Aug 27, 2006

What is Behind the Name?

Barb, an amazing woman I met through blogging has asked the question, "What is your blog title all about?" I am hesitant to share mine because it is a long story, but one that is so treasured to me. Here it goes in it's entirety:The Carnation Story


This is a heart felt story I wrote after an experience I had about a year ago. My hope is that it blesses the reader in some way. My senior pastor’s wife had a dinner/fellowship at her home with all the pastor’s wives at my church. There were 7 ladies in attendance and each one came for a night of relaxation, good conversation and encouragement. The hostess did an amazing job pampering us and lifting us up with her words. If I would have left before the game portion of the night, I think I may have missed one of the most important realizations of my life. Dramatic as I make it sound, the game was harmless to most of the women sharing with me. The hostess began the game with bringing out a beautiful bouquet of 7 flowers arranged in a glass vase. I knew she was up to something special. Being that all of the pastor’s wives have close relationships with one another, she had each lady identify all 6 flowers as one of the ladies in the room. The flowers were a rose, a carnation, a lily, a sunflower, a pompom, and a gerber daisy. We could use a flower more than once, but she really stressed to try to keep one flower for each person. She added that we needed to explain why we matched the flower with the person. Immediately one of the ladies said, “We’ll I don’t want to be the carnation. I used to work in a flower shop and that was the flower that everyone bought when they didn’t have enough money for a real floral arrangement.” With that being said I thought silently to myself, “Please, Lord don’t let them pick me as the carnation. I don’t want to be just that flower that people have to settle with.” As we began writing our picks down, I easily matched my friends. Each lady there did remind me of a certain flower. Now the fun began; sharing aloud. As we went around the room heaping compliment upon compliment on one another my heart began to beat so fast and I could just feel the tears beginning to well up inside. The ladies, my so-called friends, almost unanimously picked me as the carnation. If only one or two would have come to the same conclusion I would have said, “Nice game, how clever !” Nope, I sat there stunned! Don’t get me wrong, I heard nice words like, “Susie, whenever there is a need you are always there. You’re like a filler who never minds helping out or pitching in.” I also heard something about how carnations are pretty and sweet with ruffled edges. I do like ruffles. I heard something about being natural and simple. Is that a supposed to be a compliment? All I know is I went home that night and cried for a solid 2 hours. I had my prayer journal out and boy did I let God know how upset I was. I finally fell asleep on the couch of my living room, too ashamed to show my face to my husband who had earlier said, “Now, what about this flower game.” I love him more than life itself, but he is my “Wild at Heart” man, and I knew that this was way out of his league of understanding. The next morning I tried to recount the previous evening. I remembered that I had said such lovely things to our pure, holy lily friend. I had also encouraged my spunky, fun loving pom-pom friend. Even more I gave the sunflower title to 2 ladies that were surely more carnation like than me. I am laughing at myself right now that I got into such a tizzy over this silly game. God was probably laughing at me too, because he didn’t let the story end there.
I went to work out that morning at my all girls circuit club when I was greeted at the door with a flower. You guessed it a carnation. You have got to be kidding I thought. It was an anniversary of their opening and they were making sure each one of us felt special. (I guess they were on a tight budget too.) I left the club forgetting my carnation, and one of the workers brought it to my car. Okay God, I get the message you want me to take this flower home with me. When I brought the flower in I put it in a small vase and just stared at it for a minute. What is it that I hate about this flower? It is pink, my favorite color after all. Here go the tears again. Why do I have to be so plain, and simple and sweet? I want to be more like my friends I prayed. They are somebody. They have real dreams, real ministry work, eloquent words, great senses of style and the list went on in my mind. It seemed God was not speaking to me. He just let me vent and question my purpose for even being on this earth. What if, just what if I really am just filler for the bouquet of life? I do know I am a loving and supportive wife to my very creative husband, a loveable, huggable mom and a friend many count on for a listening ear. But what if that is it? God, how can I be your child and truly have nothing to show others of your magnificence? After 2 weeks went by, I finally got my answer. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but it was exactly what I needed. Do you know after 14 days that carnation did not have a single brown spot and still smelled as pretty as if it had just been picked? I almost screamed as it finally hit me. “I get it! I am a carnation. A simple, yet beautiful in God’s eye carnation! Maybe people do look to me as a source of stability, someone who is always there for them. I wasted 2 weeks of my life worrying, but I gained years of self esteem with this simple game. I thank you God that I am who I am. Since my experience God has confirmed to me in so many ways how a behind the scenes, no flash person like me can be so important and so needed. It is almost my mission now to find others like me. I want to encourage them to be proud of what God had created them to be. If you are a lily, rejoice and be glad you are a lily. If you are a rose, be proud. And if you are a carnation like me, stand strong and never fear. God sees you and loves you and your purpose is just as important as anyone else’s. And besides, you smell good and last for weeks.

