Teaching life lessons to the next generation is hard.

You begin with the standards.

Be kind to others.

Open the door for your mother.

Be nice to your sister.  Hold your fork properly.  Don’t wear white after Labor Day.

You ask for a please and tell someone to say thank you and remind them to take their plate to the sink and assign chores and follow up on their homework and discourage bullying of any kind and you cross your fingers and ten toes and hope that it all sticks.

You wonder if you are making a difference as a parent.  You wonder if anyone is listening.  You wonder if the chicks will fly when they leave the nest.

And then?

One day you see a glimpse.  A glimmer.  A spark of the adult they will become.

And it makes all the trying worth every word.

Last week we held a ceremony at our home.

It was a last-minute idea that one of the twins had because they knew their cousins were upset about not having a graduation. Three of the littles in our extended family were supposed to walk across a stage and wear a hat and get handed a graduation certificate.

Milestone graduations every one.

We had a kindergartener graduating to first grade.

A fifth-grader graduating to middle school.

And an eighth-grader graduating to high school.

We had our calendars marked and our outfits picked out and our seats reserved.


Until life had other plans.

And so it was that three littles marched up the aisle to ‘Pomp and Circumstance” played on a guitar with a percussionist keeping the beat. They took their seat in the row marked “reserved for graduates” with their graduation hats and tassels on the pre-graduation side.

There was an opening prayer and announcements regarding the use of flash photography and remarks by esteemed members of the community.

And right before the commencement speaker spoke, there was a musical interlude.

A special song.

Written by my husband for the event.

One simple chorus with these words:

May your days be filled with sunshine

May the clouds stay far away

May you always smell the roses

As you work and as you play

May you dream big dreams and seek the things 

That bring peace and make you strong

And may Jesus write your celebration song

Words to live by.

Words from the heart.

Words for the next generation.

My brother followed up with a commencement speech full of life advice for the graduates and life lessons for the road ahead.

And then?

The littles walked across the stage to get their diplomas and post for a family picture with each graduate. They moved their tassels to the left and tossed their hats in the air and went inside for cake and ice cream.

We played games and told stories and talked about what school next year would look like and eventually they left to go home.

And that would have been the end of the story.


Except later that night the phone rang.

It was my middle son. He had driven back to Waco that night and along the way…

…he composed a second verse to the song.

It needed more he told us.

A song like that needed a second verse so he wrote this:

May your heart be filled with laughter 

Even when the skies are gray

May you keep on chasing after 

The words He had to say

May you hold on tight to what is right 

And let love guide you along

And let Jesus write your celebration song

Isn’t it amazing?

You try so hard to teach those lessons to the next generation.

But truth?

The most important lesson of all?

The lesson you learn day your children teach you right back.

PS Here’s my husband singing his song over on my YouTube channel.

PPS My oldest son (not to be outdone by his brother) later wrote a third verse that goes like this:

May the peace of Christ watch over you 

As you travel near and far

May His grace be all around your soul 

No matter where you are

And when your faith is challenged

Just know it won’t be long

‘Til Jesus writes your celebration song.

Let Jesus write your celebration song

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  1. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    tears~tears~tears! So special, amazing girl! Such precious memories were made. Praise the Lord for your "training them up"! Way to go! ❤

  2. Image for maureen maureen

    This makes my heart just burst with joy. Your family is amazing and you should be so happy! I would love to hear this song when you upload it. I will be a new grandmother today to baby Willow! I'm hoping for her the good that your children have. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Sweet story and sweet songs. What a wonderful celebration of life's important events. Everyone needs to feel loved and acknowledged. You and your husband have taught your children well, by your wonderful examples! God bless and let's pray that Jesus writes a celebration song for all of us!!!

  4. Image for Sheri Sheri

    That brought tears to my eyes! What wonderful boys! The world is kind of upside down right now but we know Jesus is writing our celebration song! God bless you KariAnne and thanks for sharing.

    1. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

      Simply copy/paste the link for this page to FB. Write a short snippet of why this touched you, and people will be blessed as we are right now to read this.

  5. Image for Caroline Caroline

    I am waiting anxiously while my first born son is in surgery right now and I’m reading your precious post. This song has brought me to tears. Happy tears. Because I believe “His Grace” is all around us and we will soon be singing our celebration song. Love your beautiful heart ❤️ Thank you for the sunshine you bring to so many of us. Just when we need it most!!

