Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - Thank you, Mr. Ross

It was April 25 of 2008, and the place was packed! People arrived in style as the theme of the night was a ‘classy JAZZ.’ It was the first Art Auction that Dan couldn’t make it to, and everyone kept asking me where he was. My answer of “he’s at a mens retreat” didn’t seem to go over well, as Dan had been the life of the party for every Art Auction past.

I didn’t bid on anything during the silent auction, as I only had my eye on ONE thing. The students of WMAAA had worked on a collaborative project that Spring. It consisted of EVERY student in the school creating an individual collage. Each grade level had a different animal, and color scheme. A local artist then took all of the collages, and combined them into one giant collage. The giant collage was then cut into two big pieces and individually framed.

They were the only artwork pieces that were being auctioned in the LIVE auction. In hopes that everyone else would be out of money, I saved my every penny and made sure my paddle was ready!

I realized I had no chance after my first bid, as my competitor was Mr. Ross.
I looked at him and mouthed the words, “Are you kidding me?”
I couldn’t believe my bad luck.
Out of everyone in the room, I couldn’t believe Mr. Ross was going to bid against me.
Every year for the past 9 years, our girls had been in every classroom together at WMAAA. And every year, he came to the auction and made large contributions to our community.

Everything in me wanted to say
“It’s OK, you can just have it…..”
Everything in me wanted to say
“But, I really want it…..”

He just looked at me and smiled.
I gave him a SMALL run-for-his-money, but was smart enough to realize that I was WAY out of my league. As the auctioneer yelled, “SOLD, to Mr. Ross” everyone cheered and I clapped for the man that had given SO much to a community SO small.

At the end of the event, he approached me and said, “So, why did you want that artwork so badly?” My response was somewhat matter-of-fact, as I explained that the artwork was
A representation of US...
An exact PICTURE of what we are...
A piece of every child that is impacted by our unique community....

He made a statement that I will never forget. “Well Mrs. Cook, you have given so much to this community, I want you to have one of them….” His kind words that followed spoke volumes, as he used words like ‘genuine’ and ‘dedication’ while describing ME.

It now hangs in my hallway near my children’s bedrooms. When people see it, they usually do a double-take, as it’s not really BEAUTIFUL or anything.
Nobody asks about it.
They just look at it, and move on.

But, every time I walk past it,
I am reminded of a place where
A group of adults represent words like: Dedication, Honor, and Integrity
I am reminded of a place where
A group of kids HAVE FUN, and secretly learn at the same time
I am reminded of a place where
It takes a community to raise a child
I am reminded of a place where
God placed me……..

Thank you, again, Mr. Ross.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


When I think back to this week in the coming years, I will remember it as the ONLY time in my life that I begged God for something. Before this, I asked Him for so many things. I have even REPEATEDLY asked Him for things. But, I don’t think I had ever BEGGED Him for something, until the night my dad’s heart stopped.

The call came in at 1:12 am on Thursday to Dan's phone. It’s a blessing in itself that he actually answered it. When Dan woke me up he tried to cushion the blow. But, how do you really do that? “Kristie, you need to STAY CALM - That was Robin, your dad is in the ER, he just had a heart-attack.”

I don’t really know what the NORMAL following statement should be.

But, for me, it was like I went into BEGGING mode.
It was like my conversation was with God, even though I was talking to Dan.

He has TOO many people that he STILL needs to help.
You and I both know that this earth WILL NOT BE better off without him.
We NEED him here!
You and I both know that he shares the gospel with so many people every day.
WHO will help all those people if he is not here?
We NEED him HERE!!

Over the next 24 hours, I never stopped begging.

I guess my Father agreed with me,
as my father has been given
an ‘over-time’ period on life,
which means I’m blogging today,
instead of writing a eulogy.

I don’t think I realized the truth of my BEGGING words until I watched the outpouring of support throughout the past 3 days. I literally spent the "waiting for him to come out of surgery" time, with a couple I had never even met before. They just told us, "Dave would be here for us". They stayed all night and into the morning.
I didn't even know them.

When I said, “HE HELPS SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE!!!”, I was right.

As a father & grandfather, he hasn’t just impacted the lives of his family;
As a Pastor, he hasn’t just impacted the lives of his congregation;
As a Coach, he hasn’t just impacted the lives of his players;
As a Chaplain, he hasn’t just impacted the lives of the police force;
As a Speaker, he hasn’t just impacted the lives of Educational Leadership in Michigan;
As a Servant of the Lord,
he HAS impacted the saved & unsaved souls of this world to further the Kingdom of God.

And that is why
I begged for my hero.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - Happy Birthday, Tyler

It was October of 1996, when the Lord looked down on me and decided to give me one of the biggest BLESSINGS of my life. I often wonder what I ever did to deserve such a blessing; I'm sure it probably has more to do with Dan than me. The Lord picked one of His Extra Special babies and gave him to me to take care of.

In honor of Tyler's 13th Birthday,
here are a few fun facts about how great he is.

  • Every time there is a Holiday or Birthday, Tyler is always the one that spends time developing a special gift right from his heart. I carry this card in my little Bible wherever I go. He is just a very thoughtful individual, with a special heart for others:

  • He is just like his dad - which means he is PURE entertainment:

  • When he was younger, he spent most of his time standing on his head. He was actually obsessed with it, and would stay that way for hours, watching TV (upside down):

  • He LOVES Dogs - any size, shape, or kind.

