Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Keep It Simple

I found this Joshua Becker on Twitter, and I really enjoy his blog/web-site.  He has great insights into becoming a "minimalist."  Having less becomes freeing so to speak.  I need to work on this, and I liked this link especially.  Perhaps you'll find it of interest too.


The Ten Most Important Things to Simplify (above, click link)

"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."-- H.W. Longfellow

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Weekend

Our pre-Halloween weekend kicked off with a neighborhood Spooky Breakfast, fall festival at Addison's elementary school, and Florida State's homecoming game on TV vs. Duke.  Sunday we woke up in the dark to go to the Mid-Florida Championship football game with Addison's Tiny-Mite Lake Brantely Patriot football team at the Citrus Bowl.  The Kumquat Bowl was fun...they lost, but they were up against some stiff competition.  My parents joined us for a chilly fall football game.  The first day we have worn coats in Florida since moving here.  By noon, it was warmer, and we enjoyed an end of the year football team party at a canal front home.  It was a beautiful fall day...warm enough to swim and soak in the sun outdoors.  We finished the weekend with a neighborhood hay ride and trip to the "Gingerbread House" as the back of the neighborhood that annually decorates and holds an open house.  It was a spooky good time!  Below you find a few photos of our weekend's adventures.  It was a busy weekend, but we are looking forward to the real Halloween on Wednesday evening. 

Audrey Hepburn, Fireman, and Lego Brick

The Stamer's House Halloween 2012

 People don't change. Only their costumes do.
-Gene Moorse

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Knitting is not my thing.  I tried.  I was terrible at it.  However, my mother in law, was an excellent knitter.  Susan knew how to knit quickly, accurately, and made some special gifts for her family.  We have place mats, scarves, sweaters, and blankets.  They are family treasures now that she has passed away.  No one in our current family knits.  However, we snuggle with her blankets, and we know her great love for us was stitched into each piece.  God is like her. 

 Psalm 139:13
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 

God knows how to knit.  I do not.  I realize He is the Supreme Artist.  He alone knew how to make me, you, and those that surround us.  May we realize our own beauty and the beauty in others today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


"How beautiful it is to be alive."  -Henry Septimus Sutton

Henry Septimus Sutton was born on 10th February 1825 in Nottingham, the seventh child in a family of seven sons and three daughters. His father, Richard Sutton (1789-1856) was a bookseller and printer, and the proprietor of the NottinghamReview. Henry, who spent his childhood among his father’s books, was educated at a private school in Nottingham and then at Leicester Grammar School. On leaving school he was articled to a surgeon, but eventually abandoned the medical profession for literature and journalism, writing first for his father’s paper.  From--http://www.readysteadybook.com/Article.aspx?page=henrysutton

This writer was born long ago, but this simple quote is wonderful.  It is a beautiful thing to be alive, and we need to rejoice in this gift daily.  God had a plan and purpose for each day we live.  When asked, "how are you?"  My father in law will often say, "happy to be here."  As a two time cancer survivor he recognizes the gift of life more than most.  This weekend he celebrates his third daughter's birthday.  He has four grown children and has seen all four get married and have families of their own.  I feel very blessed to have him, and all the other grandparents in our lives.  I never had the chance to get to know my father's parents, but I gather from others that they were beautiful people during their lives.  My mother's parents died when I was in my early 20s.  I am thankful that they spent many winters in Florida with us and taught me about their past through stories of the depression, World War II, and many walks in the snow.

