Friday, December 30, 2011


2nd Samuel 7:18
“Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought US this far?"

November 1984-Day the Lord saved me, June 1995-I graduated from EHS and began working at Marietta Baptist Camp, August 1995-May 1999-Many memories were made at GWU. August 2004-met Adam Cooler. March 25, 2006-I married Adam Cooler.
December 30, 2008-Ava Elizabeth Cooler was born!

The above dates mark the days that changed my life! Today we celebrated one of the most life-changing days in my life...the birth of my precious Ava Elizabeth. Her names mean "Desired and Consecrated to God". The meaning of her name fits her impact on my life perfectly. First of all Ava was VERY DESIRED...longed for! It took us two years of a hard, heart-wrenching infertility journey before I became pregnant with Ava. Secondly and most importantly, she is CONSECRATED to the Lord. From the moment I became pregnant with her, I prayed that her life would be used to bring glory to God. One of the most common verses that I prayed over Ava while I was pregnant with her was, Isaiah 26:8 "Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts." As Ava grows up and moves from a toddler to a teen to a woman, I pray that she will always follow God's truth and love Him with all her heart!

On December 30, 2008 at approximately 2:00 am, Adam floored the 4-Runner to get me to Kennestone Hospital as quick as possible. When I arrived I explained to the nurse that I was having some complications with my pregnancy. I reminded her that I had just been their four days ago after being on bed rest at the hospital for 10 days. The nurse quickly got me to a room and took a look at the situation. She put monitors on me and check to see what was going on. From the look on her face I knew that it was not good. She quickly called the doctor and told me that he was on his way. After what seemed like forever, my wonderful doctor, Dr. Bardwell came in took take a look at Ava and I. He looked me in the eyes, held my hand and said very calmly, "We have to take the baby now." With one word from Dr. Barwell, there were what seemed like ten nurses in my room. They rushed me into the emergency room and started prepping me for an emergency C-section. While they were getting me ready, I totally lost it and started trying to get off the table, taking swipes at whomever was around me. The next thing I knew, I was waking up with a scratching throat and Ava had been born.

There began a journey of faith, prayer, family, friends, therapy, tears, laughter and unconditional love! After Ava spent 57 days in the NICU. We brought her home at a whopping 4 1/2 pounds, eating about 2 ounces of formula and wearing a heart monitor. Slowly but surely Ava grew bigger, ate more and FINALLY got off her heart monitor. Soon we started with therapy to help her reach her potential. Even though it might of taken her a little longer and she had to work a little harder to reach some of her milestones she did it! Now at three years old, she is pretty much caught up with her peers! PRAISE GOD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!

The journey has not been easy. The journey has not been fair. This journey has not been without some tears. But this journey from NICU to now, has changed my life! Before we began on the journey first, trying to become pregnant and then the last three years since Ava's life, I cared alot about what others thought about me. What I looked like, how I acted, what I had or didn't have, how smart, pretty or funny I I really don't care. Through the journey we have taken, I have come to understand truly about unconditional love. Through this journey I have come to realize how important it is to have a strong marriage, strong family and supportive friends. Above all I have come to realize that it is only through the Lord's grace, mercy, strength and peace that I could have endured any of this journey. A line from Laura Story's "Blessings", states perfectly how this journey has changed my life. "What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy."!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interesting Christmas Article

First Person: Should We Have Church on Christmas Morning? Of Course!

By Peter Beck

The Grinch has finally stolen Christmas. Funny thing is, it turned out to be an inside job.

Just weeks after Christians joined forces in a chorus of boos for retailers who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is the reason for the season, churches across the country have decided to take the Christians out of Christmas instead. No, they’ve not given up on the holiday. They’re not refusing to say “Merry Christmas.” They’re certainly not buying “holiday” trees. They’ve just decided to stay home for Christmas.


Since Christmas falls on Sunday this year for the first time since 2005, some churches have decided to close their doors that morning. The rationale goes something like this: Our folks are busy enough on Christmas morning. They’ll have guests in town for the holiday. Attendance will probably be low anyway. Let’s just encourage everyone to spend the morning at home with family.

It’s not that I have a problem with spending time with my family. In fact, there’s very little else I’d rather do than spend time with my wife and kids. However, I do have a problem with canceling church on Christmas morning.

