Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014


In no particular order, here is my year end list!

Best book
somewheresafe

There were so many great books ‘on my nightstand’ this year but this was my favorite.


Best new product find

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No more rubbing and rubbing to get my toes de-polished.  Why did I never know about this?


best celebration
1984-2014
We celebrated 30 years… several times this year!  First on a trip to North Carolina and then, on our actual anniversary, with a weekend near where we honeymooned.  I am a BLESSED woman to be married to this man of mine. 


best news
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We are expecting grandchild #2 in May!



best family outing
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We had a wonderful long weekend at the beach in September – beautiful weather but best company ever!


best app
L3ciji9R1
If you haven’t downloaded and used this app, give it a try!  There are lots of free devotionals with scripture and commentary, plus a place to leave your own thoughts.  Love it.


best milestone
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I celebrated 40 years of friendship with my two sisters! 


best ‘have a cup’ post
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Of course there were some very difficult things this year that won’t make it onto a blog list.  That’s why I’m heading into a new year with a big desire to know my God better.  I’m asking Him to help me do that.  I want to read the Word looking to learn about Him (not necessarily to find how it applies to ME - a revolutionary step).  I also want to pray with that goal in mind – getting closer to Him.  I gave my life to Him over 40 years ago but this need to know Him more grows greater the older I get.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!
1 Peter 1:3 (The Message)






Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Things I Love About Christmas


It’s weird that The Pioneer Woman had the same blog post idea as I did - to write about her favorite things at Christmas – and that she posted hers right before I did.  Our blogs are so similar that sometimes you’ll find this kind of thing happening.   So here goes my list…

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Remembering how it feels to assemble toys



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Candlelight service at church



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Baking cookies with my nieces




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Playing games.  LOTS of games!



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Family.  Home where they belong.
(Actual people pics coming when they all get here!)



staroftop
Anticipating.  I love the anticipating.
And this year we are also anticipating another grandbaby… in May!

We had a great message at church on Sunday, reminding us that Christmas is really all about receiving.  Don’t you always hear that it should be about giving, not receiving?  But we are desperate for what God has to give us, whether we know it or not.  And we can miss receiving during all the busy-ness.  Join me in taking time throughout these wonderful days to receive God’s gifts to you… His unmatched love, His forgiveness and grace, His strength, His peace.  He is a good giver. 

Merry Christmas!









Sunday, December 21, 2014

On my nightstand


This post should probably be titled ‘Dusty on my nightstand’ as there just doesn’t seem to be too much extra time for reading during the holidays.  It is a true luxury to find time to sit by the lighted Christmas tree with a book and a cup of coffee but it’s something I love to do.

So here are two books I’ve read this month.  Very different but I loved them both!

download (1)
The Handsome Man’s Deluxe CafĂ©
by Alexander McCall Smith
If you haven’t read this series, do start at the beginning with the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  This is #15 in that great series which takes place in Botswana.  I love so many things about it but especially the understated humor and the slow pace of the narrative, which perfectly matches the slower pace of life in Africa.  Because I’m a sucker for accents and regional lingo, I find myself wanting to say things like “Ko Ko!” (which you say in Botswana when you enter a house).  Love this series!


download
Something Other Than God
by Jennifer Fulwiler
The subtitle of the book is ‘How I passionately sought happiness and accidentally found it.’  It’s the autobiography of I blogger I follow (ConversionDiary.com) who describes her path to faith in Christ from her atheist roots.  I liked her honestly and humor which are part of her ongoing ministry now.  LIfe is messy and Jennifer’s story includes all of her mess, making her relatable and engaging. 

I hope you find some quiet time to read in these days before and after Christmas too!

Monday, December 15, 2014

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas


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It’s been a wonderful, busy, going-by-too-fast Christmas season so far in the Burns’ home.  As soon as Thanksgiving was over, we cut down our noble fir and decorated it before our youngest headed out on the highway back to Montana (this time with new studded snow tires – thank you Lord). 

How we missed having Amy, Ray, Lisa and Hadley home for Thanksgiving but it has made looking forward to a full house at Christmas even more sweet!  The photo above is Haddykins at a local Santa event in Enumclaw where her daddy is a firefighter and got to play Santa Claus in the town parade.  Doesn’t she look excited to be with Blitzen?  I wouldn’t be surprised if she buried her face in his neck (as she often does with her own reindeer-sized doggie).

The first weekend of December was a Jubilee weekend when Karen and Liane came down from Tacoma to stay with us.  We went to the Women of Faith event in Portland.  This was taken on the first night from our seats in outer space.

