Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Friday! We are home at last! I think we are going to stay for a while.

We had a wonderful time in San Antonio with our friends Carme and Dave Russell. We spent New Year’s Eve watching movies, talking late and eating. It was like old times with a few more gray hairs. Our anniversary was spent with our friends and Travis. We went to the Riverwalk for a while and ate at Mad Dogs British Pub. We ate “pub grub”, served by a “kilted” wait staff and had a wonderful time. The Christmas lights were still on at the Riverwalk and it was so pretty.

This morning took us to the hospital to be with our friends as Carme had a breast biopsy this morning. She should know something hopefully by mid to late next week. Please keep her and Dave in your prayers.

Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.” Did you ever say something you did not mean to say? All of a sudden something sparked your use of language and the wrong words came out. I am talking about words that you cannot take back even though you say you are sorry and “I did not mean it.” I am certainly guilty of that.

God breathed life into man at the dawn of time. God took a handful of dirt (as the poem The Creation by James Weldon Johnson goes) and breathed life into man. A man who could talk, sing, pray, praise and worship with the breath of the One who gave him/her life. How many times per day to we say things not pleasing to God? How many times do we say things that do not honor God and show our gratitude to Him for our very breath.

The song “Breathe” says the powerful words, “This is the air I breathe. Your Holy Spirit, living in me.” The breath of God is His Holy Spirit and it lives in us. I cannot breathe on a handful of dirt and cause life to form. But I can speak words of comfort to someone who is hurting or in fear. I can speak words of encouragement to someone who is going through a difficult time. I can praise God for His very being and the countless blessings I have received and for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I can worship God. I don’t have to have a sanctuary or wait until Sunday to worship God. The scripture doesn’t limit us to worship in a specific place or time. It says that everything that has breath needs to praise the Lord.

Maybe that is how we should begin this new year. Begin each day by praising God in His sanctuary. His sanctuary is where we find His presence. Another song says, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.” Let’s all be sanctuaries for the presence of God and become the praise of God’s glory. Let us journey in worship this year. Let us praise God first and then figure out the rest. Let us not waste our breath on words that are not pleasing to God.

Take joy in the journey my friends. 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.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Greetings from San Antonio.

Travis drove us to San Antonio today to see our good friends Carme and David Russell. The Russells have been friends of ours since we married. One of the very most favorite things we used to do together was to spend our New Year's eve at either our house or theirs, eating snacks and playing Masterpiece or other board games, and watching the ball drop at midnight. The Russells have been out of the area for years, but have recently moved to the San Antonio area which is close enough for a visit on occasion. This was the right occasion.

We wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous new year. Watch for Christ in your life every day and respond to his call.

Take joy in the journey. We 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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! I have been on the go all day long. I spent time with each of the kids today and ran some errands. I did not finish, but I hope to finish before I go back to school on Monday.

We are leaving again tomorrow for San Antonio to spend New Year’s Eve with our oldest friends. We will leave tomorrow morning and return sometime on Friday. You know Texas is so big that it takes almost as much time to get to San Antonio as it does to get to Memphis.

Psalm 148: 1 says, “Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights!” 2008 is rapidly drawing to a close. The Chrystie Family has had a difficult year. It has not always been easy to praise God. Health issues have been at the forefront of our thinking in the past year. But as a devotion I was reading today said, “Nothing is healthier than a heart filled with gratitude.” Even though our hearts are broken with the loss of our son and brother, Casey, we are grateful beyond words for Jesus being our Lord and Savior and God being our heavenly Father. We are grateful for the time we had with Casey, and even though he will never come to us again, we are assured by the risen Christ that we will go to him and see Casey again.

We are grateful for all of the Christ-like love by which we have been surrounded through the different communities of church, Kairos, Happening, Via de Cristo, Walk to Emmaus, school, work and most of all family and friends. I am so thankful for God’s Word and how important it has become in my life. I am grateful for prayer. I am grateful for mighty prayer warriors. I am grateful for the internet and Caring Bridge. I am so very grateful for all of you who wrote such encouraging and kind words while I journeyed on the Caring Bridge. You walked every step with our family and our way was made easier with the love and support of friends and family. When I get down about the events of the last year, I try to remember to count my blessings and I always remember to count all of you among them. You have helped me to take joy in this journey.

