Family News


imageI've heard Jason tell several people I was leaving him.  That's only partly true.  Summer is the only time I have the opportunity to see all of our family for more than a quick hello.  The kids and I have spent pretty much the whole summer touring central Texas.

At the beginning of this week we even got the opportunity to visit Ace.  He's my niece's busy all-over-the-place dog/kid.  He's partial to Jessica, my niece, his mom.  He runs around in a tizzy, then goes and checks in with Jessica (his master).

Funny thing happened this visit.  Jessica was kind enough to share some of her duds with Hallie and I.  I was able to squeeze into a pair of her jeans which I was quite happy about.  I must mention that Jessica and I are similar.  We've been told on numerous occasions that we look alike and that we have the same mannerisms (which also makes me proud-She's awesome!).

Well...... After one of Ace's dizzying spells, he runs up and jumps on the back of my legs, all "I love you, pick-me-up-like".  I turn around to scoop him up and he "crawdad crazy crawls" backward in fast motion. Confused, and a little let-down, I went about my business. 

But Ace did it again. Several times he approached me only to retreat as quickly as possible. Here's the only thing I can figure.

I'm in Jessica's house.  I'm where she's supposed to be.

I look a little like Jessica, maybe his eyes are partly blocked by maltipoo fur.

Wearing her jeans, I probably even somewhat smell like her.

It's only when Ace got close that he recognized that I wasn't Jessica.

The little guy has made me think of how we humans often mistakenly approach a wrong master.  Sometimes being financially secure or having a squeaky-clean image is our master.  We'll make success and acceptance our master.  

Being the "woman of God" that I am, I make every effort not to chase after those false Gods. Though I sometimes live for earthly things, I typically don't fool my saintly self into believing they're of God.  While that's all well and good, it leads me to a problem I believe we Christians encounter.

Sometimes we wrongly run at anything that looks or smells like God.

Having an "Ace moment", we approach something that "looks like Him".  Maybe we volunteer for some service project.  Possibly we're involved in twelve different ministries at the church- the more God-seeming things you do, the closer to God, right? I have the decorative crosses adorning my wall and I have drawers full of church shirts.  I listen to "the right music" (at least on Sundays).

Please don't misunderstand.  It's not that there's anything wrong with going through the motions.  The motions are often acts of worship; intimate time with God.  Our church shirts and cross necklaces can be emboldened displays of a God we live for.

But don't be satisfied with anything that merely, on its own, serves as a substitute for time with the One and Only. Don't settle, believing Christian songs and t-shirts, bible studies and perfect church attendance are by themselves the "real deal"; be like Ace.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:13,14 

 ace and real





Dear Hallie,

Today you turn twelve.  As I've been thinking the past few days about how thankful I am for you,  old stories have flooded my mind.  And just like God does, he reminded me how stories-things written from the past are meant to teach us (not to mention, many of your stories have great entertainment value too).

How can I forget the identity you assumed for a year and a half?    You introduced yourself and insisted that people call you "White Kitty".  You often wordless, came into the kitchen in the morning on all fours ready for kitty food. You had an uncle who would try to trick you into saying you were Hallie (or anyone besides White Kitty), but you were an unbendable oak.

The world will try to tell you who you are, and it will undoubtedly tell you wrong.  The world will tell you that you are "the one who looks pretty when you wear makeup and a new outfit" or that you're "the preacher's kid".   Be true to who God made you to be.  Don't let others convince you that you're someone you're not.

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,  (God's) Favor is better than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1

You know my favorite story; the one where in first grade, you were asked to draw an animal that started with the letter "a".  You asked your teacher if you could draw a horse.  When she asked if horse started with "a" you shook your head no, but you continued to draw the horse.  Your teacher told me that your hand was the first to go up when asking for volunteers to share their "a" animal.  Nervous, she called on you.  You told her it was an Apaloosa.

