Saturday, August 8, 2009

A question for you - is it my imagination, or do I see the front of our ship in those clouds? This picture was taken the first morning we were on board.

Happy Saturday!

Psalm 4:8 “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep for Thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety.”

I have things that sometimes keep me awake. Sometimes those things are the things left undone from the previous day. I either forgot to do them or I simply ran out of time and energy. Sometimes I can’t sleep because there are critical bills I did not have the money to pay and I am concerned as to how I am going to rectify the situation. Sometimes sleep does not come easy because there are too many things to think about. Sometimes I cannot sleep when Geni and Travis are out late and I am concerned for their safety. I do not sleep very well until they are both at home and in their beds. There are any number of reasons why sleep does not always come easy. But the problem is that lack of sleep does not solve anything. Not sleeping only results in me being tired and sleepier the next day.

This scripture tells me to trust in the Lord. This scripture tells me that God wants me to empty myself of the concerns of the day and rest in Him during the night. This scripture even says that I am to lay down in peace because God promises His safety to me. (I need to remember this scripture when Bruce leaves for Kairos weekends.) I think the hardest lesson for each of us to learn is that God will divinely supply what we need if we empty ourselves of our worries and concerns. God can only fill an empty vessel. If we give over what keeps us from wholly trusting God then God can fill us with peace and we can rest in safety.

Friends let us trust God wholly and rely on God alone. He promises to meet our needs with His Divine Supply. Sleep well my precious friends.

Take joy in the journey and fluff your pillows. Love you all and see you in worship, 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.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Our ship, Ecstacy and its sister ship, Fantasy, docked in Cozumel.

Happy Friday!

This morning I went to my last Friday morning water aerobics class until a school holiday or summer break happens again. I will miss my water buddies on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I will make new friends on Saturday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings as there are water classes at those times.

I had a mother moment today. Geni is studying elementary education at UNT. She is taking a super full load of 18 hours this semester. And she has all of her classes scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays. She has decided to substitute teach on the remaining days of the week (MWF). Today I took her to the Admin Bldg in Fort Worth to begin the process of becoming a FWISD employee. Today they verified her identity. Next Friday, she will be in the interview process and the 28th she will go to substitute teacher inservice. She is getting excited and I am so proud of her. I never thought any of our children would want to be in education (especially Geni!) and today I took her to the administration building. She is going to do a great job and will get so much practical experience. She needs our prayers and a big hug.

Galatians 6: 2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Carmella Russell is my oldest and dearest friend. She, David, Bruce and I chartered a Young Married( with no children) Sunday School class almost 30 years ago. We became wonderful and lasting friends. We four are very different, but very devoted and cherished friends. We have shared much of our lives together over the years. Carme and Dave adopted Catherine, a special needs baby, 22 years ago and then lost this precious child in death when she was barely two years old. Geni and Catherine played together as babies and even stole gum together when Carme and I lost sight of them for a second in a convenience store. I sang little Catherine’s funeral. Carme and Dave were Casey’s godparents and were a strong support and unfailing help during Casey’s illness and death. Carme and I sat in the floor of the church on the day of the celebration of life service and were reminded of the irony that instead of creating the memory table we should have been decorating the church for his wedding. And then we remembered that Casey was now united with the bride of Christ forever.

Carme and Dave once again adopted a beautiful teenage girl named Shaleena. We were introduced to her three years ago at the funeral of Dave’s dad. We mourned the family’s loss and celebrated with great joy as Carme and Dave’s two person family was once again increased by one. Then Dave suffered serious health issues and then Carme was diagnosed with breast cancer. Once again our lives were entwined in bearing each other’s burdens. This list could go on for a long time.

On Monday Carme will be a welcome visitor in our home. (She has not seen it since we have made improvements. I can’t wait!) But mostly I can’t wait to sit with Carme over coffee and just share our joys, sorrows, memories and plans. When we get together we are strengthened by the bond of years of friendship and love.

So tonight I am going to throw this question out there…Is God a welcome visitor in our homes? Is God someone with whom we share our burdens, joys, sorrows, triumphs and tragedies? Are we sharing these everyday occurrences over coffee with the One Who asked to bear our burdens as we would our best friend? And…are we people who willing to fulfill the law of Christ and help others shoulder their burdens and share their joys? Are we willing to sit down over coffee and listen as a friend offers their burden to us so that their load is not so heavy? Remember Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” He not only shared our burdens but lifted them up to the beams of the cross.

