Feliz Navidad 2016

Our family would like to wish you the very merriest of Christmas. God has blessed us more than we deserved. It has been an interesting year for the Dear family.  We have traveled across the South a couple of times to see family and to have a little vacation time.  We entered our 12th year of homeschooling this school year. The older girls split their time between homeschool classes, classes at the local high school, and college classes for Hannah.  I am thankful that Hannah can drive herself to her classes.

Here are a few highlights from our family this year:

Noel is in his 11th year as senior pastor of FBC Heath. God is blessing our church and looking forward to the new year. He is also half way through having is doctorate degree from Southern Seminary.  I am very proud of how far he has come in his education, and we can’t wait to see him walk across that stage one day.

Hannah is a senior in high school this year.  She was co-captain of Granville High School girls tennis team and also earned her varsity letter playing first doubles. She is still excelling academically having been inducted to Cum Laude Society at GHS as well.  She is busy with her all of her classes and as well as working on all her college applications. She is excited to be accepted into one of her college choices – University of South Carolina. Hannah is still active in her musical pursuits of piano, flute(where she made district honors band), piccolo, marimba ensemble, jazz band, homeschool band, and steel drums.  Another activity Hannah is pursuing is journalism. She is the new editor of the school paper, and has had several articles published on their website as well as in print form.  One big this she has coming up is the Ohio Distinguished Young Woman scholarship competition in February.  She is representing Licking County and is very excited for this opportunity. It is just hard to believe we will be planning her graduation party soon.

Emily is a sophomore.  She just recently got her driving permit and will beginning to drive – watch out! She is keeping us busy with all of her bands.  She still loves playing her trumpet and is becoming quite accomplished with it.  She is currently playing in two bands – Granville High School Symphonic band (3rd chair) and homeschool band(1st chair). As if these two were not enough, she is in the jazz band for both Granville and the homeschool jazz band. Like Hannah she is in the steel drum band as well too.  As a result of her love for music she has been accepted into two honor bands this year – Ohio University and Cedarville University.  Currently she is working diligently on her trumpet solo she is taking to solo & ensemble this January.   In addition to all the music, she is also on the GHS girls tennis team this year as well.  She got a lot of playing time this year in singles and doubles and earned her varsity letter as well.  She would also like it to be noted that she did challenge up to and make 2nd chair in band, but because of a minor technicality she is still at 3rd. She is happy at 3rd though. One other exciting thing Emily was part of this year was spending 6 weeks of her summer with the IMB’s Endeavor program serving in Southern Mexico.  She really loved her time there serving God and ministering to the local people. She is hoping to go back this next year.

Rae is still making great strides in her reading and math.  She still works with a reading specialist and math tutor. She may complain about having to go, but she looks forward to Fridays with her friends there. She has really developed a love for science and looks forward to her little science co-op.  She is also enjoying her art co-op with Ms. Lynd and Ms. Krumm.  She is quite the artist and loves to draw manga characters.  This school year she was able to start beginner band.  Rae is learning the clarinet and is doing really well.  She has had a challenging year medically with the increase of her seizures.  This month she had epilepsy surgery to help reduce or eliminate her seizures. Everything went well, and we are happy to be home recovering.  We are thankful for how well everything went and praise God for it.  It will be at least 6 months before we will begin knowing how effective the surgery was.  That had to be the scariest day with any of our children. She went back around 7:30 am and we saw her at 6:00pm.

I have had quite a busy year between homeschooling, photography, and doing the farmer’s market.  HER Baking Co or also know as “cinnamon roll lady” had another great season at our local farmer’s market with many repeat and new customers.  I was blessed to have several weeks where I sold out.  I am teaching art again to our teens in our homeschool group. It has been a great year with a smaller group where we have been able to focus on making art as well as art and music appreciation.  Like my girls, I am still involved in our homeschool band playing the clarinet as well as our adult steel drum band, Pandamonium.  We are all looking forward to going to Virginia Beach in May to an international competition. I am still accompanying different people and choirs as well as still playing on the praise band at church.

This year we have learned to trust God more, and that He is bigger than anything we can ever imagine.  We praise Him for all things great and small.  He is truly a Good, Good Father.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and that you experience the joy of this season and seek Christ more in the coming new year.  

