Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Blessings to You and Yours! 2009 Edition

[first: a few words of instruction: keep checking back as each of our family will have their own sections - each to be posted in the following days. this post will remain at the top, and the rest will follow below. so keep checking back and looking for more updates !!]

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season 2009!
Installment 1 (our family/Kara)

Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start!

This has to go back a bit further than January of 2009, more like into November of 2008, when Kara applied for an internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She got accepted and started planning at the end of 2008 for her big move to Florida, where she knew she'd be living for a minimum of 5 months, possibly longer if things went well and she chose to sign on for another session. Her wonderful Grandpa and Meme volunteered to take their annual February/March trip to Florida and move it up to January so that they could travel with her. Kara wanted to be sure and have her own car so she could get to the grocery store and get around on her own without having to wait for the Disney bus system.

She got down there right after New Years and settled in with her 5 room mates. Because she was there early she got to choose a bedroom that had it's own bathroom and would be shared with one other girl, who became a good friend. Kara wasn't sure where she'd be working till she arrived and was thrilled when she was assigned to work on Main Street in Magic Kingdom at the Emporium, the largest, busiest retail store on the property. Little did we know she'd have such long, crazy hours, often working till 2, 3, 4, or even 5 a.m.! This location stays open past park hours and then employees remain to re-stock for up to two hours after they close their doors. Extra Magic Hours are offered to Disney Resort guests and so certain nights the park would be open well past midnight. This meant a lot of wakeful moments for me! I so often awoke right at the time she was getting off work (it was so strange) and I would just lay there awake praying for Kara to get to her car safely, then drive home safely, awake! (it was about a 15 minute drive back to her apartment) then I'd often go to the computer and look for her to get on-line to know she had arrived home.

Well, we had planned a vacation to go and see Kara for April, so the beginning months of the year passed slowly! We made the trek down in our 12 passenger van, barely stopping as everyone was not complaining and happy, so we just kept going and got within 4 hours of seeing Kara on that first day of the journey. The next day, we met up with her for lunch as she was just getting off work (a 4:30am - 1pm shift)! Then we checked into the gorgeous rental home we had booked and she stayed with us each of the nights we were there. She'd come in late and get up early to go to the parks with us, only having 2 days off while we were there for 10 days. It worked out great and we so enjoyed being all together again as a family! What memories were made! At this point we knew that Kara was going to be extending her stay till August. She had managed to secure a position as a photographer (her hearts desire!) and would begin working at the waterparks: Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon shortly after. This meant the hours changed from being out late at night to a new concern of being out in 90-100+ degree heat, standing for 8-12 hours a day! Drinking liquids and eating protein were a must, she learned, as she nearly passed out one day.

By the end of July, she knew she was finished and content with what she had accomplished, and was ready to come home. We were filled with anticipation for the summer to end so we could have her back with us, although she did manage to squeeze in a few flights home in May and June to visit.

More on Kara later ...

It definately took some adjusting last year not having Kara home those 8 months. That meant she was not at Deep Creek with us, which seemed so odd! She wasn't here for the first time to share in all birthdays that took place and other events, but thankfully with cell phones and emails we were able to stay connected.

The rest of us made our annual trip out to Harrisburg for the homeschool fair in May and started going to the lake on weekends. We got involved in a family integrated church and quickly became friends with the Pastors there. We so miss their fellowship these winter months but are looking forward to a visit with them on the 20th if the weather permits. Everyone felt at home at this church and we attended quite a few picnics and even managed to get to one night of their Family Vacation Bible School Nights. This is something that is so dear to our hearts, worshiping with our family, taking part in ministry together and the Lord knew just where we needed to be.

Finally August arrived and we were all anticipating Kara's arrival home. This time it wouldn't be her Grandparents traveling with her though - it would be Derrick Abbey.

She had met Derrick in May of 2008 when she was in her best friend Naomi's wedding as the maid of honor, Derrick was the best man. They corresponded and visited from June of 2008 untilJanuary 2009 when Kara left. He made one trip down to visit her in March and Kara flew home several times during her 8 months to see him.

In June, Derrick asked Steve for permission to marry Kara. This was sooooo hard for me to know and not want to blurt out!!! Derrick flew into Orlando on Kara's last day, they went to Sea World in the morning and went to Magic Kingdom for one last fun day to enjoy. They then traveled about an hour north to his cousins' home to spend the following day and night visiting with them and other family Derrick had, then they started the non-stop drive home.

Derrick proposed with a beautiful diamond and down on one knee on August 15, 2009, at a state park he used to frequent when his parent's lived in Florida. Of course, Kara said yes!!

They arrived before midnight the next day and we were all waiting with bells and whistles! They shared their engagement news with the family who just went crazy with excitement! And so the planning began. Here we are at only a little over 4 months to the wedding! Things are pretty much booked and ready to go. I guess God knew I'd need a little adjustment to the idea of Kara being married and living in another town so He gave me the opportunity to adjust via Disney World. I do much better with slow and steady changes!

Kara and Derrick will be married here in our hometown on April 24 (one day prior to her Dad & I's 23rd wedding anniversary) Everyone is still crazy with excitement!! Ellen, Amy, Emma, Stephen & Ruby all love Derrick to death and already consider him their older brother. Once they get married, they'll move to Milan, PA (near the NY border, 4 1/2 hours away) where they'll make their home. Derrick's father is a pastor of a church there and Derrick is involved with that ministry there, teaches music lessons, and is currently working in a chiropractor's office. While it's not here, at least it's not like we all need to hop on a plane to visit, we can do it over a weekend, so I'm very thankful for that.

For the time being, Kara is working at the shop and still loves taking pictures. Her photography has taken a giant leap in the last few months from being a hobby into more of a business. She photographed a wedding a few weeks ago, has a job shooting a birthday party coming up this weekend, and already has another wedding booked for next summer! You can follow her on her blog: .

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