Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Xmas 2014!

Salem, Oregon December 2014. 2014 is coming to an end and we sure enjoyed every minute of it! So much fun and so many memories. We started our year with a trip to Utah in January we had a fabulous time with family and friends. Our spring was busy, busy, busy. Ingrid completed another series of certifications and she is now also a certified BARRE Instructor and she has enjoyed teaching this new format.We also enjoyed celebrating our Goddaughter, Allie's 1st birthday. She is getting cutter and cutter by the minute. Summer was wonderful. We went on a trip to England exploring the southern part of the country for one week and enjoying the sights in London for another week. We were also able to spend some time in Central Oregon at one of our favorite places, enjoying some hiking, biking and swimming. Fall came and Leon and Ingrid had the opportunity to spend time in Scotland. Ingrid has always been fascinated with the country of Scotland and she was mesmerized by the rich history. Indeed a wonderful and unforgettable trip. We had a very untraditional and fantastic Thanksgiving, basking in the sun and enjoying the sound of the waves in Hawaii with our boys, Christopher and Alexandro. It was hard to leave.... after all the ice storms and cold weather we had been having in Salem. We all enjoyed it very much! It was definitely a very welcoming and pleasant change of scenery for the whole family. Christopher has been doing phenomenally at Northwestern University. He enjoys his classes and professors very much and is at the moment exploring the possibility of doing a Study abroad. We are very happy for him and anxiously waiting for him to come home for Christmas, and he is also! Alexandro has gotten his driver's license and is enjoying his "freedom". He has recently taken his ACT and SAT tests and he did very well on both. He is enjoying going to a club after school and is also involved in his church youth group activities. We are also so very proud of him and happy to see his confidence grow and blessed to have such a phenomenal young man for a son. We are so very grateful for our Savior and the wonderful gift that He is to us. Our lives are so blessed for the knowledge we have of Him and the peace and love He brings into our home. He has blessed us with so much joy and love. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Love - Leon, Ingrid, Christopher and Alexandro.

Monday, June 24, 2013

bit of News :)

