My toast at Elena's graduation party

Today, we are celebrating the successful completion of twelve years of schooling by Miss Elena Umland. She has had the privilege of enjoying most of her education tutored mostly by her mother. Her education fit her well, as she drew most of it's lessons from literature. She was born to reading parents, educated in a literary curriculum, yet still finds pleasure in books.

But she's not just a bookworm. She's an artist as well. She dances. She plays two instruments. She sings. She acts. She pursues the creative life, seeking to contribute to the world's beauty. Yet, there's this deep, deep well inside her that has only just been tapped. She was born a mature soul.

Before she was even a year old, Elena could give a "thousand yard stare." Sixteen years ago our friends at church would come up to us and try to get a baby fix, but Elena would not play their game. Tickles from strangers? "No thank you," her stare would say. If she wasn't into you, she was totally not into you. But if she liked you, she really liked you. She would lay on a particular friend's lap during church and play with her braids. It's as if she already knew who she was, what she like, and what she wanted.

It's never been chores.

Elena can be quiet, and somewhat distracted, but it's hard to focus when there is so much going on inside her head. Sometimes she sees colors when she hears music. She writes stories. And when she's not creating or juggling thoughts, she is a passionate friend.

Pretty soon, she'll take off for a new phase in her life, sleep-away college. We will all miss her presence, but will be able to keep up with her Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook accounts. I also expect that her ability to find an eclectic group of friends as this party attests too, will be a great strength for her at school.

Elena, we raise our cups here to celebrate a job well done. We also seek to bless your endeavour into the future. May you be blessed with increasing joy and beauty and love.


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