I got my doe on opening day of Pennsylvania archery season, so I went back out on Monday looking to get my buck. I saw a ton of wildlife and actually saw a buck but not within range. You can check out my first day hunt and doe kill here. Check out below some of the awesome footage I got while out on day 2 of PA archery season! -Steve
Check out the video vlog of the first day of Archery Season in Pennsylvania. It was my son's first season archery hunting. We had a good and bad day....see video! -Steve
It's hard to believe, but our little Payton is one month old today! Time goes by so quick. It has been such a blessing to be at home this past month to spend every day with her and my family. God has been so good to us. Everything has went great. Both baby and mama are all healthy and she is growing every day!
I love how she is starting to smile now. It is amazing. Janel works from home (part time) and just started back last week a couple hours a day. She has to get up early as she teaches English to kids in China and there is a 12 hour difference. Her students have been eager to get her back! She teaches for VIPKID and has a huge following. She has tons of students that try to book her classes.
If you're interested in VIPKID, click the VIPKID tab above or click HERE to learn more about it. It has been a true blessing to our family!
I have been able to take some paid time off of work for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). It has truly been amazing. It has also changed my opinion on paid family time off. Most people don't get paid time off for the birth of a child unless they use vacation. This was our 6th child and I have never taken more than a week off for any of the other ones. And I wouldn't of been able to take much more than that off if it wasn't for paid FMLA.
To be able to spend the first few months of your child's birth is invaluable. I used to think that having 60 or 90 days off was way too much, but I have changed my opinion. I have worked my entire life never taking more than a two week vacation on two occasions. I have put work in front of so many family functions and missed time that I will never get back. To be able to spend a few months with my new born as well as my beautiful wife has been amazing. It has also been awesome to spend this time with all my kiddo's.
It has also given me time to evaluate a lot of things in my life. I have dedicated so much of myself to my employers over the years. I have shed so much blood, sweat and tears. I have went the extra mile because that is how I am wired. I have missed many, many of my family events. I have chased the almighty dollar to have more and more stuff. I have missed worship, prayer, Bible reading due to wearing myself out. (This has nothing to do with the great companies I have worked for, this is just me not prioritizing).
This time has really shown me what is important. What my priorities are. One of the things I want to do is read through my entire Bible while I'm off these 12 weeks. I'm off to a good start. I used to read through my Bible every year, but the past few years I have been in different studies and I realized I haven't been in many of the books of the Bible in years. I just want to enjoy reading it through again!
I've also realized the importance of spending quality time with my family. So much has been neglected. We have been spotty at best with our family devotions. I take full responsibility for that. My wife and I have always had a very good marriage with great communication, but it is even better now.
In closing....I am a blessed man! The Most High has given me much. I am so unworthy, yet He chose me and saved me! Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement over the past months leading up to the birth. All those prayers were answered and we praise the mighty name of Jesus! Thanks for checking in.
As I sit here tonight we are only 10 days away from Pennsylvania Archery Season opening day! It's like Christmas time for me. My favorite time of the year. And this year is very special as my son will be archery hunting with me for the first time. Can't wait.
We are pretty much ready. I put up a new stand for my son and he got his new crossbow. Lots of deer on the game cameras....should be a good year. In the spirit of deer season fast approaching, I thought I would share some of my DELICIOUS venison recipes that I have cooked before. Check them out below. Thanks for checking in and good luck to all my fellow hunters! -Steve
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127:3-5 KJV
We are blessed! Our baby girl was born on Labor Day (Sept 2). We had a home birth and it was amazing. Janel went into labor and it went extremely fast. In fact our midwife did not make it to the house in time and I had to deliver the baby! I'm not going to lie....I was nervous! But the Most High was with me and it went perfect. I delivered her and wrapped her up and gave her to Janel. Our awesome midwife got there about 5 minutes after.
Everything went very well and mama and baby are all healthy. We named her Payton Elizabeth Cook. We had decided on the name a couple months earlier. The kiddo's loved the name and we all agreed on it. Our little Payton is perfect! We love her so much!
We are so thankful for all of the prayers we received during this pregnancy. The Most High is so faithful and He answered all of our prayers. I am truly humbled at His mercy and grace. His mercies are new every morning! Check out the quick cell phone video I did a couple hours after Payton was born as we laid in bed. I love home births!
Thanks for checking in and stay tuned for more blogs and updates over the next couple weeks! -Steve
We just finished up incubating some baby chicks! Check out the video below.
We are entering week 42 of pregnancy! Janel is ready to go. For those of you who don't know, we do home births. We have an awesome midwife named Jen. She checked out Janel yesterday and said everything looks great and that she is ok going another week if need be. Most of our pregnancies have went over the due date. Sebastian, our youngest, went 17 days late! Our midwife had to start the process last time and I'm sure she will this time. If we go another week, we will probably have to break her water to get her started.
God is good and we are excited to meet our little girl! Pray for a safe and healthy delivery for mama and baby. Should be within a week.
