Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Results: God is Good!!

Psalm 68:5 "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling."

This weekend I had the privilege to travel to North Carolina to meet DJ's host mom. This amazing woman, who is one of the most joyful women I've met, loved on our sweet boy for a whole month during the summer of 2016. The love of Jesus just oozes out of her. It was such a joy to finally meet my sweet sister in Christ in person and give her a hug. We have texted and chatted on the phone numerous times. Not only did I get to meet her, I was able to meet her sweet family. Michelle has four of the sweetest boys. I enjoyed my time with them so much. 

I love the way God weaves lives together for a bigger purpose. Because of hosting, we now have extended family in North Carolina. Not only do we now have this special family in our lives, Michelle has played a huge role in helping me advocate for orphans. Michelle is a HUGE orphan advocate and has a heart to match her passion for orphans. I was so excited to visit Sage Harvest , a local business that is run by another passionate orphan advocate. Profits from this business go to help support orphan causes. I met the owner at church the following day and to see her passion for children was contagious. God used my time in North Carolina to stir a deeper commitment to Him and to what He wants me to be doing.

Michelle and I have talked for months about getting together and finding a race in North Carolina to run together. Since my bucket list is to run a half marathon in every state, it seemed to be the perfect idea. Only God can work out details like He did for this race. North Carolina was state #25, that means it was my half-way mark for my goal. We decided to make the most of this race and run for a cause. There is a super sweet boy that was hosted the summer of 2016 with DJ and Shan Chen. This sweet boy is still waiting for his forever family. We decided to run for him and to raise money for his adoption. We hoped to encourage his family to RUN to him like we were running for him. God is so good! We decided to run in faith that God would bring in the money we were hoping to raise ($2620 - $100 for every mile the two of us were running). The morning of the race, we were at around $600. By the end of the race we were at around $1000. God is so amazing in how He works. Yesterday, we reached our goal!! Thank you to everyone who supported Little Leo and his adoption! Little Leo still needs a family! Could you be the mama to this sweet little boy? If you want more information, Michelle has a great post on her blog about him.

We finished!!! Michelle is the best cheerleader, even while she is running. Her joy is contagious...I even learned, at the end of the race, that smiling can make everything feel better.

We visited the Billy Graham library. It was beautiful to learn more about the faithful man of God he was during his life here on earth.

After the race, I stayed with Michelle and her boys. I taught them how to make cinnamon rolls, which was a blast! We all got very messy.

The night before the race, we took our freedom from kids to heart. We found a cute French bakery and had dessert for dinner (a decision I regretted every mile the next day during our race).


Having Wayne home has been such a blessing. He has been helping me teach the kids and balance everything. It has been especially helpful the past week since we have had numerous doctor and dentist appointments. 

Sophia on her date with Wayne for her 11th birthday!

We are studying Zoology right now at our Thursday class. We recently dissected owl pellets. This weekend, the kids will get to experience farm life at my parents house and will dissect a chicken!

Micaela was a little grossed out by everything, but Sophia thought it was great!

Reports on birds.

Naomi found a honey bee that was struggling and brought it to the flowers to help save it. She just loves animals.

We made bird nests for snack at class. Hopefully fun projects like this will help the kids remember what they are learning.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purposes."

Cancer. This five letter word carries a huge punch. Many of us have at least heard of someone who has had cancer. Maybe it was a co-worker, a neighbor, a family member, or maybe you are the person with cancer. Whether you hear this word personally or on behalf of a loved one, the word cancer carries devastation. I will never forget February 11, 2015 when we learned that Wayne had a brain tumor and that it was most likely was cancerous. Then on March 26, 2015, we met with the surgeon who revealed to us that Wayne's cancer was Glioblastoma, the worst form of brain cancer a person can have. Our world felt like it was crumbling underneath our feet. How could this be happening to us? This cancer is the same one that has taken the lives of John McCain, Beau Biden, and Ted Kennedy. It doesn't matter your political status, your financial status, it just moves in and takes lives. The standard treatment can help prolong your life, but death is inevitable with this disease. The life expectancy with GBM is 12-18 months. I have seen this vicious cancer take two of my friend's moms, I have seen it take countless spouses from friends, and even some children. No matter the age or status, it brings and leaves devastation in its path, like a wild tornado leaving death and destruction in its path. 

Wayne is far exceeding the life expectancy. He is at 44 months. Wayne's latest MRI came back clear and we are thrilled. But in light of the above information, where does this leave us? First of all, it is a daily reminder that life is a precious gift and that we are to make the most of every moment that God gives us. We know that God is not done using Wayne or our family, since God has mercifully allowed Wayne to live. As I've mentioned before, back in 2015, we felt like God was preparing us for something, and we thought maybe it was to be missionaries. Instead, God has lead us along this difficult journey of terminal cancer. Brain cancer is not the mission field we would have envisioned, and yet this is where we find ourselves. 

This leads to another thing that we have learned on this journey, do not miss any opportunities to share with others and obey God in whatever "crazy" thing He calls you to do (Hello? Adopting two boys in the middle of dealing with a terminal cancer, that is crazy!). Wayne and I have met countless different individuals and families that we have been able to encourage because of the difficult journey we have taken the last 44 months. Being able to pray with others and encourage them in the middle of their storm is such a privilege. This doesn't mean that it is easy. It is hard to see people that you have been praying for die. We all know that we could all walk out of the house and be hit by a bus, the only difference with a terminal illness is that we see that bus coming. In many ways, this is a mixed blessing. We know that death is imminent and that we need to make the most of our days. Many people don't think about this as they busily live each day of their lives.

Last night, Wayne and I attended a brain cancer forum at Northwestern. We were able to listen to speakers talk about the advances that they are making for this disease and how they are improving DNA testing for tumors. At the end of the event, they split us into two groups: patients and caregivers. As I sat in the room listening to others share, there was one message that I gleaned and wanted to pass on to you. The message is this: do not waste your life! It was clear from countless stories that they wish they would have spent more time with their loved ones. Don't wait for your loved one to be diagnosed with a terminal disease before you decide to make the most of the time that you have with them. Make memories with them now and don't hold off for tomorrow what you can do today! I'm not saying just party like their isn't a tomorrow. I am talking about being intentional with your loved ones today. For me, that is learning to stop and tell my kids, "Yes, I'll stop being busy and spend time playing a game with you" or "Yes, let's go out for ice cream".  

Let's make the most of each moment of our lives and be intentional with our loved ones. Life is a gift and not something to be squandered! 

Prayer Requests:

* Please pray for my friend Lindsey that I met on a GBM Facebook page. Her sweet husband, who has been fighting brain cancer for six years, has now been sent home on hospice. He is very young and they have two little children. If that isn't enough to endure, Lindsey just found out that she has renal cell carcinoma kidney cancer!! I am wrapping this precious family in prayer and I was hoping that you would join me!

* I am running state #25 this weekend with my friend Michelle, who was DJ's host mom when he came to America. I cannot wait to meet her in person and run this race to help raise money for Little Leo's adoption. It isn't too late to sponsor our run. We will be dressed up like Superwoman and Wonder Woman. We will be posting live videos on Facebook, so make sure that you check Facebook for live posts!! 

* Finally, please pray with us for Shan Chen. We found out today that we need to see a doctor about scoliosis in his back and meet with a surgeon for another health issue. Please pray for him! He has endured so many surgeries and health issues, more then any 11 year old should face. Thank you for always being willing to hold our family up in prayer!