“The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life” Book Review

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I wanted to write a short review of a book I picked up at the library recently. I found it in the children’s section, but I truly believe it is an inspirational read that anyone of any age could appreciate. It is called “The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life” and it is written by Kwame Alexander, who happens to be a Newbery Medal-Winning author.

The book is a fairly quick read, with much of the book being simple “rules” for success and inspirational quotes from various athletes. There are a few written chapters interspersed throughout that tell personal inspirational stories about athletes that obviously inspired the author. The one that I found most interesting was the chapter about Wilma Rudolph, the incredible Olympic track champion. I had no idea that Wilma had suffered chronic illnesses throughout her childhood, including polio! A woman that went on to win three gold medals for running in a single Olympics was once a child that had only one working leg and had to wear a metal leg brace for many years!

Stories like these mean a great deal to me as someone who struggles every day with chronic pain and other health issues. It makes me feel like I can still make a difference and chase my dreams, even if there are significant obstacles in my way. Another story in the book that made an impression on me was the one about Venus and Serena Williams and how their father would actually pay other children to yell out rude and demeaning comments to his daughters while they practiced tennis as kids. He knew they would face racism and other forms of hatred and wanted to toughen them up. I’m not sure this is actually a good parenting tip lol, but I guess it seemed to work in the long run for the girls.

There was one quote in the book (by the famous motivational speaker Willie Jolley) I took a real liking to:

“A setback is a setup for a comeback.”

Imagine having that attitude about every challenge we face!

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Baby Doll, Toy, and Book Thrift Store Shopping Haul

This weekend I did some thrift store shopping! I found a few cute outfits for my new reborn doll (whom I decided to name Amelia after a character in a YA book I read recently called “A Tragic Kind of Wonderful”). For about six bucks I got these three outfits for her:

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I also found this cute preemie 3-piece giraffe and elephant set for only $5:

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Lastly, we went to a new bargain used bookstore, which sells bundles of children’s books (around 10 books for $5). Part of the fun of buying the bundle is that you can’t really see what all you get until after you buy it, so it is somewhat of a surprise when you open the package and see what all books you got:

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Of the books I got in this bundle, my favorites are the “Spooky Friends”, “Cinderella” (from the live action movie version), Elmo’s World, and the “Penguin Skating Party” ones. I also picked up the cute cloth alphabet blocks you see to the right of the books in the photo for only $.99 at the thrift store where I got the baby clothes.

Target Easter Junk Food and Toy Shopping!

After going to the movies yesterday, my husband and I stopped by Target and had to do some Easter junk food shopping! Along with the mixed bag of seasonal Kit Kat, Reese’s, and Rolo’s, we also picked up some Little Debbie Easter Carrot Cake Rolls and Spring Nutty Bars. I’m not sure if these are brand new Little Debbie treats or not, but they are new to us! I’m excited to give them a try!

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We also checked out the toy section at Target and ended up using a gift card we had to get the adorable board game “Yeti in My Spaghetti” (which is partly for my husband to use with his classroom) and… a 35th anniversary My Little Pony Butterscotch pony, recreated from the original 1983 collection of toys!

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I was so excited to find that they were re-releasing these ponies and would love to buy more of them if I get a chance! As a kid, My Little Pony was my favorite thing in the whole world, and it is awesome that they are the same age as I am! I literally don’t remember a time before My Little Pony existed, and that’s the way I like it!

Why I Don’t Have Kids of My Own

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My recent renewed passion for baby dolls and stuffed animals has me wondering as it often has, whether I have some kind of suppressed motherhood longing or something like that. Many people have asked me why I don’t have kids of my own, and that is a subject that has several dimensions.

First off, I’m not sure I CAN have kids of my own. When I was 10 years old I sustained some internal damage due to being hit and run over by a delivery truck while crossing the street. It was a scary experience, partly because when I woke up in the hospital I had no control of my legs. They were shaking and moving on their own, but I had no motor control of them. Luckily that didn’t last too long, but the doctors did mention that the internal damage done might cause me issues down the road, including having children.

Perhaps since I always thought I might not be able to have kids, I convinced myself early I didn’t want any? It is also highly suspected that I have endometriosis, which can greatly affect fertility. My husband and I haven’t always been very careful and there are plenty of times I could have potentially gotten pregnant but didn’t, so I figured it just wasn’t in the cards.

Another reason I have not sought out having my own children is my desire to not pass down some of the problems I have struggled with my whole life. Autism and bipolar run heavily in my immediate family – everyone has bipolar or a mood disorder to some extent. Many in my family also share some of my physical ailments that cause me so much agony, making me fear those might be genetic as well. I wouldn’t wish what I have had to live through on anyone, and certainly not on an innocent child.

