Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Looking Back

The Harris family has come through another year by the grace of God. 

The older I get, the more I realize how much grace is given. Just like you, dear reader, lots of good graces have been given (which we take pictures of), and lots of hard graces have been given (which we typically don't take pictures of). It's not that we are trying to paint a rosy picture of our reality. It's just that, in the middle of a hard grace, life is challenging at that moment, and a picture is the last thing on your mind. At those moments, you're thinking/praying:

"Show me how to think, Lord,"
"Show me how to love, Lord."
"Help me not smack this kid upside the head, Lord."
"Help me not hold a grudge, Lord."
"Help me survive this, Lord."
"I'm so mad right"
"I'm so hurt right"

So you can see why, with all that going on, I don't take pictures.

But in the moments of easy graces, you want to capture and share, because joy shared is joy multiplied. 

And it's those moments we share here. God has given us lots of good moments that we smile at and hopefully have grown in. Grown in love for Him and for each other. 

We are blessed.

So here's some highlights from our 2016!

The first 3 months of 2016 = all things Faith, from track meets to...

wedding prep!!! She married her high school sweetheart, Isaak Pearson, March 13!
To gear up for all things wedding, Lou and I dashed away to FL with friends:)
(and a continuing ed medical meeting)

Then---> WEDDING! One of the happiest days of my life. 
The Harris girls 
David, Faith, Luke

A little inclement weather didn't dampen our spirits!

Luke, Mary Grace, Alex, Hannah, Isaak, Faith, Shelley, Lou, Elizabeth, David

In April, we headed to OKC to watch Hannah cross the finish line...that girl ran a marathon!
Alex and Hannah

In May, this crew 

                            watched this guy graduate.
Woopig David
Also in May, Lou and I toured the Big Apple with these two! Super fun.

In June, we Tulsa Toughed it with good friends, Wes and Marla.

And we welcomed David and his college friend, Micah, home from their month abroad.

David, Micah

Summer also brought kamp, tennis, bike rides, and a move from Tulsa to KC for our Hannah and Alex.

Mary Grace

Lou, go-proing it.

In the fall, we began a new thing, as I became a Teaching Leader with Bible Study Fellowship. To say God is stretching me is an understatement, but He is enabling and I'm holding on for dear life. 

Also in the fall, we began the first of many "lasts." Our baby, Mary Grace, is a senior. 

So there's senior pictures:

Mary Grace with doubles partner, MacKenzie
 The honor of being Miss Bolivar for the Walnut Festival:

Super fun day!
Mary Grace was first runner up!

Then, she played the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins

And then, she ran a half marathon. She's kept us hopping this fall!

We finished 2016 with everybody getting to be here on Christmas day.

We, like you, are looking forward to 2017. We don't know what it holds, but we hold on to and trust God for the grace we need just when we need it.

A friend shared this prayer on fb a couple of days ago. I liked it, and thought it meaningful as we begin a new year.

"Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go, my daily labour to pursue;
Thee, only thee, resolved to know, in all I think or speak or do.
The task thy wisdom hath assigned, O let me cheerfully fulfill;
In all my works thy presence find, and prove thy good and perfect will."
-- Charles Wesley

Many blessings to you all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ham It Up

My youngest daughter and I love the smash broadway musical, Hamilton. We listen to it, sing it, reference it -- all the time. It's clever, catchy, and educational. I especially resonate with its theme about the brevity of our time on this earth. The writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, through Hamilton's life and his outlook on life, challenges us to think about what we are doing with the time given to us.

We are all running out of time.

I'm thankful to God for the gifts He gave to Lin-Manuel Miranda. And, I want to thank Lin-Manuel for sharing his gifts with the world.

Unfortunately, we didn't get tickets to see it,
but we stopped by the theater where it happens. 

My Hamilton loving Mary Grace is at camp, and there's nothing better than getting a letter while you're away. Last year when she was there, I sent her a letter written in French (well, Google Translate and I sent her a letter written in French). She was in the thick of studying that beautiful language so it seemed like a fun idea. This year, I didn't want to do the same thing. It took all of 1 second to decide what she was in the thick of this year --> Hamilton. So I decided to write my letter in such a way as to make her smile and remember the fun times we've had listening to Hamilton. Last night, I was definitely in the mood to ham it up. 

If you're not a Hamilton fan, you'll read my letter and probably think it sounds pretty strange. If you are a Hamilton fan, I think you'll smile...just like I know Mary Grace will.


July 19, 2016

My Dearest Mary Grace, 

I thought it was time for a form of communication to rise up. I knew you’d never be satisfied with another email, so I’m sending a letter. I know you’re not an ocean away, but you might as well be, because you’re at camp. But know that I’m glad you are able to take a break, to take a break and sit by the lake. Aren’t you lucky to be alive right now? You're on your own! Awesome! Wow!