May 5, 2013 Dear family and friends! I hope that this letter finds everyone doing well. The first several months of the year have gone by quite fast for us. January was a relatively quiet month for us. The weather is usually rainy and so we tend to stay indoors quite a bit. Ingrid did manage to make it up to Central Oregon at the end of the month for a weekend getaway with some of her friends. She stayed at Black Butte Ranch. While she was away Christopher, Alexandro, and I hung out at the house watching movies and eating popcorn. Our movie them for the weekend was Clint Eastwood movies, so it was a lot of fun. In February we celebrated Ingrid's birthday. We went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse, our traditional birthday dinner restaurant. Other than that, we just had a small party for Ingrid. The remainder of the month was relatively low-key. In the month of March we took a spring break trip to Florida. Since it is Christopher senior year of high school, we let him pick the location. He decided that we would go to Harry Potter World in Orlando Florida as a family. We had a great time. We left Oregon and the temperature was about 60° in Oregon and a little rainy. When we got to Florida, the temperature was about the same. During our week there they had some record cold temperatures, however, it wasn't too bad since it was sunny every day and there was no rain. We had a really great time. It was neat to see all the Harry Potter themed buildings and rides. They also had a Harry Potter themed restaurant. It was interesting to see that a lot of the visitors were from England, flying all the way from England to Florida to visit Harry Potter World, which ironically is set in rural England in the books. We also got to ride a lot of the other Rides. It is actually combination of two parks. There is Universal Studios and next to it is “islands of Adventure” which contains Harry Potter World. All in all, it was a great trip and we had a fun time as a family. One of the highlights of the trip was eating out at a Brazilian Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse – all you can eat)(Translated to “Schloss Korea” by Seri on my Iphone – I don’t thinks she is familiar with Portuguese!! The steak was fantastic and we ate too much, as always. In the month of April the kids got back to school work after spring break. This was a nervous month for Christopher. He received responses back from his college applications. He was very excited to be accepted to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In order to help him make his final decision as to where he wanted to attend college, we made a trip out to Chicago to visit the campus of Northwestern University. Christopher and I flew out on a Sunday and returned on a Tuesday evening. On Monday they had a program for prospective freshman to show them around campus. He really enjoyed his visit and felt right at home at the campus there. We were also able to spend some time in downtown Chicago visiting the sites in going to the Art Institute of Chicago. It is a very interesting city with a lot of things to do. Evanston, where the university is located, is in a northern suburb of Chicago and a nice safe city to live in. It is located 30 minutes from downtown Chicago if you ride the elevated train. Needless to say, Christopher has decided to attend Northwestern University this fall and we are very excited for him. It should be a great experience and he is anxious to get to know the city of Chicago and experience college life. Now, I will tell you little bit about what each person is doing along with the previous itinerary of activities of the last couple of months. Alexandro continues to work hard in school and is doing quite well. One of his favorite classes is computer-assisted design. He gets to work with computers as well as drawing, two things that he enjoys. He's also keeps busy in his church calling. He is first counselor in the teacher’s quorum. He also just started his Eagle project and will be finishing up at the end of May. He is collecting donations for local charity, Family Building Blocks. They help at risk children and families break the cycle of poverty and child abuse. He already has all the merit badges that he needs for his Eagle Scout award, so he just needs to finish his Eagle project. He is pretty excited about getting this award and finishing up the scouting requirements. We are quite excited as his parents as well. It takes a lot of effort and work from all involved. Christopher has been very busy these last several months applying to colleges around the country. We took a couple of visits to different schools. I think that Northwestern University will be a very good fit for him. Sorry to those of you who are BYU fans, I don't think that BYU was in the cards. He has been quite busy with his schoolwork as well, since he is taking numerous AP classes which require him to do a lot of studying. However, he has done well keeping his grades up and was named Academic All-Star at his high school. This award goes to the top ranked senior at the high school, academically. We are very proud of him for earning this award. Ingrid continues to stay busy teaching her fitness classes as well as doing training in Stott Pilates. She has to travel to Portland quite often to take training classes. She is also second counselor in the young women's presidency in our ward and is in charge of the beehives, young girls ages 12 And 13. She enjoys the calling and has a fun time interacting with young women. Leon continues to keep busy with work, his church calling and trying to keep track of everyone else in the family. We look forward to reading all your letters and see how everyone is doing. Take care and hope that we will see most of you at the family reunion this summer. It should be a great time. Love, The Oregon Burrows Clan.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter!!!!! Memories of Ingrid's childhood =;)

But mother why can’t I be Mary?
Because someone else was already chosen and you do a good job being an Apostle.
I sat on the floor watching my brother try his angel outfit on, all in white, it didn’t seem fair. He even had wings made with real chicken feathers, tears came rolling down my face, I was devastated. I tried hopelessly to convince my mother that I had to be Virgin Mary for the Easter presentation at the church.
After all I new exactly how to hold a baby and how to sit properly with my legs crossed. I had long curly hair that would look beautiful in a long braid. I went on and on, and on. Finally, my mother looked at me and asked:
- Can you focus on the true meaning of all of this work?
I just sat their totally confused, Thinking to myself, where did this come from? Are we talking about the same thing here?
After a long silence, my mother stood up and walked away, my brother was thrilled of the idea that I had crossed the Line and that I was definitely in big trouble. He loved to tease me and he sure did.
I felt really bad and went after my mother; I decided that I needed to apologize.
I found my mother looking in her closet for something. I was very sure that she was trying to decide a way to punish me and couldn’t figure out when or how.

