Year of Big Birthdays for the Burtons

My family.  What a fun group of people.  

For over half of my life, I lived far enough away from my family that I didn’t see them all for birthdays.  Growing up, we always celebrated everyone’s birthday in our family.  It’s not to say that a huge party was thrown, or anything like that, but ensuring that everyone was celebrated at least once a year – that was a big deal.  We’d have the occasional birthday party (mine, of course, was my sweet sixteen), but for the most part we kept it low-key.

Adding people into our family, via my brothers getting married and nephews being born, added even more fun to the Burton birthdays. Until recently, I didn’t live by family for any of my one sister-in-law’s birthdays (Tiffany), nor my two youngest nephews’ birthdays (Ross and Ryder).  But I would attempt visits home to get everyone together to do a Burton Birthday Bash.  With the exception of Ross, whose birthday is in February, we have family celebrations from April through September, with most of them being in August and September.  Whenever we do a cake for a BBB, we’ll light the candles and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to…everyone.  We all throw in different names when it’s time to name the person, or we’ll just say everyone’s name really fast, or sometimes we just end up saying, ‘everyonnnnnnnnnne, Happy Biiiiirthdaaaaay to you…’

So we get to celebrate each other in big doses, and we truly enjoy doing it.  It’s the whole Christmas concept of – it’s even more fun to give than receive.  My family does that well.  No one really cares about what they’re going to get – at least not as much as we care about how much you’ll enjoy the gift we’re about to give you.

My family does that well.  No one really cares about what they’re going to get – at least not as much as we care about how much you’ll enjoy the gift we’re about to give you.

I love that.

This has been an extra fun year for birthdays.  All of my nephews hit those milestone birthdays.  Ross turned 16.  Ryder turned 10.  Robert turned 21.  I’m pretty sure that my brother and sister-in-law didn’t plan it that way, but it’s fun to realize.  To top it all off, my mama is going to be 70 on Sunday.  Man, Ilove her.  I’ve been nothing but blessed since I moved in to hang with my parents for a short season, back in June, while I transition back to live by my family.  She’s amazing.  (So’s my dad…but we’ll get to him later.)

A few weeks ago we did a Burton Birthday Brunch Bash – brother, David, got a waffle maker for Christmas last year and I don’t get enough use of it, so I requested a brunch bash.  We brunched, and swam, and laughed a lot.  Ryder brought the fun, and we do a mini version of that this Sunday to celebrate a few more birthdays.

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35 by 35

I woke up this morning and realized it was the 11th. Every time I realize it’s the 11th of any month I automatically calculate how many months until my birthday, which is on the 11th of the greatest month ever.

3 months.

I will turn 35 in 3 months.

Excitement that my birthday was only a quarter away, joined with the utter disgust for how enormous I look, and the sheer terror that my actual age will be close to 40 all drew me to one conclusion.

I need to lose 35 pounds by the time I turn 35. Really-that’s all I came to.

Again…3 months.

I can do this.

Perhaps I should add onto that:

  • read 35 books of the Bible
  • go to bed on-time 35 times
  • NOT have Starbucks 35 times
  • run 35 times (which would help with the original goal)
  • write 35 thank you notes
  • take 35 midday walks during work
  • oooooo….write 35 blog posts

Aaaaaaand GO!

I Can Do Hard Things

Run is such a strong word for what I do.

Nonetheless, I run.

I love the mental and physical sensation that comes from running.  I love the soreness that I acquire when I start running again…that is, when I go through a dry spell and jump back in again…because thankfully that soreness goes away once I'm in the zone.

A little over a month ago I was sitting around with some friends at a park in Old Town.  Late to the game, I jumped into the topic of "tell us about a dream that you have…"  

Immediately I thought of two things:

"I want to see people get set free…all the time…I just want to see people walk in freedom"

"I want to get married and have a family, of course!"  

Someone else said one of them, so I told them about another dream that I've had for many years, which is to run a marathon.  I also added that I wanted to go Hawaii, and someone suggested that I run a marathon in Hawaii.  I figure I could kill three birds with one stone by getting married, going to Hawaii for my honeymoon, and run a marathon while I'm there. 😉  I dream…I digress…

That afternoon I decided to sign up for a 5K.  Yea, I can't run a full 5K right now.  (ugh) BUT I am getting there, and more quickly than I used to!  (This is exciting)  I think my body is starting to kick into gear more quickly, and it's not considering running to be so foreign as it has in the past when I started again. Good thing.  I got off track for a few days so I skipped a few of my Couch25K training days and ran much longer than I was originally supposed to today.  I love when I actually do what I put my mind to.  It's the sort of day that I was super proud of myself.

