Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

It's another glorious day here in Abilene, Texas!  I've been enjoying some "down time" having Mike home, which also means an extra set of hands to help with the kiddos.  

Harrison had a wonderful Christmas, blessed with many, many new toys to play with, and Heidi enjoyed watching, I think.  Of course she received gifts too but since she is 12 months old, she really didn't care about much more than hiding under the piles of torn paper!  We had a great time sharing webcam Christmas with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Blair and Aunty Danielle in Canada, as well as the big extended family Christmas with Mike's parents and siblings here in Texas.  I was spoiled rotten by my husband with a beautiful set of princess cut diamond earring studs.  I of course indulged him in his xbox 360 habit, uh I mean hobby!

With the New Year right around the corner I have been pondering new goals for 2011, just like everyone else on the planet.  My goals easily fit into a few different categories: spiritual, financial, family & fitness.  I'm a firm believer of writing out your goals and keeping them visibly in front of you.  You don't know where you're headed unless you have a map!  I'll gladly share a few of my top ones in each category:

1. continue my daily reading plan to read through the entire Bible this year
2. continue stretching myself to experience God in new and exciting ways
3. serve on a missions trip in 2011

1. to remain debt free!
2. to continue to give and bless others out of the abundance given to us

1. to continue to set and encourage healthy boundaries with our children
2. to develop healthy communication patterns with my husband :)

1. To complete 3 sprint distance triathlons, and 2 olympic distance tri's
2. To complete a 1/2 marathon
3. To achieve a healthy body fat %

I was enjoying some quiet time today while the kids were napping.  Only a few pages into my favorite triathlon magazines and I was whisked away dreaming of new race locations, of one day completing an Ironman, and of all the awesome equipment out there to help me achieve those dreams!  I'll need a job just to pay for my hobby, especially if I want to stay debt free!!!

I hope the ushering in of 2011 inspires you to dream new dreams, to uncover unfulfilled dreams of the past, and to push forward with new anticipation.  This is your year!  Let's make it a great one together!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!!  Today is December 23, or otherwise known as "the day before Christmas Eve"!  I am sure most families have some type of holiday celebration well underway by now.  My heart is so full of blessings from my Heavenly Father that I'm bursting at the seams!

This Christmas has such a sense of freedom, of prosperity, of love and it has nothing to do with money or gifts, and everything to do with Jesus Christ, my King and Savior.  Did you know that He loves each and every one of his children so much that He is passionate about even the tiniest details of their lives?  I pray that you will seek to know Him as a friend and companion so that you can experience His extravagant love for you like we have!

The kids and I have been buzzing around today, filled with anticipation and joy! Christmas music playing softly, tree lit, Christmas outfits chosen, ready to celebrate our first holiday event tonight! Canada web cam Christmas!!  We are meeting Grandma Holly and Grandpa Mike as well as Uncle Blair and Aunty Danielle online to unwrap gifts and celebrate Christmas together.  Harrison has been SO excited since the "large box" arrived from Grandma!!  It's been hard to keep things under wrap!!

I get to celebrate as well because my Christmas cards are finally in the mail!! {I'm just glad they made it out before January!}

We also have all our supplies purchased and ready to go for Operation Pancake Adventure on Christmas morning.  We have a few locations mapped out but we don't know exactly where the Holy Spirit will lead us, but I do know that it's going to be great! We will glorify the Lord with our testimony and watch His power come as we pray for the people on the streets of Abilene! I get chills just thinking about it!

The best news of all is that Daddy is driving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota as I type to catch a flight home in the morning!! We are overjoyed to be picking him up at the airport tomorrow at 1 pm.  I cannot wait to be hugged and squeezed and kissed! The kids are besides themselves trying to be patient for tomorrow, too! What an answer to prayer that he will be home for the holidays!

It is my hearts desire that your holidays be filled with peace, joy and love as you wonder in awe at how the King of kings and Lord of lords was born in a lowly manger so long ago.  We are not asked to understand but to simply believe.  May your faith, hope and love greatly abound in 2011!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

The Burnett Bunch
Michael, Jennifer, Harrison & Heidi

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do It Again!!!

I am SO, SO, SO, SO, SO thrilled to share with you the testimony of healing that I was blessed to witness this week!!!  For weeks and weeks I having been praying and seeking the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, just like the bible says.  I've been asking God to show me what it looks like, what it feels like {etc} for healing, miracles and signs and wonders to be a part of my every day life. Yesterday [Sunday] He answered my prayer!!

Several weeks ago during a powerful time of worship at church the Lord gave me a word of knowledge for the healing of feet.  I tested it in my spirit to make sure it was the Lords voice because I was nervous about wrongly sharing something and then I approach our Pastor and shared the word with him.  He had me stay on the platform to share the word publicly, and all I said was "The Lord has impressed on me that he wants to heal peoples feet this morning, and I want to pray for you."  I didn't know if it meant bones, muscles, disease etc, so I didn't specify any further than "feet".  While I was on the platform the crowd parted and there was a woman there with crutches and an cast on her leg!!

