Category Archives: Grad

Carlee’s Grad



Being homeschooled for almost all of her academic life posed the challenge of: how do we do the grad thing for Carlee? Both her brothers attended public school in grade ten so they would both experience the elaborate school grad ceremony. I wanted her graduation to be special, memorable, and reflect who Carlee is as a person. Mission accomplished! …..with tons and tons of help from some amazing people.

The theme was a garden party. We live on 4 acres and one of those acres held our vegetable garden. This particular area on our property is park-like in appearance. I plant several flower baskets every year and we brought all of them down to the party spot. I also borrowed some flower pots from a friend. Carlee’s grandma did the flower arrangements. She did them bursting with color, as well as some wild foxtail to add interest to the bouquet. They were lovely.

Grandma's flower arrangements

Grandma’s flower arrangements

The guest list was a mixture of out of town family (Grandma and Papa, Aunt Linda and cousin Matthais) as well as some local friends and out of town friends. Many of the kids who attended were homeschooled and some of them came from afar. Carlee also invited one of her teachers and the principal of our local high school (they are married). Carlee took a couple of courses at the school in her grade twelve year which was a very positive experience for her.

Our family

Our family

Maxx, Carlee and Jonah

Maxx, Carlee and Jonah


Carlee and her man, Hudson


Grandma and Papa from Ontario

The ceremony itself was lovely.  Jonah, (Carlee’s younger brother) did a great job as the Master of Ceromonies.

Jonah...Master of Ceremonies

Jonah…Master of Ceremonies

studying the script

studying the script

After a wonderful dinner,  the evening  consisted of speeches, poems, songs and award presentations.  I believe Carlee was very blessed and a tad bit overwhelmed with all the wonderful words spoken about her.

Maxx's song

Maxx’s song

Jenessa's song

Jenessa’s song

Carlee's math teacher, Miss Brown

Carlee’s math teacher, Miss Brown

Toni and Kieran

Toni’s song and Kieran’s talk

Kersten and Grace

Kersten and Grace

Mom presenting Carlee with her scholarship

Mom presenting Carlee with her scholarship

Dad giving Carlee her diploma

Dad giving Carlee her diploma

Pastor Clint

Pastor Clint

After the dinner and ceremony, we had a slide show (created by Carlee’s friend Jenessa) which we played in the top of our barn which was set up like a theatre. It was a tribute to Carlee’s life and very well done.

Slide show in the barn

Slide show in the barn

click on link to see the slide show: (you may have to cut and paste into your browser)


Trevor on the bbq






After the celebration was the “party after the party party”. The kids had an treasure hunt (created by Carlee’s brother, Maxx…I think it  spanned a few kilometers!) We trusted this amazing group of kids to a camp out on our property with a fire, songs, food and drinks (of the non-alcoholic nature…special drinks though which I collected over the weeks before).

The next morning we all went to church. Yes….truly amazing we ALL made it for 10:00! Maxx did the worship (music) and Carlee did the message. She did a presentation on her Mexico Global Citizenship Program missions trip. What a trooper! On about 4 hours sleep she gave us an amazing overview of her trip and shared what God had shown her during this experience. It was truly powerful and inspiring. Here is the link to a video she showed at the end of her talk about the trip:

Carlee's Mexico presentation

Carlee’s Mexico presentation

That afternoon we rented two campsites at Cameron Lake, about twenty minutes outside of town. We packed up the leftovers from the grad ceremony, added some hotdogs, drinks, kayaks, games and invited friends who all contributed to a very fun day.


Overall, the weekend was as perfect as I could have imagined it.  Actually, it was even better than I could have asked for. God brought the people, the weather and lots of joy. My heart is full and truly thankful to everyone who played a part in our special memory!



