2008 was a year full of LIFE and in the midst of it all, God was good and gracious and faithful. Here are some highlights from this year in the life of the Burley Boys and Burley Girlies:
• Keith started a new job in the Harding post office. It has been a great experience, not only because of having encouraging co-workers, but also having contact with Harding students, who we all believe are some of the best 18-22 year olds in the world! He has also helped plan a men’s retreat for our church which will be held in January 2009.
• In April, Lisa was able to accompany her sister Sheila for a week in Italy. A few weeks later she embarked on a work-related trip that started in San Francisco and ended at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Five of her co-workers were also on the trip and all have agreed it was definitely the trip of a lifetime! Finishing her master’s in August was the biggest stress relief of her year, but the highlight was helping her friend Jessie bring her first baby into the world! Casey Shayne Fulks was born the day before Thanksgiving and Lisa was able to help as a labor coach and be on the “other side” of birth for the first time. It was an amazing day!
• Becca finished her first year of college with a better GPA than either of her parents did! She is double majoring in English and History which means she will probably end up living in a cardboard box at some point in her life. She began working in the serials department of Brackett Library in January, bought a Mac computer in September, and is looking forward to her semester in England in fall of 2009. It’s VERY hard to believe that our “baby” is turning 20 in May, but she is!
• Noelle is a junior at Searcy High and loves band. Marching season is always a highlight – this year’s theme was the music of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Searcy ballgames are very odd – the team has only won 4 games in 3 years, but the stands are still full until after the band marches. Yep! More people come to see the band than the ballgame. I’m amazed by Noelle’s ability to be in band, softball, and all AP and honors classes and still do well in school. She is such a hard worker and has wonderfully, supportive friends. And – of course – she’s still amazing and beautiful!
• Emily is in eighth grade at Searcy Junior High. In addition to band at school, she still enjoys the community drama group. In the spring, Kidstage did a production of Tom and Huck and did the musical “Bugsy” this summer. This fall she was asked to do a small duet piece with her friend Bradley that was showcased before the Dinner Theatre production of “Driving Miss Daisy.” Em stays busy with her friends and loves cell phones although she has yet to have one of her own!
• Caleb is in fifth grade at Southwest Middle School. He really likes his teachers and is one of only six boys in the fifth grade choir. He learned to play the flutophone in music class and we think that music will be a large part of his future. He is already asking to take the strings class next year so that he can learn to play the cello. He has FINALLY started to enjoy reading and highly recommends the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series to anyone who is looking for something to read. He also likes the Underlander Chronicles if you have time for even more.
• Daniel is in fourth grade at McRae Elementary. His music class has been learning to play the violin and he also loves to read. He finished 12 out of 13 books in the Series of Unfortunate Events. He loves to draw and frequently spins out ideas for comic strips and books of all sorts. He and Caleb have started a blog and would update it much more frequently if their mom were less distracted. He is very excited about The Tale of Despereaux movie, but recommends that you read the book first. He also recommends that you read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, who also wrote Tale of Despereaux.
I apologize for the electronic delivery of this letter, but I don’t foresee having the time or postage money to do traditional cards this year. I hope that all of you are doing well. It has been wonderful to reconnect with so many through Facebook and email. Isn’t this an amazing time of communication? It was good to see some familiar faces at the XEA alumni retreat in September and at the CCL conference in May. Over the years, God has blessed us repeatedly through the wonderful people he puts in our lives. Thank you for being one of those people, whether you are a part of our family or a friend. We would not be who we are without the people who are in our lives, supporting, encouraging, listening, and praying.
As always – if you’re in Searcy, let us know! We’d love to share a meal in our home, a cup of coffee at Midnight Oil or hours of conversation at the Underground.
Keith, Lisa, Becca, Noelle, Emily, Caleb, and Daniel Burley