Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Hedge Riding Safety Tips: Staying Safe Outside Our Realm

Hedge Riding Safety Tips: Staying Safe Outside Our Realm

Following basic etiquette and preparation matters will keep you pretty darn safe in the Otherworld. Most of the safety issues you may face in the Otherworld are easily preventable by following the tips outlined in previous posts. However, there are more things you can do here on our plane as well as in the Otherworld to ensure your safety.

Protecting Yourself

This was posted in a prior post, but I felt it was important to include it again here.

Prior to hedge riding, it is important to make sure you are properly protected, and I don't necessarily mean through circle casting. I have never in my entire magical life cast a complete circle. It just isn't my thing. I prefer to let my energy flow freely, but I understand the importance of circle casting and the benefits of doing so. I, however, choose a different method to concentrate my energies and keep myself protected. As you will be traveling to the Otherworld, where there are both positive and negative entities, it is important to take proper precautions. You don't jump into the car for a road trip without making sure to buckle up first! Apply the same logic to hedge riding. While I have had only one negative encounter, it is better to be safe than sorry.

There are several ways you can protect yourself prior to entering the Otherworld. My preferred way is to envision myself surrounded by golden light. This is a technique I actually learned from Silver Ravenwolf years ago. I know, I know, the dreaded Silver Ravenwolf. However, this particular method of protection always stuck with me and she wasn't even mentioning it as a means of protection. In fact, she was using it as a way to cleanse yourself, but when I tried it, I felt it act exactly as she described a magical circle, so I decided because I could easily summon this "shield" and felt more comfortable with it, I would use it instead of the proverbial circle. I just can't wrap my mind around casting a circle up against a wall, but that's just me. Anyway! This golden light can stick to your skin, or be envisioned as an oval or egg-shaped shield around you. If you prefer, cast that magical circle.

In addition to visualizing a protective shield, you can carry a protective amulet or hold a crystal. Great protective crystals for hedge riding include my all-time favorite black tourmaline which protects against negative energies, especially those at a lower frequency; labradorite, which guards against psychic attacks and fixations; staurolite, which protects against unwanted spirits and attachments; and finally spirit quartz or just plain clear quartz, which both increase your natural defenses.

However, the best form of protection in the Otherworld is your animal guide. We will talk more about meeting your animal guide and developing a relationship with them later, but having them with you at all times in the spirit world if a must. They will inherently keep you safe and defend you no matter what the cost.

Other Methods of Protection

There are a number of other safety measures you can take both here and in the Otherworld to ensure a safe journey that I have not mentioned in previous posts. These include:

  1. Wand: You can place a wand, natural or not, on your lap prior to travel and summon it to the Otherworld if you encounter any negative spirits. If you have a Harry Potter wand from Universal (Ash anyone?) feel free to use that. I know some witches may scoff at the use of a "fake" plastic wand, but I am here to tell you, to any HP fan, that plastic wand holds some truly powerful magic, a magic that is hard to come by elsewhere. If you come across a negative spirit or feel uncomfortable, summon your wand to you by envisioning it. Then tap the spirit and say "be gone." Be firm and do not be afraid. Telling a spirit to go away will make it go away and it should stay away. On rare occasions, the spirit may return. If it does, end your journey.
  2. Besome: Also known as a Witch's Broom, the besome is a fantastic partner for any hedgewitch. In the Wiccan tradition, besomes are often placed at the door when a door is cut in a magic circle to protect the entryway. Sit a besome near you prior to hedge riding and summon it should you need it. Sweep away the negative spirit and will it away, just as you did with the wand.
  3. Iron: If you encounter fairies or other spirits "allergic" to iron, use it to will them away. Iron burns fae and will keep them from bothering you. You can place an iron nail in your hedge riding sachet or wear it around your neck as a protective necklace. I've been known to carry a cast iron frying pan with me when I hedge ride. Thanks Tangled for the wonderful idea. It's pretty darn effective and easy for me to get. Haha!
  4. Rowan: Rowan is the preferred tree of hedgewitches, which is unfortunate because it doesn't grow in warm climates like those found in Georgia. However, if you live up North, enjoy the heck of out it for me. Rowan is an extremely protective plant and can be used to will away and banish spirits from bothering you in the Otherworld. Feel free to wear it as a crown or fashion a wand of rowan. Rowan also increases spirit communication and can make travel to the Otherworld easier.
  5. Red Witch's Cord: Tie a red string, yarn, or ribbon around your finger. When you enter the Otherworld, make sure it is also attached to you there that way you can find your way back to our realm should you get lost. Think of it like a trail of breadcrumbs, but without the risk of it being eaten. This is sympathetic magic, as what you do in our realm affects what is done in the spirit realm.
  6. Safe Word: Develop a safeword that will pull you and your soul immediately back to our realm. This can be something simple like "return" or a full incantation. Completely up to you, but make sure it is something you can remember.
  7. Sigils: Draw a protection sigil on your body in ash or anointing oil to protect your body while your spirit travels freely. This will not only prevent another entity from possessing your body but will also help your spirit find its way home. You can find some examples in my post, Sigils for Hedge Riding.

