Last night I was challenged in the art of foot-washing. Not literal foot-washing, but serving as Jesus teaches us to serve each other, in humility. Someone who loves our family came over and washed my dishes and folded my laundry with me. She would have scrubbed my toilets if I’d let her. She wanted to minister to our family and this was her idea of loving us. According to John 13, it was Jesus’ way too.
As I meditated on John 13 this morning, I found it striking that Jesus loved and served his betrayer and his closest disciple (Jn. 13:23) in the same manner. He showed no partiality. He washed even Judas’ feet, KNOWING that he would leave the room and betray Jesus to His enemy. In essence, Jesus washed His enemy’s feet then said to all his followers (and one enemy): “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:14-17
This is a reminder to me that if I love Jesus, I will serve my best friend and my worst enemy with the same heart of love (and perhaps even some of the same actions as Jesus did in John 13). So tonight I ask God to stir my heart to obey Him in loving and serving my enemy and friend alike. This is what Jesus came to do, while He walked on earth, and now (through the working of the Holy Spirit) in us who have repented of their sins and trusted in Christ’s blood to pay for their sins and do HIS work to make us more like Jesus.
Here’s a special “thank you” to all the “footwashers” who have ministered to our family during the past few days; and to one in particular, thank you for challenging me to be more obedient to Jesus and serve no matter how strange or uncomfortable it is. You are a beautiful reflection of Christ to me!
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Filed under: family news
Today has been an exhausting day for Jeremy’s family, as they have provided numerous media interviews and spent time together with family and friends. Jeremy says he had the phone most of the day, and went from talking with media, giving information to consoling Joe’s friends. His brother and their family have arrived in town now so they are all together. Whew! What a day! Praying for strength for all of them and again, sleep as they all need.
Joe’s body is now on American soil, though definite funeral arrangements cannot be made until further processing can be done here in the US.
KDKA, Ch. 2, CBS Pittsburgh
WTAE, Ch. 4, ABC Pittsburgh
WPXI, Ch. 11, NBC Pittsburgh
Yesterday Jeremy’s brother, Joe Caskey, died valiantly on the battlefield while serving his country in Afghanistan. He is a US Marine and was serving his second tour in this current conflict.
As the grief washes over us, I am reminded very personally that freedom is not free. Joe volunteered for the most dangerous part of the war zone, and paid for our freedom with his own life. I was struck last night as I laid in bed and prayed for sleep to come (not to just me, but other people who are grieving) that John wrote about men like Joe in John 15:12-13: ”This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
And so I am grateful. Grateful to Joe who was brave and bold, and who didn’t think twice about laying down his life and grateful for the other Marines who were with him, some of whom died also, and some of whom live to go on defending my freedom. Today they woke up to go out and defend our freedom in the face of their very own grief with the memory of the torturous event that cost them their leader fresh in their minds. Oh God, please be merciful to them!
My heart is also grateful to his mother who birthed him, raised him, and supported him heartily as he left to serve his country. I am grateful to his father who modeled patriotism and service to country with his own career and life. And with tears I am grateful for his brothers who have also served their country but been graciously allowed to return home. Jeremy’s next younger brother survived a suicide bomb but carries around with him the effects of that event. I live comfortably, safely and in freedom because of your service.
Today I am humbled by God’s goodness to me and my children in giving us brave and heroic men like Joe Caskey. May the God who, in His goodness, gave us Joe, also grant peace and comfort unexplainable to those love Joe and who now mourn the loss of this valiant man.
Joe is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and will be buried here in on American soil in the upcoming days with full military honors.
Filed under: Merry
Today we made our first attempt at celebrating Merry on a day other than her actual birthday. It’s going to be interesting for her to share her birthday with the day we celebrate our Lord’s birthday! We celebrate her on her “real birthday” and had a neighborhood cupcake party today with cherry lemonade and jumping in the jumphouse.
This is our attempt at making sure she doesn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle. We want to make sure that over the years she knows that when God decided to bless our family with her, we were excited indeed!
Merry is indeed reason to celebrate! She is growing up into quite the lady. I asked her if she wanted spaghetti for her half-birthday dinner and she said, “no, I want pasta.”
Today during our history lesson we were talking about Adam and Eve eating the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she points to the picture of the serpent and informs all of us that Adam and Eve ate it AND the serpent ate some too. Interesting. Of course she’s getting her theological stance from the pictures in their history book.
