Peonies from my Garden

I wish I could say that I picked these beautiful flowers from my garden on a gorgeous sunny day without a care in the world… just enjoying the beauty of spring all around me and the warm sunshine on my face. I wish I could say that this past year hasn’t been one of hardest in my life and that I haven’t been desperately trying to make sense of the chaos around me. I wish I could say that I haven’t laid awake at night alone and crying, wondering what we could have done differently. I wish I could say that we made it. And most of all I wish I could say that I never had to have that excruciatingly painful conversation with my children and hold them while they cry.

But the reality is that we didn’t make it, and I picked these peonies on a day when life felt overwhelming. I had a million things I needed to do, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do any of them. So I walked outside to the yard I’ve been learning to take care of all by myself this spring and found my peonies in full bloom… a gift from nature that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

I carefully picked them all and brought them inside to my kitchen. They were stunningly beautiful and full of life and made my soul feel at peace. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures… it felt as though their beauty was coming through the camera lens and into my heart… replacing the hurt and loneliness with inspiration and love and the desire to create again.

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Blogging has been difficult over the last year because it’s hard to create when I feel empty. It’s hard to write about our home when so much has been uncertain and changing. It’s hard to hide the truth until the time is right, when so much of what I do on this blog is be open and honest and vulnerable with you. And for that I apologize… I apologize for not being able to be completely truthful about my life, but I know you’ll understand that divorce is a very sensitive matter, especially because there are children involved. I wanted to let enough time pass that our family knew and life had calmed down a bit. I wanted to be ready to share the truth and have some sort of answer as to what the future holds. And I’m finally ready to do that.

I’ve written and re-written this post in my head a thousand times trying to figure out how open and how private to be. We separated back in January and have gotten used to our “new normal” with schedules for the kids and living in two different houses. I know the big question I’ll be asked is, what’s going to happen to our little farmhouse? And the short answer is that I’m staying right here in this house that I’ve loved and poured my blood, sweat and tears into over the last five years. This is the house my babies have grown up in and where they feel most comfortable, so it seemed like the best thing for the boys and I to stay here.

The boys have been truly amazing through all of this. We took a lot of time to consider the best possible way to handle this for them, and I’m proud of us for working together to keep our boys lives as normal as we can. They are truly the light and joy in my life, and while it’s very hard and a huge adjustment to not have them with me every single night and day, I cherish my time with them even more now.

For me personally, this has obviously been a roller coaster. On one hand I feel happy and free and ready to begin a new chapter of my life, and on the other hand I’m overwhelmed by becoming a single mom, providing for myself financially, taking care of a house and yard and vehicles and everything by myself… it’s a lot to take in. When my basement flooded with the huge amount of rain we got this spring, I had to figure out how to fix it. When I got all four of my wisdom teeth pulled this week, I was at home by myself recovering (with help from my wonderful mom the first day). I know I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way, but sometimes it’s hard to feel alone and helpless. But I know this season will pass, and I’ll find my way again and hopefully happiness in my future.

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

But for now, I’m taking it one day at a time… spending time with my boys, focusing on work, and learning how to heal.

I just want to say thank you to all of you have supported me and my journey. Those of you who have read my blog and bought my book and helped me support my boys. Those of you who have followed me on Instagram and Facebook and left me sweet words of encouragement on my tough days. I cannot say enough how much your love and friendship has meant to me over the last year, and I hope that anyone going through the same thing finds comfort in my words and a little bit of beauty and peace in the peonies from my garden, just as I did. You are certainly not alone!

My journey had a few bumps and took a little turn, but I’m excited for the new possibilities this will bring. I look forward to having you join me in the next chapter!

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

Freshly picked peonies decorate this beautiful farmhouse kitchen by Liz Fourez

This beautiful, old farmhouse is ready for summer with fresh flowers, relaxed decor, and plenty of sunshine. Come take a tour!

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  1. Peggy Lynn Van Sickle says:

    I, too, have been unable to write or blog for over a year and a half. I don’t really know why, but inkwell has run dry. I was writing a story of my son’s life for my grandson, trying to write a children’s book and several other things and then I just couldn’t write. I haven’t kept a journal or even my gratitude journal…

    I do wish you well in your writing, though

  2. I have no words as I read your words. My heart aches for you. Words so carefully chosen and a love of life that is so apparent and makes me just want to hug you oh, so tightly. What I do know is this….you are one very special person to so many people. You have given so much and we are here to give back whenever whatever we can, dear friend.

