Thursday, December 16, 2010

That special night....

As I sit here reflecting on the past few weeks, I am overcome with emotions! Most of you know that Night in Bethlehem 2010 is over now. After months and months of planning, weeks and weeks of preparing, countless nights spent at the church over the last month, we now can place this years production in the history books of Wilton Baptist Church.

This was our fourth year of telling the wonderful story of the birth of Jesus Christ and in my opinion -our best year yet! The weather was perfect - cold and clear! The cast consisted of God fearing Jesus loving Christians dedicated to following the commands of Go and Tell. The behind the scenes workers were so faithful to the project despite health issues and inconveniences. As the director, I could not ask for more....I love my WBC family!

Each year, I try to see something different in the production so that I walk away more in love with the story than every before. This year was no exception. As I walked through each night, I began to compare the Bethlehem villagers to our modern day folks.

Here are a few of my observations:

1. Bethlehem villagers were hard workers - our nation was built on hard work.

2. Bethlehem villagers worried about paying taxes - don't we do that too?

3. Bethlehem villagers had personal problems - I certainly have my share of those

4. Bethlehem villagers smile and laugh - we do that - thanks to joy in our hearts

5. Bethlehem villagers wanted a savior - so do we.

I guess what I am trying to say is that they were no different from us in ordinary life. Sure we have more conveniences that they did - but they got to live during the time that our precious Jesus was born. Given the choice - which would you choose? Today or then?

I know that I would choose to live then if given the choice. Just the mere re-enactment of that walk to the stable to find Baby Jesus this year brought tears to my eyes. I saw a mother so in love with her child that she glowed! I saw an earthly father protectively strong yet gentle! I saw an a beautiful baby loved by so many! Happy, healthy, loved, precious to all. At that very moment - I knew if I could feel this way about a re-enactment how much more would I feel if I was really there!

Night in Bethlehem 2010 is over but I am so in love with the story that I cant stop telling it! Jesus born in manager on that precious night in Bethlehem - the world would never be the same again! He is indeed the savior of this world. Praise the Lord that the word became flesh and walked among us! Thank you Lord for letting us tell the story again and again!

Friday, November 12, 2010

When the strong cant be strong anymore....

Guess you could say that I am having a day, a week, a month, a year....WOW - the problems of this world have really been coming at me in 2010.....makes we wonder when it will end/why me/how did all of this happen? Questions, Questions - so full of questions and so ready for some good days again.

Now don't get me wrong - I am blessed beyond measure so much more than I deserve. But I was not promised an easy time on this earth and lately I am experiencing quite a bit of it~However, let me thank you Lord for all the blessings you have sent my way and the trials too for they will make me stronger. I humbly approach your throne with thanksgiving!

It is well known that I am the strong/responsible one of my family - the one that must keep it all together....the one that makes sure the bills are paid, the bellies are full, the problem solver - you get the picture. But what happens when I cant be strong anymore? What happens when I hurt? What happens when I cant think clearly? Who or where do I turn for help? When I cant talk to those who are closest to me - where do I go?

The answer is simple - I go to the Lord.....Oh how I have poured my heart out to him in the past few hours, days, weeks, months! I wish that I could say that I have audibly heard his voice but I have not. I do know, though, that he hears my every every cries and my pain! He NEVER tires of listening to me! He always has time for me! Nothing I tell him goes any further - He does not lie to me!

So on the days when I feel like I just cant do anymore, on the days when my world is crashing down - I spend a little more time praying for me than normal. What a privilege it is to be able to confide in, talk to, love someone who will not hurt me! I find myself digging desperately into his word and apologizing for letting my outside busyness keep me from it as diligently as I use to.

Precious Lord, hear my prayer today - help me to live with the confidence that you want! Help me to live your way - not mine! Heal my heart and hold my hand! Thank you for loving me and listening to me! Thank you for the promise that I will live with you in glory and all will be good!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



Well it has been a couple of months since I have put any of my thoughts in print....The renovations at our house are complete - this nightmare is finally coming to an end - Praise the Lord!!! We have grown stronger during this stressful time and we have been reminded daily not to take anything for granted. Life is short - love unconditionally - laugh daily - cry when necessary - know Jesus (if you don't - let me share him with you) - LIVE!

