2012 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas from sunny California!

Matt and I hope this letter finds each of you finished with your holiday preparations along with the stress that accompanies them.  We hope you are relaxed and soaking up the joy of this season dedicated to love and peace. 
I don’t usually send out a one-size fit’s all letter to everyone on my Christmas list, but 2012 has given me a couple of big events to share, so I decided to write them in one letter to everyone.

In January, Kade began dating a beautiful girl named Minda.  At first we didn’t think too much of it, but as her name came up more and more frequently in his conversation, I knew she must be very special to him.  When he brought her home to visit over Spring break, we fell in love with her as well.  So, we were thrilled when in July they announced their engagement.  On November 17th, they were sealed in the beautiful Logan temple. Of course, planning any wedding is a stressful event and this one was no different.  But, when all was said and done, the day was joyous.  The wedding was beautiful and the reception was fun and festive. For me, however, the best part of the day was watching the happy couple and observing how much in love they were.  I know life will give them the same challenges it gives to all of us, but I know that the tender love they have for one another will carry them through it all. 

Our next piece of news needs a bit of back-story in order to explain the full turn of events. 
As you may or may not know, Matt has spent much of this year commuting back and forth to Maryland for his job.  As it is, he spends two weeks in Maryland, flies home for a weekend, and then flies back for another two weeks.  While this has been a great opportunity for Matt’s career, it has not been easy for us.  We have spent much of this last year trying to decide whether we should just ride out the terms of the contract and stay in California or move Maryland permanently so we could be together again.  We prayed many times to know which option to choose; however a clear answer did not come.  After several months we decided to leave it to God, knowing that when the time came, we would know what we needed to do. 
In October, while watching the General Conference of our church, we were both deeply impressed by a particular sermon given by one of the apostles. He spoke of a decision he once had to make between two job opportunities but wasn’t getting an answer to his prayer.  He said he and his wife decided to change what they were praying for and pray instead that they would be sent where they could be of the most service. 
Listening to that talk, we both knew we had been praying for the wrong thing and needed to focus more on asking where we could best serve.  Almost immediately, Matt received a very strong impression to “check for jobs in Utah.”  He quickly did a Google search and the very first entry to come up was a position at Utah State University that was a perfect fit.  Remembering the inspiration he had received, he went ahead and applied for the position.  After a couple of days, knowing we would be in the area for Kade’s wedding, he took a chance and called the company to see if they had any interest in interviewing him. They did indeed, so an interview was set up for November 13th. The interview went well however, he was told it might take a couple of weeks for them to make the decision.  So, it was a very pleasant surprise when they called him the next day and offered him the position. 

We feel blessed to announce that this is our last Christmas in sunny California.  We will be moving to Logan, Utah after the first of the year. 
So this Christmas season is extra joyful as we make not only the usual seasonal preparations, but prepare to move our entire household as well.  We are doing the usual shopping and wrapping while meeting with movers and packing up our home. 
Moving is always a challenge, but it is hard to be too unhappy.  We feel that Heavenly Father has wrapped up so many answered prayers and given us the best Christmas gift we could have ever hoped for.  The future looks bright to us as we anticipate many happy years living closer to family and friends.

Our third bit of news is really a shout out to our son, Damen, who has spent much of this year working with four other partners to open a premier, outdoor equipment retail shop in Ogden, Utah.  This has been a tremendous undertaking for him and we are happy to announce that Gear: 30 officially opened its doors on Black Friday. We know this is a perilous economy in which to launch such an endeavor but if anyone can pull it off, we know Damen can.  He and his partners have, not only a passion for outdoor recreation, but also a solid knowledge of the market they are entering.  
And of course, what self-respecting Grandmother would write a Christmas letter without mentioning that I have the cutest, most wonderful Grandson in the entire world!  I know, I know, all of you other Grandmothers out there beg to differ with me.  But really, just look at that face!  Couldn’t you just eat it up? Moving to Utah means I get to spend more time with this little buck-a-roo and who couldn’t be happy about that?
Having written this letter, it is not my intention to brag or infer that we have a perfect life. I have mentioned only the good things that have happened this past year.  We have had many challenges, just as I am sure you have. But, we have seen God’s hand in our life and felt the reality of his presence. And, we know we are not a special case.  We know that he is in the details of all of our lives and loves each of us deeply.  And of course, that is the true meaning of this season and the reason for the birth of his beloved son.
At this time of year, our focus always turns to our home, friends and family. We want all of you to know how much you mean to us.  Near or far, you are part of the fabric of our lives.  We may not be able to see you as often as we would like, but you matter to us and we remember you. We grieve with and pray for you if you experience sorrow and rejoice with you when you are celebrating.  And, while this card/letter may be a simple gesture sent once a year, please know that our love for you is something we feel every day. 
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. 

Matt and Tacey Burnham