From the Front Porch

Happy Friday from the front porch, sweet friends. Thanks so much for making us a part of your day today!

Truth be told, I’ve tried to write this post nearly every day for the past few days.

And every time I’ve come up empty.

As some of you know, my Mom, sisters, and I were supposed to be on our annual birthday trip to Renningers this weekend.

Several weeks ago though, my Mom broke her toe and my Dad was hospitalized with pneumonia.

As I shared last week while they’re both on their way to making full recoveries (my Dad got an excellent report from the doctor regarding his chest x-ray yesterday), I wasn’t really sure how to even celebrate our birthdays this year.

Honestly, things have been so up and down since the beginning of November that I was afraid to even think we’d have a chance to celebrate.

As melodramatic as it sounds, I was fully prepared to let the day go because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to take care of one more thing, much less the energy to problem-solve and make decisions.

That’s the thing about being a caregiver though, isn’t it?

No matter if you have a newborn, a toddler, a teenager, a spouse with special needs, or you’re also trying to manage the care of multiple households with aging parents there is a mental load we carry daily that almost always goes unspoken and unseen.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re tough, resilient, and steward the purpose with which we’ve been charged amazingly well.

We lift each other up and cheer each other on, learn to practice gratitude, and take breaks in minute sections of time.

But if you’re anything like me, when you lay your head down at night, you still have questions….how is this sustainable…how is this going to work out…is true rest even possible at this point…how are you, really?

I grabbed the phone to call my Mom to let her know canceling our birthday party would be the easiest thing to do. After all, both of my parents needed time to heal and I couldn’t think of anything I wanted anyway.

But before I could log out of my computer I saw one last comment come in.

So, I put the phone back down.

The comment was from Rachel of The Antiqued Journey and after I published it, I headed over to her blog to support her latest post.

Featured on the shelf in one of her photos was a small sign that read, “Gather hope,” and I immediately knew what I wanted for my birthday.

Armed with fresh inspiration, I called my Mom and asked her to make a birthday bucket list.

I created a list of my own as well.

On the top, I wrote, “gather hope.”

Underneath, I wrote a list of my favorite places to treasure hunt, restaurants I love to eat at but haven’t been to in months, and a few other simple pleasures to enjoy.

It’s in the spirit of gathering hope and being brave enough to ask and answer the question, “What do you really need?” that I’ve also decided to take next week off.

I do have a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide post that will go out Monday.

Other than that though, I’m giving myself the most luxurious birthday gift I can possibly think of, the gift of time.

Thank you for being here and for all the ways you keep showing up with inspiration, motivation, gentle truths, and words of love and encouragement.

When I blow out my birthday candles this weekend, I’ll be thinking of you.

Few of Our Favorite Things from Around the Web…

This home tour, Belgium Refuge, is really pretty.

Have you seen the Stone Lake Project from Bria Hammel Interiors yet? They are such a talented design team.

It’s hard to believe this farmhouse is new!

These butler pantry ideas are all fabulous.

This Coastal Maine Garden Tour with Lavender Colored Flowers is gorgeous!

How to Bring Life Into Your Garden with Winter Blooming Flowers and Plants (I love the way Kim makes gardening so approachable)

2023 Design Trends (that actually feel doable) This list is a great one too!

If you’re ready for a fresh coat of white paint, these colors are all beautiful.

22 Home Décor Projects That Cost Less Than $100

How to Make an Amazing Pinecone Wreath (one fabulous wreath, 2 different ways)

5 Valentine’s Day Project Ideas (that are totally cute and totally doable)

This beautiful project has me on the search for vintage buttons.

Speaking of vintage, have you seen these hearts yet? They’re so pretty and feel like the perfect winter craft!

I love this Monday Morning reset idea, Nicolle shared. Making healthy choices is one of my top priorities this year.

Speaking of which, have you read Elizabeth’s post on 10 Tips for Getting and Staying Healthy in the New Year yet?

Rachel’s post on Top iPhone Photography Tips was so helpful!

Year-Round Capsule Wardrobe Ideas

How to Find Your Color Season

Foolproof Tips to Make (And Keep) Your New Year’s Resolutions

Behavior Wins That Have Nothing to Do With The Scale

I love the gentle reminder on this mug.

16 Best Gifts for Minimalists (if you’re thinking ahead for Valentine’s Day)

These videos, 5 Reasons to Live a More Formal Life and 5 More Signs Your Life Is Too Casual were fun to watch. Especially, if you loved the Madame Chic books we read last year.

9 East Coast Towns That Make the Perfect Winter Getaway

Happy Birthday…

Happy Birthday to my sweet Mom and to all the other January birthdays who are a part of our community celebrating this month!

**You can read all about her milestone birthday celebration here if you missed it.

Words to Live By…

On My Nightstand…

(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life by Roxie Nafousi (This book has been so much more helpful than I anticipated, I really like it. The clarifying questions have been tough at times but definitely worth it)

**You can find a complete list of all the self-discovery books we’ve read here.

On the Menu This Month…

January Menu Ideas

January Menu Ideas-The Crowned Goat

Birthday Inspired Finds We Spotted Online at Amazon This Week…

(Amazon and Target affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

Balloons * Rollers * Chandelier * Skirt

Carafe * Birthday Banner * Quilted Flats * Chargers

Heels * Luggage Set * Cake Stand * Earrings

Loungewear Set * Book * Espresso Machine * Votives

If You’ve Missed Anything from the Blog Recently or the Archives, Here’s a Peek At What We’ve Been Up To…

