Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Saturday evening!

If you read this morning’s entry I shared with you that we were going to the Dallas Farmer’s Market. We had the most amazing time. I got all of the veggies for my veggie tray for lunch and some fresh sweet corn roasting ears. Tonight I sliced and peeled and built what I think(and Bruce concurs)to be a beautiful veggie tray with a center of harvest dill dip. I hope everyone enjoys it. Everything was so fresh.

As we walked, we grazed on the offerings of the veggie and fruit sellers. I thought that this was the most healthy grazing I have ever done. Today there were lots of mangoes, pineapples, watermelons to sample cut right off of the whole fruit. And then we went across the street to the plants and flowers. We bought some beautiful Gerber daisies. It was a wonderful day and the kids even said we needed to come back soon. I agree!!

Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse…and His rest shall be glorious.”

Okay, Moms, when was the last time you rested? I mean, had-the-remote- to-yourself,-“Calgon,-take-me-away”-sat-in-a-deck-chair-on-a-cruise-ship-watching-the-sunrise-relaxed-without-a-care-in-the-world rested? I know…this kind of rest rarely happens to Moms. We are busy people. Most of us are employed outside our homes. We volunteer somewhere. We take care of our homes and our families and when do we take care of us?

There is a wonderful song by Cynthia Clawson. It is called Superwoman. The theme of the song is how busy this woman named Ruby is. She is like most of us and wears so many different hats and cares for so many people that when her shoes come off at the end of the day she just says, “Lord, I want to be a Ruby for you and feel your pleasure in all that I do.” She ends the day with the Lord. She puts her feet up and shuts out the rest of the world and listens to God speak to her.

God knows we are busy, and we need to take time each day to spend with Him. God works through us and we listen more intently when we are at rest. Taking time to rest and pray between our many activities will give us the energy and strength we need. When we take the time to rest and pray or stop, reflect and give thanks for God and His goodness and His continual presence, then peace and joy will be the attitude with which we will take on the next task. I think we might even sleep better!

So, Moms, have a blessed Mother’s Day. May we all get some rest. But more importantly, may we all rest in the Lord because when we rest in the Lord we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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 I received a grade of A in my graduate class! It is my first A in graduate school.

PSS Please continue to pray for my cousin Tony and his wife Cherri. She needs all of our prayers. Thanks. gc
Happy Saturday and Mother’s Day Eve to all of you.

My apologies for not writing last night, but the time had come to begin to clean out, sort, get rid of and part with things I no longer wore, carried or used any more. I am still not finished, but I am on the journey to using what I have and getting rid of stuff. I have discovered that the older I get, the less stuff I need and the more time I need with my family.

It being the day before Mother’s Day, I have asked my family to just spend time together and we are making the trek to the Dallas Farmer’s Market. I have been to the market before, but it was forever ago before we had children. They are pretty excited about going. Travis got all of his shifts at work covered for today and sometime this morning we are going to head over. We are having a cook-out at my brother’s house tomorrow with Mom and Dad and I am in charge of the veggie tray. The market should provide all I need to take care of this offering to the party.

Joshua 1:9 “I command you—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I remember when Casey was a week old and he was laying in bed with me on a Saturday morning. I remember looking over at this amazing little creature that had entered my life and being scared to death when it dawned on me that I was responsible for this little life for at least the next 18 years. I remember being overwhelmed with emotion and trembling as I cried and asking myself if I was up to the task of raising him. I began to think of my own mom and wonder if I could even begin to be as amazing at this task as she was and still is.

It takes a lot of courage to be a mom. I think I am grateful that God does not show you what is ahead of you when you sign on for this job because the world would be a lot less populated if He did! I am so grateful that God in His infinite wisdom allows us to grow up with our children, learn as we go and assists us along the way. My meditation this morning said that as soon as the doctor hands us our first born we are forever changed and we enter the world of Big Love. Everything we ever knew about love pales in comparison to the love we feel for our children.

I think this must be how God feels about us. Ever since the first man and woman were created and he blew His very breath into their bodies, God’s love was forever changed. For now He had hearts and souls to care for and He became part of their very lives and beings. These first creations were completely trusting and with a faith they did not understand believed that all their needs were met and they were loved.

