When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Truth Is...

Sometimes, it is not necessary to share whatever pops into your head. This is a little trick that most people learned a long time ago, but I'm new to it. And, it takes some self control on my part.

My instinct is to share...and share...and share...

And, there are SOME people who have liked that about me--like my parents, who had no one else to listen to BUT me as I grew up an only child.

But recently, I've realized, other people like to talk too! And it is nice to listen to them, ask them questions about themselves, really get to the heart of who they are in a conversation.

I have grown to love and appreciate and learn from those in my life who take the time to listen. This includes my husband, the best listener I know.

Random thought for the day. The end.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It Passes

Sometimes, in the thick of things with four children, I lose sight of how far we've come. I remember this day (pictured below), when Addie was just a few days old, for instance, thinking she would never gain weight, never stop crying, we would never have the house packed and moved...

And here we are, with Addie ten months old, happy as can be, weighing a whopping 25.5 pounds and peacefully settled in our new home.

And through it all, there is always this man, supporting us and loving us...and telling us when things get rough, "It'll pass."

It does...sometimes toooooo stinkin' fast.

I love you Papa Mac!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Finally, we have a picture of our whole family--some in pirate attire, one in Mickey Mouse (we're an eclectic bunch and had just come from a pirate birthday party--to which Caden went as Mickey Mouse...and Addie as a princess...hmmm, perhaps this explanation is more confusing than explanatory...).

Anyway, Grammie captured a photo of our whole crew! Brooke, if you're reading, we followed NONE of your photo taking advice--except thank God I didn't have a sleeveless top. And Scott is wearing this shirt I got him that I LOVE and he HATES. Such a sport.

It's US! ALL SIX OF US! I am SO happy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Messy Garage and the Truck of Glory

Disclaimer: This is NOT nor will this EVER be a picture resembling our garage...and I have no idea where I got it.

My husband is cleaning out the garage for Spring Break...again. Every vacation starts with a declaration that his sweet old truck deserves shelter in its old age and so it begins. Every. single. thing....we have stuffed, shoved, slid, or hid(den) in the garage for the past six months gets dragged out onto the driveway.

And about half of it gets shoved, pushed, slid, or hidden right back in albeit in a much neater and more organized fashion...until the next six months take their inevitable toll.

This time, it is ever so much more urgent that the truck be housed in the garage again because the neighborhood dogs (and if we are honest about it, our dogs probably too) pee all over Scott's new tires every morning. He hates it. It is somehow insulting to both the truck and to his masculinity.

In addition to that impetus, we also had the added intrigue of moving twenty adolescent chickens out of the "temporary" garage coop (which was exceedingly long term for them I think since by the end they were actually perching ON TOP of one another) as well, along with the dust, feed, watering apparati (plural of apparatus, right?), and mountains of poo...out to the official chicken coop area.

The old ugly chickens (I'm not being harsh, it is absolutely the honest truth--many had not one. single. tail feather left) were graciously taken by a man Scott befriended on the custodial staff at school...I believe he and his family may be eating them as I type. I'm not thinking about that anymore...

Scott put in a new garage sink today, had the toilet cleaned (totally NOT by me, but by our unfortunate cleaning lady)--Oh, what's that you say? A toilet in the garage? Odd? You have no idea. I can't go into the oddity of it right now, but my husband thinks the garage toilet (mind you, there is no "stall" around said toilet), is one of the single greatest things about this house. Until you go out to talk to your husband and find him, well, you know...bleh.

Anyhoo, not thinking about that anymore either...

Perhaps I will post a real "after" picture soon. Then again, perhaps we will be revisiting this post again next spring...

P.S. I know this post is light-hearted, but in all seriousness, a dear friend of mine's husband is in the hospital and is very ill. They have a big family like we do and homeschool. Daddy is their world. If you have a moment, could you please pray for the Payne family, and especially for Alif, the dad? I sure would appreciate it.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a girl who always dreamed of having little boys. And then she had a girl. And she loved the little girl more than she could possibly imagine. At times she felt as though her heart might break with the love she felt for the little girl and she could not imagine a little boy could capture her affections in the same way.

And then she had a little boy. And she adored him. She adored his breath on her cheek while he slept and his impossibly impish grin. She marveled at how different two children could be and often misunderstood his passive frustration to be shyness and/or deliberate rudeness. Once she "figured him out," they became very close.

Then another little boy came along, full of joy and giggles. His sensitivity and passion rivaled only her own and they instantly bonded and became "happy guys," for this was the second little boy's favorite phrase.

And then came another little girl...who was nothing like the rest. She cried for four months straight and then smiled for the next five months straight. She left her mommy at a loss for words because her mommy was SO THANKFUL the little girl STOPPED CRYING. And even more thankful she became such a happy little girl.

