What I Learned While Walking 5 Miles in the Rain

IMG_2209Have you ever done something you’ve done before many times only to have the outcome be completely different…even life changing?

Just before spring break started, I asked my youngest son what he wanted to do to make his vacation memorable and fun. He gave me a list of ideas and one of them was to get some hikes completed for his Boy Scout Hiking merit badge. The badge requires 6 hikes ranging from 5 miles to 20 miles. We set a goal to do a 5-miler and a 10-miler this week, as long as the weather would cooperate.

Thursday, we woke to more rain, but decided at the last minute to drive up to Sac State with my husband, The Professor. We got a map of our course and figured we could brave the elements since Spring break was going fast and we were running out of time to get the hikes completed. With just 15 minutes to prepare, I grabbed one of my daughter’s old backpacks, some lip balm, a couple of water bottles, my wallet, phone, Sparkle Sue’s glasses, a hat, some Epic bars, and a few essential oils.  We were off!Sac State

I walk a lot and have gone on numerous hikes over the years, but this time would be different. I could feel it.
It was only sprinkling and the temperature cool, but tolerable when we arrived on campus. We walked with my husband to the building where he would be teaching his first class and said our good-bye’s.

Jerry Cook Sarah CookI pulled my hat down over my ears and handed the umbrella to my son. At first we walked on the sidewalk, but eventually the sidewalk ran out and we began walking through grassy areas. The dew and newly fallen rain soaked into our shoes and it wasn’t long before our socks were damp.

The longer we walked, the more cold and wet our feet became and it dawned on me how our homeless community must feel every day that it rains. I made up my mind to do something to help my brothers and sisters who were also walking in the rain somewhere in Sacramento.Share the Path Sac State Sarah L Cook

I’ve owned my own business for nearly a quarter of a century and one of my biggest passions is donating a large portion of my profits to charitable causes. Knowing that I am helping ease someone else’s burdens is what gets me up in the morning.

It’s been said that a handout isn’t always a hand up, and I’ve pondered on ways I could help that would truly lift and not just be a bandaid on the problem. It occurred to me as I was walking, that we can “share the path” of helping others by using our own personal gifts, talents and resources in unique ways to lift those who need lifting.

John Greenleaf Whittier said, “Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together”. I truly believe that when we use what we have to bless and lift others, we ourselves are lifted and in the process of lifting and serving, we also inspire others to do the same. That, my friends is the essence of living a Belle Belle Vie.

During this month of April Showers,  I will be donating a portion of my Mary Kay profits to purchase rain coats and warm socks to donate to the homeless. I invite you to do the same, or pick some other cause that inspires you to use your God-given gifts in a way that honors Him and serves His Children.April Showers of Kindness Sarah L Cook

 

He Made All This and the Sabbath for YOU!

Happy Sabbath a DelightI remember being in Zion’s National Park the summer of 1992 and being overcome with emotion… I sobbed in gratitude.  Love flooded my entire being as I saw manifested before me so many beautiful creations… I felt in that moment that God had created them just for me…I knew in that instant how much He loved me, His Daughter, to have created so much beauty knowing how much I would love it…how much it fueled me…how much beauty was oxygen for my soul.  I now know that He created all of it for all of us and each of us has the opportunity to choose to enjoy and appreciate it or to simply ignore it or worse yet, actively destroy it.

The same is true for the Sabbath it is meant to delight us, but not in the way that we have transformed the word delight in our society.  The Sabbath is  not meant to be a day just to fill our own agendas and desires.  In Isaiah 58:13-14, we are given counsel from a Prophet about the Sabbath.

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

As I have studied the words of Isaiah about the Sabbath as well as many other scriptures dedicated to Sabbath day observance, I have gained a great understanding of this truly blessed and special day. God wants us to choose to honor Him, worship Him, and REST from our own agendas so that we can be renewed. Sabbath Day observance is a covenant with a promise and God never breaks His promises to us. When we truly step away from our own lists of things to do and do His will, He promises that we will “ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob thy father…”

Imagine with me that you have received a warning that a flood was coming. Wouldn’t you want to be in a high place and out of danger? When we cease to flood the Sabbath with our own activated plans and desires, we can “ride upon the high places”, and be out of danger spiritually and temporally. I have seen that blessing over and over again personally and for my family. We have gone through extreme trials as a family, but God has always kept us out of the danger of losing faith in Him as we have observed the Sabbath to keep it Holy. He has protected our hearts and guarded our heads. It hasn’t been an easy road, but we have been blessed financially/temporally as well and has made good on His promise to “feed” us with the “heritage of Jacob”.