Our children will not always be babies and we cannot protect them forever just as God could not keep His firstborns from sin and hard times. Skinned knees, broken hearts, illness, sadness and even death will happen to our children. We cannot protect them from these things, but what we can do is be there for them just as God is there for us. God’s Word in Romans tells us that nothing can separate us from His love, and may our children know that same unfailing love.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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, May 6, 2010

Happy Thursday!

It felt sort of strange not to go to class tonight. But I am so looking forward to going to my class in Pastoral Care this summer at Brite.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is make perfect in weakness.”

Grace. According to my Coffee Mom’s Devotional, “grace is having a commitment to—or at least an acceptance of—being ineffective and foolish.”

My Mom is perfect. At least I have always looked at her as the epitome of the perfect Mom. The house was always perfect even when my brother and myself would mess it up. I must admit I was usually the one who made the biggest messes. The laundry was always perfect. Her cooking was and still is, as my cousin Tony once said, “Aunt Nita’s leftovers are better than most people’s first times.” She seemed to always be together and completely collected. I must admit I have spent most of my adult life comparing myself to her and falling so short. (She will tell you that she was far from perfect, but I know better!) My dear husband always told me that I am not the same as my Mom and that I should stop beating myself up for not being perfect. (I never even came close.)

What I really needed was to remember that I was placing someone else’s expectations of themselves onto me. What I have learned after almost thirty years of marriage and parenting is that I do not have to be perfect. I set up unrealistic expectations for myself and set myself up to be disappointed in me. My joy was slowly slipping away.

God’s grace was always extended to me to not be perfect and I just did not see it or accept it as His wonderful gift of love. God did not determine my value by a clean and tidy house, a hallway free of laundry and a sink of dishes needing my attention. God wanted to know about my heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 says “…the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I do not have to be perfect because the Lord tells me in His Word that His grace is enough and that by His grace I have been forgiven.

So to all of the coffee moms out there striving to be Super Mom, our kids really do not care whether we are perfect as housekeepers, or laundresses or even master chefs in the kitchen. Our kids care that when they need us we are there for them. We can be assured that we are loved just as we are because God’s grace is perfect and we do not have to be.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

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

Today’s devotion from my new book “The Coffee Mom’s Devotional” is called The Daily Grind. I am such a coffee Mom. I either bring coffee from school or stop at the local Starbucks and get a cup. And with Bluetooth earpiece in place I begin with phone calls and try to take care of business , pay bills, set appointments and find out who is going to be home for dinner all before I get home.

It is the month of May. For a teacher the two busiest months are August, when I am preparing for the year ahead, and May, when I am putting the year to bed. It seems that there is something different due each day that has to go “downtown”(to the Admin building) and, even though I still have lessons to teach, I seem to be spending more time in final assessments, final reports, and end of the year wrap-up with 4 ½ weeks of school left. There is so much to do and so little time to accomplish all of the things that must be done.

When others look at me they see a longtime teacher who still loves her job. Somehow each year I get all of these things done on time, but not without a lot of stress and a fair amount of weariness. If I do not get all of these things accomplished by the last day I do not get to go home for the summer; until all papers are in, my room passes inspection and checked-off, all I’s dotted and all t’s crossed. The good news is that God does not love me for what I do. He loves me for what I am: His child. He cares far more about my heart than what I do in my busy life as a wife, mother, teacher and student. My devotion text says, “We are human beings, not human doings.”

I must learn to trust God with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I must believe that I will get accomplished what is important and He will make the path straight. God wants my heart and forgives the failures of what I do not get done.

Friends, there are lots of people who are under stress. In our house there are finals yet to be taken and studying yet to be done. There are lots of ways to be stressed and lots of things yet to be done. Just remember to take some time from your busy life of stuff to do and spend some time with God. When we spend time with God the stresses seem a bit less and when we spend time in His Word then the frustrations and stresses come into a better perspective and we can handle them because we are no longer in control and God takes over. His Word tells us that He will make our path straight if we trust in Him.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and enjoy a great cup of coffee. 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 Mom’s cataract surgery has been moved to next Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Did you wear or wish for a sweater this morning? I know I did. I sort of compromised and wore slacks and a t-shirt with ¾ length sleeves. I even turned on the heater in the bathroom. These are not the actions of a typical Texan in the Month of May.

