Happy Mother’s Day to my son…now that’s a switch

“A mother is the truest friend we have,
when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us;
when adversity takes the place of prosperity;
when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us,
still will she cling to us,
and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels
to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace
to return to our hearts.”

Washington Irving


(“mom” with her two lambs…The Mayor and The Sheriff / Greg Cook /2021)

Okay..
so I’ve said it before..there were three primary women who
were integral in making me into the person I am today…

First there was my birth mother (and NO I do not subscribe to this
latest woke nonsense and crap of “birthing person”…total BS!!)

I had a birth, or rather biological, mother who gave me up for adoption in 1959.
Next I had an adopting mother who came along in 1960.
(and no AOC, planned parenthood does not help out in that area contrary
to your foolish line of thinking)

My adopted mom did the long haul hard work.
She went through diapers, terrible twos, potty training…and Lord knows
and bless her heart, adolescence.

Yet sadly, she left me in 1996 when cancer marked her name.

Lastly I had an adopted godmother who came along in 1974—she picked up the
spiritual pieces…working meticulously until her death several years ago.
And let me just say, if you don’t have that kind of person in your life…
find her–a Christian mother who will guide you…

Throw in my two grandmothers (adopted) and I had some great ground work.

I, in turn, became a mom in 1988 to our only son Brenton.
We were going to name him Collin after my godpoppa, but
the name Brenton spoke to my husband…and after an arduous birth,
the nurse turned to me and asked me what was to be the name of this
new son of ours and all I could muster
was…”ask my husband what he wants…”
and so Brenton was his name-o….

As life would have its way, we discovered that we were actually very
fortunate to be able to have just the one child.

So let’s just fast forward to today…our 32 year old son being dad to
both the Mayor and the Sheriff.

I must say that I have absolutely marveled over how our son
has grown into the role of being both father
and dad.

And so just maybe…. this should be more of a father’s day post…
but since this is my day, mother’s day…I’m going to focus
on what makes me a mom…
and that would be our son and now our grandkids.

Recently, our son took off a day from work in order to
spend the entire day with his 2 year old son, aka the Sheriff.

It was the Sheriff’s 2nd birthday and since birthday number 1 was
during the height of lockdown pandemic, our son wanted to make certain
that birthday number two was special.

It matters not that the Sheriff probably won’t ever recall birthday
number two.
What matters is that the tales will transcend time that his dad said
“no” to work just so he could spend time with his young son.

Now that is what I call putting one’s priorities into place!

I am a firm believer that we grow our children…
We nurture them, care for them, feed them, clean them, clothe them,
teach them, instruct them, defend them…
Our sons need fathers.
Our daughters need fathers.

And I dare you to argue with me otherwise.
So don’t mess with mama bears….just saying

I know not all family situations are ideal…
mothers must be fathers and fathers must be mothers…
But our kids need balance.

They need both female nurturing and they need strong male guidance.

Call me old fashioned, call me out of touch, but I’ll tell you one thing…
balance…male and female…it works!!

So happy mother’s day to all the moms and dads…
as well as to grandparents…along with the aunts and uncles
and to all those godparents out there filling
that spiritual role!

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

fruits of our labors…

A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought.
There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.

Victor Hugo


(the Mayor, future chef / Julie Cook / 2021)

So the Mayor was hanging out in the new woobooville office for a few days…
She made the executive decision that there was a need
to hone her culinary skills…

The Mayor is honing her culinary skills…one pudding box at a time.

It’s all about a learning experience.

The correct milk, cream, espresso powder, bourbon vanilla extract,
copper pot, whisk, temperature…
And watch that fire…

Now let’s imagine our founding fathers…their learning experience…imagine
the work they poured into what it took to make a democracy.

Imagine the honing of that framework…all the considerations , the focus, the primary goal,
the direction, the hope…

The labor.

The work.
The pain.
The sacrifice.
The uncomfortable growing pains.

The danger, the concern, the risks.

Almost 250 years in the works.

Crumbling now before our very eyes.

I worry for the future– our future…
The future of the Mayor and the Sheriff.

We’ll talk about this more tomorrow…
Today, we just need to find more whipped cream…

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor,
doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have
something to share with anyone in need.

Ephesians 4:28

The Mayor and the storm

“There is peace even in the storm”
Vincent van Gogh


(the Mayor knows no fear at the park / Julie Cook / 2021)

The Mayor has stayed on for a few days following the Sheriff’s big birthday
celebration…so a trip to the park was in order.