Other Quick Safety Tips

  • Don't travel when ill, tired, or stressed.
  • Set a time limit, especially when you are just starting out. 
  • If you are new, have someone to "spot" you to help bring you back at the end of your journey.
  • Trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
  • Always travel with your animal guides.
  • Be respectful to all you meet there.
  • Don't go anywhere alone with strangers, even if they promise candy and kittens.
  • Trust few. Make spirits work for your trust, just as you have to work for theirs.
  • Use common sense.
  • Properly prepare, set a purpose for the journey, and ask your guides to meet you on the other side.
  • Don't stress. Hedge riding is exhilarating and fun. Enjoy yourself.

Interest in the rest of the series? Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Hedge Riding Series

Looking for more information on hedge witches? Check out my posts on the topic:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Magical Properties of Elder

Magical Properties of Elder

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Inviting Fairies to Your Garden

Inviting Fairies to Your Garden

Fairies. How has it taken me this long to cover these amazing magical beings? As a hedgewitch, working with the spirits of the land is just one of the many things I do, and fairies are a pretty important one. I'm not going to go into too much detail about fairies in this post, but if you are interested in learning more about fairies, please refer to W. Y. Evans-Wentz's book The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. This amazing piece of literature is just one of several texts on which Traditional Witchcraft, including hedgewitchery, is based and is a must read if you wish to work with fairies or even understand the history of witchcraft and folk magic. But I digress! Today we are going to look at how you can invite fairies into your garden to help it grow and add a bit more magic to it.

Grow Specific Flowers

There are several ways you can attract fairies to your garden. They are pretty picky creatures, so making them happy is the key to keeping them in your garden once you have invited them. First, make sure you have the flowers they love. Anything bell-shaped will attract fairies to your garden, as well as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Not sure what to include? Try adding these plants to your garden:
  • Lamb's ear
  • Yarrow
  • Coneflower
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Lilac
  • Morning Glory
  • Foxglove
  • Thyme
I planted almost all of these in my garden. I'm only missing coneflower (which I will plant next year) and lilac (which I will likely plant next year too). The best part of these particular plants is they are also ones you will often use in magical workings, recipes, and herbal remedies. Foxglove and morning glory are toxic, so don't use those, but the others are safe!

Set up a Fairy Altar

Have all the flowers but want something more? Try setting up an altar specifically for fairies and make regular offerings. You can include a fairy statue, tea lights, electric fairy lights, and crystals such as quartz, rose quartz, or moonstone on a flat rock or surface in your garden. Once your altar is set up, be sure to leave offerings on the altar or in small walnut shells. Offerings include:
  • cream or milk
  • beer
  • wine
  • cider
  • honey
  • nuts
  • chocolate
  • flowers (see above)
  • shiny objects like coins and jewelry

Fairy Invitation Ritual

If you want to specifically invite fairies into your garden, try the following ritual.

