Heather’s college graduation!

Never stop dreaming

Do you have a big dream in your heart? If you’ve heard me speak or write, you know one of my mottos is, “Dream big because we serve a big God!”

Our oldest daughter Heather had a big dream in her heart—to get her college Associate’s degree in Business Administration. And she did it, while working full-time and taking care of her two little girls, Annabelle and Violet!

heather-collegegrad
Our daughter Heather is a college graduate! We are so proud of her!

Heather wanted to quit many times. I encouraged her she would reach the finish line and to keep going. And she did. Ray and I and our family are so proud of her! 

Heather's pretty degree holder
Heather’s pretty degree holder

 

Heather's college degree
Heather’s college degree

Below she is walking across the stage to get her degree. Of course, our family, her girls, her boyfriend Matt, and her friend Lindsey cheered loudly as she did!

Heather in procession
Heather in procession

 

Heather crossing stage to get her degree
Heather crossing stage to get her degree

Below is a great headshot pic of Heather. She looked so beautiful in her cap, tassel, and gown!

Heather in her cap, tassel, and gown
Heather in her cap, tassel, and gown

Heather needed me to come get her phone and purse before the ceremony. I snapped a couple of pics of her and me before she graduated. I’m so excited and happy for her!

Me with my daughter Heather before her college graduation ceremony
Me with my daughter Heather before her college graduation ceremony

 

Heather & me before her graduation ceremony
Heather & me before her graduation ceremony

 

During the graduation ceremony, the speaker asked all  veterans who had served in the military and those serving now to stand up, for us to honor them. Ray served in the U.S. Navy for over 14 years as a combat medic.

Ray honored as a veteran
Ray honored as a veteran

Below is a great pic of our family with Heather: Ray, our daughter Leah, Heather, and me. We’re just missing our middle daughter, Eden, who is in OKlahoma and couldn’t come for the ceremony.

Our family with Heather at her college graduation: Ray, Leah, Heather & me
Our family with Heather at her college graduation: Ray, Leah, Heather & me

Below is a pic of Heather after the ceremony with her two precious girls,Violet and Annabelle.

Heather after her graduation with her 2 girls, Violet & Annabelle
Heather after her graduation with her 2 girls, Violet & Annabelle

Before the ceremony, I took a pic of Violet and Annabelle in their pink dresses by an ice cream freezer at a coffee shop at the church, where the graduation was held. It made such a cute pic!

Violet & Annabelle in their pink dresses
Violet & Annabelle in their pink dresses

Below is a pic of Heather after graduation with her boyfriend, Matt Franklin. They’ve been dating two years now and he was very proud of her, too. 

Heather & her boyfriend Matt after her graduation
Heather & her boyfriend Matt after her graduation

Below is Heather with her friend Lindsey, who has been a great friend to her.

Heather & her friend Lindsey after her graduation
Heather & her friend Lindsey after her graduation

I thought it was funny when my husband Ray told me that Heather had taken a picture with her “friends” at graduation. I said, “What friends? All her classes were online!”

Heather is a social butterfly. She had just met these people at her graduation ceremony and took pics and funny videos with them. I thought it was hilarious. Welcome to the social media world! You can see the long line of graduates in back of them. 

Heather at graduation with peers
Heather at graduation with peers

I gave Heather a little party at her house with family and a couple of friends to celebrate this huge accomplishment.

I ordered a cake from Hy-Vee, which was a white cake with white frosting and inscribed with blue frosting, “You did it, Heather!” It also had a cute little cap and scroll on it for the degree. They did a beautiful job on the cake and it was delicious!

Heather's college graduation cake
Heather’s college graduation cake

I found these adorable, teal-blue “sprinkle” plates and napkins and heart cup decorations to match the cake for the party at the dollar store.

sprinkle-plates
Sprinkle, teal-blue plates and napkins for party

 

Heart cups
Heart cups for party

We had a few tasty snacks like little smokies with BBQ sauce, potato chips, pickles, olives, broccoli with ranch, and Matt’s mom Kay brought yummy salted pretzels, drizzled with caramel. 

Little smokies with bbq sauce
Little smokies with bbq sauce

 

snacks for party
snacks for party

 

Salted pretzels drizzled with caramel
Salted pretzels drizzled with caramel

 

Since Heather loves the ocean like I do, I bought her a silver necklace with a clam pendant and a white stone and a silver bracelet as a gift.

Silver necklace with clam and white stone
Silver necklace with clam and white stone

 

Silver bracelet
Silver bracelet

Matt’s mom Kay bought her a beautiful, sunflower recipe book as a graduation gift. It was very cool!

Heather's sunflower recipe book gift from Kay
Heather’s sunflower recipe book gift from Kay

 

Recipe book gift
Recipe book gift

Here’s a pretty pic of Heather wearing the necklace and bracelet I bought her.

Heather wearing necklace & bracelet I gave her
Heather wearing necklace & bracelet I gave her

Here’s a great pic of Heather, Violet, and our daughter Leah at the little party. I love Heather’s picture of the ocean and stairs in the background. 

Heather, Violet, & Leah at little party
Heather, Violet, & Leah at little party

 

Heather's party with Matt and his mom Kay and our family
Heather’s party with Matt and his mom Kay and our family

 

Heather’s pregnant friend Tiffany came to the party. Her due date is in July. I think pregnant women are beautiful. She looked so cute in her hat. They’ve been friends since they were teens.

