Garden Lullaby

Magic of California Autumn // The September Garden

It’s eating fresh-picked, late-summer blackberries on the first day it feels like autumn is in the air. It’s how you are soaking in the last vestiges of summer but enraptured by every gust of wind making a leaf flurry center stage. And you just there in the front seat.

It’s the first day you’re outside and the air around you has suddenly shifted. It’s the first huge rain that comes down in buckets and cats and dogs and every other rain idiom you can think of.

It’s the warmth of the sunshine, but the coolness of the shade. It’s how every last day in the garden is heightened in its enjoyment as the season slowly turns. It’s how long these lasts last.

This is the magic of California Autumn.

Summer hangs on tightly. Spring even seems to show itself. The bursts of life are so bright against the dying leaves now piling in the garden. Yet even these blooms, bright as they may be, have an older look to them.

The garden as a whole does not seem near as playful. California Autumn is a gentle thing. Not dramatc. Not rushed. Not swayed by our opinions or impatience. It changes when it does. Wraps us in sunshine. Finds us in the garden with a plethora of zinnias, barefeet, babies lying on colorful quilts and us lying in the grass.

The September Garden has been absolutely stunning. Even its abundance, it does not have the youthful blush of spring, but I wouldn’t want it too. It’s beautiful when framed by our little corner of the world about to storm. It holds its own as the year gets old and the leaves fall and gather.

Every color, every rose bloom carefully bursting, every last long and warm afternoon has an enchantment only to be tasted this time of year.

And we are full.

Full having spent a year wrapped in the blessings of the Lord, welcoming our second child, experiencing our best garden season to date, pushing our son in the swing for months on end, back and forth, watching him grow right before our eyes, cultivating life inside and outside the garden gate.

The magic of California Autumn is the beauty and excitement experienced within it despite the lack of pomp and circumstance. And the joy of autumn itself is gathering up the stories of your year and sitting within the goodness of God. Maybe not making sense of everything, but knowing with certainty that nothing makes sense without Him.

And here you are. Perhaps a bit like my September Garden.

Abundance and weariness. Blooming but not youthful. Radiant as you weather the storm and those yet to come. It’s beautiful here in a way spring can never attain. Beautiful in a way hard to explain.

So I’ll go barefoot in autumn and be smitten by the novelty of it.

A Happy Fall, indeed.

infertility · Poetry

How Thoroughly God Gives Life!

In 2020, while a child grew in me, I returned to the thing I had loved to do as a child. Writing poetry. And I wrote the years down. Infertility. My silent screaming. God’s history of love to me. My grief. The garden. The starkness of the bathroom floor. The healing. The escape from the grave. Hope Gives a Eulogy. How thoroughly God gives life! His miracles are many. His presence is everything.

artwork by the talented Emaline Westbrook!

It’s been one year since I published Hope Gives a Eulogy. What a gift to learn I could love God with all of me, fully trust Him and live in hope from Him without ever trying to make infertility the good thing. I could hate the pain without bitterness, grieve the loss extensively, and still completely love and be loved by God. I could experience His kindness without contorting His kindness into the brokeness of infertility. Anything good I experienced during infertility is because God changed it. He made the childless story different. He gave the barren woman LIFE. He didn’t let infertility stay the story.

And that was all before my my children.

And as I wrote my son in Hope Gives a Eulogy,

You were never missing,

But so many things were–

Joy and peace and healing,

Dreaming, breathing, being.

A real hopeful kind of living.

So I learned how to play

Hide and seek.

Sometimes, buried treasure

Is a box of lost and found.

And the garden is half-priced

Daisies in a grocery cart.

Maybe the eulogy is a prelude

For new life.

See what I mean?

I’ve got much more to tell you,

And I’m so glad you’ve come along!

I can’t wait to show you all the best

Hiding spots.

(There’s a lot.)

This is a story I’ll be telling forever. To my children, and should God give them, my children’s children. “Come and hear, all you who fear God,and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16

Truly God has kept my soul among the living! (Psalm 66:8)

It has been a profound journey of hope and healing. God turned my life into spring and then He gave me two children and expanded that springtime in huge ways. I know this story of God’s love and glory is far from over. I’m glad to have part of it written down. To have shared it with you. And here we are one year later.

To celebrate one year of Hope Gives a Eulogy out in the world, you can purchase this personal collection of 96 poems for half off the original price! This is the best deal to date and the offer goes through Mother’s Day should you find yourself or know a friend who is in a spring-less season this Mother’s Day. May these poems meet you wherever you are. Let me wait with you for however long it takes spring to burst in your soul again. And then some.💕

Perhaps the eulogy is, indeed, a prelude for new life.

-S.V.F.

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.

Garden Lullaby

Plant Your Feet in Chaos & Change

Garden Lullaby, March 24, 2020

I keep a little book filled with one line prayers, new thought patterns I want to instill, and personal motivation. Before Covid_19, I wrote something to the effect of “I will plant my feet in chaos and change.” Even before this crisis, I was feeling as though life was upended and transitionary. It felt unstable…not in bad ways, but in ways that came with new needs & unknowns. It’s that place of being in the unsettled middle. You can’t go backward and you love going forward, but forward looks like nothing you’ve known before. . .

So I resolved to plant my feet.

Put my rosebush in the ground.

Settle into life.

Be right where I was.

Then all the worldwide chaos entered! And yet, my personal resolve withstands: I will plant my feet in chaos and change.

I’m going to plant a garden. I’m going to tend to my home. I’m going to dream. I’m going to envision plans. I’m going to work hard and well. I’m going to prepare for our baby. I’m going to feed treats to the goats and organize our bright yellow shed and carry on. And it IS chaotic. But we’re right here. This is real. This is our place for life, for living. This is the time to plant ourselves again. This is precisely when we carry on.


Lest I Forget, poem

Birth in Times Like These, poem

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