Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 25,26, 27, 28

Psalm 118:28 "You are my God, and I will give thanks to You; You are my God; I will extol You."

1. I'm thankful for being able to bake with each of the girls on Wednesday. The day before Thanksgiving I always try to get my baking done (less to do on the actual day). This year Sophia helped me make homemade dinner rolls, Naomi helped me bake pumpkin pie, Grace made the apple pie, and Micaela & Joella helped me make cinnamon rolls. It was a busy afternoon, but what a fun way to spend our afternoon off!

2. I'm thankful for the wonderful time we had yesterday as a family. 

3. I'm thankful for leftovers. I made a ton of food yesterday. The girls asked me why I made so much food. I told them, "Well, my thought is this. If I'm going to spend so many hours cooking, why not make enough so I don't have to cook for a few days?" They liked that idea. I'm sure by the end of the week we'll be tired of turkey and side dishes.

4. I'm thankful for fun crafts with the kids. 

Micaela making turtles for the letter "T"

5. I'm thankful for a great bootcamp yesterday morning to work off some of the food. Thank you Wayne for that birthday gift. I have a love/hate relationship with my bootcamp classes.

6. I'm thankful for the wonderful Thanksgiving Eve service we had at church. I love hearing people share stories of how God has been moving in their life.

7. I'm thankful for a brisk run (5K) this morning with friends. The best part of the Beverly Turkey Trot is that part of the proceeds go to support the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. It was sobering to see the names of children who have been lost to brain cancer along the fence. After the race, we all enjoyed brunch at church. The hot chocolate did a good job warming me up after a cold run.

8. I am thankful for naps. I love taking naps on the weekend and the rest they provide.

Yesterday I spent some time reflecting on the last nine months. When I hear nine months, my mind immediately thinks back to being pregnant. I guess being pregnant six times will make you remember that number. A lot can happen in nine months. In terms of being pregnant, it is a miracle to see how a baby develops in their mother's womb during that time. In terms of cancer, a lot can happen in nine months too. God has taught us so much and has grown us in many ways during this time. Yesterday was a great opportunity for me to sit down and think about all that God has done for us and give Him thanks.

God has been so faithful and good to us. When you are given a terminal diagnosis, you have two responses. The first response you can have is to dwell on the negative. I'm not saying you have to ignore the reality of the diagnosis, but you can get so focused on the diagnosis that you forget to live. I know people that have chosen to read numerous books on dying and these people have had the joy sucked out of them. Cancer is a horrible diagnosis, but when you dwell on the negative, you can't function. I was saddened yesterday to see so many people on the GBM Facebook page say they had nothing to be thankful for in their lives since cancer was stealing everything from them. I know everyone deals with life and death differently, but as Christians, we have so much to be thankful for in our lives, despite the suffering we are facing. Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." 

1 Peter 4:13 "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed." We can find joy in our suffering because we have hope in Christ. This is just our temporary home. Therefore, we can be content in every situation, regardless how difficult it is. 

This leads me to the second response we can have when facing death. Instead of dwelling on the negative, we can chose to live each day to it's fullest for the glory of Jesus. If we think about it, all of us are terminal. We are all going to die. Many people don't want to talk about death, but it's a reality that we all must face. In Ecclesiastes 7:2 it says, "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart." I think the Bible says this so that we remember that this life is short and fleeting. In seeing death, we remember what is important and focus on that. I know from personal experience that when I have attended a wake or been around someone who is dying, it makes me focus on eternal things in life. It helps me keep my eyes fixed on God instead of the temporal things of this life. 

Wayne may have been given a "date" for his termination, but we all are walking time bombs. God has ordained the number of our days before we were even born.  Job 14:5 "You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer." Each one of us should live as though it is our last day and judgement is imminent. The other night, Wayne and I read about a woman who lives in Washington who has stage four cancer. She was given only 18 months to live, but that was 18 years ago. She decided to live every day to it's fullest. Slowly the days turned to weeks, the weeks to months, and the months to years. This is how Wayne and I are choosing to approach his terminal diagnosis...day by day and with hope! God has Wayne in the palm of His hands and He has ordained the number of days Wayne has to live. We will live every day we have here on this earth to the fullest to bring God glory.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 23 & 24

Psalm 100:3-5 "Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations."