When I stepped down to pray for her I conducted a brief "interview" so I could understand what to pray for specifically. She had broken her foot and it was still on the mend and was causing her much pain and inhibiting her daily life.  So I started praying and in my mind thought "Lord, you brought the word, so here we go!"  After praying for a couple minutes I asked her if she felt any better. Carol said that the pain had mostly gone [praise God!] and so I continued to speak to her foot; that new bone would grow perfectly in place and that any muscle issues would also be healed.  I asked her if she could put any pressure on her foot that would have normally caused her pain and she could [praise God, again!] After the ministry time she told me that she had an appointment with her orthopaedic specialist the very next day; I told her I was very excited to see what he said about her healing! She also mentioned that she can only attend church every so often because of her job.  I hadn't seen her since the Sunday I was able to pray for her.  Fast forward to this week.

So, this Sunday at church during greeting time I saw someone in front of me, with their back towards me that looked vaguely familiar.  It took me a moment to realize it was the same woman... without crutches!!!  I quickly made my way over to her and once we made eye contact tears rushed to her eyes as I looked at her with expectancy.  "Yes!!" was all she could managed to say.  She was completely healed, no more broken bones, no more crutches!!! Praise God for His faithfulness!! Wooooooo!! We both danced around to celebrate!!

I've recently learned that the root of the word testimony [ud] in Hebrew means "to do it again".  So in Revelation 19:10 it says "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy".  I have heard it taught and fully believe that when we share prophetic words and testimonies it is saying that God wants to do this again for someone, in the now moment!!  

The purpose of prophetic words are to either foretell a coming event or they release such a change in present circumstances that it becomes a catalyst for immediate change.  {Which is simply what I shared a couple of weeks ago} Think of it this way: the spoken or written record/testimony of anything that God has already done carries with it an anointing to either change present circumstances or to declare what is coming. [Bill Johnson]


What is really astonishing is that the testimony doesn't end with the bone healing!  That same morning I was introduced to another lady who had come to church for the first time in many, many years.  She told me that when she heard the word given about the healing of feet she immediately knew that was why she was at church that morning! [Yay God!]  She has been a hairdresser for over 20 years and her feet always hurt and were very swollen.  A friend and I were blessed enough to pray with her and because of the love of Jesus that she felt, she gave her life to the Lord!! WOOOOOOO!!!  A couple weeks later she found me to tell me that her feet have hardly hurt since the day we prayed for them!  GOD IS SO AWESOME!!

I pray that you are blessed by reading this testimony today and that together we can all celebrate Gods faithfulness and willingness to duplicate miracles!  May we each come into an understanding that heaven is meant to touch earth every day!  I am so excited for personal breakthrough in the healing ministry and I am ready to see God do it again and again and again!!! All we have to do is step forward in faith and share of His good works.  Hallelujah!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pretty Ugly

This week was jam-packed full of fun events for me to attend!!  Starting on Sunday evening Champions Church had their annual Women's Christmas Party and Kitchen Gadget Exchange.  It was a blast!  We competed by singing Christmas carols as a team in a certain "style", such as opera, Elvis, and man style. It was hilarious! My table sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", man style. It was hideously wonderful! The entire event was so beautifully put together and the gift exchange was fun! It was "white elephant" style with 46 women!! There was a whole lot of stealin' going on! What a great way to fellowship with other women! Oh by the way, I ended up trading someone for the gift that I actually bought! It's ok though, I've always wanted a Slap Chop!!

Monday morning I assisted with Harrison's Christmas Party at his school.  Try to co-ordinate 15 two year olds, each supposed to make three crafts each!  It was fun and I was able to snap a few shots of him shaking his little jingle bells while singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".  Pretty cute!

Tuesday morning we packed up and headed southwest to San Angelo, where we used to live.  I was SO blessed to spend a good portion of the day catching up with my wonderful friend Christie!  Christie is an amazing woman, and a mother I admire very much.  She was (and still is) the leader of the first MOPS group I ever attended, and really does such a fantastic job.  Nothing is half way done, even though she is a busy mom just like the rest of us.  It was always such a pleasure and a blessing to attend.  I feel even more blessed to call her my friend.  We had fun catching up while Harrison played with every single toy he could get his hands on!  He may have had just as much fun as I did!  Christie even tipped me off on a little boutique where I could find an excellent sweater for the next party on Wednesday night.  She hopped in her van with her two kiddos and lead me over there and stayed in between the vans with all the kids while I ran in to bargain hunt.  I ended up with a great sweater and a lovely pair of earrings to match.  From there we said our goodbyes, although this time was much easier since we have already made tentative plans to hang out in Abilene next week sometime!  My sweet babes slept all the way home in the van.  It was a wonderful day!

