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

 

Bacon and Sprouted Lentil Soup

IMG_0934For over a dozen years now I have been eating according the the “Blood Type” diet as per recommendations from our osteopath who just so happened to miraculously save My Handsome Man’s life in 2004. He suggested My Handsome Man (Blood Type A) make modifications to his diet and told him it would safe his life and  potentially cure him of the health issues he was facing. The changes were immense and I wanted to be supportive, so I modified my diet (Blood Type B) as well. This recipe is considered “highly beneficial” for A Blood Types and “neutral/beneficial” for B Blood Types since the lentils are sprouted. If you are using lentils that are not sprouted, it is considered an “avoid” recipe for B’s.

  • YIELDS
    MAKES 8 SERVINGS
  • PREP TIME
    15 MIN
  • COOK TIME
    30 MIN

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 oz turkey bacon
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) vegetable stock or turkey bone broth
  • 1 1/4 cup uncooked truRoots® Organic Sprouted Lentils
  • 2 c organic salsa (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. HEAT oil in large pot oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, bacon, and garlic until softened. Remove bacon and chop into small pieces. Add curry powder, cumin, and salt. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. ADD salsa*, stock/broth and lentils. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.

* My Handsome Man doesn’t eat tomatoes, so I usually skip the salsa when I make it for him!!

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!! 

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.

What Do You Do When You Meet a Frown?

Smiles

Have you ever woken up grumpy and it seems the entire day is filled with frowns and darkness? I sure have!!

Weekday mornings used to come very early for me as a Seminary teacher with a 6:15 AM class filled with sleepy Freshman and Sophomores. I got up dark and early so that I have time to get “cutified” (sometimes more so than others) and grab something…anything to eat as I run out the door with my daughter who attended the Junior/Senior class.

Occasionally, I found myself struggling to get moving, but not today. I awoke this morning dark and earlier than normal (3:45 AM to be exact) with the song, “Smiles” playing in my head. It’s a song I adored when I was a child in Sunday School. Having that song run through my head made me giggle inside and I immediately began the day counting my blessings. The last several days I have woken up with migraines and today I am migraine free. Big SmiFortnight Lilly Out My Windowles for the gifts of health and feeling great!! I thought of the Fortnight Lillies outside my bedroom window and how God fills every corner of the Earth with beauty if we would just simply look for it. Big Smiles for those gifts too! I thought of each the gifts and talents my children have been blessed with and how much those gifts are actually a gift to our family and others in our sphere of influence. I remembered back to a great basketball game Jon and his team played and how he felt so honored to have been “scouted” and asked to come and play with the Middle School team and how much he has grown from that experience. Big Smiles for those gifts as well!

I find that the best way to turn Frowny Days into ones filled with Big Smiles is to put on some new glasses! Through the Lenses of Gratitude, the world looks brighter and more beautiful. Wearing new glasses lets me see the Hand of God in everything and I begin to smile at the Tender Mercies He so lovingly gives me, His Daughter.

I hope this day will bring you Big Smiles!!  Will you do me a favor?  If you chance to meet a frown,  please make the world a better place my passing your smile on and helping someone else have a blessed and beautiful day! When we each take actions to put a smile on our face and pass it on to others, we make the world a better place!!

PS. Isn’t Little Sarah cute?! :-) These pictures were another gift I found dark and early this morning!! :-)

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.

Giving Love To Those Who Matter Most

Do the people in your life know that they matter to you? Isn’t it important to you that they know you love them? Wouldn’t you want show love to them in a way that they best received it?

What love language do you speak? What language do your loved ones, co-workers and clients speak? Please share your comments below and we can all learn together! :-)

If you found this video valuable, please share it with others.

 

Systems for Living Now and Changing the Future

Good Enough is FINEAre there shadows of doubt and levels of perfection that have stopped you from living the life you were meant to live?

I can totally relate!
Maybe you have believed the lies and limited thinking of others. Maybe you have achieved success, but you are still just shy of your big goals, dreams, and true heart’s desire. Perhaps you have even fallen into the trap that everything has to be perfect rather than letting unimportant things be “good enough”. Allowing for some things to be “good enough” creates space and time to move on to what’s really important and complete with a level of excellence the things that are near and dear to our heart.

Today I want to share with you a few things, my “SYSTEM”, if you will, for living now and re-writing the future! I haven’t re-written all of my “past”, but I am well on my way to creating the future I dream of and desire, stepping into the vision God has for me! I have chosen to let go of the impossible task of having everything be perfect and have choose to allow for somethings to be “good enough”.

So far my “system” has allowed me to go from the “plus size” I was in all my life, to a 4/6 in just 2.5 months and I have kept the weight off for over ten years now. My system has allowed me to earn the use of 10 company cars in the skin care company I have represented for 21 years. It’s allowed me to write and publish my first book and be featured in three others, land my own TV segment, speak at fabulous events, travel with my family, successfully home school my oldest two children, and on and on. Yes, I am loving who I am now more than ever before. I have a fabulous life, and while there are uphill days and struggles, each day I am creating an even brighter future! You can too! 😉

 1. Show Up

Staying in bed all day feeding my fears wasn’t going to introduce me to amazing people. Everyday I chose to SHOW UP and be in places where I was open to opportunities, new adventures, and fabulous connections. Sometimes those places were virtual, like Tweet chats and telesummits. Other times, I have found opportunities and fabulous people at conferences, the post office, and even the grocery store. Are you showing up?

2. Suit Up

The t-shirts, jeans, and Birkenstocks of my past were never going to get me to the places I have been and certainly aren’t going to take me where I am going. Yes, I still love my favorite button-fly jeans and v-necked shirts, but when it comes to creating success, I strive to SUIT UP and “dress to impress”.  Are you dressing like the person you want to be and the clients you want to attract?

3. Speak Up

It is true that what you “profess you possess”. By nature, I am a critical thinker. I like things to be perfect, and I often see the imperfections first. This is great when refining systems that you want to run more smoothly and efficiently, but it’s not effective when you want to create a new vision for yourself and all you see is what is “not enough” and “not working”. I WORK daily to think and SPEAK UP and say only what I WANT to BE REALITY, rather than continuing to tell the story of what was or what “seems to be” right now. Dozens of times a day, I tell myself the story that I am in the process of creating. I affirm that I am learning all that I need to learn and that sometimes “good enough” is enough. Every success I have ever achieved has come that way… my new body, the cars, books, trips… all of it! What are you speaking and creating today?

Now is the time to draw a line in the sand and commit to changing what the past predicts the future to be! One step forward at a time – Show Up, Suit Up, and Speak Up! You can do it! I can do it! We can do it!

Would you like some help along your journey? Register for my Systems with Sarah email resources by adding your name and email here.  You are also welcome to contact me regarding 1:1 coaching by contacting me here.