Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Friday! The butterfly count is 9.

I must admit it took me most of the day to shake off the events of last night. But finally after school today I began not to feel so sad. I have always heard the lesson of Saturday. Jesus was crucified and died on a Friday and rose on Sunday. But there was the long day of Saturday. Maybe I am still in Saturday. It helped to come home and anticipate the homecomings of Bruce and the kids. We took dinner over to Travis this evening and ate all together. Usually what helps is being with Bruce, Geni and Travis.

I have some great news. I have completed 10 hours of an 81 hour masters degree. My GPA is high enough that I am going to receive a 70% tuition discount for the 2009—2010 school year. I was totally excited.

Psalm 66: 9 “He protects our lives and does not let us be defeated.”

Today is my daddy’s birthday. He turned 76. My Mom lords it over him for the next three months as for that time daddy is older than mom. It is too funny. Tonight I called to wish him a Happy Birthday and asked how they spent his birthday. Daddy still works a full day in a sheet metal shop. So after work he and mother went to do their walking and then did some shopping. I asked him if they went out to eat. He said, “Yes, Chick Fillet.” I teased him about being such a party animal!!

Growing up I knew I would always be safe and well cared for in our family home. I knew I would always be welcome no matter what. Even when I messed up I was always welcomed home and loved. Make no mistake, there was discipline still to face, but I took comfort in that because I always knew Mom and Daddy loved me enough to teach me right from wrong. On the other hand there were celebrations when we (my brother and I) achieved some special award or recognition. I was so fortunate that I could always talk to both Mom and Daddy when I needed to whether it was easy conversation or a serious discussion. Mom and daddy always made time for me and Ken and seemed to try a bit harder than the parents of some of my friends.

God wants a special relationship with each of us. God wants a relationship that is complete. God desires a relationship that is comfortable enough for us to talk in easy conversation or on serious matters with Him. God desires a relationship of trust; a trust so strong that we know we are always welcome in His house even when we mess up. In God’s house there is always space available. There is always a plate at the table and a comfortable chair. God chose and invited us to share His house with Him in the life of His Son Jesus. It is through Jesus that we learn how God is our Father and how much He loves us. God wants us to share His home with Him because…He is our Father. He likes His kids close.

Take joy in the journey. Love you all and Happy birthday Daddy! Love, 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.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Thursday! The butterfly count is 10.

One more thing on the check-off- list has been checked off. Tonight was the spring concert for Lamar Choirs. It was the final concert for the Chrystie singers as members of the Lamar Choir program. The next time they sing at Lamar it will be as alumni at the close of the concert when the choirs all sing The Lord Bless You and keep You.

This benediction holds so many memories for me. Mrs. Worley’s(director of Lamar Choirs) Dad was my high school principal. As a choir student in Sherman High School we closed our concerts with the same benediction. I count it such a joy that my children closed so many of their concerts with the same piece. This is also the choral benediction sung at the celebration of life service for Casey and sung by the Lamar Acapella choir and guests. It was a bit of a bitter sweet evening as the Casey Chrystie Memorial Scholarship fund was announced. This scholarship fund will help provide scholarships for students to attend All-State choir camps in the summer. The concert was wonderful and more than a few tears were shed as the benediction was sung.

Luke 24: 48 [Jesus said to them,] “You are witnesses of these things.”

As a parent we are given the most amazing gift. We are blessed to witness our children as they grow from infancy into adulthood. We watch them take their first steps on the ground, their first pedal to the medal from tricycles and bikes to cars. We watch them study, slack-off and cram for tests. We watch them walk out the door on their first dates and if we are so fortunate we will be witness to their graduations, marriages and children. Forgive the nostalgia, but as we graduate our youngest there are many things to remember, for which to be thankful and for which to look forward.

Bruce had an opportunity to share at the open mic time at his last Bible Study Fellowship meeting. He shared about the last year and a half of our lives with the men at the meeting. Bruce shared about how some parents who lose children to death are never allowed to say good-bye or share in the last months, days or moments of their lives. They tragically lose their children to accident, suicides or other sudden death events. Bruce shared that we were so blessed to have been able to spend the last year of Casey’s life with him. We literally shared in every aspect of his life and got to know our son in such precious ways. Every day became a blessing because we got to experience Casey’s faith and strength in Christ. We were there when the diagnosis was pronounced and we were there when he went home to the Father. We were witness to the life of Christ as enacted in our son during the time in between.