I pray that you will take God up on His promise, and set aside your own plans and ask what He wants for you on This Day. He can make so much more out of each of us when we give our lives over to Him, not in a controlled way, but in a willing humility-filled way.  I promise you, your life will be filled with beauty and abundance as you allow Him to fill your life with the blessings He has waiting through Heaven’s Windows for you.

Have a blessed and Happy Sabbath,

Sarah

Family Financial Cents: Weathering the Financial Storms of Life

There will always be storms in life and by taking actions that matter when those storms come, you will often create more positive outcomes. By choosing daily to take actions to prepare for unexpected events, while fully living present in the moments of today, you allow for safer travels for yourself and your family when life sends the hail and whirlwinds.

Have you faced a financial storm such as a fire, job loss, illness, or other family emergency that you have since gotten through? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you and your family weathered those storms.

When Life Throws You LemonsOften financial storms can lead to storms in others areas of your life and when that happens it’s important to know what steps to take to make it through to the other side and back to awesomeness. I created a complimentary online workshop called, “When Life Throws You Lemons”.  Click HERE to receive this gift from me!! 

Magic Happened In the Kitchen Tonight

Sarah Thompson of Sarah's Kitchen with Sarah L CookI met one of the most caring and wealthy souls on the planet via social media a couple of weeks ago and tonight I met her in person. Sarah Thompson hosted a Kindness Campaign Freezer Meal party for a family in her neighborhood whose three year-old daughter passed away last week.

I was drawn to Sarah the moment I read about her on her website and Facebook page and sent her a message sharing how impressed I was. Her reply was so prompt and so heartfelt and I knew straight away she was a kindred spirit and we would be fast friends. Tonight when I met her in person, I was even more impressed, not just with Sarah but with her family and the kind and generous women she surrounds herself with.
Kindness Campaign from Sarah's Kitchen

Tonight’s Kindness Campaign blew me away. Over a dozen women and some families showed up to make meals for this family who has suffered such loss. When we walked in, we were met with pans and pans filled with pre-prepped ingredients to make freezers full of meals! As Sarah was sharing with us the process of the party, she mentioned she had spent over 30 hours of donated time in preparing the food for this family. My heart burst with love for her and of angels she is doing every single day.

Sarah shared her love for this family and how the meals we were donating funds for and assembling would fill their hearts with love and healing in the coming months. I don’t even know them, but the meal I made for them somehow created a bond of compassion and I felt love grow in my heart as I carefully filled the pan of food and wrote a note of healing on the lid.

After assembling the donated meal, I was going to go home and spend time with my family. Then, I remembered they would be watching a show together and I wouldn’t likely be missed if I stayed a little longer. I was drawn in by the magic in the kitchen and the fellowship of all the women who were somehow becoming my friends in such a short time. I made a few meals and am looking forward to seeing what my family thinks of my “gourmet cooking” thanks to Sarah!

 

Welcome to the 2016 Prom Pretty Giveaway!!

Sarah L Cook's Prom Pretty Giveaway

Are you ready for Prom 2K16!!! Do you like to win prizes? Tune into Sac&Co today at 11:30am for a chance to win everything that you’ll need for a magical prom night in my special giveaway!

Prom Pretty Gift Basket from Mary Kay and Sarah L CookWhat’s included in the Prom Pretty Gift Basket?

Over $140 in Mary Kay products as well as extra goodies!!

Dear Millennial and GenZ Children…

Dear Millennial and GenZ ChildrenI read an article recently about socialism and the perks and pitfalls of living in a socialist/communist country. The case for socialism was inspired by Millennials and I am choosing to share my thoughts because I have children that are in the Millennial generation as well as GenerationZ and I want them to know what their Momma believes in and that is Free Enterprise and Working Smart as well as Working Hard! Something that is “free” from our government means that millions of tax-paying citizens have had their paycheck stripped so that the government could choose to create a “free” perk for someone/some organization. Let’s be crystal clear, something “free” from the government is NOT FREE!!  The last time I checked some of the “free” things we can experience on this planet are: sunshine, rain, God’s grace, smiles, …you get the idea.

Thanks to my Mary Kay clients, social media marketing clients, and the people who hire me to speak or who buy my courses and my book, my businesses have paid for countless perks for my sweet children’s lives, for all the people who support my businesses (Mary Kay staff/employees, UPS drivers, USPS workers, dry cleaners, etc) and for all the people I have hired along my 22+ year journey in business who have worked in my home or virtually in their own home or local coffee shop!

