God bless ~ Steve
|The Cook Family Homestead||
We were doing an inventory on our canning supplies and seeds for the upcoming gardening season and decided to shoot a quick video! From all the reading I've been doing, the expectation is that there will be a seed and canning supply shortage again this year. Right now there are tons of inventory in stock, but that is expected to shrink over the next couple of months! Hope the video inspires you to get started now before it's too late!
God bless ~ Steve
January is flying by! It has gone by quickly. We have definitely gotten a lot of snow this month (Erie is number one in total snow fall), but we had a break at the beginning of the month and we were able to get a total barn cleaning done! Check out the videos below.
We are looking forward to spring here at the Homestead. One of our major projects this year is to expand our garden. Last year we had an incredible garden. The Most High blessed us with an abundance of vegetables. But the deer and other animals got their fair share as well!
So this year we will be installing a fence around the entire garden. It will be a big project as we have a HUGE garden. We will also be adding more garden boxes and growing a bunch of different stuff this year. One of the things that I missed last year was our corn. It got completely hammered by the deer. I also want to do some potatoes as well.
We will be making an investment in a rototiller for the back of the tractor. We have a nice rototiller that has served us well, but it is a lot of work to put in a big plot. Especially when the dirt is untilled. We are planning to expand our ground plots this year and we also have a lot of manure that we want to rototill in. Last year it was a lot of work to work the manure into the ground with our old rototiller.
This year we will also be adding more pasture for our sheep and goats as we will be expanding the herd. We are looking to begin our years long dream of selling goats milk products and sheep spun wool products. It is an exciting time!
The Most High has blessed us so much and we praise His name! We have some more VERY exciting news we will be sharing soon. Stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by and check out a couple of our videos from the past few weeks! God bless! -Steve
As I look back on the past year, I have to say it was one of the most blessed years of my life. Elections, Covid and civil unrest were the stories that surrounded us. But that wasn't our story.
Our story was one of peace and love. A story that only God could of wrote. As I reflect back over the past year, I am humbled at the work of our Lord in our lives. I'm reminded of the passage of Scripture of when Jesus was preparing his disciples for His death on the Cross:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” — John 14:27
It is from His hand that he has provided. It is from His hand that our Homestead has grown. It is from His hand that he has chosen to bless us....not only with earthly treasures, but with love and peace.
Our journey has been a pursuit to live more simply. To focus on loving one another and living for Jesus. As one person put it....to be old fashioned on purpose. And God has blessed us in this pursuit.
As the new year begins, I usually make a New Years resolution. Last year I had made the resolution to slow down and enjoy the ride. I was always focusing on our end goal and not enjoying getting there! I think I held pretty good to that resolution. This year's resolution is different.
This year I want to serve Jesus more. To help others more. To give more, both of myself and financially. I want to spend more time in the Scriptures with my family. I want to pray more. These are my resolutions for 2021.
So Happy New Year from the Homestead! We have been blessed from the many, many kind words from those who have joined us on our journey through our YouTube, FB and Website. May you seek the peace of our Lord Jesus as you journey through 2021!
What a busy time it is around the Homestead! The cold weather is here and soon the snow will be here. It takes a lot to get everything ready for the winter. Vehicles, barn and garage all have to be "winterized". With all of our animals, we have to be ready for the cold out in the barn. See the video below of how we prepare our barn for winter.
This is my favorite time of year! I love the fall weather....hunting and harvest time. It is such a blessing to have such a rich land full of game and able to grow lots of food. God has been so good to us. Archery season is here and I was able to get a buck. It was a big deer, but a small 8 point rack. See the video of the hunt below.
My daughter Abby is also in her first year of archery hunting. She has had a couple chances, but froze on a nice buck. I got a video of the whole thing and it is incredible. I will include that video below as well. Nothing better than hunting with your children. My son got his first deer last year and it was a blessing to be there.
It looks like it will be a rough election cycle this year. It has been sad to see the way our country has been divided. There is so much hatred. This is what happens when we kick God out of our lives. Whoever wins, the Most High God is still on His Throne and He is in control and I am content with that! Praise His name!
I will be doing another video on preparedness today. It is on food storage mainly but will include some other stuff as well. We have been telling everyone for years to store up while times are good because when things get bad, the shelves get cleared out! We have all seen that over the past few months. We were at the store the other day and there are still many products that haven't been restocked due to shortages. The supply chain was pushed to the brink and in many cases couldn't keep up with the demand. If something were to happen again, it would be way worse. I will post the video this week.
