infertility · The Celebrating Soul

When Autumn Is Just a Moldy Pumpkin

Upon choosing a title for the email I send every Monday, I picked “It’s Okay If It Stinks.” So sophisticated, I know. While I’ve been basking in the autumn season and all the fall things, the photo below popped up on my memories last week, and regardless of it popping up, I think about it often enough.


This squashed pumpkin was Fall 2017 in every way. I don’t really have any other photos to mark that time, and honestly, this one says it all.

FALL 2017 STUNK.

This pumpkin was a result of my trying to host a fun little fall carving pumpkin get-together. You know, making the most of things and whatnot. It was fine and all, but I stabbed my thumb with a knife on accident and said thumb got really infected. . .turned green! Apart from that, our truck was a mess and blew a tire on the freeway on the way to church!!! We were officially a year+ into no baby. I was soaking my thumb in garlic, oil, and whatnot and it was one of the worst falls ever! I don’t have anything good to say about it. Okay, I don’t! It was hard. Bottom line. End of story.

But it didn’t stay hard.

Or I should say. . .it didn’t stay hard without hope & healing.

The next fall (2018) I was rolling out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of pumpkins to throw a harvest party. And it was a big deal to be in a place mentally and spiritually to throw a party. Just that spring we had rolled out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of flowers,  officially beginning our Porch Garden.

Fall 2019 would arrive and I’d be even more settled into life despite infertility. I’d be hosting a girl’s fall party with my friend, eating too many sweets, breaking out like a Junior Higher, thinking maybe I’d had too many sweets! BUT ACTUALLY IT WAS MY BABY BOY and the hormones were just raging! (I probably also had too many sweets, heheeeee, no regrets, but the breakout was totally baby-related!)

But Fall 2017 was just a moldy pumpkin.

It was nothing good. It was the season that marks where I used to be before healing, help, freedom, and LIFE. I love to look back now because I see what God has done, but I don’t kid myself into twisiting that season in and of itself into something beautiful. It wasn’t. What is beautiful? That God didn’t let me stay there. He didn’t let me stay consumed by my envy, jealousy, or anger. Didn’t let me stay stuck in grief. God answered my deep questioning of His goodness with Himself and I was satisfied! God heard me, saw me, helped me! WAS WITH ME. That is the beautiful thing. But not Fall 2017. Nothing beautiful about then.

So if you’re in a fall season that’s a squashed, moldy pumpkin,  you don’t have to try and make it anything different. It is hard. It is painful. It does stink. So bring all of that rawness to God. And whether or not you see the hoped-for change of season this side of heaven, you will know satisfaction in God, comfort in His Presence, amazement that even when pain stays the story it doesn’t stay the story.

I can’t tell you what you’ll get to look back on in a few years. I can’t say whether or not Fall 2022 is your beginning mark. But I can say with certainty life in God is not disappointing even when life itself is disappointing. God transforms, heals, teaches, grows, helps, sees, hears, IS WITH US. His Presence is everything, and we are made radiant as we seek Him with our life however life this side of heaven turns out, or doesn’t.

Rooting for you, trusting God with you, let’s live.

-S.V.F.

Poetry

Limping Wings// A Poem for Staying in Your Life

I had no idea I’d get a rose this big when my little garden began alongside my limping heart on Mother’s Day 2018. It just took about four years to bloom this big, but less than that for me to lift my head and love the life I had.

My encouragement to you is STAY.

Stay in your life. Stay in your days. Stay in your walk with God. It may not turn out the way you wanted it to initially, but in the staying, there will be good, radiance, comfort, stunning gifts and blessings from God.

And you will be blown away by it.


Limping Wings, Trying

I see you
with your
limping wings,
trying to smell
the roses,
catching yourself
on thorns
instead.lift your head
and breathe.
you’re in the garden
aren’t you?
all in
and halfway there!go on, try again.
there’s no rushing
this kind of
life.
you fell
hard
somewhere
good.

-S.V.F.

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.

Poetry

When They Call You Pretty

It may sound a little crazy but it feels like there’s this idea floating around that beauty = ugly, or beauty = bad, or even, beauty = a vain woman.

But I disagree.

Beauty may be vain in that it doesn’t last and isn’t the end-all/be-all, but a beautiful woman is not automatically vain (or mean!) because she is beautiful. We are far too busy running away from beauty, feeling insecure about it, or feeling without it.

Enough is enough!

So, what if we weren’t afraid of beauty? In ourselves and in others?!

What if we weren’t afraid of however it shows up in our lives?

What happens when we don’t back down from what is lovely and what God made beautiful?

Of course, beauty isn’t the only thing, but it is a good thing, and a good thing we don’t have to be afraid of noticing, acknowledging, and even having. May we not impose a fear of beauty in our daughters. May we raise daughters and be daughters who can hear YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and not feel threatened by the words or fearful of being defined by it.

God made beauty beauty.

And that is good!

What If Pretty Isn’t

you can be bright, bold,

and all beautiful too.

unashamed of your house

built tall, built strong,

a presence against the wind.

don’t hide the lilt of your eyes,

or the warmth of your smile

like morning light at dawn,

or fireflies at dusk

don’t shrink when they call you pretty,

or shake when they see your beauty,

or be afraid of all that isn’t

ugly, self-conscious, or plain.

just lift your face

to the One who made you.

steady your house toward the Sun,

outstretch your arms and your heart

to the heavens

in praise to the God of your life.

He who made beauty beauty

and us to marvel

in the beautiful work

of His hands

however it shows up

in our lives. . .

as flowers, or oceans,

or stunning blue eyes.

as crow’s feet rivers,

freckles, or dimples.

as youth, or old age,

in lovely faces that shine.

. . .all of us dotted with stars

like the evening sky,

or swathed in the brilliance

of sunrise.

and what if, what if, what if?

pretty isn’t a bad thing.

. . .this said zinnia softly

to very beautiful girl crying

in the garden.

-S.V.F.