Rubes

Today we take a few moments

to CELEBRATE

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

We CELEBRATE

the faith that it launched in people

the depth that it dug in people

the inner healing that will continue to abound in people

We CELEBRATE

the GOODNESS of God

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

He

is

still

good

We GRIEVE

for our LOSS

Yet

will continue to CELEBRATE

her GAIN 

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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

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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.

SYATP

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

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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…
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This is a better picture of her pregnant with Ryder last year…(so beautiful!)
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And this is Stephanie with David…I love this couple:)

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