Poetry · The Celebrating Soul

September Two Years Ago & The Goodness of God

On September 10,2019, I began a new prayer journal.

I’ve been keeping prayer journals consistently since I was about 16 years old. I have a box for my old prayer journals and year calenders. If there were to be a fire that burned our house down which is a very real possibility every year in norther California, that box is one of the only things I really care about taking with me.

I love going back through my prayer journals and seeing how God was present with me in all my emotions and fears, how He has answered requests, the things He has taught me, etc. Those journals hold so much proof that my faith in Christ is not in vain.

I realized last night that I only had 3 pages left in my current prayer journal and I would be finishing it September 2021, a little over two years since I began. Admittedly since getting pregnant (and also early postpartum and other times!!), I’ve had long stretches where I haven’t written down a prayer at all. But I love that we began in September and will end in September two years later.

So, I began this prayer journal while still walking through infertility. At this point, I was much on the healing end, but still grieving deeply. I was opening my eyes to life and asking God to open my eyes to the life He was giving while also bringing to Him my deep sorrow and struggle with the passage of time. Words I used were loneliness, starkness, disappointment, exhaustion, persistent heartache. So while I was healing in deep and immense ways, I wasn’t “past it.”

On November 19,2019, I saw two lines on a pregnancy test for the first time and then it rained that night and how I loved that. There’s not a lot of white space left on that journal entry. Fast forward quite a bit to July 2021 and I found out I’m pregnant again.

So, what I love most about this prayer journal is that it began with infertilty and holds not one but two pregnancies within its pages. I didn’t expect that, but those are the kinds of things God can do.

Sometimes, I like to go back and read past prayers. So last night, on September 23,2021 I flipped the pages and found September 23,2019. I was in a totally different season of life two years ago, but I was still learning and experiencing God’s good gifts. I was working through the goodness of God and wrote, “While I know that You (God) don’t like to see me in pain. . .it is good that You (God) have not given me children.” That’s a complex thought. But in that season of quiet and grief, I healed and became sure of God’s goodness. I began to know God more deeply. I noticed the “obscure” gifts from God’s hand. I got more excited about heaven. I found freedom and hope in God to live the life I had.

Two years later, I’m praying for two children and still experiencing God’s goodness. I’m still learning to trust God, really trust Him. His goodness has stretched far and wide through every season of the journey and it is I who is learning to live fully in whatever those good gifts are and trust Him with the present and the future. This prayer jouranl is lined pages with the reality of God meeting me wherever I was, however I was.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

In a roundabout way that bring us to the poetry series for this October!

I wrote a story in 20 poems that reflects my journey beginning in the dust and ash of infertility into healing, saying yes to my life, being given beautiful, unexpected gifts along the way, and then learning not to be afraid of those good gifts from God. I will carry the history of infertility and grief inside me forever. It is a part of my frame, but it is not my story. But these days, I’m learning to take long, slow walks in the garden I’ve been given without the fear of death and the dying of all good things.

I am beginning to understand good gifts from God will always be good gifts form Him even if the pain and brokeness of this world touches those good things. Once received, always received. I can trust God in the bad times and in the good times.

While I wrote these poems from a place of personal experience, they do not mention specific things like infertility or my subsequent pregnancies. It is a story I hope you can step into with your own personal experiences. And I think you will. I really do.

So, next Tuesday, September 28th, I’ll reveal the title, the first poem, and where you’ll be able to access the rest! It will be completely free, and available in a couple different formats. I’m excited!

I think we share this story. Maybe in different ways, but at the heart of it, this is us.

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