Rae Update

Here on World Adoption Day I thought I could give you a little update on the little.  This summer we spent a week in the hospital to see if Rae would be a candidate for epilepsy surgery. This was scary because, how do you decided to allow your child to have brain surgery. In addition, to the stay in the hospital, there were many scans and testing.  As the doctor called it – “million dollar testing”.  After all the testing was done, we had to wait for results.

All of Rae’s info for testing was presented before a room of doctors to see if she could have the surgery. There were so many questions. Would we? Would we not? How do you make that decision if it was left to us?

We chose to seek the one who could best help us make the decision – GOD! We put our faith in Him. My prayer was that the decision would be black or white – yes or no – simple.  God has gotten us through all the ups and downs of all of Rae’s needs – why would He not be here for this decision.

It was time to meet with the doctors to see what their recommendations where. God came thru – after meeting with her doctor the decision –  as hard as it was – it was basically made for us. We said yes to the surgery.  Are we happy our daughter has to have surgery, no, but it is the best for her.  Is she happy, no, but she knows it will either eliminate or greatly reduce her seizures.  The surgery is to help save her brain function and to improve her memory.  As she has gotten older, her seizures have increased in amount and frequency.  As we discovered, each seizure was actually doing damage to her already damaged brain.

The surgery will be done at Nationwide Children’s Hospital next month.  We are nervous, but we have so placed our faith in Christ. Whatever happen, He is sovereign and will get us through it all. Our prayer is that God will be glorified through this.

CFE Class of 2017

I guess I am still in denial, but my oldest is a senior in high school now. I have almost successfully homeschooled her since she was in kindergarten. It has been quite a ride. We have been a part a wonderful homeschool community for over 10 years and yesterday we did a photoshoot with her “classmates”. Many she has known since they were wee ones.

The CFE class of 2017 will be the largest one in our homeschool group’s history. Because of this, we decided to do a group photoshoot.  We decided to have a little fun and have a theme – hipster Disney. The girls really enjoyed it with the guys playing along.  We had a wonderful time. It did prove a little hard to get a date – but we finally did it yesterday.  We were missing a couple of their friends, but we worked with who could be there. I had fun shooting these kids, and I let them take charge and do what they wanted.  I laughed so hard at them creating what they wanted. What a fun memory that I will share with my daughter and her friends. I will have editing these pictures. I am also thankful for all of them and the bond they share.

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A huge thanks to Orchard House for allowing us run of your property for pictures.

 

These Faces!

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Hannah and Emily – 2004

I ran across this picture on my computer today, and I posted it on Instagram.  I am missing that little one there, and I cannot wait to see her next week. I can’t wait to hear her stories from Mexico. We have had limited communication with her due to no-WiFi. Thankfully I did hear from her today. I am also looking forward to having all of our family under one roof in little over a week.

Another thing I love about this picture – those face are still the faces I get when I take their pictures now.  It pretty much sums them up.

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Having fun at the National Zoo – 2016

 

 

What are you listening to?

Hubby and I are training to run this fall. I am run/walking in the Air Force 10K and hubby is doing the Air Force half-marathon in Dayton.  I have run this race before, and I am excited to do it again.  So with that said, while training I need something to listen to. I know I am weird, but I can’t listen to music while walking/running. I listen to podcasts.  I did that when I trained last time, and usually do when I walk.

I thought I would like to share what I am listening to –

  1. The BigBoo Cast – they have been broadcasting for many years and it’s just two women taking about life. So funny!
  2. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me – yes, it’s NPR and liberal, but it is funny.
  3. Serial – This was what everyone was listening to last year, so I jumped on the bandwagon. The first season was very intriguing, but the second season not so much.
  4. Deep South Details – This is all southern – all the time.  Love listening to Dana and Kendell and learning about the current southern culture since I live in the north. Bonus they are also Auburn fans.
  5. Front Porch with the Fitzes – So much to say about this – I can’t wait every week for it to come out. So funny with a little bit of Jesus.
  6. Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey – Jamie is a minister’s wife from Texas. She has wonderful conversations with girlfriends. It is fun and encouraging.

