Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pizza Party!

So my brother and SIL called last night and asked to bring over pizza! Well...would we ever say no to that? NO!!! So...over they came laden with pizza....and I mean laden....6 large pizzas, crazy bread, and cheese bread.





We had a great time! Thanks S & K! What a great Christmas Eve Eve get together.





Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kally's Baptism

Today Kally was baptized! She had confessed her belief in and her love of Jesus quite a while ago, but we waited to make sure that she understood as much as an eight year old could before we jumped into baptism.
So....today was the day!

She waited (with Rainey and Rawley) as our pastor said a few words.
Then....Ben was given the privilege of baptizing Kally! What a special honor...for all of us.
Old creation.....
Raised to newness of life with Jesus!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bailey's Welcome Home

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gingerbread House Day!

She's Baaack!


As we drove up to our house from picking up Bailey, this was what greeted her! Ben spent a couple of hours outside in the freezing wind putting this up on our garage.
We are so thrilled to have Bailey back home!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thought for the Day

What is it about family that can rip your heart out?

Sad, Sad Day

We found out some sad news the other day....another couple we have known since we got married is divorcing.

This couple lived right next door to us in our first house.

Our husbands were both in the Air Force and we lived on base.

They have been married two weeks longer than we had.

We both got dogs at the same time...theirs lasted in their family longer than ours did :).

We went together and purchased a picnic table to put between our houses so that we could share meals together when the weather was nice.

We ate at each other's homes at least once a week.

We went out together as couples to dinner, movies, shopping, etc...

We shared each other's first year anniversary wedding cake. The top of the cake that had been frozen for the first year.

Our first children were born within months of each other.

They were even in Little Rock when we moved there. She and I would go once a month or so to lunch and catch up and enjoy each other's company.

Why are they quitting? It is devastatingly sad to me. What struggles did they face that we haven't faced? Why have they allowed divorce to even be an option? I am sad for me...sad for their kids...and sad for them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Heart Overflows!

My Bailey is coming home tomorrow! I am so thrilled to have all my kiddos home. Words can hardly express the fullness of my heart at the thought of Bailey home! You know in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" the line that said "His heart had grown two sizes that day." Well...each day that has gotten closer to her return, my heart has grown. I'd say I'm well beyond two sizes...
Though I really want Bailey home....I am most grateful at how God has worked in her life while across the pond in Italy. The radiance you see in her face is Jesus shining through. He has moved in her life mightily and created bonds for her that will change her life forever. She will forever have a connection to Italy and it's people.
Join me in praying for Bailey's safe trip home. My heart continues to grow as the hours grow closer. To have my heart complete after three and a half months will mean joy will overflow, love will abound, and mercy and grace are lavished on me.
To God be the glory!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Thought for the Day

Why does God choose to lavish me with grace and mercy? I am so undeserving, yet he heaps and heaps it on me!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So I am spending a bunch of time cleaning these days. Bailey is on her way home soon after three and a half months in Italy serving as a missionary. I want the house to look really nice and perfect for her. AND...it's always a good time of year for me to clean like this.



I have been taking a room a day and going over it top to bottom...cleaning out the trash I find under beds....finding clothes once thought long lost...bringing out toys that had been forgotten. There have been bags of trash, lots of laundry, and many bags of give away items. We do that to bless others and to make room for the new things that will be found under the tree in a few weeks.



So far I have done two complete rooms. I have three more rooms upstairs and then I work downstairs as Bailey's arrival date gets closer and closer.



As satisfying and refreshing as this is, I have been thinking about all the energy, time, and thought I have put into preparing for Bailey's return. Now, Jesus is returning also. I am to be preparing for His return...which is even more important than Bailey's return. I am to be ready. Am I? Am I doing the things I need to be doing to be prepared for Jesus' return? Am I putting in the same amount of energy, time, and thought into His return? He is coming back just as surely as Bailey is. It is guaranteed. He has promised it. Just as Bailey has return tickets to come home....Jesus has a time to come back too...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friends and Fellowship

So...my camera is doing funky things...or it could be user error...but I'm choosing to believe the first thing. But, our class had a fellowship tonight. Several of us met at Shang Hai for dinner and had a great time.





