In the middle of May I was able to attend two graduation ceremonies in other states within the same week. My husband called this event my "graduation tour".
The North Carolina Trip
First, I was in North Carolina. My young friend, Katelyn, and her brother, Chris, graduated from high school. Katelyn used to attend our church in Minnesota before her family moved to North Carolina a few years ago. During her time at our church, she and I struck up a friendship. It has been both a friendship and mentoring/teaching relationship. I believe strongly that God instructs me in the Bible to maintain relationships with young ladies and to teach them what I know about God (Titus 2:3-5). Many people have been giving me credit for doing this in Katelyn's life (especially after making the trip to NC), but I deserve no credit for it. God is the one who brought this relationship about and God is the one who gives the drive to maintain it. And ... because Katelyn and her parents are so receptive to the idea, the entire process has been pretty easy, and it has been a joy
The graduating twins
My favorite family in North Carolina
Katelyn's grandmother, Ruth, (pictured above) has become a fast friend of mine as well. My favorite memory of the trip to NC was my last night there when Katelyn, Ruth, and I all stayed together in the commuter apartment that Ruth and I were renting for the weekend. We sat in the living room for hours before bed that night, three generations, laughing and talking about life and God, all at different stages in life, all with different experiences, but all serving and praising the same God. It is a memory that I will cherish always.
Another young friend of mine, Katelyn's sister, Karis. She's a hoot!
The Arizona Trip
The second trip was to Arizona to attend my niece, Julia's high school graduation. I haven't had opportunity to spend a lot of time with Julia over the years because she has always lived in Arizona and I have always lived in Minnesota, but the opportunities we've had available to us, we have seized. I am grateful to God for the ability to attend her graduation ceremony.
It also afforded me the opportunity to see my Dad-Robert who, since retirement, lives in Panama. He made the trip to Arizona for the graduation as well and I was ever so grateful to spend time with him.
Left to Right: Sandra (my stepmother), Julia (the graduate), Elan (my sister), Sean (my nephew), Tom (my brother-in-law), Robert (my dad)
Me and Elan
(Technically, Elan and I are stepsisters, her mother married my father when I was 9 and she was 8, but the word "sisters" describes the relationship far better).
I am very grateful to God for my time with family in Arizona. It was marked by both happiness and sadness as tragedy has been as much a recent part of this family's life as has joy. I am glad that God is in control, that He knows all things, and that He placed me in this family.
There was so much laughter in this trip (and some crying) and so much needed time together. This trip to Arizona, in particular, is another memory I will cherish forever.
Two different states, two different graduations, two different families. Grateful to God to be a part of it all.
All in all, it was a wonderful graduation tour!