Saturday, October 26, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Saturday!  All is well at 811. We are all four tired, but doing well.  The Basset Shuffle was so much fun. There were about 200 basset hounds ranging in ages from 14 weeks to 14 1/2 years. He elder basset was pushed around in a stroller.  We did not win any prizes for the events entered, but we were most certainly recognized and photographed more than many of the other bassets.  We were the only ones representing the Purple Reign of TCU. They boys did themselves proud!  The funniest moment for me was just after the Anglican pastor (and claiming that he too was owned by bassets) pronounced a blessing over all the bassets. He then  offered individual blessings. We took Luther and Jackson over to the pastor for their blessings and as soon as the pastor placed his hands on Luther, Luther rolled over for a belly rub.  It was so funny!  We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the Shuffle and all took naps upon our return home.  Great time with really nice folks and the sweetest dogs ever. 

Lord, Thank you for a day with your presence being so near. We gave thanks today for part of your Creation. Thank you for the people and the animals you created that bring us happiness. Lord, you are goodness and light. Thank you for bringing us into the light of your love so that we may receive your goodness as a gift given out of your love. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Gaylene

When we bow low in the presence of God we recognize the greatness of God. When we walk humbly with God we acknowledge how dependent we are upon Him.  Lately I have been trying to be greatly open to receive the power and strength that only God can give. I am so aware of my neediness and am ready to receive the resources only God can give.  All of my efforts are for God’s glory and God’s highest use.  I am praying for all of my efforts to be elevated with increased focus, increased understanding and abilities that need to be increased and to be found worthy. We are all able to be more effective when we place ourselves in the hands of God. Perhaps with God’s encouragement we can encourage others.  Lord, empower us to receive your resources as we are needy people and then help us to bless others with your mighty spiritual gifts.

“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.”

Psalm 119: 76- 77

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, October 25, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

TGIF! Today God is First!  All is really great at 811. Bruce and I met with his therapists at the Center today. They had only amazing and positive things to say about his progress. I have watched and listened and conversated with him with the most clarity since the stroke. His testing agrees with what I am experiencing at home. I sat in on one of his speech sessions today. It was fascinating.  Bruce works so hard and he is really hard on himself when he messes up. WOW! God is so very good and the unfailing love of God absolutely wins. 

Lord, I give you thanks for every blessing I remember for which to give thanks and those I do not. Every gift you give is good and perfect and given out of Your unfailing love. Sometimes I only bring to you problems, grief, sorrow and need.  Lord, I thank you for receiving what I bring and giving what I need. Lord, the psalmist says, I trust in you, O Lord, You are my God. My times are in your hand.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tonight the opening sentence of my meditations says, “Give your problems, challenges, and difficulties to God, but make sure there are no claw marks on them.”  This made me laugh just a bit knowing how well God knows me. How many times have I offered surrender of something that is going wrong over to God and then struggled to keep it for myself and fix it.  What we need to do is let God carry us. God is far better able to carry us than we are ourselves. Interestingly enough it is in letting go and not holding on that makes us stronger. When we let go of tough situations, relationships, inner struggles, paper writing, studying the Gospel of Mark and Disciples History etc…here is what happens; we come to God with hands that are full and leave with hands that are empty.

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

2 Chronicles 16: 9

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

PS Tomorrow Bruce and I are taking Jackson and Luther to the Basset Shuffle. It is a fund raiser for basset rescue. The boys have their TCU t-shirts and collars. Bruce and I have our TCU shirts (no collars) ready. This family will represent the Purple Reign in fine style tomorrow.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Thursday!  All is well at 811. Bruce had a great day at rehab and I have things ready for the children in the morning. Tomorrow afternoon I will attend another Family conference at the Center. Bruce and I will meet with each of his therapists and they will give us his progress reports.  I always look forward to these conversations especially when they tell me how wonderful Bruce is, how hard he works and how he is the model patient!  I could tell them that for free!  I promise a report in the next post.  PS Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits is a bear! I think if you survive all of the paperwork and appointments, disability benefits should be awarded out of sheer endurance!!!  

Lord, whenever the pressures and stresses build up and it seems like the storm is breaking over me help me to remember the promises, your precious promises that you have so graciously given and that I will not be tempted or allowed to give up.  Help me to remember all of the times you came to me reminding me of the gift of joy and in your presence and power reminded me of your tender mercies, forgiveness, your promises and your Word guide and comfort me. In Jesus name, Amen

Ok yesterday I had a brief melt down. I am better today. I had a little talk with Jesus. I was feeling overwhelmed a bit and was having a bout with poor self-confidence. But today I remembered that God promised to never leave my side and is always at work on my behalf. God knows my struggles and I have asked for forgiveness for not remembering all I know about God and then I gave thanks for every blessing I have received. I have asked for the wisdom and strength of my Mom, the strongest woman I have ever known, the faith of our son Casey,  and the courage to stand firm in my faith and belief that the resurrection hope of the risen Christ that comes in our midst and says, “Peace be with you.” 

My friends if you find yourself in the struggle and seeing the storm please feel free to insert your name and accept the peace that God has given us as a gift out of the unfailing love of God in Christ Jesus. 

“Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given.”

Psalm 105: 5

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Wednesday!  All is well at 811. It was a great day. I enjoyed being back in the school atmosphere. I made individualized lesson plans for the younger students I will be tutoring and tomorrow I will make plans for older students. As it turns out because I have been out of the public school classroom for more than 12 consecutive months I can work as many hours as I want and it will not interfere with my retirement. If I so choose I can go back full time with a school district without it interfering with my retirement either. The children and staff seemed to be genuinely glad that I was there and I am looking forward to working with all of them. 

Lord, I choose the abundant life you offer and the eternal life you promise. I chose a long time ago to follow you. The path of seminary is one that is not traveled by so many. Lord, I am very close to finishing. Lord, do not let me fail you or return from following after you.  Please strengthen me by your word to complete what you have begun. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen

Tonight after dinner we watched the movie “Cool Runnings.” It is one of our favorites. In the final scene the Jamaican bobsled team has crashed their bobsled prior to the finish line. The captain of the team takes off his helmet and he sees the finish line knowing that his team will not cross it for the desired medal. And I began to cry.  I see the finish line and I am determined to cross over and receive my degree. There just seem to be obstacles to the finish line. Satan seems to be working very hard right now to keep me from reaching the goals God has set before me.  The obstacles are my own confidence that something will keep me from reaching the goal of this degree and future ordination. And then I remember...this path was ordained by God and has molded me into the person God desires me to be—for better or worse I have believe I have followed the path that has led to God. So my friends and family, I ask for your prayers for strength over the next few weeks to complete the work set before me and to be faithful and rely on God that all is in control by God and I need not fear.  I ask for your prayers for Bruce’s continued healing and progress. Those four men from Jamaica battered and bruised got out of their broken bobsled and carried their boat on the ice and over the finish line. They finished their race with grace and honor.  By God’s grace and the prayers of those who have followed this journey I pray to kneel at UCC and be hooded by one of the faculty as a sign that this part of the journey is complete and I have been found fit to receive this degree and faithful in the sight of God. This path has never been easy for me, but it has been the most remarkable journey and has shaped me for service.   

“I will follow your rules forever, because they make me happy. I will try to do what you demand forever, until the end.”

Psalm 119: 111-112

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Tuesday!  All is well at 811. Bruce seems to be feeling better and he is much better pleased with his education therapy. I heard the most amazing sermon given in Brite Chapel today. It was preached by a very gifted Brite student. He absolutely rocked the house. The Brite choir sang a rousing spiritual that followed this powerful preaching. As this gifted young preacher ascended the stairs to the imposing pulpit in Kerr Chapel the congregations sang, “Spirit of the Living God Fall Afresh on Me”.  It was amazing!  I spoke with my professor about the paper that I did not do well on and he was most helpful. So I hope to do better on the next one. Count down…four class session and three papers to go.  WOW!  God is good and love wins!

Lord, when I consider my blessings, one by one I sing praises with great joy. When I remember how you have been so gracious to meet our needs my heart is filled with peace. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

One of the things I have discovered is that the more expensive the school you attend, the greater the financial aid you are given. Needs met by aid.  I have thought about this as sometime next summer my schools bills are going to start having to be repaid. God’s gracious abundance sort of works this way except we can never repay. The greater the need for God we have, the greater intimacy we have with God. The greater intimacy we have with our Creator, Savior and Lord the more we come to know God. Philippians tells us that “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Needs are not always met in tangible items, but sometimes the riches we are given come in the intangible. We are given strength when we are weak. We are given joy when sorrow is all we can understand. We are given hope when none of our plans are working out like we thought.  But most of all we are given love unfailing and unlimited in greater abundance than we can ever understand.  So let us  praise God and give thanks for each blessing and then share with others the great things God has done for us. 

