Thursday, December 22, 2011

Like Buzz & Woody

My sweet, funny boy!
Sometimes I get to spend time with each child seperately, which is really important, and today it was with Jacob. The other two were spending some much needed time with their Daddy! (Today is Caleb's birthday, and he wanted to go squirrel that was Daddy's area of interest! Another post to come about his bday.) I had some Christmas shopping to finish and also had to get food for a birthday party! I had to face the dreaded store of Wal-Mart AND Sam's...which I might add were not as bad as they could have been, but still more people that I like to deal with! Jacob was SOOO good! Funny how they each behave better when they're by themselves. :) He sat in the buggy, held my list, talked the entire time, sang Christmas songs, and wish everybody we passed a Merry Christmas! A lady behind us in the checkout line commented how happy he seemed singing his songs, and I replied to her, "well, we're trying to spread some Christmas cheer since no one else in the store seemed to be enjoying themselves."

Side note: I don't really understand why we do all that we do during this time of year if we're not going to enjoy it. Why buy people gifts, go to parties/family gatherings, fix food, bake goodies, etc. if you can't do it with a cheerful attitude?? 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

So, as hard as it was to smile and be happy amongest all the people in the stores, we did and tried to do it with the right attitude. With Jacob though, it's easy to laugh...he says and does the funniest things, and also the sweetest! As I was buckeling him in his car seat he looked at me with the sweetest expression on his face and said, "Mommy, you're my best friend." (YES, the tears started flowing!) I asked him, "I thought the boys were your best friends?" And then he said another tear jerker, "your my favorite!" I just sat there and cried! That was some of the most precious words I could ever hear. For those that really know Jacob know how sweet and rotten he can be all at the same time....this was a sweet moment! :) I just thought how blessed I am to have 3 handsome little boys that really do love me back. It makes all the hard times and long days of being home with them all worth it when you hear your child say those sweet things to you! I really do love being their mom and being able to spend time with them. Jacob loves to play Buzz and Woody,(he says he's Buzz Light--LOL--and I'm Woody) so I've been telling him that were best friends like Buzz and Woody! Then he'll shoot me with his pretend light beam! :) I love the adventures we have with 3 boys in the house!
I pray that the Lord will always keep us close and remind me daily to just have fun with them and enjoy these precious moments. I'm their mother, but I can also be their good friend "Woody"!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Fun!

Yes, there can be fun this time of year despite all the hustle and bustle! We finished up with our school last Wed., then ended the week with time with our great co-op Group 4:9! Our group Christmas party was Friday night with a homemade ornament exchange between the kids, so we had to work on our creations. I love decorating with snowmen, so I gave the boys that idea and they made their own versions of a snowman.

L to R:  Caleb's Nighttime Snowman, Jacob's tile job (didn't he do good!?!) :), Noah's "Grinch Man"

I also had a little time with just Jacob this past Sunday morning. The boys were riding the van with Eric to pick up some kids for church, so we were on our own. Since he is still small I can dress him all cute, and he can't refuse, yet! After wetting down and fixing his hair, he went to the mirror and said, "I handsome!"  He is such a mess!

Don't you love the sweater vest and the cheesy grin!?! 

We have also made some flour/salt ornaments. We ended up not using any of them, but they were fun to make!

Shopping is tomorrow...I'll let you know how it goes! LOL

Monday, December 5, 2011

Half way to adulthood...what?!?!

It crossed my mind this past Saturday (Dec. 3rd) that my firstborn, Noah, was half way to being an adult! How did this happen? Where has time gone? We celebrated his 9th birthday with just a family party at home. No matter what we do, he is always happy and eager to have his birthday. We have been counting down the days for the past month or more. :)

Noah with his guitar cake.

I think back over the last nine years and how quickly they have gone. Noah being my first, of course was special. I remember the whole timeline of events from finding out I was pregnant, the look on Eric's face, telling our families, the pregnancy ups & downs, to the delivery. I remember how I felt when I finally got to hold him for the first time. His smell, his little wrinkled face. He has brought us so much joy throughout the last nine years. I know the next nine will probably be more challenging. Teenagers and their problems are harder to deal with than bottle weening and potty training! I pray for God's guidance through the next years, but for now we'll just enjoy him being nine!

He had me make his cake. Bless his heart, after I made a pirate ship cake for his 5th birthday, he now thinks I can make good cakes. :) I do enjoy experimenting with them, but don't think anyone but my children would appreciate my handiwork!

