Friday, July 4, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Fourth of July 2014 and TGIF Today God is First!  All is well here at 811.  Bruce worked all day today and I was completely surprised by an unexpected visit from Carme. She called me from her car which was out in front of our house.  What a wonderful gift I received today! God is good.

Dear God, as one chapter of my life is closed (hopefully forever!) I know that it is time to begin again. Help me to have the courage to follow as you lead and to be ever mindful of your voice.  I know there are times I want to progress faster than you are leading and I am sorry. I confess my need to ask you to step into my situation and circumstances so that I am lead and lifted in your perfect support. Lord, let me set my heart on you and respond to your wisdom.  God, when I face difficulties teach me to trust you more deeply.  I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name.

Today was truly Independence Day with a surprise gift. Independence came at 9:00 this morning as I sat on the couch with a cup of coffee and watched NCIS and did not have a radiation treatment. The gift was my best friend coming to visit unannounced.  It was a great joy to see her and drink Diet Dr. Pepper at Sonic.  We have been through so many things together that have brought us great joy, aerobic laughter and great sorrow.  But somehow or other we pick ourselves up regroup and rebuild by God’s grace and love.

When we (all of us) have disappointments, setbacks and tough times whether we brought them on ourselves or have them thrust upon us provide a foundation for God to help us to regroup and rebuild. It is new normal once again. When we look to God during these times we receive the support of God and accept God’s help. These are the times that we discover what God can do, His capacity to love and how powerful our partnership with God really is. Having the courage and faith to partner with God will lead us in new ways to love, heal, forgive and find forgiveness. Tough times, setbacks and disappointments placed in the hands of God are the first steps to a new adventure and once again a new normal. 

“I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.”
Psalm 70: 5
“Let all who love your saving way say over and over, ‘God is mighty.”
                                                                                             Psalm 70: 4         
Take joy in the journey and give thanks that God is the author of our adventures.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and step out on faith.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Thursday!  All is well here at 811.  34 treatments completed. 0 to go!  It is finished. The parting words of the staff to me today before the hugs and goodbyes were that the radiation would remain in my body for about two weeks and I needed to use a daily moisturizer and good sunscreen if I wear round necked or v-necked shirts and blouses when going outside. The skin will be very sensitive to the sun’s rays for quite some time to come. Full healing from surgery and radiation will take up to a year.  The staff at the Arlington Cancer Center , while being masterful in their skills, are also compassionate and caring care givers. They realize the vulnerability of each patient. They greet each patient with a cheerful smile and a wonderful attitude.  While I will not miss the daily treatment and the effects of radiation I most assuredly miss those sweet folks. Daily interaction with them has created relationships that are family like. I give thanks for their expert skills, their kind and gracious care and the new found friendships.  Bruce and I give thanks to each of you for your words of encouragement and constant prayers. God inhabits and prayers and praises of His people. We have been recipients of great love. Thank you.

Dear God, you lift my burdens with your love. Thank you for helping me so much. Lord, I have learned to love you more through seeing the love you have placed in others. I have learned to trust you no matter what the circumstances. I give thanks for your storehouse of abundance and willingness to help when we ask.  Savior I pray your will to be accomplished as Bruce and I heal and that you will use us to help others. You are so wonderful Lord and I love you so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bruce and I have carried a couple of pretty tough burdens this year. But we did not carry them alone. God has lifted us in His everlasting arms and has carried most of the burden on himself. While Bruce and I fought disease through rehab, surgery and therapy God took care of other things so that we could concentrate on healing. Many of those helps came in the form of meals prepared by others and brought lovingly to our home. We received cards of encouragement, countless prayers from friends and family.  There were those who helped and supported by going with each of us to doctor’s appointments. These are the ways God puts His loving arms underneath us and carries us. So from Bruce and I here at 811 we give thanks to God for continuing to restore us to good health.  We give thanks that when we have felt heavy-laden and overburdened that God picked us up in His everlasting arms through the love of His people. No matter what our circumstances we did not go through this time alone.

My prayer for each of you is to remember that when you seek God for help rejoice and believe that God will help you. God is good and love wins.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Matthew 11: 28
“Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the LORD has dealt beautifully with you.” (Amen!)
Psalm 116: 7

Take joy in the journey and tonight I give thanks that the journey continues. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and give thanks with a grateful heart.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday! All is well here at 811. 33 treatments down and 1 more to go! WOW!!!  I just finished reserving our final excursion.  We are almost ready for our trip.  11 days until we sail and 12 days until we leave. 

Dear God of this present moment, thank you for being right where I am. Thank you for giving me the desire to love you and spend time with you each day. Thank you Lord for taking up daily residence in my heart and using the gifts of music, Holy scripture, faithful family and believing friends to show me how to live the abundant life.  Lord, thank you that I can stand on the promise of Your Presence to be with me and you never break your promises. I love you Lord. In Jesus ‘name, amen.

Recently I have written about being quiet and listening to God. We can count on God’s Presence showing up in our quiet moments. We see God’s presence numerous times in scripture. We see God’s presence in the stories from scripture. God promises to be present when we intentionally draw ourselves aside to purposefully meet with God.  We can stand on the promises of God because God keeps his promises. The living presence is a reality and will abide with us in love and grace.  God dwells in our hearts embracing our thoughts teaching us in the ways we should go. How could we ever live in fear when the God of love and grace dwells within our hearts?  God is good and love wins! 

