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.

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

I’m Going to Be Here Too

Garden Lullaby, April 15, 2020

SO VERY WOW!!

I love that flowers have taught me how to anticipate life. It’s exciting to see the buds and watch them slowly expand. And it’s thrilling to look and suddenly see a flower in all its glory! I would go so far as to say it’s the 8th wonder of the world.

Flowers help me look forward, but they also teach me to sit still. This daisy won’t be here forever, but while it’s here, I’m going to be here too. I’m going to savor this beautiful thing, and I’m going to be excited for all the beautiful things coming next.

Plant your feet.


Two years later and that little daisy bush (originally purchased as a plastic pot of flowers from the grocery store) is going strong! It spreads and billows and multiplies. While this is the end our Garden Lullaby series, the garden journey, this billowing-out life of mine is far from over.

Pictured below is an ultrasound of our second child due any day this spring. I began gardening when my husband and I were in the deep end of infertility, and now as the garden grows, so does our family. God did the miracle of life in more ways than only giving us children (and you can read that journey in Hope Gives a Eulogy), but He has given us children as part of this life saga, and I savor the gift!

I am surrounded by miracles. I love that the garden is a picture of my soul, of what God has healed, made well, made beautiful in me and around me.

And so maybe it’s true. . .

Perhaps the best and most spectacular stories really do begin in the most unlikely of places.

Like a grocery cart.

Garden Lullaby

Picture of Life in a Broken, Grieving Woman

Garden Lullaby, April 3, 2020

WE FINALLY HAVE A GARDEN!

photo of our garden late summer 2020 // we brought our firstborn home to zinnias, sunflowers, rose bushes, and more! what life!

The tiny porch garden spread to the side of the house then spilled farther over into a rose bed which gave way to a vegetable raised bed which needed a flower bed for company and a fairy garden to boot and a patched together gate to get in and, of course, MORE PLANTS TO COME SOON! Small baby steps. . .that’s the way!

This has been 2 years in the making, a picture of healing, and a display of God doing life with a very broken, grieving woman!

WOW.

Gardening will always be one of my biggest & best life surprises and one of the most obvious places I can see the history of God’s very intimate care + love for me.


tomorrow holds our last post in the Garden Lullaby series! I am so glad to have transferred this journey of my garden beginnings from Instagram to my blog and a Google Docs. It’s important to me I keep it somewhere more settled and safe than the loud clanking of social media. The garden truly has been a place of healing, joy, and brightness. Yes, brightness! I have been held, seen, and known by God, and He has used flowers to show me that great love. Going forward, I’ll continue to post about the garden, share poetry, and invite you on this beautiful, surprising journey of my life amongst life.