Today we take a few moments


the life of a courageous little girl

whose brief touch on this earth has impacted more people

than a 2 1/2 year old typically has the chance to


the faith that it launched in people

the depth that it dug in people

the inner healing that will continue to abound in people


the GOODNESS of God

…because even in the midst of the pain that is felt…






for our LOSS


will continue to CELEBRATE

her GAIN 

Luse family-044

Ruby Joy (Rubes)

you were a delight to know

you were a champion

you gave me reasons to never give up hope

…to never lose heart

Through your life

mine was revived

Thank you for being a part of my life

It was a JOY to know you here

Can't wait to run with you someday

and laugh

and giggle

and dance

…let's dance together

Your legacy extends farther than any of us can see

and will last for eternity

You are a hero to me, Rubes

Love you.


In memory of Ruby Joy Luse

July 10, 2009-March 14, 2012

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35.10

Not Just About Pig Puppets

"Ha!  I remember when you used to r100_0618ead to us from The Azusa Street Papers in LifeCore!"-Amber

"I did that?"-Me

"Yea.  You loved the stories!"-Amber

This past Friday I got to spend some time with a really good friend of mine from college, Amber.  She came into DC for some work and contacted me.  We hadn't seen each other in almost seven years, since her graduation from North Central.

Amber and I met in the fall of 1999, when she moved onto my floor as a college freshman.  I was a leader on my floor and she was one of the girls in my LifeCore group.  We hung out on Tuesday nights from 9-10pm (or if you know me…some stayed until about 12:)  She's from Pennsylvania, so we'd bonded over that immediately, and she just became one of my girls very quickly. The next year I had the opportunity to be Amber's RA (Resident Advisor) for the second half of the year and she was a leader on my floor.  

We were reminiscing with several stories from college the other night, including that one Saturday morning, the second week of school when I physically threatened a guy from our Brother Floor (Yea 4 East-Carlson!) for making her uncomfortable.  As a 20-year-old girl, much shorter than 18-year-old him, I looked up with fire in my eyes and firmly said, "You need help, dude.  And I will hurt you if youWil the pig ever do anything like that to her ever again!"  He didn't.  Amber confirmed it the other night.  He never made her uncomfortable again.  Ha!  I guess having two older brothers to practice fighting with helped, huh?

Amber and I also remembered awesome floor gatherings-like the floor meetings that I'd have where my  leaders and I would wear certain articles of clothing over other articles of clothing, and I'd break out my microphone and we'd do karoake…along with choreographed dances.  And some of you thought that you knew me.  Ha!  If you've never seen me in pig pajamas, wearing pig slippers, pigtails in my hair with pig scrunchies, dancing around with a pig puppet, well…you don't really know me all that well, do you?  I have no desire to go back in time and be in college again, but I will always remember those dance parties my college days fondly.

The thinking pig Don't get me wrong though.  Bible college isn't just all about dancing around with your underwear on your head, rewriting popular songs to sing to your brother floor (like going from "I Wanna Grow Old with You" to "I Wanna be a Sister to You"), dedicating songs to your brother floor on Delilah, playing with pig puppets, playing Four on a Couch and singing your heart out with your curling iron.  (Boy, this list could GO ON!  And wouldn't you love some pictures to go with it?  Dang film cameras!  Will have to scan some pictures in someday.)

**Meet my pig puppet, Wil.  This is him as "The Thinking Pig".  I bought him on my first trip out to NCU, my senior year of high school.  Yes, I still have him.  My grandchildren will giggle at that face someday.  Before you lose all respect for me, know that this little piggie has gone to town and brought many smiles to many faces…including anyone that realized that it made it into our Neshaminy High School's, Year of '97 Senior Class picture.  (Thank you, John Terrence!)

A thoughtful moment from my evening with Amber has been stuck on my opening conversation.  The Azusa Street Papers is an odd-sized book that we had to get for a class at North Central.  It's a collection of 13 issues of a paper that documented testimonies of what God was doing in a revival that happened in the early 1900's.  This paper was printed and passed all around the country to spread the word that God, indeed, did still move in miraculous ways!  People 0032_azusa_street-paperswould flock to be a part of this revival that was happening in this small part of Los Angeles (yes, LA!), and then go home with joy and hope that God can do the same things through their lives!  The stories that some think are so crazy and unbelievable about the Bible….many of the same things were happening among the people in this move of God!  I was so captivated by reading testimony after testimony of healings that took place, and my heart was so moved by the stories of what God had done in the lives of thousands of people.  I loved that odd-sized book…and I guess I would just sit and read the stories to people, including my LifeCore girls.  Ha!  I don't remember it, but it makes sense.  I really  did love that book.

