How I (possibly) stopped someone from joining a cult

I have some good news and some not so good news to share.

The good news is that my son had to work later on Easter than I thought he did. He was able to attend church with us Sunday morning. Of course, I didn’t find out about this until after midnight so technically the wee hours of Easter morning. My husband was scheduled to usher Easter morning, so I worked it all out that our son was going to go to church with Arabella and I to surprise his dad.

The not so good news is that my son hates our new church. He is convinced that we joined a cult. What I failed to mention to him is that we went from a Lutheran church to a Non-Denominational church. Big change.

With our new church we didn’t go through the whole process of Lent. In fact, on Maundy Thursday, Arabella and I were at the theater watching the recorded performance of the musical we were in.

I have been a member of the theater group for over 10 years, the longest standing member in the last show. We would typically get together after a show for a viewing. It was usually a celebratory event. We would laugh, have a few drinks, and just have a celebration of a job well done with all of the work that was put into the show.

This viewing was the most morose viewing I have ever been to. It was like attending a wake. The stage manager said that she preferred that it was not a celebratory event, meaning she didn’t want anyone to bring alcohol. I sure could use a drink to see myself as I really am. I brought beer. I had ONE beer at the theater.

I never did do well doing things that everyone else wants me to do. I have a rebellious nature. I am not a follower. I credit that to my childhood. My brother was called a “retard” and people looked down at me no matter what I did or didn’t do because of him. So I learned not to care what people thought of me. Not being a people pleaser is very freeing. You should try it sometime. But I do not win a lot of popularity contests by not being agreeable. But if that is the price I pay, so be it.

Unless there is a valid reason to do something someone else’s way, I do it my way. I don’t trust other people to make my decisions for me. C’mon, I barely trust myself. I feel like I carry a card, the crappy childhood card, which allows me to do anything I want because of it. I have to make up for lost time. I’m not talking about anything immoral or illegal here. I just march to the beat of my own drum and don’t care what other people think.

There is a woman at the theater that doesn’t like me. How do I know this? At the viewing she came into the theater and gave everyone a hug and told them how much she missed them. That is, everyone except me. She did not look my way or say one word to only me. I had problems with her in the previous show. This was the lady that overacted and upstaged me. She annoyed the crap out of me, but I chalked it up to inexperience on her part and let it go.

Then in the last show, I mentioned that I had a problem with a special needs kid being dumped off back stage who needed more help than she was helping. I felt like this woman passively-aggressively attacked me for saying something about it. She doesn’t like me and honestly the feeling is mutual. I am happy the show is over. I wouldn’t have to deal with her drama anymore. I am getting too old for it. Besides, not spending time with difficult people sure makes me like them more.

A few days later, the woman that I don’t like asked on Facebook about Easter egg hunts in the area on Easter Sunday. My new church was having an Easter egg hunt. I toyed with the idea of inviting her to church. I mean, that would be the Christian thing to do. But on the flip side, I also know that she attends another church and I didn’t want her to start attending my church. I decided not to invite her simply because I do not like her.

Apparently though, according to my son, I probably did her a favor by preventing her from possibly joining a cult. You’re welcome!

No need to worry about me. Good luck though to anyone trying to change me and make me conform into a blind follower. I am not cult material. Just ask my husband.

 

Goal 2: Spiritual growth

As I mentioned recently, a few months ago we left our church and started attending a new church. I noticed my ruby ring was stolen the morning I left to go to church right before Christmas. The following Sunday we sang a song stating that God was the God of miracles. I thought in my head, yeah I believe in God, but I don’t believe in miracles anymore. I was seeing more tragedy around me than restoration. Even in my own life recently, a precious gift from my mother was stolen.

We didn’t know who took the ring, we just knew that it was missing. We allowed my son’s friend back into our lives after I got a lock box for the remaining precious gems. We didn’t think it was the friend that took the ring. We honestly thought it was another boy whose mother told me that her son stole from her. This second boy was in our house over the time that the ring went missing along with the first.

We took the first boy back into our house. We told him that we trusted him. But through our misguided trust, I started treating him like he belonged here again. I cooked for him and did his laundry. It was through this act of trust that I discovered my stolen ring in his pocket when I was doing his laundry. A miracle occurred. I never thought I would get my ring back and I never thought I would catch the person who did it.