The End.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Half as Many Kids

I was looking back this morning remembering when we had half as many kids...and I really thought we were busier and more stressed out then! Something about having more than three...it all became much more relaxed. That's our beloved Maggie dog in the background there. I miss her. I know it's cliche, but where did the time GO??

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Three Year Old Cleans His Room

This is Wyatt's version of making the bed and cleaning his room. Believe it or not, it's a great improvement. It won't win any awards, but as long as he spreads out the blankets (three of our kids sleep in this bed every night, all with very colorful blankies and multi-colored pillow cases.) I had visions of unified color schemes, but I suppose they'll wait for another season...I am happy with his job...and so is he. That dog on the side of the bed there is "Ginger", Kya's special doggy. Those two socks on the floor are actually right where Wyatt PUT them in case someone might need some socks when they get out of bed in the night to go potty and have cold feet. Nice thinking, eh?
That large black monstrosity on the right is an air filter that claims to purify the air in the room of particulate matter, which although probably a bunch of hooey, makes my mommy heart feel better raising our kids in this toxic city (and with our menagerie of dander-makers)! LOL!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Personality Differences

Happy Country Girl

She was running to tell me something... It was very important...
I dug a hole mom...
And I'm planting a seed...just like daddy....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who's Bleeding?

OK, so there have been strange tiny blood droplets outside on the sidewalk and then today in our hallway (thank goodness it's hard tile that cleans oh so easily.) I have inspected every child, dog, cat, and rodent (well, no, not really), but most of the rest and no trace of injury or bloody nose or any other...uh...part. It is common to have bleeding injuries here with four children and a part of our DNA hard-wired for clumsiness (it's the Scottish, I'm convinced of it), but this remains a mystery...

Teaching Freshmen

My husband refuses to blog, so I have to share some of his stories.

He teaches math...high school math...to freshmen...who couldn't give a RIP about math...

So, he has been trying to teach them manners in addition to math...also not a RIP.

So, he teaches them the flag salute. Even less of a RIP.

Today, for the 400th time, he said, "Please stand for the flag salute."

A freshman girl in the back said grudgingly, "I hate standing up..." Who says that? I HATE standing up??????

Scott laughed the rest of the period. I have been laughing ever since he told me. Sweet Jesus help my husband with this job. It is ever so unrewarding at times...

If I Could Choose...

...I would wear this outfit or some variation of it, every day. Oh, and if I could be this skinny, it would be great too...

I have ONE favorite pair of jeans that fits when I'm this size (sort of in between 10 and 12). They fit perfectly, come up high enough to hold in my tummy without being too "mom-ish," and have some good stretchiness that holds in all the wiggly parts...I got them at Target years ago, and I've never ever been able to find a pair more flattering or that I love as much. I wear them three days in a row, wash them, and keep wearing them. On laundry day, I wear yoga pants grudgingly.

A friend recently complimented my bum in them and I said, truthfully, "It's the jeans."

Do you have a favorite outfit?

Picture from here: http://thepleatedpoppy.com/2011/03/what-i-wore-wednesday-17/

What's The Deal With Grass Fed Beef?

We've been debating buying a quarter of a grass fed cow this year. It's pricey. But, after reading this confirming article about conjugated linoleic acid, among other healthful attributes, we are committed to fillin' up our freezer with this delicious stuff.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Is The Day...

...that we played in the great outdoors, weeded the berry patch, swept the porch and did lots of mundane things. We read a book called "Blueberries for Sal" (thought it was a typo too, but the little girl's name was Sal. Ha!) We realized we were out of toilet paper. We looked at clouds and pretended raccoons were chasing us. There were short naps, Winnie the Pooh movie twice, and moving the dollhouse to a more accessible location. There was a bucket of crayons spilled on the floor by Addie...hundreds of crayons...and they are still on the floor. Ham in the oven for dinner, cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Just a regular ol' day, but it was good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Two Minutes of Parenting Brilliance...

For more, check out Getting to the Heart of Parenting by Paul Tripp.

Common Phrase of the Week...

"Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, Addie's in the dog water again!!!!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Heart Martha

There is something ridiculous in this recipe that makes every muscle in my body melt.

Brownie hearts with leftover chocolate brownie balls powdered in cocoa...seriously? Sigh...

Dare ya.


I am ready to have a hair makeover. Call me vain, but sometimes a mommy needs to feel pretty...sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder where I went. Not in a miserable way...I just don't look like the girl I remember. Sagging, time, sun, children, caffeine...they have taken a bit of a toll. I'm still pretty cute I think, for my age, but I could stand a little more attention to detail, if you know what I mean...like my toe nails. Once, perfectly pedicured in any season, they could now be used to climb tough tree bark, if you get my drift.

