Drop of Grace

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Humble Abode

Here are some pictures of our very first home. I took these right after we moved in this past June, so things are a little different now. This home is such a blessing from God! So many people had a part in helping us buy it, pack, move, paint it, fix the yard up, etc. etc. This list is LONG of all those who so graciously helped the Hardage's purchase and move into our home. I love, love, love this house and I'm reminded all the time how blessed we are to have it. THANK YOU TO ALL who helped and thanks most of all to our Heavenly Father. He is good!

Entry way

James and Judson's room

Kid's Bathroom

Dori's *bright* room. :D


More toys in the "toy area."


Music/reading room


Music room

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Art, Some Life, Some Spring

It seems like winter has dragged on, but I dare not complain as I was once quite accustomed to snow falling at times through April. That said, it seems like winter has dragged on around here! Thankfully, though, the sun is gradually making its appearance with more frequency than usual and the crocuses are popping up along with other random yellow flowers. The kids are giddy watching it all happen and I confess I am too!

We all love spring around here...what it represents, what it feels like, what it smells like. Since we spend most days at home, I try to bring bits of spring time decoration into our home--all with the help of some very creative little artists that share my last name. :)

I found these cute, old egg cups at the Salvation Army a few months ago. I just couldn't pass them up! When we dye our eggs before Easter maybe we will display them in these cute cups. You can't really tell from the photo but there is a man, woman, chicken, and some unknown design painted on them.

I try to display a good book on the kitchen counter that sort of represents whatever season we are in or that goes along with something we are doing in school. This book is another gem I recovered at the Salvation Army. "The Springs of Joy" by Tasha Tudor. So far, I have found 5 Tasha Tudor books at various thrift shops both here in MS and in RI. I can't even fathom getting rid of a Tasha Tudor picture book. Horrors. When Micah saw this book displayed he said, "Boy...I guess you really like Tasha Tudor, huh Mom?" LOL. Yes, son...I do. Her artwork is so lovely to look at and I love the innocence and simplicity of the children in all of her books. This is a book of poems.

James created this "fort" today. He told me the bad guys were in jail. He also drew the picture below. I LOVE this artwork, people. In case you didn't know...this is a family portrait. There are a few too many represented...not sure what kind of message James is sending me. He told me I am the one with the "sticking up kind of hair" and Judson is the tiniest round subject with only one eye. I find this so comical.

My sweet, dear, talented friend Claudia Windham painted this and gave it to me a while ago. I just wanted to take a moment to showcase it in my blog because I love it so and so love her. I love the colors, the subject matter, and most of all the person who painted it. She's pretty awesome!

A recent crafting adventure. Beads and glue. You can make everything better with some beads and some glue.

James has really been into forts lately. Everything turns into a fort. I mean everything. I found the toilet paper piled up in the bathroom strangely one day last week. Yep, it was a James fort. Today he made a fort out of three footstools. Yesterday the kitchen chairs were missing--yep..in the den as a fort. A few days ago I discovered James and Judson in a stuffed animal fort behind the couch. I'm just glad he's moved on from "booby traps." That stage did some damage!

This is what happens when James gets into his playmobil. I mean really gets into it.

Look at that sneaky little cute face! "Hmmm....how many teeny, tiny pieces can I possibly pull out on the floor for mommy to navigate through on her way out the door?"

Here is a shot of my Mom, Dori, and Grandmother on the day of my brother's wedding. We had a fun lunch at Cracker Barrel. Cousin Joseph was really into the biscuits. LOL.

I'll close out with this shot of me and my sweet Judson. What a stinker. What a ball of love. Hope everyone is having a wonderful start to SPRING!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things I Love:

I love this green tea! My most favorite green tea I've ever tried. Plus it has the added benefit of giving a little energy boost and of course all the wonderful qualities of green tea. Very tasty.

Ezekial bread....how I love this stuff. It is pricey at almost $5 a loaf, but it is so delicious and filling. Here is a write up from the Food for Life website:

Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Products are inspired by the Holy Scripture verse: "Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it..." Ez 4:9

We discovered when six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens: a complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. There are 18 amino acids present in Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain bread. Made from freshly sprouted organically grown grains, Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain bread is naturally flavorful and bursting with nutrients and is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat. Try it served warm to release its exceptionally rich nutty flavor.

