Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 5 Pastors Smiling

Wow, day 5 has been a loooooooooong day. It began by us leaving the house at 5:30 AM to get to the conference center by 6:00 AM for breakfast. Ouch! But, the long day was fruitful and we saw God working.

After breakfast the Pastors and their spouses loaded into a tour bus and headed to the San Luis Canopy Tour that me and my kids went to a few days ago. It’s a standard part of the conferences and is meant to give these Pastors and spouses a chance to cut loose, have some fun, and share the experience together to build relationships and camaraderie. Just like many of them have never been on a vacation, or to a retreat, they probably have never had an opportunity to go on a Canopy Tour either. It’s a very “touristy” thing to do and is usually too expensive. Jumping ahead to their return, evidently the Canopy Tour was a success. Everyone of them returned with smiles on their faces, laughing and sharing their stories about the zip-lines. “BUENO” was the common response, with 2 thumbs up.

Session 3 started shortly after, and once again I spent the time praying for the needs expressed by some of these Pastors and spouses. What struck me this time was how basic some of their needs seem. At least to me, someone from the US, they seem pretty basic. As I read through some of these prayer requests, translating as we went, I was stunned by the lack of things that I thought everybody, including them, already had. But, they just don’t. To these guys, these needs of theirs are almost monumental and sometimes appear to be unmeetable. For instance, today a number of them expressed the need for a car for their family and ministry. My heart sunk to think they don’t have a car. As I prayed and then read some scripture, God led me across Psalm 11:4 & 7.

4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.

7 For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.

As I read that, I asked God to let these Pastors know that He is in His temple and on His thrown. In other words, the Lord is in total control. Also, that He knows their heart and sees their needs. And I prayed that they will see his face through his provision and blessing. It’s interesting to me that later in the evening, when Steve gave a special message regarding what The Brook Ministries is all about, one of the key points that he stressed to them is that God provides and knows each one of their needs in their ministry and in their life. I thanked God for His affirmation of what I prayed earlier.

What a great day it was! The stress and strain of ministry is being relieved from the shoulders of these Pastors and spouses, they’re having fun and their faith in the Lord is being renewed.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

She Can’t Be Turning 18 Already

I almost can’t bring myself to say it. It just doesn’t feel right coming off the tongue. But, I guess I have to get use to it because time doesn’t stand still. It marches on at a rapid pace. Sometimes, so fast, that inside I’m screaming, STOP!!! I feel like that right now. On Tuesday, June 22nd, my oldest child, my wonderful oldest daughter, my first baby girl, the one that it seems like just yesterday I was calling “Pumpkin Face”, turns the magical age of 18. There, I said it, or wrote it in this case. Either way, it still doesn’t feel right.

Once again, like I always do, when coming up on these major milestone birthdays, I tend to do a lot of reflecting on the time that’s passed. The first thing that I think about, is that the wonderful day that she was born, was the day AFTER Father’s Day! I never let her forget that I had to wait a full 365 days before I had my first Father’s Day. Ok, sorry, enough of that. This is supposed to be a happy post. Actually, that day was one of the most exciting days in my life. One of the first things that I always think about is the little baby girl with the little red “Pumpkin Face” that I held so carefully in my arms. I remember how my wife would let me give her her last feeding of the night and how that precious little baby girl would drink until she had her fill and would fall asleep while still drinking. But then, I’d still have to take her on what we called the “Magic Daddy Ride” to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. I look back on the first soccer game, first day of school, first basketball game, first time driving by herself, first Homecoming dance, first Prom, and the many of “firsts” that have come and gone. As many of those things were firsts for her, they were also firsts for my wife and I as parents. Through it all, I see the girl that has grown and matured into a wonderful young, adult woman, who continues to melt her Dad’s heart every single day.

Now, as I think of the present and look forward, the thoughts of just how little time we have left with her weigh heavy on my heart. I think of how little time there is to see her each day, to hear her laugh at any time, to give her all the necessary advice for adulthood (she’d say I’ve given too much), to tell her I love her, that I’m always here for her, that I’m sorry for the arguments we’ve had, and to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that I’ve made as her father. This is when I want to yell “STOP”, “WAIT”, “DO OVER”!!! But, I know that’s not possible. We all have to move forward with our bumpy road in our past, and learn from it. It’s very strange though because even though all of that does make me sad and nervous, I still have this great sense of joy, excitement, and peace, because I know the young adult woman that she’s turned out to be.

There are exciting times ahead and I’m excited for her. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and mature, and take on, and conquer, the new challenges to come. I’m confident that the Lord will guide her steps. I’m confident that she is ready to make this leap into adulthood. I’m confident in HER.

So, I celebrate this day, June 22, 2010, and say HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to my baby girl.

Honoring My Wife On Mother’s Day

On this day that we celebrate and honor mother’s everywhere, I want to take a few minutes to honor my wonderful wife, who is such a great Mom to our 4 beautiful kids.

I am such a blessed man to have a wife such as her. Our kids are so blessed to have her as their mother. Building a family with her has brought me great joy in this life. I thank her for choosing to marry me and have a family with me. God has smiled upon me many times, but I feel that His biggest smile has come in the form of the wife and kids that He has blessed me with.

My wife has given her everything for our family. She gives of herself, her whole self, everyday for our kids. They may not realize it now, but one day when they are parents, I believe that they will look back and realize just how much their Mom has given for them. They’ll realize the sacrifices made and the care that she has given. It takes a lot to be a Mom and many times it’s a thankless job. But, thanks or no thanks, my wife continues to be the great Mom that she is. She knows the importance of her role and she does it faithfully day in and day out. What a joy to watch.

Proverbs 31 verses 10, 11, 28 and 29 says it best:

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

I have found a wife of noble character and I am a husband that lacks nothing. I pray that me and my kids remember more often to call her blessed and to praise her. And yes, she does surpass them all.

I love you my wonderful wife. I pray that your Mother’s Day is a blessed day.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Tribute To Momma Jane

I want to take this time to celebrate the life and pay tribute to the woman that I came to call Momma Jane. Momma Jane was my mother-in-law. I was blessed enough to know her for 14 years, before she went home to be with the Lord about 10 years ago. I know, when you think of in-laws, you think, oh no, the in-laws. But, she didn’t fit the stereotype.

Momma Jane from the day I met her was always a fun-loving person. She was full of life, energy and always had a positive outlook on life. She always treated me with respect, kindness and like another son. I appreciated how she eagerly welcomed me into the family when Denise and I got married. I especially appreciated, and still laugh hysterically, at how she wanted to talk to me in private, to make sure I knew what I was getting into, when Denise and I announced our engagement. She knew her daughter all too well. And I quickly learned what she meant. Just kidding, just kidding.

That brings me to what I’m most appreciative of regarding my mother-in-law. And that is that she raised her daughter, who is my wife, very well. I thank her for the love and support she always gave my wife. She was an encouraging individual, and wore her pride, she had in her daughter, on her sleeve. Because of a lady like her, I have the wonderful wife that I have.

I have the typical regrets, when it comes to life, and how short it can be, like my kids not getting to know her any better than they did and vice versa. Me not having a longer time to know her, and my wife not able to have her Mom around anymore. But, we have to move forward in faith and find joy in the fact that we will see her again, for my wife had the privilege of leading her Mom, my Momma Jane, into a relationship with Jesus Christ, near the end of her life.

So, this is a tribute to Momma Jane. I celebrate your life, and say, Happy Birthday!

Daddy, You Waste My Time

Kids. Sometimes, many times, some of the funniest things I’ve ever heard come out of their mouths. Some kids are funny because they’re trying to be and they just are. Others, while being as serious as they possibly can be, are funny because of the way they say something, or because of what they say.

My wife and I were reminded last night of one episode that happened a few years ago with our youngest child. I forget what we were talking about that lead up to us talking about it, but somehow it came up. And, as usual, it made us laugh as hard as it did the first time I told her the story and every time that we talk about it. So, I decided I should share it here and hopefully you’ll find it as funny as we do.

It happened a few years ago when our youngest was probably 7 or 8 years old. He’s usually a very up-beat kid that likes to have fun. But, at times, he can be very serious, impatient and easily frustrated. I guess this was one of those times that he ended up being the latter.

Anyway, we were at his basketball practice one night. The boys had been practicing hard for the first half of their practice, when the coach decided to give them a water break. When you’re 7 or 8, at basketball practice, the practice is Ok, but the water breaks are what you really look forward to. Because, if you don’t want to get a drink or don’t need a drink, then it’s just shoot around time and goof off time. So, as the team breaks some of the boys run to grab their basketballs to shoot during the water break. This, of course, includes my son. But, at that time a little girl happened to have picked up his basketball and was playing with it.

My son asked me to get his ball for him. But, like any good father (pay myself on the back here), I wanted to teach him to be a little self-sufficient. So I told him that he should ask the little girl to give him his basketball back. For some reason, he wouldn’t. I was surprised because normally he’s not too shy. But, this time, he decided he was going to be. He asked me again to get his ball, but I kept trying to coax him to ask her himself. We went back and forth for a little bit and then finally, he asked the little girl for the ball. I was glad he finally did it and he was happy (big grin on his face) that he had his ball. But then, disaster struck. As soon as he turned around to run out on the court to shoot around with his buddies, the coach told all the boys to put their basketballs down and huddle up. My son’s shoulders slumped over, his head dropped down, he slowly put his basketball back under the stands, and then walked back out on the court to huddle up with his team. The rest of practice, he just didn’t have the same enthusiasm, but, I didn’t think too much of it.

Once practice was over and we were leaving, I began to realize that he was being very quiet. Too quiet for him. As we drove home, the silence continued, which was strange. Usually, he would be talking about practice and all kinds of stuff. But, not tonight. So, finally I asked if something was wrong. Then from the backseat came this little boy’s sad, sad voice saying “Daddy, you waste my time”. He was as serious as he could be. I immediately realized that he felt that I wasted his time during the water break because I had made him ask for his own basketball back. We talked about it and finally everything was Ok. I didn’t dare laugh at that time, but I wanted to, badly because it sounded so funny.

After getting home and after he went to bed, I told my wife what happened. We both laughed hysterically for a quite a while and we still do to this day whenever we think of that.

“Daddy, you waste my time”.

Thankful For…

I thought that I should take time, once again this Thanksgiving, to think about what I am truly thankful for. I know that most of my life I’ve neglected to think about this, let alone write it down. Last year was the first time that I ever really took time to do it. So, here I am to do it again. Much of this is probably the same as last year, but who cares. Who knows, maybe this will become an annual thing.

Thankful for…

  1. My God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that I have by His gift of grace that He made possible by His blood that was shed on the cross. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8).
  2. For my wonderful wife of 22 years and the fantastic mother that she is. She makes life a joy each and every day. She is a great gift from God also. May I cherish her more deeply and be the husband that God intends for me to be.
  3. The blessing of 4 great kids who are all special, each and every one of them. God has blessed me so greatly here. I pray that I can be the dad that they need and that God designed me to be.
  4. Family in general. Thankful that they are always there and always in your corner.
  5. Friends. God has put some great friends in my life. I pray that I can be the friend to them that they have been to me.
  6. A great church and church family. God has placed us in a church that is commited to teaching the Gospel of Christ and reaching the lost for Christ. Also, a church family that lives out their Christianity by taking time to serve others in many different ways. It is a church family that is committed to bringing glory to God.
  7. The privilege of living in America and the freedoms that we have. I pray that God continues to bless this country. I pray for our leaders, that they will be men and women who will seek God and His guidance each and every day. And, as part of this great country I’m thankful for those awesome men and women in our military, that serve and protect our freedom day in and day out.
  8. A good job that God has blessed me with. I thank God for the privilege it is to work and the skills that He’s given me. I pray that I do it as if unto Him.
  9. God’s provision each day; shelter, food, water, clothing and the additional blessings that He has given.
  10. God’s continuous teaching and working in my life. I find it amazing that God finds it worthwhile to keep trying to teach, correct and instruct me each and every day. I thank Him for what he’s teaching me about His sovereignty, that He’s in control, that He has a plan and that I need to trust Him completely. I pray that I learn to follow Him completely and surrender all.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, just take a little time and give it some thought. Don’t let it slide by another day, another minute. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anniversary 22

Wow, it’s been quite a few months since I’ve written anything on my blog. It seems like I’ve either been too busy or too physically and/or mentally tired, or all the above, to sit down and write something. But, today is a new day. Today is a different day, and one that I thought deserved my time and attention. It’s one that I really should take the time and reflect on life, just because of the significance of today. For today is my 22nd wedding anniversary.

Yes, 22 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long because it really hasn’t seemed like it. Time has really flown by. I guess time does really fly when you’re having fun. I know many times that’s said in jest, but I really do mean it. If you know my wife, you know that life with her could only be fun. And, it is.

My wife is a blessing. She is a great gift from God. It is a joy to live each and every day with her. I find it hard to believe that the Lord decided to bless me so richly. But, He did, and I just thank Him everyday and just go with it. I always feel that I’m the luckiest guy in the world because I have the best wife in the world. I know, other guys feel the same way about their wives, but this is my time to gloat and this is my blog.

The Lord has blessed me with a wife that loves her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She is a woman that has a big servant’s heart. My wife always has a great outlook on life. Even in the midst of trials, she’s always filled with joy and that joy is infectious. She is a wonderful Mom, who loves our kids beyond measure. Together, we have been blessed with 4 beautiful kids (another of God’s great gifts). She is my ultimate compliment in life, in that her personality compliments mine perfectly. When they say that opposites attract, it’s true. The Lord has given me the perfect mate because her strengths are not mine and mine are not hers. Most of all, though, my wife loves me and accepts me, as me. Regardless of my faults, failures, good points and victories, she loves me. And, I thank her for that. She is a great wife and friend.

So, as I think back on the last 22 years, I realize what a wonderful time it has been. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, who I love dearly. It’s such a joy to be with her each day. I look forward to all of our future days together.

To my wife – I LOVE YOU and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!