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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLA! 16th August, 2013

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Family.
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Ella-and-daddy

One year ago today we were given the most incredible gift: our daughter Ella Joy.

She is the happiest, bubbliest, smiliest, most people-loving baby I’ve met.

And I just love waking up to her huge smiles and babbling.

Happy 1st Birthday baby girl!

We praise God for you!

Due Date: THIS SUNDAY!! 10th August, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Baby, Blessings, Family, Life, Married Life.
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It’s hard to believe that 9 months has passed! The baby’s due date is this Sunday (12th August). I love how amazing my wife looks…

No idea when baby Ella will come… but any day now!

I can’t believe it… WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!! 15th January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Family, Unmistakeable Hand of God.
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Yup… that’s right…. Monica’s Pregnant!

Wow.  Where to start?!  Settle down coz I want to explain this in full because I think it gives God most glory when you see the fuller picture…

One of the hardest things about the cancer diagnosis has been the way it’s affected our plans for a family.  For a while now Mon and I had thought about trying to make a baby this summer, and so it was with shock that I first received the news that I had testicular cancer, that I would have to be operated on, and undergo some fairly intensive chemo.  We were informed that chemotherapy commonly affects fertility in men my age… and that it is possible that after chemo I will be unable to have children.

*two hearts broke*

(As part of the NHS system we were informed about sperm banking and other options that could help for the future.  Which brought to light a whole load of other personal ad theological dilemmas as we tried to process that more fully)

As we got closer to the start of treatment we were given more information… that we MUST NOT attempt to get pregnant while undergoing chemo as my sperm could damage Monica and render her infertile… and on the off chance a pregnancy happened there would be MAJOR complications as the chemotherapy damages the sperm, causing significant damage to the embryo.  That means from finishing chemo we would have to wait a MINIMUM of 1 year before we’re allowed to even start trying to have a family.  And then we’d have to try unsuccessfully for at least a year before they consider exploring infertility issues and solutions.

This has probably been the toughest part of the process for us, as having a family has been such a huge desire of ours.  We both brought things before the Lord and laid it all before Him.  “Whatever the cost!” is part of our mantra… and as with all costs we’ve paid so far, we gave in to the Holy Spirit and allowed Him to take the burden from us as we laid things at the feet of Jesus.

TRUST.

There was a 5 day window between my surgery recovery and starting chemo and we decided to take a chance and “try”.  We got very excited and very hopeful, praying constantly asking God to be gracious to us and allow us to have a child.  You can imagine our disappointment when we got 2 negative results on pregnancy tests over the next few weeks.

We reached the point of FAITH TESTING.  I almost got to the point of despair… “we’ll never have kids, the chemo will mess with my fertility and we’ll not be able to”.  But I felt convicted of my lack of faith.

I can trust God to provide money, to move in our ministry, to bless us materially…. why can’t I trust Him to guard our fertility?

Time to trust God and pray.  This situation is no different to any other faith test I’ve walked through.  Why wallow in despair when we serve a God who all through the Bible opens barren wombs and protects those He loves from calamity?  So we decided to pray…

God, we trust you!  This will all happen in your timing and in your way. 

There has been extra emotional turmoil along the way as we walk with other friends of ours.  Some, got pregnant and we rejoiced in the midst of our grieving.  Others are struggling to conceive and we joined them in their pain.  Others are grieving miscarriage and our hearts break with them.

Just before Christmas Monica wasn’t feel well.  I was standing in the kitchen cooking when she walked through from the bathroom with a puzzled look on her face… she sat a pregnancy test on the counter that seemed to be POSITIVE??  NO WAY?!?

But where we would normally have been thrilled… we were terrified.  What if something goes wrong?  I don’t know if we can deal with a miscarriage on top of coping with cancer.  We can’t tell anyone… it’ll be hard enough dealing with it without worrying about everyone else’s response. And so we kept our mouths shut. (*lack of faith*).  We decided we wouldn’t mention anything until we hit the 9 or 10 week point so we could be more certain that things we ok.

Last week was TOUGH!  We were estimating 7 weeks… and Mon came in to tell me she was experiencing spotting and cramping.  She looked online and all her symptoms were similar to miscarriage, so she phoned the doctor… who made her an appointment at the Early Pregnancy Clinic at the hospital… things didn’t look good.

That was Wednesday.

We went in to the hospital in the morning, extremely nervous but once again holding fast to the Truth… God is on the Throne and His will is best whether we understand it in the moment or not.  God is on the Throne whether the result is good or bad.

*pointing* that there is the heartbeat… you’re around 10 weeks pregnant

WE ARE 10 WEEKS PREGNANT 

AND

EVERYTHING IS GOOD AND HEALTHY!

Needless to say there were tears shed.

We are excited and in shock.  We are a mix of emotions as we continue to process the emotional ups and downs of the last few months.  We are rejoicing with our newly pregnant friends but feel an even greater burden of pain (and hope) as we grieve with our friends who are also struggling through similar things.