1. I'm thankful for the encouragement of others. My friend Jessica sent me a wonderful post from Setapartmotherhood.com the other day. I loved these quotes from the article "He used the struggles, the waiting and all the ups and downs to deepen our trust in Him!...During struggles, we often that we think we are at the “end” of the story, when we are simply in the middle. (Remember Joseph when he was falsely accused and put into prison? God wasn’t done writing his story…) Every challenge, struggle, and uncertainty can be used to point us back to Jesus. Faith is not faith unless it is tested. Today, I encourage you to meditate upon God’s unchanging faithfulness and be remember that those who hope in Him will NOT be ashamed! (Psalm 25:3)" Wow! That was exactly what I needed to hear when she sent me the post. God isn't done writing our story. When things seem extra hard, that is when I have to press in closer to God. He is using all of this to draw my heart closer to Him. 

2. I'm thankful for a short week of school!! We are all excited for a four day break!

3. I'm thankful that warmer weather is coming the next few days. It will melt all of this snow!!

4. I'm thankful for a warm house, cozy socks, and hot chocolate on really cold days!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 21 & 22

Isaiah 12:4-5 "And you will say in that day: 'Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaim that His name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.'"

1. I'm thankful that Wayne's flight from NC made it in before the snow storm hit. I'm also thankful for him to be back home. We all miss him when he is gone and life just isn't the same. Thanking God for every day He gives us with Wayne!

2. I'm thankful for my friend Kathy who was willing to take a run on Friday afternoon. We were able to get a six mile run in before the weather turned nasty. I'm hoping the warmer weather later this week melts all the snow so that I can take one more long run outside since running long distances on the dreadmill is nearly impossible for me. December 6th will be here before I know it and I'm not quite ready for my race!

3. I'm thankful for a fun afternoon with friends making Christmas gifts. Hot apple cider, chocolate chip cookies, essential oil gifts, and a warm house while it snowed outside made for a great afternoon. Thanks to everyone who showed up an spent a snowy afternoon with me!

4. I am thankful that although we had sick kids, we were able to enjoy a relaxing day at home as a family. We had church at home this morning, took naps, laid around in our pjs, watched football, and played board games. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving! It will be another day like today...relaxing, board games, and lots of food.

What are you thankful for today? 

Please pray that Wayne's body stays strong so that he doesn't get this cold. His immune system is still recovering from chemo. So far he is doing great! Each day he is getting stronger!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 20

Psalm 7:17 "I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."

1. I am thankful for the spontaneous, romantic birthday present that Wayne gave me last year...a weekend trip to Niagra Falls. God's timing was perfect!! We were able to spend some special time alone without the kids. Just 3 months later, Wayne had his seizure and our crazy journey started. So thankful for these fun memories with my man. I'm also thankful for Courtney, who babysat our kids so that we could escape.

View from our room

I asked Wayne to take a video of the falls for the girls since we had just learned about them for school (the teacher never rests). At the end, he got all romantic on me...but it makes me smile. 

2. I'm thankful for verses like Ecclesiastes 7:2 "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart." I love this verse because it is a great reminder to us about what is important. Yesterday, the girls and I attended a wake for a friend's dad. Anytime I go to a funeral or a wake, it is a gentle reminder to me about how fragile and short life is here on earth. As the verse says, we should take this to heart. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow! So thankful for reminders like this from God's Word. 


Wayne is feeling well enough to travel for work. He has been in North Carolina the past two days on a business trip. So thankful that he is feeling good enough to travel. I'll be thankful when he is home!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 17, 18, 19

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Give thanks in ALL circumstances. I needed to hear this verse tonight. The past few days have been challenging. Our circumstances are not always what we want them to be, and that can be difficult. God is using experiences around me to further refine me and mold me. In the past week I have learned about a friend entering hospice and another friend's daughter finding out that her cancer is back. I feel like cancer surrounds me and the darkness of it has filled my mind too much the past few days. As I sit here reflecting on things to be thankful for, I can't help but be thankful for all of the things that God has been teaching me on this journey. He continues to teach me more every day! As I said months ago in another post, I have to keep my eyes fixed on God. If I pay too much attention to everything around me (all the negative cancer stories, all the worries of life, etc), I start to drown. I have to keep my eyes on God as Peter did when he first stepped out of that boat. Full trust and surrender, with my eyes fixed on Him!!

Okay so here are the things that I am thankful for the past few days:

1. I'm thankful for a washer and dryer that allow my family to wear clean clothes. When I see how other people around the world have to wash their clothes, it makes me thankful for the few buttons I have to push! This leads me to #2.

2. I'm thankful for all the clothes that we have. We could probably go at least a week or two without doing laundry and have plenty of clothes left to wear. God has abundantly blessed us.

