Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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December 2009


December 1st, 2009
This month, I'm upping the tempo just a bit in honor of one of my biggest pet peeves during the Christmas season. Ever since I was a little girl, it's bothered me when people take Christ out of Christmas. I have seen rich folk, poor folk, non-Christians, Christians, department stores, even Bible Book stores and Churches do it.  Churches?  How does a church take Christ out of Christmas, you ask? Well... believe it or not I have seen churches advertise holiday celebrations using the word X-MAS.  When you use this word, you are literally CROSSING CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS!  Hence the reason for the X.  I think most people don't really comprehend the statement they're making, but they make it all the same.  People have used that word for years as a quick, easy and short-hand way to write Christmas.  Isn't that the way the enemy always works?  He finds convenient appealing ways to weed Christ out of everything.  It always seems harmless enough, until you find out the real meaning behind it! And now he has found a new way to remove Christ from His own birthday celebration.  In an attempt to not "offend" anyone. It has become a common practice to say "Happy Holidays!" This way everyone is happy.  Just one problem folks... I AM OFFENDED!  Note:  If you work in the ministry business and use either one of these words or phrases in place of "Merry Christmas."  You will NOT be seeing my family in your stores or churches! We can NOT compromise the message of Christ in order to please everyone. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword" Matthew 10:34 A sword meaning the Word of God!  We have a responsibility to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who choose to serve the world WILL BE offended!  The enemy will make sure of it! Christians suffer persecution because the world HATES Christ.  The world hates Christ, because satan knows CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO THEIR SALVATION!
It's time for Christians to stop trying to please the world and take a stand for the only way to truly show them love.... by showing them Christ!!
 
Around our house, you will not only hear tiny voices saying "Merry Christmas, but you will hear those same little voices saying...
                         "Merry CHRISTmas!"

Why Does Christmas Really Matter?

By:  Dana Burk

 

Why does Christmas really matter?

Presents and toys while families gather

Sleighs and reindeer with a ho ho ho

Hats and mittens and lots of snow

Cookies and Candies, bellies growing fatter

But why does Christmas really matter?

Stockings and Chimneys, Church bells ringing

Decorations on Trees and Carolers singing

Stories and Games, homes filled with laughter

But why does Christmas really matter?

Drives and charities, donations to give

Parties and raves our own lives to live

Dancing Sugar Plums that arose such a clatter

But why does Christmas really matter?

Cards and Pictures, mail to send

Checks and credit cards, money to spend

Pushing, Shoving, shoppers scatter

But why does Christmas really matter?

A baby boy in a manger with an innocent cry

God on Earth, born just to die

As Savior of the world, for love He gave all

Only to be replaced by a sale at the mall

Tortured and beaten for you and for me

He gave His life to set us free

In return, recognized only with idle chatter

Now answer me this, Why does Christmas really matter?

Fire and flames a never ending burn

Tortured forever a tough lesson to learn

Eternity would be lost, all hope shatters

This my friend is why Christmas really matters!!



December 2nd, 2009
     So what is the hottest Christmas toy this year?
Why a Zhu Zhu pet of course! A tiny little mechanical hamster is all the rage. Seems a little silly, but yet the hot Christmas items usually do.  Serenity is just at the perfect age this year to be intrigued with a $10 hamster. So like most loving parents of toddlers, we set out to find her one. Can you guess how that worked out?  I bet you can!  We called lots of different stores in our area, studied their delivery schedules and traveled a few times, trying to run one down.  Each time we would just miss them.  The clerks would tell us that the cuddling creatures never even made it to the shelves.  Crazy... I know!   We looked online. All the stores were sold out and the few on ebay were going for 40 and 50 bucks... uh... not an option for a $10 toy in my book.  I am not the kind of person to push, shove, or nearly kill someone just to get a toy on black Friday.  So I decided just to leave it in God's hands.  I've been praying God's favor on our family and left it at that.  If it was meant for us to have one, then God would put us in the right place at the right time. 
Well... this weekend Tommy's Dad, Tom Sr. and his wife Sue were out shopping at a nearby toy store.  Tom Sr. is a brutal diebetic and often has to deal with insulin reactions.  (We are working on him about believing for his complete healing)  In the middle of their shopping trip, his blood sugar dropped and he nearly passed out.  The store's manager, who is also a diebetic, rushed over with some candy.  They talked for awhile, swapping stories. She was very understanding and sympathetic. She found favor with Tom because she knew exactly how he felt. Tom Sr. thanked her for being so nice. Then she handed them a card and said... "If there is ever anything I can do for you just let me know."  Grandma Sue immediately spoke up with... "Well I don't suppose you could call and let us know when you get another shipment of Zhu Zhu pets in? Our granddaughter wants one for Christmas."  The nice lady just smiled and replied..."I can do you one even better than that" Then she reached into her pocket and pulled out a small coupon. "Just give this to the cashier when you check out."  Sure enough... Sue handed the clerk the coupon and in return she handed Sue one cuddly little rodent. So now Serenity will get her Zhu Zhu pet on Christmas day!  How awesome is that?  Just as God promises us in Romans 8:28.  He turned a situation that the enemy meant for Tom Sr.'s harm and turned it into a blessing for our little Reni! Isn't it amazing how we can trust God with even the smallest things and He always comes through! Even if it is for... a small mechanical $10 rodent!  :)


