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.  

These Faces!

2004-06-21 09.09.31

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.

2016-06-10 17.42.06

Having fun at the National Zoo – 2016

 

 

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!
2016-06-23 06.30.52

Storytelling

2016-06-29 00.04.32

Mexican Hot Chocolate

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!

Hello there…

I know I have been a little absent around here, but I just have not been able to think of what to write about.  We have not done anything too exciting. Here is a quick list of what has been going on with us.

1. high school band concert  – It was Emily’s first concert with Granville High School. They did an awesome job, and we are looking forward to the next one.

2. last week of this session for the little one’s swimming lessons.

3. hematology appointment for the little one – standard appointment with nothing new to report. numbers are good.

4. pain clinic for Hannah – not too encouraging but I did make her happy with a strawberry & creme frappuccino.

5. Friday night fun with the little one – they big girls were at teen night and we took the little one out for dinner and games.  we tried a new food for us – guacamole. i know, we really liked it.

6. Emily and I were back at the farmer’s market. She had been off because of various commitments and I took off for the little one’s birthday.  We had a good week. Emily learned that granola sells quick at the market.

7. Hannah was inducted into the National Honor’s Society. She was not sure if she would make, but she was very excited that she did.

2015-10-06 10.56.38

I picked up these shoes for a steal this week. They remind me of shoes my dad use to where when I was a kid. It was a sweet memory.

2015-10-05 20.20.54

Emily in her dress she was so excited to wear at her band concert.

 

 

First Day of Homeschool 2015-16

Wednesday was the first day of Dear’s Homeschool for Girls.  We were going to start the day before, but an expected medical issue came up and we had to delay the start.  One of the perks of homeschooling is that you don’t have to worry about what you are going to wear or rushing out the door or buying all the school supplies.  It is almost like any normal day – get up breakfast but instead of goofing around – we started school.  It was a little slow going, but we started back into the groove.  I had been working on getting rid of clutter and cleaning up the schoolroom for us to start this week.

I had not finished everyone’s lesson plans, but we were going to start – ready or not.  Not every subject was starting, but we had a nice start. I am excited about this new year.  I will have 2 in high school and 1 in elementary.  Hannah is somewhat self-motivated and get her stuff done and we just have to double check and keep her motivated.  With Emily, we have to keep her focused on task which we have had to do since she was little. Rae just wonders why she has to do all of this and why she is not doing the same thing her sisters did when they were her age.  She is a different kind of learner, and so many things have changed since they were in 4th grade.

I asked them all the same question about the new year. What subject are they looking forward to? Favorite school activity? Least favorite?

Hannah – She is looking forward to her AP English 12 class. She loves reading and writing and this was easy for her.  Favorite activity that she currently is enjoying is tennis. She is not looking to some of her college classes where she has to drive to multiple places.

Emily – Now being in high school (YIKES!!) she is looking forward to her Spanish and Writing class. As far as activities it is drama because she moves up to the high school homeschool drama group. Her least favorite, which has been the same every year, math (Algebra 1)

Rae – She is excited about learning Astronomy and starting tennis back up. She is not looking forward to history. While taking this pic she also informed me she doesn’t like school at all.

firstdayofschool082615

Keeping it real for what it is like to take pictures with these 3. Life in our school.

 

My prayer for our new year is that we do everything for His Glory. We strive to always do our best even when it is hard. I also pray we will not get caught up in the busyness of the world around us, and we focus on what is important and do what God has called us to do.

Hears to a new year – may it be the best one yet!!

 

10 Years

When you saw the title, you think – celebrating marriage or birthday? No. Ten years ago our family moved to Ohio.  It is kind of strange how I remember when we moved here, but it was the same time Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. We moved out of AL before the hurricane hit the coast.

the girls were so little when we moved here

10 years ago – the girls were so little when we moved here

Moving out of the South was a big change for us.  We had been married for 10 years and had 2 girls.  We had spent all of our lives in the South, but God chose to move us out of comfort zone.  While many may be scared of moving to a totally different area, we were not.  It was new adventure for us. The girls actually thought we were moving to Idaho or Iowa.  They had never really heard of Ohio till we came here.

We started talking with our church in the spring of that year, but we did not tell our girls because it would be hard for them to understand.  We had to be a little creative in how we told them, especially because they were getting to ride on an airplane for the first time to come to Ohio to visit with the church. They had never been part of a church move before.  In our last church move I was pregnant with Hannah.  They only knew Alabama and their friends there.