My children have never received an “allowance” because I don’t believe in giving my children money except on Birthdays or other special occasions just so they can “experience money” or ” gain money education” at an early age. Their financial literacy has been awarded them by doing chores because they are part of Team Cook/our family. They have been allowed to earn money by doing household “Pay Jobs” (jobs that aren’t party of daily chores) or by working for me or my husband in our business ventures. Each child has been on my payroll since they were about 7 years old as per IRS tax code which states that I can hire my children to do jobs/tasks in my business. The fact that they have been on my payroll does not mean they have been given a paycheck… that would be called welfare and I don’t believe in that for most cases either. I  don’t pay my children a paycheck unless they work and earn the money. Novel concept, isn’t it?

So many people over the years have consulted with me about hiring their own children in their businesses and one of the most common questions is, “What would I have my children do in my business?” So, I created The List. You can get The List of  “99 Things Kids Can Do to Make Money”  by clicking this link and then opting in to get the “Free Gifts” mentioned on that page. I created The List based on the tasks/jobs my kids have done over the years and I stopped at 99 things because, it’s catchier than “105 Things…” and I wanted to leave room for those reading the list to come up with their own ideas! It’s more fun that way!

I could literally talk/write for hours about the valuable benefits from teaching children to work, become self-reliant, manage the resources of this Good Earth, and share their gifts with others, but you likely wouldn’t stay that long, so feel free to come stop by my blog again and read some more.

If you liked what you found here, by all means, SHARE it with others! If you really liked what you read, implement some of the ideas and message me with how they worked for you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or via email: Sarah@SarahLCook.com

 

All I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother…

To My Daughter, Happy Mother's DayI got a card from My Momma Girl a few days ago and inside she wrote,

“You changed my life in a wonderful way. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother.”

My Momma was the baby of eight children and was born when my Grandfather, Dr. Louis L Madsen was President of what is now Utah State University. It was a very busy time for him as well as my Grandmother, Edith. She was not only raising 8 children but had responsibilities as the President’s Wife and plenty of people around her who wanted to dictate how she should fulfill those roles. Carol A MadsenMy Grandmother had been warned time and time again not to have more children because her body was physically not doing well, and yet all she ever wanted to be was a wife and mother.  She chose to have My Momma, knowing full well it was a sacrifice in so many ways. Edith and Louis were mocked and ridiculed for choosing to bring so many children into this world, but they did it anyway and now countless lives have been blessed because of their choice, mine included.

My Momma embraced her roles as wife and mother and gave my brother and I the most wonderful childhood. We had adventures, story time, lots of homemade bread and butter, her constant presence, as well as treasured presents on every special occasion. Four Generations of MadsensShe always remembered to attend to and celebrate the smallest, yet important details of our lives. As a teenager, I interpreted all of this attention and affection as a means of control and unfortunately pushed back in so many ways, but she didn’t give up on loving me and for that I am thankful. We have a wonderful relationship now, and I am ever so grateful for her love, support, friendship, mothering, and mentoring. I am eternally blessed that she chose to find joy in being my mother.
Motherhood has been a joy and a battle for me. I was sick all 9 months while being pregnant with all three of my dear children. After giving birth I suffered extensively with postpartum depression, anxiety, and an inability to feel truly bonded to them. Jake was born six weeks after Jerry and I graduated with our Bachelor’s degrees from Utah State University. Clarissa was born a few years later as Jerry wrapped up his Master’s degree. Jon was born at the end of Jerry’s PhD program and two weeks before we moved to California so Jerry could begin his role as professor at Sac State. I have loved being a wife and mother, and yet have always felt the pull to help provide for our family financially which creates a hard balance and a space for comparison to all the perfect Pinterest mothers.

