Friday, May 3, 2013

18 Years

One thing I hate about keeping a journal is that it is hard to know what is truly significant.  What is going to impact your life in the long run?  Is it the events of the day or that stray thought you can't shake?  Maybe it is a daydream that causes you to look at life in a different way, or maybe it is someone you meet, that you don't think you'll ever come across again...

It was the first Friday in May -- a day I had been looking forward to for weeks.  My brother and I loaded Dad's '69 Ford Galaxy with a few belongings and filled it with gas just as the sky was lighting up, then waved goodbye as we pulled out of the drive, for a weekend of fun. 

We were on our way to a camp in Montana, and we had 100 miles to drive before 7 AM, where we would meet up with a group of our friends to complete the journey. 

The first part of the trip was uneventful.  Pulling into the yard of the family who organized this extravaganza, I saw several people were gathered near the gold and white suburban we would be taking the rest of the way.   Sliding to a stop and turning the car off, I stepped out of the car in a cloud of dust, my flag dress wrapping around me in the wind.  Someone from the group yelled, "Hi-Dee-ho," and began running our way waving his hand over his head.  At first I thought I knew who he was, but then I realized that guy didn't wear a white cowboy hat and would never run to meet someone -- he was far too reserved.  As the guy got closer, I realized he was taller than our other friends. 

I was gathering my duffel bag from the trunk when he reached my side, "Hi!  I'm Kevin," he thrust out his hand, "And I am going to be the guys dorm leader this weekend."  Little did I know that I was staring into the eyes of my future husband as I introduced myself. 

* * *

Enough people showed up that morning that we ended up taking two suburbans.  For the first half of the trip we were split up guys and girls -- there being an even number.  The second half, we were split smoking and non-smoking.  Kevin ended up sitting by me and we talked the whole way... I'd never had three hours go so fast. 

We reached the camp a few hours before it was time to sign in, so the gal in charge contacted some friends who lived in the area.  They were finishing up their branding, and invited us to join them.  A few of us jumped at the chance, and were soon in the midst of the activity. 

Caleb asked me to help him get his chaps on, then when I headed for the pen, sneered at me, "You can't brand in a dress!"

"Watch me," I challenged, taping Beth on the arm, jumping the fence and grabbing a calf by the front leg.  She grabbed the back leg and in moments we had the calf stretched out on the ground. 

The guys quickly split into teams, and the competition was on.  An hour later, we were shaking the dust from our boots and heading back to camp.  Beth and I had won, holding down more calves than any other team, and we had managed to do so without getting manure on our clothing.  Take that boys!  Kevin laughed at me as he scraped a cow-pie off his rear and said he couldn't wait to get his pictures developed*...

* * *

That was 18 years ago.  Little did he know that that crazy girl was going to be his wife.  Little did he realize that the weird dress she wore would become one of his favorites...

 Xx  Molly

* My scrap books are currently in boxes, or I would share a photo he took that day... The one above is from the last Fourth of July.

Friday, February 22, 2013

An Interest Guided Education

For several years now, I have wanted to Unschool my children, but was afraid to go forward with it.  What if they only wanted to dig holes or listen to stories?  I could see it working with a house full of girls, like my sisters and I... But boys?  Could it really be done?

For several summers I watched what they chose to do with themselves, and ordered text books, setting up a strict schedule.  This year was no different, and things were going well, but then November came.  They heard of NaNoWriMo and wanted to give it a try.  I agreed to let them.

That was our turning point.  After years of teaching phonics, grammar and spelling, they finally saw a purpose in it.  They were suddenly eager to learn, and no longer dismissed the information as soon as the assignment was done.  More than once I caught them going through their old books for something they should have known... Their story listening turned from pure entertainment to a learning adventure.  They began listening to how stories are told:
  • How action and emotion are portrayed
  • How a story is paced
  • Sentence structure
  • The voice of different characters


Broadening Their Horizons:

Yesterday, Fiver came to me with his math book, asking me to help him with a page that looked interesting to him.  It was beyond his skill level and he had to learn how to write several new numbers, but he did it.  We sat on the kitchen floor (his chosen work surface) and worked through each problem, using blocks to teach the basics of addition.  When I had to get up to make lunch, he continued to work on his own, and showed TheWrangler, who knows his addition, how to do the work... Proving to me that in one lesson he had mastered the basic skills.  Sure, he will be practicing what he learned yesterday for the rest of his life, but he understands how addition works.

Today offered me another example of how this is where we really belong.  For two years I have had Maps & Geography as a subject.  They would do their work with disdain, complaining of how stupid the assignments were... and while I agreed, I thought, "If they don't know the basics, how can they move on?"

While there is some truth in that thought, the basics only take a few moments to teach -- not years of boredom. 

 Mr.Muscles, in the dark clothing, discovered an atlas at the library.  Sure, he had seen them in our house before, but this one was BiG!  It sparked his imagination.  Piqued his curiosity.  Since he couldn't check it out, he spent about an hour on the couch there, studding drawings of the sun and outer space.  We we got home, he continued his study. 

iBoy, the head on the lower edge of the picture, had discovered the National Geographic magazines we have, about two weeks ago.  He quickly showed Mr.Muscles all the maps in the magazines.  Suddenly, they had a common interest, and the others couldn't stand to be left out!

 Learning is contagious.  I remember discovering this while I was in college, but it was a factor I had forgotten.  When someone is passionate, it is hard not to fall in love with their passion.  It is hard not to be inspired.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Mr.Muscles folded his map up and took it to their room, where he spent the next hour looking for more maps.  The other brothers joined in the search, and you know, even as they searched they where educating themselves. 

"Oh!  Look at this alligator!" one would say, showing the picture to those around him, and then continue to teach, by reading the article out loud.  Then another would repeat the process.  They took time to study the pictures together, and if a little ones, who doesn't read yet found something interesting, the others would help out.  Together.  They are learning, and it is of their own initiative.  In a matter of hours, they have absorbed more information than I could impart to them in a month -- even with tests.  And this, they will keep, because it matters to them.

This is the heart of education!

 Xx  Molly

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Last week I made a discovery that has changed my home.  A discovery that I was hesitant to believe at first.  A discovery that I was hesitant to act on.  A discovery that I don't think I could have dreamed up in 1,000 years.

* * * * *

For the past seven years, my home has creaked, groaned, popped, snapped, emitted strange smells, and in general, let me know that we are not alone.  Growing up, I thought all homes did that, but then we moved into this pace, and for the first three years, all was quiet.

* * * * *

It was about 10:30 one evening in the week before TheWrangler was born.  My sister had come up to help out, and we were sitting up chatting, when there was a loud pop from the picture window.  It seemed as though a shaft of light had shot through it and been absorbed by the living room carpet.

"That's weird,"  I stared at the window, wondering what to make of it.  "Nothing like that has ever happened here before."

"Something must be up," she replied, and I agreed, wondering what.

Over the next few weeks pops, groans and snapping sounds became the norm.  My mother came up to join us, after the baby was born, and I figured a house full of people had uncovered things that had lay hidden.

Some of it calmed down after they left and we settled into life, accepting the new noises as a part of everyday life.  Then stranger things began to happen.  Children were tripping over air.  Fights would break out, as someone swore that someone else -- who had been across the room -- had hit them.

I didn't know what to make of these things.  It was early spring and the snow had lost all of its luster.  No one wanted to play outside.  No one wanted to be civil.  Cabin fever... or so I thought, until one afternoon.

I was watching some children drawing at the table.  One little boy had pushed his chair aside and was standing up, concentrating on his project, when suddenly his knees crumpled and his feet flew out from under him, landing him on his back.  It was like he had been hit in the legs with a pole. 

It was at this point that I decided these 'noises' were not acceptable, and began researching their causes.  Most sources said that the noises were caused by excess energy or residual memories.  The smells and other occurrences were linked to entities, which are thought to be linked to the ground and thrive on electricity.  The more people in the house, the greater chance of seeing/hearing something.  Basically, it added up.  But it wasn't things I could live with.

