Category Archives: Gratitude

a grateful christmas

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It’s Christmas season — that beautiful, joyful time of year full of anticipation and wonder. I love the natural refreshment that this season holds — restful evenings with books or a classic Christmas movie, Christmas tunes all day long, afternoons in the kitchen creating Christmas foodie delight. It’s such a reflective time of year, if we choose to make it so, and I’ve been thinking much about that as the weeks have led up to it. I am seeking to emphasis gratitude in my heart this Christmas season, and in our home. To recognize the many and tremendous ways we’ve seen the Lord work in our hearts and lives and to treasure the gifts that He gives, that come in such various forms, whether hard, beautiful, edible, decorative, exciting, sanctifying, or snow-covered and pine-scented.

This last week, when we were in TX for Thanksgiving, we had quite the opportunity to practice gratitude. Thanksgiving morning dawned with my little one, my younger sister, and myself all hit with a stomach bug. There’s a great battle to fight for gratitude when your losing half your body weight into a trash can instead of getting to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, particularly when you are all together only a few times a year. There were many tears shed that day and honest prayers struggling with “why?”, but God is good all the time, friends, and we all had to choose to find and focus on the many ways we had to be grateful! We made many precious memories together that week and we were able to have a last whole family evening together the next night and in our wearied, ab-aching, recovering sickness state, we chose to laugh about it, be grateful for the time we had, and be hopeful for more time together very soon.

My mom is probably the greatest example I know of someone who chooses gratitude in whatever situation she is facing. Even with tears streaming down her cheeks on Thanksgiving Day she continually listed off the reasons she was grateful in the midst of disappointing circumstances. J and I were talking last night about her example and how it pushed us both that day to find joy. We talked about how mom’s joy in the Lord and the way that she daily seeks to be content and grateful for whatever He has allowed in her life endears her to people and makes her a beautiful testimony of what delight can be found in every day when we choose gratitude over bitterness. That example is a gift and one that I pray I emulate to my family and friends.

Gratitude has become my word this year and I am…well, grateful….for the countless ways the Lord has taught me about it these past weeks and months. In light of all of this, I thought I’d end the year with a little gratitude project. I am always, always encouraged and inspired when I see others share their gratitude and the ways the Lord is working in their hearts to grow a more profound sense of gratitude. So, I thought it would be neat for us to continue to share these things with one another — all the bits and pieces of what we are grateful for this Christmas season. Whether you share daily or however often, I’d love to see us point one another to the Giver of all grace and good gifts and cherish this season of refreshment even more. Just hashtag your photos with:

#agratefulchristmas

I’m grateful for each one of you, my friends, and hope that you are having a beautiful start to your Christmas season! I can’t wait to see what each one of you share!

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a month of thanksgiving

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And enters November, the last month of fall. I’ve heard many people bemoan the month of November. Not I. I love November. It is the month in which I soak up those last wonderful bits of crisp fall, put on thicker sweaters, wear boots and only boots, and stuff my face with the last Honeycrisp apples and pumpkin-flavored treats that I can get my hands on. We celebrate the birth of my sweet mom in this month, and that in itself makes this month special. We also celebrate Thanksgiving, which is one of my most favorite holidays to celebrate. I mean, fall, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving food, leftover Thanksgiving food, football, food comas, family, what could make for a better holiday?

Last year at Thanksgiving, my precious mom had the idea to go around the table and say what we were all thankful for. Now, if you know my family even the slightest bit, you know that we are a whole emotional load of criers. We cry at commercials, Pixar movies, an encouraging card, when someone we don’t know does something exciting, you catch my drift. Happy, proud, sad, hurt, or excited, the tears come. So you can imagine that when we are all together, which happens 2, maybe 3, times a year, that makes for an enormous load of happy moments which means: waterworks. Throw in talking about what we are thankful for and thinking over how richly God has blessed us and you’re looking at a mini Niagara Falls. The cherry on top? Right before we started doing this I asked my darling nephew, who was 3 at the time, what he was thankful for and he said, all from his own sweet heart, “I am dankful dat you tould tome here.” I’m almost had to run out of the room. I couldn’t even say anything to him. I just looked at my older brother, tears streaming down my cheeks, and he had to tell Joshie, “Auntie Jen is thankful for that too, buddy, and she loves you.” I’m tearing up again just typing this.

As much as we teased my mom about the questionable wisdom behind having our family do something like that, I love that memory. I think back to that day and my first thought is, “that really was a Thanksgiving day.”

This year has been such a year of learning how to live with gratitude, daily, in my heart, my mind, and life. I feel like it’s been a year of learning to live a Thanksgiving Day every day. Cheesy as that may sound to you, I have thought over that past Thanksgiving Day so often this year and how it displayed to me how I believe I should live every day: with a heart that is characterized by gratitude.

