Saturday, September 28, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Saturday! What a weekend!  Frogs Win! Rangers Win! Allen Wins! It was a reasonably quiet day here at 811 except when the Frogs were playing and then it got loud!!


Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all you ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

Proverbs 3: 5-6 (I need to commit this one to memory in my head and on my heart.)

My meditation tonight states this little epiphany, “I (God) am providing training through your life experiences, and that many of the difficulties you encounter are designed to help in this endeavor.”  First let me clarify something, I do not now or have ever believed or thought that God brought about the tragic situations I have experienced in my life.  What I do believe and live through each day is the assurance that God has been present in all of these tough situations and helped me to work through them.  In the most difficult times I did not lean on my own understanding even when I tried to make sense of the situation. I leaned and still lean on the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit and try very hard to cooperate through listening, studying God’s Word and talking things through with godly friends to help me understand. But it does not always start out that way! When Bruce had the stroke all I could think about was what if I lost him and had to live the remainder of my life without him. I thought about how would I financially make it. I thought about that I would not only have to live my life, but I would have to take over Bruce’s part for a while and could I do that.  So in short, I thought about how could I successfully control my life if I had to had Bruce died or become permanently disabled. I, I, I…control…control…control! 


Then I took a breath and in that breath I found the face of Jesus and while praying for Bruce’s healing and deliverance I remembered that God was present with Bruce during the stroke, and God was with me as I sorted things out helping me to concentrate on one day at a time.  It is almost a Scarlet O’Hara attitude in that “I don’t have to think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  While not as flippant as Scarlet, she makes a good point. The presence of the Holy Spirit has caused me to think trusting thoughts and asks for my cooperation in my retraining. Bruce’s brain is being retrained and he thinks differently now. The Holy Spirit is retraining me and I think differently now. How interesting that even though we are walking different paths, we are walking in parallel. Just as I daily wait for Bruce speak and try to understand, I wait each day for the Holy Spirit to speak to me and for me to understand. The path will be made straight and I will take joy in the journey.  Get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene




Friday, September 27, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Friday!  All is well at 811. Friday night here contained pizza, Star Trek:  Into the Darkness, snuggle time on the couch with Bruce, Luther and Jackson.  Life is good! At the end of the movie I asked Bruce the time; he said, “twenty minutes until ten.”  How awesome is that!! God is good and love wins!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”

Psalm 37: 4

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9

May I never again take for granted the simple joy of a Friday night snuggled on the couch with Bruce. May I never again take for granted the precious talking, speaking or even the quiet closeness of watching a movie. Whoever thought that Bruce looking at his watch and being able to speak the time accurately in correct language would almost reduce me to tears of joy and thanksgiving.  These are just a few of the daily things I count as great joy.  Part of my prayer time each day is devoted to my lengthy prayer list of friends and family who I hold in prayer, and yes, Bruce is always at the top of the list.  When the sorrow in my own soul had begun taking over my thoughts and actions I began to pray for God to free my soul from the sadness.  I thought of the song Geni used to sing titled, “Deliver Me. “ I heard her voice singing, “Deliver me from all of the sadness…and ending with the words, Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him…”   My soul began to awaken to the joy of the Presence of God and remembering to give thanks for the blessings and focus less on the struggle.  The struggle is still there, but I am looking at the struggle through the eyes of my Savior and when I do I am strengthened because I see the face of Jesus.

The life I thought I was meant to lead may not be the life I get to lead. That ministry and the way I believed it to be enacted is a little blurry now. I would love for things to be as they were on July 15.  Our life (Bruce and mine) will never be the same again and we may both walk a different path that we had never imagined. Both of us were changed on that night.  But here is what I know; as I continue to trust (daily) I will not have to choose between enjoying a life with God and the gifts, graces and blessings God provides. The gifts, graces and blessings God provides will guide whatever life I am meant to lead. The lessons learned in the struggle are the ones that transform us and make us fit to serve in the kingdom of God. As long as I place all of my priorities in conversation and collaboration with God then the choices and the path will be very clear even though they may not be what I thought before.  And I will take joy in the journey.  Get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Thursday!  All is well at 811 Austin Street. I had breakfast with Travis and dinner with Bruce and Geni.  It has been a wonderful day! Bruce had a good day at rehab. He is learning to speak slower and the first sounds of words he wishes to say are happening more frequently. I would ask a special prayer for my brother Ken. Tomorrow is his last day to be the Superintendent of Allen IDS. He retires tomorrow. I think he is celebrating by attending the Allen football game tomorrow night. He begins a new chapter in his life and is returning to teaching at the university level and a little more fishing!

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

John 16: 22

Rediscovering the joy inside of our hearts takes the sting out of sorrow. Sadness does not last forever even though it may seem that way.  Life brings ups and downs. When I speak to young couples just starting out I tell them that it is not going to be strawberries and cream and lovin’ all the time. There will be times of struggle and uncomfortableness. But this is not time wasted because this time is the time to continue to trust in God. One of the lessons I have learned in the last few months is that faith is what we call on when we need deliverance, but trust is what we live on every day.  Trust is our constant belief and claim of truth that God is with us in times of great joy, times of deepest despair and all of the times in between. When we remember that we stand in the Presence of God and His unfailing love all the time then the fullness of joy can be claimed even when we are reduced to tears or found in gales of laughter.  God is good and love wins!

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, casting our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be awake! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Wednesday!  All is well at 811. I have felt peaceful all day long. Nothing new to report, but for the first time in what seems like a long time I do not feel torn apart.  I have been praying for God to free my soul from its sadness.  O how I love Jesus.  God is so very good and love wins!

