an Education

An education is one of the most important things you can do for a child.  With 11 years of homeschooling under my belt which includes: many sleepless nights, days of  tears, and just plan uncertainty from outside pressure getting to us –  “are we doing the right thing?”  “Can I really teach all my children like this? “How will they do in college if they have been sheltered their whole life.” 


On behalf of the home school mother’s of the world. . . I am proud to say my college age son, Matthew, graduated with honers from our community college and now that he is away  at Benedictine – He received all A’s and B’s and has ended the year with  a grade point average of 3.8.

Stephen started the jump start program last quarter. This is duel  credit for high school and college.  He has a 3.0.   

 I can’t tell you how I feel right now but, I can tell all home-school moms this:  WE can SO do this thing! 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ” 

Nelson Mandela 


Little Things Thursday

Oh! Brother!

For brothers these two couldn’t be more different. . .
  To me, this photo tells so much about them.

One brother often reminding the other:  to enjoy life, let his hair down and just have a good time.  And, the other, often reminding his younger brother: to slow down,  to never forget to read the warning signs –  “they are there for a reason” he says and to always remember to prepare for tomorrow.

It is this mother’s wish that they always remain close friends and they never change. They are simply good together.

Until Next time. . . 


  :: ABC
Wednesday ::
Black and White Wednesday with Me as a
:: Black and White Wednesday with like
Christmas every day

Just a Little Something I Forgot

As I was looking through the archives of all my past posts ignoring the laundry and dishes pilling high behind me completely aware of my surroundings, I noticed I had  forgotten about this very important post dated July 21, 2010. 

  See this tractor? 

Well, if I put this post on, I would have told you all about this tractor needing a home or a barn. 

Specifically a POLE barn. I think that simply means a barn with a pole in it.  

But, anyway, the barn was built.  Bill, both Georges and Tommy…built a barn made out of poles that will last well over a 150 years and this barn will hold a tractor. 

If I put this post on, I would have mentioned the intense heat last July. I would have also mentioned how cool the barn was on the inside when the  doors were left wide open. 

I would have told you how the wind would blow through these large doors cooling everything in it’s path. The wind brought everyone much relief. 

I would have told you all about Tommy, my brother’s friend, working on the roof in the 105 degree July heat and how he really just didn’t seem to mind.  I think he was just happy to have work. 

I would have mentioned to you that Matthew 

and Stephen painted this pole barn in the intense July heat.  I would have mentioned how the boys came home dripping in sweat and how exhausted they were, not only from the days work, but from the intense Southern July heat. 

Did I mention the month was July and we live in the South and IT WAS HOT! It was really, really hot! 
But, I didn’t mention any of it at all. The whole event just slipped by me. It wasn’t that I didn’t think any of this was important. I simply forgot to go back to the sight with my camera and get a new picture of the now RED barn.  So how could I have posted? 

And then of course, I didn’t want to hear Matthew say,  “Wow, your finally putting that stuff up?”  Like he just said today.               Stupid Matthew!            

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. 

Me. . . Mothering & A Little Sunday Snapshot

This picture was taken by my sons friend. I’m not sure who took the picture but I just love it!  Stephen had it on his face book page when he showed it to me the other day. 
I just fell in love with it. 
My two boys ~ together, enjoying each others company, smiling and laughing at each other’s jokes. This is the way they usually are. This is the way I hope I will always remember them.
Stephen and Matthew


It warms a mothers heart see this this picture.

OKAY! You cought me!

The truth is, this is the picture that was taken. This is the picture that Stephen had on his facebook page and was on some girls facebook page. As soon as I saw it, I promptly stole the picture by dragging and placed it in my pictures.  I uploaded or it could be down loaded, I don’t know. . .I always get them confused. Anyway, I ran the picture through photo shop.

I croped, brightened, whitened, touched up a little here and there. I placed a little border around the picture that I love and called it a day. . . at the photo shop. After that I ran over to Stephen’s face book page, took off the bad other picture and replaced it with the better edited picture. After all, I read in one of Pioneers Womans posts she just can’t let a picture go without just a little photo shop here or there. 