Take joy in the journey and stay cool! 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, August 6, 2009

Dad and Travis after an afternoon at Playa Mia resort.

Happy Thursday and Happy Birthday Geni!

We had a wonderful day together. I made a delicious coffee cake this morning and scrambled eggs for a birthday brunch for us. Bruce went to work, Travis went to the gym to work out and Geni and I went for girl day stuff. While we were gone Jackson, one of our two basset hounds reached up on the stove and pulled the coffee cake, plate and all, down and helped himself. We came home to the plate, foil and just a bit of cake left on the floor. So to make up for the lost cake we had cheesecake tonight at the Cheesecake Factory. We did not save any for Jackson!

1 Kings 19:8 “[Elijah] went in the strength of that food.”

Before I had lapband surgery I had to go for a psych evaluation to meet the insurance requirements. The doctor was a wonderful woman who asked me a very important question. She asked, “Gaylene, what do you think the cause of your weight gain is or has been?” My simple answer was, “Doc, I like to eat.” If you are like me and enjoy eating then you probably have your own comfort foods. My favorite comfort food is biscuits with scrambled eggs on top, covered in bacon gravy and bacon. I don’t just love the flavor of all of those foods mixed together; I love the wonderful smell of bacon frying and biscuits baking. It reminds me of home and love and Sunday mornings. As a lapband patient, part of that meal is on my permanently “given up for Lent” list. I can no longer have biscuits. To quote Geni: “sad day”.

Each week we come to the altar during worship to receive communion. Communion has always been precious to me because of the table. The table of our Lord can be a place to receive forgiveness. The body and blood of Jesus is shared freely for all of us offering us forgiveness for our sins and reminding us of how much God loves us through His Son. And yes, there are times I go to the altar to plead with Christ for forgiveness and receive His tender mercies. But there are also times I go there to be comforted and strengthened. The table has always been a place where my family gathered daily to reconnect with each other. The table is a place of love and laughter. The table is a place for thanksgiving to be offered and grace to be received. The food on the table is not nearly as important as the people around the table and still not as important as the One who has been invited to be present with us during the meal.

Jesus invites each of us to His table weekly during worship and He provides the elements of bread and wine. We gather as His children around His table and receive His blessing of forgiveness, comfort and His tender mercies. This heavenly food is the ultimate in comfort food and I/we can have all I/we want!!!

Take joy in the journey and bring a fork. 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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Like father, like son?

Happy Wednesday!

Isaiah 55: 1 “Come to the water everyone who thirsts, come to the water.”

Three mornings a week I go to water aerobics class. One morning after class one of the class members said, “You know, now that you know the routine then you could just come to gym and work out by yourself.” I thought about what she said and I thought first, I am not self-disciplined enough to come to the gym and do a water workout for an hour by myself. I need a leader in front of me showing me the exercises and keeping me always moving forward. If left to my own devices I am sure I would not work as hard or as long or maybe not even go at all. And second, there is certain camaraderie among the other class participants. Everyone has their own spot picked out in class (sort of like in worship where we have our favorite pews) and we count on the others around us to be there as friends in the water. Third, the hopeful benefit of the class for me is that I can become healthier by strengthening my heart and taking off some pounds and inches. (Our instructor plays Hit the Road Jack, recorded by Ray Charles as we exercise. I jokingly call it “Hit the road fat and don’t you come back no more.”)

In this scripture God calls each of us to come to the water. When we come to the waters as God calls, we receive forgiveness and healing. When John baptized Jesus, he did not baptize Him in private. John baptized Jesus and the others standing on the shore. On that day as Jesus was baptized he was baptized into the ministry God had planned and prepared for Him. Randy Travis sings a song with the lyric “Down with the old man and up with the new” in reference to the act of baptism. Jesus, in the waters of baptism, left His private life behind and began His public life, ministry and the road to the cross.

When we come to the waters of baptism, we too die to the old and are raised to the new life Christ has promised. I hope to become changed by going to water aerobics but I know I am changed through the loving forgiveness and powers of healing, the living water of God flowing through Jesus. Just like my water buddies encourage me and I encourage them, we need to encourage each other through prayer, kind words and showing our love to each other. We were not meant to go through this life of faith alone, so encourage someone today. So let’s pray for our families, friends, those new to a daily walk with Jesus and for those who have hurt us (they need our prayers too.)

