Anna’s Graduation

It was with great joy that our family gathered together for the sixth of our homeschool graduations last Saturday evening. This one was for Anna, who was our first child to graduate early. She has worked hard on her school requirements, and she was able to complete them several months before her normal graduation time, which would have been next May.

Anna wanted to have the same family graduation that several of her siblings have chosen. This graduation included not only our family, Gigi and Grandad, Nathan, Melanie and their girls, but also Christopher and his new wife, Anna Marie.

Anna chose the menu for our dinner. After eating, we had our family Bible time and then moved into a season of blessing, challenge, and prayer for Anna. We each had a verse written out to share with Anna, and then we prayed individually for her. Even 2-year-old Abigail had a verse from Psalm 1 that she quoted. This is the highlight of the graduation for all of us as we reflect back on the thirteen wonderful years of homeschooling Anna and look forward to what the Lord has for her future.

I am amazed at the importance the children have placed on prayerfully selecting graduation gifts for their graduating siblings. They invest heavily in these gifts, and their choices reflect a great deal of love and thoughtfulness. We all enjoyed watching Anna as she opened her graduation presents.

At the end, there was one present left, but instead of opening it, Anna brought the present to me. Then she proceed to read me the most touching three page letter sharing how much homeschooling her had meant to her. She and I both cried as she read it aloud – maybe everyone in the room was crying with us. Anna had looked long for the exact gift she wanted give – a Precious Moments figurine of a young mommy in a rocking chair holding a Bible and another book with two children sitting at her feet. It is now a cherished possession sitting on my dresser.

As we see the work the Lord Jesus has done in Anna’s heart and the delightful young woman He has grown her into, we rejoice in who she now is and what she will still become as she follows and serves Him.

We are also blessed beyond measure that our adult children, who could choose to leave our home when they turn eighteen, want to live here and continue to be a daily part of our family until the Lord gives them a family of their own. We love each other, we enjoy being together, we build each other up in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in that atmosphere, they want to remain.

Trusting in Jesus,

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Anna had homemade peppermint patties and ice cream for dessert.
Playing with Abby and Uncle Joseph while dinner cleanup was done.
Bible time
Nathan (the first graduate many years ago) and Abby
Abby and Aunt Anna (I -- Sarah -- will tell you in another post why I was working with Abby on posing.)
John praying for Anna after sharing his verse. By the way, for those who have noticed our mantle is plain this year, we discovered that our garland with plaques became too hot last year near the fire. Dad's figuring out a way to put them up.
Anna and Mom
Dad and Anna
Grandad sharing with Anna
Mary gave Anna a photo book she worked hours on, with pictures of Anna throughout her childhood years.
Anna received a beautiful dress watch from Joseph.
Taking the gift to Grandma.
Reading her letter to Mom.
Nathan did the calligraphy on both John and Anna's diplomas.

25 thoughts on “Anna’s Graduation”

  1. I feel like crying too! What a beautiful example of a family who has given their hearts to Christ, desired to closely follow Him no matter what the cost, and has been steadfast abounding in the work He’s called them to do. Your labor is not in vain the the Lord and this is an example of the fruit and reward He gives! What a special night…one you will remember always…celebrating Anna’s accomplishment, honoring the parents who gave so much, showing love to each other, and most importantly, all centered on and founded upon Jesus Christ. What a blessing! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of this with us! What an encouragement you are…thank you for always pointing others to Christ. Congratulations, Anna!
    Those peppermint patties look soooooooooo yummy!!!!!!! And Abigail’s piggy tails are so cute!

  2. This is definitely the most precious, touching post I have ever, ever read on your blog! So sweet, so loving, Anna’s selflessness, so centered on Jesus, so abounding in love! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Out of all the pictures, I especially like the ones of people praying for Anna, particularly her brothers, but most of all, the one of her with her dad! That one is the most precious one to me!

    What a special evening! How exciting to finish school earlier than expected!

    This post really blessed me! God bless! Rebecca K.

  3. God bless you, Anna, and may He always use you for amazing things, indeed. I, along with many others, cannot wait to see where God takes you in life.

    In a world with too many broken homes, too many children without fathers, and having come from one of those homes myself, I am encouraged, enriched, and thoroughly blessed to see a father invest time, energy, and love into his children. And your hard work, Mr. Maxwell, is not only a blessing in your children’s lives, but in many other lives as well. Both my husband and I are consistently in prayer that we can be parents that encourage their children in the way of the Lord, just as you and Mrs. Maxwell have. I just wanted to say that, coming from a broken home, photos of fathers and daughters (and sons) where the love is greatly evident are such an inspiration, a blessing, and don’t go unnoticed.

