Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Nineteen Springs of my Life

Tomorrow I will have completed the mark of living for nineteen springs of my life. I was born in the spring of 1993 in a small town in North Devonshire. My mother held me tightly and promised to never let me go, but I grew and with days and years I could walk and talk and leave her beautiful arms. If any child could ask: Why would you ever do that? I really don't know what I would say, perhaps all grown-ups are silly after all.

My childhood didn't seem any different to the other country girls and boys at my Primary school. It is only now I realise how blessed I really was!
The five Burgess children grew up on a farm. A beautiful wintry farm tucked away in the depths and hills of Devon. We had the space to run and run and if it pleased us, to never stop. We lived by the sound of the birds in the sky; when they went to bed so did we and when they awoke, we did too. Long summer days we would capture swallows in the spooky loft above the barn, or we would look for eggs left in the crooks of hidden places and then we would take them into our own rooms and hatch them, only I didn't realise one time that mine was green- it exploded and created a very rotten egg smell!
When we got home from school we would pull all the dressing-up out from the cupboard and get into costumes. I was always the man and my sisters were always the ladies, it was perfect. We made adventures out of anything: climbing on roofs, swimming in the lakes, singing, making tree-houses, dancing in the rain, anything we could think of. When the bluebells were out we would lead flour trails into the woods and lie down in the sweet-smelling bells, jingling in the breeze. When it snowed we played out till our feet and hands were numb, finding any objects as sledges. Of course the tame lambs that we fed and named in the spring and the smell of the hot smoke from the tractors funnel, the puppies, the pony, the Manor house next door! All of it was perfect.

I could go on and on about the wonders and stories that happened when I was younger growing up on our Nana's farm.  

I suppose that freedom kept us innocent for a little while longer than everyone else, and that naivety kept us so pure and childlike and therefore so free from worries and cares; we were just simply happy. When the teenage years took their toll on us, my older sister and I had the amazing opportunity of being home-schooled. Beke my sister, hated 'big' school and really couldn't handle it so she was brought home and when my time came and I had the choice- of course I wanted to do the same. I look back and remember the terrible situation of seeing my dear friends from primary school enter the big dungeon the next year-somehow changed just from the summer holiday. They had changed, they were like the older children that had been trapped in the granite building year after year, they were wearing make-up and no longer 'played' at break time. It was strange; it was the reality of peer pressure.

So there we were my sister and I still at home, soaking in the country side with every minute. But the most important thing that made us so different from then and now is due to our parents. My wonderful mother who loved her children more than any woman could ever have loved a human being. She gave and gives every single minute of her life to us and that is why my heart cries, when I think that one day all her chicks will have to flee the nest. My father worked harder than any man has worked on the land, because he loved it, it is in his blood and it always will be despite what he says or does. He worked hard without encouragement and managed to live in difficult situations, which affected all of us in the end and we had to leave. But it was the wonderful blessing of being nurtured in a Christian family that takes the prime place in my life. We were taught to love one another, to share, to be creative, to do what we love, to care for every age, to appreciate God's creation, to make the most of every minute, and to love God with all our hearts. We were sheltered from the world as long as possible. We didn't have a television until I was about 15, before that we would watch videos over and over of funny things in them that we could laugh at for hours. I was 13 years old when we finally got a computer and compared to those around us that was quite a long time. People at school used to ask if I had seen something on T.V and I would reply, 'we don't have one' and their reaction was always mouth open, eyes wide- 'You don't have a T.V? Why??' We didn't have time to waste. We were fed on fresh air. Of course for my younger brother and sister it was obviously a lot younger for them and as a result I have seen about 5 or maybe even 7 years of their childhood being snatched away in the technology of today, because they can't share in the memories that us older three had.

My sister and I often talk about the first cd we bought which was 'Sclub 7' and we were begging mum and dad to let us buy it. They said you will have to sing us the songs so we can hear what the words are! Can you imagine that? I think it was wonderful-perhaps at the time I didn't but now I certainly do. I also remember when my eldest sister turned 12 and mum asked her if she wanted to watch 'Titanic' with her for a treat on her Birthday. So they stayed up late watching it and Beke and I couldn't sleep, we crept up to the door and rested our ears against the wood. Everything about what we could hear was so exciting, we just wished we could be on the inside of that room with them, but we couldn't we weren't twelve. Standards drop I suppose, but I don't think they have to. You are never too old to be protected by your parents!
You may say that all of it combined makes us what we are today, but back then it was our life. That was how we were raised and it is only now we know how blessed we were and are because of it.        

