The Last Day. . .

Today is the last day of debate club for the year 2012. 
The debate forum this year has been: “Should the United States Government change it’s policies toward the criminal justice system?” The answer is yes! but “the how” this change is to take place is left up to each team.  My job as a debate club parent is to listen to two teams argue their cases ((one team for change and the other team against that change))  I then decide who was the best team and which team had the best case.  I am also required to give helpful suggestions of how each team should and could improve their cases.  I then decide a winner and tell them how and why they won and lost. 

Do you know how very hard this is to do when you realize ~ the kids you are judging and are suppose to be helping, are way smarter then you? Let me tell you. . . it’s hard.  It’s really hard. 

So what do I do???

I put my thinking cap on and I fake it.  I pretend I know exactly what these teams are talking about and when we are done listening to the cases – I tell the teams how I think they could be improved . . . the kids thank me and tell me how helpful I have been to them. . . and I think. . . Yay!!! I fooled them again. 

As I said before, today is the last day of debate club for the year of 2012 . . . Today, again,  I will be judging and faking it the whole time – and when we are done – the teams will thank me and tell me how very helpful I have been.  They will tell me how they really like it when I judge their cases because I give them helpful advice. They will tell me I seem to really listen and am always fair.  .  . and I will think MMMMM  maybe these kids aren’t so bright. . . I mean after all,  I fooled them again this year. 

Until Next time. . .  



the Economist in my house

Okay, It’s time you knew. I have kept this secret long enough.  I have to come clean on this one.  You are my friends right? You won’t judge me to harshly.  

Will you???

I mean you put up with my bad spelling, my poor grammar and my rambling thoughts. So I thought I should just tell you.  

I have this son that’s, well. . . a little strange.  

He likes. . . lectures A LOT! He likes economics as much as he likes lectures. Strangely enough, he likes lectures and economics together. . . at the same time. 

Okay, yeah, there is more. 

He like lectures and economics enough to  win a scholarship to study economics in a lecture setting for. . . 12 hour days. . . for a week. 

I know! 

A  whole week. 7 days . . . 12 hours a day.

I have tried with this kid, I really have. But, he thrives on lectures and economics. . .at the same time.  He tells me, “because I have home schooled him he knows how to think. . .for himself.” 

 “Wait a minute!” “I did that?” Huuu???

So here we are, I have an economist in the house. Not just any economist, we have an Austrian Economist.  Most particularly, I am talking a Ludwig von Mises Institute school of economics economist. AND that’s a mouth full! 

I am telling you, Matthew studies and studies and studies this thing. He reads books that are bigger then. . .I don’t know. . .a dictionary about this stuff.  He really finds it all very interesting. 

He fills me up with the things he has learned. I listen and think. . .could he be right? Does he really know what he’s talking about? and then I hear the things he says on the news about: the way things are going in this great country of ours and what needs to be done and why our government won’t do them.  

It’s quite overwhelming. 

And I think. . . well, maybe an Economist in the house is not so bad. There are days I get to call him “my son sunshine” because of the gloominess of his tone. “My Son Sunshine” tells me all about why the FED is bad and what really needs to be done in our government. . .to make things work again for all of us and why our government won’t do them. 

And, sometimes I just have to say to him. . .


“I can’t take it anymore!” I know! Doom and Gloom. The FED is bad. . . Our government is corrupt, Congress violates the Constitution with nearly every new bill they enact.   We all get it! ” 

 Ron Paul rules! “

and then I’ll lovingly say: 

“Matthew tell me this?  
Why did you have to learn so much about the constitution?” 
“Why didn’t you just pretend to read it like the other kids do?” 

So,  my oldest son, Matthew, the son I home schooled for nine years, won a scholarship to the  Ludwig von Mises Institute at Auburn University with an essay that he wrote. The scholarship paid for everything from his food, to his room and board,  to the lecture classes that was all about economics. All Matthew had to do was get to Atlanta Georgia the very same weekend Mark got out of the hospital. 

His bag were packed and Matthew and I  drove the 176 miles to the Atlanta Airport. 

We talked about how very nerves he was about going to a place where he didn’t know a soul. We talked about how proud his father and I are of him for doing this all on his own.  We talked about how excited he was to meet his idols and learn more about this subject that he loved. . . and maybe, just maybe Ron Paul would be there. 

Matthew went to Auburn and the school of economics with the hopes and dreams that only a 19 year old could. He learned, and he studied , and he studied and he learned. He called  me three times a day to share the things he had learned and to tell me how excited he was to be there. He told me who he had met and how brilliant the “average” person was  at the institute that week. Matthew talked about what was said and what he already knew to be true. He talked about his hopes for the future. . .if only the government of today would listen.  .  . and stop thinking about. . .well, themselves and who’s pockets they are in. 