I’ve been thinking that November would be a good month for all of us to start thinking of ways to practically live out our gratitude. A few thoughts I’ve had:

1 // Keep a journal that is meant only for you to write down “what I’m thankful for today” in it. I love mine.

2 // Writing notes, sending cards, shooting a text, making a call, commenting on Instagram or Facebook, to tell someone, “Hey, you’re great and I’m thankful you’re in my life.”

3 // Voicing to your spouse and kids daily how grateful you are for them, who they are, and the things they do.

4 // Write the word “grateful” or “thankful” on an index card or a sticky note and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day to remind yourself.

5 // Give. Get outside of yourself.

6 // Talk about it with people. Set the example.

7 // Fight to quit complaining or being negative about every other thing.

I don’t mean these things to say, “hey, let’s all leap around like fairies and sprinkle pixie dust, smiles, and candies everywhere, saying “chin up, buttercup.”” I mean these things to say, “hey, life is rough, unbearably so, at times. there are awful days, hurtful days, and heart wrenching days; but I still believe there’s thanksgiving to be found in them.” After all, we are told to, “give thanks in all circumstances,” so there really is something there, even if we have to work hard to find it. “for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus,” and that’s the best thing.

Today I am grateful for:

01 // the beautiful Sunday we enjoyed yesterday.

02 // the restaurant finding my Little’s “B” (her blanket), because even when she’s done cuddling with it at naptime and bedtime, I still want it to be folded up in her memory box to keep forever.

03 // piles of fall leaves.

04 // thoughtful, generous, and loving friends.

05 // how excited my Little was to keep me company at the doctor’s office today.

06 // chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream frosting my sweet friend made the other night.

07 // the next weeks of anticipating the holiday season.

08 // life slowing down a bit.

09 // our parents. 4 of the most generous people on the face of this earth.

simple joys

It’s Monday, my friends. How quickly the weekends seem to pass by. About every weekend J and I comment to each other how we wish there was one extra day in the weekend….wouldn’t that be lovely? I am learning to love Mondays, though, and learning to greet the new week with more joy rather than, “oh. you again.” It’s a process.

When my folks were in town they stayed in our little apartment with us. We love to host family and friends in our home, but because we don’t have much extra space the times that people can actually stay with us depends on how many of them come on each particular trip. Once Meg could move into her dorm room my parents were able to stay with us as it was then just the two of them. We had them take our bedroom and we camped out on our inflatable air mattress. How far air mattresses have come, by the way. Our queen-size double-high portable bed makes for quite the comfy nights sleep. And in the eyes of our little girl there is no better entertainment than said air mattress.

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When that air mattress is pulled out and blown up the options become endless to our bright-eyed girl. It becomes a 2-year old trampoline, a cozy reading nook, the perfect spot to throw on extra pillows and blankets and watch a movie, a little home to imagine in with her dolls and toys, and a crash pad to land on when daddy launches her into the air.

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Watching the sheer delight that comes across AK’s face and hearing the happy shriek as she runs down the hall to jump on it for the 37th time just reminded me of how much I’ve learned from her to find joy in simple things. To look at what I can so often dismiss as mundane or everyday, brush off my imagination, add a touch of gratitude and see the beauty that lies in simplicity.

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I am so grateful for……

01 // Anna Kate belly laughs. one of the greatest sounds in all the world.

02 // popcorn and movie nights with my man.

03 // a biography on Julia Child. my culinary hero.

04 // the opportunity to rejoice with those who rejoice.

05 // rain. rain. rain.

06 // hints of the coming fall season.

07 // candles.

08 // hugs from my husband.

09 // the fact that it takes me less than an hour to clean our entire apartment.

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” Anne of Green Gables

Enjoy a lovely Monday evening, dear ones.

monday

It’s Monday, Monday, Monday!! Here we are at the beginning of another week. Is it just me or are the rest of you in disbelief that it is almost the end of July? And after the wonderful weather we had this past week I’m not sure if it didn’t jump to being September already. 70 degrees in late JULY. That whole “Christmas in July” deal came true for me this past week.

How was your weekend, y’all? Did you just stay home and relax? Take a trip? Go out on the town?

The ideal weekend in the Coobs household typically involves one or two outings, restful evenings at home, eating tasty food, reading time, and lots of coffee. This weekend was pretty ideal by those standards.

Starting off a Saturday indulging in these treats made for a rather wonderful morning. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Our kid turned 15 this week. At least, that’s how it felt. She is growing up so much lately but this weekend it just seemed like she changed by the second. J and I were talking about how we don’t feel like we can soak it up enough and just when you think she’s settled in a stage for a little while she changes again. Until I became a mother I had never experienced something that made my heart be such an exact mixture of excitement and dull ache. It’s a clear reminder to me to treasure the moments that make up each day and to remember that she does not ultimately belong to us. And when I think about that I’m completely overwhelmed with what a gift it is to be her mama.