“I am eager to learn all that you want me to do; help me to understand more and more.”

Psalm 119: 32

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Prayer request: I begin work tomorrow at Burton Hill Elementary. Please pray for me to discipline myself to work study and write.  I am praying for God to stretch my time so that I may meet all of the needs before me including Bruce, home, study, writing and working with the children. I am excited about this new chapter in my life. I began my seminary journey as a teacher at Burton Hill and now that I am finishing my seminary studies I am beginning once again at Burton Hill. I think God has a plan in all of this.   May my eyes see and my ears hear and my heart be open to the leading of God.  Grace and pieces, gc

Monday, October 21, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Happy Monday!  Bruce is still having problems with the sinus infection. Tonight when we sat down to dinner he sang the opening pitch of our table grace. It was several tones lower than usual. We sang anyway, but laughed. Geni also took him out to our storage unit tonight while I studied and wrote a short paper.  He has become a little cold natured. He went to find winter jackets. This cold natured thing is a new development. He also said that most of his therapies went well except his education therapy.  He did not think he did well today. I think he has set a high standard for himself and when he does not hit the mark he becomes upset with himself.  I reassured him that everyone has a bad class sometimes and tomorrow will be back to normal.  God is good and love wins!

Lord, I am ready and willing for you to shape me and use me. In Jesus name. Amen

One of my favorite songs is The Potter’s Hand. If I am granted God’s grace for ordination this song will be a congregational hymn that will be sung.  “…crafted into Your perfect plan.”  The story from Jeremiah shares that Jeremiah went to the potter’s shed and watched. After watching the potter make pot after perfect pot one of the pots did not turn out as he desired. So the potter did not discard the pot. He took the still soft clay and plied it into a shapeless lump. He returned it to the wheel and began again; shaping and molding the clay into the desired shape until it was beautiful, perfect and ready for the potter’s use.

God loves us so very much that we are remade daily into His image and being prepared for God’s highest use. We are not throw away clay. We are the creation God chose to be in relationship and shower us with extravagant love.  When we let God lead us we are the clay in His hands being recreated and crafted into His perfect plan to be used as a vessel in His heart.

“He used that clay to make another pot the way he wanted it to be.”

Jeremiah 18: 4

 Take joy in this amazing journey. Trust God daily. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Greetings from Austin Street

Blessed Sunday to you all!  Two amazing things today. First, Bruce’s brother flew in and was able to have an afternoon visit. He is an executive with FedX who lives in Memphis and has meetings this week in the Metroplex. It was so wonderful to see him. He was able to come to our home, have lunch, visit with Bruce and I, look at pictures, met and played with Luther and Jackson and see the Cowboys beat the Eagles. The second amazing thing that happened was that I perfected a recipe I have been working on. It is a chocolate pecan cobbler. Oh My!!! It might be State Fair worthy next fall!  What a great afternoon!! God is good and today the love of family wins.

Prayer request:  Bruce is battling his October sinus infection. Please pray for him as these infections hit him really hard. Thanks. Grace and pieces, gc

Lord, I thank you for every good and perfect gift you have ever given. I think you for the blessings of love and family. Thank you for meeting the needs of this family and staying so close especially as things change. Help me to maintain a study time, a writing time, time for Bruce and most especially time for You.   I thank you for all of the times I hear you speak when I meditate on your word. Through faith and practice keep me within hearing distance. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

I invited Dale into my study today. As he walked in I began to take in all of the books on the shelves and the three stacked on my desk. I remember when these books were in our dining room and it looked like the grad student study. Now they are all within arm’s reach. Each one of these books has been read, studied and probably found its name in a bibliography of a paper I have written. 

And even though I have read these books I have only meditated on one book. I have meditated on the Holy Bible and written reflections on passages of scripture. I have prayed these words and when I pray the words of scripture my soul is encouraged, my spirit is uplifted and my mind finds new ways apply these ancient words to my daily living. Here is the good news. What started out as a discipline six years ago has turned into a time of delight in my day; a time to which I look forward every day. God has become very present to me and my promise and God’s power has become my strength. I am taking joy in this new journey because God has promised to be with me. I will wear comfortable shoes and tonight I will get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

“You made me willing to listen and obey. And so, I said, ‘I am here to do what is written about me in the book, where it says, ‘I enjoy pleasing you. Your Law is in my heart.”

Psalm 40: 6-8