The green part is cake, the yellow and white parts are rice crispy treats. It was really yummy!
Blowing out the candles!

Opening Presents

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful to Homeschool

One of biggest questions people have when they find out that we homeschool is:  What about your kids making friends and being in activities?  

Well, that question has really weighed heavy on my heart and mind. They have had a few friends along the way, at church, on a ball team, but most of those relationships have been temporary. We have been fairly active in our local homeschool association for a couple of years now, and for one main reason was for my kids to meet other kids. Through that group we have met some great people, but there again we would see these people on occasion. My friend, Crystal (who also homeschools her girls) and I have wanted to form a small co-op group of our own for a while now, but things just never seemed to work out. For about 2 years now we have been praying about a group.

To make a long story short, we have now formed a group with a total of 6 moms and 14 kids!  We are SO EXCITED about this group of people. We have started doing activities and classes together just within the last month.  I just LOVE IT when the Lord works things out like this! We all just seem to really click with each other. No one person is carrying the load by themselves...we all work together great! Our husbands have even been able to meet, and it just seems like we've all known each other forever. We chose to name our co-op, Group 4:9, from Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he does not have another to help him."  I pray that's what we do, lift each other up!

This week we were studying the real meaning of Thanksgiving, and we really learned A LOT! Each family made their own replicas of the Mayflower that we shared with each other during class. The boys decided they wanted theirs made from cake, so we did the Mayflower out of rice crispies and set it on a cake body of water. They really did do a lot of it on their own, and I helped some. I mostly did the baking and shaping..they did the icing, sails, and design. Here they are icing up the ship. :)

They enjoyed getting chocolate icing all over their hands!

Here is our completed Mayflower!

After our great lessons about the 1st Thanksgiving, we had a wonderful feast!
Check out our Group 4:9 blog:  (also linked on this blog) for more great pictures and info.
I am thankful for this group and how the Lord has given my boys and myself new friends, and YES now they get to socialize!!  HA! :) I wouldn't trade this time with my boys for anything! 
Do we have bad days?--You bet so!
Are there days I wish they were in public school?--Definitely YES!
Would it be nice to get paid for a job that I have to put so much time into?--That would be a great plus!
Would I like missing learning with them and spending these years with them?--DEFINITELY NOT!!

I am thankful, most of all, that the Lord has always provided a way for me to stay at home with our boys. It's not for everyone, and I realize that most families need two incomes (which we could use right now!) but I always go back to the calling I've felt on my life. I

know that God has called me to be a wife and mother, which includes homeschooling our kids. This was decided before we had children...actually, I believe before we were even married. SO, on our hardest days I have to remind myself of these things. And, on the great days, like when we're with our Group 4:9, or going on a great field trip, or just sitting on the couch reading together, that's when I say, "thank you Lord for this time!"
I AM thankful to be homeschooling our boys!

Who wouldn't want to spend time with these 3!?!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Temporary "Home"

We have been in such a weird place of transition since leaving the church Eric was pastoring. That was our "home", where 2 of our boys were baptized, Eric's first pastorate, many great memories, and learning experiences. We were there for 5 1/2 years and God said it was time to go.  Questions were in abundance as to what God had for us next. For almost a year before we left the Lord was dealing with both of us asking us what we were doing? Really, what were we doing as a church (and when I refer to church, I mean the body of Christ, not a building!) Are we really reaching lost people for Him? Are we spreading the Gospel, or are we just comfortable and complacent where we are. We know we're saved and that's really all that matters, right!?!? We were fine where we were and not really wanting to take that step of faith. But, we have learned in the past that when God says to go, you go! No matter if it makes sense to you or anyone around you. 

We referred back to the Bible accounts of Abraham alot!  God told him to go and made him promises for his faithfulness. As Abraham went, God was faithful and kept His promises.  Abraham wasn't rewarded for his work for the Lord, He was rewarded for his faithfulness.
"What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?  "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."  --Romans 4:1-3

We have been at Ebenezer Baptist Church since our big step of leaving our temporary church home. There are many great memories for us here as well. I grew up at in the youth group, sang in the choir, baptized & really grew as a Christian at this place. We were also married there. Ebenezer is really what I call my "church home". It's a place I can always go back to and feel welcomed.  We are happy to be in this place, but still know that this is temporary. This world and everything in it is temporary.
We desire to serve the Lord no matter where He places us. For now, we will be at Ebenezer, and Eric will be assisting Pastor Tony in pastoral duties. They are very much like-minded and have the same Godly visions. We pray that the Lord will work through us to fulfill His purpose at this place. Then, whenever that next "Abraham Call" comes, we pray that we will be willing to step out again, and He will find us faithful.