Have to share this story - it may bore you but it needs to be written so it can be remembered. In August 2010, we were a bulldog family consisting Arthur, Annabelle, and Lil Ben. A happy house full of unconditional love and slobbery kisses, belly rubs and zoomies! We were happy - no doubt about this!

Tragic circumstances took our precious Arthur from us on August 21 and we went from three to two bulldogs in a flash. With broken hearts and disbelief, we wandered around in a daze for a few weeks....always trusting in the Lord and knowing that He has a plan but very aware of the void in our day to day routine that hurt so bad. We still had Lil Ben and Annabelle, who were lost without Arthur, but the house was too silent and the spirit was not the same.

Darryl's birthday was coming up in September. I contacted the breeder that all of our bulldogs had come from just to see if she had anything that might help. It turned out that she had a puppy born June 28th that was the full brother to Lil Ben....this would be the last time that she would use the same male and female - In other words, we had the chance to get Lil Ben's full brother - she only had the one puppy left....This was the answer - Levi would come to live with us....then we would have three again....the plan was to wait until the repairs was finished at the house and to give him to Darryl for his birthday! It was to be a secret.... Excitement began to fill me and I began to smile again....This had to be what the Lord had planned for was too perfect...God knew what we needed and I thanked Him for it...

Now here is where the story gets a little crazy and I become convinced that the Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. While waiting on the repair work to be done at the house and keeping the secret from Darryl about Levi, the Alabama English Bulldog Rescue needed volunteers for foster dogs - they were overrun with dogs needing a place to stay until there forever home could be found. We have been supporters of this organization as long as they have been in business but have not ever volunteered to foster a dog because we had three of our own. The picture was posted and my heart jumped....Samson - a six year old from Kentucky that had only had one owner his life was coming to rescue in Alabama. He was a beautiful dog - I don't know what drew me to him but I knew that I had to see him and love him - I could only imagine the pain of losing your home - the only home you had ever known - for circumstances that you had no control over.

So the dilemma - Levi the puppy was supposed to be coming to live with us and now Samson - the rescue - needed me as much as I needed him.....I can only imagine the Lord laughing at me as I pondered the situation over and over as to what to do....

Long story short - Samson came to live with us on Labor day 2010 - He is now a permanent member of our household - we love him and we are devoted to him!

Levi is coming this weekend to live with us also - we are excited and love him already too!

So the Burns household went from 3 to 2 to FOUR - and I believe that the Lord has shown us that we have enough love for them all and I believe that he got a really good laugh out of it too....Love cannot be contained to just one precious dog that taken too soon - Samson and all of his medical issues (story for another day) needed US and we needed him. Levi will make give Darryl countless hours of puppy love. We needed him too. Lil Ben, Annabelle, Samson and Levi Burns will know that they are loved - just like Arthur did.

So the Burns household is bullyfull again.....Praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A sign....

Several times this week I have asked the Lord for a sign. As I have cried and prayed and cried and prayed, I asked Him to show me a sign that Arthur was ok and that we would be ok too. On Friday August 27, the memorial company emailed me the picture of the urn. Needless to say, I was very emotional at the finality of precious Arthur was gone and I was a mess.

On my knees again, I prayed that the Lord would send me a sign that Arthur was fine and that this hurt would heal.... I said Lord send me a rainbow! I explained in my prayer that a new found friend of mine, Suzette, who I met through mutual bulldog grief, had sent me a book called Bill at Rainbow Bridge and it had helped me imagine good things to come. It was a book about a bulldog named Bill who had passed away and his owner was searching for answers and trying to figure out how to get on with his life despite the overwhelming sense of despair and anguish. It is a really good read for anyone who has lost a pet.

Anyway back to my story... As I cried and prayed to the Lord - I repeatedly asked for a sign - a rainbow to let me know that all was well... to help me be able to say "It is well with my soul"

I finished up my prayers and went back to was Friday and Friday night lights began today - Coach Darryl and the Dallas County Hornets would be playing their first game of the season in a few hours.....I was supposed to be traveling to the game with a van full of my close friends and I was in no mood to go. I would have made an excuse and stayed home except for the fact that it would not be the right thing to do.... SO I forced myself to pack a bag of goodies, put on the best face that I could right now and go. Let me stop for a moment and say that I have some wonderful friends - they love me despite the tears, the bad moods, the temper, through the good and the bad - they are friends for life - they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you Lord for sending them to me!

