Wednesday, January 30, 2008


To NOT leave your Toddler alone for two seconds:

-If you think he is sitting on HIS potty, while you walk back to your room to change clothes: He is REALLY putting the entire roll of toilet paper in the big toilet.

-If you think he is watching quietly his cartoons while you put some laundry away: he is REALLY pulling his tricycle into the kitchen so that he can stand on the seat and reach the counter, thus taking a cup of water off the counter to drink it.

-If you think he and his brother are playing happily in their room: He is REALLY sitting on his 16 month old brother's back and has him pinned down to the floor. Of course you wouldn't be able to hear the younger one since he is working hard on just trying to breathe.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Its been too long...10 years!

Okay everyone.. if I get through this without crying.. consider it a miracle. This is my daddy pictured above. James Michael Cook. I have more pictures of him in the house but our scanner is on the outs. And to be quite honest.. 10 years isn't long enough for me to feel that I can bare to bring his pictures out from the box they've been in, under my bed, for all those years. That may sound a bit much.. but I am just now starting to be able to look at them and be happy. I know I don't have time to do justice to a tribute to him... nor the blogspace. But this post is already more about helping me than what you may want to endure reading. (by that I mean the time).

Daddy was not my biological father. That man was an abusive, angry man that my mom married after her first marriage (to my sisters' Heather and Mishka's dad, Stephen C.--great man btw). My mom had a short marriage to Robert Stetcher (my biological father) and they divorced when I was a baby. Then she met Mike (daddy). They married when I was four and daddy adopted me when I was five. The only reason he didn't adopt my other two sisters is because they knew their dad and had a great relationship with him, even though they lived with "us." When my mom died, my parents had only been married 7 years. that is a short time, but they were meant to much so that my dad never remarried...on purpose. When mom died he was heartbroken. He struggled with raising three girls on his own, with very little pay and then turned to alcohol for release. He struggled with this most of my high school days and finally got a grip by the time I went to college. When I came to Christ in High School I always wanted to see my daddy make that same commitment.. although through high school I was anything but an example for Christ. Once I got to college and was discipled and growing in my knowledge of the Word, he could see the change. In fact, I would send him a letter a week sharing Christ with him and was always telling him how much Christ loved Him. In fact, one day in January 1998 I sent him a card with the most gut wrenching plea for Him to understand his need for a Savior, a God who loved him enough to save Him, make him His own and change not only his life but his eternal destiny. I can not explain how hard it was to write this particular letter. OF all the ones I had written, this was the most emotional.

January 25th- Super Bowl Sunday.. I was supposed to go see my dad at his friends house. he was in town (from Jasper) and was going to watch the super bowl with his buddy, Jack and his girlfriend Debby. I had talked to my dad on the phone and told him how excited I was to see him later that night since it had been about a week since I had seen him last. Later that night, I was with a friend and when they came to pick me up at the dorm I told them that we could just "stop by" their house for a little bit and make our way over to my dad's a little while later. Well being a college student and completely self absorbed.. I never made it to see my dad. In fact, as soon as my friend dropped me back off at the dorm.. I knew that I should call my dad, but the Holy Spirit prevented me from calling. Now that may sound weird to you.. but I was weeping. I made my way into the dorm hall and fell on the seat right inside and started weeping. I could not fathom why in the world I did NOT WANT to call my daddy. I went inside to my room, prayed and then went to bed.

January 26th 1998. The next morning I got up like any other school day. I went to eat breakfast.. but was stopped by an advisor. She asked for me to come to her office and talk about my academic "status." I was not doing well in one of the classes and she wanted to be sure that I could bring my grade up. I reassured her and asked if we could end the meeting. My mind was not with it. I went to the chapel. I sat down and immediately started to cry. Thinking it was stress about grades, but feeling it was much more. Then my precious friend Leslie (now P.) came in the chapel, sat down beside me and just started to pray. We ended and then we went to the cafeteria to eat. As I was putting my tray away.. my roommate (and R.A) Sarah Lastrapes came and asked to talk with me. Thinking it was something about not making my bed (as I had a habit of not doing) I said, "Sarah, this is really not a great time.. can we talk about this later." She pulled me close and said, "Rachel, your dad has been in an accident..we need to get to the hospital." Guys.. I knew. I fell to ground. I couldn't get up. I knew, I knew, I knew. Everything was not okay. To make a long story somewhat daddy had been hit head on by a driver that had illegal Valium in his system and fell asleep at the wheel. My dad had weak vitals and was helicoptered to Carraway (it was the only Level 1 Trauma ER in Bham at the time). He died about three minutes after I walked into the hospital.