Tonight I bought a devotional book I have been looking at for the last couple of months. It is called “The Coffee Mom’s Devotional” by Celeste Palermo. I began drinking coffee about 10 years ago, but not on a regular basis. I became a serious coffee drinker while living at MD Anderson Hospital with Casey. There were many mornings I would repeat the routine I follow now. I would get up and go out to the family room and make the coffee and then go back and shower. By the time I was out of the shower the coffee was ready I would pour myself a cup and finish dressing and getting ready for the day.

I am a coffee drinker. I drink a coffee black without cream or sugar and sometimes I even add an espresso shot! Coffee drinkers take their coffee either black or with cream and sugar. Thanks to Starbucks, most people have a little bit of coffee with their cream, classic syrup, whipped cream and whatever else makes them happy.
Psalm 107: 8-9 “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for man, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

The devotion topic tonight was affirmation. There are too many times in my daily life that I get frustrated with events that occur when they do not happen as I need them to happen. When those events begin to pile up, the frustration really mounts. It is at those times when I try to remember to stop, take a breath and center myself on Jesus. I count my blessings and claim God’s Word and believe that God’s Word is truth.

I remember the passage from Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.” God knew me before there was me. God knew I would be a mother. He knew I would be a teacher and He knew that I would finally stop fighting Him and become a seminary student. He also knew I would be a sinner and would fall short of His glory time after time. But He also knew that He would forgive me and that His grace would be enough to sustain when the things of this world would fall away. Ephesians 4:7 “But to each one of us grace has been given.” God’s grace is simply the ability to do what we can’t accomplish in our own strength.

Give thanks to God for His grace and the strength of truth in His Word. Satan can really go on the attack when we are experiencing frustrations. Remember we all live in the light of God’s love for each of us. Matthew 5:16 “Jesus tells us to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and PRAISE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.” This single act will drive Satan crazy. When frustrations seem to pile up like the laundry, stop, take a breath and remember how much God loves each of us then count your blessings.

Take joy in the journey. Count your blessings and say your prayers. 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, May 3, 2010

Happy Monday!

When we get down to this time of year we teachers begin counting Mondays and Fridays. I think we are down to four Mondays and five Fridays. I also turned in (emailed) my final exam for the Book of Common Prayer. I so enjoyed this class and the fellow students who participated with me. Please pray for the paper, the writer and the one who reads it. May he be merciful.

Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Randy Travis sings a song with the phrase ,”Down with the old man, up with the new.” As I was working on my final test for the BCP one of the questions asked was “what was the Paschal mystery?” The “paschal mystery” refers to the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is really interesting how this word refers to “Passover.” God caused the Angel of Death to “pass over” the Hebrew people saving them from continued bondage by the Egyptians.

Jesus was crucified at Passover and with His crucifixion we were all freed from the bondage of our sins. Part of the Paschal mystery is represented in baptism. When Jesus was baptized he left His private life behind and became completely devoted and obedient to His Father as He journeyed to Calvary. When we become Christians, we, too, are called to leave our old lives behind and embrace a new life with Christ. That means a life of obedience and trying to live in the light of Christ and not to live in a life of sin.

There are times in our lives that our old habits die hard. Yesterday when I was working on my test I really wanted that popcorn. The habit I had formed was when I would write, I would have a big glass of Crystal Lite and a huge bowl of popcorn. Every ounce of my being told me to go ahead and have some popcorn, but I decided that Satan was not going to win this battle and I resisted the tremendous temptation to have some of my favorite snack.

I realize that having a popcorn snack sounds pretty trivial compared to the other habits I need to break, but I have to start somewhere. I can’t guarantee that I will always be able to resist temptation or that I will always be obedient and serve God instead of serving sin, but after reading this passage I know I will think about it when I hit a crossroads and a choice must be made.

