Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I need an extra day in the week just for reading

51. The Death Cure by James Dashner (book 3 in the Maze Runner series). The conclusion to the Maze Runner series was good, definitely better than book 2. I still wasn't digging the zombie aspect to it; I just feel like that's in there to participate in the zombie fad.

52. The Kill Order by James Dashner (prequel to the Maze Runner series). This was decent and answered a lot of questions about how everything started. Lots of action, not a lot of real story, and surprises that pretty much everyone could have seen coming. Still, I did enjoy it for the most part.

53. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. TC and I read this together and really enjoyed it.

54. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling.

55. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I had mixed feelings about this one. I've never seen the movie but I think you can guess the gist of the plot based on the trailers. It had parts that were beautifully written, and heartbreaking elements that really moved me. But there would be random vulgar and unnecessary language that ruined it. And dang the author likes to write LISTS, which is super annoying. Some of the things the characters do are truly terrible, but are treated as morally neutral, or at least are never discussed. I did like the ending.

56. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. Just started this one, mostly because Robert Galbraith is actually JK Rowling. We'll see how it goes....

Friday, October 23, 2015

All the Books

So my last book post was #29 for 2015 so I have some massive catching up to do. That sounds like a boring read, so I'll give a quick list and perhaps some sarcastic remarks? Yes.

30. Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Sometimes laugh out loud funny, other times vulgar and not funny at all. Some good life advice, some interesting stories, but definitely unorganized and all over the place which led to boredom on my part. Was glad when it was over.

31. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (yes, I have read these books 417 times, I like to read before I fall asleep if you didn't already know, and I need books that I've already read or I will stay up reading all night. whatever.)

32. The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless. I never read Into The Wild but I did see the movie. This follow-up is a heartbreaking but excellent read. There was way more to the story about how truly awful the parents were.

33. Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince (my favorite of the series)

34. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt VOnnegut. People rave about this book, and I get that it's a classic, but honestly I didn't like it much. Very weird, quite gruesome.

35. Dogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods. I picked this up at the library at random, apparently it's the 12th book in a series. I enjoyed it very much, easy and fun romantic read without being trashy. Her backstory exposition is a style I don't care for, but overall I liked it.

36. Coming Home by Karen Kingsbury. Perfect people, perfect lives. Yes, they make mistakes and face trials, but the overall air is they are the best at what they do, whatever that field may be. It's just silly. For this particular book, it's all that plus the most gut-wrenching storyline ever. You just about want to hang yourself before you get to the end, which takes forever because KK does not know when to END a story.

37. Misery by Stephen King. If you're familiar with King then you know he swears a decent amount in his books, but generally it's not excessive and fits the story/characters. Otherwise an excellent book, truly disturbing and a scary, great read.

38. A Seaside Christmas by Sherryl Woods.

39. Postcards from the Past by Marcia Willett. A bit dry and slow, but good story line and character development.

40. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

41. A.D. 30: A Novel by Ted Dekker. Overall I really enjoyed it, great story of redemption, etc. I didn't love some of the excessive stream-of-consciousness parts, where she goes on and on about her feelings, etc. I was disappointed that they left a character unresolved, but I guess we'll find out in the sequel that came out this month.

42. The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan. Good storyline but be prepared to feel like you're reading a cookbook a lot of the time. Maybe you like that, what do I know? I found the multiple characters confusing and often had to backtrack to figure out who I was reading about when the author used pronouns instead of names. Not a ton of bad language, but the F word several times in inner monologues.

43. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets and 44. the Prison of Azkaban

45.  The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Fantastic book! Excited to read the rest of the series and the prequel. I found it a stressful read and had a hard time keeping my eyes from skipping ahead since there were constant reveals and lots of action.

46. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, book 2). I was disappointed in this book. It felt draggy and I found myself skimming, in addition to hating the zombie-esque stuff.

47. Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Ph. D. Barry M. PRizant. A fantastic book, very encouraging and helpful, like nothing else I've read about autism.

48. Lead Me, Holy Spirit: Longing to Hear the Voice of God by Stormie Omartian. Great book, I truly enjoyed it and took many notes. A word of caution, however, that there were at least three times that she stated something as fact that were either a stretch or did not line up with scripture. Still, I felt I learned a lot from it.

49. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

50. Harry Potter and the Never Ending Dishes in the Sink. I'm kidding, wasn't sure who would have read this far....

50. For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker. Charming and at times very funny. More enjoyable if you remember that she is a blogger, not an evangelist or pastor.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The New Diagnosis

Many of you know that last winter we had a QEEG done on E. I didn't post the results because I wasn't ready to talk to everyone about it, and also because as E gets older, I want to respect his privacy on social media. However, I try to keep my friend list limited to people that I actually am friends with & want in my life (and not many outsiders read my blog), and as I've joined new Facebook groups & become more involved in a new community, it has become obvious enough that I've gotten several private messages asking me about it. Additionally, if we want to encourage acceptance and understanding, we can't exactly hide in the dark.

E has Asperger's Syndrome. Yes, he still has Attention Deficit. He is also profoundly Dysgraphic. As hard as it was to hear this news, T & I have always suspected that he might be on the Spectrum. We are in the process of seeking new educational assistance for him and appreciate your prayers about this process. Please pray for E too; middle school is hard for everyone. For E it has been a bit brutal.

You can Google Asperger's and you'll find good info about what it is or look back at some of my recent posts about it. What Tom and I want you to know most though, is that E is still E, an amazing kid, incredibly bright, with heart and feelings and the same need for love and acceptance as anyone else. Talking to him and relating to him may seem complicated or intimidating but I promise you that you will love him if you get to know him. He loves insects and Minecraft and Percy Jackson books. He loses himself in video games after a long day at school where he must keep his anxiety & behavior in check. He doesn't like to make eye contact with people he doesn't know. He doesn't like very loud noises. He struggles with organization. He has one friend, a boy he met at our church, who also has Asperger's. E is a smart alec and annoys his sister who yells at him but also would do anything to protect him. He will spend hours putting together a complicated Lego set but usually only for display, not play. He is a black belt in mixed martial arts. He likes fishing and jumping on the trampoline.

Many people celebrate Autism Awareness Month, putting up blue lights and wearing t-shirts with puzzle pieces on them. Awareness of Autism is never a bad thing. But it can't stop there. E had an incident with a classmate last year that occurred mostly because this other student was annoyed and didn't understand that he was just trying to talk to him. I later told the guidance counselor that I knew the student would be disciplined for what he did, but that his punishment didn't interest me. I would much rather the student be educated about Asperger's so that he can have more patience in the future, or at the very least just leave E alone. Tell your kids that if another kid is strange or says the wrong things or seems clueless about social cues, that kid isn't trying to be annoying, he might just be different and that's ok.

I need to say one more thing. Over the years T and I have gotten lots of advice, suggestions, and understanding. Family & friends have loved us, loved E, and prayed for us as we strove to raise our wild child. We are so grateful for this; we are just so thankful for family and friends who love us well. We're happy to answer questions and talk about our experiences in order to educate or encourage others. Unfortunately there have been some along the way who have said things that were at the least not helpful and at the most/worst, very painful. If you have been one of those people and you're realizing it now, please know that it was forgiven a long time ago and we hold no grudges. But I think I need to make it clear that going forward, I'm just not having it. Unless you are E's therapist, case worker, guidance counselor, special education director, instructional assistant or God, then we do not need your input. We already have an entire team of people and unless you have a neuro-atypical child then you cannot truly understand or offer advice. What we need, what we've always needed, is love, prayer, & support. From our hearts, THANK YOU for giving us that.