3. I'm thankful for the homeschool music class that my kids attend. I love their teacher Mrs. Vroom! She teaches them about composers, how to read music, how to play chimes, and my favorite part is that they learn to appreciate and love traditional hymns. I love hearing my kids walk around the house and sing songs like "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Rock of Ages". I also love how once a year they go sing to the elderly at Autumn Leaves. 

4. I'm thankful for children's imaginations. One of the many things I love about teaching my kids is seeing them have freedom to learn in different ways. This year we have been using skits/plays as part of our history/Bible time. Here is a skit the girls "performed" for me tonight. Grace is not in this one even though she wrote the skit because she had a meltdown while they were practicing it. Abigail stepped in as the narrator. (Update: I can't get the video to load, so a picture will have to do). If you want to watch it, you can come over. The skit ends rather funny because Naomi accidentally breaks her "staff", which is really my webster for cleaning up spider webs. The look on her face is hilarious when she realizes what she did.

Creative outfits from their clothes. Naomi figured out her outfit by looking on google. She was looking at a picture from "The Ten Commandments".

5. I'm thankful for books and board games that other people have recommended to us. I love to read to the girls, but sometimes finding the right book that all of us will enjoy is difficult. We are currently reading the Wingfeather Saga book #1 "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness". The girls love this book and want me to keep reading when I reach the end of a chapter. I just bought book #2 on cd so that we can listen to it on our next road trip. We have all really enjoyed this book, including me. (Don't tell the kids, but the suspense was driving me crazy, so I read the book all the way to the end). Another thing we recently added to our collection is a game called Labyrinth. We just played it for the first time tonight and it was a big hit. 

6. I'm thankful for the telephone. I love that I can pick up the phone and call my mom, call a friend, call Wayne, or call my sisters. I love that the girls can pick up the phone and call their grandparents, cousins, friends, etc. Although I still love getting snail mail, I'm glad we don't have to wait for the mail to hear how others are doing. 


Wayne is doing well. He is getting stronger every day. We are looking forward to a low-key Thanksgiving just as a family. Some good food, board games, and making memories as a family!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 16

Psalm 30:1-12 "I will extol you, O Lord, for You have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, You made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face; I was dismayed. To You, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it tell of Your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!"

1. I'm thankful for a husband who immensely loves his daughters. He makes each one of them feel special and loved. Today was Micaela's birthday date. I think she looked beautiful in her dress that God provided. She was so excited that Wayne got to drive her on her date. She told her sisters, "I'm the first one that Papa gets to drive." She was thrilled to have time alone with her dad.

2. I'm thankful for every day that God gives us with Wayne. The last few days have been hard. People on my GBM facebook page have reported loved ones entering hospice or passing away. Today I found out that a local friend who has been fighting brain cancer for over three years is now done. The treatments aren't working and they are making her super sick. I have been sick to my stomach all day thinking of her and her family. Even though God has given her peace about this and she knows where she is going, it is still heart breaking. It also once again stirs up fear in my heart about our future. I know that I shouldn't dwell on the negative stories or worry about the future, but hearing things like this just makes it so hard. It's not great to hear things like "A long-term survivor lives about three years." Once again, I'm laying my fears and future in God's lap. I know He is good, faithful, and that He has a sovereign plan. He has numbered each of our days, including Wayne's days. Surrender and trust...that is where I'm at again. I will continue to bring each person, including Jenn, before the throne of God until He decides to take them home. If you want me to add you or a loved one to my prayer list, let me know.

I also am thankful for all the people who wished me a happy birthday yesterday. Thank you for making me feel loved!! I thank God for another year of life. I'm praying that this year is another year of spiritual growth, dependence on God, and a year for God to use my life for His glory! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 12, 13, 14, & 15

Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever."

I woke up with the song "Forever" by Chris Tomlin on my mind. I totally got behind in blogging...life just got busy. I have still been thinking through things that I am thankful for, but I just didn't blog about them. So today I'm going to play catch up.

1. I'm thankful for organizations like CRU who reach out to the local community. I loved being able to spend the morning with my girls and other believers helping CRU prepare dinner boxes for Thanksgiving. It was such a blessing for my kids. They learned how many children have to worry about walking safely to school, which really impacted them. Not every neighborhood is safe like ours and it is good for the girls to learn about that. They also learned that many kids don't have the opportunity to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. It is life lessons like this that make them more compassionate for others and it teaches them to be thankful.

