Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Family time today! Bruce, Geni, Travis and I spent most of the day together off exploring some places we haven’t been in a while and others we have never been in before! Some girl stores (Sam Moon), some boy stores (Cabela’s), Central Market…we had a wonderful time together. To top the day off, Travis used one of the new fishing poles we got and caught a mighty fish! (see picture attached, use magnifying glass if necessary!)

Philippians 3: 13-14 “This one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Do you have regrets? I know I do. I regret some of the things I have said. I regret some of the things I have done and there is nothing I can do to take the past away. All I can do is try to learn from my mistakes and try not to make them again. God never wants us to live in the past. We cannot “press on” toward the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus if we live in the past and dwell on the mistakes of yesteryear or even yesterday. God has given us twenty four hours to carry the weight of the day and then we get to begin again.

Think of how weighed down we have become if we keep carrying the past with us. It would sort of be like a hiker who begins carrying his backpack on the first day of the hike and instead of using the things in the backpack each day such as food or other things he would add to the burden of each day by collecting more things and not ridding himself of the items used yesterday. Think of how weighed down that poor hiker would be at the end of his hike.

God promised to help us with the burdens of this day. The past has been taken from us because we have today to celebrate. Jesus is our constant for today and our hope for tomorrow. Our high calling is to follow Christ today and believe that Christ will be there for us tomorrow and leave the past behind.

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Friday!

And happy beginning to the Memorial Day Weekend. Today in my classroom we talked about Memorial Day and what it means. One of my students even sported a t-shirt with an American Flag on the front. We studied famous American symbols throughout the day. Our gratitude, thoughts and prayers are with our military forces both currently serving and with the families of those who lost their lives for our freedom.

Hebrews 13:5 “And be content with such things as you have for He has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.”

For the last 40 days I have been on a weight loss program. The weight loss program was very restricted. It was pretty much small amounts of protein, leafy vegetables and a small assortment of fruit; four selections to be exact, no breakfast and lots of water. This program allowed for no dairy (which meant no cheese!), a tablespoon of milk per day was allowed but not required. In 40 days I lost a total of 18 pounds. I was very excited and can tell a difference in my clothes and how they fit. But this was really hard, but for the sake of better health I was willing to endure this for 40 days.

Now I have entered the phase of maintenance. WOW! It is really awesome. I can have pretty much anything I want with the exception of starches and sugar. So today I have eaten cheese and had an iced coffee from Starbucks with 2% milk! These things tasted so wonderful. For 40 days I was content to endure a very limited food plan and now most of the restrictions have been lifted. I look at the 40 days (a very interesting amount of time!) as a time of preparation for living a healthier lifestyle. I prayed a lot during the last 40 days especially when temptations were pretty powerful!

Noah and his family were under a downpour for 40 days. Moses crossed the desert in 40 days. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days. In all three of these time frames, God prepared these men and in the case of Noah for how they were to live once they had completed their 40 days in exile. Noah, his family and all of those animals were in exile as their friends and neighbors died in the flood. Moses had been exiled from Egypt, Jesus had been exiled into the wilderness (outside the walls of Jerusalem) and set apart, alone so that He, just like Noah and Moses could hear God very clearly without distraction. God spent that time teaching these men His purpose for their lives and returned them to where God needed them; Noah to begin life anew with his family, Moses to learn the way of servanthood through the priesthood of the family of Levi and Jesus to begin the walk of salvation to the cross. Even though each of these men seemed alone at the time, God never left them. They may have walked rough roads and experienced loneliness, but the God of love never left them for He has absolute radical, passionate love for those with whom He trusts to further the kingdom.

The next time we feel alone and experience loneliness for whatever reason remember how much the God of love loves us and desires friendship and a close relationship with each of us. This God of love cares so much for each of us that all we have to do is call His name and He will be there never forsaking 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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Thursday!

The check-off list continues and I have checked off two more things from the seemingly endless list of things to complete before June 4. Say your prayers for the students and teachers as deadlines are rapidly approaching!

I met with Dr. Martinelli this afternoon. He is a very nice man who explained everything to do with my impending surgery very thoroughly. Bruce and Travis were with me and it is true that three sets of ears are better than one! The first surgery is scheduled the week after school is out and the next one a week later. The doc will only remove one spot at a time due to the location of the tumor sites and the repair work that will need to be done. The goal is to remove all of the cancer with the smallest tissue removal and wound possible. I ask your prayers for the surgery and the finances to work out.