Sadly, the weather has taken a turn for the nasty worst…
thunderstorms, flash floods and tornado warnings have been on tap for most of today.
and I fear much the same remains in the forecast for tomorrow as well.

Time to get creative with a three year old who is stuck inside during
bad weather!

Meanwhile, our back yard is now a raging river…
time to batten down the hatches!!


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(the flood waters wash away the pine straw / Julie Cook / 2021)

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

what’ll ya have?

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”
W. Somerset Maugham


(a welcoming image as seen from out of my car window / Julie Cook 2020)

If you’re familiar with either Atlanta or Athens, Georgia, you no doubt know about
The Varsity.

The Varsity is as synonymous with Atlanta and Georgia as is Coca Cola.
The snappy “What’ll ya have?!” is equally synonymous as that is how each
counter customer has been met at The Varsity since its inception in 1928.

This anchoring mainstay has weathered the ravages of time and has managed to
survive when other seemingly enduring institutions have given way to the various burdens
of fickled consumerism.

The Varsity was the drive-in restaurant dream of a man named Frank Gordy.
Ironically this 1928 drive-in was born the same year as my dad,
So I’m certainly not surprised that my dad had a life long affinity with this
car hop ladened hamburger / hotdog joint.
From that of a hungry young boy to that of cash strapped college student whose dorm
was within walking distance of this iconic drive-in, my dad loved his “Varsity.”

And so the irony has never been lost on me that thirty years later,
the Athens drive-in was within walking distance from my sorority House in Athens.

It was the place of late night exam runs.
It was the place you went after your date had brought you home… or…
it was the place you went after you dropped your date off at her dorm or sorority house…
each hoping not to run back in to the other…
It was, and is, the ritual place of both pre and post football game meals.

This was the case for both me and dad…spanning the course of separating decades.

The funny thing is that it’s just that one of us went to Tech and the other went to Georgia.
The two schools known for their good old fashioned hate.
Two rival schools who love to hate one another but who are bound together by a love
for classic Georgia cheap eats.

So yes, grease dripping from onion rings, hand cut french fries, chili dogs and fried
peach pies running throughout both the veins of me and Dad is the ultimate
comforting calling of “home”…
Not the greatest of foods…not the healthiest nor always the tastiest…
but there is just something to be said for traditional consistency and staying power.
The Varsity has both.

Fast forward to this past week.

It was spring break for many school systems…
Our daughter-n-law was blessedly out of school.
We thought we’d volunteer to keep the Mayor for a day or two—
splitting up the madness at their home from having both the
Sheriff and Mayor constantly under foot.

And so, in this new outskirts of Athens home of ours,
it only seemed fitting that we had to pass the torch, bringing forth a right of passage
by taking the Mayor to The Varsity.


(the Mayor visiting during “spring break” visits the Varsity with mom and da)

The Mayor is three years old.
In her young life, she’s already been a time or two to the Varsity in downtown Atlanta…
Her dad took her.

Her dad, our son, spent his own time with his granddad joyfully dining many times
at Atlanta’s Varsity, making lasting memories.
He thought he would be the first to introduce his daughter, this young member
of our clan to the tradition of good ol fashioned grease…however…
I happen to know that our memories really begin to percolate to the surface
at or about the age of three.
So despite her ‘dada’ thinking he was the first…
I’m banking on this latest trip being the visit that will stick.

“What’ll ya have…What’ll ya have…”
Two dogs, walking all the way
A sack of rags, and an FO– or maybe a PC
(aka, two loaded hot dogs, an order of onion rings, and a frosted orange…an orange sherbet
based drink or chocolate milk over ice)

A bond…some things blessedly stay the same…for now

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize
that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

Eckhart Tolle

“Man can no longer live for himself alone.
We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life.
From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”

Albert Schweitzer


(the Mayor and Peaches / Julie Cook / 2021)

Three years…
two cats…
one baby girl…
(and of course one baby boy…however the cats only gravitate to the Mayor…
the Sheriff is not known for his gentleness…something about being two fisted with
a ball bat and golf club all of which makes the cats very nervous)

The cats tend to avoid this one…

God has created me to do Him some definite service.
He has commited some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission.
I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.

St. John Henry Newman

Does our anxiety separation grow exponentially with age?

“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey.
The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage.
One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.”