Finally, Wednesday. Ahhhh.  I've only been counting down to this day for 2 weeks!  Our Connect Group decided to up the festivities of our Christmas party by all dressing in UGLY sweaters! It was so fun!  Some were owned, some were bargain hunted and some were home-made; it was awesome!!  We ate great food and had fun playing Christmas charades.  The only downside (for some, NOT me!) was that the weather was a gorgeous 86 degrees!  But everyone was a good sport and wore their sweaters anyway.  So blessed to have such awesome brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate with!!

What a great week and it's not even over with!  Saturday night I am having my sister (in-law) over for dinner and a visit and I'm super pumped for that!

Here's a few pictures of our ugly sweater party!

All the women

Amity and I

My great girl friends, Amy & Amity

The Men.  Here I would like to point out the winners,
the far left (Pastor T) and far right (Jeff). Aren't they awesome!?

Christmas Traditions

I've always loved talking to people about their families traditions for the holidays.  I find it so fascinating to hear how everyone else loves to celebrate!  I must admit that since we have small children of our own, again I find myself evaluating Christmas and traditions again, with new eyes and perspective.

Mike and I have often gone back and forth about how we, or are we going to portray Santa in our home? Will we buy gifts from him? How many? How far are we willing to go?  We have decided that we will not play up Santa and choose to put Jesus in the spotlight.  We will not deny our children the delight of believing in Santa, but we will not mask it as something that it is not.  We have decided that their stockings will be filled with gifts from Santa, but everything else will be from Mommy, Daddy and each other.  The Spirit of the living Christ is what matters each and every day, not just on one day of the year.

In my family, we always met as a large extended family (20+) at my Grandma's house and ate great food, and played together.  It was always noisy, rowdy, and the most fun I can remember!  We would stay up late and each cousin was able to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  I think this is a tradition that is dear to my heart and that we plan to carry forward with our children.

This year we have chosen to establish a new tradition for our little family.  Mike and I will be getting up early and cooking pancakes and brewing a large urn of coffee to later deliver to the less fortunate in Abilene.  God has gently and lovingly reminded me that at this time last year we would have been homeless, too; weeks away from expecting our daughter but without a job, a home and food if not for God's provision and generosity in our life.  Each and every day we rely on His provision and this Christmas we are going to celebrate by seizing the opportunity to provide something small for someone else in need.  We feel like by giving from our hearts first thing Christmas morning we will be more grateful to receive.

Thank you Jesus for all you have done for us. Please continue to work through us as we reach out to bless others and change our city.  We give you all the praise and glory!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hot or Cold?

Just a few minutes ago, while standing at the stove making something for the kids to eat later on today I received a revelation from the Father.  As the dish was slowly warming to a boil it was time to add extra ingredients, one at a time.  I felt He shared these thoughts with me.

"Jenn, would you consider yourself hot or cold?"

"I would like to think HOT Papa" I answered.

"Watch how adding one small thing to your pot can make it warm, instead of boiling hot!"

Sure enough, just as the dish was about to boil and I added something new, it cooled off enough to stop it from erupting into a full boil.

"Be mindful and watch what you are adding to your life. Make sure these things are increasing the fire, not causing you to cool off and die."

Wow.  Sure enough I knew instantly which "things" in my life I need less or none of.  But I am also willing to let the Holy Spirit continue the process and search out anything else that may cause me to cool off.

He reminded me of the following scriptures.  The Word of God has some pretty heavy things to say about being hot or cold:

Matthew 24:12 [NIV]
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold

Revelation 3:15 [NIV]
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

Revelation 3:16 [NIV]
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I believe that this is meant to be an encouragement to me and to you today.  An encouragement, you say!?! Yes!  It is my understanding that the danger of being lukewarm, or cold is that it strips us of our inheritance that Jesus died on the cross for.  When we aren't on fire for Him, and we can't see beyond the situations our own lives and daily routine how can we share His wild, crazy, passionate love with others? He is burning hot for us! That is how much He loves us!

What have you added to your life that has caused a drop in temperature? What can you add or take away to get that fire burning strong?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mother's Day Out

Both Harrison and Heidi are attending a Mother's Day Out program here in Abilene and the absolutely LOVE it!  I take them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:30 - 12:15. They eat lunch there and then when I pick them up we head straight home for nap time.  It allows me the much needed time for appointments, errands and Me time, and they love the social interactions.  It's fun because it is held at a different church than where we attend, so it's a new circle of friends and life.

I would love to scan some of their art projects into the computer to share them, but that will have to wait until I actually have a scanner here! Ha!  The projects are precious to say the least though. I've started a Rubbermaid treasure box for them already :) Such a proud Momma!

What's really cute is that they both were enrolled soon enough to get school pictures taken this year! They turned out great! A few lucky recipients should be watching your mailboxes for our Christmas cards and the school pictures!

We are having such a wonderful time just being connected in Abilene.  No more loneliness (as far as being isolated goes) and lots to do.  They even have a really fun indoor place called Jump Around which is just a few huge bounce houses on foam pads for the kiddos to run and jump around in. It's fun and cheap ($2 drop-in).

We have school MWF, church on Sunday/Wednesday, and other activities in between.  In January Harrison can start soccer at the YMCA (where I go).  I am SO excited for him to run around and have fun with the other kids!

Heidi is still learning how to walk.  And even at that, she really isn't that interested in learning!  She will pull up on furniture (what little we have) but cannot stand without it yet.  I know it will happen in due time.  No rush!  I cannot believe that she turns 1 in less than a month! I finally accepted the reality of it and bought some invitations.  We'll be waiting until the first week of January when Daddy gets home to have her a party in Abilene.  Maybe we will do one with family in Bangs on her actual birth day :)

Life is great! We miss Daddy daily, but we also release him to do his work. We are so grateful to have a great job when so many don't. Especially since we didn't for so long.  It is a season of personal sacrifice but the kids see him every day on the web cam and they love it.  We are definitely looking forward to seeing him in January though!! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Healing and Miracles

As the kids and I made our journey to Abilene I was in worship and prayer asking the Father "would you please reveal to me my role here {in Abilene}".  His response was "You already know because I have written it on your heart".  Instantly I understood the purpose I would fulfill here. To live a life that demonstrates and testifies that I believe the FULL word of God; everything He said was purposeful, and He meant every single word of it.  For example: in Matthew Chapter 6, verse 9 Jesus says "Pray like this... Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven".{emphasis added}

Ok, so especially since Jesus himself said it, I am going to believe that the Kingdom of God is here on Earth. Period.  AND that we will see Gods will done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Sounds simple, right? It is!

What is in Heaven? Past the gold, jewels, angels, rejoicing etc... Maybe it's easier to ask what's NOT in Heaven? Is there pain? sadness? divorce? violence? sickness? disease? NO!!!

So, then I am going to live my life by the word and promises of God.  As Jesus commands in Matthew 10:8, I will go and announce to the people {the lost} that the Kingdom of Heaven has come. I will heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons.  For God has given this power and authority to me freely, so freely I will give it away!

So what was written on my heart?
1. to see believers grasp the power and authority that the death of Jesus has already paid for. {so much more than the initial salvation from sins!}
2. to heal the sick.  not pray for them, not comfort them. To give them back their inheritance!
3. to build up the church through prophetic words {hearing from God in the moment for the edification of all who see and hear}

How did I arrive at this point? Well, to be honest, I was stuck in a rut and simply believed that there had to be something better.  As I write this, I am sort of giggling because the Father has made such divine appointments for me since I arrived that is makes me smile!! He knew where I'd be, the conversations I'd have with people etc. It's really awesome.

Before our house was ready to move into I was staying with a dear friend.  We were getting into a late night discussion about our faith, and what we'd like to see God do in Abilene.  She says "I have this movie we should watch".  My life has not been the same since then!!  She shared with me the Finger of God documentary that has captured some amazing footage of miracles and healings across the globe. It was exactly what I needed to catapult my faith to the next level!! If you feel like there is something more in life, I strongly recommend you watch the DVD with an open heart and mind.  It made me realize that I had put God in such a small box, but that night the box was burned up and consumed by a MUCH bigger God!! Praise the Lord!

Bill Johnson is pretty famous for saying something like "Signs and wonders are supposed to be a normal part of a believers life. They should be a daily, natural occurrence.  We need to be concerned when they are not." {sorry, this is very paraphrased!}

I agree, and that is what I am in Abilene, Texas fighting for!  The enemy has made us so numb to his lies and way of life that we start to question the miracles that happened in biblical times instead of questioning why they aren't happening now!!

Grow your faith and spend some time reading and watching testimonies from places with incredible breakthrough in these areas! Here are a few links that I like to visit to see what God is doing so that I can believe He will do that here too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Returning to Abilene

I don't even know where to start!  We've been in Abilene since October 23 and the time is flying by! It's been really hard because we haven't had internet until recently and I've really been trying to catch up on the major points between leaving and arriving. Time to move forward!

I like to start with the God things in our life.  Anyone who has moved a couple times knows how expensive moving can be.  Lots of little costs adding up. In our case it is lots of big costs adding up quickly!  Instead of just accepting this as "normal" we decided to pray over it and ask God to move on our behalf.

We needed to set up 2 new cell phone plans, electric, gas, water/sewer, and internet services we were worried that deposits were really going to add up, especially since our foreclosure last year.  Mike prayed in Nebraska and I prayed here in Abilene and God answered.  Most of our deposits were waived!! This is a HUGE praise report for us since we are in the process of rebuilding our credit. God is so good, He cares deeply about every detail of our lives, even the small ones!

I can't remember if I've written this previously but I feel I need to share it again.  Some of you reading will know this already, but when we were looking for a house in Abilene to rent, I looked online first and found a few that seemed suitable.  Thankfully I have really great friends here that were willing to go and check them out for me.  Kristen and Carter selflessly viewed 3 houses for us that never did work out.  I just didn't have God's peace about any houses that she'd gone to. At the same time I felt I couldn't keep asking her to go here and there!  I was beginning to feel discouraged.  The same day that Kristen viewed the third house for us, another friend wrote me immediately after finding out we were moving back and put me in touch with her mother-in-law, who happened to have a house possibly for rent.

The big thing is that we were about to put ourselves in a place of compromise based on pressure to find a house, instead of asking God to provide a house for us. Hmmmm.  In the end, I spoke with my friends mother-in-law and we were both blessed in the process.  She never intended to become a landlord, but God has created these opportunities for her.  We really needed a suitable house, in the right location and it's exactly what we found.  The only catch was that I wasn't able to see any pictures of the house, just what could be explained to me.  Yet I had this surreal peace about it, that it was meant for us. 

Fast forward to our arrival... remember that I am moving to a new house sight unseen...  We arrived at the address and were immediately encouraged.  The location is literally 5 minutes from our church, which was important to us. It is located on a fairly busy road but has a nice front garage that will keep the kids from running out on the street, another blessing.

I was blown away as soon as I stepped into the entry way!! Vonnie and Katy had both been so modest in their descriptions of the house to me.  It is absolutely beautiful! Spacious, clean, open, and logical.  The layout of the house is wonderful.  It is even painted in colors that I enjoy! What a gift from God!  My faith has really been stretched and has grown immensely through this amazing experience!

And the icing on the cake:  When Vonnie gave me a tour and we were about to leave the last thing she said to me that day was "I know this is my house but I really want you to be able to make it your home". God spoke to me in that moment. All the decisions that lead to this point have all paid off.  It was the confirmation that I needed. Thank you Father!

{more adventures from Abilene to follow...}

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nothing Short of Miraculous!

So the logistics of our trip were absolutely amazing!  After visiting with Jill a couple days before we were about start our big trip, we had dinner the night before going with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Blair and Aunty Daniel.  We said our good-byes that night because we were leaving early in the morning.  It's always so hard to say good-bye when you don't know exactly when the next time you will see each other again.  It was especially hard knowing that Harrison didn't know exactly what it meant to say good-bye this time.

We started the day with another beautiful sunrise! I love how God encourages me with the beautiful things that make me smile!  We drove to the Canada/USA border and crossed over without any issues, and continued onto Great Falls, Montana - first 350 km of our trip under way.  We stopped at Target to stretch our legs, purchase a GPS unit and have some lunch.  I pre-booked our hotels for this trip, so we had to push towards our destination every day.  We were aiming for Billings, Montana for the first night.

Back in the van, and off we went!  I am so grateful that we had a DVD player to entertain Harrison.  Grandma and Aunty Jill bought him some new movies for the road trip so he was excited! He loved all his Bob the Builder dvds so much!

We arrived in Billings around 4:30pm, found our hotel and settled in.  Harrison was so funny! As we arrived at the hotel room, he ran in and practically started himself a bath. This became our new nightly routine for every hotel we stayed at.  We jumped on the beds, had our dinner, then settled in for our sleep for the night so we could get an early start the next day. Day 1, 700 km, not a single cry or fuss, praise God!

Our sleep was awesome!  Both kiddos were awake at 6 am so I packed up and took them downstairs for some breakfast. Heidi had her baby food and Harrison wasn't quite ready to eat so we grabbed a milk and a muffin for the road. Back in the van, we made our way through the rest of Montana, and all of Wyoming into Colorado.  We stopped in Casper, Wyoming to get gas, pick up some Subway sandwiches, and then we found a park to have a picnic at.  The kids had a wonderful time eating lunch on the grass.  Harrison ate and ran, then ate some more.  He played and played on the equipment and after about an hour break it was time to go.  This was about the only time the entire trip that Harrison fussed, only because he didn't want to stop playing! First stop, 444 km under way.

Back on the highway, we had fun singing "Silly Songs with Larry" on the Veggie Tales dvd.  I love this because it makes Harrison laugh!!  Then Heidi started laughing at Harrison and I was laughing with them and I could feel the joy of the Lord resting sweetly on us. Another little yet significant encouragement from God. 

We arrived at our destination, Loveland, Colorado around 4:30 pm and went straight to the outlet stores so I could pick up some clothes for the kids.  There were some fairly good bargains, but I knew the kids were tired and that we needed to get into our hotel and have dinner soon, so I didn't look super hard to the best deals.  Just when I thought we were in, out and off to the hotel my debit card was declined at the Carter's store.  I instantly knew it was because I had been using it all over the country side!  I called the bank and answered the questions and unlocked the card.  At least they were looking out for me! The end of day 2, 819 km. Whew!

Another hotel, another dinner, more jumping on the bed and another bath.  Both kiddos crashed by 7 pm and were up again at 6 am.  No fussing, no crying; only happy, well rested babies. Thank you Jesus! What an amazing blessing!  I packed up again and took the kids for hotel breakfast.  Staying at hotels with breakfast made our trip SO much easier!