December 3rd, 2009

The evening was filled with lots of Fun, Food and Fellowship.  Our church family came together and decorated the church for Christmas.  We ordered lots of pizza, played Christmas music, dragged all the decorations out of the attic and just dug in! 


     

   This is part of the Church Foyer.  There are a lot more decorations in the sanctuary and still a lot more to put up outside.  Oh yeah... that handsome man walking through the glass doors is my Daddy!  

It felt so nice to fellowship with our church family. The experience really has me in the Christmas spirit!!  Merry CHRISTmas Everyone! 



December 4th, 2009
Can you guess which toddler duo has been practicing their photography skills?

          
                        Photography by Eli:
                    Busted while jumping on the couch! :)


             

                     Photography by Serenity:

           With a nice added bonus shot of her finger over the lens



                  

                                               Photography by ???: 

                 I don't know those look like boy toes to me!



         

                       Well... at least we can see they are improving!! :)



December 11th, 2009

Wow... seven days... I have really been falling behind!  I think that's the longest I have ever gone without updating the journal pages.  I don't even have a good excuse.  I haven't been really busy.  As a matter of fact, I have gotten very LITTLE accomplished the past week.  I just haven't had much to say.  My mind seems to be a little clouded lately.  The toddlers have done PLENTY of hilarious things. But my mind doesn't seem to want to process them. My focus has been mainly Spiritual and yet I'm still having trouble processing it into written format. 

The only news at the current moment is the decision I recently made concerning Christmas.  The true meaning of the season has really been weighing on my heart.  I want to do something special for everyone. I want to make a difference in everyone's life.  But how can I do that... hmm... I came up with a pretty good plan I think.  I am going to offer one of the most precious things I have to give (besides my kids of course). I going to offer my time in prayer.  Now so often we hear people saying... "I'm praying for you."  But if the truth were known.. how many of those people actually do what they say they will do?  How many of them actually bend their knees to pray? I believe if everyone who CLAIMED to pray actually took the time to do so... this world would be a much better place. Throughout my life I have seen the power of prayer SO many times.  Time and time again I have seen things that seemed impossible suddenly find a way.  Only God can move mountains and I have seen plenty of mountains moved.  I KNOW prayer works.  All it takes is just one faith filled heart and a couple of bent knees. For this reason...Prayer is something that I have always taking very seriously.  If I say I will pray.. rest assured I WILL pray.  So now here is my question... What do you have need of?  What do you desire? Big or small...common or impossible.  Between now and December 25th I promise to spend at LEAST one hour praying specifically for YOU (or someone you know)! All you have to do is send me a request through our "Contact us" page. (All the fields are not required by the way. just a name and request will do) This will be my Christmas present to ALL who reply. After all that God has given me, this is the very least I can do and YET it's the very MOST any of us can do for anyone!





December 14th, 2009

                    Does Prayer really work? 

ABSOLUTELY!!  No matter how many times I witness the power of prayer... it never ceases to amaze me.  Our God is so very AWESOME!

Nothing is impossible for Him!  Last night served as another reminder of just how powerful prayer really is!!