After talking to my son about the betrayal of his friend, I sent a message to the other boy’s mother telling her that the ring had been found. I couldn’t imagine the agony of thinking that my child victimized another parent, a friend.

A miracle happened, but I no longer believed in miracles. I didn’t trust God. Instead I put my trust in someone that intended to hurt me. How bizarre is that!?

I was betrayed by someone I considered to be a best friend many years ago too. But hey, so was Jesus. Right? I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. If I didn’t trust the boy, I never would’ve gotten my ring back. I learned a lot in the process.

I am a pretty good person. I live with few regrets. I’ve been hurt more than I have hurt others. I’ve even read the Bible from cover to cover, but I’ve never truly trusted God before. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to be in control.

Then yesterday a big miracle occurred. A most precious gem was stolen, a child by the name of Jayme Closs. She is a 13 year old girl in our state of Wisconsin that was kidnapped after her parents were brutally murdered. She was missing for almost 3 months without a trace. Just gone. Yesterday she was found. ALIVE!! What a miracle!

I no longer believed in miracles, but I do now.

Now I have to wonder…What more can God do??

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Aren’t miracles precious and beautiful? Are you looking for a miracle in your life??

Vegas, part 2

I had a lot of time to myself with not a lot planned on this trip…which equates to having a lot of time to overthink and worry.

While I was in paradise, my 3 closest friends were at home suffering. My best friend Cindy was getting attacked for standing up for something she believes in. My friend Lisa lost her child in a car accident while I was gone. My friend Jen has terminal cancer.

It wasn’t as much fun in paradise alone worrying about things I couldn’t control. I’m not used to being alone, but I think I will have to start getting used to it.

I spent time alone at the pool and watched people. I saw the lifeguard pick his nose and riffle through his emergency bag in boredom. Did he think he was invisible?

There was a man who was alone listening to his music on a speaker over the music that was playing getting drunk with a bucket of beer. Out of character, I really liked a song he was playing and approached the man asking what the song was. I didn’t know it would result in a deep conversation about the meaning of life.

Why are you here? Have you ever questioned your existence? Do you believe in God? If God exists, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people? What are your thoughts on other religions? I’m still waiting on a sign that God is here…

It felt good to have a meaningful conversation. I left the pool as the man was ordering another bucket of beer.

I was feeling anxious again. It was all encompassing. I called home and my husband said that he was having a hard time and wished I was home. We just moved and put our old house on the market. Both of my children were leaving that weekend on separate trips. I was not going to be home to help them pack.

My son Alex is going on a music trip touring Europe. He called me that night. He just turned 18 last week and is a smoker. He is planning on taking his vape on the trip. He was worried it would be against the rules and regulations of the trip. I have extreme paranoia that he is going to be kicked off the trip for being a dumb ass. But he is 18 and can legally smoke if he wants to. Then he said when he gets back he is planning on working 3rd shift at the vape shop. My daredevil hell raiser son will be the death of me! I started praying awhile ago that he has a kid just like him someday. I feel bad because he always dates the sweetest girls.

My daughter Arabella is on a church youth group trip out of state. The day the kids left, the youth director resigned. She recently got divorced and moved in with her boyfriend. It is tearing up the church. Some people are taking the stand that it is not Biblical for the youth director to divorce her husband and move in with her boyfriend…others are saying that her private life is her own business.

The youth director made it sound like she was forced to resign. No one asked her to. My friend Cindy was the one that asked if marriage was not sacred in the church anymore. She asked how the youth leader was going to explain her new relationship status to the children she was leading. Cindy never called her to resign. Now everyone is attacking Cindy for questioning. They are calling her judgmental. They are calling her a hypocrite because she is divorced.

What most don’t know about Cindy is that her ex-husband started another family on the side while he was married to her. This is very painful for Cindy because she has children with her ex and wants them to view marriage as sacred with the backing of the church.

Why can’t my life and the lives of my loved ones be worry free???

Next time it will be more about Vegas, I promise..

Moral dilemma 3

We recently found out that our youth director at church moved in with her boyfriend. She divorced her husband a couple of months back and shortly thereafter moved in with her new boyfriend.

