The Long Update

This post was written on my daily bus commute to and from work. If it sounds a little disjointed it is because the post is really long and my commute isn’t. Therefore it took me 3 ½ days to complete.

This is the post that has been a long time coming. As many of you know by now, about 2 weeks ago the Burns family packed up everything we own and moved to Bellingham, WA. Everything happened so quickly that there are still people, friends even, who don’t know we’ve moved. So, for those who don’t know the story, I’ll try to take it from the beginning.

As most of you do know, in January of 2008 we moved from Richmond to Orlando in order for me to attend seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary. That decision was one that we had labored through for months and month. I had been working on my masters degree for over 5 years through RTS virtual and had not made significant progress. The decision to go to Florida was one that was made with much prayer and council. In the end, we knew there would be risk involved in me going to school full time as well as running my web development business, but we felt a peace in our hearts that God would work out all the “what if’s.”

Well, about 7 months after moving to Orlando some of those “what if’s” began to appear. The most notable was the “what if my business doesn’t grow and I can’t find a job in Orlando to support the family?” During this time I spent hours upon hours crunching the numbers trying to figure out how to make things work. I met with our pastor and some of our close friends. I talked to friends and pastors back in Richmond. Jennifer and I talked… we prayed… and, while I’d like to say that we had a calm and cool attitude, there was more than a little bit of stress in the house. Now, as a side note to that, I want to point out that, while we were stressed we knew that God was going to take care of us… We’ve experienced far too much grace in our short lives to not know that… however, we were still stressed as we didn’t know exactly how it would all happen.

Well, I decided to drop down to only one class and began to look for a job. After a week or two with no luck I got a phone call. “Hi Ryan, this is Dan at Logos Bible Software. Give me a call when you have a chance at _____.”

Now, I had communicated with a couple people a Logos in the past. With my site, goingtoseminary.com, I had worked with Dan and Phil on getting some Logos advertising. During those communications Phil had also mentioned in one of his emails that Logos might be looking for someone to join their marketing team. After hearing Phil’s description of the job I had replied that, “I know someone who would be a perfect fit, be he lives 3,200 miles from Bellingham.” (this was a month or two before we realized I needed a job).

So, anyway, when I got the call from Dan I wasn’t sure what it was about. So, after dinner I stepped into my office and gave him a call. At that time I was unaware that Dan is the Vice President Marketing & Business Development.

When I got Dan on the phone he began to ask me some questions about my sites and some of the work I had done in the past… however, it wasn’t until he said, “so, tell me the best and worst thing about working with you” that I thought, “crap! This is an interview!”

Well, the conversation progressed and ended with him letting me know that he was going to talk with his brother Bob (the President of Logos) and would get back to me in a day or two. The next day I got an email that said, “We’d like to meet you in person. How soon can you get out here?”

I was a little freaked out at this point. It dawned on me for the first time that we might have to move to the entire opposite side of the country (Bellingham is on the coast, 20 min south of Canada!). I remember walking into the kitchen, looking at Jenn, and saying, “How would you feel about moving to Bellingham?”

Like I said, I was a bit freaked out by the idea. I called my friend Jamie and, after a cup of coffee and some sound advice, I emailed Dan and said I could be up there in a week. Seven days later I was on a plane to Bellingham… 48 hours later I was walking back into my front door having caught the redeye back home.

The weeks (and by weeks I literally mean 2 weeks) that followed were somewhat stressful around the house. Jenn and I took the first week to really weigh the offer before us and the implication it would have on our family and future. By the end of that long week we finally decided what we wanted and I called Dan and shared my thoughts with him. He said he needed to talk with Bob and he’d get back to me. A long five days, I heard back from Dan and, after one final weekend to make sure it was what we wanted to do, I called Dan on Monday and accepted the job.

