Today’s real life Wonder Woman is turning grief into sunshine. One bloom at a time. 🌻
The day after her husband’s funeral, Liz Fiedler learned she was pregnant with their second daughter. She has since channeled her inner superpowers to continue the vision she and her late husband Josh had to turn their century farm into a legacy of love and beauty. Liz works hard to bring sunshine (and lots of flowers) to others through Sunny Mary Meadow cut flower farm.
I am one of the lucky recipients of this sunshine! This summer, I signed up for a weekly flower subscription from Sunny Mary Meadow, along with an add-on package where Liz and her volunteers take bouquets to area nursing homes or hospice facilities and bless residents with beautiful fresh cut flowers. I told you she delivers sunshine!
Just a few weeks ago, I drove out to Sunny Mary Meadow to pick up my weekly flower subscription and was surprised to see a man walking around who was definitely not dressed like a working flower farmer. This well-dressed man asked if I was there to pick up flowers, and I asked hm if there was a special event going on. He said, “No, we’re just here shooting a little video today.” That is when I recognized him! It was award-winning journalist Boyd Huppert from KARE11 and host of Land of 10,000 Stories. He was there to meet Liz and capture her story along with the history–and legacy–of the farm.
CLICK HERE to see the video from Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories on KARE 11.
KR: Hi Liz! Flowers are my love language. And clearly yours too! Have you always had a thing for flowers? And farming?
I have always loved flowers and working with my hands. In high school, I was very involved in FFA, serving regional leadership roles and office positions. I competed in floriculture, which is essentially competitively evaluating, identifying, and critiquing cut flowers. I developed a passion for flowers and growing things, but was unsure how I could make a career out of it. I also worked at a nursing home, and nursing seemed like a “safe” thing to major in at college. I enjoy learning about the science behind health, and delivering care was something that felt good. I realized quickly that I wanted to be the one to come up with the plan, not just deliver the care, so I went back to school to be the Provider. I eventually earned my doctorate degree as a Nurse Practitioner, but my passion for flowers never really left. I grew up on a farm, and so did my husband. In 2016. We purchased the original 40 acres of his century farm in Stearns County. We knew we wanted to do something with the farm, but we had careers we loved and tried to experiment with ways to make it work.
We started selling canned goods and flowers at a roadside stand during covid, and things really took off from there. Fast forward to December of 2020 and my husband, Josh, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. I took some time to decide how best to move forward (and found out I was pregnant with our second child the day after the funeral).
KR: Please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment (your work, your passions, your dreams, etc.).
LF: I love sharing and teaching my passions. My farm is a slice of Heaven, and I want others to be able to enjoy it. Life is about the experiences along the way and the people whom we share a path. Ours has been brightened by being able to share this with others.
Honestly, I also love seeing the fruits of my own labor, my hard work paying off, and seeing things through. I’m very goal-oriented and am motivated by being able to complete a task I challenged myself to do. I think it’s so important to set dreams that align with what makes you “keep going,” strive to achieve, and re-energizes you.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
LF: I have always been complimented on my “grit.” My ability to get something done, talk myself into being blindly optimistic while doing it. It takes a lot of intention to work through grief like I have experienced, and I attribute my grit and tenacity. I didn’t choose this path, but it’s what I have been assigned. I can either drag my heels the whole way, or I can start walking down it. Sometimes I walk, sometimes I crawl, sometimes I run. But I know I need to keep moving forward.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
LF: I could name dozens of people right now, but I think the most influential would be my physician mentor, Tammy. I met her a critical part of my life (right as I was finishing grad school) and she has taught me so much professionally and personally. I have never met someone as content in their life and choices as her. She has cultivated a life that she enjoys, has meaningful hobbies, appreciates and adds value to her close friendships, and somehow still puts her family first while doing all of the above. She has supported me in my journey of finding a balance between my day job (as a nurse practitioner) and my other hobby that has turned into a full on business with employees (flower farming/writing). She has never once indicated that I should choose, and instead has helped me to make it work and do both.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
LF: I wish I was naturally more organized. I do enjoy a clean space, but I never take the time to clean it. I hate inefficiency and having to re-do things, but being so goal oriented I usually focus on the results rather than how I do it. Sometimes I have to backtrack and “clean up” the details on the way. For example, when I make 30 flower bouquets at a time, I try to complete them as fast as I can and clean up the entire mess as the end. My goal is to make bouquets, so that’s all I focus on. If I would have been careful about cleaning up as I work, I wouldn’t have to spend time after cleaning. I try to work on that, but it’s just not how my brain is wired. I’m envious of those people that are naturally neat and tidy. I naturally gravitate toward those more like what I want to be. When I hired my first employee, Lily, what appealed to me most was her attention to detail and organization. I gravitate toward those that can fill my gaps, and hope to learn from learn!
KR: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
LF: I used to love to run, and I’m trying to get back into that. I once set a goal to run at least a 10K in every single state – and I have 9 states completed (MN, SD, ND, ME, AZ, OR, SC, WI, CO). I haven’t ran a race since 2019, pre-covid. My husband’s heart attack was while running on the treadmill, and I haven’t really run since, but I know I miss it. I am just getting back into running again, and am hoping to “rip off the bandaid” again soon and register for a local 10K. I know I’ll enjoy it again once I start it, but like so much of this grief journey, often the anticipation of things is worse than the actual event itself.
I enjoy hiking, being outside, and ultimately spending time with friends. My favorite thing to do on a weekend is meeting with a group of friends at a local brewery, ordering an entire table full of appetizers, and wasting away an afternoon.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
LF: This is a hard one. I definitely would not go back and “warn myself” of what is to come (as far as widowhood and turn of events). There is a song by Garth Brooks called The Dance and it fits this perfectly. I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to change. I could have missed the pain, but I’d of had to miss the dance. I am not a fan of the saying “everything happens for a reason,” but I do think things work out how they are supposed to.
The advice I would give my younger self is that the hard work will pay off. I worked multiple jobs in college when the majority of my friends either didn’t work or only did a few hours. I diligently paid off my students loans and worked extra shifts when other friends were going on vacations or music festivals. I don’t think I “sacrificed,” however, because I still had fun mixed in – I just didn’t have the luxury of being spontaneous with my time. I chose to go to grad school in a 5 ½ year program (instead of 3 as I could have done it) so that I could keep working and not take out additional loans. Slow and steady wins the race, and it set me up for a safety net to leap into these goals in the future. I would simply encourage myself to keep going. It will be worth it.
KR: As you learned above, Liz and her late husband, Josh, started Sunny Mary Meadow in July 2020. That December, he passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. The day after the funeral, Liz found out she was pregnant with their second daughter. To carry on his legacy, Liz started a memorial scholarship in his name at his alma mater, St. John’s University, and the proceeds of her children’s book go toward that scholarship.
If you’d like to give to the scholarship, CLICK HERE and type in “Josh Fiedler” under the “additional comments” section.
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