This has been tearing the church apart.

There are those that say it doesn’t matter what she does outside of her job. If she leaves, then this group will leave with her. There are others that say they don’t want the moral leader of their children showing them that it is okay to leave your husband and take on with another man. If she doesn’t resign from her position, another group will leave.

I am not judgmental or a prude, but I personally believe that the person who is getting paid with my tithe money should ascribe to the moral teachings of the church.

I personally do not care what two consenting adults decide to do in the bedroom, I don’t. I could care less about the living arrangements of my child’s math teacher. But they better be good at teaching math.

I wouldn’t expect a drug and alcohol counselor to be out getting drunk in the possible presence of clients. There are certain things that are expected when you take on certain job positions.

So the battle begins…the ripping and tearing starts.

I feel so torn. I really like our youth director. She is great with the kids. I even like the guy she is living with more than her husband. But that is beside the point. I can’t make decisions based on feelings.

To make matters worse, our choir director and organist recently resigned from their positions due to an unrelated matter. I have become close to the organist. She has been teaching my son how to play piano the last couple years. My son has always been a difficult teen to raise and she has been a very positive impact in his life. It pains me deeply to see her go.

Maybe it is time to find a new church home. It has gotten to the point where I don’t even want to go to church anymore. I feel so much sorrow over this.

If my children decide they want to be in a relationship, I want them to marry one person and stay married. I don’t want them to be like our youth director…several broken marriages with children from each marriage growing up in broken homes acting like everything is rosy living with a new guy.

Would I still love and accept my children even if they don’t live the life I want for them?? Absolutely, without a doubt!! I made the decision to raise my children Christian. It is not easy and I want a church that will back me up on this. Is that too much to ask?

I am not even opposed to people cohabiting, or am I? Last weekend Angel’s best friend from out of town came home with her live in boyfriend. They wanted to stay at our house for the night. I really struggled with what to do. My daughter Angel is an adult and today my son is an adult. I have a really hard time seeing my adult children and their friends as adults. To complicate things, Angel’s friend also belongs to our church. I told Angel that her friends were welcome to stay but I would be setting up separate sleeping arrangements for them.

Would I respond differently if the adults living together were my age? Would I respond differently if I didn’t still have a child in my house watching every decision I make and using that as a moral compass?

Honestly, I really don’t care what other people decide to do. It is no concern of mine. But if that person is tasked with the paid position of teaching my children Christian morals, I feel really uncomfortable with that person not practicing what they preach.

Is nothing sacred anymore, even within the church??

WARNING: stormy weather ahead

I feel crabby today…Irritated.

I didn’t sleep well last night. My body is sore…achy…from the 18 mile dread mill run.

My husband woke me up early this morning. Wake up! Wake up! You overslept! The kids will be late for school. The kids don’t have school today. Did you look at the calendar? Sorry, I was just worried you overslept. Have you known me to oversleep one day in my life? No, but today could be the first. I was only trying to help. 

I pulled myself out of bed groggily. I wanted to bite someone’s head off, but didn’t. I didn’t sit down to write a rough draft of my blog. I listened to the cat meow for food. He doesn’t start meowing until the minute he hears that I’m up.

Monday…time to pull myself up and head back to work. The weekend went well. I had Friday off and cleaned my house. Arabella threw a party for the kids that were on her team that made it to state. After 5 years of working as a team, this is it. She is done and we are moving. The rest of the afternoon, Arabella and I played games like backgammon.

Saturday it snowed a couple inches and I was forced to run 18 miles on the dread mill at the gym. The roads were surprisingly icy. I felt a lot of anxiety driving. I didn’t feel motivated to run. At random times, I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, but I drank tons of water. I finally stepped off of the treadmill 4 hours after I got on.

My marathon friends told me that I was crazy for running 18 miles on a treadmill. They told me I should do my long run some other day when it was nicer out. But they don’t have jobs. They don’t understand what it is like to only have maybe one day free a week to be able to do a long run. They don’t understand the struggle, the balancing act.

Afterwards, I felt exhausted..nauseous..almost sick. Arabella wanted to play more games, but I was too tired. Paul wanted to watch a movie. It was a good movie, but I fell asleep. I woke up during the ending music. I always wake up at the ending music, but can never stay awake for the movie.

