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
It was a hot day out so the kiddo's wanted to help the chickens cool down! Check out the video below.
I had a "mini" vacation of 6 days that I am finishing up. It was a wonderful time with the family and I got caught up on a lot of stuff around the Homestead. I even got to get away by myself down to camp for a night. It was a great time to get away and spend some time alone and with the Lord. I had a lot of time to think and pray as well as journal and spend some time in the Bible.
I can honestly say that I feel totally refreshed after these 6 days. It was a rough month at work leading up to this time off. There is a lot of uncertainty with my job right now and it was causing me some stress. I really needed to just give it all to the Lord and lay those burdens at His feet. The Bible says in Psalms 55:22 (KJV):
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
I feel such a peace and I am perfectly content at where the Lord will lead me. I am so thankful to serve a mighty God who gives such peace that surpasses all understanding! The Lord has always supplied my needs and provided for our family and I can rest comfortably in that! I am also very blessed to go through this life with a wonderful woman of God who loves me and provides such encouragement to me! She lifts me up in prayer and is always there encouraging me. I am a blessed man!
I must say that I am in a very good place in my life. I needed to take a step back and look at how blessed I am. Janel and I were out staking up some plants in our garden the other day and we just took some time to look around at our beautiful Homestead that the Lord has given us. We took in the scenery and talked about our wonderful family and our new baby girl coming soon. We talked about how far the Lord has brought us in this simpler lifestyle that we had prayed about for years. We talked about how wonderful our marriage is. We have so many things to be thankful for and I was letting worry and stress blind me to those things.
Our Homestead is a true blessing from The Most High! He has provided us with abundance that we could of never imagined 10 years ago when we began praying for this way of life. The Most High has been so merciful to us and I had let that beauty escape me due to stress at my job. That stress and worry ended this past week. I needed to be awakened to the blessings that surrounded me. I needed to be reminded of the wonderful promises of God. He has ALWAYS sustained us. He has ALWAYS provided for us. He has ALWAYS loved us. And He will CONTINUE to do those things as we draw near to Him.
So I am LOVING the Homestead life! Each day is a gift from the Most High and I will not waste them with worry!
In other exciting news....we are about 5 weeks from the due date of our precious little blessing that is about to enter our life! Janel is at the tail end of the pregnancy and we are getting everything prepped. Some precious friends of ours are having a baby shower (even though this is our sixth) and the response has been overwhelming. We are so blessed to have a great church family and tons of friends who support and love us unconditionally.
We have also decided to add some sheep and rabbits to the Homestead by this fall! We are so excited. It will take some work to get the barn ready, but that is something that I love to do. It is my passion. We will need to build a rabbit enclosure and my wife has been looking at designs for the cage, so this will probably be the greatest rabbit cage ever built! It will be fun. (Stayed tuned for YouTube videos of the cage being built!)
We will probably invest in 2 sheep. A male and female so we can breed and sell them. We have the stall all ready, but we need to enclose some pasture space. This won't take a ton of money, but it will be an investment and will take some time to get it all done as we need to clean up the area that we will be using for the pasture.
So these are some exciting times! The Homestead is busy and I am loving it!
Finally...I do have one prayer request. I hurt my back a few weeks ago. I have a large 17 foot hardwood pallet that I use as a bridge over my creek. With all the rain we had a few weeks ago, it washed the bridge out. We used the winch on the side by side to pull it back, but we had to lift it as well. This bridge easily weighs 500 pounds. I was lifting a corner and really hurt myself. I went to the doctor and am now seeing a chiropractor. I had my first session last week and will be back this week. I felt a little better after the first adjustment, but I am still in a lot of pain. I'm hoping over the next couple weeks of treatment that I will feel better.
It is amazing how a hurt back can limit you in almost everything you do. It has been horrible! If you could, please pray for me to respond to the treatment plan. I need to get better!
Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
PS...check out my latest video with the chickens below!
Below are two videos I recently made on how to maintenance a Weed Eater and a Rototiller. You might find the videos useful! Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
Well....we finished up a week of camping. It was a blast. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to camp. It is in my blood. Being around a fire or hiking or cooking over an open fire gets my blood flowing! Nothing better than being outdoors.
This year we took two of my kiddo's friends. They had never been camping! They had fun. My wife is in her third trimester of our pregnancy and she was amazing. We went hiking and took an easy trail so Janel could get through it. We had one day that was completely washed out with rain, but we still had a fun day in the cabin. We played games and ate like kings!
One of the things I love about camp is that I have no cell phone service. It is in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest and there is no reception. I get to totally unplug. I am thankful for that. I need that! You don't realize how much you use your phone until you can't use it. I still would occasionally check it out of habit.