One of my favorite things about running is all the ways God teaches me through it.  It never fails…there's ALWAYS a lesson to learn.  Plus, I am so that Chariots of Fire guy, Eric Liddell, when he says that he feels God's pleasure when he runs.  (Run is still such a strong word for what I do, so maybe I can just say that I feel God's pleasure when I jog.:)  I picture Jesus on the sidelines with a sweatband on his forehead and a shirt that says, "KimPossible iz my HomeGurl!"  He's not usually wearing a robe in those visions.

Today I decided to go out when it was late in the afternoon, and it snapped into darkness during the warmup!  The thing I love the most about the location of my living arrangement is that we have trails down GW Parkway.  Love me so trails, trees, nature…falling leaves now.  (sigh)  Except when it's dark.  I am the sort of person who could be voted most likely to twist my ankle doing nothing (not claiming it, just sayin'), so GW Parkway trails would not necessarily be my friend at night.  This evening I decided I wasn't going to care and that I'd just be extra careful.

This is what it looked like:

2013-11-11 17.50.51

No joke.  That's an actual picture I took during the cool-down.

Then I tried to force the flash and got this:

2013-11-11 17.51.16

It. Was. Dark.

This trail had some lovely little twists, turns and hills, but all I could get were glimpses of what was right in front of me, just a few steps ahead.  

Such is life, right?

There are times when God makes everything that's coming very clear.  Other times all I get is a few steps ahead of me.  That trust in Him has to be pretty real.  

"Seriously, God, are you sure this is the best road for me to be on?  I mean, can't we find a safer place to journey and learn a few lessons?  Perhaps one that would be less painful if (and when) I fall?"  

"Sure, but you'd be bored," is what I think I hear Him say to me often.  

There were times, tonight, that I would start jogging and wonder why it had just gotten harder, until I realized I'd just gone up a small hill without even seeing it.

There's a reason why Psalm 119:105 is a big deal.  

Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.

Oh, the journey.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do hard things.  I feel like I get blindsided by little hills that I climb that I don't feel prepared for, but God tells me that I can do hard things (see Philippians 3:14 for proof).  It's my mantra for life right now.  If you see me walk through something tough and I look like I'm going to meltdown, feel free to simply say, "Kim, what can you do?", to which I will crack a smile and reply, "I can do hard things."  It may even look like I'm rolling my eyes at you, but don't take it personally…I'm really rolling my eyes at me.

Plus…

I can do hard things

Yes.  I have that as a screensaver on my phone.  A girl can never remind herself enough about WHO she is.  ;-)

While I was jogging through one of my last stints tonight, a non-running song came through on my phone, but this was a song I just don't turn off when it comes on, so I slowly jogged to a slow song. It's this Bebo Norman song that I have LOVED since college; it's the song I want to walk down the aisle to at some point in time when a man decides to be captivated by all this redheaded awesomeness.  God reminded me, once again, that even that part of my journey will have more answers someday, and even that dream will come true as well.  Even though it's hard to wait, I can do hard things.  

In two weeks I will have run myself a nice little 5K, and will begin training for a 10K…because I can do hard things.

Even if I have to run in the dark, I will do so with only a few steps ahead of me illuminated…because I can do hard things.

And I will become a runner…because I can do hard things.  

If anyone feels called to sponsor my trip to Hawaii, I will accept…because you are awesome.  (That didn't go with the poeticness of the last few lines, but figured it wouldn't hurt to throw it in just in case. 😉

“But Who Will Marry ME?”-Sweet Friend Gabby

Scrabble

(Check out this sign on Etsy here)


I love to keep up with messages by my amazingly anointed and gifted friend (and former pastor), Brad.  He is the pastor of a thriving church in my hometown, Philly.  God is blowing my mind @ City Life Church, in the ways that He is moving, and I'm so proud of my friends and their team for pursuing the City of Love with the ultimate Love of Christ.  

Every now and then I have a Brad Leach marathon and listen to several messages from the past couple months, and today is such a day.  Due to Singles Awareness Month around here, 😉 I have been avoiding listening to his relationship messages from last month, feeling great in that area and not needing one more right now.  But after posting yesterday', about my sweet moment with Jesus and the stallion that He has prepared for me, I decided it would be okay to hear Brad's thoughts about this.

He tells this precious story about his little girl, Gabby, at the beginning of this message, and if you've got it in you to hear one more message about relationships any time soon, this is another great talk on the topic for all my phenomenal friends out there in a season of wondering, "But who will marry ME?"  Check it out here. (2/24/13)  He even gives a great reason to join the Operations Team @ DC Metro Church…suggesting that you can enter Connection Cards from Sunday and scope out the new single people @ the church.  Just sayin'. 😉

I "don't need to budge from God's plan for my life."  So glad that I get to thrive in my singleness.

 

Hopeful New Year

About an hour ago I did wish some folks a Happy New Year.

The more I consider it though, who am I to tell people to have a happy new year?

This past year has brought quite a bit of suffering and grief to people I really love, like, barely know and many I'll never meet…why should they be required to have a Happy New Year in 2013?