I hope that we all remember that this is our Temporary Home. What we do here matters, but thankfully it's not all that there is. There is a better day coming. Are you ready?

~Raising Husbands

As a mother to boys, I pray daily for each of their future wives (1 wife each!). But, I also realize the responsiblity I have to teach them how to take care of themselves. The Lord may or may not have planned for them to marry. And if they do get married, I DON'T, and they BETTER NOT expect their wife to do everything! They need to become independent men that can live on their own, wash their own clothes, cook for themselves, clean & keep a house, etc, etc....  So, in my effort to teach them these important life skills, we had a cleaning day this past Saturday. They had to clean their rooms and dust, just as I was doing in the rest of the house. (and I might add, that my cleaning duties never stop!) :)  I only got a couple of sighs and moans as I gave out instructions, but this was better than doing an extra day of school right?!?!  So, I must brag on them a little and show you how hard they really did work.

Noah dusting his room.  Don't you like his outfit for the day??
I never know what kind of get-up he may have on!

Caleb got on his top bunk to take the sheets off for me,
and then I saw him dusting his fan! Without me asking!!
This crazy kid was even his own way!
He was basically telling his brothers what to do! :)

They actually enjoy seeing the finished products of their hard work.  It also helped as motivation that they had a friend's birthday party to go to that afternoon! 
Well, whatever it takes! :) BUT, they will make good husbands oneday!  Husbands that help their wives in the partnership of marriage. Thankfully they have a daddy that is a great role model, and a momma that is just stubborn enough to not give in and make them do things on their own!

~~Many hands make for light work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eric does exsist!

Since I don't have an updated picture of our entire family to use for a profile pic (OK, I'm really bad at doing that! Our last family "portrait" was in 2006...I don't even have one that includes Jacob!  Putting that on my to-do list right now!!) :), I thought I would include some pics of Eric, so he wouldn't be left off our Hardman Family Blog! HA!  I do take lots of pics on my own, but finding the time to get a professional shot is nearly impossible....does anyone else have this problem!?!  ;)

Here's Eric...isn't he cute?!?!

Playing a game of football

He really is a great dad that loves his boys and spending time with them. We are approaching our 11th wedding anniversary (Dec.2) and I am so thankful for him! There is no one else that I would rather be with traveling this great adventure! He is my husband, father to our children, but most importantly...he is my best friend!

Us at Disney World, Sept. 2010
(Don't we look cute in our matching Mickey shirts?!? We were being true tourists!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Annual Pumpkin Pickin’

We went to Granddad's Apples in Hendersonville today…supporting our local farmers! The boys were able to pick 1 larger pumpkin for our family. Usually I let them do a pumpkin each and they paint them or carve them somehow, but with our dog, Dixie, I didn’t think that would be such a good idea. HA! So, we opted for one that we can place indoors away from her.


 I was able to pick 3 great “punkins” today! 

My boys are absolutely the best thing that I’ve ever had my hand in.  I’m thankful that the Lord has given me the opportunity to be a mother and the privilege to raise the 3 greatest little boys into, hopefully, Godly men one day…which will probably be here before I know it. That’s why I try to enjoy each day with them that I can. I, of course, don’t always spend as much quality time with them as I should…that’s one of the many things that makes me an Imperfect Female. I pray that the Lord will remind me everyday of the wonderful gifts He has given me and that I won’t take them for granted.

025                                                                       018

They really do love each other!                                                                                   



Me with my 3 punkins!                                                               


003  Jacob & Elizabeth together…so sweet!!


006 My sister’s girls are visiting this week, so we were able to share this day with them. My 3 boys and her 3 girls!

Pisgah Edu. Center--Field Trip

WOW!!  What a great time we had with other homeschool families and just being outside in the beautiful weather and surroundings!  The drive to Pisgah Forest was absolutely breathtaking! I love that area anyway, but seeing the colors of the changing leaves, and them falling in front of us almost like it was snowing leaves...just beautiful!
The boys had a great time in the FREE classes offered by the Pisgah Educational Center...did I mention they are FREE! :) Lots of great info. and hands-on activities. For Noah's age group they first did a BB Gun class--safety and shooting. Then they did Archery, which was so much fun and I even got to participate! :)
Caleb's age first did a Wild Woodlands class, where we explored and hiked in the woods looking for different animals and habitats. Very fun and beautiful scenery! Then they learned about the fish hatchery--how they raise the fish and what they feed them, etc. Here's some fun pictures from our day of learning, exploring, and just enjoying God's beautiful creations!