What You'll Need
  • flowers (see above)
  • white candle
  • the offering of quartz and cream/whole milk

What to Do
This ritual is best performed around Beltane or Midsummer but can be performed any time of the year your garden is blooming. Begin by setting your flowers, candle, and offerings on your garden or fairy altar. Light the candle and say,

"Fair fairies from near and far,
I invite you to dance in my yard.
Please stay awhile,
And brighten my garden with your smiles.
Bless these herbs and flowers,
And fill them with magical powers.
Use your magic to help them grow,
By the light of the moon's glow.
Accept these giftes I give to thee,
By my will, so mote it be."
Once you are finished, spend time with your altar until the candle burns low. Try and sense the fairies you have invited. You may feel the hair on your arms stand up or as if something is playing with your hair or ear. Leave the offerings on the altar overnight. Do not consume any of the food offerings you leave for the fairies. It is considered rude and disrespectful. Also, don't expect the offering to disappear. Fairies consume the astral or spiritual essence of the offering. Leave the quartz on the altar indefinitely.

Remember to record the ritual in your BOS or on your ritual log worksheet.

Why You Did It
This spell, as mentioned, is best performed on or around Beltane or Midsummer. The reason for this is because these are two times when the veil for fairies is thin and therefore they are most likely to come out and be willing to take up residence in your garden. However, fairies can be called upon any time of the year, so feel free to use it whenever you get the change.

The candle helps to focus your spell and gives the fairies a light to use to guide them to your garden. Your candle will burn in this realm and the Otherworld, acting as a beacon to draw the fairies to you.

Fairies don't like to be thanked, but they love to be shown respect in the form of food and shiny objects. Milk, cream, beer, or any of the other food offerings mentioned above are fairy favorites. Including such an offering in our ritual will likely attract fairies to your garden and act as a thank you without you verbally thanking them. You want to make sure the fairies are happy, otherwise, they are prone to cause mischief. The flowers are used for the same reason.

Word of Caution

Fairies are fickle and mischievous. Upsetting them can result in problems for you and anyone who steps foot on your property. Do not use pesticides in your garden. This will scare them off and keep them from coming back. Be good to the environment and animals. Fairies are creatures of the Earth; if you disrespect Her, fairies won't come to your garden, no matter how much milk and honey you offer them.

If the fairies become unruly or you wish them to leave, tell them to. Cleanse your garden and home and tell the fairies you no longer need their assistance. If they still will not leave, try placing iron in your garden and around your home. Iron burns fairies so it's a great deterrent.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

As I mentioned in my Graden Bless Ritual post, I have been working on putting in a garden since March. This has been a long time coming and I am proud to unveil what I have done so far. This is by no means the completion of my gardening tasks but is a huge step in the right direction. I still have plans to redo the planter around my mailbox, put in a large vegetable garden, plant some fruit trees and blueberry bushes, and rework both the side yards, but those are all things that will begin taking shape this fall when some of the plants die back and I can easily dig them up.

Anyway, let's take a look at what this witch as done thus far. Unfortunately, I don't have a true before picture because my butt forgot to take one, but here is what the yard looked liked when I moved in. Under the front windows was heavily overgrown. I mean, the weeds were starting to reach the roof...yeah...I'm lazy, what of it? At least its cleaned up now!

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

The bushes along the front of the house had huge stumps, some of them 2-3 feet across. My dad and I tried to pull them out with a truck, but it ended up snapping the cable they were rooted so deeply. Ultimately my dad and boyfriend used a saws-all and a pick ax to cut the stumps out. Once they were removed, we set to tilling the yard. Thank goodness I didn't do that part because it was a beast. Once the ground was ready, I began planting tons of different flowers and herbs. You'll notice I didn't go for a bunch of bushes, other than hydrangeas. I didn't want to have to cut back bushes with a trimmer or worry about large stumps again. Plus, I wanted flowers, lots and lots of flowers, that would grow and fill in all the empty space in the yard. This year it looks rather "sparse," but next year it should fill in nicely. So let's take a look at what I planted!

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

So you can see I completely ripped out all the previous bushes, plants, and grass, and replaced it with flowers covered with black mulch with brick edging. I can't wait for it to fill in, especially along the front of the house. Under each window is a hydrangea bush accompanied by a dwarf hollyhock. The hydrangeas up front aren't doing too well. I think they end up getting too much sun, despite the front of the house being in the shade in the afternoon. If they continue to do poorly I will move them to the side of the house that is mostly shade and replace them with limelight hydrangeas that LOVE the sun. Everything else, however, is doing awesome.

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018
A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

A Hedgewitch's Garden: 2018

So what all did I plant? Well, here is a short list of some of the plants in my yard currently:
  • Limelight hydrangeas 
  • Goldstum Black-Eyed Susan
  • Red Fox Veronica
  • Pomegranate Yarrow + Moonshine (Yellow) Yarrow
  • Marigolds (which will be replaced by Coneflowers next year)
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Black and Blue Salvia
  • Eden Roses (my favorite)
  • Purpleleaf Sage +  East Fireland Sage
  • Guardian Blue Larkspur
  • Camelot Rose Foxglove
  • Dwarf Lilac Hollyhock
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Painted Hostas
  • Rainforest Sunrise Hostas
  • Blue and Pink Hydrangeas
  • Begonias (mixed)
  • Morning Glory
  • Torenia, Blue Daze Evolvulus, Pink Phlox, Butter Daisies, Sweet Potato Vine, Creeping Jenny, White Petunias
  • And some assorted iris varieties my mother gave me. I'm not sure what they are yet.
So far I would say a pretty successful garden! I'm not going to go into detail in this post about the witchy reasons behind some of the plants I planted. There are just too many. However, some of these plants I planted simply because I thought they were pretty and they are great for pollinators. Not everything in a witch's garden needs to be used in some spell or ritual. Sometimes the best magic is keeping local bees, butterflies, and birds fed throughout the year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

Garden Blessing Ritual

Garden Blessing Ritual

Since March, I have been working on changing the landscape in my yard. While I'm not yet finished (I own over an acre), I have managed to put a large dent in the front yard around the house. I still have a lot of work left to do, but it is coming along. Before I reveal what I have done thus far, I would like to share my garden blessing with you.

This particular blessing is designed to do two things: 1) bless the garden so that it flourishes and 2) to establish a garden guardian. Garden guardians will help protect your garden from just about everything, including pests, but that doesn't mean you don't need to take the proper precautions to avoid an infestation.

Garden Blessing Ritual


What You'll Need

  • Incense (blessing, purification, or cleansing incense will work great)
  • 1 tea light or small candle
  • 4 quartz crystals
  • Representations of the elements: carnelian (fire), star anise (air), shell (water), flower/herb/leaf (earth)
  • Red wine or juice
  • Statue of Garden Guardian 
  • Matches/lighter 
  • Flat rock, tray, or another flat surface to place your tools on


What to Do

During the Full Moon, gather your supplies and head out to your garden. Find a quiet place to perform your ritual where you will not be disturbed. Set up your miniature altar on the flat surface of your choice as shown below.

Garden Blessing Ritual

Light the incense and walk around your garden three times. As you do so, visualize your garden healthy and flourishing. If you want, say your desire out loud as you walk about. Once you are done, return to your altar and light the candle. Then say,
"I call on Gaia and the spirits of the Earth,
To assist me now with my garden's birth.
By the powers of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air,
Combine our magics to undertake this garden's care.
I ask you to make this garden sacred space,
With your help, I bless this place.
Whether sun, rain, or snow
This garden of mine will flourish and grow.
Through winter, spring, summer, and fall,
Bless each flower, one and all."
Pour the red wine or juice over your garden guardian and say,
"With this wine I offer my thanks,
For blessing my garden and this place.
You are now the guardian of my garden,
Protect it faithfully until pardoned."
When you are finished, let the candle burn out while you meditate on the garden growing nice and lush. If you are short on time, meditate for 5 minutes and snuff out the candle.

Garden Blessing Ritual

Why You Did It

Why was this ritual set up the way it was? This is something new I decided to do for each of my spells and rituals posted on this blog because I felt a lot of times we find a spell online and go through the motions without really understanding why it was done the way it was.

First, why the full moon? The full moon is a great time for blessings, which is what this ritual is, makes sense to use it to aid in your magic. Furthermore, when the moon is at its fullest, its magic is more powerful, and thus increases the potency of your own magic.