  • He has a cousin that was born less than 2 weeks after him, and has spent every year with him at the same school, in the same grade - Blare.

  • When he was younger, he actually had one toy box for toys, and another toy box just for toy GUNS. He had 87 toy guns at one point in his life. Maybe he'll be a cop someday.

Thank you, Lord for blessing me with such a special kid. I know that I don't deserve to be the mom of one of the top-notch, extra-special kids, and I am extremely thankful to be blessed by his presence in my life!

Happy 13th Birthday, Tyler!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - Honolulu

It was October of 2002 as we stepped off the airplane in Honolulu. I can’t really think of another time in my life when I was so excited. The months before “Going to Hawaii” seemed almost dreamlike. After a 10-hour trip, I was really just excited to be on the ground. As we made our way into the terminal, we scanned for the baggage claim area, along with the MANY other people on our long flight. Once we located it, we realized everyone else in the airport had congregated to this one area, as well. It was so crowded around the ONE GIANT baggage belt that we could hardly see the suitcases as they began passing by. Piece by piece they disappeared from the belt as others began taking their luggage on to their destination. Dan and I had purchased a BRAND NEW set of suitcases for our trip, and I was patiently waiting for mine to come around. Interestingly enough, the first thing I saw on that luggage belt that actually belonged to me was a pair of my underwear – not my suitcase. As I spotted my suitcase shortly behind, clothes were hanging out of the side.

It was at that moment when ALL THOSE PEOPLE became silent.
No one talked.
Everyone watched.
Because, of course, they really wanted to know whose underwear was strewn about the baggage claim area.

It took me a split-second to whisper to Dan.
“Nope, I’m not getting it”
“NOOOO, DO NOT grab it”
“No, Dan, I don’t need it”
“No, please don’t let them know it is mine”

You all know my husband,
You all know exactly what he did.
He grabbed that suitcase faster than you can say “suitcase” and he hauled it off that belt and said, “Honey, come over here and tell me what is missing out of this suitcase!”

I really can’t remember a time when I was more embarrassed.

The bad news was that inside that suitcase there HAD BEEN a bathroom bag, which contained ALL of our bathroom items. It was now missing.
At first thought – no big deal.

By the time we settled into our hotel, we decided to venture out to re-purchase all needed bathroom items. In WAKIKI BEACH the ABC stores are a dime-a-dozen – one on every corner.
We saw the sign as we entered the store:
SPEND $50 at any ABC store, and receive a FREE coffee mug!

Well, let’s just say – we used these this morning!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


[I mean really,
how many times can you blog about the same topic?]

Why/when do you show respect to others?

When other people respect me,
I want it to be because
my actions and words
EARN their respect.

I don't want it to be,
because I look at them
and TELL them
"You're supposed to respect me!!- Why aren't you?!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall FUN!

We had great fun today PICKING APPLES! This was the first time The Cooks ever experienced this adventure! Thanks to our friends the Smutz's for inviting us to tag along! We had a great time!!

This is the greatest.....Here is Katie and Tyler trying to figure out how to actually get the best apples into their bag.....

Here is when they realized it would be much easier to steal some off of this truck....

Now they have a whole bag.....

Sundays are my favorite....

This is a poor quality recording of a special music that Jamie and I did last month at church. We both loved this song, and it fit well with the message that week. It is extra special to be able to sing with my baby sis on Sunday's - just another reason why Sunday is my favorite day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flashback FRIDAY - Home

It was September 30th of 1994 and it was pouring down rain. We left Katie at Grandma’s, just for the game, but planned to pick her up after the Homecoming festivities. Dan had refused to wear a tie or suit coat, although every other member of the Homecoming Court was dressed up. He wore a FRUITPORT sweatshirt that he had obtained from the school store that same day, and a pair of blue jeans. We made our way to the football field, just in time to find out that they were canceling the game due to lightning.
A school administrator came up to Dan and told him that they would reschedule the game and festivities for the next day. Dan’s exact response was, “Well, have a good time tomorrow – I’ll be hunting. It’s opening day.” She looked at him like he was crazy, and said, “But, you are on the Homecoming Court – Don’t you want to know if you won, or not?”
Dan just looked at her.
She kinda nodded, and walked away.
Because I’m sure SHE knew something WE didn’t, five minutes later another student ran by – “They’re doing the Homecoming festivities in the GYM RIGHT NOW, and the game tomorrow!”

Dan and I looked at each other and shrugged.
“Do you want to stay?” He asked me.
“YES - I KNOW you will be the KING!” I said.

Thirty minutes later Dan was crowned Fruitport High School Homecoming King of 1994.

After he was crowned -

He looked at me and said,
“I want to go HOME….”.

I looked at him and said,
“You should STAY…”

He said again,
“I want to go HOME now….”

I made him stay for at least one picture with the queen.

We made our way to Grandmas to pick up the baby.
We stopped at Pizza and Sub shop to pick up TWO #8’s with onions.
We made our way HOME.

A garage with a room built in,
with no bathroom or kitchen.
A homemade drop ceiling,
with tiles that fell on our heads when the wind blew.
A crib for Katie
with a sheet hanging around it.
A small TV and VCR
with Law and Order playing.

A place where a boy became a father.
And a KING forever stole my heart.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My namesake!

Alayna Kristine 8lbs. 4 oz.
She looks just like Aunt Kristie.....