Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Year Older

Another year passes...
How can it be?
It seems you were just growing inside of me.

Six years now I've known you
Six years I have seen
The Lord unravel a girl, now long and lean
with freckles that cover the bridge of your nose
and long narrow feet topped off with painted toes.

Our Hannah, so tender, so mild mannered, so sweet
all wrapped up in a package so small, so petite.

Great things come in small packages,
this I know is true
Because I've gained so much joy through knowing you.

You hugged me so tightly at a time of great loss.
You've given so freely, even knowing the cost.
Your coins you collected, and gave them to me
for a Coke at the drive thru, you couldn't wait to see
the smile on my face as I saw your surprise
It's moments like these that make Mommy cry.

I see the Lord's grace moving through you each day.
May He move in your life in a mighty way
And cultivate the gems I'm beginning to see
and use them for His Kingdom and for His glory.

Hannah, you are precious, a gift undeserved.
A gift I can't describe with these simple words.

But know you are loved, by us and by Him.
You, Hannah, are a beautiful gem.


Friday, September 21, 2012

At the End of the Day

John and I, well, we're like an old married couple at the end of a long day.
Slap worn out.
Sitting in front of the t.v.
Worn out from what, you may ask?
Maybe it's from the incessant "mine" argument that ensues over every toy.
Or perhaps it's from chasing John all around the house with the yellow school bus.
He doesn't laugh, by the way.
Or it could be from the thirty minutes of pacing up and down the sidewalk, one behind the other, with the ball popper and stroller.
And then again, it could be from throwing a variety of items down the flight of stairs to see which one crashes the loudest.
Oh yeah, there's also the defending of the sippy cups that occurs. That can wear on you.
Regardless of the reason(s), it's good to know at the end of the day we can enjoy one another's company sitting side by side while resting our tired eyes on the magical screen that promises stillness and silence...even if only for a moment. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mommy's Moment: Motherhood, Mud Running, and the Gospel

To anyone who is on Facebook and is my friend, you've recently been inundated with last Saturday's Mud Crusade pictures.


I couldn't help myself.

There were genuinely some people who wanted to see them.

My apologies if you were not one of them.

And for those of you who have taken the road less traveled, meaning one without Facebook, I'll leave you with a few.

But first...

Mud running, well, it's a lot like motherhood.

At least for me it is.

The Mud Crusade was filled with obstacles...some were easy while others proved much harder, often resulting in plunging into a mirey pit.

In motherhood, it's quite the same. Obstacles are always thrust before you and if unprepared, you often fall helpless in the mud.

I feel that way a lot.

My obstacles aren't climbing a large wall or swinging across monkey bars, or even attempting to pounce from log to log like an over zealous

My obstacles are obstinate children, bad attitudes, milk splashed across the floor, or chocolate smeared hand prints along our once clean wall. They are banged up knees, burned dinners, hurt feelings, 106 degree fevers, broken toys, lost blankies, bathtime, nightmares, wet beds, overflowing laundry, sleepless nights.

It's how I handle these obstacles that often leave me in a mirey pit. Lately, I've been convicted of my bad attitude, of my sin, in the midst of these obstacles. I'm often unprepared, meaning, I've let that crucial time in God's Word slip that day or several days. I've rested in my own strength (which as seen in the Mud Crusade, is very, very weak) to handle situations. I've become blinded to my ever present need for the Lord. When I "hit" these obstacles I'm often personally offended. I'm bothered that I have to deal with them. My tone is harsh with my children and I rush through the obstacle, not taking the time to deal with my children's hearts, let alone, my own.

I leave the obstacle covered in mud.

You see, with some obstacles in the Mud Crusade your degree of muddiness reflected your ability or inability to execute the task at hand.

One such obstacle was the monkey bars which spanned across a large pit of mud. As I wrapped both hands across the first rung, I realized I was weak. I realized my strength wouldn't carry me across this pit. And, I quickly dropped into the mud.

It seems lately I've been dropping in the mud a lot during motherhood because again, in my own parenting strength, I am weak and when left to my own strength, I'll get muddy.

But, there is hope. Hope.

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:2

Because, the Lord has saved me from myself. He's saved me from my sin. He's saved me from my good works. He's saved me from my failures. He did this on the day of my salvation and He does this each day as He pleads for my behalf at the right hand of God.

Therefore, as a Christian, when I fall into that pit there is hope for me. I don't have to stay in the mud. I can rise up and press on. I can turn from that sin and know the Lord has paid the price for it. Instead of seeing a muddy Jessica, He's sees the perfect righteousness of Christ. Praise the Lord for Christ and His life, death, and resurrection!

Therefore, I can "run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:1.

And you know one last beauty I gleaned from the Mud Crusade? I didn't do it alone. I ran alongside a friend. Together we encouraged one another, helped one another through the obstacles and finished the race.

As I walk through motherhood, and life in general, I'm reminded that the Lord did not intend for us to do this alone. Of course, we have the Holy Spirt, but we also have the Body of Christ, other believers. I was so thankful to have my friend, Amy, run along with me. And I'm so much more thankful to have friends and family like Amy to run the real race with me. People who can encourage me toward the Lord, who help me when I'm "stuck," who celebrate in good times with me and mourn in bad times with me.

Praise the Lord for other runners to run the race with me. And praise the Lord that He doesn't leave His children in the mud.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Kickin' It Old School

I guess you could say we're "kickin' it old school" as my shirt so proudly states. Cuz in old school days kids helped with the clothes folding...and as Mommy so wisely explained, back in the days kids also milked cows, made food, gathered eggs perhaps, and maybe even washed clothes by hand all beginning before the sun came, having us fold clothes mid day here in the early 2000s wasn't really asking much.
I took to the challenge well.

