Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ten things I’m absolutely SURE OF now that I’m 40….

(Why did it take me 40 years to learn/apply some of the most simplistic concepts that have greatly contributed to a transformation in my life?)

1. Chasing after what you think you want or what you think you deserve won't actually give you what you think you want or think you deserve. It's actually a trick. Don't fall for it. You will completely waste part of your life....

2. How you feel in the moment actually has absolutely nothing to do with how you should act in that moment.

3. If you’re not there yet, you are going to love the “in-between” stage of life. You know, being over the tiny kids, yet before the grandkids start showing up....(What that really means? I've seriously never actually seen the movie Frozen and have no idea what it's about....maybe a girl who wants to let go of snow?) This season is perf because: basically you and your husband can drive to anywhere you want, whenever you want, to get whatever you want, stay there as long as you want, and come home whenever you want, and basically no one even notices you were gone. (Except maybe the dog)

4. You do what you do and feel what you feel because you think what you think.

5. A true friend doesn't lie to you to make you "feel" better about yourself, or to avoid having confrontation with you....they may actually think they are "helping you" and "being there for you," but what they are really doing is "feeding" your selfish nature, and this is of no gain to you.

6. Be your husband’s biggest fan….set the pattern for others to respect him.....take my word for it when I tell you if you can start with this, blessings will follow – for you and him. Don’t know how to start doing this? Make a marker board with a picture of the two of you – “I love you because…..” – and write on it. Every day.

7. Working out is not actually fun. I don't care how you people describe it to make it sound better or disguise it to try and make it look pretty. I hate it. Running. Biking. Yoga. Kick boxing. Sit ups. Push ups. I don't even like going up the stairs at work....(I do, however, love work-out clothes. They are cute. I don't believe they were only created for people who work out. Were they?)

8. In life you have choices to make. You have responsibilities to fulfill. Don't skirt around the "small" responsibilities on a daily basis. Do the little things, make the right choices. Don't slack in the small areas, as it quickly leads to big areas of your life....

9. If my ultimate desire is to please God. And my actions, and thoughts demonstrate that in my every day life, then (I'm going to be pretty blunt here) It doesn't really matter whether or not I am pleasing all of you people.....I'm actually extremely thankful for that. Because sometimes, the people I love the most, become my biggest critics. Thankfully, I have one Person to please. That just makes my life way easier.

10. Life is not about me. It's not about my self-esteem, whether low or high or average....By the way, it's not about the people I love either. Or what I do for them, or what they "want" from me or “do” for's only about one person, and the grace He gives me is sufficient for handling each day as it comes.....When life is about Him, you have peace.

Talk to me if you want PEACE, and you can't figure out how to get it….

She said yes!

She said yes! The Cook Fam will soon move from a family of 5 to a family of 6...

10 reasons why today is a great day:
1) #6 LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Jesus!
2) He also LOVES, LOVES, LOVES our #3!
3) They are perfect for each other!
4) He will make a wonderful husband, protector and leader for our girl!
5) He has the sweetest, caring, joyful spirit!
6) He will make a GREAT daddy to my grandkids, someday!
7) He eats every, single thing I make and always politely asks for 2nds!
8) He can carry my entire trunk of groceries into the house in one trip!
9) He empties and takes out the garbage WAY before anyone notices it needs to go out!
10) He LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Jesus-I may have mentioned that already......

Monday, April 21, 2014

Moments missed with my camera, but captured with my heart

Today is: when you wake up on Monday morning and totally realize that this past weekend was the best weekend ever, and you only took one photo.....

Here is my attempt to document the top-ten moments I missed with my camera, but captured with my heart.....

#10 - it was Sunday morning. My vantage point was from the stage on the choir risers. Although our 9 am service is typically smaller, we were singing our first song, and the people kept pouring could probably hear the beautiful organ from Grand became evident that we would run out of space quickly. The ushers were rushing around trying to find more chairs. People were sitting on the floor in the balcony. People were lined up against the back wall. Awesome! So many people wanting to celebrate our risen Savior with us!