Colossians 2: 6, 7 “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him: Rooted and built up in Him.”

Today I stepped out onto the deck and much to my surprise one of my tomato plants has a beautiful ripening, red tomato on it. The funny thing is that this particular plant had begun to lean over with the weight of the tomatoes so I found a stick and staked it. This plant is yellowing and I thought it was dying and then it surprised me when I saw the red tomato on the plant. I spoke loudly, “Bruce, it is time to harvest!”

This made me think as I was meditating on this scripture that it is not always the leaves that tell the tale, but the roots. The roots of this plant are strong and deep for even though the plant is running its course the fruit is ripe, ready for picking and to be used for the purpose for which it was created.

Howard Garrett used to have a song before his weekly radio show on gardening that simply said, “The root goes down and the plant goes up.” When the seed is planted it carries all of the information it needs to grow into a healthy plant. But a seed cannot grow on its own; it needs other things to help it grow. A seed needs water, good soil and sunshine.

When God plants His seed of love in our hearts it needs nurturing so its roots will be grounded and the plant will grow in gladness. Our hearts, when grounded and rooted in the love of God will grow up strong and be able to withstand the storms that life hands out. The lesson of the seed must be remembered as a lesson that begins in the ground and grows through the soil. Without good soil the roots do not become strong and soon the plant will wither. So accept the seed of love that God gives you and let Him plant it in the good soil of His love and watch it grow into a plant of gladness.

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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

It is hard to imagine that there are only six days left in this school year. There is so much to do and so little time.

John 16:24 “Up to now you have asked nothing in My Name; ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Thursday afternoon I will meet with the surgeon who will perform the MOHS procedure to remove the basal cell carcinoma. The consultation is tomorrow and surgery to be scheduled later. Anytime there is mention of cancer I am going to be a bit nervous. And even though this is a very curable type of cancer, I am claiming complete healing in Jesus name. If God asks me to trust Him with the very big things in my life then I must obediently trust Him with all of the events in my life; great and small.

The only way I know to gain peace when faced with a difficult time is by practicing surrender and asking God to be a part of the solution. This is something that takes daily practice. It is sort of like when I tell my first graders that they will only become better readers by reading. We will only become closer to God and learn to walk the path of trust and obedience by spending a lot of time praying and listening throughout the day.

So when things happen during the day that seem to be potential problems stop a pray for a moment and ask God to be a part of the process and give thanks for the victory. Claim the name of Jesus throughout the day and see if the problems and dilemmas are changed into victories just waiting to happen.

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.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Our school has decided to add a garden to our campus, so today approximately 100 lovely shrubs arrived at school. It was the task of the students to see that they all were planted. So after recess I divided my students into groups of three and turned them loose to plant the shrubs. The holes were pre-dug and the children took the bushes from their containers, dropped them in their holes and pushed the dirt in, around and on the plants. They had such a wonderful time. The scene that warmed my heart was one of the students in our LINK room (a classroom for mentally challenged students) was outside at the same time as we. One student was unsure of what he needed to do and his teacher told him to collect all of the black containers that held the shrubs. He did this job with such wonderful gladness that it touched my heart. I cheered him on as he without complaint and a spring in his step collected all of the containers and placed them just where the teacher had told him. This precious student’s name is Able.

Matthew 17: 20 “And Jesus said unto them…If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible for you.”

I learned a lesson from Able today. Able was determined to help his school become more beautiful and assist in any way he could. He did not understand how to plant a bush, but he did understand how to pick up the black buckets that once held the shrubs. I wish you could have seen his face and the joy he experienced doing what we might consider a menial task. Helping plant may have been an impossible task for Able, but helping and being a part of the activity was certainly within his capabilities.

Sometimes I look at a task as impossible. But scripture tells me that if my faith is no larger than that tiny grain of mustard then God will make up the rest. God always meets me so much more than half-way. In this scripture God tells us to never give up on any task because it seems beyond our power. If we rely only on our own abilities without inviting God to be a part of what we are attempting, then what we are attempting is impossible.

