Friday, August 28, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - they say your life flashes before your eyes.....

It was June 13th of 2003; you could feel the excitement in the air as Dan prepared for his first “Night Jump”. At ONLY jump #87 he was VERY lucky to get a jump ticket for the ride up to altitude. But, leave it to Cookie to talk his way onto a plane – even if it was 13 jumps too early.
He is always the exception to a rule.

My brother, Andy, and his soon-to-be bride, Karrie, had joined us in Chicago for the big event. Skydivers were everywhere; taping GLO sticks to their jump suits. Checking and re-checking their gear. The kids and I were told that we could drive the van out onto the edge of the airstrip. They remember feeling excited that they got to sit ON TOP of the mini van. As the plane took off, we all turned on our headlights, as the skydivers would use them to see the landing zone as they approached.

Jump #87 went off without a hitch.
Imagine seeing it for the first time.
The earth’s evening lights from the sky.
Cookie describes it as “a breathtaking and awesome site.”

For all you NON-skydivers - Number 1 rule of a night jump – THE FIRST thing you do after you land is check in with your S&TA, so they can make sure everyone is accounted for. Cookie landed safely, and immediately went to find his S&TA, as instructed. The mini van was NO-where near the hanger, so he did not stop to let his family know he had landed safely, he simply followed SKYDIVER protocol.

Two thumbs up for him. (Said in perfect Kristie sarcasm)

As none of us had ever attended an official “Night Jump” before, we really did not know what to expect. As we began to realize that all of the jumpers had landed, and we hadn’t seen Cookie, we became concerned. Andy and I were engaged in a worried conversation as we heard a VERY loud noise.
The noise became louder and louder.
We all froze and stared into the sky.
The lights on the airplane came QUICKLY into view, although it became apparent that they were approaching WAY TOO quickly.

My thought was – one of the engines must have gone out.

We all realized that the plane was going to crash. The question was, how close would it be to our mini-van?
They say your life flashes before your eyes.

With tears in my eyes, I screamed and desperately grabbed for my children on top of the van, but never connected with their little bodies.
Andy left his bride standing speechless and literally dove UNDER the mini van, head first, while he screamed, “SEPTEMBER 11th!!”

At the VERY last second, the plane leveled out just above my children’s head.

It took a full 60 seconds for us to realize that all the other cars were honking their horns. People were screaming. Not because they were scared, but because they were celebrating! The plane safely landed just beyond the row of cars.

Wait, what?

Apparently, it is a tradition at official “Night Jumps” for the pilot to do an average FLY-BY, only the goal is to get as low as physically possible……. Hmmmm… might’ve wanted to know THAT ahead of time.

They say your life flashes before your eyes.
Mine didn’t.

But, was that because my body knew I really wasn’t going to die?

Or was it simply because I was so incredibly angry at my selfish brother, that I couldn’t think of anything that had happened in my short life?

I mean COME ON….
He could’ve attempted to grab at least ONE of the kids?
Or his soon-to-be wife?
Or AT LEAST his incredibly cool and smart BIG sister.......

Logbook #87 -

Cookie preparing for his first "Night Jump" -

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happiness is.....

Happiness is.....
Alone time with my best friend
Happiness is.....
A Starbucks on every corner
Happiness is.....
A maid who makes your bed every day
Happiness is.....
The escalator rides in Water Tower Place
Happiness is.....
Men's capri's in the Adidas store
Happiness is.....
Not being forced to ride on the BIG wheel, because he was just as scared
Happiness is.....
Watching a street performance
Happiness is.....
Eating out for every meal
Happiness is.....
Chocolate covered STRAWBERRIES from the Godiva store
Happiness is.....
3 floors of NORTHFACE
Happiness is.....
A Starbucks on every corner
(Did I already say that?)

Happiness is.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - 1991

It was the summer of 1991, we started our official “first date” by riding around Muskegon in the back of his mom’s junker car, as she was running errands. I have a vivid memory of spilling a slushy on my T-shirt, but he had an extra one I changed in to. She brought us to a baseball game for Mentally Challenged Adults. We cheered them on together. He gave me a lollipop. I asked him if he wanted to share it. He acted like I was disgusting for even asking. (To this day he will not share his ice-cream with me, off of the same spoon).

We ended up at the Getty 4 Drive-In.
His mom, brother, and a friend in the front seat.
A friend, him and I in the back.
I don’t remember anything about that movie. I simply remember the feeling of his hand, as he held mine. I simply remember how hard my HEART was beating, as it slowly realized that the 15-year old boy was everything I ever wanted.

We walked to the bathroom at the Drive-In. When I came out of the girl’s bathroom, he was coming out of the boy’s. His friend was bringing him a duffel bag from the car and handed it to him. I thought it was kinda weird, but he said “OK, thanks” to his friend. He took the bag back to the car and put it in the trunk. I never thought another thing about it.