In other news around the Homestead...our canning season is done! We canned a bunch of stuff from salsa to apple sauce. And if you can food like we do, you probably noticed a shortage of jars and lids. These are another example of products that weren't ready for the demand of the shutdown. Thankful we had tons of them already stored up!
Our garden was a HUGE success this year. We had so much produce and we were able to give a ton of it away to people as well. God was so gracious to us this year. We butchered a total of 62 chickens and our egg layers are producing up to 2 dozen of eggs a day! It has been amazing. We sell our eggs and that in turn helps us pay for our feed for them. Works out great.
We will be breeding our sheep this month! This is a first for me. I became a member of the Finnsheep Breeders Association and will be breeding purebred Finnsheep. I am excited! I've been wanting to do this for years and the Lord opened the door for me and it has been a blessing to raise these sheep.
Our New Zealand rabbits will be having babies soon as well. We will be selling them as well as raising meat rabbits. It is something that I have wanted to try for a while as they produce lots of babies. We love our animals and it has been such a joy to raise all of our beautiful animals.
Finally, my daughter Hannah has her first book officially published! We are so proud of this beautiful girl. You can pick it up at any book outlet or order HERE on Amazon. You can also read more about it HERE. Please consider picking one up....it would be such a blessing to her and to us!
Thanks for stopping by and check out the videos below! God bless! -Steve
Wow is this year flying by. Even with all this turmoil in the world, we have been blessed! Life is good and we are loving life and loving each other!
Many of you know our story, but for those of you who don't....about 7 years ago we set out to live a more simpler lifestyle. We wanted to grow and raise a lot of our own food. We wanted land and to get rid of a bunch of debt that was weighing us down. And through MUCH prayer, the Most High God gave us a beautiful property and has led us to where we are now. We are truly living our dream.
It has been an amazing journey, one filled with ups and downs (a lot more ups than downs). We have a beautiful marriage, a house full of children, a barn full of animals and gardens filled with food! We are blessed with wonderful family and friends and we have 20 acres of land full of wildlife! God is so good.
When we started out into this life of modern homesteading seven years ago, we had no idea what we were doing or where to start. We just knew we wanted out of the rat race. Life was passing us by and we were chasing the almighty dollar as well as success. But a funny thing about success...it doesn't satisfy. There is no contentment. We had almost everything we wanted. A nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. New cars. Lots of "toys". But it was a temporary satisfaction. It didn't bring peace.
We made the move and boy has it been a beautiful story! God has opened door after door. He has provided abundantly. Last year I was able to leave my job. It was a tough decision. I was making incredible money. But we wanted to fully move into this incredible lifestyle of simplicity. And it has been a blessing. We are truly living our dream!
When Janel and I look around at what the Most High has provided we are humbled. We can take no credit as all we have is from His hands. There is a peace and contentment that we both have that can only come from our Heavenly Father. If you are feeling the urge to give up chasing the things of this world, pray for direction. Give it to the Creator to provide. He truly gives us the desires of our hearts.
In other news....We have been so busy over this summer. It has been a very joyous summer. Last weekend we had a big Praise and Worship Shindig here at our Homestead sponsored by our church. We had a wonderful worship leader, Brandon Fox Worship, lead us in worship and it was amazing.
We have also entered harvest/canning season. This is my favorite time of year! I love the cooler temps, harvesting our garden, canning, hunting....everything about this time of year! Below are a couple of our recent canning videos! We still have to do applesauce, peaches and pears but we have a good jump on our canning season already. Our garden was absolutely amazing this year. We thank God for His abundant provision.
A couple more weeks until archery season starts! I am beyond excited. This year will be my daughter Abby's first year archery hunting. I can't wait. I LOVE being out in the woods. It is a blessing to hunt with my children.
I'm hoping to get back on track with blogging. I love to blog but the busyness of life really took a lot of my time. I will put some of our canning videos below as well as our new trailer for our YouTube channel! Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
Just a quick garden update! We are having a great year of growing other than my corn which got crushed by the deer! Check out our garden tour vlog below!
Life is good around here! I have gotten more done around the Homestead this year than the previous few years combined! I think I am getting a severe gardening addiction. I LOVE being out in the garden.