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33: 14
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God.”
Isaiah 41: 10
Take joy in the journey and allow the presence of the God of love and grace dwell and take up daily residence in your heart. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  And Happy July!! All is well here at 811. 32 treatments down and two treatments to go.  It has been a long seven weeks.  It is hard to believe this part of the journey is almost complete.  I give praise to God for His tender mercy and watchful eye over each treatment as he has met me in the treatment room each time. 

Dear God, fade my words into silence. Give me the gift of quiet. Then I will hear you better.  As I learn to seek you in the silence keep me from straying in my love toward you.  Lord, I am seeking a depth of language as I continue in the ordination process. This seems to be the missing piece for me in this journey. As I study and listen to those who are kindly coaching me help me to comprehend and retain the wisdom I a receiving so that I may bring you glory and live into the calling you have set before me. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Nothing is more important than our relationship with God. When we are silent before God we invite His presence and are asking for the intimate closeness that prayer can offer.  Putting aside the busyness and the excess noise our souls open the door to the presence of God. I often hear God’s voice in the voice of another when I am intently listening.  Or recognize God’s voice when I am reading scripture. But the God’s voice is never heard so clearly than in the silence. Elijah left a cave and went up on the mountain to hear from God. When he got to the mountain there was a wild, blustery wind, a trembling earthquake and a blistering fire. The story tells that Elijah did not hear God in any of these events. Elijah heard from God in the absolute quiet.  Jesus called the 12 Disciples to a mountain. He took them away from the busyness of the city and to the quiet of the side of the mountain calling them by name. In the quiet of their hearts Jesus instructions were clearly heard. These 12 were told to be His (Jesus’) representatives and to act as He would act.  And it is in the condition of silence in which God makes Himself known to us.  My friends find the quiet, seek the silence and with our hearts filled with devotion allow the God of glory and Lord of love speak to each of us.

“The LORD was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake the fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.”
1 Kings 19: 11-12
“O God, in the greatness of Your loving kindness, answer me with Your saving truth….the humble have seen it and are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive.”
Psalm 68: 13, 32
Take joy in the journey and find a quiet place and God will meet you there. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, June 30, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811. 31 treatments down and 3 treatments to go.  And 12 days until we sail!! (Not that I am counting.) 

Dear God, when I know I have you in my heart, I have peace in my life.  Thank you for loving me, even in the midst of struggle and storm. And thank you for giving me the strength and power to wake up each morning and live each day as a vessel of your love and healing.  Even in the darkest of times and the heartache I have experienced I find hope and healing each day in your presence.  I love you Lord, In Jesus’ name, amen.

As I have spent some time in my own cancer journey there have been times I have felt somewhat powerless. When Casey was battling cancer he felt that he had no control over the circumstances in his life and I am pretty sure he at times felt helpless and alone. There were few times in his cancer journey when one or more of us were not with him, and even then there were those loving souls who loved to visit with him. But like Casey who never felt God very far from him, neither have I.  Even when God is quiet Casey and I always knew that God was always present. This knowledge gave both of us a peaceful calmness of spirit to battle this disease. While the battle was ours to fight it was the power of God who strengthened us for battle. While Casey did not survive the disease he was most assuredly healed and now knows the presence of God in far greater ways that you or I. I am surviving this cancer battle and hope to be one who will help others to find hope in the presence of god in their own lives.

God promises that He will always be with us even when we are angry, grieving or when we lose the sense of his presence. God promises that there is nothing that can separate us from His care and amazing love. (Check Romans 8.) The power that God places within us whether his presence is quiet or voiced allows us to see past our heartache and find the hope of healing in his presence. I think power and peace go hand in hand. Peace comes from knowing God and how much we are loved by our Creator. The power of the peace of God’s presence is found in his sustaining calm we feel during a time of trouble.  We do not have to have trouble in our lives to know the peace of God. We just need to place God in the center of our lives and God’s peace will exceed anything we can understand. (Philippians 4: 7)

“I can lie down and go to sleep, and I will wake up again, because the LORD gives me strength.”
Psalm 3: 5
“The peace that Christ gives is to guide in the decisions you make , for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body.”
Colossians 3: 15

Take joy in the journey placing God as the center of your life and peace will be the journey. I do not mean it will be without trouble, but you will have the peace that passes all understanding. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all!  All is well here at 811.

Dear Lord, thank you for Sundays and times of worship. Thank you for sacred spaces filled with your Presence in the word being preached, the hearts and souls lifted in prayer, the music of praise played and voiced and a table shared with those I love.  Thank you that we are not strangers when I come to you in prayer. Help me to listen more when I pray so that I may hear your word in me. Teach me to become a vessel of healing to the beloved who know you and lead me to those who need to know of your healing grace. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

We have been given 5 senses.  Most of us can hear very well, but how well to we listen?  We have been given the sense of hearing, but listening is an art that requires us to hear what is being said and a choice to comprehend and act on what we have heard.  Moses experienced God through prayer meeting God face to face in the burning bush.  Moses prayed, God spoke to Moses and Moses listened.  When we pray we speak to God and when we are quiet and listen for God to speak to us we are living in relationship to God. Having a relationship with God means that there are no strangers in the prayer  room.  “With God as our friend in prayer we are never too hurt to look back and are never too scared to look ahead.”  We can look inside ourselves and celebrate who we are and we who are becoming.  In the quiet intimacy of the prayer room as can open ourselves to God’s loving presence and invite God in.  When we go to God in prayer we are in the presence of One we know and who knows us. 

“The LORD spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend.”
Exodus 33: 11

Take joy in the journey praying to God as you would have conversation with a friend.  Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene