"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fun – Bad Sheep Time

Well…been really busy today…but I have time to post this! Lucky you….have a great weekend everybody!

bad sheep 3

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Morning Prayer…for You

Just felt impressed to pray this for you all today. Also, listen to the song and pause long enough to hear the words…I love you…from the Father.

I pray that no matter where you are today you would believe, know
and feel the awesome love of the Father.

That every decision, every relational interaction, every thought
would be washed by His love first.

I pray that your steps would be secure and bold, your prayers directed
and full of faith and your joy be outrageously abundant.

May the Shalom of Christ comfort any sorrow or doubt, and may the
overwhelming, extravagant love of God drive fear from you.
This I pray in Jesus name for you...and me. Amen.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It’s time to man up

specialops-2 Had coffee with one of my close friends this AM and we were sharing our fears (never an easy thing for manly men). After encouraging each other (basically to man-up) we went to our battlefields (work) to war against our demons. In light of that talk this AM, I decided to share a snippet from the summary of my book "RETOOLED"...sorry Ladies, it's directed towards us guys but you're all warrior princesses to me!


"America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."
- Diary of Martin Treptow – WW1 solider killed in action

Retooled, shaping our fathering from the inside out is a journey not for the fainthearted. It’s one of discovery, determination and a call to a high-octane mission. Strategically dropped into a battle zone for a purpose, to make a difference, is that mission! We need to focus on that assignment; the orders are clear and tactically strong. The clock is ticking and your destiny (and your family’s) is on the line. This is who you are meant to be…a man—God’s man—a man after His own heart. A warrior trained, not just for battle but also for winning that battle!


“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”  Acts 13:22


“He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34


“For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have humbled under me those who rose up against me.”  Psalm 18:39

How do we win?
By placing our lives in the hands of Father God; he is the warrior King.

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. Exodus 15:3

Sold out alliance to His will, guarantees our victory in this battle. When we surrender all to the Father’s way—like Jesus did—there is no surrender to any other force. We are His and His alone. Bound by honor, chosen by name, we become His sons and follow a sacred path. Inside you a warrior, a champion is waiting for release. Your family needs that man; your brothers need that man. Do you have what it takes to follow Christ with everything you have? I believe you do…say those brave words and see what the King has to say.

Not my will…yours.

So…what do you war against? How can I pray for you?



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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday's Totally Random Cookingham Lore

OK, I realize that you're not pacing the floor waiting for these little tidbits of Cookingham history. However, I'm at a lost for a post today so bear with me and "enjoy" the Lore behind the man.

(Disclaimer: I'm not saying I'm proud of any of these and most can be blamed on my friend Paul, which he'll deny of course)

19424tony-bennett-posters My friend Paul and I once embarrassed Tony Bennett in a diner in NYC because he stole our table (We sang I left my manners in San Francisco...really loud)



That same friend and I once played tennis at a exclusive and private tennis club in Florida. The girl at the gate asked if we were there to play tennis and we said yes...(of course we did) Many hours later she asked if we were members...I think the cutoff jeans shorts and tee shirts gave us away.

arrest-cuffs I have been arrested 3 times...in the pokey once. It was when I was involved with Operation Rescue protesting at abortions clinics...many years ago in my hippie days. All charges were dropped so I'm not really a ex-con and you can invite me over for dinner. Although I may block your door and not let anyone else in. (It's a protest joke) carwash-sign

I once drove through a carwash with the windows down...cleanest I've ever  been.


Paul (yes, him again) and I found an open gate to a back stage tank in Sea World and we got really up close and personal to Shamu...too close.


Finally, Family is huge to me...my son made this video to prove it.



Monday, April 26, 2010

God, what are you doing?

IMG10 I love “spacey” things (that statement alone explains a lot about me), NASA, astronauts—the whole planetary deal. It would fulfill a secret desire of mine to go into space some day. Alas, any notion of being a space traveler is soon grounded by a very un-astronaut like fault. Once aboard, I know the space shuttle would not be the only thing “hurling” through space; such is the state of my equilibrium. So here I remain, earthbound—content to dream of the stars above.

The Father once used my love of the stars to speak to my heart during my quiet time with Him. I was going off with excitement and woohahs (I think that’s Greek for really pumped) about the marvelous universe He has created. However, I was experiencing a space anomaly as well and it left me a bit perplexed. How can some of the most brilliant minds fail to miss His stamp on time and space? How can the theories they propose have such creative stretches of imagination and still miss the obvious truth before them? I asked God why that was and what He said to me was simple.

“They don’t ask the right question.”

Intrigued, I pursued further, and wondered just what question was missing in their observations. The Father said…

“All they would have to do is ask me what I’m doing and I would help them understand.”

As I was pondering that statement, He continued…

“Of course I want all my children to ask me that question.”