I had to get up Easter morning at 5:45 AM to get ready to sing in the choir. I slept on the couch until my son came home after midnight. He hollered at me saying that he is not a baby and I don’t have to wait up for him anymore. Then he kindly said good night.

I got up early feeling tired. Paul and I sang in the choir for 2 services. Between services there was a potluck. The organist brought styrofoam Christmas cups that we filled with Irish coffee. The sun glistened off the snow on the ground. Was it really Christmas? It must be some April Fool’s Day joke.

Both Easter services were packed. I never understood why churches are packed only on Easter and Christmas. Why bother?? (I am such an all or nothing thinker). But then I remembered that I forced my kids to attend both Easter and Christmas services, but over time have been slack on forcing them to attend as regularly on other Sundays. I want them to go, but they don’t want to. It is always a struggle. Angel is the only one that never complained about having to go to church, but she doesn’t live at home anymore.

After church, we had a small party. My mom, brother Matt, Paul’s step-dad Darryl, my uncle Rick, and son Alex’s girlfriend were in attendance in addition to our family except Angel. We played games and taught Alex’s girlfriend how to play trump card games.

Rick and Darryl lamented over being single while my mom complained about married life. Rick spent the morning in the ER with hives. His lips swelled up and he was having an allergic reaction to something. He showed us his hives which made him look like he was badly beaten. Darryl and Rick spent some time talking about their mysterious rashes. We did mention to Rick that race car wannabe driver Alex could take him back to the ER in a dash if he was feeling worse.

All in all, though, it was a nice relaxing day.

That brings us to today. It is another cold and crappy day in Wisconsin. We have a winter weather warning in place for tomorrow. We are expecting almost a foot of wet, heavy snow. There is no future warm up in sight. We might even break a record low high temperature this week.

These cold dark winter spring days are making me feel crabby!

The thread holding my sanity intact is becoming a bit frayed I’m afraid.

No fires

I worked late Thursday night until 8 PM. If I worked late, I would be able to keep to my running schedule which hasn’t been broken since the stomach flu of May of 2016. It is more important than writing.

Friday morning I ran 12 miles. It was the best run in ages. I didn’t feel any pain or exhaustion. I felt energetic and happy. Things were going good until I realized that I was missing a key ingredient in the dip I was making for the afternoon staff party. I had to make an unexpected trip to the store on the busiest grocery shopping day of the year.

The parking lot to the store was a zoo. Traffic was backed up for a mile away. Not many parking lots spaces were to be had and there weren’t many carts either. Angel was called into work at the store on that day and I was happy to see her busy working while I was there.

We closed the office early on Friday and scheduled an office wide website training and beer sampling party upon the suggestion of our sales guy James. James said that the party was going to be the highlight of his holiday weekend. He is a divorced man and his only son was spending the weekend with his in-laws. I felt bad for him.

We learned a lot about the technical side of our website and it was determined that I was going to help start a blog.

Then Christmas Eve came before I knew it. I realized I had been so busy at work that I forgot to drink out of my special holiday mug this year. I didn’t even wrap gifts until later in the day.

Angel and I sang a duet at church that evening. We were also part of the choir. It was a strange evening. Someone smelled smoke and thought they saw smoke coming out of the church building right before the choir processed in. We discussed briefly how flammable our choir robes are.

Angel and I decided to sing our duet without the security of having the music in front of us. We were nervous as we looked out at the hundreds of people in attendance. Angel was freaking out that she would forget the words. We made a couple of errors. I had to look at all of the people looking at me while I sang. It was nerve wracking. If I had the music, I could stare at that instead of at the eyes on me.

During the service, the other soloist forgot his words. The pastor started the sermon without reading the gospel. Then he lingered for a long time in his robe over the lit candles. We remembered our discussion on how flammable the robes are. The choir was ready to jump on him to put out the flames or interrupt the service to have the pastor move only to find out later that the candles were fake.

We awoke the following morning to a white Christmas. Later in the day, it started to sleet and then rain. I was worried about my son on the road. He made it home safe.