The Dr Jerry L Cook FamilyIt wasn’t until just a year ago when I suffered a head injury and then a massive mental breakdown that I finally learned to love the roles I had been so blessed to have. My head injury forced me to do nothing but rest and in that time I was able to reflect on what was most important to me, where I felt valued, and what God wanted for me to accomplish in my remaining time on this Good Earth. A few weeks later we were required to make an emergency move due to flooding and mold overgrowth in the home we were living in. Less than a week after we moved in, I found myself unable to get out of bed, unable to eat, incessantly crying, and unable to sleep because my anxiety was so intense. This last year has been a journey of healing in so many areas of my life. I have learned to slow down, love myself and others more deeply, be still and listen, and especially let go of so many expectations I had placed on myself. In this time, 2016-05-07 07.54.29I have chosen to embrace my roles of wife and mother. I have chosen to find and create joy in the walls we call home. I have chosen to allow God to heal me in every area of my life and in so doing have been surprised to find myself saying, “all I want is to be a wife and mother.” Do I still fill my life with many other things? Yes, I admit I do, but my focus is now on my family and on loving the roles I have been blessed with rather than searching for joy and fulfillment outside of my home.
I pray that if you are a wife and mother, you don’t have to go through what I have gone through to truly love those roles. If you aren’t a wife or a mother, I pray you will find joy in your life in spite of not having those roles. Regardless of the roles you have or do not have in this life, I pray you will know that you are a beloved daughter of God and that you are priceless and precious in His eyes.

When Was the Last Time You Said Something Nice to Yourself?

Feeling Bad about Not Doing Enough

So many times we put so much pressure on ourselves. We say critical things to ourselves both consciously and subconsciously. Some statistics even say that over 70% of what we say to ourselves is negative. Today I want to share with you a system I call, “Ways to Praise” that you can implement in any relationship and specifically with yourself to feel empowered, confident, and successful!

It has certainly helped me to more successfully fight the battle with feeling like I was not doing enough, being enough, or just plain “not enough” as a person.

Below are some powerful Ways to Praise yourself and others!! As you take actions that matter towards the transforming of your mind and the words you speak, you will notice positive shifts in all areas of your life! I can’t wait to hear how you will show support for YOURSELF and those you love through SPEAKING Powerful Praise! 😉 

• Wow!
• Way to go.
• Super.
• You’re special
• Outstanding.
• Excellent.
• Great.
• Good.
• Neat.
• Well done.
• Remarkable.
• I knew you could do it.
• I’m proud of you.
• Fantastic.
• Superstar.
• Nice work.
• Looking good.
• You’re on top of it.
• Beautiful.
• Now you’re flying.
• You’re catching on.
• Now you’ve got it.
• You’re incredible.
• Bravo!
• You’re fantastic.
• Hurrah for you.
• You’re on target.
• You’re on your way.
• How nice.
• How smart.
• Good job.
• That’s incredible.
• Hot dog!
• Dynamic.
• You’re beautiful.
• You’re unique.
• Nothing can stop you now.
• Good for you.
• You’re a winner.
• Remarkable job.
• Beautiful work.
• Spectacular.
• You’re spectacular.
• Great discovery!
• You’ve discovered the secret.
• You figured it out.
• Fantastic job.
• Hip, hip, hurrah!
• Bingo!
• Magnificent.
• Marvelous.
• Terrific.
• You’re important.
• Phenomenal.
• You’re sensational.
• Super work.
• Super job.
• Fantastic job.
• Exceptional performance.
• You’re a real trooper.
• You are responsible.
• That’s exciting.
• What a good listener.
• You tried hard.
• You care.
• Beautiful sharing.
• Outstanding performance.
• I trust you.
• You mean a lot to me.
• You belong.
• You make me smile.
• You brighten my day.
• I respect you.
• You mean the world to me.
• That’s correct.
• You made my day.
• That’s the best.

5 Ways to Avoid Holidebt and the Holiday Shopping Trap

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  1. Take a deep breath and realize you are not the only family that gets to choose to have a debt free Holiday Season! By making a conscious choice you will feel more in control
  2. Make a list of the “Holiday Expectations and Intentions” so every family member is clear about what they want for the “perfect” holiday season.
  3. Commit to spend ONLY what fits in your budget, no exceptions! There is no “extra check” in January! It’s a BIG FAT MYTH!!
  4. “Employ” some new strategies if you want to spend MORE than what you have in your budget. There are some great ideas in this video to get you started!
  5. Time for New Traditions! Regardless if the budget is tight or not, now is a great time to start some free and low cost traditions to teach your children how to have fun and memorable experiences. The skill of creating fun without the expense will serve them well for years to come.

You can find more ideas on Pinterest! Take a look! 

4 Tips to Teach Kids About Shopping and Spending Money Wisely

SarahLCook teaching kids about spending wisely1. Teach and Lead by Example

2. Use the GISS System – Give, Invest, Save, and Spend

3. Empower kids with age-appropriate financial experiences.

4. Encourage kids to make their own wise purchases with money they have earned.

 How do you teach your kids about money? Don’t be shy, share your ideas with others by commenting below! Spread the word about financial literacy for kids and families by posting on your favorite social media sites!!