Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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November 2008



November 2, 2008

The month of November is a time of thankfulness.  As Christians we have so very much to be thankful for.  We serve a God who never fails.  A God who is our everything;  He is our Father, our shield of protection, the sword that wins our battles,  He is our Glory and the lifter of our heads.  He is our rock, our fortress.  He is the DELIVERER of ALL EVIL.  Our God is the horn of our salvation, our high tower risen above thine enemies.  He is our refuge, our SAVIOR!  He is our Healer and the author of peace!  It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done,  God is EVERYTHING to those who choose to accept Him.  He has promised to be a Father to the fatherless and a protector to the widow.  Whatever loss this life has brought to you, God will fill that void! He will correct ALL wrong doing to His children.  His presence, His glory surrounds those who call upon His name like a heavy fog.  All you have to do is just breathe Him in! God is everything that is good, Everything that is honest and true! Where would I be without someone to save me, someone to catch me when I fall?  My heart does not dare to answer that question! For Lord, you are everything that I live for. You are my reason for breathing!  With every breath I take, I inhale the life you have given!  Every moment serving you is a miracle and a testimony to your goodness.  At this very moment while I type, I can't believe the miracle that is standing right in front of me.   My eyes do not have to strain upon the obstacles of this world, for I know that every day is filled with hope! My eyes have witnessed the Victory in a loving, Living Savior!  Give Him praise with a thankful heart.  He is always worthy of our praise!  For, "My Savior loves, My Savior lives, My Savior's always there for me.  My God He was, My God He is, My God He's always gonna be."  He was, is and will always be our Everything! What more do you need?  What more do you have to be thankful for?

"And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty" 2 Corinthians 6:18

"How blessed you are , O Israel! Who else is like you, a people saved by the Lord?  He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! Your enemies will bow low before you and you will trample on their backs.

"But thou O Lord, art a shield for me, my glory and the lifter up of mine head." Psalm 3:3

"And he said, The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer;  The God of my rock; in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation; my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; 2 Samuel 22:2-3

"But He was wounded for our trasgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."  Isaiah 53:5

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace," 1 Corinthians 14:33

 

 

November 6th, 2008 
This has been a VERY busy week.  Monday was Kayleigh's 8th Birthday!  I know it's hard to believe!  (pix posted later) Also once again, It's time for Revival at our church!  A couple of nights ago something happened to me that I have never experienced before.  It was absolutely the most incredible thing I have ever felt.  While we we're praying for someone with an injured knee, I had my hand cuffed directly over the knee cap.  Well because of the anointing, my hand suddenly became very hot.(something I had experienced before)  Then just as a piece of metal is pulled toward a magnet, her knee cap jumped into my hand.  It felt just like catching a baseball.  As soon as it hit my hand, the person fell to the ground under the anointing.  When they finally rose to their feet, they left their crutches and returned back to their seat.  Obviously, I have experienced people being healed but never to the extent that I actually witnessed their internal body parts physically moving from the power of God!  It was an absolutely amazing feeling.  Sometimes I think that we tend to forget the power of prayer.  Think about it,  if God can't physically move and replace a knee cap into the right position, what miracles can He bless you with?  I have heard stories of blind eyes being opened, def ears hearing and even toes being regrown.  Yes that's what I said, severed toes regrowing.  Miracles aren't just something that we tell stories about to pass the time.  They do occur every day for those who choose to have mountain moving faith in a God that can not lie!  Now how hard is it to believe someone who is incapable of lying? Unfortuately we make it harder than it really is! We serve an amazing God, a God of Miracles, just ask Serenity!! :)   Speaking of our little miracle, her birthday is tomorrow!  It's been two years since our little journey began!  Stay tuned!  On Monday I should have a few pictures posted!  In the meantime, celebrate this joyous occassion with us by pausing a moment tomorrow to say a prayer of thanks! Join with us as we praise our Loving Heavenly Father!  
          "For He hath done great things and we are filled with joy!" 

