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.  

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!

Band Parents

Emily is enjoying being the local high school band as well as the homeschool band. It is stretching her as a trumpet player and musician. With her being in the high school band, we are being asked to help with different things in the music program. While we haven’t joined the band boosters, we helped with the Friday night concession stand during this weeks football game.  I remember my parents helping out during concession stands when I was in school. Being a homeschool family, we do not attend many football games. I think the last high school football game I attended was one of my brother’s which has been many years ago.

Hubby and I both worked the first shift of the game. He fixed the drinks, and I was helping get the food ready and to the front line.  I was just weird and remembering back to when I was in school seeing my parents work the concession stand.

Since most people know hubby as a pastor in Heath and we were working Granville’s concession stand(they were playing each other), and we are a homeschool family – we got some interesting looks from our friends and church members we saw at the game. We did have fun, and enjoyed meeting some new people.  I’m sure you will likely see us working the concession stand again.

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I may have been working tonight for the Granville band – I decided to represent the girls tennis team as well. (I borrowed one of the girls shirts) GO ACES!

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!

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The Dear Sisters are getting ready

Hannah and Melodie after winning against Wellington

Hannah and Melodie after winning against Wellington

Tennis Time Again

We came back from our family sabbatical and hit the ground running.  The day after returning was the first day of high school tennis practice. It was time to start getting all the tennis clothes together, snack schedules, preparing protein packed breakfasts, and making sure all the paperwork done.  Emily was going to be the only one playing this season due to Hannah’s chronic pain.  It was a tough decision for her, but she was going to be the team’s big cheerleader and supporter.

This past Saturday was the teams first match which was the Licking County Tournament with Granville and two other teams in the county.  Our girls dominated again this year.  Emily played 5th doubles and her court counted in the tourney toward the teams points.  I was unable to watch due to working the farmer’s market, so hubby would text me updates.  So proud of how she played, and I can’t wait to see more.

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Licking County Tennis Tournament Champs!

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Emily’s medal

Hannah was there but was sad not to be playing. She started to rethink her decision about not playing.  She was going to the practices but only running and picking up the balls for the team.  She missed playing.  She talked with her dad and decided to go play some with him to see what she could do. After playing, she decided to give it a go.  We talked with the coach and he was good with her being back on the team.  The big hurdle was getting all of her paperwork and a physical done in less than 24 hours – WE DID IT!! Her team is so happy to have her back playing again. She will have to take it easier than most, but she is just happy to be playing.

Can’t wait to watch both of me girls playing this season and the rest of the team as well. Let’s go Lady Aces!!

School Time Again

It’s that time of year when school is starting and all of us homeschool moms are trying to stretch summer just a little longer.  While Hannah has started her one class, our official school has not.  Hannah is taking one class – AP English – at Granville High School this year under her tennis coach.  We felt this class would be great college prep at this time for her and something we could not teach her to the best of our abilities. I get to participate in the morning carpool line at the school, something I didn’t know if I would ever get to do.  We are thankful that our school district is very welcoming and accommodating.

Tennis is also in full swing. Multiple matches and practices have been held. Many trips to the school and courts each day. Both girls are having a good season, and I hope they continue to improve throughout the season.

We are hoping to get our new school year started after Labor Day. I will finish getting everything organized and find my desk. I need to get old books put away and get the new all out and organized.  The girls are somewhat excited to start back. They are mostly excited about drama, art, and band starting back.  I am looking forward to seeing all the moms again.

Here’s to a new school year. I am trying to come up with an inventive first day of school pic.

hannah's first day of high school