Garden Lullaby

6 Months Postpartum, Awkward Armfuls & the October Garden

I sat in the garden a few weeks postpartum and felt the breeze. Holding my daughter close to my chest wrapped warm in her colorful quilt. My son played. I smiled. Even laughed. There was a lifting here. Happiness I could feel. The early postpartum fog rose half an inch.

I’m in the garden 6 months postpartum. The breeze is shifting from early spring to early fall. My daughter is stretched out on the same colorful quilt. I’m watering the flowers. I glance over, catch her eye, and she grins. Wide as the ocean. My son plays. There is a light-heartedness here. Happiness felt everywhere. Half a year postpartum finds me well. Finds all of us well. Time can be beautiful.

my kiddos are all blurry in the background.😍 Heidi on that colorful quilt and Shasta drawing!

My husband and I were talking about Heidi’s birth recently and his experience of her birth confirms the word I use to describe it–powerful.

I remember hearing the firm words and controlled intensity of my doctor urging Heidi to cry. Really cry. The hearty infant cry you want to hear for every birth. The cord had been wrapped around Heidi’s neck and the final moments of her delivery were difficult for her. I knew from my doctor’s tone that something wasn’t fully the way it should be after she was born, but I also didn’t feel alarming chaos since she gave care so succinctly and swiftly. All truly was well, and I rememeber asking “Is she okay?” They were effusive in their reply. Yes, she is!! AND SHE WAS!! But when my husband relays the story there’s a bit more intensity to what happened. No emergency, but some uneasy moments to be sure.

Heidi’s roses bloom one more time before true California autumn sets in!

Life is so precious and the gift of a baby, a live birth, and a healthy mom is cause for worldwide celebration every single time. I told her birth story already, and it’s a good one. But anyway, Heidi was born! And even in the intensity, the turning blue post-birth, the “MAKE HER CRY” commands, there she was.

Healthy. Whole. Strong. Spring after winter. Spring the whole time. My wonderful doctor saying more to herself than anyone else, “Congratulations. That was a beautiful, beautiful thing.”

Indeed it was. Still is.

my garden journal, page set to the year 2022

There’s more to this story. And it’s remarkable! But it’s also not really my story to tell on the internet. I just know that every single detail of Heidi’s birth was a powerful display of our God.

Still in the days following Heidi’s birth I would cry over my midwife not being there. I would struggle deeply through the fog. Days would feel like sandpaper. . .scraping, depleting. Growing pains galore. But the garden bloomed and so did I, eventually. And wowza, it’s worth the time it took!

I’ve spent plenty of October afternoons side-by-side with my daughter. Being a mother, but feeling so free and light. Seeing butterflies at the zinnias taking there sweet time.

October was Zinnia Season! These were all planted a few days before Heidi’s birth.

[Admittedly] sighing at the lovely autumn breeze making it difficult to photograph flowers. Just stop for a second. (But you can resume your breeziness soon!! I do love it, promise!😅) Enjoying the last warm afternoons and anticipating everything cozy and holiday.

Always gathering up the baby toys, that same colorful quilt, that enthusiastic Heidi o’ mine in awkward armfuls! My son toddling with us, sometimes ever so slowly!

My son’s flower bush about to bloom. November is its shining season. This is very special since Nov 2019 is when we found out about him!

It’s a season rich in its routine. Filled with chatter, “I got chu, Mommy,” overwhelm, laughter, and learning. Heidi’s birth story is 7 months in the past, still stunning us with how it turned out, how God weaved every detail and moment, how we experienced His protection and power.

Life is poignant, brilliant!

Excuse my big bold letters, but the garden knows it too.

I wrote a poem about 6 weeks into my postpartum season having been inspired by a spring bird whistling through a rainstorm. This poem, Weather, touches on the complex journey of deepening into motherhood and staying in life, of experiencing wonder & joy alongside the fog and absolute heaviness that occur during motherhood. While the heavy, indiscernable postpartum fog lifted soon after birth, the growing pains in the last 6 (now 7!) months have been intense. But I am more settled than ever. A happy mom. Loving it. Height of joy these days, but I know there will be more to weather. Impossible to avoid, but the sun abides and the bird flies. And so do I.

Weather

spring bird
sings
in a rainstorm.
a woman
grows
into a mother.
a damp, hard thing,
but a rhythm
deep in
joy,
drenched in
abiding
sun.
this bird and I
fly,
anchored.
for we’ve learned to
weather well.

