Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Our dearest and oldest friends Carme and Dave Russell are here for the weekend. We met for coffee this morning and had lunch together. Then Carme, Geni, Travis and I went to a tattoo parlor. Now there are some words I never thought I would say! I was very surprised at how clean, spacious and very salon-like the shop was. Geni and Travis both got a yellow ribbon in Casey’s memory and a pink ribbon in support of Carme surviving breast cancer. The artist who did the tattoos was a great guy and was the best artist in the house. It was an adventure!

Zechariah 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things?”

Today I went with my best friend to watch her get a tattoo. She held my hand tightly as the artist was working on her and we talked. We remembered the joys and the losses we have shared in the last thirty years of our lives. We remembered all of the New Year’s Eve’s spent with each other. The funny story about hot chocolate! All of those blood drive breakfasts we all made together. She made batches of biscuits and every egg was a new adventure! She lost both her father and her father-in-law to pancreatic cancer. She lost her young daughter to heart and lung failure when Catherine was just three. I sang baby Catherine’s funeral.

We talked about our shared loss of Casey and how he would have loved being there with her as she got her tattoo. We shared joy in the loss of weight we have both experienced recently. We talked about the joy our children bring to us. We shed some tears over our losses and the joy of our bounty in the love and friendship we have shared over the years. We laughed at the silly things we have done together in our lives. And promised that we would get together again eat popcorn and watch all six Rocky movies. (Bruce and Dave might not make it.) I treasure the friendship I have with Carme and Dave.

There is another friendship I treasure. I treasure the friendship I have with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just as Carme and Dave are but a phone call away when I need them, God is just a prayer away. God can be summoned in an instant. His presence can be felt the instant we call His name. God desires to be a daily part of our lives and for us to call on Him in the small everyday things. Calling on God daily is one of the ways we become friends with Him and we get to know Him as a personal friend. Give daily thanks for your life, for your families, the ability to worship and the friendship we have with God through our Lord, Savior and friend, Jesus Christ.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for you and I ask you to pray for our family. Love you all and see you in worship, Bruce, Gaylene, 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 Friday! .

Psalm 119: 165 “Great peace have they which love Your law; and nothing shall offend them.”

Bruce is serving on a Walk to Emmaus Weekend at this writing. He gives a talk first thing in the morning on Changing the World. I think his primary point of the talk is that in order to change the world, we must first change ourselves. The world changes when men and women of God take a stand against injustice and strive for peace. Peace does not mean the absence of conflict, or pain and suffering. That peace that passes all understanding happens when in the midst of conflict, pain and suffering the love of God is still firmly grounded in our hearts. Each difficulty is a training ground to enable each of us to acquire this kind of peace. God’s law says that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. When we keep God’s law in all we do then we have peace. We cannot allow any disruption of that peace that God has given to each of us. The beautiful musical piece by Pachelbell, the Canon in D played in weddings and other services begins with these words, “In the silence of our souls, O Lord we contemplate Thy peace.” These words do not say the peace that the world offers which is temporal and a bandaid fix, but the everlasting assurance that only God can provide. When we search our souls and find God’s love present and firmly in place then we have the peace that passes all understanding.

Pray for Bruce as he delivers this talk, for the team and the pilgrims. Also, I ask special prayers for a friend of mine whose son surrendered himself to the authorities tonight and will spend the next five weeks in jail. Her heart is broken. Please pray for peace for this family. Thank you.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for each of you and I ask you to pray for our family. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greetings from Austin St.

Greetings from Austin St.

Happy Wednesday! I dropped Bruce off this afternoon at the Poly United Methodist Church. The Emmaus Men’s Walk is being held there this weekend. We arrived in time to celebrate Worship and Eucharist with the men and one woman on the team. She was sort of disappointed when I told her I was leaving. It was such a joy to share Eucharist with Bruce just before he began to serve on this most wonderful weekend. He is serving as secret staff this weekend. I think he called it “stealth staff.” LOL!

Psalm 138: 1 “I will praise You with my whole heart before the gods will I sing praise unto you.”

I have been looking at this paper as a task that is overwhelming. I need to look at this paper as a training ground for the ministry for which I am studying. This paper I am writing is sort of like a mountain. I know the way to overcome a mountain is to climb the mountain and sing a song of praise. Satan has been working really hard to confuse me as I write. But I need to give thanks for the task ahead and then walk on holy ground and not rocky roads. Walking on holy ground means that God will not only walk with me, He will lay the path our before me. Even if the path gets really “rocky” I will not walk the path alone and I will walk with one who is stronger than I. If I praise God and claim this writing in the name of Jesus then I will be given the understanding I seek, my thinking will be clear. I need to remember to pray, give thanks before I write, take a breath (breathe in the Holy Spirit) and then write.

