Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Well, it is official.  My oldest is a high school graduate.
We had his graduation ceremony on Friday night and it was a special and fun time.  I'm thankful for the many people that were able to be there to celebrate with us!  As the date of his graduation grew close, it gave me many opportunities to reflect and ponder.

As we looked through 18 years of photos - a lifetime of memories - oh, all the memories.  Seeing the chubby little baby that made me a mommy and forever changed my life.  Seeing the cute toddler that loved Elmo and then dinosaurs.  The early pictures of our homeschooling with so much hands on fun.  Moving into school age with field trips, birthday parties, vacations and more.  Memories of travelling the state as we learned about history.  Reflections of sports from soccer to basketball to football and running.  Seeing him love all the new babies that we welcomed into our family.  Watching the slideshow gave the opportunity to see the years flash by in a few minutes as he went from a baby to a man.  (If I can figure out how to share, I will.)

Life is a journey.  One filled with joys and sorrows.  I feel blessed that mine has been filled with so many joys!  I'm so very grateful for the opportunity to be a mom.  I have six amazing children.  Each a unique and precious gift from God.  Gifts He continue to use to shape and mold and challenge me.  When I began this journey, it was hard to imagine getting to this point.  (Much as I might imagine that any of you reading who have small children might feel.)  

I remember being told to enjoy the journey.  Enjoy your children.  The time goes quickly.  I think I did that.  I have spent time learning and playing.  Though I confess at times it is something I have to remind myself to do - not get caught up in the computer or hobbies.  I don't want to look back with regrets.  I want to live life as fully as I can.  I want to look back with joy and thankfulness and look forward to with hope.  Christopher, as you embark on a new part of your journey, know that I will always pray for you, always be here for you and always be cheering you on.  I pray that you will find much joy - and mostly that you will find more of God!

At this point in the journey, I find myself often thinking of the "lasts".  This part is hard.  On Sunday at church as I watched Christopher walking one of his brothers to Sunday school, I thought to myself that there won't be many more of these mornings.  His summer is full and he won't be back to church until August.  I went into church and just couldn't keep the tears in check.  Thankfully a dear friend was right there to hug me and just be there for me.  God is so good.  I'm trying hard not to be sad, but to be thankful for all that I've had.  (Christopher has reminded me of this and it is good advice.)  I'm looking for ways to be thankful and also to enjoy every moment.  To laugh and to live fully in the moment.  

As the seasons of our life change, I'm praying more for the future as it is here.  He is ready to begin this new adventure.  I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready.  (Sorry Christopher - just being honest.)  One of my friends tells me that things are really sweet in this next step of the journey too.  Different and better in some new ways.  I'm trying to trust her on that, but honestly, its still hard.  

Christopher, I'm excited for you and for all that lays ahead of you.  I'm excited to see all that God has in store for you.  I'm looking forward to seeing you grow in your faith and to grow and mature into the man God has designed you to be.  I pray that you will also be a "Christ-bearer" as your name relates.  

For our family, this is a huge change.  Huge.  For all of us.  The dynamics of all that we do will be different.  I'm thankful that Christopher will not be too far from home and am hoping we will still see a lot of him.  I know that wherever his path leads, that my heart will be there with him.  My prayers will always be for him.  

 Christopher - I love you more than words can express.  I'm proud of you and of the man you have become.  I'm thankful for you and for so much about you.  I love your sense of humor, am thankful for your dependability and excited about your passion for Christ.  I have so enjoyed your athletic abilities and hope we'll be able to see more of them.  I'm thankful for your intellect and your ability to apply yourself.  There are so many things I could list, but most important of all, I'm thankful for you!  I love you deeply and always will.  I'm so glad that I'm your Mom.

So, even though tears may slip out more often that either of us like, know that its just because there is a well filled with much joy, many precious memories and abundant prayers that at times like this are spilling over.  Change is often challenging.  I know that through all of us, God is here.  Standing firm.  Guiding. Directing.  Loving.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and follow Him through all that lies ahead.  I love you, Mom.

Hugs your babies tight.  Live in the moment.  Not thinking ahead and worrying about what is next.  Enjoy.  Enjoy the people who are in your life right now!  Be thankful.  Choose joy.