Anyway, I used to at least have a sense of Tara-style, a sense of my own unique beauty...and although wifehood and mommyhood now take precedence in terms of time (rightly so) over self-beautification, when I feel good about myself, I am a better wife and mom.

I am thankful that God gave me unique features. I don't desire to be just like anyone else. And I try hard not to covet the gifts of skinniness, shiny hair, whiter teeth, or better wardrobes that some of my friends have. God made me. And I like what He makes!

Isaiah 45:9-12 is on point:
Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
10 Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’”
11 Thus says the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“ Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
12 I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.

So, lately, although totally thankful for the way God made me, I have also been aware that God made me with a desire to beautify and be creative in terms of my unique style! In particular, I have been searching for a pretty hair color closer to my natural color...my hair's roots are more pronounced than the veggies' in the garden! Haaaaa!

I found this girl (who I have never heard of before) in the InStyle website. Ashley Greene? I suppose she must be pretty popular, but seeing as my knowledge of anything vampire-related is minimal, she is new to me!

I really like her style though. And her hair color (pictured above) is yummy--like caramel sauce. I think I could do caramel sauce hair. Do you have a celebrity whose style you love?

Material Wealth...

I have learned to enjoy being frugal. It, along with my awesome husband's job and commitment, lets me stay home with my kiddos. The autonomy of homemaking, and the ability to raise our kiddos ourselves, homeschool, decide when we get up, where we go, who we see, what we'll make, whether I'll get out of my pajamas...well, there isn't really a price tag I could put on those things. But, if there was, it would be BIG.

Money is on my mind lately. I am not stressed about it. I can't be. God has provided for us BEYOND my wildest dreams, and I wouldn't want to spit in His face with worry or anxiety. In fact, I am probably overly confident if anything. But, I also don't buy stuff. And I have a very set allowance. So, there's not a lot of damage I can do!! Ha!!

But, this month's topic at MITW (Mommies in the Word, a group God has blessed me with the ability to host at our home each month) is material wealth...what God wants us to do with it, how to live frugally, be a good steward of our blessings, serve others and give to others, etc., etc. I'm not very good (obviously) about making a nice concise title for our MITW topics.

As I research this month's MITW topic, I can't help but be amazed at the things God just plops down in my lap. I always pray before each topic selection for God's guidance. Then, without an agenda, I set out to find what God might have for us mommies on the topic. I start out with some Google searches, and some deep Bible study, but without fail, God puts things in my path without my searching, that speak to the topics in a powerful way.

Today, this came to my inbox. I think it is pretty powerful stuff for us to remember...the title here (much more concise than mine) is, "MONEY CAN'T SAVE US... "


Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm Back...

I'm back.

"What? Where'd she go?" I hear you saying...

Well, I was in Facebook land.

It was a deceptive time away in that I didn't know I was away.

But, when I finally came to the realization that I was using up my time there instead of building my home, my family, my faith, my REAL friendships, doing laundry, maintaining and improving my health...well, I finally has the courage to say, "NO MORE!"

So, in an effort to still connect with folks and update those who really really really want to know what the Haner family is up to (there may not be any such people, but I'm hopeful), I am going to update this blog and my Frugal Farm Girl Fixes blog as well. I'll link that up to this blog later.

KIDS: As an update, Addie is eight months old and the happiest baby you've ever known (quite a 180 from her first few months), she stands up and waves now. She eats A LOT! Kya has completed kindergarten math and is on to first Grade work, she adores drawing and writing her own poetry and will begin ballet this summer. She can easily read most first and second grade readers and I LOVE listening to her read aloud to the boys...

Wyatt is coming into his own with a tough exterior and a soft heart. We have implemented a more "just" discipline system for he and his brother, which involves allowing him to voice his thoughts (something heretofore unheard of---WHAT?! ALLOW A CHILD TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF???!!!! POPPYCOCK!!!) But seriously, it has changed his entire disposition and self worth--just being able to explain what happened and seek justice from us instead of the prior "toy time out" technique whenever a brotherly squabble arose. More on this later...

Caden is our "happy guy." He talks A LOT!!! He smiles, and often declares it time for a Haner "GWOUP HUG!!!" He is sunshine and light...punctuated by an occasional stormy two year old fit. :) He is ENORMOUS, often mistaken for a three or four year old, even though he is not even two and a half until MAY!

