Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Greetings from Austin St. via…?

Happy Wednesday! The paper has left the building!! I prayed over it as I wrote it and prayed again just before pressing the send button. I went to Starbucks and got on wifi so I could send the paper to Dr. Jones.

Fort Worth ISD has called us back to work tomorrow. Teachers only tomorrow and the kids come on Friday. I will call for a substitute for Friday as we will be traveling to Lubbock. Please pray for us as we travel and for the kids as they travel late into the night.

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. The praise team will be singing the anthem purchased and given in the celebration of the life of Casey. Many of the songs of praise that were sung at Casey’s Celebration of Life will be in the body of worship this Sunday. The music this Sunday is going to be awesome. I invite all of you to come to Advent Lutheran in Arlington and be a part of this most special worship.

Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

This is normally the day our prayer group at school meets. I had planned a lesson for today so I thought I would go ahead and share it with all of you tonight.

Are we tired? If we are tired, what do we do to become untired? We sleep, we chill in front of the TV, we listen to some nice music and let ourselves relax. But what do we do when we are weary? Tired is usually associated with physical exhaustion and some sack time will usually take care of it. But weary is another matter. Being weary involves our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits. When we are weary everything feels like an uphill climb in six inch heels with a backpack loaded with bricks on a hot day in July in Texas (how’s that for a word picture? that’s tough!!) Being weary means being burdened. Being weary means being weighed down with the situations in life that are just seemingly too heavy to carry.

Jesus has the answer for weariness. Jesus’ answer for weariness is “give it to Me, I want your weariness, I want your burdens.” God promises that if we give Him our burdens and weariness then He will give us rest. Have you ever slept but never felt rested? That is weariness. Jesus carried that cross down the Via Dolorosa. Jesus walked in weariness because of His love for us. He carried that cross so that we would not have to be weary again. Jesus has asked for our weariness and our burdens because His shoulders and His heart are strong enough to carry the weight of the world. Have you ever heard that song, “If He carries the weight of the world upon His shoulders, then brother and sister, He can carry you”? God, through Jesus, will give us rest from our weariness if we give our burdens to Him.

So friends, let us trust God with whatever keeps us up at night. Get a good night’s sleep and rest in the One who carries the weight of the world. He loves us so much.

Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by 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 Austin St. (maybe!)

Happy Tuesday! Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today has been an interesting day. I traveled with Bruce to Corsicana today. We had a great trip and it was nice to get away even for just a few hours. I also finished reading a Harry Potter book. I have never read a Harry Potter book before and I really enjoyed it. Then the internet went down due to a weird set of circumstances and so I am not sure when we will back online. I may be sending this from Starbucks. Also I was not able to submit my paper due to the internet being down, but my professor was very kind and said to send it when I can. He is a great guy! And the final news of the day is that Fort Worth ISD has been called back to work. I go in on Thursday and we have students on Friday. It has been quite a day!

Psalm 56:8 says, “You have recorded my troubles. You have kept a list of my tears.”

As I approach this coming weekend there will be some bittersweet moments. First, the joy is that our niece, Kendall, will graduate from Texas Tech on Saturday. We are so proud of her and wish her only the best in her chosen field of hotel and restaurant management. She will be fantastic! The family is gathering on Saturday for a brunch honoring Kendall. We will also celebrate Mother’s Day. I rejoice that my mother will be there and I will honor her for the most amazing woman and loving mother I have ever known. I will also take great joy in having Travis and Geni there with me to celebrate this time set aside to celebrate mothers. But I also will miss so very much the one who first called me Mom. Casey was not a mama’s boy, but he did love his mama. And his mama loved him. When I talked to Casey on his last weekend with us I told him how much he meant to me and how he was the one who taught me how to be a mom.

Someone in our church purchased a choir anthem for the Praise and Worship service in honor of Casey. The title of the anthem is “Let Everything that Hath Breath.” It is the most awesome anthem. It has a totally gospel feel and we all really love to sing it. The praise team will be offering this anthem on this Mother’s Day during the 11:00 service. It will rock the house!

As I was writing this theology paper I had to write on the Doctrine of Theodicy; the doctrine of suffering. A large body of my paper is dedicated to this particular doctrine. As I was writing I realized that God suffered at the loss of His Son, Jesus. Because God suffered at this loss, He understands our suffering and loss. The death of His Son broke His heart just as much as Casey’s death has broken mine. I don’t know if my heart will ever mend on this side of heaven, but I positively believe that God’s promise of eternal life with Him will mend this broken heart when I am united with Him when I leave this earth. We have such a loving God who knows when we are hurting and knows when we shed tears and finds a way to wrap His loving arms around us to let us know that we are not alone in our misery.

So as I approach this first Mother’s Day without Casey I will rejoice in the presence of my mom and be exceedingly glad having Geni and Travis at my side and remember with thanksgiving the time I had with Casey. Thank you for letting me work out my grief with each of you in these writings.

