Garden Lullaby

To Bloom in Winter

The January Garden // 2023

Truth be told I have not spent very much of January in the garden. I’ve caught snippets of sunshine, taken snapshots here and there, but I’ve been indoors most of all.

Cat is either not too thrilled with winter or telling me to put the phone down already and pet him, ha-ha!! Both?!

January began with the ending of the holiday season and my 28th birthday. It was also the most calm I’d ever walked into the New Year. I didn’t feel any big way about it and didn’t feel any grandstanding pressure to make changes, start anew, or begin fresh. I feel as though I’ve been on a pretty big course for change since I had my firstborn in 2020, my second in 2022, and since I gave up Instagram last summer.

I’m on a good course. God is with me.❤

I know I’ll get to the end of this year and see more of what He’s done in me and around me. If I walk with God every day I will have done the most important thing. In that communion with Christ I will grow and even feel the freedom to be still and to just enjoy. It won’t be “A Whole New Me,” it will be me, WHOLE.💖

root system from one of my zinnias in 2022

After the New Year and birthday celebrations came the getting back into life routines and working hard to meet a pretty big and exciting deadline. I’m thankful for this season in which the garden all but sleeps, and I stay under blankets resting, reading, dreaming, planning, and concentrating my efforts on making good soups, party planning for Valentines, the spring, and beyond, and most of all—completing those big writing projects I won’t have as much time (or patience) for in the spring or summer.

early January daisy budding

Still there are flowers that bloom in the January garden.

The beauty is sparse, but it’s there. And I wonder what it might be like to bloom before everything feels put to right in the spring and falls into place for the season. It seems like a lonely time.

sometimes there’s no pomp and circumstance when you bloom. you just do & you’re glad of it.

This is naive thinking, because these flowers are just fine. They are better than fine. They are thriving. It was always going to be winter for them and they were always going to love blooming right in the depth of it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, don’t you think?☺

Any flower blooming in winter is a reminder of what’s to come, but also an anthem of the life already here.

In the height of spring doesn’t it sometimes feel like life gets lost in the shuffle? But when it’s winter and there is only some bloom, you savor every ounce of it. That’s the gift of winter—the pausing and savoring of life wherever it is staring you in the face, loud and clear.

I think February will find the garden much the same except for these daisies will quite possibly burst in great numbers. I may spot my first buttercup of the season and there will more than likely be new growth on many of my roses. I soak in these quiet months when the year isn’t flying by. . .yet.

When spring shows her face we will hit the ground running and we will love it. The garden will bloom. It will be a parade of beauty. The sun will be warm and the afternoons long. It will be iced tea and iced coffee, muddy feet, and water from the hose accidentally soaking us.

these daisies open wide for the sun every day and turn in for the night

But for now it’s frozen puddles and purple daisies you can count on one hand. It’s stems and old sunflower stalks. It’s the yellow wildflowers still dancing with winter and it’s waiting for everything underground to show its face. It’s knowing it will. And discovering that you like to wait. At least for this.☺

Waiting in winter means spring.

And it’s the small, few & far between flowers blooming in these colder, quiet months that carry us until then! Their whispers are loud. . .More to come. Life is in the forecast.

And we agree!

Happy Winter, indeed.

Garden Lullaby

Old Winter Prayer, God’s Blessing & the November Garden

November came with the bursting of my son’s flower. It was gifted to us when friends found out we were pregnant with our boy. It then had quite the story in the ground then trampled, then in a Lowe’s paint bucket where it recovered, and then in the ground again where it has bloomed to bursting and will stay! I love the vibrancy of these blooms. An accurate portrayal of the joy of my son and his love for life.

I came across a prayer in my journal from January 7. Part of it read,

“Lord, please bless my garden this year. I’ve never really prayed that way before, but only You can bless it.”

I don’t typically share my prayers like this, but I sat stunned after I read this from January 7. With Heidi on the way ahead of the spring season, we weren’t making the spring garden an elaborate thing. Truth be told we never have a detailed plan. We never get to all our seeds. It’s just Ben and I throwing seeds at the wind. Figuratively, of course. But really when I picture Ben and I as gardeners, we are just laughing out in the yard, throwing seeds at the wind.

We put seeds in rather haphazardly and see what happens. We offer so little expertise to it. Every year we get a little more established, a bit more nurturing, but far from the gardening crowd. This year we “threw the seeds in” and were going to just let the garden be whatever it was going to be. We’d put our hands to it, of course, but we were having a baby. That was going to be our spring!

