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.
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
Stephen and Janel Cook from The Cook Family Homestead