Check these out if you are interested in finding new podcasts. What are you listening to?

 

Oaxaca Update

This is an update we received from the field.
Hello friends and family,
I know it’s been a while since you last heard from me but it has been amazing seeing God’s work through my team. Here’s a big update to catch y’all up on my last couple weeks on the field.
June 10-18th was training week in New York and I got meet my teammates – L, E, A, B, M. Our team has been blessed with a team with strengths and weaknesses that together are united in the Gospel, and the Father will be glorified through this endeavor. We spent our mornings learning practical tools for the Gospel and then we were sent off into the city to practice and learn the culture they would be emerged into this summer!
The week in New York was spent training and equipping us with practical tools for the Gospel. It was awesome to see God’s work for the nations still being accomplished in the states!
July 18-27
The first week in Oaxaca was getting settled in our village and getting to know the people. We are currently living with a Catholic family and hoping to be the light for them.
This past week we had the opportunity to partner with a church who had a basketball camp and VBS while we have the opportunity to teach ESL in the afternoon.
We have made several relationships through the English classes and late night basketball games with some of the young women in the village. It is so amazing that we have been accepted into the village and lifestyle!
Life in the village is hard, and living in such a close corders can be very taxing on the teams unity and personal health. Please pray that our bodies will be healthy and that the team’s morale and unity withhold through the spiritual battle that we are in.
July 27-4th
This week we had the opportunity to meet up with some long term folks for encouragement and rest, it’s been a fun week filled with once in a life time adventures.
We will leave and head into the city for preparation for the rest of the summer. Please pray for safety as we travel.
Thank you for your support and prayers!
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Storytelling

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

15 States in 10 Days

It is the beginning of our weird summer.  Last summer we had ALOT of together time being on sabbatical, but this year – not so much.  Almost 2 weeks ago we started out on our road trip adventure.  Our goal was to see all of the parents, get Hannah to Baltimore for her flight home, and Emily to New York to meet her mission team. We were pretty crazy to attempt this, but we did. Our first stop was Mississippi to see my mom. There I was able to get a few a Hannah’s senior (YIKES) pics done on the campus of Miss. State. We also were able to get some good MS BBQ and fried catfish from one of my favorite college restaurants – Little Dooey’s. We also drove down to my hometown and showed the girls where hubby and I met and got married. I also visited the cemetery where my dad is buried. It was a nice to relieve the memories.

Our next stop was Alabama – we were on our way to visit hubby’s mom and Jim.  One exciting thing was having dinner with a friend in Birmingham.We had a great time with her and her daughter.  While there we decided to do something cultural – see the Vulcan! After our visit, we headed on to Anniston. We got to have good time with Rita and Jim visiting and talking with them. We also got to see the chickens and goats. We hoped to see hubby’s sister, but it just didn’t work out on this trip.

Up next was traveling through Georgia to get to South Carolina to have lunch with hubby’s dad. That was a nice visit as well with some good BBQ again.

Next up we gave the girls some options because the next location to be at was Baltimore/DC. We didn’t have a large amount of time so we had to choose one thing we wanted to do in the DC area – they chose the National Zoo. It is a great little zoo, and we got to see pandas! Our time in the DC area was the last time we would be together till July. It was a fun day, but also a little sad at the same time.

The next day we had to put Hannah on a plane back home so she could get ready for Buckeye Girls State. Her event and Emily’s events overlapped with each other, so we had to work it all out.  After leaving her there to fly home, we headed on to NYC.

With our now family of four we picked a few things we wanted to do.  The girls and I went to see Matilda on Broadway. It was so fun to see the show and watch the girls laugh. Sunday was a beautiful day in the city. We headed to out The Met Museum.  It was truly the coolest thing.  So much to see in so little time, or we lost track of time as well as got lost in there. If you are ever in NYC – to the The Met. Also, if you are looking for the best cheesecake, go to the Two Red Hens Bakery – YUM!

After being on the road for just over a week it was time to leave Emily. We left her with her team there, and the little one became an only child for the rest of the week. Just her and her mom and dad for entire week.  Our next stop – Hershey! Who doesn’t love chocolate. It was a nice trip with the little one touring the Hershey Story, making a chocolate bar, and drinking chocolate from around the world.  Although, the little one’s favorite thing may have been getting her bookshelf/table for her Legos from IKEA.

