Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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January 2010



January 1st, 2010

      "...Behold... I make all things new!" Revelations 21:5
"Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters, Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:16,18-19

As I look toward the coming year, an excitement fills my soul.  I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father with so much power and glory!!!
In
Ecclesiastes 3 the word tells us that for everything there is a season.  There is a time to sow and a time to reap.  2009 brought so many hardships...many tests of faith... opportunities to plant spiritual seeds.  2009 was a time of labor.  Many seeds were sown.  I believe 2010 will be a year of HARVEST! I believe all the seeds we labored so hard over will begin to bear fruit in the coming months! I believe that God's children will be set apart from the rest of the world.  I believe His Glory will shine brightly upon those who choose to fully serve and trust Him.  I believe that He will continue to make roads in the wilderness and rivers in the desert! I believe the windows of Heaven are about to burst open and rain blessings down upon God's people... blessings that we can not contain!!!  He is longing to show His Glory and majesty to ALL the world.  He is longing to reveal His Glory in all it's entirety. He wants to shine brightly that ALL eyes my be opened to see and understand His mystery! 

I have seen so many miracles in my lifetime.  So many impossibilities suddenly becoming possible.  I have witnessed God's glory time and time again and yet He never ceases to AMAZE me!! Each time it's like seeing His Hand at work for the very first time.  Today I stand in awe at all His wonder.  I stand in anticipation of seeing more of His Glory in the days to come.  Today I stand completely.... AMAZED!

You're Glory fills the sky!
A Great and Holy Light
Shining like a million stars,
I'm amazed by who you are
Lord we lift you high,
Oh God be magnified
You have overwhelmed my heart,
I'm amazed by who you are

The universe, is at your feet
And angels bow, when you speak
So high above, our greatest song
but still you call
and we will come

How amazed I am

Amazed- Kutless
 



January 3rd, 2010

Remember when I said..."God puts a special fight in those who He knows will need it for survival.  Now that fight doesn't just go away once their well.. Oh No... it gets stronger with age!" 
I've said dozens of times!  Well.. just in case your having a hard time taking my word for it.  I thought I would supply you with some proof!

You see... usually everyone knows better than to mess with Serenity.  From the time she was old enough to bite, hit, pitch or defend herself at all, they've learned the hard way to just leave her alone!  She's a fiesty little booger!

Well...Gracee had a slight relapse in memory and made a HUGE boo boo..
                      
                         

        Yep... She TRIED to play with one of Serenity's toys,
                                              but...
                                    She didn't get far!
                     
                     

Even though Serenity can DEFINITELY hold her own... Eli just had to join in.  He's very quick to defend Serenity, even when she's in the wrong!
That's actually his hand yanking Gracee's hair out! Ouch!

Don't worry Folks! Gracee wasn't hurt.  As a matter of fact she's actually having fun and she ended up getting to play with Reni's toy after all.   Meanwhile...Serenity and Elijah had to spend some much needed time in the naughty chair... a place where Serenity is becoming more and more familar with every day!

It's so hard to believe that this fiesty little toddler once had to fight for her life. Now she's fighting her seven year old sister... AND WINNING!
Even though I don't approve of her behavior some times... It's actually moments like these that remind me just how blessed I really am! :)


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20





January 4th, 2010
          How important are the words we speak?

"Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
  And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
  And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.  But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.
Luke 1:11-20



How important are the words we speak?  Important enough for God to shut the mouth of an unbeliever! God knew the importance of John the Baptist!  John's birth was crucial to His plan for Jesus.  Zacharias' heart was filled with doubt.  God knew that if that doubt were to be voiced, it could stop His plan from unfolding.  Therefore He physically shut Zacharias mouth until the day when Zacharias declared his baby boy... John!

There is POWER in our words!   For we were made in God's image and He spoke the entire universe into existence! We can move mountains just by speaking the name of Jesus!

"For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says."  Mark 11:23


We can have whatever we say when we believe!  And the more you speak something the more you believe it to be true! God has given us the power to have what we say... be it positive or negative! If we continually voice the negative reports, just as the Israelite children, we will have what we say!

"And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,  “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.
Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:"   Numbers 14:26-28


The same goes for those who give voice to God's Holy Word! When we speak God's promises over our lives.  God unleashes a multitude of Angels to come and bring those things about! So...

                      How important are the words we speak? 
                                 Well... that's depends...
       How important is a move of God in your life?