  3. Dear Liz, Please know you have a friend in Texas who is praying for you and your family. I went through a divorce – 35 years ago. It was crushing, as is your divorce. I wasn’t prepared or even knowledgeable to know what was happening. But Life goes on, honey. Find your pride in your abilities – all of them that you didn’t know you had. You really are going to be okay. I remarried although I swore I would never do that. It was 4 years after the divorce. We have been married 29 years this year. He is the best man I know. And he has helped me raise my 3 kids. I didn’t expect that. It’s not the same as “it would have been” that I have conjured up in my head. Life doesn’t always lead you where you expect to go. Took me a long time to accept that it even was happening. All I can say while you are in this beginning period is to hold on. There will be triumphs and battles to come. You will grow each time you battle something. Realize you can’t do it ALL – I tried to change all 4 tires on my car and change the oil. That was a MESS. There are many silly stories I can laugh at now but then I thought it was the end of the world. I had to accept help for some things but I really didn’t have anyone to call. Take the help you need, enjoy your independence – the joy will be coming before long. I’m here if you need to talk and I am praying for you and your family. God’s Blessings to you, Liz! Sincerely, Lora

    • Victoria says:

      Great comment Lora. “Not the same as it would have been” really resonates with me. I’m not sure that feeling will ever fully go away, even though my divorce three years ago was for the best and the most amicable divorce in human history I think.

      Liz, I’m thinking of you and your boys. Thank you for sharing. Don’t worry too much about things like the flooding. You will manage because you just will, for you and your boys. And it’s ok if it’s not perfect or even barely passable! And if you find yourself crying in a great big pool of water, that’s ok too.
      You’ve clearly thought carefully about the decision, you have family support it sounds like and you have a roof over your head. These are all a good start. Keep enjoying the peonies. I’m having health problems but I’m sat enjoying my peonies (shop bought though!) and sometimes that’s what sees you through.

  4. Thoughts are with you as you master this new journey of your life. I’m so sorry to hear that things didn’t work out. You have two lovely children that will keep your life enriched. It’s scary but you will grow in many ways and you will see things more clearly when you look back. Aside from that your photos are startlingly beautiful! Best to you.

  5. Liz, Sending all my love from Tasmania. A difficult time – I’ve been there. Life WILL get better.
    Best wishes Greta

  6. So sorry you are having to go through this! From someone who went through the same thing MANY years ago. I know how hard it is, but the hurt finally does go away, you will find happiness again, and you and your boys will be alright.

  7. I’m so sorry this has happened in your life. I just had a friend tell me at church this morning that her husband wants a divorce. I’m not sure what to say, except I am sorry and I will be praying for both of you. I’m glad you are at a point where you can see some positive things too. I love your blog and so happy you will keep on posting.

  8. First, I must say I’m so sorry for this happening to you and your boys. Second, you really owe noone an apology. You have a right to your privacy! Third, I will keep you and your family in my prayers. And last, I hope your find your happy!

  9. Liz, I am so sorry to hear you have had to go through this. Life has a funny way of giving us what we need when we need it and you are so brave to share your story and your heart. You deserve all the happiness in the world and you will find it. You are a kind and beautiful woman who is intelligent and a great mother. Sending you hugs dear friend. Here’s to the next chapter in your life and I am always here if you need a buddy!

  10. The peonies are beautiful — and so are you. I am so sorry you have to hurt. I am so sorry that you have had to do it privately (for the most part) without this large group of followers / supporters who could have / will help you through this painful time. Thank you for sharing with us — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life is real and everyone has their own Gethsemane to pass through. i hope you know you have the love and support of many like me — even though we have never met. I hope your heart heals and that you can find joy again — and thank goodness you have your boys. Live through them until you can feel you can find joy yourself some time hopefully not too far off in the future. {{{HUGS}}} my Indiana friend.

  11. I’m so sorry Liz. Thank you for sharing. Hang in there. A new chapter of your life is begunning and you are brave!

  12. While all this is still new to you, I can tell you that you will be a better woman, Mom, friend, daughter after life settles down. It will amaze you what you can do on your own. I look at the road I have traveled the last 20+ years and at times, I go “Wow,” and wonder how I have survived. Keep some things steady and move forward, looking forward to the changes ahead.