Here it is, She exclaimed with tears in her eyes. She showed me a book very old and torn, she opened and started reading.
Unfortunately I do not have that book but this last week I came across a children’s book that is very much like the one that my mother read to me and I would like to share it with you. It is called Easter - By Gail Gibbons.
Just think of the joy that you will bring to others by doing this. My mother told me as she gave me a big hug.
My parents were both Catholics and loved to help the church. They participated in a lot of the activities and helped many people. They spent hours preparing everything for the Easter presentation because for them Easter was the most important holiday of the year.
The Easter program was held the week before Easter since most people would be out of town on Easter Sunday.
On Saturday the week before, we presented the scene of the crucifixion and resurrection
Sure enough that evening there I was dressed as an Apostle at the scene of the last supper having my feet washed. I was the happiest 8 years old in that room.
On Sunday my mother made sure we prepared ourselves spiritually for the next week. Usually we fasted until Monday and we ate fish to remember the Savior. A popular dish in Brazil is Bacalhau. (Salted cod Fish cooked with peppers, potatoes and spices).
After the fast it was time to start packing. We were going on a 12-hour trip to Bras Pirez, Minas Gerais. A little town that is not even on the map, but I can assure you that it does exist. We were going to My Grandparents’ home for the Easter Festival.
Sure enough Tuesday morning around 2:30 AM my Dad would get us out of bed to help him pack the Avocado Green Volkswagen, he did not like driving with the crazy rush hour of Sao Paulo that usually starts around 4:30 AM.
My mother had a basket of her homemade goodies that she prepared specially for the trip. My sister, my brother, I and our little dog Sissy (the baby of the family) would all sit in the back seat.
And we were off Singing and telling jokes. Around breakfast time my mother would give us some bread with salami and fresh fruits.
As I look back, I realize that Getting there was very challenging. We would drive for miles on dirt roads sometimes we had to stop and wait for the ranchers to move the cattle across the road, at one occasion our car fell in a huge hole.
I just remember bumping my head on the roof of the car and hearing my mother’s screams, which was definitely no way to wake up your child.
We all had to get out of the car and help my dad push the vehicle across this vast crater to continue our trip.
After the ordeal was over we realized that the rains had caused the hole. The reason for that hole in the middle of the road was no other than that the bridge was washed away and there was no money to build another bridge or to place warning signs on the roadside.
Boy we were all so anxious to get to Grandma’s house.

The Easter Festival was almost like a harvest fest. It was a time to thank the Lord for all the crops and abundance of food. People would decorate their homes and the streets.
In the center of town there was the Praca (a big park with a beautiful fountain in the center) and there some families would make beautiful pictures on the ground with grains, rice, beans, corn. They would color them in different colors and create portraits of the Savior and the different passages of the New Testament.
All the families had lots of cooking and talking to do so everyone spent most of their time in the kitchen. The kids loved to watch the adults chase the pig that they were trying to catch and butcher for our Easter meal, my parents would get so dirty and tired.
After all that exercise and the pig was finally cut up it was time to prepare the meat. Everyone got involved. We would make sausages and season the ham; we would laugh so hard recounting the pig’s chase.
My grandma was the quitandeira, the baker for the town. Most people would place orders for her cakes and Famous biscoitos and Broa de Milho, a kind of corn bread.
Grandma had a brick oven outside the house. Every time she had to go outside to get a new batch, my cousins and I would sneak into the kitchen and steal some goodies.
Little did we know that grandma was very aware of us and that she always made extras. Grandma was also a very strong Christian; she never missed church and prayed frequently. She loved to sing hyms and would never forget her black veil that she wore in church.
Saturday the night before Easter everyone in the little town of Braz Pires went on the procession I loved to hear all the people singing hyms and carrying their candles in the dark. The city looked so beautiful.
It was a reverent time, a time for meditation, a time when all the family was together thanking the savior.
Sunday morning we would get up and get ready for church. We would wear our new Easter outfits and most people that lived in town would walk the narrow cobblestone streets while the church bells rang calling everyone to come to mass.
After church we had a wonderful Easter Lunch. People sat everywhere, there were so many of us. After the meal the kids would go play outside and climb on the Mango, orange and papaya trees, while the adults would take their naps. My mother sometimes would sit on the veranda and play her guitar.
In the afternoon my grandma would call all the kids to come and sit with her while she told us a story.
My Grandma could not read Portuguese. You see she was Italian, but she could speak Portuguese very well. Sometimes my older cousins would help her with her pronunciation, I loved her accent.
We had done this many times before and knew exactly what she was going to say, but we still loved to hear it from her lips.
Bambinos, bambinos, this is my favorite story so listen carefully.
That was the last time that my Grandmother told us that story that she loved so much. I miss her very much I love her for her example. My family helped me to know the savior when I was very young and they also helped me to nourish that knowledge.
I treasure those moments in my heart dearly. As you see I came from a very different background but I was taught to love the Savior just the same way that you were.
I am very thankful for family traditions, for a family that placed Jesus Christ in the center of our lives.
I remember asking my grandma if Jesus could visit other places and she would always say: -
If you and your parents traveled so far to see me, don’t you think that Jesus would do the same to visit those people that he loves?
The first time that I read the book of Mormon it changed my life and also brought me the answer that I wanted my grandma to give me for so long.
I love reading about the savior’s visit to the Americas found in 3 Nephi 11: 1 – 17.