We have been adding a lot to our garden over the past few weeks and it is really starting to come around. We have had our gardens in the past, but this year we really wanted to expand it and next year we will be adding a green house and a large fence to keep out the deer. We have a ton of deer around here.
Our meat chickens are already on week five! Three more weeks and it will be time to butcher. Time goes by so fast. When we purchased the meat chickens, we also purchased a single egg layer to raise with them. Check out the video below to see the difference in growth between an egg layer and a meat chicken after five weeks. It is incredible.
I mentioned this in our last blog, but we are very excited about our online store that we will be opening next month (July). Janel and I have been working hard at building stuff and have already sold some signs. We are so thankful that the good Lord has blessed us with this opportunity. It has always been a dream of ours to live this lifestyle full time. Modern Homesteading is such a wonderful lifestyle that brings much fulfillment and peace. Stay tuned as I will be updating our website in the next couple of weeks. I will be upgrading to add the store. I will blog about some of the items that will be available. What an exciting time here at the Homestead.
In other news, we will be adding some sheep to the Homestead next month. I just built a new stall in the barn for the sheep. We are looking at some purebreds that we can shear and we will be adding those products to our Homestead store online. I can't wait to get into shearing and spinning wool.
We finished up the homeschool year last week at the Homestead. Janel is such a blessing to me. I love her so much! She is a wonderful wife and mother. The amount of work she puts in homeschooling our children is amazing. She is also a certified evaluator for the state of Pennsylvania, so she does a lot of required evaluations for many other homeschool families.
Finally....we know a lot of people who are going through hard times. There is a lot of turmoil out there! We count it a privilege to pray for those in need. If you need prayer, please reach out via our contact page. Even in turmoil and tribulation, you can experience peace. It comes through our wonderful Savior Yeshua! Consider this beautiful passage of Scripture from Philippians 4:6-7:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
What a wonderful promise from the Most High God! We can have peace in the midst of this crazy world. Trust in Him and lay your burdens at the Cross!
Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. -Psalm 16:11 KJV
With all the turmoil in this world, I have been filled with much joy! The Most High has been gracious to us. I am so thankful for His wonderful mercy and grace!
We have been extremely busy, but it has been a fun busy! We have done a ton in our garden. It is something that we have wanted to do for years. There is such a joy in gardening. Preparing, planting and watching it grow is such a blessing. We have put in six large garden boxes this year. That along with our normal garden has been so much fun. I put in another large plot of sweet corn as well. We are going to have a pretty nice harvest this year....as long as the deer don't eat it all!
We have also finished our barn project. We doubled the size of the barn. I will put a video down below of the new goat pen I put in. It turned out great. One of my passions is building. I love to work with my hands. I am so thankful that the Most High God has allowed me to stay at home and has provided us with an income. He provides so much and we are thankful.
That brings me to some exciting news to share....we are starting an online store next month! We have been working towards this for months and are almost ready to open it up. We haven't officially named it yet, but it will be on our website. We will be selling many custom items such as home made pictures, frames, wood work, t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and eventually we will be selling home made goat soap (from our goats) and home made knitted products from our own handspun yarn from our sheep. We will have tons of items available over the coming months. We are extremely excited as this has been a dream of ours for many, many years. And to see it start to come to fruition is amazing. God is good!
In other news, our beautiful Hannah just got her drivers license! We are so proud of her. And in a couple of weeks her first book will be published! We will be offering it on our website as well. It will be available on Amazon and most other retail sites. It is a "Christian thriller". She is an amazing 17 year old girl. She is already working on a second book.
Our little Payton turns 9 months next week! Wow does time fly by. She is motoring around the house and it is a full time job keeping up with her. She is such a wonderful blessing to us. God has truly blessed us with wonderful children!
Stay tuned for our store opening announcement as well as our many update videos on our YouTube channel. If you haven't subscribed, click HERE and subscribe. We would love to have you follow us on our journey.
Thanks for watching and God bless! -Steve
WE'VE FORGOTTEN. (My thoughts on our pride)
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. -Galatians 6:7 KJV
One day we will wake up and realize that we blew it. We had everything that people could have asked for. Freedom and liberty were ours. But we couldn't handle it. We didn't realize where it came from and we became prideful.