Now you may think it incredibly sad that I "dissed" my daddy the night before and I that I must live with guilt that I did not call him. But I want to tell you right now, that even 10 years later (which feels like 10 months at times) I praise my gracious heavenly father for the gift that He gave me in that "decision" that "I" made that night. I honestly believe that had I seen my daddy that night, sat on his lap as I always did and hugged his neck as I longed to do.. I would not have been able to get through the incredible trial I had ahead of me. You see, I loved that man more than life. So much so that I miss him so much that it is hard for me to even look at his pictures to this day. On an incredible God note.. that only He knows the answer, but gives me hope is that on the morning my dad was killed, he was watching, get this, Billy Graham on t.v. Debby had it on that morning and my dad listened to the whole message and then when Billy Graham gave the "invitation" Debby said my daddy's eyes were closed. Sure it is not beyond reason that he fell asleep during that time, but I don't believe that. I believe that he was doing business with the Lord. Because as soon as Billy Graham said amen, my dad got uncomfortable and said he was "gonna go ahead and head out." She wondered why he was in such a hurry to leave. Five minutes later he was in eternity.

When I went to his house two days after he died, sitting right there next to his beloved recliner, on the table was my card. The one that I had pored out my heart into. The one that was the hardest for me to write. There it was, the only thing on that table besides the remote. So I cling to the hope that I will see my daddy again. I trust that God led him to Himself.. and my daddy is rejoicing with the angels in heaven even as I type.

So.. here are some great things I leave you with about my daddy:
-He was an excellent man. He certainly had his faults.. but he knew commitment and how to follow through on your word.
-He was a "quite" guy but he had a wit that was hilarious.
-He would only sing one line from a country song. he would get it stuck in his head and that's the only thing he would sing..over and over again.. talk about nails on a chalkboard.
-He would pass gas and blame it on the dog.
-he loved taco bell.
-he loved to get "a rise" out of me. his day was not complete if he had not picked on me relentlessly. if friends were over, they were no exception.
-every time he saw me he asked how I was doing on money (in college) and would offer me a 20. Of course I would spend it on needless fast food or gas.
-He would, I believe, love my husband. To be honest he probably would have had a hard time with him being Hispanic but he would have gotten over it and treasured him for the jewel that he is. They are so much alike it is scary. even the country song thing and especially the pickin' on me thing. They both love to work with their hands and they both have the same temperaments.
-okay this is gonna make me cry.. He would love my boys. He "had" three girls. I was his "baby." I have two boys. I know he would love Mishka's boys too! And girl. hehe. I just imagine that he would have the best time playing with them and just hanging around the house. He would play that "false teeth" joke on them just as he had done to several kids before. I like to think that he would spoil them rotten and then send them back to me for me to deal with. I know he would love them.

Ten years. Wow. It truly seems like only a couple of years. The grief is not that raw.. but the missing him is. He was only 49. But I know God has his purposes and although they don't make sense all the time, He is glorified.

Daddy, thank you for all those years of being able to sit on your lap, even at 19, and just talk. Thank you for always making me laugh. You are so special to me and I look forward to seeing you soon. I love you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oh My Son....

He took daddy's plate down right after I walked away from the table.. little stinker.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm still here.. barely!

Hey all my blogging friends. I haven't written lately because I didn't want to bore all of you with the same rhetoric: im nauseous. Morning, noon and night. Mostly noon. The worst is from about 2:30-5:00, right when I start dinner (4:00 p.m). Yuk. Other than that.. there isn't much going on. I was just telling a random lady at Chickfila today, that my poor kids have been locked inside for the past two weeks, until daddy gets home (around 4:00 p.m). Then they see the light of day. I just haven't had the energy, nor the stomach to handle it. In fact, today was the first time we have been to chickfila since that post I made about our experience there. lol.

I was telling this poor lady, at chickfila, how glad i was my kids were so young so that they wouldn't hold it against me that they watched cartoons and movies most of the day (apart from nap) while mommy is a complete mess spread out on the couch (okay so this is an exaggeration.. there are moments that come and we have great play time together.. about 23 minutes out of the day).

