MEET THE ARTIST

MCKENZIE O’GRADY

My name is McKenzie O’Grady, and I am a florist, stylist, and storyteller. I spend my days creating free-spirited floral designs for weddings, events, and for the everyday. In life as in art, I am a wildflower girl. I respond to nature, poetry, and movement—to all the things that free the soul. Whether I’m styling flowers, my home, or myself, I’m into unruly, romantic, and undone. I want to live vibrantly, creatively, and with a passion that transcends limitations. I don’t like to be restrained, suppressed, or silenced.

While I have a blog space for my floral business, I found that I wanted to write and share more than my work. The stories that last are those that speak to the heart. We are all after more freedom and less restraint; more faith and less fear; more creativity and less settling. So everything I post here—whether it’s a floral arrangement, styled shoot, a simple recipe or gathering, a reflective essay or prayer—is in the service of that kind of living. I want to live a life a vibrant, creative, and purposeful life. I want to live in sweet communion with God and other people. I want to know what it means to live a life of faith and prayer—I want to know what that kind of life actually, practically looks like. And the more I confide in other creatives and friends, the more I realize I am not alone.

When it came to naming my blog, I chose ‘meadow’ for its connotations of freedom, beauty, and rest. (A flower lover to my core, I cannot escape the theme for long.) The name also pays sweet tribute to the meadows and flower gardens of my girlhood—the places where I felt most, well, myself. A painfully shy little girl, I (like most introverted children) harbored the feeling that I was misunderstood. Whether out of natural curiosity, or a search for relief, I started spending most of my time outside, in clover patches, flower gardens, and meadows.

There, I found solace, and something more. Around flowers, I began to envision other possibilities. I recognized that there was something ethereal, something better for me than my shy and scared feelings. It is no surprise that flowers first prompted me to write; eager to sustain the enchantment, I began creating botanical sketches & writing stories filled with flowers. I did not know it yet, but I was finding my creative voice. I was learning to transmute shyness and suffering into art. My meadow (and my God) gave me that.

I believe we all need a meadow in life. A place of escape. We need our writing hour, if we are writers; our farmer’s market, if we are bakers; our dance studio, if we are dancers. We need something to free our soul. This blog, then, presents hundreds of different ways you can find that moment. That activity or thing that silences and settles your heart. This blog is an immersive retreat into the heart of creative living—as peaceful, as intimate, and as beautiful as a meadow walk. You can stay here and find a little rest. And hopefully, you can find your ‘meadow’ if you have not already done so.

It must be said, however, that life is not all about escape. We were not created to live isolated lives, shut off from society. If we want to make true impact, we must be in community. That’s why so much of what you see here will involve gatherings, creative collaborations, and contributions from a community of makers who make my life & work so much sweeter. The world needs what God instills in us; and we, in turn, need what God instills in other people. The meadow moments, when we are alone, serve to remind us of who we are. These quiet times prepare us to go back into the world and be really good to people, and tell them of the treasures we have found. Creativity can always be a form of service, because it reveals a better and more hopeful way of seeing things. Of living.

So this blog will be full of things I find in the ‘meadow moments’—the moments when I can pray, write, and connect with the best of myself. Each floral arrangement, recipe, story, gathering, and photo shoot leaves the reader with the message: there is something more. There is a way of living that’s better than we’d imagined. And we can live that way now—not when we finally overcome our anxiety, or our fear, or improve ourselves, or feel ready. Creativity can happen now, and it can be the antidote to all those feelings of fear, unworthiness, and unpreparedness. There is something out there waiting to free you, and find you, even today.

In closing, this blog could be read as a story of how imagination can help us escape the doldrums of life. But I think there’s a better story in here. This blog is really about creating a life that we don’t want to escape from. A life that includes room for beauty, creativity, meaningful gatherings, and quiet times. It’s about finally being able to say, I don’t want freedom from my life. I don’t want freedom from myself. My life is my freedom. The things I do now bring me to the things I’ve always prayed for.

This is a blog for everyday people with everyday lives. The magic I chase in each entry is a practical kind of magic. This magic is not remote from us. It’s something we can hold onto, today, if we choose.

I want to invite others into take this simple journey with me. I want us all to feel even momentary relief from pain and fear. And I want to to walk the journey—to treat the everyday moments of my life—with grace and reverence. The life I want to create stands before me—now—not somewhere in the far-off distant future.

My blog is, in every way, a reflection and chronicle of my walk of faith. I believe in effort. I believe in producing the highest quality work I’m capable of producing, even as I believe in something more mysterious, transcendent, and complicated. Could it be that our everyday is somehow infused with the divine? I’d like to think so—and in my heart, I know so. I believe there’s something to balancing straightforward effort with surrender. I believe in nurturing an intellectual and artistic life in tandem with a life of faith. I sense the tension between the two, and am comfortable with it. In light, in shadow, in uncertainty, in nuance, I sense the hand of God, and trust in the same.

Come take a walk through my meadow…

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