We also made some final decisions on a couple things that we were praying over for the past few months and we are at total peace with those decisions! The Lord is soooo good. He makes our paths straight if we will just trust in Him. We had some things we were thinking of doing, but the Lord didn't open the door. There's a wonderful thing that comes with trusting in the Lord...it is peace! I am actually excited about our future and look forward to expanding the Homestead here in wonderful Pennsylvania!
One of the things we decided is that we are going to expand our livestock. We are going to get some more animals. We've been holding off a bit, but now that we have settled some things, we are going full bore into modern homesteading and prepping. With the political climate in this country, we better get prepared. And that is our plan!
Join us on our journey. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE and follow our website as we will be opening up a Homestead store next year. We will also be getting out of our comfort zone in the next few months. We are going to be investing in our Homestead and plan on taking it to the next level. We are so excited to share this with our friends and look forward to partnering with other like minded people.
I will be blogging/vlogging soon about community. It is vitally important to be part of a community of like minded people. Those who share the love of Christ and love of others. Those who can contribute and help those in need. This has always been a passion of mine and I plan to pursue it. We will need this in the coming days. More to come....
Although we wrapped up another successful camping trip, I am looking forward to the next one (in a month). I will try to shoot some video of the next trip. I took some video, but not as much as I had planned. Below is a picture of my youngest (Sebastian) and myself on the 4 wheeler at camp. What a blessing it was to get away.
Now back to work tomorrow! Thanks for checking in and God bless you! -Steve
P.S. Check out my first live video from the Homestead HERE. I put a camera in the chicken coop. Not bad for my first live video!
A quick update on our pregnancy! Baby coming soon!!!
Below is a video tour of our chicken coop. We get a common question that I address in the video. Thanks for checking in! -Steve
Check out the video below on a great venison back strap recipe that I made this weekend. It was absolutely delicious!
What a busy....but fun....time of year. Very little down time, but I was able to have a nice day of rest this past Sunday. We had a wonderful combined service with another church and a luncheon afterwards. We then came home and just relaxed. I don't get many days with down time, so it was great. Hoping to go on a camping trip to get away and unplug within the next month or so. Nothing better than sitting around a fire and doing nothing!
Please keep praying for Janel and our little unborn baby girl. We are getting closer and closer. Almost two thirds there. We are soooo excited! Janel is doing well except for being tired all the time (which is to be expected) but no more sickness like at the beginning. God is amazing.
Also please keep our family in your prayers for some future plans. We are hoping for a couple doors to open and getting excited that they may just open the way we desire. My prayer is that the Lord would open the doors wide open or slam them shut. Either way I will serve Him. But I am praying for Him to open them!
Spring is here! We have had a couple warm days, but a bunch of cold days mixed in. The trees are starting to bud and the grass is starting to grow. I am going to have to mow for the first time this weekend and I am very excited to mow the grass. I love working outside and I'm anxious for the warm weather to get here and stay here. So much to do here around the Homestead to recover from winter.
We had a wonderful Easter celebrating our Lord Jesus and His resurrection. HE IS RISEN! We spent some time with both our families and that is always a blessing. So thankful for family and extended family. I am truly blessed.
Check out my video below and be prepared to drool. Ha! It was delicious.
Take care and God bless! -Steve
Below are some videos I recently did on some electronics. One is a "how to" video and the other two are reviews. The first review is on a new PA system I recently purchased to upgrade our outdoor movie setup. The other is on a new external microphone I purchased for our camera. If your into tech reviews, check them out! Thanks for watching! -Steve
Well sickness has struck the Homestead over the past two weeks. I finally went to the doctor today after battling for two solid weeks. I have bronchitis, and that mixed with my allergies, has caused me misery! I hate going to the doctor, but I was tired of fighting it. I got a steroid, inhaler and a cough suppressant. I also hate taking drugs as they mess me up, but at this point I have tried everything! Most of my family has battled sickness as well over the past couple weeks but it has been a couple days and most are better. Hoping to get up and around in the next couple days. I have a lot of work to do!
We got a nasty storm yesterday and there were some tornadoes that hit close to us. We were under a tornado watch for a while. I recorded some of the storm. Check it out below. I am so happy that I got my vehicles put in the garage before it hit. We would of had some serious hail damage!
On a good note....we are 23 weeks into our pregnancy. Janel is doing much better, although she got a little sick this past week. I am so thankful to the Lord and for all the prayers that were lifted up for her. She really struggled through the first trimester but the Lord pulled her through. He is so good! We haven't officially decided on a name for our new little girl, but we are close. We'll talk about that in our next "Prego Vlog." All I know as that we are ready to hold our little baby girl!
We have some big decisions that we are praying through right now and would LOVE if you would pray with us. Exciting times at the Homestead! We have some potential big news, but are praying for God's leading! My prayer is that God would either open the door wide open, or shut it close and leave no doubt. I trust in the Lord and whichever way he leads, I will follow! My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (KJV)
I love the promises of God. I am thankful for His mighty Word!
