infertility · The Celebrating Soul

When Autumn Is Just a Moldy Pumpkin

Upon choosing a title for the email I send every Monday, I picked “It’s Okay If It Stinks.” So sophisticated, I know. While I’ve been basking in the autumn season and all the fall things, the photo below popped up on my memories last week, and regardless of it popping up, I think about it often enough.


This squashed pumpkin was Fall 2017 in every way. I don’t really have any other photos to mark that time, and honestly, this one says it all.

FALL 2017 STUNK.

This pumpkin was a result of my trying to host a fun little fall carving pumpkin get-together. You know, making the most of things and whatnot. It was fine and all, but I stabbed my thumb with a knife on accident and said thumb got really infected. . .turned green! Apart from that, our truck was a mess and blew a tire on the freeway on the way to church!!! We were officially a year+ into no baby. I was soaking my thumb in garlic, oil, and whatnot and it was one of the worst falls ever! I don’t have anything good to say about it. Okay, I don’t! It was hard. Bottom line. End of story.

But it didn’t stay hard.

Or I should say. . .it didn’t stay hard without hope & healing.

The next fall (2018) I was rolling out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of pumpkins to throw a harvest party. And it was a big deal to be in a place mentally and spiritually to throw a party. Just that spring we had rolled out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of flowers,  officially beginning our Porch Garden.

Fall 2019 would arrive and I’d be even more settled into life despite infertility. I’d be hosting a girl’s fall party with my friend, eating too many sweets, breaking out like a Junior Higher, thinking maybe I’d had too many sweets! BUT ACTUALLY IT WAS MY BABY BOY and the hormones were just raging! (I probably also had too many sweets, heheeeee, no regrets, but the breakout was totally baby-related!)

But Fall 2017 was just a moldy pumpkin.

It was nothing good. It was the season that marks where I used to be before healing, help, freedom, and LIFE. I love to look back now because I see what God has done, but I don’t kid myself into twisiting that season in and of itself into something beautiful. It wasn’t. What is beautiful? That God didn’t let me stay there. He didn’t let me stay consumed by my envy, jealousy, or anger. Didn’t let me stay stuck in grief. God answered my deep questioning of His goodness with Himself and I was satisfied! God heard me, saw me, helped me! WAS WITH ME. That is the beautiful thing. But not Fall 2017. Nothing beautiful about then.

So if you’re in a fall season that’s a squashed, moldy pumpkin,  you don’t have to try and make it anything different. It is hard. It is painful. It does stink. So bring all of that rawness to God. And whether or not you see the hoped-for change of season this side of heaven, you will know satisfaction in God, comfort in His Presence, amazement that even when pain stays the story it doesn’t stay the story.

I can’t tell you what you’ll get to look back on in a few years. I can’t say whether or not Fall 2022 is your beginning mark. But I can say with certainty life in God is not disappointing even when life itself is disappointing. God transforms, heals, teaches, grows, helps, sees, hears, IS WITH US. His Presence is everything, and we are made radiant as we seek Him with our life however life this side of heaven turns out, or doesn’t.

Rooting for you, trusting God with you, let’s live.

-S.V.F.

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

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

Life Is in the Forecast

Garden Lullaby, January 9, 2020

The beauty of January is how it surprises us with stunning corners of hope.

And these lonesome blooms are a banner for all the MORE that is to come. What a powerful job to be a beacon of hope.

Abundant life is in the forecast.

Garden Lullaby, January 15, 2020

Many of you already know and have been celebrating with us! My husband and I will welcome our firstborn come July. 

It’s been a wild ride since the holiday season and I’m still stunned even now. If you’ve read my Monday emails over the last couple years you know the ins and outs of this. What kindness + healing God continues to bestow!

How fitting to take this photo next to our January flower that’s marvelously beginning to bloom through the cold & drab dreariness.

Nothing is impossible for God.

Here we see more living proof.

How grateful I am that God remains with me through every burst of life, every moment of healing, every second of grief, every new adventure I know next to nothing about. I have been overwhelmed but I am learning to rest and to receive and to rejoice.

I am safe with God.


this pregnancy announcement was made in January 2020 and we are now awaiting our second child due in a few weeks. I wrote a collection of poetry, Girl with Good Bones (FREE for you to download!) about the process of learning to live again after so much grief, how joy feels dangerous, but ultimately, God is with us and we can let the flowers grow without fear of them choking us. It’s been and is a long lesson I’m learning, road I’m on.

get your free download of Girl with Good BonesDownload Girl with Good Bones!