friday || 9.8.17


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I'm starting this post very simply by saying it's been a pleasant week and I am thankful for it.

The weekend lies ahead now and I am so glad it does.

Today holds a Home Goods stop, therapy for my Little, a phone chat with my bestie, bratwursts on the grill, the US Open men's semifinals, and watching the weekend roll in with my dearest people. I'm thoroughly content with today already.


~ A few of my favorite things this week ~

1. The P.F. Candle Co. My sweet friend, Julia, sent me a candle from them a couple years ago, an apple orchard scent which was so ideal for fall. I love the simplicity of their design, too.....vintage classic, I think. They have a spiced pumpkin scent now which I am eager to order a case of. This orange cardomom scent intrigues me, too, so perhaps I'll give it a try.

sitting in our sunroom with the fall breeze blowing through while catching up with a dear friend.

pulling on my slippers and a sweater in the morning because of the chill in the air.

2. Ruth Chou Simmons new book, gracelaced. What a work of art. Just seeing the Amazon images of the pages with passages of Scripture painted by her ~ it's stunning.

our "new" dresser, thanks to my sweet man's hardwork. another step toward our bedroom haven!

planning the women's retreat at our church alongside such wise, thoughtful, creative souls.

3. I've shared before what a gift Christy Nockels' music has been to my heart for years now. Her newest single, Build My Life, has been my daily song as of late. And I was so excited when I saw her share about her new album, Be Held: Lullabies for the Beloved, that is being released later this month. I can't wait to have those songs arrive on my doorstep. 

all the plans that AK is making for when her baby brother arrives. be still my heart.

anticipating our little family getaway next week.

4. I spotted this chair while browsing through Target's furniture online. I'm searching for a chair to go in the corner by my side of our bed and the size of this one would be perfect. I feel in love with the color, particularly when I read the name: Delight Seaglass. It makes me think of my sweet mama and her precious collection of seaglass from the Maine coast. This "seaglass" chair would be a perfect bit of color against the light gray walls we will have soon.

reflux medicine and tylenol -- sweet pregnancy helpers.

my little Target dollar aisle "thankful" sign that I picked up the other day. it's just sweet.

5. My sweet friend, Darby, found this doormat on West Elm for me after I had posted about needing to find this perfect doormat I had spied on Pinterest. I got the link from Darby when I was chatting with my mother-in-love the other day and mentioned it to her and how excited I was that it had been discovered. So a couple evenings ago UPS delivered a happy package to me that contained this very mat, from my most thoughtful Momma Coobs! It is the most suitable fall and winter doormat I have ever come across and I can't wait to cozy up our front stoop with mums and pumpkins to compliment that welcoming phrase! 

How has your first full week of September been, lovelies? What are some of your favorite things this week??

I hope you all have the happiest Friday and the most refreshing weekend!

 

friday || 9.1.17


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It's September.

The start of my favorite stretch of months and the season that makes my feet light and my heart go skip a few beats on the daily. Truly, the scents of autumn, the tastes of autumn, and that delicious feeling that you're constantly wrapped up in the most cozy embrace -- these delights sit at the top of the list as to why it's my favorite time of year.

My heart has been heavy this week, though, with constant thoughts about so many in Texas who have lost so much and are still watching the rain come down. I can't imagine what they are facing. But what has been so beautiful to see is all the people coming together to serve, help, rescue, and work for the people of Houston. Incredible stories of generosity and kindness and I love seeing that. Praying that the Lord uses these days in such an incredible way. 

I am so happy that this weekend is a long one. When J has Monday off it feels like a mini vacation for us. He is finishing up sanding down baby boy's crib and this weekend we will paint it and it shall be our first piece of furniture ready for his nursery. Oh, it makes me emotional just thinking of that! It's a piece of wonderful.

On to some favorite things from this week. 


~ A few of my favorite things ~

1.These Florence Candlesticks from Magnolia. They are on sale right now, too! Unfortunately, the largest is sold out, but the small and the medium sizes are both in stock. They are simply elegant. I'm picturing them with a fall candle and some pumpkins and greenery for our autumn table.

The fact that it is 100% change of rain all day today. Perfect for September 1st.

The sound of woodwick candles.

2. My new She Reads Truth Bible. It's so well designed, with beautifully hand-lettered key verses for at the beginning of each book, short devotionals throughout, and reading plans for each book. I love the way the pages are laid out with plenty of margin on both sides of the texts to write notes or thoughts as your reading and studying. It's just lovely.

Leftover Irish stew and mashed potatoes in the house.

3. This Textured Open-Front Cardigan from Gap. I bought it in the heather grey color and had it shipped to Colorado for our trip out there earlier this month and I'm so glad I did. I wore it daily out there and it has earned it place as a staple in my closet. It can be worn with everything and I love the length of it as well as the fact that it has a bit more room so it's perfect for my growing little man.

That Saturday means college football now! We will be watching ours with bowls of taco soup in hand and rain tapping on the windows.

4. I ordered my first blanket from The Tartan Blanket Co. To order a tartan blanket from Edinburgh, Scotland made me giddy. One step closer to my dreams of living there one day. I ordered the Wool Knee Blanket in Jacob Tartan, but there are so many other patterns I love, including this one in Thomson Camel. I can't wait for my tartan to arrive. I'm envisioning snuggling up with a classic read and a cup of tea.

Finishing out the tennis year with the US Open and putting together a 1000 piece puzzle.

Podcasts. They've been filling my ears constantly this week.

5. Fall candles. Home Goods allowed us to stock up with some at the end of last week, but we can never have enough so I'm always shopping. I spotted this Pumpkin Latte scented candle from Chesapeake Bay on Amazon and I think it might do well to show up on our doorstep soon. The tin is darling and then I saw it was recommended by Country Living for fall candles, so perfection!

The kicks and flips from the sweet one inside of me. It's magical. He's so loved.

The beautiful friends that I have speckled across this country and the rest of the world. Some of my dearest friends have come through the spaces of Instagram and my blog and that's been one of the sweetest gifts.

What have been your favorite things through this week, lovely ones? Do you have fall plans to usher in September?

Happiest Friday and September 1st to you all!!

hello, dear autumn


images via pinterest

images via pinterest

Look at that palette, you guys. It's the picture definition of cozy.

I realize that September will not make it's beginning until Friday, but my heart has fully plunged into autumn.