Heather & her friend Tiffany
Heather & her friend Tiffany

Her girls enjoyed the snacks. Here’s Annabelle acting silly, eating cake! Her girls were very proud of Heather, too!

Annabelle being silly
Annabelle being silly

 

Violet with cake
Violet with cake

I drew a little sign with a heart (I love hearts!) on the girls’ white board for the party to congratulate Heather.

Congrats sign
Congrats sign

What big dream or goal is in your heart? Whatever it is, you can do it!

God helped Heather to accomplish this amazing dream and goal, even while working full time and taking care of her girls, and He can help you, too! Nothing is impossible with God!

Ray and I are so very proud of Heather! If you would like to bless Heather with a gift for her college graduation (money is always good!), please feel free to do so!

“God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”–Ephesians 3:20, The Message

Heather did it! We're so proud of you!
Heather did it!
We’re so proud of you!
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Today is Leah’s 20th birthday

Leah with violin
Leah with violin

Today is our youngest daughter Leah’s 20th birthday. So hard to believe ~ where did the years go? It seems like yesterday she was a baby in a pink gown. You can read the story about the pink gown here.

Today I baked her a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I found this arrow in the art section of the store, and bought it as her cake topper decoration.

arrow for direction this year for Leah
arrow for direction this year for Leah

Since Leah isn’t sure yet what she wants to do with her life, Ray and I have been praying for God’s wisdom and direction for Leah since she graduated in 2012.  I believe the arrow is prophetic and symbolic of God giving her direction this year, and of her choosing to go the right way, to follow Jesus.

It’s also cute and can be used as wall art for her bedroom. The arrow is actually a chalkboard – how creative!

The arrow chalkboard reminded me of Leah’s creativity. She is multi-gifted. Leah takes violin lessons and plays the violin beautifully: classical music like Bach, hymns, Irish jigs, and she’s even written a couple of her own songs on the violin. She is teaching herself how to play the mandolin and the guitar.

She is also an amazing, self-taught artist.

She draws by hand and draws daily on the graphic art tablet Ray bought her several years ago. Here’s one sample of her incredible graphic art:

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones
Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

Here’s another sample which is my favorite.

Copyright 2012 Leah Jones
Copyright 2012 Leah Jones

She was embarrassed when we sang happy birthday for her. We always light the candles and have our kids make a wish and blow out the candles on their birthday cake.

Leah was embarrassed when we sang to her
Leah was embarrassed when we sang to her

Ray also bought her and him an ice cream waffle cone today.

Ice cream waffle cone
Ice cream waffle cone

One of her birthday gifts is the Sims 4 video game, which she requested for her present.

Sims 4 video game
Sims 4 video game

Another gift that Ray and I gave her today is a cubic zirconia sterling silver heart necklace. She liked it and said it is pretty. Leah likes “shiny” things.

Leah's sterling silver heart necklace
Leah’s sterling silver heart necklace

 Here is a picture of Leah with me, Ray and Heather last year.

Me, Leah, Ray & Heather
Me, Leah, Ray & Heather

 Here’s a picture of me and Leah together at my Cinderella women’s conference this year.

Me with Leah
Me with Leah

 Here’s Leah with her sister Heather at Leah’s homeschool graduation.

Leah's graduation - her sister Heather and Leah
Leah’s graduation – her sister Heather and Leah

Here’s Leah with her sister Eden.

Leah at her graduation with her sister Eden
Leah at her graduation with her sister Eden

Here are Heather, Eden, and Leah together.

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

Leah is a beautiful, spiritually gifted, musically and artistically gifted, talented, highly intelligent, loving, balanced, funny, young woman. Ray and I are proud of her.

Some people don’t understand Leah because she is so quiet. Ray and I used to be the same way; we were both incredibly shy, but grew out of it. I believe Leah will grow out of her shyness, too, one day. Some friends shared that they believe Leah is like a late-blooming flower. They bloom late in the season, but when they bloom, it’s like they spring up overnight. 

Leah is very shy and finds it hard to talk with people, and has just a few close friends, but she’s a wonderful person to get to know. If you’re not her friend, you are really missing out!

Here is Leah with her friends at the bowling alley.

Leah and friends
Leah and friends

And another pic with friends at the bowling alley. (Annabelle too)

Leah at bowling alley with friends
Leah at bowling alley with friends

These are her friends from small group on Sundays.

Leah & friends
Leah & friends

Leah and her friend David Christian at the bowling alley.

Leah & David Christian at bowling alley
Leah & David Christian at bowling alley

Here’s her friends from small group acting goofy.

Small group
Small group

She loves her friends.

She also loves her iPhone cell phone. She has a piano app on it that she plays all the time and her games. 

Leah loves her iPhone
Leah loves her iPhone

And she loves animals, especially cats.

Leah and cat
Leah and cat

Leah also loves horses. She used to take riding lessons and competed in English horse riding shows. She won a blue ribbon first place prize in her 3rd show! This year she was able to ride on a horse again for the first time in years. I’m praying for us both to be able to ride again soon.

Our daughter Leah on Ace
Our daughter Leah on Ace

God has great plans for  Leah’s life. I can’t wait to see them unfold.

“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11, CEV

Leah, we love you so much. You are precious to God, others, and many other people.

Your life is a beautiful gift to me, and I’m so thankful for you. Happy 20th. 

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