Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Heart Fall

This was one of those beautiful Colorado Fall days. The sun was out, the breeze was gentle, and the temperature was in the mid to upper 60's. We decided a bike ride to the park would be fun.

 Where's Tessa, you ask? Wellllll.......She kinda sorta crashed. I saw the whole thing and after checking her over, discovered that she was more scared and embarrassed than hurt. She refused to get back on her bike. We were fine with that and all started walking up the hill to the playground. Tessa began......let's call it "overreacting". She refused to walk. So we continued to the playground and she sat pouting.

After about 20 minutes, she brought her bike up to the playground and then walked over to the restrooms nearby to........let's call it "pout".
 But eventually she came around. And Daddy's antics soon had the whole crew laughing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dear Grandma and Papa,

Today we went for a hike. I liked seeing the rocks. I loved the trip.
We saw a lot of deer.
I miss you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Be Saved

I was raised in a very conservative Church of Christ in Texas. The church was small, and most of its members older. There are things I love about that background. For instance, I know my way around my Bible. I never need the table of contents to help me find Zepheniah. I memorized the entire chapter of Isaiah 53 when I was about 10 (this was for Sunday school). I was instilled with a deep sense of dedication to meeting times at church. You were there or you were very sick or out of town. Things were very black and white. It was either right or wrong (and most of it was wrong, let me tell you). I often feel pity for the Pharisees when Jesus rebuked them. It's as though I used to be one.

Did you know that if you Google "steps for Salvation", the search engine automatically tries to tag "church of christ" on the end? I haven't done my research on this topic--I don't know EXACTLY where or when those steps were first put together. I don't know if the steps are exclusive to the church of christ (although, I've never heard them anywhere else). I came to the Lord by hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and then being baptized. And I don't regret a single step because that was where the Lord in all His infinite grace met me. In the waters of baptism, my 12 year old body became the Holy Temple of God. The Spirit rushed in with the breath of the Most High God. I felt nothing (except embarrassment because my baptismal gown clung to my wet skin in an uncomfortable way). It's funny and glorious how the Spirit is described as a mighty rushing wind. For me, it was like a gentle, warm exhale. My conscience was awakened as never before. It was no longer a rudderless ship tossed about on the sea of my tween emotions. There was evidence--for the first time in my life--of a higher purpose. A real direction to travel in. I began to feel compelled to let go of the wheel. I looked down at my hands and realized there was no wheel. What had I been gripping? I could still feel the ghost of the wood grain pressed against my palms...

"Do you know brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." Romans 7:1-6

I knew the law before I was saved. I knew scripture, I knew how to be a nice person. I knew how to act like a Christian. I knew the importance of showing up to church. I KNEW ALL OF THIS. But when I got saved by Jesus, it began to slowly dawn on me that it wasn't that I knew, it was that I was new. I was owned. The wood I had been gripping had pressed into the back of my Savior as He suffered on the cross. Blood had run down it in rivulets until my grip slipped. I was FREE!!!!

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" John 8:36

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Festival

We rolled over to the Botanical Gardens at Chatfield for their Pumpkin Festival yesterday. We try to go every year partly because it's so close and mostly because the kids love it. We spent a lot of time waiting in line. The big day for the festival (Saturday) was rained out so I think everyone just went yesterday instead. It was packed. Pretty much all of my pictures were taken while we waited in some line or another.
The monkey and the princess.
 Tessa did a lot of dancing, but if she caught me with my camera out she would stop. So I snuck a few shots:

The perfect-sized chariot.
 Jack was extremely excited to ride an airplane ride. I think the whole experience was heightened when four fighter jets passed over us several times. Of course, he picked the airplane with Japanese markings. And considering they looked old was kinda wrong. We waited in line together a loooooooooooong time. So I pulled out my camera, of course. I mean, what's more interesting than standing in line??

I love my monkey suit.
My favorite picture of the day--look at the dimples!
No, not crying---CHEERING!!!!
And to end this post, I will share what I overheard Tessa saying to Jack last night.

"Jack, you need to get your vite-ee-yums so you are healthy. Okay??"
Loud sigh and a head shake.
(To herself)"I have to tell him everything."

Monday, September 19, 2011

It runs in the family.

