Graduation

     Hi there readers! No, I didn't fall off of the face of the earth, but I'm back again ;). Upon looking at my blog stats tonight, I was thrilled to find out that someone from Sweden has visited my blog! I love the Scandinavian countries and am hoping that I can tour them someday (particularly Norway).
     Life got busy with finishing up school, graduation stuff, my summer job and a play. Thus, no time for blogging. But now I'm back and I'd like to write about my graduation ceremony and the events leading up to it!

     Just a day shy from a month ago, I graduated from high school!! After changing my mind several times, I finally decided to go through ceremony with the homeschool organization we're involved in. It was an amazing, God-centered ceremony and I am so happy I got to be part of it!

    Prior to our ceremony, we had several planning meetings with the group. It was a great way to get to know our fellow graduates and their families better. I met many new friends and reconnecting with old ones from my past, which was tons of fun! Our class consisted of 57 students in all, a good size, but not quite as big as my dad's class of around 750 (he went to public school though)! I cannot even imagine how long his ceremony must have lasted!     
     At our first group meeting back in February, us graduates voted on a class hymn, motto and verse. It was fun to pare down to the last few selections and to find out which three had gotten the most votes. Below are the choices we ended up with....


Hymn: 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

Verse: Isaiah 40:31

Motto: Ronald Wilson Reagan

     Our next meeting was in March. At this meeting our parents signed up for different duties to make the ceremony run smoothly such as ushering, refreshment servers, seamstresses, rehearsal pianist, program design, graduate video tribute, etc. While the parents discussed duties and details, the rest of us rehearsed our class hymn in a separate room. My mom was our rehearsal pianist :).  
    After this, everyone gathered in the choir room for a talk on the subject of courtship presented by the couple in charge of the whole ceremony. It was such a wonderful, encouraging talk about waiting for God's best in your life and using your single years to bring ultimate glory to His Name! I wish I could have recorded it. 
     Concluding the meeting, a handful of us headed over to Davannis just down the block for dinner. That was a ton of fun and helped us build more camaraderie with our fellow classmates as we enjoyed a meal together and had fun playing games such as Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase

     The next time we all saw each other was at the beginning of May. This time we did a quick run-through of our ceremony. It took a few hours and a lot of sitting, but great memories were made. By this time we'd had gotten to know one another a lot better~ it definitely felt way different than our first meeting! For the rehearsal I was placed in the middle of the second row (out of four). We were all arranged according to alphabetical last name, so I got to be next to one of our friends whom we know from a church we attended in the past. I also used to be in Sunday school many years ago with the girl sitting to the left of him.
      My good friend and fellow graduate, Emma, her sister and I were blessed to be chosen to play one of the music pieces during the ceremony. We chose the hymn "Be Thou My Vision". I played on my violin, Emma on her cello and her sister on piano. It turned out quite lovely, although during the actual ceremony there was a part where I squeaked pretty bad (uggg, I'm being a music-perfectionist here)!


     Following our ceremony rehearsal, we did a graduate group activity together: a formal dinner at an Italian bistro. It was such fun to get all dressed up for this occasion~ girls in dresses and guys in suits~ and to enjoy a nice three-course meal with unlimited refills of soda pop! Most of all, I immensely enjoyed spending the last few moments with my friends, old and new, before our ceremony was to approach a few weeks later. 


     The next week we had another activity which one of the graduates and her parents initiated and planned. It was a dinner boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka! Originally I hadn't planned on attending, but ended up changing my mind at the last minute. And I'm sure glad that I did! We used to live near Lake Minnetonka when I was younger, so I have always wanted to go on a cruise. The boats in the harbor looked so fascinating to me when I was little! Around twenty of us were present at this event, so it was a much smaller group compared to our actual graduating class. Our particular boat was called the "Avanti". It lasted three hours, included a delicious meal, music as well as a "lake home tour" where our captain pointed out all the "rich" houses via our water-route. We had such a blast!

