Saturday, March 22, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday!  All is well here at 811.  I have spent most of the day thanking so many friends and family for their wonderful messages of hope, encouragement and well wishes. I have spent several hours on the phone talking with family and friends and it has been wonderful.  Bruce has been outside much of the day working on an ongoing project. He works until he gets really tired. This is a project with a deadline rapidly approaching so please keep him in your prayers so that he can complete this project and put it behind him.  Thank you all so very much for your prayers now and in the days to come. They are keeping my heart at peace and my spirit uplifted. God is good and love wins!

Dear God, thank you for being with me in my yesterdays and in my tomorrows. I praise you for blessing all the days of my life.  Even though I cannot see you God I know you are there because you have always been there. Lord, I give thanks that you are there in the voices of friends and family. I am grateful you are there as my hiding place when I just need to be with you. When I am with you there is no trouble because I am surrounded by perfect love.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

As this abrupt change in my life has come about I have had some time to think about my attitude. Is cancer a scary thing? Yes! Can I do anything about it right now? No. I would not be truthful if I said I do not think about it with every thought. Because of course I do. However it is not in my nature to be a gloomy Gus.  But here is the thing…I do not live in a house of fear. The house of fear teaches that I have cancer because of some great sin I have done in my past and this is God’s punishment. If I believed in this theology I would be angry at God and blaming God for this interruption in my life and plans. I would also be denying the salvation of the Lord through the forgiveness given by Jesus on the cross. The forgiveness on the cross is God’s faithful grace –filled love found in the kingdom of eternal love.   I live in a house of Love. This house is filled with our God who is fully with me today and always eternally guarding and guiding me along the road. God did not give me this disease, but God promises in His Word that he will be with me and somehow bring goodness out of this experience.  God goes behind me in protection, before me pointing me in the right direction and beside me for companionship.  And when I become weary, frightened and feeling very alone God has offered his very self as a hiding place for as long as I need it. 

“The LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Psalm 52: 12
“You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 32: 7

Take joy in the journey allowing the LORD to teach us to do His will because He is our God. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink! (That last part is for you Carme.). Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, March 21, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First! All is not so wonderful here at 811. The news came around 2: 30 this afternoon. I have Stage 2 Breast Cancer.  I have an oncology appointment this Thursday and a surgical appointment on the following Wednesday. God is with me and with our family.  Please place me and our family on your prayer lists because we learned for previous experience when one of us has cancer all of us have cancer. One of us carries the disease, but those who support help fight the battle. God is good and love wins!
Dear God, silence is a challenge. Help my spirit to be calm and quiet before you so that I may know and trust you more. You are my hiding place. You surround me with songs of deliverance.  I place my hope in You. You spoke the world into existence and I claim and proclaim your unlimited power. Right now God I am very needy and in need of your strength and power. I pray this power and strength over my family as you walk this journey with each of us. You are my song of joy. So while I wait in this time of some knowns and many unknowns help me to rest in your holy presence and tender, healing grace. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

As days go I have had better.  When the news came I asked the doc what to do next and she said get an appointment with your oncologist and we will arrange for your surgeon.  I have spent much of the remainder of the day on the phone with family and friends receiving great love and support. But now it is time for quiet. It is time to spend quiet time with God and just be quiet. God knows what is going on inside my body and spirit. God is almighty, wonderful, powerful and a loving friend. This is the God who will make me whole again and gives us the desires of our hearts. There is nothing on earth or in heaven that can keep God from working on my behalf and I praise his holy and powerful name!

"Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act."  Psalm 37: 7

Take joy in the journey and place your hope in the Lord staying steadily on the path. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811. I had a biopsy today. Now we wait. I could hear results late tomorrow, but I am not really looking to hear anything until Monday. Today, Bruce and I decided to get out of the house and have breakfast out. As we were headed to breakfast the old hymn His Eye is on the Sparrow came on my Pandora radio.  So now I am singing through tears of anxiousness and joy resting in the full knowledge no matter what happens I will be alright because God cares for me.  I have been asked to sing at Advent on Sunday morning. I will be singing my God inspired hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow.