We are truly amazed at God in this.  We had a 5 day window from Mon coming off birth control to me starting chemo… and He has intervened to make those 5 days enough.

In the midst of this the dark season He’s placed a light reminding us that He is the Light and the Life. 

Once again, God moves in a seemingly impossible situation to blow our narrow minds open and to show how much bigger He is than the apparent storms we face.

We now have one more feather in the cap of God’s faithful love and abundant blessings.

TO HIM BE THE GLORY!!!

Sicky New Year! 1st January, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Family, Life.
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Happy New Year!  or as it is in our house… Sicky New Year!!!  A few days ago I started to feel a bit “off”.  Within 24hrs I was wrapped up in bed with aches all over, terrible headache, a throat that felt red raw and a horrible cough to keep it unpleasantly agitated, fever, but with freezing shivers, complete loss of appetite, and extreme lethargy.  It’s been 3 or 4 days now and while I’m definitely feeling better, I’m still under the weather.

Now though, as I write, Mon is huddle up on the couch coughing, fevery, sore head, lethargic… wasn’t exactly the kind of gift I thought I should get her as we rolled into 2011!

New Year with my family is a big deal.  Sometime around 4pm the entire family gets together for a massive delicious meal.  This year was going to be particularly enjoyable for my mum because it’s the first time in a good few years that me and me two brothers are all here.  Sadly, Mon and I are spending the day cooped up in our flat trying to protect the rest of the family.  We’re both sad to miss out on the amazing grub… hopefully they’ll save us some and bring it up to us in the next few days!?!

Despite not feeling well, we’re rejoicing.  It is such a blessing to be here in Scotland.  We love our team.  We love our flat.  We love our church.  We’ve been praising God for the phenomenal ways He’s been blessing us, including the good health that we take for granted most of the year!

2011 has begun.  A new year.  A new place.  Fresh challenges.  And plenty of excitement

Can’t wait to see God work!

Happy New Year!  I pray that this year will find you drawing even closer to Jesus Christ, our Rock and Redeemer.

Merry Christmas Everyone! 27th December, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Family, Friends, Fun.
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Merry Christmas to YOU!  It’s hard to believe that it was 2 years ago that I proposed to Monica in Scotland.  A lot has happened over the last 2 years yet they have flown in.  It feels so good to be here knowing we’re where God wants us.  The weather has been crazy…. lots of snow then thaw then freeze so that the pavements (sidewalks) are covered in thick sheets of ice.  We’re still getting settled in the flat (the apartment) and getting the furniture and things we need (lots of things still to get).  (Pictures will come soon… Mon wants to be the one to upload them first!).  We don’t have internet yet… there was a 6 week wait for installation and so we should be live on the 26th of January!  Here’s a quick summary of the last couple of weeks…

It was with a degree of sadness that I watched the Grace Chapel staff Christmas pictures go up on Facebook.  I miss these people a lot.  The fun, the friendship, the camaraderie, and the crazy pics up at Timberline. 

But with joy I got to celebrate Christmas with the team here, after 4 years of separation, equipping, growth, and anticipation.  (This picture is of the CRM team, Church Directors, Staff & spouses)…

Every year at Christmas time an outdoor ice-rink is constructed in the middle of Glasgow City centre.  Mon and I had the fun of hanging out with Brian & Kellie teaching the kids how to ice skate!  So much fun!  It’s especially difficult because the ice is REALLY HARD, not the smoothest, and the skates are blunt… but the kids did a great job!

For the last 10 years (except last year), I’ve attended the Midnight Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Meddan in Troon (about 12 mins from my parent’s house).  It was so great to see everyone again and to spent the evening in the beautiful building surrounding by amazing people and witnessing a tradition that goes back 1500 years.  It has extra special significance now, because it was at the end of this service 2 years ago that I proposed to my wife!  🙂

And finally, Christmas with my family.  Every year we get up early to open Christmas Presents together.  My gran spends the night, my adopted-granny (the lady who lives next do0r) comes in, and we open all our presents and have some fun together.  Clean up time follows and we head up to my Aunt & Uncles house for Christmas Dinner packed full of crazy family antics.

Gotta love Christmas!  Hope you had a great one!

From one family to my other 29th October, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Family, Fun, Rest, Travel.
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I thought I should introduce you to the awesome family we stayed with for the last two months… the Tatlocks.  It was a complete blessing getting to stay with Mike & Bern, Diana, the kids and Duke (the dog)!  Their hospitality was incredible.  This picture is going to be blown up big and hung on the wall of our Glasgow home!

Having left our Wilsonville family behind, we’ve spent the week in Irvine with my parents.  They decided that seeing as we hadn’t spent any one-on-one time with them in two years, that we’d head off for a few days and be alone.  It was fun to go away to the States as mum’s son, and come back as her friend.  We had a great time hanging out, spending time laughing and joking, and catching up with all that’s gone on over the last few years.