50 comments:

momrn2 said...

I didn't know these stories were supposed to make us all teary and stuff.

What a BEAUTIFUL story!! I will never look at your blog name or a carnation ever the same again!!

Thanks for sharing that... you beautiful, strong, and steady carnation you....! :-)

Susanne said...

Came over from Barb's. Your story really touched me. I'll remember this whenever I look at a carnation now, and btw, it's one of my favorite flowers and always has been!

Andrea said...

Wow. That's a great story. I'm here by way of Barb's blog. And, as a fellow carnation, it's awesome to be reminded that we are created for a purpose too. Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

I just loved this story.....how wonderful this made you feel...you went through alot but in the long run you figured yourself out and for this friend I applaude you. A Pink Carnation in Bloom...a beautiful name.
Jen

Tammi said...

Susie, the marked writers have discussed this story, and unanimously agreed that it should be a devo; however, I don't know how you could compress such a moving story into 2-3 inches
Maybe you could put this story on your profile page, so that when new people find your blog they understand the deep significance of your blog name, and can be blessed by this wonderful story

org junkie said...

Hi, visiting from Barb's. Such a beautiful story...I really enjoyed reading it!

Barbie said...

That was so beatiful! Thanks for sharing. I too am a carnation and often wish to be different, but God reminds me of 1 Cor 12:15-20.

Mama Lily said...

Wow. I came over from Barb's. I am crying. What a beautiful story. It truly ministered to me so much more than you might ever know. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing!

Barb said...

What a beautiful story. And like everyone else commenting here, I'll never look at a carnation the same way again. And every time I visit you and see your blog title, I'll remember this story.

And you know what? I'd rather be a carnation than a lily or a rose any day! After reading this testimony, I'm pretty sure I am a carnation too. And that's just fine with me.

Sandra said...

Such a beautiful story. I'm so glad I found your blog through Barb :) Funny enough, I've always LOVED carnations and now I love them even more because they have a special meaning :)

Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

That is so cool of you to put your story on your blog. Its a really good story to share. *Keep writing*, Ashley(your daughter)

Nikkie said...

That was such a beautiful story! Carnations are seriously one of my favorite flowers, they are pretty, and they stay beautiful for a long time!

Connie said...

What a wonderful story!

I'm bookmarking your blog, I'll be back :)

Cindy said...

That's a great, inspiring story!

And I want you to know, I happen to love carnations, especially pink ones.

keri said...

thanks for sharing that story. its so neat how God used a silly game like that to help you see just how beautiful you are in His eyes. he did, afterall, create carnations just as He wanted to. and to be compared to the beauty of that flower is something to be proud of. love that you used this to name your blog!

Addie said...

Well thank you Barb for this little challenge, if for nothing else than to be able to read THIS story!

Susie, that was just beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Addie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chappyswife said...

That is the most amazing story, and I did receive a blessing by reading it. I believe I probably would have reacted the same as you in that situation, so I am thinking I am a carnation, too. I am finally at a place, I hope, to say that I just want God to use me, even if it is just as a filler, that is okay so long as I am used. A very timely story for me, so thanks!

Julie said...

Oh, wow, I just loved this story and am SO glad you took the time to write it. (I'm dabbing my eyes as I write this.)

I think ALL of us women desire to feel beautiful and important and special...and we ARE...to the one who created us.

Thanks, you pink carnation, you!

Tiffany said...