Here I am, about eleven years later, and I am still captivated by how God moves…except a lot more in "real time".  I can't even begin to describe what He is doing in my heart right now, simply on this blog.  Over New Years I got to join 5 of my good friends in going to Kansas City for I-HOP's OneThing conference.  (I-HOP the House of Prayer, not of Pancakes:)  I-HOP is leading one of many prayer movements throughout the world.  It's pretty awesome.  They have a 24/7 prayer room, that is currently streamed online for free through their site.  My life has been blessed and my heart has been stirred.  And guess what…people have been healed and filled with joy, and they're taking joy and hope back to their homes, and around the world!  Ironically, that same year that I became captivated by what had happened through the Azusa Street Revival…that's the same year that I-HOP was founded.

These are merely two moves of God…He moves in miraculous ways all the time, in big and small ways…but these are two that have impacted my life. 

I guess I just found it humorous that so much has been happening in my heart, to the overflow of joy and hope, and that it's been quite an awakening in my spirit…and then that Amber reminded me of this crazy obsession that I had with something similar back in college.  I don't think the obsession ever went away, but I do think it has been dormant for some time, peeking up but not truly coming to the surface until now.

One of my prayers for today…Acts 2.42-47

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.


It was a slightly chilly day in September, back in 1993, when I stood at the flag pole of Neshaminy Junior High school with my friend, Andrew, to pray for our school.  It was my first See You at the Pole day, and there were so many emotions flying high in me.  My dad and I picked Andrew up early enough for us to go pray for some time, and still have be able to get to class on time.  I recall a teacher coming out to join us, but I never had her and never really got to know her.  A few people stopped to ask us what we were doing.  "We're praying for you," we responded.  Throughout the day several people questioned us about our stance by the pole that morning…it was a day to stand up for your faith or die of embarrassment.  I remember that year for so many reasons…Biology class when I had to stand up for what I believed, Jason Coleman committing suicide, and Social Studies class-in which we learned about all the major religions, and because I wanted to know more about how to reach other people, I got something like a 115% on the final test because I'd memorized all that info.  It was definitely an interesting year, to say the least.

My next three years at Neshaminy High School held many more moments of sharing my faith with teachers and peers…it always started with See You at the Pole.  See You at the Pole is always on a Wednesday-the third one in September-on which students all over the country (world?) stand around their school flagpoles and pray.  The standard time is about 7am, but if your school starts earlier, you can do it any time.  It's a day when teenagers all over are endeavoring to make a statement and to simply pray together.  At NHS it always started our Wednesday morning prayer group and our Bible study (every Tuesday after school).  We had a prayer group, that was about 30 people when I graduated, that prayed in our cafeteria during breakfast every Wednesday morning.  We would pray for each other, our classmates, our teachers, our administrators, our country.  No one really led it…we just knew we had to do it.  People would randomly join us every now and then, just because we'd become somewhat of a team:) 

Fast forward to today.  It was See You at the Pole day, and I joined one of our 7th graders and my friend, Andrea, on the grass in front of our school to pray for my co-workers, my students, my administration, and my community (of Hamtramck).  At one point, I heard one of my students get out of her car and yell "Ms. Burton!!!!"  I chose not to answer, out of reverence for what was happening in that moment.  I didn't notice that she came over, and that Andrea asked her if she wanted to join us.  I'd started to pray a prayer that was from deep within my heart…and I had no idea that she was standing there.  Huh.  God is so funny…He didn't let on that she was standing there.

I felt a bit different this morning…like I was bolder when I was 14.  How did I become tainted?

This past summer when God clearly showed me a vision of a Bible study happening in my classroom this school year.  Hmmm.  I knew that I couldn't start one.  That would literally be illegal.  I knew who in my class would be interested, but I wasn't really sure how this would happen exactly.  God even gave me a verse!  These past couple of months I've been handing this to the Lord and asking Him to guide this into existence. 

This past week, a couple of girls at our school, that go to Real Church, asked to start a Bible study.  They asked if they could have it in my classroom on Mondays, after school.  Then today they went around to all the classes to tell the school about it.  "Live for God" was the title of the flyer they handed out to our kids.  About 10 kids in my class signed up, saying that they were interested (including 2 Muslim kids that I'm pretty sure didn't know what they were signing up for :).  Most of the other kids I expected to sign up, and 2 of the boys with extreme anger issues also signed up.

Honestly, do you know what happens when you see a vision happening right before your eyes?  Do you have any idea what it was like to hold back tears today? 