  13. Oh Liz I am so sorry for your pain. When I first met you I had a sence that you had something deep on your mind. Now I can understand your reservation. I truly wish you the best!!
    Love Rhonda

  14. MrsChrisSA says:

    Wishing you and your boys only love and laughter over the pain. xxx

  15. JaneEllen says:

    Oh dear, am so sorry for your pain Liz. Like too many other women have been thru a divorce when my 3 older kids were pretty small yet. I did meet somebody later and have been happily married for over 48 yrs. The pain is so hard but you are strong young woman and you will get thru this time in your life, take it one day at a time. Tell yourself- I can get thru this..
    Our 22 yr .old grandson died from 2nd. bout with cancer last June 8th.Thought I would never stop crying. Still cry every time I look at his photos or think about him but know I will get thru it, in it’s own time. Grieving can’t be hurried. Keep thinking he will be waiting for me when I cross that bridge, am going to be 77 in July – so some year..
    Your boys are young so this will confuse them but they still have your love and their Dad’s, this will help them thru this hard time. They will look to you for their strength. I know you can do this. Getting a divorce is kind of like grieving – for a marriage. Glad you have your Mom close by.

  16. Lisa from Indiana says:

    I have been where you are. My heart goes out to your pain. However, your new journey is just starting. Enjoy the ride. The feeling of feeling free and optimistic is the best in the world. Hold on to it. I see you raising up, unstoppable, just give yourself time to heal and move forward. You are in my prayers.

  17. I have just met you through the feature in Country Home. What a lovely blog! I must check out your book!

  18. Oh sweet Liz – words aren’t enough to say how sorry I am that you’re hurting. But I’m also so thankful for the words you shared, for sharing your life and your home, with us. There will be beauty from ashes, and in the meantime I’ll be praying my heart out for you and your boys!

  19. Hi Liz, my heart broke for you when I read your post last night. I had no idea what I wanted to say…not knowing you, but you have been an inspiration to me & your beautiful book sits on our coffee table. I believe it is a gift to be able to share one’s story…not so easy for everyone. You said in one way you feel happy & free…that makes me smile, xo

  20. Liz, you are amazing, and an inspiration. I love your book and your blog, and I wish you all the best in whatever the future holds for you.

    • Heartfelt hugs to you Liz! Someone once told me without darkness, light has no value. You so generously shared with us what you’re going, thank you..many new blessings ahead that ultimately make you even happier xo

  21. Marsha Kern says:

    So sorry for what you are going through.

  22. In a world where people “curate” their lives through creating just the perfect Instagram feed and image of how they want their lives to be, I applaud you for your authenticity. More importantly, I wish you well on this next new chapter. : )

  23. Elizabeth Green says:

    Thanks for sharing both your joys and heartache. All the best to you –

  24. Beautiful peonies; a perfect symbolism for a new, prettier beginning. Thanks for sharing, for being vulnerable but also strong. I am sure you will find the comfort, the strength, and the inspiration for taking the next amazing step on your life.

  25. Marci Umatum says:

    I’m so sorry. I know you’ll make it, but sometimes it’s incredibly overwhelming. You’ve proven yourself to be amazingly strong, resilient and brave and I have no doubt you will persevere and find even more strength inside when you think you’re tapped.
    You have an incredible amount of support out here. We’re here to listen when you want to write it all down.
    Love, light and peace,

  26. It takes courage to be up front and honest about your private life, and I want to honour you Liz for being transparent about your situation. I too have been in a similar situation to you, and on those dark days when you just want to hide away from the world, you wonder how on earth you are going to get through. But somehow, by God’s grace, we do. One-step-at-a-time. I picked up your book yesterday and was again inspired by such simplicity in your creativity. You can do this. Your original plan may not look quite the same; most likely it will be even bettter. Just remember that God doesn’t make junk. The way you have inspired readers and bloggers has really helped me to find my path, so I want to bless you for all that you are, all that you’ve been, and all that you are going to be xxx

  27. Here with you from Montana. I have been through divorce, and you grieve, even if you no longer want to be with your husband. Even if you wonder whatever drew you to him in the first place. You grieve for the loss of the dream that was…for the kids…for the hardness of single life. But…grief heals. I have been married to the most wonderful guy for 23 years now and I wouldn’t trade him for the world…but the years I was a single mom were some of the most fun and even care free I have ever lived. I learned to windsurf and sail boats at 40 years old…took up mountain biking and body surfing. Believe me when I say I had never been athletic before that. I found a single girlfriend and we did everything together…even took “girlfriend” vacations. There are good things about both singleness and married life. I pray that you will heal quickly. By the way…I have 7 peony bushes because they are my favorite flower…especially the pale pink ones. Enjoy them!

