Going out with JOY… and a few other emotions too. ;-)

Yay Grad! SmellingCoffee.com

Well… it’s been silent a while around here, hasn’t it?  If we’re friends through the Smelling Coffee Blog and TV Facebook page, or on Twitter, (I’m @SmellingCoffee, btw) or on Instagram (where
I’m @JenniferCrawfordWalker)  {and I hope we are!… if we aren’t, will you please go out there and friend me now???}  you’ll have seen pictures of why.  Our youngest graduated from High School last week.  {Youngest human, that is.  Haha!}

Abigail. SmellingCoffee.com

It has been a crazy but oh so joy-filled last few weeks around the Walker household.   In fact, I started writing (or more like pecking-out on the phone) about it 9 or 10 days ago and I literally never had the emotional energy to finish the pre-graduation post.  So with your indulgence, I’d like to share those thoughts and some favorite pictures from graduation that I’ll be storing up in my heart (and on this blog) for years to come.

The original post was entitled Thoughts Too Precious to Share (or too difficult for his mama to put into words until now)   {I know… a little long and overly dramatic… but hey – it was in the middle of the night when I wrote them! ;-)}

It’s 3 AM. My body is begging for sleep, but my mouth is smiling while my eyes are “watering” (yes, that’s what we’ll call it) and my mind is swirling with a mile long list of what must be marked through between now and Friday night when our daughter graduates from High School.

Abigail - Young/Old Sr. Pic. SmellingCoffee.com

It’s a special time indeed! One I am soaking in and trying to treasure every moment. {Hense the few and far between blog posts. I know you don’t mind, though, and I thank you for your grace. ;)}

The thing is, I have so many mixed emotions right now. Others tell me this is normal, so I’m trusting it to be so… There is great great Joy in and for Abigail, this tiny precious gift from God all grown up into the young woman He is preparing to embark on a brand new life journey!!

She has had a tough Senior year and has persevered to the end in a way that has made her dad and me proud.
We couldn’t be more happy for her and for what God holds for her future.

Abigail - Sr Pic MC. SmellingCoffee.com (She’ll be attending Mississippi College in Clinton, MS.)

As we are on the knees of our hearts (and often our physical knees too) praying that she will remain focused on loving, obeying, and seeking the Lord, we know she is under His Wings (Psalm 91). My mother HEART is at peace over watching and helping her move to her next.

Abigail and Jen in Nashville. April 2016. SmellingCoffee.comIn front of an iconic wall in Nashville during a Senior fun trip back to Abigail’s “roots”

Yet at the same time, my mother ARMS want to grab this child and hold on so tightly to her that air can hardly escape. Does that even make sense?

wall of pics. SmellingCoffee.com Celebrating Abigail through her growing up years – we started this tradition last year with Nathan.  All summer long we will keep swags of snapshots hanging across our mantles.  It’s helping me cherish both those past, and these present days of our lives.

wall of pics 2 SmellingCoffee.com
pic swag SmellingCoffee.com

How can two strong body parts be at such
opposing-yet-good desires?

When my children were little and would sit in my lap with my arms wrapped around them I often wondered how moms of older kids (kids who had moved out of their parent’s laps and on to “bigger and better things of the world”)  got used to not having their arms full of their babies anymore. For me, I never did get used to it… It just got to the point that it would have become a little creepy and socially ackward, so I just stopped making them sit in my lap all of the time one day. 😉

I guess this is what motivates us to love on and serve other people’s children… and our grandchildren… Or serve in the church nursery… Or in volunteer programs… And get empty nest dogs!

SmellingCoffee.com Me and my three… Nathan, Abigail, and Zoe {my empty-arm-and-nest-filler}. Mother’s Day 2016.

Since our son just graduated and left for college last year, the graduation emotions have been a bit more even keel this go around. I realize now that they aren’t gone forever, they do come home, they do still need and value their parents, and there is a sweeter friendship dynamic I’m seeing in this college-student-parent thing that we didn’t have before. We are looking forward to knowing that with both of our kiddos now.  ***Plus everyone tells us that after the initial shock wears off, empty nest is awesome!!!