Abbie’s Adventure



Some of you may remember my grad posts from the summer. One of the posts was about Abbie Berger, who is a friend of my daughter, Carlee. (See post “Abbie’s Grad” in this blog). They grew up together for the first four years of Carlee’s life in Vanderhoof, British Columbia. Our families both moved in separate directions and they remained faithful friends through phone calls, emails and even, snail mail! This is a follow-up to Abbie’s grad post. I know much prayer has gone into Abbie’s decision to continue her schooling in the Phillipines at the  Newlife International School of Midwifery. Check out the website at It looks like an amazing school and a once in a lifetime experience. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share with other’s (especially the youth that read this blog) that with God you have no limits! If you are asking Him to direct your life He will. It is so encouraging to see our young people pursue what they believe are God’s plans for their lives despite the challenges!

I am copying and pasting  Abbie’s letter that she sent out to family and friends informing them of her plans and inviting them to partner in prayer and/or finances.  If you would like to contact Abbie directly for a newsletter or if you have any questions, please comment in this blog post or email me and I will pass the comments on to her.


Here is Abbie’s letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” –Psalm 46:10

As some of you may know, I travelled to Davao, Philippines last April. My purpose in going there was to visit a mission maternity clinic.

Mercy Maternity Centre operates in conjunction with Newlife International School of Midwifery. Newlife’s website describes their school: Newlife International School of Midwifery is operated as an extensions of their birthing centre which is the largest charity-based birthing clinic in the Philippines serving almost 20,000 patients annually. They simply desire to show women God’s mercy and kindness in a practical way as Jesus taught. The hands-on and deeply relational skill of midwifery is proven to be a powerful avenue to bring God’s love and kindness to suffering people.

When I went to the Philippines I stayed at one of the dorms that houses the international students, and I was on an eight-hour shift at Mercy Maternity almost every day of the three weeks I spent there. Some shifts would be slow with no births, while one shift I was on welcomed three new little ones. That was an exciting day! During this time I really got to interact with and get to know some of the student midwives that were serving in Davao. They were really sweet and made me feel very welcome. My time in the Philippines flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. Walking through the clinic on my last night there, my heart felt so heavy to be leaving; I knew that God was calling me back to the Philippines.

I’ve really held on to that promise, which brings me to why I am writing this letter.

I have just recently been accepted to go serve and learn as a student midwife in the Philippines at Mercy Maternity!  It was a miracle I got accepted, as only a fraction of applicants are accepted!  Lord willing, I will be leaving this next February of 2015 only four months away! I will be serving/studying in Davao for 2 ½ years — until August 2017.

For the first 2 months of my time there I will be studying the local language of Visayan five days a week. During this time I will get to work a shift at the clinic every weekend. After the two months are up, I will start working 3-4 shifts a week at Mercy Maternity Center, continuing midwifery classes, and participating in city outreach.

I am trusting God that He will provide the resources I need to go in February. The support I need for the entire 2-½ years is $37,000.

Please pray for me as I am now taking five university courses in preparation for my upcoming work and studies in the Philippines.

Also pray that I will trust God for the finances needed.

And mostly, please pray my heart will be open to whatever adventures God has for me.

If you are interested in partnering with me financially in this endeavor, there are two options:

  1. Funds may be sent directly to me (cheques payable to Abbie Berger).
  2. To receive a receipt for tax purposes, funds may be sent to The Great Commission Foundation (cheques payable to The Great Commission Foundation) Please include a note mentioning Project #394 – Abigail Berger. Their mailing address is Bay #3, 1335 Trans Canada Way SE, Medicine Hat AB T1B 1J1. You may also donate online at

If you have any questions or would like to receive my newsletters please let me know.  I’d love to tell you more!

Thank you for reading!

In Jesus’ love,

Abbie Berger





Abbie’s grad

Loretta here: This post is a little delayed as I have been out of my routine and on holidays visiting family in Ontario. I have known Abbie since she was about 1-year-old. It is exciting to see how Abbie has grown as young adult, seeking God’s direction for her life and not limiting herself. Abbie and my daughter Carlee, have remained faithful friends through phone calls and old-fashioned snail mail, over the years despite the miles between them. Abbie and two of her siblings , Alex and Alethea, made a road trip to our place to see us back in February of this year. It was a lot of fun being reunited again! They had not seen each other in four years. My three kids did the road trip to Lacombe, Alberta in June (about a 10 hour drive) to their place, for Abbie’s grad. They made wonderful memories that will last a life time. I marvel in the fact that in the 3 towns that my kids have lived in, God has given us special friends for life. Abbie and her family are among them….

