Category Archives: Moments of Life

traditions

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This past Saturday afternoon my loves and I spent a few hours enjoying one of our favorite Christmas traditions — making treats. We started the full-fledged tradition last year since Little was able to do a bit more and we had the very best time. With a tiny kitchen we spread out on the dining table and get to work. Christmas music plays, delectable smells fill our little home, sprinkles and flour cover the floor and we soak up every bit of it.

Our AK has become the best helper and she loves anything to do with the kitchen, particularly baking, just like her momma. And being able to indulge in quite the load of sprinkles and melted chocolate was an added bonus for her……and her parents, too. We made Christmas cutout sugar cookies topped with icing and sprinkles, rolled pretzel rods in white chocolate and topped those with sprinkles, and dipped marshmallows in milk chocolate and peppermint pieces complete with a mini candy cane stuck in the center. Simple, not super time-consuming, and easy for our apron-clad and adorable Little to be hands on with.

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As we bagged up several of the treats to share with some friends of ours, AK would pick out the perfect mixture of treats for each friend, naming each of them as she went, and she’d exclaim, “Dey gonna be sooooo ‘cited!” Oh, those moments of seeing her thoughtful and generous heart just burst my mommy’s heart. These times spent together are those memories we will treasure for a lifetime. Enjoying the traditions we started when she was so little and, Lord willing, adding some more little faces as time goes by. These are the moments that will forever be engrained in my heart and mind, the ones that J and I will recall to each other for years to come. Moments like these, when I’m in the company of the two people I love more than anything, the sink is full of dirty dishes, music is playing, our clothes are covered in flour and various sticky substances, and our little home is warm and cheery — moments like these, when life is being beautifully lived, I’m just overwhelmed by the kindness and grace of God and how He’s blessed me.

Traditions are like that. They are beautiful, grace-filled, entertaining, messy moments that have become treasured memories, and you never grow tired of repeating them.

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I hope you darlings are enjoying such a cozy Christmas season, full to the brim of sweet things. I’d love to know what your favorite traditions are in this season! What are you filling your days with?

when pinterest fails

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We love Pad Thai. And there’s a restaurant here in town that makes the best. Eating it everyday and never tiring of it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. However, the budget doesn’t allow for eating at Simply Thai everyday so I’ve been searching for the perfect homemade Pad Thai recipe. I realize that I’m trying to fill some rather enormous shoes, but hey, it’s worth an effort.

So, Friday night, I set my hand to try a new Pinterest recipe for Pad Thai that promised great things, tremendous things, “where has this recipe been all of my life” type things. And we were excited, anticipating a delicious Thai feast. So I popped on my Pandora and got to work.

My first clue should have been when the sauce called for ketchup. I mean, I know that many Asian sauce recipes are filled with quite the variety of ingredients, but ketchup? In Pad Thai? I pushed forward, however, and it was all coming together. Then…..as my sweet hubby stirred the dish around in the pan I added in the sauce. As he mixed the sauce throughout the dish a rather odd, and frankly awful, smell filled the kitchen. We both kept from saying anything to each other at that point, trying to hold out for the end result and ignoring the tell-tale smell that filled our noses. After the noodles had been tossed in with the sauce and the rest of the ingredients, we went in for the taste. Our last shreds of hope quickly vanished as our taste buds triggered one thought to our brains: “ketchup noodles.” No other ingredient spoke forth from the dish. Only ketchup. It had drowned out all other flavors, taking over the dish entirely, to give us a meal with one solemn note.

After a must-have disgusted-face holding-the-pan-of-ketchup-noodles picture had been taken and the sad contents of our hoped-for Chicken Pad Thai been dumped in the trash, my hubby said, “Okay, girls. Let’s get our shoes on and go to Chick-Fil-A.” We threw on our coats, turned on pop radio, and went to pick up our chicken dinner and a large Dr. Pepper for Mommy’s splurge that night. We picnicked on the living room floor with our happy Chick-Fil-A and an episode of the Cosby Show. Our Friday night looked up from there.

Sometimes we need a good Pinterest fail. After all, if we didn’t have a Pinterest fail every now and then, we’d have no good stories to share. And when Pinterest fails, there’s always Chick-Fil-A. As one of my good friends said, “Though Pinterest may fail us, Chick-Fil-A never does.”

#thesesweetdays

So, to state the obvious, the name of my blog is these sweet days.