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”

Hosea 2: 19

My friends, I have a confession to make. I have cried everyday for over two months. My soul has been torn apart over the circumstances of grief and loss and being overwhelmed with so many things. I have stayed in God’s sacred Word and been in prayer each day, night and throughout the day trying to find peace and comfort. But today the air around me was different and my soul was happy and my heart seemed lighter. I went from task to task with relative ease without dwelling on the serious issues going on in my daily life. Nothing has changed. No miraculous healing or restorations, no windfall of money, just peace.

Here is what I believe has made the difference. Somewhere in this journey I have changed and God has not. God’s love for us is unchangeable. It is the strongest love we will ever experience. The bond between husband and wife and parent and child are examples of powerful bonds of love. Those relationships are intimately personal and precious and holy. These relationships however are subject to change. God’s love for us remains the same. We are so precious to God and we are engraved on the palms of both of His hands. God forgetting us is not possible. God has continual compassion for each of us.

I think we come to know God through the practical experiences of life, reading God’s Word, praying, serving, being with folks who love God and spending time in worship. The daily walk with God allows us to experience God’s love that goes beyond just knowledge.  God wants us to experience this extravagant love in full measure.  Maybe the holes in my soul were so gaping that the only way to fill them was for God to fill them with His Presence in the form of peace. Thanks for listening.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, cast our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be awake.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Tuesday!   All is well here at 811.  I love to say that!  God is good and love wins!

“For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Ephesians 5: 8

Living close to God gives us the gift of walking in the Light.  When we walk closely to God each day then the radiance of God shines all around us and within us.  Each of us has walked a path of darkness by our own choice or due to circumstances that life has dropped in our lap.  I really do not like to walk in darkness of any kind whether it is into a darkened room or experience darkness in my soul. The dark scares me. My meditation tonight said, “If you try to look into the future, you will find yourself peering into darkness.”   God has granted us light for one day at a time just like God provided manna for one day at a time to that wandering nation of Israel.  When we walk with God each day, God’s face shines on us in the present.  It is in this extraordinary Presence where we find the gracious and unfailing love of God that transforms us and turns our dark days, dark paths and the darkness that can happen in our souls into glorious light.  Give thanks with a heart filled with light and abundant gratitude.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, casting our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep.  God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be awake. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, September 23, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street


Happy Monday!  Family conference was great today. I met with each of his therapists. They tell me of how hard he works, progress  and of his motivation.  He has graduated out of part of his PT. He now goes to the YMCA two days per week for weight training and swimming.  Very cool.  His speech and education therapists both note improvements at a slow but pretty steady pace.  He is working on retaining information from day to day and seems to have greater progress with skills in context than skills in isolation.  Oral reading is a problem due to language issues, but when given a sentence with a word missing and choices offered he is mostly successful in selecting the correct word. These choices are made by Bruce pointing to the word. The knowledge is there. It is just not able to be expressed vocally as yet with accuracy. Given three or four word cards and asked to choose a particular word he can usually choose (points to) the word requested. It is sort of like smoking a brisket…low and slow. He will get there it is just a slow process. I have every confidence in the therapists and in Bruce to master these skills and have full use of his language and speech once again.  God is good and love wins.


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD…

Jeremiah 29: 13-14


With so many things on the plate of my life my greatest weakness is being distracted. Remembering to seek God in all parts of my life takes sustained effort. God understands the broken places in my life and why I am easily distracted.  According to my meditation tonight God does not expect perfection in a constant desire of God’s presence, but the effort I put into this pleases God. 


I guess I am sort of like Bruce in being willing to pour myself into this effort to seek God in all parts of my life.  The promise is that if I seek God with all of my heart then I will find God, “declares the LORD.”  Bruce and I are both on challenging journeys.  But as long as we both continue to focus on the paths we are walking led by the love of God and His desire for us to remain in His Presence then we will be found by God. 


Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, casting our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be awake. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


PS  As to the fatigue and the growth hormone issue. I was told to day that this happens almost routinely with stroke patients. The stroke throws the pituitary gland out of whack. We should know by the end of the week whether Bruce needs treatment for this issue or if it has begun to correct itself.  We also found out that he is to do nothing that involves vibrations such a lawn mowing, chain saws, roller coasters, motorcycle riding, jack hammering etc…. The brain is still healing and cannot withstand jarring motions.  Keep praying!  Peace, gc






Sunday, September 22, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Blessed Sunday to you all!  Happy first day of Fall. This is one of my most favorite days of the year.  I wore my fall leaf shirt and got out my fall leaf dessert plates for the pie I served tonight. The fall placemats came out and the spring and summer lipsticks were put away and the fall lipsticks are in the bag!

 I am beginning to notice Bruce tiring easily. Today we made a grocery run to Walmart and he was not picking up his feet when he walked. Most of the time I have to keep up with him (this is a new development since the stroke) as he is on the move pretty rapidly.  Today he shuffled his feet and was really tired when we got home. Tomorrow I he and I will attend a Family Conference at CNS and I intend to bring up my concern about Bruce’s fatigue and see if they have any clues. 

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11

You may have figured out that I love the Psalms. They bring me a source of comfort and assurance when I need to be reminded of my relationship with God.  When our basic vital needs are met God is the only One who can satisfy our souls.  God is the living relationship within our souls that give us joy in abundance. Whenever the world seems to take all that we have to give and we feel empty, we can go boldly to the throne of grace, pour out our hearts and allow God to fill that emptiness with unfailing love and Presence.  Hebrews 4: 16 gives us direction, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  God is good and love wins!

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope never disappoints.  Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a heart filled with gratitude, cast our cares upon the LORD and get some sleep. God is up all night anyway so there is no reason for all of us to be awake.  Love you, Bruce and Gaylene