We started to believe that we were the source of freedom and liberty. In our pridefulness we kicked God out of our lives. It was slowly at first, but then it became rapidly. We were in control This was our world we thought.We didn't need God. We control our destiny.
Standards of morality were pushed so that no boundaries existed. Sex with anyone at anytime. And if an unwanted pregnancy came of it, we just murdered our babies. But not just murdered them, we realized we could make a profit selling the parts of the murdered babies, so we started selling them. Millions upon millions of them. But even that didn't satisfy our pride. We even said we could kill them after they were born.
We stole peoples property and money in the guise of "loving our neighbor". We destroyed the family unit. We shuttered churches. Pastors and people fell away from God and even defended those who hated God. The Bible became a "guide" to life with some good stories, but not to be taken literally.
We blotted out our history. We tore down statues and rewrote our books. We burned the books we didn't like. Judges became corrupt. Justice no longer ruled the land. Guns were confiscated in the ruse of public safety.
We made drugs legal. It helped us suppress the bitter depression. We constantly entertained ourselves with violent and perverse entertainment. Everything revolved around us. Social media was our escape. We found solace and comfort in always having a screen in our faces. It helped us cope with our insecurity and pain.
We became arrogant. Puffed out our chests. We know better. With that pride came hatred for those who we disagree with. Love was not in us. We divided ourselves and fought against our neighbors. We hated each other.
Finally, we devoured each other. We killed those who we disagreed with. Each person did what was right in their own eyes. We had no standards. Law and order was gone. We became a lawless society. The love of many became cold.
God had given us over to our depravity. (See Romans 1) He let us have what our evil hearts desired....a life without Him.
We forgot where freedom and liberty derive from. We had forgotten where our rights come from. They come from our Creator. From the Most High God. And with that freedom comes responsibility and obedience. We had once known that. Nation after nation has forgotten this and has gone down the same path we have. Pride is the downfall of men. It always has, and always will be.
Only God can heal our land. We don't realize how good we could have it. We've forgotten.
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” -John Adams
Please pray for our nation. -Steve
We finished our barn build! It was a fun project and we are blessed to have it finished. God is good! Check out the video tour below. Take care. - Steve
It has been a very busy time in life! Even with the COVID19 virus that has shut down the world, I have been extremely busy here at the Homestead. God has blessed us!
I have been planning to build a new barn for the past couple years and I have finally had the time to do it. It is almost complete. We added on to our existing barn and it doubled the size! Check out the videos below of the first two parts of the build.
We purchased 2 baby goats a few weeks back and they will be ready for pick up in about 2 weeks. We also have ordered our first batch of meat chickens for the year and they will be here in about a week. Right now with all the food issues due to the virus, everyone is ordering meat chickens! That is why there was a waiting period.
We also got our first couple of bunnies! The kiddos were excited. We got a male and female New Zealand breed of rabbits. Check out the video below.
Our house is full of plants that my wife started from seed. We will be planting our raised beds soon if the weather would cooperate! It has been a horrible spring so far. Snow, cold temps and lots of rain as well. Hopefully we will be planting in about a week or so.
It has been so exciting to see the Homestead expanding. This has been our dream for so long. We have lived here for over 6 years and to see it all coming together has been a true blessing. The Most High has been so good to us and we give Him all the glory!
Our baby girl Payton turned 8 months old! What a blessing she is to us! Time goes by so fast and she is growing up quick. She is crawling around and is hard to keep contained. We have entered gate stage! Gates everywhere! She also has more hair than any of our other kids had at her age. She is beautiful and a true blessing from the Lord!
Hopefully I will be able to get back on track with blogging and with the website. I have been so busy! And it isn't going to slow down. I love doing projects around the Homestead....it doesn't even feel like work!
Thanks for stopping by and check out the videos below. Take care and God bless! -Steve
We have been busy! With all the stuff going on in this world, I am thankful that we live in the country and have a bunch of land. God has been good. I will post an update in the next few days here on our blog. But for now I wanted to show you some fun projects I did here at the Homestead! Thanks for checking in and stay safe! -Steve
As most of you know, we had a mink get into our chicken coop and kill all of our egg laying chickens a few weeks ago. I have since "mink proofed" the chicken coop and we ordered new chicks. They arrived this morning! Check out the video below! -Steve
Well that was a quick February! That month seemed to fly by here at the Homestead. We had a lot going on from weather to sickness! But the good Lord brought us through.