Thomas Merton


(the unhappy traveling Mayor when a loved one leaves the car and she does not / Julie Cook/ 2021)

Recently it’s been hard to ignore, but both the Mayor and Sheriff have developed
a bit of separation anxiety when one of their loved ones gets out of the car
in order to run an errand.

I tend to be the lucky one left behind to sit with the unconsolable two
while their mom or dad runs in to a store.

What started out as a content and happy journey of riding in the car
has slowly morphed into the understanding that a loved one is leaving
while they are being left behind.

And so this latest toddler developmental drama has gotten me thinking.

Our past year, meaning both yours and mine, has been anything but pleasant.
To say it’s been trying is simply putting it mildly.

Anxiety ridden?
Yes.

We’ve been forced to mask up, sanitize until our skin cracks, be vigilant against
an unseen enemy, line up for a questionable shot, forced to become TP hoarders…

We’ve put education on the back burner, we’ve worked and lived in isolation,
we’ve balanced home and work all within the home, we’ve stayed put, stayed apart,
watched helplessly as our government has turned on us, wondered who we are as a nation,
struggled to find new ways to reinvent ourselves, labored to balance our physical
and mental health, locked down life as we knew it, missed out on our favorite activities…
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

I think the worst has been the separation.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.

It has been thrust upon us… and the jury is still out as to whether it
has been the right choice.
Chances are, when we look back, we will know it was indeed wrong.

Our seniors have been left alone in their Assisted Living facilities…
often falling ill and even dying alone…as family has not been allowed to visit.

Funerals have come and gone without the attendance of the typical respect of attending mourners.

Schools have shuttered their doors, leaving kids to “learn” remotely, alone.

The very nature of our beings, the social creatures that we are, has been stripped from us.

It has just over a year when this madness began.

This virus that has disrupted the globe, originated in Wuhan, China…

I don’t know a single person who has ever blamed the Asian community for any of this…
The CCP, the Communist Chinese Party is who is to blame…not the Asian people.

So for our news media, and even some governmental leadership, to spin that there is
a surge in crimes against Asian Americans carried out by white suprematists…
what we know as those majority of Trump voters who are simply white conservatives,
is blatantly egregious and a glaring lie.

A disturbed man in Atlanta went on a killing spree this past week, killing 8 people,
near and around Atlanta’s metro area.
His victims were all associated with Asian Spas as either customers or workers.
He claims a sexual addiction made him do such.
Shades of Flip Wilson claiming “the devil made him do it”

And that is what it is…the devil.
The Evil One who reigns supreme.

The young man is an unbalanced “nut job” and not a serial killer of Asian people.
He is not a minion of Donald Trump, contrary to what the news and certain leaders
would have us believe…
all because the former president told us that this current virus is from China.
Of which it is.

Our media and leaders are lying to us by creating ghost scapegoats where no
scapegoats are to be found.

Our journey this year has been hard enough.
If we begin being sucked into believing lies,
the year suddenly becomes heavier and even much more difficult.

Our separation from the Father of all creation is at the root of all our angst.

We have turned our vision from the greater to that of the lesser.
We have turned away from our Creator and turned rather to the mortal man.
Allowing man to become our greater god.
A small god who will always disappoint.

This journey has just become even more miserable…all because of our separation…
Separation from one another but more importantly, the separation from our God.

I think the Mayor and Sheriff are on their way to true knowledge.
When the very one who you put your entire life into their hands leaves you…
it is indeed dire.

Our opting to separate from our God our Father is becoming life ending.

In order to continue this difficult journey…we need God.
And if you find yourself laughing at such a thought or mocking this little proclamation of mine…
you just tell me how you want to keep moving forward if you don’t have Grace to
help you keep going…
Good luck with that.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:6-9

troubling times…saved by wine? Hmmm

“Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not
show itself in protection from suffering….
The love of God did not protect His own Son….
He will not necessarily protect us–
not from anything it takes to make us like His Son.
A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go
into the process.”

Elisabeth Elliot


(Mom and the Sheriff keeping guard / Julie Cook / 2021)

I think we’d all agree that we are indeed living in some of the most troubling
and trying times.
And no, I am not suggesting that we should drink our woes away…
so just stay with me a bit and I’ll explain.

Friday, when we’d traveled to Atlanta for the Mayor’s big day on Saturday, I needed
to help my daughter-n-law shuttle the kids to the pediatrician’s office.
The Mayor was to have her 3 year old check up.