Every family has its own troubles, its own issues and struggles. We were no different. But it is the strength and the courage to continue and be sure of the future hope, that kept us together through-out. We have always believed that together as a family we are God's army. We can be powerful, we can be a blessing and many times Satan has had his turn at trying to break us. But he hasn't achieved! Even if we grow our separate ways which we one day will, I am sure it will not change, we shall be even stronger, our army growing bigger. But nothing can stay perfect forever, as soon as a child knows right from wrong their entire life has a new meaning, a new quality. Each time I have to go back to the farm, my heart burns. It hurts to see strangers having a 'holiday' in the house that we once lived in. It hurts to see trees cut down that we had once named.
And now when I wander about this world and come across sheep in a meadow or smell fresh silage, it brings back beautiful memories. And it is most poignant in the springtime, I then realise how much I miss the lambing season. It has only been four years since I left. I was 15 years old and already it feels like a lifetime ago. Then we travelled to a new land 10,000 miles away and that is a story in its self and I also know that in those quick 8 months God changed me drastically. And with everyday that passes I know I am changing for the better.  But those chapters are over now and right now I am living in a different kind of chapter, I am learning right now through waiting and patience. It feels like all that was in another life and that makes me so sad, BUT things can't last forever else we will never know how good things really are.
I would like to leave you with this quote-

'What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. - Cynthia Ozick

Today is just as precious as yesterday was, but don't wait until tomorrow to see that! God Bless every single family today, whatever you are going through I hope you know you that you are never alone.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children. - Psalm 103:17

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. - Proverbs 22:6


  1. Hi Jo and thanks for this update. I must admit that I have been eagerly waiting for this post.

    I can now see better how you have been privileged and how your early years is what has made all the difference.

    So, I guess the trick is to direct the children to the right path but also keep an eye on them until they can see that path themselves. I also think that you are making valid points with "peer pressure" and the influence of technology.

    But the most important, from my point of view, is the parenting and the time and care they devoted to you.

    I am trying to figure out what my parents and other parents around do wrong. See, I was brought up in a 'conservative' family with deeply-rooted values too. I also did not have a computer till I was 12 and internet until I was 18. Although we had a TV, I and my brother were not allowed to watch unless it was together with parents. So in all that, we have alot in common. However, I did not live in the countryside, but in an apartment in the city. I was also not home-schooled, I was sent to the "big dungeon;" but, most importantly, my parents were never around during the week as they were working. They left home when I was still asleep and came home around bedtime. I remember, sometimes to talk to them I had to leave notes in the kitchen.

    Today, it just seems so hard to find people my age (23) that have any true values or generally use their brains to think. I fear they have all just turned into "sheeple" and are driven by an invisible force influenced by fashion, consumerism, the news and I am not sure what else. And this is not just where I grew up (Greece). I initially got this impression when I was living in London with my father. I went to uni there to study law. While I never finished as I did not have time to study and I was already making more money than lawyers usually do; the impression that London left me was that although I was quick to point the finger to rampant immigration, the real problem was the feral youth! Locals (by that I mean native English people) that would not speak coherent English (many even speak some hip-hopish English,) that knew way less than me about their brilliant history or their laws, religion, culture, economy etc. So many of them wasted their time every day doing nothing. I remember, in the first day of law school, they collected all law courses' students together and there were 350 people; and in the first day of the second year only 30 had managed to continue! That's less than 10%!!! I was not in a good university though, I must admit that.

    I feel the home schooling is secondary, because while peer pressure from school obviously does not help, I see my girlfriend, for example, who grew up in the USA and was home schooled, that she has many traits of the modern youth.

    If your birthday is tomorrow, then I would like to wish you a Happy Birthday. Thanks again for sharing this Jo.