January 6th, 2010

Okay.. so a couple of weeks ago, my mother bought Serenity the cutest little snow boots.  They're knitted, black with white hearts and outlined in fur... TOO CUTE!  Only one problem... Serenity will not leave the house unless she is wearing these RAIN boots...

                             
  
Why does she love them so much?  Well... because they have LADYBUGS on them of course!  She LOVES ladybugs.  I once argued an hour with her at Wal-Mart because she wanted a Tinkerbell doll... not because she likes Tinkerbell... oh no...because there was a PICTURE of a ladybug on the BOX.  I had to convince her that I would go home and print her out a better picture of a cuter ladybug. Yeah... she's nearly obsessed! 

Right after Thanksgiving, I went into a shoe store to buy Tommy some work boots.  It was supposed to be a very quick in and out kind of errand.  Except the stock boy just HAD to put these boots in between the door and Tom's shoe section! Serenity spotted them right away and made up her mind.. she was going home with Ladybug boots.  (I know.. I know... I spoil her rotten) Ladybugs, Ladybugs... doesn't matter what it is... if it has a ladybug on it.. Serenity wants it!  I really don't get it.  I mean she absolutely HATES any other kind of insect, but yet LOVES ladybugs. She will even play with the REAL ones outside.  I was just a little curious as to WHY.  So we ended up having this conversation.

"Serenity.. why do you like ladybugs?"
"BECAUSE... I'm Reni Rose and Reni Rose likes ladybugs... DUH!"
"Okay... I guess that's a good answer, but Reni Rose doesn't like bugs."
"NO! Bugs are nasty and bite chu."
"Ok... but Ladybugs are bugs!"
"NO THEY'RE NOT! PLEASE DON'T YOU NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN! You will hurt my feelings"
"Oh... I'm sorry but that is why they're called LadyBUGS!"
"NO THEY'RE NOT!"
"Oh really?  Well if they're not ladyBUGS than what are they?"
"They're LAAADDY  bugs!"
"Oh...I see... I am so VERY sorry.  I stand corrected!"  lol

So there you have it folks! She loves them because they're not ladyBUGS but they're LAAADDY  bugs!  Makes perfectly good sense to me...:)

Before I go there's just one more thing.  Eli was outside when I took a picture of Serenity's boots and he insisted that I take a picture of his snowboots as well. So just to be fair, here they are.....

            
          And that's when I noticed they were on the WRONG feet! 
                              Oops!  lol  You just gotta LOVE toddlers!




January 8th, 2010

The kids at the Burk house may be tall and skinny, but they KNOW how to eat.  My kids have always had VERY healthy appetites.  They can clean their plates like nobody's business.  Although, Serenity has been known to go through spurts.  She will eat really well for awhile then slack off for a week or so and just pick at her food.  Well, for the last few weeks, her appetite has been healthy and strong.  She's been eating three hearty meals a day plus snacks. So it came as no surprise when I fixed her half a sandwich today for lunch and she ate every last bite, then asked for another half.  I happily made her a second sandwich.  A few minutes later, her plate was clean.  I didn't really think that much about it.  I just said.. "Great job baby girl! I'm so very proud of you for eating like a big girl." and then went on about my business.   
            A little bit later, She was playing on her new tricycle...
              
                
                   And THAT'S when I spotted the evidence!
                  She hadn't really cleaned her plate after all!
                        Nope! She had actually just taken it...


                              

                                                         ...To Go!





January 10th, 2010

                   An Offering of Surrender.

"Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.  "and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and Abraham called the name of the place; The Lord Will Provide;" Genesis 22:1-14

This story of Abraham and Isaac teaches us that God requires a heart of obedience and complete surrender, as well as faith. As you notice when Abraham began his journey with Isaac he told the young men with him "WE will come back to you"  and when Isaac asked his father where the lamb for the burnt offering was, Abraham replied.. "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb"  Abraham had faith that God would supply the offering.  He knew within his heart and believed with all that was in him, that Isaac would return home with him. But He also believed that the consequences of disobedience where far too great than he wanted to pay.   God requires a heart of obedience. 
God requires an offering of surrender. God requires to be number one over ALL things! Abraham knew God would make a way, but he had to be WILLING to lose his son.

This story is an act of obedience, pure faith and trust in our Heavenly Father! Sometimes we don't always understand God's reasoning, but we just have to trust Him fully and be obedient to even bawk like a chicken if He asks. :) For crazy as it may sound, God has a reason and His reason is ALWAYS within our best interest!!