This is *my* bread. Jason likes it too, but he prefers wraps if he's going to eat a sandwich. The kids would eat it, but don't love it, so I give them plain whole wheat bread. We probably couldn't afford to feed everyone in the family Ezekial bread anyway.

The new Passion CD! We have been waiting and waiting for the cd release ever since we returned from Passion in January. It is all of the music used over Passion 2010 and a few extras. Fantastic! I listened to this new cd several times this past Sunday on my 8 hour drive to and from Meridian. As soon as I heard the first track I immediately went right back to the experience of being at Passion. Very thankful for this CD.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Passion 2010

I was privileged to attend Passion 2010 during the first week in January. This is a 4 day conference/worship experience for high school seniors and college aged students. When I first heard about Passion, I wanted to go so badly, but thought there would be no way for me to attend. Cost, timing, and most of all...childcare....were major hindrances. However, I felt certain that God wanted me to get away from the normal routine of life and focus on Him and hear from Him. We began praying for a way for me to attend and I am happy to report that I was indeed able to go.

Here is a recap of my Passion 2010 experience I wrote as soon as we returned:

This past week/end at Passion completely blew my mind. I will never be the same. I guess one is never the same anytime one has an encounter with the living God. Wow. 20,000+ students and adults with hands raised high praising our God in one accord. It was truly beautiful and made me completely lose my fear of death. Does that make sense? I was just ready to be with Jesus, b/c surely as awesome and wonderful as that was...heaven will be infinitely sweeter still.

I'm so so grateful I got to go. God is SO very good to enable me the opportunity to solely focus on worshiping Him and hearing from Him without the distractions of children or other obligations. I had all this bottled up emotional response to God that I haven't let out publicly like that in several years. Hope that makes sense. The first day was just shocking. I was gripped by the very first video presentation which was filled with quiet acoustic piano music and written words of scripture on the screen...the Gospel message. I was shocked at how huge Passion was and remained in a state of bewilderment.

The second day was a time of personal breaking. God used all the speakers and music of that day to make me completely broken over my complacency about Him and my shallow and weak worship of Him. That was my cry day. LOL. Seriously, though, I had to apologize to the students for all my slobbery tears, b/c they just would not stop. It was ok, though. I was in good company. :D

After dealing with my own personal sin and getting right with God, led to the third day: a sweet, overflowing joy-filled day and night with the ability to worship Him with a clean heart. It was amazing. AMAZING. It culminated with John Piper preaching one of the most powerful messages on the Glory of God I have ever heard. Ever. I think it will take a year to fully unpack it, but essentially the message was all about how God does everything for His glory and that is a GOOD thing. And how when I see His Glory and rest in it ....well just about how we are a part of the Gospel story...that God is using us.. "working out our salvation" to bring Glory to His name and proclaim Himself to the nations, etc. etc. etc. And then the see the cross as that beautiful junction in the middle of it all where Jesus absorbed all our wrath...whew. If I could describe the moment in the sermon in that arena when Piper got to the cross in one word it would be a collective TREMBLE. Best though, was that after hearing the word explode in our hearts and seeing Christ revealed in our minds, we were able to WORSHIP Him in truth and in Spirit and I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever experienced anything so mind blowing in my 31 years. Oh how sweet. There was complete liberty to worship God with your whole being and no one cared. No one cared! Because we were all doing the same thing.....reaching our souls up to God offering everything we had for Him. It was so incredible I pray I never forget the moment. I wanted it to continue forever and ever but we did have to end the service.

However. After each evening service there was a "late night" where a band played in the arena for an hour. That night was Hillsong United. Whoa. I haven't really listened to much of their music in the past but now I am in love. So the Lord graciously gave yet another opportunity for sweet worship of Him. I was thrilled in my heart that we had most of our group decide to come and explode in worship of the one true God. Jason didn't go b/c he was weary, but almost all of the rest of us came and sat together and just had a sweet freeing time.

