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.

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.

Garden Lullaby · motherhood

Forget Not

Garden Lullaby, June 23, 2018

It’s been all about the goats over here, but look at this porch garden! The snapdragons are beginning to bloom again and the daisies found their magic spot. The mint is reaching for the skies (or at least the porch ceiling), and the avocados are getting ready to find a home in soil. Prettiest corner! 

This week was a little tiring for me in a few ways, but spending time with the goats and watering these plants forced me to nurture life even when life was feeling a little dry and hard. Every minute with the goats and with the flowers was (and is becoming) so rewarding. The goats come to me now and are sad when I leave. The daisies are reaching high and the tomatoes are getting ready to taste…even one of my snapdragons started to come alive again.

These are the beautiful (unnecessary) gifts poured into my life already overflowing with a crown of steadfast love given by God and the goodness and mercy of Him which follows me each day. I wake to these benefits every morning, and then Ieave the house to flowers and goats and loving coworkers and kids coming to summer camp.

This is my life which is not mine at all, but belongs to God. And this is exactly how God has planned and purposed it for me! What a thought full of freedom, full of life! Forget not all His benefits. My soul sings!


about this Garden Lullaby series

Birth in Times Like These, poem

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Garden Lullaby

Anticipation & Preparation

Garden Lullaby, May 22, 2018

I walked outside to my porch garden this morning to see a geranium beginning to bloom.I love it! LOOK how pretty it is as the gentle life is daring to see the light of day!

There is a snapdragon in the same flower pot as the geranium, but the snapdragon is (still) waiting to bloom. But you know something? In my eyes, the geranium has never taken beauty away from the snapdragon. The waiting and preparation wrapped in green buds has been its own kind of beauty, and I admire it!

I treasure the geranium as it blooms, and I anticipate the snapdragon for what it will be and I value the snapdragon as it undergoes the preparation process. AND I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES! I’m still enjoying and anticipating each flower. . .blooming or not. They all get water. They all get smiled at (a lot because I love my little garden!). they all have to dodge the paparazzi (me!). They all get admired and cared for. There’s not one I leave behind.

Guess what? You’re not left behind either! God is preparing you, anticipating you, delighting in you, loving you. That woman in the flower pot next to you? Not your competition, not some battle to conquer. Love her! Encourage her as she prepares. Rejoice with as she blooms. And know that God has a heart FULL of love toward all our growing, preparing, blooming hearts. God will not leave you undone and God will never leave you behind!


about this Garden Lullaby series

Hope Gives a Eulogy SALE!

Lest I Forget, poem