Noah--3rd Grade                                      Caleb--1st Grade

Caleb looking at a salamander we found on our hunt!

Caleb touching a skull from a gray fox.

Noah perfecting his archery skills.
I hit the bulls eye first time! :)
Noah "killed" a bear with his bow!

Our Homeschool Group 
(Look at the colors of the leaves behind them...beautiful!)

This is why we homeschool! We can take an entire day and spend it with friends and still learn. What an awesome privilege to have this time with my children! Our "classroom" is wherever we want it to be, and we get to experience all of it together. I thank the Lord for the freedom to homeschool, and I also praise Him for providing for us to have this incredible opportunity and time with the boys.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do I really have to wear a bathing suit?!?!

The boys, my mom, and myself went to the indoor waterpark, Wilderness at the Smokies, in Pigeon Forge, TN this week for a few days. It is a really AWESOME place! The boys absolutely loved the water slides and play areas...great trip any time of the year, but especially when it's cold outside.  The slides are in one area, so I could see the boys while they were going down them all, and the area for little ones was perfect for Jacob. The only down side---I HAD TO WEAR A BATHING SUIT!! My poor body is definitely not in shape like it should be, and has not seen the sun in approximately 2 years! This was a sight that most probably did not enjoy.

But, just to encourage myself...I looked around and really didn't see anyone that looked "good in a bathing suit". From "hefty" women in bikinis (really, a bikini?! and at a waterpark?!) to teenage girls with "muffin tops", teenage boys with the behind sagging trunks, and the worst of with hairy backs and chests!! OH MY! I saw things that my eyes are now scarred from!  Seriously, I'm not trying to be judgemental. I'm sure that as I walked around I was placed in a "category" by others, just like I was doing in my head. 

I came to a conclusion during all my observations.....there are NO Perfect People in this world!!  That's a profound statement, right!?! :) Everyone is as imperfect as I am...inside and out! But, PRAISE TO THE LORD, that we can all be made "perfect" through HIM! Thank goodness He only looks at the heart, and doesn't look at our outward appearances. (We should dress and act in a way that glorifies Him, with a modest fashion & clean mouth. But, when it comes to salvation--the inside is what matters.) Through Christ, our old selves (the unclean and imperfect) can be made new (clean & perfect)!  I thank Him daily for taking this Imperfect Female and using me for His Glory! May I always be about His business!

Here's a video of Natalie Grant singing her song, "Perfect People"....where I get my title of, Imperfect Female.  We all have our imperfections, but we serve of PERFECT GOD!

Leaves Changing

I'm sitting looking out the window at all the beautiful colors in the changing leaves. I love the cool crisp air and changing of seasons. Most people I know also loves to see one season come and go...can you believe it, we like CHANGE?!? :)
This makes me think about my life and the season I'm in, and where and how I need to change.
The colors are beginning to burst out!

We have personally been in a "winter season" for the past few months...dead emotionally, financially, and spiritually. But, I know that after the winter comes spring...when everything blooms again and becomes new. I'm looking forward and praising Him ahead of time for how He's going to allow spring to come in our lives.

Back to the real season we're in...FALL/AUTUMN (whichever you prefer to call it!)
I use to look at the leaves and think that they were dying...which they are, but do you know why??  The green material in plants is called chlorophyll, and without it they cannot make food, so they die. Plants also use the carbon dioxide in the air (which is deadly to us), and then give off oxygen which we need to live, along with sunlight to make their food, and this is the process of photosynthesis!  (3rd grade science lesson for you!) :) Learning about this whole process made me think about my own life. Am I drinking from the LIVING WATER? Am I getting enough SONlight? Am I breathing in HIS OXYGEN, or the deadly carbon dioxide from this world? Without these things, I will die too! I want to be alive in Christ and living for Him!