Next, the incense, if you used one that is for blessing, cleansing, or purification, was to clear the space to unwanted energies and help get you in the mindset for working the spell. As you walked around the garden three times, three being represented of birth, life, and death all things your garden will have, you visualized the garden growing healthy and lush. These visualizations set your intention for the ritual to come, infuses your magic into your garden, and empowers your garden.

Garden Blessing Ritual

So why the altar set up? The candle helps to focus your spell intentions and gives reverence to Gaia, our Mother Earth, that you are asking to assist in your garden blessing. The element representations call forth the power of the elements and their spirits to also aid in your garden's growth. You will need earth, water, air, and fire for your garden to be healthy. The earth provides a place for your plants to take root and with the nutrients they need to grow strong and lush; water provides them with support so they can grow tall and is required to make food; air provides the plant with oxygen and carbon dioxide so it can carry out basic cellular processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration; and fire, in the form of the sun, provides your plants with an energy source so they can grow and reproduce. The quartz crystals amplify your magical workings, enhancing the spell's power.

Gaia was chosen as the archetype or goddess for this ritual because she is Mother Earth. What better deity to call upon for a garden than our own Earth? I believe the words spoken in this ritual are fairly straightforward. We called upon aid, asked for them to bless the garden, infused the garden with our own magic, and asked that until we release the spell, their help is needed.

Red wine or juice was chosen for this ritual to represent blood, which is representative of life. When you pour the red wine over the garden guardian, you are giving it life to protect your garden. If you don't have red wine or juice on hand, you can use water, which is also a life giver. When choosing your garden guardian, pick something that speaks to you. As you can see from my ritual I chose a fox as my garden guardian. Surprise, surprise right? Because the fox is one of my animal guides, and the animal that speaks to me the most, I felt it was the perfect guardian for my garden. Other options could be a gnome, fairy, or human statue. Whatever you choose, make sure when you are done you place the guardian someplace where it can easily watch over your garden for you.

Garden Blessing Ritual

Looking to break this spell? Thank your garden guardian for protecting your garden and say they are released from their duty. Pretty simple!

Remember to record your spell in your BOS or on your very own spell/ritual log worksheet.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Magical Properties of Rowan

Magical Properties of Rowan

Note: Rowan is THE tree of hedgewitches, helping to open the gateway for spirit communication.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Magical Finds from My Grandmother's

The second week of June, my mother and I went to Michigan to clean out my grandmother's house in preparation to sell it. Not to worry; my grandmother is still alive, but can no longer live on her own without around-the-clock care. Her dementia is getting worse every day and living alone, 13 hours away just wasn't working for our family any longer. In April, my mother and I moved my grandmother into an assisted living facility here in Georgia, closer to both of us. In fact, the facility is just 2.4 miles from where I work! It's a wonderful place but costs more money than my grandmother makes each month, so selling the house is important.

As we cleaned, we divided up her belongings between my mother, my aunt, and me. I have to say, I didn't realize how much JUNK was in the house until we started going through everything, but I did find some really amazing trinkets and a whole lot of folk magic infused into everything my grandmother did. When my grandmother was young, she converted to Lutheran, thus my mom and aunt and later me were all raised Lutheran. No one in my family is particularly religious, and obviously, I didn't remain a Christian, but I do recall it used to mean something to my grandmother. That's why when I began to find magical items around the house I was taken aback. In fact, my mother had to explain certain things my grandmother did because I had never seen or heard of some of the folk magic my grandmother clearly practiced despite her faith.

My mom and I went through an entire house that my grandmother had lived in for 60 years in just a couple of days. It was a lot of work, but interesting and fun all the same. I brought home some sentimental items I wanted to remember my grandmother by and a number of powerful magical items I found in her belongings. I wanted to share some of these amazing finds and a bit of the folk magic I found in my grandmother's house.

Magical Finds from My Grandmother's

Magical Finds

The first item I knew I had to have was a small silver box my grandmother kept potpourri in. This item was on a bookshelf in her living room and despite its inoquous nature, the moment I picked it up, I knew it was special. I plan to use it, along with a small jewelry box I found, as a charging box for some of my magical supplies, especially my crystals. Speaking of the small jewelry box, my mother found it tucked away in a closet filled with sewing supplies. There is nothing particularly magical about the box, but I knew I could put it to good use.