November 9th, 2008  

                    It's Party Time!!!
As you will soon find out, we have four birthdays within 31 days at the Burk House!  As a matter of fact our entire family has a birthday within 3 months of each other.  Eli's is October 25th, followed directly by Kayleigh's on November 3rd.  Serenity of course is on November 7th.  Gracee has her special day on November 26th.  Then my birthday is in December, followed by Noah and Tommy's in January! Add Christmas into the mix and you get a rockin' good time!  I know what you are thinking and the answer is NO! We did not plan it this way!  God just likes to bless us in the late fall/early winter months,  or Tommy and I just like to snuggle more around Valentine's Day.  I haven't quite figured that one out! Probably a little bit of both!  :)  Either way, it sure makes for a busy and EXPENSIVE few months! Here a few pix of part of the outcome!

                   Happy 8th Birthday Kayleigh!

Looking back now, It is so hard to believe that we were once told our little miracle might not live but a few months.  Now here it is two years later and she is living and breathing as a perfectly normal and healthy little toddler!  God is SO very good!  Take a gander at just how very good He really is!

                    Happy 2nd Birthday Reni Rose!
                                        (or as her sibling's say "Weinie Roast!")

November 10th, 2008
At the Burk house whenever your birthday rolls around you get to choose what everyone eats for dinner that night and Mom bakes a cake especially for you!  Well Monday night Kayleigh decided she wanted her favorite dessert,  carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  What? You think that's an unusual request for an eight year old?  Well you have to keep in mind that this is the same eight year old that when asked what her favorite food is always replies with, "My mom's steamed broccoli." It may sound crazy but that's just Kayleigh.  It's no wonder that she is by far our healthiest child.  Anyway, Monday afternoon I had just removed the first layer from the oven and placed it on the counter to cool.  Then while the second layer was baking I went to take a quick shower.  A few moments later I returned to the kitchen and found this:
                                                   Wheres the cake?
Being the incredible detective that I am, I followed a trail of crumbs through the kitchen, into the dining room and around a chair which just happened to contain our cute little Eli.
With hands firmly upon my hips, while sternly tapping my foot, I said, "ELI--JAH DONAVIN!"  Innocently he raised his big blue puppy dog eyes and with a full mouth and cake crumb covered chin, he replied "What? Not me Mom!"   Well, I couldn't hardly scold that reaction, I mean I GUESS it is possible that he was completely framed by this "Not ME" Character,  right? I mean I didn't actually See him swiping the cake. I want to be completely objective before I convict our innocent little guy of being a cake snatching bandit. I don't know about you but I needed just a little more evidence!  Well,,,
  

                         Cake Bandit caught in the act. Oh Yum! Frosting!
             Sorry Buddy!  Mommy tried, but you are officially BUSTED!!!!