So my dear friends and might prayer warriors, Happy New Year. May the new year bring all of us new joys in the journey.

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.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We had such a great visit with Dale and Gayle. Their warm, loving spirits made us feel right at home and made us all wish we lived closer to each other. It was hard to say good bye. We hope to be able to get back together again soon. Thanks to cell phones, computers, email, text messaging and something called Skype, we can stay far closer than in years past.

We made it home around dinner time tonight. So, I made dinner. We had a wonderful trip home. Geni drove most of the way and did a great job. I graded papers all the way home. I have only now to post them in my grade book. I plan that activity for our trip to San Antonio on Wednesday. Our oldest friends, Carme and Dave Russell, Casey’s godparents, live there. We spent many of our years of early marriage each New Year’s Eve together playing games and toasting in the New Year. We are looking forward to spending time with them once again. On this trip, Geni has to work and Travis will go with us. I hope there is a trip to the Riverwalk on Thursday, our anniversary. I love the Riverwalk. We will come home Friday sometime. We have never travelled so much during a holiday. I am glad I do not lead this life all of the time. I love our family and our friends so very much, but I also love being at home too.

John 21:12 says, “…they knew it was the Lord.” The other day I was in Target with Geni and Travis. They were shopping and I was reading a magazine in the snack area. While I was reading, some friends I had not seen in a long time came up to me and said, “Gaylene?” I looked up and it was Les and Donna Abbott. We used to be neighbors across the street from each other. They had not seen me since I lost weight and stopped coloring my hair, which is why they did not recognize me at first. I looked up and smiled and then they knew it was me. We had a wonderful visit.

The disciples were in mourning. Just days before, their master had been brutally murdered on a cross. They were His followers. They were grieving and were in fear for their lives. And then they learned that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were experiencing fear, joy, disbelief and a whole range of emotions. So they decided to go fishing. Maybe working would help them sort all of this out. They sent Peter out in the boat and the rest remained on shore. The fishing had been pretty poor and suddenly a stranger appeared on the shore. This stranger told them to cast their nets again. As you know in this story, the catch was “miraculous.” The stranger stayed among them and did not speak. The disciples did not know Him until He sat with them around the fire and He broke the bread. The disciples saw His hands and they knew it was Jesus. They recognized Jesus in something as familiar as the breaking of the bread. They had watched Him break bread so many times. Can you imagine their emotions now? Here was their master in their presence sitting down to dinner just as He had so many times before.

God comes to us in the body of Jesus. We are called, “the body of Christ.” We are Christ to those are around us. How is Christ recognized in each of us? Christ can be recognized in a smile to someone who needs a lift. Christ can be seen in us when we visit someone who is ill and alone. Christ can be seen in us when we take Eucharist to someone who cannot be in worship. Christ can be recognized when we help someone we know or we help a stranger. We don’t have to quote scripture or invite them to church (even thought there is nothing wrong with either of those things!). We just have to be open to the leading of Christ and share Him with others. As Bruce so eloquently says and practices each day, “Preach Christ everyday. Use words if necessary.”

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.
Greetings from Memphis

Today we went to Elvis Presley Blvd and I went souvenir shopping. We had our picture taken in front of those famous music gates at Graceland. We had a fun time. Dale and Gayle’s children left to visit friends in Indiana today. They will be gone for the next four days so Dale and Gayle will be empty nesters for the next few days as we will be leaving in the morning for home. We ask that you pray travel mercy for all of us.

Luke 2:40 says, “the little child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s goodness was upon Him.” As parents of a growing family one of the realities is that our children will grow and leave our nest. Geni is half-way through her college studies and Travis is a senior in high school. We have watched them grow since they were born. We have taught them many things. The most important lessons we have hopefully taught them are the lessons of distinguishing right from wrong, making good choices, being responsible citizens and most important keeping God first in their lives and treating others with kindness and acceptance.