Susie,
I was wondering if you were ever going to produce this story for us to read. I loved it the first time when you allowed me to read it. I love it more now. You have a special gift of strength and faith and writing I love you for it. Keep doing what you are doing. Who knows between the two of us and many other awesome writers we can co write a book. I will have to think about how I got my name. I do know, but like your story it's close to my heart. I love you and stay beautiful!

Janice said...

Susie,
Okay that really was an awesome story and made me cry and hit home with me.

Linda said...

Hi Susie,
From one carnation to another your story absolutely blessed me. I was thinking when I began reading, "Wait a minute. I love carnations. They look so pretty and last so long". However, I do understand exactly how you felt. I'm old enough to be you Mom, but I can still sometimes feel just the way I did in high school when I wished I was more outgoing and popular - more like my friends. I'm so proud of you for allowing the Lord to make that beautiful analogy for you. You are special. After all, He's the one who made carnations, and I think He did an excellent job.

zingtrial said...

HI this is one good story.
Thanks for sharing
You write beautifully
Wish you well :)

Pamela said...

That was such an enjoyable heart touching story, and I too feel so blessed that you shared it with us. We are all precious children in Gods eyes. :)

on the Rock said...

Believe it or not, you almost made me cry in the middle of your story. It's so touching. I'm so glad you realized being a carnation is very powerful. I love all flowers, especially the carnation. I often think how amazing it would be to get even one stem. It's a flower I would receive and not feel that I have financially burdened anybody for having received it. And that's what the carnation reminds me of - so many people choose to be a burden on others, and some choose not to be a burden but rather uplifting to those around them. As you, I also prefer to be an uplifter. Thank you for taking the time and effort of telling your blog name story.

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for sharing that story--your honesty about being upset and it really being painful. I've been through things like that before. You know, I've only recently began to love that fragrance of the carnation, and now I'll think of it in a whole new way.

Brenda said...

This is a beautiful story, Susie. Thank you for sharing it. I've always liked pink carnations, and I'll remember this whenever I see one.

I think this post would be a great link for your sidebar.

Melanie said...

WoW! I now appreciate carnations even more. The daisy is my fav. I hinted once in a post that I never liked carnations. But now, you have inspired me for a new post. When I write it, can I link to your story?

Skip said...

I could plant a garden and grow a gross, or go to the shop and buy the most. The city would sell out of my favorite flower, for I would buy them out within the hour. Carnations is what I seek you see, but wait, I already have the Prettiest with me.
I love you
Skip

Michelle said...

I am so glad you shared the story behind your title! I had goosebumps reading it...what a beautiful story and I can see why you treasure it.

I believe that I also would be the chosen as most likely to be a carnation! I will remember the lessons you learned from this!

Big Mama said...

I discovered how beautiful carnations can be one Easter when our church covered a wire cross with carnations in every color. It was breathtaking and so is your post. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Susie said...

I just want to say a big thank you for all the kind words that each of you left here. I have been truly blessed and am so glad I shared. I have also enjoyed visiting all the new sites and learning about your titles.

Trisha said...

Wow, that was simply an amazing story. It gave me chill bumps. So glad that you shared it!

LeslieAnn said...

Wow. WOW. I'll bookmark your blog and I'll be back! What a great first post to read! :)

Renee said...

What a beautiful and precious story!

Blessings!
Renee

Kathleen Marie said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. Also, my brother and sister in law live in Corpus Christi. Nice to meet you!

Tammy said...

Susie,

What a beautiful story! My mom's favorite flower is the carnation and it was always what my dad got her for special occasions. She preferred them to roses for just the reasons you mentioned. They last forever and they smell so sweet. Thanks for reading and commenting on my first post also! I am looking forward to exploring more of what it means to blog in he coming days!

Tammy

Eagles Wings said...

What a beautiful story!!!!
Blessings

MarillaAnne said...

I am very glad to meet you out here on the web. I smiled at the very beginning of your story. I thought, "If they are picking her as the carnation, then she has longevity and endurance with grace."

Why would I think that? Because of exactly what you eventually saw.

There is only one flower I let my husband buy for me (at first I told him I'd rather have some lasting piece of something (basically a trinket) but his (ex)father-in-law told him not to listen to me).

