"May Ree" It’s Black and White Wednesday

She is reading! 

NO! Really!

She IS reading!

It all started one night before her fourth birthday: She said, “What’s that word mommy?” and I said “Mary” and she said Oh!” “Just like my name!” 

She recited all the letters. . . M… A… R… Y  and said Mary.  But, Liz says Mary “May Ree” more like a Southern Bell.
This was one of the reasons McGyver wanted to call her Elizabeth and not May Ree like a true Southerner would say. 
The very next night Liz told me she wanted, “to read all the words that say May Ree in her May Ree book.” so I read the Mary book to her and let her read all the May Ree words.

The very next night she asked “What’s hEs name?” I said, “HEs name is Jeff.” “Oh! J…E…F…F ~ Jeff.” she said.

And, so it began: She started reading and spelling. Yes, and spelling. I now think my four year old daughter just might be a better speller then I am.

She knows how to read and spell:  Mary, Jeff, Mike, ball, home, I, a, bunny, Grace, Nana, Liz, blue, green, red and get this one VELVET. . . I know!

She can even read the word Elizabeth.

I am amazed. Simply amazed.  

Every night now we read different books and she reads all the words she knows. Then she and I will go over her list of words. I’ll ask her how to spell Grace and the other words she knows. She will recite G… R… A… C… E ~ Grace.
When we are done with this exercise ~ I will ask her to pick a new word she likes. By this I mean a word she  wants to learn to read and spell.  We read and spell the word she picked a couple of times and she then grabs her favorite teddy bear and goes to sleep.
In the morning, most of the time, she remembers the new word.

If she doesn’t remember how to spell or read the word I write it on a sticky note and put the word up side-down on her tummy. I then ask her several times during the day “Now how do you spell ‘kitty’ again?” She will look down at her tummy and tell me. 

 By the end of the day she knows her new word.
And always I am JUST amazed. I am simply amazed.

I have never had a child read this early. I have heard they can but.  . . Well. . . never one of mine.

the long road

An August Up Date for "One of my many Cuzzins"

Are you kidding me? It’s September all ready!

The whole month of August seems to be a great big jumble in my mind.

So now what? How do I sort it all out? Where do I start? What do I do?
Should I pick up in September? 
 Do I go back to where I left off?
I think I’ll go back. . . Gee, that really was not as hard as you were making it.
Let’s see where should I start?
The beginning of August. . . Brought us to another birthday. . .  for Anthony.
11 years old
This kid just maybe the easiest kid in the world to please. If he is asked how his birthday went . . He will eagerly reply with a huge grin and even more delight 
“It was the BEST BIRTHDAY ever! “

and we ask
“???EVER???” Better then the last Best Birthday ever?
There is an ever bigger grin accompanied with an even more enthusiastic
and so it was
The Best Birthday Ever!
Of course the usual crowed would never think of missing the “Best Birthday Ever”.

I think these boys can smell cake from miles and miles away!
When “The Amazing Trips and Henry” heard we were hosting the ”Best Birthday Ever” they just couldn’t resist and had to stop by. 
There was Gracie who told me she was the oldest of the children; She said, she was the oldest by at least a year. Strangely enough, she is the baby of the Amazing Trio.
There was Elizabeth who has never seen a camera in her life and just didn’t know what to do.
There was William, who became Mary Elizabeth very good friend.
 Last but not Least, there was Henry….Who does not share his Oh Henry Bars . . .

There was a soccer game and the men were ready to rumble.

The competition was fierce.
In every nook and cranny in the great yard of Graceland there was something going on. 
Ideas and friendships were being formed. 
The celebration was grand.

There was an obstacle course to test the highest skills. 

Testing balance 

And Endurance
The skills were amazing! 


It was Kathryn’s turn.

She got stuck!


Like the good sports they are

the Winners decided to sit on her.


It was time for cake and Gracie decided it would be best to just roll her away. 

There was cake, fireworks, presents and stuFF and that was the end
 of the “Best Birthday Ever” for  2010.
And then it happened

There was a comment  left  by One of many cuzzins!

“And where have you been? What’s going on down there? Let’s go girlie, post an update!

~R :)” 


  ~ Where have I been? ~ 

That’s a good question. . .

Alrighty, here goes. . . You READY?

