To Nashville and back!

Many pages of my journals over the past 8 years hold tears as well as more than a few prayers that  include my little sister.  One of them from 6 years ago just after Rylee was born read “Somehow, someday I want her to be someone my kids can look up to.”

With a smile on my face, I can tell you she is.  My littlest sister has overcome great challenges and some unusually, exceptionally hard times.  But this past weekend, our family had the privilege of watching her walk across the stage as she wore the trademark cap and gown and received her college diploma.  There is something even more sweet about this accomplishment for someone who worked this hard, waited this long and wanted it this much.

The night before graduation, those graduating in nursing from Belmont University take part in a special pinning ceremony.  They receive a nurses pin and can choose someone significant in their life to pin them.  Stephanie chose our grandmother Jeanne and our mother Pat, both of whom happen to be nurses themselves.  Below is Stephanie getting her pin.  It is perhaps one of my favorite photos of her of all time.  Can you see the grin on her face?  Her whole body is smiling!

close up of pinning

During pinning, I followed a super busy Audrey around as she drew all sorts of attention in her sweet little outfit (thanks Kristin!).  No matter where I put her, she found her way to the center aisle or to the stairs.  What’s not to love about those little feet?

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After the pinning we headed to Steph’s apartment for an open house/goodbye/graduation party.  It was really fun to meet her Nashville friends and especially the Dean of Nursing who has been incredible to Stephanie these past two years.

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My cousin Reed may not describe himself as a ‘baby person’ and he may indeed describe me as ‘prolific’ with all my four children.  Either way he has quite the fan in Audrey.  She was happy as a clam to snuggle in next to him on the couch and chill for a while.   They make quite the pair and are in many ways the antithesis of each other.

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Friends of my sister babysat Audrey and Isaac while we attended graduation.  Rylee totally ‘got’ the importance of it all.  It was precious having her there with us.  After all the grads entered, Steph turned and looked at us.  Can you find her?

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That night we ate at Monell’s.  I can easily say I’ve never had a dinner like that in my life.  Family style, southern food.  Consumed in amounts I can’t admit to here.  It was a lovely place with flowers everywhere and a pond where the kids were happy to have some fresh air.

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Congratulations Steph, you’ve heard it a million times this week, but we’re proud of you and we are SO glad you are home!



Thank you so much for this, LOVE seeing all of the pictures and feeling like I got to experience just a tiny bit of it with you! CONGRATULATIONS STEPHANIE!


Oh, my! I am in tears! It is such an amazing thing Stephanie has accomplished. What a blessing you are to your sister. Aidan just made me tell him the names of everyone in these photos. 🙂 Love seeing the photos! You looked beautiful and it is a precious photo of the 4 girls at graduation. OK, I love Audrey in that little outfit! By the time it Elise was 6 months old those shoes were too small, so it makes me happy to see Audrey in it – those chubby little legs are just way too cute.


Oh, Karissa. I almost cried when I read this post. Thank you for never giving up on me and for always believing I would accomplish great things, even if I didn’t. It was a VERY long journey getting to that moment when I walked across the stage, but so worth all the hard work it required. I love you so much and I am so, so happy you, Rylee and Audrey were able to be there!


Steph I am proud of you too! From the green robe to the black robe!

Jon Sween

Dear Daughter you Dad is so proud of you. I am so blessed to have three wonderful daughters and five grandchildren. What a joy to be part of the Nashville celebration. Dad