Such a decision not only keeps God’s people out of church, it keeps God’s praises off their lips. Most of those who decide to stay home that morning aren’t going to be singing a rousing rendition of “Joy to the World” at 10:45. Instead, they’ll do what they do every Christmas morning. They’ll get up. They’ll peek under the tree. Dad will get some coffee. Mom will get the camera. Let the festivities begin!

Yet, when you read the biblical accounts of the first Christmas, you see that it’s all about worship. Mary worships God when she’s told the wonderful news of the impending incarnation (Luke 1:46ff). An unborn John the Baptist worships in the womb. Zechariah worships at the birth of John (Luke 1:67-79). The Magi worship. The angels worship. The shepherds worship. Simeon worships. And Anna worships. Do we see a trend here?

Deciding to stay home on Christmas morning has spiritual implications. Rather than gathering as a body of believers to worship our God and Savior, many will spend the morning doing anything but that. Let’s not, in the name of family, join our unbelieving neighbors in denying God the praise He deserves on Christmas morning.

Such a decision also sets a bad precedent. Rather than driving home the biblical message of Christmas to our children, we’ll be staying home instead. Rather than emphasizing to little Suzie the importance of church and community, we’ll tell her that there are some things that are more important. Rather than training our children up in the way they should go, we’re telling them that, sometimes, it’s OK not to go at all. Is this the message that we want to send to our children?

Lest someone accuse me of saying that going to church is more important than family, I’m not. I believe that there are precious few things more important than family. However, I am saying that the worship of the one and true living God and His Son is one of those things.

Why can’t Christians have both on Christmas Sunday? Church and family? They can. They can take their family to church on Christmas morning and worship God as a family with the family of God. Let’s show our children the true meaning of Christmas rather than just telling them about it.

The media has made much of the Christian outcry over the removal of Christ from Christmas. Retailers have raised our ire. We’ve boycotted. We’ve called. We’ve let our collective voice be heard. “Non-believers must know that Jesus is the reason for the season!”

We’ve won the day. Stores are allowing their cashiers to say “Merry Christmas” once again. There is, indeed, victory in Jesus. Now we’re going to stay home and bask in the glory of our success?

If we’re not careful, our unbelieving neighbors may catch on. By our actions, not our words, they will sense that Christmas isn’t that important of a Christian holiday. In fact, their Christian neighbors appear to be doing the same thing on Christmas day that they are. Perception will become reality in their minds. They won’t be likely to forget that the next time you tell them how much church means to you.

Many retailers have changed their corporate minds. It’s not too late for the church, either. We must save Christmas from ourselves this time.

The Grinch learned a hard lesson after he tried to steal Christmas. As he stood there on that frigid mountain, he realized that Christmas in Whoville was going on without him, or perhaps in spite of him. Standing there with his Santa hat in hand, “the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!” “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!”

Let’s learn a lesson from the Grinch. Let’s not steal Christmas from ourselves. Let’s not steal it from our children. Let’s not steal it from our neighbors. Instead of staying home that morning, come to church with the sole intention of worshipping God. Bring your family. Bring your neighbors. Let them hear the gospel. Let them meet the Christ of Christmas.

— Beck serves as an assistant professor of religion at Charleston Southern University

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spilled Milk

Have you ever heard the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk"? Well there was crying at our house last night over spilled milk. Last night at dinner time my precious almost 3 year old daughter spilled her milk. Now if it had been an accident there would have been no problem, but the spill was not an accident. It was blatant disobedience.

As we were finishing up dinner last night, my daughter picked up her glass of milk. I told her to be careful and make sure she doesn't spill her milk. She looked directly at me, gave a little smirk and poured her milk out all over the table. Believe me when I say the punishment was swift and effective. After a few tears, I went over to where she was sitting, in the time out chair and we had a little chat. I told her that mommy and daddy loved her very much, but that she had to obey us. I told her that it was okay if she knocked her drink over by accident, but what she did tonight was not an accident. I told her that even when she did not want to and even when it was not fun or fair, she still had to obey mommy and daddy. We hugged really tight, said I love you and went on with dinner...and life went on.

After last night it made me think about boundaries, sin, obedience and love. When Adam and Eve were living in the Garden of Eden, they were living in perfection. Perfection of bodies, perfection of love, perfection of food, perfection in their relationship with the Lord. Everything they would ever want or need was provided for them, in complete protection, peace and perfection. All God asked of them was to be obedient, and not obedient to hundreds of thousands of rules, but to just one rule. That rule was to not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, just like my daughter last night with the milk did, they doubted God's words. They paused, thought about it and maybe even smirked a little, and took a big, juicy bite of the fruit. In an instant, perfection, protection and peace was ripped away from them and sin, pain, hurt, heartache, toil, troubles and destruction entered into the world...and continues even today.