With Bruce and I being 5’ 7” and 5’ 2” respectively that whole stature thing may not work out.(Lol) As we prepare for them to spread their wings and fly and live their own lives we pray that these lessons have been taught well enough that they will be successful, caring, responsible, happy people who have a heart for God and for His people. We knew that our children would not always live with us, as much as we love them and love being with them we know we must let them go so they may spread their wings and fly.

God came to earth as a person and lived with us for a while. Jesus experienced all of the emotions sadness to gladness, despair to joy and success and disappointment. God experienced all of these things through the life of Jesus. God knew what life on earth was like because of the life of Jesus. God did not stay a safe distance from us. God was no longer an observer of the lives of the people He loved, He became flesh and dwelt among us. God became one of us so He could not only live among us as one of us, but to be the model of the Godly life to us. Jesus paid the greatest price of all to be with us. He came to earth and grew up with a family in a community. He went to temple, went to Hebrew school and learned the Holy Scriptures. As Jesus grew, God blessed Him with His wisdom and His goodness.

What are we teaching our children? Our time to teach our children is limited. Have we taught them the Holy Scriptures, the creeds, the Lord’s Prayer and the practices of regular worship? Have we modeled the Godly life for our children? We must seek out God as we journey through the years we have and ask for guidance as we lead our children to follow Christ in their own lives after they no longer live with us. These are the things God calls us to do as parents.

What a journey we are on friends! Take joy in the journey (even when it is hard).

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.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Greetings from Memphis.

We have had a wonderful day here in Memphis. My wonderful sister-in-law celebrated her 50th birthday today. She works in a veterinary clinic and is so great with all of the animals and their parents. I have watched her at home with her two dogs and two cats and today she fed treats to all of her animals and the neighbor’s animals. They loved “Mama Gayle” coming to give them a treat and just tell them how much she loves them. My brother-in-law Dale is a cyclist and rode a mere 57 miles today and all of it between the hours of 7:30 am and noon. Teague, our nephew, picked up his girlfriend at the airport today and we got to meet her. Chloe is a lovely girl. We have enjoyed getting to know her. Geni and Taryn and all of the family spent the day enjoying hanging out together. We have spent time late night talking and getting caught up. Graceland is planned for tomorrow. We are not going inside, just to the gates and to a souvenir shop or two.

Galatians 4:6 says, “Since you are God’s children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, “Father.”

Scripture tells us that God sent Jesus to the earth and placed in Him His spirit. God placed in Jesus His very essence. “The Spirit became flesh and dwelt among us.”

God also placed in Jesus His plan and His will. Jesus knew that God was His Father. When Jesus needed guidance He called upon His heavenly Father. When Jesus needed comfort He called upon His heavenly Father. And when Jesus needed confirmation of His mission and knew He had to walk the road to the cross, Jesus cried out, “Abba, Father…”

God gives us, His children on earth, the same opportunity. God loves us so much that He places in us, by faith, His spirit. We can call on the power of the Holy Spirit at any time. When we call to the Father in faith and prayer, God listens because we are His children. Jesus cried out to God, His heavenly Father, in the garden of Gethsemane. His physical body would lose its strength as the days leading up to the crucifixion would prove. But the Holy Spirit, God’s pure essence still remained intact.

Remember that we are children of the King of Love. God has given us His Holy Spirit and we can call on Him anytime just as a child would call out to their parents in times of trouble. Remember when you were a youngster and you fell and scraped your knee? All you wanted was Mom or Dad to comfort you, clean you up, place a Band-Aid on the wound and hold you for just a bit until the pain went away. You believed that your parents would be there to care for you. God does the same for us when we call on Him. God is faithful to come to us when we call and meet our needs, all because we call Him, “Abba, Father.”

Take joy in the journey friends. 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.