I couldn't stand by and watch the children get hurt.  I talked to a good friend of mine, who isn't squeamish about such things, and she talked to some others.  I took their advice and began implementing it.  It made a difference, one tiny bit at a time... but after several years of working at things and remodeling at least 1/3 of our house, the problem was far from gone.

Discouraged by this, I talked to my friend again.  She said, "I hate to say this, but you have done everything.  If things don't change, I think you should consider moving."

In my heart, I knew she was right.  I had tried everything that was suppose to make a difference.  I didn't want to move.  This house has finally become our home, and there was this nagging feeling: What if it follows us?  What if we do move, but the problems don't stay behind?  And, could I in good conscious, sell the home?

Last week, I was sitting up reading, aggravated that the kids wouldn't stay in bed and go to sleep.  Several times I had hollered for them to get in bed and go to sleep.  This brought a moments silence, but that was all.  I was just about to go down and make them get in bed, when I realized it might not be them...

"MrMuscles!"  I called, knowing he was the most likely to tell all.  "Come here!"

He stumbled up the stairs, "What Mom?"  He looked so tired.

"What's going on down there?"

"What do you mean?  We were sleeping."

"All of you?"

"Yeah.  Or think so.  Everyone was quiet."

"Why didn't anyone respond when I told you all to get back in your beds?"

"I didn't hear you.  When did you holler?"

"Several times over the last half hour."

"But we were sleeping."

"You want to sit down and talk to me?"

"Sure Mom."  He took a seat, and for the next while we talked about this and that.  I continued glancing at my book from time to time, hoping that curiosity would lure any awake boy out of bed.  That I could catch them.  I hear the fireplace making noise -- it sounded like the door had been opened and a log added.  "Giggles must not be sleeping," MrMuscles commented.

I snuck down the stairs, sure I would catch someone, but the room was empty.  The other boys appeared to be asleep.  Returning upstairs, I shook my head, wondering what to do.  Moving seemed like the only option.  Then the idea came:  There were never any noises in this house until your sister came.

What's that got to do with anything?  I questioned.

What if all of this was brought here by her?  What if it has nothing to do with the house?

There was a time when I would have thrown such thoughts out.  I would have utterly rejected them.  But, knowing what I know now about her... dealing with her lies, ridding myself of the misinformation she fed me for years, knowing that she wasn't the friend I believed her to be, I thought, "What if?"  It couldn't hurt to pray.

I interrupted my son's talking, "Give me a moment.  I've got to figure something out."

"Okay," he shrugged, looking at the book in my hands.

"Lord," I prayed, "I don't know what to make of this idea, but I ask You to remove anything in this house that is here because of my sister's influence.  I ask you to remove it completely or send it back to her, which ever is better.  Amen."

I continued to stare at my book for a moment, waiting.  I couldn't hear a single creak.  There was only silence.  Resuming the conversation with my son, I continued to wait.  I wasn't ready to believe anything yet.

After 15 minutes or so, MrMuscles asked, "What did you do?  It is quiet in here."

"I prayed," was the only answer I gave him.

He nodded, "Things are gone.  There is nothing in this room.  I can't feel anything in the house."

I nodded in agreement.  It seemed to good to be true.

About half an hour after I prayed, I felt a presence enter the house.  "Your sister's here," MrMuscles pointed towards the dinning room wall, where the shadow of a woman was clearly visible.

"I know."  I told him.

He looked from me to her shadow, putting two and two together.  "What are you going to do?"

"I don't know."  Again, I began praying, asking for wisdom.

She stalked around the house, looking here and there, then she came near me.  I knew that when she traveled in spirit she often had the ability to read what someone else was reading or writing, so I picked up my phone and wrote her a note, telling her that this was my house and that she had no jurisdiction in it.

I could feel her anger and resentment boiling.  I started to defend myself with words, when I realized there was no need for such.  I didn't need to explain myself to her.  Suddenly I remembered something my son had been telling me before she showed up, "Our cousin says that his mom practices magic.  When she is angry, she can slap him without even being in the same room as him.  I've seen it too.  She knocked him down one time when we were there.  You all were in the house and we were outside, but you could see her, and she hit him.  She slapped me too."  I hadn't known what to make of his words.  Imaginative, or something more?  I know he doesn't like his aunt...

