Number One: I have written Bible class material that is being used in Churches of Christ all over the nation and in some foreign countries. I’ve also been told some homeschoolers are using it. I enjoy writing and wish I had a lot more time to commit to it. I don’t get paid to do it but it helps me to feel like I am obeying the great commission in a small way. I especially like writing for preschoolers but have written several series for elementary school ages. The material is published by Hanna Publications and is all reproducible and inexpensive.
Number Two: Before I knew Tate had autism, I was afraid of people with disabilities. I would never have approached a person with a disability in hopes of having a conversation. I would have walked out of my way to avoid a person with a disability. Now, I often go out of my way to have interactions with people who have disabilities. This is one of the reasons I believe God blessed me with Tate. I had lived most of my life as a selfish person and I needed to change a lot of things.
Number Three: I cannot recognize the faces of new people I meet until I have seen them several times. Also, when I see people out of the environment that I usually see them in, I have a very hard time placing them. Being a preacher’s wife, I meet a lot of new people so this handicap is huge. I cringe at the thought of how many people I have snubbed over the years, especially the ones that visited our congregation one week and saw me in the grocery store the next. It would seem to the ones that I have accidentally snubbed that I am a very rude person. This inability to recognize people is very frustrating to me and to Shawn. He often has to explain to me who someone is and how I should know them. I have tried very hard to memorize a face when I meet a new person but I just cannot do it. I can sometimes remember a person after only one meeting IF they have something very unusual about themselves (like their size, a different kind of haircut, a tattoo….) So many people look just alike to me. I can sometimes remember a person by their voice before I can recognize their face. I know a lot of people claim to be "bad with faces" but the problem I have is much more than that. Tate struggles with this also and I know it is a characteristic of autism. I have several characteristics of autism, although not enough to have an ASD diagnosis. Relatives of those with autism, often have many of the characteristics of autism.
Number Four: I am a visual thinker. I think in pictures. One of the first books I ever read about autism was written by Temple Grandin, and is called “Thinking In Pictures.” Temple is an adult with autism. She thinks in pictures and likens her thought process to a roll-o-dex or flashes of videotape. I was reading her book and had an “ah ha moment” when I turned to Shawn and told him I thought everyone thought “in pictures.” He had no idea what I was talking about. I have asked many people since then. Apparently, few people think in pictures. Because I am a visual thinker and think it pictures, it is doubly hard for me to understand why I do NOT recognize people’s faces until I have seen them several times.
Number Five: I have trouble following directions unless they are written down. This is related to being a visual thinker. When someone is giving me multi-stepped directions, I stop listening after the first two steps because I know I won’t retain any of it at all if I try. I figure if I tune out everything after the first couple of steps, then I will retain the first two steps at least, and get two steps closer to the goal before I have to ask for directions again. I have a son with Attention Deficit Disorder and this is how he has to operate. My poor kids didn’t stand a chance with genes like mine. Ha!
Number Six: I love my kids and I love spending time with my kids, so-much-so that it is hard for me to let them go to school eight hours a day, nine months of the year. THAT, you may already know. THIS is what I found remarkable: I did not have any problems letting my children leave home for college. I practically celebrated their departure. Well, until this past fall, when I had three leave at the same time and one hadn’t even been home for more than a few days all summer.
Number Seven: The hardest role I’ve ever played is not daughter, sister, wife, employee, friend, mother, or even preacher’s wife. The hardest role I’ve ever played is that of a daughter-in-law. No one could ask for a better mother-in-law and example than I have but being a daughter-in-law and sharing the same man with another woman has been a super-challenging thing for me. I’m really, really bad at it. REALLY bad at it. I cannot think of anything I have ever prayed as much about, worked harder to get better at, or worried as much over. So… I always figured that being a mother-in-law would be equally as challenging for me. It is not. It is very easy for me to share my son with his wife and I’ve come to love my daughter-in-law like she is my own daughter. My son being gone for holidays does not make me the slightest bit jealous or sad. I’m just happy about who he is with. Period. I did not think it would be this easy.
Number Eight: Almost every time I use a sharp knife I injure myself so I don’t keep any sharp knives in the house. People are always telling me that a dull knife is more dangerous, but I have never cut myself with a dull knife. No one else likes my knives but I sure do!
Number Nine: It is totally out of character for me to watch and enjoy scary movies, read scary books, or listen to scary stories. However, my favorite show on television right now is “The Walking Dead.” I wish there was a new episode on every night of the week. I just love it and none of my family can believe it. It is so unlike me. Don’t worry. I am very careful to make sure my little ones do not see it.
Number Ten: I set a goal when I was about eight years old to someday own a pool. My parents did not allow us to participate in public swimming due to modesty issues. We have raised our children with the same rules. The only time I was ever able to swim was at Bible camp where girls and boys swam separately. Two summers ago we bought a thirty-foot, aboveground pool. Of all the physical possessions (material blessings) I have ever been able to enjoy, the pool is probably number one on my list. I even enjoy cleaning it!