  28. Shaaron says:

    I wondered when I’d write. As God has His way, it’s time.

    2016 was a very difficult year for me. I got a severe concussion at work and as a result of my loss of coordination, I fell 3 months later and damaged my knee, requiring surgery. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think either of these would happen! I needed something to do while I was recovering from surgery, so of course I was online. I came across your blog. I loved it immediately. I read through many of your posts which lead me to buying your book. I figured working on some of the projects in it would do me a world of good and boost my self esteem. As soon as I received it I read it. I wanted something BIGger to work on, that would force me to get up out of bed every day with a plan and something to accomplish, other than physical therapy. I went back to your blog and saw your farmhouse table and decided that would be my project. I bought a mitre saw. I sat it on the existing dining table and stared at it for a week, trying to build up the confidence I had with using larger woodworking tools in ‘Shop’ class in school. The table took me 5 weeks. I loaded the lumber onto my little red wagon and pulled it into the elevator to take it to the parking deck where I’d work on it. When I got to the stopping point each day, I’d load everything back onto my little red wagon and take it back upstairs and into my apartment, only to do it again the next day As it progressed, it brought up my confidence. When it was completed, I was amazed I had done it! That one project led me to changing my whole apartment decor into a modified farmhouse style. I never thought I could decorate before, but your book and blog convinced me otherwise. I have also taught myself to sew, which was a ‘Bucket List’ item. (All I can say is, I’m glad the hems on curtains are far away. Project Runway ready I am not!). I have completed one room, all the way down to installing chandeliers myself. I’m working on the rest of my place-it is truly a work in progress. I wake up every day, look at my new farmhouse dining table and still can’t believe I did IT!!! All this to say, Liz look at the hugely inspirational person you are. I know I’m not the only person you have affected so profoundly. God brought you into my life when I needed it so desperately. Because of you, I live in a home that reflects me and my personal style so much, and I know I can do anything I set my mind to.

    Please try to remember this too shall pass, Liz. You are truly a gift to others. You will find strength you never knew you had.

  29. Carolyn says:

    Your words were so beautifully composed, you really touched my heart! I am so sorry for all you have been through and I hope all good things come your way. And your photographs, like your words, are simply beautiful! All the best!!

  30. Keep looking for those “peony moments” in life. You’ve got this…

  31. Your flowers are beautiful and so are you! Find joy in the little things to get you through each day. Hoping for better days ahead for you and your family.

  32. Margaret Pousardien says:

    Dear Liz,
    My heart is heavy for you and this journey, I had no idea. Thanks for sharing your heart. Praying for you and your boys as God will carry you during this difficult time. I love your blog and book. God has given you wonderful talents to shine. Thanks for being you. Hugs and prayers,
    Margie Pousardien

  33. Mary Ross says:

    Liz….as so many have stated your peonies are beautiful and so are you. Why do we women feel like such a failure when all along we thought our lives were on the right track and “normal” What is normal?………..certainly not what I / we grew up knowing, especially in my family of five siblings and parents who were married 62 years and my Mother is still living and she is 97…and one of the best “junkin’ ” buddies around. SHE is amazing, WE women are amazing, and I know YOU are also. You have more strength than you thought you would ever need, more wisdom to figure things out, and more savvy as a female to push on. I too went through a divorce after 27 years of marriage…………YES there were so many days and there still are those days that I as myself “Why didn’t we fight for our marriage, our family, our lives” ? But my faith, my strength, my strong will, truly a southern independent woman…..I managed, to actually have a life after divorce. NO I have not remarried, (was ask several times) and I’m as happy now as I have ever been, so so content…..I’ll pushing 71 years, and most think I’m in my mid 50’s…………I work out every day, eat healthy, HELP others and SMILE, good attitude and sometimes there are tears late at night but the Lord did not say there wouldn’t be sad times I have two beautiful, well educated, talented daughters…one is a doctor, married, no children yet, the other is a bank manager and just graduated with her masters in sports medicine. YOU see there is that rainbow he promised. YOU WILL BE FINE !