  2. Hey,
    It is good to hear about your life and how you were raised. Although I guess a lot of it does come from nurture, I think also you have to have the will power and strength to continue what you were raised on when you go out and up. Some people like your girl friend have obviously chosen to act the way they do or perhaps just to fit in. It is hard to be different, and I find it even harder to find genuine friends that share the same values as I do these days.

    I know exactly what you mean about London youths and that. I am beginning to think that teenagers over here are all being brain-washed into a disordered and backwards technical world, where they don't even know what 'love' means.

    It is a shame to hear that you didn't get to see your parents much when you were growing up- but it is how they were when they did have time with you that counts. Love is everything in a family and sometimes actions aren't enough for a child (working so you can eat) but sometimes words need to be said. Like 'I love you darling.' Life is too short not to encourage and make people aware that you love them.

    You were born in Greece, how lovely and sunny!
    All you can do mk, is to promise yourself that you will raise your own family if you ever do have one, to raise them in love. I guess we can look at our own parents and take what they didn't do and do it, or what they did and learn from it.
    Personally I think it all comes down to the character of the human being. I know many that have been raised beautifully and then have gone off the track.
    But for me and fellow Christians out there, we have to keep God the centre of all we do and then he will guide our steps!

    God bless you mk and thanks for sharing. I hope I managed to write enough about the sort of stuff you wanted to hear. If you would like another subject or idea discussed- don't hesitate to ask!

    I know just from your words and questions and your desire to learn and listen that you are one of us- one of the small web of people that can probe deep down inside themselves and will do great things through the sensitivity and understanding we have.

    Take care out there!


  3. The term 'genuine' is a keyword here. How can you know who will be genuine beyond common interests? Because a friendship takes a great deal of dedication and will from both sides. Saying that, I always strive to and do make good first impressions. However, I am very selective with my 'friendships,' and do not give second chances to people if I feel betrayed, exploited or if I am lied to. Being lied to enrages me beyond all tolerance. I only consider one person to be a genuine friend to me, whom I have known since 'forever,' like over a decade now, and whom I know very well and trust.

    I love Greece right now. While society is heading off a cliff because of the recession, I believe things are about to turn and this is offering Greeks a great opportunity to fix what has gone wrong in the past decades (essentially since monarchy was abolished in 1974 and the radical political left was given a platform to blame everything on religion, country and family,) but also an investment opportunity. As Lord Rothschild once famously said "The time to buy is when there's blood running in the streets." And yes, I know Lord Rothschild was probably not reading the bible at the time he said that but his quote is true in these times more than ever.

    I do want to raise my own family eventually and have many many children. And I don't like ifs and buts on that matter. I love children and I like to think I will make a splendid father!

    My curiosity is covered for now and you probably have enough on your mind, so thanks again for writing this post. I will keep following your blog and comment when I see fit. Your ideas, problems and comments are of interest to me.


  4. I can understand your Mum saying "I`ll Never let You Go" because any child knows the bond that they receive Is far more from a Mum, than a Dad. And, this will always matter throughout your life whether you are young, or old. I know this myself personally. My Mom listened to me. She understood me. She knew If I was sick. If I was upset by something. She knew everything. I tried to hide my security, but Mom always found a way to get Inside my barriers. Dad? He Is just Dad. My Dad will never know. He pays no Interest In family life. The only thing that he has ever followed Is, his "American Dream"

    It Is a shame to see that old farm taken over by someone else. Of course you would feel heartache there now. All your life Is trapped Inside there. People always say that your memories are In a house, but actually they aren't. Your memories are captured Inside your mind, and no one can take that from you. It will last forever, more than something materialized. It sounds lovely In what you wrote.

    Well dressing up In all those costumes after school really paid off. You haven't changed. It has made you In the person you really are. Bluebell trails? You just reminded me of something? Christmas. It Is what happens In your home. I am saying It, but I think It Is really cute.

    Our Innocence soon seems to drift from us as we grow from a child to a teenager. Don't you wish you could just go back? I do. I think about that all of the time.