That’s when my kids started teasing me and calling me a photo snob! 



I’m just a novice playing around with my camera and photo shop. I have NO! idea of what I’m doing. I just like play these things. Besides, as a mother I want my little guys to look as good as they possibly can.

Well? Don’t you honestly think this picture is uhhh much nicer. 


Just look at my them. . .my little boys. . .

I mean, as a mother,  how would you have edited the picture? 

Ni Hao Y'all

My Little Boys

This is a picture of the backs of my “Little Boys” and our Priest, Father Theo.
The backs of Stephen, Matthew and Father Theo…In the cowboy hat.
We were at a church party and Father Theo was teaching the boys my young men how to line dancing.

Every time I see these guys standing with grown men I am in awe and I wonder;

 “When did they get so big?”.
“Where did the time go?”
When I see them from this angle…I think WOW! with a big grin and IT cracks me up every time.

Punkin It’s Black and White Wednesday

Do you remember these?
The pumpkins…not the little girl…I am sure you remember her.  She is the subject of most of my photography. This is mostly because my older children are getting bored with me always “snapping” while I say “wait…I’m not done…one more”.
This is the picture my cousin Anne took the weekend of “the funeral“.
I think Jen bought 17 small pumpkins and 5 large pumpkins that weekend. I remember she told me she bought that many because of  symbolism….One large pumpkin to represent each of my parent’s children and one small pumpkin to represent the grandchildren. 
I can’t remember how many mums she bought that day or even what the significance of the mums were but I know we she bought a load of mums ……maybe it will come back to me one day.
I do remember, I didn’t want to go with her to the store but she insisted. She convinced me she would be dreadfully lost if I didn’t go and she would never find her way back.  
Which was not true…She had a GPS and she lived in the area for years before she moved to California.
I figured out on the way home that day she would have been fine. I was the one who was in danger of being dreadfully lost …and thankfully she was wise enough to see it.  
Jen filled the house with colors of happiness with warm browns, bright oranges and beautiful yellows…. pumpkins, candles and mums in every room. The house looked beautiful that weekend. Just the way our mother and father loved it. 
Back to the reason for the question…..Do you remember these?
When it was time to get rid of all those pumpkins our mother didn’t quite know what to do with them: 
 So these guys
Matthew and Stephen

 took these guys

Brian and Alex
with hammers in hand, along with all the pumpkins out into the field by the compost pile.
They smashed them! 
They had a ball!  hitting them, smashing them, throwing them and watching them explode.   

Then the bees came.

and the compost pile started to flower.
and you know what happened next…
Look Jen!!!
We’re growen punkins BABY!!!
the long road

HONEY IT "BEE" ~ Black and White Wednesday

Oh! I didn’t tell you!

The BEES arrived!
last Saturday
They didn’t have to fly in either…

Rick and the boys drove them in…
 Ruffo was very interested in what was in the box…UNTIL! she found out the hard way. THEY! hurt.
Matthew, Stephen and Rick spent the day last Saturday putting bees into new homes…
 We are so excited!
Our Little Boys have a “HONEY” of a new Hobby.
the long road

And The Beat Goes On

Now that we are back to school…..well mostly, I have 2 high school boys in the house this year and a 7th grade Kathryn. She is taking a high school speech class. The competition for the computer is fierce.

You know who is always last and posting just has to wait.

It is okay though…….I have a lot to do with helping this one or that one research and find what they need for an outside class or research something I am requiring. Even though we are not in a full groove yet ………I still think we just may learn something.

Since Halloween we have been very busy doing this or that, running here or there.

The Halloween party at Bill’s was a success. We didn’t mind the rain that put the bonfire out. All in all the rain was refreshing…There is something comforting getting together huddled in a cozy spot with family for another occasion.

As my mother has said many times these past months

~ “Our Father is always with us……The Beat will go on…..”

Stephanie surprised us with her remarkable cake decorating skills.