In the last 10 years we have been thru a many things – good and not so good.  Some of my favorites –

  • CFE – Finding this wonderful homeschool group has been the best thing. All of the parents and kids in the group mean a great deal to us and our girls. So many memories and experiences we have had and done.
  • Our church – They are a wonderful group of people who love us, pray for us, and miss us when we are away. It has been truly amazing to do life with the people of our church. We love you!
  • Blessings – I could write multiple posts on the blessings God has given our family, but God has really been so good to us more than we deserve.
  • Adoption – God chose to truly burden our hearts about after we moved here. It was truly one of the best blessings we have had outside giving birth to our two girls.
  • Travel – Living in almost the middle of the country, we can get to many fun locations easily.  We have been able to see some new and exciting areas we would not have been able to do if we didn’t follow God’s leadership to move here. If we didn’t drive to some of these locations, flying was often cheap and easy.

The past 10 years have been really great. We have often said that we could spend the rest of our lives here if God so chooses.  The downside of living here is that our girls have not been able to grow up around their grandparents and extended family.  That is one thing many ministers’ families have to deal with.  It comes with choosing to follow God’s leading and go where He wants you to go.

Our family has grown in so many ways over the past 10 years. We are looking forward to the next 10 or more years.

Weekends – How I love you!

After my baking was over on Friday, it was time for the weekend to get going. Friday afternoon the Dear Sisters had a tennis match at home against Worthington Christian. Hubby and I decided that it would be fun to ride our bikes to the match. We have not been bike riding all summer, and we thought it would be a perfect day for it. After a little stop and start by the little one, we finally made it to the courts.  I was truly a beautiful afternoon for tennis and a bike ride. The little one was happy knowing there was going to be Whit’s in the end.

Hannah and Emily got their second chance at playing doubles since they were rained out earlier in the week.  It is funny to hear them announce them as the Dear Sisters. They played great together and won their match 6-1, 6-0.  They both had great shots, and Emily got an Ace. It was a great win for them.  It was great for the team as well since they won too.

"Venus and Serena"

“Venus and Serena”

After their match, the big girls went to teen night.  They were so happy to see their friends, since they had not seen many of them since the end of the school year.  I am so thankful we have a wonderful homeschool group with families who are investing in our children’s lives.

You would think, the weekend could not get any better, but wait – we cleaned the playroom and “tunnel” (what we call our storage area). The girls were not too excited, but it had to be done. I know it was not what everyone wanted to do, but we had clothes to be put away, things to be cleaned and organized, and another got step forward to be ready to start school.  I’m not sure we are ready for school, but the room is getting there.

My favorite part of the weekend is always Sunday. I get to come together with my family and my faith family to worship.  It was a wonderful day of worship and preaching. OK, I may be biased about the preacher, but he is my favorite.

This weekend has gotten me ready to face the week, but weekends I do love when you come around. What was your favorite part of your weekend?

 

Tennis Love

We are in full tennis mode around the Dear House. The day after returning from our sabbatical was the first day of tennis practice. Originally, Emily was the only one playing this year on the high school team.  Hannah had decided before school was out that due to her pain, she just couldn’t do it. It was a tough decision, and many of her teammates were sad not to have her on the team.  Emily was nervous about being on the team, but Hannah went with her so she could help out even though she wasn’t playing.  I could tell that Hannah was sad not to be playing.  Emily had a good week with the challenge matches, and was proving to be a good player on the team.

The teams first match was a tournament against 2 other teams in the county – Watkins and Newark.  Granville dominated the tournament and won. Emily played 5th doubles and her wins counted for her team’s win. It was tough for Hannah to sit there and watch her friends play.

Emily's medal from the tournament

Emily’s medal from the tournament

On Sunday, Hannah seeing how much she wanted to try to play, she asked her dad to go out and play with her to see how she would do.  We played some this summer, but I could just see on her face that she wanted it.  The doctors had told her she could play and that she would have to put the pain out of her head.  She played with her dad, and decided that she wanted to give it a go.  We contacted the coach, and he said that he would love to have her back – get her paperwork done.  That Monday we moved heaven and earth and got all of her paperwork and physicals done – she was back on the team!  She was so happy as were her teammates.

So far, both girls are doing well in their matches. Emily has played singles and doubles, while Hannah is playing just doubles.  They both have wins and losses. It is just fun seeing them both out there playing.  This past week the two of them were suppose to play doubles together, but the match got rained out.  I can’t wait to see the “Dear Sisters” playing together.

We are looking forward to a great tennis season. Go Lady Aces!

2015-08-17 16.38.27

The Dear Sisters are getting ready

Hannah and Melodie after winning against Wellington

Hannah and Melodie after winning against Wellington