Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May: Summer is Coming & Brain Cancer Awareness Month

Psalm 118:24 "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Summer is upon us. I am rejoicing in the beautiful weather and the laid back schedule. We have been busy packing, deep cleaning the house, decluttering, and reorganizing. I've put away all the school work for this last year and started organizing our bins for next year. I decided this year that I would do that project now at the beginning of summer, rather then at the end. The more I can do now, the less I have to do later. I want to enjoy this summer with my kids and focus on God's goodness as we embark on some fun adventures.

I have to get back to my huge to-do list, but I wanted to post a few pictures and update my blog since I've been MIA.

On our last day of school, we spent the day cooking, baking, and doing art. We had a Greek feast. It was fun to make some traditional recipes with the girls. The girls enjoyed making art projects and dressing the part. We invited our friends over to celebrate with us since they did My Father's World this year as well. It was a great evening of fun and fellowship (and lots of yummy food).

Last week we enjoyed a homeschool field day in Indiana. It was fun to hang out with other homeschool parents and kids for the day. We had almost 300 people participate! It was very well organized and we had a beautiful day!

Where's the Harder girls??

Micaela enjoying her snack during a break from the games.

Although "school" is over, I love seeing that my girls love to read. They decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and read books outside.

The whole family has been taking advantage of the great weather. We've been taking a lot of family walks and bike rides. It's so much easier to stay fit when the weather is nice.

Every time we take a walk or bike ride, I'm amazed by God's work in Wayne's life. God is truly Jehovah Rapha (our great healer). I'm also thrilled to report that a little boy that we've been praying for got results from his MRI last week and his tumor has shrunk by 16%!!! God is good! We continue to pray for those with brain cancer (and other cancer). May is Brain Cancer awareness month. I choose to focus on today and how God has brought Wayne healing, but there is always a lingering "fear" that it will return. That is where daily surrender to God comes in...I can't worry about tomorrow, but trust Him and His sovereign plan. 

Here are a few statistics to make you aware of brain cancer (source: ABTA)

Brain tumors are the:

- most common cancer among those age 0-19 (leukemia is the second).

- second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).

Brain Tumor Statistics:

- Nearly 78,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year. This figure includes nearly 25,000 primary malignant and 53,000 non-malignant brain tumors.

- It is estimated that more than 4,600 individuals between the ages of 0-19 will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year.

- Malignant brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 and the most common cancer occurring among 15-19 year olds.

- There are nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. living with a primary brain and central nervous system tumor.

- This year, nearly 17,000 people will lose their battle with a primary malignant and central nervous system brain tumor.

- There are more than 100 histologically distinct types of primary brain and central nervous system tumors.

- Survival after diagnosis with a primary brain tumor varies significantly by age, histology, molecular markers and tumor behavior.

- The median age at diagnosis for all primary brain tumors is 59 years.

- Gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, represent 27% of all brain tumors and 80% of all malignant tumors.

- Glioblastomas represent 15.1% of all primary brain tumors, and 55.1% of all gliomas.

- Glioblastoma has the highest number of cases of all malignant tumors, with an estimated 12,120 new cases predicted in 2016.

- Astrocytomas, including glioblastoma, represent approximately 75% of all gliomas.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Finish Line

Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

I love this verse and the analogy behind it. If you have ever run a race, you know that when you see that finish line, you keep your eyes on it and push harder to the end. That is how I want to live my life for Christ...pushing forward with the finish line in mind.

Another finish line that comes to mind right now is our school year. We are rounding that last corner and we can see the finish line. We are literally days away from being done and we need to just push that last little bit until the end. On rainy days like today, it is easier to push and complete our work (sunny days are a lot harder). This teacher is looking forward to summer as much as her students. Although we don't do school year round, I always try to plan educational things for the girls during the summer: Fun field trips, VBS, lots of outdoor PE time.

This summer is going to be a lot of fun and full of new adventures: our mission trip to Canada and our month with Piano Man. 

Below are some pictures of what we've been doing the last few weeks in school. This Friday is technically our "last day of school". Since we are finishing up our section on the history of the Greeks and Greece, we are going to prepare a Greek feast for dinner on Friday night. I'm taking the girls to the grocery store and we'll be preparing our meal together (can you say history, home economics, and math/budgeting?)

Side note: If anyone is looking to buy sheets, we are doing a sheet fundraiser to help raise money to bring Piano Man to the U.S. The brushed microfiber sheets come in Twin, Full, Queen, king, and CA King. The cost is $35 for one set or $65 for two. If you don't live within delivery distance, it is a flat $10 for shipping. The sheets come in the colors and dimensions listed below:

If you are interested in purchasing sheets for this fundraiser, please email me at rebeccaharder35@gmail.com. 

We can't wait to share pictures and stories from our time with Piano Man. I know God has some exciting things in store this summer!! Will you pray with us  that Piano Man's life will forever be changed this summer? *note: some people have asked why we call him piano man. That is the name that the agency gave him since we are not allowed to use their real name on social media to protect their privacy. 


Preparing lunches to take downtown to hand out. The kids love doing this. 

Taking the train downtown. These pictures show how crazy Chicago weather has been this month. It was 70 the day before we went and we had to wear winter coats the next day!

Grace and Naomi worked hard together to build a creative science project. Naomi used her little bits to create an arm that moved the "feather" up and down. They wanted to use this to wake someone up with a "feather".

We have been studying about the Olympics in Greece. We did our own version of the games. We did some running races, long jumps, "disc" throwing (above), and javelin (below) events. The girls had fun and are extra excited for the summer Olympics this year.

For art this year, we have been listening to different composers. One main composition we listened to was "Seasons" by Vivaldi. I was super excited to hear that the IL Philharmonic was doing a program for children. It was amazing to hear these talented musicians perform. 

Every once in a while, the kids all get along. This was a one of those moments. They were all in a "band" singing and playing along with Toby Mac.

On Friday night, Wayne and I went out with our friends the Kohs to Geja's Cafe. It was the first time Wayne and I have had fondu. It was a unique experience and a fun way to celebrate Mother's Day.

Saturday was the end of soccer season for the girls. After being rained on the week before, I was glad we had decent weather this week.