In the midst of postpartum, newborn days, and life, the garden truly didn’t always get what we should have given to it. But the sunflowers towered effortlessly, anyway. The rose bushes thrived–blooming in May, June, October, and November. Mums changed from stark white to a beautiful tint of purple and even some becoming purple in full. We built a playhouse. I laid in grass for hours on end with the children growing, playing, and thriving right alongside the roses. The planted wildlfowers surprised me. The morning glories were glorious. The grape vine bore fruit. It was sour, but it was loads of fun! We had snow peas. We had green grass all through the summer! It was all the sweeter having planted many of our seeds a few days before Heidi’s birth.

all these zinnias were planted a few days before Heidi’s birth☺❤

This November I walk into the house on a cold Saturday with a pile of colorful zinnias. I sit on the living room floor harvesting hundreds of sunflower seeds. Later, I’ll sit at my desk stamping seed packets for family and friends. I’ll smile at zinnias leaning over their flower bed and looking as though they are saying “hello!”

“hello!💖”

That January 7 prayer I forgot, “Lord, please bless my garden this year,” was answered tenfold.

my son’s flower just bursting!!

I gave birth to a spring baby and my garden had the spring of its life.

I’ll never get over the gift of this year’s garden. November felt like its last hoorah. As we’ve turned into December, the roses die back. The grape vine leaves turn yellow. I am drawn to look down at the garden floor scattered with leaves across the stones and grass. It is stunning.

That red rose bush you’ve seen throughout is finally succumbing. It has carried the song “What a beautiful year, what a wonderful spring, the year of your daughter, God’s blessing over us, joy!”

As the garden quiets it is my turn to sing. To let the year of God’s abundance and blessing rest heavy on me until it is I who bursts into Thanksgiving.

And I do.

the garden Thanksgiving week💖

God answered my old winter prayer. He blessed the garden. And I experienced the entire stunning saga.

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.

motherhood

Sunflowers, Summer Son

Our first sunflower of the season bloomed in the second week of July. I love sunflowers. They remind me of the summer I was pregnant with my son. That first time experiencing all the emotions that come with the final weeks of pregnancy, the excitement, the unknown, and the natural way your mind just starts preparing and anticipating for a very real labor of love.

39 or so weeks with our boy late July 2020!

I ate my share of strawberries summer 2020, grew sunflowers for the very first time, took pictures under the sunflower’s giant shower head, passed the time watching makeup videos on YouTube (I know, it doesn’t seem like I would enjoy those, but I do!), took walks, bounced on the ole pregnancy ball, picked zinnias in early labor, and eventually, after a loooong labor and a laughter-filled delivery, I brought my firstborn son home to sunflowers.

Summer used to be so hard.

August especially.

Then God gave me my son born in the summer in August. And sunflowers made up the backdrop.

2 weeks or so postpartum with our long-awaited miracle boy August 2020!

What a love story.❤ Naturally, the ground squirrles ravaged those sunflowers soon after. They bent low and looked a bit like mayhem, but sunflowers remain such a celebration of summertime and a reminder of the beautiful summer I experienced. . .and right in the midst of 2020 when the world and everyone felt as though we were falling apart at the seams.

We still deal with that fallout today, but 2020 was not only anger, confusion, angst, and scares. It was sunflowers, and babies, and laughter, and hospital rooms bursting with new life, and moms rocking their babies to sleep, and men learning how to be dads. And loving it.

In 2021 when I was pregnant with my daughter, I wrote a poem that seems fitting to share in this post. We can live so scared of the times and we can be fearful for our children, but neither is how God wants us to go about birth, or parenthood, or birthdays, or life spent here. . .in this broken world.


BIRTH IN TIMES LIKE THESE

They said it would be
too scary to bring
a baby
into this kind of
world.

As if someone’s birthday 
shouldn’t happen
because we think only
in nightmares.

As if the weight
of our worry
is their reality
forever.

As if we are the
pirates
of all peace
and goodness.

As if God ran out
of His beauty
and power
and kindness
and love
the moment
we grew up
to give birth to the children
we wouldn’t even have
without
the hand of God.

Maybe it would be scary
if it was me
who brought this baby
instead of God
who brought this baby
to me.

but it’s just me
in an invitation 
to hold my baby and see
so many good things
happen
after naively believing
only nightmares
come true.

-S.V.F


Summer sun in the sky and summer son beneath sunflowers. My arms are open wide to life earthside. I will celebrate all that is good and lovely with thanks to God the Most High. My stakes are in the ground.

I am not afraid.

Here but heavenward.