But... if she could hit him, then *pow!*  I sent my fist right through her nose.  For a moment it was like I had hit something solid, then my hand passed through it to the wall behind.

"You got her!" he cheered.

It was true, and best of all, she was gone.

* * * * *

Like I said at the beginning, it has been a week now.  The house is silent, except for the noises we make.  It is peaceful too.  Peaceful everywhere -- not just where we have remodeled.  Furthermore, I haven't smelled anything strange all week.


*Psionicadj. pertaining to the psychic, telepathic, or paranormal, especially related to such phenomena that is under a person's conscious control ( i.e. a psion ).  [Wordnik]

Psionics refers to the practice, study, or psychic ability of using the mind to induce paranormal phenomena. Examples of this includes empathy, telepathy, telekinesis, and other workings of the outside world through the psyche.  [Wikipedia]


 Xx  Molly

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Life has the Hiccups

You know how hard it is to get things done when you have the hiccups?  Every time you think they are gone, your whole body jerks with another one, all thoughts leave -- it is like starting over.  As a kid, I thought this was fun, and never understood why someone would want to get rid of them, but as an adult, I fully understand...  Three of them, and I am holding my breath.

Life has been like the hiccups lately.  Every time I turn around, it is like starting over.  Going back to the beginning.  Making new decisions.  Reviewing the decisions already made and committing to them again.

There is so much I want to say, but I am not sure if now is the time or here is the place.  When I began writing again, I committed to writing about subjects that I am familiar with and want to move forward in.  It seemed really straight forward -- cut and dry, but it is not.  Bear with me as I sort out some of these jolts and take in the newness that they open my eyes to.

 Xx  Molly

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From Dream to Reality

Last night I dreamed that I was watching my son, MrMuscles, spare.  He did well, but he got hit hard in the side.  As we were leaving, one of the leaders said to me, "I think he may have cracked a rib.  You might want to have it checked out."

I watched my son for a moment, then replied, "He looks to be doing fine, but if a rib is cracked, I have some essential oils that will set it and help it to mend."

He nodded and walked away.

That was a little before 5 a.m.  I shook the thoughts from my head and went back to sleep, knowing there wasn't much night left.

This morning, the first words out of my son's mouth were, "Mom, my side really hurts, and there is a bump on this rib."

I examined it, and it certainly didn't look good.  "What happened?"

"I don't know," he shrugged.  "I had a dream that I was fighting this guy and I got punched right there.  It started hurting and hasn't quit since."

I applied the essential oils to his side and kept an eye on him for the next half hour as the rib righted itself.

This isn't the first time he has had a dream materialize.
Daydreams and night time dreams seem to hold an unusual power over him.

One afternoon, during taekwondo, I could see that something had a hold on his mind, though he was diligently trying to pay attention during class and keep up with the training.  Suddenly, it was like he had been hit in the face -- I watched his head fling back, and him fight for control.  His whole body was drenched in sweat, despite the coolness of the room.  Water dripped from his hair as he struggled to be present.  He looked like he was going to be sick.

Later, at home, he confided to me, "During class I had this dream I couldn't shake.  I was in the middle of a battle, fighting this bad guy, and he was getting the better of me, but I still thought I could beat him, but a bomb fell behind him and blew him to smithereens.  I almost fell over from the impact.  In the dream, I did fall over, but managed not to fall down in class."

For the next two weeks he had a low grade headache and would get dizzy if he moved too fast.

* * * * *

C.S. Lewis, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, wrote about an island where all of ones dreams came true.  At first the sailors thought this sounded like a wonderful thing, but then reality sank in and they quickly rowed away. 

I don't know what is going on with my son.  It is something more than an overly active imagination... and he is not the only one who has been 'hit' like this.  He is not the only one who has dreams that seem to hold way too much reality.

It would be nice if we could pick and choose which dreams came true -- or which parts of the dreams materialized.  I know MrMuscles would love to have the gear he was wearing when the explosion took place, but that doesn't seem to be the way it works.

 Xx  Molly