Life of Normal

Two days until five years and I know they count too. 

My girl who loves music up before dawn and off to school.  I hand her breakfast & coffee for the road – thrilled for this role I play.  She’s worked so hard. . . waited so long to be back to this life of normal.

The fisherman and I slide backward it seems but not really . . . only in our minds.

We plug away at each new day, block out noise and know the ships not sinking as fast as before.                                           A sigh of relief. 

We lean into this side of transplant, self employment, joke about keeping eyes forward . . .welcome little arms reaching

text our sons and their beauties, check on homework, medications, blood pressure and such . . . plan for tomorrow, say our prayers, go to bed, reach for each other. . . and do our best to know

“the light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it. John 1:5 




2 days until five years – and God is better to us than we deserve.

early morning eggs crackling

I watch her walk out the the door – breakfast in hand

cool summer days to put that transmission in.

he can do anything

a beat up old truck he says he’d take to California

borrowed wheels

conversations in a barn

photographs showing his life

great school days with her


She knows

Summer days are coming and, we have much work to do for school. 


There is a lot for this girl to catch up on. I tell her when one takes a vacation such as we have you can’t take summers off.  

She knows it’s all okay. She knows the important stuff is done.  She knows the heart beats so well. She knows without the heartbeat. . . we don’t have much.  


1001 Gifts 

409.) sun filtering through trees in early morning light

410.) quite house

411.) time

412.) smiling pooch always happy to me

413.) she thinks I’m funny – always laughing

414.) exam week over for one

415.) completed job done well

416.) another one leaving high school with college credits

An Early Flight

I know this picture is terrible. It’s just not good at all: the lighting, that I couldn’t get right, the angle, even Stephen’s hair is a mess. But, it is my favorite photo of the week. 

 ~ My little boys ~ 
Looking at them makes me happy I held them as much as I did. I believe in waking a sleeping baby just to hold them. After all, they grow up so fast and what’s a few hours of lost sleep when the years just fly bye. 
 Anyway ~ Matthew, Stephen, Liz and I jumped in the car early Tuesday morning,  at 3:45 a.m., to beat it down to Atlanta so these guys could meet an 8 o’clock plane. 
We had to be at the airport by 7. 
Long story short ~ They went to Michigan to an Acton Institute conference for a week long study of religion, liberty and economics. 

It all makes me wonder. . . Who are these kids. . . and how in the world did they  become so fantastic get so boring!!!  


Until Next time. . . 

 Our World Tuesday  ::My 3 Boybarians 

Just Because

 For some reason when I look at this photo it reminds me of  The Great Gatsby.

Maybe it’s her haircut, her short skirt or maybe the exotic animal that give me the Gatsby feel. I don’t know. I just look at this picture and think F. Scott Fitzgerld. MMMM maybe it’s time for another break from all this schooling we are doing. 

Happy Weekend Y’all!!! 


Playing along with NiHoaY’all and the Sunday photo challenge: I took this shot with my camera set on natural with Fuji S1000.  I only cropped this photo and didn’t change anything else about the lighting.  

Ni Hao Yall


Also linking up with ~ Happily Mother After :: Favorite Photo Friday ~ The Paper Mama photo challenge 

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. . .  



Standing Up

It’s been busy here for these two since last Friday. They had to be up at 7:00 a.m  to get to our Friday home school class an hour away.  They work and study all day to get home by 8 p.m..  There is reading, writing,  studying and very little play that happens on Fridays for us. Saturday morning was an other early start. We had to be up before 6 a.m. to get to a debate tournament. That day there were four rounds of debating with this years reform (( should the federal government significantly reform the criminal justice system. )) that lasted all day until 7:00 p.m. that night.  

Sunday morning it was finally time to get ready for the important part of the weekend. The part of the weekend that they had been looking forward to for months. They had to be up at a very early 4:15 a.m. to catch a bus traveling to Washington D.C. to stand up for life

I am told there was a sea of young and old people alike of over 45,000 from all over the world Marching for Life. They told me this was the most awesome thing they have ever been part of. They just couldn’t believe how amazing it all was. 

   When I picked these two up at 2 this morning after a 10 hour bus ride home, one night in a hotel and two days marching in the freezing rain standing up for a cause they believe in these kids were full of energy, excitement and life.  


Life is an opportunitybenefit from it. Life is beautyadmire it. Life is bliss, taste it.Life is a dreamrealize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. 

~ Mother Teresa ~ 

                   :: Our World Tuesday ::   ::My 3 Boybarians ::      ::  Communal Global ::
                               Black and White Wednesday with like Christmas every day:: 

By the Book

I don’t take no stock of dead people. “ 

~ Huckleberry Finn ~  

This must be Kathryn’s favorite quote. She says it everytime I ask, “So, what did you think about what we just read? ” It always makes me laugh.  But, if the truth was told. . . this is the way we spend most of our days:  reading, writing. . . learning about the classics ~ taking stock in dead people. 

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I heart faces 

ABC Wednesday

the "Why"

Through the years of writing this blog I have talked very little about our home school life. Sure I have sprinkled hints of home school here and there; however, I have never really talked about the why. I have received many e-mails and much encouragement from friends outside of this blog saying I should share the why. Just last week I received an e-mail from Brandis, a blogging friend,  asking me if I would do this very thing as a guest host on her blog. Without giving it much thought I dove in. I wrote a post talking about  ” why” we home school. Mainly it’s a post about what brought us to this wonderful life of homeschooling. I shared the post with my son first and then with his approval I sent it off to Brandis. To my surprise this son of mine said, “Mom that was really nice. You should post this on your blog.” 

~So, here it is ~ 

Everyone home schools for a different reason: it maybe family practicality, religious reasons, academic, the list just goes on and on. But, the truth is “why” a family homeschools is very personal.  I have home schooled all our four children for 9 years now. 