We all have mountains that seem uncrossable in our lives. Whatever your mountain is praise God, give thanks, take a breath (breathe in the Holy Spirit) and start to climb. God will be with you and you will walk on holy ground.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (maybe hiking boots?), count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for each of you. Please pray for my family. Love you all so very much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

2 Corinthians 11:3 “But, I fear, lest by any means, as the servant beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Okay, so this morning I had a melt down. I looked at the paper I am to write and all of the components that must be included. There were too many things I did not understand and words I could not define. I felt very inadequate in my abilities to write this paper and panic was setting in. So Bruce helped me re-center and told me to take a breath.

I am not an academic writer or an intellectual care giver. I have full confidence in my future abilities to be a care giver for those in a hospital after my schooling is complete and I have been taught the skills needed to do work in this ministry. But I tend to write and to listen and try to help with my heart.

Today I was full of fear (not of God) and Satan had a stronghold on my emotions. So, I took a breath and Bruce helped me remember what the paper is about and whether I can write academically or not does not matter. Whether I can express clearly the ways I would help the family through pastoral counseling does matter. I do not have to be perfect in the eyes of academia, but I do need to show my best and represent God in the writing.

In listening to one of our speakers during the semester define our role as a chaplain she plainly stated, “You are God’s representative to those you come into contact.” They will not care about your academic writing. They will simply care that you came by to see how they are doing and to help. Rules the world lays down can lead to disaster. But following the guidance of God means to carry out instructions given will place me under Divine control and strengthened by Divine power.

Even though the paper must be 8—10 pages in length, it is my prayer that it will address all of the requirements of the assignment in language appropriate to the task and to the glory of God and His ministry of hope to which I have been called. My task is to remove myself from the story of the video and focus on the task of how to share the inner meaning of the Gospel to this family at their point of need. Please pray that God will guide my thoughts as I write this paper.

Each of us represents God to someone else. It is our task as His people to be “God with skin on” and help those who do not know Him to learn of Him. It is my belief that when God calls us to share His love and Word with others, He will tell us what to say and how to say it. I am counting on that!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for each of you, please continue to pray for our family. 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 Bruce leaves for the Emmaus weekend on Wednesday. Please pray for God to minister through him and the other members of the team and the have lordship over the weekend.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Monday!

We were all pretty tired after our very long day and into the night of yesterday. I spent the day getting caught up on laundry and did not begin my final paper. So far I have two A’s and a B in my class. There is one more paper she has not graded and the final paper due on the 28th. I will keep you posted. I would love to tell you that we got some rest but one of the reasons we went ahead and came home last night is because Travis had to work and Geni had class.

Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

The only B I have in my pastoral care class (currently) is my formation paper. It received an 85. I am not a very good academic writer. This class is so important to me and I really want to earn an A. I guess what concerns me is that this is the class in which I believe to be my calling and I may not get an A. I know I have the heart for this calling. I believe that God has called me to this ministry, but I need those who will recommend me for this ministry to believe that I am academically worthy of this calling. In case any of you do not know, I believe I am being called to hospital chaplaincy.

My meditation tonight told me that I am not to fear what others will say because I need to trust God that He is leading me. It is not for my glory that I write, but for the glory of God. I have learned in this class that there are those who are intellectual care givers and those who are heart care givers. I am pretty sure I am a heart care giver. I have also learned that pastor care is not about me. It is about me being God’s representative. I must get myself out of the way to become the care giver God has called me to be. But to write for the glory of God I still must to my best. My best will never be good enough unless I invite God into the writing and thinking process.

So as I begin this writing tomorrow, I pray,
“Lord, I am writing this paper for your glory. I pray that you will give me knowledge and skills beyond myself to write a paper that would show how I would help the family in the video through your love and grace. I ask that Your Holy Spirit would surround me as I write and when it is finished I pray that same Spirit would travel with it and be present as it is read and assessed. May I be your servant and act as your agent of hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Friends, I would ask that you pray for me as I write. Bruce leaves for an Emmaus weekend on Wednesday and will not return until Saturday evening. I ask your prayers for him, the team and the pilgrims who are on this amazing journey to meet Jesus.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Please pray for my family. I am praying for each of you. 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.