Monday, December 12, 2011

Joy to the World

I love to listen to Christmas music. There are so many wonderful songs out there, and a few bad ones as well.

In my car I normally rotate between talk radio and Christian radio. Although for some reason our local station does to play Christian Christmas music. There is alot of it, and they should give us a break of the same songs they play over and over. This season though, I have gotten some new Christmas CDs - Toby Mac, David Crowder Band, and Matthew West. They are in rotation in my car right now. My favorite is the DCB. It is all your favorite, but with a twist. You will definitely enjoy them all. My girls especially enjoy Toby Mac's.

Check them out and enjoy some wonderful Christmas music to enhance your holiday season.

Merry Christmas from the Dear Family!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pick and Draw

I have been looking for fun things and games that are easily portable for trips.  I saw this game on a friend's blog, and thought it totally fit the bill.  She was giving one away, but I was not the winner.  I decided to contact the inventor, Rich, and see if I could get one to review on this blog.  He graciously sent one for us to try.  I had not told the girls about it, so pulled it out this morning to have a fun thing to start our school day.  I had them draw the cards before I gave them instructions on what to do.   They started and loved it.  They ended up doing it several more times, and can't wait to show it to their friends and family.  Without my prompting said that we would definitely have to take it to China. 

Pick and Draw is great for any age, and it comes highly recommended by a 10 and 12 year old.  This would be a great stocking stuffer.

This game is only available on their website, and they are running a special for November and December.  Buy one game and get the second one $2 off.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Great is Our God

If you have been around most church worship services, you will likely sing a Chris
Tomlin song at some point. He has written some of our greatest modern worship songs.
He writes of God's majesty, power, greatness, and might. They can take you right to the
feet of Jesus. Chris has a new CD out where he takes some of his greatest and likely
the most popular songs and puts them in one CD or download from iTunes. The new
work is called "How Great is Our God:The Essential Collection".

I have CD right now in my car is it just great to have to have and just worship the Lord.
The lead song on there is the title track, that may just about be my favorite. He has
taken this great song and has remastered it into different languages. You will love
having all these great worship songs in one place.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School 2011

It is that time of year when school supplies are flying off the shelves.  Parents frantically getting their children scheduled into anything and everything.  Myself as a piano teacher, trying to schedule around their schedules.  So here we are entering our 8th year of homeschooling, and I am surprised any of has still has hair, except maybe my hubby. 

We have scaled down some extra-curricular, and started some new things.  Due to our travel to China in a few months, we are trying to get a big part of school done this semester.  We are trying to learn Mandarin.  As a family, we are playing tennis.  Hannah is actually on her first tennis team this fall. She is playing on the Granville jr. high girls club team.  One thing that will definitely be different, the girls have retired their dancing shoes.  This will be a shock to some, but we felt as a family it was time to move on.  We are looking forward to more family time and preparing for our new little girl.

Here is our first day of school picture.  Being a homeschool family, there are no backpacks, no dress code, no bus or carpool lane, and no new clothes.  It is just us with our books, positive attitudes, and come as you are to school.

Where are those little girls that were just starting school?  When we moved to Ohio 6 years ago, that tall one was just entering 1st grade.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What is robbing your JOY?

Joy and happiness are two highly sought after things in this world.  Can you have one without the other? YES.  To me, being happy can come and go, but joy is a deep down heart issue that can only be found in God.  While you may not be happy or have happiness about what is going on around you, you can have joy - PRAISE THE LORD!

For the past couple of weeks I have been meditating and praying through Psalm 119.  It is the longest chapter in the Bible, but oh the nuggets and jewels found in this passage.  My hubby mentioned in one of his sermons that William Wilberforce memorized this entire chapter and would recite it everyday.  While I am not sure I could memorize all of it, but I cannot start my day without it.  I have chosen not to let people and circumstance steal my joy.  If you need encouragement - READ THIS CHAPTER!!

Here are just a few jewels I have found:
  • Ps 119:1-2 Joyful are people of integrity,who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
  • Ps 119:29 - Keep me from lying to myself: give me the privilege of knowing your instructions
  • Ps 119:35 - Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
  • Ps 119:37 - Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
  • Ps 119: 58 - With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.
  • Ps 119:92 - If your instructions hadn't sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
  • Ps 119:114 - You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope
These are just a few that speak volumes.  Pray through these verses.  I go back to them everyday and re-read many sections.  You may ask, I cannot read all those at one time.  God has nicely divided them into different sections.  Take one a day, or even take one section a week and pray God's Word.  It can bring the JOY you are searching for.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Subway Art

A popular art item currently is what is called SubwayArt.  I recently who someone had taken the Auburn fight song and turned it into art.  Most people us their Cricuts to make them, but since I do not own one - I took to my handy-dandy computer and used photoshop.  Here is my result for the MSU fight song. Coming soon to an etsy sight near you...maybe?

