Misty Garrison » Gathered Fragments

I received a call from my contractor a few weeks ago letting me know that the structural company would be starting work on the foundation of the farm house a few days early. In a bit of a panic, I swooped up little sister to head to the country so I could take the “after” demolition” but “before” reconstruction” pictures that I had been intending to take for a while.

As I was clicking my way through the house, I kept seeing her. In pretty light. So naturally…


“She dances to the songs in her head,
speaks with the rhythm of her heart,
and loves from the depths of her soul.”
– Dean Jackson

*I will hopefully be posting the before, before pictures along with rest of the after, before pictures soon. As well as catching you up on the overall progress.

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Going on twenty.

Can you believe that 4 years ago today, you and I had not met yet? Even though you were already born. Oh, you had perhaps become used to the sound of my voice outside your birthmother’s tummy as I befriended her, taking her out to eat, talking through her hopes and dreams for you, and hoping that she would survive her sacrifice when this day came. But on the day that your brave birthmother brought you into this world, I stayed away at her request – giving her the space and privacy she needed to say her first hellos and possibly last good-byes.

No. The first time I met you was the day I went to the hospital to discharge you to your adoptive family so that they could take you home. Almost. Since they were from out of state they had to wait until your birthmother went to court to relinquish her parental rights before they could go home, home. You had a different name then. The one they had chosen for you.

Fast forward almost two weeks and three missed court dates, and we all thought that your birthmother had changed her mind – decided to parent you instead of place you for adoption. And, as we would find out in a life-altering phone call one Sunday afternoon, indeed she had changed her mind. She decided the best for you was us.

How bittersweet were the hours following that phone call. Uncontainable joy mixed with gut-wrenching agony for both the family and the birthmother who were losing you. Not to mention the chaos of last minute preparations to welcome a baby into our home and hearts in less than 24 hours! But then, you. It’s always been you.

And although genetically you are not one of us, mentally, physically, and emotionally you are a gift to each of us. Daddy’s little girl. Mama’s cuddle bug. Emmylou’s best sister. And our constant source of laughter and amazement. You are our Tigger in a room full of Eeyores. Guaranteed to pull us up out our individual & collective funk with your silly shenanigans. The three of us spend most of our time looking at each other while shaking our heads with smiles on our faces & joy in our hearts from the wonderful, crazy mystery of you. Cause, girl, you funny. Or as you like to point out, you are “hilarious” and you like to use “inappropriate” words like booby & toot & poop.

Raising and loving you is like going on a long trip to a foreign country with a suitcase packed by someone else. Sometimes we feel lost, because we don’t know where you come up with the things that you say and do. It’s so unlike us (thank goodness). And mostly, we like to blame (give credit to) birth mom. Especially for your rottenness (but then again perhaps we indulge you a bit much). In the nature versus nurture debate, the DNA she gave you is STRONG. And we are ever so thankful for her life in you. But most of the time we just live in a state of wonder, surprise, and adventure – holding on for dear life, curious about what part of you we will get to unpack and experience next.

And while you know that you grew in Miss Natalie’s tummy, I hope that someday you will understand that you have grown our hearts. Because of you, our hearts are bigger and full of more love. And let me tell you, that love is FIERCE with an intense underlying gratitude for the gift we have received.

Happy Birthday, Eliza Jane Marie!

“She makes the day brighter. She leave a little sparkle wherever she goes.”

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  • Audra Myer - Misty,
    Simply beautiful!! I love that sweet, smart little sparkle!! Her birth mom made a wonderful choice!!

    Happy Birthday amazing Eliza!!! Love you bunches!!


Abundance is…


…spring on the farm.
…delicate dogwood petals.
…weathered barn wood.
…the old and the new.
…stubborn beauty.
…the promise of possibilities.
…awakening from a deep slumber.
…courage to answer the call to live.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anaïs Nin

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Abundance is…
…a tale of two sisters.
…a tomboy and a princess.
…video games and dress-up.
…brown eyes and blue eyes.
…painfully shy and the life of the party.
…sporty spice and fancy dresses.
…kisses and cuddles.
…a compulsive organizer and a disaster waiting to happen.
…tumbling and dancing.
…blonde curls and brown wisps.
…born from my womb and in my heart.
…purple and pink.
…mud pies and tea parties.
…the best of friends.
…the loves of my life.
…the miraculous gifts.
…my girls.