Jesus told His disciples that they were witnesses to these things. They were witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Now they were to go and share His life with the world. They were not to stop, or hide or run away. They were to take up the ministry where they left off when Jesus was physically in their midst. Casey died living his faith. Therefore I must live on in faith because I have witnessed Christ enacted in Casey, Bruce, Geni and Travis, our extended families and the body of Christ. So when the times come that I just want to lay in my bed and not even move, God tells me it is time to take up my bed and get back to work. What a journey I have ahead.

Take joy in the journey. 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.

I found out late this afternoon that Uncle Gene is back in the hospital. Please remember to pray for peace and comfort for him and Imogene.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Wednesday! The butterfly count is 11. We are doing end of the year testing at school. The kids are thrilled because we are not doing any regular work. I did not assign a spelling list or any homework for the week.

Luke 4: 18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for He has anointed me to bring Good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see and the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” John 6: “I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do.”

Okay I know I have spent three writings on this same scripture passage, but I keep being brought back to it so I must be meant to continue to meditate on it until I grasp its meaning.

Jesus spoke these words just after His baptism and 40 days in the wilderness. In the waters of baptism Jesus was obedient to God and received His commissioning into His ministry. During the 40 days of trial and temptation Satan hammered Jesus with every possible earthly pleasure and power trip. Jesus, in obedience to God, fasted, prayed to receive instruction for the ministry in which He was about enter. When Jesus emerged from the wilderness He went to the temple knowing that all roads would lead to the cross, and the road must begin at the synagogue. Jesus stood before the elders and announced why He was there. Jesus defined His job description to the elders and congregation and then went about doing what God had called Him to do.

As a teacher (especially in May) I have occasion to ask my students; “Why are you here?” I usually ask them this because they have already decided that school is over with for the year and they need not work anymore. Aren’t we glad that Jesus did not quit before he reached the cross. His work was not complete until He emptied Himself for our sin. He completed His task and then He returned to the Father.

So here is the question for the night. Why are you here? What task has been assigned to you by God? The passage in John tells us that Jesus came to earth to do what God asked Him to do, not what Jesus wanted to do. What has God asked you to do? God has asked all of us to be His agents, His representatives, His ambassadors and His servants on earth. God has asked us to tell others about Him, to tell others our salvation story and tell what God has done for us and then help those who are in need of God’s love and compassion.

Take joy in the journey. 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.

PS The hospital sent my Uncle Gene home today. I will update as I find out particulars. Please continue to pray for him and Imogene. Thanks, gc

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Tuesday! The data transfer from my computer to Bruce’s went wonky and so Sunday’s blog did not get posted until Monday afternoon. So I decided to write again tonight and hopefully get back on track.

The butterfly count is 12! Wow, the time is going so quickly. There is so much to do before the end of the year. Tonight’s activity was to watch the show choirs from Lamar HS perform at the Levitt Outdoor Pavilion. That is the new performances stage on Abrams Street here in Arlington. I had never been there before and found it was really nice. Take your lawn chairs and blankets, something to eat and drink and enjoy free concerts throughout the summer. Really cool!! The choirs did an excellent job. The Madrigal men did a tribute to the beach boys and during the performance six of the young men picked up Travis. It was quite a sight! But truly lots of fun!

Luke 4:18 “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives—to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

I think I used this scripture a few days ago, but I have had some more thoughts of this scripture so please indulge me. Every year around this time school staffing makes changes in anticipation for the Fall semester of the new school year.

Personnel get moved around to different grade levels within the building to best meet the needs of the students and the teaching teams. This always brings about a fair amount of stress among those who are being moved as well as to those teams who are getting new members. Now this is a fairly regular occurrence in the school business, but this year our building has the added stress of an asbestos abatement.

This announcement translates to the fact that everyone has to completely pack up their classroom. After we have moved our packed boxes out of our rooms, the workers will come in and remove all the asbestos from the walls and ceilings, then will replace the walls and ceilings with non-asbestos materials. We are not allowed in the building past June 8 until the construction can be completed. For a first year teacher this is not a big deal. For those of us who have been teaching for nearly 30 years it is a formidable concern. I have been given 25 boxes with which to pack up many years of teaching materials. Now if this is all with which I had to deal it would be enough, but I still have an 18 year old trying to complete the next two weeks of school and then graduated. In the next two weeks, we also have to deal with the prom, after prom, graduation and family graduation party plus closing out the school year. OH, MY GOSH!!!

