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.