And things felt just a little normal… if we pretended …. While we listened to the rain, the Blues being played on the CD player, the voices singing along with Scott, Linda’s oldest son, strumming his guitar in time, Bill and I talked about the terrible loss we both felt. The rain seemed to be making an attempt to wash away some of the pain. Bill and I pretended to be brave for each other. We could feel our father smiling down on us knowing his family was together celebrating the fall, Halloween and letting the children play late into the night.

Sunday morning came all too fast. An early morning Mass and the boys served on the Alter again. An afternoon visit to my mothers turned into an impromptu birthday party for Eva. In good old George fashion he called his mother and said: “Today is Eva’s birthday.” “We are going to be over in about 10 minutes for a party.”

Without much persuading his mother came through once again. With quick phone calls to Margaret and Linda asking them if they knew and could they possibly come by to celebrate Eva’s 9th “surprise on us” birthday party……. after all….This is what we do. We celebrate life….Of course Margaret and Linda came through. Linda is one to have a closet of goodies just for these surprise occasions.

Margaret followed suit and came through with a book and a bracelet she had picked up for a dollar some where. My mother dug through her old pocketbooks and Christmas presents she had forgotten to give years past. I dug through the Goodwill bag I had in the car and luckily came up with a proper gift for a nine year old girl on my own.

As the men talked and laughed in the kitchen that afternoon, the women prepared the meal, set the table, wrapped the gifts and put together a proper party. As I chopped vegetables for the salad I looked out the kitchen window and saw the most important site of the day….

It was James initiating some normalcy with a Fall football game among the younger children in the back yard…and things felt almost whole again if only for a second.

We could feel our father smiling on us…knowing his family was together again celebrating.

My mom was right… The beat will go on.

Monday now and Auntie had a simple surgery performed on her eyes……The result was not so simple as she does not seem to do well with these things. A little TLC was thrown her way and with lots of rest she soon began to recover.

Soon Wednesday would be upon us and Stephen’s Confirmation. Which he was all too ready for. He tried on the shirt I had him measure for and bought only a month ago for my father’s funeral. It was quickly discovered the shirt must have shrunk in the wash…. It was a mad dash back to the store….I took Stephen and the shirt with me. I explained to the man at the store the shirt was too small. I followed the washing direction and it was only a month old.

With another quick measure we soon found the culprit…. Stephen. His arms had grown an inch in just a month. This man told me; I needed to take my little boy over to the big and tall section to find his proper length. Stephen could not have been more delighted to learn he had grown and inch and was now to long for the clothing of average size men.

And the beat goes on.

Wednesday nights confirmation could not have been more beautiful. Our new Bishop came and celebrated the confirmation mass. The family came and once again that day Stephen could not have been more excited. He had prepared a long time for this night. Even though we where short one very important family member we all could feel him there.

A confirmation celebration during the month of All Souls could not have been more fitting for our family.

After the Mass there were pictures and wouldn’t you know I dropped my camera breaking the little clip that holds the batteries in. The only picture I was able to take was one quick test picture before the whole thing died for the night.

There was the confirmation celebration over in the church hall and I met an old friend from the karate school. She told me how sorry she was when she heard about my father through another friend. She knew about his courageous fight from the beginning and thought she would tell me just how terrible she felt that she had not done anything. She had not sent a card, called me or even sent a simple e-mail. She told me over and over again just how bad SHE felt that she just didn’t do anything to say just how very, very sorry she was.

My answer to her was simple: “Don’t feel bad….If you want to send a card, call me or come over that would be greatly appreciated. We ALL still feel just terrible. There is still plenty of time. After all it has only been a month. We are not talking about losing a puppy….This is my father and the loss is so very great. There is still plenty of time if you want to do something for any of us. Once again it would be greatly appreciated.

The night ended and Stephen was so very proud.

Thursday my mother decided she would visit Karen for a couple of days. Off she went to North Carolina and they had a wonderful time.

Saturday night brought a game of tag phone when Margaret was trying to get in touch with me to share a letter written to her from a woman she had met on the Internet. Margaret told me Amy and she became friends through e-mail because of the marathon. Amy had donated money to her through Jenny’s blog. Margaret said they had written e-mails to each other a couple of times and how this wonderful woman was kind enough to send a care package just before the big race.

