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.
There are a couple times a year that tend to be real time markers for me.
The New Year/My Birthday (January 6)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.❤
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.
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.
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.
Our garden tells the story. Our bright yellow shed. The way we approach each new spring. How we laugh together.
It’s been seven years of marriage.
We wear our ugly crocs and go out in the garden in the evening after our children go to bed. He waters. I trim roses. We admire our tiny bursting sunflowers every day. In awe at how they’ve grown.
We walk on the garden path of stones, almost completed. I pick up our little boy’s toys all over the garden. Our two plastic hand-me-down chairs sit side by side tilted on the grassy hillside. We make plans for the rose bed. Note the new growth on our daughter’s rose bush. It’s a story we’re living in exploding color.
And I celebrate seven years with the poem I wrote for Hope Gives a Eulogy. Because this story which the garden tells and our laughter accompanies, began years ago when in our earlier youth we stumbled through the graveyard, harsh reality nipping at our heels.
From the grave the garden grew and our love deeper with it.
Happy people live here.
Bright yellow, light blue,
Big parties, belly laughter,
And year-round Christmas lights.
Happy people live here
Even after the music box
Abruptly changed its tune.
Happy people live here.
Making up magic and merriness,
Composing a new anthem
For easily missed things
Too big to fit in a box.
Happy people, the happiest
They gave a backbone to
While harsh realities nipped at our heels we cultivated life with our fingertips. Side by side. Until the bright yellow on the walls became the bright yellow in our laughter and the music box got swallowed by the music of a garden that keeps on growing.
We pass through the garden gate made of splintered scraps of wood, and close it for the night. We walk by the sunflowers, step into our home, children sleeping soundly.
Indeed, it has been happy.
A grave. A garden. A dying, living, growing thing.