I think it would look good either as a poster or printed on canvas.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Backyard Camping

While on vacation the girls and I went to see the Judy Moody movie. Hannah was not that excited, but enjoyed to movie after all. It was cute movie, and inspired our girls to make a chart of challenges between their friends to accomplish some exciting things this summer.

One of the challenges was to camp in the backyard and to stay up all night. They got a tent and decided along with their friend in the neighborhood to go for it this last weekend

The best part was watching the girls put up a tent for the first time

Here they are getting it ready

Hannah reading the directions
 Trying to direct her sister

Dad couldn't help but come to the rescue.

Emily couldn't wait to get in!


Ready to stay up all night!
They managed to stay up most of the night.  They did get points for it.  When I came down in the morning, they were all passed out on the couch.  They got cold around 5 or 6.  Congrats girls! They have more fun challenges coming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Phoenix/Sedona 2011

This past week hubby and I were happy to represent our church at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix. We had a great time having couple time away from our girls even though we missed them terribly.  They did have fun hanging with grandparents.  We enjoyed the preaching and the different sessions we attended.  On Mondays they have a special session for the pastor's wives during the pastor's conference.  I always enjoy the panel discussion, and this year Kay Warren was our special speaker.  Tuesday, I attended the Minister's Wives Luncheon and was able to be a table hostess.  Our music was provided by Kim Hill and the speaker was Lisa Harper.  I had a wonderful time meeting other wives from across the country from LA, GA, MS, VA, AL, and Hawaii.  I was even privileged to have Marilyn Foley the wife of Univ. of Mobile's president at my table.  We all had a lovely time, and thankful for the sponsors who gave us nice gift bags.

During our time there we were able to connect with many of our friends who are in the ministry.  I was able to meet Lynette Ezell the wife of NAMB president and fellow adopting mom.  She is so sweet and happy to be encouraged by her.  Hubby was able to meet Russell Moore and his wife of whose book we have read and recommended to so many people. 

Thank you church for allowing us to go and be refreshed, and enjoy some time away.

 us halfway up Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona

At the Schnebly Hill Vista - and yes we drove up to this view. Sadly pictures do not do it justice

Church in the Rock

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Time to Dance

I never thought this day would come. Our dossier is finished and on it's way to home office in Virginia before heading to China or DTC(date to China). It should leave for China by Friday. A lot of work and stress has gone into preparing all that paperwork, but It will be worth it. Getting it ready in the last couple of weeks has felt like labor. I was happy to send this Fedex package without a return envelope in it.

Now we wait for our log-in-date or LID as it is called. My prayer is that it somehow makes it to the top of the pile and is done quickly. Once that is done, we will then be moved from a paper-chasing family to a dossier family and able to get a referral. We are anxiously waiting for that day.

Keep praying for "Allison" and that we will know her soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Girls Weekend

This past weekend Emily and I traveled to Cleveland for her dance competition. We decided that we would be the only ones to go since Noel and Hannah would get to see her in Columbus in a few weeks at another competition.  We left out on Thursday afternoon because she was dancing early on Friday morning. We also went thru Chick-fi-a on the way up for dinner and to try the new banana pudding milkshake - as Emily put it - "it was a life-changing milkshake"

Most of the dance families stayed at the same hotel and travel over together. The girls could hang out at the pool.  I felt safer staying where people I knew were, since it was just the 2 of us. 

If you are not aware of what is involved in getting ready for dance competition - you have to get there 1 hour before your dance time, and there is a lot of makeup and hair spray involved.  We had early mornings both days of competition.  She was a little nervous, but we prayed the night before and the day of with her dad over the phone.  She knew her dance, and I just wanted her to go out and have fun and do the best she could do and be happy with her performance.  She did great! She smiled and look great.  Another mom was sitting with me while we were waiting for our daughters to dance.  I think both of us were about to throw up waiting for them. It was the biggest stage she had danced on by herself.  When awards were called out she received High Silver and that qualified her for nationals in Orlando.  We were very happy for her, and she was pleased. 

That afternoon she participated in the scholarship auditions for the 7-9 year old age group. They have them in all the disciplines, but she just did tap.  She had never done them before, but we decided to try them out.  She was in there with around 30 other dancers.  They learned a short routine and then had to do 2 steps down the floor followed by a pose.  We were not allowed in there and had to sit outside and wait.  Several of the other girls from our team competed that day as well. Emily was the only one in the youngest group.  We did not know how she did until the next afternoon.  She just told me it went well.

That night we went out to dinner where they had giant meatballs. She was very excited to eat there, and then we were able to find her Easter dress and found some fun nail polish at Sephora to paint our toes that night. 

Saturday morning was another early day getting ready for the group dance.  Ms. Joan wanted the girls there so they could go over their dance together.  We busy getting all the  jewelry handed out, making sure all the bows were in the same place on the costumes, and getting pictures taken.  It was a flurry of activity backstage.  I was not feeling well that morning, because the cold that the family had the beginning of the week had decided to attack me.  All the girls were ready to go.  They did a great job, despite the early morning.  We had to wait about 3 hours till awards. We watched the other dances and waited.  I wanted to go back to bed. 