Tomorrow is Geni’s birthday . My beautiful daughter will be 22 tomorrow. I think we are going to do some girl stuff and then The Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner.

Take joy in the journey friends and stay in the air conditioning. 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, August 4, 2009

Travis watching for dolphins and flying fish.

Happy Tuesday!

Well, as the old saying goes, “Don’t count you chickens before they are hatched.” Due to an error on the part of TCU I will not be receiving my difference check on Friday. So that means that Travis will not get his desk as we had planned. But in my daily practice to find God in all I do I am sure that Travis will get a desk, it just won’t be the one he originally picked out and God is trying to teach me (again) to not spend money before it is in my hand. God will meet this need in His time and when it is right for us.

Also, a piece of way cool news: my best friend, Carme Russell is coming for a visit next Monday. She is only to be here for a day. Bruce and Travis will pick her up at the airport around 7:00 am and return her to the airport in the evening. We are so looking forward to her visit. I think that she and Travis have a date for tattoos. Time will tell…

1 John 5:12 “He that has the Son, has life, and he that has not the Son has not life.”

BHE Fellowship met today and we talked about the scripture from John 6 and what can we do to perform the works of God. Jesus answers with “Believe in the One whom He sent.” And then we discussed the scripture from Micah 6 that talks about act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our Lord.” And then today the Word tells us that if we have Christ then we have life…if we do not have Christ then we do not have life. In our devotional book God Calling, we talked about the godly ways in which the Father has called us to act.

At the heart of all of this is that God, through His Son, Jesus, wants to be a part of all of our lives. In the meditation we studied along with the scripture, we learned that Eternal Life begins with our first breath. As the Spirit gives us our breath… as we grow in the likeness of Christ and as we continue along the path of faith, we are to give more and more of ourselves to God and into His leading. In all of our days, nights and times God wants to be the One abiding Presence of whom we are conscious all the time. We must “seek to do less and accomplish more. Doing is action, but achievement is successful action.” (from God Calling) As teachers we may write these words and post them in our classrooms. We do all kinds of stuff every day, but if we are not achieving our goal, which is the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus, then we are just doing stuff.

Again, God is seeking to be in each part of our lives. The only way we can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God is by making Him the One constant in our lives and learning all we can about Him and how to act like Him.

Let’s try something together. Get a card and write this simple prayer on it: “O Jesus, I love You so much and long to serve You.” Place this card on your side of the bed and as you say your “nightie nights” (as one of my favorite principals used to say), pray this simple prayer. Then when you awaken in the morning and roll over to turn off the alarm clock let’s say this little prayer even before your feet hit the floor. If you are not much of a morning person perhaps you could place the card in the car and say the prayer as you are driving to work after a couple of cups of coffee. Won’t it be the coolest thing ever to see where God will take us and use us? “You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting yielded and still.”

Take joy in the journey and find some air conditioning! Love you all so much, 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 Let me know where God leads you. This could be really cool! gc
This was one of the other "critters" that were available for photo ops on the beach at Cozumel. It is an iguana, probably one of the many which make their home on the island.

Happy Monday!

We had a God moment today. Travis had gone shopping for a desk. He found one at Office Max and it was on sale. The good news was that it was affordable but it was not affordable today and the desk will go back to regular price after Saturday night. I told Travis that I did not see any way we could afford the desk before it went back on regular price. I asked him to pray about this and I would pray also and maybe something could be worked out. We came home and I phoned TCU Financial Services to check on their receipt of a fax I sent earlier today. The bottom line is that I will receive my difference check on this Friday instead of next Friday as I had thought. Travis can have his desk before Saturday. I was so excited and could not wait for him to come home from the gym. When these wonderful God moments happen I always sing the doxology and give thanks to God for His grace and tender mercies. God knew Travis needed the desk and by His providence God has provided once again. Thank you, Lord for one more time meeting our needs.

Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

After the scripture of last night in John “How do we perform the works of God?” and Jesus answers “…believe in the One whom He sent.” I thought this scripture from Micah was a wonderful response to the scripture from John. Anyone who has raised children has probably said this sentence (or something like it) to squabbling children, “use only kind words.” I know I have and I use that mantra daily in my classroom. I would love to tell you that I always use kind words, but then I would not be being honest with myself, you or God.