Here’s a picture of her I took of her holding a HUGE zucchini I got out of our garden today, and below that, posing with her new friend and Jesse (her toy from Toy Story):
There’s nowhere I (Adina) feel more at home probably than the beach. So, this past week we stocked up on fresh breaths of salty beach air when we visited my sister Roseann and Josh and my other sister Risa and brother Jonathan in Virginia Beach. We also got to catch up on playing time with the cousins, Lumina and Jonah. Roseann and Josh were great hosts and we can’t wait til the next time we get to spend time together again.
But I know the real reason some of you check the blog. . .pictures!
My baby brother Jonathan and my baby sister Risa: I LOVE their expressions in this photo. Jonathan, I have to say that you have got to be pretty photogenic to have a picture taken this close up and still look this good. Maybe it’s the hair. I also love Risa’s smile, behind him, like she is planning something evil. . .:-)
I cannot describe with words the amazing gift Elijah is to our family. He turned five this past week, and I can hardly believe how the time has flown. Elijah is a very good brother to Micah and best friend to his sister (she says he is her best friend) a helper to me, a play-partner for Jeremy, and a loving friend to the children around him.
Elijah is starting to understand that we are all sinners and that Jesus came to take away our sins if we repent. We are very excited about how he is growing to understand more about God and about what God created us for.
Elijah loves to play outside, ride his big wheel, play light sabers with daddy, friends or even adult neighbors who seem the least bit interested. He can hit a T-Ball really well, and even catches a few, and enjoys playing pretty much any action hero, including Spiderman, Batman, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, even Bibleman. He likes to read, play Wii with Jeremy, watch movies, and even cook and eat. Elijah likes to lead a few songs in the evening during our family devotions, and his favorites are “Halellu, Halellu” and “He Has Shown Thee (Micah 6:8)”
Elijah is interested in what people do for a living and is considering many future career fields, including conducting music, playing the trumpet, working in the produce department, driving a trash truck, preaching, being Buddy Bat (the local baseball team’s mascot) landscaping, or mail delivery, just to name a few.
We got to celebrate Elijah’s birthday with some of his closest friends at a nearby park with a playground and sprinklers. We had all Elijah’s favorite foods: hot dogs, baked beans, pasta salad, watermelon, chips, asian lettuce salad, a veggie platter and Spiderman cake and spider-topped cupcakes designed and created by his Aunt Risa.
This year Elijah got to play in the snow, lost his first tooth, he played T-Ball on a team, completed Cubbies (he will move on to Sparks in the fall!) learned to write his name and draw lots of things and “read” (had read to him) several chapter books including Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and other great adventure books.
He is very excited about starting Kindergarten soon and if you ask him what he looks forward to doing while he is five, he says, “learn to read books.” He’s getting close to ready, we think, so that’s our birthday wish for Elijah too, along with our deepest hope that this time next year, he will have a greater understanding of what it means to love the Lord His God with all of heart, mind, soul and strength, and his neighbor as himself.
Filed under: family news, Friends | Tags: best place to pick strawberries louisville, Joe Huber Farms, strawberry pick louisville, strawberry picking indiana
We had such fun yesterday spending the afternoon and evening with some of our friends from Iraq at Joe Huber Farms in Indiana.
Here are a few pics:
Filed under: Elijah, homeschool, Merry | Tags: Heart of Dakota, homeschool classical kindergarten, homeschool classical preschool, homeschool kindergarten, homeschool kindergarten plans, homeschool preschool, homeschooling approaches, Little Hearts For His Glory, rod and staff kindergarten, Rod and Staff Preschool
So it looks like we are taking the plunge. . . we will officially do homeschool KINDERGARTEN for Elijah and PRESCHOOL for Merry this upcoming school year.
After a fun day yesterday at Jeremy’s first EVER homeschool event, a HUGE homeschool used curriculum fair, it feels like we’ve found what is just right: Little Hearts for His Glory for Elijah and Rod and Staff Preschool for Merry.
While looking at lots of books, we got to talk with some moms about what we were considering, and finally got some clarification.
Rod and Staff for Merry is easy to use, independent, and workbook-ish, just like her personality, along with manipulatives (hopefully not like her personality).
For Elijah, I’m SO EXCITED! The curriculum pulls together resources from a few avenues I was considering (some Rod and Staff AND books I remember LOVING as a child, and the Bible book they recommend is authored by one of our very favorite Bible story-book writers Kenneth Taylor) and package them in an EASY-TO-USE format that has very little prep. I need that! It is written by a teacher, and so I understand and like they way she’s laid it out. It is unit-study format in a way, but also chronologically presenting Bible and History with the other subjects.