If you happen to think of me on a Monday, ask God to speak in our Bible study, please.  There just might be a revival in my school, yet, this year;)


One of the Coolest Seniors I know

My vacation149

This is Rachel.  She was in the 5th grade classroom that I student taught in, in Minneapolis.  And now she’ll be graduating from high school next year.  She’s absolutely one of the coolest teenagers that I know.  That isn’t an exaggeration of the truth and although most of the world will never know her, the world is SO MUCH BETTER because she lives in it.  Rachel’s a living, breathing example of maturing young woman who knows Jesus, loves people, and lives in real community with her neighborhood.  I’ve seriously never met anyone like her!  It was an awesome privilege it was to hang out with her one day when I was there, and I could probably write several posts about her. 

I decided that she’s one of my young heroes.  I want to be like her when I grow up. 🙂

Contributing in the Name Of

In August of 2004, some "genius" decided that I would be a good candidate to teach 2nd grade in Detroit.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into by hiring me…and neither did I.  This guy held a couple of leadership roles at that first school when I was there, but basically, he was my boss.  Our school shut down and we all parted ways…but this school year, my former boss, Paddock (we go by last names at our school) came on as our Vice Principal.  This has been a very cool thing for so many reasons, none of which I will delve into right now.  But this is where I’m headed at the moment…Paddock’s father passed away the other night after battling with lung cancer.  I can see that it’s been a tough thing for him and his family to journey through.  For whom wouldn’t it be?  We were informed today that if we wanted to, we could make contributions to the American Cancer Society, in his name.  It struck a thought with me…

So Mr. Paddock passed away due to lung cancer, and they’d like contributions to something that could potentially help someone like him in the future.

If I passed into eternity, where would I like contributions to be made?  I haven’t come to my conclusion quite yet, but here are a few ponderings.

I love giving to missions (aka people who serve Jesus by serving others…well, that should be all followers of Jesus…but more specifically, those who are depending on others to support them financially and prayerfully).  That’s a definite possibility.

You can’t deny the fact that I love kids and teaching, so it would also make perfect sense if I wanted donations made to the school I work with, or for there to be a one time scholarship made to a current student of mine at the time (or even former student of mine). 

Also in light of my love for teaching and literacy, wouldn’t it be cool for people to donate books in my name to kids in poverty?  It would have to be tagged with my life testimony or something though…

Cancer has reared its ugly face in my family (most recently with my mom’s sister who was just told that she had cervical cancer and only a few months to live), so I could very well like to also give to the American Cancer Society.

What am I most passionate about that needs money?  I’m not ready to answer that question just yet, although to be honest, the book thing made my heart beat a little bit faster.  I don’t know though.  It’s an interesting thing to think about though, huh?

Girls B-Ball Tournament

So I’ve never really been all that into sports.  I never really hated watching them, but I’ve just never been
too into them…especially middle school sports (which is like, a whole new realm of sports:).

Over a month ago I was asked to take pictures at one of our middle school girls’ basketball games.  Then my smooth Athletic Director friend, Tony, got me to do concessions at a few of the games.  It was during these times that I was reminded how much I loved teenagers…which lead me right up to the girls’ b-ball tournament today.  Their first game was at 8am and then they didn’t play again until 3pm….it was a long day, and full of losses.  But I was the only teacher that came, beyondIst2_4358818_nothing_but_net their coach and 2 administrators.  I only really knew one of the girls on the team beyond "Hello" so I felt like it was funny that I was beginning to really love these girls.  Then today I got to hang out with them a little bit…and they really liked having me there!  (well some of them did:)  I had the opportunity to take some teachable moments with a couple of them, and they really cliqued with me…which was really surprising to me. 

I could never teach middle school (God bless MS teachers), but I realized today that I can still invest in their lives.  It is tough being 12, after all:)

Happy Birthday Stephanie!!

Can I just tell you about my sister-in-law for a minute?  Her name was Stephanie Sue Hafner, until she married my big brother, David, 13 years ago, and became a Burton for life:)

She first got to know me during my most awkward years as an early teen, and she definitely knew me during my brattiest years.  At first I didn’t want to get to know her because Dave had just broken up with his high school sweetheart, whom I’d adored, and I was just so mad at him for that!  I didn’t want to give this new chick a chance.  But eventually, once she showed me how much she knew about nails and makeup, I was hooked on her (and let me tell you, she knew how to pile on the makeup and do her nails:)  It’s ironic because she’s isn’t even high-maintenance about those things anymore! 

Stephanie was my first sister-in-law, and the only sister figure I had during those teen/college years.  She bore me my first 3 nephews, and I get to hear all her wisdom as a young mom (still young at 37, Steph:)…I’m so grateful for that.  She’ll do anything for her kids, or for her husband. 

She’s a woman of God who is continually giving the Holy Spirit room to change her.  She  challenges me deeply.  Steph’s one person that has the right to speak into my life at any time and kick me in the butt about anything.  There’s nothing that I would hide from her or be ashamed to tell her…she knows me well.

We love to talk about kids, Jesus, change, ministry…She’s quite the confidant to me.

I could go on and on and on about what Stephanie means to me, as my sister and as one of my very best friends…but that’s not even possible to do right now.  I absolutely love her deeply and and I am so glad she’s been in my life all this time.

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

This is a funny picture of her at Ryder’s baby shower last year…

This is a better picture of her pregnant with Ryder last year…(so beautiful!)

And this is Stephanie with David…I love this couple:)


I’ve gotta throw a recent picture of Ryder (the offspring:)  Isn’t this kid hilarious?  I love his "alternative" hair style.

60 Things

In honor of both my dad, who just turned 60 yesterday, and my mom, who turned 60 last September, here are the top 60 things I love about my parents…

60.  together they had the best daughter ever:)
59.  they gave me two awesome big brothers
58.  they love me like crazy
57.  they’re very hard workers and taught me to be a hard worker
56.  my dad worked at a publishing company when i was little and bought me books home from work all the time
55.  my mom is the best cook
54.  take a look at me…i am my mother’s daughter, for sure
53.  see my passion…i’m also my father’s daughter, for sure
52.  they’ve been married since 1969 (it’ll be 37 years in June)
51.  they always made sure i went to church
50.  my mom was my Missionettes leader
49.  my dad was a Sunday School teacher
48.  my mom prayed with me before school
47.  at one time they allowed me to take a train to Pittsburgh all by myself (i was 14!)
46.  my dad gets teary-eyed every time I leave
45.  i have to take a deep breathe before i hug my dad because he doesn’t want to let go
44.  they trusted me in high school
43.  they’ve forgiven me for every time i was dishonest to them as a child
42.  they’ve forgiven me for the times that i hurt them
41.  they sometimes pay for me to come visit them
40.  my dad calls to sing the Eagles fight song on my voicemail
39.  my mom gets hilarious when we play games with our whole family (she laughs so hard, it’s hard to contain yourself just watching her)
38.  "Momisms" like how she says…"duffle bag" as "duffie bag" or "balsamic vinegar" as "baslamic vinegar"…one of my all-time favorites-"Chuck E Cheese" is "Chunky Cheese" to my mom:)
37.  "Hot-hands Burton"-my mom can touch any hot dish, right out of the oven without burning herself!  it’s really amazing
36.  my dad’s love for his cat, Robbie
35.  my dad’s patriotism
34.  the way my dad draws a Robbie, the cat, "stamp" on every family birthday/holiday card sent out or given…you really have to see it to appreciate it
33.  the way my dad labels every picture/character on all my birthday cards
32.  my mom always gets me a manicure and/or pedicure for Christmas
31.  when one of my best friends made a video all about me "the kim video", my parents watched it several times and then made other people watch it…
30.  my mom has gotten so many awards at Cardone Industries, where she works (I pretty sure she might take over the company someday)
29.  how much my dad loves to see my pictures-I got his eye for pictures, you know
28.  i love it that when they visited me a year ago, they connected with one of my favorite teens, Casey (my mom was trying to kill him in Uno:)
27.  i love it that my dad comments on my blog
26.  and that my mom actually reads it now!
25.  i love it that i get to share my birthday with my mom
24.  my dad is a huge Philadelphia team fan and tries to keep me in the loop of what’s going on
23.  dad usually knows Detroit weather before I do because he checks it almost everyday
22.  they encourage me
21.  they are so proud of me and that makes me smile
20.  they ache to see my nephews play ball (they really love their grandkids and want to be with them!)
19.  they’re going to move to the midwest someday soon (oh, wait, that’s what i’m hoping for:)
18.  they send me a gift on Valentine’s Day:)-hopefully someday someone else will take care of that
17.  my parents hate the game, Cranium, but will play it with us because us kids love it
16. i love it that my mom actually figured out how to forward a message on her cell phone!  this is very big

15.  my mom knows that I typically need a Philly cheesesteak asap when I go home to visit

14.  my dad passed along his sweettoothe to me

13.  when I would fight with my brothers when I was little, I was always right:)

12.  they let me go far away to college-and didn’t make any bones about it

11.  they’ve allowed God to change them (aren’t we all glad that God does that in our lives?)

10.  they haven’t just gotten older, they’ve grown

9.    they support me in everything that I do!

8.    they make me miss them….

7.    they’ve listened to my stories (my many, many stories)

6.    they always made sure that I met my responsibilities to my church ministries growing up

5.  they took me to church the night I asked Jesus into my heart (and made sure that I told my pastor about it afterward)

4.  they allowed friends to be important in my life

3.  they disciplined me

2.  they put the Word into my hands as a child

1.  God gave them to me!

I truly love my parents, for even more reasons than these.  God loves us so much that He puts in the best places in which we’ll grow to become more like Him.  I’m thankful for my parents, who love me more than I can probably imagine.  And I hope that they have stepped into their 61st year of life with the best yet to come. 

Love you, Mom and Dad!  -Kimberly

Updates are good:)

Nothing in particular, just a post for my memoir:)

1.)Today was a great day for a snow day:)  I didn’t go into Hamtramck to work but I did go into (you guessed it!) Caribou to work.  Unfortunately I didn’t gravitate to my large stack of papers to grade, but I worked with my friend, and co-worker, Dana on our School Improvement Plan.  I probably haven’t mentioned this before, but I recently became the chair for our School Improvment Committee at school.  The is the biggest job-related committee that I’ve ever led and it’s more like a second part-time job…just what I needed, something else to do:)  I really do love it though.

The Michigan Department of Education is often unrealistic with it’s goals for us but in order to exist, we comply.  My hope is that God will use me at Hanley to cast vision for us to not only comply with the regulations, but to excel above them.  So far that task has been a bit overwhelming (what’s new:).  We are setting out to write a School Improvement Plan…and then implement it.  Honestly, it stresses me out a bit when I think about it, but if I’m going to be here to work I want to be an impact.  And so that’s why I love it that I get to do this.  It’s a ton of extra work…a ton…and I hold more responsibility than I personally think I should, but growth will come as I walk through this-holding God’s hand, of course.

In saying that, I don’t mean to compartmentalize God’s "role" in my life…but I do sometimes.  Honestly, I’ve only prayed about the school improvement thing once…and the rest I’ve done on my own.  Gee, I’m thinking there’s something wrong with that picture.  Hmmm.  My heart is heavy right now over a few things, with this being one of them. 

2.) I’m quitting Curves.  This is very shocking to a few people, but it really just needs to happen.  The good news about that though, is that I joined a different gym.  I’m pretty excited about it too-change can be an awesome thing.  I’m going to have a personal trainer and she’s going to basically tell me what to do.  Last night was the first session-it was actually a trial day.  My lower body’s a bit sore, but I feel great today!  Then this morning I went and jogged a full mile (yes, I am definitely moving towards accomplishing my running goals:). 

God continues to challenge me physically.  He’s my best cheerleader and my biggest fan.  I’m glad He’s also put a few others in my life who extend His cheering for me.  It really helps me through some tough moments.

3.)Do you ever have days/weeks where you don’t think you have enough time to spend with Jesus?  I’ve been going through that this past week.  How illogical is that?  God holds time in His hands.  He shaped it and formed it.  I really need Him to direct my schedule…somehow I think He’d do that better than me.  So, I’m sitting here writing, but I miss Him…and I think I need to go spend some time with Him.  It is Valentine’s Day, and He is the hottest date I could possibly have, right?   So, good night, and Happy Valentine’s Day.  Hope you spent time with the One who loves you the most.

35,475 Days

On Saturday I will celebrate my 10,000th day, but today I celebrate a woman who lived her 35,475th day, and then passed into eternity

This was Katherine Burton 2 Christmases ago, holding one of her favorite things…chocolate.  I think she may have influenced my like for chocolate;)


She was my last, living grandparent at the age of 97 years old.

There are some people in my life that I could always count on to pray for me.  Grandmom was probably the most consistent throughout my life.  She knew Jesus.  She loved Jesus.  She prayed to Jesus.  She told others about Jesus…What an example.

I’m glad that I got to see her at Christmas time to say, "Goodbye."  She kept talking about "Glory"-
going there, longing to be there with Jesus (and every now and then she would look up at us and ask if were finally in Glory, together:).  We got to pray with her as she just cried out to Jesus.  She really wanted to see Him.  Then she just started praying…for me!  Grandmom was there in pain and she started to pray for me.  Can I tell you the funny thing about it all though?  She prayed for my future husband.  🙂  After many conversations with her about the topic, I think she may have thought about it more than I did. 

She valued love and relationships, and right now-if it works this way-she’s with my grandpop, whom I never met, and whom she longed to be with once again.  I loved her so much.  She cared so deeply for me, and I will miss her.  The best thing is that I will see her again someday:)