FARM: Our farm is taking shape. We have a new flock of chickens who will soon be replacing the old girls (sad, but necessary.) We are still not sure what to do with the old girls...breaking their necks and cookin' up some soup seems so cruel...stay tuned for the conclusion of this little dilemma...

We have planted artichokes, peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, grapes, berries (logan, black, boysen, rasp, straw, etc.), asparagus, and I'm sure some other things I can't recall...our orchard now has nectarines, plums, pluots, limes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit...and something else. I am currently charged with making a master plan of the farm with planting dates, fertilizing schedules, and soil amendment charts...yeah, this is exaaaaactly why I had to quit Facebook...

HOUSE: The house is shaping up just swimmingly. I have added a mud room to the laundry room, with a chalkboard wall that contains our verse of the day, menu plan, and something I am thinking about (or should remember) about our family focus. Currently, we are working on frugal living, service, giving, and using our material wealth in a way that is pleasing to God. We have been so incredibly blessed, and want to make sure we continue to serve Him with our blessings...

MINISTRY: I will be reporting more information as I research this topic for Mommies in the Word, which will be meeting here on April 4th!!! This group of women blesses me immeasurably...a group of women who delve with me into the Bible to find answers to common queries...a group that laughs and embraces womanhood and motherhood...a group that regularly makes me cry for joy. To finally find a group of women to walk alongside me in this journey away from common cultural norms, toward raising kids with a good work ethic, servants' hearts, who love their siblings and who actually choose to spend time with family, and who know a very real and personal relationship with God, is INCREDIBLE. Most days, I feel like a failure on all these fronts, but coming alongside other women who are trying too, and knowing women who have done it and succeeded, helps with the daily grind. We can help each other see the fruit at the end of the tunnel, if you will. And it is good.

My camera cord is still hiding, so when it surfaces, this blog will be flooded with months of photos. Until then, dreary ol' words will have to suffice.


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Have you heard the woman's story who did the Ironman with very little training or preparation, but ended up in first place at the end of the race...except her body started to quit on her...first her legs, then her whole body, then she lost control of her bodily functions...I don't even know if she finished; I have to assume she did because of the viral impact of her story. I mean if my cable-less homeschooling, hermit-like self has heard about it...well...you get the point.

Anyway, her story made me think. We all have physical limits and mental limits and emotional limits. We have a breaking point...but that small voice in your head can sure make you go farther and longer and harder than you ever thought you could at times.

The Ironman lady said she heard that voice telling her...willing her.."Get up!" GET. UP!!!"

I find that we often have much more in reserve than we might think.

I find that being pushed to the limit once in a while grows character.

I find that being a mom of four has often pushed me to limits I never thought I could endure...of love, heartbreak, worry, joy, and exhaustion...

But I find that I love it...

...like I love pushing myself to run a little faster or do a few more crunches at the gym after it really seems like I can't do anymore...it just feels good.

I love that my character and my physical body are stretched and pushed and strained by mothering and homeschooling my four children.

I love that when I have had 15 minutes of sleep in a night, I can still muster the voice and energy to hold and sing to my baby before her nap...or laugh at my two year old's ridiculously illogical knock knock jokes.

And I can always find a way to prepare three meals a day for my children (I didn't say anything about doing the dishes afterward.) And most of all, I can now say I am mastering the ability to control my temper and find patience and strength to show up for duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week without yelling. (Only by God's presence in our home and his merciful grace with me over the past four years of my own personal battle with temper tantrums has this been possible).

And I find that those moments of extreme really clarify my priorities.

I find myself searching more for the best and the "real" instead of the urgent and superficial. And that is good.

I find my relationship to God deepened and the love in my heart expanded after being stretched and pushed.

I sometimes find myself humbled and often embarassed after such times...but always more wide-eyed and appreciative.

I have experienced a physical extreme of sorts these past few months. I have slept very little, and by very little, I mean VERY LITTLE. And I would find that voice in the wee hours of the night saying, "You can do this." "I will equip you for times like this." "I am here with you and will sustain you."

I believe this was the Holy Spirit. And after having one of the most beautiful periods these past months with my family and my husband, despite lack of sleep, and some pretty big challenges, I know that voice was right. And I am thankful for the knowledge that I can be pressed and shaken and find the "light" still shining in our home...and shining even brighter at times when my limit has been reached and I need some outside strength.

Sometimes I am offered help when things are challenging. My pride often gets in the way of me accepting it. But, I also know that enduring and allowing myself to be tested is good...and right...and even preferable...to taking the easy way out all the time and shipping my kids off to various locations...

They benefit from seeing my endurance process and from seeing me ask them for some help when I am struggling...and from seeing that I can and do make it through those times with joy and grace...mostly. :)

Do you allow your limits to be pushed regularly?