Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry 2016!

Christmas Family Photo
If socks don't say Christmas, then I really don't know what else does. Don't get offended, I know that's not the real meaning of Christmas. Eggnog is pretty important too. I can't remember a year that my girls didn't receive fuzzy socks from someone and this year I got in on the fun too. I'm the yellow stripes. Christmas with the extended Raabes came early this year but as you can deduce from the photo above, getting a family picture isn't always the easiest of tasks. We have one couple who comes late. We have one couple who leaves early. And then this year we had two sickies in the group. The purple socks represent Emma. But while everyone was there, it was a great day!

My sweet fam!
(add-on comment: looking at this picture just about makes my heart burst open with joy.)

And this is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Eve service each year...singing "Silent Night" as everyone in the sanctuary passes the light. With 2000 lit candles in one room, it didn't look so dark anymore, but isn't that exactly the point? As we share the light of Jesus with just one or two people and they do the same, soon the darkness of the world is thwarted.

Peace . Love . Joy
If we each could focus on these three words, I believe significant change could happen in our own lives, families, cities, countries and even this world. My peace comes from God the Father who loved me so much that he sent his son, Jesus from Heaven to Earth that I might experience great joy through him. So as I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year I am also praying that you will experience the Peace, Love & Joy that can only come from our Savior.

Until next year....

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Concerts 1, 2, 3

Concert #1
Liv has really taken to music. Our baby tried a lot of different activities but has found her sweet spot behind a sheet of music. This year she enjoys going to school early on Wednesday mornings to rehearse with her R2 choir, a group comprised of 150 4th and 5th graders. Why pick just one instrument when you can play two? Liv started viola last year, thanks to some of the district orchestra teachers volunteering their time to teach 4th grade strings after the program (4th grade only) was cut due to budget shortages. This year the district exposes the students to the love of band instruments where she picked up my flute. What a natural! (note: she does practice a lot) Monday night we were blessed with all 3 ensembles.

 What a lucky girl to have three grandparents at her Winter Fine Arts Concert!
Mrs Whiz and Papa photo bombers!
Concert #2
Tuesday night was Emma's chance to shine with her cello. I try to take pictures of her playing but they never turn out very good. I'm so impressed with the natural ability this young lady has. I love listening to her play.
The grands with Emma

Aw, my beautiful senior cellist
Concert #3
For our final concert of the week was tonight. Bundled up in our warmest coats, gloves and scarves we made it from the parking lot into the auditorium, all except our soccer player who was in shorts. No worry it was only 17 degrees outside!! For the first time in 4 years this christmas concert was NOT a two hour event, the new directors kept it just as special as before all in just 65 minutes. The picture below was taken during the Hallelujah Chorus in which all 300 choir students are on stage along with alum and the chamber orchestra. Thank you Mr B and Mr Young for creating an event that honors the true meaning of Christmas. Glory to God in the Highest!

It wasn't until we were waiting in the lobby that it hit me...this is my last high school christmas concert (for a few years). Oh, Emma it's going to be so strange to have you leave home. We raise them to have wings and pray that they will never forget their roots.

Combined choirs plus alum and chamber orchestra
Tomorrow night we have an overnight guest, mostly because the roads are suppose to be very bad. Then Saturday and Sunday we are back at the soccer recruiting events, thankfully in town.

I'm not sure when I will get back on here. 
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

National League

Last week I traveled to North Carolina with Reagan and her U16 soccer team for the first half of her National League games, later this month we finish the league in Florida. This league is a huge deal for the EGA club and members of the accepted teams. The club directors like it because it puts their brand on the map. The players like it because these events are major recruiting opportunities for colleges of all sizes as well as the US National system. Each age division has 32 teams and each team played four games, all great opponents. 
*Southern California (T 1-1)
*Northern California (W 2-0)
*Pennsylvaina (T 1-1)
*Tennessee (W 2-0)
By my calculations, currently out of the 32 teams we are in 5th place. Hopefully we will go to Florida, win all of our games and score a few more goals to have a better goal differential. Regardless, the team played exceptionally well and I'm so proud of them. 
Below are some snapshots from our five day trip.
my travel crew at the airport

So excited to see Reeva in NC
Reagan and Reeva have been friends since 3rd grade. It was a sad day last year when her family moved 1200 miles away. Our soccer team misses her skills but Reagan misses her friendship more than anything! Praying for Reeva as she heals from her recent ACL surgery.

my blondie in the white jersey
Reags in the maroon jersey receiving the ball

EGA Maroon 01 and coaches
quick trip to Duke before we flew home

This is what happens when an expensive hotel has a crappy dryer. Yep, I did that and now I get to replace 2 custom jerseys. Not good times!!! And guess what? The hotel did next to nothing to compensate me. Frustration!!!!!!
A highlight of the trip was seeing these two women. I'm so thankful that Karen and Regina drove 3 hours, with their dog, to see us. It's hard to say when we will see them again, maybe Reagan will go to school in NC and we will have the opportunity to see them more often. ;)

Soccer isn't just a game for Reagan. It's a journey to help her discover what she is made of. We are proud of the young lady that Reagan is growing into as she continues to play the game she loves. It's true, watching Reags succeed on the field gives me a high but I pray this game teaches her about hard work, team work, loyalty and leadership to mention a few. Maybe if she continues to push herself and grow as a soccer player it will also pay for her education one day. Reagan has very high goals for herself. Thus far in her young life, when she sets a goal, she does not stop until she has conquered it. Reags, keep plugging away. We hope to see you playing with the National team one day. 
Love ya girl!

Eleven Years in a Blink of an Eye

Happy Birthday to this sweet baby girl!
Here we are again at the beginning of December and I don't have a party planned for this girl. I have no doubt as my children sit around in years to come and talk about the weird things their parents did one of the things that will come up is my inability to have Olivia's birthday parties on time. Next year... maybe I will have it before Thanksgiving.

Livie, you bring us such great joy. We love your positive outlook and natural tendency to see the good in any situation. (That is unless your class has to miss recess, then we've got a real mess on our hands!) Your laugh makes us laugh. Your love for music is taking you to new and exciting places. Your independent thinking makes us proud. You are a great help in the kitchen. Babe, be you because it's a the person God created you to be. We love you bunches!