 Abbie’s Grad



Abbie’s grad was not the traditional high school graduation ceremony. It was unique, original and so much fun! As I wrote in a previous post, my three kids, Maxx, Carlee and Jonah went on a 10 hour road trip from Hudson’s Hope to Lacombe, Alberta. These are some of the highlights. There was a crowd of about 30 people (Abbie’s family made up 18 of the guest list J)

There was a delicious barbecue which everyone had a hand in helping with the preparations. Abbie’s dad delivered a speech and her sister, Emily, created a slide show about Abbie.  Afterward there was a dancing in the basement. They cleared the furniture and had some cool lighting. Everyone learned a line dance, a barn dance and a reel. According to my kids, this was one of the highlights of the weekend! After that there was a big game of capture the flag. After the game some of the older kids loaded into the back of the pickup truck and they went down to some huge grain silos and sang it in! The acoustics were fantastic! Following that was a wonderful display of fireworks to end the evening.

The next day they all went to the water park in West Edmonton Mall and had a wonderful time!

On the way to silo singing (Abbie's the one in the checkered shirt!)

On the way to silo singing (Abbie’s the one in the checkered shirt!)

Some things to know about Abbie…..

Abbie was born and raised in Vanderhoof, BC for the first eight years of her life, ten days after her family had moved from Manitoba. For the last 10 years she has lived in Lacombe Alberta.

Abbie loves her family and to use her words…she “thinks big families rock!! ” Abbie has 15 brothers and sisters. She would like to have a big family someday. She gets along with all of her siblings most of the time (she admits they  do have the occasional fight:)), and they are her best friends! Some of her best memories are just hanging out late at night talking with older siblings and parents.

At three years old, Abbie committed her life to Jesus . She remembers that special moment after she had prayed and asked Jesus into her heart and all her siblings and mom laid their hands on her and prayed. It was really special. At twelve years old, Abbie felt God calling her to get baptized. She felt that it was important to show her family, friends, and others she was committed to God, and by her actions, show them that God was the biggest part of her life.

Abbie admits to being one of the biggest bookworms you’ll ever meet. She can read an average length novel in 1-2 hours! Music has always been a huge part of her life. When she was nine she started taking piano lessons, and after that she just kept playing. She has played at variety of different functions; art shows, music festivals, as well as dinner music for a local tea house where Abbie works. She has also had the privilege of playing piano at church most Sundays. A couple of years ago Abbie also bought a piano accordion and taught herself to play! Since then she has done lots of busking at her local farmers market. Abbie loves the outdoors, and  she is a big fan of overnight hiking trips.

Her prayer is that February 2015 she will be heading to Davao, Philippines for an intense 21/2 year missionary midwifery training program. May God bless you Abbie with this awesome calling!

Jenessa’s Grad

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Jenessa was born in Victoria, BC but raised in Kitimat, BC. She was adopted at 10 days old, and that provided her with an “interesting, intricate” lifestyle.  She did not  get the honour of meeting her birth-mother, but Jenessa has a close relationship with her extended family. Very recently, while in Abbotsford, during her grad week,  Jenessa got the opportunity to meet her birth-father which was an amazing, enlightening, and enriching experience! Jenessa lives with her mom and dad and also has two siblings, both of them adopted as well.

Jenessa is a follower of Jesus. She grew up in a Christian home, and asked Jesus into her heart when she was 4 years old. She has never looked back or questioned her faith since then.

This is how we met Jenessa:  When we moved to Kitimat, her mother, Rose and I met through connected because we both homeschooled our children.  Jenessa and her brother, Ryan were 5 years old. My children were 6, 4 and 2.  Jenessa has called us her “other family” for as long as she can remember. She can hardly remember when the Bouillons were not an active part of her life! Carlee is like her sister, and best friend, and she loves her very much. Maxx is the “protective understanding, quiet big brother”, and he’d always talks with her about guitars. Jonah, is like a little brother.  Jennessa calls me “Momma Bouillon”…which I consider a privilege!


