Saturday, October 12, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Saturday!  Frogs Win! Frogs Win!! And Geni landed safely at LAX, located her rental car and negotiated her way to the suburb of Santa Barbara via a coastal highway. She sent pictures and the mountains and water looked so wonderful. We are babysitting the granddaughter dog; Penny, and they are all three having a “grand” time!

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

Psalm 17:15

Lord, I need your help on every step of this path. I need Your healing Presence to transform brokenness into wholeness and to become the woman You designed me to be.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

When a heart is wounded sometimes we look outward to find comfort and healing. When true comfort and healing is needed we need to look up and not out. We look to God who reveals Himself to us through the Psalms, the prayers of God’s people, through conversations with godly friends and loving godly family. In the promises of God found in scripture and for me especially the Psalms we become filled with love, joy, peace and purpose.  God knows the hidden thoughts of our hearts and sees our circumstances from a panoramic point of view and knows when we are emotionally spent. God understands us so well and helps us to overcome any challenge we face. Take joy in the journey of healing and wholeness. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

(Gentlemen, please feel free to insert your name/gender into the prayer. Love you guys.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Friday! TGIF Today God is First!  Writing late tonight as Bruce and I watched Star Trek Into the Darkness.  We had a wonderful lunch with Bruce’s sister and her husband today. They live in Corpus Christi and were making a Texas tour to visit family. On their loop back home they met us at the Center for a Chicken Express Lunch and a great visit. It was great to see them and they were so glad to see how well Bruce is doing. They had not seen Bruce since the stroke. He was so glad to see them too. 

As to my issue of the paper. Briefly:  my professor is going to meet with me for help. Two of my Brite friends are going to help me next week with some new learning and I am feeling much better. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support as I count it down.  I read a brief devotion before going to sleep last night and the final sentence last night was “Accomplish great things in the name of Jesus and finish strong!”  I still have learning to do and I am not sure about the strong finish, but I will finish faithfully.  God is good and love wins!

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19: 26

I have spent a fair amount of time in the last 48 hours feeling kind of broken. But God can create wholeness out of brokenness. For a while I began to think my dreams of ministry were not going to happen and no I do not have prospects, but God can do what man cannot. I have now released the hope of ministry into the hands of God and into God’s care and keeping.  Today I have given my sadness and feelings of brokenness over to God and God has transformed them into joy.  As difficult as it is sometimes adversity is a gift waiting to be transformed into victory by the power of God’s grace and unfailing love.  Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Prayer request:  Geni is leaving very early in the morning for California to attend the wedding of a close friend. Please pray for her travel mercy as she travels in the air, on the ground in Los Angeles as she drives to Santa Barbara and her flight home. It is quite an adventure and she is traveling alone. Please say prayers for her throughout the weekend.  Thank you. Grace and pieces, gc

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Thursday!  All is well at 811 and I have a lot to learn.  Bruce is fine, but I did not do well on a paper and it has sort of brought me down. I will and get better. I have been through far worse and survived. Just say an extra prayer.  God is good and love does win.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 34

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.”

Psalm 43: 4

“DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW.”  This is such a simple straightforward command from Jesus taken straight from the text. Lately I do not make it through a day without worrying about something. I am afraid I am not being very obedient and remembering that God has given us enough grace for just one day. My thoughts lately have been going across the time line into tomorrow.  The meditation for tonight gives me this thought, “since the future has such a strong pull on your mind, it is helpful to direct your thoughts to something that appeals to you in the present.”  I think I am being told to count my blessings.  When I count my blessings I begin with giving thanks for God being present in my life, never to leave. I have blessed assurance and daily trust that God and I will get through this moment in my life. And then I begin to give thanks for Bruce and the very different journey we are both on. We are walking on parallel journeys. We are both walking a journey daily into new normal without a clue as to what is on the other side. I think I am most thankful that we are walking side by side.   I give thanks for our children and pray for their happiness. I give thanks for the phone call from Daddy this afternoon and by the time I have done this then I am feeling better. God is far greater than this academic flub and will be present when it is fixed. Hang with me friends I still have about six or seven weeks to go and a lot of work to do. Thank you mighty and faithful prayer warriors. Take joy in this step-by-step journey to the next finish line. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Wednesday!  All is well at 811. I got back up on the horse and have already selected a new passage for my next exegesis.  But the most amazing thing was that tonight Bruce communicated to me an app he needed on his ipad mini. It is an application that speaks to him words and phrases, works on spelling and works on comprehension. Some of the words are longer such as kangaroo and earrings. While other words are like dog, leg or pink. Tonight I discovered his visual comprehension is better than his auditory comprehension. One of the programs says a word and scrambles the letters of the word. The task is to unscramble the word to match the spoken word without pictures.  His accuracy rate was great.  It was so great to watch and listen to him interact with this app. He says that this will keep him working on all of these skills when he is not at the Center. I love his motivation and the effort he puts in to his recovery and restoration. He is amazing!  God is so good and love wins.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 40: 3