November 11, 2008
This afternoon, Serenity climbed up into my lap.  She lovingly wrapped her tiny arms around my neck and squeezed as tightly as her little muscles would allow.  Then she pulled back just a little until her eyes were even with mine and earnestly said, "Mom, I'm sorry!" I was a little stunned to hear her tiny little voice speak those words.  My mind was racing thinking about about all the things she could possibly be sorry for.  Immediately I thought, Oh NO I'm in for a BIG mess! However, I replied with,  "Why are you sorry, Sweetheart?" She hesitated just  a moment then looked down toward the ground and softly said, "I pooped, and I stink!" I was desparately trying not to laugh, but at the same time my heart melted.  Having to change another diaper after the millions that have gone before it was nothing compared to the fact that she thought she had to apologize for it!  That very thought just broke my heart.  I assured her that she didn't have to be sorry, we all have to learn and that takes time.  Then after she was changed, I began to think about how genuinely sorry she was for doing something completely  normal and natural.  How many times do we as Christians do the very same thing. We are constantly apologizing for saying or doing the things that come natural to us. There are times when the Holy Spirit within us guides our words or actions.  Then afterward our flesh becomes afraid that we might have offended someone.  So instead of boldly professing the gospel, we shy away and hord it within our hearts.  When it lines up with the word of God, We should never be ashamed of our spiritual instinct! We all pray that the Lord will use us, guide us, or speak through us, so we should allow Him to and NEVER apologize for it!  For just look around, we live in a country where we are Free to say or believe that which we wish.  Yet our country has less boldness than the even the strickest dictatorship.  We are so wrapped up in what other people might think, that we place our faith on a back shelf.  This is the reason we are in the shape we're in today. Our country is quickly falling to the enemy.  I am mortified to see just how many people have truly thrown their moral fiber out the window.  We have causally stood by and watched Satan grip our Nations at the roots. We need to firmly take a stand and say I WILL NOT be ashamed to spread the gospel.  I WILL NOT apologize for the word of God.  As of today, (Thanks to God's mercy and our Veterans) we have the freedom to proclaim God's Word. We have the right to voice our Spiritual instincts.  I have the right to type this for all to see.  However, without God's abundant Grace, I may not be able to say the same for tomorrow.  So seize this moment, take advantage of the freedoms we so easily take for granted.  Listen to your heart and Never apologize for what comes naturally to you!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes." Romans 1:16  
"Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32-33

November 12th, 2008
While casually walking through my kitchen this morning, I just so happened to notice this beautiful artwork on my freshly painted wall.                       
                         
Automatically I knew who to blame! I calmly said, "Serenity!" She was no where to be found, again very calm and collectively I said, "Serenity! Where are you?"  I began walking from room to room calling her name.  Now for those of you who still do not fully understand just how onery our little miracle really is.  Let me elaborate on it a little. Well, actually let me just show you instead. I'll prove just how much time she spends in trouble.  Before I even had to chance to scold her this is where I found her;
            

                           I nose corner Mom! 

"Reni, what are you doing?" I asked.  She answered with, "I nose corner Mom! K! I play now!" Then off she went like nothing ever happened! Yep there's no need to punish our little Reni anymore.  She's learned she can do whatever she wants and then just go punish herself.  :)

November 14th, 2008
 There are two things that Serenity really loves besides Jesus and family!
One, she absolutely loves shoes.  I have shown you several pictures before of her just stopping in mid walking stride to admire her shoes.  Casual, dress, boots or house, she just LOVES shoes!
Two, she absolutely loves Minnie Mouse!  I'm not even sure how this one began. She doesn't watch minnie mouse cartoons often, nor does she really want to.  Yet she knows exactly who she is and at the very sight of a set of pink bowed mouse ears she starts screaming, "Innie Ouse!  Mommy its Innie Ouse!"  Whatever the object is, if it even remotely resembles Minnie Mouse we just have to buy it!  It's a neccessity!  Every night she walks the house complete with M.M. jammies, M.M. blankey,  M.M. her stuffed bedtime pal. and her favorite of all, the outcome of combining her two loves, M.M house shoes!  
       Serenity's shoe fetish meets Serenity's Minnie Mouse Fetish!
                             Wow! Minnie Mouse Shoes!
 
Although I have to say, as much as she loves shoes, I believe she does love Minnie Mouse more!
I love you, Innie Ouse!Reni Mouse loves Minnie Mouse 

Yes a strong love indeed!  So strong in fact that it has become contagious! Eli has somehow caught this madness we call the love bug and has joined the M.M. fan club complete with Mickey Mouse P.J's and house shoes!
                         Come on over to my side, Eli

Are you smitten yet?  I think I might be! I'm suddenly feeling the urge to put a large pink polka dot bow in my hair!   Or okay, maybe not! :)



November 16th, 2008
Over the weekend we decided to take our family on a winter wonderland journey.  We loaded the car and headed off to some great Christmas shows.  Here's a mathmatical equation for you, five children + one small cramped suv with limited space + weekend outing =
Ouch! Get your finger out of my eye! MOM!!!!!Scoot over! NO, you scoot over! Reni says, Stop it guys!
One LARGE chaotic mess!!!!  We definitely need to invest in some more dvd's for road trips, one movie per 3 hour trip just isn't enough anymore. 
Once we arrived the fun only continued when the temperture dropped below 32 degrees!  The kids were so bundled up with layer after layer of clothes that they could hardly move. Fortunately we were able to push past the pain and enjoy the thrill of the Christmas spirit.  We watched Frosty the snowman tell his story through a biblical perspective and the kids were invited up on stage to sing Christmas carols.  Then we were off to see the Living Nativity! We witnessed firsthand the true meaning of Christmas as they recreated the town of Bethlehem and the birth of our Savior.   We definitely made some amazing memories to last a lifetime!

November 17th, 2008

I have received some comments on a particular part of Serenity's story. So I think I may need to elaborate a little on a certain topic. I don't think that it has bothered most, but some are having a hard time getting past the fact that my husband had a vasectomy to see the full picture of God's miraclous healing.  I take our testimony very seriously and everyone's perspective of it is very important to me.  I do not want to offend anyone or take away from the miracle that God has blessed us with.  For this is the very sole purpose of this site, to give Glory to the maker of heaven and earth.  I want God's miracle to be able to bless everyone's heart and strenghthen their faith in a God that Heals.  I will explain our reasoning behind our decison so that hopefully All will be able to look past our decision and see the entire picture.  Truth is we were pressured by many sources because of medical issues concerning me, to have the first surgery.  We were told that women with this certain heart condition very often die during child birth.  I stood firm believing  and trusting God with every child born and He always came through!   Yet with very child the risk only increased, and with every pregnancy the pressure grew stronger. Although God was proving Himself as a mighty God by giving me normal healthy labor and deliveries, those closest to me still  grew very concerned with my well being.  So when they tossed "you need to stay strong to care for your other children, and what would happen to them if something happened to you?" on the table I began to cave. Now you have to understand that my faith was not as strong before our miracle journey as it is now.  We had our doubts but after much counciling on the matter, decided that we needed to make a decision.  To make it clear, we had tried abstaining on certain dates and other natural methods. (I have not taken the pill, but that's another story) Those methods are actually how we ended up with child # 2, 3 and 4.  Finally when faced with medical procedures, my husband stepped up to save me from another hardship.   The night after he had it done,  I cried.  I cried ALL night because I realized that in my heart I still had a huge desire for another child.  I wasn't ready for that part of my life to be over, because it was not within God's plan for that part of my life to be over.  The ironic part is when I found out that I was expecting Serenity, I cried as well, because of the constant stress of caring for so many children under the age of 8.  It was a definite emotional rollercoaster, that I guess you would have to be in our shoes to fully understand.  But regardless,  he had the first surgery and it failed.  The doctors needed to know why the procedure hadn't worked because of other medical issues that could arise later.  So it was repeated and corrected.  I also believe now looking back in hindsight that my husband needed to have it done a second time to prove to the skepticals that yes in deed it was a failed procedure and Serenity's birth in itself is a miracle of God.  I am sure that there are people who have never met me nor  know my character that might have a hard time just taking my word for it.  You see, now the skepticals would have a hard time arguing because our entire journey is competely back by medical fact.  We both joke about the second time being free as a way of making light of the fact that he had to go through the surgery twice.  I guess it a way, it's our way of coping through it.  The point that I so vividly want to make is,  That God IS ALWAYS in control.  He will take even our biggest mistakes and turn them around for HIS Glory.  The fact that my husband had a vasectomy doesn't make our story a sad one, it only makes Serenity's miracle more amazing!   Right or wrong, I would never go back and change the decision we made because it has since become a vital part of our testimony.  Proof that God is and will always be God! He sees our hearts and our mistakes and takes them to turn around for His good, His purpose and His Glory! Today I am at  peace with our complete family.  After Serenity's birth God  removed the desire for more children.  However, if that desire should return, it would be because of His plan and I have no doubt whatsoever that God would bless our family once again.  I pray every day that I don't just say that I trust God. but that  I do in fact trust Him with every fiber of my being.  For this purpose I strive daily, to trust, obey and bring HIM Glory!  I pray this enlighten's all, so that each can press past frivilous issues and unto the greater purpose of Praising an Amazing, Miraclous God!  For He is worthy to be praised! Love to all!