1 AND now it came to pass that there were a great multitude agathered• together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land bBountiful•; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the cgreat• and marvelous change which had taken place.

2 And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the asign• had been given concerning his death.

3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a avoice• as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a bsmall• voice it did cpierce• them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they aunderstood• it not.

5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did aopen• their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.

6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:

7 Behold my aBeloved• Son, bin• whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they asaw• a Man bdescending• out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:

10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

11 And behold, I am the alight and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter bcup• which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in ctaking• upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the dwill• of the Father in all things from the beginning.

12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude afell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been bprophesied• among them that Christ should cshow• himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.

13 And it came to pass that the aLord spake unto them saying:

14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may athrust• your hands into my side, and also that ye may bfeel• the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the cGod• of Israel, and the God of the whole dearth•, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and adid• feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.

16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:

17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did aworship him.

Indeed - Hosanna! Bless the name of the most high. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11Th 2011

The calamity of September 11th, 2001 has cast a long shadow. Ten years later, many of us are still haunted by its terrible tragedy of lost lives and broken hearts. It is an episode of anguish that has become a defining moment in the history of the American nation and the world. This week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Tom Brokaw, will pay its own homage to the unforgettable events of September 11, 2001.
There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.
Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.
Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.
But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.
The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.
It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.
Thomas S. Monson is president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bon Voyage Christopher

Today was a hard day........We drove Christopher to the airport for his trip to France. He is so happy and ready for the new adventure... You can follow up on this blog put together by his teachers.
Christopher will spend a month with the Vanderschooten Family in the North of France in Villeneuve-d'Ascq

Monday, December 20, 2010

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christopher's English Paper..... Amazing he wrote it in 20 minutes!!!

Chris Burrows
Period 7

Many are called, but few are chosen to be knights. For a true knight is not merely the shine of armor, nor a clang of the sword. Any man may don armor, wield a sword, and mount a steed. The true value of a knight, yea, what sets him apart from a common foot-soldier is what lies in his heart. Courage, bravery, honor. Yet it is neither how well he fights in battle nor how fearlessly he faces the terrible claws of the dragon in his mountain lair that determines his worthiness to be called a knight. It is the faith in God, the commitment to purity, the strive to bring about morality and righteousness to a world which is held firmly in the grasp of anarchy and terror, to be the light and example to those who live in darkness. The true weapon of a knight is of no carnal fashioning. It is no crude metal spike or club. The true weapon of a knight is the sword of righteousness, and his armor, the impenetrable armor of God. I therefore beseech whosoever desires to take upon him the title of knight, that he first swear his oath of allegiance to God to obey his commandments unto men, to love thy neighbor, and to live a life in accordance in every way with his will. By taking this oath upon themselves they assure the world that the chivalry and purity of the Knights of God will last far beyond their mortal years. They assure the heavens that there are still those on earth who hold true to the values of morality and chivalry. That God may know that although the swords of this age will rust and the castles will fall, even though the kings and nobles are done away and all that is now great and beautiful will fade into myth, that the light of His Knights still shines. That although we have passed on, their will always be a knight in this world who believes in Camelot.