Our Stories

Attack of the Sunshine Ninjas

August 8, 2016

Frances was OBSESSED with flowers from a very young age. She would spend hours in the winter pouring over seed catalogs planning next spring’s gardens. And no matter where life took her, Frances’ imagination could turn a clump of weeds into lush gardens.

“You are roses! You are violets and lilies-and hyacinths and daffodils and snowdrops! 

You are!”  Frances would say to the weeds.

This year, I finally caved to my husband’s repeated request to plant flowers in our vegetable garden. I did it a bit begrudgingly, as this is a VEGETABLE garden that was made to create food, not flowers after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE flowers, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t imagine going out to water something that was just pretty. But, after a few years of planting more food than we could eat, I knew I could afford a few spots of flowers here and there without my family going hungry.

So in the late spring I barely scratched the surface of the soil with a rake, sprinkled on some flower seeds that a friend picked up for me from the Fredericksburg Wild Seed Farm, and scraped back the soil to barely cover the seeds back over. All of this was done with very little fanfare, joy, or even the same giddy expectations as I typically feel when planting vegetable seeds.

Typically during vegetable seed planting time, I watch the weather intently for when the rains are to come, knowing that my baby vegetable seeds will LOVE soaking up all of those natural raindrops. I lie awake listening to that very rain imagining how happy those seeds are, and check every morning after I plant just so I can see the very first time they poke their veggie heads up out of the soil. I am sure I even greet them with a “Hello Little Veggies” in my best “baby” voice usually reserved for small children or cute dogs. Pathetic I know…don’t judge.

There was none of this with the flowers. I simply spread those flower seeds, watered over them a bit each day, and when the green bits came up, I had already forgotten what I planted and looked at them and wondered if perhaps they might just be weeds.

But then it happened. Overnight, these weeds turned into the most beautiful carpet of mesmerizing knee high blooms that I had ever seen. It took my breath away.

I felt this strange peace in their presence.

You see, with vegetable gardening, there is a lot of stress that happens daily. Did I over-water? Did they get enough to drink? Is that a good bug or a bad bug? Should I prune this now or wait? What is that white stuff on the cucumber leaves? Who is eating my tomatoes? And why won’t those ants stop biting me? The list of things to do/consider/look out for is a mile long and the more things you plant, the more complicated it all gets.

But with flowers, they don’t seem to need you as much. They are my easy children. The quiet ones that just do what they are told, give their all, and smile back at me every time I see them.

I love them in a way that I never thought I could love a flower. And in my 900 square feet of vegetable beds, they have become an oasis of calm, a breath of fresh air, and a respite for my soul. And lucky me…I had a TON of them.

This is because all new gardeners (of anything) will plant too many or too few of something the first time out.  I, because I adhere to the GO BIG OR GO HOME methodology of life, you guessed it, planted too many.

So what does a girl do when her garden is overflowing with Zinnias?

Turn the family into SUNSHINE NINJAS of course!

I grabbed the kids and headed to the local thrift store where we bought them out of glass vases! We then raided the garden and filled them to the brim with the most beautiful blooms you have ever seen.


Then we posted the picture of the 17 arrangements on social media and told our friends that we were hitting the streets the next day to spread some SUNSHINE with our flowers and asked if anyone knew of someone who might need a little.

The response was overwhelming, and we were quickly able to make a list of people and places to drop flowers the next day. And at the last minute, we added our favorite FHB quote with a little twine bow and we were ready!

“If you look the right way,

you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret GardenIMG_8261

This was different from normal “random” acts of kindness, as we were being sent on actual secret missions by friends who wanted to bless others with our flowers. It was so cool to just be the courier of sorts…we were just the messengers…being guided by others. It was pure joy!

So like the sunshine ninjas we were, we quietly tracked down each person, bless them with the flowers, and wandered away as quietly as we came, grinning from ear to ear as we walked away knowing we had carried out our missions like the good SUNSHINE NINJAS we were.


Meet the Ninjas:

Rylan my 10 year old daughter and my 13 year old I’m-Going-To-Do-Anything-To-Not-Smile-In Pictures son Lawsin. (please tell me they grow out of this?)

These little flowers that I thought didn’t have a purpose because they didn’t make my family food, were now feeding the souls of so many across our little town who needed the feel the sunshine on their face through these extra garden blooms.

And as we tucked into bed that night, I had already begun to plan even more flowers in my garden next year to ensure the Sunshine Ninjas can strike again!

Flowers for life,

FHB and Especially Me

Let’s Chat About It:

Have you discounted people, experiences, or things as having NO PURPOSE or VALUE in your life?

( I know I have!)

What else have we missed out on because we were too quick to judge?