Years later he laughs as he retells the story. When he was in the bathroom at the Drive-In, he thought he smelled bad (as for most of his life, he has had a secret obsession with Old Spice Deodorant). He told his friend, “Hurry, go back into my bag and get my deodorant, bring it to me in the bathroom so I can put some on!!” His friend obviously got confused by the instruction, or was unable to locate the deodorant in the duffel bag. Afraid to disappoint him, he chose to bring the entire duffel bag back instead.

Funny - I thought he smelled fabulous for the entire day.

We ended our first date in his friend’s driveway in Norton Shores.
His mom was talking.
Our friends were preoccupied with emptying the car.
I looked him square in the eye and said, “You should say goodbye to me right now.”
He said, “Huh?”
I kissed him full on the mouth.
He said “Oh”.
He went into his friend’s house.
I’ve been telling him what to do ever since……..

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dear Lord, send me Cheez-Its....

I have a wonderful little story to share....

We have been blessed with Aunt Jamie staying at our house this week. Tyler and Jamie have always shared a very special bond. Along with watching movies, skateboarding, and having sleepovers in the living room, they have also spent quality time reading the Bible. Over the past 3 evenings, they have been diligent to read the Bible and discuss spiritual concepts together.

One morning this week -

Me: "So, Ty, how did Bible Study go last night?"

Tyler: "Great! We learned about HOW we should PRAY to God"

Me: "Do you mean THAT you SHOULD pray to God? Or HOW you should PRAY to God?"

Tyler: "No, mom, I mean HOW YOU SHOULD PRAY. Jamie explained it to me. It's like me saying - 'God, send me Cheez-Its'. You're not supposed to ask like that...."

Me: "Why do you need Cheez-Its? There are crackers in the cupboard...."

Tyler: "MOM! It's just an EXAMPLE! Instead you should ask like this, 'Dear God, if it is in your will, could you please send me some Cheez-Its?' "

Monday, August 10, 2009

Very Excited

I'm getting really excited about the upcoming


here at

The LIFE in a DAY of the COOKS.....

Join us this Friday for the 1st WEEKLY post!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just for fun....

We are so blessed to go to the Unity Festival each year. We always get AWESOME seats right in the front, because Grandma Robin gets up every day at 5 in the morning and waits in line. Then, when they open the gates Tyler runs as fast as he can (which is extremely fast) to "throw our blankets down"..... Robin follows closely behind with our cart full of chairs, with help from Tiff or I. Each year, we get the same great SPOT. This picture was on the UNITY website.....He, of course, passed that kid.....

Dad has never assisted in this process, and, in fact, thought Robin just got up early, walked to our spot, and comfortably sat back to enjoy the rest of her day.

This year, he decided to "help" us.
[So, we patiently explained the know-the chairs have to be stored in a certain manner, the bungee cords have to wrap around the chairs just so, Tyler has to sneak to the front of the line while others aren't paying attention, etc.etc.etc... ]
[And he listened to part of the explaining.]
He was quite surprised by how ELABORATE the process was!

And by the end of the festival, the UNITY staff actually photographed him "helping" us..... We kept telling him he was supposed to RUN to the spot with the chairs.

I guess this could be running??

Unity - Day 3

I heart my friends! Unity Day 3 was so much fun because our friends ~Jeff and Kim and Sarah and Bobby~ came to join us! We all got to see The NEWSBOYS and Mark Schultz, too! (Dan is planning to call Mark and see if he wants to come and lead worship at Faith Harbor.....I'll let you know when he's planning to come.....)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Unity - Day 2

Despite all the RAIN, UNITY Day 2 was a HUGE hit! We made the most of the rain, and hung out together as a family!!

Katie and Hannah are actually celebrities now, as they were on the front page of the Muskegon Chronicle this morning -
Hannah Bagalay, 16, left, of Lansing, and cousin Katie Cook, 15, right, of Fruitport, stay dry under a tarp while they make hemp jewelry and await the mainstage performances during the Unity Christian Music Festival on Friday at Heritage Landing in Muskegon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Unity - Day 1

Our family is so very blessed to be able to attend the UNITY Christian Music Festival each year! Last night, we saw many great bands - Mercy Me was the headliner! We all had a wonderful time as a family!

I think Dan is attempting to make sure he doesn't have a "double chin" in this picture....

Katie and Tyler....


Katie and her cousin, Hannah....

I tried to get a little video clip, it's kinda bad quality....

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I will refrain from mentioning that TYLER HATES to have his picture taken......if you haven't noticed.

It's real....

Katie is so lucky to be able to take Driver's Training with her good friend, Addison. Katie and Addison met on the very first day of Kindergarten! And now they are DRIVING together! Stacie and I are feeling very old!

I won't mention how jealous Tyler was.....He has always wanted a gray and black mustang....
I can't really remember, but it seems like we drove "old granny" cars when I was in Driver's Training.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dan needs a new job now....

Watch 1st-

Watch 2nd-