  34. Thank you for openly sharing. I am happy you took the time you needed before opening up your heart. I have been through divorce. I parented on my own before and after my divorce and 15+ years later with adult children, I am still the only parent my children can depend on. Appreciate that your children’s father is in their lives and learn to enjoy some “me” time when they are with him. Your creative journey will get you through. Happy that you are able to stay in the home that you love.

  35. so sorry and saying a prayer for you right now!!! this too shall pass – Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  36. Liz, nothing but the best wishes for you and your kids. I’ve been there and the hurt is really bone deep. But it subsides and a sense of pride comes in the form of a new attitude and celebrations each time you do something you didn’t think you could do. Your peonies are beautiful! Maybe a sign from the Lord that a new season of beauty is upon you! Blessings!

  37. I looked above and so many of us sadly were in a similar place. I was sad. It was hard. I felt a loss. Lots of emotions. Do you want advice? I don’t know. Probably not. But I suppose it causes me to stop and want to encourage you in this new path. Let’s begin with peonies. I was in Trader Joe’s today and another woman and I were looking at their bags of tight stems of buds. A few had blossoms open but no scent. You see, peonies do not grow here! I’d love a post on them. Tell me how you buy them. In a pot?? Do you have to dig them up each year?? Divide often?? What is there scent like? How long do they bloom. Once? For a month?? Is there a poem about peonies? Do they come from England?? You see even tulips do not grow well here either! And your home. I’d like to see how one does not buy new decor yet gets new looks! All while you stay where you are and not delving into the why’s of it all. What is your favorite thing to do that costs no or little money in your area? What ideas do you see that you’ll use for inspiration

  38. Sorry I don’t mean to sound so bossy!!! I pray you’ll keep trusting the Lord. he’s the good Shepherd. 💜✝️

  39. Anna Johnson says:

    I am very sorry to hear about your divorce and the pain you are currently experiencing. Eventually, the pain will lessen and you will discover joy again. You will discover how strong you really are, and how empowered you feel. Women are incredibly powerful, and we make things happen. One small step at a time, and remember to breathe.

  40. What a difficult season to be going through; but I promise you, just as the seasons change from winter to spring, you will be happy again! I just said a prayer for you. Remember to take care of yourself during this time.

  41. Pam Good says:

    I have been reading your blog for a little while now, and my heart goes out to you as you going through this. Wishing you all of the best!

  42. Lisa Mothersead says:

    The flowers are beautiful. I am glad you have been able to ride these tough waters so well. And that you understand that calmer waters always come. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I love your blog and home.

  43. I am so sorry you have been going through such a hard time Liz. I don’t know what you’re going through but I can imagine. Keeping your kids safe and happy is all important. Believe me, I have gone through a very difficult time with my son. We all have some burden to bare thst affects our lives immensely. Not sure I will ever get through it or over it. Still have my husband after 44 years but still hard. Different feelings on the subject. You can only take one day at a time and make the most of each day. I will be thinking of you and your children. Look forward to hearing about your journey.

  44. Mary Kaiser says:

    I feel your pain. I was the mother of 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl when my husband divorced me. That was in 1994. I was a single mom of 4 children, and as I look back now that my children are all grown and left home on their own, I wonder how I managed to do it all. You will be amazing also and some day look back and think how did I do it all. I met my current husband in 2007 and we were married in 2008 and I have never been happier in my whole life. Someday when you least expect it you will meet someone who is perfect for you. You are amazing and you can do it!!!

  45. First let me say, your blog has always been a top favorite and I love your book and see you are in the latest edition of Country Living. That was a pleasant surprise! May I ask a question though, that I hope you will answer? Maybe it’s too personal, but how is it that you are able to keep your husband’s 4th generation family farm? I find it incredible that he and his family would give that up. What a huge blessing!

  46. Julie Yoast says:

    Hi Liz,
    I recently went through a divorce after 31 years of marriage and was totally heartbroken.
    I bought my first home by myself and am living by myself for the first time in my life. When I purchased my home it was winter so I didn’t know what flowers were in my yard. One day there were these shoots coming up. In time I was blessed with beautiful, fragrant peonies. I had never seen these flowers before. I love that you wrote about your peonies and your recent divorce. I appreciate that the beauty of nature can nurture us as we slowly heal. Thank you for your open heart and your honesty.

  47. Liz, I’ve been there did that….it’s so hard some days. Know that I’m out here praying for you and there are a whole lot of folks out here who love your work, are inspired by it and so appreciative of the gifts you share with us through your photos and words. You ARE amazing, inspiring and just wonderful! ~Another Liz

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