The cutie patootie at the end is a sweet, sweet girl. Our dear friends just brought her back from Korea and this was the first time we were able to meet her in person! Almost makes me want another baby....I did say almost!

We feel so blessed to know these people....and feel more honored to call them friends.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

For When I am Weak, Then I am Strong

My daddy has Alzheimers. I hate that! I hate that he gets angry because he knows that he doesn't know something that he used to know. But more than hating it, it makes me very sad...

Daddy was always my SuperMan! He could do anything. He could fix anything. He knew so much about so much. He is the most gentle man I know. I have never heard him raise his voice ever. He has a great sense of humor. He loves his family more than life itself. He has followed Jesus since he was a little boy. I have always been proud to say that Doug Burgess is my daddy.

Life is changing for all of us because of his Alzheimers. He gets confused on where he is. He can't find the words to say. He gets more and more uncomfortable around too many people. (and the number of "too many" is getting smaller and smaller every day)

His mind is getting more and more fogged over. That is hard to watch. The fog lifts right now for long periods and then suddenly it settles back again; but we all know the day is coming when the fog doesn't lift, but will get thicker and denser. The day that daddy doesn't recognize me is going to be, up to that point, the most painful day of my life. I know it's coming. I know God has a plan for all of us in this. I know that in Heaven, daddy will have the clearest mind and the strongest body!

I'm glad that when we are weak, then Jesus is strong! Because daddy is getting weaker, so I can rest in the promise that Jesus is getting stronger and stronger in him. Praise God!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Waiting Period.

This is a period of waiting for me.

Waiting for Bailey to get home. Waiting for my 3 yr. old to grow out of certain behaviors. Waiting for things that are planned to happen on Women's Ministry Council at our church. Waiting for co-op to begin again. Waiting for Jesus' birth. Waiting for Ben to begin his seminary classes at Dallas Theological. Waiting for decisions on things that are pending.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
It's not easy to wait. It can be difficult and at times, frustrating. It can be a little lonely when there are things you want to share, but can't just yet. It can create anxiety knowing that others have some part of your life in their hands as they make decisions about you.
Joy. Joy. Joy.
But, I must say, that this time has been the sweetest time I have had with Jesus in a long time! He has met my frustration with calm. He has met my loneliness with friendship. He has met my anxiety with peace.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You Think Sally Was High Maintenance!

Have you ever seen the movie "When Harry Met Sally" ? Do you remember how Sally was "high maintenance"? Well, I have a friend like that and she cracks me up!

Over the years, I have heard my friend ask:

1. What is the base for this sauce? Sour cream or mayonnaise?
2. I want the salad, but I would like the dressing on the side.
3. How is this served? Can I get ______on the side?

(In other words, I have yet to see her order something straight from the menu without changing something)

Well, she topped herself the other day as we ate breakfast at IHOP. The waitress came to our table and was ready to take our order. I give my order (regular off the menu...no special instructions), the girls give their orders, and then it's my friend's turn. Here's how it goes:

W: Are you ready for me to take your order?
L: Yes. I would like the pumpkin pancakes with the eggs. I would like the eggs on a separate plate and I would like the pancakes cooked all the way through. I really want them on the griddle for a bit longer than usual. I don't want the middles mushy. Please keep them on the griddle for a few extra minutes. I don't like when the middles are not solid, all the way cooked.
W: (with eyes wide) Will that be all?

Really? Will that be all? What more could there be? I was laughing so hard the whole time I was crying! For those of you who know how I laugh...you can only imagine how funny this was to me.

Let me end by saying that this is the kind of thing that makes my friend, my friend! I wouldn't change one thing about her! First of all, she provides many hours of laughing for me ( I love to laugh). But she is never, ever dull! I love that! Thanks friend, for all the great times you have given me. I hope they never end.
Well....after travelling for Thanksgiving and just getting home Saturday, it was time to put up the tree on Sunday afternoon! We had a time trying to figure out where to put the tree this year. We ended up rearranging the living room to be prepared for a family gift that Ben has gotten for the kids...ok...we will enjoy it too! :) But that rearranging created the perfect spot in the corner of our living room.

The kids were thrilled to be able to get the boxes out of the shed...all 30 of them! Yep! I said 30! I do love Christmas..have I mentioned that before? Anyway, they loved putting the ornaments on and I must say I only unwrapped and handed them to the kids to hang up. They did it all!

The only downside was the Bailey still isn't home and this is one of her very favorite things to do all year. She will be on hand for the taking down...but who really likes to do that?

A few more little touches need to be handled and then we have a month of festivities to look forward to!!

I love this time of year...I love the decorations....I love getting gifts for others...and I love the best gift of all-Jesus!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Presence of a Good Friend

"The presence of a good friend is good medicine to the heart. It soothes the soul and brings joy to the weary."
I wish that "verse" would be in the Bible! It is true in my life and I suspect in yours too! I just received much of that good medicine from a variety of people.
On Monday, our family made the trek to Little Rock to visit our most dear friends. The moment we pulled up in the driveway, I could feel the medicine working. Then when my friend came running out to meet us, the medicine became even more potent! Ahhh! I could feel it go down and soothing everything in its path. Then came the hello hug....a large dose of medicine!
Tuesday, we were privileged to see so many sweet friends and their children. Ohhh! More medicine for my weary soul. More joy to my weary heart. More hugs to hold up this weary body.
The rest of the week delivered more doses of this holy medicine. Talks with a friend, tears over prayers, laughter while conversing, jokes during the card games, smiles over shopping, shared meals, and shared lives for a very short week. But the potency!...the way it worked so speedily!...the lasting power!
God is so good to provide what is needed just when it is needed. So, I still say that I wish this verse were in the Bible:
"The presence of a good friend is good medicine to the heart. It soothes the soul and brings joy to the weary."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aslan Is On The Move

This post is probably mostly aimed at the gals from Little Rock with whom I went to church.

Do you gals remember when we all felt so strongly that God was doing something? Do you remember when all those specific prayers were answered in amazing ways? Do you remember the babies that were conceived and then born after pointed, direct prayers for those very babies? Do you remember crying at the grace of God and feeling His very presence?

I do! I remember each and every one of those! It was probably one of the best times of spiritual growth in my life! Seeing the very hand of God intervene in our puny lives. Seeing your faith grow also! Watching the way you began raising your children because God had made Himself so real!

I am in that time again! Now...how do I get so blessed to have this happen to me twice in such a mighty way? I have no clue...I know I am not worthy of seeing God move and work and intervene, and grant grace...I know this...But He is at work in our church and He has allowed me to be a part of it.

I am humbled by His mercy, love, grace!

If you have forgotten those times...please ask God to remind you of it! Get back there and remember that the God of the universe cares about your every issue! He is moving among us!
As they said in Chronicles of Narnia: "Aslan is on the move!"

Adoption

I have been following the journey of our friends who are in Korea as I write this, finalizing the process of adopting the bringing home their new daughter, Carys. They have prayed for so long, gone through the paperwork, people in their home checking on things, and waiting the long wait of beaurocracy. They received the phone call last Monday that all that was needed was for their family to get to Korea and meet their little girl!

How exciting it all has been! I have been reminded of people that we think of as "overnight sensations". Rarely, if ever, does that literally happen! There is usually a lot of waiting and preparation on the front end that never gets seen and then, to us, the public, one day there they are...up on the big screen entertaining us! That's what it might seem like to those of us watching this adoption happen....like all of a sudden they are in Korea getting their little girl!