On Friday morning we headed out from Loveland towards Amarillo, Texas around 6 am because the kids were wide awake at 5am (thanks time change!). Yikes. TONS of construction.  I did not anticipate these delays.  Thankfully Harrison was engrossed with the big trucks and tractors working on the road, and Heidi slept through most of it.  After an hour of construction delays we were jaunting across south-eastern Colorado and Oklahoma.

I didn't really anticipate my reaction as we neared the state line and crossed over into Texas. This big flood of relief, thankfulness and joy washed over me and I began to cry happy tears.  Way up in the panhandle there isn't much to see or look at, except oil wells.  Sort of a desert wasteland.  I saw my first gnarled mesquite tree and cried some more.  Isn't it funny the things we have associations with?

We pulled into our hotel in Amarillo around 3:30 pm with plenty of time to relax, play, eat and rest before our final day of traveling.  Another bath and story time and we all crashed early after our amazing dinner from Pacific Rim. Yum!  I was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve knowing what was in store for the next day! The end of day 3, 769 km.

On our fourth and final day of travel we had an early breakfast with about 200 seniors, no exaggerating. We were the only family awake as they had their breakfast and reboarded the big tour bus.  I think that would be a fun way to get around and meet people when I'm a bit older! That, and a cruise! It seemed like every single person stopped at the table to talk to Harrison and gaze into Heidi's sparkling blues.  It was a fun way to start our morning!

Day 4, off to Abilene!  We were up at 5 am again, so we got an early start on the drive, which was going to allow me time to stop at the big Target in Lubbock. Hooray!  It was a good place for us to stretch our legs. I grabbed 2 drinks at Starbucks.  Maybe a sign that I'm ready to be done the big adventure? Yes! 

We pressed on and arrived in Abilene around 12:30. It seemed like such a short day with only 460 km driven! We met Vonnie Crumpton at our new house, where she toured us around.  Believe it or not, it was our first time seeing the house!! When my friend Katy put me in touch with her mother-in-law about the house a complete peace washed over me and I knew we would be happy there, sight unseen!

Our home is absolutely wonderful! It is very large and spacious, more room than we really need.  It actually has two 2 car garages and a great fenced yard for Harrison to play in.  We love it!  God is so good!! The kids absolutely love it, which is what matters most to me.

That is the abbreviated version of our journey, all 2,748 km of it, but all to say that there was not a single meltdown, by the kids or me! No trouble, no worries, just joy!  Over all I would describe our trip as long, but fun and enjoyable! I've had 4 hour flights with Harrison that I wouldn't say that about! What a God gift!

If feels so good to be home.  I have been struggling to put words to it really.  I just know that this is where the Burnett Bunch belongs.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Exodus to the Promised Land

Well you may think I'm just trying to be smart, witty or cute or maybe you may think I'm religious by choosing the title of this post but I promise you that it is none of the above.  It is really how Mike and I feel about our journey this last year, and specifically how we feel about our move back to Abilene.  We have literally felt like the modern day equivalents to the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years.  I'm certainly grateful that it didn't take us that long to realize God has bigger things in store for us though!! We can identify with them in so many ways.  The entire time they were out there God was trying to do something great for them, but they kept getting in the way!  Unbelief, disobedience, you name it, we've likely done it in sometime in the last year. But you know what? I'm so grateful for the wilderness! I really am.  I am so grateful what He has shown me about mercy, about compassion & forgiveness.  I am so thankful for God teaching me about stewardship, leadership and daily provision.  To not "hoard" his provision for another day,  but to come to Him daily for fresh provision! And mostly what He has taught me about LOVE.

The part of the analogy that people seem to be getting hung up on is that we are equating Abilene with The Promised Land.  Why Abilene?  I keep hearing.  Abilene is dry. It's dirty. Whenever it rains it floods. There's crime and poverty unlike anything I've ever been exposed to in Canada. There is a spirit of religion and racism that is so heavy on the city it feels like you could cut it with a knife.  With characteristics like that it is hard to play Abilene off as a "desirable" city.  I can actually think of many cities in Texas that are more beautiful than Abilene.  But what we've come to discover is that has nothing to do with why we're here.

Obviously Abilene is a city in need of God.  It's not that there's not churches here, because there are LOTS of churches here.  But there are more lost people/souls here than there are churches and that's why we're here. God has blessed Mike with an amazing job and the finances to be a blessing to many.  He has also given us both a heart for Gods people in Abilene.  We want to see the lost saved. We need to see the spirits of poverty and religion broken in this place. Our main focus is to be true BELIEVERS, not just Christians, and to see Jesus lifted high in this city!

My heart is so full of peace being here, I have struggled to find the words to describe it to people.  I can't imagine how the Israelites felt after God had parted the Red Sea for them to cross on dry land and as they first stepped into the land promised to them!  I have perceived in my spirit some of the things that the Lord will be doing in Abilene soon.  It's as if the heavens are about to be ripped open and the glory of God is going to pour out over the city, consuming the bad and refining the good, igniting personal, corporate, and city wide revival.  Abilene will become a well known city for the revival that is about to rage across the land! I am so excited to be here and to be ready to be used mightily by God!