The first time he brought me just one and sheepishly told me it was all he could afford. I told him that if I ever bought myself flowers it was just 1 to 3 carnations because the last forever and don't make me sneeze. He thought I was just trying to make him feel better ... but after he bought me some roses once and they only lasted three days ... he believed me.

Now we don't own a car. When the carnations come home to me, they have been on a 2 mile walk (and possibly a visit in another town and a train ride home and four or five temperature changes) before they get to the vase -- and they still last forever.

Three fit very perfectly into a Jones Soda bottle ;~)

ttyl
pam

Jan said...

I have a lunch date in 10 minutes and here I am crying over this beautiful post. I hope you have shared this story with the women who played the game with you that night. What a blessing it would be to them.

I will say, though, that a carnation is NOT a filler. A carnation is a beautiful work of God. Even the real fillers, the ferns and other greenery, are incredibly beautiful - or they would have no place in the arrangement.

Denise said...

Hi Susie, I just came across your blog from viewing Bluebird Blog Designs. I love the look of your blog and was intrigued when I saw a link to why you had called it A Pink Carnation... I loved reading your story, but I have to add, was it only because of the comment the lady first made about the carnation that made you not want to be picked as one?
I have never thought a carnation was a plain looking flower! I could stare at a canration for hours and am just amazed at it's beauty. The carnation is also my mom's favorite flower:-) I think it's a rare beauty, and from the little I've read of your blog, I can already tell that you are too.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Hugs Denise
p.s. I'm new to blogger and still trying to get my site set up!

julie said...

This is a beautiful story and one I could completely relate to. I am also a carnation, and I completely understand your initial response. Blessings to you.

Ruth said...

Wow! What an awesome, awesome insight. I really don't even know what to type except that I am very moved by this...and it sure has spoken volumes to me. I know exactly what you mean. Thank you.

Cheryl said...

A fantastic story. Thanks for being real. Your feelings were normal and similar to most women. Thanks for being vulnerable.

What a great insight into the reflection of Jesus that you carry!

Bless you!

The Lynn/Coon Family said...

WOW. That is about all I can say. WOW. I came from Penless Writer's thinking award blog and had to read about your title. Thank you for sharing this in such an eloquent way. I can't wait to read more of your blog

Canadian Bird said...

Wow Susie...I'd been to your site many times before but had never read this story despite wondering about your title.
I truly understand your initial feelings about the carnation b/c I've felt that way too. But through your devotional (that's truly what it is), you've completely changed my outlook on carnations forevermore!
Thanks so much for sharing.
We miss you & Skip & family alot at BAF...but I'll keep checking in with you here...
Blessings,
Robin

krista said...

What a beautiful story. All carnations need reminded of that at some point. Thanks for sharing!

Stephani said...

WOW! What an amazing story. Thank you so much. I think God led me to your site. You have no idea how much your story touched my heart. Thank you!

judy said...

Susie:
Your friends are so fortunate to have you the "Pink Carnation" in their midst. I believe God will use your story to touch many hearts. God Bless you and your beautiful family.
Judy

SycamoreShades said...

I really needed this today and God led me right to this blog. My sister is a rose and when she prays, God gives her images. I didn't tell her what I wanted prayers for (I usually don't because you either believe it's from God or not, and if it's from God then you don't really need to explain...) I needed to know if He wanted me to put my craft items on a web site. I was a little unsure for many reasons.
When she prayed she was given the vision of a little yarn square like the ones you make when you are first learning Crafts as a child. The square had a white envelope and in the envelope was a pink carnation.
I understood a lot of the vision: The web site is for hand-made crafts - Etsy. The square shape to me means the inner sanctuary of the temple in the Old Testament and the new city of Jerusalem in the New Testament - Jesus. The white envelope is going forward to a place in the future (like when you mail a letter) and white is clean.

But a pink carnation!? That would need some looking into. When I googled pink carnation and read your blog it nailed the why and how.
Isn't He just wonderful! You know He felt your two weeks of anguish and was with you every moment. I think it was David who said 'Lord bless me proportioned to my suffering." Two weeks is a long time to wait for understanding while feeling no value or worth.
What a beautiful testimony - thank you.
A Pink Carnation