In other news around the Homestead, we just finished up incubating some chicks (video coming soon). We have lost a few chickens over the past few weeks due to old age. They usually live 3 years or so. It was time to add to the flock. It takes about 18 weeks for the chickens to start laying eggs, so we wanted to hatch them now so they will be laying by the end of the year.
I am also getting ready for archery season that is fast approaching. I can't wait. Below is a video I made this weekend of my tree stand project. It was almost a disaster, but the good Lord was watching over me! I did get the project complete.
Thanks for checking in and I will blog again once our baby is born to keep you all updated! Thanks and God bless! -Steve
Baby watch is in full effect! Any minute now we could be having our little baby girl. We are beyond excited and Janel is ready. We can't wait to meet her. I would be surprised if we make it to the due date of Aug 19, but it is in the Lord's hands and we are praying for a healthy delivery for baby and mama.
Some other updates around the Homestead....we finally purchase our first farm tractor! It was an exciting week. God is so merciful and we give Him praise! It took us 6 years to finally get a tractor, but it was worth the wait. It is perfect for the Homestead. I have been doing some projects around the Homestead with it over the past few days and it is amazing. We bought it locally from a older gentleman and he was a great guy. I don't have time to tell the whole story, but it was definitely from the Lord. It was incredible and we got a killer deal on it. It is a 2001 Cub Cadet 7360SS with a bucket. And it only had 882 hours on it! Check out the video below where I buried it today in the mud! Fun times on the Homestead!
A week ago Sunday was a very special day for our family. Three of my kiddo's were baptized! It was a beautiful service as we had our church service at the beach and we baptized them in the lake. I was able to be the one to baptize my kids. I can't even explain the joy that I had in my heart as my beautiful kiddo's made their public profession of faith in Jesus and I was able to baptize them. It was amazing. I am so humbled that the Most High God has blessed me in this way. I am beyond blessed. I am so thankful for His wonderful mercy and grace in my life!
Things are busy here at the Homestead. With a baby on the way at any minute and hunting season starting in a month and a half, there is a lot of stuff happening. Stay tuned as we will be adding some animals to the Homestead this fall. We are also incubating chicks and they should be hatching in about a week. I will have a video on the whole process coming out when they are hatched.
Thanks for checking in and be sure to click on the video below to see how I "broke" in the new tractor today! God bless! -Steve
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV)
As we have been progressing building our Homestead over the years, I have really been thinking a lot about building community with like minded families. Lately I have felt more of an urgency to community than ever before. Let me explain.
We believe that Biblically we are to prepare. Not just for ourselves, but for others as well. God has really laid it on our hearts to start preparing for hard times. Throughout Scripture the Lord has used famines, pestilence and the sword as judgement. We see those things in many places around the world now and in Scripture we see those things becoming more and more common as the end approaches.
So are we to live in fear? Absolutely not! But we are to follow the Lord's prodding. Tonight we read James chapter 4 during our family devotions. The chapter ends with the following verse (17):
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
There has been a stirring in my heart for many years and it has gotten stronger over the past year. I know that the Lord wants me to prepare, not only for our family, but to help others as well. This is something that I know the Lord has laid on my heart. To not pursue it would be sin. That is why I will be actively pursuing like minded families. I will be starting a Homesteading group over the next couple months. This will be first and foremost a group of believers in Jesus Messiah! We will be focused on helping one another and to provide for each other. So what does that look like?
God has given each one of us talents. Those talents come in different forms. Together as a community those talents can be magnified. Imagine being with like minded believers preparing and helping each other. What a blessing that would be!
We are friends with some Mennonites. I also know a bunch of Amish as we live close to a bunch of Amish communities. One of the things that I have always admired about those wonderful people is the sense of community they have. They meet each others needs. It is so refreshing to see them helping each other out. That is so lacking in most churches today. We have become a self centered culture.
I will be doing some videos on this and will be adding some posts periodically. Check out our Facebook page HERE for more updates. I am so excited to see what the Most High will do with this group! If you are from north western Pennsylvania and are interested please send me an email. I would love to connect with you!
More to come.....
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
I love that passage from Philippians 4:7 (KJV). Have you ever met someone who was going through a storm in life and they just seemed to have an unexplainable peace about them? I have experienced that peace in my own life. It is an amazing promise from God. Here's the good news....you can experience it too! You can have peace through a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ (Yeshua) died on the Cross for yours and my sin. He took the punishment for us. We were guilty but were justified and forgiven by His sacrifice. Accept that sacrifice, repent and turn to Christ. Trust in Him. The Most High is so merciful! Run to Christ. Embrace Him. Lay your burdens at His feet and be free. Experience a peace that no self help book ever written could give you. No amount of psychology could replace the truths that are revealed in Scripture. A burden will be lifted and you will understand what freedom truly is!
If you ever need prayer, or if you need a Bible, email me and I would be honored to pray for you. I will send you a Bible if you need one. Don't delay if the Most High is calling you. Heed His call and turn to Jesus!
Below is a video I made while out playing in the woods this past weekend. There is a peace that only the Most High Father can give us, but there is also a peace the comes from being out in His creation! If you don't get out much, you're missing out! Check out my couple minute video below.
Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
Stephen and Janel Cook from The Cook Family Homestead