A few weeks ago, we had a mink get into our chicken coop and kill all 28 of our egg laying chickens. It was terrible. (see video below). I have since done a bunch of work on the coop (video below) and "mink proofed" the coop. We ordered 24 chicks that are due to arrive on this coming Thursday, March 5th. We are excited. We order our chicks from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio. We have been very happy with the chicks we have received from them over the years.
I'm actually surprised that we haven't lost chickens over the past six years. We have a lot of predators up here on the Homestead. We have coyotes, fox, fishers, minks, and hawks. I'm sure I have had weasels and other things in the barn, they just couldn't find a way into the coop. Check out the video below and see how small of a hole that mink got into. Mark my words....I will avenge the chickens and get those minks! (I put a video below from my game camera of one of the minks. I have a bunch of videos of them)
In other news....Payton turns 6 months old today! Wow does time fly. She is growing fast and we love her so much. She really completes our family. Children are a true blessing from the Most High!
Sickness has struck the Homestead! I have not gotten sick yet, but 4 out of the 6 kiddo's have and so has Janel. I'm hoping to avoid it. I have had a pretty healthy winter so far. I usually have a couple colds during the winter, but so far, so good. I'm hoping to keep it that way. Hopefully we are at the tail end of this thing.
Although we have had a pretty mild winter so far this year, we got hammered with a good storm this past weekend. Lot's of snow and very cold temps. With the lake not freezing, we get dumped on with lake effect snow. Looking at the forecast for this coming week, it looks like it will be melting as temps will be in the 40's.. I'm ready for spring and outdoor activities! Tired of being all cooped up in the house. Ready for fires and outdoor movies! Who's with me??
Stay tuned this week and I will post an update when the new chicks arrive. But until then check out the videos below.
Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
I am out in the welding shop this morning and I just finished my devotions. I love starting my mornings off with the Lord (and a nice cup of coffee)!! It really gives you perspective. I have noticed in my own life how easy it is to get off track and try to figure things out on your own when you get away from being in the Bible and prayer. Morning devotions is a great way to prepare you for the day ahead!
Just a couple quick updates from around the Homestead.
Our little Payton just turned 5 months old! Wow does time fly. Last night I was looking through some of my hard drives trying to find something from 6 years ago and I came across a bunch of my older videos of the kids. Janel and I watched a few of them and it makes you realize how fast time goes by. We need to make every moment count as time is something that we can never get back. I am so thankful for my beautiful kiddo's!
Job update....I had an interview last Monday (see previous blog post). I didn't get the position. I was bummed at first, but after I thought about it, I am totally at peace with it. It was the good Lord leading! When the recruiter had called me first to set up the interview, he told me a bunch of information about the position and we even agreed on compensation. When I arrived at the interview, the job was completely different than what the recruiter had told me! I was very disappointed, but I didn't rule the job out. When I got home, I talked with Janel and we were debating turning it down if I was offered it. I was one of 5 candidates, and they went with someone else.
This was only the second time in my life that I went for an interview and didn't get offered the position. I always pray that the Lord would shut doors in my life to make it clear, so when that happens I am at peace. In this case I am totally at peace and thankful for the leading of the Lord!
My long term goal is to get to the point of being 100% self employed. We have money coming in, but just not enough to live comfortably. My goal is to get the welding shop to bring in some income and to homestead full time. That has always been what I wanted to do. That is what brings me the most joy! Praying the Most High opens the door for that to happen.
Other updates around the Homestead....we are having a very mild winter. Very odd for us. This has got to be one of the lowest snow totals we've had in a long time. The temperatures have been milder as well. It seems we will get a snow storm and then in a week it melts. Then we'll get more and it melts. We haven't had a long spell of cold to keep the ground frozen so it turns into a muddy mess. Usually it is cold out and the ground is frozen for the winter. We've been dealing with a mud pit here at the Homestead!
Thanks for checking in! Let us know if we could pray for you, we would love to! Check out the picture below I took of God's beautiful Creation here at the Homestead!
If you haven't yet, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on our journey to live life to the fullest! Click HERE to subscribe! Take care and God bless! -Steve
What a busy time it has been at the Homestead. A lot is going on and it is an exciting time around here. We had a mini snow storm (see video below) last week and it has been cold. But that is expected here in January.