    Mrs. Maxwell, thank you for providing inspiration that I can be, with God’s help and guidance, a homeschooling mom. Being that for my children, and bringing them to the Lord as you have done here with Anna, is my hope and goal for the many years to come. Your hard work, dedication, and devotion to Jesus is a blessing to your family and to so many others.

    Thank you to both you and Mrs. Maxwell for providing guidance to the many families out there who want God’s best for their children- and that includes loving and devoted fathers and mothers.

    God bless and Congratulations Anna,
    Brittany W.

  4. This was a blessing to read as we will have our first graduate in the spring and we are praying and thinking about what her graduation party should be. What a blessing for you all to live so close to each other to be able to share in these special events but also your day to day lives. Thank you for sharing! Congratulations Anna!

  5. Thank you for sharing this meaningful graduation experience with us. It strengthens our vision and courage to continue pressing on with our little ones toward that day. I must also say that I recently received the Homeschooling With A Meek and Quiet Spirit audio CD (and a few other resources I ordered) and have been tremendously encouraged and helped just in the first few minutes of listening to it. Thank you SO much.

  6. What a joy in so many ways – in the evidence of your love for Christ and how you live out your faith; in Anna’s sweet heart towards her mother and family; the family’s love and respect of their sister; and on Anna’s early graduation!

    Congratulations Anna on all your hard work!

    I must say it was sweet to read this post — encouraging me to continue with my homeschooling and holding my precious ones close!

    Thank you for sharing!!!

  7. Congratulations, Anna! It’s been amazing watching you from a year and a half ago till now ( I started reading the blog a year and a half ago)!!!!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful time of family fellowship and encouragement. It was such a blessing to read. I pray that Anna will continue growing and learning in the Lord and seeking to be a blessing to those around her. Your family’s example is a great source of encouragement and inspiration to me!

  9. Congratulations to Anna! She looks beautiful. Will she be pursuing any further studies (college courses or vocational school) or would that be too difficult with the traveling schedule? Those peppermint patties look delightful!
    See her Jan 8th post.

  10. Ooooh what a lovely time! Congratulations to Anna, and may the years to come be full of blessings for y’all.

    Ps: Those peppermints look delicious!! Would you share the recipe? 🙂 Yummm…
    Sure, I’ll post the recipe later.


  11. Happy Graduation! I just recently graduated, and it is so nice! What are you planning on doing now?
    See Jan 8th post.

  12. Congratulations, Anna! May God bless all your future endeavors as you have been such a beautiful blessing to your family!

  13. Congrats, Anna! It was wonderful to read of a godly, family graduation. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family.

  14. Congratualtions to Anna! I am just beginning my homeschool journey with my children – my oldest is in kindergarten! Someday, I hope to be graduating them. =)

    I’m just curious – why did Anna decide to try and graduate early?
    There are so many things she wanted the time for.

  15. Peppermint Patties

    1 package powdered sugar (2 lbs.–but you’ll end up needing more)
    8 ounces cream cheese
    Peppermint extract flavoring-several drops

    Chocolate Coating
    12 ounces chocolate chips
    1/3 bar paraffin wax

    The cream cheese needs to be somewhat soft so that it can be blended easily in the mixer. Mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and peppermint extract until thoroughly mixed. The peppermint extract you’ll want to use “to taste.” If you want a stronger peppermint flavor, you can go heavier on the drops, but if you want a lighter flavor, you can do that too. It’ll be important to taste the “dough” to make sure it’s the flavor you want. You will probably need more powdered sugar than the recipe calls for. The dough must be quite thick, since it needs to be firm enough to dip into chocolate.

    While you’re mixing up the dough, melt the chocolate chips and wax in a double broiler over another pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and max are completely melted. I think I often make a batch and a half of the coating to have enough.

    Roll out the peppermint “dough” to desired thickness. I find a vitamin lid the size I want it to be, and after washing it, use it to cut out my patties. You may want to cut out one or two and try dipping it to see if the dough is thick enough. If it’s not, you’ll need to add more sugar. Line cookie sheets with wax paper. Dip patties into the melted chocolate with a choice of three items: cake decorating flower nail (my favorite choice!), a fork, or a toothpick. Place the dipped patties on the wax paper, and when the pan is full, stick the pan into the freezer to help the patties harden. After they’ve been in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, remove the pan from the freezer and place in containers. Most of us prefer our patties to be kept in the freezer, because we like them hard, but some may prefer to store them in the fridge.