The answer to why I named it that comes from a quote that my dear friend Michelle shared with us a while back:

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This quote is written speaking more particularly to the years of raising children. There are hard days, days that feel like the end will never come and you will continue to spiral down in a tornado of dishes, laundry, fussy children, and un-checked to-do lists; but, but, those days will end and truly, before you blink an eye, your fussy toddlers will be the 18 year olds that you are driving to college and you will be wondering where the time went. So a quote like this is such a beautiful reminder to cherish the days, the hard and exceptionally long days included, to find the beauty in them, and to hold tight to the joy in them, for they will be gone far too quickly.

I think, though, that this quote is just an overall excellent life quote. Life is hard. We are sinful people who hurt others and feel hurt ourselves. We experience pain, sadness, death, heartache, sickness, losing jobs, having tight finances, physical and mental disabilities, etc; but, we don’t have to live in this defeated, miserable, depressed state because, if we have Jesus, we have hope that this life is not the end, and thus, there’s an even greater joy to hold tight to in those long hard days and the reality that “the years are few” is the absolute truth.

So I take this quote to an even deeper extent and amidst tear-filled days, or drained days, or hurtful days, or days when the carpet gets stained, traffic is bad, dinner is a disaster and you just can’t seem to make anything happen, to remember that “these momentary light afflictions……,” and push aside the heartache or discouragement or frustration to fight for the joy.

This blog was born in a season where I was struggling with deep discontent in life. I was discouraged in different aspects of our life situation and, honestly, had such a miserable attitude. So I started this blog to be a documented journey of my desire to treasure every day and every season, to relish the different parts of life, to fight for joy, and to give glory to God for His grace and work in my heart. So these sweet days was born.

I share all this with you because I have an idea. I have taken part in hashtag projects that different bloggers and friends have started on Instagram and I’ve loved it! I’ve learned about people, been inspired by people, and been deeply encouraged. In light of that, I’ve decided to start a hashtag project: #thesesweetdays. My goal in starting this is to inspire all of us to fight for joy, to look for sweetness, to laugh at ourselves, to embrace our circumstances, to document the different ways we find encouragement throughout the day, and to be grateful. Let’s take to heart that quote, “the days are long, but the years are few,” and not wish away the day we are living in, but rather, face it head-on with coffee, passion, gusto, and hearts restful in the fact that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

I’d love if you joined me, friends, to document your sweet days! #thesesweetdays

grateful today | 01

Yesterday was a delightful fall gift for our little family.  It was an entire day devoted to our 3 Musketeers posse, and it was so refreshing. Being together is our favorite way to be.

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This past week, especially, has taken it out of us, but friends, it’s been so good. The Lord has shown His grace and His strength in numerous, kind ways. We have felt so loved by those in our life, we have been left teary by the amount of people praying for us, friendships have been strengthened, our hearts have been full of peace in the Lord’s leading of our family, and the 3 of us have been knit together even more deeply. There is so much to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for:

01 || The growth that comes in walking through difficult days.

02 || The 2 amazing humans I have been gifted to spend these days with.

03 || Playful zoo animals and crisp, cool fall air.

04 || Learning greater confidence in who the Lord has made me to be.

05 || Working on new projects and dreams with my man.

06 || All 3 of us cooking in our tiny, window-less, cozy, sweet kitchen.

07 || His mercies being new every morning.

08 || Chicken Soup and Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread.

09 || Our Little pooping in the potty! Celebrate those victories, my friends.

10 || Holding my husband’s hand.

I hope your weeks are starting off with delight and encouragement. How were your weekends? What are you all grateful for you today?

Happy Tuesday, dear ones!

 

right now

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Right now…….

— Life is heavy. Our emotion-meter is at its peak, our brains are mush, and we are exhausted. Honestly, I’d love to run away to one of those perfect exotic location pins on Pinterest……buuuuuttttt, somehow, I don’t really think that would make everything better. Amidst these worry-inducing, tear-filled, stress-eating type of days, I’m reminded of the one thing I have hope in that never falters………God is good. He is faithful, He is wise, and He is kind, and oh my goodness, these hard times have such a beauty woven through them as it makes us more aware that we aren’t going at this life alone. One of AK’s favorite songs we sing to her is one my mom sang to me growing up. It’s Philippians 4:13 set to a little tune, so all you sing is that verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She asked me to sing it to her today at nap time and hearing the words that were coming out of my mouth was a gentle reminder that I’m not supposed to try to be the super-woman human I think I am and somehow make all the problems go away; but rather, I’m supposed to lean on the sovereign God of the universe and walk through these rocky roads with hope because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

