Saturday, November 1, 2008

Greetings from Austin St.

After three trips to Mansfield to try and retrieve my car from the stadium parking lot, my car is still in Mansfield at the stadium parking lot. Tomorrow, with the help of someone, Bruce will go down and tow the “Old Girl” home. Fuel is not getting to where it needs to go to make the car move. I think there may be a spiritual lesson in there somewhere. We will see. Anyway, today I had lunch with a friend, Bruce worked in east Texas and Travis and Geni went to the OU vs. Nebraska football game in Norman, Ok, today. They made it to half-time and are currently heading home I think OU was stomping Nebraska and the game was becoming a bit boring and everyone was getting text messages about the Tech vs. UT game anyway. The texting game seemed to be far more fun than the game on the field.

Tomorrow Lutherans celebrate All-Saint’s Day. At the 11 o’clock worship service Bruce and I will bring a baptismal candle to the front of the sanctuary signifying Casey’s passing from this life and into the next. As each name of our departed friends and family is announced a bell will be tolled. Bruce will toll the bell. Our congregation has suffered many losses this year and several within the last month. I ask you to pray for our congregation as we honor those who have gone on to eternal life with Jesus.

Mark 1: 9, says, “At that time Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. Immediately, as Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven open. The Holy Spirit came down on Him like a dove and a voice came from heaven: “You are My Son, whom I love and I am very pleased with You.” I remember when the children were baptized. Casey, Geni and Travis were baptized on Easter Vigil at St. John Lutheran Church in Grand Prairie by Pastor Thomas McCrone. Travis was 4, Geni was 7 and Casey was 10. It was a great evening. We began in the fellowship hall with flame and walked into a darkened sanctuary and the flame from the torch began to light the room. We all had candles and our little niece was holding her candle and accidentally burned a hole in the fabric of the pew. As soon as the actual baptism began Travis ran out of the sanctuary leaving the altar and having to go to the bathroom. Pastor McCrone never became rattled. He just waited for this little guy dressed in his while shirt, slacks and tie to return. I remember Pastor Thomas saying, “It’s the water. It will do it every time.” Everyone laughed. It was a memorable baptism. It still brings a smile to my face and a fit of laughter as I figure God Himself probably laughed at this very funny scene that was supposed to be quite serious.

For John the Baptist and those who were witness to Jesus’ baptism it was also a memorable event. It signified the end of Jesus’ private life and the beginning of His public ministry. After His 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan ended He was ready to begin the mission for which the Father had sent Him. Every mission begins with a single step. We presented Casey at the altar when He was ten with water and flame. Tomorrow we will return to the altar in His memory.

When we present our children for baptism we promise to teach them the creeds, The Lord’s Prayer, bring them to church and present ourselves as models of the godly life for our children. When we present our children we are being obedient to God and following the Godly model enacted by Jesus, Himself. God sat on the throne of heaven and watched His Son act in obedience to His Word just as a proud parent would and then affirmed Jesus. God opened the heavens and told Jesus how proud He was of His faith and obedience to His holy calling. Jesus knew that every step He took from that moment on would lead to the cross. Jesus knew he had three years to tell the world around Him how much they were loved by God and to train others to continue the ministry after He was gone.

We don’t know what our time line is. But our mission is still the same as the one given to Jesus by His Father. We are to tell others how much God loves them. We tell others by our words, our actions and our hearts. Our baptisms are the first step in the mission. Our baptism gives us the authority to act on the name of Jesus. Our private lives are over and our public ministries begin. We cannot keep Jesus to ourselves. So friends, let’s splash a little water on ourselves, say a prayer and put ourselves out there. God promises to be with us. God was with Jesus every step of the way and He will do no less for us.

See you in church. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS The kids area already back in Texas around Gainesville. YEAH!! Pray for their safe return. Travis will drop Geni off in Denton and then make the rest of the trip by himself. Thanks, gc
First of all, we hope you found the blog site without any trouble. We felt that the Caringbridge site has served us well, but with Casey gone, it is more appropriate for others to use that bandwidth to communicate with their families and friends. We will take up our thoughts and writings here.

Happy Halloween to all!. May you all have been treated well tonight with no tricks!! It is quite late and we just returned from the Viking Football game where the mighty Vikes were outscored by the Mansfield Tigers. Travis played like a lion and I am sure the young man on the other side of the line was glad when the game was over for he was getting tired of being wiped out by big number 60. Tonight as we were watching the game, one of the boys, Tucker, one of Travis best friends had this written on the back pad of his football pads, “One Team. One Heartbeat. VFND and Casey Chrystie” It brought tears to our eyes to see the compassion the Viking men and coaches have shown to Travis and our family during this time. The team, especially the senior boys and the coaches have really wrapped their arms around Travis.

This afternoon Daryle, from the funeral services, brought Casey’s remains to us and we signed for the final bills. The insurance has been filed and social Security has been notified. Daryl also gave us a copy of the DVD of Casey used in the service. This gentleman has taken care of so many details with such kind grace and we are so appreciative. Daryle owns Alternative Funeral Services. He and his wife donated their services (they organized everything) at the Celebration of Life for Casey. What wonderful people.

The reason this posting is so late is that my car is still in Mansfield. Bruce and I will go in the morning to see if we can get it started and bring it home.

2 Timothy 4:17 says, “But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength.” This I think has been my theme song for the last year. When Casey was diagnosed, not only was his life changed forever but as Bruce so eloquently put it our lives changed from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Everything changed. We had to become fast learners, and at times quick problem solvers, sometimes instant decision makers and planners over the phone and the internet. Through all of those hills, valleys, mountains and every challenge presented to us, God never left our side. God never left our thoughts. Instead of trying other things before praying, we started with prayer first. You know the saying, “I should’ve had a V-8,” well ours became, ”We went to God in prayer.” And I began to seek out God in His Word. Now I am hooked!!

God, through the Holy Spirit, strengthened us continually, but especially in those times when we felt our weakest. Those times when despair and separation wrapped itself around us like a thick fog and there was nothing we could do to help Casey get better, He gave us the strength through His revelation to Casey that we could let him go. Christ strengthened us enough to tell Casey that we loved him enough to say good-bye for a while. In the relationship of earthly life to eternity, our time on earth is finite, but our time in eternity is forever. We have the promise of eternity through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ I (we) have no strength. The only way we are strong is because God stays with us and gives us His strength.

When friends and family ask how we are, I usually say, “for a situation that totally sucks, we are okay.” I think we are under “God’s anesthetic,” right now. I am sure that there are difficult times to come, holidays, trips to Wal-Mart and continuing to box up the items that were in Casey’s life. But I am assured by the power of Christ and the promises in His Word that He will stay with us and continue to strengthen us especially when this “anesthetic begins to wear off.” We also gain strength from all of you with each hug, phone call and card we receive. You all are so wonderful and we are so grateful.

Take joy in the journey my friends. Love you, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.