“WHENEVER YOU ARE TEMPTED TO GRUMBLE , COME TO ME AND TALK IT OUT.”   There are several things I would like to be different in my life.  I spent some time yesterday having the “spare me’s” and became really discouraged.  And the longer I felt discouraged the lower my confidence level dropped.  But in my prayer time this morning I asked God to help me push past this and to be renewed and begin again.  So I began to search the scriptures and select another passage for which to write my next exegesis. God led me to a wonderful passage and I began the research today and will be in the library in the morning doing more research. 

God has brought me to the last six hours of this degree and a wrench was thrown into the plan. Bruce suffered a stroke and all of a sudden my focus changed from working toward graduation to the care of my husband.  My faith was not shaken, but I think my daily trust went out of focus. I was so busy feeling inadequate that I forgot to be grateful to God for being with me every step and to remember that it was God who started me on this journey  and all that came with it and all that is to come and God will remain with me until this chapter of the journey is complete.  No matter how I have felt, God is greater than my stumbles and remains with me to listen, and love and die for me.  It is in the Presence of this God of love I find joy.  Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

PS The interview went well and I have been asked to return next Wednesday night to conduct a 20 minute rehearsal. I pick up the music in the morning. Keep praying.  Grace and pieces, gc

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Tuesday!  All is well at 811. The interview went well this evening. I was not only their first interview of the evening, but I was the first interview. They told me there were ten applicants for the position. I reminded them that after they have interviewed number 10 to remember who they interviewed first. I am not sure when I will find out anything, but I promise to let you know. 

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”

Jude 1: 24-25

I turned in my paper today and the professor opened class with the passage I chose to write the paper. (He has not yet read my paper. But I know what it says.)  His view of the story was pretty much in direct opposition to mine. I felt really discouraged after his comments. He is a foremost authority in his field. So, I am going to begin the next paper this week and perhaps I will do a better job.  It is moments like today that I just want to get through this semester. 

There were parts of today where the journey was a little tougher than usual. I got discouraged. When I get discouraged I try to  remember that the power of God works through those who need Him. I felt trapped in my own limitations of not being a good academic writer. But the knowledge that God is present with me. The presence of God gives me strength to resist being discouraged and to try again and do hopefully a better job.

I looked at the calendar today and if I have counted correctly I have only 5 class periods left and I will have attained my Master’s of Divinity degree..  God is reminding me to stay on the path and not give up. This is the path God has chosen for me. Bruce tells a story that says that Satan attacks when God’s people get really close to the target. There is still a mountain to climb and there may be some rough places I encounter, but the Presence of God will remain and I will get through these last weeks and last papers and I will graduate awith great joy. Walk this journey with me my friends with prayer, taking joy in each step. Let us wear our comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thanksgiving:  A special thanks to Geni for making dinner tonight, spending time with her Daddy and having dinner ready when I came home from the interview.  Love you sweet girl! Grace and pieces, gc

Monday, October 7, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Monday! All is well here at 811.  I completed my second paper and it is ready to be turned in tomorrow in class. YEA!! Bruce and I ran a few errands when he got home this afternoon. Today we needed to go to Home Depot. For a home repair man…that is his home away from home. We practiced trying to say Home Depot. It came out “Home Depair.”  It was so funny and we both laughed, I thought it was fantastic. God is good and love wins.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 6-7

