It’s beautiful story. Won’t you stay for a minute and hear about it?
June 29th 2007 I was a happy girl with my prince in Wisconsin. My mom making sure I got to get my hair fixed just right to get there.. making it to the salon in time just before we were set to leave (there was a horrible wreck and my hair dresser almost canceled my appointment because of traffic- my mom, (my fairy God Mother) wouldn’t allow her to cancel).
That was Leo and I. Always traveling this beautiful country to go look at animals. This time an appaloosa named Matilda- the same nickname my aunt Didi gave me when I was little (She might also be my fairy God-mother) ….
Matilda is what brought me to Oconomowoc Wisconsin … but I wouldn’t leave with her- a beautiful dun Appaloosa.
Before we would actually make it to Saddlebrook Farm we would have dinner at our hotel. I’ll never forget the evening. We pulled up and there was a BEAUTIFUL all white tent in a side field set up for a wedding- a little bridge over some water to get to it. I told him- I would LOVE this one day. I would love to do this on our farm.
He sent me off for a pedicure and we enjoyed the northern trees. It’s really beautiful up there. If I close my eyes I can still feel the air up there. That evening- on that same bridge I giddily ran to earlier, Leo asked me to marry him.
I was so happy, although when fairy God-Mother wanted me to get to the salon in time to get my hair done- I thought something was up.
The next day we would go see my dream horse- life felt like a dream.
Once we were there we were treated like family. I got to drive their kids in their golf cart. I got to ride the well know and very “broke”, Luke (who I eventually tried to plan my way into bringing him back to Kentucky- all I had to do was come back with mom and clean the owners house and farm with Leo for a week- to knock a couple thousand off his price- Luke is not in Kentucky).
I was in my element – dreaming about my wedding and riding my favorite kind of horse- an appaloosa with my prince.
Life stayed pretty much like a fairy tale. Leo laughs- but before I was engaged I had already had a spot on the first season of “Say Yes to the Dress”. I had e-mailed the producers my story – writing out a detailed description of my “Cinderella” inspired reception. “White pumpkins, grown by us, would be the center pieces. We will pick an all white tent on our farm or an all white venue – Moonlite Gardens- where my grandma and grandpa used to dance.”
I’ll never forget calling Leo in May 2008 telling him they wanted me to come up for the show. Boy do I have ZERO regrets. Never mind I cleaned houses a year AFTER my wedding to pay for my gorgeous Pnina gown. It’s a story worth sharing and I love every bit of it.
So the Cinderella wedding happened, although my horse and carriage was a black bus- but the budget got tight- a horse carousel did the trick- and our life on the farm started 9-6-2008 the day after our wedding. I remember waking up thinking- wow- this is my new home.
And life carried on and sometimes we danced through it- sometimes we stood still surprised at what life gave us- one surprise baby, one angel baby, and one bright and colorful, rainbow baby. And we decided that if bad things happened and grief took us for a stroll, we’d walk side by side not to run .. steady and working through would be our answer to grief.
I’ve always said a big part of my healing after baby Leo was this farm. The planting and watching things grow can really heal a broken soul. The blue birds feeding their babies, watching Kingston go feed a baby calf, the new life- the quiet- the stillness- it healed me in many ways.
This year has been very transformative for me. When I decided to have a surgery that I knew I’ve needed for sometime I knew I would have some time to sit and think. The past 4 years has been every bit of fast and tricky and left me questioning our story.
The farm to me is the backbone of this family. Why had we never named this farm? We talked about it since it was bought- but we never had just the right name. So I vowed that I would get intentional and listen and name this farm while I was recovering from surgery and the story goes a little something like this:
I was sitting in my spot on the couch when my sister walked in with 2 dresses. Cinderella was the first princes on the list, she’s going to have a horse and carriage- lets get Cinderella.
She brought the dresses down only for me to realize that the only dress that was in Brooklyn’s size was the new “live” Cinderella dress. I wasn’t happy but I said it’s pretty, lets go with this.
I couldn’t’ drive it to school where it would be picked up and given to her so I wrapped it up in a box for my dad to deliver. As I got the box our from under Lola’s bed I realized there was a blue bird on the tag. I smiled. It’s my best sign for my baby Leo.
