Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Bloom


The vines stretched, reaching outward and upward, striving for sunlight and free ground. Out from the sturdy mother vines and protection of the older stalks, the tendrils and leaves explore, uncovering a spot to make their own. Sometimes upwards, sometimes outwards. And when they find their spot, they bloom.


The glorious beauty of a squash plant in full blossom is a sight to behold. Dozens of brilliant yellow flows bursting forth, all from one tiny little seed. And from the blossom comes the fruit and new life. I see this played out each day I go to the garden, and it continues to take my breath away.


There was that time I reach out from the comfort of home. Stretching away from the known and into the scary unknown. That time I moved to Africa.

Where I explored new places and new friends, finding new passions and skills, learning new languages and cultures. And when I found that spot, that little almost-shack in the Kalahari Desert, I bloomed.

Beyond all odds, I found what I was born to do, and I worked alongside kind-hearted but incredibly poor people to build up a village, together. In the harsh desert sun and the crazy desert storms, I found the place to bloom.

kalahari garden

And when I left two years after arriving, I left behind a garden and a group of villagers who had worked alongside me, learning and building themselves and their community up. I went on to a new community, and eventually back to America. And now, a full year after I left permanently, I got a message. 

garden club peace corps

About this school in the desert. One with a garden. One who has entered a school gardening competition and is likely to go all the way to the finals.


Friends, it’s not because of me. It’s because of them. Because of their hard work. You might think I planted the seeds and bore the fruit. I’ll let you in one a secret. The seeds were planted by them, in my heart. Which is changed forever. Their vines found a place in my heart and bloomed, turning a hobby into a passion and changing the course of my life. And then they changed the course of their own lives and their community.

Because they found a way to bloom, despite the harsh circumstances.

garden lesson kalahari peace corps


It’s time for Five Minute Friday, where we gather together to write on one word. As a community. Freely. Unplanned, Unscripted. We just write.

Check out Lisa-Jo’s blog for the awesomeness that is Five Minute Friday.



26 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Bloom

  1. Love that “they planted the seeds, in my heart.” So moving. You may never know the full ramifications of all the seeds that were planted during your time there! 😉

    1. I know. It’s so hard to be gone, but I feel blessed to know a non-profit that is now working with my school and helping me to see what’s going on. It’s amazing to see the changes they have made.

  2. Jen, this week in my bible reading I’m working through 1 Corinthians and I was reflecting on when Paul says that he was used of God to plant the seed, others have watered it but it was GOD that brought the growth and harvest. Oh friend…this post reminds me of this.
    I hear your heart here. I hear your longing. Your joy. Your heartbeat. what a blessing to hear that hte heart work you were involved in, is taking this dear village into the finals with their gardening. praise HIM!
    you are loved dear one.

    1. Oh, wow. Your words were SO needed tonight! Thank you!!

      And yes, it really is His growth and harvest happening there. It’s pretty amazing how He works through many people to bring about change in a place.

  3. Oh Jen I love this! I love that even now… a year later and oceans apart – you reap the harvest of blessing my friend! You helped to work that land and sow into it and what an honor to know you have made a difference… that you are making a difference still!

    1. It’s been great to watch their journey after I left, through the eyes of outsiders, and see how they continue to change their situations. What a blessing!

  4. Because you have bloomed wherever you’ve been planted, you give off a beautiful fragrance and vivid color. Thank you for submitting to his plan and for sharing your gift here. I loved this! #FMF

  5. “Because they found a way to bloom, despite the harsh circumstances.”

    I love this! Yes! May we all bloom like that no matter our circumstances! So fun to “meet” you in Lisa-Jo’s link up!

  6. I love little secrets – Here’s another one – you planted seeds in their hearts, too! That’s the way it should be, right? Thank you for sharing your story, it made me smile.

    1. Janet, you are so sweet. Thanks for the encouragement today! I’ve spent many days wondering if I did anything worthwhile while there, and then I get a message from a friend back there, and it just leaves me smiling. Knowing they are carrying on without me!

  7. Such a beautiful testimony of the work the Father does through us when we’re faithful to work where he has planted is. He’s the one who brings forth fruit–we just obey and celebrate the harvest! Celebrating with you, friend!

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