Life at the Blue House

My 27th Year – Joy & Growing Pains

It was a year for growing pains. For getting the wind knocked right out of me. It was our best garden season ever. It was giving birth and the story of it being filled with God’s presence, power, and wonderfully woven work.

It was Heidi growing with the flowers. And me too. It was feeling more settled than ever in motherhood and gritting through the 1-2 kid transition. It was feeling so capable as I conquered my way through the challenges.

I asked God for the wherewithal to be a mom. Felt myself hanging on for dear life while not feeling much life at all. My prayers were a roller coaster. But I felt myself breathe in the garden again sometime in April.

in April breathing again❀ this was a pivotal moment in my postpartum journey

God gave clarity and help where I was desperate for it. I broke stale habits. I gave up Instagram. I lived right inside my life. I stopped trying to hold so many intimate stories and began living mine more intimately. I became present. Less morbid.

I spent evenings drawing my life. I baked apple pie with a vengeance. I successfully made my own pie crust and totally filled the kitchen with smoke at least once! I began writing our family recipe book with familial notes and precious anecdotes. I got lost in fiction books and made festive garlands with cookie cutters, amazon cardboard boxes, and paint pens.

I wrote poetry in longer form, began a project which is personal to me and powerful in its story. I spent many long, warm afternoons in the garden with my children. I taught Shasta how to lie in the grass for the simple enjoyment of it. This felt like magic to him and he kept inviting me to do for days afterward.

I bonded with Heidi so strongly after our whirlwind early postpartum days. I had a beautiful 5-month journey nursing my daughter.

I enjoyed gardening with my son. Our sunflowers towered effortlessly and filled our kitchen. I harvested them in my living room during November and stamped seed packets for friends and family. We hosted our 6th Thanksgiving, and I finally got my collection going of special occasion serving dishes through thrift store finds. I wrote meaningful and important letters.

I soaked up my life.

At times it was a great big cheer. In others it was gritting my teeth and drinking lots of water. In much I found great comfort in Hebrews. This verse being one of those which wrapped around my vulnerable heart,

Hebrews 13:7-Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

It was an intense year, and yet, so happy. You see it on my face in so many of these photos. . .genuine happiness. Not just joy, but happiness.

I don’t know how to fully express this year, but it was restless and radiant. It was growing with the flowers. It was screeching. It was dry. It was joy. And it was sun. I was dead on feet and dry in heart many times over, but I’ve also never had a year so vibrantly full of life!

And I think I want to remember year 27 for how it made my smile brighter than I’ve ever known it. I think that really says it all.

This is 27.

infertility · motherhood

Zinnias, August 1st, & a Folded Paper of Dreams

I scribbled out my dreams for the future. I wrote of children who would garden with me and complain about it, but I wouldn’t mind, because I would be just so happy they were there with me. A folded piece of paper stuck in a between the pages. Who knew if it would happen? Who knew if it could.

But it did.

2022 zinnia with Shasta’s red wagon in the background and the spent flowers inside already dumped out in the pathway. I better go pick those up soon!πŸ˜‚

Of course, I couldn’t believe my eyes. But it was true. The next nine months passed as they do, and on the fourth day past my due date, I was finally in labor. It was August 1st, and he was coming.

I walked out to the garden and cut some zinnias before we made our way to the hospital. It felt like an important thing to do. It was celebratory in its own way. Even though I had been in labor all day and had contractions all through the previous night, I had more laboring ahead. We came home for the night with instructions to come back the following morning. I didn’t pick any more zinnias, and by the next morning I was much too along to easily do much of anything else besides labor! We were going to have a baby! We were about to meet our son.

It was a birth I won’t soon forget. And full of laughter. I will always remember his birth has one of laughter! A beautiful foreshadowing of our life with him. We brought our Shasta home to sunflowers and zinnias.

I remember looking at him and thinking, “I can’t believe he’s real.” And I remember the moment I realized we’d have our Shasta-boy past the newborn stage. We had our son for keeps. I remember feeling that certain sadness all mothers feel when realizing your child won’t stay this little baby forever, but I also remember realizing how exciting it would be to have conversations with him as a young man.