    High-School Is a dungeon. I know a lot of people that are Home-Schooled, or have been. I wish I could of had that choice myself, but unfortunately I didn't. Here, to get through a college program you must have a High-School diploma, otherwise they wont accept you, but If your Home-Schooled, you cant get one. To get Into college as an alternative, you take another, a substitute called a GED. I took this. I dropped out of School when I was 16, as you know. My point Is that there Is no difference If you attend School, or being taught at home. I hated High-School. I hated every minute. I saw changes every second of the day, not just In School Itself, with me also. It afflicts your total being.

    Your Mum seems very sweet. I have heard you mention lots of things regarding your Mum, and to me thats beautiful. Your Dad seems nice to. I think for the most part here that any Dad tries so hard to support his family, and he does have an Important role to for-fill. I know It Is not always easy. I love my Dad, and I will never deny that, but I just wish that he was part of us, and not so far away. I tell myself that he missed our childhood. I shouldn't, but he did, and I cant forget.

  5. Continued…

    You didn't have a TV until you were 15? When color TV`s came out, my Grandfather said I don't want one of those, and to this day, he does not own a TV. He relied on what he was raised with? A Black & White, but that died many years ago. He listens now to the radio. BBC World Service. He Is very old fashioned. Technology has taken over us, and It will destroy us to.

    Sclub7? I remember them. I have a favorite to from one of their albums. No I cant Imagine any parent asking you to sing the song before they buy It, but It Is really funny to think about. I`ll keep this thought, and ask my kids to sing It before I buy. Could I stop myself from laughing? I`ll try. No song, no allowance. Sorry kids, but new rules :)

    Titanic ? I only watched that 2 years ago. When was It actually made? Oh my. Talk about not keeping up, but I am really not fond of watching movies. I`d rather listen to music. Yes your right? The standards has changed, and your right again, your never too old to be protected by your parents. It`s called respect, and honor. They did It through the vintage years, why Is everything different now. Does It have to be? NO.

    No matter where you go In life. Your family wont be too far away. As an adult now this Is really true: I cant live with them, but I cant live without them either. One day I`ll have to leave home. I cant stay here forever, but I could really, It Is big enough, but would I.

    What you have uncounted, or me, or anyone Is now the past. We should all just learn from them, and move on. "GOD" owns our life, and every day, he turns our page once more giving us another chance to do all that he wants from us. "GOD" knows that we all have problems. He even knows what It Is like to be, and understand a human. He was Human In "Jesus" His word has been made Into flesh, and he made his dwellings among us.

    It was a very nice write up, Jo. Thank you for sharing.

    (PS) I like your quote

  6. Well that was really nice to read. The thing with my childhood, I remember being outside a lot, and also enjoying technology inside. I grew up in central Illinois, United States. I guess I'm still growing because I'm only 17. My family wasn't religious when I was really young. My Mom and I were baptized in a christian church when I was 12, and two of my brothers followed when I was 13, and my Dad, who had been an atheist most of his life. He studied religion. My Dad, and when needed my Mom always worked hard to get my family where we are today. We used to be really poor when I was little. My Mom took care of of us three little ones, while also watching my older brother (his my half-brother, he wasn't always with us, he's 22 now). When I was 11 my Dad lost his job. He had been working for my Uncle, who was a con man really, of course my Dad did do actual work, he's a good guy. We moved to Florida. I lived there for most of Middle School and my first year of High School. My Dad found a better job, and we decided to move to Texas. I hated it there. The weather was awful, the school was bad compared to my last one. Luckily, not long after moving there my Dad got another job. It allowed him to work from home. He currently works two jobs. He teaches an online class for a community college, and he does computer programming from home too.

    Since he worked from home, we decided to do something amazing. Travel. We bought an RV, and a huge truck to haul it earlier this year, and we traveled to Arizona. Soon we'll be back in Texas, and then on to Florida in it. My brothers and I went into Home Schooling.

    My mother usually stayed home with us. When my Dad lost his job, he moved to Florida months ahead of us. My Mom got a job at a clothing store, and she worked her rear off, even when she got really sick.

    My Dad is a computer programmer, so we had technology in our house, I kind of find it weird that you didn't for so long. :P

    I'm currently sitting in a town of under 100 people, coming here from a city of about six million. Big difference.
    I like my life as it is now. I've lived in small 'villages', and some of the biggest cities in the world. Life is great. The Lord is great.

    Nice post, it really is nice.