We are having a darling friend over this evening and she loves this season as I do, so I'm making Irish stew and crusty bread for dinner with pumpkin cake for dessert. And we are going to light our fall candle and have delightful chats around our table and it shall be one of those nights where life just feels rather wonderful.

This week I will be sitting down and making our fall list. It's our happiest list to make each year. Anna Kate has to come to love autumn as much as J and I and I was so full of pride when, the other day, she exclaimed, "Mommy! It's fall and we can carve pumpkins and make the pumpkin things I like and have cozy days!" as she rubbed her little hands together and one of her characteristic scrunchy nosed smiles filled up her face. And that is one of the biggest reasons that this season is my favorite.

If this pumpkin cake is a tasty as I am anticipating it to be then I will be sharing that recipe on the blog later this week. I have been giddy for the day when fall food scents would fill up the walls of our kitchen here in our new home. It needs all the spicy and comforting fragrances to add some character and some life into it. 

I've begun eyeing and pinning sweaters online and thinking through what are the wisest purchases to make for this fall/winter season as I am not my normal size, nor shall be until sometime in the new year. My sweet mama sent me a maternity cardigan sweater and a tunic top from Gap this past week and they are perfect helps to what has been my non-existent maternity cool weather collection. I told her the cardigan is going to be that one that I reach for especially in the last days of pregnancy and the first days of postpartum. Mama truly knows best. I also need to find a cozy pair of slippers. Do you all have a favorite pair of them? 

Always with the coming of fall my book list gets longer and I long for hours of time to sit with my warm beverage and my book. I'm hoping to crack open several bindings that I've been waiting to begin for months now, especially on the days where a nice autumn rain is falling outside. I'm hoping that November especially affords some afternoons with just such a scenario.

So many delights of anticipation, as Anne would say, exist with the arrival of fall.

I'm just so glad to see it come once again. It never ceases to just make life lovelier. 

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." -- F. Scott FItzgerald

friday || 7.14.17


Happy Friday, beauties!

The Fridays as of late have been extra happy in our little household because they have preceded rather empty weekends and they is just what we've needed. 

This Friday is no different and I get to start out the weekend by spending the evening with one of my dearest friends and then several ladies from our church, which shall be so refreshing. I think we might fill our empty Saturday with a trip to a local bakery or donut shop and then a trip to an old cemetery to feed the ducks and geese that reside in the pond there. It may sound morbid, but it is such a lovely cemetery, with such history flowing through it, and our pond visits are always sweet. And perhaps we shall end our time with a visit to a book store or a coffee shop.

Whatever we do, we shall be together and we shall be happy. 

What are your weekend plans??


-- A few of my favorite things this week -- 

1. This gorgeous Gien Filet Bleu Cup & Saucer from Anthropologie. Now, I shall not be spending $66 on one cup and saucer, but this blue and white loveliness just needed to be noticed.

The excitement of my sweet 5 year old in preparing for her little friend to come over earlier this week.

Catching re-runs of my favorite Monk show.

2. Reading Miss Rumphius to Anna Kate during the summer. It's such a lovely read. I would like such a little cottage on the east coast sea.

Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. All their white and the stunning shots of the London and the tradition! Ah! It is absolutely on my bucket list to go to Wimbledon one day. During the men's final this Sunday we are going to have strawberries and cream and I simply can't wait.

3. Before our friend Anna's wedding I went shopping for a dress for the bridesmaids luncheon and I found this Cap Sleeve Shirtdress at Gap. It has thin blue and white stripes, it is so deliciously comfortable, and it looks lovely with sandals, heels, or flats. It's quickly become a staple and I would like to wear it to that little cottage on the east coast.

The blue hydrangeas that are most often gracing our table. I found out we can plant hydrangeas here and I cannot tell you how eager I am to make our backyard landscaping changes next year and plant those beauties!!

My mint julep candle that sniffs so pretty.

4. These Blue and White Striped Napkins from Jones Design Company. Stripes and blue and white -- I'm happy.

Larabar double chocolate brownie bites. A perfect snack.

Sticking black spots on our white t-shirts to go get free chick-fil-a on cow appreciation day earlier this week. AK thought it was the most fun and we shall never pass up free CFA.

5. Also from Jones Design Company, this brass planter. It is in their summer sale right now! Unfortunately, the medium size, which I pictured here, is sold out, but there is a small and a large size that are still left! It's a great contrasting piece to the wood of a table and the softness of some pretty blooms. Here's the small and here's the large.

Sweet time catching up with friends throughout the past week. Happy playtime for the Little Bit and refreshing conversation for the Mama.

Grateful for a good week in all the bits and pieces of it. I hope your week has been a lovely summer one, too!

Happy Weekending, darlings!

in the last 3 months.......

Hi, lovelies!

Oh, I'm so happy to be back filling these blank white pages with tiny black letters and putting the stirrings of my heart into words. How I've missed it. I'm in the midst of putting together my Friday post and it has made me so happy to sit and piece together some of my little loves to share over the past week. Ah, sweet routine. 

We have been slowly coming out of what was, truly, the busiest season of our lives. From the time we moved into our house on April 1st until the end of June our home has been a blur of visitors and roommates, wedding planning and showers, continuing to settle ourselves in the house, and the weddings themselves. We titled that season as thoroughly happy and unendingly busy. So much was wrapped up in those 3 months.

We watched our baby sis get married and gained the sweetest brother. We then watched one of our dearest friends marry the man we've prayed for years for her. We were able to see almost all of our precious family in a months time as well as many of our closest friends. We were able to host loved ones in our new HOUSE. We had extra special time with my oldest brother and sis-in-love and darling nephews which was so refreshing. We had a lovely visit with Momma Coobs and, thanks to her, a small getaway just the two of us for the second wedding. We found out about several new little ones that the Lord has gifted to friends who have walked through so much over the past years, hoping for this day. We celebrated, we were exhausted, we were stretched and tried, we had many laughs and happy tears, we lived the past 3 months to the fullest and were thankful. 

 

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

 

We did breathe a sigh of rest, though, when we could begin settling back into normalcy, and when it could just be us. We stocked our memory tanks full and we've carried them tightly back into our everyday. By nature, we are homebodies. We thrive in routine, we prefer when every evening doesn't have plans, when we have the freedom to just be us in a day. Constant going isn't easy for us, it stretches our introvert selves and pushes the limits of our little one. But this uniquely busy season was good for us, for a number of reasons.

