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.

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

 

 

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!

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.

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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.

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

 

 

Happy Birthday Little One

It is hard to believe that the little one is now in double digits. It was just yesterday that we were waiting to travel to China to get her.  She has come so far in the last 4 years of new experiences. Birthdays have been one of them.  We do not believe she has even known what a birthday was before she was in our family.  Her first one with us was a little hard to explain, but here we are almost 4 years later, and she has fully embraced what it is.  She knows when all of our birthdays are, and she especially looks forward to planning hers out.

This year was a big one – turning 10.  She planned out what all she wanted to do for her birthday. She wanted waffles with fruit, her and her sisters to put on a My Little Pony show, cake pops, dumplings and spicy noodles. Her birthday was originally on a crazy busy day, but thanks to the Lord and some bad weather – we were able to make it all work out.  We had a day of celebrating her. It was fun watching her truly embrace her birthday and enjoy unwrapping her presents.

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enjoying her pink cake pops

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the weekend kicked off picking Asian pears @ Lynd Fruit Farm

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getting some new friends from Build-a-Bear