Created for this,


There is so much to tell about our journey down here, but since we just had our internet hooked up today I'm going to wait until I can post tonight in detail about it.  I just wanted y'all to know that we have arrived in Abilene safe and sound.  We have been received with a TON of love and we are loving being back with Gods people at our church!

Sorry this is short.  I will post more tonight! There is SO much to share!

Created for this!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cleaning House

With all the packing I've been doing you could say that I've been cleaning house.  It's certainly starting to look bare and empty in our rooms.  As I mentioned before, I think this is a good thing.

With the house cleaning, God has been doing some spiritual "house" cleaning along with me.  I mentioned awhile back in a post that there had been some friendships lost and how much it had hurt me.  The whole situation, the way it came about, the way it ended... hurt.  God has healed those wounds and more for me.  It's not that those relationships will ever be replaced, or forgotten.  It is just that I have found healing in forgiveness.  I have let all the harsh, hateful words spoken to me and over me in malice fall away.  I do not receive them because I do not believe that they ever were true.  Most importantly I forgive the person who said them. {I know you still read my blog, so I hope that this message reaches you, so you can find healing too.}

Sometimes it's hard to hold your tongue, I'll be the first to admit that.  The bible warns in so many scriptures the power your words hold over yourself and over others.  When God created the Earth he spoke it into existence. Doesn't that give you a glimpse into how powerful our words are created to be?  

Recently our decision to move has upset a lot of people because they are taking it personally... like we are choosing to move away from them, specifically.  That isn't it at all.  We are making the best decision we know how to make, based on all the information we have right now.  It is important to understand that Mike and I have thought everything through. It is time for us to get back on our own feet, and to move forward with our lives.  Our focus and passion is to serve the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul. And we feel the calling to do that in Abilene, TX.  I again offer forgiveness to those who have misunderstood our intentions and reacted harshly.  It is very important to me that you know this.

I believe that every so often God lets us empty our hearts, or helps us shake out the skeletons in the closets, not so that we can feel guilt about our mistakes, but so that we can be filled up again with good, wholesome things instead of carrying around ugly, hurtful garbage and lies.  If you've been carrying any heavy burdens around with you lately, today I encourage you to tell God you forgive someone.  You don't necessarily have to jump in and tell that person directly, although you may want to, but forgive them in your heart and see how "clean" it makes you feel. I also encourage you to take a deep breath the next time the urge to lash out against someone sneaks up on you.  It may take some practice, but think of all the wounds you will save.  That in itself should make you smile and feel very good.  Never give up because with God's strength all things are possible!

Walking in the Light,
Momma J

All Packed Up

Same story, different ending.  The BurnettBunch is all packed up... again.  This time however, the move has a very different feel to it.  There is no dread. No worry.  No anxiety.  No confusion.  No emergency.  Surrounding this move is only certainty, peace, closure, hope, joy, freedom... destiny.

I think that the biggest point people have overlooked in reacting to our move is this:  Mike and I would not have moved to Texas hadn't our situation been dire.  Some of you may be thinking that I am over reacting, or over exaggerating but I promise you I'm not.  When you are out of money, cannot secure a job, and can't qualify for social assistance {and you're 8 months pregnant} where do you turn? Do you move in with the only family who can help you? Or do you remain prideful and put your family out on the streets? I pray those are questions you never really have to answer.

God is so amazing.  Just the week before Mike left for work our life account {everything to our name, nothing left to sell etc.} dwindled to less than $500.  Talk about scary. Already the Lord has built us up 10 fold, and I know he will do it again, and again!  The thing is I was more worried and had more anxiety when we still had $10,000 in the bank and no job then when we had only $500.  My eyes and heart have been realigned with Gods purpose for our family and my perspective has been changed in a major way. God is doing a good work in our family and I am excited to see the fruit start popping up!

This week I haven't posted much because I've been busy packing up our bins, deciding what we will need to get by for 3 weeks before Mike can arrive with our big truck load of household goods. Air mattresses, check. Baby supplies, check. I'm sure you get the point. 

 We have been so blessed by a family in our church in Abilene with a wonderful house to call HOME.  I am praying now for our drive there with Harrison (2) and Heidi (10 mo) it should be an adventure!  I have coloring books {with markers that only mark the book}, DVDs, and lots of snacks to pass the time.  Our first night we'll be stopping in Billings, Montana. Then we'll drive all the way through Wyoming and strategically stop in Loveland, Colorado so that I can go outlet shopping for the kiddos, mostly.  Maybe one item for Mommy?  Our third day will take us into Amarillo, Texas and the fourth day we should arrive in Abilene by mid-day with enough time to go to a Fall Festival with Kristen & Carter Vian,  our long lost friends!