Bitmoji - Nice. SmellingCoffee.com

My goal for these last days with Abigail fully at home: it’s the same goal I’ve tried to keep set before me for most of my parenting life:

TREASURE THESE MOMENTS. They will pass like a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. No matter how old our loved ones are, we can pause with eyes of gratitude, and soak them in today.

In MOPS this year we called it Noticing Goodness, Feasting on it, and Celebrating it.

Oh please, younger than me mamas, please soak in your children still at home with you!!! You’ll never get to graduation day or move-out day and regret it!!!!! 🙂


And then… I went to sleep.  😉  Who knows what “middle of the night wisdom” was left unshared… haha!

Lest you think those were my only pre-graduation droplets, I’ll go on and admit it now… I did have my 2016 graduate-mommy-break-down on Tuesday, May 3rd.  We had been through a beautiful Senior Sunday at church on May 1st… and no tears.

Senior Day FBCC. SmellingCoffee.com

{Everyone was expecting a mommy meltdown from me… but I disappointed them all! 😉 }  I was cruising right along when that Tuesday’s primary election results were being posted on the TV.  All of a sudden, when Ted Cruz suspended his campaign for president, a dam burst in me and I did the ugly cry for hours!!!

You should have seen the family’s faces when I couldn’t stop crying!  Nathan’s was shock – as in “What in the world???” Abigail’s was understanding – as in “There it is!  I knew she couldn’t keep it in forever!” And James’ face was fluctuating in between the “instruction mode”to the kids – as in “You kids, don’t say anything to mess with your mama right now… Go on and finish supper.” and compassion for me making sure I was ok and stable. Bless my family.  They are kind of used to my Mommy-breakdowns.

Bitmoji - Crying. SmellingCoffee.com

Abigail finally said, “Mom, we know you are crying for more than Ted Cruz.” – and when she said that, all water broke lose and I sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.  Then I cried no more.  Except for a few trickle of tears here and there.  😉

But when Graduation Day came I genuinely felt nothing but J.O.Y!!!  We had the most fun getting Ab ready, the weather was beautiful, and the Lord was so gracious to us all!  Here are a few of my favorite pics from the day:

2016 flowers. SmellingCoffee.com

Abi in her Lilly Dress. SmellingCoffee.com
Waking in. SmellingCoffee.com
Diploma. SmellingCoffee.com
She’s officially a graduate now…

and on her way to Mississippi College with her brother… haha!
Brotherly Sisterly Love. SmellingCoffee.com (I guess they don’t grow out of having to make the siblings stand up straight and act right for pictures???) haha!

Speaking of brothers… My brother, Chris, and his family came for the graduation.  They helped make it special!

Crawfords. SmellingCoffee.com

Abigail and Ella. SmellingCoffee.com This is one of the sweetest pictures of the night.  I love the look on my mom’s face as Abigail hugs her…

Abigail and Nanny. SmellingCoffee.com
I also love this one too!
Daddy Daughter. SmellingCoffee.com
This picture is pretty special to me as well.  Three generations together is a cherished treasure indeed.

3 Generations. SmellingCoffee.com
About a month ago God gave me a verse to pray for Abigail as she moves from this stage of life into the next.   It truly makes my heart happy as I pray this for her:

“For you shall go out in Joy and be led forth in peace…” Isaiah 55:2.

Isaiah 55-2 verse.

Walker Family Graduation Party. 2016. SmellingCoffee.com

For now, there are no more tears… Just smiles, gratitude, and joy as I soak in these days of Summer and this season of mothering as the nest is emptying.  And, with the Lord’s guidance, I’ve determined that I, too, will go out of this season into the next in the Joy of the Lord, and be led forth in His Peace…  

Any other mamas out there wanna go forth that way with me?





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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com


  1. Such a wonderful sweet post! I have followed your blog for several years and watched your children grow up!
    The photos are wonderful!


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