Life at the Blue House

My 27th Year – Joy & Growing Pains

It was a year for growing pains. For getting the wind knocked right out of me. It was our best garden season ever. It was giving birth and the story of it being filled with God’s presence, power, and wonderfully woven work.

It was Heidi growing with the flowers. And me too. It was feeling more settled than ever in motherhood and gritting through the 1-2 kid transition. It was feeling so capable as I conquered my way through the challenges.

I asked God for the wherewithal to be a mom. Felt myself hanging on for dear life while not feeling much life at all. My prayers were a roller coaster. But I felt myself breathe in the garden again sometime in April.

in April breathing again❤ this was a pivotal moment in my postpartum journey

God gave clarity and help where I was desperate for it. I broke stale habits. I gave up Instagram. I lived right inside my life. I stopped trying to hold so many intimate stories and began living mine more intimately. I became present. Less morbid.

I spent evenings drawing my life. I baked apple pie with a vengeance. I successfully made my own pie crust and totally filled the kitchen with smoke at least once! I began writing our family recipe book with familial notes and precious anecdotes. I got lost in fiction books and made festive garlands with cookie cutters, amazon cardboard boxes, and paint pens.

I wrote poetry in longer form, began a project which is personal to me and powerful in its story. I spent many long, warm afternoons in the garden with my children. I taught Shasta how to lie in the grass for the simple enjoyment of it. This felt like magic to him and he kept inviting me to do for days afterward.

I bonded with Heidi so strongly after our whirlwind early postpartum days. I had a beautiful 5-month journey nursing my daughter.

I enjoyed gardening with my son. Our sunflowers towered effortlessly and filled our kitchen. I harvested them in my living room during November and stamped seed packets for friends and family. We hosted our 6th Thanksgiving, and I finally got my collection going of special occasion serving dishes through thrift store finds. I wrote meaningful and important letters.

I soaked up my life.

At times it was a great big cheer. In others it was gritting my teeth and drinking lots of water. In much I found great comfort in Hebrews. This verse being one of those which wrapped around my vulnerable heart,

Hebrews 13:7-Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

It was an intense year, and yet, so happy. You see it on my face in so many of these photos. . .genuine happiness. Not just joy, but happiness.

I don’t know how to fully express this year, but it was restless and radiant. It was growing with the flowers. It was screeching. It was dry. It was joy. And it was sun. I was dead on feet and dry in heart many times over, but I’ve also never had a year so vibrantly full of life!

And I think I want to remember year 27 for how it made my smile brighter than I’ve ever known it. I think that really says it all.

This is 27.

Life at the Blue House

BIG. . .That Was 26

Perhaps my 26th year was the ugly part of a butterfly escaping its cocoon. It was beautiful. I had wings. But it was a glorious mess in constant movement.

photo credit: Hannah A.R. Stories

So many huge things happened this year. Experiencing the fullness of my son’s first year. Planning his 1st birthday party. Putting my story of infertility and healing on social media. (Up until then, it was not secret but neither was it out there for the “world” to see.)

Our small blue house getting renovated which essentially doubled the house (maybe more, because we have an amazing loft now too!!!) All except a corner of my kitchen was gutted!

In that time we lived in a tired trailer down the way from our house. In the peak of gardening season and springtime, we had home things displaced everywhere. . .on the porch, in our bright yellow shed, in the garden itself. Not to mention us! We were “displaced” too. It was wild!

In those 7 weeks, I published my second book, Hope Gives a Eulogy. This is my first book of poetry, and I say first because I hope to write more. The 96 poems within these pages explore how infertility impacts faith, friendship, marriage, and womanhood. While infertility is a harsh pain, Hope Gives a Eulogy sheds light on the hope, resilience, and love that endures within this heartache! It is a personal testimony of the healing God did in my forever season.

I also finished weaning my 9-month-old son having followed his lead and putting no pressure on myself to keep it up. We had such a positive experience and making it to 9 months was a true dream!

