". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Graduation Day - Outtake Edition

From the "Not Ready for Prime Time" photo department . . . .

Evan demonstrating for the camera the extent of his malaise. 

Hymnals to the people! 

No, I don't have a mouth full of cake. Why do you ask?

Clearly she learned her cake-eating skills from the best. 

 Two out of three ain't bad.

Like I said, two out of three ain't bad. (Please note who looks great in both. :-D)

There's that charming 10-year-old again. (He really was under the weather.)

Graduation Day

Our daughter graduated from high school yesterday. One of the many cool things about homeschooling is the ability to design and host your child's graduation ceremony! We did not have a printed program, but here is an outline, with several videos, of what we did (ceremony was held in our church's small chapel):


Two Piano Selections from the Graduate
I. Impromptu and Variations in B-flat major, Op. 142, No. 3, Franz Schubert
II. Fantasia I in D-minor, W. A. Mozart

Fantasia I in D-minor, W. A. Mozart from Cheryl on Vimeo.

Hymn - "O Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly" - LSB 897


Slideshow - "The Story of Caitlin"

The Story of Caitlin from Cheryl on Vimeo.

Presentation of Diploma

Hymn - "How Clear is Our Vocation, Lord" - LSB 853

Remarks and Special Presentations

Prayer and Blessing of Graduate

Hymn - "How Firm a Foundation" - LSB 728

"How Firm a Foundation" from Cheryl on Vimeo.

And now, some pictures from the day!

Piano Recital (She played beautifully.)

Look at that hand position!

Before the diploma presentation Phillip outlined Caitlin's accomplishments, shared some of his own memories of being her dad, and talked about what he personally appreciates about his daughter. Then together we presented her high school diploma.

Caitlin's aunt told some funny stories about little Caitlin, and Trevor reminisced about growing up with Caitlin, shared what he admires about his sister, and gave advice for the future. 

I talked about Caitlin's love for stories and the importance of stories in our home school and took the opportunity to read one more story to her. It was one she especially liked from her childhood: "Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum." In the story Grover visits the museum in the title only to find that it doesn't have everything in the whole wide world. He wonders where everything else is and in the end finds a set of doors marked "Everything Else." Opening the doors he finds himself outside the museum, looking at the world spread out before him. I told Caitlin that she reminds me of Grover not only because of Grover's kindness, enthusiasm and curiosity (which sometimes leads him to forget to watch where he's going and to, um, stumble a bit) but also because being a student in the Philipp Nicolai Lutheran Academy can sometimes feel like you're growing up in a museum. We have tried as Caitlin's parents to share everything in our little museum, but there is more to be seen and learned than we can provide, and it's time for Caitlin to take full responsibility for seeking and finding it. God bless you, my dear daughter, as you head out to find your "Everything Else."

After I read to Caitlin one more time, her dad sang to her one more time. He started out with a song he wrote for her when she was still a baby--"Sweet Little Caiti-Girl"--and segued into a song by James Taylor that we have found to contain sound vocational advice: "The Secret of Life."
"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time . . . . Try not to try too hard . . . . It's just a lovely ride." 

Finally, our Pastor called Caitlin to the rail and prayed over and blessed her. Thank you so much for your words, Pastor Wilke.

Then it was time to party!

The Cake
(Colors were purple and white for TRUMAN STATE.)

On the right of the table we placed copies of one of Caitlin's stories, available for guests to take (and get autographed by the author). 

Caitlin and her aunt


How I'm going to miss this girl.

We have arrived at the time in life where it is a blessed event to have everyone together for a photo. (Evan was unfortunately not feeling well this day, which is why he wasn't singing in the video--poor guy seems to have picked up a sore throat at camp.)

Brother and sister

After the party we went home for gift opening. 

High-fiving: we did good with our gift selection!

One of the dilemmas of a day like this is how much energy to spend on taking pictures and video so as to have a record for the future. Many thanks to my sister-in-law for taking most of these pictures. I took a little video of the ceremony, but opted to focus on the live proceedings rather than trying to videotape all of it. I am already slightly regretting that decision and wishing I had asked someone to hold the Kodak for me, but it is a pocket camera and can be inconvenient to hold for a long time. So I will just have to cherish the memories and feelings that are stowed in my heart. I find myself at a loss for more words right now except to say that I can't quite believe we are the parents of two high school graduates. I am very glad we have a few years before we will add a third. To my dear, one-and-only daughter: I hope this day in some small way communicated to you what a gift you are to our family and how much we love and cherish you. Now that this big event is in our rear view, we can start planning for the next: NEW YORK CITY!

Friday, June 27, 2014



Cabin 6 

Illinois River





So very proud of this young man. A few years ago he would barely go out in the back yard for fear of bees. Now he is home, all smiles, from five nights away at camp. Thank you to the Berenstain Bears, who first put the idea in his head, and to Camp Lutherhoma of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for making it such a great week. He is looking forward to next year.