I believe in home schooling.  

I believe most families would love homeschooling their children. There is a closeness to home schoolers that just can’t be matched anywhere.  Home schooled kids are not weird. They are not antisocial. They are just normal children. Home schooled kids have to be made to do their homework, made to get up in the morning, made to go to bed at night and for the most part they have to be made to practice their piano just like other kids. 

I was not always a home schooling mom. 

At one time my children went to school. But, I soon realized public school was not the path we needed to take. I had a son that was struggling terribly in first grade. He wanted to read but just couldn’t get it.  Time went by and I talked to the teacher weekly about his struggles. I talked to the teacher about my son’s upset stomach and how sick he felt every morning going to school. It was clear to me, even though I was telling her often this teacher was not aware of my son’s distress. It was clear to me she was not listening. Unbelievably, she was not aware, by any means,  that one of her students was not reading. She told me time and time again my son was fine. But, I knew better. I knew he was struggling and desperate to achieve. 

Then there was the day my phone rang. It was the school principle. He wanted to talk to me about my first grader who had just been caught cheating on a daily spelling test.  I  remember it all like it was yesterday. I went down to the school and learned my young son had spelling tests daily. I learned that the children in this first grade class had 10 minutes in the morning to study 10 new words each day and then they would be tested on them. I learned my little boy kept his new spelling words out on his desk so he could see them while taking the test that day to  finally make a passing grade. He wanted to feel good about himself, if only for a moment. 

My reaction was not at all what was expected by the principle or the teacher. My reaction was not anger towards my son. My anger was directed towards the teacher. My thinking was, and my thinking still is, 6 year olds do not cheat. . . unless they are desperate and he was. 

 That day I learned most of the children didn’t pass these spelling tests. I learned this teacher was trying a new program that was not working for her class but she wanted to stick to it because it was an expensive program. I was appalled the school would let such a thing happen. I was told by the principle not to worry because “next year things would be better“. 

I demanded my son be tested for reading issues. I told the principle my baby had been struggling. I told this man how my son would tell me when he tried to read words would slip off his paper and it all made him sick to his stomach. I told the principle how many times this year I told my son’s teacher about these issues and she told me time and time again my son was fine.  And now, here he was in trouble for cheating and I blamed them. I made it clear that the school was not to punish my son for this act. I would take care of it at home and I did.

As time went on that year the company my husband worked for was closing and moving to China. His job was ending and our young son was still not reading. After months of persistent fighting with our school our little boy was finally tested for his reading issues. The report came back visual perception problems. . .bottom line 


An IEP was set up for this child.  This smart little boy of mine would have to leave his class mates during science and history and go to a remedial reading group to learn the one thing he wanted so badly. This first grader was also required to keep up with the other studies he would be missing to go to the remedial classes. I knew my son was bright. His IQ tests showed me his intelligence was way above average. I already knew this about him. I knew if a 6 year old was going to take apart a VCR and put it back together. . . mostly right. . . he had to be smart. I could not figure out how in the world a school expected a child to keep up with reading subjects when he was struggling so much with reading. When I pressed the school to keep my son out of gym or art I was told this was not allowed by our school district. It was plain to see this plan would cause more frustration for this wonderfully bright, loving child of mine. 

 My husband and I knew if our son was going to achieve we had to help him ourselves. 

~ and so our home school journey had begun ~ 

To much disapproval from everyone around us we took all the kids out of school and started a new year. I learned a lot that first year. Little did I know this thing called dyslexia that  my son had came from his mother. 

I learned Dyslexia runs in families. 

I got mine from my father, he from his mother and so on. I also learned Dyslexia is a gift. It’s a gift that has to be worked around to reach the gift of reading. With a lot of hard work it can be done. But, never the less, this gift of Dyslexia brought us to home schooling and I am so grateful for that. 

I can honestly tell you as a dyslexic home schooling mother of four this is one gift I would never trade for anything.  

Home school is something I know I have to do for my son. I take one year at a time. Not everyday is bliss. There are many days I wonder why am I still doing this thing. And then there are those days that I know why I do this thing. 

It doesn’t happen often but every now and then I will hear a “thank you” from one of my kids. Like the time my oldest said “Thanks Mom.” “Home schooling me was the best thing you could have done for me.”  and that my dear Friends nine years later was my ah ha moment when I knew following my gut and home schooling our children was right. 


Her Hollow Leg

I have come to think of Fridays as a day off for me. A day I take a step back, a step away from our busy school week and rest.  . . well. . . kind of. 

Friday mornings Liz and I drive Kathryn and Stephen to Spartanburg,  a good 50 minutes  from our house to a class. . . a Biology class.  Biology is something I am NOT capable of teaching in this home school life of mine. 

I thank God every Friday all our high school sciences are taught by Dr. Bennett. Who is a college professor at one of the local colleges. He teaches home schooled kids science at a college level. . . every Friday. And I, their teacher, four days a week,  leave two of my babies at this class knowing they are in the best of hand. And most importantly, their high school future looks brighter because of Dr. Bennett.  

Did I say, Thank GOD! I don’t have to teach Biology??? 

Let me hear a Hallelujah! 

Thank You! 


So anyway, My little friend and I drop these guys off for the whole day and we go out to play, get some running around done and do a little school work. 

Our first stop for the day is always, without a doubt, Panera Bread.  My girl likes the cinnamon rolls there. I get a coffee and an apple and we sit and talk, work on her school stuff  and just spend time together not rushing.  

But, here is the funny thing: 

This girl must have a hollow leg. 

Because she eats. . .

the whole DARN thing! 


Black and White Wednesday with like Christmas every day

Wordless Wednesday but with Words