The family is doing great! As most of you know, I left my job at Schwan's at the end of 2019. It has been a true blessing to be able to spend time at home with our new little baby girl these past few weeks. I have been enjoying the family time and I have got a ton done around the Homestead as well.
But lately I have been getting fired up to get back into the job market. My juices are flowing again and I'm ready to go! I needed this break to get re energized! I opened my part time welding shop, but that will just have work trickling in here and there. I'm looking forward to getting back out there!
PLEASE pray for me this coming Monday (1/27) as I have my first interview at 10:30 AM.
This week was the first time I have applied for a job in a long while. I updated my resume and sent it to 4 different companies. I was very picky on what companies I sent it to. I don't want to make the mistake of sacrificing my home/work/life balance. I am relying on the Lord's leading and am content to where ever He leads me!
The position that I'm interviewing for on Monday is the one that is most appealing to me, so I am trusting in The Most High for His guidance. If this doesn't work out, He will provide and I am perfectly comfortable with that!
In other news, it looks like we will finally be able to get some cows this spring! We expected to have some by now, but it has taken us a while to get everything in order to raise them. I went and looked at a friend of mines cows and he raises Lowline Angus (see pic) and that is the breed that we are going to raise. You don't know how excited I am for this. I have wanted to do this since we started out on this path to be more self sufficient 6 plus years ago! We have almost pulled the trigger on sheep and goats over the past year, but we just haven't been ready yet. (fencing, stalls, etc.)
As I have recently posted on YouTube, I am slowly learning to enjoy the ride. I was always trying to make things fall into place on the Homestead and was getting impatient. I expected to have a gigantic garden and tons of animals by now, but it has been a slow process. Things cost money. Life happens. There are a lot of ups and downs that can slow you down. But you can find joy in the midst of the journey and that is what I'm going to do!
I want to enjoy this "modern Homesteading" ride. That was my "resolution" for 2020. So far, so good!
I did my first welding project and you can see the video here. It has been a joy getting back into welding. I was a certified welder for 13 years and enjoyed many aspects of it. God has been gracious to help me get back into it with my own little shop!
The chickens are doing great and they have started getting back to laying eggs. Every year when it gets cold out they slow down. After a while they start laying better but nothing like when it is warm out. We get an insane amount of eggs in the summer. I'll post a video below that I recently made about raising chickens in the cold.
Finally, Janel has been busy with her knew Cricut machine. We have been kicking around the idea of opening up an Etsy store for various items. We still aren't sure yet, but we are thinking about it. We would have a ton of home made items for sale, from t-shirts to metal art. We are still praying about it and trying to figure out if it would be worth it or not.
Thanks for checking in! We appreciate all of you who pray for us now and who have in the past. I am thankful that you would take the time out of your busy life to follow our pages and read our blogs. We are truly blessed. Thank you and God bless! -Steve
What an amazing first week of 2020 it has been here on the Homestead. God has been good! Psalm 150:6 says:
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
What a wonderful God we serve!
There is something about a new year that brings a newness to life. I can't explain it. I'm not really into New Years Resolutions for myself. I don't particularly think they are bad, I just never have been able to follow through on most of mine! This year I have made a semi-resolution. I have decided to slow down a bit and enjoy life. I actually started that this year, but am carrying it over into 2020.
As I look back on the blessing of this land that the Lord gave us, I realized how quickly 6 plus years has went. I have been so busy doing stuff, that I haven't enjoyed the process. Time to enjoy getting there!
In other news.....Payton is doing great. She just turned 4 months and she is a blessing to our family. She is beautiful and healthy. It is amazing how fast time goes by. It just seems like she was born! Mama is doing great as well. Janel works from home for a few hours each morning so I usually get up with Payton. It has been amazing to spend those times alone with her. I am so thankful for this beautiful baby girl!
Our daughter Hannah is about to have her first book published! We are soooo excited. We will offer it on the website once it is out. It will be for sale on Amazon and other retailers as well. I am so proud of her. She worked hard on this book and the publisher should have the final copy done in a month or so. The name of the book is called "Rebel Heart". I can't wait to see the first copy in book form. She is 16 years old and is an outstanding writer.
Finally....here is a little encouragement! As we look around us, there is a lot of turmoil in this world. So much hate. So much pain. Watching the news or scrolling through social media can be depressing. To see the vitriol that is out there can be very disheartening! To see the nations rising up against one another, or rumors of wars, those things can bring fear.