S.V.F.

Welcome to the garden, November. It’s lovely to see you. Happy 7 months, Heidi. You’re radiant! Happy memories flood of finding out about Shasta. I love you more than ever, son! We’re flying. We’re anchored. We’re weathering. And it’s fall, but it’s spring. What a season.

Garden Lullaby

Magic of California Autumn // The September Garden

It’s eating fresh-picked, late-summer blackberries on the first day it feels like autumn is in the air. It’s how you are soaking in the last vestiges of summer but enraptured by every gust of wind making a leaf flurry center stage. And you just there in the front seat.

It’s the first day you’re outside and the air around you has suddenly shifted. It’s the first huge rain that comes down in buckets and cats and dogs and every other rain idiom you can think of.

It’s the warmth of the sunshine, but the coolness of the shade. It’s how every last day in the garden is heightened in its enjoyment as the season slowly turns. It’s how long these lasts last.

This is the magic of California Autumn.

Summer hangs on tightly. Spring even seems to show itself. The bursts of life are so bright against the dying leaves now piling in the garden. Yet even these blooms, bright as they may be, have an older look to them.

The garden as a whole does not seem near as playful. California Autumn is a gentle thing. Not dramatc. Not rushed. Not swayed by our opinions or impatience. It changes when it does. Wraps us in sunshine. Finds us in the garden with a plethora of zinnias, barefeet, babies lying on colorful quilts and us lying in the grass.

The September Garden has been absolutely stunning. Even its abundance, it does not have the youthful blush of spring, but I wouldn’t want it too. It’s beautiful when framed by our little corner of the world about to storm. It holds its own as the year gets old and the leaves fall and gather.

Every color, every rose bloom carefully bursting, every last long and warm afternoon has an enchantment only to be tasted this time of year.

And we are full.

Full having spent a year wrapped in the blessings of the Lord, welcoming our second child, experiencing our best garden season to date, pushing our son in the swing for months on end, back and forth, watching him grow right before our eyes, cultivating life inside and outside the garden gate.

The magic of California Autumn is the beauty and excitement experienced within it despite the lack of pomp and circumstance. And the joy of autumn itself is gathering up the stories of your year and sitting within the goodness of God. Maybe not making sense of everything, but knowing with certainty that nothing makes sense without Him.

And here you are. Perhaps a bit like my September Garden.

Abundance and weariness. Blooming but not youthful. Radiant as you weather the storm and those yet to come. It’s beautiful here in a way spring can never attain. Beautiful in a way hard to explain.

So I’ll go barefoot in autumn and be smitten by the novelty of it.

A Happy Fall, indeed.

Garden Lullaby

The August Garden // A Happy Handful

There are a couple times a year that tend to be real time markers for me.

The New Year/My Birthday (January 6)

and August.

a friend captured this July moment and it was the last photo I posted to Instagram! Felt so right for this photo to close that account. hence you getting a garden update on the blog instead of an instagram reel!

August used to be a painful time marker, but then our son was born in the beginning of that month and my daughter has her own deep August story I shared with my email subscribers. Time doesn’t always move in the way we hope it will, but when it does, we let it be beautiful! We let our breath catch, our laughter out, our smiles makes wrinkles at our eyes.

I remember when my son was around 5-months-old, I took him out to the garden, sat him in the bumbo seat in the flower bed and did some gardening with him “afoot.” I thought to myself if I don’t start gardening as a mom right now then I never will! Being a new mom is quite the whirlwind. Figuring out how to do things you used to do is quite the task! I made that “used to” null and void every time I sat in the Porch Garden with him or figured out how to take him with me while I did gardening things.

And you know what?! I’m proud of that Sierra who got out there and got things done and figured it out!! Here I am now (still) gardening, still finding my way, and watching my kids love the garden. . . . all it’s joy & beauty.

my happy handful, blue boots belonging to my toddler and zinnias I waited much to long to cut! heheee!

Heidi loves to watch the water spray, and Shasta does his own chosen work around the garden. The other day he was quite persistent I water the plants, so I got my lazy self out of the ole plastic garden chair and watered the plants while he did his own version of watering. In the late afternoon he actually watered the sunflowers, and fairly well I might add! Dirt was watered too (duh! of course. mud, mom!), but the sunflowers definitely got a good drink.

yes that little blue house behind the zinnias is our garden playhouse😍 imagine vines! garden boxes! a mailbox?! lots left to do but it’s coming together😍

And let me tell you! We have had a bounty of sunflowers this year.

