Friday, August 14, 2009

If you look carefully, you will see a couple of dolphins at play. They were part of a pod that numbered probably 50 that we saw on the way back to Galveston.

Happy Friday!

Romans 16: 19 “…be wise in what is good, and guileless in what is evil.”

Just about 10 months ago at the time of this writing our beloved Casey went to be with God for eternity. I have thought of him many times today. Sometimes the pictures in my head go back to those final moments when I looked into his face for the last time. Those memories are pretty terrible for me. I am trying to practice thinking about his life before cancer and the very happy times I spent being his mom. I think about the times he would call me for a date. He and I would go to one of his favorite places to eat and just enjoy time together. I often remember the silly voices he would use that always made me laugh. I think about the times when he would kitchen dance with me and I taught him how to cook. As unusual as this may sound, it takes some thought to practice remembering those happier times. I know I will never forget the last moment spent with Casey and how I would not have ever been any place else and sometimes those are the memories that come first. As soon as that picture is in my mind I try to remember a time when he just walked in the door and hit the fridge and made me laugh.

Our spirit filled lives are full of times to practice the gifts that God have given us. He gave us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, tender mercies and eternal grace. I think God would rather us remember those gifts and practice them on each other than dwelling on our past failures and faults. God has forgiven us our failures and faults and given us the gift of His heart. When Jesus was crucified He took all of our faults, failures and sins upon Himself and they died as He drew His last breath. I think that is why we have empty unfinished crosses in our church.

First, we do not worship a crucified Christ, but a risen Christ and second, the work of the cross is never finished. We always get a chance to practice His gracious gifts over and over again.

Take joy in the journey friends and practice, practice, practice!! 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 Travis is registered for school! He is headed to Tarrant County North East Campus in the fall. That means three of us in college in the following year. Pray for us all! gc

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This was our cabin on the cruise. Can you imagine 4 adults sharing this small space? It causes one to reconsider what it means to be a "close" family.

Happy Thursday!

Hello all! I am sorry for missing last evening’s post. I got in from school really late and was exhausted. So tired, that I did not even make it to choir practice. Turning chaos into order is hard work! But my classroom is finally coming together. There are still some things to be done, but I am out of all of the boxes and nearly everything has a place.

Hebrews 12:14,15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.”
As I have worked in my classroom all week long turning chaos into order I have had to remind myself to complete one task before beginning another. When I first walked into my classroom on Monday I was completely overwhelmed. I did not know where to start. There was so much mess and confusion in the room with my things and other things that had been stored there that did not belong to me.

First, I had to sort out my things from those boxes belonging elsewhere. Then I would pick an area and begin. When I would complete whatever area of my room I was working on I would step back and know that it was finished and ready for use by the children who will become the students in my class. After completing one task I would go on to the next and so on. Nothing happened quickly. Every area took time and thought and patience to make it right.

In our spiritual lives God works on and with us the same way. When we come to Christ often we are in a state of chaos. We come before Christ as sinful people. God loves us so much through Jesus to forgive our sins upon our request. God is compassionate and full of tender mercies and does not lay all of our sins before us at one time. How awful would that be?! God takes each part of our lives and brings it to perfection. We cannot accomplish overcoming our sins and faults alone. It is only by the grace of God that we become perfect. Scripture tells us “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He takes us from darkness to Light, through weakness to Power, from sin to Salvation and from hatred to Love.

God never wants us to be satisfied with just getting close. After all, Jesus didn’t just get close. No, He completed the work of the cross as His Father called Him to do. God wants us to fully rely on Him and His will for our lives and trust Him to bring us from darkness to Light and chaos to Order. Let our prayer be, O, Jesus, help us, we beg you.

Take joy in the journey and take out the trash! 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 11, 2009

Travis and Geni(taking the picture) hitting the beach in Galveston.

Happy Tuesday!

Back in Room 6. Today the task was to empty the boxes of the books for my classroom library, which is quite extensive, and get them organized on my classroom library shelves and in their appropriate boxes by theme. The next task was to empty all of the tables of their piles of stuff, level them and arrange the tables in the classroom. Both of these tasks were accomplished as Bruce, Geni and I worked all day. My room is shaping up. I still have lockers to empty and my table to set up, but great progress was made today. After all of the arranging is completed then we can begin to decorate. My hope is to accomplish all of this by the end of the week. We will see!!

2 Peter 3: 18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

I have been sharing with you about the changes occurring in our building at school. I have occupied Room 6, I think, for 9 years. The basic arrangement has been the same with a few additions and deletions throughout the years, but remaining basically familiarly comfortable. But this year…not even close!

Due to advancement in technology we are to receive these fancy Promethean boards. It is a computerized, smart, interactive white board. Because of this addition to our classrooms there have been special electrical wiring and internet boxes placed strategically around the room to accommodate this way cool teaching tool and the computers housed in my classroom. This has caused me to totally rethink my room arrangement. I have been teaching for 30 years and I have a lot of stuff. So I must decide what must stay and what needs to go.

It is sort of like moving. When you think about moving into new surroundings does what you already have fit into the space provided? And if it does fit will it be useful in the new surroundings? God’s grace always fits. No matter where you go and what baggage you bring with you God’s perfect grace is there to help sort through and show you what to get rid of and what to keep. God’s grace shows you what to keep in order to grow and what to leave behind because it is no longer of use.

Growing is never easy. In fact, growing can be painful. But if we remember that we stand in the midst of God’s perfect grace all the time then He will grow us through our obedience to His will and His love for us. Letting go of familiar things that are no longer appropriate may not be easy, but God promises to be there to make the transition easier and to make the result of the move so much better that what we had before.