So, how is our senior, daughter, child of a doc and a suthn’r doing in the middle of a forgotten spot in Taney CO MO? I know you’re not throwing away your shot at a good time. I bet with it being this hot, though (nothing like summer in the country), you’ve got people asking you to “meet me inside” where it’s air conditioned.

Have you had a chance to really look around? Just look at where you are! Are you getting opportunities to play a fun game? I hope you’re not suffering through one where no one really knows how the game is played. That’s the worst. I do know that if you’re playing the game of tennis, you’ll blow them all away.

We’ve been super busy at home and you’re probably asking yourself, “What’d I miss?” So, I’m gonna be a lamb, darlin’, and tell ya. Unless you’re willing to wait for it? No? Well, all I can say is history is happening in BoMO. Dad’s busy with work, work! Work, work! He’s really a mind at work. And I’m always looking for a mind at work, so we’re a perfect pair. I’ve had my share of stuff to catch up on too, so I’m definitely busy, but I have had my moments when I’ve felt like I’m in the eye of a hurricane -there is quiet for a moment. I could even say it’s been quiet uptown (since we live on the north side of Bolivar, you could say we live uptown). I’ve spent hours in the garden, so there aren’t so many weeds anymore. For a while there I was feeling pretty helpless. I was down for the count and drownin’ in em. Did you know weeds are like rumors? Rumors only grow. And so do weeds. Now we both know what we know.

We had company the other night, and dad left everything up to me. I arranged the meeting. I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating. We had steak and the fixings. Hadn’t had that in a while. For dessert, we had ice cream and my homemade hot fudge. You know my hot fudge. It's so good. I don’t know how to say no to it! I wanna say no to it. But I can't. Ugh! (and Yum!)

Well, I gotta go. Gotta get the jobs done. I hope you get a chance to pick up a pen and start writing. You know we made  an arrangement when you went away. You don’t have to write like you’re running out of time, but at least one letter would be great:)

I have the honor to be
Your loving mother,
S dot Harris

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Two Fathers

Two Fathers

Of fathers, I have known a few,
But there are none I've known like Hugh and Lou.
If fathers all were in a queue,
I guarantee I'd pick these two.

My father, Hugh, he held me small,
He picked me up when I would fall,
And comfort me -  his "baby doll."
He quickly came when I would call.

He was a man who loved and led,
Who kept his family warm and fed,
The man who loved me first and said,
"I'll walk you down an aisle to wed."

He did just that many years ago.
I took his arm and we marched slow.
My father leading me aglow,
And giving me to one I'd know.

My husband, Lou, he took my hand,
And in a church, we two did stand,
We gave each other a small gold band.
And started the journey to our promised land.

God gave us littles to love and raise,
And for their father, I thank and praise,
For Lou is sure and steady all days,
And loves forever and always.

He gives and gives without end,
He's mine and the kids' truest friend,
To our every need he does attend,
What more could be said? What more could be penned?

Two fathers, so different and yet so the same,
Two men, each, who gave me their name,
Two men, each, I am ready to claim,
Two fathers, their worth, I'll forever exclaim!

August 1, 1987
First Methodist Church
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mary Grace
David, Faith
Hannah, Lou, Luke

Chalk drawing I asked Rachel Casey Hamaan to draw when she was still in high school
It is one of my treasures

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Half of It

Tomorrow, I was supposed to be heading to OKC to participate in a half marathon. 

I'm still going to OKC - but not to participate. I'm going to cheer on our Hannah, who has been training like a crazy woman in preparation for her first marathon on Sunday morning. I could not be more excited for her or more proud of her. She's the one who actually suggested I do the 1/2 while she did the whole. 

"Lots of women your age do it, Mom!"

I'd never seriously considered doing such a thing, as I loathe running, but I had heard that there were programs out there where you walk/jog those 13.1 miles. I recruited a friend to train with me, and we began a 12 week walk/jog (3 minute walk - 1 minute jog) program that surprisingly, we both really enjoyed!

Things were going great until the beginning of week 4, when I noticed a muscle in my backside telling me he didn't love all this concentrated, consistent activity that I'd been doing. He not only screamed at me when I was training, he started aching all the time whether or not I was training. But, when the schedule said to do a little 6 mile walk/jog on February 27, I decided to push through and take my aching body out for the workout. I figured I'd be hurting if I trained or didn't train...might as well train.

Bad decision. 