— I’m learning even more to choose gratitude. In the everyday of our life there is so much to be grateful for: coffee and biscotti mornings with my dear friend in the next apartment, a sweet friend coming for lunch and bringing me those sugar cookies from Target with the inch thick icing, reading with my Little before nap time and listening to her sweet voice sing with me before she falls asleep, prayers of friends and family, celebrating the exciting things that are going on in others lives, rain, the fact that it is fall, books, music, my husband coming home from work soon, and the comforting knowledge throughout it all that I serve a sweet Savior and He provides for me and sustains me everyday. There’s such joy found when we choose gratitude. On the most awful days it is there for the finding, if we choose to get outside of ourselves, fight that mental battle, and say, “thank you, Jesus.”

— I’m making a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound perfect? Like the most comforting of fall sweet foods? I have such a profound love for cake. Cake and tacos are two of my favorite comfort foods, and two of my most common late-night cravings.

— The other day Little was sitting on the kitchen counter and we were baking cookies together. We have a very tiny kitchen, with extremely limited counter space, so at one point I said, “okay, now I need you to scoot over just a tad.” She giggled and replied, “Mooooooom, you just call me Chad!” This 3 year old stage is just the best.

— My husband is the best man I know. These past few weeks, as I’ve watched him walk through these different life situations, I have grown to love, respect, and adore him even more as I’ve seen him be profoundly gracious, kind, thoughtful, wise, patient, humble, and confident in Christ in each situation he’s faced. He is such a gift of grace to me. I’m so thankful he’s mine.

— I’m so glad it’s fall. No season is more restful to me. Every year when it comes I think, “there you are, my dear friend,” and I hope that somehow it can hang out just a little bit longer than it’s technically “supposed” to.

— I hope each one of you are doing so well. Do you have any delightful plans this weekend? By the way, I’m grateful for each one of you.

Enjoy your evening, friends!

in this season

I’m thankful it’s fall. I’m thankful it’s September. The wonderfully welcoming month that it always is. Fall always brings a brand new-ness to me, like a new adventure awaits me; but it also brings such a comfortable feeling, like a dear old friend who has been away for a bit too long. And that’s reason #3487 that fall is the best season of all to me.

The delightful anticipation of what fall holds was an extra bit of a welcome reprieve this year as we’ve been walking through a rather heavy season the past few months. One of those seasons in which several life things that are difficult in and of themselves to deal with are all piled on together, bringing many weight and heart-hurting days with them.

This season is one in which we are fighting for joy and contentment where we are, seeking not to compare our lot to that of others around us, seeking to rejoice with those who rejoice and not say, “I wish….”, seeking to rid ourselves of thoughts that begin with, “why, Lord?” or hold even the tiniest bit of bitterness or anxiety and throw them far away, seeking to believe what we know to be true and say, “Jesus, please make me more like You during this season and glorify You in these days.”

Our Lord is so kind, so good, and so faithful. He brings about the changing seasons, but He stays steadfastly and completely unchanged. Throughout these days He has revealed such joy to us. The best joy that there is. Joy that is found in Him. He has revealed such strength to us. Strength that is found in Him. His grace is sufficient for us (2 Cor. 12:9), His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), His peace surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:6-7), His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).

There have been days where I’ve told J that I don’t think my heart can bear any more and those days hurt, they hurt so badly. In the midst of those days, though, I remember this and I praise Jesus that “therefore I have hope,”……….

“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.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:21-25

This weekend started off with fun, sugar, festival delights, and mental over-stimulation. Massive crowds are not our favorite situation, by any means, and we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the night, but the memories made with Anna Kate and other friends are well-worth every bit of it.

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The rest of the weekend was quiet and refreshing and that was a wonderful thing. Plus, the weather made a turn from humid and hot to cool and breezy which we welcomed with a chorus of “ahhhs”, giddy leaps into the air, and an evening walk.

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I am grateful. I am grateful for…..

01 // the truth that God is God and I am not.

02 // having my little sis in the same city and for the time we are getting to spend with her.

03 // mums for our front stoop.

04 // dry air, crisp blue skies, and a cool breeze.

05 // iced coffee and milano cookies.

06 // target popcorn while birthday party shopping with my family.

07 // heart-to-heart talks with my best friend, my husband.

08 // fireworks, cotton candy, snow-cones, and bounce houses.

09 // listening to J and AK’s morning conversations over cereal.

How were your weekends, friends?
I hope you each have a happy monday!

xoxo, Jenny

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.

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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