And so time moves as it does and I find myself in the garden on August 1st again.

Shasta has outgrown his yellow boots and walks around in his blue ones. The sunflowers are towering giants. The zinnias are begging for attention. The garden needs some tending. I cut the zinnias and stop his young hand from picking the one not yet bloomed! Such earnest “help!” I place the cut zinnias in water and hand him his own to stick in the water too. Soon after I begin trimming out spent flowers. I reach across the flower bed to give my son the old and done flowers to put in our weed bucket which will soon be stored in his red wagon along with a piece of bark he found. He says “tank u!” multiple times as flower stems and old things cross from me to him.

We are gardening together.

It must make God smile to see it. . .

Two years later the woman who scribbled dreams on a piece of paper has a jar of zinnias, a bucket of spent flowers, a son to garden alongside, and a baby daughter nearby. Over the years, time has felt both cruel and beautiful. But with God it has always gone to good places. Somehow in His miraculous, healing, redemptive, and purposeful work, He made the barren woman sing before children and then made her a joyful mother of them.

Shasta, Heidi, and I fumble through the garden gate in the unlikely cool of an August morning. We’re a fun group, but not a very graceful one! Two’s a party, three’s a crowd as they say.

Naturally, I disagree.

Shasta runs around in his blue toddler boots or crocs depending. Heidi experiences the garden for her first spring and summer. In many ways, I toddle too as I experience so many firsts as a mother. Nonetheless, I water and watch us all grow.

The story unfolds vibrantly, and I have found it is the zinnias who tell the time.

Two whole years.

Then and now.

All to good places. The zinnias tick away this lovely mayhem of life. And we grab hold. With gusto. With flowers on the kitchen table.

I think I have a new tradition every first of August.

Life at the Blue House

They Gave a Backbone to Happiness // words for our 7th Anniversary

Our garden tells the story. Our bright yellow shed. The way we approach each new spring. How we laugh together.

It’s been seven years of marriage.

We wear our ugly crocs and go out in the garden in the evening after our children go to bed. He waters. I trim roses. We admire our tiny bursting sunflowers every day. In awe at how they’ve grown.

We walk on the garden path of stones, almost completed. I pick up our little boy’s toys all over the garden. Our two plastic hand-me-down chairs sit side by side tilted on the grassy hillside. We make plans for the rose bed. Note the new growth on our daughter’s rose bush. It’s a story we’re living in exploding color.

And I celebrate seven years with the poem I wrote for Hope Gives a Eulogy. Because this story which the garden tells and our laughter accompanies, began years ago when in our earlier youth we stumbled through the graveyard, harsh reality nipping at our heels.

From the grave the garden grew and our love deeper with it.

Backbone

Happy people live here.

Bright yellow, light blue,

Big parties, belly laughter,

And year-round Christmas lights.

Happy people live here

Even after the music box

Abruptly changed its tune.

Happy people live here.

Making up magic and merriness,

Composing a new anthem

For easily missed things

Too big to fit in a box.

Happy people, the happiest

They gave a backbone to 

Happiness.

While harsh realities nipped at our heels we cultivated life with our fingertips. Side by side. Until the bright yellow on the walls became the bright yellow in our laughter and the music box got swallowed by the music of a garden that keeps on growing.

We pass through the garden gate made of splintered scraps of wood, and close it for the night. We walk by the sunflowers, step into our home, children sleeping soundly.

Indeed, it has been happy.

A grave. A garden. A dying, living, growing thing.

Indeed, it is us wrapped in seven years of love.

A story hard-won.

Poetry

How We Met

While he technically asked to write me letters in late July (we didnt know each other at all save for being distant acquaintances), we had a face-to-face conversation for the first time about those getting-to-know-you letters on August 03, 2013 and our son was due late July but born August 02, 2020.

Beautiful, fun time things.😊