From another perspective......I like to think of the leaves changing colors as not dying, but bursting forth with brilliant, bold colors as in effort to Praise the Lord! So, in this case I want to be a bright RED or ORANGE colored leaf that is glowing with the spirit of Christ in me. So, what are you? A dying leaf or one bursting out with color shining for Jesus?!?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do Everything...

Do everything as unto the Lord....
Boy, is this a hard thing to do sometimes! In this song by Steven Curtis Chapman he mentions things that I do everday and it gets really boring sometimes. I have to stop and remind myself daily, that the Lord has called me to be at home as a mom and homeschool teacher.  I try not to take for granted that I have the freedom to school my boys at home, and that God provides for us financially for me to do this. 
Through all of the mundane tasks of the day....get up, fix breakfast, clean the kitchen, start school, change Jacob's diaper, get him settled on something, continue school, try to get Jacob to use the potty, more school, then lunch time---fix it, clean up, think about supper and prepare, housework, laundry, finish reading/school work, nap time for Jacob---finally! :)  Supper time--fix it, clean up. Bath time, fold laundry, and BEDTIME for boys!! Then, FINALLY maybe 30 minutes for Eric and I to sit and talk if we're not too exhausted from the day! HA! can be EXTREMELY hard to do all these tasks unto the Lord.
Does He really care if I smile while changing a dirty diaper? Should I really be rejoicing when I have to explain school work for the 100th time to the boys? How can I possibly skip through the house while doing laundry?  Should I be singing praises while in the kitchen where I sometimes feel like a short-order cook?
Well, I may not need to be doing everything with a smile, singing, or rejoicing, but I should do it as if it REALLY does matter....because it does! This is the job that the Lord has given me, and no matter if I were at home or in a public job, it would all become mundane at some point.
I have just come to realize that EVERYTHING we do is important to matter how big or small it seems. We should perform all tasks to the best of our ability, with our whole heart, to be pleasing to the Lord.  I am thankful that He didn't do His "job" halfway. He put His whole heart into everything He did! He even gave His own life for us! How can I complain about my silly little daily tasks?!?!

So, no matter where you are or what you do everyday, try to do it in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Even if you are just wiping noses and bottoms all day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jehovah Jirah! The Lord Provides!

We are in a trying, trusting time right now. After Eric's resignation from the church, we have not had a "steady" income, but our bills are paid and we're able to eat! :)  We hated the fact that our main source of income was from the church, but that's just how it was since I'm at home with our boys. (which I wouldn't give up for anything...that will be another post!) 
This past Sunday after coming home from church, the boys realized that the front tire on my vehicle was busted, completely flat! How did this happen?!?!  Just sitting in the driveway! Of course I got a little emotional. This was something that was going to have to be fixed that we didn't have the money for.  Well, Eric being the optimistic (trusting) one, told me not to worry, that God knew that tire was going to be flat before we did, and just to be thankful that we were home and that it didn't blow while driving down the road. Ok, ok....I know all of that, but my faith and trust does lack sometimes. That's why I love when God really shows me how good He is!
Monday morning Eric took the tire to a local guy to be checked out. In the meantime, Eric came home for lunch from a job he was doing. (Praise the Lord he had a job that pays!) When he went to leave his truch wouldn't start!! I would have loved to have seen his face at that moment!  He said he sat there and's the battery, but he couldn't pull mine over to jump it off to see for sure that's what was wrong, it was on jacks missing a tire! HA! HA!  (Sometimes we do have to laugh! "A joyful heart is a good medicine...--Prov.17:22) So, he called my mom and got her vehicle to jump his truck off.  He went to my dad's store.....a guy had just left after purchasing a new battery for himself. Turns out that his battery wasn't actually bad. Something else was wrong, but he insisted on a new one.. So to our advantage his battery was good and gues what?!?!?  It fit Eric's truck perfectly and worked liked a charm! A FREE BATTERY!!  Saving us around $60.00!!  GOD IS GOOD!!!! 
Later in the evening the guy had my tire fixed. Thankfully it was a tiny hole that he was able to plug, and did it for FREE!! 
I say all of this to say this.....
Sometimes we do forget how gracious and merciful our God is, and that He is concerned about the "little" things in our lives. Every detail matters. He does care, and wants what's best for us. He does know the things we're going through and are going to face. He just wants us to trust Him. Put into action the things we always tell everyone else when their facing trials. It's easy to talk the talk of faith, but how well do we do walking it??