I grew up in Oregon, my husband Brian grew up in Florida and it wasn’t until our mid-20’s that we found each other in California. We met, fell in love, married and started our family here. And while we curse the housing market and the heat waves with no air conditioning, we love it here. It has become home.
Four years ago when we were expecting our first daughter, Brian suggested that we connect my love of flowers and the place we put our roots down and name our daughter Poppy. The Golden Poppy is the California state flower and we have both grown to love them in our (almost) 20 years here. They are vibrant and cheerful and they pop up in places that need beauty. We tucked the name away because we loved Harper Violet for our first-born daughter and wanted to save Poppy for a littlest sister, if ever we had one.
Well, in about 19 weeks (give or take) littlest sister will be joining our family and choosing her name feels like a big step. This past year and a half has been heavy with loss and I know the fear is trying to hold me back from attaching to her and believing that we will get to bring her home in January.
But God is calling me toward His peace. He is reminding me that His plan is good and that opening my heart again is safe in His care. I hope to someday know the balance of loving wholeheartedly while also holding my precious ones with open hands, but that might take a lifetime. And so I take small steps.
A few weeks ago we announced that we were expecting a girl and it felt scary to put our excitement out there and allow others to celebrate with us. It felt even scarier to let our kids choose special gifts for their baby sister. I can’t bear the thought of their little hearts breaking again.But it also felt good to believe in the future for this baby and our family together. To live in the hope that she will get to wear her newborn hat and snuggle her soft blue elephant.
As we discussed names this time around, we thought again about Poppy and wondered if it felt right for her. One night last month I felt compelled to go back and re-read the post I wrote in May about naming our son Judah. I was thinking about how this baby I carry now was conceived around the time I wrote that post.
I cried when I read the part about the burned out field that I drive by. That the “charred places are still there but new life is fighting to rise up.” Overwhelmed that I am still aching for my baby boy and yet literally feeling new life rolling around inside my belly.
And then I realized that in the photo- the new life? The flowers in the blackened field? They’re poppies.
And so her name will be Poppy.
Poppy Marie Day. Poppy for showing up in places that need beauty. And Marie for my beautiful mother-in-law Nancy Marie.
And we can’t wait to meet her.
Internationally, the Red Field Poppy is known as a flower of remembrance. During WW1 as the landscape was devestated and death was everywhere, red poppies began flowering on the battlefields in Belgium, France and Gallipoli.
The field poppy’s seeds are carried by the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed in early spring, the seeds will germinate and the poppies will grow.
“This is what happened in parts of the front lines in Belgium and France. Once the ground was disturbed by the fighting, the poppy seeds lying in the ground began to germinate and grow during the warm weather in the spring and summer months of 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918.” –The Great War
The contrast of these vibrant red flowers bringing new life and beauty into these battlefields caught the attention of a Canadian soldier named John McCrae who wrote the poem In Flanders Field.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. (read full poem here)
Today you will see men & women around the world wearing a red poppy on Remembrance Day (and/or Memorial Day) to remember those who died in war and to support those suffering from mental and physical hardship as a result of war.
5 thoughts on “Our California Flower”
What a testament to faith and how God only shows us a little bit of His plan at a time. “The flowers in the blackened field? They’re poppies.” Thanks for writing this and being so open and vulnerable with your life.
That is such a good word- He always knows what He’s doing, He just reveals it to us slowly. Thanks Lauren.
Stephanie, once again your paint such a beautiful picture with your words. I am right there with you weeping, laughing, and hoping. Thank you.
Thank you for always being so encouraging to me Lori!
Love the post! And LOVE the name!!!!XOJennifer