Things are going so very well here in beautiful Emporium! We are right at our 6-month mark since arriving here, and as summer gains momentum, we are loving the beauty of this country like we never imagined it!
We have been keeping busy with our vegetable garden, and even some flowers, fellowshipping and serving in our church, and having lots of visitors and even traveling a little.
Jeremy just found out that he will be assigned to the Pittsburgh Reserve Unit for his reserve duty when he becomes a chaplain (yes, he finally DID get approved by the board and is waiting for more paperwork to be processed for him to raise his right hand as an officer.) We are so happy that they will work with him around his commitments here at our church in Emporium. It looks likely that he will be able to serve in the reserves and not have to miss many (if not any!) Sundays!
In the meantime, we continue to love ministry here, and the opportunities are endless for serving the body of Christ and reaching many who do not know Jesus.
Today Jeremy was thrilled today to do his first baptisms – eight in all, including our own Elijah.
Videos of the baptisms can be found on our youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/faithemporium The setting was absolutely beautiful in the creek across the road from the church, and when the last person was being baptized, a deer crossed the creek only feet away from us! It was AMAZING!
Jeremy will be posting his sermon (one of the best explanations of baptism I have ever heard!) from this morning on the church website http://www.faithemporium.org
Elijah finished first grade with honors and is excited for second grade to begin in just about two months. Merry is very excited for Kindergarten to begin as well.
Small-town experiences have kept us smiling lately:
- Everyone knows your name, even if you don’t know theirs,
- We are enjoying the laid-back quiet that only small towns can offer
- Filling up on gas only every other week at the most
- Small-town news. . .our greatest source of entertainment (details to follow)
Only a few weeks after our arrival, someone very concernedly asked me if when we were leaving. Apparently, rumor had it that we were picking up and leaving already.
Of course we had to have a little fun messing with our deacon, then just this week, Jeremy traveled to McGuire AFB to interview for a reserve Chaplain position closer to us here (he is bi-vocational at the church so he is free to continue his reserve duty periodically, and this affords us military medical insurance). While he was away, I got another phone call, and I was informed of more small-town news:Jeremy was interviewing at another church in New Jersey, and if he got the job, we would apparently be taking that position and moving away from Emporium. Wow! The funny thing was, I probably was the one to start that rumor, because it was no secret that Jeremy was going away to interview for a reserve position, but I probably just mentioned in passing to someone (who didn’t know the details) that Jeremy was out of town interviewing. And of course they filled in their own details.
Small-town news starts in first grade, it seems, because yesterday Elijah came home from school insisting that there was no school today (Thursday). He named several children (obviously very reliable sources) in his class who had informed him that there was no school today. We assured him that there was no holiday until next week. Still, he woke me up this morning, still in his pajamas (he usually gets up and dresses himself before most of the house is up) and kept insisting that I call the school or check online to see if there was school today. I told him that his classmates had it wrong, and it wasn’t true that school was out today. ”Get dressed and go downstairs. The bus will be here to get you at the regular time.” He obeyed, but seemed still convinced that I was misinformed. After I got everyone off to school and got ready for the day, I sat down to my computer to find this google search open in my browser:
“is there going to be school today”
No county, no school name. Just that simple search. Just to be sure, I checked, and Jeremy had not done the search. I can’t stop laughing as I picture him coming down here confidently to do some real “RESEARCH” since mom apparently wasn’t in on the loop of the school calendar!
Enough fiction, here’s some of the REAL news in the Caskey house today!
Easter will mark our third-month anniversary here in Emporium, and we have SO much to praise God for!
- Jeremy has preached through the book of Haggai, and will finish 1 Thessalonians this Sunday. (His sermons are all on our website www.faithemporium.org) If you only listen to one sermon, I’d recommend the one titled “A Life Pleasing to God” it is so practical, and probably the clearest exposition of that text I’ve ever heard.
- Children’s Sunday School has been added
- Jeremy completed the church website and has been keeping all his sermons on there
- Preparation of the membership class curriculum was completed and this Sunday Jeremy will finish teaching the FIRST EVER membership class in the history of the church! Most of the current membership and several candidates for membership attended, and have gleaned a lot.
- Jeremy has preached at two inter-faith/inter-denominational events here in town (and boldly preached the Gospel of course!)
- Both Jeremy and I have been discipling men and women individually, and in a few weeks we will be starting a Ladies’ Bible study.
Probably one of the most surprising decisions (to us and others!) since coming to Emporium, was our decision to send our children to public school here in Emporium. There was a lot that played into the decision, but what it came down to was what was best for our children and what would honor the Lord as we try to raise them to fear Him. We have held homeschooling very loosely, committing to it as long as we felt it was the best for our children and family. And we have loved every minute of it along the way.
When we started exploring our options, public school was probably BARELY on the table. However, after visiting the school, talking with faculty and parents who send their children to public school here, we made the decision to try it. Playing into the decision was small class sizes, a Christian principal, and a peaceful school environment.
After Elijah has had one week of school, I think we can say confidently that this is going to be a wonderful blessing! I’m sure we will have our bumps in the road, but Elijah is learning so much, being challenged, and enjoying new friendships.
Such a growing up little boy! I’m missing having him at home, but the times at home can be very sweet, and there’s always homework that I get my “homeschooling fix” with.
We just got word today that a preschool spot has opened up for Merry, and she will be starting on Monday, four days a week, and we can be very involved in her schooling, so we are excited about that. She was bouncing around today like a little rubber ball – she’s beyond excited!
One of my last blog posts contained a reading list. . .sigh. I’m accomplishing that, but not much else (including good regular blogging!!) We are busy with seminary life, involved in our church, Kenwood Baptist Church and loving watching our children grow. So you don’t miss out on the children growing up, I thought I’d post a few pics:
Picking apples with friends
And of course, getting into trouble is a common occurrence too!
And we actually got a family photo taken recently!!
Filed under: Elijah
School is in full swing for us! Yay! I’m going to let Elijah post this blog today, in a sense. . .below you will find a sampling of some recent journal entries. He tells me what to write, then he illustrates, although sometimes the picture gets drawn first. Enjoy
This is my favorite: our friends got engaged yesterday and it was Elijah’s journal illustration
this morning in his journal. . .this is all of us sitting around in our living room
toasting their engagement seminary style: non-alcoholic and CHEAP!
Since I can’t draw, here’s a photo of the engaged couple is seated on the loveseat,
and our friends the Lawsons are on the right, married one year and barely pregnant with their first child,
and of course, us the old people, married 12 years, Elijah taking the photo, Micah is on the right observing!
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: 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.
Today Elijah said, “just call me Darth Vader,” Micah learned to kiss with a real pucker and Merry told a little friend of hers who’s a boy, “I love you.” I just love watching them grow up.
Elijah: “Here’s the sword Merry,” handing her a light saber, “when the bad guys come, or the bad monkeys (WHAT??) you scare them away and stab them with this sword, okay?”
Merry: “No, I’m scared, you get the bad guys.”
Elijah: “Okay, but you hold this sword.”
Merry: “No, I’m just scared, you use it.”
Elijah: “You go in here so the bad guys can’t get you, I’ll ‘a’tect (protect) you and KILL THEM!” (growling type MAN-voice)
Today Elijah got his first pair of light-up shoes, thanks to Grandma and Pap. Need I say more. The little man is happy. He also got Star Wars (“Star Horse” as he says it) underwear. He has a habit of showing off his new underwear to unsuspecting victims at church “Look at my new underwear, it has_____ on it!” Whatever it happens to be, it was Spiderman recently, now Yoda.
Jeremy and I are trying to ward off a second church-underwear-display so Jeremy says to him on our way into the house today as Elijah’s carrying in the new underwear, “Now tomorrow at church, you are going to have to keep Yoda in your pants, okay? No showing him to other people.”