What’s Colorado got?

What’s in the news this week. . . this month? 

James has left us for bigger bluer skies. He has moved to Colorado. Colorado Y’all! Colorado? What’s in Colorado that we don’t have? Sure they have all of James friends, mountains, blue skies and snow. Boy! do they have snow. . . and now Colorado has our James. 
So you know what happened?  

The Best Nana Ever threw a party.  We lived it up! We had a great time. We showered James with presents and sent him on his way.  I took loads of great pictures. I even up loaded them to my computer. 

Then something really terrible happened. It was even worse then James moving to Colorado. 

My computer crashed and I lost everything. I couldn’t play with my blogging friends, check email, edit pictures or do anything computerish. I know! How sad. . RIGHT?! I miss all those beautiful pictures I took at the party. . . 

Oh! Yeah. . . and I miss that kid James – that kid I watched grow up. 

Friday Fragment,  Favorite Photo Friday,

the Kingdom ~ 2011

On this  earlyTuesday  morning I sit here and think: “What should I write about today?”  “What do I have to show you?”  “How can I show you how much I love it when you take the time to come to my little corner of the world and say hello.”             and then. . .

It hit me.  

I haven’t shown you Christmas and the love our mother pours into her decorating.  I haven’t shown you the splendor of the ribbons, garland and tulle.  I haven’t shown you how our mother sets the tables and makes everything look as if we were living in a dream: the trees, the candles, the angles blowing their trumpets announcing the Savior is born.  

I haven’t shown the grandeur in the front hall adorned with deer, ribbons and berries.  Every year it gets better. . .each room makes us feel as if we are royalty and nothing could be finer.  Each year the love she has for her family completely inundates us.

I didn’t introduced you to the fair maiden Miceala.  I haven’t told you how this lovely girl  puts a smile on my Prince Matthew’s face and how she is becoming quite a regular at all the family gathering. 

I haven’t shown you how great the Squire James looks this year as he has grown into a fine, respectable man. 

I haven’t shown you the magnificent gifts that were exchanged with simple love.

I failed to show you: how battles are won in this kingdom of plenty,  

the pure love a growing boy has for his father,

the girl that is growing up into fine Lady,

and the new baby’s first Christmas. 

I almost missed showing you the magic of Christmas at our parent’s house. I almost missed showing you the pride our Queen Mother has as she looks on and celebrates not only Christmas but a life she built with her one and only King.   

                                                                                           Our World Tuesday ,
                                                                               My 3 Boybarians
     Communal Global

Thanks Giving and a Few Important Things

With the Thanks Giving Turkey all snug in it’s bed, 

the dinner began with 

George making a toast: “To the toughest year over and new one to begin.” 
 The dinner was perfect with the table set so fine. 
With many things to be thankful for, we sat down to dine. 
Ya, Ya, Ya, 
All that IS really nice! 


 It is time to get serous! 

Everyone knows Thanks Giving Day is ALL about football! 

You know the kind: The kind were you separate the “Boys from the Men”.

The kind you separate the men from the girls. But then again. . . every one knows: “Behind every good man there is a better woman.” and This is were the training begins! 

at Nana’s house…Thanks Giving Day, the back yard turned into a football field. 
Where the girls and the boys are tough and “play hard or go home”. 

They play Son against Father

Uncle against Nephew 

The competition IS. . .

Doggy, Dog….

Okay, just Dog. I got carried away. . .

But, just look at the size of these guys! 

They meant business. . .NO one was safe! 

And “Brother” did they mean business! 

It was do or die! 

The dads gave it their all. 


The boys. . .Didn’t give in.


Someone mentioned Whipped Cream dessert. 

Ni Hao Y'all

Lungs 4 Life. . .Standing United

Editors Note: Because I have received many e-mails and comments saying the information I have in this post about Lung Cancer is vital to our community, I thought I would keep this post going for the week by playing many memes. I have also had many comments and e-mails telling me people would be putting this post on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for stopping by my little blog and taking the time to read this post.   If you need more information about Lung Cancer and it’s stigmas please go to the Lung Cancer Alliance Link I have on my blog. 

The Cain Halter run was last week and since it IS a cause we ALL care deeply about, we thought we would get together and give this run our all. 
160,000 Lives in 2009! 

We know this is true because, one of those 160,000 was our father.   I will tell you this,  when you lose just one of those 160,000,  it really does feel like you lost ALL 160,000.  It’s devastating to think. . . HE never smoked. He never lived with smokers. HE always lived a healthy life style. HE exercised everyday, even up to the last weeks of his life. When he couldn’t get up anymore, HE exercised in bed. . .YES! In Bed.  

