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


October 4th, 2009


Everybody falls sometimes! We are promised trials in this life but Praise God that through our Faith in Him we have the power to overcome ALL things of this world. (1 John 5:4). No matter what comes our way, no matter what our physical eyes may see... Faith will reveal the true picture of a LOVING, ALL POWERFUL GOD!

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1


Hebrews the 11th chapter reminds us what Faith, not only can... but WILL do... verse 7... "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." verses 8-12... "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore." verses 17-22... "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones." verses 23-29.... "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.  By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, invisible.By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them." verse 30... "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days."

The list of what Faith WILL accomplish goes on and on.  The possibilities are endless, for as Matthew 17:20 tells us.. "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!"  But in order to receive the benefits of God's possibilities we MUST have Faith.  For Hebrews 11:6 also tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  But... Oh how wonderful life becomes when our Father is well pleased. :)

I have experienced the power of faith in my life, many times over. I have seen miracles happen...Not only with Serenity's healing, but in my marriage, my family and even my daily walk with Christ.  The power of faith in God's promises has forever changed my life. Once you experience the supernatural power of God's Glory, it's hard to contain what you know inside.  You want to shout from the mountaintops.. Declaring what God can and WILL accomplish in the lives of those whom choose to place their trust in Him.  Because...

WHEN THE WORLD TELLS YOU THAT YOU CAN'T... FAITH WILL TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN!

Even when the sky appears to be falling around you.  We all have the power to stand in Faith and DECLARE VICTORY! God empowers us to withstand any trial, conquer any enemy, weather any storm, withstand any fire.  He has promised to turn everything around for the GOOD of those who love Him! (Romans 8;28)

                   EVEN WHEN YOU FALL SOMETIMES... 
           YOU WILL HAVE THE STRENGTH TO RISE! 

                                            AND
              THAT'S WHAT FAITH WILL DO!

You can watch a video of Serenity's journey with this song on youtube at
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lhZoEG6nAA





October 5th, 2009
       "N
ow therefore, our God, we thank you,
             and praise your glorious name."

                                       1 Chronicles 29:13
                    
Serenity had her annual check-up with her Cardiologist today. She did very well. She sat very still through the Echocardiogram, EKG, and examination. Of course she was bribed with lots of stickers, suckers and toys. :) 
After the doctor looked over her results, he said she looked AWESOME!  As he flipped through her chart, we started to get a little emotional.  He could hardly believe the difference in today's echo report and the one she had 3 years ago. "It's like the difference in night and day."  (I say.. it's more like the difference in the darkness of this world and the light of God's Word!)  He said the mitral valve that everyone thought was going to give her so much trouble... looked GREAT!  "It looks near normal today!"  PRAISE GOD!  He said the bicuspid aortic valve is still working GREAT! The coarc repair looked AMAZING!  He said overall she looks AWESOME!  I just HAD to throw in.. "Well... that's because we serve an AWESOME God!"  He nodded with a smile and told Reni to say, "Praise the Lord!"   She happily obliged.  Then he spoiled her rotten with LOTS of stickers... as he ALWAYS does!  As we were leaving  the room, Serenity blurted out  "Mom... that MAN  is AWESOME!"  Well...Once her doctor heard that... he just HAD to take her into the storage room so she could salvage through a HUGE box for even MORE stickers.  I could hear them from the hall... "Here take some of these.  They're really cool. You scratch them and they smell really good."  "Um... I liked berries"  "Take several of them. Do you like princesses?  How about Tinkerbell?"  By the time she left she had stickers stuck EVERYWHERE and way more than we could carry!  Yep... that's what happens when you're a miracle baby....
     
                       

                                    
You're spoiled ROTTEN!





October 6th, 2009

Serenity got mad at her brother today and decided she was moving out!  She found a suitcase, dragged it into the kitchen (beating it beyond all recognition in the process) and started to pack her necessities.  So what does a almost 3 year old pack when she's running away? 

                         Only the essentials!  You know....
                  
        An entire package of macaroni n cheese (minus the cheese),
   one pair of Dora the Explorer panties and a pair of warm mittens! :)


October 8th, 2009
Once Serenity discovered Mommy wasn't going to move out with her, she decided she wanted to stay.  But... that did not stop her from packing!  Nope... the packing continued!  This time in her sister's Dora the Explorer lunch box. 
                               
                          "Mommy, I eat with Dora and Boots?" 
                                         "Umm... well...." 
   "Let's just see what you have in here first.  Then we'll talk about it."

                      

               I have to admit.  It definitely could have been worse!
        After all... Fig newtons aren't cookies... they're fruit and cake!



October 10th, 2009
 The family spent the day with Tommy's Grand-dad Marvin. He lives a couple of thousand miles away and we don't get to see him very often.  So we all thoroughly enjoyed our visit. 
                    
                     Serenity loves her "Grandpa Martian" lol


October 11th, 2009

                       Okay....so we might be a little silly! So what?
                        
                          A girl's gotta do... what a girl's gotta do!


October 13th, 2009

                    Set Apart and Pushed Aside

For the past few months, I have noticed an increasing division between the worldly and God's devoted children.   I feel as if I'm being set apart... as well as pushed aside.  God is blessing my family tremendously.  I feel protected and sheltered within His wings but at the same time I feel rejected by those I've loved and been loved by my entire life. 

There is a joy and a forever glow surrounding me, yet there are those who suddenly shun me.  At first I was quick to blame myself.  I evaluated my behavior.  Did I say or do something?  Could I do more or less?  Then I began to set back and notice the actions of others.  I can plainly see other Christians going through the same rejection.  I've witnessed those with a heart full of God's love being treated like dirt... for NO apparent reason.  I have seen luke warm Christians pick apart the lives of those who are clearly on fire for God.  I've heard blanant lies being told without even an ounce of justifiable cause. 

On a more positive note, I can also see the difference in God's blessings.  I see faithful Christians being blessed in the midst of a recession.   I see a protection against viruses in the midst of a declared epidemic. It is as if there is an invisible shield surrounding the faithful.  God is definitely taking care of those who remain loyal to trust Him!

Lately I feel as if I'm living Psalms 91  "A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you."... "No evil shall befall you,Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you,To keep you in all your ways."

Yet...I also feel as if I'm living out John 15:19-21
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

God is setting apart His Children, because He wants everyone to see His glory.  He's crying out to a lost and dying world... Come to me and I will shelter you!  I AM your Hope!  I AM your salvation!  Just as a parent tries to reward the obedient and use tough love to shake the rebellious. Our  Heavenly Father is trying to make a point.  He wants the world to see the harsh reality of serving the world vs the benefits of serving an awesome savior. 

Now there has always been a line drawn between the world and God's kingdom. God has always blessed His people and Christians have always been persecuted.  But the fact that there is a sudden increase in this division, the fact that it is suddenly magnified,  tells me one thing.... OUR TIME IS ALMOST UP!

There is some major spiritual warfare going on!
Just as Ephesians 6:12 says...
 "For we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age..."

We are in the middle of a spiritual battle.... a spiritual awakening. The tides have suddenly shifted because God is fed up with our rebellion, He is fed up with luke warm Christians. He's fed up with our wishy washy behavior.  He's declaring.... You will either get in or be left behind.  God is raising up His faithful followers and He is preparing them for a mighty outpouring of His glory.  He is preparing them for one last and final revival.  This is His desperate call for the world He loves! 

The enemy is also fighting!  He knows what is coming.  He is fighting God's people with everything he has.  He is desperately trying to discredit God's chosen. He wants to destroy God's faithful, but he can't penetrate God's shield of protection without our allowance.  So he's coming in through the backdoor... using everyone who will allow him access.  He's pulling families apart. His destroying life long relationships.  He's bring in strife Because James 3:16 tells us... "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and EVERY  evil work." As long as there is strife...  he is able to hit God's people with EVERY evil devise he has.  As long as there is confusion he can plant his seeds of doubt.... as long as there is doubt.... there is NO faith... Without faith there is NO spiritual blessings. 