I was truly blown away by the straightforward nature of my Father’s words; it opened up a new way of thinking for me.

In my mind there are two ways to ask this question. One way is a fear-controlled response to an unpleasant situation like, “GOD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” The other way is with the child like characteristic of asking, “God, what are you doing?” Just as parents encourage their children to ask questions, so also God encourages us in the same manner. Jesus himself said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Does that include child like questions as well? I believe it does, for the Father invites questions that lead to a greater understanding of His will for us.

So I bit and asked; God, what are you doing? What are you doing in my life? As a father? As a son? As a husband? In my church? It’s not that I have never asked this question before, but I haven’t asked in that child like faith attitude in quite a while. I haven’t abandoned my own wisdom and traded it for the wisdom of the Father. Trusting fully that Father God knows the answer and won’t refuse us in the asking.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

My son Mike asks some great questions, he once asked; “why do bats hang upside down”? I earnestly sought out the answer for him, surfing the web and all the bat sites I could read. The lengths I went to satisfy his curiosity was because of my love for him. More than the fact of Mike knowing the answer, I wanted my son to know that his father cared about his questions. It signifies a desire to know him and it reflects how the Heavenly Father feels about us.

Asking, “God, what are you doing?” is really an exploration of space, the space in our hearts that needs the answer from our creator. When we take a little EVA (extravehicular activity, space lingo for space walk) into that expanse, our security is tethered (by faith) to the Father’s knowledge of us. We discover a lot about ourselves by trusting in the answering process, as well as for the answer itself. We can have peace in the asking, knowing that in the exploration of the question comes the deepening of our relationship with Him.

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6

Blessings, Jay


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Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Nearby God

On April 23, the morning of my birthday, Father God asked me a question using a Scripture found in Jeremiah.

“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away?
Jeremiah 23:23

As I reflected on that passage I smiled…because I could answer with a resounding YES. All my life He has been a nearby God, not a distant one.
That fact alone I am very grateful for.

Below is a short, gritty video I made for a sermon series called “Scars” preached by my good friend Pastor Justin Senesi of New Life Community Church in Indiana. He asked me to record my testimony for this series and the video my son and I recorded in about 10 minutes is honest and open about what I went through. (You can listen to the whole sermon here, it’s the one for 4-11-10). This gritty, unedited video gives testimony to God being near during a horrible time in my life and the great faithfulness in restoring me along the way.


“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bad Sheep 2

Well, couldn’t resist…here’s another strip from those Baaaad Sheep!
Peace, Jay

bad sheep 2

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bad Sheep Debut

Well, I’m not sure this is a good idea but I decided to try something new here on Soulfari. Combining my “special” form of humor with my crazy drawing skills to create a comic strip called “Bad Sheep”. From time to time these bad boys will grace the pages of my blog…hopefully entertaining you along the way. I must warn you…the humor is very, very heavy on the pun side. Here is strip number one! Blessings, Jay

bad sheep 1

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flirting with God

This post is part of the One Word’ blog carnival at Bridget Chumbley’s place
where great post go to live! It’s also a small snippet from my book RETOOLED: Shaping Your Fathering From The Inside Out from the section on self-control. The OS I mention stands for Operating System, which might sense if I posted the whole chapter but that would be way too long. Hopefully this will still make sense and bless your socks off at the same time!

Do you ever have strange talks with God? I do, and I had one suchselfcontrol talk with God on my way to work one day. I was pouring out my heart, telling Him how tired I was, how frustrated I was, trying my best to get a little love and comfort. (Yes, I was whining). Know what the Father said?

“Stop flirting with me.”

I said, “What are you talking about? Flirting? Who’s flirting? (Insert huge mental picture of me back peddling here) I'm always trying to stay in contact with you” He replied, “Contact yes, committed on all levels...no.”

Bam! I felt like I’ve been punched in the gut. Father God had just rebuked me of “service innuendos”, those coy attempts of intimacy with Him. You see, the Father doesn't want mere contact, but deep continuous relational commitment from His sons. Flirtation is all about the surface, never intending to go deeper. This quote says it all for me.

“Flirtation is attention without intention.” Max O'Rell

I realized that I sometimes dance around relational commitment with God as if it was a trap set for me. Not trusting Him for fear of falling through some hidden opening leading to my rejection. It’s the selfish need is to stay just close enough to be “safe” but not diving in without reservation. It is like the quote above, “Flirtation is attention without intention.” That is, to talk or act devotedly, but without seriously backing up those words or actions with commitment.

In my heart, I don’t want a mere love affair with God; an affair implies a temporary fling, a tryst needing no commitment on my part. No, this life with Him needs covenant commitment, passionately following Him and leaving nothing in reserve. I don’t want to flirt or “hit” on God, treating Him like some prize to win. That would cheapen the price He paid for us to have a close and deep relationship with Him.