Magical Finds from My Grandmother's: Charging Chests

Also on the bookshelf was a delightful little book called Nine Witch Tales. The book is from 1968 and is full of folklore stories regarding witches. From what I have read thus far, most of the tales are retellings of fairy folklore from W.Y. Evans-Wentz's book The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. I am always amazed at how much his 500-page manuscript influenced modern fairytales and witchcraft.

Magical Finds from My Grandmother's: Nine Witch Tales

The next item I threw in my slowly growing collection to bring home was a jar full of sweetgum seed pods, affectionately referred to as Witch Burrs. My mom is convinced my grandmother collected them in Georgia and placed them on a shelf above her kitchen table, but I am not so certain. Either way, when I first picked up the jar I laughed and sat it with the rest of the jars we were putting in the yard sale. As I took more items off the shelf, something kept tugging at me, pulling my attention back to the jar. I finally stopped what I was doing, picked up the jar, and listened. It was vibrating with very intense magic. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but whatever my grandmother did, it works. I know, wherever she picked up the seed pods, she did so with love and fond memories. This jar may be the most magical item I brought home with me. I'm not really sure what I am going to do with it, but I know it wanted me to bring it home. It called loudly, and I listened.

Magical Finds from My Grandmother's: Witch Burrs

As we were clearing out rooms and closets, my mom and I found a number of crystals and stones all over the place. Some were sitting on random shelves, others were tucked into drawers, in boxes, or on windowsills. Its obvious from the collection I came home with my grandmother preferred amethyst and tiger's eye, which isn't surprising if you know her. Amethyst is a calming stone while tiger's eye gives courage and strength; these are traits my grandmother has always needed, especially after my grandfather died when my mom was a teenager. My grandmother has spent 30+ years alone; she never remarried or dated after my grandfather died. I don't want to get into her entire life history, but between my grandfather's excessive drinking and his early death, peace and strength were the two things she needed most. Apart from amethyst and tiger's eye, she also had a number of agates and carnelians. Carnelian is also representative of strength, again something she needed.

The last item I am happy to share with you guys was a horseshoe. This is probably one of the most well-known forms of folk magic around. Horseshoes are a symbol of luck and protection. When hung in the home, they prevent negative entities and energy from entering the house, thus protecting those inside. Furthermore, horseshoes are a symbol of luck, bringing their owner good fortune.

Folk Magic

I mentioned that despite my grandmother being Lutheran, she practiced folk magic, whether she realized it or not. The horseshoe, for example, was hung above a door frame in the basement to prevent negativity and bring the owner good luck.

On window sills, my grandmother placed a number of crystals, probably because she liked them, but many of the ones I found on the sills are also protective stones, such as carnelian and iron ore.

Above a window is where I found the jar of Witch Burrs, another protection symbol used to ward off evil and negativity.

One of the most curious pieces of folk magic I discovered was pennies left in empty purses. As I was cleaning them out to put out in the garage sale, I kept finding a penny in EVERY SINGLE empty purse my grandmother owned. When I asked my mom about the pennies, she told me it was good luck to leave a penny in a purse, that carrying it meant that you should also be prosperous and your "purse" never empty. To empty the purses of the pennies was bad luck, which could be transferred to the next owner. This was completely new to me. I made sure I put the pennies back and apologized for their removal.

Overall, I ended up with some fantastic little trinkets and learned a lot about my grandmother and my family tree. Thankfully my grandmother kept everything, especially sentimental items, which means my mom and I found tons of records, pictures, and letters from family members long since passed. I'll be sad to see my mom's childhood home sell and be removed from the family; it is especially hard on my mother who has a pair of handprints in the garage floor from when they laid the original foundation and memories in every inch of the house. I know, however, that the home is aching for the sound of children again and desperately wishes to be loved and cared for like it was before my grandmother could no longer keep up with it. I know it will go to the right people, who will make the house whole again.