With a thankful heart (and a tear slipping down my cheek),


  1. You can trust me-it is sweeter in a way. :) Lovely, lovely post dear! Congrats to Christopher and his mommy and daddy for taking the road less traveled by homeschooling him all the way thru to gradation. Proud of ya all! Hugs to you and may God bless this next season of your lives!

  2. Congratulations to both of you!

    Lots of new and different things in both of your futures.

    And for you, Leslie, a grace you've not known before.

  3. I am right there with you, Leslie. It is bittersweet. This part of the journey is a new challenge. I am learning all the time. Let me know if you need to talk. I have said it before, you are a special mom. Take care.


  4. Leslie,

    I am right there with you. It is bittersweet. I have faced the same challenge. Your dc are blessed to have you as a mom. Let me know if you need to talk.


  5. Congratulations to both you and Christopher on two jobs well done!

  6. First let me say: Congratulations to everyone!!!

    I want to share with you as well, the journey does not end. I thought when they began doing grown up things and college that I was forunate to have been with them all those years. I quickly realized that their milestones are ongoing. I feel part of the journey with my 30 year old son. I am part of the journey with my 24 year old daughter.

    I am no longer the one leading them there but because I did it with such joy, fun and direction I am the one who sits back with an overwhelming joy in my heart as they take their next step in life.

    I know you feel overwhelmed with joy mixed with sadness that he is moving on in life. Trust me, that touch of sadness that this part of the journey is over will soon blossom in pride with the next step he makes in life.

    God Bless you for sharing his journey with joy, fun and direction for he will be the better man for it and eventually a better father as well.

    June 7, 2011 11:03 AM


    Beth Strong

  7. Leslie! Congratulations! My son will be graduating next year! I have homeschooled him the whole time also. I have no clue what he will be doing a year from now. Thanks for your blog --- it is very encouraging to homeschoolers!
    Laura Adams Kinard

  8. Congratulations! Awesome pictures.

    I love what Beth had to say. So true. But, that does not change the bittersweetness of having them leave the nest.

    I love the tribute that you wrote to your son. I bragged a bit about my daughter, but I confess to be emotionally reserved in person and even more so in writing. I might think about writing my dd a letter though while all the thoughts I have about this time are still fresh.

    Thank you for shaing.

  9. What a nice tribute to your boy. Love the photos! I know exactly what you mean---bittersweet. And hard.

    Love ya!

  10. Thank you friends! All of you. I appreciate your encouragement, hugs and sweet words!

    With love

  11. Love your post and your pics!!! Congratulations!!!! Love you lots!!!

  12. Your post is so touching and reminded me of an old blog post of mine, where I wrote this:

    "It's the front-row seat to a person's becoming, that's the best thing. Imagine a person, the greatest miracle in the world by virtue of what's in him and what choices he'll make, and you will know him first... know him best. Because you were there from the minute his heart started beating.. And your heart will skip a thousand beats for him, for every threshold crossed, for every whimper in the night, for every proud moment. You will know his first memories for him, you will know the first songs in his heart... and all this, you will remind him when he forgets. Because you won't, not ever really, even when your mind and body get weak from old age."

    Here's to moms like us who decided to make a career out of being a mom and find reward in it :)

    the best is yet to come!

  13. I came across your blog as I was searching homeschooling the high school years. My first will be graduating next year. I can relate with so much of what you have written about here. I wish I could find more blogs about homeschooling the high school years, graduating our kids, preparing for college, the college years. I have a great website that I use for tools and resources on homeschooling high school. LetsHomeschoolHighSchool has helped me with a wealth of information. I like their forums, and my kids also enjoy the teen forums. But I'd also like to read more on a relational and emotional level, everyday experiences with teens and how you walk that out in homeschooling.
    So thank you for this post. It was so refreshing. I have bittersweet thoughts of my daughter graduating next year and the changes to come. I know I need to look at it like your friend said, "It's sweeter in a way." I hope so. Thanks again for this post.

  14. Hi Janet,

    Its good to hear from you. I'm glad that this was helpful. I will be graduating my second child next year and I'm not sure its going to be any easier the second time around.

    I'm enjoying my oldest in new and different ways, but I won't lie and say that I don't miss him. And I do treasure the times that we are all together again. I have enjoyed watching him grow and mature and make godly choices. I'm excited for what the future holds for him. I'm happy to talk more if you would like. Enjoy the time.



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