Life at the Blue House

Summer of Lullabies

It’s the sound of a fish tank and an old black fan. The creak of a rocking chair painted by his Grandma. . . the word Grow stretched across the arm. Reminding me every night that watching him grow up is so, so good. That time goes to beautiful and good places.

It’s his breathing, eyes slowly welcoming sleep.

It’s the sound of my voice singing, because he can’t sit still for books anymore. And he still loves “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,” but he loves moving more.

One night I began singing “You are My Sunshine,” as part of our nightly routine, because one of my nurses had that as a tattoo, her special song between mother and daughter. She told me her Sunshine story as we worked to bring my son into the world and now that song is my way of carrying her story on into another family.

So it’s the sound of stories meeting up and weaving togehter. And my son never really went back to books after lullabies.

It’s the sound of childhood and motherhood both being experienced for the first time. We’ve learned we’re safe to grow up togehter.

It’s the sound of the song “God Is So Good,” but I make up a lot of verses.

I love who you are. I love who you are. I love who you are. And God loves you too.”

“He’ll help you grow strong. He’ll help you grow strong. He’ll help you grow strong. He’s so good to you.”

“I’m here for you. I’m here for you. I’m here for you. And God’s here for me.”

So, it’s the sound of a lullaby sung for the mother, too. I’m not alone.

It’s the sound of the day closing, how we lived and laughed and grew. Grow has never been such a beautiful word.

The fish tank bubbles and the fan whirs it’s steady pace, the rocking chair creaks. Who knew the second-hand rocking thing could be an instrument?

And I sing “I love you, Lord and I lift my voice to worship you, O my soul, rejoice. Take joy, my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

And I think all those sounds must be sweet to God’s ears. Love is here. The life He’s given us is here. Worship is here. And so we sleep in peace.

Summer birthday and broken record lullabies. The old, creaking rocking chair holding our hearts growing up.

God is so good.

And here is sunshine.

Even at night.

Life at the Blue House

To New Moms Giving Birth This Summer

I’m so exicited for you.

Your birth is going to beautiful. And if it isn’t. . .if the trauma pulsates beyond the birth, there will be healing for that. And that journey alongside God will be intimate and, yes, even beautiful in surprising ways.

You don’t have to be afraid.

I am so excited for you.

In the minutes and seconds before you meet your baby, the veil between heaven and earth will feel very thin. And how precious those moments are.

I am so excited for you.

There will be gifts from God even beyond the birth of your child. Mine was laughter. The laughter shared in that hospital room remains one of the most special gifts I received during childbirth. Those good gifts from God won’t be hard to find as you lean on Him to bring life into the world.

I am so excited for you.

When your baby is placed on your chest and you’re finally skin to skin, it will feel like coming home. And you may not know what you’re doing, but you’ve always been home to your baby. Just keep being home.

I am so excited for you.

Giving birth will not make you more of a woman, yet it is an inexplicably beautiful thing to experience as a woman. That experience may include an epidural, a C-section, inducement, pitocin, (etc & so on). None of these things take away from your value as a woman or the beauty you can (& will!) experience bringing life into the world.

I am so excited for you.

You’re going to cry a lot. And there will be hard things. But I bet you anything, the good you’re about see, the fun you’re about to have, the joy you’re about to feel . . .it all outweighs the hard. (Or one day, it will.)

I am so excited for you.

You birth and motherhood experience will be your own. Let it be your own. But some of the best advice I received at 37 weeks was: expect the best.

There are so many things that will go well. There is so much happiness to be had from the moment you hear that first cry. There will be nights you hit the pillow and you’re just so excited to see your baby in the morning all over again. There is so much good here and so much good on the way.

I am so excited for you.

And I can’t say it enough.

So, I’ll leave you with some thoughts I wrote down while waiting for our Shasta-boy. The closer you get, the harder it is to wait. . .

Because yes, good things are coming!

But these simple thoughts helped me while I waited:

I will enjoy the excitement!

It is fun to anticpate his arrival. ❤

I will expect THE BEST!

I will not miss the good things in my life TODAY!

I can look forward-AND-fully live here.

I will intentionally live this hour of my life!

I will NOT rush past this season.

I am excited in the wait & NOT frustrated.

I will celebrate! that every day waiting brings me closer to your birthday!

My body is actively preparing for a healthy birth.

I will LOVE Shasta’s birthday.

Your baby’s birthday is right when it should be and you are about to experience some of the most fun you’ve ever had. And for anything that’s painful and hard and not as it should be. . .well, there’s healing for that, for you, for your baby. God does beauty in the impossible. God does life. God restores. So, either way. . .you are about to witness good things, joyful things, miraculous things.

I am so excited for you.

May I be the first to wish your baby a very Happy Birthday.

Love,

S.V.F.

Life at the Blue House · lifestyle

Dusting Off the Podcast (Wooohooo!)