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After Emmylou started reading The Little House on the Prairie books, you can imagine that it didn’t take me long to purchase the entire TV series on DVD so that we could begin watching the stories as we read them. Let’s just say that we took family movie night to the next level.

On the evening we watched the very first episode, we all piled into mom & dad’s bed with our popcorn & drinks excited to embark on this new adventure together. The girls squealed with delight as they finally met their beloved characters “face to face.” Names & personalities on a page now had actual faces & mannerisms & funny clothes. And words & ways of talking that seemed so foreign in print now became real as their environment came alive on the screen. (As any literacy specialist will tell you, context goes a very long way in aiding comprehension).

And this mama’s heart swelled with pleasure and a deep gratitude to be able to share this precious memory full of valuable life lessons with our little family. That is, until the kite went careening into that huge tree on the hill. Because I knew what was going to happen next. And after that. And after that. Perhaps because I had seen this as a child (and who knows how many times since then), or maybe it was just my keen adult inference skills but I saw the end of the episode flash in my mind. And it took every ounce of strength (of which hours in the gym could not help me muster) to not completely lose control of my emotions.

And then to make matters worse, I had to watch the darn thing slowly unfold with no power to stop it or my blasted tears. Not that I would really want to stop it, because it is the perfect picture of my soul’s desire. But sometimes my frayed edges and dreams are just a bit too loose, raw, and overwhelming. And small children & a sweet husband have no idea what to do with a basket case of a mama in the throws of a torrent of joy-filled agony. With ugly crying to go with it. Snot bubbles and all.

Because they saw him in his broken, desperate need. And they came.

As those men from all walks of life began making their way across the dirt roads of Walnut Grove to come to the rescue of their neighbor, I felt myself unravel just a bit more. And I caught a glimpse of heaven as men formed a chain & stacked grain and in so doing became the very embodiment of Christ here on earth. The Church.

While my slightly bewildered family looked on, I shed tears of longing for what has been lost since the prairie (and the fall, for that matter). Our love for our neighbor. Our sense of duty to one another. Our willingness to lay down our lives for our friends. Our ability to see another person’s need above our own. And our belief in the call to be our brother’s keeper.

You know, the Greatest Commandment. And the second which is like it.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew ww:36-40).

Which reminds me of something that I read recently in The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon (more of my thoughts on this book next time we are together):

“I have come to believe that as followers of Christ, one of the worthiest endeavors we can undertake is to take the Great Commandment seriously and learn to be in relationship with our literal neighbors. We all need to get back to the basics of what he commanded: love God and love others. Everything else is secondary.

When Jesus was asked to reduce everything important into one command, he gave us a simple and powerful plan that, if acted on, would literally change the world.

This simple plan also offers a us a different kind of life. It’s a way of living that make sense and brings peace to people’s souls. Whenever we center our lives around the Great Commandment and take very literally the idea and practice of loving our neighbor, there’s great freedom, peace, and depth of relationship that comes to our lives. By becoming good neighbors, we become who we’re supposed to be. As a result, our communities become the places that God intended them to be.”

Heaven on earth.

“The mission of the church is to teach the world a new way to be human” (Michael Frost).

The kind of humans that see a man who has broken ribs desperately trying to keep both his word & his oxen and drop everything they are doing to come to his aid by stacking the grain and holding a “ploughing contest” on his land.

The kind of humans that see the single mom struggling to maintain her lawn & her life, or the elderly man living alone since his soul mate left this world without him, or the family that seems to have it all together but is actually on the verge of falling apart, or the daddy diagnosed with a debilitating disease that prevents him from providing for his family, or (insert the real names of the real people who live next to you).

Love your actual neighbor. As yourself.

May we bring life on the prairie and in the garden back to our world by being in relationship with & living for others. The others right next door. With one number different in their address. And a world of hurt on their shoulders.

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  • martha hughes - Well said second born. Well said!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tara - So true. Good reminder. Love LHOTP!!ReplyCancel

Abundance is…
…chapter books.
…independent reading.
…a little girl reaching her personal goal.
…a mama’s dream come true.
…sharing childhood friends with my daughter.
…a good book, a comfy chair, and a quiet afternoon.

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Well said, Laura, well said…

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