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

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                             October 2008
October 2, 2008
"For you were bought at a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" 1 Corinthians 6:20
Everything that we are, everything that we have, is because of Jesus Christ.  He paid a very special price for all of us. If not for the blood Jesus shed, I would not be able to rock my little girl to sleep at night. I would not be able to enjoy our days together without the hassle of administrating medication to her on a daily basis.  If not for the blood of Jesus, I would not have the pleasure of being out of breath at this very moment from chasing her around the house.  I would not be able to break the no ball in the house rule, and secretly play tickle-tag football in our living room with both of my babies while my other kids are at school (shh, that's a secret).    If not for the blood of Jesus I would not have hundreds of memories of giggling because of her incredibly witty remarks. (proof that she is intelligent way beyond her toddler years)   I would not be able to stare admiringly at her sound asleep, counting every perfect breath. I would not have my daughter with me at all.  But Most importantly if not for the blood of Jesus, My entire family would not be able to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father in Heaven.  Look around you at all  the blessings that we so easily take for granted. Nothing is by chance! It's all because of the blood of Jesus Christ! 
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
He is always worthy to be praised!
                   Where would we be without God?
 Im a proud cowgirl!Hello?  No, well have to move that appointment! Im too busy
We've come a long way, baby! Honestly, isn't this the way most of us get around, one handed?

And to God be ALL the Glory!  Forever and Ever!
 
                                  Amen!

October 3, 2008
                                 
"Not me"  Strikes again!
                          
I had some fun looking for my camera yesterday.  Just like my dust pan, it some how mysteriously disappeared.  I looked everywhere!  Then finally I opened up my small appliance cabinet and there it was, sitting inside my mixing bowl.  Upon examination  I found several pictures like the ones you see above.  When asked, the children all replied, "It's Not Me, Mom!"  I'll telling ya, I gonna have to do something about this "Not me" character!  He's always causing havoc! :)

October 4th, 2008

       Hi there!
Here's a great big, Howdy from all of us at the State Fair. It's a tradition for my entire family to go together. I have actually been every year of my life!  So I couldn't stop now even if I wanted to.  Just like always, we had a Blast! We ate, rode some rides, ate, played some games, ate, saw some animals, and did I mention we ate? Then later we all went down the street to our favorite after fair restaurant and (yes, you guessed it) ate again!  Here are just a few more pix!

October 7th, 2008
Reni found my contact case today!  Fortunately, I was wearing them at the time.  Since no harm could come from it, I silently stood back and watched her for a moment.  She carefully unscrewed the lid and placed it on the counter. Then she dipped her tiny finger into the leftover solution, opened her eye as wide as it would open, and leaned into the mirror. With a slow and steady hand, she gently poked her fingered into her eye. Then blinked several times.  I was amazed at just how very precise her imitation of me was. I couldn't help but giggle.  The more I thought about this, the more I was reminded of the song we played at Noah's dedication ceremony.  The words made famous by Phillips Craig and Dean say, "Lord I want to be just like you, for He wants to be just like me.  I want to be a Holy example for his innocent eyes to see.  Help me be a Living Bible Lord, my little boy can read.  I want to be just like you cause he wants to be like me."
So often we forget just how much they are watching us.  They hear words we don't even realize we say.  They see things that we don't remember doing.  They are little sponges soaking up every word, deed or action. Their entire focus is centered on becoming just like the people around them.   Serenity had no idea just why she was poking herself in the eye.  She just did it because Mommy does it.  Therefore it must be the right thing to do.  Even when it's something that hurts them, they do it anyway because it's all they know. My prayer is the words of that song.  I want to be the very best Mommy I can be.  In order to do that, I must always be lead by the Word of God.  I want to be a Living Bible that not only my children can read, but every person I come into contact with as well. I want to always bring every thought and word into captivity to the obedience of God. For innocent people are constantly watching and listening, waiting for direction. When I leave this world,  I want to be remembered as a person whose example affected the well being of others. I want to make a difference for the better. I want my life to have meaning.  When my children look at me I pray they don't just see Mom, but rather reflections of Jesus. Looking into my eyes only reveals,the light of Christ burning within my soul. I want my actions to speak LOUDER than my words. When they lay me down to rest, I want people to say, "This was a woman that truly loved the Lord."  But even more than that, I want them to say the same for each and every one of my children!
 
October 8th, 2008
Apparently, when it comes to sibling rivalry, hitting, kicking, biting and pinching aren't enough anymore. Serenity has found a new way to torture her brother:
                       Help! Mom Reni made me stuck again!    
And you thought I was exaggerating about her temperment!!!  HA! 



October 11, 2008
Can you hear those wedding bells ringing?  My oldest nephew was married today.  I use to change his diapers, guys!  Man do I feel old! We are very proud though!  He married a beautiful girl (inside and out) and they had a beautiful ceremony!  On a different note, remember a few days ago when I talked about how kids are like tiny sponges soaking up everything we say and do.  Well I have some pictures to prove this theory!           
But first here is the happy couple enjoying their first dance:                                             The Honeymooners!

Awe! Aren't they just a beautiful pair?  Okay, now remember when I told you that Eli's 4 year old cousin Talynn declares her unfailing love for him on a daily basis.  She's always saying, "Eli, you know what? We're gettin' married!"  It's not, will you marry me but rather, "We ARE getting married!" (She's definitely a woman who knows what she wants!)  As soon as their eyes spot each other, they grasp hands and remain glued. We can't pry them apart. Eli is constantly telling everyone, "Talynn is my best friend!" They are SO close!

          Well, here is their interpretation of the above picture:

    Hey!  This is pretty fun!
Wow! Get down with your bad selves!  They danced like this for most of the evening!  Okay, now get ready for this one!  This is their toddler interpretation of the most well known part of the ceremony!  All of our personal favorites.  Oh yes, you know the one I'm talking about!   The oh so anticipated,  "You may now kiss the Bride!"
                            UM MA!
So yep, it's official! One day, we might need to explain the downfalls of cousins and marriage.  But for now we'll just enjoy these cute memorable moments that we can later use for blackmail! :)   

October 12, 2008
Serenity and Eli met their Great Grandpa for the first time today! The other children have all been blessed with the opportunity to see him in person.  However, because of the great distance between our homes, Reni and Eli have not been so fortunate.  They ALL love him to pieces.  Tommy's Dad and Step-Mom were also there. So the day was extra special.  Here are a few pix of a day with four generations of Burks!

October 14th, 2008
My favorite time of the year is the fall.  I love all the beautiful colors and the feel of change. I love to step outside and smell the brisk cold air. It's the smell of winter coming.  It always fills me with excitement, an anticipation of something great to come.  I laugh at that statement, for I am suddenly reminded of my Dad's comment on the subject.  He actually hates this time of year. He views it as a time for everything withering away and dying, only to be replaced by a bitter cold that he has to work out in.  I can plainly see his point.  For as much as I love the snow, I wouldn't want to work 10 or 12 hours a day wading through it.  However, I've never looked at it in that manner.  I don't see death.  I see change.  Life is full of changes and with every turn of event we must weather a bitter cold.  Just like every trial we endure, the cold winter draws us closer to our loved ones.  We must huddle together to keep warm.  Yes, fall is definitely my favorite time of the year.  It's the time of the year, when I fill the most joy.  Which in itself is very ironic considering, I can link nearly every painful experience in my life to the autumn months.  Two years ago we spent most of the fall in the hospital with Serenity, watching her cling to life.  Seven years ago, Tommy and I,  just barely escaped divorce.  Twenty-three years ago, to this very day of the 14th, was by far the hardest to overcome.  My oldest brother, suddenly had his young life taken from him. At the time, he was my biggest hero.  He was always protecting me from the wrath of my less older brothers. :) Even though there were twelve years difference in our ages, we were very close.  He always made time for me.  He allowed me a tag along whenever I asked. As a matter of fact, he loved to show me off to his friends.  He made me feel so very special.  I found comfort and security just by being around him.  So often I would awaken in the middle of the night scared and would hurry off to his room.  He never became frustrated by my intrusian. He would simply just pull back the covers and invite me to stay. So many nights I slept safely snuggled in his arms.  At the age of only six, it rocked my world when I lost my brother.  Yet despite all of these attempts by Satan to steal my joy, this is still my favorite time of the year!  I realize that we can view these occurances two ways.  I can view them the way I wrote them above or I can say, Two years ago God healed our daughter, Seven years ago God renewed and strengthened the love in my marriage,  Twenty-three years ago my brother was embraced by the arms of our Lord and Savior. Today, he is resting safely snuggled within the arms of the greatest hero.  Satan's main goal is to steal our joy in every aspect of our lives.  For once that joy is gone, he has room to bring even more destruction.  However, when we focus our eyes on Jesus, when we cling to the promises His blood provides, we always have VICTORY!  All satan can do is try.  He can't accomplish anything unless we allow him to.   Autumn is the time of year set aside for God's creations to prepare themselves for the bitter winter to come.  In order to prepare, a change must first take place.  Although change can sometimes be scary, it can also be exciting when we realize that God is always in control.  Whatever cold the winter may bring, the warm sun always returns in the spring.  The flowers and trees that seem to wither in preparation, always bounce back with more life and beauty, stronger than before.  So when I step outside and inhale the scent of the oncoming winter months, I'm overwhelmed with anticipation.
Excitement fills me as I step out and embrace change. 
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to harvest; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to cast away and a time to gather; a time to embrace and a time to pull away; a time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to give away; a time to rend, and time to sew, a time to keep silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace" Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a season for everything. The world is constantly changing and renewing. This is what we call life. So whatever the change may bring in preparation for the future, know that,
"He hath made everything beautiful in HIS time." Ecclesiastes 3:11a

October 16th, 2008
So often we all wonder, "Does my life have a purpose? Am I really important?"  I know that each and every person has asked themselves these questions.  We all want a purpose in life!  We all want to feel like our lives have meaning, a reason to be.  I can assure you that no matter who you are, what you have done, where you came from, God has called you for THIS time. "Listen to me, all of you in far-off lands!  The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb He called me by name. He said to me, You are my servant, Israel, and YOU WILL BRING ME GLORY." Isaiah 49:1,3  The Word of God says that He called you by name before you were ever born.  How awesome is that when you think about it?  He created you for a certain task, a certain destiny.  He has given you everything that you will ever need to accomplish your purpose in life. "For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14  You were knit together! Think about that for a moment!  Have you ever watched someone knit a sweater?  It takes much time, thought and patience. Your innermost being is the very person you are.  Whether you are; quiet, loud, outgoing, or shy, every strength, weakness, or quirk, He has carefully placed each personality trait, every heart felt desire.   God knew exactly what you needed to fullfil your designed purpose.  Before you were ever even conceived, God called you by name and said, "You are my servant, You will bring me Glory."   Although some of us choose not to answer, we all have been called by God.(Matt.22:14)  We all have a purpose to which will ultimately bring Glory to the name of our Heavenly Father. Our steps have already been laid out before us.  When we choose to walk within the path of God's perfect will and plan, we also fullfill our purpose.  Our purpose is bringing Glory to the Father through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We all must strive to become what God has created us to be.  None have acheived their full purpose until the moment that God calls them home. It is a daily struggle and we must all press toward the goal. "I have not reached perfection! But I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, Dear Friends, I am still not all I should be. But I am focusing all my energies on this ONE thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus."Phillippians 3:12-14  With every fiber of my being, I want to become the very image of what God has created me to be!  When I reach the end of my race I want to receive that ultimate prize, "Well Done my Good and Faithful servant."