So now is the time for you moms to weigh in.. am i "more sick" this pregnancy or is it because of chasing the other two that makes it compounded? Your inputs are greatly appreciated. ;-) I promise the next post will be more thrilling.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pray for the Burgess Family

Sadly, Rick Burgess (from the Rick and Bubba Show) lost his youngest son in a tragic accident last night, Saturday the 19th. Their two year old son, Bronner, apparently fell into the swimming pool and drowned. Bronner's nickname on the show was "cornbread." You can visit the rick and bubba website by clicking here.

Guys, I feel like I know this child since I listen to this show all the time. I may not catch it in the morning but if Im in the car in the afternoon I always have the "replay" on. I guess I should say that I feel that I know Rick and Bubba. I have gotten on the show several times calling in. But I can not begin to fathom this loss. I guess why it hit me so hard this morning is for a couple of reasons..

I have a two year old. I can not imagine life without him. I can not imagine loosing him in such a tragic way.

Rick is in the spotlight. In fact, his career, how he makes his money is on making people laugh. I can not imagine the amount of time it will take for him to be back in a place of laughter.

I know they are local "celebrities" but this family is just like every other family you know. Please pray for them. Pray for Sherri, the mom of little Bronner. She has four other children. Oh how she needs strength right now. I can only imagine the prayer it will take for her to get out of the bed over the next few weeks, maybe months. I don't know the circumstances around their contract but will you pray with me that the people over their radio show would be "satisfied" with "best of" shows as long as it takes. That they would truly look out for the interests of this family in its need for healing and time.

Thanks guys.. I know you will pray.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Be Warned!

It started at 6 a.m yesterday morning. I thought it was due to the pregnancy.. then by the time it was 7 p.m I had thrown up 12 times and I KNEW that this could not be pregnancy! YUK. Beware people.. there is a heinous bug going around and I got bit. It is not the kind of "up chuck" where you feel better afterwards.. No this was the "in the bed all day, can't move, can't sit up without 'loosing it'" kind of bug. I am serious, this was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. I have never been so out of commission..even worse than when I got mastitis after Jorgito was born.

Anyhoo, the second day (today) has been better. Still in the bed most of the day, but able to eat (i only had an ounce of Apple juice yesterday and couldn't even keep that down). I've just been "weak" from all the "loosing it" yesterday and not having anything in my body, in way of nourishment. Im just glad to return to my regular pregnancy nausea today.. and not the other kind. ;-)

And to answer "anonymous" on my last post.. I joke that its a girl because of how different this pregnancy is already.. compared to my two boys, who were pretty much identical in terms of symptoms. Except for the way I carried them. Miguel stretched my belly in ways I never knew could happen. I laugh at the people who put out that stretch mark lotion! HA! You've met your match!

Well have a good night everyone.. sorry for all the gross talk.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Okay people.. number 3 (well technically number 4) is on the way.. I am six weeks and one day! And even though I am sick as a dog I only have one bun in the oven..although maybe it's a girl. My due date is September 10th! 19 days before my youngest will turn 2!

thanks to everyone for praying! It has killed me to wait until now to announce.. but we just wanted to see the heartbeat first, which we did today! Yeah.. PTL.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Jorgito!

Jorge: Hep me daddy (trying to get the spagehetti on his fork)

Daddy: (grabs a fork other than the one Jorge was using and starts to help)

Jorge: NO DADDY.. STOP.. DIS ONE.. DIS ONE (as he tries to give daddy the correct fork)

Daddy is not listening...apparently...


Priceless.. we all started dying laughing..even Jorgito! Too funny.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doing well...

Hey guys. I just wanted to thank everyone for praying for me.  I have received lots of calls and well wishes.  I am doing great!  I credit your prayers.  


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pray for McKaylee!

Please pray for McKaylee Borkland.. she is the 7 month old daughter in the picture above. Here is a quick story of what happened as well as an update from a Dr.'s visit from this morning:

Recap: Jessica (Britt) [SMCS grad] and Stephen Borkland’s 7 month old baby, McKalee, fell off the bed a few nights ago and hit her head on the wood floor. She was taken to the hospital and examined and it was discovered that she had a previous condition that was causing her brain to swell (her 7 month old head was the size of a 9 month old). They operated yesterday afternoon and put in a shunt. During the surgery a mass was discovered deep in the center of her brain. The surgeon was not willing to try and biopsy the mass as it was too deep; however, he said it does not look like it is cancer, but he cannot be certain without a biopsy which they cannot do. She is too young to treat with chemo and radiation so we’re asking God to remove this mass without His use of chemo and radiation.