I thrived with neat piles.

And Hannah finally took to this new found hobby...I say hobby because I don't think this is a one time event, especially after Mommy saw how talented we are in the endeavor.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Video Viewing: The Morning Songs


Two worlds are colliding here on The Harman Hood. We've got Video Viewing in conjuction with Homeschool Diaries. Get. Fired. Up. And because of these unique two worlds, I realize only a small few of you may enjoy this...namely grandparents.

Each morning during breakfast we do our calendar time. In an attempt to help the kids remember how many months are in a year and the names of the months, I made up a song. And I did the same for the days of the week, though I can't remember if I made that one up...sorry, don't want to infringe on anyone's rights to the song.

First up, Grant, singing the months of the year followed by Hannah's quarky rendition of our days of the week song...and, not to be left out, Kate's interpretation of the days of the week song with the help of her back up singers, Hannah and Grant...and Mommy.

I'm always thankful for an opportunity to record their little voices...I don't want to forget the sweetness.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Homeschool Diaries: In the Thick of It

Well, we've completed three weeks of school.

Lots of thoughts.

I'll try to keep it contained.

Overall, I'm loving it. I really am. I have enjoyed the structure it has brought to our home. My kids (I think ALL kids) thrive in a structured environment. So do I. Since homeschooling I've found it a bit easier to stay up on housework...though if you walked in my home you wouldn't necessarily notice it! But having a tentative schedule allows me to have mandatory housework time. I also find the structure cuts back on discipline issues. As the kids know what to expect and are kept busy through various activities, it cuts back on sibling fights and unnecessary mayhem. Yes, mayhem.

Grant wrote his name. Hooray! That should be a whole different post. His pencil grip is continuing to get better.

Math is going well. The kids love the games and hands on activities that come along with it.

Another part I've thoroughly enjoyed, moreso than the learning about the ancient times. In Classical Conversations we are on Cycle 1 which focuses on the Ancient Times in regards to geography and history. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I love history. And then to see it in relation to the Bible as well is awesome. The kids are memorizing the location of The Fertile Crescent (as am I) and how this is the beginning of civilization. Of course this is modern day Iraq and into Iran and Turkey. We've talked about how this is where the Garden of Eden was and where Adam and Eve lived. They are memorizing the location of the Hebrew Empire where we looked at the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea. Thanks to the internet, we've taken a "tour" of these places and talked about how Jesus was there. We also looked at amazing pictures of Iran and Iraq. What beautiful countries! Thanks to the media we simply see the "ugly" parts. But after looking at pictures I can see how the Garden of Eden was there. The kids also have to memorize a timeline from creation to modern day (thankfully they do this each year because it's a lot). One card says Babylonians to which Grant replied...King Nebuchanazzer! I love that my children are connecting general history with the Bible. I want them to see the Bible isn't separate..that it lines up with general history and fits together. I could go on and's just been fascinating to me. Now when we read in the Old Testament we can connect the Tower of Babel with the Fertile Crescent and Sumer, the Red Sea with Moses, and the Sea of Galilee with Jesus walking on the water. Okay, this is getting long.

On a different note, while there have been many great things happening, it's also been a struggle. The past four weeks all three kids have been sick. We've missed two weeks of Classical Conversations. I miss it. For me and for the kids. Thankfully we'll be there this Tuesday, Lord willing. With sickness permeating the house, bad attitudes have flared up, including my own. I've had some hard days with Hannah not wanting to learn. There have been many tears shed by her and some frustrated words shared by me, unfortunately. While homeschooling is fun (at times) it's also hard. Hard because it amps up the patience meter and again highlights my need for the Lord. I get so frustrated when Hannah whines about doing her work or says, "I can't do it," and shuts down for the rest of the lesson. There are times I just want to shake her (don't worry, I won't). I know this comes with the homeschool territory. But it's hard. Hard not to be hard on your own kid. I have high expectations for her. This isn't bad. But I also have to chill out. Slow down if need be. Listen. Take breaks. I'm not good at those things. So, like every other role (wife, teacher) I desperately need the Lord to do this. Because I can see how I can and will easily make a mess of it if I don't depend on Him in this pursuit. I want my kids to look back on this time and say, "I really enjoyed that time with Mom." Not, "wow, Mom was a real lunatic and I wish we never did that." I've heard those stories...the lunatic ones...well lunatic was never said but probably could be by my kids if I try to pursue this in my own strength.

So, that's my update...and I'll leave you with a few pictures because, well, that's probably what's more interesting!

Seriously, I need to do a post simply on why it's such a big deal he wrote his name! Bless his heart. He was so proud. And so am I.

Hannah's copy work time. She's made great improvements from day one. She's shed a few tears but has made a big progress the past couple of days we did this. This is a great lesson in perseverance for her among many others. She's got this first part of the verse down pat too!

In the midst of some of our struggles I thought it best to relax with...ART! Always a hit! I found this easy and fun lesson on Pinterest. You just make a glue design, sprinkle salt over it, and then drip water color and watch them run. The kids LOVED it and keep asking to do it again, Grant especially.


We got messy another day with paint. I realized we needed some more "fun" things to do. And, I need some artwork to hang up for Hannah's "Art Gallery" at her Art Birthday Party in a few weeks.