And still he died. . . of Lung Cancer.  

Just in case you missed that, I want to make sure you heard me; Over 60% of new lung cancer cases are never smokers or former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago.  

Because we really care about Lung Cancer and we have to change the stigma. . . we turned into Team Finnell. . .AGAIN! 

But, this time with shirts.

We hit the road! To walk. To run. To support. 

Friends came out and ran with us.  

Speaking of beautiful friends and woman heres another fact for you:  Lung Cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause for cancer death in women.  Do you know: you don’t have to be a smoker to get lung cancer?  

With this in mind, we clung to each other and supported. . .like we always do. 

We made it to the end. . .Like we always do

All of us

We ran on the Faith of our Father. . .We ran with his spirit by our side.  We ran meeting people who were survivors. We ran with people who lost loved ones ,  who were runners. . . 

It effected us deeply as we thought of what was. 

 It effects us deeply as we think of the facts. We stand united AS “Team Finnell” . . . now with shirts.

Even though everyday we remember . . .There are some things none of us will ever understand.   Maybe, just maybe a little family run for Lung Cancer might help us heal, one year at a time. 

Ni Hao Y'all

It’s not all about THEM

I don’t think I told you we had a little company this past week.
My Aunts, cousins and cousins daughters came down for a little visit;
Bringing with them lots of joy, laughter and Anthony.
Aunt Joan
These aunts are my father’s “little” sisters and two of triplets.
Among the many things I loved about having Aunt Jean and Aunt Joan here was seeing  
my father’s smile again on my Aunt Joan’s face.
I never realized it before but this time “IT” took my breath away.
Aunt Jean

I again saw Aunt Jean’s kind, gentle nature. But this time we watched as she endured a serious illness. But, she never complained….just like someone else I know. 
In both these woman, I saw their big brother Billy and one of his best qualities….I saw
in them how he would take his time and listen patiently and talk to people from the family no matter the age, size or order of importance.  

I saw how they enjoyed playing in childish games,  
allowing the smallest be the leader of the biggest chains.

I saw how they relaxed and laughed at themselves.
There were songs sung with the greatest emotion followed by dancing in the dining room.
The weekend just flew by.

When it was time for them to leave we were all a little sad to see them go.
Today, as I post and think of these warm, wonderful woman, I think about what makes them so special:  I think what makes these woman the generation of these woman so special is … 
Everything is just not about them.

I want to Remember

As I think about the past week and the tremendous effect it will have on the rest of my life…..I can’t help but think how do I carry this? How do we move forward like my father wants us too? How do you respectfully keep going, stay positive and live up to his memory? Just how do we do that?

The other day my cousin Kathy sent a comment that has stuck with me …….She told me how my father was her first crush….I can see that…my father was very handsome…((the was is so hard for me to fully grasp.))
However, that was not the part I am speaking of……….The one thing she said that stuck with me was…….”I always found comfort in knowing my Dad (and Mum) were only as far away as my heart.” “Just listen…you will hear him.” She is so right…….I can feel him……… everywhere. He truly is everywhere.
But, before I can find the comfort and peace to go on with my life, and before I can get things to the point of a “new normal”, these are the things I want to remember for the rest of my life:

I want to remember how my mother, my father’s wife of 56 years, has been a pillar of strength for her husband and her children through out this whole ordeal. During the times my father was sick because of cancer, radiation or chemo….my mother was always by his side, taking care of him. She was always encouraging him to get up and eat with the family. She was always encouraging him to get up and sit with the family. She was always encouraging him to keep working and to keep going. The last days or weeks of his life it was our mother that let us sit with him and keep him company. On the really bad days she generously let us be alone with him and just hold his hand. She let us help her, help him. She was truly amazing. She IS truly amazing.

These past four and an half years when the doctors would say…….”Bill, we don’t want you uncomfortable.” My mother would say “I just want him here….I don’t care about his comfort. Let’s just keep him here.” My father loved to hear this. He would smile his biggest smile and laugh with pure joy and say…”That is the nicest thing she could ever say to me.” He accepted her words for what they were……True Love. When it was time to let go….She simply knew and as hard as it was for her……she did….again…..True Love.
She knew he would be with her forever……living in her heart.

I want to remember my Aunt Mary Lou and how she stayed with my parents the nights she was really needed. I want to remember how she let my mother sleep and how she stayed up all night with my dad watching over him, helping him anyway she could. I want to remember the love and dedication she gave to us, my father and most of all her sister, our mother.

I want to remember how my sister in law, my brother in law and my husband would make time to see my dad everyday. How Linda helped with his care giving her time so lovingly. How Reiner worked in the yard, Mark worked on the equipment and how both of these men would go and just sit with our dad. They would just sit with him, letting him know he was never alone.