This, of course, was followed by the question I knew was coming, “So, when do you think you can get up here?” Not being one for wanting to sit and twiddle my thumbs, I said we could be there in about 3 weeks. The way I figured it, we needed a week to pack up everything we own, a week to ship everything across the country, and a week to unpack everything we owned.

It was an ambitious goal, but both Jennifer and I were eager to get the show on the road. Thankfully we found an amazing house to rent on craigslist and had that wrapped up on the same Monday I accepted the job. Of course, as is the case with all moves, there were a million details to take care of. We had to cancel all our current bills, ship our minivan to Washington, get utilities set up at the new house, pack everything, say goodbye to friends, and countless other things that I have either forgotten or erased from my memory.

Now, some of you know of my hatred for road trips (6 hours is pretty much my limit). For this reason, there was NO WAY I was driving anything across the country. So, we had our van and belongings shipped while we opted to fly up to Washington.

So, after the final goodbyes we hopped on a plane and took off on our new adventure.

The flight was pretty amazing considering we were traveling with two toddlers. Asher and Grace did so great staying in their seats and not driving us insane. 6 hour flights are very long.

Since our stuff was being shipped across the country we had to blow a little time before we could move into our new house. We decided to use the time to hang out in Seattle for 5 days. It was a really great trip for all of us. We stayed downtown and did touristy things every day (Science museum, children’s museum, Pike’s Place Market, and other adventures). And, while it was fun, I will say that living in a hotel with two toddlers and eating out for every meal can grow a little bit tiring… add the time change into the mix and it gets even more fun.

In all it was a great trip, but we were ready to be home and have a good ole Jenn cooked meal.

After we were done with Seattle and met up with our belongings in Bellingham. The house (technically a condo) is so much more amazing than the pictures. It has a big kitchen that opens to the dining room and to the living room. It is the layout we’ve always wanted. Along with that, the master bedroom, bath, and closet are really big! The upstairs has two bedrooms, but we decided that Asher and Grace will share the smaller room and we’ll use the larger room as a playroom/office/guest room (yes, it is that big). Along with all that space we have a two car garage (half filled with boxes and the other half with the van).

We managed to get everything into the house and unpacked in less than a week. In fact, I even hung up our art work on the walls the Sunday before my first day of work in order to make it 100% official that we were in fact “settled in.”

On Monday, October 6, I started my new job at Logos. For those who are wondering what I do at Logos… well, so am I. Just kidding.

My job at Logos is in the marketing department. One of the things that really intrigued me about the position is that Dan explained that there is a lot of room to really shape the position based on my strengths… so apparently there will be a lot of eating pizza and coding wordpress themes. We’ll ok, those are two of my stronger strengths, but I guess more energy will likely be put into online marketing and possibly some event management. Right now I’m just getting my feet wet and learning the ins and outs of Logos.

For those who would like to know more about Logos.  Essentially it is an amazing Bible study tool that is easy enough for my mom to use, yet robust enough for my PhD candidate office mate, Phil, to use while working on his dissertation. Here is an introductory video demonstration of the program.

As for Jenn and the kids, the seem to be settling in very nicely. Jenn has already made some friends in our neighborhood and there are lots of kids. Oh, and sidewalks! Sidewalks that lead to a playground! Double score.

Jenn is pretty excited about living in Bellingham because she is no longer “weird.” In Orlando Jenn didn’t have a whole lot of people with which to bond over her particular style of food, nutrition, and health care. However, in Bellingham there are natural food stores galore! Along with that, raw milk is legal (I can’t wait till we get some)!

I could go on about all the food and health stuff up here, but I’ll leave that to the expert. I’m sure she’ll fill you in soon enough.

I guess the final note is church.

This move represents the first time in our lives where we don’t have a church home. In Georgia and Virginia, our church home was a matter of my employment. When we moved to Florida, I just “knew” that CrossPointe was home. Now, in Bellingham, we don’t have a church or know where to go. So far we’ve visited 2 churches. One was a 5,000 member mega church that had computers for you to check-in your kids… and the other was a 50 person church plant that meets in the upstairs of a library and used an old school projector. Both were great, but we’re still looking for “home.” And heck, who knows… one of those might be home.