2. I'm thankful for the beautiful weather we've been having in November. We have been doing as much as we can outside while the weather is still "warm". We took a trip to the local park the other day. The girls had been asking me all summer to visit the park. They had a marvelous time at the park. They worked really hard to get their school work done so that they could go. 

3. I'm thankful for fun activities that homeschool allows us to do. Micaela learned the letter "n" this week and we learned all about nests. We made edible nests on Thursday. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, I looked in the living room and I saw that my "little birds" had made a nest for themselves. I love little kid's imaginations!!

4. I'm thankful for my birthday date with Micaela. We had a great time together, despite the crowds, which I do not enjoy. God is so good. We buy the girls a new dress every year for their birthday. Wayne takes them out to breakfast on a special birthday date. They wear a new dress and surprise their dad with their outfit. A few years ago, I started buying their dresses at Once Upon a Child because they are cheaper and the selection is huge. Micaela had a very specific dress she wanted this year...a white dress with little black stripes. I told her that we would look, but there is no guarantee that they would have that color/type of dress that she wanted. We walked up the aisle for her size of dresses and the first dress we see is the exact dress Micaela had described to me. I pulled it out and said, "Is this the dress you were wanting?" and she said, "YES!!" She was so excited that they had the exact dress that she wanted. God is good. We had just talked on Thursday about how God takes care of the birds and the flowers. She has been learning all week that God takes care of us, even in the little things. She got to experience this first hand.

5. I'm thankful for the five years that God has given us with Micaela. I love being her mom! She is known in our family as the "slug bug queen". She can spot a slug bug a mile away! This year she wanted a slug bug themed birthday. I'm thankful for Amazon and the crazy things you can find on it. Grace worked hard on Friday to sew Micaela a slug bug pillow. We had fun celebrating Micaela yesterday.

6. I'm thankful for grocery stores. This may seem silly, but I'm thankful that I can run to the store when I need something and that it is so convenient. Not everyone around the world is as fortunate as us and I never want to forget to be thankful for the little things.

7. I'm thankful for electric blankets. When it starts getting cold, I love having the capability of turning my electric blanket. By the time I get to bed, I'm able to climb into a warm bed. When you sleep next to a drafty window, an electric blanket is something to be thankful for every night. 

8. I'm thankful that Wayne can drive. I know I mentioned the other day being thankful that he was cleared to drive by the doctor, but it is so nice to actually have him drive. He is enjoying the freedom and I am too!!

What are you thankful for today? Let's keep looking around us for things that we can be thankful! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 11

Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."

1. I'm thankful for the many veterans that I personally know and for all of those I don't know. I think that we should celebrate veterans every day. We wouldn't have any of the freedoms we have I this country without the sacrifice of so many. Thank you to those who have endured days of separation from your loved ones, who have experienced pain and loss of those around you, maybe even some have had physical or mental loss. Whatever it may be, know that we appreciate your sacrifice for our country, which has given our family the freedoms we love and enjoy.

2. I'm thankful to live in America. We have so many things to be thankful for in living here. We have freedom of speech, religion, to bear arms, a right to a fair trial, and so on. These are things that we take for granted too many times, but things that I am very grateful. I'm glad that I don't have to worship in a secret, underground church, as it is in some countries. I am thankful that we can openly exchange ideas and have freedom to any information without a government limiting what we can access. I'm very grateful that God brought my mom's family from the Netherlands to America 56 years ago!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 10

Psalm 136:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever."

There are so many things to be thankful for today.

1. Wayne's MRI scan came back clear!! We don't have to go back until January for another MRI!! We are both thankful that God has chosen to answer us with a clear scan. He is good and faithful despite the results, but we are rejoicing with the results we were given. Each scan is a gift of two more months!!

2. Wayne doesn't have to take chemo anymore!!

3. The doctor is going to start lowering Wayne's Kepra medicine over the next few months (seizure medicine).

4. Wayne can drive!!! He is super excited about this one, and I am to...although it scares me a little as well. Totally have to trust God with this one and know He is ultimately in control. Now I don't have to run all the errands and I don't have to do all the driving!!

5. I'm thankful for my friend Sue who took on my extra six kids today (for a total of 10 kids!). She even managed to work with them and squeeze a little bit of school in today (including PE at the local park). 

6. I'm thankful for a car to drive (even though I was stuck in like 2.5 hours of traffic today). I'm also thankful for stress away oil and Pandora. I turned a stressful time into a worship time.