For awhile, Paul was hurt that I didn’t get him a Christmas gift. I felt bad that he felt bad. It was a big misunderstanding. I thought that he said that we should buy ourselves our own gifts. So I bought myself a wet suit on clearance. That probably sounds bad. I bought myself something, but got him nothing. He did buy some ice fishing stuff that I have no clue about.

Arabella, Paul, and I had a relaxing Christmas day together. I stayed in my pajamas all day.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t as exciting as I intended it to be. The church didn’t end up starting on fire. Everything ended up turning out great in the end.

I want to say thanks again for your presence, if you stuck with me this far. Having this blog is a wonderful gift. I am so happy that you are following along on this journey of mine..

 

Easter, turning 40, and candy in the light fixture

Now I officially feel old. This last week my younger brother turned 40. 

I don’t remember feeling old when I turned 40. Maybe it was because I spent the first few waking hours of my 40th birthday in the ER. Having a sick child really took the little joy left out of turning 40. Everyone took turns staying with Arabella so I could have my special day. I felt a little selfish about that. 

I bought a 1970’s vintage outfit that I was going to wear out for my birthday. I had to go all the way to Chicago to find something exciting to do on a Monday night. There is certainly no nightlife around here on a Monday. But with a sick kid and other children that refused to go anywhere with me dressed like that, I wore normal boring clothes. I am such an embarrassment. Seriously, it wasn’t as if I was going to go out wearing my birthday suit.

My friends did take me out a couple of weeks before my birthday. I didn’t feel old. They convinced some people that they were taking me out for my 21st birthday. It was kind of funny when people came up to me and asked me how it felt to finally be old enough to drink. Really? What are you talking about?? Believe me that looking like I was 10 when I was 16 really did pay off later. LOL. 

But now I feel old. I ran 15 miles the day after Matt turned 40. It was really difficult for me to do. My inner voice kept telling me how old I was and doubted I could do anything. Sometimes I want to tell my inner voice to shut up and summon my inner child instead. 

How does Matt feel about turning 40? He feels great! Being autistic, he really has little concept of aging. He is starting to get the tire around his waist like all the older men in my family seem to get. Still he has no worries about his weight. There was a time in his life when we worried. At 5’7″, there was a point where he barely weighed 90 lbs. He was very sick to the point where we thought he would die. So a little gut is not that big of a deal.

 Yesterday the whole family went bowling for Matt’s birthday. Matt loves to bowl so we go every year for his birthday. I really don’t like bowling. I find it boring and I suck at it. Matt loves it though and he even beat my score. We bought him a huge balloon bouquet that was a lot harder to fit into a car than you might think. We almost got it tangled in the ceiling fan when we got to the bowling alley.  

After bowling, we all went out to eat. My dad went somewhere else. I am not sure if that had to do with senility or miscommunication. After supper, everyone wanted to come over to my house for games. My dad started driving home until my mom reminded him he was coming to my house. Then he turned the car around after swearing a bit and came to my house. He dropped off everyone in his vehicle and sat out in the car. 

Today my whole family met up at church for Easter with the exception of my dad. My mom is a devout Christian and my dad is an atheist. No, it doesn’t work well. I was surprised to see my brother Mark in church and dressed up to boot. I thought that the only time that I would see him go to church was on his wedding day. Boy was I wrong. His new wife said that she wasn’t going to church by herself. Now Mark is a church goer. Maybe he thought a little about all the times that my mom went to church alone. I was happy that he went. He always sided with my dad. I was wondering if he would choose to go to church with his wife or stay home with my dad. I was surprised my dad didn’t give him a hard time.

The church was having some issues with its organ. Apparently they asked my dad to come fix it. My dad said that the last time he went to church it was working okay. I said it was true that the organ was working just fine in the 1980’s. I told my dad that it would have been nice if he came to church today with his family to at least view the condition of the organ. Oh well! At least he was wearing clothes today. He wore red plaid pajama bottoms with a Packer shirt. He didn’t match or even shower lately, but at least he wore clothes. Baby steps!

After eating ham at my mom’s, everyone started their journey back home. Mark and Luke live several hours away while I live nearby.  

I had the kids do some work while I hid their Easter candy. Alex is good at finding things. He found his sisters candy before they did. So this year I hid his candy in a very difficult spot. I unscrewed the light fixture, then hid his candy there. Brilliant spot, he did find it though before Arabella found hers.

I hope everyone had a great Easter! 

Surviving the time change

My mom said earlier in the week that the risk of having a stroke or heart attack increases significantly for those 65 and older two days after the time change. My mom said she was planning on having the heart attack and my dad was planning on the stroke. Or maybe it was the other way around. Nevertheless, they survived another time change and it looks like you have too.

Last Sunday, my mom invited my family to her church for a chili meal. Before the meal, we all went to church with her and Matt. We didn’t fit into one pew, so Paul and Alex sat in the pew in front of us. During the prayer time, Matt announced loudly that he needed to use the bathroom. He kept saying it over and over until my mom nodded yes. Then she rolled her eyes and smiled at me. Matt will be Matt. When Matt got back from the bathroom, he sat down next to Paul in the pew ahead of the one that he was previously sitting in. After a few minutes, he looked at Paul and did a double take. He shook his head in shock and disapproval. Then he got up and sat down in his original spot.

After church, we headed to the chili meal. Matt has a special diet, so my mom brought his food to microwave. When she heated up his meal, it blew a fuse and the lights went out along with the power to the slow cookers. Whoops!

I am not crazy about chili. I like the flavor, but it really upsets my stomach sometimes. It didn’t help that on my second spoonful I almost ate some hair that I found in my soup. I did eat it though, albeit rather slowly.

Then we went back to my parents house. My dad was sitting on the couch in his shirt and underwear. He had a blanket slightly draped over his legs. Remember earlier when I said that I don’t embarrass easily? I just had to find a guy that would be able to tolerate my eccentric family. Of course, I was expected to return the favor.

My dad is a hard core pessimist. His common words of wisdom are shit happens and life’s a bitch then you die. Paul’s mom is a hard core optimist. She told the kids that when she retired she would buy them a swimming pool and spend time with them. It doesn’t seem to matter if the cup is half empty or not, neither one of them lives in reality.

My dad does have a few redeeming traits though. He has a great sense of humor which is one of the few traits that he seemed to pass down to me.

My dad was complaining about having a virus on his new laptop. Apparently he received an email from a deceased friend. He had to click on it to see what kind of message was being sent over from the dead. Then my mom clicked on the email too. I said that she probably didn’t even know that the guy was dead. She didn’t.

We spent a lot of time laughing at my dad’s story of his computer virus. He gets so worked up about technology issues. He even called the anti-virus software. They told him that he probably had a virus. He over the top thanked them for being so helpful. We briefly talked about getting together to smash our computers with bats. Now wouldn’t that be a smashing party??

They may have gotten a virus, but at least they survived the time change.

Autism’s sibling, journal 2, part 2

“Did he touch you in a way that made you uncomfortable?”, asked my mom and her friend. “No” I kept replying. Although I do vaguely remember some lingering hugs with a little squeeze to the back side.

Something is wrong with Ann. She is acting weird. She loves Tim more than her parents. She bugs people. She is pretending a lot. She keeps hitting her dolls.

My mom got really close to Ann’s mom. Ann was a precocious 9 year old girl that was homeschooled. They didn’t have a TV in their house. They always wore drab clothes. The women and girls wore skirts or dresses. The women didn’t cut their hair. The girls wore their hair in braids and the women wore their hair up in buns. They were not Amish or Mennonite, their religious sect had an unusual name. Whenever I tried to look them up online, I always ended up on porn sites. I am sure that they do not embrace technology today any more than they did before.

Ann’s parents were really wonderful people. Her dad was very involved and excellent with the homeschooling kids. My mom started getting involved in their church. It really wasn’t like any church that I have ever known. It was a very closed group. You could only go if someone invited you. They would meet in back rooms of the mall that I never knew existed. They met in various towns in various locations. I remember it being a lot of preaching, several hours of sitting in a chair listening. They didn’t have pastors, instead they had brothers that travelled around in groups of two.

We started doing a lot of things with Ann’s family. Two of the “pastors” lived with Ann and her family for a couple months. There was a 28 year old man named Tim and an elderly man named Adolf. We went to their church. We hung out at their house. We also went other places like parks where we went hiking.