    ENJOY! They will not last long :-).

  16. Thank you for sharing your joy in celebrating Anna’s graduation. I am continuously inspired by the way you allow the fragrance of Christ to permeate everything you do. He is truly everything to us and your family is always giving us practical ideas for honoring God in a purposeful way.
    I was so touched by the photo of Anna and Mr. Maxwell. It was a visual reminder of how we are to rest in our Heavenly Father’s arms.
    Kim C and family

  17. Congratulations Anna! What sweet pics. There is nothing like the safety and blessing of a Godly father, nor anything like the love and care of a Godly momma. I wish I had been as thoughtful to get my mom such a sweet gift- instead she was the one who gave me the sweet figurine gift when I graduated college. I think I know what I will get her for Christmas now. 🙂

  18. Congratulations to Anna and to Mrs. Maxwell as well. What an extraordinarily wonderful family you all are.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing the peppermint patty recipe – I was just getting on here to ask for it, as I think it would be perfect to take to our neighbors for a Christmas treat! 🙂

    Also – just wanted to thank you for sharing more of the graduation details! We just started homeschooling our two boys this year! 🙂 They are in 8th and 10th grades and I so look forward to their graduations and the excitement of this type of an ‘ending’ rather than the typical public school graduation that really doesn’t have much meaning! We are also in the process of adopting a 4 yr. old girl and look forward to this for her, as well!!! Thanks for giving us something to ‘shoot for’. Not that we have to be just like your family, but just another fabulous picture of how amazing it CAN be. Congratulations again, Anna!!! 🙂

  20. Congratulations Anna and the Maxwell family! Thank you for sharing this precious and heart-moving event with all of us. It is such an encouragement especially in a time when homeschooling families such as yours are rare to glean from.

    Anna, your special graduation day has blessed so many. It was a joy to get to meet you at the LA conference even for a but a moment. Your testimony as well as that of your siblings was so beautiful and your smiles so precious that the beauty of it all made me cry so many times during your concert . I loved seeing the beauty of Jesus’ love through your family. Our family felt so blessed to be encouraged by another homeschooling family that seeks to honor the Lord in all the areas of their life. Our children were excited to see a family that uses music like ours to bless others and share the wonderful news of Christ to a lost and dying world.

    Congratulations 🙂
    Franicia for the W. family

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this special occasion with us. What a blessing to see such a godly family sharing that love as God intended. I was so touched by the act of selflessness on Anna’s part in giving that precious gift to her mother. As so many others have said before too, I was touched the most by the photo of Mr. Maxwell praying over Anna. I can picture God doing the same thing for each of us. What a beautiful picture of God’s love.

    Thank you also for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it!! We will be making your meringue cookies tomorrow!!

  22. What a blessing to see this! My children are only 9 and downward just now, but we look forward to the day when they graduate too. What a lovely thing that Anna was able to “rise up and call her blessed”, with a thankful heart to her mom. May the Lord bless her as she continues on to honour Him with her life.

  23. Congratulations Anna on your graduation. Best wishes to you as you begin the next stage in your life.

    Thank you for posting the peppermint patty recipe! Some neighbor moms are getting together this weekend for friendship and a cookie exchange. I was looking for something to take and when I read your recipe I thought these would be perfect. I made them tonight. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I have been looking forward to Anna’s graduation post and it is even more heart warming than I could imagine. You all are so beautiful, inside and out. You have done a wonderful educating your children and protecting them form outside influence. Anna is now graduated and ready to take path the Lord places her on.

    Your graduation ceremony is so special. Reading you post, I felt as if I were there in the living room with you all.

    Lots of love to Anna–we are so happy for you.

    Blessings, Mrs. Mari

    P.S. I have been in the hospital all week, Sunday to Sunday, and while there I asked all my nurses, assistants and doctors how I could pray for them. I was nervous about being asked a question I couldn’t answer, but it all went well. I came to realize that God isn’t going to take me a direction where I don’t know the answer.
    Mrs. Mari,

    We were so sorry to hear you’ve been in the hospital. I’m praying for you. Praise the Lord for your asking how you could pray for those who helped you. You will never know the impact that question had on them :-).

  25. What lovely pictures!

    Sarah, I just looked through all the posts since this one I don’t don’t believe you ever explained why you were working with Abby on posing. Did I miss something?
    Good point. I forgot about that blog post. I’ll try to do it sometime this next week!

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