Why do I want my daughter at even a young age be obedient to the rules of our household. It is not because I am mean, or like being the boss or want to take away some joy from her life. No not at all! I want only good things for her and the boundaries are set up to teach her, guide her and protect her. That is how our Heavenly Father looks at us. His rules and regulations are not set up to steal our joy in living but they are there to protect us.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tending Sheep

"There is still the youngest, Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep". 1st Samuel 16:11

David was the youngest, the smallest, least likely to be the king. When Samuel came to his house to annoint the new king of Israel, David was last on the list! But God whispered into Samuel's ear, "he is the one, that will lead my people." Even though David was doing a dirty, disgusting, mundane task, God chose him as the new king.

I know that I have been called by God to serve Him with my life. Yet, right now I am in a season of life that is consumed with Little People, Elmo, The Fresh Beat Band and Disney Princesses! Everyday, my life is seemingly consumed with mundane or insignificant activities. I spend most of my days, cleaning house, changing diapers, cooking meals and the many concerns of a stay at home mom. But every morning I take the time spend time in the word and to get on my face and pray to God to help me glorify Him in all of these daily chores. Even though right now I am not standing in front of thousands, in the trenches in the "scary part of the world", or working at a mega church, God is still using me every day. My ministry right now is to raise, teach, disciple and love my daughter so that when she grows up, she will love the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and spirit.

What had God called you to do today? Don't miss out on a blessing that God desires to give you because you feel like you are just tending sheep!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't just talk about it!

"Enough talk something about it!" Those words burned in my head so often during my days at seminary. I went to a VERY conservative seminary and I was around a wide range of people pursuing ministry. I had the privilege to be friends and acquaintances with people that are now doing amazing work for the Lord. People that are in the trenches right now. Whether that trench is living in a foreign country or on staff at a local church. These people are the real deal and they "put their money where their mouth is!" so to speak. But in my seminary days, I was also around people that did ALOT of talking. They were either talking about, debating about or studying about the Bible, theology, religion, etc. I can remember almost at the same time each week a certain group of men would sit around at the local eatery and discuss a variety of subjects, and seemed to know all the answers. Yet, I never saw or heard of them going on a mission trip, serving in their local church or for some of them, just being a nice person!

I am beginning a study on David and a verse stuck out to me this morning about David, his personality and his drive. Psalms 78:72 states, "And David shepherded them with integrity of heart and with skillful hand he led them." David who is called a "man after God's heart", led with both integrity (thoughts and convictions) but also with skillful hands (actions). David did not just hoard the knowledge of God in order to become the smartest and most theological savy of his time, but he applied this knowledge and actually led...He did something.

After reading the above passage and really contemplating about David's life it really convicted me. Am I just content to sit in or lead Bible study after Bible Study but too chicken to step out and actually "do" something for Christ? Am I content to go to church each Sunday, sing the right way, and give the right answers but are not willing to share the gospel with those I come in contact with in my daily life? I want to be called and thought of as a woman after God's heart. So taking a cue from David, I need to start putting "my money where my mouth is"!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Weakness-Christian Devotions

And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet. 2nd Samuel 9:12

“Why can’t I be in the red group for math?” Those were the words I spoke through tears as my fourth grade teacher moved me away from my friends and into the low math group.

Her answer: “It doesn’t matter what math group you are in. You won’t graduate from high school anyway.”

Those words stung my heart and marked the starting point of believing I wasn’t good enough. I’d been taught God loved me and had an amazing plan for my life, but I really didn’t believe it. Then I read the story of a man with a funny name, Mephibosheth (say that three times fast). He was lame in both feet—handicapped—a burden. During his life he faced many challenges, heartaches, and difficulties. Yet he didn’t realize the king of Israel was about to bless his life. King David was the most powerful man in all of Israel, but he went out of his way to bless someone others viewed as unworthy. Our King of kings, our great Lord Almighty desires to do the same for us.

Have you been told you are too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too young, too old? You may be dealing with a handicap, the loss of a child, divorced, single, unable to have children, without a job, or living with regret over past mistakes. We all face challenges and difficulties in our lives that make us feel unworthy to serve the Lord.

We feel there is no way God could possibly use us and we only see the things we can’t do for Him. But stop. Think about the things we can do.

