Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Nehemiah 9:6 "You are the LORD, You alone. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worship You."

This morning on the Classical Conversations Facebook page, I saw a post from a woman whose husband is battling cancer. In light of May being brain cancer awareness month, I thought that this was beautifully written. As a human, I have experienced a whole range of emotions after Wayne's diagnosis. It is hard to be given a "death" sentence (aka terminal diagnosis) and not know when that date may be. Of course, we all are terminal...we all will die and we do not know when that will be. I have learned, and continue to learn, how to surrenderer the future to God and trust His sovereign plan. Below is what this woman wrote:

"Cells. God designed human cells to follow an orderly path of growth, division and death. When cells begin to grow outside of that design -outside of His design - they grow uncontrollably and do not die. His design of programmed cell death is called apoptosis in the medical field. But cells, like humans, rebel against His design....and when they do, cancer is born.
I thought about this for several days....the intention-Gods design of a tiny cell: "to follow an orderly path of 1) growth, 2) division and 3) death." Isn't that a precise example of the Christian's life? To follow an orderly path which fosters growth in Christ, dividing and dispersing in order to make disciples and dying to self so that many may live? That's truly somethin'.
And "apoptosis"...His design of programmed cell death in order to sustain life here, on earth. The origins of the word "apoptosis" derived from the Greek words "apo" which means "from" and "ptosis" meaning "falling" or "to fall" defining the term "apoptosis" as "falling off." Cells are even commanded to follow an orderly path...when they rebel against that command, the design falls apart ushering in death.
I thought of how often we rebel against His design and plan for our our choices to travel the unintended path causes a falling away from Him. When apoptosis occurs in cells, it creates havoc and destruction inside our bodies...often leading to death. When we, as humans, fall away from His plan for our lives and while His love for us still remains unconditional, our fallen paths caused by our rebellion, creates apoptosis, leading to destruction. Isn't that somethin'?
I am so saddened when I hear someone is angry with God bc of a cancer if He caused it. He's the designer and He commanded a specific order in which all things under the sun must follow...even our cells. However, we live in an "apoptosis" world, a fallen world...where even the cells rebel against Him.
Not all things come from God....but He uses all things for 2 purposes : His glory and for the benefit of His children. Our ways are not His ways...our understanding is not His understanding. We must rest in His promises...and rest we will."


This weekend, DJ participated in the Special Olympic Area Games. He competed in the 100 meter dash and a softball throw. He came in 7th for running, but won silver for his softball throw. He had a great time!!

Abigail and Grace had a special event Saturday night. After a month of etiquette and dancing classes, their Classical Conversations group had a dinner at a local country club, followed by dancing (to practice what they learned in class). My babies are growing up too quickly!!!

Abigail and kids from her Challenge 1 class.

Grace and kids from her Challenge B class.

Naomi and Sophia made a piƱata and cake for our class last week. They wanted to do something "fun" for class, and Cinco de Mayo gave them an excuse to make things that resulted in them consuming too much sugar!

On Friday, Wayne and I took Shan Chen to the surgeon, to make sure everything looked okay. We have a huge praise. The doctor thinks that his fatty tumor is stable right now, meaning, it hasn't grown at all!! We do not have to see her for another year. She also told us that their imaging before surgery stopped just below his knee, so there was no way for them to know Shan Chen had a screw floating around in his leg!! She was astounded by the story as much as we are. The flowers were beautiful downtown and a complete stranger gave Shan Chen a red nose, so we had fun playing around waiting for his doctor's appointment.

This week is teacher appreciation week. We are so thankful for the amazing teachers DJ has at school. So, we made sure that they knew how much we appreciated them. We made cute little gifts, like mints in a jar that said "you were MINT to be a teacher" and nuts that said "I am NUTS about my teacher". I got up early yesterday morning and also made homemade cinnamon rolls for the staff at the school. We are glad that God has blessed DJ with such an amazing team of teachers!!

Today Abigail and her CC class attended Macbeth play. She said it was a pretty intense play.

Continue to pray for us as we finish up school (only 4 weeks left!!!). Wayne's next MRI is in June. Pray that we just continue to trust God, not have scanxiety, and that he has another clear scan. We are so thankful for all of your prayers!!

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Hello again. It has been a while since I have reviewed anything on here. Today, I am really blessed to be part of another one of my friends blog tours. I will be providing you guys with a lovely author interveiw this time. I also will be featuring her upcoming giveaway for this book!! 


1. What inspired you to write The Lost Princess?

I was in a creative writing class and the teacher showed this writing prompt, it was a picture of a castle island on the sea, and I started writing a Rapunzel style story, with Celeste as the star, then it kind of morphid into what it is now. 

2. Who was one of your favorite characters to write? (If you can't pick that's fine :D)

Hmm... I had a lot of fun with Mason Wren. He's always teasing Cilla! Another character I had fun with was Cilla, who stars on her own in the third book, wich hasn't been released on Goodreads yet. 

3. What helps you with writers block?

I usually work on a different story, or just do something else, for the day, and I'll talk to my writer friends etc.

4. How many of your books are published?

A great, grand total of one! The Lost Princess is my debut novel.

5. What was your first book that you published?

Erm, The Lost Princess. I've written other novels, but this is the first one I've published.