There is no snow today in Florida.  But we have hurricane fringe winds from the coast, and we will celebrate the fall with a Spooky Halloween breakfast at our neighbor's house and a fall festival at Addison's elementary school.  Later this afternoon we will watch the Florida State Seminoles take on the Duke Blue Devils for Homecoming.  It is a truly a BEAUTIFUL day to be alive for us!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Giving at Any Age


I wrote the above article for the Seminole Magazine.  I found it important to encourage others (and myself) to give this day and always.  It is my hope, that our children will learn to give also.  We live in a greedy world.  It is much easier to focus on self than sacrifice.  However, God teaches that "a plain and simple life is a full life." Proverbs 13:7 (the Message)

If we simplify our belongings to give to others we find true joy.  Some of my favorite belongings were gifts to me from someone else or handed down from one family member to another.  Furniture, jewelry, photographs, and Bibles are some of my most special "treasures."  What do you treasure?  Where does your heart lie?  Our true riches are in Christ.  Heaven awaits those who Believe in Him.  We will join Him and His company of Angels.  I believe that many of the family members and friends that I have known, and who know Him, are preparing a place for me and my family that is still here on Earth.  We live in a bright world with many things.  Let us be thankful for the "things" and give some away!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dennis the Menace is Alive and Well!

Last night, I was shocked, amazed, upset, and filled with laughter (inside) after the fact.  Our oldest son, now 6 years old, never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and antics.  From a young age, Addison has managed to push our buttons and create some small disasters.  He is Dennis the Menace reincarnate!

Last night, the Menace, decided to plug the hall bathroom sink stopper down.  He proceeded to let the water flow freely until it spilled over the counter, onto the floor, and down the hallway!  I was doing dishes.  I should know better than to allow the 2 boys to be in the bathroom, together, unattended, for any length of time!  Addison did come to me, and say "the water's overflowing mom!"  Did he or his brother think to turn it off?  No of course not.  So...I did.  I sent Addison to his room, put Bryan into the bathtub (he still had sticky hands from sugar cookie making).  Then, I started to gather towels.  I recruited the Menace to help clean up the mess.  And, we got it done.  It was just water.  No major damage.  Although, I know our counter (wood particle board) will need to be replaced soon in that bathroom.  The upside!  Plus, we have a very sweet, investigative, and funny child!  God gives us these moments to remind us what really matters.  Love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Seasons are changing.  It is now fall.  We can feel cooler temperatures and see changes in the landscape, in our decorations, and in our lives.  Yes, our lives are changing too.  We are aging.  The little ones are growing taller and weigh more.  Us adults are not growing taller, but we may weigh more too.  There are different seasons of life for each of us.  Presently, I am in mother and wife mode.  I am thankful for that.  It is a blessing to be in a season of life where I have completed my education, childhood, and now helping the next generation, our boys, experience their own childhood and education.  Our parents are aging but still active.  It is pure joy to be able to hug them, see them with our children, their grandchildren, and know this is where we are meant to be...for now.  I thank God today for this season of my life, and I hope I can embrace the ones ahead with grace and peace also.

Photographer: Dan Cook
Daniel, Jennifer, Addison, and Bryan Cook, October 2012, Sea World Aquatica

Monday, October 22, 2012

The best things are nearest...

Robert Louis Stevenson said,
"The best things are nearest; breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you."

May today bring a path of splendor to each of us!  I hope we cherish the breath of His Spirit breathed into us by our Father, the light that shines each day in the sky He created, the flowers that bloom because He tends to them, and the duties that present themselves to us because we are destined for such purposes!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Addison has chosen to become a Tiger Cub Scout.  We have his uniform, and we have completed a few meetings.  He really enjoys it, and Bryan likes tagging along also!  We participated in a car wash fundraiser for the Pack yesterday at Chick Fil A near our home.  The boys, and we, enjoyed a cooler fall morning, meeting new people, and spending time as a family.

"The most important object in Boy Scout training is to educate, not instruct." 
--Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Addison and Bryan were ready to go, but Daniel may have preferred to stay in bed!  Glad that we could have our whole family participate though.  I think the boys raised a couple of hundred dollars too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thank You

Thank You for Your Service (A Moment of Truth)

This was a link that I found this morning.  I think it is of note that we thank our veterans.  Men and women of our past and present have served or are serving our nation to protect us, our freedom, and our world.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, however, we can be thankful every day. 