When people ask HOW I know my daughter was healed and not just a pawn of some bad diagnosis, I tell them I know because I can tell them the EXACT moment when she received her healing!
Serenity received her healing the moment I decided to completely surrender and give God full control.  Up until that point I had done everything else that the Lord required, I had a heart of repentance, I gave voice to His word, immovable faith, etc.  Surrender was the last piece of the puzzle. The moment I told God that no matter what happened... even IF he took her from me,  I would still love Him, serve Him and praise Him, that was the moment my daughter received her healing.  I KNEW God promises.  In my heart I had complete confidence in His ability.  Just like Abraham I had Faith God would grant me my child, but just like Abraham I had to TRULY (not just say it, but truly feel it) TRULY be willing to surrender her to God! Once God became first priority again, once I wasn't consumed with my prayer requests, that's the moment I  received God's assurance, because that's the moment Serenity received her healing. The proof came shortly after when the doctors began documenting her improvement.

My favorite part of Abraham and Isaac's story is verse 14.  I LOVE the fact that together they called the place "The Lord Will Provide"  For that is so very true. Just because we surrender something to God doesn't mean we actually LOSE it.  For whatever we are willing to give up... the Lord always provides and we always walk back from the altar better than before! 

We must have pure Faith! We must trust God fully! We must offer a sacrifice of praise in ALL things and we must give... 

                               An Offering of SURRENDER!

"Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations,  I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10




January 12th, 2010

I LOVE my children!!  I enjoy being around each and every one of them.  For they each have completely different personalities and that just amazes me!  I Love them at all ages, but they all have gone through a phase where I have especially enjoyed them.  It's right at the age, when they are really developing their personalities.  The age that they are learning and watching everything we do. Serenity is at that age right now! 

I LOVE the way she giggles.  I love the way she tries to pronounce big words but gets them twisted.  I love the way she pushes buckets, step ladders, chairs, boxes, whatever she can find, around the house just so she can reach things she's NOT supposed to reach.  I even love the way she gives everyone attitude.  She's going to be such a strong independent woman, and that trait shines through, even as a toddler.  I love all these things that make her who she is, but most importantly, I LOVE the spiritual side of her. 

I Love the way, Serenity is always quick to pray... before meals... every time she gets a small boo boo... when she sees someone else hurt. She LOVES to ask Jesus for things!  

I Love the way she jumps at the chance to praise and worship our Lord!   Earlier she was going around singing a little song and making it up as she went... "Alleluia... Alleluia... Tank you for being my God... Alleluia... I Loved my God... tank you oh tank you!"  That  just THRILLS me! 

I love the way she thanks Jesus for everything.  Whenever she gets her way she always says with much enthusiasm ... "Oh Tank You Jesus! Praise da Lord!"  Each time it warms my heart!

I Love the way she takes her authority over all things and declares whatever she wants  "In the name of Jesus"  A couple of nights ago, Serenity was watching me make supper and she said... "Mmm... Mmm...Mom that looks Delicious! I'm going to eat it all gone gone... In the name of Jesus!" 

I Love the way she's learning and growing spiritually!  I Love the way she's becoming the person God has created her to be and most of all...
                I LOVE the fact that she's learning from ME!


                

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

                                      Proverbs 22:6







January 19th, 2010

 Meet the newest addition to our family....
         
His name is Lemar ( I know..  he already had his name when we got him)
A very nice man, to whom my husband just met, blessed us with him.
Today while the older kids were at school, I took the toddlers outside to officially meet Lemar.  They immediately feel in love...

      
    
               I just wish I could say the same for Lemar....

         
           "WHO are YOU and WHY are you touching my leg?

    
                                   
"Oh please...
                              "When I open my eyes... "
                            "PLEASE let them be gone!"
                        "OH PLEASE...
let them be gone!"

           
                              "NOPE!  They're still here!"

                 
                                 "Hey... Wait a minute...
                               Now... this is kind of nice."

                  
                         "Okay... Maybe... JUST MAYBE..."

     
                     "Maybe...They COULD grow on me!"





January 23rd, 2010

Where oh where has my little toddler gone?  Where oh where could she be?  She's not in the closet and the cabinets are clear.  She's not under the bed... but wait... what's this I hear?  Tiny little giggles coming from a hamper of clothes.  Now... Hampers don't giggle as everyone knows. Is it possible... could it be?                
                                         Why yes it is...
                          
                            Two tiny eyes peeking back at me!




