December 25, 2011

A penny for your thoughts

When we told the boys that they had a sister, I wasn't entirely sure how they felt.  They all said that they were good with it, and they act like it is a good thing, and when they are around Rebecca they treat her like she is a part of the family but my boys can be hard to read as they are not as open with their innermost feelings as I am. 

This morning I opened my Christmas card from Tyler.  Here is what it said:



I had tears in my eyes by the time I was done reading it.  Tyler is an incredibly sweet boy.  His heart is big and his words are kind.  Those words were exactly what I needed .  What a wonderful gift and his innermost feelings are a blessing.  I am one lucky girl!

Congratulations

Brian told this story in one of his sermons and I loved it so much I want to share it with you.  It was Christmastime and the time came to do the annual Christmas play.  The teacher decided to let the kids write and direct the whole thing.  The night finally came for the performance.  Parents filled all the seats.  

All the usual characters were there.  Angels, shepherds, wise men...etc.  From behind the big bale of hay you hear Mary delivering the baby.  (I can only imagine what kids think that sounds like!)  A new character walks out from behind the hay.  It is a doctor.  He walks over to an anxiously awaiting Joseph and says "Congratulations!  It's a....God!"

He came as a baby but He was so much more than that.  I loved how the kids expressed that idea.  I also think "congratulations" is a great description as well.  You were lost, but congratulations, you have been found.  You were sentenced to death, but congratulations, you have been saved!  Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.  Congratulations, He has come for you!  A merry Christmas indeed!!

On the material side of today, I received a really cool gift from my husband, my father, and my in-laws.  I now have a macro lens for my camera.  I have been having fun trying to figure out how to use it.  It is certainly different from my normal lens.  Very cool though.  Here is a sampling of what I have been doing today.













December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve!  That means two things.  One, Rock Harbor's Christmas Eve Candlelight service and two, the Burman family Christmas Eve traditions.
Rock Harbor's Christmas Eve service is one of my favorites.  It is a short service and everyone is included.  Kids and adults alike.  I set up about 200 candles around the stage and as the service goes on the lights dim more and more until we are singing the last song, Silent Night, by candlelight only.  The candles represent the Light of the World.  By Jesus' birth He brings joy, peace, and hope to a dark world.  Very moving.

Our Christmas Eve tradition is two-fold.  We spend time reading Luke 2 as a family and we discuss the events and how they can apply to us today.  Tonight we talked about the shepherds in the field and how the shepherds were usually the youngest son in a family.  How awesome to be the first to be told that your Savior had arrived!

After we are done the boys get to open one present.  Every year it is the same, Christmas pj's.  My mom started this tradition back when my sister and I were little.  I enjoyed it so much I started it when we had kids.  Up until a few years ago it was great and really cute.  As the boys have gotten older I have come to learn that boys aren't as excited about cute pj's like girls can be and also that boys don't wear pj's after a certain age.  A few weeks ago Brian was teaching on traditions at church and he challenged us to look at our traditions and evaluate why we are doing them.  Do they make sense for your family to be doing them or do we do them because we have been doing them for so long.  My boys don't wear pj's so this tradition didn't have the impact on them that it did for me as a kid.  So this year I changed it up a bit.  We kept the tradition of the same one gift for each boy but got them something they would actually use.  I got them electric throw blankets.  It was a hit and something I think they will enjoy.  That makes my heart happy.

Before we called it a night we took the annual kids in front of the tree with their gift displayed picture.  I always love the final picture but what I love even more is the journey getting there!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

 











December 22, 2011

Feels like Christmas

The Baklava has been made and "Christmas Vacation" has been watched.  It feels more like Christmas now!

I have been making or assisting in making Baklava since I was old enough to use a knife.  This was before the time of food processors that grind up the nuts.  (What a marvelous invention that was!)  We would all have our cutting boards and knives and would spend hours chopping walnuts and pecans. Of course, I dreaded the chopping every year but now it just doesn't feel like Christmas without it.  Good memories!

December 17, 2011

Serving

This morning we had the opportunity to serve others in our community.  A new church plant, Iglesia Esperanza, was having a shoe and toy drive.  They are a Spanish speaking church but they needed help so we jumped on the opportunity.  Not only was it an opportunity to serve but us church plants have to help each other out!  We had to be at the school, where their church meets, at 8am.  Today was the first day of Christmas vacation for the boys so they weren't exactly eager to get up early.  Actually, one of them had a problem with it and the other two were ambivalent.  Alright, you have forced it out of me, it was Parker.  :) 

We joined some others from our community group and we sorted the toys and shoes into boy and girl sections.  Each child there would get a new toy and a new pair of shoes.  By the time we left, Parker was glad he had come.  Serving others seems to have that affect.  Even when you go in with the wrong attitude God can work in your heart and bless not only the people you are serving, but you as well.