So this trip we went through – Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and back to Ohio – wow what a trip.

My home

my home

Southern BBQ at Little Dooey's

Lunch at Little Dooey’s

Hannah at the Chapel of Memories

senior pictures at Chapel of Memories at MSU

the Vulcan

At the Vulcan or Moon over Homewood

 

Hello

Should I sing the Adele song? I know it has been so long since I have posted, but I just haven’t found the time or been motivated to. We are doing well and ready to take on our summer. I thought last summer was strange with our sabbatical, but this summer may top it. Our family will not be all together for 7 weeks this summer.

This summer Emily will be spending 40 days in Oaxaca, Mexico with the IMB Endeavor program. She will train in NYC for 5 days before flying to Mexico to help the Zapotec people in the mountains of Southern Mexico. She will be sharing the love of Christ with the people as well as encouraging the current believers. God has provided much of the funding for her trip, and we can’t wait to see what God will do through her and the team. Thank you to all who has support her. Please pray for her and her team as the prepare. Pray that her team will bond together and be effective.

Hannah will have a busy summer as well. This summer she will be working on getting her college applications ready to submit this fall. That is her main focus this summer, and I can’t believe it is time for that already.  She is also doing some traveling. She is one of the girls representing Licking Co. American Legion at Buckeye Girls State. She is looking forward to meeting many other girls from all over the state and to participate in a mock government for a week at Mt. Union. She is also getting to go back to Super Summer at Cedarville. It is her 3rd year to go, and it has been one of her highlights of each summer. I’m excited about it as well, because I am going for the first time as well as a family leader. We are also going together on our church’s youth group mission trip as well to Cleveland. I am looking forward to spending these two weeks with Hannah. Hannah is also one of the captains of the tennis team, so she will be busy running some practices before the season starts in August.

Rae’s summer is a little less busy. She is hoping to get to play some tennis and do some swimming. She is only a little excited about getting to go to summer camp. She was accepted to the Flying Horse Farm Camp for Hematology/Oncology Week. She has not been away for a camp like this, but it should be very good for her and very fun. It is not far from where we live, so if there was a problem we would not be far away.

I will try to keep y’all updated on Emily’s trip as well as our other adventures.  Here’s to a great summer!

Merry Christmas

familypicChristmasOur Dear family would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

It has been a year filled with ups and down in the Dear family, but one thing we do know is that we have been blessed far more than we deserve.  As we get ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I am humbled that our Father in Heaven would do this for me. Why would He choose this way to save His people? He sent His Son to be born in a lowly stable far away from the crowds without any fanfare. A Son that was born to die for me.  It is something that is hard to wrap my brain around. For this,  I am SO thankful.  He loves me more than I can ever love Him back. He deserves more praise and glory than I could ever give Him.

May you experience the wonder of Christ’s love for you. O Come Let Us Adore Him! Our Redeemer has Come!

Dogs of the Market

Every week I’m at the market I am amazed at all the dogs and the occasional pig that come to the farmer’s market. I do not think I have seen any felines come to the market.  There are always a lot of families and their kids that come thru the market. I see them come through with cake pops, popcorn, various pastries (including my sweet rolls), honey sticks, green drink, and the occasional veggie. If you are a people watcher, you would enjoy seeing all the people that come each week.

One thing I have been fascinated with is people and their dogs.  There are big dogs and smalls dogs. There are dogs on leashes or in strollers(really??). Some people hold them as they walk through. There are some cute ones and some not so cute.  Some are dressed up for the day with bows or sweaters.  I always love seeing the English bulldogs come through. The dogs are just fun to watch as well as their owners trying to handle them.  The dogs love to greet the other dogs, and I do feel they may carry on some type of conversation in addition to the traditional sniffing of each other.  You will see the really fancy breeds to your run of the mill mutts. Most of the dogs are cordial to each other, but we have seen a couple not so nice.

So come to the market and pick up a cinnamon roll and check out all the pets that come through, or just bring your own.

 

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These are just a few that came thru this week.