It’s just another story of a mom desperate for hope after losing her child! Or is it? The one person that spoke significantly into Kathy’s grief was her departed daughter. Listen in as Leisha influences her mom to see the tiny slivers of hope- like wisps of a dandelion.



Days after the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter, Leisha, Kathy Burrus found chapter one of a book her daughter had begun to write. Overwhelmed with grief, Kathy asked many of the questions we ask ourselves in life’s most painful moments;

 Why is this happening to me? 
• Where are you God?
• How can I deal with this unexpected pain in my life?

It was Leisha’s unfinished book that penetrated deep into the torn and broken heart of her mother. As Kathy wrote to finish Leisha’s story, Leisha pointed her mom to see the lovely traces God revealed about himself in random and unexpected ways. The Living One who Died became alive in Kathy’s life like never before.

Do you struggle to see goodness from the God who has allowed your journey to have heart-wrenching pain? Do you long to experience the hope that God promises you?

God is giving you Lovely Traces of Hope each day. In this book, Kathy reveals how she began to see them- and how you can too!

Available Now Through These Booksellers

about the authors


Kathy Burrus never intended to be an author.

Wife. Mother. Life Coach. Speaker. All of these things, yes! But writing a book was definitely not on her bucket list!

That changed the day after her daughter Leisha died. In the back of Leisha’s journal, she found Chapter One of a book her daughter had begun. It opened by telling Kathy’s story and ended with "…and then I was born, Leisha D. Burrus". In that moment, Kathy knew she was meant to finish the book.

Kathy is a lover of stories, and more importantly, of the people who live those stories. She chose to become a certified professional life coach to take this a step further, and help women hear, through their own stories, who they are and how they are making a difference in their world. She loves to help them intentionally design hope as they engage their life, empower their love in marriage, and even embrace their loss.

Drawing from her experience as a life coach and from years in ministry as a worship leader and as the wife of a pastor, Kathy has found her author’s voice. In her writing, she shares a message of hope and healing to women that is authentically transparent.

Kathy and her husband Rennie, have been married for 38 years. They have three beautiful daughters; Caitlin, Brielle, and Leisha, and now enjoy the presence of two sons-in-law; Jack and Jason. Kathy and Rennie make their home surrounded by the cornfields of Columbus Grove, Ohio.

In her offstage time, Kathy enjoys hosting tea parties with her grandmother’s china, listening to music that matches her mood, and observing the beauty of nature from some of her favorite spaces. Add to that some precious time with family and friends and she is one happy lady.

To schedule Kathy for your women’s event or conference, or to learn more about her ministry and how she can help you listen to your story, email


Meet Leisha

I had always known Leisha was a lover of words. She liked to sing them, debate them, cheer them, and even make acrostics out of them. She especially liked to talk, whether it was telling a favorite story or encouraging a friend. She would often record her thoughts and stories of most recent events on a tape recorder we had given her. Her journals were full of memories of her life. But we did not know she was writing her story until the day she died.

Inspiration for the book

Leisha had the title page for her book. "Lovely Traces" But she wrote only one chapter. She started to tell of her birth, but chose instead to write that one chapter about my story and the years leading up to her birth. The chapter ended, "And then I was born. Leisha Danae Burrus. April 28, 1991."

kathy & Leisha

I knew the day I read this chapter that it was mine to finish. But her chapter was the start I needed to take a long look at my own story. Leisha prompted me to take time to pay attention to incredible lessons from my own journey. Now together Leisha and I encourage you to do the same.

Foreword by Linda Dillow

Linda Dillow.jpg

Dear Kathy,

Thank you for walking through the dark tunnel to His Light
Thank you for writing so honestly and vulnerably for me and others about grief and pain and how to walk….
believing that there is HIS Light somewhere ahead
Thank you for “taking your clothes off” and being real
Thank you for revealing the beauty of walking the Christ walk.

Dear Reader: Why do I think you should read this book? Let me use Leisha’s name to tell you.

L egacy
Both Leisha and Kathy have much to share about building your legacy. Kathy says, When we intentionally NOTICE what really is happening, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we
are learning from it. More importantly we see what God has been doing. We NOTICE His fingerprints, HIS HAND on our everyday, ordinary lives. That is especially true when we
reckon with the painful areas that may leave us paralyzed in some way. Many times just “noticing” allows us to reframe the events and their effects on our future.

E ncouragement
As a mom, Kathy gave me hope, showed me how to face problems with teens, how to reach inside myself and be willing to look honestly at “me.” We all face loss. Loss is not the defining moment of our lives, it is how we respond to loss that matters. Kathy helped me see in a new way that healing is a progression.

I nfluence
Not many fifteen year olds think about being an influence—they are too busy thinking about boys, clothes or the Friday night party. Leisha wanted to be MAD (Make a Difference)! At her
tender age, she thought about being an influence and leaving a legacy. Teens need to read this book!