The Young Years with the Bouillons


Jenessa and Carlee…friends forever

 We moved away 6 years ago and we miss Jenessa very much. Unfortunately, we were not able to attend her grad. However, thanks to facebook, we were able to follow it all almost as soon as it happened. Jenessa has been homeschooling her entire education. Like my kids, she is with a Christian “distance learning” school, in Kelowna called Heritage Online Christian School. When a student graduates they have the option to go to the Lower Mainland and participate in a graduation ceremony with other homeschooled students throughout the province.

When I asked Jenessa her hopes and dreams for her future her answer was simply that she wants to honour God. Not being entirely sure about what the next step is, Jenessa does know she  would like to do something with people and/or writing  She also would love to do something with music, whether it is teaching, recording her own music or other’s music. She could also see herself playing on the worship team. Basically, she would like to do anything that is creative as a full-time job! Her plan is to work for a year (because college is very expensive) and pursue and improve on some of her passions in the process. (music, writing, swimming,  dance etc.) After the “gap” year, her hope is to go to a Bible college for at least 6 months to a year, and maybe spend some time at a college or university out of the country.

I do know one thing….when Jenessa sets her mind to doing something she does it! I have no doubt that she will pursue her passions and we sure hope we see her our way again sometime in the near future!


A Happy Graduated Jenessa!


Kersten’s Grad


Carlee and Kersten

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Kersten and Maxx

Our family has been busy with grad’s lately. None of them are actually happening in our family, however, four of my kid’s close friends are graduating which makes this is a important time of year. I would like to do a little mini-feature on a young woman who is very special to our family….

Kersten was born in Vancouver, at B.C Children’s Hospital. She moved to Tumbler Ridge when she was three and has lived ever since then. She has one older sister, 20 named Ellyanne. She is her best friend and  “loves her to death!”

Kersten was homeschooled up until half way through grade 9 when she began going to public school at Tumbler Ridge Secondary School (TRSS).

She has grown up in a Christian home, so she always knew about God and Jesus and how He died to save us. She made the decision to give her life to God when she was about 5. At that young age Kersten feels that though she obviously did not have a full understanding of what that meant, she has grown in the Lord over the years and is continuing on that journey to learn more about Him. When she was 13, she decided she wanted to be baptized.

She met my son, Maxx, at a combined youth get together that was hosted by two churches in her town and included his church in Hudson’s Hope, in the winter of 2011.  Kersten only really started to get to know Maxx though when they took their National Lifeguard Safety course together in Edmonton 2 years ago. She met my daughter, Carlee, at the youth get together as well and they started to get to know each other better at Maxx’s grad last year.

Kersten is going  to College of New Caledonia in Prince George, British Columbia, for her first year of her post secondary experience. She will be taking a one year Intensive Fine Arts program  and she is extremely excited! She is a very talented artist!

She does not  know what she is going to do after that however she is trusting that God will lead her to her next step in His time.

Even though Kersten lives a couple of hours away, she easily connected into Maxx, Carlee and Jonah’s peer circle. She is one of those genuinely sweet girls, with a kind heart, who is effortless to like and a pleasure to have around!


blowing bubbles


Maxx, Kersten and Joel


Kersten and Danielle

Fashion comment : I want to take a moment to comment on Kersten’s gown. Although the most popular style for grad dresses and wedding gowns is strapless, I cannot say I have been a big fan of strapless. However, when I saw Kersten’s dress I thought it was lovely. My issue with strapless dresses is that they can be cut quite low and many girls look uncomfortable in them…like the dress is going to fall off:). Kersten’s dress was appropriately cut, very elegant, and with her hair down like it was, the colour of the dress combined with her hair is what was so striking. This is a wonderful example of how you can be fashionably modest!