Tiny Gifts of Hope

Happy Monday, sweet friends!

It’s great to be back with you after spending time at my childhood home Loblolly Manor, celebrating two big birthdays and enjoying Easter.

Our original plan was to be at the cabin for the two weeks surrounding the holiday.

But after giving up nearly every weekend from October to February for travel and family commitments, we found ourselves having so many loose ends to tie up in March they rolled into April which is something we did not anticipate.

Looking back, I can see how naïve it was to even think that way.

After all, there’s no way to make up for 5 months’ worth of loose ends in one.  

I’ll be honest, by the time we hit the road for Loblolly, we were a bit frazzled yet equally hopeful we’d be able to get at least a small break.

In hindsight, we should have taken more time to plan instead of trying to “wing it”.

I think we were so tired from trying to keep all the balls in the air, we decided there would never be a perfect time to go, and waiting for things to ease up wouldn’t help us anyway – so we just went for it.

As I’ve shared many times, I’m an idealist through and through.

While I have a practical side, I’m a consummate possiblitarian who tends to romanticize the mundane.

And by the time we pulled into the driveway at Loblolly, I had already started visualizing myself having plenty of time to journal, daydream, take long naps, read late into the afternoon, solidify our Q3 plans, work on a big writing project, linger over lunch with my Dad’s family and drink coffee out of my Mom’s dainty white teacups each morning.

The minute we opened the door to Loblolly and our sweet rescue Piper saw the sun shining through the kitchen window reflecting bright white spots on the ceiling, though, I knew none of those things were going to happen.  

Her anxiety immediately went into overdrive, and we began covering up nearly every sunlit area in the house as quickly as possible.

A few hours later, my Mom called to make sure we were settling in ok.

I tried to sound upbeat as I shared we had seen thousands of beautiful pink phlox blooms on the way down, but my Mom interrupted me midsentence sensing something was up, “What’s wrong? You sound upset. Was the house not ready when you got there?”  

“No, the house is fine,” I said. “I guess in my haste to get away, I forgot we still bring our struggles with us no matter where we go.”

She sat quietly as the sentiment hung in the air.

“I’m really sorry things are off to a rough start. Dad and I were hoping you would not only come home refreshed but that you would have so much fun you would want to start using the place more,” she said. “There’s still time to change things around, ok? Don’t let a shaky start create a shaky finish.”

It took over half the trip but eventually, Piper settled in, and we did as well.

While I didn’t write a single word, plan out Q3, read books, or take long naps as I imagined, we were able to visit a community garden (pictured throughout the post), treasure hunt in antique shops in neighboring small towns, and tour one of the museums at the Capitol.

We also had a relaxing lunch with a few family members from my Dad’s side which was really nice.

I took extra time to snuggle with Piper, watch old movies, paint a piece of furniture, and gather a lot of project intel for my Mom too.

She’s desperate to turn Loblolly into a retreat space we all want to use.

And while it will be tough to get my Dad on board for some of her ideas, I’m excited to see her vision come to life *fingers crossed* this summer.

As we packed up to leave I heard a tired voice say, “This week was a lot. Let me know how you reframe everything because I’m struggling to see the bright side.”

I immediately started laughing out loud because, at that very moment, I was already looking for a silver lining.

How weird is it to be thankful to be seen yet feel completely predictable all at the same time?

“This was a trial run and nothing more,” I simply said. “We had no idea what to expect, where this would lead, or if it was even possible to work from Loblolly. Now we know and next time we’ll come better prepared. Besides, we can have a redo anytime we want.”

The drive home was a quiet one as I thought about how easy it is to get lulled into thinking things will be so much better once we get “there.”  

As if new surroundings will magically change us, our attitudes, or the struggles we face each day.

While a different environment can offer a fresh perspective, it’s ultimately our responsibility to continue the necessary heart work and mindset shifts no matter where we’re at.

It’s up to us to look for and appreciate the tiny little gifts and the silver linings we’ve been given along the way.

As I was carrying the last set of luggage into the house, I quickly paused to pull a leaf out of one of the flowerpots on the front porch.

But as I reached down, I realized the leaf was attached to a well-crafted nest, and inside the nest were tiny speckled eggs.