McKalee was doing fine last night, acting like a 7 month old despite the stitches and swelling. Jessica is having a hard time. They have told them that they are being sent home today and she is nervous about being responsible for post-surgery care; so prayer for Jess as well please. They will meet with an Oncologist this morning, just in case; and have to return to Children’s in the future for MRI’s to examine the mass. Again, I’m praying the next time they look it will be gone.

UPDATE ON FROM JESSICA BORKLAND (MOM): as of 1/9/2008 at 10:15:

Okay, she had the MRI and it did show that she has some type of brain tumor. It's in the center of her brain and very deep so during surgery, they weren't able to get a biopsy of the growth. That is, however, what caused the Hydrocephalus so that mystery has been solved, but as you can imagine, the news of a tumor is horrifying. She had a shunt successfully put in her head yesterday and tolerated the surgery well, so that is encouraging. We'll just have to take her back to the hospital every 3 months for her to have an MRI to check the growth of the tumor. If it does turn out to be something that grows and causes problems then they will most likely treat it with chemo and radiation, but it would obviously have to be when she's older b/c she is too little to handle that right now. So we're just trying to celebrate the little victories in this situation and just trust God for the results. It's obviously an extremely hard time for us right now but we're pretty much keeping our sanity by being covered in the grace of God. Please continue to pray for little McKaylee and our entire family as we try to deal with all of this information. Thanks to everyone!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Please pray!

Well I can't give the specific details but that does not diminish the need for you to pray.  I will be able to explain later, but for now all I can do is ask for your prayers.  Even if you aren't exactly sure of the circumstances, God knows, and I still believe that your prayers are important.  

I need you to pray for me this week, especially for Wednesday.  Here is what you could pray for:

1.  Physical protection.  Pray that God will hold us in his hands and I will feel that protection this week. 

2.  Mental release.  Pray that I will not dwell on this week.  Please ask the Lord to give me peace which allows me to "breeze right through."  

3.  Emotional stability.  Ask God to remind me of His control and will for my life.  

4.  Release any anxiety and worry.  Pray that I will remember the Scriptures that speak to these two things.  And that I would know God will accomplish His purposes and will give me the grace to endure it.  

Thank you to all of you who I know will pray. I look forward to sharing with you the outcome.  I am ready for this time of trial and opportunity to trust my God more, even if it is a bit nervewracking.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Missing church...

I am at home with my first born.  He got the throw-up virus that his younger brother had two days ago.  Yuk!  I knew when he first got sick at 4 a.m this morning, that church was out of the question.  When I first had kids I was a bit surprised to realize that this was one of the things that comes with the "territory":  not being able to go anywhere when you have sick kids.  I was sad at first and then I realized what an incredible ministry it is.  Besides being a wife its my second biggest ministry and God is pleased with it!  Even if I miss church.  ;-)

On another note can I just say how surprised I always am when the throw-up starts and how quickly i enter into mommy mode.  I cry when I know that I, myself, have to throw up.  I hate it..with a passion.  It is so disgusting.  IN FACT, before kids I used to say.."i hope my nurse husband likes to clean it.. because I just don't think I can do it."  How silly.  But as soon as my little angel babies start.. I am right there comforting (even okay if it gets on me or them).   I say this because this is such a big shock to me.  Its evident to me that God does equip you for the role that He has for you to fulfill.  Anyhoo... sorry for the gross details.  

I hope you all had a great time at church.. or ministering!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Feliz año nuevo!

I love the new year!  I like the feeling of getting to "start over again."   I don't make resolutions because I don't keep them.. I don't do well with keeping unrealistic goals throughout anytime of the year.   I am excited about 2008!  These are some things I hope to see happen this year!

1.  Finish potty training Jorge (successfully)
2.  My husbands' job situation change.. so far good news.. he is going to start doing the RNFA program and has been asked to be a "team leader" for Trauma/Burns.  So we will see what happens. 
3.  Have another baby.  
4.  Possibly get a dog.  Before the baby.  And more for the three men in my life.. not so much for me. 
5.  get more pedicures.  ha! wishful thinking 
6.  Go away on a little weekend retreat with my husband.
7.  publish my book 
8.  Go to the beach at least once. 

I think those are a good start.  We'll see what the Lord decides to do.  He is faithful!