Mother’s Day💓

With that said, I did have some major hormone crashes + our whole family faced prolonged sickness in the spring. We also got baby chicks during those 7 weeks which we kept warm and safe in that little trailer kitchen. There truly was a method to our madness, and I don’t regret it, but also WHY DID WE DO THAT.

Shortly before our 6th wedding anniversary, we moved back into our much bigger, bright blue house. It wasn’t fully completed, but it was fully able to move into!

Ever since that May day, we’ve been settling in more and more. We still have piles to work through and things to purge, but it’s starting to feel more like the home we’ve always known together.

I’m loving it!

This year’s garden was terrible and lovely. I planted seeds so many times and was almost always being disappointed in the end.

Entire sunflower heads were stolen by squirrels before they could bloom! My rose bushes got attacked more than once. It felt like my whole garden was on the brink of total death in August, but through some extra nurturing care, spring came in September. In October, I filled a vase with a bouquet of zinnias, geraniums, and a rose.

That single October vase of flowers felt like my only true harvest of the year. Still we did have beautiful May roses, scrawny, scraggly sunflowers, and one Mother’s Day geranium (out of the 3) thrive. All while our son’s flower came back to life, a once pitiful flower bed filled with bright pink blooms, and our mums grew back in after getting their tops and leaves eaten!

We think our garden especially suffered this year as the balance of nature and wildlife was so tossed and ruffled due to house renovations. Needless to say that our garden, while lovely, was a terrible time!

Well, let’s get this post moving by rewinding to July.


The day I found out I was shocked! I was about to call it negative when that line appeared, and then my jaw dropped. I was out and about that day (or just days after finding out) and one of my friends hilariously said, “Your hair looks crazy.” Bahahahahaaa! I mentioned being tired (which was true), but also I think my crazy hair had more to do with being absolutely flabbergasted by the news of being pregnant with another child already. What a miracle!! How loved she is!

halfway with baby girl! In the 3rd trimester January 7, day after my birthday!!

Pregnancy is a season I treasure with each child I’m given, but it is difficult, and I don’t enjoy or thrive for most of it. I think many women could say that! I am, however, so excited to give birth and hold her in my arms and watch her grow just as I do Shasta. He is a delight, and the word I use to describe my son is music. And he really is music! I can’t wait to discover the word my daughter already is.

My 26th year was one of change. Of settling into poetry, into motherhood, into our home. Of fumbling with these new wings. Of being in constant movement. Of watching my son grow and holding another miracle in my womb.

Of being afraid of this good season and these good gifts and learning to trust God with the vulnerability of happiness and joy. But my poetry in Girl with Good Bones best describes these last few years so tangled in grief and joy. (You can download and read for free here.)

The year 26 has been absolutely big. That’s the word for it. Big. Big gifts. Big surprises. Big changes. Big blessings. Big growth. Big life (minus the garden, that was scraggly, holding on for dear, beautiful life).

So, I’m going into 27 with a heart ready to step into the growth that has begun, to settle into life as it is now, to celebrate knowing I am safe with God.


That is my prayer for 27.

Certain God is with me and will be with me always. Certain His presence will always be more than enough. Certain He will heal and hold me through whatever comes my way in the future. Certain of Who He is, growing absolutely deeper in that knowledge. Certain I am safe in Him to fearlessly enjoy this life from Him.

Certain of the freedom to live unafraid in all this goodness, because “You, O Lord are my hope and trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon You I have leaned from before my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of You!” (Psalm 71:5-6, exclaimation added).

photo credit: Hannah A.R. Stories

So yes, a Happy Birthday, indeed.

Welcome, 27.

It is well with my soul!

Life & Learning

Dear 20

new lungs

You came in a rush, chasing any sort of gloominess away. With the promise of marriage to Ben and a beautiful ring on my finger, you welcomed me with love.

And the hectic sort of happiness that comes with being engaged. There were plans to be made and people to ask, things to organize, and tears to cry. There was the white dress to buy and the decor to choose from. There were bridal magazines to rifle through, and my stick figure rough sketch of how the wedding was to look.

But despite all the wedding day plans, there was other life to live.

Dear 20, Continue reading “Dear 20”