Friday, November 30, 2012

Laughter to stop the tears!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my beautiful daughter Ashley got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Mike!  Yeah for them!!!!  So excited for their future life together and all of the possibilities that it holds! 

Now the fun begins....every mom has dreams for their daughters wedding - every daughter has dreams for their big day...oh the fun, fun, fun!  So why the tears????  Could it be that the precious little girl that I gave birth to 26 years ago is grown now, could it be that she will be gorgeous in that gown as she walks the aisle, could it be that she is opening a door that requires maturity and dedication that she cant begin to imagine until she walks through that door, could it be that Nanny wont be here to see what she always wanted, could it be hormones???  Who knows??

So I have decided to make every effort to stop the tears by LAUGHING....yes Laurel Burns said by LAUGHING.... so if you see me - tell me a joke, if you email me - please make sure to include something funny, if you hug me - smile and laugh with me.

So the plan for the weekend after the dress shopping is done and Lex has moved all of his items from his room National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and LAUGH!  Play with DD (devil dog) aka Georgia Rose and LAUGH!  Tell Coach Burns a joke....haha that is a laugh itself!!!  Spend Sunday with a bunch of youth from church and LAUGH (they always make me laugh at the things they say)....

If you have any other ideas....let me know.....otherwise I may have to buy stock in Kleenex!

To get the laughter started for today.....hope you enjoy this silly silly Christmas song a friend at work has gotten me stuck on!
Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey

La la la's Dominick the donkey!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A pot of soup, a holiday meal and leaf blowing....

Each year at VBS we teach the children to watch for God.  We give them bracelets to wear that say just that.  We ask them everyday what their God sighting was and we get some generic answers sometimes but sometimes we get real ones also!

This Thanksgiving holiday found our household in our usual condition of illness - Coach Burns, while still recovering from knee replacement in early September, somehow contacted the flu virus.  Even though he had a flu shot, this nasty little bug did quite a number on his well being.  By Tuesday of Thanksgiving week it was decided that we would be spending Thanksgiving Day home alone....Now that may not seem like a big deal to you but truly it was to me.  You see I stay so busy working to supplement the loss of income from Coach Burns that I dont have a whole lot of time to visit with family and friends.  Thanksgiving, however, has always been a day of just good food, good fun, visiting and catching up...... except this year homebound with my partner who did not even feel like talking much less celebrating...

Let the pity party not like me but somethimes you just cant help it!  Sometimes you just cant get past the what if or how come or if only...  Thankful - yeah right??  Sure I am thankful for all that the Lord has blessed me with BUT a little part of me was resentful and angry and sad and lonely.....Satan was in my head and look out - Laurel Burns was weak and tired and tired and get thru this four day holiday help would have to come.

So I started to watch for God.....please God show yourself to me somehow...reassure me that you love me and that this is temporary....

The first God sighting came on Tuesday night when a sweet sweet lady friend of mine who offered me an entire crockpot full of soup that she had made.  My friend is a wonderful cook, a blessing to all who know her and the Lord uses her daily to show his love.  I admire her so much that I overflow with emotion to think that she thinks of Coach Burns and I as much as she does!  The crockpot full of chesseburger soup was enough for my office at work on Wednesday and we enjoyed a fellowship dinner together - something that does not happen much in our office.  Thank you God for showing yourself to me through Ms. Myra Stewart!

The second God sighting came on Thanksgiving Day when our pastor and his wife prepared and brought us Thanksgiving Dinner complete with cranberry sauce and all the trimmings!  I had planned on getting take out from Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner but once again God showed his love for us through this family that has blessed us for three years now with their friendship, their love and their prayers!  They go through so much pastoring a church and their compassion and love never ceases to amaze me.  I thank God for them and I am blessed to have them in my life! I believe I saw a Coach Burns smile when he ate his dinner - first one I have seen in a LONG time!  Thank you God for Brother Greg and Amory and for showing me that even on holidays sometimes non blood family is truly family!

The next sightings were brought to me through my longtime friends who there simply are not enough words to describe.  On Black Friday, I normally shop with daughter but she was out of town (getting engaged - imagine that -Wahooooooo!!!) so my dear sweet friend Sheila and I went treasure hunting - we spent the morning together and it made my soul dance!  She is without a doubt an angel - we had an great time treasure hunting and the treasure we found was priceless - time spent with friends cant be bought! Thank you Lord for sending Ms Sheila Hogge to lift my spirits and enjoy the day - I know that the Lord has used her time and time again to help me - she is a treasure!

And finally, leaf blowing....anyone who know where I live understands that we have more pinestraw and leaves than we have dirt and grass....always!  Coach Burns has not been able to keep up with the yard work for a couple of years now - we have done just enough to get by.  Sometimes me, sometimes Lex, but mostly it just gets neglected.  Yesterday after church, I made the comment at lunch that I was going home to blow leaves because the driveway was deep deep deep and it was dangerous to anyone who walked out there - not to mention the cars were skidding as you went in and out of the drive.  God sent his faithful servant Chuck Hogge to blow the leaves with a kind heart and a caring spirit and friendly love that was none other than that of Jesus....He quickly volunteered with a smile and an attitude that was contagious!  Instead of napping between services, he and his lovely wife spent the afternoon with me!  While he worked, we chatted and what a beautiful job he did!  No words can describe the friendship - tears of appreciation for all that the Hogge's have helped me through - they are pure angels sent to help me on this path that has been placed before me....Thank You Lord for blessing me with them!!! 

Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

I believe that Jesus knows that Myra Stewart, Greg & Amory Sellers, and Chuck & Sheila Hogge are his disciples!  Thank You Lord for letting me see the love!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A new chapter....

Today we start a new chapter in our lives and I am excited.  Weeks ago, I never thought I would say those words again unless perhaps it was my time to leave this earth and meet my savior.  But that is another story for another day!

What a year 2012 has been for our household - loss of our two precious babies (Levi aka Lil Ball Boy and Annabelle) within 4 months of each other; Coach Burns job loss and disability at such a young age; total knee replacement just 4 weeks ago for him and the pre-cancerous cells for me only serve as a reminder that not all days are going to be good ones. 

Throughout all of our earthly circumstances - the Lord has comforted us with His undying love and His ability to send friends and loved ones to walk with us through the dark times.  We are forever thankful for the love that He has given us and for the folks that He has used to help us along. We would be so lost with Him and His people!

But today is a GOOD day!  Today we embark on a new adventure with a special "unconditional love bug"-   A seven week old brownish red English bulldog that will bring new exciting life back into our household. 

As I get ready to leave to make the trip to pick her up - a few tears for those we are missing cant help but flow.  Oh the memories are so precious!  Life down here will be exciting again and perhaps a little easier because of a new little angel to love!

Here are a few photos that the breeder has sent us!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

My heart just hurts....