I’m dusting off the podcast soon!⭐🎙🎉
After letting it go in my third trimester of pregnancy in May 2020, I picked it up again the following November, but changed the whole feel to be 1) Seasonal. 2) Super laid-back. For now, this is the way I can say YES to podcasting (something people have really enjoyed👏) without saying no to more important things in my life. Also, I love being laid-back. Pressure is off!! All that said, I recorded an update on Wednesday this week! Which was a surprise even to me.😅 I mean, I’ve been planning to podcast again and before really getting into a series or season, I’d HAVE to do an update since it’s been a few months! And on Wednesday, I thought, “How about now? Let’s do it.” So I did. And it literally feels like a chat over coffee.☕ I’m not BACK to everything as usual yet, but I am popping in.🎉 So that’s a long way of saying, there’s 20 minutes of #JoyRightHere waiting for you wherever you best love your podcasts!😍
infertility · Life at the Blue House · lifestyle

Happy 6 Years as Told by the Wedding Arbor

We celebrate 6 whole years of marriage today. And what a gift to say it, to have experienced it, to have lived these years with each other. We kept our wedding decor simple relying on the desert to speak for itself.

I’m not sure everyone agreed with me on not adding any flowers or billowing drapes on our rustic arbor, but Ben and I wanted the arbor to remain as it was. Our wedding arbor was made from Athel tree branches and put together by my Dad, brother, and husband-to-be. I love how it turned out.

It still stands to this day in my family’s backyard right where we stood in May 2015, saying our vows, and laughing at the wind blowing our ribbons everywhere.

Almost every time, we trekked back home for a wedding, graduation, or Christmas, I’d drag Ben out to get a picuture under our wedding arbor.  As long as it’s still standing, that’s probably in our travel itinerary when home.

To celebrate 6 whole years married to my best friend, I’m sharing those pictures and little snippets of life from our  life together.

This was May 2016. 

We are a year into our marriage, still growing together, learning how to really share ourselves and be vulnerable, living a quiet life, and establishing where we wanted to be as a family. It was a simple year in many ways and one we desperately needed. It’s also one we look back on fondly. Except for the terrible septic problems we faced in that cute little trailer we painted and redid together. Ha!!

This was May 2017.

We were now two years into marriage, and 2017 marked one of our hardest years to date.

I remember sitting in the passenger seat in our truck and finally admitting to Ben,

This has been a hard year.

And it was.

I was coming to terms with infertility, still desperately wanting a baby, in the extraordinary pain of silence, not knowing much at all, and facing the painful reality head-on. On top of all that were other life circumstances and friendships that were strained.

This was the December right before 2018 when things slowly and surely began to change for the better.

Healing was happening in my soul. I was learning how to grieve with God. Infertility was still terrible and isolating, but it wasn’t as daunting. Our marriage was coming out of the fog, and we were learning how to live with grief.

We were uncovering how good it was to have this time together. We were laughing more. I was growing a garden. Baby goats would come the following spring. We were settling into our life as it was. We made up Birthday Observation Day, hosted our first Thanksgiving (which has since become one of our favorite things ever). I was writing about infertility via email and discovering how similar so many women were feeling even without infertility being the cause.

I have no picture under the wedding arbor for 2019, although we did travel down for an August wedding.

I was definitely not pregnant which was no suprise by now. I felt sad, but I was also feeling more settled into our life. But I still had that deep ache of longing.

In November of 2019, we had all but closed the door on children except for the possibility of fostering/adopting older kids when we were older ourselves. In the meantime, we decided to open our home more and just really love and serve the people around us. It was the first time in years I was excited about our future. I felt like I could dream again.

Then a week and a half later, I took a pregnancy test, expecting nothing, but ended up laughing.

Because there was Shasta. In two little lines.

Our old future and our old dreams turned into a yes. I’ve written it the best way I know how through poetry in my book, Hope Gives a Eulogy.

But I’m careful when I tell this story, because I hadn’t arrived or met some “contentment/spiritual quoata” that unlocked pregnancy. Yikes, no!

My prayers were up and down. I’d still feel the hollow gut feeling late at night as I thought of her getting pregnant before me. Literally fearing the grief, pain, and struggle that would undoubtedly come sooner than later. I still wanted to have a child with Ben. I knew sadness was still a part of my reality. I still felt it. And I KNOW if I hadn’t gotten pregnant when I did, I’d fall deep into sorrow again. (Maybe still will? I’m not promissed a second baby!)

I’m not sure how everything works together in God’s sovereignty, but I trust Him. And I’ve felt His love and kindness in pregnancy + motherhood and in infertility. I’ve also been immeasurably blessed in all of these seasons. Like I cannot explain the deep gifts I received from God as I grieved in those long years of infertility. Cannot explain it.

His precense is everything.

But once pregnant, I didn’t face the constant grief cycle, and eventually had the mental energy to be creative and write poetry again. It is not lost on me that while a child grew in me, I returned to my childhood love for writing poetry. I think God does the most beautiful things. We finished 2019 with a baby growing in me and you can read that story in Hope Gives a Eulogy

So, this was Christmas 2020.

Our son has brought with him such a golden era. His life ushered a light-heartedness in mine I had not truly felt in years. Joy, yes. Hope, yes. Love for life, yes. But real and true light-heartedness that fills you up only to spill out because you can’t help it? No. The grieiving process every month is exhasuting, depleting, and doesn’t allow lightheartedness easily.

But there he was with a passel of lightheartedness. Can’t you tell?! 🙂

So, in our 6th year of marriage, I wrote poetry about infertility and our love story. We finally held our son in our arms and embraced parenthood together. We’ve had hard conversations and we’ve woken up smiling listening to the chatter of our boy. We’ve laughed and made our son laugh. We have loved and grown in love.

When I sit in the passenger seat now, I’ll turn to Ben and say, 

This has been a golden year.

And it has been.

So, we rejoice and give thanks.

Here is 6 years. 

Here is gold.