Cottage Inspired Spring Porch Tour
Every year, when I start planning our cottage-inspired spring porch tour, I almost always lean toward pinks and greens.
They just feel like spring to me.
But this year as I was searching for inspiration, I decided to have an open mind and allow myself to do something completely different.
I wasn’t sure what form or color it would take until I saw my bestie S pull through the yard and lift the hatch of her car one Sunday afternoon.
“Look at the hydrangeas I found today,” she said excitedly, “They look like Granny’s, don’t they?”
My heart immediately melted as I stopped sweeping the front porch and admired the French Blue petals.
“She would love these,” I said proudly.
As I continued cleaning off the porch, I thought about all the unexpected blessings that have taken place in our lives recently, the things that are still up in the air, and the prayers that have been answered but not fully realized yet.
Sometimes hearing, “No…not now…or not yet,” can be incredibly difficult.
But I know there’s pure magic in the transformation that happens during “the wait.”
A sentiment that has never meant so much lately.
Especially, where big dreams are concerned.
As 2019 rolled into 2020, my parents were excited about the year to come. It was January and they were getting their travel plans finalized and arranged.
My Dad was set to have a milestone birthday and they were celebrating 50 years of marriage as well.
The original plan was to travel to my Mom’s childhood home in Germany, to Paris, and Normandy so my Dad could set foot on the hallowed ground his Dad had set foot on in World War II.
It’s been his dream for as long as I can remember.
But once the pandemic hit and the world shut down, 2020, came and went.
And so did their milestone birthday and anniversary without much fanfare honestly.
We tried to make it special for them.
But there’s no way to compete with Europe.
In 2021, we had high hopes the world would reopen.
But travel, vaccine delays, and illnesses were abundant.
And again, their plans were canceled.
While they tried to make do painting Bliss Barracks, working on other small projects, and settling into a “new normal” you could tell they were starting to lose hope they’d be traveling back to Europe any time soon.
At the beginning of 2022, we started making plans for my Mom’s milestone birthday.
My aunt (her sister) was still recovering from breast cancer and even though my Dad said we could go anywhere my Mom chose, she wanted to be close by “just in case.”
Honoring her wishes, we settled on a long weekend in Savannah.
We had an amazing time and my Mom said she was finally able to put the disappointment of the canceled Europe trips behind her.
After all, “Being with you three girls beats being in Europe any day of the week,” she said.
I’ll freely admit, I didn’t really believe her though.
When we returned home from Savannah, my parents embraced their packed calendars and social schedules. They traveled locally, stayed busy with our big farm family, and were unexpectedly forced to grieve the loss of loved ones.
One day, my Mom and her brothers and sisters were going through old family photos at my aunt’s farm.
To her complete surprise, my Mom discovered a black and white photo from Germany she had not seen in years.
And that longing to see her childhood home one last time, quietly crept back into her heart.
As 2023 rolled around, they decided to give it one last shot.
And again, that trip was canceled.
When my Mom called to share the news, you could tell she was devastated.
“I don’t know why I got my hopes up,” she said her voice giving her away, “I guess it’s because we’re getting older, and I don’t know when we’re going to have the chance to go back.”
“I have a great life, I don’t know why I’m so upset,” she continued. “I’m sorry. I should have waited to call. I’m just so disappointed it didn’t work out. I guess it’s just not meant to be.”
I let her words hang in the air for a bit, not knowing quite what to say.
I can’t explain it but I had perfect peace that things were going to be different this time.
I didn’t want my Mom to think I was being woo-woo though because she’s a devout Southern Baptist.
With nothing to lose, I finally said, “Mom, I don’t how to explain it. You might not even be able to understand it. But I know this is not the end of the story. I have perfect peace you’re going to Europe this year. Something better is on the way. I can feel it in my bones,” I said with full confidence.
While I’ve long given up trying to explain His perfect timing and mysterious ways, it gives me goosebumps to tell you what happened next.
Less than two weeks later, my parents were fully booked on a trip to Europe where they will not only be going to 2 countries but will have the opportunity to visit 7.
My aunt who has recovered from breast cancer and my uncle are also going.
In addition, my great uncle and his niece (my Mom and aunt’s first cousin) will also be in attendance.
Originally set to stay for 10 days, they will now have the chance to stay for more than three weeks.
Truly, my Mom sounds like a schoolgirl as we work to plan her outfits and make a master list of everything she needs from medication to maps.
I don’t share this story with you to brag about their trip, but rather to gently remind you that “No” is not necessarily a closed door.
It just might be a “Not now,” or a “Not yet.”
While 3 years is a long time to wait, I know they’re more prepared to travel now than they’ve ever been.