After printing my paper today I felt a great weight lifted. And then I remembered I still had reading to do for class tomorrow.  I got some of it done, but not all. I found myself distracted. I have an interview tomorrow evening for a church music director’s position. I would really like to get the position. With all of these things to think about I did not feel very peaceful. I was anxious about the interview, did not complete my reading for tomorrow and hopeful that my papers will be found acceptable. And then I read this scripture verse tonight.  The opening sentence of my meditation tonight read, “MY PEACE IS SUCH AN ALL ENCOMPASSING GIFT THAT IT IS INDEPENDENT OF CIRCUMSTANCES.”  (God seems to know what I need to hear when I need to hear it.) I remembered the one of the final scenes in the gospels where the disciples and others were in an upper room and there was nothing but chaos going on. After Jesus resurrection He appears to this room full of folks and simply says, “Peace be with you.”  Jesus taught the disciples and other followers about peace prior to crucifixion and then appears to them to remind them of His teachings and the gift of peace.

The kind of peace Jesus offers is nothing this world can give. This peace is deep comfort that is present with us in the midst of any adversity we experience. The peace that is present within us is the ever present, unfailing love of God. This kind of peace is a gift we receive when we are open to receive it. I read today about how Jesus was treated in His own hometown. Those who knew Him when He was a child and growing up rejected Him when He came home. Jesus was unable to do any of His works of healing or even preaching because these people were not open to Him or His teachings. They were unable to experience any of His power because their hearts and minds were closed to Him. 

My friends, for a while today I was a bit overwhelmed and closed to the peace of God. I am better now. God knew I did not need a lecture or a dressing down for forgetting. He just simply said through the Holy Scriptures, “Peace be with you.”  God is good and love wins.  Take joy in the journey and receive the gift of God’s peace. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene
Prayer request:  Please pray for me as I prepare for tomorrow evening's interview. Thanks. grace and pieces, gc

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Blessed Sunday to you all.  We have had a wonderful day here at 811 Austin Street.  Geni and Cody picked Bruce up for church. I assisted in Children’s church and Children’s Worship at RCCC today. We had lunch together with a couple of new recipes of pecan pie cobbler and bacon wrapped  french-fries with a honey butter scallion sauce. And I completed the draft for my second paper and emailed it off to my new editor. After lunch I got a glass of tea and set it on a small table in the living room. I left the room for a few moments and upon my return Geni and Cody told me, “He said your name.”  I missed it, so maybe someday I will hear it again, but for now “darlin’” will do. Tonight Bruce asked, “Where is my flashlight?”  and then He asked, “Did I get it right?” And with near tears rolling down my face I assured him he was absolutely right.  God is good and love wins!

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62: 1-2

I have been studying the story in Mark of the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years. In this exegesis paper I began to notice the women in the book of Mark. When a woman was attached to a man in marriage, or parents or a relative the man in the relationship would go to Jesus on the woman’s behalf.  But the unnamed women who had no male attachment such as a slave, prostitute, or the woman who was slowly bleeding to death over twelve years would seek Jesus out even in public and tell them what they needed. These women were the outcasts of the town and yet they knew by faith that Jesus would not reject them even though they were breaking laws right and left. These women found healing and restoration in the transforming power of Jesus. He did not only heal their bodies, but restored them to their respective communities. Jesus’ healing is a complete healing. The woman had been slowly been bleeding to death over twelve years with no male counterpart received God’s grace when within the hearing distance of the crowd He called her “daughter.” Jesus claimed her as His daughter, His own child allowing her to be restored and healed. So to whom did Jesus preach the good news? The good news of Jesus for these women and for all of us is that God loves us. God transforms us with healing grace. God is our surrounding stronghold of unfailing love. Take joy in this journey of trust and transformation. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

PS Did I just hear the weatherman say upper 40’s in the morning? Could this be my morning for a sweatshirt?  Maybe….grace and pieces, gc