August was one of those months. . . Those busy months filled with this, that and the other thing! Just one of those “Topsy Turvy” months. You know exactly what I’m talking about. We have all had them. 

To start off with, August is usually the time I get our class room together for school. 

I take all the books we don’t want and put them in a pile. Then I take all the books we do want and put them in a pile AND then. . .  I walk away and I let the pile sit there for days because I think, “Why am I doing this again?”  I also think, Maybe I should just set fire to this room and start over FRESH!

 But, then I think 

No, rebuilding would take to long and the smoke would give me headache.   

I then do the same thing with all our papers from last year: I take EVERYTHING we did,  put them in folders and boxes, I make sure all our important papers are properly recorded  and then  I think. . . WOW! We did a lot of work last year.  I put all this in piles on my desk and then. . . get over whelmed and walk away. 

AND then I think. . . Why am I doing this again? Maybe I should just set fire to this room and start over.

No, that would just be to messy and the smoke would give me a headache.

I still have lots of work to do here. 


Both cars died! 

But, have no fear!  MacGyver ((A.K.A Mark)) laid the healing touch on them. We are back in business! That man can fix anything. I don’t even worry about these things any more. I usually just say, “Oh, you’ll fix it.” and then go about my life. 
That’s when August really happened. People and animals were going down all around me. I spent my days taking care of the injured, wounded and sick.

Kathryn fell down the stairs spraining her ankle badly and “tweaking” the growth plate.  

At the orthopedics office we are waiting forever ~ For a laugh, I whip out my phone and take her picture.
 Kathryn was not amused! 
This fall left her on crutches for more then a week. Today she is walking in a boot and seems to be healing quite nicely. 
But! Wait! I’m not finished.

The very next day I am out running. I am on my fifth mile at a very slow pace. 
I am wondering “Why am I doing this again?” 
I have a little over a mile to go  . . . 
Matthew calls.
I dropped Matthew and Stephen off at 6 A.M. to work up at the vineyards down the street. They were cutting vines preparing for the grape harvest. The phone had one of those panic rings. . . I stopped and answered:  “Hello”  Matthew says “Hi, Mom. What are you doing? I say, “Running.” ” What happened?”

He replies with a cool. . . “How do you know there is something wrong?” I say, “I just do.” “Is Stephen okay?”
“Well, Stephen cut his finger and it’s pretty bad.” I tell him, I will be there as soon as I can. 
I was off!  
I ran home,  ran through the door grabbed the car keys, called Matthew told him I was on my way. Pick up my sons. . . take them to my mothers and miss my father terribly. He was the one who always knew what to do in these situations.  

I make some phone calls . . . Our doctor is not in the office today. (( of course! )) I find out the best place to take Stephen is the new medical center down the street. I am told they could handle all kinds of things. I get there, pay my $75 fee ~ they say they will bill for the rest later. 
We see the doctor: She says, “Oh! I can’t touch this.” and sends us to the emergency room.  
I think. . .  Should I ask for my money back or should I just leave right now for the emergency room? 

I left for the emergency room but I think of my $75.00 often.

At the hospital we are waiting forever. . . I whip out my phone for a laugh and take Stephen’s picture. He tried to smile and didn’t mind very much. He even thought it was a little funny. Five stitches later and lots of care, he is fine and his finger has healed nicely. 

The next week, Matthew started his college classes at the local college and I think I am so glad he is still home. I get him settled in his school life with books and supplies.
Both dogs were sicks and the fun still did not end. 

This guy hit us hard! 


Don’t let that Opie Cunningham face fool you; He packs a mean virus that should be feared far and wide. Rummer has it. . . He even gave his own mother strep throat. His own mother! 

I really shouldn’t say anything. . . because you know, It almost seems like gossip and he is a child and all. . . AND I really don’t like to point fingers  ~ I’m just say’n


So, my Dear Cuzzin. . . Here’s your update. . . Thanks for noticing. . . Thanks for asking.

The Thing I Came to Tell You

You know, I just haven’t had much time to post lately. My kids have been busy with term papers, research papers and more papers.

It seems their teacher has really loaded them down with quite a lot of work to do. And being that we are a little one room, one computer school house…….I have to share.
Mother’s Day was grand….my kids shower me gifts! The boys have been unloading trucks at a nursery and got some great Mother’s Day deals.
It warms a mothers heart to see her kids shopping for a bargain.
But, I have to tell you all about that at another time. I have so much to do today and typically the clock is moving faster then I am.
The news of the week! The the thing I came to tell you.
Yesterday was my mothers birthday. One of the many first we have been through this year…..since….well, you know.
We had a little party. Stephen made dinner and I threw together…….THE CAKE!…….which is always home made and never boxed!
Then we where off to the baseball game.
 It was great!
We all went and really enjoyed the night. However, I do think  Auntie’s Jim enjoyed the night the most…
Do you recognize him?
He is Jimmy Cooney’s little boy…the famous baseball player.
Oh! Now you see it. I just had to give you a little hint………That’s all.

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.

Something Bee-ish

I went running this morning. The circles and arrows are still in the road but the rain is finally fading them. Things have settled down around here finally and people are starting to get back to a normal life.

Shuuuu, that was really creepy!
When I run, I take one of my kids I-pods with me to listen to and check up on the things they are listening to…….Today I took Kathryn’s. She had her favorite songs from the girl bands she likes and some songs Matthew and Stephen like. But, the thing that really stopped me in my tracks was the Catholic Apologists she had on there. I could not help but completely stop, turn around to see who was talking to me and then smile when I realized it was John Martignoni and Catholic Answers.
I wondered….. is that for me?? Or what??
..…I will tell you my kids know much more then I do or ever have about our Catholic faith. They teach me so much every day………Who wouldn’t be happy with this life I lead? There are many shaky moments in this very busy life but, it is good.
Don’t worry ~ my kids do have a sense of normalcy…As I sit and type Kathryn and Stephen are arguing about something silly. Matthew is at his Spanish class and is shall I say….. indignant we can’t have his friend spend the night this weekend because of a debate workshop he really needs to go to…..

He demands to know “WHY!?!”

I really don’t have an answer for him just simply; I think he should go… I think that is good enough. I don’t expect him to be the top debater. I don’t even expect him to come in the top 20. I just think it will help him in ((gulp)) college, which is coming all to fast for me. It seems when you home school you have to prove yourself to the secular world, which makes us work harder. I have to laugh……because it is all good for us.


Why does it seem everything happens at once?
This weekend my cousin and her family, Jen, Charlie and the kids , are coming in from San Diego. They will be staying with Jen’s mother of course and It turns out….Auntie’s neighbor has graciously offered her deceased sister’s condo for Auntie or Jen to stay in while the family is here. This condo is right across the hall from Aunties two bedroom home. How nice of this woman to offer.…
Jim is home with his love, hanging in and progressing after the stroke. Karen, Joey and Anthony are coming down this weekend too and we have a busy weekend planned with dinner with friends, the debate work shop and the boys are digging out a ditch for Grandpa so he can lay pipes from the old well to the pool house.

According to Matthew: “there are black berries to pick for the wine, fields to clear for the grapes, pipes to lay for Grandpa, a Spanish exam to study for and Bees to tend too. He just does not have time for all this….company and worse!! Debate stuff!”

I don’t think I have told you about the Bee’s…

It turns out Stupid Rick is really not that stupid after all. Well, some days…he is really stupid and then some days He is not that stupid . Huuuu? Who knew? I don’t want to give him too much credit!

He is into many things and he is including our sons into his hobbies. I just find this all so amazing. To think, he would want to be bothered with all this teaching he is doing with our sons…..A couple of weeks ago he took Matthew and Stephen to a three day seminar at Clemson University to study Bees.

The boys loved it! They where up before 6 a.m. and out the door by 6:45. The three of them could not wait to get to class. They could not wait to get there hands dirty and into their new projects. It was all so exciting to see.
We are reading and studying Bee books now. I think we will take this opportunity to study Bees as our science this year for Stephen and Kathryn. There is so much to learn when it comes to bees. It is just amazing!

Rick has been kind enough to call the boys when he will be working with the bees and always includes them when he is doing something like; finding the swarm, extracting honey or something Bee-ish.

Maybe, Just Maybe, We are doing a good job

Wow! I can’t believe it has been a whole week since I have written any thing on this blog. You know it seems when life gets busy the things you enjoy are the things you let go first.

Life got in my way:

So anyway, first I would like to say Thank YOU and I love the blog button Sniffles and Smiles has awarded me.

I will wear it proudly and give it a good home. I promise to feed it everyday and teach it not to bark……. You are so good to think of me… Sniffles and Smiles….You have really become a special friend and I just want to thank you properly.



There have been lots of things on my mind this week;

First things first ~ School ~

We have been schooling now for 7 years and this is the first year I have not doubted myself…….as much. Every year I have people ask me if I think it would be best to put the kids back in school and every year we have held our breath and held our feet steady and said;

“No, we are doing a good job and this is best for our family.” Hoping…….. We where right and everything would be okay.

Believe me, when I tell you it has not been easy………”IT” has not been easy! We have home schooled through……….

THREE very long lay offs, under employment, family divorces, accidents, the death of Mark’s father, a baby (Yeah!), cancer, a heart attack, a miscarriage, self employment, dyslexia, bratty kids, defiant kids, stinky kids, great kids, now a toddler and the list of the fun stuff just goes on and on………..My point is in telling you all this is we have stuck to what we thought was best thing for our family even when it was hard.

Choosing to home school is never an easy choice……….. It has been hard to stay focused and keep our eyes on the goals we have set for our family. It is hard to see these goals day after day; It is hard to stay focused through tears, fighting with kids that really don’t care to get school work done or do not believe one day they will grow up and things will be different. They will be the ones that are in charge. They will actually be in college and have jobs one day. It is hard to stay steady through day after day ~ doing school all day, every day…. ((and I mean all day…some days from 8 or 9 in the morning to 10 or 11 at night))…….We have taken away privileges, friends, parties and anything that will help the kids see if math is not done and done neatly……they will not, can not and should not do whatever or anything they want…..If they don’t study for that test they will fail…It has been hard to make kids understand Mom is not mom in the class room. She is the teacher. Do your work!

..It has been hard explaining our position to well wishing friends that are teachers or to people that just think we are making the biggest mistake of our lives.

Through all this Mark and I have stuck to our guns. We have stuck together strong.

For us, Home school has been our only choice……..WE live in South Carolina and let’s face it…..This state is not family friendly. The education level of this state ranks last ~ This is not because we have bad teachers……we have some great teachers in our area…teachers that really care…… I am sure this is due to the funding the schools are NOT getting from the state. The class rooms are over crowded and there is just not enough money to go around. When we realized our children where not getting what they deserved in our schools and we where unable to afford a private education the next best choice was to home school.

At the time we left the school system the company Mark worked at for 20 years was closing it’s doors due to “over sea’s competition” and 9-11…… Since then…It has been a long hard road…..I look at our family now and see……..we have grown and survived so much. Our family is strong…….the education we have given our children has been great for everyone…..even me.


I have a secret about our oldest…. Matthew…that I must tell you about;

He has started the “Jump Start” program at the Technical School in our area. ((“Jump Start” is just what it says…….a “Jump Start” on college.)) He earns high school and college credits…..at the same time… The kids that take these classes have to qualify for these course. To qualify they have to pass the college entrance exam…..which he did……. I am so excited about all this. I can’t help but think things are finally starting to pay off…….all those years of fighting with him to get his work done….all those years of making him go, dragging him, to debate class. All those endless hours, tears and sleepless nights…..We have sat in our class room working…….. is paying off.

I am so excited for him. I can’t help but think this is going to be a great way to ease back into the school setting.

AND you know what?

The best part….

The best part is, the other kids are seeing Matthew’s success and they want it too. They want to start college in high school. They want to qualify……These past two weeks……..when I have been looking for kids to start school……..they have already started……..with out ME……

I am just giddy!!

…Can you believe it? I think I can let my breath out…… just a little this week……because I think….I just think maybe, just maybe I am doing a good job with this teaching thing.

Just maybe I am.

I only have 1 hour

It has been a busy week running here and there and everywhere. There is so much to do with school and all the end of the year “outside” programs that we are involved in.

Debate is ending this weekend………THANK GOD! There is so much to do when it comes to debate. We do it because it is a GREAT class and Matthew learns so much from it. It is a political science, economic, history and debate class rolled into one……There is always a tremendous amount of learning going on for everyone; from the debaters, to the parent judges, and the sibling timers.

It really is amazing. You can’t walk out of one of these debates without saying……..hhhhhuuuuuu…..What did he say?

If you home school get your high school students into one of these classes and make them go. Take them kicking and screaming if you have too. It really is worth it. You will feel dumber then you ever have in your life but I tell you, they will learn so much.This program is called the National Forensic League of Debaters, it is all over the county and a remarkable class.

Next year it is Stephen’s turn to start……I will be dragging, my by then 15 year old 6 ft 4 in., son all the way to get him there, but he will go.

He will be mad as anything. He will fight every Wednesday. I don’t care. I will sit in the class with him if I have too. If there is one thing I am it is determined and tough. (okay that’s two things)………. I believe in this class that much. We will get the job done and he will be the better for it.

Tomorrow we have a big debate tournament……….It will be all day from 8 to 8. And then, I think it is over, for this year. I hope!

I did not come here tonight to talk about debate and school.

I came to talk about working out and feeling frustrated.

I am trying to workout HARD again. Like I use too. I am trying to do a lot of things…….just for an hour. Unless that hour is in the middle of the night, it goes by so fast and it is so hard to get anything done.

You would think all I have to do is get ready and go.

Not so easy! I find getting out and staying focused very hard. There are always obstacles…………such as kids, the phone or people I know stopping to say hello.

I try to get up very early to get a workout in but sometimes Mary Elizabeth is up so much at night I can’t move in the morning. Some nights, I wake up and find her curled up in the middle of my back…..I think how did she get in here? Then I remember…… I let her in……..I know…..but we get so tired. We just roll over, pull her in……and hope for to get back to sleep.

Those are the days I try to fit a workout in after school with the kids or even sometimes at the end of the day.

When this happens:

I have to take my phone in case it rings with work for our business. I have to handle the calls and it does not matter where I am. I have to be ready to take down all the important information needed. I am the secretary in this operation and this is my job.

Working out or not.

Then there is always the friendly neighbor or passer bye that wants to stop me to say, “Hello”. How are you? And “What are you doing out on the road?” “How far do you go?” I tell them, ” I set my timer for an hour……..that is all the time I can give myself.” I want to tell them……..”GEEE?? I really need to get going…..your holding me up…….don’t you see I’m trying to get a workout in? What’s wrong with you?”

Then there are my kids;

I don’t care what time of day it is they want to come………..Yes! It is great! They want to be with me and I am “so happy”. How many 16, 14 and 12 year old kids do you know that want to hang out with their mom? As Liz says “I’m so happy”…….. well……. kind of.

But, not so much when I want to workout.

I have always taken my kids with me any were I go from the time they where very little. When I played at the Karate School, we took classes together. I also helped teach their classes. I was always there with them, they where always there with me.

Now things are different, they are older and we are not at Karate right now. We as a family are running………or trying to run. I try to get the kids out with me and make it a thing we can all do together.

Maybe it is home school……..I don’t know. But sometimes, I just want a little space…..to run and listen to something on an I-pod….(not even mine or my music….. I wouldn’t even know what to listen to if I had my own.) I just want to listen to what my kids have on their I pods and run……..there have been a few times I would come home and tell my son to take this song off and I will ask him, do you really want this in your life?

Stephen goes great guns in the beginning. But, then I find myself slowing “up” to drag him along. I don’t want to do this………I really just want to go.

There is Elizabeth. She wants to run too. When I put her in the stroller she tries to climb out. She wants to walk. She tells me she is big now. She is 2.5. When I have her in the stroller, I worry about cars coming to close to us. I worry about having to get out of the way while the cars go rushing by. Now, I have put her in a back pack………I’m caring 28 pounds on my back just so I can get a decent workout in………..people are telling me……….Oh! you shouldn’t do that……….you will hurt this or that……..But……… If your a mother then you know……these are the things we have to do.

Like today, I got up early to run……..by myself……….my 12 year old heard me up and around. She came down to see what I was up so early to do…..and asked me if I was going running. I told her I was and asked her if she wanted to go. She told me that is why she got up so early.

GRRREAT! I thought.

We started easy. I wanted to keep it kind of light………she is only 12. BUT! I go for one hour and then I come home.

