Mason Graduates, Miscellaneous, personhood, Philosophy
Comments 7

The Gypsy’s Garden by Hannah Schaefer Ezell

Hello sweet friends! I hope that this thought finds you each well and happy as we come to the ending of another school year and the beginning of a new free-learning period that is summertime.

As I look back over this school year, I have to say that I am considerably more learned than I was at this time last year, though I didn’t take a single class in anything. Not in the traditional style anyway. I consider this past year as a year of transition — but looking over my life, I have to ask … which year, exactly, wasn’t a year of transition? This is where my thoughts take flight.

If each and every one of us were to give a year by year, maybe even month by month story of our lives, I am almost positive that not a single one of them passed without some life changing event or another happening, shaping us, making us colder to some things, warmer to others, and leaving us in some moment quietly pondering what exactly was supposed to happen next. We require transition to grow and it is one of those beautiful truths that I was taught as a young girl, that sometimes it doesn’t take a book or a classroom — or really any equipment at all to learn and to transition into the next phase. A student of life, my mother has called me, and herself, and all of you reading this now. A student of life.

This month the empty apartment next door was filled with two beautiful girls, a mother and a daughter, each full of laughter, loving, and giving. Tonight they came over to spend a little time on the porch with me just to get to know me and open their arms. We walked back and forth between our apartments, I ran to find a book for the daughter and ended up staying over with them for a bit. We talked about her succulent plants, and about how my green thumb is actually pathetically black — a known murderer to the plant world, no matter how good my intentions are. The mother stood up and said “wait here” and she ran onto her porch and came back with two cuttings from two of her favorite plants. “These plants are for those of us who have to move around a lot” she said, “nothing you do to them will kill them, as long as you put them in either dirt or water, and in a few weeks they will bloom for you… flowers as big as your hand.”

I brought the plants home and I’ve stuck them in water in a vase, I am very anxious and excited to see what they have in store for me. But it was their endurance that captivated my mind. “Gypsy Flowers” I thought to myself, flowers that move, are cut and shared and move again. The transitional plants. People always used to tell me to “bloom where I was planted” which is a beautiful sentiment which I completely agree with. But there are those of us whom God doesn’t seem to plant right away. The gyspy souls, missionaries, military families, the wanderers — we who transition. So I have to change that charge to “bloom where you are sent, and then bloom when you are sent again.” These strong, durable plants and the rootless cuttings of them that I was given tonight are born to live by whatever means God gives to them. All plants require soil, water, air, and sunlight… we all learned that as children… still by some miracle, these plants I have in my vase will fare beautifully as long as they have air and one of the other three normal requirements.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like you’re given all of the requirements to be your best you. Your family is far, the kids are slow to school and quick to play, the laundry (ever daunting) is — well — still really daunting, buried treasure seems to be a thing of the past, and the recession doesn’t seem to be getting any less recession-y, maybe your better half wont get home tonight, maybe not ever. I honestly don’t think anyone feels as if they have all four tools of healthy growth, at least not all at once. But its just another transition, and we are all — at some point — Gypsy flowers, given water and air and able, by some miracle, to bloom. Big blooms, as big as my hand. Something to watch and to be oo-ed and ah-ed over, because by some design of God, we are beautiful and able to fulfill our purpose even in a time of transition.

I believe, too, that the transition doesn’t last forever, even if we can point to transition moments in every year. When my sweet husband and I are out of the Marine Corps and we’ve nestled wherever it is that we will land, I will plant these cuttings in soil, where there is sun and shade and water to go with the cool breezes they need and I will cut limbs off for my friends and for strangers to remind them that though while they are whole enough in the time of change, and that there will be a time of growing rest… where they will be allowed roots at last.

God has been faithful, He will be again.

© Hannah Schaefer Ezell 2012

This entry was posted in: Mason Graduates, Miscellaneous, personhood, Philosophy


Carroll Smith has spoken on various topics related to Charlotte Mason. Currently he teaches at Gardner-Webb University and enjoys working with children, teachers, college students, and Charlotte Mason Institute. He was a teacher and a principal for 21 years before coming to Gardner-Webb University where he has been for six years. Having grown up in eastern North Carolina, he attended East Carolina University for his undergraduate degree and his master's in school administration. He completed his terminal degree and wrote his dissertation on Charlotte Mason at Virginia Tech. Carroll enjoys reading, gardening, and discussing ideas with friends. He and his wife, Andra, and their two young adult college-age children, Corban and Anna, enjoy living, working and playing in North Carolina.


  1. Jenny Garrett says

    Transition, I agree, is so very uncomfortable.. but we, as ships, were not meant to stay in the harbor. We bloom only when we are forced to grow. As my first year of home schooling, 4 different grades at that, I have felt the growing pains and am choosing to praise God in the middle of the trials. He is faithful and good through every valley.

  2. Beautifully put. It inspires me to make the most of our crazy life,look for the blooms of each new adventure, and gives me a vision for the day we will eventually have roots ourselves. Most of all, a reminder that no one has it perfect and if we wait for it to be that, we will miss out on an awful lot!

  3. Jenny and Anna, thank you so much for your input and kind words. Anna, I especially love what you said, because this whole world does seem to be too crazy to function, much less blossom. Being perfect is impossible but claiming of the beauty we are each individually and uniquely made for is not only in grasp, but maybe even a part of the insanity of this mark in history which we live out so hurriedly. You set my mind to thinking again, thank you so much.

  4. Hannah, this post was a huge dose of encouragement for this wanderer mama’s heart this morning. The Lord often reminds me through various means that this earth is not our home, and that there is much beauty to be appreciated in the between times. Even in transitions. 🙂 Thank you.

    PS. I’d really love to see your gypsy flower when it finally blossoms!

  5. Sharon says

    Even ” reluctant” gypsy flowers bloom under the watch care of our heavenly father….and even when we know NOT where our next destination will be. Love you, sweet girl. Wherever, we need not worry…..blossoms WILL FORM.

  6. very good article. Thank you!

    By the way, though, the term gypsy is considered, by the Romani people, quite a derogatory term (similar to the N-word for African Americans). I would be hesitant to continue using it.

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