After years of hard work, fun activities, and quite a few tears, Amanda has finally graduated high school! Yes, our oldest marched across the platform Monday evening to accept her diploma stating that she did indeed successfully complete the required course of study and is now officially a high school graduate. Chad and I and the family sat in the section reserved for graduates' families and shed a few tears/cheered along with them over our children's success. This was definitely a night of mixed emotions: excitement flowed from the graduates in an almost tangible river; parents were proud and relieved---for some this was their first child to graduate while for others this was their last; the audience was pleased and proud of those graduating for their hard work and perseverance against difficulties; the used-to-be-11th graders-now-turned-official-seniors were strutting around, already plotting their reign of terror next school year (just kidding---they're good kids); and the younger kids were just wanting to get over to the gym where there was a feast spread!
The ceremony began at 7:00 p.m. and lasted about 45 minutes to 1 hour, followed by the reception which lasted until almost 10:00 p.m. You know how Baptists like their food and fellowship!! Each graduate had a special table set up that their family had decorated with special mementos and pictures to honor them; we had spent time earlier in the day getting it all set up. My husband had made a small canopy to cover the table and arranged rather pretty valances over it. We brought in small balloons and pictures and stuff while Mandie put together a slideshow of pictures on her laptop which played during the reception. Each graduate stood by his/her table which allowed everyone to move around the room, congratulating each one and admiring their table. There was also a small basket on each table for cards and gifts; Mandie didn't open her cards until the next day, but, when she did, she discovered she had received a couple hundred dollars in various cards! Praise the Lord!! This she plans to use to open a bank account to draw funds from for college. She is planning to go to Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, CA, and will probably major in Elementary Education. She and Dad are already planning their trip down to drop her off at college and get her started on the rest of her life!
The rest of us have been enjoying our first week of summer vacation. In fact, we've been enjoying it so much that Chad has already begun to scold us for sleeping in and not getting any housework done. (And, I must admit, the scolding is most definitely deserved!) However, we will not spend the entire summer break in bed; I will make up short lists of necessary household chores for us to work on, and we'll check them off as we go. At least, that's the plan......it remains to be seen how much we actually accomplish!
We have each been to see the doctor, not because we were ill but to establish care at a new clinic. The care provider we have chosen is actually an ARNP---Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner who works at the clinic with a doctor, and she is very nice. We are all well pleased to be under her care (should we need it) and have already benefited from her advice. She confirmed our belief that Katie suffers from tree/pollen allergies and then diagnosed Emily and possibly Ashley with that same allergy. For now, we are dosing Katie with generic-label Zyrtec and Emily with generic-label Claritin; Katie seems to be responding to the medication---WHEN SHE ACTUALLY TAKES IT---sorry, family discussion spilling over, but we need to take a few more days before seeing if Emily will respond to her meds. They inherited these allergies from dear old Dad who suffers the same problems each year. I had kind of hoped his allergies would not be handed down, but there's not a whole lot to be done about that. So far, Amanda seems somewhat allergy-free (she only has troubles if she rolls around in a field of dandelions) and Dale shows no symptoms whatsoever. He's always been the healthy one in the family........go figure. I don't think I have any allergies, just children!!
God is so good to us, and it's so obvious to anyone who cares to look. Those who say that life is just full of coincidences or that God doesn't involve Himself in our daily lives are really just looking for an excuse to live their lives to please themselves. God's hand is evident in the smallest details......like the bouquet of flowers Amanda received from someone for graduation, beautiful orange flowers bursting out of a clear vase. Orange is not my favorite color at all, but it is Amanda's. The family who gave her the flowers didn't know that, but God did. God loves us just as earthly fathers love their children and expresses that love to us just as earthly fathers do. The only difference is God's love will never diminish or change. Nothing we can do will cause God to stop loving us. We may anger our earthly parents to the point that they say, "Enough! You are no longer my child! Don't ever speak to me again!" But that will never happen with God. No matter what we do, good or bad, God is always there. If we obey His voice and follow His will, He blesses us with manifold blessings. If we turn away from Him and do our own thing, God lovingly draws us back. We may even get so bad that God feels like He must take us on Home early to stop our wrongdoing, but He never turns His back on us. He is always there, whether we want Him there or not. God loves us so much, doesn't He?
Romans 5: 8 "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."