A bouquet of hope for a hurting world

File Under: Faith At Malone

When Jillian Humphrey ’08 opened Home Again Flowers during the summer of 2018, she recalled with fondness the words of her adviser at Malone: “You might be preparing for a job that doesn’t even exist yet, or something you can’t imagine.”

Today, the half-acre flower patch across the street from her Hartville home serves as a visual reminder that there is Hope for a hurting world.

A Liberal Arts major, Humphrey boldly worked in faith to bring her vision for Home Again Flowers to life -- just one step at a time.

“Though I had worked in a greenhouse in college and started learning about plants and helping with landscaping as a child, I had never grown flowers for cutting before,” she said. “I attended a couple workshops and read one book and many online resources. I prayed a lot. Then I just did it. I started mapping out beds in spreadsheets. I learned how to form an LLC by doing it. I learned how to lay irrigation by doing it. I read the back of all my seed packets to determine what each variety needed, because I’d never grown most of the varieties I’d chosen. There were hundreds of obstacles and many times I thought, ‘This will be where it all falls apart.’ Mercifully, I was always wrong.”

Patrons of Home Again Flowers can visit from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, to snip flowers and arrange their own bouquets. Grab-and-go bouquets are also available on the farmstand adjacent to the field on select days announced on social media. But Humphrey wanted to take her business one step further: to partner with Rahab Ministries by giving free bouquets to women who are recovering from sex trafficking.

“Our bouquets are meant to communicate welcome and care to women who are coming ‘home again’ after tremendous suffering,” she said. “Beauty is innately inviting. It says, “Come here.” It gives joy.  It can heal and comfort in ways that are superrational and it tells us something about God, who could have made the world ugly or dull but chose to delight us instead. Planting a field of flowers and giving away bouquets was my way of trying to give people hope: you’re seen, you’re wanted here, you belong, there is still an abundance of good in this world and it’s offered to you today. I think of my flowers as vessels for my prayers to ride out into the world and become something good that will outlast them.”

Humphrey believes that her Malone experience helped equip her to do the work she knows she is called to do.

“I cannot imagine who I would be without Malone,” she said. “While I was a student I moved toward a more Christlike vision of God. I grew in understanding of and compassion for people of different religions and ethnicities. I learned how to think and write. I became a better learner. And the relationships I formed still exist. Malone alumni listened to and encouraged me in the dreaming stages, helped me plant seeds, watched my kids while I worked, showed up to pick flowers, helped me deliver bouquets, and told others about my business. There is a network of people here who have been shaped by Malone and they are out in the world doing good things together. In part, Malone prepared me for this work by giving me these people.”

To learn more about Home Again Flowers, follow along on facebook and Instagram.