Margaret was over whelmed with the kindness of Amy and just the thought that she cared enough to write a real letter with her thoughts and show her love was over whelming to all of us.

These are Amy’s words:

I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am by the extraordinary family that you are a part of! From reading Jen’s blog and from reading your sister’s blog too, honestly I am always, every time, finding myself moved in some way. Certainly the warm and beautiful tributes to your Dad’s incredible “life well lived” left me in tears over and over again (because I read them over and over again!). But there are so many delightful and uplifting and meaningful stories about who you all are as a family… I just want to say “thank you” for the example you all set and for the reminder that family is out greatest blessing. How have I learned so much from people I have never met?!?! ………………………….Well just wanted to let you know that your life and your family and your humor and your optimism…. they continue to inspire!

Love, Amy

And once again WE are over whelmed with the kindness of strangers. The people that have poured their love on us has been truly for a lack of a better word…..just simply over whelming.

The Amy’s of the world are the extraordinary ones. We are just a family….trying to get through. I want to say Thank you Amy for being kind and thoughtful enough to carry threw…You truly humble us.

Sunday my mother arrived home safely and a surprise knock came to the door. It was Rebecca, a friend of mine and Margaret’s, with a cake, smiles, warm conversation, hugs and most of all love. She and her teenage daughter had dropped by to check on our mom. She wanted to let my mother know she knew her pain and most of all she was thinking of our mother.

It always amazes Margaret and I when these woman we know and love check on our mom. It is over whelming to think they care about us this much to show their love…..over and over and over again.

And the Beat goes on.

Monday again and Matthew could not be more excited about the lecture he, Stephen and I were going to an hour and a half drive away from our home; Dr. Ron Paul would be speaking at USC in Columbia on The Constitution, Tolerance and the State of the Economic Crises……we feel everyday.

After the lecture Matthew stood in a crowd to meet this man he so admires….I took his picture as Stephen patiently waited off to the side.

After the final Photo we where on our way home for a late night drive.

There was a late dinner and warm conversation with my boys. Matthew told me how excited he was to have finely met Dr. Paul and that The excitement was so much for him he said almost didn’t feel as depressed as he has felt in months. Stephen cracked jokes and we laughed, ate and talked about the lecture.

Matthew said he wished he could share it all with his grandpa and he just knew Grandpa would be as excited as he was. He told me he felt Grandpa would have come to the lecture….If he could have. We talked about the future and things almost felt whole again…if we pretended only for a second.

And the Beat goes on.

Tuesday I get the mail from Monday and an amazing thing happened….I open a card. It reads In Memory of from the American Cancer Society:

In Remembrance of

William Finnell, Sr

A Memorial Gift has been made to

The American Cancer Society.

Our prayer are with you always.

We love you! Karate Girls

And I am truly over whelmed and think boy these woman are amazing. They really do love us and they do pray for us…..We can feel it. How is it we have been so blessed with such wonderful DO-ERS in our lives?

As I prepared for the dinner guest we would be welcoming for the night Ann calls and asks me about a Breast Cancer Walk in Washington DC 2010 that Jen said I was going to do….I give her huuuuh??? What??? As Ann fills me in on the details we laugh and say well let’s look into it. It sounds like it would be fun…….. Jen, Margaret, Karen, Regina? Ohhhh that does sound like a good time…….I tell her Maybe I will be able go….I’ll check it out and let her know.

Father Theo and Mom came for dinner that night. Baked Lasagna and chocolate cake.

The dinner went off wonderfully. As the rain and the wind came down around the house in the woods that Bill built we laughed, enjoyed the great company, ate dinner, shared conversation and talked about father. We talked about how beautiful it was to share the last couple of months with him and truly care for him. We talked about the future……and things almost felt whole again if we pretended….. only for a second.

Today is Wednesday there is an Environmental Lecture the boys need to go to for Debate at Clemson University another hour and a half drive away. Should be interesting.

Ummm ~ Mom was right….The Beat does go on.

“The beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da”