#9 - it was Sunday night. I was reflecting on the weekend, and watching the recorded livestream of the 11am service. As the camera panned over the choir, I caught sight of my sweet girl who I couldn't see for all three services, because she was behind me. She stood with her hand raised as we sang about the King on His throne. Precious. Precious. Precious. Precious.

#8 - it was Friday evening around 10:30pm. Our Good Friday walk-through had just ended. I was standing in the sanctuary staring at dozens of our Harvest20s kids who had just given up their evening to tear down all of the Good Friday preparations to prepare for the Easter Celebration. I stood amazed at the kids' willingness to serve Jesus and love others with pure hearts, all with joyful attitudes.

#7 - it was Sunday morning. My favorite boy was in the audience wearing a shirt with a collar on it! He stood next to the sweetest girl in a beautiful purple dress who warms my heart and loves my boy with her whole heart. I constantly thank Jesus for her and her special place in our family.

#6 - it was Sunday morning. My view was from the choir risers. Although I dont think they could see me from where they were, I could see them both. Some of my very favorite new friends. They sat near the back. Eyes closed. Hands raised. The song we sang had words in it about a God who sets us free from our captivity because He is so Strong to Save. I thought about their journey thus far. I thought about the journey they are still on every day. I thanked God for 3 things - 1) for their salvation from their captivity 2) for their blaring passion to be obedient to our God and 3) for their friendship as all four of us encourage each other in our walk with God and in our marriages.

#5 - it was Thursday morning, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining....My sweet, sweet husband was pulling a huge tree out of the back of his truck and up the stairs of the church, through the sanctuary and onto the stage....why? because he loves Jesus and ME.....The HBCSL Easter Celebration needed trees on the stage, so he spent his day searching for, cutting down, and hauling in beautiful trees.....I love that man and his servant heart for the Lord.

#4 - it was Friday night. My worship leading shift was over and I was sitting up in the darkened balcony alone. My sweet friend was singing on stage about how God chases us when we are His. From my spot I could clearly see my beautiful daughter and her friends were sitting in the chairs below. My husband had found her in the front row, and although so many people remained seated, they both were standing with their hands raised in full worship of the Everchasing God who has chased them both and is keeping them.....

#3 - it was Sunday Morning. My view was from the side of the stage on the choir risers. We were singing Jailbreak - Awesome! When I looked over onto center stage I caught the eyes of some of my friends who were leading us in worship.....this is something I can not describe to all of you with words. To watch my friends, who love Jesus so much, lead 900 people in worshiping our Risen see them smile at each other, or to have one of them smile at me....perfect. indescribable. moment.

#2 - it was Friday evening. My view from the stage was of many people holding their communion cups and bowing their heads in a darkened sanctuary. We were singing about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and our hearts were heavy thinking of the debt that He paid for us.....I looked beyond the people, out the doors and out the windows into the brightly lit lobby. And there were my friends, from my Small Group, all dressed up like people in Jesus day - mingling with the people & 'acting' like they were really there when Jesus was turned over to be crucified. Talk about a powerful moment. That is exactly the kind of thing that stirs my affections for Jesus - watching my group serve Him by reminding others of His sacrifice.....goose-bump moment for me.

#1 - it was Sunday morning. My view was from the very front row. Our pastor had just finished preaching his final message of the weekend, and I was listening and singing with the beautifully sweet voice of my very dear friend. She was singing about how The Gospel Changes Everything....I was standing next to my husband who stood silent, with his arm around, if there wasn't a more true song.....The Gospel changes everything and it has changed me! So much so that before I posted this blog today, I had to delete almost everything I had in my profile description. Why? because that isn't me anymore. My interests, my favorites, my desires, EVERYTHING - it has all changed. And I can't even begin to explain the JOY that comes with that blessing.....

Happy the way, if anyone happened to capture any of these moments on camera, feel free to send them my way......