Warm weather is coming soon and I am ready. I love spring and the beauty of Gods glorious creation in full bloom. I will never understand how someone could look at the beauty of this world and not see the handiwork of the Creator! What a mighty King we serve!
God bless you all, and thank you for those of you who have prayed for us over the years. We are beyond blessed with the messages, and emails from you all. Let us know if we can pray for you as well! We would love to. Thanks again! -Steve
I took my 3 oldest kiddo's and 2 of their friends to see the movie Unplanned tonight. It was powerful. Below is my review.
Steve's Movie Review: Unplanned.
Incredibly powerful movie. Top 5 most impactful movies I've ever seen. Bring tissues and prepare to be changed if you see this movie. Definitely made my resolve stronger to stand for the unborn.
The movie starts out very aggressive and stays that way throughout. Not many lulls in the action. There's a lot of story line, but the theme of the movie never relents. It is in your face throughout and you will be uncomfortable. Stay with it as it is a great story of redemption. The audience at the theater applauded after the movie ended. It's that good.
It has an R rating, but I've seen PG-13 movies that were worse. But in saying that, it definitely has adult themes in it and some scenes were brutally candid. I would say a mature teenager could see this. I took my three older kids (ages 11, 14, and 16) and their feedback was that is was tough to watch, but they could handle it. My kids are already being taught to engage the culture on this issue, so this was a great resource for them.
Not many cuss words, no F or S words. I think there is an A word and multiple P words. No nudity or even a hint of it. The R rating has to be for the abortions as there is nothing held back. You will have knots in your stomach watching it. But it is something that needs to be seen.
Overall Unplanned is a very powerful movie. I don't know how anyone could walk out of that movie and be pro-choice. It is that powerful. I would highly recommend all Christians support it both at the theater and when it comes out on DVD. I will be having a large outdoor movie night when it comes out on DVD and all will be invited. Go see this movie!
First sonogram today! We are halfway through the pregnancy. Check our our "prego" vlog #1 below.
I am home from a week spent in North Carolina. We buried my beloved grandfather. He is now finally with my beautiful grandmother who passed away in 2016. We ended up staying an extra day and just got home a little bit ago. We put the kids to bed and my wife is in bed as well. I haven't had much time to myself over the past week and have held in a lot of my emotions for most of the week. That has changed tonight.
I came into our office and have been going through some of my grandfathers stuff. His writings and other personal belongings that I was able to bring home. I was finally able to take some time to grieve alone. I am sad. It hurts. But my tears are more of joy than of pain. Reading his writings and looking back at his life, I am in awe of the wonderful man of God he was. My grandparents dedicated their lives to the Lord. Right up until the time they both passed away in their 90's.
We called my grandpa "Bompa" because when we were little, we tried to say grandpa and it would come out Bompa. It just stuck and that is what I called him my whole life. He was a true man of God. He didn't live extravagantly. My grandparents lived in a simple single wide mobile home for the past 40 plus years. They didn't need much. They served faithfully....both on the mission field in Ecuador and in their church and community. They were true examples of Christ.
And now they are both gone. I'm not gonna lie, it hurts. It hurts a lot. They were always there my whole life. Nanny and Bompa. When Nanny passed it really hurt, but knowing Bompa was still around made it better. Now the finality is setting in. They are gone. I will never see them again in this life. But the good news is that I will see them again in the next life! And that is why I am crying tears of joy!
I found a poem (see below) going through my Grandfathers things. It fit him to a tee. This is what he would have said and I'm sure that is why he kept it. The name of the poem is "I'm Free". And I know that he is finally free! Please read this poem. It is so simple, yet so pack full of truth. I love it.
I will never ever forget my Bompa. I love him with all my heart. Although I am sad, I know that he is free. He is rejoicing with Nanny in heaven. He has his reward. He has run the race and finished strong. He has left a wonderful legacy. I can't wait to see him again.
As I close this blog tonight, I am sure that my grandpa would want you to know about Jesus. Do you know Him? Jesus is the Son of God. He is God in the flesh. He lived a sinless life and took the punishment for yours and my sin on the Cross. The Bible says that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is a penalty for sin, but Jesus paid it for you! There is nothing you can do to earn it. It is a free gift. To receive this gift, you must accept Jesus and His sacrifice. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and in need of a Savior. Repent of your sins and turn to Jesus and accept His free gift.
Please reach out to me via email if you need any prayer. I would be happy to help in any way I can. Need a Bible? I will send you one. If you have one, begin your search for truth in the Gospel of John. There isn't a more important decision that you will make in your life. Accept Christ and be free!