There has been so much behind the scenes to prepare and get ready. They have been diligent, patient, and dedicated to much prayer and searching the Scriptures during the year and a half that this process has really taken. There have been tears, anger, and the squeals of delight as they received their first pictures of the girl God picked for them!

But God has been in control the whole time! He has been holding Carys in the palm of His hand just waiting for our friends. What a joy to know that He has been monitoring the whole situation. What a pleasure to realize that God has also adopted us into His family...maybe even exhibiting sadness, anger, and then squeals of delight as He has watched and helped us in our growth. What a joy divine to be part of His plan...no matter how small!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Will God Do?

I have just been given approval to have our church be a host site for the Beth Moore simulcast on April 24! I am so excited to see what God is going to do in the women of our church and community and through our church!

I can't wait until this event!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!

My veteran!

I am so proud of him, his service to his country, and mostly, his service to his God!

He's pretty cute too, isn't he?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It Got Too Quiet

When it got too quiet in the house, at first I thought, WOW! it's quiet...how odd and nice! Then a bit of terror struck my heart and I had to go find out what was happening...was the jar of vaseline being spread out all over (it's already happened once in my life with kiddos), was my wallet being raided and put in the oven (again, it's happened!), was paint being spilled (ok...this hasn't happened but I didn't want to add it to my list of "things that will be funny one day"). But no...none of those things...my search ended when I saw Rawley sleeping..head hanging off of the chair, clinging to his Ent!
So I was able to go back to my first thought...how odd and nice!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Three Ring Circus

As you may have noticed, life is busy around here lately (with the lack of posts and all!). God has me busy for a purpose and that purpose is: I am the laziest person I know!

If I could, I would watch TV, surf the web, nap, and eat all day long! I am inherently lazy and slothful and I know this about myself. I completely understand that part of my sin nature. I don't like it, but I understand it...

There are some people who can only be involved in one thing at a time, and they do that one thing with excellence. They are quickly overwhelmed by the mere thought of adding more to their plate...so they don't. And that works for them.

I am not that way. I have always needed more of a three-ring-circus type life so that I will do even one thing well. If I don't have deadlines and commitments, not much happens. So...not that my way is good at all, but it helps me to serve better.

I do sense God's pleasure in my life. Though I get tired, I am peaceful about where I am and what I am doing.

When do you sense God's pleasure? What makes you tick? Are you a one-ring, two-ring, or three-ring kind of person? I challenge you to figure it out....and then go do it...all for the glory of God!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trunk or Treat

Tonight was a "trunk or treat" at our church. It was a lot of fun. Our kids haven't dressed up for Halloween for a long time; in fact, I know that Bailey has, but am not even sure if the other four have ever dressed up for Halloween! This year, they all wanted to dress up and when I refused to buy anything, they all instantly got very creative!
Darby was a gypsy, Rawley was a lion, Kally was Junie B. Jones, and Rainey was a zombie!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gotta Brag on Bailey

I must say that I am so proud of Bailey! Yes, she is over in Italy and it is amazing, but it isn't without it's issues, turmoils, troubles, and confusions. She has experienced all of it and God is really working in her through the trials....and bringing her blessings as well.

Please click http://www.baileysbellavita.blogspot.com to read her most current entry. You, too, will see a little of what God is doing in Italy, in Bailey, and in others!

Oh how He loves you and me! Oh how He loves you and me! He gave His life. What more can He give? Oh how He loves you! Oh how He loves me! Oh how He loves you and me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've Done it Again--Not Good!

I have had a problem with my tongue in the past. It is why God took me out of the workforce, I know. Over the years, God has worked on me gently...sometimes I didn't get the gentle message, and I required stronger measures.

I have done pretty well with this issue and have seen how mightily God has invaded me by the lack of need for using my tongue viciously! He has done a great work in me. Praise God!