Does this seem too good for a 5 yr old? I was blown away that Tessa drew this with no picture to look at. It's an Egyptian sphinx I think. She says it's a queen mummy.


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Tessa rode Aliana (pronounced Ally-ayna), her "horse" to school today. Aliana is notorious for not listening and running wild into bushes and trees. Sounds like a few horses I've had before...
Jack is my (unsolicited) poop detector. If their is any on the sidewalk, he points it out. Loudly. Oh, and he calls it "poot" with a very hard "t". Which makes me laugh, but not as hard as when he says, "Uh-Oh, Mom!!! It's poo-poot on sidewalk!" And he'll keep repeating it until I repeat it back (thus proving I, in fact, understood him and am not merely placating by saying "really?" or "okay").
Tessa's Joke of the day:
Tessa: What does an octopus have on it's bottom?
Me: Ummmm.....what?
Tessa: A Flower
Tessa's jokes are always followed with rip-roaring laughter. Which, I guess, is half the charm.
May your "horses" take you where you want, may your shoes be free of poot, and may your jokes get the highest audience approval.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Five and a half years old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nugget Alert!!

Teachers use the word "nugget" a lot. Or maybe just the ones I worked with. Or maybe just me. Hmmm. Anyway, I love to find nuggets. I loved to be able to teach a nugget to a student. And nuggets were NEVER math -related. In fact, they weren't scholastic at all. They were other-worldly--only existing in the heart to shine out the eyes.

I stumbled across this blog. Oh, heck. You and I both know that's not true. The Spirit of God LED me to this blog. I know this because it touched me like nothing else has this morning during my quiet time. It shook my heart from its moors and let it drift. I call that a pretty big nugget. And I am thankful. So here is a teaser--a taste. The author of this blog (her name is Ann Voscamp--as she says--"a plain Ann without even the fanciful "e") wrote what she believes. Her creed, so to speak. I am pasting it here straight from the blog to entice you. If you don't find some time to go check her blog today (or soon), you will be missing out.

What I Believe (by Ann Voscamp)

I believe in Jehovah God who created the whirling galaxies, the birds soaring in the sky overhead, the endless crashing waves and all that dances within them. I believe in Father of all who knits together life, made in His very own image, in the secret quiet of our beings.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the One with no earthly Father, with the dust of this earth between His toes, and with our names etched onto the palm of His hands, right beneath the nail scars…Who now sits at the Father’s right hand making endless intercession on our behalf. I believe in the stone rolled away, in the Body being raised, in the first fruits of the dead…and us all following soon, very soon.

I believe in the Cross as our only Hope, our only Claim, and our only Foundation. I believe that in the pounding surf of life we have only one thing to cling to: the feet of our Lord, hanging on that tree, His lifeblood flowing down, washing us whiter than snow.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, moving, whispering, indwelling our very skin. I believe in living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and producing fruit in the Spirit…in the Spirit who helps us in our weakness with groanings that can’t be expressed in words.

I believe in the infallibility of the Bible, God’s Word – a sure Word, a pure Word, the only secure Word. I believe the words on those pages are breathed from the very throne room of heaven, are the love letter penned from the heart of the Lover of our souls; a beacon of light for stumbling feet to find sure footing on a dark path.

I believe there is more than believing. There is living what I believe.

So go there now. The blog is

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ladies Day

Our church recently had a Ladies Day. My mom was the key note speaker. It was such a huge blessing to hear her speak. She has spoken at many retreats and functions, but I have never been to hear her. Until now. I wrote a reflection for the newsletter about my thoughts I had that day and thought I would post it as a blog:


(Not So) Great Expectations

I wasn’t surprised by the numbers. Out of a church of hundreds of women, 30 came the Ladies Day. I had been expecting this. The multitude I desired to praise God with—the need for a stage or a microphone—wasn’t going to happen. Don’t think I hadn’t prayed. I had prayed that God would bring who He wanted there, that He would open hearts to His truth. But I prayed these things with not-so-great expectations. Like a child asking for bread but receiving a stone, I obediently began to raise the rock to my lips. I guess we’re eating gravel again, I thought. Do you ever do that? Does God hand you precious, life-giving bread and you look down and see a handful of dirty rubble? I seem to put on glasses of self-importance, low expectations or pessimism when I stop trusting God. They color how I see His gifts, His path for me, and even His people.