It pushed us outside ourselves in many ways. It made us realize, again, that we are far from self-sufficient and we must must must depend on that daily grace and strength of our Father. It ripped out selfishness from our hearts and made us realize, "hey, we can do all things through Him!" It gave us greater insight into our Little and taught us to be even more bold in guarding her needs. It taught us to ask for help. It caused us to practice saying, "no" when we needed to, which isn't the easiest word for us to voice. We learned to find the beauty in the busy and focus on that, to be grateful for it and not wish it away. And we learned how to take the pockets of rest we were given and make the most of it. 

Even amidst the non-stop days there are those pockets. You have to pay attention to their coming and savor them when they arrive, we learned. And when they come other things need to be set aside: the cleaning can wait, emails can sit one more day unanswered, the phone can be left in another room. You take those pockets and you live them well, being with your people and taking in those moments you're experiencing with them right then. Then those little pockets quickly become the very best kind of hours and days that weren't written down on your calendar, and the ones that fuel you up for the next dose of busy. I love those pockets.

Each season of life brings its own unique mix of the beautiful and the hard, all of it having passed through the perfectly wise hands of a loving God. I want to live them all well, with honesty, with an eager desire to love those around me so well, and with "eternity stamped on my eyeballs" because that makes all the difference.

Thanks for letting me share. I'm just so glad to be back with you dear ones.

friday || 2.24.17


Isn't it so nice when Friday arrives, in all its glorious end of the week-ness? It's like turning the best page in a book every single week. 

My sweetest guy came home from work yesterday and said, "how about I take tomorrow off?" I wanted to cry. With the past few weeks being what they have, this thought made the load instantly feel a whole lot lighter.

Thankful: that my husband has a job where he is able to do this. for how he helps us fight for that margin and take care of our little tribe. and for how wonderful it was to wake up this morning and know he just got to be around. PRAISE. Lots of happiness happening over here.

-- A few of my favorite things this week --

Bought this little chambray skirt for AK from JCrew Factory earlier this month. The pockets and the bow!? I love dressing her. 

Made these Radish and Egg Salad Sandwiches from A Couple Cooks for dinner last night. Delish. Are you all egg salad fans?

Ellie Holcomb's Red Sea Road Album. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm sharing it again because it is on repeat in our home every single day.

We are celebrating our favorite Canadian tonight -- our lil' sis' boyfriend -- and AK and I made this blueberry pie for his happy birthday dessert. It's all It was all I could do to not eat it for breakfast.

This holding pattern necklace from Madewell. It goes with everything.

My sister texted me the other day: "This came in the mail around noon.....I'm almost 1/2 done. You might need to add it to your list" along with a picture of the book My Heart by Julie Manning. I think I'm going to have to break my no more new books rule for this gem.

I want about 10 of these Indigo Fouta Towels from Jones Design Company.

My new Inspired Room book. Lovely content and it looks so pretty on a table.

These Instagram Friendly Photo Books from Artifact Uprising. What a sweet gift these would make.

How much my Little loves Lauren Daigle's song Trust in You.

These performance cotton capris from Gap. I'm needing a bit more in the workout gear department. Where do you all like to shop for such things?

No Bake Energy Bites. A favorite afternoon snack. 

And simply the fact that it is the weekend. Oh happy day!

Happiest Friday to you all!

comparison. I'm sick of it.


Truer words, Teddy. Truer words.

Comparison has been beating like a kettle drum in my head lately. Not my favorite tune to play. I was texting with my sister the other day and ended my "how I was doing" update with: "why does comparison have to be such a struggle!?" And she echoed my sentiment with: "Oh goodness isn't it a big one?" It is one of those struggles that seeps into us all, in some way, shape or form. It's like the gopher arcade game; it pops up constantly and, seemingly at times, out of nowhere. And, truly, I don't know if any other sinful struggle of mine has exhausted me and robbed me of joy the way this one does.

In that text conversation with my sweet sister, Megan, she asked me where I struggle with comparison the most. I needed that question. I needed to stop and actually, really, deeply consider what areas of life are breeding grounds for comparison for me. I've been asking that same question over and over again to myself the past several days because it is the very first step to starting to get rid of this nasty, life-sucking struggle. Call me dramatic for describing the struggle this way if you will, but that is exactly how it feels for me. No other struggle shuts my systems down, makes me hole up and pull back, and go into hardcore self-centered mode as this struggle. I WANT IT GONE.

Now we know this, but it absolutely bears reminding, that there's not going to be life-changing, joy-abounding true change outside of Jesus. Believe me, I've tried. Oh how I've tried to wage this war on my own and, well, look at me now. Still fighting. I don't think.....no, I know, that I have never really faced this struggle head-on and given it over to Jesus to do His righteous work in it and show me the yucky depths of my sin, yet quickly follow that with, "you are forgiven and you are free." I want to know freedom from this, you guys. I'm so over it!

So here it is. Some of the very thoughts that have swirled around in my head.......

"Well that must be nice to have your dream house. I'd like to have mine. We'll probably be in an apartment forever."

"They get to travel all the time. How is that?"

"Well they obviously make a lot of money and can do anything they want to do."

"No one ever tells me I look pretty, but they always tell her. I guess I'm not."

"A lot of people comment on her blog. So many people are better at this than me. I just probably shouldn't even do it."

"I'll probably never get the cool opportunities that she does."

"Well if my life included _______, I could probably do that too."

What is wrong with these statements? Oh let me count the ways. Hello pride and self-pity and vanity and selfishness and jealousy! And do you know one of the things that makes me so sad about this list?? It's so self-absorbed that I completely lose out on being able to celebrate with those women, being one of the biggest, and truest, encouragements for them, being able to recognize the ways the Lord has blessed them and is using them. Being an encourager is one of the things I treasure most and I want to be doing that from the corners and tiny spaces of my heart.

One of the best talks I've ever heard was a talk by Carolyn Mahaney called "The Snare of Compare." It is so good. She bases her talk off John 21: 15-22 and, very specifically, verses 21-22: "When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!" What is that to you? I need this tattooed on my forearm. What is that to me that the Lord has fill-in-the-blank plans for you, for her, for him, for them, for anybody? That isn't mine to know, it isn't mine to base my life off of, it isn't mine to try to scrape together some kind of existence trying to be like them. It is the Lord's for them. And He gives me mine for me, and ours for us. My task, my biggest and most profound task, the thing that is to be my life's very definition is to follow Him. That's where my day to day springs from, that's where all my needs are provided, that is where my value is found......Him. Always, always, always Him.

I want comparison to stop defining me. I want my joy to stop being robbed by it. I want to live fully the beautiful days the Lord has chosen and formed and designed for me, and to love them and choose gratitude for what they hold.

These words are a few of what's been percolating in my heart and soul as of late. There's more to come. But for now, let's fight this good fight, lovely ones. Let's ask the Lord to purge the very depths of our struggles with comparison and reveal the nitty-gritty so that we can take those first steps to loving HIS way for us, to knowing how precious and loved we are by Him, and to be able to scroll through social media and say, "Thanks, Lord, for Your creativity, Your plans, and for letting me have a front row seat to all the stories Your weaving and working."

So much freedom waits for us there.

friday || 1.13.17


Happy Friday, dolls! 

It's been such a good week. One of those weeks where you just feel like each layer is sweeter than the last and you just stand back, your chest a bit tight with emotion as watch the next piece of kindness fall into your lap. I've been letting myself sit in the grateful emotions of it all, slowly beginning to mull over each piece. When they are satisfactorily stored up and I'm able to word them as I would like, I will share them with you.

Did each of you have a pleasant week? Was it an in-between kind of week or just a plain hard one? You have a listening ear here, always, if you ever need to share.

So a few of my favorite things this week............

Hope Heals is on my list of must reads, and soon. I heard an interview with Katherine Wolf and her JOY just radiated through my headphones. Her words were authentic and so full of life and truth. She loves her Jesus and it's beautiful.

We tried Butter Chicken this week and it was delicious. It's a warm dish, with the cinnamon and the garam masala and the paprika, it just makes your insides feel all cozy. It's perfect for relaxed winter nights.

The rain this week. It's needed and it's cozy.

I've been lighting my mini capri candle from Anthropologie most every day this week. The glass is so lovely when it's lit up and it legitimately makes your home sniff like Anthro. I will be purchasing the next step up very soon.

Re-instating "quiet time" in our home. The pup goes to nap in her crate and the kiddo goes to imagine and create in her room and mama gets a little quiet. AK's over-stimulation struggles are helped greatly by this and my energy/capacity levels are all sorts of reinvigorated.

All my gray, extra comfy cardis have bit the dust, so this knit cardigan from Gap caught my eye.

A happy thing that the internet brings ~ sweet sweet friendships who I wouldn't know otherwise.

These white trainers on my Little. I can't even.

And these adidas sneakers. Cute kicks for a casual type day.

My 2017 planner. I would remember nothing without it.

A subscription to the Magnolia Journal. I got their first one before Thanksgiving and it was lovely, as everything else is that they touch. I'm so ready to dive into their book, too!

Evenings with no place to be but home, all together.

I'm hunting for a good milk frother/steamer and came across this Epica version that's a best-seller on Amazon. This one from Breville looks lovely, as well, but I do prefer the price-tag of the Epica. I welcome input!

This week I have seen posts shared of both painful, heartbreaking loss, and of answered prayers and pure joy. I have been brought to tears many times, both as I've felt my heart ache with those who are hurting in such tender ways, and my heart rejoice with those who are celebrating. In it all, it makes me so thankful for community. For community that we are able to have alongside us to hold us up when we feel we can barely stand, to bear our burdens and lift us up in prayer, and just sit with us when talking is too difficult. For community to cheer with us at happy news, to do the happy dances with us, to cry the tears of joy, and to share the pieces of cake with. We weren't made to walk alone, and in every single season of my life, whether it lasts 2 weeks or 4 years, my gratitude for community, my love for people, my treasuring of my tribe has only increased. I pray it never stops.

Lovelies, I hope that you have the happiest of Fridays.

friday || 1.6.17

Don't you love how each week ends with Friday? And then we have the pleasure of looking forward to those two darling days that are Saturday and Sunday. The Lord was awfully kind to create rest into the mix of our week, don't you think?

Do you all have grand plans this weekend? If you follow me on social media you would have seen that we enjoyed a day full of snow falling yesterday, and we relished every part of it. My heart flutters at the sight of those dainty bits of white falling from the sky, not only because I love its beauty and the stillness it brings with it, but because when it snows we go into full cozy mode: baking, candles lit, books stacked up, old movies gracing our tv screen. And the happiness that oozes out of every part of my child's being when it begins snowing could make the worst day turn on its head. Snow days are beloved in the Coobs home.

........So a few of my favorite things this week..........

Madewell still has an extra 30% sale items right now. Do you know how hard it is for me to not buy ALL the things!? I'm kind of loving this cape scarf and I love the blue in this flannel buffalo check. Several scarves are amongst the sale items, too, like this rangeplaid -- I love the deeper tones.

"If the prosperity gospel offered us all the things, the Instagram gospel offers us all the feels." Jen Wilkin wrote a post, "Beware the Instagram Bible in 2017" on the Gospel Coalition blog this week and it was such a good challenge for my heart. Love that woman's writing.

Two new recipes that I want to try, that seem like they'd be awfully cozy: tomato artichoke lentil stew and roasted shrimp and tomatoes with creamy polenta. I like that couple who cooks.

Did you know that You've Got Mail is the third movie to be based off that storyline?? This particular "series"is one of my favorites: The Shop Around the Corner. In the Good Old Summertime. and You've Got Mail. Stack them up for these wintry days. You'll be delighted.

This ceramic creamer & sugar set from Laine & Layne, and it's on sale right now!

The Civil Wars record is going to be one of our next vinyl purchases. I think their sound is perfect for a record player and their mood is one of my favorites for chilly January days. 

AK received the book, 50 States. from her Nomie and Papa for Christmas and I am so very excited about reading through it with her as we study the states in school this semester. The illustrations are delightful and all the little facts about each state are such fun to learn. I just discovered that there is actually an activity book to go with it, but we are going to color a big map of the states -- that I picked up for $3 in the Target $1 spot! -- as our "companion" to the reading.

My Julie friend, whose creativity and wisdom often inspires things that I share with you, gave me the idea to try out baked eggs. So we did this last weekend and were quite happy with the result. I went off this Jamie Oliver recipe for the oven temp and time, and I made one dish with cherry tomatoes and goat cheese and another with chives and mushrooms. They were both quite tasty, though the tomatoes and goat cheese took it for me. Baked eggs must find a place on your "to make" list. Thank you, sweet Julie, my culinary kindred spirit! 

