Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Friday!

If you are a reader of this blog for any amount of time you know that when Bruce is away I do not sleep well. So His absence from Sunday to Wednesday finally caught up with me on last night and I fell asleep watching a movie with him on the couch. It was one of those nights that I woke up only to go to sleep again. Sorry I did not write last night.

Prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5: 12—13 “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”

On one of the days we were out due to icy weather Geni and I had a chance to talk about her future as a teacher. I told her the best thing she could do in her first year or two of teaching was to be quiet and listen to those experienced teachers around her and they should be an invaluable resource to her. My prayer for her, besides that there will be a job for her, is that wherever she teaches she will have teachers with mentoring hearts and skills to help lead and guide a new teacher in the way she should go. Please pray there will be a job for her in the fall.

We, as spiritually mature Christians, should make ourselves available to those who are new in the faith and help guide them in their new journey of faith. Each of us can teach a new believer how to live a life in piety. Some of us are gifted in the ways of service and missions. Some are gifted in the practice of worship. Others are knowledgeable in the Word of God while others are prayer warriors. A new believer needs to know and grow in all of these areas to live a life in piety and walk a journey of faith.

I am not gifted in all of these areas, but I am gifted in some. I count on other members of the family of God, the body of Christ, to help fill in the gaps not only in the life of a new believer, but in myself. We are all teachers when it comes to helping the new believer of those of mature faith.

For each of us, we need to remain always teachable. If we remain teachable then we are always learners. And if we remain teachable then we will always find ourselves in the presence of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to lift one another up in prayer each day remembering that everyone is always fighting some sort of battle. 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 In your daily prayers remember to pray for the continued healing of David Russell. Also, please pray for the Texas Education System. It is a mess! Peace, gc

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Wednesday! Another day home from school due to the weather. It was a nice day to stay inside with a great pot of coffee, my dog Lamar and Matlock! When I read Carme's Guidepost blog about Casey's shirts I decided to share it with you. Enjoy the reading and take joy in the journey!

Carm Russell: The Faith Family T-Shirt

By 3 Readers, February 9, 2011

This week I want to tell you about a T-shirt that we are dubbing the Faith Family T-Shirt.

This T-shirt was a gift from my best friend. It belonged to her son (our godson) Casey. She gave it to me as my special remembrance of Casey. You see, Casey passed away from soft tissue sarcoma more than two years ago. I had the privilege of helping care for him when he was undergoing treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. He wore this T-shirt frequently. Shortly after he passed was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I took this T-shirt with me into my own surgery. I also wore it afterwards. It made drain tubes easier to deal with because the arms were torn off. It had been put away until recently when we got it out again for my husband.

David wanted to take the T-shirt into his own surgery for kidney cancer. What makes this T-shirt so special? Well, first it represents the friendship that our two families have shared for almost 30 years. Second, it belonged to Casey. It brought him comfort, it brought me comfort, and it brought David comfort during times when we all needed some hope. Third, the words on the T-shirt are the most quoted scripture from the Bible and Casey's favorite: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."— John 3:16 The numbers of hope on the front and the words of hope on the back. As my husband successfully went through the removal of a kidney this past week those words on the T-shirt once again sustained us through a difficult time. They reminded us that God's love is always hopeful because of the gift of his Son.

Keeping God close, always present, was something that got me through my own cancer journey and I did not want to give up that spiritual practice. So I have made the effort ever since to keep God's love close whatever the circumstance. This past week it took the form a much beloved T-shirt.

—Carm Russell

Submitted by resolutions-blog on February 9, 2011 - 18:07.

From Casey's Mom (who was not sure how to post a comment):

My name is Gaylene. I am Casey's mom and Carme's best friend as she is mine. In our thirty year friendship we have been through several lifetimes. Between the four of us (two husbands, two wives) three of us are cancer survivors. And we have both lost children. She lost little Katherine when our girls were both 2 years old. I sang at Katherine's funeral. We lost Casey at the age of 24. At the celebration of life service for Casey, David and Carme sat by our sides. At this writing Bruce, my husband, is in San Antonio helping David through his healing and recovery. This friendship has stood the test of time through the days of darkness and light and joy and sorrow.

The bond that has forged this long time relationship is the love and faithfulness of God. We met and chartered a Sunday School class together for young married couples without children. Our friendship was founded in a house of faith and we have journeyed in faith ever since.