January 25th, 2010
Okay.. so last week,  I didn't have the chance to tell you Lemar's full story.  I didn't have much time and I wanted to post those adorable pictures.  So today, I thought I would share a little more about our little beagle.
First... I just want to say that his name is finally growing on me! Even though we didn't get the chance to name him, I really couldn't imagine him being named anything else.  He's just Lemar. :)

Lemar's story is a nice one.  My husband Tom is really into rabbit hunting. Not sure why exactly... he very seldom actually kills a rabbit.  Mainly he just LOVES running the dogs and TRYING to catch them..."Waskley Wabbits!" lol  Men... Go Figure!

Anyway... we use to have three beagles... two puppies (that eventually grew up) and one older female.  The older female was previous hunting champion.  She won her previous owner LOTS of cold hard cash.  We bought her after she retired in the hopes of training the other puppies.  She tried, they never picked it up.  She later died.  Time past... and the other puppies grew up.  They soon became too old to train. This disappointed my rabbit hunting husband.  Last month he decided he wanted ANOTHER dog.  This disappointed the WIFE of my rabbit hunting husband. :)  I definitely did NOT want ANOTHER dog.  It was hard enough keeping up with the ones we had... plus I wasn't willing to part with the money to fund another dog purchase.  So... after MUCH debate, we finally came to a compromise.  We agreed, he would sell the other two and then use that money to buy another puppy.

My husband has a BIG heart, especially when it comes to befriending strangers.  He's soft and I LOVE him for it.  He ended up GIVING both dogs away... which left him without the funds for another one.  Sad.. I know.  Well, Tom is also a VERY outgoing loud mouth! :) He's never actually met a stranger.  He can talk to ANYONE.  He treats each stranger as if he's known them his entire life. He also has a one track mind.  When he sets his mind to something, he accomplishes it one way or another before he can even think about anything else.  He made his mind up... with or without a dog, he was going to get right into the middle of the rabbit hunting world.  So what does a determined loud mouth do?  He just starts calling up places trying to find names and numbers of people who run beagles.  Then he calls these complete strangers and asks them if he can run their dogs with them.  After awhile, he finally comes across this nice man who agrees.

After only a couple of conversations, they become the best of friends.  On their very first run, out of the blue, this man just offers to GIVE us one of his puppies.  Lemar has been out only a few times and is already out hunting some well known rabbit hunting champions.  Tom is ecstatic! 
Now...What does Luke 6:38 say?  Oh yes... NOW I remember...
               "Give, and it shall be given unto you!"   :)





January 29th, 2010
                 
                  My baby boy turned 11 years old today!
             
 
Rule states... Birthday boy gets to plan the days events! He requested I cook chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli and cheese for dinner...then bake a chocolate fudge cake with chocolate pudding in the middle with butter cream frosting.  Of course he insisted on helping decorate it! :) For his final birthday wish (after gifts) he asked his mama to snuggle on the couch and watch his favorite show with him.  With a little boy who's growing up fast, this is just exactly what I needed for HIS birthday! :)     
   
        
                     Those candles are going by fast!!!! :(
                            Happy Birthday Baby Boy!! 
                           We LOVE YOU SO MUCH!





January 31st, 2010
   Today Finally ends the Burk Family Birthday Balooza.  It starts October 25th with Elijah, then continues with all three girls in November, mine in December, Noah's January 29th and FINALLY...  Tommy's birthday is today!  Whew...  I'm telling you... I AM Birthday caked out! 

Fortunately, Tom didn't want that much for his special day.  I mean usually he really takes advantage of the whole "I get to do whatever I want because it's my birthday" deal.  But this year, he mellowed out quite a bit.  I only had to give him.. oh.. about... 6 back rubs! lol  He's quite the character!

He really wasn't TOO bad this year. He watched some football, requested lemon chicken for dinner and German chocolate cake for desert. Mainly he just kept to himself for most of the day. But can you guess the one thing that he did make everyone do with him?
                      If you think really hard, I bet you can....

      
          See...I knew you could do it!  You're right.. beagle run!
           "Now be very very quite cause we're hunting wabbits."
Notice there isn't any "hunting" involved in his rabbit hunting.  He doesn't even carry his gun.  He just likes chasing his beagles while they track cute little bunny tails.  Hmm... Men?!

Go ahead and call him a fool for chasing dogs around in single digit weather, go ahead I dare you,  but the kids and I are NO fools!  Huh uh... he can freeze his little tushy off, while we just sit back, relax and watch...

                  
                            From the warmth of the car!! :)

I enjoyed babying my biggest baby today! Even in the midst of freezing weather, I'm very blessed to share my time with him!

        Happy Birthday Tommy Boy!  I Love you!




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