November 20th, 2008
Every day Serenity becomes more and more like a big girl.  Recently, She's learned how to do something she is extremely proud of.  She now washes her own hair. Yay, Reni! Can we get some applause please!?

                    Mommy, I big girl! See!
So what do big girls do after a nice soothing bath.  Why they put on their favorite jammies, grab their favorite friend, recruit their nice clean slightly older brother and his favorite friend, then together they all climb into the rocking chair with Mommy to watch reruns of their favorite TV shows, of course.  After a few moments of snuggling we end up with this,  
                    Sweet dreams!
Ahh! Aren't they precious? Walt Disney himself couldn't have written a happier ending for a perfectly normal evening! Anyway, who needs fairy tales when we're living the life of Heavenly Royalty as children of the King! For that is truly the only way to live "happily ever after!" So Goodnight my little prince and Mommy's little Ahem I mean BIG girl! Sweet Dreams!

November 21st, 2008
Okay, so bright and early this morning I'm talking to Serenity who seems to have had a change of heart while in Slumberland.  First thing I announce, "Well there's my big girl!"  She simply says, "No."  "Oh, you aren't a big girl anymore?" Again she replies with, "No." "Are you a little girl then?" "Nope." "Are you a baby?" "Nope." "Well, okay then what are you exactly?" She smiles a big grin and while holding up two tiny fingers says, "I two!"  Oh I definitely stand corrected!  So I pick her up and begin giving her lots of lovin' kissing her all over her face and neck. Afterward, she stares at me with a disgusted look.  "What's wrong Serenity don't you like Mommy's kisses anymore?" Quickly she answers, "No! They're Nassy!"  "Nasty!? That's breaks Mommy's heart! You better come here and let me give you some more then." So once again I pick her up and begin tickling her and laying big kisses all over her face.  "How's that?" While laughing she says, "Still Nassy."  So once again I tickle and kiss her and once again, "Nassy."  Finally during all the commotion she slightly scratches her foot on the corner of the chair. "Ouch Mommy my foot!"  "Oh let Mommy see, where does it hurt?" Pointing to an invisible mark she says, "Right here!"  Squinting my eyes I say, "Umm, Where?"  "Right here!  See?"  While Lying, "Oh why yes, there it is."  "Kiss it Mommy!" "Kiss it? Are you sure?" "Yes Mommy! Kiss it. It hurts!" So I lean down and kiss her ouchie.  Puzzled I ask, "Reni aren't Mommy's kisses Nasty?"  She jumps down out of my lap and as she runs off to play yells,
"Nope not nassy, all better!"  Can't help but smile a little bit at that! :)  How often are we embarrassed to admit the joy we find in feeling true affection?  It's only until those painful moments that we need it, do we fully understand the healing power of love!
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."   1John 4:8