October 19th, 2008
Eli and Talynn peformed a very cute duet in church today!  Just like everything else, they were quick to share the microphone.  Just for fun, I thought I would throw in a picture.
                                  Jesus Loves Me!
Aren't they just little dolls?  Okay, now that we've had our cute fix.  It's time to get down to offical crime solving business.  Funny thing happened to me today!  Although this time, I found my camera in the exact same place to which I left it, I suddenly got the feeling that someone might have been tampering with it AGAIN!!  While reviewing my files, I found some more interesting pictures! These pictures were taken very recently, by someone other than myself and unlike the last pix, I think these are just a little more incriminating!  I need your help in solving this case!  Can you help me figure out just who these myterious people are?  
           

           Is THIS the button I push?   Yep, thats the one!  CHEESE!
 Yep, thought so!  I think this case is finally solved!  "Not me" or AKA onery Reni and Eli  are offically BUSTED!!  Stamp SOLVED on the cover and BOOK EM'!
(At least we'll have a nice mug shot for their file!) :)

October 22, 2008
The Bible tells us to shun the very appearance of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)  During the month of October this can be a little difficult,  for everywhere you turn evil is staring you right in the face. I know that many believe scary witches and goblins are just harmless fun.  They choose not to take the idle practices of witchcraft seriously.  Take heed, for you may not be serious, but Satan is VERY serious.  He comes as a wolf in sheep's clothing.  He wants you to believe there is no harm in it.  For this willingly opens a door for him to work in your life.  Just because you may not believe in Evil spirits, doesn't make them not real.  They are VERY real and just as angels have been assigned to protect us, demons have been assigned to destory us.  Just as annointed items welcome the spirit of God,  things associated with evil invite Satan into our lives. Evil spirits attach themselves to evil things. The pretend witches, ghosts and scary pumpkins you so playfully place outside your home to ward off evil spirits,  actually invite them into your homes. Yes, that's what I said, INVITE!  When the enemy sees your spook house, he knows that he doesn't have anything to fear, for you have chosen to block out the presence of God. When the enemy passes by my house, I want it to be VERY clear, to whom I serve! I want my home to shout, "Back off Satan or your gonna get a whole lotta hurtin' if you enter these doors!" As a matter of fact, when we are consumed with only Godly practices, Satan can NOT enter ours homes.  He can not pass the blood line or guess what,  he would be a saved devil! LOL   I can promise you, that ain't gonna happen!!  We have to open a door to allow him in.  Just as water rejects oil, good does not mix with evil and evil does not combine with good.  There is no grey area, only black and white! God is our protection, when we take out God and replace Him with so called "harmless" pagan practices, we willfully remove God's protection.  
 As a family we have always made the decison NOT to celebrate halloween in the traditional manner.  My children have never been trick or treating.  We do not hand out candy to trick or treaters. On halloween night, you will find our porch light OFF.  Instead we attend the annual parties sponsered by the church and our children are always blessed with huge sacks of goodies. I DO allow them to play dress-up, just as I would allow it on any other day of the year.  They pretend to be superheros, nursery rhyme characters, princesses, cowboys, etc.  However, they are forbidded to pretend to be anything that even slightly represents evil.  We celebrate October 31st  as the day that the Lord hath made.  We do not lock ourselves in our homes and give Satan credit for controlling that day; For every day belongs to God! I would not give Satan the satisfation of taking a day that God has freely given to us. Instead we choose to gather with fellow Christians.  We pray, worship and have a good time in fellowship. Whatever day it may be, we surround ourselves with the good beautiful things God has given to us and we shun the very presence of evil! Real or fake, you will find no witches, ghosts or goblins in my house!!!  Instead you will find the only thing that can TRULY ward off evil spirits;   
The very presence of God!
"Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.  He that doeth good is of God; but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."  3 John 1:11

"Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good."
Romans 12:9

"And have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful to even mention what the disobediant do in secret."  Ephesians 5:11-12

October 24th, 2008
No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  I have been a busy little Mama the last couple of days.  It seems that Serenity and Eli have caught a little viral bug.  They both have had a pretty high fever!  Serenity first, then she generously passed it on to Eli.  I have spent most of the week warming the recliner with my hiney, snuggling and rockin' babies!  The house is a wreck, but my babies are secure with comfort and feeling better now, so that's what matters. (At least that's what I keep telling myself everytime I step on or over a toy, wade through laundry or surf dirty dishes.)  I felt so bad for Eli last night.  His fever shot up to 102.8. He slept curled up beside me with a cold wet wash cloth on his head all night.  Well, I say slept, but neither one of us really slept.  We were alternating medications every couple of hours, trying to get that fever down.  Anyway, when he woke up this morning, that wet washcloth had done some pretty crazy things with his hair.  His little eyes looked so tired.  The dark circles under them only emphesized his pale puny skin.  My heart just went out to the little guy.  On one hand he looked so pitiful, however on the other hand, his new do was quite comical. I tried so hard not to laugh, but everytime I glanced up at that hair, I just couldn't help but giggle a little. FYI, you might not want to sleep with a wet washcloth on your head or you just might wake up looking like this!  
                                   OH! I dont feel good!
I know the poor little guy looks miserable.  However I praise God that he is feeling better now.  His birthay is tomorrow and he's looking forward to all those presents. Just like any other normal mother, I can not handle my babies being sick. Whether it be a little runny nose or something serious, I want them better and I want it yesterday! So I stand just as firm with common colds and viruses as I do with the life threatening stuff.  It all comes from the same source and we have been delivered from it ALL.  So why put up with it?  With every sniffle I can place my hands on them and declare God's promises of healing.  I praise God for the healing power that saved Serenity's life just as I praise God for the same healing power that lowers an elevated temp and allows us to sleep at night!  Right now as my two babies sleep peacefully, I am tickled pink at the fact that serving our loving Savior sure makes this job called "Mommy" a whole lot easier!  So excuse me while I go and enjoy some of those benefits by catching a few Z's myself.  :)
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."  1 John 4:4

October 25, 2008
 Happy Birthday EliYay!  I love Diego cake!
As you can see, Eli is feeling much better today!  He had a very nice birthday.  One of the church functions just so happen to coincide with his special day.  So we decided to combine the events!  It really was a blessing because he was able to spend his birthday with lots of extra kids.  He even met a few new faces.   Although, he really only played with one.  Do I really have to tell you who that was?  I didn't think so! 
                  Two peas in a pod!
                 Happy 3rd Birthday to Mommy's little Man!
                                     We Love you!




October 29th, 2008

At our church we encourage all the little ones to become involved in the services.  We firmly believe in teaching them how to pray and to praise. So Every service the little children are invited up to the platform to sing a song of their choice.  Most of the time, it just so happens to be "Jesus loves me."  Well, of course Serenity LOVES to be the center of attention! The idea of all those eyes glued on her just makes her day!  So she doesn't waste any time running up there and grabbing the microphone. Sometimes she sings softly and sometimes she just steals the show. I thought that you might like to hear a recording of her lovely singing!  The prominant voice you hear is that of our very own Fiesty little Reni!  (Pause other media player first)
                                                 
Jesus Loves Me!               


October 30th, 2008
                   

                             Playing Dress Up!

 


October 31st, 2008

                 "It's All because of Jesus I'm alive! 
          "It's all because the Blood of Jesus Christ!"
                        
   Praise Him for He is Always worthy to be praised! 
        So Lift your hands in Praise to our Father!
       (even if they are covered in marker from your last coloring session!) :-)



 Continued on November 2008


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