God met us so much more than half-way on the cross that day that Jesus died. We cannot save ourselves. We can only go to the Father and receive our salvation through Jesus. Jesus did the impossible. He died and rose again. When Jesus died for us He made all things possible in each of us because of His love for each of us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your payers. Love you all so very 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.
Happy Monday! (note:email failure kept this from being posted last night)

When it gets to the remaining two weeks of school, two things occur: First, teachers live by the check off list, and second, students are not really sensitive to the list! There are so many things to do in the last two weeks. There are final reports to submit, last tests to give, rooms to pack away and final grades to collect, average and submit! As my brother used to say, “We just want to keep them between the walls.”

A piece of awesome news! Burton Hill Elementary School is being rated Exemplary again this year. Way to go students and teachers! We are so proud of our students and their hard work and the tenacity of the teachers who demand and expect nothing less than the best of themselves and their students. Congratulations on a job very well done!

2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

Think back to the scene at the Sermon on the Mount. It was sort of the first recorded potluck lunch. Jesus told the Disciples to feed the crowd. The Disciples looked at Jesus like He had two heads and did not have a clue as to how to begin to feed this enormous crowd. They made excuses as to not having enough money to even begin to feed this crowd. They also knew they themselves did not have enough food to share to feed the crowd. The disciples looked around and saw a small boy with enough lunch for himself; just a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish. The disciples saw deficiency and Jesus saw abundance. Jesus knew that blessing what this little boy had in front of the crowd would cause the crowd to look at what they had and share their abundance with those around them.

Have you ever noticed how a church potluck dinner always works? The varieties of food may not be even, but there is always enough. There might not be enough to fill you up, but there is always enough to eat to be satisfied.

Jesus’ message was twofold on that day. First, Jesus had to show the disciples to stop seeing what they did not have and begin looking at what they did. They had Jesus. For just a few moments they doubted their teacher and were trying to rely on their own insufficiency instead of basking in the abundance of God through Jesus. Second, Jesus modeled through breaking the bread that everyone would be able to be fed if they would just share what they had. They, too, had Jesus. When Jesus broke the bread before them it was a foretelling of the feast to come. God sent Jesus for everyone and there was enough “Jesus” to go around.

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.

Prayer alert! The biopsies came back as basal cell carcinoma. Dr. Grice made an appointment for me with a MOHS Cancer surgeon named Dr. Martinelli. The appointment is for this Thursday afternoon. I think it is a consultation. I will let you know as things develop. Thank you all for your continued prayers. Peace, gc

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blessed Sunday to you all!

Today was both Pentecost and Consecration Sunday at Advent. Red was the color of the day. Bruce and I both wore our It’s Good to Be Lutheran t-shirts. Later in the day the kids and I took Jackson and Lamar to the park for a walk and I was still wearing my shirt. A woman who was also walking her dog stopped me and said, “It is good to be Lutheran?” We chatted for a moment and I issued an invitation to worship with us at Advent. You just never know when or where you will get a chance to invite someone to worship with you and become closer to Christ.

Acts 2. The story of the day of Pentecost always amazes me. All of those different languages and cultures gathered together in one place and the Holy Spirit descends allowing them to understand the message of Christ in their own language even though it is being spoken by a single voice. Peter had prepped the crowd for this reception even though I don’t think he knew that this event was going to happen at that moment. Peter was being obedient to the calling of Jesus and telling the crowd about the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ. This crowd was being covered in grace and became part of a miracle with the descending of the Holy Spirit. God did not ask this congregation to speak in a different tongue. He allowed them to hear His message in their own language so now they can go back to their own communities and countries and begin congregations in the name of the living God and the risen Christ.

We may not all be called to begin a new congregation, but we are all called to get the message of Jesus out to all who will listen. We don’t need a special language, we just need Christ in our hearts and the presence of the Holy Spirit to lead us to tell the story. Consecration is not just about money. It is about giving back to God what He has so kindly and graciously given to us. He gave us His Son and our salvation for all eternity. You don’t even need to wear a special shirt to call attention to whether you are Lutheran or other denomination. You just need to have Jesus in your heart and the willingness to share His story and what He has done for you with someone else. Would this be a story you would want to miss? Just throwing it out there…

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Love you all and happy birthday Church! Peace be the journey, 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.