Planning a race for such a special person was beyond one of the best memories I will ever have. My breath doesn’t get taken away too often- maybe 4 times in my life to note- and Brooklyn getting our of her mom and dads car- in that dress – took my breath away. She is a real life princess. As she walked over to her horse and carriage my heart swelled up. She was beautiful and the dress fit her JUST like the glass slipper fit Cinderella in the movie- perfect.
I was still on crutches, not able to drive for three more weeks so my days were getting tough. It was hard for me. I was having an exceptionally hard day when i was sitting in the kids play room at moms and sweet Lola plopped down in my lap and opened up a nurse rhyme book.
I looked at the title “Lavender’s Blue”. I thought- huh- that’s neat- I love lavender- and everyone knows how I feel about Blue. I began to read it. A nursery rhyme about Kings and Queens- about listening to your heart- and farming. I thought this is a sign.
It stuck with me. I felt peace in that moment. God is giving me more time to listen. I was listening.
I went back to work a week later and out of the blue I remembered the promise to be intentional with naming our farm and that the “quiet” was over. That is when the nursery rhyme came back to me. So google I went to. Could this be our farm name?
When I googled “Lavender’s Blue” I just sat and starred. There she was- the “live” Cinderella in the same dress that Brooklyn wore. I could not believe it.
I played the video of the song and it was the most beautiful song I felt I had ever heard.
Leo was working to and I text him- I know our farm name but I want to do one more thing.
My day off, Friday rolled around- Leo at work again- I took the kids to Kroger. I told them I would get them a movie (I never do that) out of the redbox. I clicked on the “family” title and there it was: Cinderella. I text Leo and said “I’ll have the kids in bed- tonight we are watching Cinderella!” I had to watch to see how this movie felt.
Now I was watching, intentinally .
In the first scene of the movie it opens with beautiful scenery of trees and two blue birds flying over Cinderella and her mom and dad. I looked at Leo and smiled and said “I know this is it!”.
The movie is really beautiful. It’s a beautiful movie about a girl and her journey through grief. Her mother told her to remember to always have “courage and be kind”. She carries thought virtues throughout her life – and what that does is it leads her to someone who loves her.
Courage is something I think it takes to live a beautiful, joyful life after something bad happens to you- to have courage to live out a life when your going through such grief is to know your life’s purpose. Courage is one of the greatest virtues.
Kindness. Kindness does not cost a thing. When you mix courage and kindness together it seems as though things can unfold just as they were meant to. That’s how I feel.
I sat there through the movie- watching Ella and her mom in beautiful floral dresses (I love floral dresses)- the horse and carriage – the ball- people being so unkind or so misunderstanding of such a beautiful person (or was it just jealousy?) – the dress Brooklyn wore and I thought this movie is so special. A little treasure.
When she thinks he is not going to find her (you know the story) she is up in her room and she starts singing “Lavender’s Blue” and he hears her.
It’s on her heart- her song, her heart- the prince knows her heart. You can’t stop something that is meant to be.
And that’s how I feel about my prince- my Leo. He knows the song in my heart.
After it was over, I felt the sweetest thing happen to me. This is our farm name. There is no doubt. I felt like the signs were bigger than I ever could have dreamt. The weeks after I would continue to get more and more signs of what our life here looks life.
Leo and I are bus people- but we like it that way- we believe that what we do is important – whether that’s nursing, or raising pups, or farming, or helping families through Raising BLUE- it’s all who we are.
Our life really started with a hello- but then one night when I called him up at midnight and said “I think I know where we are supposed to live”. That was a phone call about this farm and I have known this was home since the moment I called him and told him about it.
This farm has been in this family for almost 10 years- our first “baby”.. and it just got her name. I could not have dreamt of a better name.
I hope you love our farm name I hope you know that listening is sort of like having courage- because sometimes it hard to hear the answer- sometimes that voice gives you hard tasks.
Our story isn’t finished and I really feel it’s only just beginning. I feel like Lavender’s Blue Farmstead is going to be an even more beautiful place and one that has meaning and allows others to be still and listen
Lavender’s Blue from Cinderella
Cinderella is such a beautiful movie
“Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come smiling through.
No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing- the dream that you wish will come true”
I can’t wait to write more and more
Thank you Leo for always keeping my dreams tucked in tight you are my first dream come true