Graduation Day

June 7, 2013

I always thought The Teen would graduate, but sometimes I was the only one.  It may have been a mother’s hope…or stubborn belief…it could have possibly been that I was in denial of the facts…but sometimes denial is a good thing.  
Epilepsy, Speech and Language disorders, Attention Deficit, Sensory processing disorders, delays and learning disabilities piled upon learning disabilities.  An Elementary school that labeled her by age 6 as the ‘bad’ kid and failed her so badly, that it turned into a blessing, because I had no choice but to pull her out and find a better school.  A school that was a pioneer in teaching kids who learn ‘differently’.  A school that was also as expensive per year as a college tuition to which we had not nearly the money…but God had a plan and stirred his people…and the money came in.  Even the kids at this school do not all graduate…but I thought she would and she started to learn.

So entered school number three, a small Christian school with a ‘smaller’ tuition.  A school with some wonderful believers who prayed with her and for her…and some that didn’t…  A school that didn’t always understand what bullying could look like and often labeled her a ‘tattle tail’ when she accused her tormentors or those who said… ‘you are the problem, you need to stop being different’…

but she is ‘different’.

‘Different’… she is loud…she is vivacious….she is tenacious….she is funny….she is naive….she is caring…she is dramatic….she is smart…

she is ‘different’, she has a heart of gold and the inability to be mean.

School number four was a very long journey…(hence this blog)…and a response to God.  A step of faith that if we moved she would have a new life…

and so she does…

The Teen has been hugging me a lot this week…. and saying to me… “Mom, we did it!”…

and so we did….I always thought we would….

but we couldn’t have done it alone…so thank you…

for the best gift you’ve given us…loving and helping those that are ‘different’

….we did it.




  • Pat

    I am so proud to know you Ellen, and to have shared part of Laura’s journey. Love to you all. Gotta go now as I am weeping profusely.

    • Ellen

      Dearest Pat,
      I remember the words you said, when you first heard about the help that was being formed to find the money to keep Laura at Frostig…. it was, “We LOVE the Newman family, of course we want to help.” Could never have done it alone…she is all of our victory! Love you friend.

  • Judy D.

    Des just met her new college roommate and we were warning her that Des has been known to bite…will have to have Laura fill her in to keep her out of harm’s way! Blessed to have walked some of this journey with you and Laura…Hugs

    • Ellen

      Oh dear friend, Judy…
      Thrre were days that you were the only one who could help. I appreciate you so. See you in the Pacific Northwest sometime!

  • Ann Anderson

    What a joy to read this email. God brought Laura especially to you Ellen. What a great mom you’ve been for her. Congrats to both of you. I’m so happy to hear from you. Ann

    • Ellen

      Dear Grannie Annie,
      Thank you so much dear friend!

  • Lauren Diehl

    What a joy to read your account and see the happy (and beautiful!) result of so many years of loving persistent guidance on your part and perseverance on Laura’s part. May God bless you all!

    • Ellen

      Thank you so much!

  • Les Harrison

    That is one really special picture that indeed, says it all. xoxox

    • Ellen

      Thank you dear Les. You and Shelley were one of the first to help our girl. Bless you

  • Laura

    Thank you all! Whether you’ve been helping me from day one or just a few weeks ago, you’ve helped me reach this point. Thank you all so deeply from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the monetary, emotional, and sometime physical support (through hugs or medical visits). You have truly touched me and my family. I will go on to shine as bright as I can so you can say “I was there!” I will never forget the village that helped me become the woman I am. Thank you all.

  • Margaux

    Your photo says it all: Joy, love, inner beauty shining through outer beauty, triumph and victory – what inspiration!

    • Ellen

      Thank you for your beautiful words, they mean a lot to me.

  • Leslie Wizan

    I’ve got such a lump in my throat, Ellen! This is just a wonderful, touching, loving post. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Laura is one lucky young lady to have you for her mom.

    • Ellen

      Dear Les,
      Thank you my friend…so much!

  • Diane Brown

    I thank God for the “village” that has surrounded all of you on this journey. Congratulations to all of you!!

    • Ellen

      Diane, thank you sweet friend.

  • Miriam

    What a wonderful picture! I got the Kleenex out as I type this. I can relate, as you well know. Congratulations on succeeding when many said it couldn’t be done. Never underestimate a tenacious mother and a kid who just never gives up!

    • Ellen

      I do know, you know! Hug your boy for me, Mims.

  • Diane W. Schroeder

    Oh wow ! So proud of you both and all those who helped along the way. The quilt ladies touched my heart also. To God be the glory. Kelli still has a quilt made by girls from our church, before she left for one of their overseas trips.

    I hope Laura received a standing ovation. She had to work harder than all the rest. Love you both.

    • Ellen

      Thank you, sweet Grandma Diane!

  • Jennifer Price

    Ellen! Laura! What FABULOUS news! What an accomplishment! What a lovely woman in that blue gown (and her mama, too)! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you ALL, and proud of your tenacity and positive energy! YAY!!!!!


    • Ellen

      Thanks so much…a long journey…but we did it!

  • Ami

    Congratulations to the Teen, to you and the rest of your family who supported her along the way. You all made it happen. I wish her all the best as she moves to the next stage in her life. ZL Ellen!

    • Ellen

      Thank you so very much!

  • Liz Avila

    I am in awe of both of you!!!!

    • Ellen

      As you know, good friends liked you, helped so very much!

  • Chris Pate

    I love reading your posts, they always have a positive affect on my day, this was the best one yet!

    • Ellen

      So sweet!! Thank you!

  • Jeri

    So moving – that is a mothers heart in print. Nicely done and congratulations.

    • Ellen

      Thank you dear Hopesource friends. I feel like I finished marathon.

  • Beau E.

    What a beautiful summary of a long, winding and rewarding road. Good for her and you! You’re making us a bit “misty” here at HopeSource with this one!

  • Heather Flatley

    CONGRATULATIONS to all of you. What a journey life is, you have navigated it well Ellen.

  • Christa P

    Glad I haven’t put my mascara on yet! Well said mama!!!! Such a great photo of you 2!!!!!

    • Ellen

      Thank you Christa! It has been quite the journey, as you know…

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