I met Laila before either of us had children. Laila was a soft-spoken and gentle young woman. I always admired her sweet spirit and way with people. Laila’s family and mine spent a lot of time together when our children were small. I remember her family being crammed into a little house on a busy street. To now see Laila living out her dreams is such an inspiration. I appreciate how open she is in her feature, sharing something many women won’t talk about. Thank you, Laila, I hope your honesty encourages other women to seek the help they need to live a beautiful life.
Life with Laila
A Little About Me
My name is Laila. I was born in Sweden. When I was around 6 months old, my parents began a journey towards Bible translating in Papua New Guinea, an island in the South Pacific. We moved to Papua New Guinea when I was three years old, and I stayed there until I was seventeen. By then I had met the man of my dreams. He also grew up in Papua New Guinea, also the son of Bible translators.
I feel privileged to have grown up as I did – seeing and experiencing many cultures and peoples. In 1988 Kevin and I were married and moved to Canada. Over the years we had four daughters. Our girls are all grown up now, and the family has increased with two sons-in-law and three grandchildren. God has been good to us.
My Daily Life
When the girls were young, we bought a garden centre, along with Kevin’s brother and his wife. This meant we moved to a rural setting after having lived in a busy border town for fourteen years.
Living in the country was vastly different but a good different. We suddenly had all kinds of space to live, work and play. We now work about six months out of the year at the garden centre.
- Visit Lawrence’s Springwater Farms website, click HERE
In February we begin seeding. Did you know geraniums take five months from seed to bloom? We continue seeding and transplanting into May. On May 1, we open to the public and stay open for three months. We carry vegetable seedlings, bedding plants, perennials and trees and shrubs. We do up thousands of hanging baskets and planters. By the end of July, we have only a smattering left in one of our six greenhouses.
It is long hours and hard work. But so fulfilling…a hobby turned into a job.
I love to watch the plants grow, to mix them in beautiful arrangements for baskets and planters and most of all to see the joy plants bring to our customers. People come to buy but also to browse, smell and enjoy. Café Oasis opened its doors seven years ago and serves coffee, tea and delectable treats.
When the garden centre is closed, we take vacation time in August and then begin the ordering process for the following spring in the fall. That brings us to December and Christmas and then January is another slow month. Then we start all over again in February. Growing and selling plants are very much dependent on the weather and also on current trends. Snow on Mother’s Day is devastating to sales for example, and a trend of eating kale carried by the media and social media can have us sold out of kale by the second week of May. Kale is a slow grower when it’s gone, it’s gone for the season.
We follow the trends as much as we can and grow what we believe we need for sales and trust God for the weather and all the other unknowns. He has been and is good. It amazes us as we look back and see how His hand led us here and how He has been there every moment of the last almost fourteen years providing everything we needed and blessing our efforts. I pray that God will continue to use Lawrence’s Springwater Farms as a beacon of truth and integrity in our community and a source of joy for many.
Besides the greenhouse, I am very much a homemaker. I am here holding everything together so that when the girls who still live at home come home it is a haven in their busy lives. When the others come to visit, home is a peaceful place to be.
Kevin works full time in town all through the year as well, so home needs to be a haven for him after work and commuting. Most days one or other of the girls call to talk with topics of conversation ranging from how do you make that recipe to life questions. I am so glad to be able to be home and have time for these things. Since September my days have also included Facetime with our grandbaby.
We talk and laugh and play, and it is such a joy to see her develop even from a distance. I rarely see the other two grandchildren, but when we do, it is for a party at Mormor’s house (the Swedish word for Grandma). How I miss our two girls that have moved from the area, and one has moved into town, but new technology really is a wonder and a blessing in this area.
Struggles In My Life
Fifteen years ago two friends and I were involved in a serious car accident. One friend and I were in critical condition for weeks afterwards. God worked in all of our lives through this event. First, He provided care for our children while we were in the hospital. Cindy was one of those caregivers God provided.
Then He sent good doctors in just the areas we needed them. He also provided time for our husbands to be with us the whole time. My parents were able to take a leave of absence from the mission field to come and help in the long term. Over time we healed, and things returned to normal, but a new normal.
All three of us cherish every moment of life because we came so close to losing it.
I always was grateful for my husband and children and the beautiful world all around us, but now I saw the bigger picture more clearly. Priorities were different, time with family cherished and sought after. Many years later I struggle to keep these priorities straight. I know in my head what is important, but busyness gets in the way and clouds my thinking.
Another issue that can cloud my thinking is clinical depression. I have a diagnosed deficiency of serotonin and norepinephrine. My body simply does not make these in adequate amounts. This means I take medication daily to give my body the chemicals it needs. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone or neurotransmitter among other things. When I began taking medication, I could not function. I had a dark cloud over me that prevented me from being able to make decisions, enjoying my children or husband, talking to people…essentially living life. I had put off getting help because I thought it was all in my head and it was, but it was not something I could ever control. I also thought taking medication made me weak, and I would just need more and more as time went on. This was all false.
Somehow we believe that depression, being a mental condition, it should be able to be controlled by us and that if that is not possible, we are failures.
I have learned I need medication. I also went for counselling to help me learn coping mechanisms for the deep anxiety I had for everything. Gradually, as the medication did its work and I learned coping strategies – life improved. My biggest sorrow and pet peeve is hearing about people who are belittled or made to feel bad about themselves because they are depressed and anxious. Especially, if that is then linked back to a lack of faith in God. This was so far from the truth for me. I knew He loved me and would look after me and I prayed desperately for him to lift the cloud. Which He did, using my doctor, medication and a counsellor.
Joys and Dreams in My Life
I find joy in the work that our parents have completed in Papua New Guinea. After 43 years my parents retired having given two language groups a New Testament written in their own mother tongue which they could also now read for themselves. Kevin’s parents also completed a New Testament for a group of people who had never seen or heard God’s word for themselves in a language they could understand. God has used them greatly to tell people about Himself.
I am a hopeless romantic and pet lover. After the accident, Kevin bought me a dog, a chocolate lab, Mandy. We have had a dog ever since. The girls love animals as well, and sometimes they end up staying here as they move on. Pets are full of unconditional love and devotion and fun to watch. We laugh so much at our pets and their antics.
Kevin and I have a happy marriage, but since the accident, we have grown closer than I ever thought possible. We know each other through and through. Kevin will often bring up a topic before I have had time to mention that I have been thinking about it as well, and vice versa.
Now that the kids are grown up, we have been and continue to cultivate new things we can do together. We have done some woodworking and we enjoy going to our cottage. It is such a peaceful place to just be. We simply have more time for each other.
Moments With God
I love watching our girls grow up and mature. It is a joy to see them make good decisions and to see them own the bad decisions, is hard, but I am proud of all my girls and the way they handle life and all it throws at us. Life is hard, and sometimes we fail, but we get up again and continue. With God’s help, we are finally victorious. I pray every day for our girls that they and their families would walk with God and live their lives in him. He is so faithful.
Depression is more common in women than most of us realize. It can be difficult for a woman to admit this to a friend or family member. If you are suffering from depression and want to talk to someone, Focus on the Family has a free hotline 1-800- 232 – 6459.
Did you enjoy Laila’s lovely feature? Would you like to read about a mom who has nine kids and how she raised them on her own as a single mother? Read more, click here: Life With Maria
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