck in the works. Most of my Segullah posts have fallen flat; they simply haven’t been that good. I’ve felt uninspired. I’ve been disappointing people. And did I say my running was improving? ‘Cause that lasted about one day.

One comment on Segullah caught my attention last month. It was from Kathryn Soper, a soulfriend and the kind of writer I wish I could be.

You can’t force yourself to grow, develop, change, evolve, or become. You can only open yourself to what life brings and allow yourself to be taught and to be changed. Whatever your circumstances are, there are lessons embedded that will enable you to become your best self. But this doesn’t have anything to do with outward achievement. The most effective lessons are the ones that seem to set you back; the only success that matters is your success in transcending fear and maintaining peace within yourself.

Don’t you love that? I do.

This morning sweet Mary beckoned me into the yard. It’s the first truly warm day in Utah– not just above freezing– but 63 lovely degrees of sunshine. Donning our matching gardenboots, we trimmed the unruly Mary roses and began pulling weeds just for the sheer joy of digging our hands into the dirt. Suddenly ambitious we pulled out a rake and the garbage can as we overhauled the flowerbeds. There, beneath the dead leaves and prickly brown branches we found fresh tiny shoots of green. Mary and I called to each other in delight–

“I just found some pansies.”

“Look at all the starflowers!”


“Those heart plants–what’s their name?- are over here.” And I joined Mary as she cleared away the leaves and told her about bleeding hearts— that I’d grown them in every garden as had my mother, as had her mother.

Sniffling, I put a cage over one plant that had already been crushed. Mary put her little hand on my cheek and turned my face towards hers. Seeing my tears, she nodded her head and said, “Grandma Zoe always had a very beautiful garden.”

And my grief tasted sweet.

Tiring of scratchy sticks and dirt in our nails we did what all good gardeners do– jumped in the car and visited the nursery for new flowers. We chose pansies, primroses, ranunculas, English Daisies and candytuft– all flowers that can withstand the snowstorms and sleet that will surely come in the next few weeks. Mary danced and twirled down the aisles, making up silly songs and pausing occasionally to spin a cartwheel (yes, even with her rainboots on). It was one of those moments, those many moments, when I wanted to call my mom and tell her beautifully Mary is growing up.

Instead, I bought two bleeding hearts.


March 29, 2010
March 31, 2010



  1. Blue

    March 30, 2010

    i’d missed that comment by ms. soper. i’m so glad i didn’t miss it forever. thanks.

  2. Sue

    March 30, 2010

    You won’t find me agreeing that any of your posts (at Segullah or elsewhere) have been either flat or uninspired of late, but I do understand what you mean about going through certain periods where you feel less than vital in your creative process. You’re probably using a lot of that core (spirit) energy to mourn your mother, which makes sense for now.

    In the meantime, spring is here, and it sounds like some of those creative juices are stirring. Aren’t daughters wonderful? When I went through the hardest times of my life, it was those simple interactions with my children that always fed and healed me most.

    Plant a ranuncula or two for me, okay? (I like the yellow ones.)


  3. Tasha

    March 30, 2010

    Absolutely beautiful. I’m fighting back tears now. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Adri

    March 30, 2010

    Love Kathy’s quote. Love your rain boots. Love love love this post! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Rachelle

    March 30, 2010

    All of your photos are gorgeous! I want that yellow convertible. ;o) The flower picture makes me want to go rake out my flower beds and your matching rain boots are the bomb.

  6. Annie

    March 30, 2010

    I’m in desperate-to-keep-my-head-above-water mode. It doesn’t feel like growing but I suppose it might be. Either that or it’s telling me to put my head in and swim. Or get out of the water! Love the Kathryn comment, love you.

  7. Alisa

    March 31, 2010


  8. Cath

    March 31, 2010

    Wow. Thanks for this post. I was so comforted by Kathryn’s comment. Growth – not necessarily when we we are wanting it.

    Your Mary is so beautiful. And your matching rain boots, hands in the dirt, thoughts of your mother. It all made me tearful. As for your posts, not at all uninspiring. Keep writing.

  9. Jennk

    March 31, 2010

    Mary is so sweet + so are you. Definitely a special moment. Love your matching rainboots too!

  10. Selwyn

    March 31, 2010

    Apart from your camera falling just as you took the last shot of you and Mary, the photos were stunning – as always.

    It’s funny how big a difference a year can make, hey? We’re heading into Autumn here, and while I don’t know the majority of flowers you mentioned, thank you for the reminder that there are seasons for a reason.

    Luvies, SK

  11. Heather

    April 2, 2010

    I loved finding the bleeding hearts that magically appeared in our flower garden the first year that we lived in Holladay. Thanks for the reminder, I am going to plant some here in my new yard…TOMORROW!

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