We MUST stay prayed up.  We MUST stay within God's presence.  We MUST remain with a pure heart, sensitive to God's touch.  WE MUST NOT ALLOW THE ENEMY TO STEAL GOD'S BLESSINGS!  We must stand firm, declaring the truth, even though.... NO... ESPECIALLY WHEN we are persecuted

There is a spiritual battle going on and the end is drawing nigh.  Now we all know how this book ends!  We all know who wins the war of good and evil!!  So It's time to decide...
Whose side will you be fighting on? 
Will you shout Victory OR cry in agony? 
Will you be set apart & pushed aside OR lost in the shuffle?

The choice belongs to us... I pray for God's mercy and grace!




October 14th, 2009
                               Serenity Strikes Again
Okay... So as I was putting the dishes away this morning, I opened a drawer to discover that ALL our silverware had mysteriously disappeared.  Yep... not one fork, spoon or butter knife.  They were all gone! We had been ROBBED!  Robbed by a very cute and lovable little cat burglar! Now...I know what you're thinking...  Oh NO... how will they eat?  Those poor people will have to either use their fingers or starve!  Well, don't worry about us because the thief who ran off with them was...thankfully... kind enough to leave a suitable replacement.

                      
   (That's the little culprit's hand now... trying to swipe our stash again!)


Hmm... T
his should make for a interesting meal... Don't ya think?  But I guess if Asia can use Chop Sticks... the Burk family can use Q-tips!  :)


 

October 15th, 2009
                              Story Time With Serenity
Serenity sat in the kitchen watching me cook and suddenly decided it was story time. 

"Onced upon dat time, there was a little girl named My Mommy! Her had a little baby girl named Reni Rosed.  Her was putted in da hospital cause her had a broked heart... BUT den Jesus fixed it... YAY Jesus!  Tank you Jesus, Praise da Lord!  Jesus loves us!
"Jesus love me... Jesus love me... this I owe." 
See He is
(flexes muscles) STRONG!  But Jesus died on dat cross (turns up bottom lip and looks down)  They put a sharp knife (or nail) in his hand and made the blood comed out.  He died cause he loves us...
"Jesus love me.. Jesus love me.. this I owe. Cause this song tells me so" 
(Her little mind starts to wander) Umm...Sometimes the rain wakes me up at night.
  It rains REAL hard and the sky goes BOOM! And Daddy snores REAL hard like this...( makes snorting noises with her nose)  Den Mommy say.. "Waked UP Daddy Your snoring!"
(Her mind starts to wander again) Jesus died on dat cross and fixed my broked heart.  Umm...My Daddy snores REAL loud.  Den there was umm... umm... ummm... (starts to hold herself and sway left to right) Den...umm.. there was a big... umm...(starts to bounce up and down) I GOTS to goed peed! (takes off running toward the bathroom and yells over her shoulder)  De End!



Isn't it amazing how a toddler's mind works!  :)




October 16th, 2009

Here is just a little reminder that even stars have their bad days.  Take Hannah Montana for instance.   In the spotlight she looks nearly perfect. Skin all glistening with glitter, makeup precisely applied, not one hair outta place.  But... she's not always perfect... no sometimes even Hannah Montana has a bad hair day. Especially after living a year at our house....

                           
Yep... she's not so perfect now.  Makes me feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one who has trouble looking nice in this house... not even a Superstar can take the toll of five young kids! :)

However, Hannah Montana is a bit more upset then usual.  She would like me to make a special announcement on her behalf.  

                 Attention ALL Children's Church Workers!
It is never a GOOD idea to give Serenity bubble gum and even more so... it is always a REALLY BAD idea to give Serenity enough bubble gum to share with the rest of her siblings!

                           

Poor Hannah Montana... She has just been distraught about it for days....

                        

So PLEASE NO bubble gum for Serenity.  You never know whose life might be affected by it!  Thank you for your cooperation! 



October 19th, 2009
  In light of this time of year, I thought I would repost last year's entry concerning my views on Halloween!

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!   You can not ward off evil with evil.  There is only ONE thing Satan is afraid of... and He doesn't ride on a broom or say BOO!

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 only thing that can harm him...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 our 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 disobedient do in secret."  Ephesians 5:11-12



October 22nd, 2009

While we are driving down the road, Eli spots something through the window on Serenity's side of the car.  He wants to share his discovery with his sister.

Eli points toward the window

"Wow... look at that Reni!" 

Serenity continues to stare the other way

"I AM Reni silly!"

"No... Look at THAT... Reni!" 

"I SAID I AM Reni!"

Eli becomes frustrated and points more vigorously

"NO! Just Look at THAT...Reni!" 

"ELI!  I TOAD YOU A HUNDRED TIMES... I AM RENI!  I CAN'T LOOKED AT MYSELF! (rolls her eyes and shakes her head) DUH!" 

October 23rd, 2009

Serenity is ALWAYS the life of the party!  I wish I could find the words to describe her personality, but in order to really do her justice, you just have to know her.  She constantly keeps everyone laughing.  It doesn't matter how sad you feel, if Serenity's in the room, you're bound to smile at least once.  Just take today for instance.  We're standing in the kitchen, minding our own business, and out of the blue, Serenity decides to pull her pajama top over her head and dance a little jig!

                               

                            Not really sure what brought this on....

                

                                          But by this time....

             Everyone including myself is laughing so hard we're crying!

                    
                             Then just as quickly as she started...
          She ends the whole thing with what seems to be a little a prayer!
 
                        

               Don't ask why... I have NO idea!  That's just Serenity...
            She's one of a kind....  full of life, love, attitude... and faith!



October 24th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, Serenity decided she wanted to go to Wal-Mart to buy a baby sister.  After a long discussion about WHY Mommy and Daddy can't buy a REAL baby sister at Wal-Mart.  She decided she would settle for a PRETEND baby sister.  She named her new doll... Sister Flower.  About a week later, she grew tired of the new sister and decided she wanted a baby brother instead.  So she sweet talked her Nanny (my mother) into taking her to buy another one.  After spending what seemed like FOREVER in the toy aisle picking out the perfect baby doll,  Serenity decided at the very last minute, she wanted a different toy instead.  So Nanny put the doll back on the shelve and proceeded to the check out counter.  All the way home, Serenity was so excited about her new toy that she completely forgot about getting a baby brother.  After they arrived at Nanny's house, the "new" suddenly wore off Serenity's toy and she asked..." Nanny...Where's my baby brother?" Nanny looked confused..."Remember? You decided you didn't want a baby brother. We put him back and you got this instead."  Serenity started to cry... "You gave him away?  I knew it!  You NEVER DID want me to have a baby brother!"   Well... Nanny felt absolutely horrible.  So of course (being the Grandma who gets to spoil her Grandchildren) she just HAD to go back and buy her the baby doll... to whom Serenity named  Brother Bubble. So now Serenity has two baby dolls that she ABSOLULTELY LOVES... Sister Flower and Brother Bubble.  She plays with them all the time, takes them EVERYWHERE, changes their diapers, feeds them, bathes them, and recently decided to give one of them an extreme makeover...
                                     
                 "Mommy, I make Brother Bubble Pretty!"
        
                 
                                "Oh My!  Uh huh!"
 "But honey just one little problem... boy babies don't really like lip stick!"
     "And just for future reference a little makeup goes a LONG way!"



October 25th, 2009

                           My little man turned 4 years old! 
             
      He celebrated with a VERY small Handy Manny party theme...
                                     
                   
                     (actually more like just cake and supplies)

             My little boy is getting so big and acting so mature....
 
            
                       Well Okay.... Maybe not TOO mature!  :)

                              Happy 4th Birthday little Man....
            
                 WE LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH!



October 27th, 2009

                              Somebody swiped my camera!
                        Can you guess who took THIS picture?

         



October 31st, 2009

   






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