18 December 2012

tidings of comfort and joy

It's been a happy season and a cold season and a sorrowful season and a few lines from songs have been ringing in my heart. Tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. O, tidings of comfort and joy! being one of them. I hear those words and I think, uh ...really?! Do we sing that now? And I get a little embarrassed and uncomfortable to sing that when I my neighbor's suddenly a widower, when twenty children just died in Connecticut, when sex trafficking is a major world issue and babies can't get vaccines.

But those angels came on a pitch dark night, after four HUNDRED years of silence. Absolute silence from the heavens. No promised baby, no king, no conqueror. No Spirit. But just silence. A dark, dark night. A promise had been made, but then there was nothing.


Nothing at all for generations.

And generations.

And people stumbled around--waiting, hoping, making up rules. And then one night the sky burst open and glory 
and the angel 
Fear not!
For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people!
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 
who is Christ the Lord!
And this will be a sign for you:
You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
huh?! a manger?
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!

So, it looks to me like if those angels burst forth in rejoicing like that, then they must know something bigger than we can see. And since, like they announced, we're of the people on whom God's favor rests, it is time to sing from the depths of the darkness to the highest heavens, tidings of comfort and joy.
God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power when we had gone astray
O, tidings of comfort and joy!

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage…that in the world’s finale at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

07 December 2012

getting ready for Christmas!

Christmas tree cutting was a new experience for this girl who was born on the first day of summer. Initially she wasn't a fan, but it turns out she loves to look at the lights :) Just a warning--the video's a little long for anyone to watch except a parent or a grandma.

Also, another little warning--weekly posts are ending soon. I can't ever remember how many weeks she is anymore! Maybe we will switch to monthly.

03 December 2012

22 & 23 Weeks (Thanksgiving and Nov 29)


This little cookie is getting more fuzzy, honey-colored hair and her eyes are still as grey as ever :) We just love her smiles and noises.

27 November 2012

20 & 21 Weeks (Nov 8 and 15)


This little girl has been hard at work!

06 November 2012

19 Weeks

27 October 2012

who he is

Some people that we know are dealing with some really, really sad things. We're dealing with some hard stuff. We've cried and are grieving and wrestling with the whys. We struggle with what to do with them in our own hearts, how to pray for and be with people in the midst. Crazy questions and ideas and accusations can crop up and haunt these vulnerable places in our souls. What do we do with the pain? Where do we go?

This morning David and I talked about the story in John 9 of the man born blind. Skeptics questioned Jesus--Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? I totally feel that question. What have we done wrong? But we've been reveling in Jesus' response--It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God may be displayed in him. Job losing everything, Abraham and Sarah awaiting and awaiting and awaiting a baby, Mary and Martha wrenched by their brother's tomb, how many others? ...and every time it was the same story "that the works of God may be displayed." It's the same story. And that's what we want. We want his works in our lives because he is the all-wise, all-loving, all-good God. May we trust his goodness and his provision and his purpose.

Oh, may the works of God may be displayed within all of these aching unknowns and deep sorrows. Oh, may we remember and joyfully worship this God for just who he is. His purposes are good. Always.

26 October 2012

18 Weeks

Sophia Margaret has just crossed the four month mark and she's finally fitting into clothes for a three month old! We've got a growing girl on our hands...she's aaaaalmost 10 pounds! I took a few pictures of her laying on her back, but she was a lot more content when I propped her up.
She's more and more interactive every day and her noisemaking has expanded from crying to squawking, shouting and chattering. Sophia's often content to observe when there is a lot going on, but in the quiet, she can really get going. Last week we listened from our bedroom as she talked happily to herself in her bed for twenty minutes. Finally David told her it was time to sleep. She made a little squeak and then all was quiet.
Cute shirt, huh? Thanks, Mateja!! :)

18 October 2012

17 Weeks

Today Sophia needed to be cuddled, not photographed. She's got her first little bug. Poor girl.

16 October 2012

04 October 2012

15 Weeks

It's been fun to watch Sophia become more and more expressive of her emotions. When she's happy she gets really wiggly--which is why the smile is blurry. She flings her head back and forth!
And speaking of emotions...

27 September 2012


We read about Eden. God gave the man work in the garden before the fall, before the curse. Before the time of
"cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face 
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground..."

But before that, what was it? A blessed ground?
In delight, we would eat of it all the days of our life;
wholeness and fullness, goodness and beauty it shall bring forth for us,
and we shall eat the plants of the field.
By laughter and happiness
you shall eat bread,
as you walk with me...?

The picture of the beautiful woman of Proverbs, "...she laughs at the time to come." That word laugh meaning rejoices, plays, celebrates. O delight. The future as delight. I wonder, before the curse was the future always a pretty sight? Fear the Lord -- the future is a time of praise and laughter.

We live under the curse, but what if we live out from under the curse? What if we live like the kingdom is not yet, but very fully present? What if I laugh at the day to come, live like I have enough? Because--actually factually--I do have enough. Not too much. Not rotting-under-the-trees too much or hoarded-in-the-bottom-of-my-refrigerator stocked up, but enough. Just enough.

In Christ
there is always

While we toil and Sophia burps up on the carpet, while the car needs to be repaired and that bill is higher than we expected, when weeds come up in the garden and bodies are getting old and I'm working hard and it's just not working, what if I remembered 


14 Weeks

21 September 2012

13 Weeks

like a watered garden

The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest the Lord appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

...they shall return here with weeping they shall come
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back. I will make them walk by brooks of water in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a Father...

"...He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock."
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lordover the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden and they shall languish no more.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31)

The harsh God of the Old Testament? Are you joking? This covenant-bound husband, enduring, jealously, patiently biding the time, welcoming back. The harsh God? I don't know who you are talking about.
grace in the wilderness
an everlasting love
continued faithfulness
led back
by brooks of water


sing aloud!
be radiant over the goodness of the Lord!
languish no more!
rejoice! be merry!
mourning into joy
gladness for sorrow
feast the soul with abundance
be satisfied with God's goodness

What joyful, hopeful, gracious words to such self-seeking, self-protecting, self-worshiping people. Oh my. Thank you, Lord.

08 September 2012

summer reads 2012

This summer I've been reading a whole lot about giving birth, babies and breastfeeding. But before those I read a few old books that'd probably be really hard for anyone to find. Both are true stories. I think they'd fit into the biography category:

1. Hidden Rainbow. About a very poor Yugoslavian family who is transformed as God's word comes to their village. I was fascinated by the portrayal of the culture and village life and catholicism AND in wonder at the power of God for salvation.

2. Hansi: The Girl who Loved the Swastika. True story of a Czechoslovakian girl who joined the Nazi youth. The first half is grueling and horrible. The second half is God's blessing. An incredible testimony.

Neither of those books were notable for being written very well, but the stories were incredible and PULLED me through. This next one did, too:

3. The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens. I would say this was sort of the findings of a qualitative research project done about immigrant teens in America. It chronicles the experiences of a handful of teens. Because I've been a foreigner, I think I'll always have a big opening in my heart for people living in an unfamiliar land. I don't think this book caused any immediate action for me, but it certainly opened my eyes to a very current issue and grew my compassion.

Oh no. Now I'm thinking of a few more that have totally been pulling on my brain, giving us lots to talk about in the Burnham home. We've read these two aloud and spent quite a bit of time talking about both of them.

4. Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America. Not finished with this one yet. Intriguing, smart study, work and story of how human everyone really is and what we can do to bridge gaps that cause violence.

5. The Wise Woman. Always, always a good one for me to mull over, Sarah. I really think you'd like it if you could wade through the old-fashioned wordiness. A source of conviction and encouragement as we reflected on our own state and the task of raising a child.

05 September 2012

declares the Lord

When the Israelites were in Babylon, away from home, exiled, misled and in distress, God said to them:

Build houses and live in them;
plant gardens and eat their produce.
Take wives and have sons and daughters;
take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage,
that they may bear sons and daughters;
multiply there, and do not decrease.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you in to exile,
and pray to the Lord on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
.....I will visit you,
and I will fulfill to you my promise 
and bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I have for you, 
declares the Lord,
plans for peace and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon me 
and come 
and pray to me,
and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me,
when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,
declares the Lord,
and I will restore your fortunes 
and gather you from all the nations and all the places 
where I have driven you,
declares the Lord,
and I will bring you back to the place 
from which I sent you into exile.
(Jer 29:5-14)

A good reminder for me today. He has good plans, he gives good direction, he has good purpose, he restores, he redeems. He declares it and it will be done. Amen!!!

04 September 2012

10 Weeks

16 August 2012

anything that doesn't come from faith is sin (rom 14:23)


We've decided to have the recommended MRI of Sophia's brain. We can do it from faith or from fear. It can be faith or it can be sin. In this process, we've realized we can make either decision and either decision can be an act of faith or an act of self-preserving fear/sin. 

We've been scared to do it. Scared of what doctors would find, scared of what they wouldn't find, scared for Sophia, scared for ourselves, scared of what we can't control, scared of side-effects. And then we've been scared not to do it. Scared that we'll miss something we could do to help her, scared for her safety. . . even scared of being scared. Just scared. And we know any decisions motivated by panic are sin, because that's what God's word says. 

And then we also know that we're not bound to the rising panic. When we feel it and when we don't, we cling to the fact that we have freedom in Jesus' death and resurrection.

So! We've decided to go ahead, holding to a good God, who is faithful to provide everything that we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him, who has wonderfully made and entrusted us with this beautiful girl.

Tomorrow (Friday) we will be checking in at 245 in the afternoon and, as long as she's still and sleepy, she will be having an unsedated MRI with us in the room. (Please sleep, Sophia!!!)

They are looking to see how she has developed and changed since the last ultrasound (when she was two days old) and are hoping that an MRI will give a clearer picture. We pray that she'll sleep and be still throughout the MRI. We pray that they will be frustrated and bamboozled because they can't find anything that looks abnormal. We pray that God will touch our girl, make her grow strong and healthy and beautiful.

We are so thankful for your prayers. 

With love,
The Burnhams

P.S. As I write, little Sophia Margaret is sleeping next tom me, clenching her fists, alternately smiling and sneering. What a beautiful girl.

06 July 2012

wise Sophia

02 July 2012

baby girl

Sophia Margaret joined our family on June 21 at 5:39 pm. She was 6 lbs and 19 inches long. We are so, so happy with this precious gift from God. We pray that she will grow in wisdom all of her days.

17 June 2012

due date

07 June 2012

on the edge

David has an anatomy and physiology professor that was talking about that--how we're really all on the edge. What a tenuous bundle of precision is required for the sustenance of human life. Blood and vessels, hormones, nerves, electrical impulses, organs and fluids, constantly pumping and valving. It's all a completely foreign language to me and yet more parts that I have even begun to have names for are at work to keep me living, breathing, thinking.

This morning as we prayed I imagined it. The edge--a scary place to be. Gives me the yeeks and I don't like it one bit. I don't want to be here. I want to be certain that things will be okay. Especially big things. I want to know the way and plan what we'll have for dinner tomorrow and what we'll name the baby.

But there is only one guarantee. Jesus says I am the way, the truth and the life. So, if Jesus is the way...oh, do I ever need him. The calendar, our balanced budget, meals in the freezer, my checked list, dear friends, a thriving church, routine, a good report from the doctor, vaccinations--none of those good things provides any actual security. Really.

And yet, the glorious mystery of it all is this: if/when I am aware and trusting Jesus as I live on the edge, I can dance. I can twirl a crazy twirl and do one of those exuberant ballet leaps with my knees all poking out in the wrong directions--right on the very edge and without fear. It won't matter if I mis-step. It doesn't matter one bit because I will be caught in the grace. Caught by Christ.

I would rather have that. Rather live joyfully twirling, even when my vision is blurred by tears--right on the very, very edge of life--than hanging from weeds and dirt clods by my fingernails, trying not to numb myself to the drop looming below. So today I fight to be here. I fight to twirl and trust on this very edge.

04 June 2012

a clear heart

As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.  
Prov 27:19

When I used to spend a lot of time asking, Who am I? this verse may or may not have been a comfort...but it would have been an answer. And now I wonder, too. What is my heart clearly reverberating about the person that I am becoming?

Look at your heart, Anna. Ask the Lord to examine your heart. What is there? What emotions, beliefs, orientations, paradigms, words, decisions, reactions spring forth? As I ponder this today, these pointed slivers of truth come to mind:

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.  
Mat 12:34

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  
Prov 4:23

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. 
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  
Ez 36:26

Daily choosing to turn myself in the direction of pure love for the Lord my God, vigilantly keeping this tender, newly given heart, diligently seeking his ways and overflowing with his creativity, grace and devotion--these are the patterns in which I want my heart to grow, this is who I want to be.

A steadfast, powerful, beautiful heart is the reflection that I want to shine clear. So, as the verse rings in my mind--the heart of man reflects the man--O Lord. Yikes. What a mess...

And then I'm caught by a phrase earlier in the Ezekiel passage.
It's not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord, 
but for the sake of my holy name.
And I re-read: 
I will give you... 
I will put within you... 
I will remove... 
I will give you.
O Lord, today may this heart shine beautiful, clear and open...
that I might not be seen.

30 May 2012

rather make than buy: laundry soap

      1 1/2 c Borax
      1 1/2 c Super Washing Soda
      1 bar soap

Whirl it up in a food processor or finely grate bar soap and combine in a jar. I usually do a double batch, keep it with a 1/4 c measure and use 2 T (about half of your 1/4 c measure) for a load of laundry.

Personal preferences:
  • I often put in the soap, let the washer start to fill and swirl it around til it's dissolved before I add my laundry. 
  • A sprig of rosemary, lemon verbena or a few drops of essential oil will add a light scent.
  • I've used both Fels-Naptha and some fancy soap from Trader Joes. It's really up to personal preference. I didn't notice a difference in my laundry.

18 May 2012

almond citrus cookies

These are good. Perfect for the spring time.
Some people make them as Lemon Crinkle Cookies, I was missing some stuff and added some other stuff, so in our house (at least for now) they are the one and only Burnham Almond Citrus Cookies.

Cream together:
     1 c salted butter
     2 c sugar
Whip in:
     1 t vanilla
     1/2 t almond extract
     2 eggs
     2 t citrus zest
     2 T lemon juice
Pile these ingredients on top of batter:
     3 c flour
     1/2 t salt
     1/2 t baking powder
     1/4 t baking soda
Flop around dry ingredients a little bit with fingers to make sure it'll all get mixed in when you combine everything. Combine everything. Scoop teaspoon size (really--teaspoon) lumps of the wettish batter into a 
     bowl of powdered sugar
and roll to cover. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Lightly press a
     dry, roasted almond
into the top. Bake at 350* for 9-11 minutes, til cookies appear matte. Enjoy!

15 May 2012