She knows that.

Ten minutes goes by, she says…….”How long has it been? Oh, 10 minutes? It seems longer.” I tell her, we can turn back and I will be happy to let her go in and wait until everyone wakes up but just be quite. Start reading your book for school.

She says “No…..I’ll stay.”

We run some more………..then start walking……….ugggggggg! I only have an hour I think to myself. We run………..she complains about her…..foot, ankle, knee, shins, elbow, nose, finger, eyelashes……we walk…….ugggg! I asked her again……….do you want to turn around and then I can finish myself………NO!

This goes on for the full hour.

I say things like……..are you in pain? NO. Is it an ache? NO. Do we need to go home? NO.


UUUGGGG! I only have an hour to get this done………..

The hour ends………we walk towards the house.

Thinking ~ Boy that was not what I wanted today……we start to go in. As we get to the door She stops me, gives me a hug and says “THANKS MOM, I Really love going running with you.”

GEEEE! Now I feel bad………….It is only an hour………… For her, I should have a life time. I have to learn to stop and realize my time with her is only for a short while and most of all………..It is only a run. .
One day I will have more then an hour to do whatever I want. I must remember not to rush things so much. Take my time and enjoy my hour run with my daughter.

The Concert

One day last month I thought it would be a good idea to put on a concert for the residents at the Magnolia Manor Nursing Home in Spartanburg.

I got the idea only after an illness my father had because of a Chemo treatment.

My daughter, Kathryn, had a recital that my parents had to miss because my father was to sick from the “cure”. After the recital Kathryn called my mom to let her know how she did and that she had missed her nana. My mother as involved as always, asked Kathryn if she would take her harp over to their house and play the songs they could not hear.

With much delight Kathryn obliged her requests……..The next day with the harp in hand Kathryn played for my mom and dad.

As usual, we stayed most of the day and Kathryn practiced much of that time. Even though my dad really didn’t feel well he sat in the room with Kathryn as she softly practiced.

When we talked during the week my father told me how he “thoroughly enjoyed” her playing. He told me, her playing lifted his spirits and it all seemed to help him feel better that weekend.

Without knowing it, my 11 year old daughter gave her grandfather a gift of love.

Even though Kathryn is a novice player, I started to think……………my father is very much a positive person and the music really seemed to help him find strength that day.

I started to wonder, what would it do for someone who does not have the optimistic out look that my father does? I wondered, what would it do for Kathryn? She loves music. She is always playing her harp or the piano. I thought maybe if we look into this she may find this to be something she would like to do as a career……….Music Therapy……..

I e-mailed the other moms in the home school co-op Kathryn belongs too to find out if anyone would be interested in putting on a little concert for the folks in the nursing home we as a group have visited.

There was lot a of interest. The nursing home could not wait for us to come and the children in the co-op could not have been more enthusiastic about it all. All the kids were so delighted to play their instruments.

Some of the kids where excellent and some only pecked at the key boards. But, all the children wanted to share what they knew.
When we first started our concert the hall was mostly empty with only a few residents in the room. One by one men and woman came into the hall. One by one the men and woman sat down and listened. One by one the children became more and more excited andthe “Captive Audience” enjoyed our concert .
When I think back on the experience; I think once again I am the one who received the gift that day. Even though everyone seemed to really love the whole thing, I walked away in ‘awww’ and a full heart.

I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the children and the residents.


I was most impressed with my daughter who, after the concert, went over to talk to a woman and answered the same questions over and over again. This woman was most definitely suffering from Alzheimer’s. She could not remember that she had told us, many times ,about her son who played in a band . She had told us about her husband who died and she told us about her little dog. She told us she did not get many visitors and she really enjoyed it when children came to the home.

She would then tell Kathryn, she had beautiful skin and then ask about her school. The conversation went like this; “Oh yeah, you told me that……..and did I tell you about the time my son played in a band and I really loved the music today………and Kathryn answered and answered and knew………..Even though this lady looked perfectly fine this woman needed a little extra care. Kathryn gave it to her………..I was so impressed with my daughter once again. This experience filled me with pride to see what a wonderful woman Kathryn is growing up to be.

It is funny to me, how I think I am the one that is giving but then for me, the giving always turns to receiving more then I could have imagined.

I guess I am just lucky that way.

Who’s the Teacher?

When you home school something wonderful happens: Your kids get to learn about things they are interested in. AND When you have grandparents that want to encourage their grandchildren every step of the way some thing even more wonderful happens: You get to see real dreams come true. One day last summer my father wanted to put in a little garden, just something small, like a salad garden…………His thoughts where he, as a city boy, could teach the kids a little bit about real country life and they would be able to eat the fruits of their labors.
Win! Win! Everyone loved the idea.
We as a group really do not know much about gardening but we all thought maybe we would get a good summer tomato out of the deal. My boys suggested to their grandfather it might be a good idea to build a shed to hold all the tools they would need for the garden. The shed went up and the tools went in. Through the summer they worked and worked on the garden and the shed. Many fruits and vegetables were eaten. However, that was not the only thing that grew the summer of 2008. Huge things developed from these little ideas……Relationships grew stronger. My son’s got to spend real time with their grandfather learning and building and just dreaming… Matthew started dreaming of a muscadine farm. He started reading and researching and talking to my dad about how wonderful it would be to have a real muscadine vineyard. Like any reasonable person talking to a 16 year old kid would say………. “Sure that sounds like a great idea”…..”Let’s do it!’ Did I say reasonable? I meant crazy man would say………….
They went on field trips to the neighborhood farms. They started to research. They went to a convention out of town. They had the small fruit expert from Clemson University out to the land to give them advice. They held business meetings. THEN They started to clear land.
The kids (I mean we) have learned so much about soil, seeds,wine making, clearing land, driving trucks and tractors.………..We have even learned that scientists are using the seeds in research to try to make diesel fuel and are researching uses for the skins for cancer research. We have learned muscadines are the highest known natural resource for antioxidants and for resveratrol…….. What the heck is resveratrol?? SEE This is why you need kids to study hard to teach you things like…resveratrol……Which is a natural compound found in grape skins that slows aging, prevents cancer and something else. Look it up if you really want to know more. I forget! The kids want to grow muscadines and sell them, make wine and earn money for college…..
When we started home schooling 6 years ago I never imagined where it would take us……… I never imagined these kids could teach and give us all so much.

Not Me! Monday

Let’s Play!

I did not eat raw brownie mix one day last week. I am allergic to the wheat and I know if I have anything tasty like that, I will have cankers. Cankers hurt and they make me miserable! I also care very much about my weight and my body. Most of all, I want to be very healthy.

I did not hang on to the plant that was my sister’s birthday present from the woman in her Co-Op last week. They gave it to me because they knew …I would have rushed it right to her house that very day. I would have never put the plant in my trunk and forgotten about it, immediately. I would not have driven around with it for two 2 days only to have my daughter bring it into the house Sunday night when we had our freezing rain and snow storm. It could have died out there!

Also, I would not have had the same plant sitting in my kitchen window for 3 more days. I would have given it to my sister way before she sent out a thank you e-mail to her friends for her beautiful gift and card…….. That she had………. in her house…. because…….. I gave it, ALL, to her right away……….

I’m just like that………….GOOD, Kind & Thoughtful!

I did not forget about the Mandatory Meeting at Debate club Wednesday afternoon either. I wrote it all down in my date book and I would have looked at my book in the morning and knew that the meeting was for me. I am way too organized to forget something like that. Even if I did forget, when I noticed all the cars in the parking lot, it would have triggered my memory to the very important meeting for the parents that day……….I would never have thought I could have an hour of peace before I willingly and happily went into Judge a debate round that afternoon………… I am much to on the ball for that to happen and never think of myself.

I would have never fallen to sleep reading what Matthew finds a fascinating economics book, that he wants to share with everyone in his life. He is insistent that we all read the book and enjoy it as much as he does……I tell you, I do enjoy it….I do……I do…….I do!

That same day; I would not have been late to a very important play date with my daughter’s friend. After I sent my message about our play time, I would have stayed by the computer to see if the play time was still on. I would have never walked away, sat on the couch and fell to sleep making us an hour and a half late. We love going to play with this friend and my attention span is much better then that. Plus, I am never tired!

Now let me know what you did or did not do.

This blog carnival was created by MckMama. With her encouragement and her blog button, I have decided to play.