Sometimes, maybe all the time, we need to focus on what’s good in our lives.  Psalm 136 helps us do that.  So, here’s the ancient song, personalized for my life.  Maybe you’ll find connections to your journey.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to write your own Psalm 136.

He makes the sun shine after the rain.
His love is IMG_3138eternal.

He forgives me when I cannot forgive myself.
His love is eternal.

He provides new opportunities when all the doors close.
His love is eternal.

He gives me a new song when the old one drones on and on and on and on…
His love is eternal.

He placed me in a family to belong all the days of my life.
His love is eternal.

He presses the restart button 70X7 and then 70X7 again.
His love is eternal.

He orders the seasons and brings life with each one.
His love is eternal.

He gives us children to makes us laugh, provide deep down joy, and to make sure we stay dependent on Him.
His love is eternal.

He unites us with perfectly matched life partners, to challenge us, support us, drive us a little nuts, and bring us warmth through the cold Winter’s night.
His love is eternal.

He makes us breathe, soar, and live.
His love is eternal.

Now you try:

His love is eternal.

***Inspired from She Reads Truth: Psalms of Gratitude

The GOD of the Promise or the SIGN of the Promise? Choose Whom You will Serve

Well, if you read that last blog, black clouds of depression and worry might have taken over your soul.  Forgive me! I confess that I woke up more raw than when I went to bed.  I receive encouragement from your kinds words and prayers.

IMG_0987What I really need to do is count my blessings and trust in the GOD of the promise rather bend to the lack of SIGNS of the promise.  (This is a truth rooted deeply in the story of Abraham.  If you’d like to hear more, call me or message me. Let’s preach it together!)  In short, Abraham spent years trusting that God would indeed make him a father.  I’m not sure Abraham cared about becoming a father of many nations.  Even a man with an ego the size of Texas would be thrilled with just one descendant.  I am certain his wife didn’t need a shoe full of children.  She just needed one to nurse, to shelter, to love as her very own.  But TRUST they did AND they continued to live life.  They didn’t get stuck in the lack of the SIGN, but lived life with the call of God rooted deeply in their daily lives.

But TRUST they did AND they continued to live life.  They didn’t get stuck in the lack of the SIGN, but lived life with the call of God rooted deeply in their daily lives.

So here’s what I know today:  God called us here to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the difficulty of the circumstances we face, we must not lose heart or forget our purpose.  Here’ s how we do that:

  • We will befriend folks as God leads. Yesterday, on the subway, David helped a college student with his Calculus homework while I chatted with his girlfriend.  We gave him David’s number and hope he calls again. (Darling young adults, Candace and Dijon.)
  • Our home will be a place teenagers are welcome.  Last night, Kori invited a friend to sleep over. (Note, my social child has been in school for THREE days!)
  • We’ll join fellowship with other believers. Today we’re joining a house church for dinner in our neighborhood.
  • Soon, we’ll host a pasta party for her school’s soccer team, invite our Super over for dinner, and work up the courage to invite the families of Matthew’s new friends over for dinner.

My Friends, do not get stuck in the LACK of the SIGN of the Promise.  Trust in the GOD of the Promise.  Your promise is different than mine, but our God is the same.

Though your destination is not yet clear…You can trust in the promise of this opening…Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning…that is at one with your life’s desire (John O’Donahue)


I just got off the phone with my mother-in-law who shared some very tragic news.  Someone close to us has chosen to end her battle with a long-term illness leaving behind a husband and children.  Now in hospice care, they huddle tightly together, clinging to their last moments as a family.  Our hearts hurt.

It gives me some perspective because as difficult as adjusting to urban living has been, we still have every member of our family alive and well.  We face some challenges, but all of the Cook Family challenges are 1st world problems.  I need a re-framing revolution of my worries:

Instead of griping aboutcropped-fullsizerender-1.jpg making FOUR DIFFERENT grocery treks in one week, I am thankful I not only have money to buy the groceries, but also the ability to navigate my way through hot subways and crowded streets to whole foods markets where the prices are less and the food quality better and the stores SO MUCH cleaner than my neighborhood FoodTown.

Rather than complaining about what the humidity does to my hair and my general demeanor, I must choose gratefulness for the window unit in my bedroom.  (Truly…it saved our marriage.)

Instead of worrying about Matthew walking a block to and from school by himself if I don’t find a job that allows me to work from home, I want to be thankful that our 5th grader is a level-headed young man we can trust to get himself safely home, eat a handful of chips and red peppers, and then begin his homework.  Thank you, Lord, that Matthew can walk and think and run and laugh…and build amazing spaceships and super heroes with Legos.

Rather than losing sleep over all the known dangers that lurk in this city for a blond, 15-year-old girl traveling the subway alone,  I choose joyful confidence in a young lady that loves to be independent, that needed a place to spread her wings and believe that New York is just that place.   So tomorrow Kori will leave home at 7am, travel from W. 153rd to E. 22nd to meet a brand new soccer coach and go with him to her very first practice on Randall’s Island.  She’s attending School of the Future beginning 9/9.  She’ll make this trek every day, a journey that involves two transfers on the way to school and three on the way home from soccer practice.   She will compete on Randall’s Island and Central Park and eat lunch in the shadow of the Empire State Building and along Park Avenue.  Lord, help me be thankful for this experience, and a young lady more than ready to take her bite out of the Big Apple.

We are still not sure how we will pay for the last year of Anna’s college.  Washington and Jefferson is not cheap.  But our girl is graduating in four years with a Math degree and hopes to teach in underserved schools.  We have no need to fear or complain.  She’s healthy and vibrant and more than capable of taking the next steps into adulthood.

My husband started work today at HERO High, where he is now the department lead. (I’m not surprised and so very proud of him.) His classroom does not have a working smart board, there’s a leftover copier taking up needed space in the classroom, and he’s not sure if the air conditioner works.  This is clearly not upper middle class white America.  But it’s
a mission and he gets paid to help kids learn, to help teenagers hope for a better future, to believe in them when every surrounding circumstance tells them they cannot succeed, they cannot escape poverty, they cannot dream.  This is so much more than a job and it’s much more than a living wage.

Yep.  Every mountain in the Cook Family life is really a sign of how privileged we really are.  I’m guessing that’s true for most of you reading this blog.  Please, please, take a moment to re-frame your worries.  You might even post them.  That’s it!  Let’s start a revolution.  Let’s call it the THE RE-FRAMING REVOLUTION.  Ready?  GO!