Well, I got my glasses knocked off on Saturday, praise Jesus!!

I sat in my chair literally God-smacked as I listened to precious women from our very own congregation testify to the Lord’s grace in their lives. The theme was discovering your God-given gifts and having the courage to use them in the church body. These women… they spoke openly about their journeys. They revealed weakness and fear and stumbling. They were transparent and relatable. I was feasting—my cup was being filled to overflowing.

And it didn’t stop there. The key note speaker was my own mom, Cindy Burden. Her story of salvation is so closely tied to my own. In fact, my earthly tent had been a home for the Holy Spirit a few years before He took up residence in my mom. Do you know the meaning of the word “Namaste”? It sort of means, “the spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.” It’s a common form of greeting in India. But have you ever experienced it with another Christian? It’s as if you just know what they are and Who’s they are. I was awed by the sudden sameness I began to see between my mom and I. What had never been there before was suddenly glowing between us and reflecting light off of everything. Our relationship became something I had never allowed myself to hope for in the past. It became filled with love. And not just any love, but the supernatural kind—beyond feelings or obligations. There is nothing common about it. It was then that I truly believed God works miracles today—not just the garden variety of healing or the saving of a life, but the greatest kind there is—the saving of a soul. And as she spoke, I was swept up in a wave of thankfulness that I was there to hear it. When my mother’s words drew our gaze back to the point on her path when dark became light, I remembered how bright my own walk had become.

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:30-35)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Camping is like childbirth. Somehow you forget the pain and lack of sleep and do it again in a year. We always leave a camping situation thinking "not again". But there we were a few weeks ago. It actually was a great time for the kids. We adults enjoyed most everything but the sleeping. And rather than going into the details, I will just show pictures of our two favorite things from the trip.

The first was the beach. Well, it wasn't technically a beach, but it was a swimming area at the lake. Jack loved playing in the water. We spent most of a day there.

The second funnest camping event was definitely the campfire. Lots of marshmallows and hot dogs. Some friends of ours came and their kids and ours spent all their time setting things on fire.

It was short. It was sweet (not really). It was local. And I think summer would not be summer without a good camping trip.

You Cut WHAT???

My parents were in town and we were all hanging out in the living room when Tessa came in with only one pigtail. Her hair was left so chopped up that we knew we couldn't "save" it. So we went to get it cut. This is Tessa before:

And this is after:
I think she was a little concerned about the change, so we went out for ice cream after getting it done. This girl likes her options, let me tell you.
I must say, the shorter hair just goes better with her personality. It's got more pizzaz.
Here's to you and your 'do, Tessa.

Summer is OVER!!

Today was Tessa's first day of Kindergarten. And it was also the last day of summer vacation for us. No more pal-ing around for the three of us--we three muskateers. We must save our unlived adventures for Fall break. I wanted to get a few pictures of Tessa all ready to go to school. She couldn't help but pose. And Jack spent the morning trying to just be a part of the things unfolding around him.

We walked to school. What a blessing to live so close! I love this little neighborhood. And it was a nice morning, too.

But we were so excited to get there that we left waaaaaaay too early. That just meant we had to kill time on the way. And if we hadn't stopped to enjoy our walk, we might have missed....

This fellow! The kids were thoroughly charmed by this crawdad. And there were two of them--bonus!

After we (reluctantly) left our pinchered friends, we spied a baby beaver swimming in the lake.

Jack says, "Baby....EEEver! Awwwwwwww Cute!"

When we finally approached the school building, there was a crowd of parents and kids. Tessa thought it was weird and said so. I think she was just nervous.

Soon she got into line and stood stoically watching the others. Except when I called to her to wave.

She was really brave today.

And then they waved goodbye and headed away into the building. It was so moving....even Jack thought he should go:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Renaissance Fair

There was a big swing. Everyone wanted to ride it. At first it looked fun! And NOT SCARY!

Up and up they went. All smiles and anticipation.
I wish I had gotten a better shot of their faces. The ride operator turned to me and said, "Now THAT is the look of pure terror." They were fine once they got off. Tessa did mention that the swing made "my whole body freak out, mom!"