We've been going through the book of Proverbs this week for our family devotions. One of the verses the kids picked out when we were in chapter 16 was verse 9. The verse says:
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
It was interesting how well the kids understood that verse. Think about how many times you have made plans, yet what actually happened was totally different than what you had planned. No matter what men may plan or scheme, The Most High God is in control. He directs our paths.
That brings me so much comfort and peace. It is so easy to get caught up in the "rage of the day" that is sweeping through the news or through social media. But knowing that our King is sovereign and rules this world is amazing. Don't forget that. We do not have a spirit of fear as Christians. We serve the Creator of all things. That should bring us so much joy and peace. Rest in the beautiful promises of God!
Below I posted a couple video's I just uploaded. One is a "how to" video and the other is a review. Check them out! -Steve
It was a beautiful 2019 here at the Homestead! We are looking forward to 2020. May you all have a blessed New Year! Check out our last video from the Homestead of 2019. God bless!
It was a very nice Thanksgiving here at the Homestead! We ate a big dinner at my in-laws and then spent the evening at home. We did a little shopping but not as much as we normally do. It was truly a time to count all of our blessings. Today at church we had a message from Psalm 100 about being thankful in all circumstances, not just when things are good.
It was a very powerful message and my older kiddo's really liked it as well. We do have so much to be thankful but we are a complaining people. I am going to make an effort to be more thankful and to give the Most High thanks everyday for His wonderful mercy and grace. What a blessing it is to be forgiven! All praise and glory to the King of Kings!
In other updates around the Homestead.....I put my notice in at work. It was an agonizing decision, but one that I needed to make for my family. I will be working until the end of the year. I had always planned on working there until I retire, but there was a big shakeup about 7 months ago and it has gone downhill rapidly. What was once a thriving culture has now become very rigid and a grind. For the first few years I was there, I felt like I was part of something....that I had a part to play. Those days have gone. I never realized how critical the vision of a dynamic CEO is until he is gone. We had one of the best, but he is no longer with our business.
Now some major decisions have to be made and I would love it if you would pray for me. I have no idea what I will be doing in about 5 weeks! I have put out some resumes, but nothing is exciting me. I am praying and trusting that the Most High God will provide the right position! He is in control and I love that He will lead me. What a comforting place to be!
Finally, my prepping series is still coming! I have been trying to find the time to put out these videos. I need to film a little more and do some editing. I think the information will be helpful to many out there, especially to those who know that things are getting worse, but don't know where to start. We NEVER have to live in fear as Christians, but the Bible is clear that we are to know the signs and prepare. Trust in Him and His mighty Word!
Check out the video below of us cutting down our Christmas tree! It was a fun time. Thanks for checking in and give thanks to the Lord today! -Steve
What a wonderful few months it has been! God has been so gracious to us and I praise His Mighty Name! The Most High has blessed us beyond words.
As many of you know, I have had the opportunity to take some time off from work due to the birth of our baby girl Payton. I get 12 weeks of paid Family Medical Leave (FML) and it has been a true blessing. Not only have I been able to bond with my beautiful Payton, but I have been able to spend more time with my family as a whole! It has been amazing.
I am truly blessed. I have a wonderful wife who loves Jesus. I have beautiful children who love Jesus. What more could a man ask for in this life. The Bible says is Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV):
"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"
Payton is doing great. She is growing and has a ton of people who love her. She is beautiful and we are so thankful for her!
So what else has been going on around the Homestead? Well, we have gotten a ton of projects done! We did a ton of work in our basement, remodeled our disgusting spare bathroom (I'll post video below), we installed a dishwasher and new sink in the kitchen, we hooked up a generator to our home in case of emergencies, and we've done a ton of odds and ends.
We were also able to get away for a few "mini" vacations. We went down to camp and we took a visit to Niagara Falls. (See videos below)
We have also gotten the Homestead ready for winter. This is the most prepared we have ever been for winter. Even our vehicles are ready. I am actually excited for winter and the holiday season. It is my favorite time of year! It seems every year I am scrambling to get everything ready, but this year I am ready to go!