When Matthew came home, he was not only a week older and wiser,  he was “intoxicated” from the all the knowledge that was swimming around in his head. He was tired from the long week of lectures and note taking. He was full from his week of listening to arguments and debates from the people he had only read about and admired from afar.   For weeks now, Matthew has been filling us up with von Mises  ideas for the world and the things he wants to become. He told me how he wants to fight for what is right. . .and how he can’t wait to go back to “the Institute” next year and learn and study and listen for a week  and those 12 hour days   of more studying, learning and growing. AND just maybe just maybe Ron Paul will be there. 


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” 

Benjamin Franklin 

Playing along with: 
Unknown Mami
 Ni Hao Yall
Fresh Mommy 

The Brutal Days of Home School

This home school thing really gets tough sometimes. There is so much to learn and study some days I just don’t know how we get it all done. Like, a few weeks ago the kids and I headed back to Furman for another Debate Lecture about the United States Policies towards Russia. 

I am not sure if my older three are learning much from these trips but I know Liz and I are learning a lot! 

We have already learned the Swans really like us. When they see us standing by the pond they come right over. 

We studied Puddle Jumping 101 

There was a cloud class. . .and strangely enough, we did really well in that one. It was even a little relaxing. . .  But promise you won’t tell anyone. We don’t like to brag about how smart we are. Sometimes people find these college classes really hard. 

Even though we did really well in the cloud class, I think we smoked the stopping to smell the roses class 100. 

These Home School days at Furman are brutal I tell you!  

So brutal, we had to stop for ice cream. 


Did I say Furman was brutal? 

Gee, I thought Furman was tough. . .but it has nothing on Clemson.  The debate club took our little class to Clemson last week. 

There were more Lectures about Russia that we had to attend. There was a lesson on how to use the college  library and a tour of the school. Clemson is a great big school! The lecture was tough. 

Kathryn seemed to love this school and fit right in. 

After the lecture, tour and library class Matthew and Stephen visited with friends toured the school and talked about the future. 

Liz and I attended a journalism class and  interviewed the Elite.  

They shared their thoughts on the war and how tough things were for them. We took some time to really ponder things and then we went back to our brutal home school life. 

There was little time to waste. The leaf  throwing class was about to begin and these Clemson Tigers don’t mess around. When it is time for class it IS time for class. 

There was a final run the grounds 


It was time to call it a day. Yes! Sometimes these home school days can be brutal. But don’t worry, we try to take it easy and enjoy each other every now and then. 

So SHE can feed the ducks

Stephen and I went to Furman University the other day.   There was a talk on Human Rights in Russia or something like that. He needed to go to the lecture for his debate class.  

You see, when your a home-school debate mom, like me,  you get to do these things with your kids. You get to go to lectures about Russia and learn things you just didn’t know like: what the United States Sanctions are regarding Russia and whether or not the U.S. should change our policies towards Russia.  And all kinds of interesting things.


If you have younger children you get to go feed the ducks your stale French Fries instead.

This is really good for me. 

Sometimes with these lectures, I have to ask my kids: “What did he say?”, “Huuuuh”, “That word means WHAT again?” and  “Does Russia have one “S” or two?”
So feeding the ducks with Liz is a really good cover for me. 


When the lecture was over Stephen wanted to walk around the lake and the school. We sat and talked about Non-Russian things and I tried to get a few good pictures of the two of them looking at the camera at the same time.   

When Liz looked, Stephen looked away. . . at the ducks.


When Stephen looked, Liz looked away. . . at the ducks. 

I  just couldn’t get it right.  

Until Stephen decided to change things up and be the amazing big brother we should all have.

Next week, we have to go back to Furman for another lecture on Russia. Kathryn as well as Stephen will be going to this one. We will not only learn more interesting facts about the policies the United States Government holds towards Russia, we are going to learn how to use a college library and take a tour of the school.  It should be really great and quite a learning experience for us all. I just love Furman.

Gee, I sure hope the ducks are still hungry and Liz wants to come with me. . .   You know, so SHE can feed the ducks.  

Black and White Wednesday & A VERY Special 13th Birthday

I sat down to write about Kathryn and her 13th birthday today and how I can’t believe the time has past. How lucky I feel to have been privileged enough to be not only her mother, but to be her school teacher as well.

I thought I would tell you for her birthday everyone showered her with the most beautiful gifts.