What does this relational commitment look like? It has the stamp of Christ all over it, the passion He put into serving the Father. Loving, putting others first, the tangible actions of self-control fleshed-out through the relationship between Father and Son on earth. This is selfless living on a whole another level!

So, what does this have to do with us? The Lord fully understood that flirting with God would also mean that we’d flirt with other “gods” as well. That’s the real danger, that our affection we fall on something other than Him. This is where self-control comes in handy and that’s why we find this encouragement in His Word.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

In this verse the Spirit is reminding us of a self-controlled mind-set. Set your affections is like saying, come on, think! Control your thoughts! God wants us to love “things above”, the ones that are from His heart. Our thoughts, emotions and affections need to revolve around them. This requires a daily download into our human OS and self-control retooling keeps the communication ports open.

Revolving around “things above” means simply loving with God’s passion embedded in us. It’s having the mind of Christ, one of humility and service to others, who understood His position in light of those things above. These are “Fatherly” qualities like impartation, inspiration, and the intentional placing of value into the life of our families.

This mind-set is a powerful form of self-control for it values others more than themselves. The writer of Colossians goes on to tell us what “things above” are.

(12) “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender feelings of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, (13) forbearing one another and forgiving yourselves, if anyone has a complaint against any. As Christ forgave you, so also you do. (14) And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:12-14

When I revolved around these heavenly ideas, I think like Jesus, His thoughts influence my own. My actions follow and I grip tightly to the “things above” so my family receives the full benefit. Self-control helps me hang in tough when difficult problems stick their ugly head in family life. Its retooling effect helps my OS shed its self-ishness and rely on a different command to help, the one to put on love. I need this upgrade of self-control, to guide me in applying mercy and forgiveness while training my kids. This example has a huge impact, showing them who we should have confidence in. That’s the legacy of self-control!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Making a Statement

mision On the heels of yesterday’s post (do post have heels?) about a personal creed , I decided to post the Cookingham Mission Statement. I wrote this in 2001 and have tried my best to flesh this out everyday since. What do you think? Is it a good exercise to write a mission statement for your family or is it over thinking  the process? Love to hear your thoughts!'


Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:7

Cookingham Mission Statement

As your parents we will strive to always:

• Love you as individuals created by God, unique, special and equipped by Him.

• Know you, your unique personality, gifts, strengths, weaknesses, desires and goals.

• Train you in the love of God and service to Him.

• Teach you the skills for life, academically, financially, relationally and spiritually.

• Pray for you faithfully, listen to you carefully, teach you diligently, and enjoy you fully.

• Have Jesus as Lord of our home, the Bible as our foundation and love our ultimate goal.

Our Goals

• Know that you are created and loved by God, know Jesus as Lord and the importance of following after Him.

• Know that the Bible is the Word of God and cultivate a love for the scriptures.

• Know that Mommy and Daddy love each other and love you.

• Know that it is important to be a person of character, hope, faith and love.

• Know that it is important to be a person who respects the gift of life in yourself and others.

• Know that it is important to be a person of purity, in heart, body and deed.

• Know that it is important to be a person of action, willing to serve, enjoying the process.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


belief2 I was going through some old files and came across something that I almost forgot I wrote. It was an exercise from a leadership class I was taking in 1999. The point of the exercise was to write down a personal creed and themes for our life, the result is below. Looking it over has caused some wonderings about how well I lived up to this “creed” and the themes I expressed as important. I will be spending time in reflection for sure this weekend!

How about you…do you have a personal creed? Let me know what you think.


Jay’s Personal Creed 8/27/99

By God’s grace I will seek to add to His Kingdom all the measure of a man, a leader, a brother, a father and a husband He desires. Surrendering to His purpose and His plans, I will give myself to strengthening all relationships given to me to touch. Allowing the Spirit to flow through my gifts, and through study and sacrifice I will seek to be more like His Son daily.

My Five Themes (What I will focus my learning on, perfecting)

1. Marriage
2. Fathering
3. Brotherhood/Unity
4. Creativity (art, writing, poetry)
5. Humor the gift of laughter

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Know You’re a Dad When:

shirts_luv_dad_close 1. Your suits go from looking like they came from Brooks Brothers to
looking like they came from the Marx Brothers.

2. Your garage becomes an unofficial warehouse for Toys R Us.

3. During potty training, the football terms “end run” and “backfield in motion” take on a whole new meaning.

4. You give up watching sports to watch someone called
“Spongebob Squarepants”.

5. Sleeping is all relative…depending on all the small relatives
in your house sleeping.

6. The EPA declares your clothes a biohazard after “sharing lunch”
with your 2 year old.

7. You take on all the characteristics of a pack mule on family outings.

8. Your clothes become “costumes” for pint size “actors” living in your house.

9. Action figures and former food items find their way into
your shoes, pockets and pillows.

10. You say “Did you go potty?” so often, that your kids
thinks it’s their nickname.

Jay Cookingham - October 2, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Screw Up

 DSC00569.JPG My philosopher son Isaac, now ten, gives me great things to think about. On vacation to the Outer Banks, NC one year, he made a great observation. His grandfather had given him the assignment of tightening all the wood screws in the deck furniture that needed it. With great eagerness he went work, after a little while he came up to me and said, “Dad, I like screwing things up!” When I stopped laughing I started to realize a simple truth in what Isaac said. To me “screwing things up” is a bad thing, something I’m all too familiar with. To my son the same phrase meant something totally different and was a screwpleasant moment. Sometimes, we need to look at situations in a different light; we might be surprised at what we find. Our mistakes are huge opportunities to grow and become stronger as we let the Spirit mold us.

I think screw-ups come with huge honking choices…the kind that make or break your spirit. We will repent? Will we forgive? Will we open our eyes to the things that need to change in our lives? Will we allow people to help us deal with our screw-ups? Will we surrender to His will and pass on our own?

Tough questions…there are probably dozens more we can ask during the time spent on the floor of mistakes. Here is one that I am asking more and more (since I make so many mistakes).

“Father, what do you what me to learn, what do I need to see
like you do?”

That question has helped me get off the mat of self-pity many times, helping to realize that mistakes are not relational deal killers with God. My response to screw-ups depends a lot on my response to Him…to the answers I give to those questions. That’s where the growth and the change begin in our heart…the moment of surrender.

I don’t think I can say with enthusiasm like Isaac that I like screwing things up but…surrendering afterwards is getting less screwy for me.


Open my eyes so that I may behold wondrous things. Psalm 119:18

“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.” - Henry Ford

Monday, April 12, 2010

Paul Revere Book Review

_140_245_Book.166.cover If you like reading about the American Revolution and its heroes, then The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller is the book for you. The book reads like a novel and follows the life of Paul Revere from the immigration of his family in 1716 to his death in 1818.

The little stories within the big picture painted by Joel Miller were fascinating to me. Accounts like Paul’s determined effort to raise his family’s social standing, his involvement with the Masons and how he longed to pick a fight with the British, all made for great reading.

Although not a text book, I would recommend this book for anyone to get a private glimpse into a true American spirit. His exploits, mostly unheralded, should be part of any study of that time period. I plan to have my kids read it to add to their knowledge and appreciation of the Revolutionary heroes and their sacrifices.

Disclosure: I received this book free through Booksneeze.com in exchange for a review. I am not required to write a positive review, just a truthful one.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quick Hits


   Just some random thoughts and 
   insights into my wild world.

Quick Hit #1 is Beckyism #20 becky3

Becky: “I don’t think we should visit that church.”
Me: “Why not?”
Becky: “We might explode!”

We did visit that particular church and to my knowledge, we did not explode.


Quick Hit #2 is about disciplining children.

I’ve been making disciplining type decisions for 21 years now and I still wonder if I’m doing it right.

Quick Hit #3 is about a cross and two sons.  mattmikecross

This past Good Friday we took part of a Stations of the Cross event in my home town. Here in this picture of two of my sons (Mike and Matt) carrying the cross…a really cool moment for a Dad.

Quick Hit 42 is a few links to some really amazing bloggers. You should check them out!










Bless you all! Jay

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gentle on My Mind

becky The other day at the dinner table, another wonderful Beckyism was uttered. Beckyism is the term I use for describing the comments, words, or opinions that belong to my seven-year old daughter Rebbeca. She was describing a surprise treat for dessert (A Klondike bar) to her older sister Sarah. The klondikedescription went like this. 

“It’s like a hotdog on a stick but with out the hotdog or the stick.”

Exactly. It reminds me of this quote.

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so gentle as true strength.”
Dag Hammarskjold

To me gentleness is not about being tame or weak, it’s about liberation. Freed to open our hearts towards our children and pour love into them. Through gentleness God’s fatherness is express through us, strengthening the dad muscle in us. This strength is fundamental to our leadership and what we lay on the shoulders of our children.

“Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. (30) For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30

“Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The Message Bible

We want our children to keep company with us don’t we? As we keep time with the Father’s heart, gentleness is a rhythm of grace we teach to our kids. On this journey our posture is firm, our stance strong but gentleness fruit recognizes the spirit of our children and how easy it is to crush. That knowledge should empower us with a different mindset, and a more powerful (gentle) show of force. That’s when His gentleness makes us great dads.

“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holdeth me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.”
Psalm 18:35

This is my entry into the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, hosted by Bridget Chumbley. Check out the
other entries here: Gentleness.