With a broken heart and some chocolate bars - I climbed into the van and headed to watch the love of my life do what he loves - coach. The night started with a huge downpour of rain but we drove anyway. On the way, the van was full of multiple conversations, laughter, and giggles - I kept my sunglasses on to hide the tears - I did not want to be there....I wanted to be home crying for my Arthur.... All of a sudden, sweet Kelli said - Hey there is a rainbow....I looked out the window and there it was - the sign! The rainbow I had asked the Lord for.....Oh My!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Now you may think that this was just a coincidence or you may think that it was not sent by God.... BUT I believe that the Lord heard my prayer and felt my pain and answered my prayer! I believe that rainbow was sent just for me. I believe that the Lord hears me when I pray and I believe that He feels my pain. I believe that "all things work together for good for them that love the Lord..." I am so very thankful for the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

Coach Burns team won, the van ride home was blast, and I am so thankful for my friends and family!

The rainbow made me cry but My Arthur is OK and, in time, my family will be okay too. We miss you Arthur - you were a blessing to us! RIP sweet boy!

THANK YOU LORD! To God be the Glory - great things you have done!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Arthur - the beginning

With heavy heart that he is gone and we are still here - I feel compelled to put all of this in print so that someday when I cant remember all the details personally - someone will be able to read it to me. So here goes -"Arthur The Beginning"

Dooley Arthur Burns was born September 19, 2004 - he was one of six English bulldog puppies that J&J Bulldogs had for sale. I began to correspond with Ms. Judy, who has become my friend over the years, about purchasing one - after multiple visits to her website - I had picked out the one that I wanted - His name was Chubby. He was cute, fat, and lovable - everything that I wanted in a bulldog and more.

Darryl and I took a Saturday in early November to visit J&J and play with the puppies. All of them were so excited to see us - we meet all their dogs - including the parents of this litter JJ and Patti Labelle - we fell in love right there with the breed - even more so than we thought that we could. Judy let the puppies out of the pin into the viewing area and they all came running toward us except one - he decided to find something to get into - a rug to chew on - he had attitude. As I sat there holding and loving on Chubby - Darryl was fascinated with this little terror that was attacking a rug that was much larger than him....

From that very moment, Dooley (as Judy had named him) became a part of our family. No second glances - no changing his mind - no looking back - Darryl had found his boy. Darryl had found the DOG who would never know that he was a dog.

With eager anticipation, Arthur came to live with us right before Christmas in 2004. Now Ashley had already graduated from high school and was in her freshman year in college. Lex was in his freshman year at MHS. Neither one of them had much time for talking with mom anymore - they were busy. Darryl and I had only been married a couple of years and they did not spend much time with him either. Arthur arrived and everything changed. Suddenly all four of us were together quite often playing, hugging, loving this new four legged creature that would call our house - HOME.

Little did we know at the time what an impact this bulldog would have on our lives. We did not know that he would be the vessel that the Lord would use to mold us into a family. That he would be the tool that would make our house a home.

Thank you Lord for letting us love on him for the few years that he was on this earth. We will be eternally grateful for our time with him. How fitting an end to his life that on the day he died, we all needed to be together again in the same room as a family - Arthur would have loved it!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Change comes....

I am creature of habit - I love my life! I have a routine that I enjoy and have been blessed beyond measure! My day begins in a fog (I am not a morning person) but once up and dressed - life is pretty much predictable for me - work, church activities, dogs, bible study/devotion, a little TV perhaps, bed. It may sound boring to you but it is good for me.

I say all of that to tell you that I do not like change - I want to run from it or hide from it; ignore it or refuse it BUT change comes no matter what! Sometimes it is a good change - like a new puppy or a new adventure. Other times it just plain hurts. This is one of those times.

In less than 24 hours my brother, Jesse, will be boarding a plane leaving the United States for a new life in the Phillippines. This is his choice - no one is making him - not his career or such. He decided to leave the life that he has known here since his birth. He is leaving his children and his grandchild, his mother, his family, his friends, his band for greener pastures - how could that be? Are there greener pastures elsewhere? Will he find what he is looking there? How can a man who has SO much here expect to find more elsewhere?