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The zoo. We love the zoo. We are all fascinated with the polar bear they have at the zoo. He is always active, every time we come. AK asked if she could go swim in the “pool” with him and we told her it probably wasn’t such a good idea. A few minutes later I was commenting on how much fun the bear appeared to be having and she informed, quite seriously, “No mama. Not good idea to go swim wi him. You say (stay) here.” She looks out for me.

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I could stare at this picture all day. Talk about soaking up. I can’t get enough of these two. They are my favorites and the fact that I get to spend my everyday with them just makes me giddy. I didn’t know my heart could be so full of love and not burst. And it just keeps growing! My heart is probably nearly the size of the Grinch’s. Gosh, I just love them so much.

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The grin that was plastered on AK’s face when we surprised her with a ride on the carousel at the end of the soon trip was the best. Watching her live life has taught me so much about enjoying the simple things and living with gratitude for all the beautiful moments the Lord is gracious to give.

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Spending Saturday afternoon sitting on a bench in a peaceful neighborhood haven, sipping coffee and eating chocolate chip cookies, while talking through life with my Anna friend was so lovely. She is a faithful picture of God’s kindness. Our talks nourish my heart and soul.

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So much on my mind after conversations and experiences had throughout the past few days. It’s been a sweet few days.

Grateful for:

01 // God’s glorious creation.

02 // chocolate donut frosting smeared all over my daughter’s happy face.

03 // dear friends who have taught us so much about investing in those around you.

04 // the fact that the Lord doesn’t leave us to ourselves but sanctifies and transforms us.

05 // my husband’s generosity.

06 // multiple cups of coffee a day.

07 // answered prayers.

08 // pasta.

09 // that my hubby and I relax the same way.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” — A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Happy Monday, lovelies.

— Jenny

Gratitude

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“Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need……..

We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need.”
Gratitude, Nicole Nordeman

As we drove to church this past Sunday morning we listened to this song and were talking about the truth that is shared in the lyrics. It really hit home as we applied it to the past couple of days where there was some financial stress and strain. We talked through how we both see the Lord continuing to teach us greater trust in Him and His provision (in HIS way and time), and to grow deeper in our gratitude of recognizing and giving thanks for all He has done.

It’s always timely how the Lord works, for as we pulled into our church parking lot our car began to smoke. That’s always a comforting sight. We parked and Jas hopped out and opened the hood, to be greeted by a large cloud of smoke. I ran AK inside to the children’s area of church and hurried back out to help Jas figure out what was wrong. A friend had arrived at church a moment after we did and he was at the car helping Jas tinker around and try to discover the source of the problem. Discovery: a cracked radiator. Solution: they poured some water in, shut the hood, and we would figure out the rest after church.

We walked into church right as our pastor began his sermon. My mind was not there, I was so distracted by worried thoughts. I sat there, teary-eyed, battling, wondering why we had to have yet another car issue that was going to cost a lot of money. As I leaned over on Jas’ shoulder he whispered, “All I can think about right now is that song.” When he said that the lyrics immediately came to my mind — “We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude for lessons learned in how to trust in You….” Oh, what a reminder. It was what I was facing in a mental battle at that very moment. I could choose to remain sitting there, discouraged, worried about money, distracted. Or I could choose to give thanks to the Lord for the COUNTLESS ways He has blessed us, think back on every day that He has provided for us, and choose to trust in Him, resting in His sovereignty and good work in our lives.

What a gift it was to be in church as I was facing this battle in my mind. As communion was served and the music began to play again, I prayed, thanking the Lord for this situation and how He was already using it in our lives, choosing to trust His provision, and asking Him to help me to have joy in these moments. Not a minute after the band began to play “All I have is Christ” which has become one of my favorite songs — “Hallelujah, all I have is Christ. Hallelujah, Jesus is my life.” My eyes filled with tears again, only this time it was because I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the Lord. He is so good.

There were moments throughout the rest of the day where I was tempted to walk down that path of discouragement. The Lord was gracious to help me turn the other way, choosing joy, giving gratitude for all the ways He provided for us that day — listening to that song on the way to church that morning, having the conversation that we did, the friend who helped Jas diagnose the car, another friend who lent us her van to take our car to the shop and get home after church, a new battery for our other car, sweet friends who picked us up for an ice cream social at church that evening and brought us home afterwards, friends coming over to visit that day, encouragement, prayers — His provision was great.

As I’ve thought over this day I know it will be a day I always remember. I just see the sovereign hand of the Lord so clearly in it. I’m grateful that we listened to that song on the way to church that morning and had the conversation that we did. The Lord was preparing us for our day ahead and I am so grateful for the work He did in us.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”” Lamentations 3:21-24