Dear God, thank you for helping me to soar like an eagle. I will not think of the obstacles but will praise your wonderful strength. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your promise to remain and renew my strength as I wait.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Eagles soar high in the sky taking no notice or concern of the obstacles down on the ground. They seem to fly without ever getting tired. Would it not be wonderful if we could just forget our concerns and challenges and rise above them on wings like eagles? As much as we would all love to defy gravity and fly on wings like eagles we are not equipped for this task. The good news is that God never tires or wearies of renewing our strength when we wait upon him. As I am in a place of waiting, the strength of God’s promise to lift me to new heights to meet the challenges of each new day calls me to take heart.  God’s strong promises are true and I am relying on the strength of the promises and loving grace of our God who loves and cares. God is good and love wins!

“They shall lift their wings and mount up as eagles.”
Isaiah 40: 31
“The LORD…does not become tired or need to rest. No one can understand how great his wisdom is. He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.”
Isaiah 40: 28-29

Take joy in the journey claiming because the Lord is my shepherd I lack for nothing.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is well her at 811.

Dear God, when my future seems to be filled with stony peaks, I will place my hope in your strength and faithfulness. God, sometimes peace is hard to achieve, but Lord I claim your sovereignty over all things in my life praying for the peace that passes all understanding for your honor and glory.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tomorrow I am having an in office medical procedure. Depending on the results of this procedure will determine another journey in my life.  The procedure itself is not that scary, but the results could be life altering. My meditation tonight talks of great stony peaks rising in the distance—“cold and formidable.”  These peaks from a distance would appear to be unforgiving and off limits to anyone to try the ascent. And then upon a closer look there is a climber. Watching the climber take one step at a time and always in an upward direction one “toehold at a time and one hand hold at a time”  is a pretty good example of a way for us to live our life of faith.

When we look and see nothing but a great mountain that has planted itself in our lives looking so imposing, frightening with unpredictable twists, turns and sheer passages with no toeholds or hand holds we must not lose heart. God has promised to remain with us through every challenge and equip us with whatever we need to continue the upward climb. God gives us hope and encouragement to continue one step at a time and to hold us steady until we have reached the summit.

“All who trust the LORD, be cheerful and strong.”
Psalm 31: 24
“Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?”
Psalm 62: 2

Take joy in the journey with a cheerful heart and a peaceful spirit.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Pray for me for the next few days. Thank you all who read these thoughts and may they be of help to you. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811.

Dear God, thank you for understanding me and healing me with your love.  I’m so thankful that you comprehend the things for which there are no words.  Thank you for being by my side so I never need to fear.  I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

There are times when I cannot find the words (I know it is hard to believe.) to express to God how I feel about my circumstances  especially when there is so much emotion tied to life events. When circumstances are difficult it is easy to become confused about what to do next. Sometimes all I can do is whisper the name Jesus. Jesus is the one who understands everything that we have been through because He came to earth so that we might know Him. Jesus came to earth to experience what we feel and to understand our inner struggles. Jesus has perfect wisdom concerning each of us. When Jesus was in the desert during His temptation He was never confused and even in His physical hunger, thirst and Satan’s temptations His faithfulness was never shaken. The story tells that after the last of Satan’s temptations the angels came and attended him.  On that day the kingdom of glory wrapped Jesus in love and healing. In each of our days even when our faith is shaken, God’s faithfulness to us is never shaken and we are wrapped in His kingdom of grace and healing love.

“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”
Psalm 31: 7

Take joy in the journey and let the faithfulness of the psalmist remind us of the love God has for us…”The LORD is my shepherd…I lack for nothing.”  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, March 17, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday and a tip o’ the green hat to all of you on this fine St. Patrick ’s Day! All is well here at 811. I spoke to one of Bruce’s therapists this morning. He was very excited about Bruce’s language I spoke of last night. The good news is that the right and left sides of Bruce’s brain are beginning to work together. It is a sign of good progression.  Bruce still has difficulty with nouns, but this breakthrough is pretty amazing.  Giving great thanks. God is good and love wins.