For weeks now, I have been praying for understanding - I dont have it yet but I will continue to pray. This change consumes my prayer life in so many ways - I pray for his safety, his happiness and his salvation. I pray for his children who feel abandoned now and who will have to face the problems of this life without an earthly father to call to run to their sides. I pray for his grandbaby, Zoey, who will grow up without knowing his touch, his laugh, the twinkle in his eye, the wonderful musician that he is. I pray for my mother who is heartbroken because both of her boys are no longer in arms reach. I pray for me as I know become daughter and son both in the affairs of my mother. I pray for our family as we approach the holidays with yet another one missing - may the Lord hold each and every one of us tightly during these trying times.

I cling to my faith and to the Bible especially the following verses....

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5

A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I may never understand nor be able to imagine why this had to happen BUT

Jesse - I LOVE YOU! I am so glad that God chose to put you in my family!
Peace my brother!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Meeting a mentor...

For the past few years, I have had to desire to learn and study the Bible. The stronger my christian walk has become the more urgent calling has become. Growing up, I loved school with all the trimmings of studying, research papers and reading. All of that kinda got put on a back burner once I became an adult with a marriage, a career and children. Well now the kids are grown(praise the Lord) and the career is stable(praise the Lord) and the marriage is healthy also(Again PRAISE THE LORD)! The desire to be a student again has resurfaced and the chosen course is logically the Bible....A book that I adore and love to read but I long to understand and comprehend more...

Over the past few years, I have been very fortunate to participate in some outstanding bible studies that were written by Beth Moore. A small group of ladies at our church have done several including Fruits of the Spirit, When Godly People do Ungodly Things, Psalms of the Accent and Esther just to name a few. We have travelled to a couple of her seminars/conference and enjoyed her teachings along with some really good fellowship.

On Wednesday, Beth Moore was in town for a book signing and I decided to go. Now if you know much about me - I rarely miss work for anything...anything...but I felt led to do so this time and I indulged myself. I purchased the book and waited in line along with 300 hundred other women (maybe a man or two). It was a wonderful adventure....met some really nice who just turned 80 and was living her dream to the fullest!!!

When the time arrived, we were given instructions as to not hold Beth up - no pictures, no personal talk, etc...the standard bookstore info for authors. But when Beth arrived - she was different. She was a normal just like us.....

Not only did she sign each and every book - she hugged each lady - talked with each lady - listened to each get the picture. She gets is not about fame or fortune for is all about showing Christ to the world one person at a smile, one hug, one laugh, one good hair day, one life to live for our savior!

I had a great time and left the experience with exactly what I needed. Thank you Beth Moore for your service to the Lord! Thank you for being real with everyone! Thank you for not only talking the talk but for walking the walk. Your witness is real!

This is how it is supposed to be....I pray that the world see it through me also. This is my prayer o Lord....that when the world sees me -they really just see you!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thank you Lord for Darryl!

What a tragic week this has been, our community has lost two great men - one to colon cancer and one to a mass heart attack. Both were Christians, both teachers, both high school coaches, both too young to be taken from their families and loved ones.

If you know anything about my life - you can see why this hits home so easily. As I am married to a high school football coach whom I adore with every ounce of my being. He too is a Christian, battles a incurable disease and suffers from chest pain from time to time especially during the season of play. The thought of losing him is unbearable and the pain is insoleable.

What would I do? What will these families do? What will the young people effected do? It my prayer that they would take refuge in Lord - comfort in knowing that these men they love are in heaven - free of all pain -they have stood in the presence of the Lord. They are feasting at a magnificent table and they are home!

For those that remain, the days ahead will be blur for a while - they will need the love, support and shoulders of so many. They will need Jesus! It is in our weakness moments that God carries us if we let him.

I know not when the time will come for Darryl or I to be called home but I do know where we are going and that gives me comfort, hope and joy. I must remember that this is just a temporary home!

So for today - rest in peace Coach Adair and Coach Thompson. And to Coach Burns - I love you more than you will ever know!!!