Psalm 118:23 speaks much of how we felt, as we went through Samuel’s graduation ceremony, June 2, 2007. I asked Samuel to share things from his perspective. I will follow up after that.
“Graduation day was very busy. Much cleaning was still to be done along with two SAT Subjects tests that morning. It was sort of fitting that I would finish off the 12th grade with these tests on the same day I was graduating…but it was extremely annoying. When I got home from the tests, I focused alot on cleaning and some other stuff, but tried to throw in breaks every which way so I wouldn’t have to work all day.
Then the time finally arrived and the first guests came, the Johnsons, who arrived a hour early because Mrs. Johnson was catering the event for Mom….along with the pig and the chickens that had been cooking outside already, most of the day. We put the final touches on the tent and the other guests began to arrive. I did not mingle as much as I should have, staying with a few people and the dogs, but the rest intermingled with each other. This is because I felt embarrassed because I was the center of attention. It felt sorta weird to be the REASON all these people were here. I began to feel more comfortable as the day went on, especially as we were about to eat. I ate with a little group of my friends inside, while most ate outside. I then went outside to talk and mingle until the time came for the “ceremony” to start.
The graduation ceremony was obviously the center of the day. Dad got up and said a few brief things and gave me a challenge, followed by three other men from our church who also challenged me. The challenges were very good but again, it felt weird that these people were talking to me, with me sitting in front of the crowd. Then dad presented me with my diploma and I said a few brief words, thanking those who had prayed for me, my family and above all, the Lord. Finally, my mom had made a power point presentation of pics from my infancy through my teenage years. It was all very informal, but I enjoyed it very much. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
I have to say that Samuel was VERY appreciative of all that went into his day. It’s funny, well…now it is, because we were really at odds with each other earlier in the day. It was one of those times when you wonder why you are doing all this, but then you remember that these things just happen and we were both very tense about the evening. I am a Martha at heart, hurrying around being so busy to make everything right and getting snappy with those I love along the way. Things drastically improved later that afternoon and we were ready to go into the event with peace and calm….well, with each other. I wasn’t calm when it came to preparations because I needed every spare moment God gave me. I even left a couple things undone! Can you believe THAT? And I survived!
Graduation day began bright and early with the arrival of two grills and a pig, all dressed and ready to be slow cooked by a pro. My daddy had called a distant relative, Bobby Ragland, and asked him about borrowing his cookers, since I had asked Daddy to be in charge of cooking the pig/chickens. Bobby was so nice, he offered to do it FOR Daddy! He and his son, Troy, were a blessing to us that day and the meat was wonderful.
The tent had been set up the day before and it was the perfect size. I had ordered a 20 x 30 tent, which I thought was what I was getting. When the tent guys were ready to leave on Thursday, I went outside and was very surprised…they had run out of the size I ordered and we received a 20 x 40 for the same price! It was the perfect size to fit on the pad as you will see in this pic. I thank the Lord for that special gift because it really was a blessing to have the extra space…it was needed.
I was frazzled SO much of the day, trying to finish cleaning and getting things done. I am such a Martha at heart and seems like I am forever trying to change that. I honestly don’t know HOW to change though…it is IN me to get uptight and frazzled! I do see really small changes, like me not getting bent out of shape when I couldn’t find the confetti I had purchased to decorate the tables. I was disappointed, but I said, “Hey, it is just confetti!” I think it got trashed with REAL trash and I was able to say, AND feel, “oh well.”
Samuel and I were quite at odds with each other most of the day, before guests arrived. My “panic mode,” as he calls it, was stressing him out. I sometimes don’t understand why everyone doesn’t GET IT, but I guess if everyone was in a panic like me, it would be a disaster! BTW, it didn’t last into the evening. We were able to talk it out and get on the same page.
My friend, Elise Johnson, who I have only known for a couple months, was our caterer. I didn’t even KNOW she did catering until 2 weeks before, when I was fretting the fact that I had waited so long to get someone. I knew I could NEVER cook for 50 people without driving everyone else nuts. I was at her house two weeks before and she was mentioning to someone on the phone that she did catering. I was so shocked, but immediately could see God’s hand at work!!! It was a blessing to both of us-we got great food and she got her name out there with this being her first job in Raleigh. If you need a caterer, call me and I’ll hook ya up! This pic shows the spread, although it is hard to see. The side dishes included: baked beans, homemade three grain rolls, corn bread, coleslaw, tortelinni pasta salad, potato salad, twice baked potato casserole, fresh fruit, green beans and marinaded carrots.
Jessica Roberts and her family were next to arrive with the absolutely beautiful cake I had asked her to make. Only problem was….I asked for it to feed 50 people…I think it could have fed 5 thousand! It was huge! But delicious and unique. He loved it! And so did everyone else. The Roberts go to our church and she has done many lovely cakes for us over the years. I know just who to call!!
Other guests began arriving at 4:30 and at 5 p.m. we were ready to eat. Here are some pics, some of which will have explanation, some not. People were invited to eat outside or inside. I was surprised so few went inside, but that is how it worked out. It was a beautiful day, the high being only 80 degrees, which is perfect here. There was plenty of food….can you say WAY more
than we needed. Better too much than not enough, right? And we were able to share a great deal of it with some after the night was finished, so I felt good about that.
We began the “ceremony” at 6 p.m. I had very few still shots of this, but I was so excited to receive the DVD’s from Louis Roberts, Jessica’s husband, who did the video for us. He put it in chapters and I will be able to link you to each of them for you to see. I won’t go into detail about the content because each clip is just a few minutes and you can see it yourself. The video begins with Kenny opening and giving a short devotion/challenge, followed by Mark Swicegood, Tony Prince and finally Allan Swicegood, all from our church. Most of is it serious, but some….not so much.
After the challenges, Kenny presented Samuel with his diploma, and Samuel then gave his “speech.” We were all very touched by his words, especially since he had told me he was going to “wing it.”
My Montage 6/8/07We concluded the ceremony with a power point presentation that I made for Samuel. My biggest disappointment with the presentation is that I cannot show it to YOU with the music that I included. It is copyrighted so I will link you to the song on the internet so you can hear it. It was a sweet song that I heard a year ago and decided right then that I would use it for his graduation. It is called Find Your Wings by Mark Harris, formerly of 4Him. If you put your cursor on the music link, a box will pop up and you can click IN THE BOX on the PLAY button. Then click on the video link.music You will be able to see it as it was meant to be.
Finally, after everyone wiped their tears away, (no, I didn’t cry. I had already taken care of that earlier in the day), we brought that beautiful cake outside and cut it up. It was wonderful!
I know this has been an extremely long entry, but I didn’t know how else to share this day with you. I hope you enjoyed it.