You've always been creative, ......and secure.  You have a unique way of thinking and being.  Never trade that in to be another boring member of the crowd.  God put a Hallie Kathryn in the world, on purpose.

Do you remember sailing with another uncle one summer day; the only time you've sailed?  You spotted a small plane with a banner trailing behind bearing an advertisement for Geico.  It showed the Geico Gecko (who wasn't yet the world's most famous Gecko).  The banner had a short advertisement written.  You asked what the sign said.  Your uncle and Hayden convinced you that the sign said  "Beware of sea monsters".    With Nessie about, your sailing experience was ruined.  I watched as my fearless Hallie, who you remember had caught a chicken snake bare-handed a year before, rolled up into a ball, frozen in terror.

Don't be fooled into living in fear.  There are so many things I didn't experience simply because I refused to try, afraid that a host of eyes would see me fail.  Of course I want you to live right, but don't be afraid of messing up.  Sometimes mistakes and failures are the best learning opportunities.  I can already hear you using this one against me in the near future. And if you find yourself anxious, remember I'm here (It may not be best to talk to your uncles).

God continues to write a story through your life.  It's a story rich in love; don't ever forget that.  I'm thankful that we can look back on the pages you've lived through and that we can laugh and even learn.  I'm especially thankful for the pages where our names appear together.  I look to the pages ahead with anticipation. There's much living, learning and laughing yet to be done.

Happy Birthday.

I love you,




I've been waiting to write this post.

My mom had an opportunity to bring ordinary to life.  And she's done it. It all began when some caterpillars decided to spin their cocoon on her front porch this past spring; a whole host of them.

Rather than sweep them away like most creepy crawlers, she decided to let them stay.  The grandkids began to take notice, and before the butterflies made their appearance, a story emerged.

In real photos taken from my childhood home comes the story of Jardi.  Much like my own journey, probably yours too, Jardi learns that growing up isn't always easy. True transformation comes about through experiences shared with family, bullies and buddies, hurt and healing; and most importantly divine intervention.


I'm so proud for my mom and so excited to share with you the link to her first book, out on electronic shelves today!



 You can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Crossbooks. 

I LOVE stories.  What's your's?  Send it to me at And don't forget to come back tomorrow for "A Thursday for Your Thoughts" shared by Kristina DeVillier.


As a mom you want to give your children all they need to be whole.  Hayden is quickly approaching sixteen.  Regarding gifts which lead to wholeness, I've spent hours lately wondering if I've given Hayden just those things.

I think about the gifts I've fretted over; gifts I've searched for, and gifts that put an ache in my back as I've sat hunched dutifully wrapping box after box.  Most of those gifts served the purpose of bringing about temporary joy and a floor full of wrapping paper. There may have even been a few gifts that brought disappointment.

Thankfully he doesn't remember, but for his first Christmas, he received diapers, formula and rubber teething blocks. What a thrill! I'm pretty sure there were a couple of times underwear, socks or clothes of some sort were unwrapped to his secret displeasure.

Then there was that one gift we gave Hayden when he turned three. He excitedly ripped back paper to reveal his very first big boy bible with his full name embossed on the cover, "Hayden Fowler Burden".  I remember how he sweetly smiled and said, "Wow, let's see what's next!" ( interpreted: gift FAIL!)


Hayden's childhood is fading.

And while he is still entertained by simple joys like snapping pencils and catching food tossed at his mouth (who doesn't enjoy those things?) the gifts Hayden will receive this year will be less focused on entertainment.  My gift giving perspective is changing.

I don't want to give Hayden more gifts that will end up under his bed or gifts that he will quickly outgrow. I want to give gifts that will bring about smiles and excitement.  But the gifts I've got my heart set on giving this birthday won't have a price tag or an immediate wow factor.

I want the gifts his dad and I give him to be gifts that will be treasured; if not now, later, and for the long run.  I want to bless Hayden with gifts that will serve him into adulthood. We want to gift him in a way that will bless others and ultimately bring Glory to his father.

