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Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.

It Was the Best of Times: Graduation Day

on December 20, 2011

Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see…

Yup, that’s pretty much the song that was in my heart driving to Johnny’s graduation from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Sunday morning.

Forget the fact that it was overcast, cold and rainy outside. The road leading to this place had been such a long one, Johnny had worked so hard and we had all made so many sacrifices along the way that nothing was going to get me down.  It honestly seemed so surreal that the light at the end of the tunnel (the one that seemed like it would never arrive) had finally come that the morning almost felt dreamlike.

Looking out the window on the way to the ceremony, it was as if heaven itself was smiling down on us and mirroring the joy in my heart at that moment. (this was my best effort at capturing that instant, snapping a picture while stopped at a red light)

I love when you can see rays of light streaming down from the clouds like that … the picture of grace.  If I had listened closely enough, I bet I could have heard the angel’s hallelujah chorus.

At the Chandler Center for the Arts, the seats were beginning to fill with some of Johnny’s biggest fans…

After not being quite as prepared as I should have been for Lauryn’s ASU graduation on Friday night, I came stocked and ready for Johnny’s Sunday morning.  I had my bag filled with snacks and designated aunts and uncles for baby duty.  Even better, Oma and Grandpa decided to share their phones for a little added entertainment.  The kids were occupied and did so great through the whole thing, which made for one happy momma…

Not only was I able to soak in every bit of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the graduation proceedings but Jack and Gabriel were also able to witness a monumental day in the life of their father ~ which is all as it should be.

A highlight of the day was definitely Johnny’s commencement address

My heart was so full hearing him offer such inspirational parting words of hope and encouragement to his class that I think I was fighting back tears of pride and joy the whole time.  That’s the man I love.

Then it was time to receive his hood and diploma, take the naturopathic medical oath,

and to officially be announced as … wait for it … wait for it … DOCTOR John Oertle!

Jack was so excited to see his daddy up there that the little guy just couldn’t contain himself…

When he saw him walk across the stage with that diploma, Jack was shaking his little maraca noise maker trying to get his daddy’s attention and when that didn’t work he yelled out at the top of his lungs,

“We’re over here Daddy!!!”

It was quite possibly the most touching moment of the day and melted his daddy’s heart right on the spot.  He pointed to Jack out in the crowd and pumped that diploma up high in the air for him which was met with squeals of delight from his first born son and laughter all around.

But then, the newly graduated class began to process out and that was it… there was no holding Jack back at that point and who would have wanted to? He was out of his seat and sprinting into his daddy’s open arms.

Even people who didn’t know our family were moved to tears witnessing it.

I know the picture quality is poor but I love these photos…

They just capture who Johnny is and what a day of celebration it truly was for our family.  Not only was he one of only three in his class to graduate with honors but he did it while always keeping us as the first priority in his life.

He missed finals when his babies were being born, knew only the very interrupted sleep of parenthood, was met every day at the door with pleas to wrestle often before he had even put down his computer bag, and left his books longer than he probably “should” have to play, pray and tuck little ones in at night.  That is not to mention all of the added weight he pulled around the house and with the boys so that I could work to help get us through school.  It has been a four year relay marathon of passing the baton at the door with a kiss, one coming in to take over at the house while the other was off to work or school.  It was off one duty and on to the other – back and forth often several times a day just making it work.  What’s more, he did it with joy and a smile.  He took it all gracefully in stride, still serving others, volunteering, tutoring and being a leader to his peers.  The man amazes me.

Ahhhh, medical school…It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  It is over!


While there is still much hard work that lies ahead: boards to be passed and a practice to get up and running,

This was a victory to be celebrated.  And we did just that…

The entire Oertle clan came out to show their love and support for Johnny on his big day… 

It is not an easy task to get everyone in the same place at the same time these days.

Pictures were in order.

With Lauryn, Norah & Jack, and Carolyn…

..his proud grandparents (Sharon & Howard) and parents (Rhonda and John)

…Candyce (+baby), Stella, & Josh

…with Matthew, Aunt Mary & Uncle Kent.
Congratulations Dr. John.  We love you.

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