6. What was one way that you came up with all your characters?

Well, the fairy tales! I knew that The Lost Princess was going to be based off of fairy tales, so I chose some tales and characters from the tales! 

7. Did you base any of your characters off real people who you know?

Yes. It wasn't always on purpose though. (in the second book, The Princess Ambassador, I wrote a character who is very heavily based off of one of my friends! That was fun.)

8. What's the most difficult thing to write the opposite gender?

 I'd have to say their actions and thoughts. I usually have at least on boy who plays a large part, and I've even started writing POVs for them. It's hard to decide what they would think if they looked at the same thing the main girl looked at.

9. Do you read your book reviews? 

Yes! Every single one! I check on the book every once and a while, look at all of the reviews and everything. I like to know what the readers think so I know what to fix up in the second and third books.

10. Can you write us one horror sentence? 

All of the books were burned. And all the printing presses.

11. What is one thing that you would give up to become a better writer? 

Hmm. Maybe Cross Country or Piano... but either one would be really hard to give up.

12. What is your favorite childhood book, if you have one?

Oh such a hard question! I'm going to have to say Ella Enchanted, even though it's more of a middle grade novel, because I read it when I was nine (ish) and it's always been in my favorite books list.

13. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That depends on the book. I'd say three-five months.

14. Do you believe in writers block? 

Yes/no? I do believe that writers can get stuck and they need help getting UN-stuck, but writer's block is no excuse for not writing.

15. What is one of your most favorite books of all time that you have read? (If you can't pick that's fine! You can always give me a few if you have too!)

Well, I'm going to have to list a few. The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer), Ella Enchanted (Gail Levine Carson), Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), and The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy (Kellyn Roth). 


First Place wins a free paperback version of The Lost Princess

Second place wins an e-book copy of The Lost Princess

Thrid Place win an e-book of The Lost Princess 

Link to enter the giveaway:

If you have not already, enter this amazing giveaway and go find a copy of this book. I have already read it and loved it so much! Till next time guys! 

Abigail Harder 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Brain Cancer Awareness

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-19

May is brain cancer awareness month. Three years ago, our world was rocked when Wayne was diagnosed with brain cancer. Not only was he diagnosed with brain cancer, he was diagnosed with GBM, the worst form of brain cancer which you can be diagnosed. According to the doctors, Wayne is a walking miracle. The median survival rate for GBM is 14.6 months. A 2009 study shows that about 10% of GBM patients live five years or longer. Thankfully, Wayne's tumor had genetic markers that made his more responsive to treatment. So much more research needs to be done to find out more about brain cancer!! I have made too many friends on the course of our brain cancer journey that have lost their loved ones. If you want to learn more about brain cancer, some great websites include the following:

Please continue to pray for Wayne's health and for all of our friends going through brain cancer. Thank you again for all of your prayers throughout the years!!

March 9th, we took a field trip with some homeschool friends. We learned all about maple syrup. It was fun, just VERY cold!!

In March, we also celebrated the boys being home for one year. It was a fun night full of Chinese food, cake, and we watched our video from our trip to China.

March also meant the beginning of soccer season. This year, since everyone else is in swimming, only Joella and Shan Chen played. DJ is doing special olympics track.

We spent Easter with our family in KY. While we were there, I also ran another half marathon (KY=done). This course was VERY hilly!! We had a great time enjoying the sun and time with family. We also got to have our Easter egg hunt at my parent's new house...that's right, my parents are moving to KY. Now we will have at least one set of grandparents a half days drive away!!!

We had an amazing opportunity to get together with Shan Chen's foster sister from China. Her family was in the area visiting and we met up at the park to play.

This year for science, Micaela, Shan Chen, and Joella helped me come up with a plan to plant our garden. We planted seeds to get a head start. We are still working on created our planting boxes in the backyard. 

Another sign that spring is coming is that our butterfly, that stayed cocooned all winter long, finally emerged from the cocoon. I think it came out a little too early though because the temperature dropped the next few days. I hope it survived!!

In April, swimming started back up (can I get a hallelujah? Swimming keeps our kids hormones balanced!). Shan Chen wanted to try out for the team and he joined! He is super excited to be swimming. 

School continues to go well. We are finishing up our last few weeks studying Rome to Reformation, as well as astronomy.

We got to spend the evening with friends from CA. They are moving to MI and stayed with us for the evening. We discovered that our college pastor from back in the days, was also in town. We had a wonderful reunion and enjoyed fellowshipping with friends that are like family.

The following day we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We enjoyed a few hours at the zoo.

April 27th, Grace had her mock trial. It is amazing to see young people do such a good job presenting the case (she had a murder trial this year).

As soon as we got home from the mock trial, Wayne was on his way to the ER. Shan Chen had been changing for swim practice and he noticed blood on his prosthetic sock. He looked down and saw a screw popping out of his leg!! Thankfully, it was not painful, but it was something to see. His case baffled all the doctors. We discovered that at some point in China, he must have had a screw?? It has just been floating around in his leg and decided on Friday night to break through his skin. He is doing fine now, but we do have an appointment with not only his prosthetic team this week (he is getting measured for a new part of his prosthesis), but also his surgeon (to look over records and see how we missed seeing this screw before).