The gifts will be wrapped in prayer.  Over the next week, my posts will be devoted to praying for meaningful gifts to give the boy in my life who has brought me more joy than I can express.

Endure a mother's heart.





I'm doing lots of walking down memory lane this month. If only that kind of walking burned calories. Alas, I don't think it works that way, especially when your eating chocolate chip cookies (for breakfast) while you're walking down memory lane.

Back to the point.

Hayden will turn sixteen in seventeen days.  I am filled with emotion.

I'm excited for him; sixteen's a big one.  He'll be licensed to drive.  Turning sixteen is a sign that greater independence is at the threshold.

I'm also scared silly.  He's won't be entirely experienced when he gets behind the wheel (alone) There are other drivers out there with too much on their minds; drivers in a hurry.  Does driving signal that it's time for dating?

How did this happen so fast?

We got a scanner recently which prompted me to go through old pictures. I've been looking at pictures of Hayden with his chunky baby legs.  I've held pictures and laughed at his common expression around the age of two; the one where his fists are balled and his teeth are clenched and he's saying "cheese" to the whole world. It's almost more than I can bear to think those days are gone.

My "memory trip " reminded me of one of the stories I used to tell about Hayden.

Before the girls, when it was just Jason, Hayden and I,  our first pastorate was in Chilton.  I remember one Sunday Hayden had been especially "expressive" in Children's Church ( and by Children's church, I mean the mini lesson that was given on the podium-for the world to see). Despite the harmful rays projected from my evil eyes, Hayden continued to talk, and wiggle, and.... flip.

He and I were walking home to the parsonage after church.  I remember gripping his hand quite tightly in effort to show the seriousness of the situation.  I sneered, "We need to have a talk when we get home!". Hayden's little feet scrambled to keep up as he said, "Can we pray first?".

I love that story. It's a story that warrants an eye- roll as I've told it a hundred times.  But for some reason my current recollection has brought about new thoughts.

Hayden was a mess that Sunday, no doubt.  But as I look back at my reaction, it's me who has the greater lesson to learn.  I can't remember if we prayed first or not; I'm guessing we did not.

Should we have prayed first?  Should I be doing more praying now instead of reducing myself to a tearful, anxious mess of a woman?

I'm certain I'm going to be doing some worrying and that there will be some misty-eyed moments in the weeks to come.






Evils of the world.


Oh what am I saying, the years to come.

It's time to loosen my grip and

Even my tone

But I'd do best to take advice from a chubby cheeked boy and

"pray first".

Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Philippians 4:6

Today marks the remembrance of two anniversaries.

Forty-five years ago today my mom and my dad said, "I do".  Their marriage is a beautiful picture of devotion. Their love for each other and their love for the Lord has been my guide throughout my life.

My mom and dad with the kids

Six years ago today I sat in a waiting room.  I went with my mom to a routine appointment.  To my surprise, a nurse called my name and asked that I follow her.  As I walked briskly behind the nurse trying to keep up, she murmured, "Your mom's test came back positive".  Not understanding, I replied, "What?".  She said your mother has breast cancer and I thought you might want to sit with her while she waits for the doctor.  There is no word that strikes fear more than the word "cancer".  We weren't given any immediate prognosis.  I don't think my mind would have had the capacity to hear details beyond what I'd already heard.

I was sure our lives would never be the same.

Later that day we sat at my house, much in disbelief with my dad.  I can tell you that out of all of the brave souls I know, my mom wasn't one of them.  She was cautious.  She was a worrier.  And she was a very private woman.  If I could make a list of attributes describing my mom, her strength would not have been one of them.

No, our hope would lie one who's stronger.

We began to pray and we began to ask others to pray. My mom had surgery and we were glad to hear that the doctor felt confident that radiation would rid her of any remaining cancer. As the cancer was removed from her body, bits of my mother began to chip away...... but not the parts of her you may be thinking.

Her caution turned to a boldness as she made bookmarks for others battling cancer. Where once she was ruled by worry , I watched a greater faith spring up.  She was no longer the private woman I once knew.  She shared her own battle and made herself available to listen to others. As I had imagined, our lives have never been the same.

At one point I told my mother she had went from being a "worrier" to a "prayer warrior".

She's been cancer free for five years now; every member of our family touched by the experience.  But more importantly, we've been touched by God who brings beauty from ashes.

As you probably know, butterflies are a symbol of hope and resurrection for those touched by cancer. These pictures of Hallie- at a tree covered in butterflies- was taken on the day we found out my mom had cancer.


Pink is the color specifically for breast cancer, which is what mom had. Hallie, not usually much on the color pink, came out of her room in this get-up.  This also was on the day we got the cancer news.

July 28 will always be a date that I reflect on two legacies:

- A blessed life that came from the union of two wonderful people. 

- And a strength I hadn't yet known which blossomed from a beautiful

transformation only God can create.

Below is the poem my mom wrote during her cancer treatments.

Worrier to Warrior

When I am not in control of my life

Worry sets in causing much strife.

If my wants and worries, to the Lord I bear,

Will consequences come with answered prayer?

Even when I have a wonderful day,

I’ll worry about troubles coming my way.

Oh what troubles will tomorrow bring?

Will my worries ever change a thing?

Does God want me to worry my life away

Or give my worries to Him when I pray?

Then real trouble touched my life one day

Answered prayer, He took my worries away.

Now the Lord is my strength and my shield.

With the power of the Spirit, I am filled.

My helmet, salvation and my sword, God’s word.

My enemies are powerless when I trust in the Lord.

I’ll follow His commands and His armor I’ll wear

A good soldier of Jesus Christ, I’ll be prepared.

Now when trouble in the distance I see,

Not a Worrier but a Prayer Warrior I will be.

Gaye Griffin Fowler

September 4, 2006

Written during my Cancer Treatments

Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.

James 5:13 NIV

What a week; a week filled with thrilling rides, with Mickey and Minnie, good food, belly laughs,...

...and holding hands.

Disney World provided castles, fireworks, pixie dust- and rides which took you into a cave with swashbuckling pirates and on an encounter to Mt. Everest with the fearsome Yeti.

Yet nothing was as thrilling as the "togetherness" this past week.

Thankfully Rylie is just six and still loves to hold my hand and sit in my lap.  But if you remember, Hayden is almost sixteen.  He's an affectionate kid, but his affection is sporadic.  Hallie is eleven going on sixteen.  Holding my hand or Jason's hand is no longer a common occurrence.  With Hallie who now claims claustrophobia, holding my hand would be considered a rarity.

But hand holding and togetherness went on.

All week.

We stayed together because we were in unfamiliar territory. We linked arms so we wouldn't get lost.  We held hands as we didn't want to be separated in the masses. We walked in close proximity in the darkness that followed the night-time fireworks spectacular.

And there were times that we stayed close....... get this,..... just because we were enjoying each other.

In the midst of magic and madness, we were simply together.

Surely God feels the same.  He is with us every day, at the dinner table and in the car.   He is with us when we rise and when we slumber.  He walks with us in the mundane.  And he waits.

He longs for us to link arms with him as we board life's roller coasters with its twists and sudden drops. He wants us to hold tight to him in the crowd that so often blinds our view of him.

And when our hearts are spilling over with joy at the knowledge that life is good- God is good, maybe then most of all, he wants us to hold his hand.

..... do you think that the scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? James 4:5a







Call it the blog blahs.  Though I know each day is filled with the work and blessing of God, there are days that my limited words can't express my heart's gratitude.

As words fail, let the pictures speak.

They say a picture's worth a thousand words.

I've added a few.

A Summer Touched by God through















 Do you know how when you’re organizing or moving you put things in a box? It’s o.k. to be organized. There is nothing wrong with that. But when you put people in boxes- it’s just wrong.  I know that sounds weird, but let me say what I mean.

Do you or your friends ever say or think things like “That girl is ugly”, or “She is rude”, or “She’s weird”? Well that’s what we do, we put people in boxes. We see the bad in them and don’t try to see anything else in them.

We just simply throw them in a box. For example, we throw the girl without makeup in the ugly box, the girl with bad grades in the dumb box, and the girl who sits by herself at lunch in the weird box. These people we try to avoid or put them down.

It’s bad because we don’t see them as people.  We see them as things in a box to ignore or throw away. But that’s not how God made us. He didn’t make boxes for the jocks, the popular people, the nerds or weirdos. He just made us all different.  How would we be special if we were all the same?

None of us should be put in a box or ignored. So we should stop seeing him as the nerd or her as the ugly girl. We should just think of them as God’s children.

In the bible it says, Have we not all one Father?  Hath not one God created us? –Malachi 2:10

He didn’t make boxes.  He just made people. So next time you see a person remember this: Would you want to be put in a box?  And try not to think of her as a nerd or him as a jerk. Just try to see the good in people.

Well I’m having a lot of fun writing about boxes but you’re probably tired of hearing about this so I’m just going to make this story short and sweet. Because those are the best stories.

And I guess all there is left to say is “Over and out”,


Hallie Burden

11 years old

Hallie is my second guest blogger and my daughter.  She has determination bound to prove valuable as she stands firm in the midst of the temptation and chaos of the pre-teen world. She has a creative eye and enjoys designing. She loves listening to music, and twirling.  And truth be known she likes watching TV and sleeping-in too.  Pray for Hallie and her peers as they seek to see value in all people.  Pray that they be bolstered in love as they learn of the Father's love. Pray that they would find their security and self-worth in a God that lovingly created them unique to serve his purpose.

Attention GG's and other God's Girlies!

If you would like to share something special that God has done for you or through you send me an email.  I would love for you to highlight our God's Girlies page.


If you don't want to miss a post remember to subscribe.




Happy Father's Day; sounds funny telling you.  You're not my father, you're my husband.  But in being your wife I have had the pleasure that no one else has had of watching you be a father day in and day out. Sure there are others that observe your fathering skills.  And the kids are around you as much as I am.

But I see you.

I've seen the way you wrestle with Hayden.  When he was younger and couldn't hurt you, I watched you grab your side in mock pain and listened to you groan like it was unbearable. Now that he lacks two inches being your size, I watch you inwardly groan as he forces his weight on you. You laugh it off, though I'm pretty sure it's not funny. The kids always know what I'm feeling; I've never been able to hide that well. You always seem to know when you need to be heard and when to be silent.


You've changed diapers. In addition to chick flicks, you have suffered ad nauseam every Disney movie made. You've played Pretty Pretty Princess, and you played it well- even when the earring didn't match what you had on. You've been the fun guy.  You've been the bad guy. You have stood firm, when I simply wanted to please. Oh how I've been thankful for that. You were the one that Hallie looked to; the one whose hand she grasped firmly while showing the world her decision to follow Christ through baptism. What a blessing-you've baptized Hayden too. You have been there to cheer accomplishments and to comfort through disappointments. 


I've witnessed you attend tea parties. You've brushed and fixed hair. You've taught the kids to compliment meals even when Griffin wouldn't eat the leftovers. By example you have always taught the children to hold me in high esteem even when I didn't deserve it. You've proudly smiled the "that's my girl" smile at Rylie countless times.  And though I know you want the same things for Rylie that I want, you are the one who is patient.  You are the one who trusts when I am determined to make things happen. You exemplify peace in the midst of chaos.

You're the kind of man, husband, and father I hope Hayden someday to be.

You're the kind of man and husband  I pray the girls will someday  find.

You're the kind of man, husband and friend I'm glad to have.