God doesn’t look at our outsides, our limitations, or our failures. He looks at His perfect creation (that’s you and me), and says, “I can use you; I want to use you.”

Live in this truth and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way of serving our great King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dads and Daughters

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell}

I saw this posted on a friend's facebook status. I thought is was precious!!

About Michael
Michael Mitchell is an (almost) thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters at He spends his days practicing the arts of fatherhood and husbandry, while attempting to be a man of God and a professional raiser of philanthropic funds. On the rare occasion he’s not tied up with the aforementioned and other pursuits of awesomeness, he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and drinking from a cup that’s half full. Bookmark Life To Her Years, follow Michael on Twitter, and “like” him on Facebook for more “rules”.

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons learned at Whitewater

This summer my daughter (2 1/2 years old) and I had season passes to Six Flags/Whitewater. Whitewater is this immense water park full of slides, splashing, floating and fun. Since we had season passes we went to Whitewater at least once a week, if not more. As my daughter, Ava and I were enjoying our time together, I found myself doing some people watching. From our fun-filled time at Whitewater, I learned five important particular order!

1. Confidence comes in all shapes, sizes and ages! I saw size 2 sixteen year olds wearing bikinis and also saw forty/fifty year old mothers of four kids rocking the same bathing suit. It was amazing to me to see the different type of confidence (not cockiness), that an older/more mature woman has than a high school girl. The forty-year old knew that she did not look like she did back in high school but she could look around herself and see and hear the joy in the voices of her children. Those sights and sounds trumped any sixteen year old six pack!

2. There is nothing like the great, big smile on the face of a little girl who is having a special father/daughter day. Several times this year I would see a daughter holding tightly to her daddy's hand as they would slide, jump waves and float in the lazy river together. You could not help but smile yourself when you saw the shear joy on the face of the little girl. She knew it was a big deal that daddy had taken off work and set aside time to spend with her. It made me be thankful for the amazing daddy I had growing up who, even after an exhausting day or week at the office would invest in my life. I am also thankful for the incredible daddy that Ava has who is her own personal rock star!

3. It is the simple things in life that can be the most fun. Two of Ava's favorite things to do at Whitewater was to float/swim in the lazy river (Little Hooch) and to splash and twirl in the wave pool. With all of the slides and splash park that were created for just her age group, she preferred the simpler things. While watching her I was over and over again that sometimes the simplest things can bring so much joy.

4. We all need a time out every now and then. Since Ava is an independent 2 1/2 year old, there were times this year that we had to stop our fun and just take a minute to sit down and regroup. As her mother I could see when the behavior or tantrum was about to escalate, so I would just take her to an empty chair and have her sit down and take a break. Even as adults we need to remember to stop and take a break. When we feel our temper getting ready to explode or our mouth about to say something we can not take back, we need to put ourselves in a time out. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be ever pleasing to you oh LORD my God!"

5. Being brave can be as simple as holding hands or holding on to someone you trust. At the beginning of the summer, my little 2 1/2 year old was a little weary of Whitewater. In the lazy river she would want me to hold her and on the slides she would cling to me like a spider monkey. Fast forward to the last few weeks of the summer and she is swimming in the lazy river and does not want me to touch her and on the slides, she is going down them by herself. All it took was for her to do these once scary things a few times with me, her Mommy whom she trusts, and then she was willing to do them by herself. Many times in our Christian walk when God asks us do something out of our comfort zone, it can be scary. But once we are are willing to step out on faith in the small things, we build our confidence and are will to step out and grow our faith in big things.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Letter Z

I know that we have taken a little break from doing a letter of the day. But we are back to finally finish up the letter of the day curriculum with the letter Z. We started the day by getting up and getting ready to go to Whitewater. Ava loves to zip down the water slides...she now goes down them by herself. After we got home we read together, the Greedy Zebra. The book was a gift from my roommate from college Melissa. She and her husband used to live in Africa, and they actually got to see real zebras. When Ava woke up from her long nap, we played Zingo and sang and danced with "Zacchaeus was a we little man". My favorite part is when Ava sings, "Zacchaeus you come down." She points and shakes her little finger...hilarious!

Day 26

The Letter Z

Verse of the day:

Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Bible Story of the Day:

Zacchaeus and Jesus


Play Zingo

Watch Zacchaeus song DVD

Zip down the slides at Whitewater

Read the Zebra book


Zebra Cakes



Zero candy bars