Hebrews 12:28-29
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Fun in Tallahassee

We ventured on a road trip this past Saturday.  Four hours up and five hours home.  We traveled in a rental car thanks to Papa Erd.  It was a "no top" car as Bryan called it.  A garnet colored Chrysler 200 convertible...it was a pretty sweet although tight fitting ride.  The boys were on great behavior, and we enjoyed the trip very much!  Seeing the NOLES play was a joy, and it was special to see a special pre-game entry of 3 service men sky diving on to the field.  The Seminole football team pulled out a win over Boston College, and we slept soundly at a Hampton Inn.  BIG thanks to Daniel for driving the whole way, and to our parents for spending money that came in handy to buy lots of snacks and meals along the way!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


This week Bryan and I went to Community Bible Study, and the church we attend at had a pumpkin patch.  We could not resist buying a few.  Bryan picked out what many would deem an "ugly" pumpkin--it had imperfections...warts...bumps all over it.  That's the one he wanted.  I said "yes absolutely we can get that one!"  It reminded me of how God sees us...he looks at the inside of our hearts not our exterior blemishes.  We sin...we are ugly.  He forgives...he loves us anyway.  Our Father knows our true value.  Thank you Bryan for this little lesson of embracing imperfection.  God is so good.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Decade

A decade, a period of ten years, is a journey.

In 1999 I met Daniel Addison Cook (IX) at the Florida State University.  I actually met him sooner than this, but I didn't really know him or speak with him personally until 1999.  My life would never be the same.  God opened a door to a relationship that continues to evolve.  We truly have grown up together.

On October 12, 2002, together with our parents, we were joined in marriage.  Thus, began our official decade of togetherness as husband and wife.  We have seen joy and grief.  Laughter and tears have been a part of our days.  Our two children have created "new characters" in our story.  Our siblings were married, they had children, and we have traveled to gather as family throughout the United States.  God has been faithful, sharpened our character, and has been ever present in our marriage.  I am thankful for the unconditional love from Daniel.  He is a man of unquestionable character, charm, and faith.  Now, it's time to go play with our first born son.  The joys of motherhood are a fruit of our marriage.  Thank you God for your blessings and continual glimmers of grace within our marriage and family.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart.
--Hannah Whitall Smith

Hannah Whitall Smith was a lay speaker, author, and mother of seven children.
I am intrigued by her after reading this quote.  It would be fun to read some of her books.  Wisdom from ages past.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Little Pleasures...

Little things are pleasurable.  Today's top ten: 
1. Waking up asleep on the couch and being able to crawl into bed at 5 a.m. to snuggle with my husband.  Even though he's asleep...he's there.
2.  Morning leisure time to play Legos with Addison early this morning.  I had not taken the time to build with him in a long time.
3. Dining at the Bahia Shrine with my parents...a pancake and egg breakfast.  A big breakfast to start the day...mmmmmm.
4. Time to shop at the Rummage Sale to benefit the Children's Hospitals that Shriners support.  We found many treasures and only spent $10.  One being a clock for our kitchen...just needed a battery.
5.  I hot glued corks to the clock this afternoon.  Wine o'clock...any time!
6. The boys and I attended a Fisher Price House Party.  It was fun to see a high school friend, meet her husband, her children, and her friends.  We had a fun time, and we took home some great free goodies!
7. We enjoyed a quiet lunch at home.  Soup on a fall day.  Yummy!
8.  Watching Bryan paint and create.  Precious.
9.  Watching Addison sort through my tool box, and his sweet help in helping me choose a spot to hang the clock and assisting in handing it to me as I hammered a nail up high.
10.  Talking with Daniel after he safely arrived in Kansas City for his week long Cerner Healthcare Conference.  Great to hear his voice always.  Now off to let the boys give me a manicure and pedicure!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Run Your Day

I liked this quote..."Either you run the day or the day runs you."  I hope we are able to run our days efficiently.  I pray that I can run my day with a wise use of time.  I find we are often hurrying to do things.  I like to try to not wear a watch to slow down and enjoy.  I peak at clocks often, but I like to enjoy the moments along the way.  However, we live in a time driven society so best to accept it, plan on it, and go with it!  Run, run, run, but have some fun, fun, fun!