7. I'm thankful that Wayne and I were able to squeeze a lunch date after his appointment. We went to a restaurant that we frequented when we lived downtown and didn't have kids.

8. I'm thankful for my local Chick-fil-A and that they had free frozen lemonades. On our way home, we all said "When life gives lemons" and snagged 7 free lemonades. That was a great treat after a long day!

9. I'm thankful for leftovers from lunch so I don't have to cook dinner for myself or Wayne.

10. I'm thankful for kids who want to cook and offered to make Mac'n'cheese for dinner (it's organic, so it's totally okay for them to eat right?). I'll probably open up a jar of fresh canned peaches so they get some fruit. 

What are you thankful for today? If we all look carefully at our lives, I'm sure we can find things that we are thankful for too!

A Month of Thanks: Day 9

Psalm 7:17 "I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."

Last night I spent a wonderful evening in fellowship with some amazing women. Because of that, I was too tired to blog. So, I will blog this morning for yesterday and later tonight with today's thankfulness.

1. Fellowship: I love the body of Christ. I love how you can meet with other believers from different churches and spend time worshiping the Lord together. There is a sweet fellowship that comes from sharing the common bond of love for the Lord and a desire to know Him more intimately. I find this on Wednesday mornings when I attend a Bible study in Orland Park with ladies from different local churches, I found it last night attending a small group at another church, and I find it when I have attend a Bible conference. I am so thankful for fellow believers who can walk along side us, encourage us, challenge us in our faith, and who can pray for us. There is something so very precious and sweet about fellowship.

2. Friends: I've touched on this before, but I am so thankful for the godly friends that I have in my life. It's wonderful to have friends from different stages of life: childhood, college, Moody, having babies, homeschooling, etc. Special, life-long friendships do still exist today. I am so blessed to have some amazing friends. God has abundantly blessed me in this way. True friends are there for you when you need them, they don't judge your messiness or messed up lives, you can call them and pour your heart out to them, you can call them and have them pray for you, they help with out being asked, they give sacrificially, they lovingly point out areas thag you may need to work on, they laugh and cry with you...the list goes on. I have seen first hand so many of these characteristics played out in the last 9 months. Friends have prayed for us, loved on my kids when I couldn't, they brought meals, they've taught my children, they've cried with me, and have just walked beside me on this difficult journey. I am so thankful for each one of you and how God, in His perfect sovereignty,  saw fit to bring you into my life. It is my prayer that I am the kind of friend that others have been to me. Thank you again to each of you who are in my life. I thank God for all of you!!


Wayne is currently in the MRI machine. We meet with the oncologist around 10. We appreciate all of your prayers!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 8

Psalm 30:12 "That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!"

After church, there are always so many things to say that I am thankful for...but I will stick to my two for the day.

1. My Parents: I am so thankful for the family that God placed me in as a child. I was blessed to have two amazing people as my parents. The radiated the love of Jesus to me as a young child. My parents weren't just "Christians", they were lovers of Jesus. They displayed this love in so many different ways. There are certain memories as a child that stick out in my head. Memories include my mom teaching ladies English at church, helping out people whenever they could (blind ladies, homeless, etc), and ultimately, opening their home to children in foster care. The last one probably had the biggest impact on me. Although there were some difficult days including catching lice a few times and adjusting to having strangers in the house who were taking my mom's attention away from me, it also taught me that I had so much to be thankful for in life. I was blessed beyond my understanding. I didn't have to worry about not having family, or having family that abused me. Some of the cases we saw broke my heart. Who would hurt a baby and break their bones? My parents showed not only strangers the love of Jesus, but it displayed it in real ways to us. Because of the impact their actions had on me, I am attempting to teach my kids some of these same life lessons. I want them to experience some of these same things so that they can see just how much they are blessed. We have studied about orphans, the homeless, children of prisoners, and others that may not have everything that we have. We not only study about them, but I want them to get out there and experience it first hand (see a homeless person digging in a dumpster, seeing pictures of orphans in Sudan who have been through hell and yet have a deep joy, dropping gifts off at someone's house who doesn't have a gift under the tree until we bring them gifts-when we have too many under the tree). It is my prayer that my children develop a deep sense of thanks for all the God does for us and how He has blessed us. It is also my prayer that as a family, we continue to share the blessings God has given us with others.

I'm also thankful that my parents exhibited what a Biblical, strong marriage looked like to me. My parents taught us the importance of marrying the right person and praying for that person. I wanted to emulate my parent's marriage because they faithfully displayed a godly marriage. Thank you for being such a godly example to me in so many ways!! And thank you for the godly advice before I got married (like not talking about serious things late at night, not going to bed angry, and most importantly, not having the word divorce in our vocabulary). Thank you for exhibiting a deep love of Jesus to me!!