I really cant find any words to express what I am feeling other than I hurt.  Plain and simple - I hurt - my hearts hurts for some many reasons right now.  Perhaps writing it down will help.
My hearts hurts:
  • My sweet sweet Annabelle is not  here physically with us.  What a beautiful experience she was and yet I hurt at my selffishness for wanting her here even tough her physical body could not take being here any longer.
  • The love of my life is not on the sidelines for the first time in 17 years - that is where he longs to be and my heart hurts for him. 
  • One knee surgery already and now total knee replacment - my heart hurts for the pain in his body and for his emotion well being during this difficult time.
  • Lil Ball Boy was taken from us way too soon and my heart hurts for that.
  • Emptynest has a whole new meaning now and my heart hurts.
  • Our house is too quiet and my heart hurts.
  • My aging body and a routinue procedure reminds me that I am not invicible and my days are numbered and time is precious - my heart hurts.
  • Our nation is under attack by its own people and the younger generation no longer center around the Lord and my heart hurts.
  • I am tired, so tired, so weary and yet I have to be strong one, the decision maker, the reliable one, the constant and yet my heart HURTS.
So what do I do and where do I go?  Where can I go but to the Lord?  Only HE can truly understand what I am feeling and will listen without judging me.  Perhaps I am being selfish - I dont know but I need rest - the kind that only HE can give!

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore

In all things, in all times, no matter what - I will trust in the Lord.  Rest will come if not during my time down here, then in the eternal life with Him.  May I keep reminding myself that this is NOT my home....There is coming a tears, no hurts, no pain....Come quickly Jesus!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phone call to the Bridge...

Hello Arthur and Levi!!

I can only imagine all the fun that the two of you have been up to!  By now, you should be adjusting Lil Ball Boy and having the time of your life playing all day with that silly ball!!!  I just know that the two of you are the best of friends!!!

Life down here is crazy as always - oh how we miss you guys!  Not a day goes by that we don't talk about the fun and the love we shared!!!  Life was never dull where you were in our house!  I can still see you Arthur turning your head sideways just to make us laugh and you Lil Ball Boy - daring me to chase with that favorite ball of yours!

Well we have a surprise for you - today Annabelle is coming to live with you!  Now you know how this little momma is - always the momma and always protecting those she loved!  She has stayed down here longer than her diseased body should have but in her stubbornness - she would not leave us!  She loved us that much!!  Even today - she would still stay despite the pain but that look in her eyes tells us to let her go.

So today we will help her and it will not be easy - just like losing the two of you was not easy and still is not easy - did I tell you how much we miss you? 

Please do me a favor - wait for her!  Greet her with bulldog kisses and butt wiggles!!  She wont know how to act in a new painfree body!  Don't forget to dance - remind her to shake it shake it girlfriend!!!!

No tears there!!  We will cry the tears here(seems like a flood already) and never forget we love you!

See you soon!!!

Love, Mom

Friday, August 24, 2012

Do unto others....

I have always considered myself to be a likeable person.  I know for a fact that I am dependable and loyal.  I love my Lord, my family, my friends, my church, my dogs, my jobs - ALL of whom I cant thank the Lord enough for.

However, when someone boldly lies to me  - it hurts - bottom line.  It makes me wonder what I did or why I deserve this?  After all does not the Bible say - “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you." Matthew 7:12

As I have pondered this situation the last few days, I have come to the conclusion that there is always going to be folks that dont like me...friends that are not really friends....people that are going to hurt me with their lies and gossip...this is the life that we live down here.

The Bible tells me to turn the other cheek - hard to do but I will try after all I am a Christian who is striving to live the way that Jesus wants me to live.  And come to think of it, why would I expect people to treat me fairly when they treated Him so cruely...after all He is the Savior of the world - the KING of eternal life and people lied about Him, lied to Him, and crucifed Him. 

But the story did not end there - HE AROSE.  HE forgave and continues to do so.  In my humbleness, I will do so also.  Despite the human side wanting revenge....I vow to pray for the ones that feel the need to lie and spread gossip without knowing the facts.  I will pray for a forgiving heart for myself and conviction of heart for those who are with their careless words.

Sign me....FORGIVEN and THANKFUL to know who my TRUE FRIENDS are.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Prepare the fields…..broken knee.

Perhaps the best movie of all time – Facing the Giants – uses this scenario to remind Coach Taylor not to give up! - The story is about 2 farmers who needed rain. Both prayed for rain. But only one of them went out to prepare his fields to receive it.

Which one do you think trusted God to send the Rain?

The answer: The one who prepared his fields.

Big Question: Which one are you?

God will send the rain when He is ready. All you do is to prepare your fields to receive it.

We serve a God that opens doors no one can shut. He shuts doors where no one can open. In Revelations 3, God said, "I have placed for you an open door that no one can shut. I know you dont have much strength yet you have kept my word and did not deny My name. Keep a tight grip with what you have so no one can distract you and steal your crown. I will keep you safe in the time of testing."

God is not through with you. Until He is to move you, you are to bloom where He planted you. Prepare for Rain!!!!

So all summer long Coach Burns has been working out and running – determined to be in the best physical shape possible for someone with his conditions. Determined to be ready for the open door for the next chapter. Several times I cautioned him not to overdo or to take it easy and each time I was told – Got to prepare the fields!

On Wednesday a week ago, he felt a pain (different from the normal pain he feels every day in his legs and feet) and knew that something was wrong. Doctors visits, XRays, and MRI later – Coach Burns knee is broken in two places – according to the doctor the kind of break that comes from a major trauma – car accident, fall, etc. None of which happened to Coach Burns. Could this be the results of years of medications to fight the ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis beginning to take its toll on the bones?

Tomorrow he will have surgery to repair the damage and perhaps we will have some answers as to what is fully going on with it. I wont go into the worst case scenarios that we have fears of but will ask that you pray for us in this new chapter of our lives. We are trusting in the Lord and know that HE alone will provide the peace and understanding and comfort/healing that we so desperately need.

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. Psalm 6:2

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What do you do with a general when he stops being a general?

What do you do with a general when he stops being a general?

Remember this song in the movie “White Christmas” – I love that movie! However, never before have I sympathized as much with general as I do now. He was good man! He devotedly gave of his time, his talent and his physical being to a cause that he believed in. Then he was released to start a new life – perhaps one that he did not know how to start nor was he sure that he wanted.

Well that really parallels with our real life now. You see as long as I have known Coach Burns – he has been a football coach. He has been a mentor to young men. He has pushed them, loved them, screamed and yelled at them, prayed for them, challenged them, motivated them, pulled them, disciplined them, shared the gospel with them, laughed with them, danced with them, cried with them and gave 100% to them even when his own physical health would suffer for it.

Unless the Lord provides a miracle soon, for the first time in 16 years – Coach Burns will not be on the sidelines or in the locker room or in the classroom doing what he loves to do – coach. Why? What a difficult question to answer and my opinions on that do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Is life down here fair? Absolutely not. Does he deserve this? Absolutely not. Is he used up? Absolutely not.

It is times like these when I cry out to the Lord to help me understand and to give me a peace about it so that I may help him understand and have peace also. When someone you love is hurting – you hurt. When you are up on the mountain – everyone wants to be there with you! When you are down in the valley and you feel worthless and weak – where is everyone- especially those who have been with him throughout the years?