I want to remember, my oldest three children serving on the Alter at my father’s funeral Mass. How Matthew held the cross as high as he could…..I know he wanted his Grandpa to see it, to feel the love, admiration and how honored he was to be part of his Mass….I want to remember how each one of the children stood on the Alter with pride and just how lovingly they served for him and my mother that day.

I want to remember how the older grandsons were pallbearers for my father and how James and William read the readings at the Mass with such dignity and respect.

I want to remember how each one of the grandchildren put a rose in a basket on the Alter by my father’s casket and how significant that act of love was for both my parents.

There is nothing more important then family… The final act was perfect and honored them both in such a way I never dreamed possible.

I want to remember, Jen’s eulogy and how she started it off with ….”Uncle Bill, you can not drive.” And how Jen’s tribute to my father left everyone with a smile on their face……Just remembering.
I want to remember the day of the wake: When we were trying to get the house ready for all the guest…..Jen was there working, helping us get ready. She told me she needed to run to the store and she needed me to show her how to get there. I want to remember how I really didn’t want to go but she insisted. After all, as she said, she lives in California now and she could get terribly lost…. She said it was very important that I go with her…to show her the way.

In reality it was important to me. She knew I was becoming over whelmed and had to get out. Our ((or at least my)) spirits were lifted as she filled 2 great big carts and baskets with mums, pumpkins, candles, flowers, and a wreath. After the shopping we were off to McDonald’s for a nice FAT comfort meal that we both seemed to enjoy all to much. Jen said she wanted to get all those things to bring happiness and color back into my parent’s home…… and that is exactly what she did.

On the way home that day I realized she had a GPS in her car and I thought she lied….. But I am so glad she did……She knew I needed to get out more then she needed me to show her the way. I remember saying to her….”Thank you for making it sound important that I come….I needed this.” I think she said; I know.

I want to remember how Aunt Ann sang and just how beautiful her voice and the songs we picked were that day. My father loved her voice and to have her come down and sing would have been such and honor for him. I want to remember; how her daughter Peggy and Aunt Ann’s husband Paul came down without a single thought. They just came a thousand miles to be with our family. It was all so wonderful.

I want to remember the out-pour of friends and mostly family….how Ann Marie came back down even though she was just here a couple of weeks ago. It was just that important. And how Uncle Bernie and Sue showed up and made us all laugh and feel good about the day.

I want to remember; how my in laws just came and gave and did. My sister in law, Kim, stocked the shelves and refrigerator at my house. She knew shopping was the last thing on my mind. She knew we were mostly out of everything…..The night of the my father’s wake I even came home to a very clean kitchen because of her. She knew walking in the door to a clean kitchen was almost better then a warm hug.
I want to remember how very loving my dear sweet husband has been. How he comforted me and just gave to me when he was hurting too. Mark told me just how much my father meant to him and how grateful he was that when the odds seemed against him my dad was the only one who truly believed in him and gave him a real chance to prove himself in the business world.

I want to remember the food people sent over…..the flowers people gave…and what flowers there were…
I want to remember the friends and family that came and cried and loved us. How my father’s brothers came down without a thought. I want to remember just how Uncle Joe and his wife came back down even though he and Aunt Millie were just here. I want to remember my cousin Lyn and her tears of love. I want to remember Uncle Bob and his wife, Pat, their daughter Patty and her children. I want to remember how both my father’s brothers told stories about their childhood and how the love shined through. Each tale told with devotion, humor, honor and joy. With each Aunt and uncle came their children…. Cousins I hardly knew.

I want to remember Aunt Jean and Aunt Joan came with Kathy and Kristen. I want to remember how my aunts stayed just a few more days in an effort to make this transition just a tinny bit easier for their very good friend our mother.
I want to remember my cousin Judy’s genuine sorrow.
I want to remember how my friend Denise filled the pantry with food and paper products at my mother’s house and how she just thought of everything. I want to remember how my friend Kim just showed up at my parent’s house the morning of the wake and started cleaning bathrooms….How our girl friends from the karate school were just there in my mother’s kitchen after the funeral putting deserts they made on the table, making coffee, feeding my mother, my children, my sisters and me. It was an amazing display of love…..pure affection.

I want to remember the people that came to the wake and how they cried and how we comforted them. I want to remember their true sorrow and how grown men told me through their tears how my father and my mother were better to them then their own parents. I want to remember how many times I heard my father’s favorite saying that night from each one of those men…. Luck only comes to those who work at it.”