DSCF6018-1.jpg picture by marka5477

I thought I would tell you about the ring my mother had made for Kathryn out of an old earring. My father had bought a set of earrings for my mother over 50 years ago in Filen’s Basement and when my mother lost one earing she held on to the other one saving it for years. I thought I would mention my mother had the remaining earring made into a MOST fabulous ring this year just for Kathryn. I wanted to say just how delighted and truly special this gift is to both Kathryn and me.

I thought I mention how Margaret bought Kathryn a beautiful jewelry box just to put the ring in.

13 for Kathryn this year will be a year to remember.


I really have wanted to post all this for the past couple of days but I couldn’t get to it for one reason or another. Tonight I decided this post may be a great post for Black and White Wednesdays.

So now here we are and Kathryn is not only another year older, she is making advances into the cooking world.

Tonight she was trying to boil water for a nice hot cup of peppermint tea before ending her great day and calling it a night. After putting a pan on the stove to boil the water in, she covered the pan with a plastic cover that was way to big for the pan AND she walk away!

Mark and the boys were not home and before I knew what had happened the house was covered in black soot, the stove was on fire and I couldn’t get the fire alarms off…….WHAT A MESS!!!


Soooooo, now I’m just think-en

Maybe we should take a little closer look at Lisa’s cooking posts after debate class for dinner tomorrow night……and then hit a few of my cousin Anne’s Simply Sweeter posts for dessert.

Maybe we should consider tutor. ANNE??? Lisa??? What do you think?

An Impromptu Leave…Isn’t that Silly

It is true….I have taken an impromptu leave from my blogging.

You and I have had this blog relationship for almost a year now and well……there is something you should know about me…

I am a procrastinator…Yes…disappointing I know…….. but true.

I even procrastinate on the things I like. But here is the thing……

Honestly; it’s the pictures of Thanks-Giving I have not wanted to post.

You see…..I have this strange way about me….maybe it is a Finnell thing….I really don’t think it comes from the Coleman side of my family but…….I find if I don’t think about certain things that have happened or are happening….. I forget.

Sometimes forgetting is good.

That is of course…….. until I remember.

I am finding this time……Margaret is doing the same thing. When we talk about “things”…..We will not use the dreaded “D” word. Margaret and I will always say “before Father” or “when Father” never saying that word…and now it is down to “Well, you know.”…..

We just never say the words…

Isn’t that silly?

And that is what I have been doing…..Simply; I have not wanted to think about these things or even say them out loud.

All in all Thanks Giving was very good.

It really was. We had a very nice day.

But the physical absence of our father was so great ~ I just didn’t want to think about.

I look at the pictures and think…..That was a nice day. In total, I think we had about 31 or maybe it could have been 36 people at my parent’s house.

Linda’s father came with his wife, Karen and Joe were there, George and all his kids, James tore himself away from his camp-out in front of Best Buy with is friends.

Father Theo stopped by. There was the usual football game


George Carved the turkey. He did a beautiful Job!

This was all done much to our relief…….after the meal was over. The turkey was not cooked and that simple under cooked turkey made us all smile and laugh at ourselves.

Isn’t that Silly?

((Karen convincing Mary Elizabeth she IS the angle on top of the tree.))


But here we are and I have good news about Stephen and his team mate Mary winning a placement in the debate tournament yesterday…..I am very excited. This was his first debate ever AND his first academic award ever.

((Stephen on end in blue…..this is what happens when you just don’t think you will need your camera that day))

I am very proud of him both as his mother and his teacher. There are times when I really question our little school…..and then something like this happens and I know we are doing a good thing.

I quess that is just the mother in me…..always questioning.

Isn’t that Silly

Today, I think in the middle of all the kayos and confusion in our school days with; potty training, stopping to answer the business phone, checking this or that for Mark, laundry, the house work, finding what’s for dinner, dealing with everyday things life throws our way and lets not even mention what has happened these past few months with…

…Well, you know…

They are learning something. This school thing we have going on is good. So Yesterday; Kathryn recited her poem the Ballad of Birmingham By Dudley Randall for the debate club, Matthew judged and

Stephen argued the case he wrote by himself “Environmental Reform and Changing the Policies towards Cole Slurry ” with his partner and THEY WON….

I am so proud of him.


I finally sit down and think……I am going to post this one……and see five comments I have missed and these very loving messages:

How are you doing, my dear friend???? I’ve been thinking of you A LOT!!!!! You’re in my prayers…Miss you!!!! Love always, Janine XOXO

Hey Lisa,
Just wanted to let you know that I’m missing your posts. Hope you’re doing okay. Thinking of you.
Love ya,

And I think…….Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!!

Thank you Regina and Janine………You guys are the best. Thank you for caring. Thank you for wondering and Thank you for thinking of me…..Thank you for thinking of Us.

We are doing………Well….you know.