Monday, June 30, 2008
Pictured above are: Eldon and Martha Smith (far left and far right), me, my wife, Coletta, and our granddaughter, Miley showing off! This photo was taken in front of the present church building of the Liberty Baptist Church, where Coletta and I have now ministered for 12 years.
The Smiths have been on the staff of the Westside Baptist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas for over 30 years. Eldon and I worked side by side as assistant pastors for 4 years there, then I became the Sr. Pastor and got to "boss" Eldon around for nine years before our coming to Ohio. I had just started my Father's Day sermon a few weeks ago, and here walks in Eldon and Martha into our sanctuary. They were out here on a vacation, and slipped in on us! Eldon has been an assistant pastor and music pastor all these years. While we worked together in Kansas, he led a 60 voice adult choir, and today, he sings in a Southern Gospel Quartet, leads the music and still serves full time at Westside.
Coletta and I could not have been more surprised, pleased, or happier than to be "reunited" with our old "co-workers!" After morning church, we went to the nearby China Town Express and brought back a bunch of old memories over lunch. When I told Coletta, "If I would have known they were coming, I would have had Eldon teach Sunday School, sing a mini-concert, preach the Father's Day sermon, and had a choir clinic Sunday night!" Her response to me was, "And that's why they didn't tell us they were coming! They were on VACATION!" I hate it when she's right!
Eldon and Martha, you made me speechless that Sunday! Thank you for making our Father's Day so complete! I was truly surprised more than you will ever know, and it sure was fun preaching to you again!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
That's me on the left, Aaron in the center holding our former Scotty Dog Kobie (she died 3 years ago), and Matt on the right. This photo was taken in May 1995 as a surprise gift from the boys and me for Mother's Day. Matt was just finishing up his Jr. Year in High School, and Aaron was finishing his Freshman year. I was 42. We lived in Inman, Kansas and Coletta and I worked and went to college in McPherson, Kansas where this picture was taken. For this photo setting, I ironed ten different shirts for the three of us while Coletta was working at the McPherson Hospital, not knowing for sure which "three" of the ten would "match." Kinda crazy walking in to the photographer's studio with a Scotty, the boys and ten shirts. One funny thing was that the shirt I am wearing here was Matt's and he's wearing my shirt! The photographer made us switch!
1995 was one of the toughest years in our lives, but we learned to really trust God and the Lord used that year to really draw us closer to Him and closer together as a family.
Just last Sunday was Father's Day. As always, my boys made me proud to be their Dad and showed their love to me. Aaron sent me money,an E-card and called me from China. Matt, his wife Jenny and daughter, Miley met Coletta and me for supper at Olive Garden in Lima, Ohio, and gave me a beautiful golf bag and a great card from my granddaughter on her first Father's Day! Coletta is letting me pick out my very first GPS for our car this week, and gave me a neat card also. As I was eating with my family that day, I said, "How could a Father ask for more? A call from a son in China on my cell phone as I was eating at a Chinese Restaurant (that was lunch), gifts from my family, and then, supper with my oldest son and his family!" It all made me so proud to be a Father, and the whole day ended up being one of the best Father's Days I've ever had.
Please read the article below and see two more pictures of my boys when they were younger.
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Monday, June 9, 2008
Pictured: Matt Burns, 7, Aaron 5, and their cousin, K. C. 8 months
I wanted to do my first "Father's Day Blog" on my two sons. Matthew James Burns, our oldest son was born on March 24, 1977. Aaron Jay Burns, our youngest was born on August 24, 1979. Both born at the Raleigh General Hospital, Beckley, West Virginia. Coletta and I had Matt the old fashioned way with an old fashioned Doctor where I just sat in the hospital waiting room waiting for my name to be called so they could tell me, "It was a boy!" Dr. Bliss was easily in his 60's, when he delivered both of our sons. But, by the time Aaron was born, he had a change of heart, and let me "in" for the event. I put on the garb and got to see my second child born. Bliss had delivered literally hundreds of West Virginia babies, but, when Aaron popped out, I said to the Doc, "Wow wee, I haven't even seen a cat born before!" The Doc's reply was simple and quiet. "Me neither!"
Give or take a few years, Matt and Aaron spent 18 years of their lives being raised in a "pastor's home." Matt's 31 now and Aaron will be 29 the end of this summer, so, I guess I can say, "I've raised my boys!" I said "good bye" to Matt when we moved to Ohio as he stayed back in Kansas for a while. We then said "good bye" to Aaron when he left for college in Northern Wisconsin.
Coletta and I love both of our sons equally and always have. Neither of them always behaved perfectly (or like how all the church folks thought they should have), but they were both much better than I was growing up, especially during my teen years. They are both smart, practical, handsome, funny, fun to be with, and hard workers. They are thoughtful too. I can't remember a birthday, a Father's Day, or a Christmas that both of my boys didn't either, call, write, or come visit to assure me of their love for their old gray haired dad. So, if you have kids, cherish the baby and toddler years. Cherish the times of taking your kids to drop them off at school. Don't miss a ball game or music performance your kids play in. Take them on day trips, fishing, skiing, and neat vacations camping and going to parks. Go canoeing with them. (We did all of this and had a blast)! And then, when your kids grow up and move away, you won't have to hear them say, "Dad never had any time for me!"
From Left to Right: Aaron and Matt Burns with neighbor girl at Hutchinson, Kansas
Thanks Matt and Aaron for making your old man feel so loved. I'm proud of both of you, and love you very much. Even with all the ups and downs, laughter and tears, I can honestly say, "It's good to be a Father."
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