I know that the Lord is not finished with Coach Burns yet – Only HE can see the big picture – I just pray that HE gives us the strength and the courage to wait for it, the peace that surpasses all understanding to deal with the wait, the forgiveness we need for the anger and hurt we feel, the ability to see HIS will in all of this and most of all the LOVE that HE continues to have for us despite our disbelief at times.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What on earth?

Normally, words come easily for me.  However, today I find myself without the words to express so desperately what my head needs to release....bear with me please.!

WHAT ON EARTH is happening here?  Shooting in Tuscaloosa a couple of weeks ago, the Colorado massacre while folks are watching a movie, our president comes out in support of gay marriage, unemployment is staggering (177 teachers apply for one job), fraud is everywhere, human trafficing is the new slave issue, drugs are everywhere, politicians are more worried about their own pockets than what is best for our country.....the list goes on and on....ENOUGH ALREADY!

WAKE UP AMERICA - we are headed down a path of total destruction!  We are reaching the point of no return!  In the good ole USA, we have not been persercuted for our faith yet but that is quickly on the horizon if we dont stand up for the principles that this country was founded on....Where are you men of courage?  Where are you Proverbs 31 ladies?

Get out your bibles - READ!  PRAY! READ!  PRAY!!

"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Revelation 2:4

"I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
 Revelation 3:1-3

Father  please forgive us! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trust God!

Well it is VBS (Vacation Bible School) week at Wilton Baptist Church and as always I agree to participate.  I like VBS but I must tell you that it is not my favorite thing to do....I know that the Bible commands us to have faith like a child but it has always been a little hard for me to relate to being a child...a story for another day.  Anyway VBS is geared strictly towards teaching, playing, singing, dancing, eating, and just having fun with children - I get that and I can do that with the help of the Lord.

For the past few years, I have somehow ended up on the drama team -how that happened - I don't know...I mean really I am a middle aged old woman who is about as exciting as a sleeping bulldog....but anything for the children - right?  Last night was my drama performance which consisted of the beginning of the cruel treatment of Jesus from the arrest to the beating to the trial to Pilate washing his hands of the whole situation....I have been battling the crud all week -truly feeling terrible - but TRUSTING GOD - that he would speak through me and the drama would go on.    And God did just that and praise the Lord - despite my physically aliments - the Wild Bible Adventure for night 3 was ALL GOD and NO LAUREL!  Thank You Lord!!

This week the children are learning the following Bible points:
No matter who you are.......TRUST GOD!
No matter how you feel.......TRUST GOD!
No matter what people do...TRUST GOD!
No matter what happens......TRUST GOD!
No matter where you are......TRUST GOD!

So is this really just for the kids?  I don't think so!  Read those again - In all things TRUST GOD - Oh Lord sometimes my head just refuses to do this and what a wonderful reminder through a program geared towards children that it is for ME also.  I have attended many VBS' as a child and worked in VBS as an adult for years but never has one actually spoke to me like this...Perhaps it is because of these trials and tribulations that seem so horrible in my life right now....However, they cannot begin to compare to what my precious saviour when through those final hours and he always TRUSTED GOD.  Praise the Lord for Jesus!

I am humbly reminded  of the love He has for me and I am embarrassed in my weakness when my head battles with my heart I tend to lose sight of that.  I know that He will not give us more than HE can handle so here are the BBS (Burns Bible School) points for this week:

If this is the end of Coach Burns career............TRUST GOD!
If some friends  chose to ignore you..................TRUST GOD!
If monetary living circumstances are changed.....TRUST GOD!
If health issues don't go away.............................TRUST GOD!
If stress creeps in and times seem bleak.............TRUST GOD!
If you feel you cant go on..................................TRUST GOD!
If life down here seems unbearable...................TRUST GOD!

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

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Lord thank you for Vacation Bible School and for continuing to teach me, reminding me and holding me tight!  I love you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Levi Malachi....

Oh my you are two today!!!!  What a treasure you were to us in those short 22 months!  My heart hurts that we cant spend your birthday with you!

We played ball today - but you weren't here.  I can still see you running to get that silly ball and daring me to chase you with it in your mouth until you made it safely to your cave (the end table)...Oh how we miss you!

We had double cheeseburgers for your birthday dinner - you know that is a rule in the Burns household - all bullies get a double cheeseburger for their birthday - only you weren't here to go with us to get it.

Cant forget ice cream - you always slurped yours up so fast that I knew you would be a brain freeze but you were always begging for more!  Lil Ben and Annabelle enjoyed theirs - but you weren't here to tease us with that precious starving look at me look....

Lots of hugs and kisses in our house tonight sending them to you - Lil Ball Boy.  I bet that you have become really good friends with your brother Arthur - he has to be a great big brother - he was mighty special to us.  Annabelle will probably be joining you guys soon so be on the lookout for her in the next few weeks or months....she still is a feisty little lady and she will be ready to boss you both around.

Happy Birthday Levi  - I don't know if we will ever get over losing you but I do know that we love you and we miss you terribly!  Thank you for the unconditional love you gave til the end......

Run and play ball now sweet one - don't worry - it wont be much longer till we get there!!!



Friday, June 22, 2012


I don't know where to begin to describe what I am feeling at this point in my life except to say that I feel alone...alone - definitely not a place that I find myself too often.  But in this chapter of my life, in the midst of my family and friends, my coworkers and others - I feel alone.

I want to scream in anger and push buttons for someone to fight with me.  I want to cry myself to sleep and drown in the tears. I want to go to sleep and wake up when this nightmare is over - when things are good again - when that Coach Burns smile is back and it radiates across the room - when the house is filled with laughter - when the memories of better times are enjoyable again and not haunting - when the life was not just something that we must do but something that we loved doing.

Sorry this is so depressing - I am not really depressed just sad.  Sad that I cant seem to help; sad that the house is so quiets that it is erie, sad that we are so young and yet we seem so old, sad for the future that might have been..

Where can I turn for some relief?  There is only one place - the real thing!  The One who will never leave and who might let me bend but not break...Lord - if we ever needed you - it is now.

So I go to your word for help:

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7-8)

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9-10)

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27: 1, 3)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10b)

Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:3-5, 7a)

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his son is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42: 5,8)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:1-4)

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust." (Psalm 91:1-2)

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh no...the "m" has begun.....seriously now????

For the last year or so, stress has been a weight that I cant seem to loose....from Coach Burns illnesses to job situation, to Levi kidney failure and passing, work, work, and did I mention more work - crazy life that I live (and love) has been plagued by minor ailments that are distracting and discouraging and just plain in the way - I have chalked them up to stress....

But know I am convinced that there is more going on than stress - as I am barely six months away from the big 5-0 - I have come to realize that there is something else going on....the beginnings of menopause - Oh did I just say that out loud?????  The change of life - the dreaded hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, forgetfulness, interrupted sleep - every night, the panic attacks.....the list goes on and on....

What a wonderful way to bring in 50!!!!  And what so many things in my life are failing apart at this time - how wonderful that my body begins to think it is also!!!