Dear God, May I listen for your guidance in the soft whispers and feel it in the gentle nudges of everyday life. Help me to follow your light when I know it comes from you. I am thankful for the people around me. Thank you for growing me through them and increasing my love for them. Thank you Lord for Bruce’s continued healing and progress. Thank you for working through him and all those who work with him. You are our rock in whom we place our trust and to whom we can tell everything about ourselves for nothing is hidden from you.  I love you Lord Jesus. In Jesus name, amen.

Last night I talked about when we are in the darkness and the lengths to which we will go to find light. Lighthouses are an image of steadfast light. They stand out in the elements taking whatever the wind, rain, storm, gales, pelting sea spray and even the baking sun might bring. Lighthouses can stand fast for centuries. Lighthouses throw light out into the night to tell ship captains to turn to shore to avoid hitting the rocks that would destroy.   Lighthouses cause us to think about the words refuge, strong fortress, strength.  Psalm 31 uses those words.  This psalm attributed to King David claims these words, “In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;….be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me…for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”  The psalms written by the hands of God’s people implored God to care for them in the strongest of storms asking for God’s light to shine in their path. The final verse brings the word of hope to be strong and take heart to all who hope in the Lord. My God send the light of Jesus into all of our lives so that we stand in the illuminating presence of his grace and most tender mercies. 

“Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.”
Psalm 31: 2

Take joy in the journey and remember because the Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing. Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all.  All is well here at 811. I was writing last night’s journal entry when the power went out in our house.  There is not a great deal of light here on Austin Street when the entire neighborhood goes out. It is amazing what one will do to get back into the light.  My ever resourceful husband found our small wind-up lantern and it fell to the ground. The housing at the bottom of the lantern had broken off.  I am telling you all of that to tell you this…Bruce asked for scissors and he got some tape and prepared to fix the lantern. I held the scissors and another flashlight. Bruce took the tape and then talked himself through each step as he prepared the lantern. There were no interruptions. There was only clear flowing language as he repaired the lantern. When he finished I looked at him and said, “Do you realize that you spoke perfectly throughout the entire process of fixing the lantern.  You did not hunt for words or speak anything that did not make sense. It was perfectly executed language.”  His response was, “I did?” He had no idea what he was saying. He was just talking himself through the repair process. I was amazed.  I also have some questions for the folks at the center about his not realizing what he is saying.  God is good and love wins!

God, I thank you for comforting me during times of sorrow and turning it into a vehicle of joy. I thank you for shedding light on my circumstances in my life I do not understand.  You know how I have always been afraid of the dark Lord. Thank you for providing promise and provision in the sunrise each day. You illumine each situation bringing despair out of the darkness and creating the opportunity for delight. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

It got really dark last night. We live in a small neighborhood without street lights. So when we lost power last night it was really dark. Not too often am I grumpy, but when it is that dark I really get uneasy.  I am so glad Bruce was with me.  But I learned something last night. When the lights went out the immediate task was to find some type of light. So the hunt went on for the lantern and flashlights. There would no stopping until we had a light source.  It was not too very long that Bruce had the light repaired and we had a small lantern and a couple of flashlights. But I knew if these light sources were left on for a somewhat lengthy amount of time their energy would eventually go out. The good news was not long after the lantern was repaired the power came back on.

The things about darkness are the house noises you hear in the dark and not in the light. Even the familiar house becomes somewhat confining and treacherous.  The same is true about the unknown in our lives. The unknowns can be places of darkness, fearsome and restrictive.  We long to see the light of understanding to illumine the darkness. Here is the good news.  Even if the power in our house had stayed out all night, the sun was going to come up and shine its light into our windows and once again we would be able to safely and without fear navigate our way.  I have to believe that is how God works in the situations in our lives we do not understand and the prayers that have so far gone unanswered. The energy and light of God’s love is infinite and eternal. God will in His time illumine our situation and we will see God’s insight and provision for our problem or situation. We just have to be willing to wait on the light.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Psalm 30: 5
Take joy in the journey and wait for the light of God to shine His glorious light of love and grace into the midst of our life situations and wait for the joy.  Wear comfortable shoes and get some sleep.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene