Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Letter to Molly

Dear Molly,

Happy birthday. Three years under the Harman Hood is something quite colossal to celebrate, considering what all we've been through.

Like this,

Just six short months into your life and BAM! you're wearing a cone, purple tail "cast" and sentenced to six weeks behind bars, crate bars that is, with little hope beyond that.

But you didn't realize who had your back...well pelvis more specifically. Thanks to Grant who said, "we'll pray for her everyday," in response to your bleak prognosis, your ominous future turned promising. While the x rays showed no healing, your behavior did.

And while we laugh and call you the "Miracle Dog," perhaps you are. Because while we were so thankful for your recovery, our answered prayer, it hasn't quite been a cake walk since then and yet, here you STILL are.

Here you are after multiple escapades through the neighborhood, with four of us in hot pursuit.

 You're stubborn Molly, really stubborn.

Because even with cajoling with treat laden hands or simply the perseverance of the four of us who refuse to leave you all alone in unknown territory, you remain faithful to whatever has caught your eye, or nose, while remaining oblivious to our calculated strategies. 

In fact, you've caused me to resort to embarrassing techniques that I'd be ashamed to confess to the Dog Whisperer. Techniques that include growling deeply while saying your name in hopes to transform me into the Alpha. Or sprinting toward you hoping to scare you into surrender. I've unsuccessfully tried to corner you but, well, that pelvis healed just fine because your moves are NFL worthy.

Mine are apparently not.

For certain, the neighborhood has seen me at my worst when tracking you. Not only is my temper being tested and put on public display, so is my fashion. You see, it appears you like to run off early in the morning, leaving me with no choice but to follow in my pajamas, with no makeup, and wearing boots so that I might have a fighting chance against all those briars you weave through and the mud you always seem to find.

So, there I am, three kids following me, growling, uncombed hair, pajamas, sometimes a coat, and rain boots, that sometime turn into track shoes when I must resort to the ole sprinting technique. It's really not helping our homeschool image.

And yet, to you, it's all fun and games, like that time you hid under our neighbor's hot tub deck for, maybe hours. All the while, I'm trying to corral you out not realizing at the same time Kate is being devoured (okay not really DEVOURED) by fire ants leading me to "pants" poor Kate, thus making an already awkward situation MORE awkward. 

But, you're our miracle dog.

You've run off a couple of times that we did give up on you, well I did, and maybe Kate and Grant. I left your fate up to Facebook. But as Hannah waited patiently (and tearfully) on our back patio, I assured her you'd be back. And back you came. I mean, you survived being smashed by a car with a slim chance of living and yet, you survived. You were covered in so many prayers I think you'll be around for a long, LONG time.

Yes Molly, it's really just amazing I haven't given up on you. I know I've said some hurtful things to you, like, I'm ready to get rid of you, among other more severe words.

I may have muttered these words after that time you threw up on our stairs and then somehow managed to do the same on Hannah's head.

Or it could have been after one of the multiple times you've found a way to relieve yourself in the house.

Or those many, many times you randomly throw up.

I'll try not to ruminate on the time you ate MY. WHOLE. CHICK FIL A. SANDWICH. when I left a few brief moments to answer the door.

Really Molly?

And don't get me started on the late nights after I take you out and you come back in only to sprint up the stairs and jump into Kate's bed. Like I wouldn't notice Molly. You ruined your chance to sleep with the kids after peeing in Kate's bed. She promises it was drool but you and I both know NOTHING drools THAT much.

And taking you on a walk, well, that's sheer torture, literally. If you're not yanking my arm off, my hand is subject to leash burn because of the tight grip I must keep in order to practice the "Cesar Milan Control." I think it's all a farce.

Listen, all of this makes your drinking out of the toilet and trying to lick the dirty dishes in the dishwasher child's play and not even noteworthy.

Yes Molly, you've miraculously made it three years, and by miraculously I don't mean simply because you survived being run over. You survived ME. Be thankful the kids love you. Be thankful you're cute. And be thankful that like all of us, you mellow with age. I think I will truly call you man's best friend after about six more years pass..as long as you still maintain control over your bladder.

Here's to many more adventurous years, Molly and then, many, MANY unadventurous years.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

9 Years Old

Hebrew name meaning favor, grace

The Lord has shown us favor and grace through you, Hannah, over the past 9 years.

Here's what else I know about you:

H elper: you are always willing to help and usually do so                    without hesitating. What a blessing!
A rtistic: you love to create and design. You're growing in                    drawing skills and full of new ideas!

N eighborly: you are kind to new faces and thoughtful to 
                    their feelings. 

N ature-loving: you love to be outdoors, whether it's 
                         building a fort in the woods or playing 
                         kick ball with your friends. You enjoy 
                         nature and its beauty.
A musing: you have quite the sense of humor and enjoy to laugh
                and make other people laugh!

H appy: you are so happy and I'm thankful for that. You often 
             have a smile on your face and enjoy life.

Oh sweet Hannah, we are so thankful for you. May the Lord continue to cultivate in you a love for Him and His Word. What a privilege it is to do life with you. You've taught me so much and continue to do so. I love you more than any words could express.

Happy 9th Birthday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday Grant!

Today we celebrated another year of Grant. 
I am so thankful for another year the Lord has given us with our beautiful son.
I often take for granted the lives the Lord has given us and as I went back through pictures to post on here, I was overwhelmed by His goodness in giving us these children.

With each year our children become more defined. Strengths become clearer, as do weaknesses. And with each year, I realize, I must proceed with humility. Humility, because I realize these little people are so far beyond myself. They are far more than accessories to my life. I believe the Lord has designed them specifically and for a purpose and I often realize that the unraveling that I often write about isn't quite how I thought it would go or how it would look.

Sweet Grant. 

This past year it has become much clearer that you have a knack for learning. And while you often won't come out and say it, there is no denying it. You have a sharp mind for math. And a strong comprehension of material read to you. And you've surpassed me in the memory work required for Classical Conversations. 

Your love for games only increases each year. You love to play any kind of game, a card game, a board game, an outdoor game, and especially video games. And you're good at them. You especially like to share these games with me. I'm sorry I don't play them more with you. I know that is a special way I can show love to you. I think our bond deepens over a game of Pac Man.

I still think you are an introvert, especially when I see how you form extremely close bonds with just a few. You have Micah, and ya'll are TIGHT. And I think Hannah may  be your other closest friend. You enjoy her company and even miss sharing a room with her, often leading you back into the girls' room for "sleepovers" where your new fun is having her read to you (that is when you aren't making trouble). You are even willing to sleep on the floor with only a pillow if it means you can be in there.

That temper, that temper is still there. It manifests itself differently these days than in the past. I'm afraid between me and Daddy, we didn't set you up too well for avoiding this one. Kate tests your temper lately the most. I am always praying for wisdom in how exactly to help in those situations. I've thought before, how can I help stifle this now before he becomes a grown man? I pray the Lord would be gracious in leading you to repentance.

You're our most shy one, and that probably goes hand in hand with introversion. But I don't want that to define you. I often pray for boldness for you, and for all of us. Daddy has helped you come out of your shell in ways like making you order your food at a restaurant or going up to the Chick fil a counter to ask for icecream. I hope we will continue to take small steps like that to help you not fear man.

You continue to be tender. I'm SO THANKFUL that at 7, you still want to hold my hand. And that you ask to sit in my lap and let me carry you to bed. I know your tenderness won't always manifest itself in this sweet way (it would be weird, right?) so I try to remind myself to soak it up. I'm sorry for the times I have not. I know that,too, communicates love to you. 

You love to talk. I get that. You don't talk much in public but when you are familiar with someone and it's in a quaint setting, there's no stopping you. You have a lot to say. Some of it is just crazy, like potty humor, while other topics are very insightful. 

You, my dear son, are unique. The Lord knew you BEFORE creation. And now, I have a front row seat of seeing you, in all your beauty and all your mess, coming to be. My prayer, as always, is that you would know the Lord. And that you would put to use all these qualities the Lord knit in you while you were inside of me for His glory. Repent. Trust in Him. Be bold, my son. Fear not, for the Lord is with you. Go and do mighty things for Him.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Awards Day: Homeschool Style

It's that time of year....


So here are a few awarded to my three students at The Harman Hood for the 2014/2015 school year...

This year, Kate has shown an uncanny ability to fall asleep in the midst of even the most noisy environments. And not only that, but many times she manages to do so in style. And so, I'd like to award Kate with the "Stylish Sleeper" Award.

Next, I'd like to recognize Hannah. While we could award her with the "I'd Rather Be Anywhere But Doing Schoolwork" award, we'll call it the "Ingenuity Award." Ingenuity because well, not only does she have obscure ideas like creating a pulley system on a tree (with which she planned to hoist Kate high into its branches on the plasma car) or making a double riding plasma car with only duct tape, but she manages to incorporate her big ideas to distract from the monotonous book work indoors. We may also award her with "The Most Influential" award because she manages to convince her brother and sister that her ideas are well worth pursuing and investing in, even it means plummeting from a vertical hanging plasma car or spinning out of control on a wild ride.

