New Beginnings

This morning my heart left for Texas.  We started the first part of our transition to Nacogdoches.  We had a wonderful last service with our church family this past Sunday at FBC Heath celebrating a man who has loved God’s church and his people.  It took a long time to get through all the cards and gifts we received.  It was a great day worshipping our Lord as one united fellowship.  Sundays will not be the same without him, since we are staying behind.  The girls and I get to be just church members for a little while.  You will not find us on the front row.

Our family is not a fan of being apart.  This transition will not be easy. We will miss each other terribly.  My hubby is my best  friend and gives the best gifts.  To help me get through this time a part – he gave me a “happy box”.  The box included mani/pedis, mini-shopping trips, massages, maid service, and CHOCOLATE! It may not be enough chocolate though.  It will allow me a little time for myself, and I will think of him and how much he loves me.  Thank the Lord for FaceTime!

 

 

Also, our house is still for sale.

 

Everything Changes

Ohio is what our kids know and remember. We moved here almost 12 years ago. Hannah was entering first grade and Emily was still a preschooler when we came to Ohio.  Hannah remembers some of her life in Alabama, but Emily not as much.  Hubby and I have now spent over half our married life in Ohio.  In ministry life being at a church for 12 years is a long time.  Not many last as long as we have at one church.  God has blessed us more than we deserve.

In the past 12 years many things have happened. We have gone through some tough times. The good outweighs the bad by far. We have gotten to travel to places we never thought we would have been able to see. We added a third girl to our family 5 years ago. All three of our girls we baptized here at our church in Ohio. We have truly enjoyed being apart of a welcoming church, community, and homeschool family. All of these have been nothing but supportive.

Today is a bittersweet day.  Hubby will resign from our church. Our family will be moving to Nacogdoches, TX. We will not all move together. Hubby’s last day is March 5th.  He will move first. We will stay behind to finish out the school year.  We will put an exclamation on our 12 years here with Hannah’s graduation and Emily’s Sweet 16 party. This has not been an easy decision. Hubby and I have talked through so many scenarios and consumed a lot of chips and guacamole.  God has walked with us through this. He has clearly marked our steps. We are excited about what God has in store for our family. We will truly miss Ohio except for the bitter cold weather. I am wondering though – is there a Texas for Dummies book? Anyone need a nice 4bedroom 2 1/2 bath home with an awesome craft room?

Licking County DYW 2017

Exciting month for the one of the Dear girls. This month Hannah will be representing Licking County in the Distinguished Young Women Competition.  This was formally known as Jr. Miss competition several years ago.  I wanted to compete when I was a senior in high school, but was unable to. I know many people who competed in local and state competition in Mississippi. I was a big deal if you won the local “pageant”.  In the state of Ohio there are three local competitions to qualify for the state competition – Vinton County, Knox County, and Ohio-at-Large.  Hannah competed in the Ohio-at-Large this past November and qualified to move on to state.  It is quite and honor to be selected.

This month she will compete in Mt.Vernon, OH in the state competition. She will compete in interview, talent, scholarship, self-expression, and physical fitness. She will be playing her Rachmaninoff on the piano for her talent. This is a great opportunity to meet other girls from across the state and earn scholarship money for college.  If you would like to come support her on Feb 24th & 25th, tickets are available for purchase at www.mtvarts.com. We are looking forward to seeing her shine.

Recovering

We are a little over month out since Rae’s brain surgery to alleviate or reduce her seizures. She is doing well. All of her stitches are gone, and now we are just watching her hair grow back and her scar to fade.  Her hair is not growing fast enough for her, so she just keeps wearing her hats. She does not want anyone to see her hair or her scar. After any type of brain surgery, recovery will be slow.  She and her brain get tired easily. We are doing school, but it is slow. We are going at her pace and not pushing her too much.  She is good at telling us when it has been too much.  We can usually tell the next day.  There are some memory deficits, but we are working on recovering those.  The doctors told us this is normal. I am having to slow my walking down with her. I am used to walking quickly to get where we are going, but she will remind me that if she goes to fast she gets dizzy.  She is also taking stairs carefully still.

One thing she was happy to be doing again is playing her clarinet and going back to band.  It does make her a little dizzy, but she is wanting to start practicing again.  She is also singing up a storm.

As far as results from the surgery, we will not fully know anything for 6 months or more.  They will not start reducing any meds for a while.  Things we do know – she is happier (other than normal pre-teen angst), giggles because she thinks Hannah is funny, and eating like crazy.  She has not had any seizures since the surgery – PTL! She is able to read longer without stops or “blips” from her brain.  Her Lego ability has not been deterred either.

We are so thankful and praise God for how well her recovery is going. We just keep waiting to see how well she continues to improve and will progress.

A New Hobby

Over the Christmas holidays and during Rae’s surgery and recovery, I picked up a new hobby. I know I didn’t need another one, but I wanted something I could easily take with me to places while I wait.  I enjoy other things such as sewing, cooking, zentangling, adult coloring books, and working on my photography.  I have wanted to learn how to crochet, and I have dabbled in knitting.  I was never very successful, but I have made several wash clothes and one knitted scarf. During my hubby’s sabbatical a couple of years ago I tried crocheting again, but I learned it is hard for me to just read a pattern and understand. Hannah tried to show me, but she is right handed and I’m left handed.  Thanks to Pinterest and Google I found videos for left handed crochet – It has been life-changing (and very helpful)! Ravelry.com has also been fun to see all the patterns.

The reason I turned to crocheting was because of Rae.  Her head has to be partially shaved because of her surgery, and I wanted to  make her some hats and headbands.  I thought it would be fun, and more personalized for her.  I found patterns that would be cute, fun, and easy to make.  I had no idea that there were S hooks – it’s a very large hook that allows the work to go fast.  I found the best pattern that only takes about an hour make.  I cannot tell you how many I have made in the last few weeks. You can see many of my projects on my Instagram feed.  Needless to say, we probably don’t need anymore for a while.  I am now trying different things – flowers, bows, and scarves.  Maybe one day I will try a blanket. Right now, I am just trying not to buy all the yarn.  Big sales at the craft store is not making it easy.

one of my first hats

crochet flowers

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.

senior17preview

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?