Quiet proof that no matter where you’re from, where you’ve been, or the struggles you’ve endured along the way, there will always be room for tiny gifts of hope.

Cheering you on as you embrace the season you’re in. May you find silver linings and tiny gifts of hope when you need it most.

Many blessings,


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  1. You are very blessed.

  2. It is so neat that you can go back to your childhood home. That is wonderful!! I love that you always look for the silver lining! Maybe not getting things done was just a way of giving yourselves some needed rest and Piper snuggles!😊 Proverbs 19:21

    1. It is wild to be able to go back there, Susan! We moved around a lot but Loblolly was always our home base. Looking for the silver lining is not always easy but the effort is always worth it. Thanks for the sweet Proverbs reminder. I can’t wait to make sure it’s highlighted and in my journal! Big hugs, CoCo

  3. Bobbie Sparks says:

    Hi CoCo,
    I enjoyed your trip LOL. I feel exactly the same at times. I always think we need to go somewhere to do nothing because my husband and I are not “do nothing” people. We are blessed to enjoy being busy but can seldom find a slow down spot in our lives. Life is good and God is the reason.

    1. Speak to my heart, Bobbie, that is so true. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down so I can enjoy His gifts. They are all around us if we take the time to look and listen. Hope you’ve had the best week, CoCo

  4. Morning Coco,
    Lovely post and pictures, so enjoyed it and Loblolly looks like a wonderful place to visit. More often than not things never go the way we think they will…….but sometimes that is good too, cause many times we do things that are unexpected which is a delight in an of itself. Sounds like you got to do a lot of neat things that I bet
    brought you joy. I too, love those lil love/hope gifts that God blesses us with, like your bird nest, full of eggs,
    and my tiny twig in the shape of a cross I found in my kitchen sink right before Easter, that I have NO idea
    how it got there. I know we always come home refreshed and ready to get started in when we come back
    from a relaxing trip at our Daughters. We get new ideas and think of things we want to do and look forward to putting it in to action when we get home, but it doesn’t always go as we plan, but we usually get to do some of it at least. lol Hope you have a lovely week and accomplish some of those tasks at hand with great ease and joy!

    1. I can’t believe you found a twig in the shape of a cross, Nellie, that is so cool! We had a great time and I’m thankful for all the little gifts we got to experience along the way. As you say, even delighting in the unexpected can be a beautiful thing. I’m so glad you guys get to visit with each other. We have a really close family too and I tell ya there is nothing like spending time together! Heading over to your blog soon to see what you’ve been up to and I hope you’ve had a great week. Hugs, CoCo PS: Thank you for letting me know about the comment issue. We have a very sensitive spam filter so I’ll have S look at it today.

  5. CoCo, you write beautifully and certainly have captured those moments we’ve all experienced while traveling or heading to a new destination. I love getting up to the mountains to our cabin, but 9 times out of 10 we find some big crisis when we arrive – new roof leaking; a bat in the house; a water leak….you name it but the concept of “relaxing at the cabin” generally means more chores, work and expenses we didn’t anticipate. Oh well, such is life. Your family’s property looks lovely and it’s always good to get a change of scenery, no matter what challenges come your way. Thanks for sharing! P.S. My favorite line is you being a consummate possiblitarian who tends to romanticize the mundane. Me, too!!

    1. YES to all of this, Mary! It does seem like there is always a project to work on or an unexpected expense that comes up that threatens to quickly take us out of relaxation mode. We definitely need to spend the summer giving the entire place a refresh. I love that you are also a possiblitarian who romanticizes the mundane. I was literally outside on the porch yesterday completely amazed that I could smell the scent of our laundry products wafting through the air. Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to and I hope you’ve had a peaceful week. Hugs, CoCo

  6. You are an amazing inspiration. You have such a quiet Grace about you that draws me in. Hugs and blessings to you, my friend

    1. That’s such a sweet and kind thing to say, Renae, thank you so much I really appreciate it. Big hugs and can’t wait to catch up on all your adventures this week, CoCo

  7. Hugs! 2023 is certainly proving to be a struggle for so many of us, but those micro-joys (like the nest with the eggs) are what will carry us through.