Lastly, when it comes to the idea of giving birth, it has always terrified me. I’m not sure if I died in childbirth in a past life or what happened, but even as a little child the thought of having a baby terrified me. I always knew somehow that it would be extremely painful and dangerous, even though I never saw it firsthand and no one told me that as far as I remember. I still wonder to this day why the thought of giving birth scared me so much even back then.

I did lean heavily towards considering adoption when my husband and I were fostering, but we never found the right match. When we had to quit fostering due to my increasingly poor health, I kind of gave up on my dream of adopting. I still sometimes daydream about adopting, but with my mental and physical health the way it is, I just don’t think it would necessarily be a good idea.

 

Doll Therapy for Depression, Grief, and Alzheimer’s?

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So, as I said the other day, right now I am in a doll phase, specifically reborn dolls, which are dolls that are made to look and feel more like real infants. While I’ve been surfing the internet reading about these dolls and looking at pics of the ones available, I have also come across several articles about using these dolls as legitimate therapy, which is something I hadn’t even considered.

One article was about reborn dolls being used as therapy with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. In certain nursing homes they have done studies where they used these life-like dolls to treat anxiety and depression in patients and found that the dolls greatly helped with both of those problems, even making it so that many of the patients no longer needed psychotropic medications.

Interestingly, the article said the therapy works the best if the patient is introduced to the doll while they are still coherent enough to know the doll is not real. I found that rather fascinating. For many of these patients, over time they become truly attached to the dolls and do often start to think they are real babies, but that is understandable given their medical condition.

Another article I read spoke about the therapeutic effect these dolls have had for some parents who have lost small children of their own or who had stillbirths/miscarriages. Some of these grief-stricken parents have even had dolls made to look exactly like the child they lost, which strikes me as truly sad, but if it helps them work through their grief, I think that is a good thing. I do wonder though if some of them may actually end up obsessing over the loss to an unhealthy extent, but to tell the truth, I’m not sure the loss of a child is something you could ever truly get over anyhow.

What do you think about these dolls being used as therapy? Does it seem creepy or weird to you? Or do you think it is a great idea?

Hallucinations in Childhood

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Something I’ve been thinking about recently is hallucinations. As an adult, I haven’t really had a history of hallucinations. The closest things I can think of are a few times I have been awoken from my sleep by my husband or my mother’s voice loudly calling my name, only to find they are either not even at home or they swear they didn’t call for me. It is easy to assume this might be just weird remnants of a dream though, so I don’t consider it definitely a hallucination. There have also been a few times I hear a weird, high-pitched whining noise that no one else seems to hear. This could just be my autistic sensitivity though, picking up on something others don’t. It isn’t tinnitus, I have that as well, so I know the difference.

However, as a child I do have at least one vivid memory of a hallucination, maybe two. The first happened when I was around 5 or so, and it happened in the middle of a church service at my grandfather’s house (he was a pastor that ran his own church). In the middle of the service, this huge bird suddenly appeared next to my grandfather as he talked. It was a beautiful, rainbow colored bird, and I could physically see it, so it wasn’t like an imaginary friend (which I also had). I was excited by its appearance and made a bit of a fuss trying to tell my mom about it, but it became clear soon that she couldn’t see it and apparently no one else did either. I got in trouble for yelling out, so ended up sitting there staring at this huge bird and wondering what the heck was going on and why no one else could see it. To this day, I have no idea what happened that day or why. I wish I remembered what was going on in my life at the time, to see if I was under acute stress at the time, but I really don’t know.

The other possible hallucination happened when I was 12. It was soon after my father died and I was having the worst panic attack of my life up until that point. I was sitting on the bed, trying to breathe, feeling terrified and alone, when suddenly a bright figure appeared at the end of the bed. At first I was terrified, but the being told me not to be afraid and I immediately felt a calm I had never felt before in my life. The panic attack was gone and the bright figure somehow communicated to me that I was safe and protected before leaving. I assumed at the time it was my guardian angel, but now that I am no longer religious and not sure what I believe in, I wonder if it could have possibly been a hallucination brought on by grief and terror. I honestly don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a guardian angel, but if I do, why didn’t they protect me or show up during even more dangerous moments of my life, moments when my life was actually in danger?

These two experiences as a child makes me wonder if they were hallucinations, and if they were, is it normal for children to have hallucinations and then grow out of them? Or is this just a warning that if I am pushed too far emotionally or mentally, that something may break inside me and I could lose touch with reality? Could I someday have another hallucination out of nowhere? That is a scary thought. Has anyone else out there also had experiences like this as a kid and apparently grown out of them?

*Art by Maranda Russell