The Reader's Digest condensed version of that fateful day went like this:

--I put in those 6 miles...was uncomfortable the whole time, but managed to go 6 miles in 1:13:10 for a 12:10 pace.
--Rode in the car immediately afterwards for about an hour.
--When I tried to get out of the car after that ride, I couldn't bear weight on my right leg without serious pain.
--PT friend happened to be around and...
--Diagnosed me with a piriformis problem.
--Ridiculous amount of difficulty walking for next few days.
--Advised to stop training. 
--Was ok with that because I was hurting - a lot.
--Eventually pain free one month after injury.
--Now that I wasn't hurting, I wanted to train again.
--Too late
--Can't participate.

And today, I'm confessing I'm still a little bummed, but know that in God's good care and provision, this is OK. He's got me. He's got this. And, I want to honor Him in it.

And, I'm gonna honor Him by cheering my head off for my marathon running girl!

Go Hannah!

And because I'm weird like this, I wrote a little poem. (I wrote most of it soon after Feb 27, but just now completing)


Ode to the Piriformis

The schedule said, "Today - 6 miles!"
And determined - off I went
Sure, my backside whined and ached
But who knew exactly what that meant.

I finished strong. The pace? 12’2”
Not bad for this ol gal!
Not bad until I tried to walk
The piriformis? Not my pal.

My leg, it screamed, “Don’t stand on me!
You’ve done it now, yes sir.”
The PT guy he did agree
And the rest is just a blur.

That piriformis right there, right now,
Was angry as can be. 
It’s gone on strike and said, “No way
 A half with me.”

To say I’m bummed is half as weak 
As this girl really feels.
But that's ok, it's not that bleak
I'll cheer Hannah on with squeals. 

I’m thankful, though, it’s only this -
A muscle, mad and sore
It’s fixable with lots of time 
And stretches on the floor.

Post a 5 mile walk/jog - the good ol' days;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

This One

If you've been kind enough to stop by the blog this week, you've noticed my theme. 

All things wedding. 

First pictures, then selfies, and now, a poem! Even though the bulk of this poem for Faith was written before her wedding day, March 13, 2016, I'm  just now pulling it all together. Since April is National Poetry Month, it fits better here anyway;). 

I've been reflecting on another daughter married. 

On one of the happiest days of my life.

So, so grateful to God.

This One

This one who brightened November skies
This one with beautiful hazel eyes
This one who loves and smiles and sings
Is focused and happy about new rings.

This one who wondered at prey and pray
This one who crinkled at each new day
This one whose hair we called a spout
Is packing her bags and moving out.

This one who clutched and carried Patch
This one who now has found her match
This one who traveled far and wide
Is loving her man, and God - her guide.

This one who loves to read and read
This one who loves to plant a seed
This one who runs and jumps for joy
Is glad she married her very nice boy.

This one who twirled her wedding gown
This one who turned a heart around
This one who said, "I do," for life
Is now her Isaak's sweet young wife.

This one God gave to Lou and me
This one who's grown - how can that be?
This one we love, complete and true
Is starting a chapter, fresh and new.

Marea Faith
November 14, 1994
7 lbs 3 oz

Faith's crinkle

Faith and her hair spout

In the middle of this short video, you can see Faith clutching and carrying our very compliant (or terrified) cat, Patch.

Faith, beside the Mediterranean, while serving with YWAM

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Wedding Idea

You need to share good ideas, right?

Well, we think we had a good, fun idea at our Faith's wedding, and we want to share it with the world!

A popular item at weddings and events is a photo booth. We kicked that option around, but couldn't land on anything that fit our vision or budget. 

A few weeks before the wedding, I was sitting in the vicinity of our Elizabeth when the idea of a wedding selfie stick was birthed in my brain. I waited a bit and tried to think of a way to sell what I thought was a brilliantly fun idea to someone from the younger generation. Believe me, I've had other equally brilliant ideas that I've shared with my kids which have immediately been labeled lame. I really wanted this one to be liked. 

After carefully crafting my words, I told her my idea. She tentatively said, "You know, I kind of like that...that maybe could be fun." (Inside, I began to jump up and down).

And, from there, after a bit of tweaking from the fam, it took off! Everybody liked it! Most importantly, Faith and Isaak liked it!

Here's how it worked.

We knew Faith wouldn't be using her phone the afternoon of the wedding - at least from the ceremony on. So, when Faith arrived at the ceremony, my friend, Marla, took her phone for safekeeping until the reception. Once there, she put Faith's phone on the decorated selfie stick and started passing it around. We wanted to fill it with pictures (and videos) for her and Isaak to enjoy seeing later! When we put that phone back into her hand after the wedding, there were 244 fun filled selfies of family and friends smiling right back at them.

They loved it!

And, this idea is very budget friendly;)

Here's a sampling of selfies that I love, too.