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Friday, February 27, 2015

Flashback 2011-2012 - Our Secret Wedding

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Finding celebrations and parties stressful
*Loneliness or isolation
*Intense loyalty to friends

With Valentine's Day in our recent past, and our third anniversary coming up in April, I thought now might be a good time to share about my relationship to my gentle, faithful, hard-working, Aspie husband James Patrick.

All I really know is what worked for us. Since we are as happily married as can be, and still head-over-heels in love, maybe our story will challenge other young people to look beyond the wedding and prepare for the marriage.

First of all, James and I were both desperate. He had never come even close to having a girlfriend. His romantic imagination had prepared a volume of poetry which spoke directly to my heart.

I, on the other hand, had been involved with three men, but had never gotten the relationship to progress to engagement or even discussion of marriage.

I had high hopes for one of my guy friends to ask me out, but instead when I approached him about starting a relationship, he told me frankly that he was satisfied with our friendship. I was not. I was 27, and I wanted romance - preferably right away!

I had dabbled with online dating sites in the past, and got two short relationships and two guy friends out of my efforts - oh, and a teddy bear and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Yeah.

Then my dreams were dashed by three other guys I liked well enough to marry. (I approached each one and got the answer, "Just friends," from each of them.) So I decided I would try yet another dating site.

As dating sites go, seemed to be as good as any. But it was there I found my man - or rather, he found me. He clicked favorite after reading my profile, I saw that, and favorited him back.

Our relationship went like this:
Emailing. Meeting for the first time the following week, with my parents as chaperones. Holding hands for the first time at his request. Going out to a Christmas play on our second date and getting asked if we were married. Changing our relationship status on Facebook to "In a relationship."

Saying, "I love you," and sharing our first kiss. His writing what I call "a proposal without the punchline" over Facebook chat. His meeting my group of friends from church. Getting engaged on our fifth date - secretly! Picking out our wedding rings. His asking my dad's permission a week later, as my parents had been traveling.

Setting boundaries - We opted for semi-courtship in that we had chaperones around whenever we were indoors, but meanwhile taking long walks and car drives alone together to talk privately and to kiss. Keeping our engagement secret - we did this because: (1) I had chronic pain and fatigue as well as bipolar disorder, and it had been proven that I don't hold up well under stress. (2) James wanted a fast wedding. (3) My parents didn't have much money. So we opted for a simple wedding with only five guests. I wanted to be able to announce to people that I had gotten married, as opposed to telling them I was engaged and they weren't invited to my wedding. The secret worked well!

Picking out an apartment and furniture together, so that James could move closer to me and my family. Taking premarital counseling. Finding a pastor who would agree to perform our ceremony. Relying on my mom for wedding details.

Getting married, five months after the day we met. I wore my mother's wedding gown, and James wore a suit and tie I had picked out. My mother, father, grandmother, and the pastor and his wife were our only guests.

Going straight home instead of on a honeymoon, because: (1) I wanted to feel more in control of the situation, and (2) James had just started a new job and I didn't want him to have to take vacation time right off the bat.

Living happily ever after.

And that is the story of our courtship and wedding. May the King of love reign in our home.

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Psalm 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Finding celebrations and parties stressful
*Boredom with small talk 
*Following scripts when interacting
*Loneliness or isolation

I LOVE this story. I didn't realize at first why I liked it so much. It's because the story is about a young lady, Bernice, who has Asperger's traits and doesn't know it. Back in the 1920s, no one had ever heard of Asperger's syndrome anyway. But the story is about how Bernice comes to grips with her own social awkwardness, and how a little social instruction changes her life and her attitude.

You can listen to the story here: - "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"

"He wondered idly whether she was a poor conversationalist because she got no attention, or got no attention because she was a poor conversationalist."

How this topic applies to Christian Living:

I Corinthians 13:4-5a
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flashback 2014 - Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include: 
*Getting misunderstood
*Honesty and bluntness

My one-year-old daughter lied to me the other day. If she had waited just a while, we could have called it an April Fool's Day joke - but no, this was definitely a lie. I wonder whether she will escape having Asperger's traits at all, considering how highly we Aspies value the truth!

Here's what happened: My baby was bouncing in her play center, in which she normally has a lot of fun. But this time, her babbling turned whiny, so I asked her, "Do you need a diaper change?" and I did the sign language for change.

Baby girl got a little smirk on her face, and did the sign, "change."

So I lifted her out of the bouncy chair and laid her on the changing pad. Lo and behold, her diaper was as dry as could be!

So I'd been bamboozled by a one-year-old who just wanted to get out of her chair. Hmm . . . I wonder if she'll value honesty more later on, like a true Aspie - though it wouldn't hurt us to have a child who is OFF the spectrum among us, since all four of Baby's caregivers have Asperger's traits.

I remember the first lie I told. I was three, and I was left alone in the bathtub for a few minutes. I was interested in the chain that connected to the plug. I grabbed the chain, pretending that the chain was the reins of a horse that I was riding.

All of a sudden, the plug came out, and the water began to go down the drain! I was shocked and flabbergasted, and couldn't imagine what to do next.

My dad came into the bathroom and asked me, "Did you pull out the plug?"

"No, I didn't," I told him.

I think if I had known to say, "Not on purpose," that's what I would have said - because that's definitely what I meant to say.

But to my dad, I was simply lying, and he punished me.

I have always believed my punishment to be too severe - but that is obviously in the past. And I so seldom told lies after that, that the early lesson in "no lying" did the trick.

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Ephesians 4:25
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fans of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Difficulty expressing emotions appropriately
*Difficulty learning to relax

*Too quiet or too talkative

Until I had a baby, I didn't watch children's television (not since I was a child myself, obviously). Now, we watch kids' TV for at least an hour while eating breakfast. The more I watch of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (based off of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood), the more I realize this show is great for Aspie kids!

Each time he doesn't know what to do in a social situation, or when he needs to calm his emotions, Daniel Tiger sings a little slogan taught by his parents or teachers, These little jingles help kids learn how to compromise when friends want to play two different games, or how to get calmer when they are worked up or mad.

These are the kinds of lessons all children need to learn. But since children with Asperger's syndrome don't learn by observation as much as they learn by direct instruction, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is the perfect TV show for Aspie kids.

As the commercial says: "A show about everyone's ups and downs, it will put a smile on your face."

Daniel Tiger Becomes a Boy With Autism’s Guide to Social Life

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.