Enjoying dinner on the lower deck :)

     The big day arrived on May 16th, 2015. I was excited, nervous and sad all at the same time. It was hard to believe that this long-awaited day had at last come!
     My mom and I arrived at the church in the morning to set up my display board and table. After that, it was time for a full run-through of the ceremony. Unfortunately our seating arrangements had accidentally gotten messed up due to us not being given a fourth riser. I was now placed in the front row at the very end, which meant I would be the very last person to come on stage! A little awkward, but oh well. We also had no grand piano for the music numbers during the ceremony. All we were provided with was a tiny keyboard. Yikes for our pianists! Thankfully everything worked out just fine :).
     At one o'clock in the afternoon the moment finally arrived for the 2015 MACHE Commencement Ceremony. The music start (Pomp and Circumstance March #1 by Elgar, started at 2:05 and go to 3:57 in this video), we all walked to our places on stage and the ceremony began with a word of prayer. 

Last one down the aisle
My parents presenting me with my diploma!
The throwing of our caps. Mine didn't come off
since it was bobby-pinned on too tight :/! I am 
the smallest one to the very right...
     Our ceremony was truly a beautiful, very God-centered  event and all around wonderful! I enjoyed every moment of it. When I left the stage at the end, I was in charge of leading my row outside to the foyer. Funny and embarrassing thing is that I accidentally started walking down the wrong aisle on the way there! Some of the girls said to me, "Hey I think it's the next one." Whoops! I just got back in line and hoped that nobody paid much attention to that mistake!
     Afterwards we all enjoyed fellowship with one another surrounded by family and friends which was such a blessing. It was fun to be able to see all the graduates' display boards of photographs from when they were little ones, to now, being a graduate from high school! I do have to mention the cake. The cake they served there was delightfully delicious. In fact it was the best that I've ever tasted. And we're pretty certain that it was store-bought. Some of my church friends who came to the ceremony even agree with that statement!
Display board
My sweet friends :)!
     May 16th was such a lovely day and I have come back home with many sweet memories from the whole experience. I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend more time with two of my good friends throughout the months, but mostly with my mom and dad. I am definitely sad that it is all over with now and that I had to say goodbye to my new friends maybe forever, but perhaps God will cross our paths again. Ya never know!

     Now the big question is this: what am I doing with my life next fall? Well, I get that question A LOT. When I first started getting it a couple years ago, I would just reply "I don't know." Not a very good answer, huh? I got so sick of hearing that over and over again.  Finally this year I figured out what to say to that. My plans are not to go to college in the fall. I'm taking a year off. Why? Well, mostly because I do not want to get in debt with school bills. Plus, I also don't feel like I'm ready for the college life quite yet. If God ever does call me to go though, I'll probably take it very slowly, earning money in between semesters so that I do not get in debt. In the meantime, I plan to find a job in the fall and wait upon the Lord to find out what He has in store for my future. He always provides different opportunities for me, so I'm not that worried (although, I do admit, sometimes it is hard not knowing exactly what my path is)! God is good and knows exactly what's best for me!

     I am thankful to everyone who made our ceremony possibly. To God, to our parents and to the many other people who stepped up and were willing to help out in any way that they could. We wouldn't have had such a beautiful ceremony if it wasn't for you guys!! But I especially want to thank my mom and dad. I have been so blessed to be home schooled these past twelve or so years and am ever grateful to my parents, especially my mom, for helping me reach this milestone in my life. You both have been such a wonderful influence in my life, raising me and teaching me to love Jesus Christ which is of utmost importance. Words can not describe my thankfulness for what you've lovingly poured into my life, though I want to especially thank you for the gift of music lessons. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for my future, whether it be with music, writing, traveling or something I don't know about yet! May He use me for His glory in whatever endeavors I find myself in. Thank you beyond words Mom and Dad. I love you guys so much!! 

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