I also have a HUGE praise report to share.  My dear friend Jill has now been receiving chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma for several months.  She was just a little over the half way mark (6 months) and even the thought of going to the hospital again was making her physically sick!  I empathized with her because I don't know what she's feeling or what she's going through, but I did/do know that God is bigger than any challenge out there!  I pulled together some encouraging scriptures for her to speak over herself and emailed them to her and also encouraged her to look up a few passages about anxiety and worry on her own.  Sure enough, she did and focused all her thoughts on reading them, instead of focusing on the pain and side effects of treatments.  I never hear from her the day of treatment because she's usually sleeping or ill.  This week she called me to praise how well she was feeling!! We talked for over an hour!  She described how she was so peaceful she even slept through treatment, which has never happened!! PRAISE THE LORD!! I know that physically the treatments get harder the further along you get, but I know my God is stronger than all of that! I believe He is going to be the one to carry her through until her last treatment, 3 days before Christmas.  What an amazing testimony of His faithfulness!

For those of you wondering, Mike is doing great.  We talk to him on the webcam every night after dinner, before the kids go to bed.  Heidi squeals with delight every time she see him and wants to kiss the monitor!  Harrison is really sweet too; the other night he was pretending to talk to Daddy on the cell phone.  "How was your day Daddy?  I REALLY miss you!"  Sometimes I cannot believe the sentences that come out of his little 2 year old mouth.  He loves talking to Daddy every night, even though it's mostly short.  Sitting still on a chair and talking just isn't too much of a priority when you're 2!

Mike will be flying back to Calgary on November 7, loading our stuff from the storage room, grabbing our stuff from Jill's, driving to my parents to get the last bit of stuff and then heading south on the same route that we'll be taking just a few short weeks before.  I know the kids will be so excited to see him.  I know I can't wait to see him either.  Six weeks at a time is a long stretch, but a blessing compared to my military friends who have to wait 6 months to a whole year to see their loved ones.  We love you Daddy!

Momma J

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

For 43 days I have been challenging myself by reading my daily scripture through youversion.  Judge me if you must, but this is probably the second longest consecutive time in my life where I've made a commitment to read scripture every morning. I had a conviction about reading my bible recently and I asked myself why would I tithe 10% to the Lord but not give him the first fruits of my time every day? Why wouldn't I want His word written in my heart? So I've been faithfully following a reading plan and it continues to be wonderful! I am gaining new understanding from scriptures I have read a dozen times before and I am finding it easier to draw on His strength and steadfastness throughout the day.  Our days have been more peaceful and fulfilling.  God is doing great things in our household!

Along with reading my bible I have also been keeping a daily gratitude journal.  My journal is in point form and I've been listing 5 items {things, people, praise items etc} that I am grateful for on a daily basis.  What an amazing experience it has been for me! There are so many things God has shown me through this discipline.  I have learned that:

  • I have so much more to be grateful for than I ever thought, even in a season when I physically have the least;
  • the more I take my eyes off myself and the circumstances surrounding me at the moment, the better my attitude is;
  • my life is SO much more than my circumstances
  • God is working in my life despite all the "junk"
  • God is good and he is FAITHFUL to do what He says!
  • I don't "need" as much stuff as I thought
I encourage you to start and keep your own gratitude journal.  It is such an awesome way to see that God does hear and answer my prayers, and to literally see with my own eyes that I am so blessed.  I would love to hear about your experiences with your own gratitude journal!

I'm grateful for my readers tonight.  I know many of you come, look, read and don't comment, but I know that you're there. I pray something I've shared has blessed your heart as you've blessed mine.

Walking in the Light,
Momma J

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steps Towards Home

It's been really, really difficult not to "spill the beans" so to speak until all our family has been notified, but the news is out there now!  Mike and I have found ourselves at yet another crossroads in life.  Trying to discern whether our move to Canada was to be a permanent one, or was it a temporary solution to an emergency situation. Notice I didn't say "decide"... This is because for the first time in our married life we are letting the Spirit lead the way with regards to another move.  This may be hard to grasp without spiritual eyes and ears, but we feel the calling for us to put down roots for our family in a specific place. (drum roll please!!)

Within the next couple of months (before Christmas) The Burnett Bunch will be moving back to Abilene, Texas!  While we will definitely miss The Farm, Grandpa & Grandma, Uncle Blair and Auntie Danielle, and Auntie Jill we know that great things are waiting for us there.  Hopefully our plan will be executed in real life as effectively as it is in my mind, but I am hoping that every summer we can have an extended visit in Alberta (3-4 weeks) and every winter Grandma & Grandpa can come and visit Texas for as long as they like.  This way we are guaranteed to see each other twice a year and not feel too separated.

Our hearts yearn to be part of what God is doing in and through Champions Church, and the Mansion, as well as in the hearts of our church family there!  We are so excited to put down ROOTS and build a HOME and LEGACY for our family.  So look for more updates about our journey soon!  We are praying for a great rental property right now, that will be in close proximity to the church, in a safe neighborhood, affordable, and clean and somewhat updated.  We can't wait to see y'all soon!