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
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.
Stephen and Janel Cook from The Cook Family Homestead