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You can see that there were lots of empty seats so we got to move down a little closer on Saturday morning…

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MUCH better. Except now we were seated next to three women wearing homemade tutus and carrying light-up wands who had to pass in front of us multiple times that day to use the bathroom, get snacks or just stretch their legs.  This is understandable but the fact that they had covered themselves with glitter made their passing unforgettable.  (They explained to Liane that the reason they wore tutus was to remain in a child-like, teachable state for the conference.)

We also celebrated Liane’s 29th birthday at an old favorite Italian restaurant- Giovanni’s.

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I am a selfie-taking failure.

This last week I was up in Puyallup for our staff Christmas lunch at Joy’s cozy house – so fun for me to get to be with my co-workers face-to-face since I work out of my old bedroom home office.  Unfortunately I took no pictures of this!

Thursday I got to spend the day with Amy in Seattle – something I’ve been looking forward to so much!  We went Christmas shopping, then out to dinner with her boyfriend and then the two of us got to go to the Pacific NW Ballet’s Nutcracker performance. 


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PNB photo credit

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RAB photo blame

We especially loved the costumes and sets designed by Maurice Sendak (of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ fame).  This is the last year the PNB will perform this ballet so it was fun to get to be there.  I love my firstborn girl so much and LOVED spending this day together!

Friday our good friends Frank and Janet had us for dinner and took us to the Oregon Symphony’s Gospel Christmas. 

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Wow.  This was a night of worship.  Absolutely great voices singing very few familiar carols but incredibly God-exalting, hand-clapping worship songs.  Us white folks tried to clap on the off-beat as best we could.  It was awesome.

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Saturday we got to serve at our church’s annual Christmas dinner at the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Portland.  It is humbling.  Difficult to face what is real life for so many in our cities.  I don’t want to forget them as I come home to my warm house with soft throws and scented candles. 

This is Christmas, isn’t it?  God came to us in our greatest need and biggest mess.  And He gives us opportunities every day to show ‘God With Us’ to those near us who are in great need and big messes.  Lord, keep me always ready to meet needs.  Deliver me from my self-absorbed state to give what I have received. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Links I Liked


Hello December!  It’s cold and wet here in the NW.  The month is filling up with lots of things to look forward to… a jubilee weekend with my BFFs, Women of Faith, The Nutcracker, a Gospel Christmas concert, staff Christmas party, serving at the Union Gospel Mission, family birthdays and having everybody home for Christmas.

The key is to start every single day with my eyes and heart focused on Emmanuel, isn't it?  I want my challenges and short-comings and overwhelmed feelings to drive me straight into His peace.  He is more than my need!

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An Inside Look at Amazon’s Massive Fulfillment Centers
@time.com
I love Amazon.  But just looking at this kind of makes me sick when I think about how much STUFF we Americans buy.  Someone invented robots to find our STUFF in the Amazon warehouse so the Amazon workers can box up our STUFF more efficiently because the amount of STUFF we order this season requires 80,000 employees and 15,000 of these robots to just to process.
(Want a different way to give and make a huge impact in someone's life?  Check out our YWAM Gift Catalog! It's a pretty awesome way to change up your Christmas giving.)


Don’t Make Me Take Away the Nativity and Other Things Moms Say in December
@weareTHATfamily
I love Kristen.  She just keeps keeping it real.


When Things Aren’t So Merry and Bright
@chasingblueskies
Merry Christmas turns to Weary Christmas as it kicks your “merry and bright,” cheery goodwill right off the front porch.


Memorize the Mind of God
@desiringgod
Scripture memory, at its best, is about feeding your soul today and mapping your life and mind onto the very life and mind of God.
When I read this it added to what I am already hearing from God over and over, in lots of different ways, about how I need to make this a priority.  Beth is starting her scripture memory project again in 2015… care to join me in joining her?


The Heavy
@mypryorlife
Being a mom, to me, feels like this stripping down to my truest self. It exposes my nakedness, my selfishness, my neediness. It shows my incompetence. It highlights my lack of skill. Motherhood is showing me the outer limits of myself: my great capacity to care and to love. It reveals my quick temper and lack of control over my tongue. It shows me fierce and protective.


This is my friend Natalie’s story.  She’s living in India as a full-time foster mom.  She’s 23. 
I am so proud to know her...

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Beauty for Ashes
@underthesamesun
I pray that I will never stop looking at my children and being broken for them. Because without brokenness there can never be any redemption. And one day, my kids will be redeemed. On this side of heaven or not, they will be whole. Their past will be wiped clean. And their tears will be no more.

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