Happy Easter


We are drawn to children, saints and poets because they see things we have forgotten to see.”

John Ortberg

A child’s simple trusting faith, unencumbered by adult interpretation, Jeremy’s Egg is a story I’ve shared at Easter for the past few years. Poignantly portraying Easter’s meaning in way few sermons have, may it bless you as it has me.

He is Risen! . . . Risen is He! . . . Happy Easter!

Jeremy’s Egg

Ida Mae Kemple

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life.  Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn.  His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him.  He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain.  Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.  One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation.

As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school.  It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems.  Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke.  “Miss Miller,” he said, “there’s no school of that kind nearby.  It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school.  We know he really likes it here.

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window.  Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul.  She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters.  After all, their only child had a terminal illness.  But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class.  She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy would be a distraction.  Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write.  Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her.  “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining, when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family!  Please help me be more patient with Jeremy.

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares.  Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.

I love you Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear.  The other students snickered, and Doris’s face turned red.  She stammered, “Wh – why, that’s very nice, Jeremy.  Now please take your seat.

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter.  Doris told them the story of Jesus, and to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.  “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life.  Do you understand?

Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically –  all except Jeremy.  He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face.  He did not even make his usual noises.

Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’s death and resurrection?  Did he understand the assignment?  Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris’s kitchen sink stopped up.  She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it.  After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day.  She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk.  After they had completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower.  “Oh, yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said.  “When plants peek through the ground, we know that Spring is here.”  A small girl in the first row waved her arm.  “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real.  Doris held it up.  “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly.  Yes, that is new life, too.”  Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it.  She explained that moss, too, showed life.  Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom.  “My daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg.  She gasped.  The egg was empty!  Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand the instructions.  If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents.  Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up.  “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?

Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy –  your egg is empty!”  He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’s tomb was empty too!

Time stopped.  When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?

Oh, yes!” Jeremy exclaimed.  “Jesus was killed and put in there.  Then his Father raised him up!

The recess bell rang.  While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried.  The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died.  Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

 “Let the little children to come to me, and do not hinder the, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Tears of War


Ukrainian Child

I’m not particularly savvy regarding international diplomacy; politically astute; or a warmonger. However, … if this were your child … would you“…risk provoking a widening war…”  by sending jets for Ukrainian pilots to defend their country’s skies against a tyrannical despot bully who unconscionably shells and bombs women and children in their homes, schools, hospitals, and as they attempt to peacefully depart along ‘promised’ humanitarian corridors?

Bullies thrive and survive on instilling fear, and only back down when fearlessly confronted.

Please pray for Ukraine and its vulnerable children.  The fully vetted organization in the following link is directly involved in providing for their many needs, and can be entrusted with donated funds for them to continue doing so:

https://www.savethechildren.org/us/where-we-work/ukraine

The Cost of Children


In 2015 the government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18, a mere $233,610 for a middle-income family, not including college tuition (factor in cost-of-living for today’s price).

I’ve often seen articles on the cost of raising a child and the risks involved, but seldom have seen the rewards listed.  Soooooo . . . here’s a personally edited version of a study on ‘Bang for the Buck’ our children provide.

First off, $233,610 isn’t so daunting if you break it down as follows:

·       $12,978 a year

·       $1,082 month, or $271 a  week

·       That’s a mere $39 a day

·       Just $1.61an hour . . . far below minimum wage 😊

You might still believe the best financial advice to becoming ‘Rich’ is to not have children. Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for $39 a day?

·        Glimpses of God every day

·        Naming rights . . . first, middle, and last

·        Giggles under the covers every night

·        More love than your heart can hold

·        Butterfly kisses and mini-bear hugs.

·        Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, warm cookies and boogers 😊

·        A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly, chocolate, or ???

·        A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites and fishing

·        Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day

For $39 a day you . . . my favorite 😊 . . . never have to grow up, getting to:

·        Finger-paint

·        Carve pumpkins

·        Play hide-and-seek

·        Catch lightning bugs and frogs

·        Never stop believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy

·        Keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh

·        Enjoy Saturday morning cartoons

·        Watch Disney movies

·        Wish on stars

·        Lie on your back watching clouds draw animals in the sky

·        Place rainbows, hearts, and family stick figures under refrigerator magnets

·        Get hand-prints set in clay for Mother’s Day

·        Receive cards with backward letters for Father’s Day

·        Tell tall tales that are believed, and really dumb jokes that are laughed at

·        Build tree forts to play in

·        Experience  the joy of mud play

·        Jump in rain puddles

·        A ‘buy’ for doing all sorts of really stupid, juvenile things 😊

 For $39 a day you get to be a super-hero just for:

·        Teaching how to tie a shoelace

·        Retrieving a ball from a roof gutter

·        Taking the training wheels off a bike

·        Removing a splinter

·        Getting soaked in water pistol battles

·        Building a dam in a creek

·        Coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs

·        Coaching a team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless

For $39 a day you have a front row seat to history to witness the:

First step

First word

First puppy love

First date

First time behind the wheel . . . can be an adrenaline rush😊

For $39 a day you get to be:

‘Immortal’

Regarded as a walking encyclopedia . . . until they reach 3rd grade 😊

Another branch added to your family tree, and if fortunate . . .

a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren

An education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and . . .

human sexuality questions no college has to handle or try to answer 😊

In the eyes of a child, you have near Divine power to:

·       Heal a boo-boo

·       Scare away the monsters under the bed

·       Patch a broken heart

·       Police a slumber party

·       Ground them forever

·       Love them without limits

Soooooo . . . hopefully one day they’ll become parents, loving their own children without counting the cost, realizing they’re quite a deal for the price . . . while you subtly extract revenge spoiling your grandchildren to challenge their parental skills 😊

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.

Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Psalms 127:3-5

   
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Jeremy’s Egg


The unfiltered eyes and minds of children see things adults have forgotten to notice, and perceive the simple beauty of their significance.

I’ve shared this story at Easter before, but some stories are worth re-reading. Jeremy’s Egg portrays Easter’s meaning through the eyes and mind of a child with a precious understanding that no sermon has ever revealed to me. May it bless you as it has me, and continues to bless and humble me to strive to have the unfiltered vision and simple trusting faith of a child.

Let the little children to come to me, and do not hinder the, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. – Jesus


Thank you Jeremy . . . Thank you Jesus . . . Happy Easter!

Jeremy’s Egg

Ida Mae Kemple

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life.  Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn.  His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him.  He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain.  Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.  One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation.

As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school.  It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems.  Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke.  “Miss Miller,” he said, “there’s no school of that kind nearby.  It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school.  We know he really likes it here.

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window.  Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul.  She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters.  After all, their only child had a terminal illness.  But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class.  She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy would be a distraction.  Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write.  Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her.  “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining, when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family!  Please help me be more patient with Jeremy.

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares.  Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.

I love you Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear.  The other students snickered, and Doris’s face turned red.  She stammered, “Wh – why, that’s very nice, Jeremy.  Now please take your seat.

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter.  Doris told them the story of Jesus, and to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.  “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life.  Do you understand?

Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically –  all except Jeremy.  He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face.  He did not even make his usual noises.

Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’s death and resurrection?  Did he understand the assignment?  Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris’s kitchen sink stopped up.  She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it.  After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day.  She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk.  After they had completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower.  “Oh, yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said.  “When plants peek through the ground, we know that Spring is here.”  A small girl in the first row waved her arm.  “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real.  Doris held it up.  “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly.  Yes, that is new life, too.”  Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it.  She explained that moss, too, showed life.  Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom.  “My daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg.  She gasped.  The egg was empty!  Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand the instructions.  If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents.  Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up.  “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?

Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy –  your egg is empty!”  He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’s tomb was empty too!

Time stopped.  When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?

Oh, yes!” Jeremy exclaimed.  “Jesus was killed and put in there.  Then his Father raised him up!

The recess bell rang.  While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried.  The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died.  Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

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Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!