what i learned from my mother in law

Thursday, September 20

i sometimes laugh and tell people that i fell in love with my in-laws before i fell in love with kev
if you remember, i lived with kev's parents when i first moved to southern california
{for more of that story, see here

and it's kind of true. 
i really did fall head over heels for these people, 
absolutely and fully. 

today is mama Cook's birthday, 
and in her sweet honor i want to share the treasures i've learned from this beautiful woman
so...drumroll please....
{sadly, i could find hardly any pictures of barbara and i. this pathetic super old orange sweats picture will have to do!}

1) don't hold on to your expectations:
i could probably write an entire novel on this subject as i'm someone who has high expectations and is  constantly crushed when those do not become reality. {which, hello!, is life...i'm a slow learner people}. from the minute i moved into the Cook's house, i was absolutely amazed at how i didn't ever {even the tiniest winch} feel like barbara had any type of expectations for me. i could come and go as i pleased. she was delighted when i ate dinner with them, but never made me feel bad when i missed it. 

when you are with barbara, you feel free. because she allows you to be who you are. 
no expectations to meet. 
and that has been life transforming to me.
i feel fully loved and cherished for being me. just me. 

i want that for my kids. i want to be just like barbara in this area. 
i want to be a woman of freedom, where people breath free in my presence.
{i've got a long way to go, but thankfully have a good role model in this!}

2) nothing is off limits:
i've shared a lot of my life with barbara, and here's why: she listens and cares. 
like not just "uh-huh-shake-your-head" type of listening, 
but like "drop-everything-sit-on-the-couch" listening, where she really hears. 
barbara has spoken in to so many wounds in my life 
with words of encouragement, bible verses, and prayers. 
she doesn't mind wading through the hard stuff in my life,
she takes the good with the bad.  
i've had people in my life that only like to hear the "good" and get uncomfortable when i open my heart to share the "hard". 
but not barbara. she takes all of me. and loves me. 
{thank the good Lord for her in those tough times!}

3) ALWAYS laugh
to know barbara is to have laughed with barbara. 
it's true. 
she doesn't take life too seriously, and finds the humor in everything. 
even when she battled cancer, her sense of humor over her bald head abounded. 
{i searched long and hard for the most epic video of barbara rapping a happy birthday to nate-dawg, but couldn't find it! but I did find this sweet picture of her dancing with some girls in the girls-group we co-led}
{sorry barbara, this was too good not to share with the entire world!}

4) lastly, love Jesus and be available
 there is no denying this woman loves the Lord.
she's free in Christ, and offers a space of freedom to others. 
HIS love just pours right on out of her. 

love you barbara...so thankful you're my second mama!!! 
happy birthday! 
love Katie 


  1. This is awesome that you are able to learn so much from your mother-in-law and find a good example in her. And it's funny what you say about falling in love with your in-laws before Kevin...I'd say it worked the other way for me. My family fell in love with Angel before I did. They thought he was so perfect and told me, "You better be nice to him! You want to keep that guy!"

  2. This is so sweet! It is rare to find someone sharing something good about their in-laws. I love how you say you fell in love with them first.

  3. Aww...she sounds like an incredible woman! P.S. Love that you're repping Syracuse in your sweats picture! Haha- I love SU Basketball!!!

  4. Katie!! It's Holly, can I just say I love, love, LOVE your blog?! Your posts always ring true and you are definitely guided by the Lord. Very cool! Some of the best advice I ever got was from my sister in law when Pete and I first got married. Identify your expectations and then GET RID OF THEM! It's so true. You cannot be in a relationship with anyone when your head is full of expectations. It just leads to disappointment and resentment!

  5. for some reason this made me tear up.
    i think the reason is that i SO want to be like that. praying that God helps us!

    love love love you. so glad we're in it together.

  6. you're so lucky! that's a wonderful relationship to have with a mother in law. it seems like God's grace--> freedom--> joy. what a great example.

  7. It sounds like she is an amazing woman! Relationships with in-laws are so important, and I just feel like people overlook it so often. They're family too! Although Matt and I aren't married yet or anything, I really enjoy having a close relationship with his parents and getting to know how wonderful and sweet they are!

  8. Wow! I hope I get a mother-in-law like that someday! =D

  9. That's awesome, Katie, to have a mother in law you love so much. I hope I will be as blessed with future my mother in law as you are!

  10. Ahh I want Barbara in my life! You are so blessed to have her for a second Mama.

    Katie my dear, I miss you! we have been running around the past two weeks like crazies and I've been wanting to catch up with you. Maybe sometime soon when you're free? Missing you!

  11. How sweet. I love this post and you are so lucky to have a wonderful second mama!

    Hope all is well - we need some more email catch up sessions! xox

  12. Barbara sounds like a very sweet person! Just from your description of her, she makes me want to be a better person! Glad you have her in your life! :) Sweet orange sweatpants too ;).

  13. That is really wonderful that you get along so very well with your in-laws. that is a great blessing. It took 4 years for my mother-in-law to speak to me. I wish I could share my heart with my mother-in-law as you have been able to!

  14. I love love love this post!!! I love people that I know just love me and don't have expectations of what I should or shouldn't be. I want to be more like that! What a blessing that you have such a great example in your mother in law!!! SO SWEET!!!

  15. Such a blessings to LOVE your in laws! I have had the same blessing in life and appreciate and adore the stories and lessons my in laws tell and teach me. Thank you for sharing those beautiful life lesson!

  16. What a sweet, sweet mother in love you have! Precious post gal :)

  17. Wow, that is amazing! I am most certainly jealous of the amazing relationship you have with your MIL. She sounds like an awesome person!


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