November 22, 2008
                                
Boredom Relief 101
                                      as taught by
                               Professors Reni and Eli
If you happen to become bored in our home you can always dump out an entire package of Pullup training pants and use them to make your favorite teddy bear a nice soft bed. (Hince blocking the front door)
                   Homemade Teddy Bear Haven
But the fun doesn't stop there! You can also wear the same Pullups as hats while you push each other around on your favorite ride-on toy.  
                         What did we do?  Well, they fit!
If that doesn't relieve the ole boredom itch, then you can always sneak a package of hot cocoa mix, dump it all over a freshly waxed end table and make pretty pictures in the powder. 
                     Bless our Home  -  Mess and all!
Still feeling bored, well why not raid the pantry!  You can drag several cans and other various items into the living room and use them as building blocks. 
                   Forget our block set, thats boring, lets use these!
These are just of few examples of fun things to do inspired by our favorite little toddlers.  However, truth be known, when you live in our house you're NEVER Bored, especially if your name is MOM! :)

November 24th, 2008
Serenity is becoming more and more like a big girl everyday!  But is she ready to start dressing herself?  Hmmm,
                             Mommy, is this right???
We may need to hold off on that particular big girl routine for just a little while longer! Don't you think?


November 26th, 2008
Well, another Burk Birthday has made its appearance.  Today our little Destiny Grace (aka Gracee) turns six.  She is so thrilled with her big day.  She has been counting down the minutes for nearly an entire month now.  All day long she has been putting so much emphasis on every normal task, like  "Mom, I woke up,,,,, on my birthday."  "I have the hiccups,,,, on my birthday."  "Mom, I'm eating lunch,,,,, on my birthday!" "Kayleigh hit me,,,,, and on my birthday MOM!"   Today has been such a special day for her! We really spoiled her today.  Just like the other kids on their birthdays, She also chose what everyone else had for dinner and picked out her own special homemade cake!  Unlike Kayleigh, Gracee's choices weren't quite ahem, should I say Healthy.  Nope she is definitely our junk food junkie!  She instead went for bacon mac n cheese with extra cheese. Then she couldn't decide between extra extra Strawberry cake with whipped cream frosting or double fudge cake with chocolate frosting.  She finally went Strawberry.  However, not just any normal cake would do. She insisted that  Mommy bake it in the shape of a flower and add several cupcakes at the bottom for a stem to make it more realistic. She loved her pretty pink flower cake, but can't wait until she gets to tear into her jungle cake.  She is having a very small party after Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  So I'll post pix of the birthday girl and her "Bindi the Jungle Girl" themed party later. For now I just wanted to say,
   "Happy Sixth Birthday Gracee!"
               "We Love you!" 

Updated:                      
                            A "Wild" Birthday Party!

Jungle Girl CakeHappy Birthday Grace!
Make a wish! High School Musical Singing Doll!  Wishes do come true!



November 27th, 2008
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."  Psalm 100:4
A thankful heart is something that God requires from us. This should really come very easy! For as born again Christians we have so much to be thankful for.  No matter what trials or tribulations this world brings to us, we always have Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Be thankful for the hope that is in His name!
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Corinthians 15:57
Throughout the Bible God commands us to be thankful in all things.
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
He does not command this for His benefit, but rather for our own. God always has our best interest in hand, for He loves us.  Therefore His will is Always best for our mind, body, heart and soul.  So why is it so important to give Him thanks in everything?
"Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."  Romans 1:21
A darkened heart misses out on the most important blessings of God. So remember to give God Glory and Thanks Always, so that your heart may NOT become darkened and you may receive all that God has to offer in this life and the eternity to come.  
Thank you Heavenly Father for All the blessings you bestow!  This is our prayer that we may always offer you praise with a grateful heart! For you are always worthy of our praise! 
                           
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 29th, 2008
This time of the year is so much fun!  Getting into the Holiday Spirit, decorating for Christmas, baking cookies and candies, buying presents, Gathering together for a quick photo shoot! Oh did I just say that last one was fun? And quick?  Well, I guess it COULD be if you don't have five children all under the age of ten in which are completely determined to do ANYTHING BUT take a good picture!  In which case it ends up being way more stressful than fun will allow.  We have discovered that with a family this size, pictures are nearly impossible. Let us show you what we mean.



Journal Continued on December 2008


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