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

I am not moved by 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 Please pray for travel mercy for us as we travel to Lubbock with mom and dad on Friday. Also pray for Geni and Travis as they will travel late Friday to Lubbock to be with us.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Monday! This vacation is still a bit weird, but I am adjusting. I worked on my paper, did some house cleaning and laundry and changed some of the flowers in the front yard. Bruce and I went out to run a couple of errands this afternoon and upon our return home we discovered that we were without electricity. Oncor came out very quickly and it was determined that a squirrel grounded the circuit breaker to the transformer and shut down our house. So we now have a fried squirrel in the backyard.

Tomorrow Bruce is going to install some window boxes planted with the flowers I have picked out. I have found out that several other teachers have been doing unexpected projects with the time we are not at work. My prayers are with those families who are experiencing the flu within their homes and for those families who have had to make alternate arrangements for child care for their children during this week.

Luke 22:27 say, “Who is more important; the one sitting at the table or the one serving? You think the one at the table is more important, but I am like a servant among you.”

Max Lucado relates that the washing of feet was not only relegated to the servants of the house, but to the lowest servant. The servant at the bottom or perhaps the last hire was the one who was on his knees with the basin and towel. At the Last Supper Jesus became that servant. He did not prepare and serve the meal or even clear away the dishes. No, Jesus took on the role of the lowest servant of all and washed the feet of the disciples. Those feet that wore “Jesus sandals.” Those feet that walked hot, dusty roads. Those feet that visited with farmers out in their fields where sheep and cattle grazed (obviously not in Texas!). Those feet that walked out into the lakes and seas and fished with the local fishermen. Those were some nasty feet! No wonder the lowest of the low servants got that job.

And here is Jesus, King of all the world, the one who fashioned the moon and stars, the one who created the mountains and the seas, the one who created the animals of the land and the birds of the air and all of us, “the one who one day all nations will bow before” (Max Lucado) there He is on His knees washing away the filth of the day! Jesus was on His knees kneeling before the disciples just a few short hours before His death and for what - just to wash away the dirt of the day, as a model for the forgiveness of sins or just to say my friends, I love you?

If the giver of all life and creation can kneel before His closest friends and wash away the filth of the day, what can we do for others just to say I love you?

Just throwing it out there. 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 paper goes in tomorrow. Bruce is doing a once over twice before submission. Please pray for both of us. Love, gc

By the way, I don’t want to start any rumors. We managed to get hold of Earthlink today. They were having technical difficulties when we were down. They are still in business and, according to the person I was communicating with, are doing well. They assured me that there would not be another incident where we did not have internet service. Bruce

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Greetings from Austin St. (for real this time)

Happy and blessed Sunday! I am not sure if AT&T is working ahead of schedule or if Earthlink has been resurrected, but we are back online here at 811. YEAH!! We have had a quiet day today. Worship was so wonderful today. Bruce came home around 3:00 safe and sound. PTL! Travis is taking a shift at another store for a friend tonight and Geni has left for Denton. She will most likely be home earlier this week than usual due to Dead Week prior to finals next week.

The first of the graduations will happen this coming weekend. Our niece, Kendall, will graduate from Texas Tech this weekend. Bruce and I will be leaving here on Thursday afternoon for Howe to pick up and take Mom and Dad to Lubbock so they can be there to celebrate Kendall’s commencement. Geni and Travis will be leaving on Friday after the choir banquet and (hopefully) will get to Lubbock very early in the morning. Please pray for travel mercy for all those who will travel to Lubbock including Ken, Sheena and Kendall’s sisters.

John 10: 14 says, “Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me.”

Today, Travis and I went to Wal-Mart after worship. As we were leaving I said good-bye to the greeter and called her by name. Travis mentioned to me how much it always surprised him when someone calls his name outside of Starbucks or school, the gym and other places he frequents. He forgets to take off his name tag and people with whom he comes into contact say, “Travis” when they speak to him. He always questions “Why do they know me?” then he remembers he is still wearing his name tag.

Isn’t it wonderful that God knows our name without the aid of a name tag? However, we do wear a name tag, sort of. We carry the name of Jesus. As we are children of God and brother and sister to Christ we all carry the same name. So I guess my question is how do others know us by our name? Most people know me as Gaylene Chrystie, wife of Bruce, mother of Geni and Travis, first grade school teacher, Brite seminary student and a person who loves to sing. But how do others know me, Gaylene, child of God and sister to Christ? What associates me with that name? Is it the fish on my mailbox and the back of my car? Is it the cross I wear around my neck daily? Is it the fact that I am attending a seminary preparing for a professional ministry? I don’t think any of those things prove that I am a child of God. The only thing that proves that I am a child of God is that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, laid down His life for me. I don’t wear a nametag saying, Gaylene Chrystie, Child of God and Sister to Christ, but I carry His eternal, unchanging love and grace in my heart.

So tonight’s question is simply: What does the nametag of your heart say and can others read it without it being pinned to your shirt?

Take joy in the journey. Love you all. Stay well and wash your hands often! Love, 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.