It was an incredible ministry for this community.  They had 690 people come.  Even more exciting was they had over 300 first time decision for Christ!  Now that is what Christmas is about!!  What a privilege to be a part of it.

December 14, 2011

Rebecca

If you have read my previous blog entries you know that my daughter, Rebecca, is joining the military.  She left for bootcamp on Sunday, December 11th.  We wanted to see each other one more time before she left so she flew up to Portland for a visit.

It was a quick one, about 24 hours, and not anywhere near long enough!  She wasn't feeling great so we made it a pretty low key time.  After I picked her up from the airport we went and visited her "grandma."  Grandma Joyce has been involved in Rebecca's life since she was brought home.  She was and is a great encouragement in Rebecca's life so it was a privilege to meet her.

After that we went home and had pizza and watched a movie.  Super 8.  I was so happy that the boys got to hang out with Rebecca and get to know her.  It was such a blessing to watch them accept her into the family so easily. 

The next day we went and cut down our Christmas trees.  We get 2 of them.  One for the family and one for me.  Decorating the tree is one of my favorite things about the Christmas season.  We pull out all the ornaments and the kids decorate the tree.  Every ornament has a story behind it.  When we go anywhere we pick up an ornament to mark the trip.  A lot of places don't have ornaments so we will get a key chain to use instead.  As they decorate the tree we are reminded of the things we have done together or things that have happened throughout their lives.  I got some ornaments for Rebecca.  One of them was a cheesy "our first Christmas" since it is technically our first Christmas together.  I wanted her to be part of this tradition I love so much.  I wanted her to know that there is a place for her in this family.

Before I knew it, it was time to take her back to the airport. Sad! Before she left she gave us all Christmas gifts. She is so sweet! She got Anthony a movie about snowboarding by one of her favorite directors. She got me a travel mug that is an exact replica of a camera lens. It is even a Nikon!! Love it! For Brian she got him a Han Solo ice cube tray in the shape of him after he was frozen. For the twins she got them these awesome books about how to make weapons from stuff around the house. Example, you can make a bow and arrow out of a ruler and a pen. It is awesome and they LOVED it. Funny story about the books. The title of the books are "Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction." She was stopped at security in the airport and had to explain the books to the security guard and convince him she wasn't a terrorist!



It was hard to watch her leave. I love her so much and won't be able to talk to her while she is away at bootcamp for the next 3 months. I feel so blessed that we are moving forward as a family of 6.











Christmastime with my Love

Frosty

It has been a tad frosty lately.  Makes for some good pictures though!

December 13, 2011

Where did all the manners go?

My boys are learning a difficult lesson in manners. The lesson is this, just because you have manners doesn't mean they will be appreciated or reciprocated. This hard lesson has been learned most often at our local Starbucks. When a man gets to the door right before me and then holds it open for me, because his mamma raised him right, I always enter and then stand off to the side and offer to let them go in front of me, because they were there first. Just because they have manners doesn't mean they should have to go to the back of the line. Now, 100% of the time I do this the men decline and let me go ahead of them, but several have thanked me for the offer because so few ever do.

So, these are the situations my boys and husband are facing. Time and time again they hold the door open for women and then these women take a place in the line that really isn't theirs. In fact, Brian just had this happen. He opened the door and 6, yes 6, women walked in and didn't offer to give him his place in line. The Starbucks employee saw this and couldn't believe it. She says it happens all the time though. So, she skipped the 6 women and went directly to Brian and got his drink started first. (just one of the reasons I love our local Starbucks!)

So, I have a plea for women. Please reward men for their manners. By ignoring and not appreciating their manners you are discouraging them and you make it a punishment to be polite. My boys will continue to open doors because I feel it is an important way to show honor towards women, but it would be nice if we would appreciate it every so often.

December 10, 2011

A new job

We knew when Brian stopped working at Safari Sam's in June that I was going to need to get a job to help make up for the lost income. We decided to wait until the fall so I could spend the summer with the boys. I started looking in the middle of August. I was looking for something close by and part time. With my fibromyalgia I knew full time would take too big of a toll on my body. I was looking for something clerical. What I didn't realize fully was everyone and their brother were looking for the same exact job.