Stay tuned for a major announcement coming in a couple weeks. We are excited....The Most High God has been so good to us and we praise Him! Thank you for stopping by and check out some of our recent videos below! -Steve
As we see the horrible wildfires in California, I am reminded of the importance of being prepared or having a plan in case of emergencies. Recently, Lebron James tweeted out that he had to leave his home in LA due to the fires and couldn't find a place to stay. Think about that....he is worth almost a billion (literally) dollars and had problems finding a place to stay.
As many of you know, we live in the sticks! We have very little options when it comes to internet besides HughesNet and Verizon DSL. When we first moved here we had HughesNet, but it was ridiculous in price and you always ran out of data. We homeschool, so we have multiple laptops and computers going throughout the day and we use a ton of data, so HughesNet didn't work for us.
Verizon DSL has no data caps, but it is very slow. You can't really stream and whenever I needed to download a video on YouTube, I had to go to my wife's mom's house to use her internet, or I would have to start it at 10 PM before I went to bed and if I was lucky it would be done by the morning. It was terrible internet.
On top of that, we have spotty cell phone service up here. Always dropping calls and in many areas of the house we couldn't get service. It has been a frustrating 6 years....until now!
I installed the weBoost cell phone booster at our house and I also put one in down at camp (see video). It is amazing! I also fixed our internet problem. You can watch both videos below. Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
My son got it done! I was one happy dad. It was his first year archery hunting. Check out the video of the hunt below! We thank the good Lord for his blessings! -Steve
We just got home from what will probably be our final trip down to camp this year. We took advantage of a decent weekend and went down for a few days. It was our newborn Payton's first camping trip! It is truly a blessing to be able to get down to camp.
We wanted the weekend to be one where we could just relax. We wanted the kiddo's (as well as ourselves) to have a few days of down time. We are always doing something and with more activities starting up next week, we figured this would be a great time for a break for all of the family. It rained for the last day and a half, but we had a great time in the cabin. We also got to take a lot of family pictures with the awesome fall background. The colors were amazing down at camp.
My wife and I have been married for over 19 years. It has gone by so fast. The Bible talks about life being like a mist that you breath out on a cold day. It is here but for a moment and then it's gone. I have truly been blessed with such a Godly woman. I love her more each day. I hear so many tragic stories about relationships and my heart breaks. I have seen friends go through very trying times.
We have had moments early in our marriage, but I can honestly say that the last 15 years have been amazing. The last 10 have been the best by far. She is a beautiful woman who loves Jesus and has been such an encouragement to me. I don't know what I would do without her! The Bible says in Proverbs 31:28-31 (KJV)
"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates".
Our family is blessed by her!
As some of you know, I get paid family leave from work for the birth of our baby. I have 4 weeks left. It has been such an amazing time! Our family has grown closer and the bonding with Payton has been such a blessing.
Through this time off I have realized the amount of energy I was giving towards my career. I had always thought that I had a lot left in the tank for the Homestead when I got home from work, but through this time I have begun to realize how much I was missing. I have made the decision that I will be breaking that cycle.
My number one mission field is my family. Nothing else comes close. That will be my priority in life. I praise the Most High King for this time to reflect on that and to make the necessary changes to ensure that I can dedicate my time more wisely. Work/Life balance is critical for success both personally and career wise. I trust in the Lord as He has always provided for us and most of the time he has done so abundantly! I look forward to success in both!
Finally, I will be starting my "preparedness" series on YouTube this week. (You can subscribe to our channel here). I think we are heading for some tough times in the near future and I will break a lot of that down in this series. The first video will be on food storage and how much you should have, what kinds of food should you start with if you are starting from scratch, and what the future of food production looks like in America.
This isn't a series to cause fear. We should NEVER live in fear as followers of Yeshua our Messiah! This is about common sense preparedness. The signs around us should alarm us and wake us up. Preparedness is easiest in times of plenty like now. The economy is souring and there is plenty of food. Let us take our lesson from Joseph in the Bible (Torah). You can read it here. Prepare when there is plenty for the times when there isn't. It is a Biblical principle and one that has been practiced throughout every civilization up until the past 30 years.
We will discuss topics such as basic survival needs, community, debt free living, medical and other things pertaining to basic preparedness. It is something that I've been planning to do for some time now and I'm looking forward to starting!
Check out my video I made below of making breakfast at camp this weekend! Forgive my "bed beard"! I had just woken up and was a little rough.
Take care and God bless! -Steve
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
Stephen and Janel Cook from The Cook Family Homestead
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
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