Our Story

True Love meets Adversity

I loved Julianne from the first time I saw her. When she said "yes", and agreed to marry me, it was like Christmas morning. A beautiful wedding, a tropical honeymoon, and the joy and excitement of a new life together lay ahead for us. We had so many big dreams we wanted to achieve. Life was idyllic. Then, "along came affliction and awakened the dreamer." It was a beautiful, normal spring day when our lives changed. I came in from work, and Julianne told me she didn't feel right. Soon after that, I found her on our bedroom floor unconscious. What started as an emergency room visit turned into over two years in hospitals around the country, filled with surgeries, complications, and setbacks. Julianne had two rare diseases that were shutting her body down with no answers. For the next ten years, our lives were turned upside down in every way. We learned how to live and survive in seemingly unending days of pain and adversity.


The Night the Flowers Bloomed

It was about midnight, and I was watching Julianne sleep in her bed in a large inner-city hospital. She was hooked-up to machines and tubes and was not doing well at all. The doctors were beginning to talk to me about the possibility of her not making it. I remember looking around that cold, grey room and thinking, "If this is the room she's going to die in, at least I'll fill it with flowers for her." The next morning, as soon as the gift shop opened, I found the only art supplies they had: A box of eight crayons, a black felt tip pen, and a cheap piece of poster board. That day, I tore that paper into four pieces and began to draw colorful flowers on each of them. When I finished those first four pictures, I set them around the inside of Julianne's bed rails. And when she finally woke up and saw them, she looked at me and smiled. She loved them. So every day I would do more of them. It began to be a highlight in the darkness, and they never stopped.

When Julianne was sent home, she was still hooked-up to machines and tubes, but now we were on our own. By this time, I had gotten pretty proficient with those little crayons. I was jogging one morning, and I felt as strong as ever that God wanted me to draw 100 new big flowers. I can't explain that, but it happened. With Julianne still extremely ill, we were confined to a small bedroom in our home. Sitting in a chair close to her bed, I began to draw the 100 flower pictures. Every afternoon, I would have an art show and line up each day's flowers in our den. I would wake Julianne up and help her down the hallway for a showing. We did that every day until they were completed. And in some way, those flowers helped heal Julianne and me.

New Beginnings
As Julianne fought to live and get better, I slowly began to take speaking opportunities again. While doing a large student event in Florida, I had an idea. After spending a few days getting to know the people there, I realized that so many of them were worried, hopeless, and anxious about their lives. And, I understood that well. So I decided to talk that night about God's message to us to "consider the flowers" as His reminder that He loved us and would take care of us. Before I spoke, I taped a few of my flower pictures up, lining the stage with them. At the end of the evening, I told the group that anyone who needed a reminder of God's love could have one of the pictures. Within minutes, they were all gone. A chaperone mom approached me and asked if she could make copies of her picture for those who wanted them. She made around 500 copies. By the next morning, they were all gone as well. I started doing this wherever I would go, and the reaction was the same. People began to send me photos of their flower pictures in all types of settings and locations - football lockers to bathroom mirrors, to dashboards in cars, in their homes, dorm rooms, and even with them at doctor's visits.

Where the Flowers are Headed...
Today, Julianne and I are living outside of Atlanta, GA with our Kitten, Gracie, traveling full-time to tell people about God's amazing love story and sharing our flowers with the world. We have a new dream of putting these flowers in hospitals and orphanages, and anywhere people need reminders of hope. And we are so thankful for you taking the time to read our story and explore our website. It really is amazing what can come from one small box of crayons.

 

 

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