So friends, as we walk this earth together and must make choices multiple times each day I will ask you to pray for me and I will pray for you. (Singing…) “Down with the old girl, up with the new. Raised to walk in the ways of light and truth…”

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all dear friends, 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, May 2, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

I pray that today you were in worship somewhere and the fire of the Holy Spirit allowed you to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in truth and with praise.
Today, Bruce and I led and worshiped with two small congregations in Rockett and Palmer, Texas. These two lovely congregations are a delight with which to serve, worship and have fellowship.

Ephesians 4: 32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

I am once again on the weight loss road. I am trying something new. It is a fairly restricted food plan, but it is really working as I have lost somewhere between 10 and 12 pounds. But today I continued to work on my final exam for the Book of Common Prayer. My usual practice when I write a major paper is to have a glass of my favorite Crystal Lite and a large bowl of popcorn. I really wanted popcorn all day long but I have resisted as popcorn is not on my approved list of things to eat. All throughout the afternoon I began to make little deals with myself that if I made and ate the popcorn tonight I would eat less tomorrow and walk more and other etc…and then I began to think along a different tack, if I ate popcorn I would be missing the mark.

When we choose to do what is wrong we miss the mark. But the good news is that God forgives us when we miss the mark and if we stay in prayer God will help us to not give in to temptation. Staying turned towards God when temptations are before us keeps us close to God and hopefully takes our minds off of the temptations and more on God. Fighting temptations is never easy, but we do have someone we can go to who will always help when we need it. It is now around 10:00 pm and I have still not had popcorn. Say a prayer for me and I will pray for all of you.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. 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.
Happy Saturday!

Today has been a day spent in prayer. This morning I received a phone call from Mom and Dad to tell me that Mom is having cataract surgery this coming week. I also found out that my cousin Tony’s wife, Cherri, who has ovarian cancer, has been placed on hospice care in their home. Tony recently lost his son to a freak accident. My heart has ached for Tony and I have prayed for Cheri’s comfort and God’s tender mercies on both of them. Tony and Cheri are both people with a very strong faith.

Doc Adams, Casey’s oncologist here in Arlington, would often tell us that the destination was never in question, but sometimes the journey sucks. Right now, from where I stand (or sit as is the case), the journey sucks pretty bad. I wish I did not understand how they feel, but I do understand. There are no words of comfort that will make the heartache go away. So I will continue to pray for them daily and call often. I ask for your prayers for both Mom as she faces surgery and for Tony and Cherri as they face this journey together.

Isaiah 55: 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than you thoughts.”

How appropriate for this passage to be the focus of tonight’s thoughts. During the time when Casey was sick we asked many questions, but the one question we never asked was “why?” We asked God for guidance. We asked God for supply. We asked God for healing and wellness. We (Casey and I) asked God to help us not to be so homesick. And all of those requests were answered. When there was no more to be done and all earthly efforts had been made to arrest or reverse the cancer then we asked God for His tender mercies and not allow Casey to suffer long. God was kind and merciful, but not before he accomplished His purpose through Casey’s life and in His death.

God does not cause disease to come upon people. Neither Casey nor Cheri did anything to cause themselves to have this devastating disease. But what God has done through their lives is show the world that no matter what is going on in your life, whether you have perfect health or a life taking illness, God is still working and others come to know Him because God loves all of us so much. God took Casey home to be with Him for all eternity. I don’t know what God has in store for Cherri, but I do know that as long as she is still here, God will continue to work through her.

God is our Father and He sent Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. He also sent Jesus to be our servant. Servants are called to see to the comfort and well-being of others, especially those who are sick. Please keep these precious souls in your prayers.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all dear friends and mighty prayer warriors, 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 Bruce went back to the prison to be a part of the instructional weekend. He saw the two men who were my prayer partners for the weekend. They were thankful for my letters and prayers. Then they told Bruce that they were praying for me too. It was sort of a holy moment. So tonight pray for those in prison; those behind razor wire and concrete and those who make prisons of their own choosing. May they find freedom in the love and forgiveness of Jesus. gc

PSS Tomorrow Bruce and I will be serving churches in Rocket and Palmer, Texas. Please pray for travel mercy, worship tomorrow and that God will bless us as we sing and share with these two congregations. gc