27 Simple Ways to Hygge at Home and Cozy Winter Home Blog Hop


Easy and Delicious Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwich

Simple and Delicious Open Faced Breakfast Sandwich - The Crowned Goat

Modern-Day Cleaning Schedule Made Easy

How to Keep a Modern Day Cleaning Schedule in a Busy World-The Crowned Goat

Stenciled Air Dry Clay Valentine’s Hearts

Stenciled Air Dry Clay Valentine's Day Hearts-The Crowned Goat

DIY Valentine’s Day Mailbox

(this is great for little treats or for passing love notes and words of encouragement in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day)

DIY Valentine's Day Mailbox-The Crowned Goat

Valentine’s Day Candy Tackle Box

(I literally LOL’d when my baby sister walked into the hospital with this box filled with treats for all of us)

DIY Valentine's Day Tackle Box-The Crowned Goat

January Bucket List…

  • Do All Our Favorite Things on New Year’s Day
  • Celebrate Birthday Week
  • Continue 6-Minute Journal
  • Continue Skincare Routine
  • Eat Greens with Every Meal
  • Drink Water Before Coffee
  • Create a Cozy Winter Home
  • Revisit Bible Study/Devotion
  • Reestablish Morning & Nightly Routines
  • Transition to Afternoon Workout Routine
  • Plan Valentine’s Day Activities
  • Read the Book of the Month
  • Keep Sundays Sacred

**You can find our complete list of Word of the Month Ideas here.

January Simplified and Organized Home Challenge…

Focus of the Month: Your Health-Wellness Routines & Home-Keeping Systems

**You can find the entire 52 Weeks to a Simplified and Organized Home Challenge Plan here.

TCG Housekeeping Notes, Dates to Remember, and Upcoming Posts…

  • 01/23 National Pie Day
  • 01/24 National Compliment Day
  • 01/25 National Plan for Vacation Day
  • 01/26 National Green Juice Day
  • 01/27 National Chocolate Cake Day
  • 01/31 National Hot Chocolate Day

As always, we appreciate you more than you could ever know, and we hope your weekend is peace-filled and relaxing. 

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Enjoy your break! Happy birthday to you and your mom!

  2. CoCo, So glad to hear that your dad got a good report from the doctor and your mom is recovering well! They are so fortunate to have you, your sisters, and your extended family! I don’t know how people cope without having a family to help them! I was hoping I would get to touch base with you all at Renninger’s, but maybe next time! I’m so glad you are taking the week off and giving yourself a break! Enjoy the week and your birthday, however, you decide to celebrate!

  3. CoCo,
    What a great way to celebrate your birthday. Enjoy your week off. Thank you for sharing my iPhone tips and fir all your inspiration.

  4. Happy Birthday, CoCo! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thank you so much for sharing my Valentine heart craft! It is much appreciated!!

  5. I had tears in my eyes as I was reading this. I’m so thankful for you…I don’t know anyone else quite like you. I’m so happy you were inspired by that little sign…it really gives me joy each day as well. Thank you so much for your loving support and for being such an amazing friend. I wish you the happiest birthday CoCo…you are so deserving of immense happiness! Enjoy your time off, sweet friend!

  6. Oops, I forgot to say thank you for sharing my pinecone wreath! I appreciate it so much! I always enjoy looking at all of the interesting things you find for us! Hugs to you my friend!

  7. My mom just turned 100….and still lives “independently” in her home. Of course that means all things must be provided for her. It can be overwhelming at times. I did two smart things. I joined a Bible Study for caregivers, and I got someone to come in for a few hours once a week to fulfill some of the lists of things that need to be done. Small steps that brought relief. Remember to take care of YOU as you provide care of your parents ❤️

  8. HAPPYIEST OF BIRTHDAY’S MY BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL FRIEND!!! I love the idea of gathering hope and am totally asking for a list from each of my kids and the Mister. I think having that around for daily/weekly/monthly use is magnificent. So glad to hear about your dads report. Things are looking up!
    Loved the new old farmhouse and looking forward to diving into both of the trend links. And oh my golly yes, Michelle’s button heart is extra fabulous. Would love to find time to sit and make one of those! Hope your time off is fully regenerative, your heart bursts wide open with happiness and your sides hurt from all the laughter. Wish I could be there to give you big squishy hugs each day but praise God, He can do that instead and much better than I.

  9. Hello CoCo – I am so glad Rachel inspired you. She is one of the best cheerleaders I know and I feel so fortunate to collaborate with her. Just as important, I am glad that you found a fresh breeze and some inspiration for your birthday. It sounds as if it turned out – just the way you needed it to. Also, I love the idea of your sister bringing you a custom selection of candies in a box.

    One more thing – my parents are elderly too. My mom moved to NY in the middle of the pandemic. So I completely understand what you mean when talk about being a caregiver.

    Have a spectacular week. (And perhaps eat some of those cheerful candies . . .)

  10. Oh, my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear that your dad was hospitalized. It’s so scary when a parent is in the hospital–my mom was in the hospital twice last year–so I know your pain. I’m so glad they’re both doing better.

    Ironically, I, too, have pneumonia. And a broken rib (from coughing). And a sinus infection. It all started with the flu in mid-December.

    Happy birthday, friend! I hope you have a fantastic day.

  11. Another fabulous Front Porch episode CoCo. Yours is the only blog post I read from start to finish and click every single link. I’m loving all the inspiration here and thank you so much for including me. What an unexpected treat. Happy birthday my friend. I am so glad you were inspired to “gather hope”. Don’t you love finding personal inspiration in the most surprising and unexpected ways? Sending you hugs and much love. I know I’ve mentioned the words inspiration and inspired here already but that’s what you do…inspire. Every single time I read your blog. You are such an inspiration to me and so many others. Thank you for being you.

  12. Happy Birthday!!
    Enjoy your week, happy for your Dad and Gather hope 4 sure!!!

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