Friday, May 25, 2018

How Does it Feel to Have our Oldest Graduating?

Today is the day.
The hundreds of times we've been asked over the last year, "How do you feel about your oldest graduating?" culminates with today - graduation day.

Bran leaves in a little over a month for college, and for the first time since he was about eight years old he has the month of June off of baseball. He's footloose and fancy free for the next five weeks and is taking full advantage of it. Lots of trips with lots of friends and we're not sure how he's going to pay for all of it (!) but he'll figure that out along the way.

So - how do I feel about our oldest graduating - it's been difficult to express an honest, thoughtful answer. These last few weeks especially as I've considered how to process my emotions, attempted to frame my thoughts in a blog post, I keep coming up empty. Until this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks:


That's it. The good and hard, the calm and chaos, the super happy and super sad, simply grateful. And that's not a reflection of my ability to be thankful, but God's grace in showing me time and again that He is delighted when we acknowledge His hand in ALL THINGS. And we can trust him.

With marker events like this graduation day, it's helped to be in a habit of thanking the Lord regularly for the good AND the hard. I haven't posted my "practicing gratitude" lists in awhile, but they are on my pages journal document morning after morning. Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for putting words to and teaching me the importance of this practice. Life changing.

So here we go - practicing gratitude this morning as I think on TODAY - Bran's graduation day!

- Let's start with Eph 3:20 - praise God that He is ABLE to do more than we can ask or imagine... He is able and he did it. A couple of years ago we never dreamed this boy would be ready. But he is and it's God's grace. We are not nervous, not holding our breath, just incredibly excited for his next adventure. God could not have lined this up in a more miraculous way, and in the process grew Bran up in remarkable ways.

- Just last night Bran was named Tapps 5A All-State First Team. What an honor and again, praise God for a great school, great team, and great pitching season

- Our home of 16+ years on the market - I think we've shown it 37 times in the past few months (not kidding that's the actual number) and we have not found our people yet, but they're around the corner. I've thanked God regularly for selling this house in his time to the right family, and totally feel His hand in it. In the meantime, we love this home. Love being here and the swimming pool has been FULL the last couple of weeks. We thought it would sell quickly, but it been a gift not to feel kicked-out and rushed into a new home. With every time I've cleaned and vacuumed and set out Topo Chicos, I have been reminded of how much I love this home and that it'll be a respite for another family soon

- Thank you, Lord, that we get to pay double-mortgage and keep up with contractors and maintenance at two houses. Grateful for all things

- Bran and Hud having this past year at SCS together. I do hope to write more on this, one of the very best gifts of the year. It looked a little different than we thought it would primarily because of Hudson's injuries (shoulder nerves through football, broken wrist and surgery going into baseball) but both boys had a fabulous year - together. I am so so so so thankful for this

- Krista hosting a huge grad party for Bran last weekend, in the middle of her own May, along with Sarah, Nikki, and Kellie. These dear friends have been just that - dear friends - since our kids were tiny (or before). Our school / church circles don't all line up but our hearts sure do. It was a special evening getting to see so many people who mean so much to us! And - Krista - those green and gold tortilla chips!!
Them are some faithful (& fun) girlfriends


- Volleyball - more competitive than I expected for 6th graders -  our very last YMCA sport has come to a close for our family - truly the end of an era (grateful for YOU, coach Mallory!)

- Miklunceks throwing a rather amazing DGB party
Don't tell anyone that DGB is originally Dynamite Glitter Bombs - cool for 3rd graders but not so cool for 6th

- Basden (and Hud) getting to go on our church's "Bridge" overnight - lots to look forward to with HSM

- All four grandparents just took a bucket-list trip together - 3 weeks in Germany and Isreal. And they still like each other. They toured the new American embassy in Israel the second day it opened, after an all-night Syrian airstrike fireworks show not ten miles from their Sea of Galilee hotel

- Just last night - Basden received a leadership award at her choir banquet. And even more, she and Aidan got to say a few words to honor Mrs. Adair. There is no one like Mrs. Adair. She is kind and gifted and I am so very grateful Basden (and Hudson, and now Essie) had two years under her guidance and teaching and LOVE. What a gem.

Nettie May is in town!
- Corrie. Amazing Corrie and meeting with these 6th gr girls early on Thursday mornings for Bible study

- Taryn. Amazing Taryn meeting with 8th gr girls on Thursday mornings. We are poured into to overflowing

- Hud finished up spring football - he loved it - and finally felt like himself on the field. Makes me so happy already thinking about football season. That he gets to be under Coach Flowers for another two years - more than we can ask for. Hud also worked his tail off finishing finals and is looking into a weekend of their first Cats baseball tourn this weekend - woo hoo!

- SCS athletic banquet, and truly surprised with a huge honor for Bran - LOTS of great athletes in that room. Grateful for new AND old friends at SCS - more than we could ask or imagine

- Cam and Alan and kiddos here for graduation - offered to stay in their 5th wheel at a KOA, and I took them up on that with house showings (two just this week), but now that they're here we realize that's totally ridiculous and the pool house is calling their name!

- How happy it makes Basden and Nettie May to be together

- Aunt Julie is coming today!! with Bogan and Broderick from Tulsa - what a sweetheart!!

- Bran having the last full week with nothing - done with school, done with finals - just getting to enjoy friends and some down time

- Basden't 8th gr athletic awards - Sportsmanship for VB

- Two nights ago - Steve and Lisa Hotchkiss setting Branson up to host a "GRAD-itude" family dinner in their home - this is truly worthy of it's own post, coming shortly. Unbelievable, incredible evening

- Shane Naterman looking directly at Bran last night while giving his senior chapel speech, "Success will come on the field, but real success will come in the dugout." A good word for both of us

- How fun and totally crazy that Trey and Amy's fam gets to celebrate Adeline in Georgia!

- So much to celebrate in May, esp sweet Ava!

- And John! (And Ash and Chrissie and Marty...)

- Basden's 8th gr Florida trip - her highlights were swimming with dolphins and eating squid eyes (!) - and no-stinking-way-rombutans

- Senior Sunday - Michael Burr - celebrating him on to a new role - what a fabulous man of God - and great friend. Especially grateful for breaking bread last Sun evening around Electra's table, lovely

- Essie finding out her cheerleading big sis - who is a very generous big sis! And that Coach Ryan, in the midst of all the other end of year stuff, made this happen

- Well how about this??!

- Moms in Prayer - getting to pray over our 8th graders as they move to high school; Brad Deal joining us, we love him so much!

- Lots going on with FWISD that feels heavy and I don't know quite how to process all of it, but the Lord knows and is going behind and before us, equipping us along the way

- Slime. Somehow, even in May, there's margin for Essie's slime

- Spring Choir concert for both girls

- My friends sending pictures and giving me updates when two awards programs / end-of-year events conflict and I can't be at everything, means so much

- Senior chapel

- That BRANSON and JACKSON are going to BU together as college athletes!! Cannot get over this one

- Senior pics, senior announcements, senior poster, yearbook pics, senior pictures photo book, father's day photo gift, senior year photo album... there's probably a few more things but by God's grace (and Zazzle and Costco and Shutterfly) they're all DONE

- A highlight of the past few weeks - Elvia and I scrambling to get this house clean for a showing (rapido!) and then fleeing the house to get our nails done

- One of our biggest highlights of the past few months - and I don't have a pic - but Kathryn. We are in love with her

- And just this morning, Dillon showing up from Austin for graduation with BU cookies... Sic em!

- (drum roll).... can we say Baylor ACADEMIC scholarship???!! We've come full-circle... Eph 3:20 more than we could ask or imagine.  Thank you Lord!!