After we believe in God then we must spend the rest of our earthly lives acting in ways to show our belief in God and how He has worked and is working in our lives. What does “do justly” mean? I think it means to always be honest with ourselves and with others. I also think it means to live in truth. I don’t mean the kind of falsehood that doesn’t tell about a surprise birthday party, but truth in living the path of the Way of Christ. If we want to know who Christ is, the answer is simple. He is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the way, truth and life of His heavenly Father who walked around on foot for 33 years and then provided a way for us to also live the way, the truth and the life through His crucifixion and resurrection.

God asks us to love mercy. We need to love mercy because God give us His tender mercies when we don’t deserve them. God still shows us mercy when we sin against Him through the gift of forgiveness. We show mercy to each other when one of us sins against another and instead of getting back at the offender, we forgive the offender and draw ourselves back closer to God and maybe show the one who has offended that even though we are hurt by their actions, we still love them. After all, how many times has God forgiven us? (there are too many to count!)

Walking humbly with God is how we live our daily life as a child of God and brother to Christ. Walking humbly is to see God at work in each moment of our lives and recognizing His loving presence in each breath we take. God wants us to see Him in each task that is placed before us and to take Him with us everywhere we go and to share Him with each person we meet. We don’t always have to speak His name, but when we speak kind words and show tender mercies to those whom we love and especially to those who have hurt us then we are following the words of Micah and meeting what the Lord is requiring of us.

As I told Casey when he moved out into his own apartment several years ago, “Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. Always wear clean underwear and don’t date skanky women, (LOL) but mostly, remember the One who loves you most.”

Take joy in the journey and wear some sun screen. 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.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

There were several of these guys walking around the beach in Cozumel selling photo opportunities with the animals and birds.

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Our family sang in worship today. As you who read this blog each day know, it was our first time to sing without Casey. We sang a lovely piece titled; How Beautiful” by Twila Paris. I did okay until we finished and then I sort of cratered in Bruce’s arms. I missed Casey so much, but I was so proud and blessed that we had Geni and Travis standing between us and singing praises to God. It was my prayer that our voices would be united in praise and glory to God. I pray that if God let Casey peek down from heaven and listen that he was proud of us.

Another piece we sang today as a congregational piece was I Surrender All. Remembering back, we had been in Houston for 4 days. It was a Monday night around 9:30 and preparatory drugs had been pumping through Casey’s body for several hours. The room was darkened except the lamplight that was over his bed. It came time to open up the chemotherapy drugs and Casey was somewhere between asleep and awake. I was standing over him beside the bed and praying. I don’t know how Casey knew but the instant they opened up the chemotherapy drugs he began to sing, “All to Jesus I surrender.” The presence of the Holy Spirit was very powerful and it was a holy moment for me. I did not see a vision of God, but Casey and I were most assuredly in His presence. Whenever I sing that song for the rest of my life I will see Casey’s face bathed in the lamplight and know I was in the presence of the wounded Healer, our very present and living God. (musically it was a bit of an emotional moment for this mom!)

John 6: 28-29 “Then they said to Him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Jesus did not answer with the questions of how you spent your time, how you spend your money, with whom you associate. He did not even answer go and minister to others. He simply says, to perform the work of God you must believe in Me. God asks only to believe in Him and the One He sent. Casey had the most profound faith in God I have ever been blessed to witness. To lay in a bed with poison pumping through his system and sing “All to Jesus I surrender,” was profession of a powerful belief in a holiness that was embedded in his soul.

Today Pastor Joel talked about living a life of faith. But how do we begin? Pastor told of teaching his young son to swim. Pastor kept telling Caleb to jump in and he would catch him. It took Caleb a long time to wrap himself around this jumping in thing. But when he finally jumped in and he trusted his daddy to catch him, Caleb was eager to try again and again. Isn’t our faith the same way? We want to make sure of the path before we set out. There are times when God just wants us to get in the car and drive, or put on our walking shoes and walk on in the midst of trial, and in tribulation, He asks us to sing. Friends they don’t call it a “leap of faith” by accident.

When we surrender to God then we walk in faith and we can do the work of God because we believe.

Take great joy in the journey and wear sun screen. Love you all so much, 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.