Due to the Pandemic still being at full throttle, the pediatrician’s office is not allowing
siblings to come into the office together.
It’s only a one child at a time policy.

The procedure now is that one is to text the office once arriving at the building.
The receptionist will text when they are ready for you to come in,
as well as texting which examination room you are to go directly to when you enter the office—
no more sitting in a waiting room.

In my mind, the trouble comes when you have more than one child in tow or that you
need for all your kids to be seen…so someone has to hang back in the car.
You’ll need a helper…another person who can sit in the car with the other kid(s)
while the parent takes the specified child in at the designated time.

Now, enter another conundrum.
Safety.

Given our idiotic defund the police movements mirrored by the rise in violent
crimes in our major cities…
sitting in a parking deck, even in broad daylight, is simply not wise.

I grew up in this city.
As kids, my mom and aunt walked these very sidewalks near this particular doctors office.
Back in the 30’s and 40’s, while they were growing up,
my mom and aunt would walk to school, to the homes of friends and
especially to the movies…
exactly right where the Sheriff and I were now to wait in the car.

We were parked in a single floor covered parking deck of which was a bit obscure.

Since it was cold, my daughter-n-law wanted to leave the car running, while leaving
me the keys.
She suggested that I move over to the driver’s seat incase I needed “to gun it” in order
to get away.

HUH??

Was it really that bad here I asked.

“Yes!”, she replied as there have been carjackings, armed robberies and various
violent crimes all within blocks of where we were…and not just in the cover
of darkness but now in the light of a sunny day.

She and the Mayor headed inside the building as I locked our doors.

The Sheriff did not appreciate being left behind, even while sitting with “mom”
and in turn, began to cry.

Needing a diversion, I quickly sought out his favorite things—two paint brushes.

While I’m on my knees, turned around in my seat trying to get him happy,
I vigilantly scope out our surroundings—looking left, right and in front.

Next I start looking around in the car for anything I could use to bap any would be
intruder on the head. I was determined to get the drop on any criminal
before they could get to us…gun or no gun.

Nothing like a threatened grandmama bear protecting her little grand cubs

“Why does your mommy have a bottle of wine in the back seat?” I ask the Sheriff
thinking he’d readily answer in his sweet gibberish way.

I decide to hold onto the bottle just incase.

After about 20 minutes, the Mayor and her mom are exiting the building, making their
way to the car as I quickly unlock the doors.

Since she didn’t need any shots, the Mayor was none the worse for the wear.

I proceed to tell their mom that I was going to use her unopened bottle of wine
as a weapon if needed…and by the way, why was there a random bottle of wine
in the car?

“Oh, it was Catholic Teacher Appreciation week and that’s what they gave us.”

Working on a wing, a prayer and a bottle of wine—and it all worked on
this fine Friday afternoon in Atlanta.

Now….may we each pray for God’s healing Grace

no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17

3

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone,
two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


(The Mayor enthralled / Julie Cook / 2021)


(The Mayor feeling some love for her Sheriff / Julie Cook / 2021)


(Da shares his cupcake, one bite at a time / Julie Cook /2021)


(The Mayor dresses the part of Elsa for her birthday, complete with ice cream scooper /Julie Cook / 2021)


(Happy Birthday to you!!! / Julie Cook / 2021)

for those who do not know or have forgotten—living forever

“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus
to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.”

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


(The Mayor’s big reveal / Brenton Cook / 2021)

“Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever,
and this must be either true or false.
Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about
if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about
very seriously if I am going to live for ever.”

C.S. Lewis, p. 74
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

****we’re off to the Mayor’s for her big party this weekend…you know how it is to turn 3??!!!

the best valentine’s day ever!

After nearly 37 years, I must admit that this has to have been our best Valentine’s day…
ever!!!

Here’s how it went…

Firstly— “mom” and “da” drove down to Atlanta to babysit so a young couple with little
children could actually go out to eat like real civilized adults…alone as a couple…
all without the typical pure chaos that usually occurs at their dinner table.

Next there was ball toss and catch…

Followed by some good napping…and eventually Sunday night bath time…

First for “Je” (aka James the Sheriff)

Then it was the Mayor’s turn to beautify…

Finally…once everyone had played, bathed, eaten and gotten their parents back…
“mom” and “da” journeyed homeward on the highways and the byways, all through the misty dark
only to have their own late but extra special romantic dinner…
who knew prosecco and hotdogs could totally compliment one another —-

Ode to the love of family and grandkids….

“…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15