For in those 3 years, they’ve celebrated many, many milestones, held each other through deep grief, and supported each other through cancer treatments, hospitalizations, and hurricanes.
Waiting is never easy, but they’ve proven it’s possible with courage and grace.
I used to be the type of person that was so uncomfortable in the “messy middle,” I did everything I could possibly do to avoid it.
The weight of waiting was just too much to bear sometimes.
But after watching my parents go through all the ups and downs, the stops and starts and the many cancellations in between, I have no doubt, His timing is always perfect.
If you find yourself at the crossroads of waiting today, I encourage you to see this time of transformation as a true gift.
Because you never know what things are coming together on your behalf or the divine appointments you’ll encounter along the way.
And as we fully embrace the spring season, I pray you’ll have an open mind as you search for inspiration and allow yourself to find the blessings all around you.
Even if it looks completely different than what you had originally imagined.
Beautiful post, Coco. I am so happy for your mom and dad! This post is very close to home for me…dealing with the pandemic and all its changes. Our retirement activities, 50th anniversary, and travelling was changed, too and now we are dealing with a major health challenge. God has seen us through the disappointments and we know he will see us through the days ahead. We are counting our blessings for each day and the little things now.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Linda. I never in a million years thought they would have to wait this long but for whatever reason, I know it was chosen as the perfect time. I’m thankful they’ll all be together and get to enjoy things they’ve dreamed about for years. I’ll definitely be keeping you and your family in my prayers and lifting you up as you walk your health journey. Waiting is tough in any situation but most especially where health issues are concerned. I pray you’ll have wisdom and grace when you need it most and you’ll be surrounded by love. Sending you a ton of hugs and adding my prayers to the others who are holding you close, CoCo
Such a beautiful post CoCo. I don’t know where to start but here it goes. Amen your aunt has recovered. I know it was a long battle.
How exciting they are all going together and for a long wonderful trip.
I’m so happy and I got chills reading this post about.
Oh and the hydrangeas are gorgeous!
Thank you bunches, Cindy! I know you’ve been one of my aunt’s biggest cheerleaders throughout her cancer ordeal and it has meant the world to us. Just the fact she is able to travel is a miracle. Those hydrangeas are pretty, aren’t they? They’re a new variety for us because you can use them indoors or on a covered patio. I’m excited to see how they fare. Hope your week has been a happy one, CoCo
I’m so glad they are finally getting to go! I love that this trip is better than the original one. Isn’t that just like Him? His timing and His best! I love the lessons in this post!
I know, Susan, me too! They are getting so excited and I know they’ll all have such a good time. God is so good, even when the waiting gets hard. His dreams for us will always far outweigh anything that we could ever imagine for ourselves. Sending you hugs for a happy week, CoCo
You always lift me up. Thank you. Wishing nothing but a wonderful trip for your parents & family
Such a sweet thing to say, AJ, thank you so much. I hope your week is richly blessed. Sending you hugs, CoCo
CoCo, thank you so much for your words today; a needed reminder. So true!!! Thank you 😊
You are very welcome, Ruth, I need these kinds of reminders myself all the time. Sending you hugs and thank you for your kind words, CoCo
Such a beautiful post…and a reminder that waiting can often be a blessing. What a great way to start my morning. Love all your gorgeous pictures too.
Such sweet and kind words, Mary, thank you so much. I really appreciate it! Hope your day is filled with all good things, CoCo
Such a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. Hugs and blessings to you, my friend.
His faithfulness never ceases to amaze me! Hope your week is filled with all good things, CoCo
Coco, where did you get the lavender linens on your front porch? Both the gingham and floral?
The floral print (Emma’s Garden, I believe) is a Waverly print I picked up several years ago at Joann’s and the purple gingham (also several years old) is from Hobby Lobby. You might have to try Etsy or Ebay to find the Waverly print in this shade. It’s so pretty! Hope this helps, CoCo
Thank you for the fabric leads. It appears to be Ambridge Rose Amethyst Lilac and you are right, it is discontinued. There are 2 valences for sale on Etsy in this fabric. But I will keep looking for it. Did find the lavender gingham on Etsy though. So beautiful!
Your porch is stunning!! I love all those spring touches and I am hoping you parents have the best time in Europe and think it’s so wonderful that they’ll finally get to go. It sounds like this trip is going to be well worth the wait too!!
That’s so sweet of you to say, Joanne, thank you so much. They’ve definitely waited a long time and we can’t wait to hear all about the experiences they have. Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with all good things, CoCo
This is so gorgeous, CoCo. And how wonderful that the trip is finally happening after all these years of waiting, planning, and re-planning.
I love your pretty porch and am going to feature it in my weekly recap on Saturday.