It became obvious early on that this job search was going to be very difficult. I was at a huge disadvantage. I hadn't worked in the last 15 years as I stayed home with the boys. The last job I had was working in a medical office. The doctor I had worked for had gotten sick, no longer practiced medicine and moved out of state somewhere. So, there was nobody for a potential employer to talk to. It felt like I was walking uphill in the snow both ways.

Part time jobs were few and far between. I resigned myself to the fact I would have to work full time. Everyday I would spend time searching and sending out my resume. I wasn't even getting calls for interviews. There were just so many applicants with current job experience that I wasnt even a consideration. I continued to apply for anything and everything.

One day in October I came home to find a message on my phone for an interview. I was so happy I danced around the house! I went in for the interview the next day. I baked cookies that night to bring with me. I figured I wanted to stand out among the other applicants. I went in and thought I had a pretty good interview. I loved the office and felt very at home there. The interview was on a Friday and they called and offered me the job on Monday! It was a huge answer to prayer and just what I wanted. The job was close by, very flexible, and part time!

I started on October 21st. The day after I meet with Rebecca. It was a busy week! The place I work is called Grabhorn, Inc. it is a reclamation center. We take in recyclable products and use them to make new products. Companies bring in yard debris like leaves and brush which we then compost and sell back to landscape companies. We take in stumps and clean wood and make erosion prevention bags that construction companies and cities use. We also take concrete and grind it up to make different sized gravel. I really like what they do there and really love the people I work with. The office is super casual. I get to wear jeans and slippers at work. It is awesome! What a blessing!

Where have I been?

So...it has been awhile since I have last blogged. Here is the problem. My computer has decided to stop working. Well, everything on it works except for the keyboard. As long as I don't have to type anything I am golden! I was hoping to outwit, outlast, and outplay the computer, but no such luck. So now I am using my iPhone which takes me longer to type on. Oh well! Christmas is coming!! Crossing my fingers! Although, if I had to choose between a new computer or another pair of Louboutins I would choose the shoes. Sorry people!

Lots has gone on in the last few months so I will fill you in as we go along.

October 22, 2011

The most unexpected blessing

From kindergarten to part way through my sophomore year of high school, I went to a private school in California. The school was small, so I knew most everyone. There were many that started in kindergarten with me so I essentially grew up with them.


My sophomore year everything changed. In fact, on that day, the entire course of my life changed. My mom was fired from the school. I honestly don’t remember the whys of it and I suppose it doesn’t really matter much. The bottom line was I knew it caused her pain to take me to school there everyday. I offered to go to another school and she accepted my offer.


I said goodbye to everyone, which was very difficult. I would miss them greatly. I prepared to go to public school. The public school’s sophomore class was as big as the entire student body at the private school. I was nervous about that but thrilled that I could wear jeans to school for the first time in my life. (It’s the little things!)


It’s easy to follow Christ when times are good. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a young age and in my fairly sheltered life, up until then, my bad times were fights with friends or something else that now, as an adult, are what I would call trivial. I knew that God would take care of me at this new school. What I was too inexperienced to know was that God’s version of taking care of me varied quite differently from my version of caring for me.


In my mind, caring for me included surrounding me with friends and allowing me to enjoy the activities I enjoyed before the change of schools. Essentially, giving me the life I had before just at a different school. After all, I had changed schools for the betterment of someone else. I was trying hard not to be the selfish person my mom so often accused me of. I suppose I thought good intentions would earn me some points. If only…!


I ended the year with one friend. I had a difficult time adjusting and felt very alone and I was angry. I felt God had abandoned me. So, I decided I didn’t need His help. I thought the age old adage; if you want something done right you have to do it yourself!


The school I went to was closed by the district so I, again, got to go to a new school for my junior year. Yeah! I made the varsity cheerleading team and was now surrounded by new friends and now friends with their friends. I did not choose well. There was nothing wrong with them, mind you, they just didn’t share my Christian beliefs. If I wanted to go to the places that these new friends went to I would have to lie to my parents at times. Not a huge deal in my mind then. The thing is, my parents didn’t want me going to those places for a reason. I guess I was just too desperate to be accepted that I didn’t see that.


Then the unthinkable happened. I found out I didn’t live in a safety bubble. I was 16. I was raped. My entire world changed that day.


I told one of my “friends” about it and they told me I had probably deserved it, so I kept my mouth shut. I just wanted to forget about it and move on. But move on to what? I was still in with the wrong crowd without the prospect of getting out. I felt I was in a grave that I had dug myself into with no way of getting out. What was the point of getting out anyway? I felt tainted.