S incere
Kathy is honest. Listen to her sincere words. I hesitate to write these next pages. Offering them here is a risk. What will you think of me if I tell of the places in our lives we didn’t have it all
together? What if I take off the mask enough for you to see me as I really am?

H oly
Leisha and Kathy’s book points you to the Lord God Almighty. In pain. In grief. When life is a dark tunnel, Kathy discovered that God is still Light. She says, I had to learn to NOTICE God
showing up differently.

A dvance
This book is an advance. It takes you forward in your thinking, in your faith, in your personal journey toward the legacy you are creating. Books have been written on grief. Kathy achingly walks
you through how she processed her grief. Books have been written on how to help your teen and whole family walk through trials, Kathy shows you how her family did it.

Leisha and Kathy’s combined story is for every mom, every teen….really for everyone. I highly recommend Lovely Traces of Hope to you. I promise you it will lead you to hope as it did me!

"She's holding my manuscript."  Kathy with Linda at Surprised By the Healer Conference, Green, Ohio 2015

"She's holding my manuscript." Kathy with Linda at Surprised By the Healer Conference, Green, Ohio 2015


Calm My Anxious Heart, Satisfy My Thirsty Soul
(and many others, but these are some of my favorites)

Intimate Issues, Passion Pursuit, Surprised by the Healer






Juli Slattery

Author of Surprised by the Healer and others.
President and Co-Founder of

My Dear Kathy,
What a sacred journey you have invited me into by asking me to read your book! I grew to know you, love you and grieve with you as I read. It made me wish we could have coffee together once a week. It caused me to hug my teenagers more tightly and cling to the Lord knowing that He is faithful through the deepest of trials. Thank you for influence--asking me to go with you and Leisha!

Dear Reader: Through this beautiful book, Kathy invites you into her naked heart. You experience her joy, her deepest sorrow and grief only to witness a resurrection of authentic hope. If you are walking through trial and grief, God will use this courageous testimony to breathe new life into you!

—Dr Juli Slattery


Carrie Wilkerson

Speaker, Coach, Author of The Barefoot Executive

This momma’s heart, battered from disappointments, a selfharming child and realizations that she had to let go of a lifelong dream in order to live fully present with her family, was further broken by the tragic loss of her youngest daughter.

But as if whispering from the other side of Heaven … 15 year old Leisha’s own words were a balm to her weary soul.

What do pickles, pinwheels and produce farming have to do with healing and hope? Maybe nothing, maybe everything.   Peek inside these pages to find hearts laid bare … leaving traces of love, light and ever-present hope.

—Carrie Wilkerson

Jerry Sittser.jpg

Jerry Sittser

PhD Professor of theology at Whitworth University
Author of
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss

A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life

Parents assume their children will outlive them, which makes the loss of a child not only painful but confusing and disorienting.  Kathy experienced what literally tens of millions of mothers have experienced throughout human history.  But in the wake of the loss she discovered something which changed everything; a journal that contained the beginning of Leisha’s life story, a story that was stopped short so suddenly.  How many teenagers write their life story?  

People’s lives carry forward as memory and influence, for good or for ill.  This unusual book illustrates such influence in a way that is concrete, moving, and powerful. Normally a daughter carries forward the story of her mother; in this case the mother carries forward the story of the daughter.  I am grateful beyond measure that Kathy chose to complete the story.  God bless her for it. 

—Dr Jerry Sittser


Becky Harling

Speaker, author of The 30 Day Praise Challenge
and certified life and leadership coach with
The John Maxwell Team

Is there hope after death? With grace and gut level authenticity, Kathy gently takes you by the hand and leads you to hope that can be found in even the darkest places of your story. I promise you, you will walk away changed after reading Kathy’s story!

—Becky Harling


Randy Bargerstock



President, Heart to Honduras
Former Pastor, Crossroads Church of God, Lima, Ohio



Kathy Burrus offers such a gift to all of us in this beautiful and honest telling of her unwanted journey that began with the loss of her daughter. She does not offer easy answers or religious rhetoric to help manage the pain of loss.  Instead, she simply invites us into her struggle, her questions, her anger, her loss, her discovery, her wonder and ultimately her journey towards a present hope.  Walk with her and begin to see the green that is everywhere. 






Valerie Bell

President and CEO Awana Clubs International
Speaker, Author of Well-Tended Soul and Faith Shaped Kids

After the death of her 15- year-old daughter, Leisha, Kathy dares to enter into the messy places of her pain to give us courage to look into our own losses. With fierce honesty, she leans into the darkness to see if God is for real. Inexplicably, Kathy not only found that God became more real, but that her grief had become a journey with HOPE! In Lovely Traces of Hope, over and over, Kathy points us to the One who is able to take our brown worlds of grief and transform them into green hope time and time again. This book will restore your faith in God and in his care at the heartbreaking times when we need it most.

—Valerie Bell