To be a part of this group, it was encouraged to take in these “pastors”. My mom had Tim and Adolf spent a few nights at our house. They slept in my bed. It really was a fun time. We didn’t have overnight visitors often. We were starting to spend a lot of time together. They took an interest in my life. Come to think of it, Tim and Adolf were the only adult overnight visitors that I ever remember having at our house when I was a child. Matt scared most people away.

Adolf liked to play the saw. He wanted someone to get him an old rag that he could put on his lap in order to play. My brothers came out with an old pair of my dad’s underwear. Ha ha. What goofs! Then he took the bow from my mom’s violin and played the saw. It made a rather eerie yet beautiful sound. Ann really liked Tim and always sat on his lap or was hanging on him. 

Once when we had homeschooling group at Ann’s house, she took all of the kids into her bedroom. She showed us a drawer that we should never go into. Then she would pop out of the room and come back in to find the boys looking in that drawer. Then she would cry, “Mom, the boys are in my underwear drawer.” She always got everyone in trouble. After awhile her behavior became a little less innocent. She started kissing and touching another 9 year old boy inappropriately.

Ann’s mom had a nervous breakdown. Tim likes Ann too much, but he had to leave.

Tim moved to Missouri to be part of another “church”. He still called me and wrote me letters for awhile. After he left, my mom was not interested in being a part of their church anymore.

Autism’s sibling, journal 2, part 1

Back in the late 1980’s, I was homeschooled for 3 years from 8th through 10th grade. This is a time of my life that I never talk about. There is a gap when I talk about middle school and high school. I don’t fill it in. It was a time of great isolation and introspection. As an introvert, I really didn’t mind. It was just difficult explaining the reason that I was homeschooled.

My autistic brother Matt’s behavior was so violent that they no longer allowed him in school. Instead the school sent a retired school teacher out to the house. He was likely to physically attack someone that tried to force him to learn. It took the patience of a saint to handle that job. Since my mom had to majorly cut back her hours at work, she decided to take my younger brothers out of school and homeschool them as well. My mom gave me a choice because I was older. But I didn’t really feel like I had much of a choice. 

In the late 80’s, a vast majority of the few people that were homeschooling were doing it for religious reasons. My mom joined a group of these women. The kids were all a lot younger than me. My mom signed me up for an accredited correspondence school. When two of my friend’s moms heard that I was leaving school, they dragged their kids out of school for a few months as well.

My friend’s mom cited religious persecution as the reason for pulling her youngest two children out of school. But I never thought that was true. To be honest with you, the kids were just strange. Yes, my friend’s older sister read the Bible over lunch period at school. But she was also the girl that I often saw standing in front of the class room blowing her nose loudly. Then she would stand in front of the class while the teacher was talking and pick her nose for another 10 minutes. It also didn’t help that she had red hair, acne, was overweight, had coke bottle glasses that made her eyes look like pins, and had an obsession with math. Her younger brother had similar social issues. The kids on the school bus took a scissors and cut the shirt off of his back. That was because every time someone said gosh or heck, he told them that they were going to hell. My friend, however, was relatively normal compared to her siblings. 

One time while I was staying at her house, someone drove by at night and threw a bottle through their front window. It is unfortunate how mean kids can be to someone that doesn’t fit in. I felt a little sorry for them yet at the same time felt embarrassed to associate with them. Even though Matt was teased a lot, he didn’t seem to realize it as much as my brothers and I did. My friend and I had having outcast siblings in common. Who knows, maybe they were on the spectrum too.

During this time, my mom spent a lot of time with her new friends. We went to Bible study all the time. When I wasn’t with my friend, she was at church or meetings at someones house which was basically church. We even went to church camp together for two summers. We had to wear pants at all times and weren’t allowed to swim. I had the opportunity to visit my friend while we were in Texas last year. I asked her if she still went to church. She said that she didn’t because she spent enough time there as a child to last her a whole lifetime. 

In the home bound years, my mom actively sought support from her new friends by taking an interest in their church groups. We even were able to be involved with the Amish community. I had the opportunity to go to an Amish wedding. How many people can say that they have done that? I think that at one time my mom was ready to leave the Lutheran church. She probably would have if it wasn’t for Aunt Grace. 

Then something happened to bring it all to a crashing halt.