2. In-Laws: Many people when they say the word in-law, there is a lot of negative stories, hostility, and resentment. I am thankful for two wonderful in-laws. Wayne's parents are very special to me. I'm thankful for the man that they raised in Wayne. I'm most thankful that they faithfully took him to Sunday School where Wayne eventually met Jesus, who truly transformed Wayne into the man he is today. Thank you for loving me and welcoming me into your family. You are two very special people in my life and I'm glad that my children have two sets of wonderful grandparents!! 


Wayne has his MRI Tuesday morning at 8:30. Please be praying for us...for the results and for peace. We know that God is in control, but we still appreciate extra prayers!

A Month of Thanks: Day 7

Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!”

I cannot believe it is day 7 already of giving thanks! There is so much to be thankful for every day. I've hardly touched the surface of the many things I'm thankful for in my life. Let's get to today's two.

1. Micaela: I am so thankful that God's plans are better then our plans. I had always wanted four kids. After Sophia, I was done having kids. I sold all the baby stuff and my maternity clothes. When Sophia was about 2, Wayne and I started looking into doing foster care. During the paperwork process, Wayne looked at me and said that he really wanted to have one more baby. I told him that I would pray about it. Ten months later, Micaela was added to our family. She has been such a joy to have in our family. She loves to sing, dance, and spend time with you. She is a mixture of being super sweet, but also has some fire in her. I guess having four older sisters makes you a bit of a fighter. It has been a joy to start to teach Micaela this year. I love hearing her cute voice sing songs for school and watching the light bulb go off in her brain when she grasps something new. Thank you Lord for blessing us with Micaela almost five years ago!

2. Joella: Joella was a completely unplanned addition to our family, but one we are so thankful for every day. I can't imagine my life without her! I noticed that I have been able to enjoy all the little moments with the last two that I was too busy to enjoy with the older ones. Before I was so busy changing diapers and dealing with 4 kids under the age of 4, that I wasn't able to enjoy every moment. Life goes by so fast, as I have seen with the older four. I'm trying to cherish every moment with all of the girls. Joella and Micaela are the best of friends. I love seeing them play together and talk together. Joella has been a true blessing to our family. She loves to be hugged, has a tenacious spirit, wants to be big like her sisters so she can do everything they do, can be shy at first, and she loves playing games (making face, hiding under her blankets at night when I tuck her in, jumping on my bed with Micaela to make my bed a mess). Like Micaela, Joella loves to sing. One of my favorite songs to hear her sing is "This Is My Father's World", a song she learned with Micaela for school. Joella "does school" with Micaela and it is fun to see her enthusiasm as they learn new things. Joella has a motherly nature. She loves carrying her baby doll around and "being a mom". Surprises are fun in life and our little surprise was the best one of them all!

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Month of Thanks: Day 6

Psalm 69:30 "Psalm 69:30 - I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving."

Here are the two things I am thankful for today.

1. Naomi: 9 years ago God blessed our family with the addition of Naomi. From day 1 Naomi has been a unique, wonderful, strong willed, and challenging child. Her birth was difficult (shoulder dystocia). Wayne and I always said that she was like a tank from the get-go. She didn't feel fragile like her sisters, she was built tough. Naomi has always kept me on my toes. As a toddler she would find creative ways to get what she wanted (wait for a snack, no way. I'll just push a chair to the counter, climb on the counter, and open the cabinet and get my own snack). It has been a joy to see God transform Naomi into a sweet girl. She has a tender heart for things of the Lord and tells us all the time that she wants to be a missionary when she grows up. Although the early years were very difficult, we feel so blessed to have Naomi as part of our family. God has used her unique personality to transform me. 

2. Sophia: 8 years ago our sweet Sophia entered our lives. Her sisters adored her and loved taking turns holding her. Sophia continues to surprise us every day. One thing we've loved about Sophia is how she has enjoyed staying "little". She still loves to play dress up, play with her little sisters, etc. Sophia also loves anything artistic: drawing, painting, crafts. She made the cutest lion craft for Micaela's birthday. Sophia also loves math and is learning to read better every day. Sophia gives some of the best hugs and just loves spending time with you. I'm looking forward to seeing how God works in Sophia's life and transforms her into a godly young woman. So thankful that God put Sophia in our life.