Burton Hill is a mess right now. It is covered in dust, construction workers, tools, boxes and clutter. But through the mess one can see new bright white tile floors, new white blown ceilings, freshly painted rooms and new window blinds (not the old window shades). Through the mess and clutter one can see that the finished product will be beautiful. It will be bright, clean and a new start for an older building. That is all God’s grace is. God’s grace is a new start in a previously created structure.

Let us confess before God and ask Him to remove the clutter and stuff we do not need in our lives and gratefully accept His grace and opportunity to begin again.

Take joy in the journey and don’t forget to dust behind the couch. 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, August 10, 2009

Fun on Galveston beach.

Happy Monday!

Carme landed safely, and arrived the same at our home this morning. The weather was perfect to have breakfast on the deck (and Jackson did not get any coffee cake today!). After visiting and cleaning the kitchen we went to my school to survey the work to be done. Carme was amazing. She put my computer center together. We came home for lunch and had a wonderful visit for the remainder of the day. Carme looks amazing and it was so wonderful to have her here even if it was just for a few brief hours. Bruce may be making a trip to San Antonio next week and will get to see both Dave and Carme. Please pray for their family as on the upcoming weekend they will move David’s mother from an assisted living center into an Alzheimer’s care facility.

Psalm 81: 9 “There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.”

This summer I attended water aerobics classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9:00. Those classes were very important to me and I did not miss unless there was a very important reason (like a cruise or Bible Study!) I place a high priority on that time and the classes became a part of my weekly summer routine.
Now that school is starting back up I can no longer attend the morning classes and will have to switch to an evening class. The evening classes are Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6:00 and Saturday morning at 9:00. After working at school all day I am really going to have to “exercise” discipline and place this event as a serious priority or I will find excuses to not go. I can already hear the excuses of “I’m tired,” “it is dinner time and I need to be at home cooking dinner,” “I have papers to grade and studying to do…” and the list could continue. The truth is that it was far easier to go in the morning at the beginning of the day than it will be to go at the end of the day. At the end of July I purchased new swimsuit, water aerobics shoes and a set of weights to enhance my workout. I have all of the equipment and now I just need the self-discipline to go to class at a different time.

God has blessed me with a hunger and thirst for the Word. I have a Bible (several) and I have the time to read scripture and reflect on it each night without being really tired, right now. But what is going to happen as this week progresses? Am I still going to have the self-discipline to read and reflect on scripture when I am so tired from working in my room all day? Will I remain faithful to my Morning Prayer time? I have the equipment, but will I remain faithful to my spiritual life when my time is no longer at my own discretion? Or will I place other “gods” in the place of my spiritual journey? Will I remember to pray “Lord, I love You so much, I just want to serve You.”

My prayer for myself is that I can keep a balance in my life. It really is not a balance I am looking for, it is remembering with Whom my priorities lie. If I can keep my eyes fixed on Christ then I believe the rest will fall into place.

How about you? Where and with whom do your priorities lie? Let us decide today to place Christ first and place no strange gods before Him. Let us all rise with Christ in the mornings, live with Christ during the day and rest with Christ at bedtime. I believe if we keep Christ in our focus then he will lead us and help us in our self-discipline and make strong our weak excuse making wills.

Take care, my friends, and take joy 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.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This fellow was adorning the food line one evening. We obviously had an artist on board.

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Wasn’t it just a beautiful day? We spent part of our day preparing for Carme’s visit. Carme and I seem to follow a similar schedule on Sunday afternoon. When she called she was cleaning bathrooms and I was dusting and preparing to mop floors. She will arrive around 7:00 am. Bruce and the kids will pick her up and we are having breakfast at our house. Perhaps it will not be so very hot and we can eat outside. I love eating outside on the deck.

Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

Remember when our children were young just learning to walk, talk, eat independently and many other things? How did they learn? We showed them repeatedly and told them patiently until they were able to accomplish tasks on their own. (And then remember thinking later on “Why did I ever want this child to talk?”) LOL We modeled correct behavior for our children so they would learn the proper way to walk, speak, eat and interact with others. (Then remember when an inappropriate word would slip out and the children thought the word was okay?) Why did our children learn to walk, talk, eat and act correctly as very young people? Our children learned because they had complete faith in us as their parents and their first teachers to teach them correctly. Their faith was simple and uncluttered. Yes, there was much to learn, but learn they did because we were patient and loving, remembering how young and immature they were and worthy of our tender care. We, in turn, expect our children to behave appropriately. They do not always remember those lessons taught so long ago so we, as parents, have to teach for a long, long time.

God treats us the same way. We believe we know a lot about God but really we know very little. What we do know is how to imitate His behavior because of the way He has shown His love lessons for each of us. Because He loves us, He has shown us how to love and then expects us to love one another. Because He has forgiven us repeatedly, we know how to forgive and he expects us to forgive others even though it is hard. Because He has walked a godly path and shown us and continues to show us daily, He expects us to walk a godly path and to then show others that same path. The passage of scripture and surrounding verses speak of controlling our anger, speaking kind words to others and to always think kindly without bitterness or malice toward others. God has given us an impossible task.

God was able to accomplish all of these things because, after all, He is God. He asks us to be imitators. An imitation is something that is as close as it gets without being the real thing. God empowers us to be imitators before he ever “gives us the example to follow.” (from Christ in Our Home) We are not to become imitators to become His children. We become imitators because we are His children.

So friends, let us say something nice to someone, smile at those we meet, love our families even when they mess up, forgive those you love and forgive those who need our love because God has taught us through the perfect example of His Son.

Take joy in the journey. Please pray for all teachers as we head back to the classroom. 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.