Dances were over and it was time for awards.  They called the scholarships out first, and to Emily's surprise she received 3rd place in tap.  She was shocked and could not  believe it.  She won $25.  Only 2 other girls from our group won a scholarship award.  Next up were judges special awards, and our group received "Tops in Taps".  Again they were all surprised and happy.  Then they called out the rest of the awards, and our group received High Silver and qualified for nationals.  Great job girls!! Ms. Joan was happy. 

Emily and I had a fun time together. We acted a little silly and would do it all again.  We did miss Noel and Hannah.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dancing Queen

We have entered the time of year where we are preparing for dance competition season.  There are extra practices and dealing with stressed and worried dance instructors.  Emily's tap class is entering their 3 season of competition, and Em's second year doing a solo.  We head to Cleveland this weekend for some mom and daughter bonding over makeup and hairspray.  Noel and Hannah are staying at home this time, but they will get to see her dance in Columbus at another competition.  Emily is a little nervous for her solo, but I know she will do a great job. She has a cute dance, and her personality will shine.  It will be her first time on a bigger stage and being at Dancemasters in Cleveland.  I am just praying I do not forget anything.  We will enjoy our weekend hanging out with the other dancers and dance moms, but the only thing I do not enjoy is seeing some of the inappropriate dancing by young girls in clothing that shows too much.  Thank you Joan for tasteful clothing and dancing! Good Luck to the Garrett Dance Competition teams and dancers.

This time of year other things are ramping up to the end of the school year.  If we can survive till the end of April, all will be well.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meeting The Pioneer Woman

I almost missed it.  I almost missed getting to meet Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman.  Thanks to twitter, I was able to find out she was in Columbus today.  I have been following her blog for several years now. I enjoy seeing a glimpse into her life and especially her recipes.  Her favorite of mine and others who have tried them is her cinnamon rolls.  I do have her cookbook.  I also use her Photoshop actions for many of my photos.  We have several things in common such as photography, cooking, and home schooling.  The only difference her husband herds cattle, mine - "sheep".

I was one of the 300 or so people who waited to meet her today at a book signing along with my daughter and friends Rochelle and Amy.  It was a little long, but to me worth it.  My daughter said it was amazing. I hoped she liked the cupcakes I gave her.

Emily with Ree
Emily taking her book up to Ree. She wanted to do it herself, and even had her ipod touch to the other guy could take her pictures.  She was precious. Ree even guess correctly how old she was

 Rochelle and Ree
Emily, Ree, and myself - I just hope I did sound like a babbling idiot.

(Thanks to the people who helped me with Hannah today so I could to meet Ree. I so appreciate it!!!! )

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!!

Today, Puxsutawney Phil and Buckeye Chuck said spring is around the corner. I am praying that is true. When our weather is cold, dreary, and nasty, I miss weather in the South.

I do look forward to this time every year. Not for the weather, but it is a reminder of one of the happiest days of my life. Despite what ever the groundhog says, I have a man who loves me and chose me to spend the rest of his life with.

It was quite a memorable day. We had been dating for 7 1/2 months (3 of those months in different states) and had been talking about marriage but nothing serious. We were in love, and I could not imagine my life without him. One day he asked me to go with him back to his hometown to meet someone, but would not tell me who. The morning we were to leave, I got very sick. I was throwing up and there was no signs of stopping. We were to leave early in the morning, but that was not happening. When it looked like I was getting better, he picked me up and took me to his house. I felt so bad, but I knew he was itching to head to Anniston. I had know idea of why though. He kept telling me this person was only going to be in town that day, I had to get better. I finally did, but not feeling great.

We headed out later than planned, but we finally made it there. I was totally clueless. He said he wanted to stop by this church where he use to work, and I thought ok, no big deal. We may or may not have "broke-in" with a key someone had. I don't know the details are fuzzy. We went into the worship center, and he was telling me about the church. It was where he was saved as a teenager, and where he was called into the ministry. The church held a special place in his heart. We were sitting up on the platform, and he told me that in this place it is where he chose his Master, his mission, and now he is choosing his mate. He pulls out the ring, and right there asks me to marry him. I was surprised and excited and said YES!! We prayed right there for God bless our marriage.

This is the funny part, we go to tell his mom, and they were not at home which was surprising. They were actually at a political fundraiser. I think we left them a note. We were able to tell his grandmother, and a good friend of his. I told my mom when I got home. On the way back to Mississippi, we picked our wedding date.

The day before this, mom took me to look at wedding dresses. Her idea, not mine of which Noel doesn't believe till this day. I did find a dress that I would get if he ever asked. He did and I went back and ordered it. When I was looking at dresses, he was actually across the street picking up my engagement ring. We had no idea.

Oh, and the person I met - my fiancé. Sixteen years later, I would still say YES!!