Thursday, June 7, 2012

Graduation 2012

Last Sunday, Abigail and Nathalie both graduated from High School. It was a beautiful day and the church service was very special. Two other teens from our church also graduated with the girls. My parents and Nathalie's friend Lily were able to attend. 

Sam didn't make it through his speech for Abby without choking up. Here is what he tried to say:

Abigail is our first born.  Being the oldest has given Abby certain privileges. It also means she gets to be the guinea pig of the family. We have always told her that she is the one that we will make all the mistakes with. She's our test subject for parenting. She hasn't always enjoyed that role, but we have learned how to say "I'm sorry," when we make a mistake, to forgive, and to try again.

Nathalie at the age of three told Abby that, “she wasn’t weird. She was just different, in a special kind of way.” Abby has grown into quite the young women in the last year. And that’s not easy for this dad to face. She still manages to shock us at times with some of her "tomboy" antics, but those moments are getting fewer. She hasn't gotten herself stuck in a tree in over a year now! She still loves tractors, especially the red ones (She's an IH/Farmall girl through and through).  Abigail desires to revive my parent’s farm. It will take hard work, diplomacy, and perseverance, but we believe that she can do it.
Abigail through the years has taught us forgiveness; both the giving and the receiving of it. We’ve had to forgive her; she's had to forgive us. Abby's faith in God is so strong. In last year or so she has worked out her own relationship with God, and it has been beautiful (and painful, at times) to witness her grow in her faith. Her sincere, and often fervent, desire to follow God's will has put us to shame on more than one occasion. Our prayer is that she will continue to grow and follow God with her whole heart.
And so Abby, I leave you with these final words: “You go girl!”

I spoke for Nathalie:

As children Abby and Nathalie were inseparable. Abby loved doing anything for her little sister. To the point that at two years old, Nathalie still wasn’t talking and we had to teach Abby to stop doing everything for her and force Nathalie to do more than gesture and grunt! And so it is very fitting that they are also graduating high school, together.
Nathalie has been affectionately labeled "our slug" by my mother.  I prefer the analogy of the tortoise from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and steady. She is our least energetic child. If given the choice between reading a book or building a snowfort, she'll choose reading. She'll choose reading over just about any other activity, except maybe cooking! She is a thinker and often spends much time analyzing (and OVERanalyzing) what is going on around her. True to her tortoise-like nature, she has finished her high school requirements two years early, simply because she just kept going. Slow and steady wins the race.
Also, like the tortoise, Nathalie is not flashy. She is our conservative, subdued, and reserved child.  I know many of you have been blessed on a Wednesday evening with a loaf of her artisan bread.  It’s nothing fancy or flashy; just wholesome and good. That’s Nathalie.

Through Nathalie, God has taught us acceptance. God created Nat and he has given her unique qualities, that while we sometimes may not understand or relate to them, He has a purpose for her with them. We are excited to be able to stand back and watch as trusts God and follows His leading into her future

Both girls are attending Three Rivers Community College in the fall. Abby will study Small Business and Entrepreneurial Studies, while Nathalie works toward a Restaurant Management degree. Both have received full tuition grants for their first year. In addition Abigail recently found out that she is one of the recipients of the Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation's $1,000 Scholarship!

We are so proud of these girls!

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