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.

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!

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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 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.

 

 

Invisible Illness Week

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You may wonder – what is Invisible Illness Week? Why? I have never heard of it before now either.  An invisible illness is a variety of different illnesses that someone may suffer from on the inside (epilepsy, fibromyalgia, Chron’s, lupus, etc) but on the outside they look perfectly healthy.  Hannah is one of those people.  She suffers from undiagnosed chronic pain.  She has been to multiple doctors, and been thru multiple tests only to find nothing wrong.  She just lives with the pain. There is not a day that she does not have pain. It is very frustrating for her.  Her pain can go from her abdomen to her elbows, wrists, or ankles.

Due to all of this she thought she was not going to be able to play tennis this year or do much of anything else.  We talked with a neurologists and she told us that since there is no injury she should do her best to play thru the pain.  Her brain is just sending signals to something that is not there.

So, for this week Hannah decided to bring awareness on her social media and to the local high school. We became aware of this on her instagram account when we saw this –

I was really nervous about posting this, but it matters a lot to me. Some of you may know that for the past year I have suffered from chronic pain in my abdomen and joints. It has been rough not knowing what is going on and trying out treatments that don’t work. What I have is known as an invisible illness because it is not immediately noticeable to those around me. Having an invisible illness can be incredibly isolating because it feels as if you are the only one who suffers from one. However, I have recently discovered that I am not alone in this struggle. This is my picture for the #sufferingthesilence campaign where we write our illness on our arms and cover our mouths to depict silence. But we will not be silent about it any longer.

Our hearts just break because that someone at her age is having to deal with this.  The doctors are not sure if the pain will ever go away.

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her set-up

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her signs for students and teachers to hold up

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Hannah taking pictures at the school of students holding her sign to bring awareness to invisible illnesses.

 

 

Quick Health Update

I thought I would give you a quick update on the little one’s and Hannah’s health.

At the beginning of the summer the little one started on a new medication called Sirolimus to see if we could prolong the time between IVIG treatments and hopefully eliminate them.  When I talked to the nurse they told us that they were getting good results with this medicine. We were nervous about trying something new, but we knew she was ready for a break from all the sticks and hospital stays. So far it seems to be working.  She is not needing weekly finger sticks unless we think there is a need for it. We do know she is not a therapeutic level yet, but she is on her way. We go back in a week to check to see how it is working.

Her seizures are still pretty much under control as well.  She has had 2 episodes since we have gotten back from our trip. We think they happened mostly due to her growing up. Sadly, because of this they had to increase her medication. She is such a trooper with all the medication she is having to take.

Hannah is doing ok as well.  It has been a year since we started on the journey to figure out what is going on with pain issues.  A year later, we still do not know.  She works through her pain daily.  She has played through it during her tennis matches. She is also still going to the pain clinic at Children’s. She has good days and really bad days. We pray that God will miraculously intervene and take her pain away. We are not sure why he has chosen her to go through it, but we do hope God will use it in some way. She is doing her best staying active and not letting the pain take over her life.

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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.

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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.

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