Here is the thing I have learned about God. When you are His child, he doesn’t forget about you. He never lets you go. He gave me an out. The date was January 9th. It was the most unexpected blessing. Granted, at the time it scared the crap out of me, and it was not immediately clear that it was a blessing. I was pregnant.


It was not obvious to me that this was something God would use for my good. It made me quite unpleasant and that attitude carried over into my relationship with my parents. I continued to keep my mouth shut about the rape. At their wits end, they sent me to a home for unwed mothers. At the same time, all my friends stopped being my friends. It was as if pregnancy was a virus they would catch. I was completely alone. It was the perfect time for God to speak to me and for me to ask His forgiveness. It was also the perfect time for me to fall completely in love with the baby I was now carrying.


It took awhile for me to mend my relationship with my parents so the few months I spent away from them was just me and this little girl whose very existence saved my life. I talked to her about everything. She is the only one who went through everything with me. She was an anchor in my life. She kept me going. She made me want to heal so I could continue my life.  I finally opened up about the rape.


I went through a lot of counseling and I knew all the work that lay ahead of me. I knew of the pain, heartache, and grief I had to face over the things I had lost. My daughter gave me so much and I knew I had to give back to her. She needed the things I could not give her at the time. God blessed me with her and I knew I needed to do what was in her best interest. The thought of placing her with another family was heartbreaking, but it wasn’t about me.


She was born and I held her for the first and what I believed would be the last time. Her new parents came and took her home with them. My heart broke. I cried so hard and for so long the nurses had to sedate me. Because I had a c-section I had to stay in the hospital for a few days so that gave me some time to compose myself.


I started my senior year 2 weeks after she was born. I was at a new school, yet again. Super yeah! However, my arms ached for my baby. There were several days I would never even make it to school. I would be pulled over on the side of the road sobbing. Throughout this whole time, I had to keep reminding myself that she was in a better place. I had a lot of work and healing to do before I could be a mother to anyone.


I made it a few months at school until I got to the point that I wanted to scream. I was surrounded by talk of which person liked that person and what are you wearing and can you believe she said this or that. I just wanted to tell them that none of this was important. I was missing my daughter and frustrated that these seniors still had the opportunity to be kids for awhile. While they were doing math homework, I was wondering if this was the night I would die from a broken heart.


That was 19 years ago. My broken heart eventually healed around the piece that was missing...her. It would be a sad story if it ended there but God brought her back into my life. Shortly after her 18th birthday she contacted me.


She found this blog. Who knew a blog could be so useful! We started getting to know each other, sharing our likes and dislikes. We talked about the things going on in our lives. We talked about this blog and if I could share our story. It filled me with joy every time I got a message from her. There was some sadness though, knowing how much of her life I had missed, followed by joy, knowing I can be a part of her life now.


Rebecca and her wonderful friend embarked on an ambitious road trip. They covered 20 states and one of them was Oregon. On Thursday, I got to put my arms around her. The piece that was missing from my heart was returned! I didn’t want to let go. It was a moment that I had been thinking about for 19 years. It was so much better than anything I had ever imagined.


Rebecca is a beautiful young woman. She is smart, funny, well spoken, and has a sense of adventure. You can tell she has a gentle, loving spirit. She has so much to offer the world and I look forward to watching her life unfold and being a part of it.


She has made a most courageous and honorable decision. She will soon be serving this country as a U.S. Marine. She will be on the opposite side of the country and I will miss her even more but I respect and am in awe of her commitment to our country.


We spent hours talking. She got to meet her brothers. She got to meet Rolo. But the time came when she had to leave. It was hard to say goodbye but what an awesome day it was. It went by too fast but it was time that I treasured.


For years I was focused on what was taken from me; my virginity, my firstborn, my daughter, instead of what was given; redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and a beautiful daughter. She was the most unexpected blessing!

 

October 12, 2011

Fall is here

Fall is here!  The rain has started falling again.  (Well, it really just took a 6 week break)  The leaves are turning colors.  Fall creates mixed emotions for me.  I love the cooler weather and the beautiful colors but I don't like the signal that summer is fading.  I love the time I get to spend in the summers with the boys and miss them during the school year.  I also miss the longer nights.  It makes me sad when it gets dark at 4:30pm. 

I got some time this morning to go out and take some pictures around our house.  The beauty of God's creation continues to amaze me.