Today, I realized that I had fallen back into the familiar pattern of using my tongue too much and in the wrong manner. OUCH! The pain I am feeling at this moment after having God reveal this to me is almost too much to bear! How could I do this again? When will I really learn this? Why do I let Satan overcome me with such force? Why am I so weak?

So...I am human and not God. I am fallible and He is not. I am weak and He is strong. I am a sinner and He is perfect. But I am also seeing that He is with me working in me and through me and I know that even the depth of my sorrow at this failing is evidence of the Spirit in me.

Thank you God for loving me enough to continue working on me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Decorating Day!

So after school today....it was finally time to decorate the pumpkins! Always a fun day around here!

Kally with the beginning of her decorated pumpkin...cutie patootie...

Rainey with his....is he cute or what?

Darby's...she didn't want me to take her pic this morning...obliged this time, but can't count on that every time :)





The final results! They are fun looking on my island!


More.....it was a great day...raining (pouring actually!) and cold outside and fabulous, fun, and festive inside...doesn't get much better than that!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rainey's Soccer Game #3

Rainey in his usual position...running for the ball to make one of his 5 goals today!
Oma and Kally
Rawley in the car on the way to the game. Is he a cutie or what?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homeschool Fun with Chemistry!

We had to do an experiment today about molecules and how they have to follow rules.


We got to make our "molecules" with marshmallows! Yum!
Darby had to make different molecules...bigger ones! I think that means more marshmallows!

Everyone got in the act...Rawley especially loved being part of the fun today.

I love homeschooling!

Pizza Soup

I found a recipe on A Year of Crockpotting that I wanted to try...Pizza Soup.

Ingredients: oregano, pepperoni, red onion, green bell pepper, Italian sausage, basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pasta, pizza sauce, mushrooms

You cut up the veggies and put in slow cooker. The quarter the pepperoni, slice the sausage and put in also. Put in one jar of pizza sauce (I used my homemade spaghetti sauce since I had a ton of it) and then three jars of water. 1 T. oregano and 8 basil leaves chopped...add it to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Put the pasta in the last 20 minutes and then top off your bowl with mozzarella cheese. It tastes just like a supreme pizza! It was yummy...a bit spicy for my kids, but Ben and I loved it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Challenge

I don't know quite what God is up to, but He has brought another opportunity into my life. I have been asked by the leadership at our church to be the Women's Ministry Director. God has placed an ever growing love for women and their relationship with God in me ever since being in Little Rock and working with the best gals ever in our Sunday School class! Funny how when I look back on that time, I really wrestled with God each time I was supposed to meet with those women. Wrestled is a nice term that really means I argued with God! He kept telling me that I was supposed to be there and loving on those women, being available to them, and encouraging them in their stage of life at the time. He made this very clear to me each and every week!

So...after trying to be obedient back then, and giving me more situations over the ensuing years where I would work with women, He is now giving me this opportunity.

My prayer is two-fold:
1. That all I do would bring glory to the Lord!
2. That the women would feel loved, encouraged, and challenged in what God is calling them to.

I am humbled and excited at this new opportunity God has given to me...may I be weighed and not found wanting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let Us Rejoice!

These are the views from my back porch this morning! The colors you see are accurate...one way was brownish and the other way was more pink! Is God uber creative in His designs or what?

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Huge Blessing!

I was convicted at a women's talk I recently went to, to begin memorizing large portions of Scripture. What a blessing this has been for me! I have found that God has honored this for me in two ways:

1. He has helped me to memorize easily...which isn't always the case.
2. He has brought these Scriptures to mind time and time again as I go through my day or in different situations where I might be able to help others.

So far, I have worked on John 1 and Ephesians 6 and tomorrow I begin a third large passage. I have been immensely blessed by this and challenge you to receive some great blessings by doing the same thing! Let's memorize Scripture together and really get God's Word in our hearts.

What will you do when the day comes that our Bibles are taken away from us (and it HAS happened in the past and currently in other places) and we are left without our ability to pull it off the shelf to reference?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 3--Venice

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Piran, Slovenia