I could count on one hand how many sunflowers actually bloomed last season, but this year has been a stark contrast in the loveliest way.

I love when the sunflowers look wind-blown. My favorite part of sunflowers blooming!

Everything is leaning quite haggard now, but there are still sunflowers blooming. I’ve even sent friends home with sunflower bouquets and that has been such a treat for me.

this bouquet I kept for myself, though.😅

This bounty of the happiest flower has made the garden the bees knees. . .(literally!! it has been a hangout for the bees, and we love to see it!). I have so many sunflower seeds to harvest and while they bloom and lean and the bees buzz about, the zinnias are having their own heyday. I’ve had a lot of pinks and purples this year. Although the one you see with the playhouse is red!😅

Our hydrangea bush even sported the first bloom its had in years!! This hydragea has had a long struggle, but we gave it a new home placed it in a new spot, and the bush has said “thank you!” quite loudly.

If gardens can feel happy, ours has felt it. With wild grapes ripening, and rose buds preparing to burst again soon, zinnias growing strong, and sunflowers blooming steady, we are still maintaining a bit of the high tide that comes with May and June! That is quite a feat for August I think. But here we are.❤

a lovely tower!

In other news, we visited family in early August, and while there I wrote a poem about time, how it moves, and how good that passage can be. When last we visited I had been about 7 weeks pregnant with our son. Snow on the ground with me scared out of my mind. But fast-forward to present day, and I was watching my boy play barefoot in the backyard, two years old.

Time.

How good it can be, how lovely it can go.

Not always but sometimes.

And we don’t talk about those times nearly enough.

I’m sharing the poem below as it captures so much of August and my emotions for it.

Raspberries and Far North Roads

It’s a warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees,
Two years, 9 months ago
it was snow.

and he was seven weeks
and it was hard to breathe.
happiness, scared out of mind.

Down far north roads,
conversations with mom,
already celebrating
him.

And I was sick in the bathroom
and sick in bed, sick with worry,
and so in love,
already
.

But it’s late summer now,
an August birthday twice over
and he’s talking and playing,
and laughing, and running,
or skipping, kind of a mix
of both.

And I’m smiling and marveling
and we’re barefoot where snow
once lived,
but it’s us now, like this now.
and it’s beautiful when
Time
moves like that.

Raspberry picking and red
raspberry stains
on knees,
and I can’t get over it
how it feels to be back
when I didn’t know
Back would be so
good.
But he has a heartbeat,
and he’s moving
like crazy.

Warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees
soon.


The August garden is saying what I feel, bent over with the life of it, huge, inescapable, loud, lovely, flawed. Like the garden hasn’t arrived, neither have I.

And neither will we ever.

But we love the life we’re in. This one we’re given.

And like the sunflower I will be unafraid to bloom, bend beneath the life, loveliness, and imperfection of it all.

Here we are.

Garden Lullaby

I’m Going to Be Here Too

Garden Lullaby, April 15, 2020

SO VERY WOW!!

I love that flowers have taught me how to anticipate life. It’s exciting to see the buds and watch them slowly expand. And it’s thrilling to look and suddenly see a flower in all its glory! I would go so far as to say it’s the 8th wonder of the world.

Flowers help me look forward, but they also teach me to sit still. This daisy won’t be here forever, but while it’s here, I’m going to be here too. I’m going to savor this beautiful thing, and I’m going to be excited for all the beautiful things coming next.

Plant your feet.


Two years later and that little daisy bush (originally purchased as a plastic pot of flowers from the grocery store) is going strong! It spreads and billows and multiplies. While this is the end our Garden Lullaby series, the garden journey, this billowing-out life of mine is far from over.

Pictured below is an ultrasound of our second child due any day this spring. I began gardening when my husband and I were in the deep end of infertility, and now as the garden grows, so does our family. God did the miracle of life in more ways than only giving us children (and you can read that journey in Hope Gives a Eulogy), but He has given us children as part of this life saga, and I savor the gift!

I am surrounded by miracles. I love that the garden is a picture of my soul, of what God has healed, made well, made beautiful in me and around me.

And so maybe it’s true. . .

Perhaps the best and most spectacular stories really do begin in the most unlikely of places.

Like a grocery cart.