    1. It totally blows my mind to think we’re still going through all these little things too, Corrie! I guess I thought they would end with the pandemic but now I’m starting to wonder if this is just life, you know? Looking for silver linings, micro joys, and genuine delights are the things that help us most and as you say will carry us through. I have no doubt we’ll get through it all and be so much better for it on the other side. Sending you tons of hugs and cheering you on. I believe in you, CoCo

  8. I loved all of the gorgeous photos you shared in this post, it would be so fun to see your creativity turned loose in such a beautiful setting. Hopefully the next trip will be so much more productive… and relaxing!!

    1. Thank you so much, Heidi! We have lots of fun things planned and I’m excited to work alongside my parents to make it all happen. I think Piper needs a nanny before we get started though 😉 Sending you hugs and can’t wait to head over to your blog to find out what you’ve been up to, CoCo

    2. Loved this story and how you open up to us and share your stories.

      I often think others have it all figured out. At times I feel I’m trudging up the mountain alone.

      You often soothe my soul. Thank you my friend.

      1. You are never alone, sweet friend. We’re all right in the trenches with you! Big hugs, CoCo

  9. Christine says:

    Good morning Coco! It’s been a long time since I’ve stopped over for a visit. Life has been crazy and I have so much catching up to do. In truth I came over for some of your healing words. I remembered when I first started following you had posted about the loss of your fur baby. It touched my heart at the time but I needed those words even more now. Sadly we kissed our sweet Bentley fur the last time this past weekend. My heart is broken and I have been searching for any way possible to feel a sense of peace. Thank you for sharing your heart. As always your words helped. If you have any additional advice on healing I would greatly appreciate it!! Hugs, Christine

    1. Christine,

      Queen Elizabeth once said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

      But I wish she would have also spoken about the deafening silence that comes over the house, the tears that fall at completely random moments, the dull ache that fills your heart, and the longing for the pitter-patter of tiny paws because at least then it would be easier to prepare for moments like these.

      I am deeply sorry to read of your loss.

      I know you’d pay the price over and over again to have him a part of your life. He truly leaves a space that will not be easily filled.

      Bentley was a treasure and a beacon of hope to our family when I wasn’t sure how to handle Piper, Filbie, Tally, or Jelly Bean. I’ll forever be grateful for the kind and generous way you both cheered us on as we walked life’s ups and downs together.

      Grief is such a strange thing to navigate because it’s deeply personal. It takes time and grace, strength and understanding and sometimes it’s hard to put those feelings into words.

      I pray you’ll be easy on yourself as you go through this journey. And you’ll be able to find a way to give the gifts he so richly gave to you to yourself in the weeks and months to come.

      And when you’re ready, I hope you’ll find a way to celebrate his life no matter if you’re planting a memorial garden, wearing a special piece of jewelry, or feeling the wind on your face as you walk the familiar paths you two enjoyed together so many times.

      Thank you for reaching out and for trusting me to comfort you. I’ll be lifting you up in prayer as long as you need.

      Sending you so many hugs sweet friend,

  10. Glad you were able to get away, even if it did not go as you had hoped! Sounds like you did have enjoyable moments, and the other things will get done eventually! Loblolly and the surrounding area look like beautiful places to visit! What a sweet surprise to find when you got home! Hugs to you, Donna

    1. Thank you, Donna! We had a great time and it was nice to get a trial run to see what is needed and how we can make the spaces we use while we’re there more functional. My Mom has lots of fun plans and I’m excited to see them come to life. Can’t wait to catch up on your posts. Hugs, CoCo

  11. I LOVED this post, CoCo!! So beautifully written. That house looks just stunning!! Happy day to you, friend!

    1. I really appreciate it, Rachel, thank you so much. Can’t wait to catch up on your posts and see what you’ve been up to! Hugs, CoCo

  12. Hi CoCo- I laughed out loud when you wrote that you are a “possibilitarian”! I would include myself in that same category. I am glad Piper settled down and that you held firm to your beliefs to see the silver-lining. Sometimes it is those tiny magical moments that are wind beneath our wings – just when we need it the most. Without being open to seeing these little moments – we would miss them all together. Fingers cross for the little birds to be on your front porch. (How appropriate that they nested on your front porch!)

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