That’s so sweet of you, Jen, thank you! We are super excited for them to finally be able to go too. Three years is a long time to wait so I hope it will be extra special for them. Sending you lots of hugs and thank yous, CoCo
What a beautiful post CoCo. Covid sure did turn our world upside down, mine included. There have been tears, hope, and major changes, but you are right, you just have to be patient and see what is to come. It is not always easy, and sometimes I forget that along the way, and need those reminders. Thank you for that. I am so happy for your parents that they will getting their trip this year, prayers for a safe trip. Thank you for sharing this with us today.
I need reminders like this too, Cara. I’m still shocked at how much Covid changed all of our lives and the impact it continues to have nearly three years later. It definitely taught me to look for silver linings, unexpected gifts, and enjoy each day with purpose and grace. Thank you for being excited for my parents. It’s so sweet of you. They’re really great people. Hope your day is filled with all good things, CoCo
CoCo, Your porch looks amazing! Loving the colors you chose! Those hydrangeas are so gorgeous! Have you ever planted them in the ground or do you always keep them in pots??
I’m so happy for your parents and the trip they get to enjoy now! God’s timing is always best! Blessings, Donna
Thank you so much, Donna, I really appreciate it. We usually transfer all the hydrangeas from terracotta pots to larger pots and then put them in the ground. This is a new variety that is good for indoor or covered porches so we’ll probably keep it in pots for as long as we can then transfer them to a super shady nook just off the front porch. We have really sandy soil because we’re in coastal zone 9 so we’ll definitely have to finesse the soil a bit. Hope your weekend is a happy one, CoCo
Such a gorgeous porch, CoCo. I’m sharing it this Saturday in my weekly roundup!
That is so sweet of you, Kim, thank you so much. I really appreciate it! Hugs, CoCo
CoCo, this is the most beautiful post. I’m happy for your parents, and yet I also feel blessed by your words. My life is also in a time of transition and waiting right now, which is so hard for me. Your words were just what I needed to hear today.
Thank you for your lovely writing and message of inspiration, my friend. ❤️
I really appreciate your kind words, Niky, thank you so much. Trying to find joy and grace, wisdom and strength or clarity during times of wait is so hard sometimes. Even under the best of circumstances, it can be easy to get caught up in doubt or discouraged along the way. I’ll definitely be praying you have exactly what you need at the exact time you need it in the weeks and months to come. You bring so much hope and happiness to others. Hang in there! Big hugs, CoCo
I love this post so much and am completely inspired by your spring porch CoCo. I couldn’t decide which picture to feature on my weekly blog post, Saltwater Sounds tomorrow, because they’re all so beautiful.
That is so kind of you to share, Kim, thank you! This was definitely a fun porch to put together and I’m excited about trying out the new hydrangeas. It’s been pretty cold (the mid-50s) in Florida since we got them but so far so good. I’ll keep you posted! Big hugs and thank yous, CoCo
So very beautiful–your photos and the story! I’m so happy for your parents and all of you who love them. My husband always dreamed of visiting Normandy, as well. We got to take our sons when they were 23, 21, and 17 years old. The trip of a lifetime. (I don’t mean to spam you, but I wrote about it our trip, in case you’d like to see some of the places we visited: https://www.impartinggrace.com/2014/08/pilgrimage-to-normandy.html)
Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
That is so exciting, Richella! I’m glad you guys all the chance to go together and I can’t wait to check out your post. Thank you so much for the sweet feature this week, I really appreciate it. Hope your spring season is filled with all good things, CoCo
What a beautiful post! My husband and I have been married for 43 years and have planned to go to Europe twice. The first time there was a tragedy with a dear friend and after that experience it was just not in our hearts to go. Then Covid hit. Now we are finishing up one last big expensive project at our Coast House that has been on hold for almost 20 years. Our house is on a river and we are finally getting a dock that we thought would come much sooner. So Europe has been on hold and there have been times when I wonder if we should have traveled more when we were young – but raising our kids, home projects, etc have always taken presendence. Your story is very inspiring to me and gives me a renewed hope that we will someday soon still get to go on our trip to Europe. Thank you so much for sharing! I am so happy for your parents and your family!
Congratulations on 43 years, Linda, that is so cool and such a long time too. Everything you’ve shared in this comment is so relatable, thank you so much for weighing in. I can’t tell you how many times my parents wondered the exact same things over the years! Earlier this week I came across a quote from Charles Stanley that read, “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we’re waiting for,” and it immediately made me think of all the people who have kindly shared their stories of waiting as well. I’ll definitely be cheering you on that you’ll find your way to Europe as soon as the dock has been completed. Big hugs and keep the faith, CoCo