Recently Serenity came down with a cold.  She soon developed asthma like symptoms due to this cold.  I have been giving her breathing treatments every few hours to help with these symptoms.  Well... I had just finished giving her one and for the first time... it did NOT help at all.  As a matter of fact, she continued to get worse. I knew that I needed to wait at least a couple of hours before giving her another one, but her wheezing was growing louder and louder.  It was so bad that you could hear her breathing clear across the room.  I really started to worry.  So what do I do when I worry?  I pray of course.  I snuggled up beside her in bed and laid my hands on her chest. I began to offer praises to our Lord and welcomed the Holy Spirit into the situation.  Then I started speaking life and health into her body.  I prayed that God would open up those airways so she could breathe freely.  Well.. about 15 minutes into my prayers, I felt like God was leading me to blow on her.  May sound strange.. but I was obedient to my instinct and I very lightly blew on her face.  Then I said... "Not my breathe Lord but your breath" and I blew again.  Serenity.. immediately.. no joke... IMMEDIATELY... took one quick very deep  breath and then... silence.  The wheezing just stopped.  I felt her chest and her breathes were now coming regular and without strain.  She slept peacefully through the entire night with NO wheezing! She woke up this morning with NO wheezing.  I have not had to give her another breathing treatment since.  Now tell me...

How AWESOME IS OUR GOD?!?! :)





December 15th, 2009

    

        All I want for Christmas....Toddler STYLE!


Serenity:  "Um... I wanna doll walks (walking baby doll).. um a strodder. You know Mom dhose strodders for dhose babies. (baby doll stroller) Um... I wanna Dora de plorer... A motorcycle (Motorcycle? I think she means a tricycle lol)....Oh.. and a piano like Rufie (Ruthie plays the piano at our church and Serenity LOVES to help) Can I have a piano like Rufie Mom... a Pink Pretty Princess piano?"


Eli:  "I want some noculars (binoculars). Hungry Hungry Hippos...Thomas the Tank choo choo...I wanna Bubble Bee shootin' gun (some transformers nerf thing I think) A big boy bike... Oh... and I want some big boy tools, like Daddy's. not the baby ones that I got last year.  I want BIG boy tools... you know that kind that DON'T have mouths.. (lol last year he got a Handy the Manny TALKING tool set) That's it... that's ALL I want for Christmas!"


Yep.. that's ALL they want!  Looks like I have quite the shopping list and it doesn't even include my other THREE children!  :)


Oh.. BTW.. Still NO Wheezing!  Thank you Jesus!!!





December 16th, 2009

Serenity LOVES to play on the computer!  Even though she really has no clue what she is doing just yet... she LOVES to pretend she does! Well earlier...I found her banging away on the computer yelling... "Show me baby dolls you dumb thing!" (I know quite the attitude, we're working on that) The following was typed into the search browser.  I thought Yahoo's reply was kind of funny.  So here it is...

"We did not find results for  /0.l; l'o9[898989898989[0[] '/]IUO ']"
Try the suggestions below:"


Check your spelling (hmm.. No that looks right to me)

Try more general words (uh.. ya think?)

Try different words that mean the same thing. (ur guess is as good as mine)

Broaden your search by using fewer words
(Can't really get any fewer than that)

Try asking a question on Yahoo! Answers (oh yeah.. that'll help!) :)


            Imagine not being able to get baby dolls out of  

                   /0.l; l'o9[898989898989[0[] '/]IUO ']"

                            Shame on them... Just SHAME on them!

 


December 17th, 2009

Yes.. It is true I AM dreaming of a white Christmas... just like the ones I used to know!  However when I sang... "Let it snow, Let it snow.. Let it snow.."  I did NOT mean....

                
                               in my living room!

            Attention:  All mothers of Toddlers!
When your precious little darlings bring you pancake mix and ask you to make them pancakes in the morning... Do not put them off by saying.. "You already had breakfast. Why don't we wait until tomorrow?"  Then PLEASE do not make the mistake of carelessly replacing the pancake mix back in the pantry AT their reaching level!  And BY ALL means.. WHATEVER YOU DO... Do NOT ASSUME that said toddlers are indeed safely watching cartoons and then GO INTO THE BATHROOM for  two measly minutes.. LEAVING THEM ALONE WITH THEIR MISCHIEF!!!  Because they may just decide to...

                 

Make their OWN pancakes using various decorative items around the house and whatever kitchen utensils within their reach.

                         

I just keep saying..."She's my miracle baby.. I'm blessed to have her... I'm blessed to have her!"  Yes folks... God puts a special little spark in those who HE knows will need it for survival. Now that spark doesn't just go away.. oh NO... It only brightens with age!!!!

                     Serenity.. busier than the energiser bunny on jolt!
She may keep me running, and completely exhausted, but I AM truly blessed to have her! For I once prayed for one tiny movement now I pray for one quiet (or CLEAN) moment! :)  God is so GOOD!