As I was reading in my journal entitled, God Calling, I was reminded that all of this “stuff,” my list, while important, is really just stuff. That in this world stuff is all important, but in the Kingdom of God spiritual things are take full precedence. First and foremost God wants us to have knowledge of Spiritual things. Spiritual things must come first and then material things (the “stuff”). God tells us to cover ourselves in the Spirit of the Lord first. If we put “seek the Lord and desire the knowledge of God” at the top of our lists then the material things will get done because we invited Him to be the first part of our stuff.

This week I have been the target of several jokes concerning all of the stuff in my classroom. When the pallet of boxes was delivered to the school today, the talk around school was “well here are Mrs. Chrystie’s boxes, where are ours?” LOL I really do not want to be identified by my stuff, I would really like to be identified as someone who has compassion and love for those around me. When Jesus was baptized He began His public ministry. Jesus packed up all of the last 30 years and began to walk the road with the clothes on His body, the sandals on His feet and the guiding hand of the Father. Jesus sought the spiritual world and then sought the material. Jesus was not identified by His stuff, but by His spirit. The road for Jesus past baptism led to the cross. Material assets were not important, but spiritual assets were at the forefront of His life.

How are we identified? Are we identified with the material things we own? Or are we identified as believers; believers with holiness, love and compassion for others? Does our name badge say, “Gaylene Chrystie(insert your name), pack rat (insert your identity),” or does it say, “Gaylene Chrystie, child of God?.”

Take stock and take joy in the journey. 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.

PS Please pray for my Uncle Gene. He and his wife, Imogene, were my first baby sitters when I was a toddler. He has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He is nearing 80 years old and is obviously not in good health. They have some tough decisions to make in the near future. Please pray for this dear, sweet couple, that they have the presence of mind to make the right decisions. Thank you. Love, gc

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blessed Sunday to you all! It was senior Sunday in church this morning. Seeing all of the pictures of the graduates from very young to the present totally made me wonder where did all of that time go and how did it go by so very fast. The quilts presented to each of the graduates were beautiful and their creators seem to capture the personalities of their new owners. The quilts are given in love to remind these young people that they are always wrapped in the love of God no matter how far from home they may go.

John 5: 17 “My Father never stops working, and so I keep working too.”

Our world does not take a day off any more. In days past, Wednesday nights were set aside for “church” activities and Sundays were only for going to worship and spending time with family. Most businesses were closed so if you needed it you needed to buy it on Saturday or wait until Monday. But our time today is spent a bit differently than we used to spend it. Nearly all businesses are open seven day per week and someone has to work at those businesses. Goods and services in our society are needed 24/7.

God does not take a day off. In the wonderful work by Mendelssohn ,”He, Watching over Israel.” The key line in the choral work states that “He slumbers not nor sleeps. “ I don’t know about you but I need God’s love, grace and forgiveness 24/7.

God said in Genesis that He created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. But as the world continued to grow I am pretty sure God hasn’t had a day off since. When Jesus came on the scene He became the mirror of His Father. God’s love, grace, and compassion does not know a 24 hour day or a day of the week. Those measurements were created by man. God works on His own created time. On a Sunday in Bethsaida Jesus healed the man who had been paralyzed for years. He did not consult the Books of the Law or ask permission from the local officials to heal this man. He told the man, “Rise up. Take your bed and go home.”

God taught Jesus so well that after His death on the cross, He sent back the Holy Spirit so that the work of God could continue through the Holy Spirit and act in the believers 24/7. Because God chose us in which to place His Holy Spirit we are called to be “mirrors of God.”

Have we looked in the mirror lately? Not the bathroom mirror or the mirror on the door or dresser, but the mirror of our hearts. Do our hearts reflect the love, grace and compassion of God as taught to us by Jesus in His Word? Have we “paid forward” the love of God to others? (For you know paying it forward is the best we can do!) Before we leave for work or school or reach for that second cup of coffee let us check the mirror of our heart and see who looks back. Do we see our sleepy selves or do we see the shining face of Jesus?

Take joy in the journey. 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.