I know I will always remember my father and the love he shared because after all ~ my cousin Kathy is just so right when she said;
…….”I always found comfort in knowing my Dad (and Mum) were only as far away as my heart.” “Just listen…you will hear him.”

A Diamond in the Ruff "O"

Ruff-O came to my mom and dad’s house around Halloween last year. She just appeared out of NO where………

Margaret and Reiner said; “Absolutely Not… She is a bad dog and we don’t think she would be good for anything. She should not stay……… at all!”

They where very worried she would hurt one of the children…………Ruffo was worried about being hurt too.

My dad decided right away he like her………He started feeding her cooked ground beef, eggs and milk….He decided she should have a chance. He talked to her……… and they came to an agreement……”If she was good to him and his grand children ~ He would be good to her.”

He asked me to take her to the vet and let him give her a “once over”……….if everything checked out okay…….My dad wanted her to stay.

Dr. Verdin confirmed what some of us already knew………..she was a very sweet dog. He said she will make a wonderful pet…..His advice ~ “If you are good to her, she will be good to you…..” He told me he thought she was an abandoned pup and was just looking for a good home. …….He told me as a pit bull she would set ground rules for the other dogs in the area and then she should settle down…..He told me how the Pit Bull has a very unfair reputation…….they are the gentlest of dogs “IF” people just give them a chance and treat them well.

……….She had her home………….


My father had his first dog ever………that was just his and not one of his kids.

…… Elizabeth named her…………..”Ruffo

Things where a “little” ((okay)) VERY rocky in the beginning……..like with the neighbors…….she would chase the cat, beat up the dogs next door, chase the bike riders that rode past the house, chase walkers, runners and anything she saw that came with in 1000 feet of her new home……….There where many problems! The neighbors next to Margaret’s kept yelling at Reiner, her and their children telling them; “If they didn’t make “her” father do something about that dog they would call the police, call the pound , sue them, and maybe even shoot her.”………The talk for months was how she must go……”She is NO! good………”
………..But, still she stayed…………..some of us liked her and figured she would settle down…….

Then the accident happened………… Some how, Ruffo got locked into the garage and could not get out for more then half a day……..my father searched for her that Friday night and most of the morning Saturday……he couldn’t find her any where and thought she had decided not to stay……… He called her………she didn’t come…..He search and called…..still she did not come……

When he opened the door to the garage, she was so excited about getting out and seeing him she knocked him clear into the air off his feet causing him to hit the ground hard breaking his hip……….((Which is a funny story that I will tell you all about one day.))

Ruffo felt terrible about all of this and really does not like to talk about it much………She stayed with her new master licking his face until she was scolded by him as he laid on the ground and shooed her away……..

Bill III was going to avenge his grandfather just as Rhet Butler did in Gone with the Wind when his daughter fell from her beloved pony and was killed.

Luckily for all of us this was just a fleeting thought of passion and he was quickly discouraged.

It has been almost 9 months now that Ruffo has been part of our family and we all marvel at the way she is with each one of the children.

We marvel at the way she is with our parents and how much she loves my father. If she has her choice between hanging out with the kids or being with her master she always sits with him first.

She loves her new family and these days fits in just fine. She does not chase the dogs away anymore but stands furm that “this” is her home. For the most part, she leaves the cat alone. She does not give the people on the street a second thought ……..She gets very excited when we come over “to see her”…..She plays with the children wonderfully and always gently…….She is afraid of thunder storms and runs into the house for protection. She always seems to have a smile on her face and seems very happy with her life. She listens best to”her’ new mom ……….When I am leaving she tries to get into my car and loves to go for a ride…..She always shows us how to get down the drive way. She pouts when she is scolded but will come out for forgiveness.. …..and a dogie cookie

She knows she is safe…..and has become quite the little jewel ~ A diamond in the Ruff – O”

((and she is quite the drum set to boot.))

SNOW! Southern Style!

Yay! SNOW!
Wonderful Snow!

Stephen is caught in the first Snow ball fight of the season.

We where having a great time……..
The power went out!
We didn’t have electricity all through the night.
It got cold!
Really cold!
Not cool……well, too COLD!!
TREES came crashing down and the wind made terrible howling sounds.
I was a very worried about what the morning would bring.

It brought…….


With the power back on and with a good cup of coffee……
the snow was a welcoming sight.

A beautiful! SIGHT!

We had so much snow Alex and Brian had to crawl to make it home!!


Alex made it,

with a little help from his friend.

On our end

Kathryn knows people too!

And so does Mary Elizabeth.

Natasha was not amuzed.
She had enough!
After all,
she is a Southern Bell.
Today the snow is, for the most part, gone.
The roads are clear and we are back to school.
it sure was nice to have a day of fun, snow and electricity!