FYI:  We did make the best out of the situation.  After all... the room definitely couldn't possibly get any MESSIER.  So AFTER their punishment and WHILE they were helping me clean up....we had a pancake mix fight!  LOL  a fun memory that will last me a lifetime!  :0


December 21st, 2009

Peace in a Manager...
 By: Dana Burk

Peace in a manager… World be still

Before this child every knee shall kneel

 

Peace in sandals… a journey long

Hope for the lost... their prayerful song

 

Peace on earth…yet peace not sought

Eyes of fire... a sword was brought

 

Peace in His words… Peace in a book

All was given… yet some not took

 

Peace on a cross… a Savior dies

Conquered sin… satan sighs

 

Peace in heaven… peace on earth

Life through death… peace from birth

 

Peace in a heart… God’s holy breath

Peace eternal… new life… no death



December 24th, 2009
Christmas eve is here!  The kids are so excited!  Ice and snow are on the way and we all snuggled together.  Tom started a fire and we settled in to watch "G-Force"... too cute!!!  Then the kids and I had a blast making lots of Christmas candies and cookies...

              
   My Kitchen was completely destroyed afterward, but it was well worth it! They had SO much fun creating their own personal masterpieces, especially Serenity...
                        
   Can you tell how much fun she had?  She's an absolute mess! :)

The kids worked really hard and I just mainly supervised.  During the process I overheard them talking.  One child would say.. "I'm gonna give this one to Nanny."  Another would say.."Well.. I'm giving THIS one to Papa."  This gave me a great idea!  I started to put the cookies and candies into rubbermaid containers to compile several cute little gift boxes.

                   
 Then I sat down and wrote this little poem..

A Special Christmas Treat…

 

Through pennies, nickels and dimes we sort

But unfortunately this Christmas we’re still a bit short

So this year, instead of a gift we’re giving you a special treat

Inside this box is something yummy to satisfy a tooth that’s sweet

Now they’re not store bought or professionally made

But even with imperfections, they’re still top grade

For the cookies and candies you’re about to behold

Are simply quite priceless and could never be sold

They contain the finest chocolate, butterscotch, and mint

But the one that makes them so special is Heavenly sent

You see… even the finest ingredients could never be enough

So as a special gift this season, ten tiny hands added some LOVE!

 

Merry Christmas!

We Love You!

 

Created Just For You By:

Noah, Kayleigh, Gracee, Elijah and Serenity


I topped each rubbermaid lid with a bow and a copy of the poem. I figured since money was a little tight this year, it would make great little gifts for family members.  I was right!  Everyone really enjoyed them! Just more proof that you can never go wrong with homemade presents that contain lots of LOVE!




December 25th, 2009

                                  Merry Christmas!!!




December 28th, 2009

"Frosty the Snowman... was a jolly happy soul with a corn cob pipe and a button carrot nose and two eyes made out of coal..."
  
       
   We took advantage of our wonderful white Christmas today.  It was finally warm enough for the kids to safely go outside and play.  They had a blast.. making snow angels and throwing snowballs!  Then they built the very handsome snowman above. 

                         Eli and the girls just LOVE the snow...
                                           well...uh...
                             maybe just a little too much! :)

    

Noah on the other hand, wasn't about to give some lovin' to a SNOWMAN!  Are you kidding? He's much too cool for that! :)
   

To those who may have noticed... We are one miracle baby short in these photos.  You see... Tommy is on a two week paid Christmas vacation and Serenity is LOVING having her Daddy home.  She has been glued to him!!  She wants to go everywhere her Daddy goes.  Well...today he made a trip to a local mission to deliver some clothes and toys we donated and of course Serenity just had to tag along.  She was a bit upset when she found out she missed all the fun.  She has already declared that NEXT snowman she gets to call all the shots... Serenity boss?  Hmm... Imagine that!  :)

 


December 29, 2009
    Another birthday... Another reason to feel blessed!
           Tom and I went out for some much needed time alone!

         
      
Even though we got caught in a snow storm, (he's so funny!) 

                 
                                                  We had a really nice time!
                                                                   because....
                                               I may be a year older... but.....

       
                              I still GOT IT!  ( I told you he was funny!)

                                 Like I said... Another birthday... 

              
                                
Another reason to feel BLESSED!
                                                                            And

                 
                                              I AM BLESSED!!!!!!!



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