Laughing and crying and laughing.....WOW - and this could last for years.....Really????  Whatever happened to growing old gracefully?  This just stinks.....Give me drugs or look out world the alter egos will appear....Debbie Downer and Psycho Phyllis and Hypochondriac Helen  are just itching to take over for a while.....

Praise the Lord - THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!!!  Now would be good!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


As the song lyrics remind me...."There are things about tomorrow  (and today) that I do not understand but I know who holds tomorrow (and today) and I know who holds my hand!" 

Last night at bible study, I was reminded once again that God will deliver me(us) and I must keep the faith - even when I am torn, hurt, weary, broken, angry and just plain sad.... I must keep the faith....I must keep the faith.  My heart knows this - my head is the problem - Satan tries so hard to convince my head that my heart is wrong....

But the Lord will prevail.... to quote a section of the bible study from last night that truly inspired me and really helped - perhaps it will help you also!

"My inability to change my circumstances matters not one little whit.  I don't care how long it will be before deliverance comes.  It doesn't matter the length of the road I must walk.  I don't care how hard the journey.  I know my God will come for me!  Shall I cave in to discouragement?  Will I quit?  NO!  For I am convinced that in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Neither death nor life, no angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  I will not lose heart.  My light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  Yes, the Lord will bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise His name! (adapted from Romans 8:38-39; 2 Cor 4:6-18 - Spiritual Warfare bible study)

Faith is the attitude that "I TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT, NO MATTER HOW LONG!"

Enough said - Amen!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How can I help?

I am pretty much never at a loss for words….(go figure) but right now I am struggling with what to say and what to do to help Coach Burns….you see I a fixer – a person who wants to fix things and restore balance – a person who thrives on unity and a person who does not mind carrying the load as long as I am able. That is why it breaks my heart to see a crossroads in his life – one that can’t be fixed by me.

To say that Coach Burns has had a couple of rough years is not accurate at all. It has been way more years that a couple – try a decade. One illness leads to another which leads to another and so on. Yet his is so young in age and that causes the mental heartache to surface also. He is at a crossroads in his life and needs support from his family, his loved ones, his friends, and most importantly HIS GOD. It is when we are at our weakest that Satan is lurking ready to take over and invade our minds. We CANNOT let that happen.

So again – I ask – How can I help?

1. I can pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and when I think that I have prayed enough, I can start praying all over again. What a wonderful way to talk to the Lord and some times it is with tears, others with anger, others with broken hearts, and sometimes laughter. I can pray and NO one can steal that away from me.

2. I can dive in the scriptures – I can surround myself and Coach Burns with uplifting bible verses and verses that offer the promise that things will be ok again. Our house is soon to be covered in sticky notes (glad they come in such cool colors – LOL).

3. I can love him like Jesus would – oh how I love Coach Burns – no one would doubt that for a second but to love him like Jesus loved is a goal that envelops me. Love him in the good, love him through the bad, the weak, the weary, the angry, the why me’s?, in the pain and the distress of these earthly circumstances….Yes I can love him like Jesus!

4. I can listen without judging the words that come from his mouth – knowing that hurt causes us to sometimes say discouraging things or negative outlooks. This will be very hard – as a fixer wants to fix and sometimes he just needs me to listen without trying to make it better.

5. I can stay healthy myself by eating right, getting enough rest, relaxing more and venting to my dear friends when the need arises. This will be difficult for me also but if this is part of what is needed to help Coach Burns then I can do it!

6. Finally and so very importantly – I can trust in what the Lord has promised! Below are just a few of my favorites:

Isaiah 41:10
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

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose

And perhaps my most favorite verse of all:

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Ok Lord, I am ready to help!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


To say that I HATE those words is an understatement....I loathe, despise, and spew them out of my mouth.  Confirmation once again that this Babylon world we live in is for the healthy, the wealthy and the beautiful and this disgust me so. 

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why is life so unfair?  Why do the sick have to pay so dearly not only with their physical ailments but with their emotional well being also? Why is Satan always lurking to get his foot back in the door of our hearts?  For those of us who are saved, he cant steal our salvation but he can ruin our witness and he can hurt our impact on the kingdom.  Why does he keep bothering us so?

Well Satan - take this warning - you are messing with someone I love and you will not win.  You pitiful fool - get away from us.  You see whatever you do down here to us means NOTHING...we are headed to eternal life in heaven with no illnesses, no favoritism, no politics and no evil is allowed.  We may be down right now but the Lord will guide us through this mess and we will be victorious again.

People are not looking at us to have it together - they are looking at what happens to us when we don't - Beth Moore.   Well keep looking because our GOD is much bigger than any non-renewed status!  We will not fall apart - we will stand on our knees and pray our way through this!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The waiting is the hardest part.....

“You take it on faith – You take it to the heart – The waiting is the hardest part!” Lord knows we have been here before and here we are again at a crossroads that is uncomfortable to say the least.

I am a planner – I plan everything in my life that I possibly can. Sometimes this is a good thing - like when you are going out of town, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc. Other times it can be a pain like when the schedule is too full, your body just needs more rest than you are allowing, etc…. you get the picture.

For a habitual planner, waiting to be able to plan is extremely hard - waiting for someone else to let you know what the deal is so that you can plan the next course of your life so to speak.

We are in that holding pattern at this moment and as many times as we have been here before – it still is upsetting and uncalled for in my opinion. To be honest – it just stinks like garbage! So while we wait – the questions of what if? Why now? Can we? What’s next? Will we? Why us? – all cannot be answered at this time and stress runs rampant despite our prayers of relief.

We know that everything is in God’s hands and we will have answers soon that will allow us to make decisions as to which turn we take and which road we will be traveling on next….A new adventure maybe or staying the course we are on currently. Whatever the outcome is our emotions are all over the place and we will welcome some sort of normalcy to return.

Lord – you know our prayer – we have prayed it at least thousands of times. Please give us the endurance, strength, emotional stability, peace and comfort as we wait. We know and we believe with all our beings that YOU are in control and you will reveal your plan to us in your time. Please do so gently so that we can grasp it and grow from it, guard our hearts as Satan is waiting to invade….Please take away the tears and clear the fog so that we may see clearly how to give you glory in the next chapter of our lives! We love you Lord and we thank you for loving us. We will serve you while we’re waiting… we will worship while we’re waiting….Amen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Am I selfish?

If I have to ask that question, then I must be ?  Here is my list of things I want...
1.  I want Coach Burns to be well, to have days without pain, without panic, without swelling and inflammation, and doubts as to whether he is the man he wants/use to be.

2.  I want Coach Burns to be happy -smiling and laughing - doing the things he loves the most - coaching football and playing with his bulldogs.

3.  I want Coach Burns to succeed as the spiritual leader of household. Satan continually attacks those who are weak (physically due to illness) and makes them think that they are worthless.

4. I want Coach Burns to enjoy his life down here - to feel like going on vacation, nights out, fellowships, and all the little things that most of us take for granted.

If wanting these things makes me selfish - then I know that I am.  For years now, we have been plagued with illnesses which leads to disappointment, job loss, emotional barriers, tough times and here are again right in the midst of the same issues.

Some days I feel like just giving up....Then I am reminded that trial and tribulations produce endurance, endurance develops strength of character and character enhances our hope of salvation and this hope will not disappoint....

 "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

Lord, forgive my selfishness and strengthen me in this trial.  Forgive my wavering belief. Give rest to my weary soul and heal my man.  In all thing, your will be done and your love, grace and mercy will be sufficient for me.  Praise the name the of Jesus....Amen

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What now?

What do I do now?  Why is my house so empty even though I have two other bulldogs?  Why does Annabelle have a huge tumor  in her abdomen now of all times?  Why does death hurt so bad? Why is Coach Burns still sick?  What does the future hold for our lives while here on this earth?  Why cant I sleep through the night?  What are you trying to tell me Lord?

Just a few questions that I seem to repeat over and over these days....the answers may never come but I will keep praying  and praying.....Faith the size of a mustard seed is all I need.....Lord fill me with your grace and mercy....Point me in the right direction.

I will serve you while I am waiting....I will worship while I am waiting....Please Lord - come and take us home.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just another Levi memory.....

Prior to the last couple of weeks that Levi was here with us, every evening had the same routine. I was always the last one home from work – usually after they had eaten and were ready to nap for a while. Levi would hear my car pull up and he always met me at the door! Eager to greet me with his whole little (65lb) body with the smiling because he knew that after I petted him….the fun would being. I always said hello to him – patted his head and then said – Levi where’s your ball? That was the signal that we were fixing to play.

Every night he would run back into the den to get his ball so that I could chase him…He would do this for hours if his little body would let him. Playing with him was so much fun! On this particular night, he went running into the den and sat by the back door. Levi always knew where his ball was normally but he just sat by the door that leads to the patio.

I looked everywhere for his ball….down on my hands and knees looking under the sofa, the TV stand, behind the toy box, under the recliners, behind the sofa…etc…etc…etc. I even made Coach Burns look for it also. After we combed the den and could not find it…we went to the kitchen, to the bedroom, to the big bathroom.. You get the picture – we must have spent a good 45 minutes looking for the ball.

All the while, Levi was sitting by the door patiently waiting. I finally said – Lil Ball Boy tonight we are going to have to use a different ball because mom can’t find your favorite. I then asked Coach Burns if Levi needed to go outside because he was sitting by the door – he assured me that they went out after dinner and he did not need to go back out.

And again, Levi sat patiently waited – I offered him several other balls to play with – he would not have any of them and stayed by the door. I finally decided that he must need to go outside despite what Coach Burns had told me. I opened the door – it was pitch black outside and Levi took off into the back yard running like he was chasing a cat….he must have stayed out there 10 minutes or so….I went into the laundry room to start the nightly chore of washing clothes only to return to the den and find my precious Levi ready to play ball because he had found his ball….in fact he knew exactly where it was at all the time….I just did not pay attention and let him outside to get it. What a smart little fellow he was.

The moral of this story is sometime I get so caught up in trying to fix/find/help things myself that I don’t realize that there is someone patiently waiting to answer my cares and concerns, my troubles, my insecurities, my loneliness, my pain if only I would notice that HE is waiting by the door.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Thank You Lord for patiently waiting on me! And for the stories that can be told thru a Lil Ball Boy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Go tell it on the mountain....AGAIN!

Night in Bethlehem 2011 appreciation dinner is this Sunday night (April, 29th) and my mind is full of feelings and words and memories….so in order to process everything and neatly store it away – I feel the need to write it all down.
This was our 5th year of telling the story of that wondrous night some 2000 years ago when Jesus came to earth as a baby to be our Savior! You would think that each year of telling the story would bring the same results and the same memories but that is not the case! God continues to grow us even though by now most of us can recite it all by heart!
Let’s take a walk through all the prior years of NIB – just a few memories that need not be forgotten.

NIB 2007 – the very first one for WBC – we were without a pastor and using pulpit supply at the time. There was some distress among the flock wondering in the dark without a visible shepherd to keep the herd in line. It was the most primitive of set designs as we attempted to reenact that special night for the first time as an outreach program. It took weeks to prepare for and we spent many long hours together! It came together and despite the weather and a few glitches – we successfully told the story night after night to the visitors. But the amazing thing that happened in year one was that God took a scared flock and transformed them into a family – a true family! We told the story of the love of God sending Jesus to save us and in essence was given that love for each other! – Priceless memories – Thank you Lord!

NIB 2008 – Bigger sets and live animals….fun fun fun for those in charge of the animals! Lots of hard work..beautiful tents and backdrops….cold, hot, rain – the show must go on and it did!! What a blessing it was despite the hard work and the weather! The story was shared and once again we grew closer to the Lord and to each other! This year yielded me a photo that will forever be one of my favorite pictures – Ashley as the angel, Lex as Joseph and Kathryn Ray as Mary! Thank you Ms. Sheila for capturing that memory on film!

 NIB 2009 – A new pastor and a new beginning as we gathered together once again to share the story for one more season! Lots of set building and reworking of the event but somehow again the Lord showed us how to grow in Him and as a family of God all with one purpose of sharing the gospel. Our first real live baby Jesus this year and he was beautiful! Numerous visitors remarked about the authenicty of having a real baby there. May we never forget that the baby in the manager was alive and well and grew up to be the savior of the world.

NIB 2010 – Expanding once again with awesome sets and lots of fellowship time preparing for the live nights! We brought life back into the old white building! We encompassed most of the church building this year and enhanced the outside dramatically. Most all of WBC contributed from set design, to cooking food, to character roles, to golf cart attendants, to ALL who participated – the numbers just kept growing. Again, we were blessed with a real baby to portray baby Jesus and his parents to fill the roles of Mary and Joseph – how beautiful the scene was – how real it felt to walk up to the stable and find a mother and father with true love for their baby laying there….goosebumps still today!

NIB 2011 – the 5th one – what a celebration! Bigger sets, more shops, 5 live nights, youth designated night, a cast of 75 including all support roles. Some families have made this a yearly tradition – some have been all 5 years (Praise the Lord) Some WBC folks have also made this a yearly tradition by spending most of November and December dedicated to preparing to share this story. After five live nights there were tears being shed that it was over and again the Lord drew us closer to each other and to him!

What does the next year bring – I don’t know? How could be possibly tell the story again? What would be different this time? What will make a difference in the lives of those that are visiting here? How do we make them understand the importance of this story – I don’t know but God does! It seems to me that God is using NIB to help WBC as much as He is using it to plant seeds in those who visit with us.

How do I know this? Let me share just one more story – in the 5th year at the manger a little boy (who had been to NIB four times) wanted to give baby Jesus a gift…He asked if he could leave his apple there for Jesus. Now anyone who know anything about babies knows that they cannot eat apples as newborns but that is not the point. The point is that young man – wanted to give back to Jesus something that he had and he did so with love! Just when you think that telling the story again cant surprise you – think again! God is always finding ways to amaze us and grow us and love us! Thank you Lord!

So I leave you with this….Go tell it on the mountain over the hills and EVERYWHERE! Go tell it on the mountain that JESUS CHRIST is born!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What will your tombstone say?