Somewhat related to the church hunt, we are having dinner tonight with a guy and his wife (and 2 year old daughter) who are going to be part of a 2009 PCA church plant in Bellingham… could this be the reformed, missional, pedobaptist church plant I’ve dreamed about? Guess I’ll find out at dinner.

So, there you have it… the not too short update on what we’re up to. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section… which reminds me one of the most common FAQs:

What about seminary?

Well, the Lord knows. Honestly, that’s my answer. Getting my degree has been a dream of mine for about 7 years now. Going to Florida was an attempt to get it done quicker. Our plans didn’t work, well, as planned so we had to drop the plan. Will the Lord allow me the ability to get my degree? Will I return to pastoral ministry in the vocational sense? Will I be able to get a really good slice of pizza in Bellingham? What does the future hold? Well, I don’t know.

What we do know is that this is the door that the Lord has opened for us and we are seeking to be faithful with what we’ve been given. We are excited to be here in Bellingham. I’m happy to be working at a great company with great people and, if you’re ever in the Northwest corner of the great land, then come on by for a visit.

10 thoughts on “The Long Update

  1. Ryan,
    God works in our lives shaping circumstances not just for today but for tomorrow and beyond. I happened upon your site and will come down to introduce myself as I work two blocks away.Logos is a fantastic company and I have many friends there,God has brought them all into your lives for a reason.

  2. Ryan,
    What a journey … It would only be better if you drafted up that post with your thumbs on your Blackberry :-)

    Thanks for sharing the specifics — your story is incredible. Kari and I look forward to meeting someday, somehow. (There is some good pizza here in PDX, if you venture this way.) Yesterday our new adventure become “official” as well.

    BTW, your craiglist link above is probably not what you think. Try ‘.org’.

    JP

  3. Pingback: Where is Ryan? | Going to Seminary

  4. What an exciting life you lead. I know things are crazy, but it sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you. Congratulations. I’ll be praying for you and the family as you settle in.

  5. Wow! Thanks for the update–yes, Jenn welcome to the West Coast, land of the crunchy, recycling, granola-eating, health food junkies! You’re going to love it! Bellingham is an amazing place to call home. I pray you get settled and feel at home soon. Bless you guys!!!

  6. Hey Ryan,

    Sounds like exciting times. I am sorry we never got to connect as I had hoped while you were here in Orlando, but I’m thankful for the few times we were able to talk.
    Good luck with Logos. If you ever travel to the ETS or SBL conferences with them we’ll have to grab some coffee and talk (don’t worry we don’t have to tell our bosses!).
    Just because you’re up there doesn’t mean you can’t finish at RTS. Who knows, with all the mini campus plants they are doing, there might be one up there soon!?

    Best,

    Rick

  7. Ryan,

    That’s a big change! It sounds like you and I are living our lives out of a few pages from the same book. I keep trying to finish my masters degree, but it’s definitely going to be awhile at the rate it’s been going. How exciting to be working for LOGOS. I’m very happy for you, but to be honest I’m a little jealous. If they ever need somebody to manage their contact center….. Blessings to you and your family in this new adventure.

    Shaun

  8. WOW! No wonder I kept being confused by Jenn’s facebook notes about “Washington.” Greg and I are all too familiar with the jump(!) and go moves and being far away. We unfortunately are still hunting down the organic type market but otherwise love the area (not too much need for GPS!) and ministries out here..out here in the middle of the Coasts that is :-) Thanks for the update

  9. My wonderful wife passed this on to me, as we were both surprised to hear about the move (since it’s late January already). I’m glad that you found crunchy people and sidewalks that lead to parks. We love the abundance of green ways in KCMO, though the winter winds are quite bitter. Peace to you and your fam!