I've shared these journals from Val Marie Paper before, but they are worth sharing again, especially as it is a brand new year! The undated prayer journal (I have the beige color) is what I use all the time -- I love the simplicity of it and the thought that has obviously gone into it. There are several more journals to choose from, such as the gratitude journal, the adoption and pregnancy prayer journals, and now there is a yearly prayer journal that is just lovely. (They are sold out of the yearly prayer journal at this point, but I still wanted you to see it). These journals are perfect little companions and they make such sweet gifts, as well!

......more favorite things to come next week!

We are looking forward to another cozy evening at home tonight, with another fire perhaps, accompanied by homemade marinara and pasta, our stacks of books, and quite possibly finishing an episode of American Ninja Warrior because it is our AK's favorite show......completely unexpected and rather adorable.

Happy Friday, lovelies!

h a p p y n e w y e a r

2017. A new year has come again.

I'm thankful that this happens every year. I'm thankful that we get to tuck away another year, full of its own moments and seasons of hard and good, add it to the memories of all the years that have come before it, and crack open the binding of our newest addition. I'm thankful for the way that it makes me pause and consider, taking a bit of extra time to reflect on what has just passed and what lies ahead. I'm thankful for the planning it inspires, the old dreams that still remain and the new dreams that just begin to take root, and the hope that it refreshes in my heart. I'm thankful for the conversations that we have about what we've walked through and what we are facing. 

I'm thankful that it is new.

2016 was a hard year for me. It rubbed me raw. This past year was one marked by waiting, craving the answer to unfulfilled longings and finding the answer still to be, "not right now." It was a year marked by fear, fear springing from not knowing truly what my little one was battling and of being terrified that I wouldn't be able to help her. It was a year marked by exhaustion, exhaustion in figuring out how to be mama to my little, in staying on top of all that life held, in feeling like I was behind and forgetful with so much. It was a year marked by plummeting to the depths of certain sins in my life, feeling slapped across the face with how toxic and present they were and then embarrassed at how little I actually wanted to fight some of them. It was a year that felt like I was being pruned until I had nothing left. And yet, here I found the "new."

Here, in this place of looking back over the past 365 days of pruning and utter rawness, sits the start of being made new. I am face to face, again, with how desperately I need Jesus. He removes that fear; goodness, He utterly shatters that fear. He meets me in that place of unfulfilled longing and reminds me that He doesn't withhold one good thing from me when I walk with Him. He lets me fall on my exhausted face once again so He can gently pick me up and remind me that His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect in my weakness. And He gives me the greatest hope, time and time again, that those sins that seem so overbearing, so consuming, aren't the truest thing about me anymore. He's making me new.

I am so grateful that the little word that graces the middle spot of that catchy "Happy New Year!" phrase we all shout at midnight every December 31st holds a heavy amount of meaning, really wonderful life-changing meaning. 

And I am grateful for 2016. It was hard year, but it was threaded through with a lot of grace. That grace was found in the adventures experienced, the books read, the travels had, the food cooked, the holidays celebrated, the new opportunities given; but that grace was most especially found in the people that fill up my text message app and my everyday, the people who walk through the raw and the lovely with me, who do more and say more than I could ever write down, and who show me Jesus in every piece of it. In particular, the 2 souls that I've been given to love in the most tender way, the ones who are tangible pictures of the kindness of my Lord every hour of the day. 

This life of mine. It's full of beauty. It's full of beauty because of the one common thread that has weaved through my words here: the One who makes it all new.

2017, I'm glad to see you.

"let it go, learn to grow"

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul's longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

~ Christy Nockels, The Advent Hymn

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Back at the beginning of November I was in Georgia visiting some of our dearest ones. During the trip my friend, Liz, and I had many conversations about how the Lord was teaching both of us about to let things go; to ask ourselves, "okay, what's most important here?" and to make the most out of the things that He does, and realize the freedom that is found when all the other stuff stops being the big stuff. Because it was 11 o'clock at night and because we are moms of 5 year olds we "cleverly" came up with the line, inspired by Elsa, "let it go, learn to grow." So this has become our mantra, and though it was inspired by exhausted mama syndrome, it has sparked a lot of heart thoughts in me.

On my drive home from Georgia that week I mulled over that little phrase and started praying, "Lord, help me let those things go.....the ones I know and the ones I don't quite yet." And oh! what a swift and thorough answer He has given to that prayer, in just a matter of weeks. He has unearthed so many places where my fingers have held way to tightly to things, and so many of these things are places in life have been things that have nothing whatsoever to do with what the most important things are. It's a humbling road, my friends, when you finally see how obsessive over the minutiae of life you can get.....BUT....(you know I'll always have the but)....has it ever been freeing!

And the part that I have loved, loved, loved about this is the timing of it. It's Christmas time, the beautiful season of advent. The hope of this season, the mystery of the babe becoming man, the resounding joy knowing that our Savior was born and He lives, all of this has been the weightiest part of this December for me, in a way that it hasn't ever been before. It's held more weight because He has helped me "let go" of the things that matter far less than Him.

He's reshaped my vision to focus on savoring the anticipation of His coming and with that all the extra stuff has fallen into place. It's not about me this year. That's the difference. It's not the controlling, selfish, "but I want our home to look THIS WAY" attitude. It's seeing this season for what it is, what's it's meant to be. And every piece of it, imperfect and not-pinterest-worthy though they made be, has been treasured this year.

The paths that our God takes us down start from the oddest places sometimes, don't they? I love that about Him. And I can't wait to look back on the memories of this Christmas because I think they are going to be some of my most favorite yet. 

thanksgiving this year

Hello, friends. Happy Monday to you.

And this is not just any Monday. This is the first after Thanksgiving, truly Christmas season, twinkly lit Monday. Ooooooo, I'm giddy. Giddy that it's Christmas season. This year has extra sweetness woven through it for me but I shall share more about that later. Right now let's talk about Thanksgiving.

Did you all have a delicious Thanksgiving Day? I do hope so. I hope you watched those big balloons float down toward Macy's and ate that extra piece of pie and had those laughs around the table and played those card games. I hope that you made that list of what you were thankful for and that you aren't going to let it fall to the wayside now but, instead, let it weave a thicker thread of thankfulness into your everyday.

I felt that the Lord deeply impressed that on my heart this year. This Thanksgiving Day is beautifully set apart to ponder and share and remember what we are thankful for but it really ought to be an example of what we are seeking, often fighting, to do every single day -- to "give thanks in all circumstances." That phrase has been whirling around much in my mind this past week and I'm praying that the Lord will help me put feet to it even more. I always have something to be thankful for, even in the hardest of the hard. I always have something to be thankful for because I have Him.

This year we took our time. We woke up slowly. We went for a nice long walk, pausing to notice those last remaining gold and orange leaves and talk about the birds nest J discovered in a tree. We popped a can of pillsbury orange rolls and made eggs with tomatoes and feta cheese and watched the Macy's thanksgiving day parade as we sipped our coffee and orange juice. We made the feast, some things were from scratch because once you've tried Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes you can't have them any other way, and some things were pre-made because it was just simpler that way. We face-timed with our families and relished the fact that we could share stories and laughs with them hundreds of miles apart. We sat down to our decorated table with our plates piled high and gave all the appropriate groans of "I'm so full" by the end. We filled tupperware with leftovers and celebrated all over again the gift of having a dishwasher. We talked of what we were thankful for, we put on comfies and J built us a fire. AK went to bed supremely happy having finished off a s'more and filled with the knowledge that the Christmas tree would be going up the next day. We ate chocolate pecan pie, drank decaf and watched an episode of our current favorite tv show. And then the day came to an end, with several comments of how sweet and good and perfect a day it really truly was. 

It was the Thanksgiving Day we truly hoped it would be. Our hearts did ache missing the company of those precious people we get to call family, but we knew this was what we needed. The Lord gifted us these days to refresh our weary hearts. The past 4.5 days have been a nourishing balm for our little band, filled with all our favorite things that we enjoyed just the three of us....and Winnie too, of course. It was needed. It was prayers answered. The Lord's timing, you guys. I just can't get over it.

infertility || where we're at

Hello friends,

I hope that you are all enjoying a delightful day. I like to start my posts to you in letter format sometimes. It makes it feel more personal, like I really am sitting down at my desk and writing a letter out to each one of you individually, updating you on ins and outs of life, sharing my heart with you. 

Thank you for being on the other side of the letter. I'm so grateful.

There's no real new news in this road we are walking of secondary infertility. It's a road of waiting, of being sifted. It's a road littered with painful moments and beautiful ones. It's a road of learning. It's a road of coming to know the character of God and His love for us in a very tender way. It's the road He has put us on to walk, for reasons we've seen and reasons that only He knows. It's the hardest and the best road I've ever walked.

Some of you may have seen that I posted back in August about having my yearly exam and, as it has always been, everything was normal. The only thing my doctor is fairly assured of is that I probably ovulate 6-8 times a year, rather than the normal 12, because my hormones are so easily swayed by any emotion/stress/change in life and so my cycle is never consistent. That isn't something she can track unless I were to constantly use an ovulation kit or take pregnancy tests frequently and neither J or I have any desire to put our emotions through that. For us, that would just easily become all-consuming and painful.

Many of you have asked whether we would like to pursue adoption. Adoption has always been something that has been on our hearts as a path we could see ourselves pursuing one day and, obviously, with what these last years have held it has come to the forefront of our minds many times. At this point, though, we truly do not see the Lord leading us that way just yet. He has been bringing us through so much, chipping away at the places of our hearts that have desperately needed His truth during these past 3 years. And there is more He is doing in us as we wait for His next step for us.

In all of this there are still questions that ring in our minds, still wonderings. There's that dull ache that just sits in my chest, the heart-aching feeling that comes every time our Little says, "when do we get to have my baby sister and brother?" (she wants one of each ;)), the tears that fall when the longing hits hard. It's painful. It just is.

But in all of this I do not doubt the goodness of our Lord and how worthy He is to be trusted, and that is only by His grace. The words on the pages of Scripture have grown in their reality and their comfort for me. I have come to know facets of our Father in such a personal way, such a way that has only strengthened my trust as I see more of who He is and the way He views me. My eyes have been opened to better understand the suffering of others, the tendency we can all have to battle alone, and He has fueled my heart with a desire to encourage those around me, and myself, to be raw, vulnerable, allowing others to walk these painful roads with us. He has helped me to pick out the buds among the thorns, the good in the painful, the present in the waiting. My desire to know Him more deeply, to be saturated in His Word more fully, to be laying things at His feet more constantly, has increased to such a depth as I've never known before. There is so much He has done in these days that have filled the months of the last 3 years. He's brought beauty from ashes. And tomorrow He will continue to do that. 

"I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."

There's so much more to come and He holds it all.

Thank you, friends, always for your prayers for us and your encouragement to us. I count it one of the biggest buds among the thorns.

Love, Jenny

fall bucket list

Though it dragged its feet getting here in, what in my mind, is a timely manner, fall has weaved its presence into all the corners and crevices of our October days. We've been able to turn the heat on, we've sat on our tiny deck with blankets and hot cider and books, and we've picked up the perfect carving pumpkins.

Though spring does carry with it that automatic sense of renewal and reflection, fall is where I find that to come even more naturally for me. There is just something about this season. I think it starts somewhat with how much I savor "cozy." I'd take rainy days, crisp blue sky and chilly breeze days, sweater-donning, light a fire, and read a book days over any other day. Days like those just have rest built in.  And this season carries with it such a natural presence of reflection with the changing colors, the all-the-way-to-your-toes sense of comfort, and Thanksgiving on the horizon. I love that about fall.

The Lord always uses this season to stir my heart in a unique way, and He's brought so many of my best gifts to me in the fall time. I think we all probably have a season that's like that for us; a season that holds some of our most treasured memories, a season that feels like one of our oldest and dearest friends just arrived for a long stay. I'm thankful for how fall is that way for me. And wasn't the Lord kind to give us such a variety of seasons? How generous of Him.

Because of what fall has held for us up until now (i.e. getting a puppy) some of our traditions have been put on hold until now. Plus, we get a little weird about the weather needing to be appropriate for many of them. So this upcoming month of November is going to be our especial Ode to Autumn, where-in we fill our days with all things fall-natured. Oh, happy month!

Fall Bucket List

carve pumpkins and watch a movie by their candlelight

eat popcorn and sip cider and play games

bake pumpkin donuts on a lazy Saturday morning

heart talks and crunchy leaf walks

evening reading on the deck snuggled in blankets

press leaves

light fall candles every day

watch the World Series 

college football game days with our people

work up our Thanksgiving menu and try something new

watch Anne of Green Gables

build our first fire and make s'mores

put together a fall-scape puzzle

hole up at a coffee shop for a few hours

write some notes to send via snail mail

order that record player I've been eyeing

start reading the next Little House book all together

eat soup and pumpkin bread and apple desserts

text fall wishes to dear friends

drink in all the sounds and feels and tastes of this season

think. dream. and be so very thankful.

What's on your fall bucket lists this last month of celebration, my friends? I hope this month is the loveliest kind of goodness for you.

what's filling my headphones lately

A few months ago I was in a rut; a rut of setting up my iPad in the kitchen or on the bathroom counter or on the table and accompanying my task hours with yet another episode of whatever it was I was watching at that time. This was more than a Netflix binge or the occasional dinner-making-accompianment, my iPad had become another appendage. And, I'll tell you, all the "entertainment" I was getting did nothing towards any kind of "growth" that my heart or mind was in need of.  My loving husband, noticing this pattern in me, encouraged me to make a change. He gently had the iPad intervention. I could use this time to pray, to just be quiet, listen to music, and hey, try some podcasts.

And so was sparked my love of podcasts. This is one of those things that make me thankful for where our world is with technology. To have access to sermon after conversation after interview after personal testimonies like this is such a neat thing. To hear words that nuture my heart and feed it with truth. Words that challenge me and make me think about issues/subjects/questions and consider what I think, why I think that way, and what are the hills to die on. Words that bring wisdom and bring humor. Words that refresh, that help, and that spur me on. It's a treasure trove that I continue to discover more of.

Many of you have asked me to share the podcasts I listen to so here they are.

The numbered list holds the titles that I listen to on the regular. The other list holds the titles of ones I listen to fairly frequently, that I want to try, or that I go in and out of in listening to depending on the guest, the subjects, my mood, etc. ;) 

The Regulars:

1. Glorious in the Mundane Podcast with Christy Nockels

2. The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

3. The Village Church - Culture Matters

4. The Village Church - Sermons

5. Ask Pastor John

6. Kenwood Baptist Church

A few more: Revive Our HeartsTimothy Keller SermonsWomen's HopeThe Gospel CoalitionRelevant PodcastThe Influence PodcastThat Sounds Fun with Annie F. DownsRead-Aloud RevivalSurviving Sarah.

Let me know your thoughts and/or if y'all listen to any of them! And send me any suggestions you think I should try, too. 

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!

happy birthday, my love


Happy Birthday, my J

This year. This year has been a full one; the hard kind of full and the really good kind of full. Truly, it's been a significant year for us. The refining that has happened in both of our hearts, in the life of our little band of three, though many times painful, has been defined by the kindness of the Lord. The kindness of the Lord to not leave us to ourselves, to do the unexpected thing (unexpected for us) because He actually knows it's the best thing, to show us how sweet it is to trust Him, to show up with surprises that are filled to the brim with His grace.

I savor the fact that as we've had conversations about all this past year has held, all it has been defined by, that one of the first statements out of our mouths is: He is so good. He has brought us to a greater place of understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that He is so good, all the time. He has taught us to step back and take notice and say, "there's His grace," whether it's the good, the bad, or the ugly that we are facing. He's shown us how beautifully His goodness and His love are intertwined. He's prompted us to see His good, in the seemingly mundane things and in the not so mundane. And He's brought us to a place of craving more of Him, not the good we can get from Him. He's nicked away at our hearts to show us ways we've wanted and/or pursued the "good" rather than the One who does good, and He's changing that. I love that this year has been so significantly marked by these things.

Thank you for flying the banner of these things, my Love. You have lead so well, with words and without them. You have lead in making the rhythm of our home one that sets it beat by the truth. You have lead in change, the kind of change our hearts must have. You have lead in letting us dream, but putting a stop to the "if only" conversations. You have lead in choosing joy and being present. You have lead in desiring that our lives be marked by wisdom and a fear of God alone. You have lead in speaking truth. You have lead in being the one to take the first step of humility. You have lead in stretching us. You have lead in saying, "let's turn off the tv and pick up our books." You have lead in teaching me to not get hung up on things being "just so." You have lead in getting outside of ourselves and looking toward others. You have lead in saying "yes" even when we are tired and saying "no" when our motives aren't right. You have lead in the gentle and needed pushes. You have lead in doing the uncomfortable. You have lead in loving Him best.

 You have lead in this year, Babe. You have lead so well, in a way that makes me whisper many many prayers of thanks to the Lord that I get to be the one lead by you. 

I love celebrating you on this day, J. And it won't ever get told to me that, 9 years ago now, we met on this day. That was a really good day. 

Happy Birthday, my husband. You really are the butter to my bread.

I love you forever.

Me

happy 5th birthday, my Little


My Sweet One,

It's here. Your 5th birthday. The day that I wanted to hold off as long as I could but it just came anyway. 5 just feels so big to me, my Little. As I snuggled you before bed last night you said, "Mom! Because I'm turning 5 that means I'm almost 7!" Oh that felt much too true and I'm just not ready for that. Thankfully, though, you aren't either because a second later you said, "I'm not ready to be 7 yet, Mommy. That's really big." So, my AK, we will not rush to 7 just yet. Instead, today you will turn 5 and we will celebrate that.

These birthdays are such funny things, kiddo. My mama heart feels the oddest tension of sadness and joy that only comes in your birthday season or when you do something especially grown-up.

The joy at seeing how much you've grown, how much you've absorbed, the new words you use in sentences, simply handing you the ingredients as you single-handedly put together the chocolate chip cookie recipe, watching you do flip after flip underwater in the swimming pool, seeing your creativity and your imagination flourish, watching you grow in how you interact with those around you, being inspired by how brave you are, being taught by your eagerness to serve, seeing your mind and your heart struggle with your sin and began to more clearly understand your need for Jesus, hearing you say that you don't want to sin but you want to obey and trust in Jesus, seeing you grapple with the hard questions and watching your heart began to open, day by day, to the understanding of truth and the sweetest grace of God. These moments.

The sadness is a different sadness. It's not the one that is made up of sorrow or pain, It's the one that comes when the door closes on a chapter of life, when it's time to move into the next stage, the new season. With each one of these moments my mind fasts forward to watching you drive a car for the first time, bringing you to college, seeing you walk down the aisle to your husband. All of these are far into the future right now, I know, but their horizons come to mind. And I don't want to shut them out because they remind me of something. This type of sadness reminds me of something. All of this reminds me that you are not ultimately our Little. You are not ultimately ours but you are His. God's. He just graciously said, "Jason and Jenny Coobs, this precious one gets to be yours for a time," and He entrusted you to us. I want to take the moments the horizons come to mind and be filled with hope for those days ahead and be reminded that the biggest mission of my days with you is to "train you up in the way you should go." It's to point you to Jesus. To lead you and love you, to train you and discipline you, to comfort you and help you, to serve you and come alongside you, to laugh with you and adventure with you, to encourage you and dream with you, to be brave with you and hope with you, to do all of this in a way that says, "Here's the best gift of all: Jesus." He died for you, He rose for you, He treasures you, and He desires you to seek Him all the days of your life. Everything I do with you, all that I say to you, is to resound with truth, with the gospel, so that when those horizons comes, by His grace, you will be thoroughly equipped to walk them in a way that honors Him, that loves Him, that knows that "He is better than it all." 

