The Celebrating Soul

The Complexity of “Still”

Even with all the ugly stuff that’s happened in my garden this summer (hello squirrels and bunnies), I still got a bouquet like this.

I still have a wild grape vine climbing high to make a beautiful trellis. I still have sunflowers daring to bloom in the midst of destruction. I still pickΒ ripe tomatoes from my bare, eaten-up tomato plant. I still have rose bushes that bloom and some that tenaciously keep growing to get established despite repeated setbacks. Still. What a complicated word.

“I’m still here. . .”

“I’m still walking through this. . .”

“I’m still afraid. . .”

But also!

“I’m still growing here.”

“I’m still healing in the midst of this.”

“I’m still braver than I was yesterday.”

This 2020 slapped-together garden born from quarantine is all sorts of messy, but it holds the complicated concept of Still. Which is all of us. Go ahead and take Monday by the horns.

Because you can.

The Celebrating Soul

Telling My Son’s Birth Story

On August 2nd, I gave birth to our son, Shasta. The entire experience was so beautiful and filled with healing. My body–with a decade of pain, grief, and struggling–was invited into something wonderful and breathtaking. This body–the one I’ve wrestled with and grieved for–became a vessel for giving birth to a living, breathing soul. Giving birth is far less about my strength and stamina as a woman, and more about receiving the otherworldly, stunning gift of childbirth. I can’t believe it’s part of my story.

But there it was.

And here I am.

While I write this our little boy is intermittently making all sorts of sounds from the bedroom. He’s so much fun. Giving birth was profound and beautiful and healing, but I think most of this post will be peppered with humor. And I love that too. This photo was taken August 1st while I was in early labor. It would take many more hours for my son to make his grand appearance. And yes, bathroom selfies are the least classy of all millennial photographic skills, but here we are. πŸ™‚

So, let’s rewind.

To be frank, I didn’t think I’d go into labor on my own. It seems as though so many years of chronic pain has oft given me the underlying feeling of “failure” and a sense of just not trusting my body to “work.” Of course, I don’t consciously live under that assumption (I’ve gained a lot of freedom + confidence over the years!), but when push comes to shove and the hormones rage ( πŸ™‚ ), and your body is actually preparing itself for childbirth, some of those underlying things you STILL need to work through explode to the surface and you MIGHT just end up crying profusely in the car on the way to the grocery store. It could happen. It’s a strong possibility. πŸ™‚ HA! Continue reading “Telling My Son’s Birth Story”

The Celebrating Soul

May | A Personal Journey through 2019

I’m so behind in sharing my month-by-month calendar for 2019. Tracking the small, good, lovely things has made such a difference in how I approach life at the end of the day. When you’re worn out, exhausted, or struggling. . .it’s so easy to look back on a day and say, “Oh, there goes another one. Same hard, tiring life.” But when you begin searching for the good things, soon you will be able to see without searching so hard! Your heart will slowly begin bending toward happiness and thanksgiving. It’s not perfect. It’s not giddy. But it is profound.

I’ll admit, writing day by day in 2020 has been hit or miss. I usually miss a handful of days and then have to backtrack and remember, but I still take the time to write life down! The best part is the calendar doesn’t have to read pretty to be absolutely beautiful. That’s what I love about this exercise! I’m tracking life. I’m going notice the little lovely things. I’m going to remember it, good or hard.

So, here’s May 2019.


01: Party Bird still partying πŸ˜€ baby goats climbing all over our laps ❀

02: iced coffee with goats milk. . .good πŸ™‚

03: Pizza Date and best baby goat bottle feed yet. . .:)

04: beautiful day! goats, flowers, cleaning, Ben ❀

05: Chester (baby boy goat) just LOVES jumping in my arms πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

06: good talk with Dad. . .and then a podcast happened πŸ˜€

07: love the passion + work + season God has given me

08: Chester is the most cuddly goat ever!

09: Oh Chester-Win πŸ™‚ | E makes me laugh | new flowers from Ben<3

10: i love Ben. . .he makes work + life so much better

11: porch garden, rest, podcast, and the Psalms

12: a wonderful text from C

13: a day full of life and friends

14: a very sweet note from E

15: terrible sick day, but Ben brought the most beautiful wildflower bouquet to me. . .+ Chester πŸ™‚

16: L’s party ❀

17: VACAY! Psalm 131

18:

19: 1st snapdragon is blooming & so pretty!

20: a little bit of sunshine πŸ™‚

21: Rest

22: Little (BIG) Mav born in field!

23: 4th Anniversary ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

24: exploring with Little Mav

25: C + M + C πŸ™‚ ❀

26: the comfort of Ben being my family

27: God’s grace!

28: 1st day with J! such deep & good talks already

29: making C smile a LOT

30: evening with C + M πŸ™‚

31: C LOVED the goat kids. . .and the grass πŸ˜€


click to read January, February, March, April 2019

The Celebrating Soul

April | A Personal Journey through 2019

There are some new faces around here so I want to explain a bit about this year-long series. I decided this would be the year I taught + showed the value of writing life down. In 2016, I began intermittently writing a simple sentence on the calendar about my day. In 2017, it became more of a steady habit which would slowly develop into a lifeline for seeing good things. By 2020, it has become an important life rhythm. I’m honest about my tough days, but more often than not I’m consciously looking back on the day to find one lovely thing I want to remember and celebrate. Sometimes it’s as simple as the sound of leaves falling and other times it’s the miracle of a hoped-for & long-awaited pregnancy.

My favorite part of this life rhythm is reading through my calendar on New Year’s Day and recalling all the moments I’d forgotten, all the bits of life so important yet so easily buried beneath the noise, pain, and exhaustion.

Continue reading “April | A Personal Journey through 2019”