 I'd like to award Grant with the "Good Sport" award. Whether it was the time he stood at the bottom of our hill screaming after face planting on the asphalt from a bad scooter fall and I, not noticing the blood oozing from his face, casually told him it was okay. Or it was that time I waved at him from the bottom of the Butterfly Garden at Callaway Gardens and took his picture, only later to discover his head was actually stuck between the two rails and was NOT posing for a photo op. And yet, both times, he was patient with his clueless mom in the midst of a traumatic situation.

(stuck...and he even humored clueless mom with a smile)

Kate also is the recipient of the "Most Distracting" award. While Hannah, Grant,and I were hitting the books hard, she often lightened the mood with her wild ensembles and crazy quarks. This also invited  frustrated comments like, "Mom, make Kate leave," and "I can't think with Kate in here," thus making Kate the front runner for this award. Well done, Kate, well done.

This year we have a first. Thanks to a daring rescue of an injured dove, Crystal, I'd like to award Hannah with the first ever, "Humanitarian Award." Hannah exhibited compassion, concern, and executed a well thought plan to help Crystal survive. We were relieved to discover upon returning to Hannah's makeshift "flower pot" shelter, Crystal was no longer present. We like to think she's flying freely in the open breeze and those skeleton bones later found belong to some other unfortunate animal.

And in addition to the "Good Sport" award, Grant also received the "Best Comeback" award. After a year long stint away from his bike, he decided to get back on it and try again. It definitely helped that his younger sister recently learned how to pedal without training wheels. Now, Grant's leading the pack when it comes to burning rubber on the pavement. Way to go Bud!

And lastly, for a special award, we give Kate the "Meerkat Award" because, as Hannah said, "She really does look like a meerkat here." Bravo, Kate, for making the impossible seem possible. 

And that, folks, concludes our Harman Hood Awards Day. What a year we've had and what talent we are honing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Risk Taking

For all the risk takers out there, take note:

Sometimes, being a risk taker means you've got to just go for it, even if your legs are too short to actually extend across a giant, water squirting beach ball. It also helps to close your eyes really tightly and pray that maybe today, maybe today, you will sprout wings.

Taking risks means trying something new, even if it does leave you a bit, well, stuck. Closing your eyes helps in giving you the illusion that nobody else actually sees you in the predicament you were hoping to avoid.

Taking risks means, well, danger could be involved. This may include a head concussion if your arms aren't quite strong enough to support the downward thrust of your body due to the slickness of the ball and gravity's undeniable force.

Risk taking means maybe looking a little different than everybody else. It may even go so far as to make you appear to have grown a rather long, green tail. Trust me, risk takers will make heads turn.

Sometimes, taking risks may be painful. And surprising. You may just push your body a little beyond what you realized it could do. But that may entail pain. Lots of it. But the rush of the accomplishment, well, there's nothing like it.

Taking risks may require a team effort, even if it does leave one of you plastered onto the ground after a zealous, but maybe overly confident attempt. Making fierce faces definitely helps ease the let down though.

After much risk taking, you may be tired, exhausted even. You may want to give up. You may not have it in you to take one more step. But risk taker, you must press on even if it means all you can do is hike one leg half way up an ever deflating, water squirting beach ball. Risk takers, well, they never give up.

And, if you are tired and aren't too sure if you can accomplish the task at hand, at least look cool while you try. Most risk takers, well, they have the cool factor going for them. What they lack in execution they make up for in looking the part. You get so distracted by their undeniable coolness that you forget they are actually failing miserably.

Case in point, you totally don't realize Hannah is in no way jumping OVER the ball because well, it looks like she's flying...flying right past the ball she was trying to jump OVER. Coolness. Get it. Own it.

Oh and Grant, yeah, canon ball OVER the beach ball? Nope. But he looks cool. Diversion. Again.

And sometimes risk takers go beyond exhaustion to extreme mental fatigue. A fatigue that can only explain why in the world one might hold her nose while running PAST a simple spray of water with no intention of diving into a deep body of water. Beware risk takers. Keep your minds sharp. This may mean doing some Sudoku off the training field.

And finally, risk takers, remember you are role models for the younger generation. So if you are pulling more stunts out of exhaustion than strength, well, you may want to rethink your plan because they are watching and they will model what you teach...including jumping past a beach ball instead of actually over it. 

May these pointers serve you well on your journey of taking risks.