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Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

RunawayBunnyThis is going to be a quickie — in the wake of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d draw people’s attention to an “oldie-but-goodie” by Margaret Wise Brown: The 1942 picture book “The Runaway Bunny.”

Mothers, take time to read this to your kids.  Afterwards, you can tell them, “That’s how much I love you.”

Basically, the book deals with a mother rabbit’s assurance to her young son that she would pursue him lovingly if he ever ran away, and that no matter what he did to get away from her, she would always set out to find him.

While reading this book, I thought to myself: “Yes — this is precisely how mothers reflect the love of God.”

For God lovingly pursues us even when we run away from Him:

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3: 8-9)

Photo from Wikipedia

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“Rain Man” is a great movie, and there are a number of other artistic works — some good, some not so good — that offer insight into autism from both the “normal” perspective and that of the autistic person.

But I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t close out Autism Awareness Month (it’s still April 30th as I type this, despite what the heading says) with my own thoughts on the autism phenomenon, having studied it in an academic context as well as having professional and personal experience with it.

Autistic-boy-sleeping

One thing I’ve heard people say is that autistic children have no love in them (or some variation of that).  Well, that’s not necessarily true.

We have to keep in mind that such judgments are born of our own perspectives, rather than from the very perspectives that give rise to these apparently “unloving” behaviors.

Imagine you are autistic.  Your senses are all thrown off.  Some are too strong, others not strong enough.  The sound of a door closing lightly is like a bludgeon being rammed right into your eardrums.  Shirts that most people would normally wear feel like porcupine quills against your skin.  A simple hug can make you feel like you are being enveloped by a bed of nails.

Or, think of the social aspects of autism.  By way of introduction, let’s state the obvious: A construction worker would not be comfortable if one day he were suddenly forced to work in an accounting firm; a preschool teacher would be thrown off if she found herself working in a maximum security prison; a surgeon going into the kitchen at an upscale restaurant would find himself similarly baffled.

You might have the same feeling as an autistic person in a standard social situation.  Your brain is wired a little differently, so you are coming into these situations from a completely different vantage point.  Social situations are therefore scary, their rules and nuances strange and unfamiliar.

All human beings have an innate desire for closeness, for interaction…and the autistic child is no exception.  But keep in mind that social interaction — to say nothing of love — always involves a certain degree of risk.  It requires us to go out of ourselves in order to meet the other, and at the same time it demands that we have sufficient confidence in ourselves to make that leap.

Autistic children don’t know how to form that kind of relationship, and I think that has much to do with the fact that they have all they can do just to feel safe and make sense of their day-to-day world.

So what do we do?

autism

Above all, I think we need to approach autism in a spirit of openness.  We should pay attention to autistic people and get to know them.  What makes them tick?  What do they respond well to?  What makes them anxious, afraid, angry, or otherwise agitated?  What do they seem to want?

The same holds true for autistic people as for any other human being: If we can find a way to connect with them on their level, we can make progress (though we have to keep in mind that “progress” might mean something different from what we expect — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

Ian's WalkIf you are looking for some illustration of how this might play out, I would highly recommend “Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism,” a picture book by Laurie Lears.  This is a great story about a young girl who draws closer to her autistic brother by learning to see the world as he does.

I hope these reflections are helpful.  I am by no means an expert on autism, but hopefully my $0.02 have meant something to somebody.

Photos from Wikipedia

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I haven’t given a link to Catholic blogger Brandon Vogt’s “Weekly Giveaways” in a long time.  This is his latest free offer.  For more information and to enter to win, go to http://brandonvogt.com/heaven-earth-giveaway/

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Christopher_West

Here is the official promo video for the new book “Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing” by Christopher West:

This is one of the items blogger Brandon Vogt is putting up for grabs as part of this week’s “Weekly Giveaway.”  For those of you who do not know anything about Brandon or his Weekly Giveaways, here is Brandon’s own explanation:

Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached.

Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out past giveaways here.

The winner will be randomly selected next Friday and the giveaway item will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.

In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.

(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)

For more information and to enter to win, go to http://www.brandonvogt.com/hearts.

Image from http://www.brandonvogt.com

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Weekly Giveaway

Brandon Vogt, of http://www.brandonvogt.com, is offering four great items as part of his “Weekly Giveaway.”

For those of you who didn’t see my post a couple weeks ago (sorry I missed last week — got caught up in the “Wolves and Whales” post), Brandon has accumulated a large store of books and other resources over the years, and he gives away at least one item for free each week, no strings attached.

As I’ve said before, this is just in case anyone is interested.  If you’re Catholic, you will likely find these to be very helpful resources in your spiritual life.  If not, you might still find them inspiring, educational, and interesting — and free stuff never hurts!

Here’s more from Brandon’s blog:

I’m using Rafflecopter to help with the giveaway, which is cool because it gives you multiple entries for commenting, posting on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc.

The winner will be randomly selected next Friday and the giveaway item will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.

In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.

(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)

The four items being given away are as follows:

“The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton,” by Dale Ahlquist

Chesterton
“The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction about Catholicism,” by Dr. Christopher Kaczor

Seven Big Myths

“Advent at Ephesus” (CD), by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles

Advent at EphesusGoBible Traveler Catholic Edition

GoBible

For more information and to enter to win, copy and paste this link: http://www.brandonvogt.com/giveaway-1207

Top image from http://www.brandonvogt.com; the remaining images are from http://www.amazon.com.

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I am a big fan of Brandon Vogt, a popular Catholic blogger, writer, speaker, and advocate for use of the new media.  Every Friday, he holds a “Weekly Giveaway” on his blog.  I can do no better than to share his description:

“Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached.

“Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out past giveaways here.

I’m using Rafflecopter to help with the giveaway, which is cool because it allows you to gain multiple entries by commenting, posting on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc.”

This week, Brandon is giving away five copies of Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent book, “Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.”  So if you like to read and you like free stuff, go for it!  Catholics and other Christians should find the book to be a a helpful resource.  Others might find it interesting from a world religions perspective.  Either way, you have nothing to lose!

More from Brandon Vogt:

“The five winners will be randomly selected next Friday and the giveaway item will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.

In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.

(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)

Brandon has given me permission to share his Weekly Giveaways on “Into the Dance” every Friday, so stay tuned for future opportunities.

For more information and for directions on how to enter to win, click here.

Photo from http://www.brandonvogt.com

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