The photo has been picked and the granite memorial urn(to match Arthurs) has been ordered. This was fairly simple to do once we found the perfect photo - the remaining information needed was full name, day he entered this world and day he left us and one line to memorialize his time here.

For Levi - that was simple - Unconditional love Always - that is what we put and that is how he lived the entire twenty two months he was here....just wanted to be loved and played with and give love back....

The tears are beginning to dry somewhat as long as we dont dwell on it...But the thoughts run rampant in our heads of what if or if only.....All of this makes me think of how our lives will be remembered after we are gone.

What will my tombstone say? What will yours say? There is an old beautiful cememtery in Selma Alabama with moss flowing from the trees....I spent an afternoon there a couple of years ago with COach Burns and two of our dearest friends....I went from grave site to grave site reading the inscriptions - trying to catch a glimpse into someone's life I did not know. Some were sad - some made me laugh and some were just beautiful! I treasure that day so much!

What will my tombstone say? I hope it says that she LOVED the LORD, her family, her friends and her dogs with all her heart! She died working for the Lord and loving every minute of it! She lived a blessed life!

What will yours say?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Searching for the perfect photo....

Now the task begins of searching for the perfect photo of Levi Malachi Burns to have engraved on his resting place. I guess over the last couple of days I have looked through hundreds of photos - each one is very special now...still not sure of the perfect one just yet...but know that when I find it - I will know it is the right one...

Let me share some with no certain order - this is just a glimpse into the life we shared with Levi Malachi Burns!

Sure do love you!! Miss you terribly!!!

Last photo in peace Lil Ball Boy!!
Unconditional love always!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The sweetest goodbye ever.....

This is difficult to write and may be difficult to read - not sure but it has to be written down before some of the details begin to fade from my memory. It is important to Levi's legacy that I remember the day of the sweetest goodbye.

On Monday morning, I took Levi to the vet early and I already knew that the end was fastly approaching but I prayed that I was wrong. The vets at Montevallo Animal Clinic are such loving and compassionate people - I praise the Lord for them! It did not take them long to tell me what I already knew - Levi was going to die soon. There was no composure on my part - I cried like a baby as Dr. Wadkins promised to keep him comfortable until later in the day when Coach Burns could be there to say goodbye.

As I left the vets office and went home to get ready for work - I found no relief in the tears - they flowed like a water fountain all day long. I could not talk or work - I just sat at my desk in a daze. I called the clinic to check on him and talked with the vet one more time begging almost for something to bring him back to us. Again, Dr. Wadkins assured me of what I already knew and did so with love and compassion.

Coach Burns and I decided to go and say goodbye to Lil Ball Boy at 3:30 pm that afternoon. Little did I know that both Ashley and Lex would want to be there - As a mom, as a protector, as a shelter from the storms - I was scared to let them feel that kind of pain. But they insisted on coming - how could I not let them say goodbye to something they loved so much?

In the midst of the tears, Dr. Bamburg and Dr. Wadkins and all the staff - showed compassion and love in a professional yet personal way (thank you Lord). We all said our goodbyes as Levi layed on the table - he kept cutting his eyes toward Coach Burns as if to say - Help me to go....Our hearts were shattered and tears continued to flow....but GOD was there in a mighty way - HE gave us the strength to love this little fellow to the end. It was peaceful, it was beautiful and it was the sweetest goodbye ever! A memory that I never want to lose.

Never have I felt the presence of the Lord like I did in that small room #2 at Montevallo Animal Clinic surrounded by my children and my husband - Thank You Lord for holding us up on one of the worst days of our lives. You have given me so much more than I deserve and even on the bad days - you never leave me.

Thank you for the memory of the sweetest passage ever. Levi is free of pain! Coach Burns, Ashley, Lex, Mike and I are better people for having loved him! We give you praise and honor Lord! And we thank you for new mercies every day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rest in Peace Sweet Lil Ball Boy...

It is day 82 - 04.16.12 and today you left us. Praise the Lord for the precious time we had with you before and during the illness...Today you walked with our help toward Rainbow Bridge to live with Arthur until we can come.

We (Coach Burns, me, Lex, Ashley & Mike) were there to help you along, to hold you and kiss you and tell you that everything is going to be ok - to tell you not to be scared....RUN FREE sweet one - there is no more pain, no more excessive thirst, no more dietary food, no more pills, no more fluids - nothing but sweet days of playing ball and sleeping at your leisure!

You left us with a whole in our heart that will ache for you and tears that wont stop now but you gave us more love than we could ever imagine or deserve...just like the Lord gives us everday (and most of the time - we fail to recognize it). We treasure each memory and praise the Lord for our time with you!

Until we meet again Levi Malachi Burns know that you are loved and you always will be more than words can quote your teaching - Unconditionally!

Thank you Lord for blessing us with this little dog that show us all how to love again unconditionally!

Arthur - Sweet Arthur....we need your help!

Hey there Big Nasty! We sure do miss you down here - cant believe that you have been gone since August of 2010. Not a day goes by that we dont think of you and talk about you! You were our first bulldog and we loved more than we ever thought possible.

We need your help now - you see Levi is walking toward you today. He is a just baby - he was born just a few weeks before you passed away - he is not even two years old yet. He is going to need someone to show him around at Rainbow Bridge - he is scared but we know that you will show him the way - we know that you will be the big brother and take care of him until we can get there!

Arthur -we love you and we did not get a chance to say goodbye to you - we wish that we could change that so.

Lord willing - we will be there when Levi takes his walk and we will tell him to run straight to you that you will be waiting!

Until we see you again, know that we love you UNCONDITIONALLY!Love you more than all the words in this universe!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

How do we help you say goodbye?

How do we let you go sweet Levi? Right now as you are sleeping so peacefully, we can pretend that all is normal and you will awake ready to eat, play, and be chased with your favorite ball....but we know that is not the case any longer.

This weekend has been the worst ever! You dont want to eat - that has not ever been a problem with you in the past for long - You dont want to play - that is definitely a first - oh how I long to chase you with that silly ball in your mouth. You cant keep water down - throwing up is the norm yesterday and today. Your stools are pure water with a terrible smell and yet you still try to manage to get to one of your pads before letting it go. Your legs are not working correctly - you cant stand for body is shutting down and we are SICK with anguish over this.

We knew the day was coming - we just keep praying that it is not today. So Levi, my precious precious Lil Ball Boy - how do we help you to say goodbye? How can we put aside our selfish wants and let you go? Lord we pray that you will help us as we prepare to walk him toward Rainbow Bridge. Arthur is waiting for him there....he will be free of pain and illness and Arthur will take care of him till we can get there one day.

Lord we will rely on you to help us carry on down here - We praise you for the time that we have spent with him and if it be your will for it to end now - we trust you and praise with every ounce of our being. You alone are GOD and we praise you on bended knees with a flood of tears....

Vet in the morning for one final appeal for help - believing that all things work together for good - we have fought the good fight and we have run for the prize...sweet Levi - your pain is almost over!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walk down memory lane....