Thank you for checking in. There is something therapeutic about blogging. It helps with the healing. Don't forget to read the simple, yet powerful poem below. You will be blessed! God bless! -Steve
I was out putting up my game cameras and while I was out, I made a video "rant" on censorship. Check out the video below. Thanks for checking in and God bless! -Steve
Today has been hard. I lost my beloved grandfather. He was 99 years old and lived a wonderful life. This was a day we knew was coming, but when the reality of it sets in, it hurts a ton. I loved him so much.
We called him "Bompa" because when we were little every time we tried to say grandpa it sounded like Bompa and it just stuck. He was married to "Nanny" my wonderful grandmother until she passed in 2016 at the age of 94. I was privileged to be their grandson. I didn't deserve them. God so graciously allowed me to be their grandson and I am thankful.
Death brings perspective to life. There's a finality to it that is hard to swallow. My grandpa loved Jesus and dedicated his life to serving Christ, so I know he is in paradise as I type this, but the reality that he is not here really hurts. He's always been here my whole life and now he is gone. The finality of that is a hard truth.
A few weeks ago I wrote him a letter that I never sent. I was planning to, but as he was deteriorating I just didn't send it. I really wish I would have. I will miss him beyond what I can express. I love him more than I can put into words. God blessed me with a wonderful grandpa and I can't wait to see Bompa again!
Below is the last letter I wrote him that never got sent. -Steve
I hope you are well! I haven’t seen you in a while and I miss you.
I wanted to write you a letter to tell you how much you mean to me and how much of an impact you had on my life.
Life goes by so fast. I remember playing at your house on Bartlett Road and playing in the creek behind your house. We used to catch minnows in a bucket! Boy does time fly.
I can’t imagine not having you as a grandpa. The way you loved Nanny was such an example to me. The way you dedicated your life to the Lord was an inspiration to me. I think of all the letters over the years and I can’t imagine the numerous prayers that were prayed for me. You left a legacy with me and my children.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
This verse is a wonderful passage of Scripture. It tells of the way we need to focus our minds so we don’t stray. We look to those things that build us up. Focus on the things that edify us.
You are someone whom I look up to. The good Lord has given you 99 years so far and you have not wasted them. You gave your life to Jesus. I hope to live a life the way you did. To not let the things of this world get in the way, but to focus on the things that are true and honest and pure. To love my wife like you loved Nanny.
Thank you for your example. Thank you for leaving a legacy in this world. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for loving me as a grandson. I am a blessed man because of you!
I love you and pray for you regularly.
I am ready for Spring! Although I like winter, by February I am ready for it to be over. One thing that I can't stand is being cooped up inside all the time. I am a outdoor person! I'm ready to plant a garden and get started on some other projects.
Here are some updates around the Homestead.
Thanks for checking in and watch the video update below on the chickens! God bless! -Steve
What a busy, but FUN time we've had as a family over the past few months. We homeschool our kids, but most of them are still involved with many other activities. Two of my girls play basketball on Saturdays (practice during the week) and today was the last day of the league they play in. It was a full day with two games and then we all went out to Applebees for dinner!
My son is a freshman and plays for a school that let's homeschoolers play on the team. He is actually a starter on varsity and is having a good year. He is the second leading scorer on the team and led the team in scoring last game. He's a very good player! His season is coming to a close as well.
Our soon to be 16 year old daughter Hannah is working on her second book! She is such a talented writer. Her first book got accepted to be published and we are working on getting it completed within a few months. I will post a link once it is published. She is so excited as are we. God has given her an incredible gift of writing.
With all of the hustle and bustle of youth groups, sleep overs, homeschooling, co-ops and games, I wouldn't have it any other way! God has blessed us with such a beautiful family and we are excited for our new baby coming in August! The Bible says in 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: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
We have truly been blessed! Although we are very excited about our new little baby coming in August, Janel is really struggling with sickness with this pregnancy. But I think that comes with being in your 40's and being pregnant. Most of our other pregnancy's have been very smooth. Not much sickness and quick labors. This one is taking a toll on Janel. Please pray for her! She is such a great wife and mother.
We are looking forward to Spring and Summer. I love being outside and doing stuff or just sitting on the back deck and listening to the peepers or fires and outdoor movies. We are usually the hosts most weekends to lots of kids and other families. It is a true blessing to be surrounded by so many good family and friends who love the Lord! It makes life fun!
Speaking of outdoor movies....we usually host outdoor movies at least twice a month in the summer. I have a 10 foot screen and projector and we have a great time. And we just purchased a large popcorn machine! It arrived last week and we actually made a quick video breaking it in....you can check it out below. We are looking forward to putting it to use this summer for movie nights! If you're in the area, come join us! Always family friendly.
Thanks for checking in. We appreciate all of you who comment or send messages through our social media pages. It is such an encouragement to hear from you all. God bless! -Steve
Stephen and Janel Cook from The Cook Family Homestead