Usually I am behind a piano or keyboard and while I am certainly able to worship, every once in a while it is just so precious to be able to not worry about music or chords or whatever and just freely worship Him. So I'm so thankful for those 4 days of that.

The last day (morning really) was just a sweet time of fellowship as a group and reflection on all that God had done at Passion. I was so proud of our group..both college and HSers were open to what God was doing and responsive to Him. We all feel like we have been through something MAJOR together...something life altering that we will remember until we die. I am thankful...so thankful to God that He permitted me to go and be with my husband and be with our youth. It was great to really know their hearts and connect with them, where before I struggled with this and with my own personal vision for youth ministry. Now I can't tell you how excited I am for what God will do in 2010. The Lord has given both me and Jason some clear direction for our personal involvement with LV students and I am praying for a mighty work of God at our church.

Last night we had a "sharing time" with all the students and adults who attended. I was reminded yet again of the wonderful things I learned and experienced there and how thankful I am I was able to go.

Since returning from Passion, many many things have been happening that can only be explained as God. I look forward to sharing them with you all over time. :)

Much love to all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hardage Holiday Home

The decorations are humble and the theme (if there is one) is "Things That Make Us Smile". This is how we Hardage's decorate our home for Christmas:

I love vintage Christmas decorations. I'm always on the lookout at the local thrift shops.

One of many German ornaments my brother, David, sent to us while stationed there for several years. These are very delicate and have sweet, tiny little details that make them so fun to hang.

This is a play area for the kids. We made a rogue garland and hung lights around the shelves.

Also from Germany. Also from my brother David. This is probably my most treasured Christmas decoration. It is a nativity pyramid. It is supposed to have tiny taper candles which, when lit, make the pyramid spin.

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....."

The play area in the daylight. Our garland is rather sparse.

Another favorite nativity ornament.

This is our newly inherited Christmas Village. Aunt Linda passed along her collection to some *very* excited nephews and niece! We had so much fun putting it all together. Judson tells me to turn on this "Kissmas" every night. :)

An ornament from my childhood. Fun to hide a special present inside.

Dori's artwork. We have been studying the American artist/illustrator Tasha Tudor this term and I made the kids draw a picture using her "style" of making a detailed border around the main picture. Dori drew a family cutting down a tree and the children dancing with excitement.

An ornament from Jason's childhood. It is quite old and was handmade by one of his relatives.

We love candles around here...any sort of extra light, really. I caught Micah trying out the candle snuffer yesterday. It now resides out of reach.

Yet another German ornament.

Ok, this is a garland we made this week. Wow. Did you guys know how much patience is required to make real garland? Let me tell you: LOTS! I've made swags and wreaths before, but never a long garland. I discovered that these things were probably done over several evenings or days at a time in the old days before Lowe's sold them already made. You know, it was like a family project...or something. Anyway, I really wanted to try it and I looked up how to do it online and basically we spent one morning making a garland and that was our school. Dori and Micah actually really enjoyed making it and we worked on our math skills by figuring up how many bunches we would need to make to equal 12 feet and how much twine we would need to cut and how many more hours it would take at the rate of 5 feet per hour and how many more minutes Mom would remain sane if 25 mins=slightly insane. Yes, it was quite a mathematical day! It was fun. Messy--but fun. Oh, and the house smells great from it too.

Another shot of the homemade garland

And here is the tree. This year we moved it into the Den, since we don't heat the Living room and it seemed sad to look at our pretty tree through the window of the door. We are so enjoying our tree....even though I must say I had grand dreams of waiting until Christmas eve to buy a tree and have family and friends over that morning to decorate. Yeah, it was a crazy idea. An idea I hope to implement one day, but and idea that my husband nixed before I could even get the words out of my mouth! Ha!

Finally, here are our collection of Christmas storybooks. The whole wall of windows behind the tree has books on every ledge. Thrift shops are another great resource for classic and beautiful Christmas books.

Well....there you have it. The Hardage Holiday home. I hope everyone is enjoying this time of year! Love to you all!