As a treat for Mon, they booked us into the Stonefield Castle Hotel thinking that it would be fun to spend the night in a castle.  It’s a beautiful place to stay.  The managers were extremely nice, the rooms comfortable, the food… delicious.  They also had a grand piano which I spent a couple of hours playing the first evening there.  (Click the pic to see more)

The plan was to take a drive further north and west, visiting some of our heritage along the way.  We wanted to introduce Mon to the history she is now part of, so we stopped in at Inverary Castle which is where the head of the Campbell Clan lives.  The Burns family is recognized as part of the Campbell clan.  The biggest rivalry existing in Scottish history is the rivalry between the Macdonalds and the Campbells (google the Glencoe Massacre).  It’s funny though, because my dad is the Burns and my mum’s maiden name… Macdonald.  So I’m one of the forbidden offspring!!  haha.  Welcome to Scotland Monica!!!

It’s been a fun few days resting and adjusting.  Looking forward to getting up to Glasgow, finding our new home, reconnecting with the team there and getting back into ministry!  Fun times.

We’re here??? 25th October, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Family, Life, Travel.
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We’re here.  I’ve waited 4 years and 2 months for this… we made it back safely.  The flights were uneventful, our luggage arrived with no hitches, we squeezed four people and six bags into my parent’s tiny car, and headed for my parent’s house.  It feels so “normal” to be here.  I’ve travelled back and forward so much over the last few years that I’m used to transitioning from one to the other.   (My parents live in the coastal town Irvine (pronounced “ir-vin” not “ir-vine” like the place in CA), about an hour from Glasgow where we’ll be living and working… pics…)

It’s fun being back around the family.. although I’m constantly being made fun of for my American accent and vocabulary.  I have to break all the habits I’ve forced myself to learn so I can go back to talking like a normal person.

It is crazy to think we’re here for a while.  It feels like every other time I’ve come home for a short visit.  When I went to Israel in 2007 I left Portland for 9 months (home for summer, semester in Israel, home for Christmas, then back to the States)… so I’m used to being gone for a while.  I reckon it’ll take a couple of months to realise this is permanent and for my Portland-homesickness to set in.

I’ll tell you what though… it feels good to hear Scottish accents, eat curry, and hear all the phrases I’m supressed for the last 4 years.  And it’s great to see the faces I haven’t seen in over 14 months… some of them in 3 or 4 years.

What a fun life to sign up for: Always leaving people you love to go to people you love. 

Can’t wait to see what God has in store.

Hume Lake 3rd August, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Family, Rest, Travel.
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We’re currently at Hume Lake Christian Camp on a family vacation.  It’s a beautiful place and I’ve always been a sucker for sitting with my Bible and journal next to water.  Something about it helps me relax and focus and draws me right into the presence of God.

Mon’s family has been coming here for a number of generations.  It’s her “favorite place on earth” and so it’s fun to be here sharing in that with her.  We’ve been here for two days and I’ve already had to jump in the lake to help a dad and his two young daughters when their canoe capsized… and then today on a hike, one of our group slipped on a rock and ripped off most of her big toe nail?!!?!?  I had to carry her part way back and then swim her across the rapids to get back to the car.  Fun fun fun!

It’s nice to have a week with no agenda.  I can’t remember the last time I got to simply “rest”.  No sessions to attend.  No people to have to keep happy.  No phone ringing.  Just rest.  Much needed rest–especially since we jump into packing mode as soon as we get back.

That whole Sabbath thing… I think God knew what He was doing.

San Diego -> Portland 2nd July, 2009

Posted by Scotty in Family, Friends, Fun.
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I flew down to San Diego on Monday to spend a few days with one of my favourite families, the McDonalds.  As it turns out, it has not only been refreshing for me to be here with them, but it has clearly been part of God’s plan for me to end up here this week enveloped in their love and support.

IMG_2664Today, we’re packing up their house and filling the u-haul.  Later today, I’m gonna take off driving a 30 foot moving truck to Portland.  It would take approximately 18hrs if there is no traffic, but I’m going to stop off at a couple of spots in CA to grab coffee with some friends, and will hopefully be back in Portland by Saturday morning.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the drive.  I’ll pass by parts of CA that I’ve wanted to see (including Irvine!).  I’ve been thinking of it as a Spiritual Retreat, a few days on my own, driving, praying, and listening to a bunch of sermons.  I downloaded the audio book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and am looking forward to listening to that for the first portion of the journey.

It’s the biggest vehicle I’ve ever driven.  I can’t wait!!!!

Wedding Bells 23rd June, 2009

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Family, Friends, Heart, Me.
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ScottMon1bw

It’s hard to believe it’s less than 6 weeks till Mon and I promise to spend the rest of our lives chasing God together.  We’re in that crazy place where time is ticking and there is still so much to do.  I can’t complain though, Mon and her team of amazing women are carry the brunt of the responsibility while I’m being given the odd task here and there to get done.

We decided to put together a wedding website so that all our details could be kept in the one place:

http://www.theknot.com/ourwedding/MonicaBlesse&ScottBurns2009

Feel free to pop on and have a look around!

According to the site… only 39 days to go!