Let me start by saying this is not about bulldogs! This walk down memory lane involves two human beings that are precious gifts from God - loaned to me to raise - and I could not love them more! I am not trying to be prideful or boast - everything they are and everything they mean to me is a blessing from the Lord! Thank you Lord for loaning me these two little ones to raise down here.

Today a chapter in this mom's book closed - I attended the last awards ceremony for my youngest - Lex - who is a senior in college - and who just won - Mass Comm Student of the Year 2012 (I love you Lex). Thank you Lord - I was there!

As I sat there waiting and watching - I strolled down memory lane with tears of joy for the many times that I had been in this position before. Ashley and Lex are four years apart - and once it started - it did not stop for eighteen years! From Ashley in students of the month, good citizens, peer helpers, annual scholastic awards ceremonies,honor society, high school graduation, college graduation - I was there. Thank you Lord!

For Lex - the same - kindergarten, student of the month, good citizen, sports banquets,honor society, annual scholastic awards, high school graduation, college awards - I was there! Thank you Lord!

Both of them will graduate in December 2012 (Lord willing) - Ashley with her graduate degree and Lex with his undergrad one and Lord willing - I will be there!

But today was different - in a small ceremony - I was a spectator - as I watched my son accept awards for what he has done with his life and I realized this would be the last awards ceremony and I cried. For one brief moment, I wanted to turn back time and have them both home with me - depending on me - safe from this big bad world we live.

Memory lane continued with the death of Nanny - their first sense of loss - she was like a mother to them - the first real hurt in their life and I was there - Praise the Lord!

A few years later - they chose the Lord as their personal savior and both were baptized on the same day - PRAISE THE LORD - I was there! Hallelujah - there is no greater joy than knowing that your child will spend eternity in heaven with you! Thank you Lord for letting me be there!

To say I love Ashley and Lex would be an understatement! You cant truly realize a mother's love until you are a mother! I could not be more proud to be their mom. I would not change a thing - they are my treasures here on earth and they will be with me in heaven (who could ask for anything more)

Thank You Lord for blessing me with these precious ones! Somehow you knew just exactly what I needed! I can never thank you enough! If I were to be called home tonight, I could honestly say - I could not have asked for more - it is well with my soul!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What a difference a day makes....

This morning - Levi wanted to play ball....oh my what a glorious sight that was! He has regained clumsily use of his back legs and was toting his ball in his mouth daring me to chase him....My heart jumped and I stopped right then and thanked the Lord for one more chance to play ball with him!

Yesterday when Levi was in such bad shape, I talked with the vet and it was decided to reduce the amount of phenobarbital and see if he returned to a more normal Levi - we did just that - and things are better (much improved). He is not 100% (nor will he ever be again most likely) but he can stand now, walk now, and has the desire to play with his ball. He was one the sofa this morning when I got up - that means he found a way to jump up there last night by himself....all of this is such a welcome relief from the past few days.

We know the days are numbered but for today.....we are living in the moment! Loving in the moment and enjoying new mercies as they are given to us! Was it worth being late to work today???? OH YES!! Thank you Lord! Thank you Lord! Only tears of joy today!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Levi - Day 68

First let me say "Thank you Lord" for letting us have this precious fellow for the last 68 days - as bleak as the prognosis was - you gave us 68 more days and WE ARE SO THANKFUL!!! To God be the Glory!

The past few days have been very difficult on Levi and us....We started giving Phenobaritol to control the seizures caused by the declining function of the kidneys. According to everyting I have read, it takes a few weeks for this drug to full work and while his diseased body gets use to it, there are side effects.
"As a result, many of the side effects of Phenobarbital are neurological. You'll notice your dog appearing lazy, sedated, restless, hyper-excited or uncoordinated (ataxia). These side effects will disappear after a few weeks of treatment when your dog's system gets used to the medication."
We are experiencing the ataxia condition - uncoordinated movement of legs. In other words, our precious Lil Ball Boy cannot chase his ball - he cant make his legs work like they are supposed. He cant jump on the sofa or climb the stairs or stand up long enough to eat. His walking is similar to an intoxicated person - He looks at us with confusion as to why he cant do what he normally does....and our hearts break a little more each time.

As we watch Levi, we are so constantly reminded that the day is coming when it will be time to let go of him so that he can run free with Arthur at Rainbow Bridge with NO PAIN and NO TEARS ( Heaven will be like that for those of us who know the Lord)!

We are praying now for healing, guidance, comfort and wisdom to make the right decisions at the right time with the least amount of pain for both Levi and us. Lord, please put the selfish side of us in the proper place and give us the strength to show Levi unconditional love by letting him go when that time comes!

Thank You Lord for blessing so and hearing our prayers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lord - what are you preparing me for?

I am scared to even think this most days but feel that if I can just write it all down, perhaps I will be able to say "OK Lord - I am ready to do what you want me to do even if it is NOT what I want.

Levi - precious Levi - 20 months old and the funniest, silliest, lovable English bulldog I know. Don't get me wrong - Annabelle is a sweetheart and Lil Ben is 100% darling and Arthur (RIP) will always be #1 but Levi is uniquely special - long before we knew he was sick we laughed at his love for life - he would play for hours amusing himself and finally just give out with exhaustion into slumber land.

Levi is very high maintenance now - our lives revolve around making sure he has his meds on time, fluids, appetite supplements, watching for any signs of deterioration...refusing to board him to go away for a few days - listening to him breath and making him as comfortable as possible. The last two days have been rough on him - really rough - the seizures are visibly upsetting to us and confusing to him to say the least. We are left with feelings of helplessness and lots of tears.

Yet I cant but wonder in the midst of all of this what the Lord is preparing me for? Is this care giving for Levi just a prelude to what is coming in my life? We search for answers with Coach Burns - doctor after doctor after specialist after the answers...more medications...more answers...

Lord are you preparing me to be a caregiver to my husband long term? To somehow stay strong and healthy myself to provide financially, emotionally and spiritually for him...Oh how I wish I could see into the future! Is Levi truly teaching me all the components required to be a long term care giver? If Levi's only purpose was to teach me how to truly care for others - he has succeeded! The daily love of our Lord shows in that precious little 65 lb ball boy happy to be with his dad and mom no matter how he feels.

Thank you Lord for showing me how to care for others and for using this little bulldog angel to do it. I know his time here is coming to an end and his work is almost finished. I can only pray that he will know that we loved him like he loved us!

Praying that one day - I will be able to say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith just like Timothy said.

Lord - whatever you are preparing me for - I will do my best not to fail you! Taking each step - one at a time - seeking your guidance and your comfort along the way and continually giving you the glory forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What if things dont get better....

I have found myself pondering this question SO much lately. Normally I dont even go near this subject but with the ever increasing changes in our home - I cant help but wonder what if things dont get better?

It seems that Coach Burns has been sick forever - almost all of our married life. In sickness and in health - who would have ever thought that there would be more sickness than good health days - after all - we are still so young - not even 50 yet!

I said those vows - I said that I would be here and I WILL BE HERE but oh my it is so difficult some days. The new normal is nothing like what any girl envisions her life to be. Oh how I long to see that Coach Burns smile on a regular basis again, to laugh with him, go to dinner with him - you know just do the things that normal healthy folks do. We had such big plans - places to go and things to see - illness has stolen that from us.

How do we live like this for the remainder of our time here - only the Lord can show us how. We are not doing a very good job of figuring it out on our own - that is for sure. We keep petitioning the Lord for healing but what if healing does not come until heaven?

As I pray now - I also ask the Lord to take away the anger I have with situation, take away the tears (there really is not time for tears), fill me with compassion, make me content with the situation, overflow my heart with unconditional love daily (like Levi shows us), give me strength to provide for my family. With the Lord, all things are possible - this I know and this I believe.

Precious Lord - I cant do this without you - only you can show us how to live and love in this new normal - give me peace so that I can be the caregiver, provider, supporter, friend, companion and most of all the wife that he needs me to be. Forgive my disbelief at times when I am SO weary and tired....I know you are in control and good things will come when the time is right! Thank you for loving us and saving us and blessing us so. One step at a time - help me with each step....In Jesus name - Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I know how the story ends but

I know how the story ends - I have read the end of the book - We WIN! We get to live eternally in heaven with Jesus - no pain, no tears, no worries, no drama, just peace - everlasting peace! Praise you Lord for making a way that we can live with you forever!

However, sometimes I just wish that I could see into the future here....Psalms 13 is one that read when I feel like no one understands and there is no relief to be found....
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Surely surely the trials that we have faced are coming to an end - each time I think that -here they come again with a vengeance! I am so weary, so tired, and have no verbal words, oh how I long for someone to understand and then I remember that someone does - YOU do Lord...Psalms 13 goes on to say....
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

For years now, we have battled these illnesses, Lord I know that you know that because you have taken each step with us. I know that many times you must have carried us through them because the mountains were so tall and we could not climb alone. I know that you are with us now perfecting us along the way.

So I will sing your praises with a cheerful heart! Realizing that you know the pain we are in and you alone know the immediate future down here....I will trust you and only you!

Thank you for blessing me so! I have so much more than I deserve.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unconditional Love as told by Levi Malachi Burns

Dog Is God Spelled Backwards

Have you ever come home from school after a very hard and trying day and been ready to throw in the towel and tell the whole world "where to go" only to be greeted by your dog with such love it warms your heart and you find your anger dissipating?

It seems like we can only expect "unconditional love" from two sources, our dogs and God. Human beings are incapable of it. We don't give it and we don't get it back from other people. We have limits to the kind of love we are capable of giving. When someone says something unkind about us, or does something cruel or intentionally does something to hurt us, then we become wounded. And our gut reaction is to strike back, or take revenge on that person.
We don't just bounce right back and give them a big hug anyway. Yet dogs do. One can treat them like dirt, and they STILL LOVE US. Even when we are not lovable a dog will still love us.

A dog never judges, never with holds affection, never ignores us. To our dogs we are the most important person in the world and they want nothing more than to please us. It matters not to our dog if we are fat or skinny, beautiful or ugly, popular or ignored by everyone in the world, sinner or saint...Nothing matters to our dog but us.
God does the exact same things for us that a dog does. He loves us "unconditionally" and is always there to greet us throughout the day. He listens to us, does not talk back in an arguementive way, understands what we are feeling, shows empathy and compassion, leads us when we are blind, gives food to us when we are hungry, and He has already laid down His life for you.
Perhaps ALL dogs have a straight connection to God, and we don't even know it... Jesus said ... " I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the earth." Dogs love us with the unconditional LOVE OF GOD in their hearts and in their souls... they are "angels in disguise" living right beside us each and every day. So think about it ...

FYI - I did not write this - Mom helped me find it on the Internet - the author is listed as Patricia Jones, MA - Counselor.....

Friday, March 9, 2012 is me Levi!

Hey folks!!!

It is me Levi! I am so excited that I had to steal the computer from mom for a little while!!! I am LOVING all this attention that folks are giving never leaves home without making sure that I am ok - she kisses me and tells me she loves me so much! Dad (most folks think is a big bad manly man) is pushover for me....he snuggles with me everyday - he lets me lay in his lap(even though I weigh 70 lbs) - he hand feed me when I don't feel like eating from my bowl....I have to be the luckiest dog alive!!!

Guess what?? I am preparing to go to church with mom on Sunday morning to teach her Sunday school class (she teaches a bunch of cool teenagers) and I get to be the guest speaker....WOW bow-wow!!! I have been working on my lesson for them - I would put some of it on here but I want it to be a surprise for the students!

Mom says that I cant come to big church as dogs are not allowed - I don't understand that but if Mom says it is so then I believe it. I am just glad that I get to go for a few minutes and show them all what it is like to be loved unconditionally.

Mom bought me a tie - she loves to dress me up! She also says that I have to get groomed on Saturday - that is ok - I love to take a bath! I hope feel good on Sunday - Mom and Dad really stress over me now....geez they are constantly wiping my nose, checking my ears, cleaning my behind, listening to me breathe - you get the picture.

Mom says that I cant take my ball - I love my ball - but Mom says no. She said that we take the Bible to church - Mom uses hers alot at home - sometimes she lets me read it too....

Well I gotta go now....and take a nap (I love naps) before dinner time.... Mom says that she will post pictures of me in my tie and my brother Lex (he is so cool) is going to tape me in class.....lookout I just might be the next Lassie - he was a cool dog - just not a bulldog....

Later dudes! I love ya - keep praying for me!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This rollercoaster life.....

Up - down - up - down - spinning all around - upside down - fast and furious - never a dull moment - wow!

Such is the Burns household for as long as I can remember now....Coach Burns' illness is ever present - His body full of pain and aging quickly. For now the pneumonia is clearing up and we managed to avoid a hospital stay so far! (Thank you Lord for that blessing) Long term - we don't even talk about it anymore - we just go one day at a time - praising the Lord through the good and the bad days!

Levi's illness is so similar to Coach Burns' illness in that appearing to fine one minute and really ill the next. Bless both their hearts! I believe that they are good therapy for each other! I truly believe that a dog is man's best friend!!

Each day we wake not knowing what the day will bring but we thank the Lord for another day! We are armed with the necessary equipment to ride the roller coaster - we have the love of the Lord, the armor of Christ, each other, our family and friends, and our bulldogs! We are blessed beyond measure and we thank you Lord for reminding us that life down here is NOTHING like life will be in heaven!

If there are roller coasters up there - I am sure that they will be for PURE ENJOYMENT - not like the ones that characterize this so call life down here.

We will continue to pray without ceasing for healing for:
Coach Burns - 12 years and counting
Levi - as he works on his bucket list
Dave and family - special dear friends of ours that we love
Janice and Lewis - illness that wont go away

Precious Lord,
You know the needs of the ones mentioned above and Lord you are the Great Physician - we put all our trust in you! Please give peace and comfort to all who are hurting and Lord please give healing to those in need of it! We trust you completely and will praise you through the storm, through the good times and through the roller coaster ride - now and for always! In the precious name of Jesus - Amen!