Carme shared about Casey's T-shirt. It was his favorite. The sleeves were cut out of all of his shirts because of the PICC line that was located on his arm throughout the many months of chemotherapy he went through. For some silly reason I saved all of the sleeves of those shirts. A friend of ours from church is a quilter. She crafted those cut off sleeves into a quilt that we sleep under each night. As I was searching online for a cancer awareness shirt with a green ribbon, the kidney cancer color, I found a T-shirt with a cross and in the center of the cross is a green ribbon. Underneath the cross are the words Faith and Family. It was perfect! We are not a family bound by blood type, but we are most certainly a family bound by the love and blood of Christ.

Take joy in the journey.

Gaylene Chrystie
Happy Tuesday!

This writing is being sent to San Antonio to Bruce’s computer for his excellent editing. When that is finished, he will post from Carme and Dave’s house. Bruce and Dave spent the afternoon watching movies. So far, other than becoming easily tired, Dave’s healing seems to be progressing very well. Bruce is planning to leave for home between 2 and 3 tomorrow hoping to avoid super heavy Austin traffic. Please pray for him as he travels back to the Metroplex with the next winter storm on the way.

Matthew 7: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you.”

How many times have you driven through a parking lot and prayed for a parking space? And then when a close space appears you give a short prayer of thanks for this blessing. I remember an episode of “The King of Queens” when the couple began to pray and treated their prayers like a vending machine. They would pray and the item they were praying for appeared. Their motives remind me of a televangelist who told the congregation that prayer was like dropping quarters into a vending machine. If you place your money in a vending machine you expect a drink to come out. His motives were that if people sent him large sums of money then they would receive multiple times their investment in return.

I don’t think God is like a vending machine. God does not always answer our prayers instantly. God does not work on our time, but in His time, “For our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways”. If our requests and petitions in our prayers are in line with God’s perfect will for our lives, then the prayers will be answered, but God is not a bellhop who answers our every whim. God is our sovereign God Almighty who places desires in our hearts that will honor Him and will allow His perfect will to be enacted in our lives. Sort of makes God the Boss, huh?!

God does not always answer quickly, but I happen to think that is what faith and hope are all about. So friends, if you are praying for something then trust that God has heard your prayers. Believe He loves you more than you cn possibly imagine and will only allow His perfect will to be done in our lives.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes . Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to lift each other up in prayer each day remembering that we are all fighting some sort of battle. Love you all so very much and thanks for all of your prayers, 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, February 8, 2011

Happy Monday!

Great news from San Antonio. The cancer in Dave’s kidney was totally encapsulated. No further treatment will be necessary. Dave will have to have scans every four months for the next two years. Bruce phoned earlier this evening and David was up for about 2 hours today. Other than getting tired all seems to be on schedule for David’s recovery. Given that he has not even been out of surgery a week I think he is doing remarkably well! Take your time doing whatever you need to do, Dave!

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”

God wants to be involved in all parts of our lives. God does not want to be part of the situations we seem to have no control over, but in the parts we seem to have control over. How many times have I gone head first into a project without praying first? Even if it is a situation of which I feel confident in the outcome, God wants to be involved because He wants to be involved in all parts of our lives. God wants us to remember that, apart from Him, we can do nothing. Can we humble ourselves enough to repent over our own arrogance?

The Apostle Paul calls us to be faithful in prayer. “Faithful means committed, disciplined, constant, and loyal.” I would never dream of leaving my house undressed so why do I not remember to leave the house not wearing my spiritual armor.

What is my spiritual armor? My spiritual armor is beginning each day dressed in the robe of righteousness and emitting the fragrance of God. To be properly spiritually dressed each day I must begin each day with prayer and invite God to be a part of each moment of my day, allow me to see others through His eyes and then to act on His behalf when a situation presents itself.

May I remember to put the armor of God on with the same love and familiarity as I put on my boots each day. Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes or in my case, comfortable boots. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continue to lift one another up in prayer each day remember that everyone fights some sort of battle. 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, February 7, 2011

Blessed Sunday to you all!

By the end of this writing there will be a new Super Bowl Champion. David Russell will have been home for several hours watching the Super Bowl on his TV and Bruce will be in San Antonio with Carme and Dave (he arrived safely, Praise God!). Also, the traffic exodus from this city has begun. I think I will just stay home with Jackson and Lamar and pray Geni and Travis will arrive home safely. I just read an email for Dave thanking everyone for their prayers, support and all of the food. By the way, the Green Bay Packers Have Won the Super Bowl!