This year I've…

watched some close friends tragically lose their dads

watched one of my best friends lose really important older women in her life (her MawMaw and great aunt who helped raise her)

watched a friend still not be able to get back with her separated husband

watched a good friend still not have resolution with an untruthful accusation with his job at work

watched several close women in my life miscarry…more than once

watched my sister-in-law say goodbye to one of her good friends who went into hospice the other day and pass away this morning

watched a friend go home to be with her dad as he entered hospice care

learned that the son of my sister-in-law's childhood best friend (who died 5 years ago) shot himself the other day with his best friends there

heard of tragedy after tragedy happen-just in this country-with folks losing their friends and loved ones to horrific events, due to brokenness (the government can't make broken people unbroken…never will be able to…)

learned of sick adoption issues across the world that are truly harming children

learned of more than one mom of small kids lose her husband out of nowhere

learned that just yesterday my friend's dad went to the hospital with pneumonia

watched two of my best friends say goodbye to their 2 1/2 year old little girl after a 2 1/2 year battle with sickness

and the other day I watched (from a distance) a family that I hold dear get into a horrific accident, throwing one of my favorite little freckle-faced, Irish teenagers from the car, taking away his Senior year and first year of college-here in 2013…

…seen so much pain…

I think…who am I to wish these people a Happy New Year?

Instead, I think this year I will move forward with wishing my friends and family a Hopeful New Year.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15.13

How can all of these people move forward in such great pain? It just doesn't seem to be humanly possible, but by the grace of God.  I was reflecting yesterday on how great God was this past year-in SO many ways, and also on the reality of the sorrow that SO many of my friends and family have felt.  I literally felt it yesterday-quite a heaviness.  These things are not sorrowful moments felt once and then gone.  These are moments that are felt on a daily basis.

So I will continue to pray for said-friends in my life, and those that I do not know, asking that God would make the reality of His hope apparent in their lives.  That it would push them forward 365 more times in 2013-even on the really hard days, when numbness sets in and the walls of grief are closing in on them.  I'm praying that Father God would help them put together the pieces that don't make sense and that He will bring a new level of wholeness to their lives.

Only. God.

Feel free to let me know how I can be praying with you this year.

Love,

Kim

 

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.

 

Psalm 119.114

 

"And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in you.

 

Psalm 39.7

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

Psalm 119.147

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope…

Psalm 130.5

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God…

Psalm 146.5

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 8.24-25

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23.18

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12.12

 

Rubes

Today we take a few moments

to CELEBRATE

the life of a courageous little girl

whose brief touch on this earth has impacted more people

than a 2 1/2 year old typically has the chance to

We CELEBRATE

the faith that it launched in people

the depth that it dug in people

the inner healing that will continue to abound in people

We CELEBRATE

the GOODNESS of God

…because even in the midst of the pain that is felt…

He

is

still

good

We GRIEVE

for our LOSS

Yet

will continue to CELEBRATE

her GAIN 

Luse family-044

Ruby Joy (Rubes)

you were a delight to know

you were a champion

you gave me reasons to never give up hope

…to never lose heart

Through your life

mine was revived

Thank you for being a part of my life

It was a JOY to know you here

Can't wait to run with you someday

and laugh

and giggle

and dance

…let's dance together

Your legacy extends farther than any of us can see

and will last for eternity

You are a hero to me, Rubes

Love you.

 

In memory of Ruby Joy Luse

July 10, 2009-March 14, 2012

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35.10

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye.

So-long-farewell-copyFor the past 2 weeks I decided to go lite on my sugar fast, which I've been on since the end of July.  I felt peace about it.  I felt like God was saying, "Kim, it's your fast.  I'm not the legalistic one here."  So, almost daily I've had some things with sugar in them, including:  specialized coffee drinks, a few cookies, some pie, and some candy.  Full disclosure…a muffin too.

Now I am sure that God said those things to me.  Why?  Because He knew that I needed a couple of weeks to see that I'm not ready to go off of my fast yet. :-)  I feel terrible….pretty sick.  Not good.  Get the picture? 

In Reading class we are learning about inferencing.  You take what the author is saying, add to it your background knowledge, and you create an inference!  Or you take what you see in a picture, add to it your background knowledge, or what you sense, and you create an inference!  So I am taking this nauseous feeling and the jittery heart beat that I keep feeling, add to it that those are awful feelings, and I create the inference that sugar really does suck for my body. 

My body is not a fan of the stuff-and it decided to show me that with the nausea, the rapid heart beat and the gaining of 6 pounds (ouch!).  2 weeks…6 pounds.  That's what adding sugar back in has done.  The funny thing is that part of that has come from the legarthy that has ensued, putting me to sit so much from being so dang tired.  Seriously.  What a domino effect.

So I'm done.  I can't do this anymore.  Sugar, you are gone again…for a very long time.  I really don't like you enough for all this.  Not. Worth. It. 

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye.