Monday, May 11

A beautiful day

Yesterday was a special day for our family.  After facing serious adversity over the past four years, including a stroke last September, our son Preston graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Boy, were we looking forward to that ceremony.  But here's a glimpse of our view during the grand processional.  The arrow points to our son.

Just barely visible beyond that grey and white umbrella.

At least the umbrellas around us didn't completely obscure our view.  And thank God we had our own umbrellas, so at least we didn't get completely drenched during the speeches.  We got awfully damp, though.

I had worked hard to style my hair just perfectly for the big day. . . and look at it, just laying there in an auburn mess.

And so much for the beautiful photos we'd planned to take by the Old Well or the Bell Tower.  We were lucky to get this indoor shot of our whole family.

Nothing like the glare of fluorescent lights to produce the best family portrait.  Oy.

For some reason, I've recently noticed a lot of posts and articles about ways to insure that special days go just the way you want them to.  There are Pinterest boards and Facebook groups and myriad other forums for exchanging tips on how to have the perfect wedding, the perfect party, the perfect birthing experience.  You name it; there's a plan for making it perfect.  In perhaps the worst example I've seen, one British travel company even offers a cloud-busting service to "guarantee perfect wedding day weather." 

Can you imagine? I think we might have gotten out of control in our desire to be in control.

As much as I understand the desire to control circumstances, particularly on special occasions, it occurs to me that this pursuit is not very good training for life.  In real life, there will be lots of rainy days.  Lots of letdowns.  Lots of disappointments.  Lots of less-than-perfect photos.  

Rather than spending all our time trying to control circumstances, I think we'd be better served learning to control our responses to circumstances.  Rather than investing our resources in trying to prevent letdowns and disappointments, we should learn that disappointments are a part of life--but they don't have to ruin our life.   

Yesterday's cloudy skies reminded of this old poem, dearly loved by my mother and grandmother:

*Click here for a printable copy.*

The road to our son's graduation was not a smooth road, that's for sure.  His graduation day didn't boast blue skies.  But things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful, right?

Beautiful sounds good to me.


  1. Congratulations to your son! Your family picture is very nice. In my view, your thick auburn hair looks great! :-)

  2. Congratulations to Preston! I look forward to hearing about what's next for him.

  3. Congratulations!!!! Such an exciting time for all!!

  4. Congratulations! Our son graduated with a degree in computer science from UNC this weekend. His department commencement was Saturday, and we did have beautiful skies for it. But, I totally agree with what you are saying, and beautiful does not have to be perfect! It reminds me of the old adage that says we should not prepare the road ahead for our children, but instead prepare our children for the road ahead.

  5. Well said on responding to the circumstances of life.!Many times those less than perfect occasions remind us even more of how blessed we really are. When you have come through those difficulties, you are even more grateful.
    My daughter and I have always joked that we aren't such a photographic family anyway, but we are really happy and love each other. You guys radiate happiness.
    Love your dress:)

  6. While you would never have chosen rain for graduation day I'm sure that it didn't dampen your spirits. What a blessing to have completed this long hard journey!
    PS. You look like their little sister in that photo in stead of their mother!

  7. Congratulations to your son and your entire family for supporting him through these tough few years. BTW, you sure have a group of TALL handsome men there!

  8. A big CONGRATULATIONS to your son and to you, too! I am so thankful to know God has healed him and allowed all of you to see this wonderful, happy day! Who cares what the weather is like, right? Blessings abound, and all is well, and that is truly all that matters! Thank you for sharing...and by the way, you look lovely, never mind the rain. :) God bless you and your family!

  9. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm really surprised the university allows umbrellas in the stadium...UT (THE UT---Knoxville!) doesn't; they have their graduations in the basketball arena, and each college has their own graduation.
    I know you're sooo proud of your son!

  10. Congratulations!! I know you are both so proud of him. That was a beautiful poem and thank you for sharing :)

  11. SO TRUE!!! Some days are just gray and cloudy, but there is sunshine just around the corner. Praying for good days again for all of you!

  12. Richella, you always look gorgeous! So happy for you and for Preston. What a year. What an incredible accomplishment. Congrats to you all!

  13. I am one that likes the imperfect in photos, parties, life! And being a perfectionist as I am, learning to accept the things I cannot control is helping me to become less of a perfectionist. If that makes sense. So your photos to me capture the essence of the day, the moment and the truth of what life really is about. Congratulations on your son's graduation. What a happy time!

  14. What a beautiful poem, I especially like the "strength for the day." And those days add up and then wonderful events like this remind us how far we've come. Congratulations to you all -- it was a family effort! And you look fabulous as always ❤

  15. This was just precious! Loved the poem, which was new to me. So thankful to God for a wonderful ending to this chapter in your son’s life. And so thankful for YOU and your ever positive attitude. It’s contagious!

  16. Congrats to your son! What a great example of perseverance.


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