So the sadness isn't really sadness after all, is it? It's more like the salt to the sweet, the flavor to the joy. It's all wrapped up together in the beautiful package that was gifted to me 5 years ago when I became your mama. As I wrote this letter to you last night I was recalling all the minutes of the night before the day I met you. On that day it felt like 5 years old was miles and miles ahead, a faint thought. Here we find ourselves, though, and those miles went a lot quicker than I ever thought they would. They've been sweet, though. Hard and sweet, raw and beautiful. 

There's so many more things I want to fill this letter with, all my thoughts on what this past year has held, all the emotions, the pieces of learning, and the moments that are now stakes in my memories. Some of these things I've shared with you already, some I'll share with you as you grow up, some daddy and I will just share, and some will just be held quietly between me and the Lord.

Know this, my Sweet One: countless times this year I have whispered up prayers to the Lord to thank Him. To thank Him for choosing me to be your mama. To thank Him that He made you, daddy, and me our little band of three. To thank Him that you are the one we get to hope and pray for another baby with, and be so amazed by what your mind thinks and your heart comprehends. To thank Him for your intensity and your tender heart, your perseverance and your honesty. To thank Him that you are our little, fierce one, with struggles we don't fully understand, and strengths that inspire us. To thank Him that He loves you more than we could ever begin to comprehend. 

I hope that this 5th birthday day is a special one for you, my Little. You are so treasured. 

Happy Birthday, my Anna Kate. I love you forever. 

Mommy

settling back in

Hi friends!

It's been some time. I've missed you guys.

Life has been a whirlwind lately, to put it lightly. To open up my planner and realize that we are close to the halfway mark of August just blows my mind. Where did the summer go!? To be honest with you, I am not mourning its passing as my crisp temperature-adoring, sweater-loving heart is eager to see the arrival of my beloved autumn come around the bend. 

I have missed this little space with you all. Though the load and the busyness of life the past weeks required the blog to sit silent, I have been so eager to return. An absence does good, though, for re-orienting and refreshing, and I've been grateful for that.

And I've just plain missed writing. I am far from an inward processor. No, no, it all must come out. Thankful, thankful, thankful for a patient, gentle husband who has logged maaaaany hours of sitting quietly next to me awaiting the thoughts to form into words that eventually result in my "aha!" moments. Jason Coobs, you are a good, good man. So, over the years, writing has become another outward processor for me. It's a help to see those words on paper; I see the patterns, the tendencies, the struggles. Through my writing, my journaling, my "word dumping" if you will, I more clearly see my heart. Though it may take me many a minute, an hour, a day to get those words out, it is sweet to me. So the longing to return to it has been great.

Now I shall dust off my keyboard, re-enter the land of blogging and give y'all a bullet point catch-up on the the last weeks of life:

-- We have moved. The full story shall be shared soon, but a little over a month ago now we locked the door to Springdale #311 after 3.5 years there and moved into our new apartment home. Though a bit unexpected and rather hurried, it was a move marked by a lot of grace, gallons of coffee, and a readiness to start this new season and fill the walls of this new place with memories.

-- A mark of that grace that was seen daily was in the beautiful people that make up the village we do life with. These people are kind, generous, thoughtful souls that are pictures of our sweet Jesus. Whether we see their faces week-in/week-out or whether they walk with us from a distance, they love us so well and we are thankful. 

-- We have been reminded, yet again, that parenting is an intense tool of sanctification and a very clear reminder of our constant need for the grace and strength of Jesus. Wowsers. The 4 year old stage, you guys. It's a wonderful doozy.

-- We went to visit our mountains. We got back last week from a sweet visit out west to our Colorado family. Always cherish those days with them; the laughter, the lazy mornings of coffee sipping and long chats, the dinners on the deck....so much goodness in those days. And those mountains and that open sky, they will always have a piece of my heart.

-- Our days are filled with good things: J is in the midst of studying for a major exam at work, we ordered schoolbooks for AK yesterday #alltheemotions, we are enjoying all the pool-time we can get, snuggling friends new babies, making fall plans, cracking open new reads, and settling into our new normal. 

It feels good to take some breaths after the whirlwind that has been our summer and look back and be reminded that the greatest mark over the summer has been that glorious, everyday faithfulness of the Lord. The resounding thought in my mind over the past days has been how very glad I am that I don't do this life on my own. He's given me my husband. He's given me my daughter. He's given me my tribe. And best of all, He's given me Himself. Thank you, Jesus, for holding me and all the pieces of this life. 

I'm happy to be back with you, friends. I hope you have the most beautiful Monday!

morningtime musings

Good Morning and happiest of Mondays to you, dear friends.

I do hope that you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend and are facing the new week with vim, vigor, and a hot cup of coffee in hand! 

This weekend our first boxes were packed and we dove into purging/decluttering mode, which, for me, is a very happy place to be. It makes both J and me feel so much better to move without all the extras and the really-don't-needs

This moving process has been such a whirlwind jumble of unexpecteds, emotions, and plans we wouldn't have chosen for ourselves. Amidst all the jumble one voice has remained steady and constant ~ "I know the plans I have for you......" You guys know my favorite phrase to repeat to myself is He knows, and oh, how thankful I am that He does. Not one ounce of what has been an expected whirlwind for us has been a surprise to Him. He has sketched everyday of our lives and remained so faithful. He has cared for the details and lovingly provided all that we need. He has, and is continuing, to use this season to mold us, to show us more of our yuck, and to make us more like HIm. And if that is the greatest purpose of this whirlwind then that's worth every bit of it.

So my heart is encouraged and grateful this Monday morning. Grateful for His goodness, His steady truth to calm emotions, and His strength to sustain through less sleep and pulled muscles.

Into the new week we go, trash bags and boxes in hand, coffee on tap, and the greatest truths of all holding us fast. Nothing better, my friends. Absolutely nothing better.