2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

I am the oldest grandchild in our family. I grew up with my Mamo. I grew up in her kitchen and at her sewing machine, but mostly in her kitchen. And like many women of her generation she wore the Estee Lauder fragrance “Youth Dew.” If you have ever been in the presence of this particular scent it becomes unforgettable. It is so strong that you can open the lid and wave it around the room without ever spraying it and the scent is in the room. It has such a pungent odor that it gets in the clothes in the closet and permeates the fabrics of furniture. When I would go to her closet it always smelled of the fragrance of Youth Dew. After she passed away I received her couch when her things were dispersed. I remember very clearly after the couch was placed in our apartment I sat down on it in the evening for the first time and turned my face toward the high back of the couch. It smelled of Youth Dew and bought back every memory I ever had of my beloved Mamo.

Odors, smells, scents are the strongest trigger for memories we have. They are also a way to identify someone. I wear Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds. When someone comes close to me, stands near me or gives me a hug often they will ask if I am wearing this particular fragrance.

As believers in Christ we are asked to put on Christ every day. Just as I put on my favorite perfume each day I need to remember to put on the aroma of Christ. The aroma of Christ emits from our hearts and should permeate our souls. The fragrance pouring forth from the life of Christ that lives within us should fill the rooms we occupy with a sweetness that can only be born from one who spends time in God’s holy presence. This fragrance of peace, gladness, loving kindness and welcoming brings calmness even in the darkest of places and times.

So friends…what fragrance we put on each day? Do we put on a fragrance of moodiness, crossness, angry talk at traffic or at our loved ones before we leave home or after we get to work? Or do we put on the loveliness of Christ?

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Let us continually remember to pray for each other each day. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. Love you all and thanks for your fervent and healing prayers for David. 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, February 6, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Cabin fever subsided today! Geni, Travis and I braved the roads (muddy and wet) and spent the day at The Fort Worth Live Stock Show. It felt great to see the sunshine, some dry streets and the relieved look on the vendors faces and lots of people were in the exhibit hall and eating bar-b-que. The sign that greeted us at the ticket booth read, live animal exhibits have few animals.” We saw a few cattle being prepared for the sale and that was about all. But we wore our boots, had them shined (a stock show tradition for us) and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Prayer: Loving Savior, I thank You for another day and the delightful privilege of loving serving You. I rejoice that Your ways are not grievous, and that Your commands are not harsh. I praise You that Your instructions to me are for me good and for Your glory. Help me today to yield quickly to them. Give me a listening ear, a discerning heart, and an obedient spirit. My Jesus be magnified in all that I do today. In Your dear name, Amen.”

I Corinthians 12: 25-27 “There should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and member’s individually.”

Our friend David Russell is doing do well that it looks as if he may come home tomorrow evening or Monday morning. Praise God! He is still going to need help upon his return home. So Bruce is going down to San Antonio to spend a couple of days helping Dave transfer from his motorized wheelchair to bed and with whatever other needs there are to be met. About mid-week, Carme’s brother is coming in and Bruce will come home. I ask your prayers for all of these men as the work and help each other over the next few days until Dave can become independent once again.

This is sort of like a family of God time and place. One of us is in need and as part of the family of God and body of Christ. This passage tells us that we should “care for one another.” Carme and Dave, Bruce and I have cared for one another throughout our lives. Carme and Dave came to MD Anderson and stayed with Casey so Bruce and I could celebrate our anniversary. Carme then came back in January and stayed when I had to go back to work and before Bruce could get there to bring Casey home.

When one of us hurts then all of us hurt and we are called to help when and where we can. We don’t always know how we are going to need to help one another, but God will make us ready and will give us the means necessary to care for each other as the needs arise.

Helping members may mean material things or a ministry of presence. It could mean doing laundry, washing dishes, picking up children from school or providing a meal. As the body of Christ we can pray for each other. We can pray for well-being to be restored, we can pray for peace and relief from stress and worry, we can pray for brokenness to be healed and for pain to cease. And even when we do not know how we can be of help, we can pray for God to reveal to us how He wants us to serve. Then we can be obedient to the call to service. God will not let us down. Let us not let God down.

Remember everyone is fighting some type of battle and God never meant for us to fight alone. So friends let us continue to pray for one another rejoicing together when one of us is honored to be there when one of us is suffering and needs a “family” member for help and support.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Count your blessings and say your prayers. Remember to lift one another up in prayer each day. 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