  6. Image for Revonda Stordahl Revonda Stordahl

    Oh my goodness! You have a wonderful family. I got teary-eyed reading this. You have definitely taught your children well.

  7. Image for Karen Karen

    Seems like you have, by the grace of God, passed on the most important thing-faith in Christ. Oh, bless them all! As long as parents keep doing that, there's hope for the future. I am always thrilled when I get a glimpse of the depth of my adult children's faith. My own personal miracles.

  8. Image for Diane Diane

    My heart is bursting! The happy burst every mother feels (even when the kids are not her own) when they succeed and exceed. With congrats and love from one mom to another. Well done my friend!!!

  9. Image for Susan E. Ronnfeldt Susan E. Ronnfeldt

    Oh My Goodness! That is beautiful! You need to get that published and recorded! What a wonderful ceremony for the littles. And it shows you are doing something VERY RIGHT with your own young adults. P.S. I love your blog!


    Your Angry Lemon can still sing and write music (with some help from his sons)! What a great way to celebrate during this time of limited group gatherings!

  11. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh, my...this is amazing. I had to write it in my journal to remind me to let Jesus write my celebration song. Thanks for sharing this beautiful message from your family to mine.

  12. Image for Elaine Hewitt Elaine Hewitt

    Hello! I am the advisor for our high school newspaper...do I have your permission to print the lyrics in our welcome back edition in August? I'd like to dedicate it to the seniors? I'll send you a copy!

  13. Image for Dauphine Bonham Dauphine Bonham

    How do you always know when I need a pick me up during the week! Hearing your husband and sons song did just that for me today! Thanks and God bless all of you.

  14. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    I loved the song and every single verse, it was very warm and wonderful. I would like to have a sign on my wall of that song.

  15. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    Amazing parents have amazing children. You have done what all parents are told to do, teach them the way to go and they won’t fall away. God bless you .

  16. Image for Jane Frost Jane Frost

    All. This. Just blessed my socks off! What a sweet celebration for all and a heaping helping of hope and joy for the rest of us! Wow. Blessings to you and your family for sharing this with us. To God be the glory!

  17. Image for Loryl Loryl

    With tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat, what a beautiful story.😊 Praise God for such talented song writers🎶 You are so blessed. Good job Mom & Dad🙏🏻

  18. Image for Mary S Mary S


  19. Image for Ruth Ann Ruth Ann

    Wow Karianne.....how beautiful! I bet you never dreamed when you started this blog so many years ago of the lives you would touch and influence. You have been such a blessing and inspiration to so many. Wonderful ideas, wonderful talent and gifts., wonderful family,...wonderful person! Most of all an amazing God! Thanks for your input in my life!

  20. Image for Michele M Michele M

    Get that copyrighted, KA. Seriously - it is an amazing song and those are amazing lyrics to an amazing song. What a sweet post. Good idea there,, Twins! What a special day to always be remembered.. Big hugs!

  21. Image for N J N J

    How sweet...the song, the contributions to the ceremony, the love shown by each person, and to the memories made with your graduation program. And there's the answer to how children grow up and teach us with their beliefs and values -- it was modeled to them all along the way. You must be very proud!

  22. Image for Linda Linda

    That is so awesome! Love the 3 verses written by your talented men. Congratulations to the graduates and the song writers!!! (It’s deserves 3 exclamation points)

  23. Image for Kris Kris

    You are the sweetest family. Simply beautiful. I don't know if you remember Twila Paris from back in the day--a friend gave me a children's CD when my oldest was born and I fell in love with this song. It was my prayer for my little ones. https://genius.com/Twila-paris-your-whole-life-long-lyrics Your family's song reminded me of it.

  24. Image for Jean Waldrop Jean Waldrop

    I wish I could sing. Do you mind if I borrow these verses to read to my granddaughter when we celebrate her graduation 2020 later this summer? What a sweet family you have, and, yes, hubby really is a cutie.

  25. Image for Cathie Collins Cathie Collins

    this was such a beautiful, poignant story, thank you. You must be so proud and it's wonderful tp see the goodness in the next generation.

  26. Image for Annie Annie

    Okay....this family is so talented. I love everything bout this!!! What great verses and what a fun celebration. Publish! Publish! I felt like I was write there. Thanks for sharing Denny singing as well. Happy Wednesday my friend!!

  27. Image for Myra Freshwater Myra Freshwater

    Oh Karianne, this brought tears. It’s so beautiful & “full circle”. What a wonderful graduation celebration. What a joy to have grown up kids who make you proud. 💗💗💗

  28. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    Oh Karianne! I SO needed this today! I have been struggling to keep my joy lately and have had to "un-plug" to keep my sanity. But this! You and your family are amazing, and the song is so lovely. (I agree with Michelle...get it copyrighted!) Bless you and yours, and thank you for sharing.

  29. Image for Heather Krout Heather Krout

    This is so so special. I love the second and the third verse!! You have such a precious family KariAnne. I love all of your stories and the details. Thank you for sharing your life with us! You are an inspiration to me! ❤️😘

  30. Image for Kelly Tadlock Kelly Tadlock

    You and your beautiful family are an inspiration to all of us. I was so happy when I knew that our son who is now 31, loved Jesus. He was 3 and 1/2 and we lived next door to a lady who was always yelling and sweat at her kids, Jake was outside one day with my husband and he said, Yook Dad that’s the mean muddah! John told him sh! She’s probably sad, and Our beautiful little 3 1/2 year old baby boy exclaimed,”I know what’s Wong wif her Dad, she doesn’t have Jesus in her hart!!!! (The misspelled words are intentional as he couldn’t say his r’s and l’s yet! ) And I knew then that my baby who it took 13 years to have and was the 13th great grandchild and was born on Friday the 13th, had Jesus in his heart! I just had to share! God Bless and keep you!😊

  31. Image for Shelly Shelly

    Crying! Your husand just seems so sweet and loving. You are very fortunate to have him. I can not imagine mine ever being that gentle and sweet. You have a beautiful family. The Lord has truly blessed you and yours.

  32. Image for Joan Joan

    Okay I've never left a comment about any posts anywhere ever...but when I read the story and heard the song, I had to say..Amen and.it's wonderful! You and your husband know Jesus and you've raised your children to know Jesus. It doesn't get any better than that! And yes , Jesus writes the best celebration songs. Blessings to you and your family

  33. Image for Carrie Carrie

    LOVE .....words from the heart(s) that will touch another generation. So sweet. Thank you for sharing. You share the most wonderful things and I hope you continue for a long, long time!

  34. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    Your husband and sons did a great job. But, lest we forget, it all started with an idea your daughters had. Bless their kind hearts for being so caring about the little ones. All 4 of your children model what you and your hubby have taught them with <the love and admonition of the Lord." May each of your children be blessed in all they think, do and say, in Jesus' name, amen and amen.

  35. Image for Lyn Lyn

    Our daughter and her husband are trying to raise their two very young daughters to be kind. The girls lead very privileged lives going to private school and living in an affluent neighborhood, and they want the girls to realize that and want them to help others in need. Our daughter is painting the girls' playhouse to match their family home and they are going to move it into the front of their home. As soon as the pandemic settles down and it is allowed, they are going to have a lemonade stand and they will donate all the money taken in, and our daughter and her husband will make a matching donation, to the local food bank. When they are ready they will make the announcement to their school and the local community. We will be their first customers! I hope they do well and make this a frequent activity.

  36. Image for Peg Peg

    What a wonderful tribute for the graduates, and an amazing testament to the man you married, and the two young men you have raised!!! xoxo

  37. Image for Denise Kelley Denise Kelley

    Including Jesus in your life's celebration...and why not? He's the one who gave it to you. Absolutely beautiful and celebratory!! Thank you Wood's family!!

  38. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I'm trying to imagine life being lived in your family. What a precious gift you have. What a precious gift you are!

  39. Image for Chris Klipowicz Chris Klipowicz

    That's so wonderful. What a refreshing reminder that He is not only the One we celebrate, but He gives us other special opportunities to celebrate along the way to the biggest celebration ever! And it will go on and on. And on. And we don't have to ever go home, because we'll be there.


    KariAnne, what a beautiful post! How nice of your family to put on such a "special" graduation! The song your dear husband composed and sang was so nice -- as were the two verses that were written by your sons! How precious! You and your dear hubby have raised a wonderful family and you must be so proud of them! You are such a "special" family and I pray that God will continue to bless you all -- and make you a blessing to all those whose lives you touch. I thank God for you, KariAnne and for your wonderful caring heart and all your posts that you share with us. You are precious in God's eyes -- and mine! Bless you, dear friend!

  41. Image for Susan Susan

    I think your family's Celebration Song needs to be recorded! I can almost hear it playing on K-Love! Great collaboration on the lyrics. And a beautiful ceremony for the graduates - I'm sure it's a day they will never forget. God bless you all

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