small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day


on May 19, 2014

this weekend’s BIG thing: Jonathan’s graduation

In August of 2008, only a few weeks after we met, Jonathan moved to South Bend to start his PhD work at Notre Dame. 

A lot has happened in five and a half years. We got married, I moved to South Bend, we had a child. And many experiments and long nights and weekends later he now has his PhD in Chemical Engineering.

It was definitely a cause to celebrate.

Leading up to this weekend I had many mixed emotions. Excited to have family in town for may days. Anxious about how George would behave and how to coordinate getting people places. Sad because Dad wouldn’t be there.

The last emotion was the hardest to avoid. Especially since this is the event I know he had been looking forward to celebrate ever since he met Jonathan. And we wouldn’t get to see his proud smile. 

The night before the graduate school ceremony I asked Dad if he could send us a sign to help ease our sadness. As Keith and I were walking around the arena with George before the ceremony, a priest from Africa stopped to talk with us. After some small talk and a few photo ops I asked him to pray for my family in a special way. I told him about Dad and he said a prayer with us asking for God’s blessings on Jonathan and our family. What a powerful moment. And then he said this, which knocked my socks off. 

“There is a time for everything. A time for sadness and a time for joy. This is not a time for sadness, it is a time for joy!”

And then he did a little dance as he walked away. This quote from chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes was the permission I needed to be able to be happy. And I know that it was the sign I asked for. 


George with Fr. Sebastian

The rest of the weekend was a celebration. I thought of Dad many times, but when I did it was thinking about how much fun he would be having with us. What his face would have looked like when he congratulated Jonathan. How he would have played with George and spoiled him more than the grandmas. 

The wonderful thing is that he made his presence known in subtle ways so it did feel like he was with us. 

Mom had an empty seat next to her at the ceremony. George was almost perfectly behaved during all of the festivities. And when he got fussy during Sunday’s ceremony, Mom asked Dad to help, and almost immediately George was asleep on my lap. 

The icing on the cake was this morning.

My friend had a mass offered for Dad at my parish here in South Bend. I set the date to be today because I wanted my family to be in attendance. Little did I know but today is the 8 month anniversary of Dad’s passing. How perfect. The readings and homily were so well timed and reminded me of Dad. It was about being chosen and being instruments of God’s love to the world. That was Dad. And it really was so wonderful to listen to what was being said and think that my own father allowed God to use him to bring good and love to the world. 

And I am a result of that. My family is a result of that.

And now we have Dad in Heaven praying for us and helping God prepare a place for us to be together in glory someday. 

This weekend was more than I could have hoped for. There truly is a time for everything, and this weekend was most definitely a time for JOY.

Congratulations, Dr. Jonathan. I am so proud of you. 


Here are some pictures from this weekend! Enjoy!


The Fam at Notre Dame Stadium


George and Grandma at the Grotto


The dessert table at the graduation party


Proud family


Dr. Jonathan getting hooded by his advisor


George only made it 15 minutes into Saturday’s ceremony


Future PhD candidate


One response to “commencement

  1. […] Things began to look up when we were able to celebrate something with family: Dr. Jonathan. […]


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