The Bookshelf Tour Tag

BookshelfTag

The day I got a bookshelf for my room was a great day. It was a spiffy piece of shelved wood that would house all of the many books I called my own. Nowadays, it’s a much more cluttered bookshelf, with some books having to reside on top of others because they no longer fit side-to-side, but it’s no less beautiful. I love my bookshelf.

Back when I was still struggling with whether to continue my blog or not, my friend Maggie from Maggie’s Musings tagged me in the Bookshelf Tour Tag, and I knew it would be something that I would enjoy participating in, since it highlights my well-used bookshelf and its papered contents. It’s pretty simple: I provide books from my personal bookshelf that fit each description. You’ll see what I mean once we get into it.

1. A Short But Powerful Book

The Giver by Lois Lowry isn’t very long (it stands at only 225 pages!), but it is one of the most insightful, thought-provoking books that I have ever read. It centers on a world that no longer experiences war, famine, hatred, and crime – but its people also do not feel joy, compassion…or love. I first read this book right before its movie counterpart came out on DVD, because the movie looked interesting, but I usually like reading the book before the movie. I was astonished by how Lowry so effectively tackles hard questions about love, loss, and what it means to be human in such a small novel. The movie does a great job of posing the same questions, so I’d encourage you to check out both.

2. A Good, Long Book

At around 436 pages, The Wind, The Road, and The Way by Jenny L. Cote isn’t the longest book I own, but it’s hefty in its own right. It’s part of two great book series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz and its sequel series, Epic Order of the Seven. Cote’s books are always informative and captivating, and The Wind wasn’t an exception. What’s even more exciting is that I’ve recently been chosen as an advance reader for Cote’s newest book, The Voice, The Revolution, and The Key! I’ll definitely be chronicling the journey on this blog, so stay tuned!

3. Favorite Classic (on your bookshelf)

5160gdxt47l-_sx304_bo1204203200_The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is, hands down, my most favorite play of all time. I fell in love with the witty script when I read it for Honors English in 11th grade, and after I had to return my manuscript to my school at the end of the year, I searched everywhere for a copy to add to my bookshelf. No matter what online store or physical bookstore I looked at, not a single one had it. However, my mom searched as well and bought me a copy for Easter last year! I’m so thankful to finally own it, and it remains an amazing classic.

4. A Relatively Obscure Book

I don’t know if “obscure” is the best word for it, but The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen definitely doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The sarcastic, sharp-tongued narration of Sage, the protagonist, is unique and amusing, and the novel’s fast-paced intrigue never stops. Pair that with a huge plot twist, and you get a great book worthy of being talked about.

5. An Underrated Book

Although The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is pretty famous, I don’t hear it talked about as much as it should be. It’s the incredible and heart-breaking story81bzuga-bhl of the members of a small “greaser” gang, most specifically the protagonist, Ponyboy, and his friend Johnny. The character development and story arc is absolute perfection, and might I add, the 50th Anniversary Edition that I own has a gorgeous cover.

6. An Overrated Book

I tend not to purchase books that I think are overrated (or that might turn out to be), but The Isle of the Lost and its sequel Return to The Isle of Lost by Melissa De La Cruz sort of fit the bill. Both books are written in the Disney Channel “Descendants” universe, which has been all kinds of popular lately. While the books were pleasurable to read in their own right, and they both invested in more character development than the movie ever did, it’s obvious that they were written for the younger Disney Channel crowd and not the more, ahem, discerning readers. The over-abundant use of past tense and stiff dialogue got a bit annoying after a while.

7. Most Reread Book

I just finished rereading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling last year, and they never get old. I definitely gravitate to them when I just want to reread something that I love.

8. A Book You Haven’t Read

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer. This one is kind of weird, considering that I read the entire Artemis Fowl series…but somehow I accidentally skipped over this book and didn’t find out until later. I got it free from a book fair/thing that my school did in 9th grade, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

9. A Short Story Collection

I’ve always loved stories about animals that save people’s lives, and so I have four small short story collections that make up what I call my “Animal Heroes Collection”. These are They Too Were Heroes: True Tales of Courageous Dogs by Joanne Mattern, True Tales of Animal Heroes and The Dog Who Saved Christmas and other True Animal Tales, both by Alan Zullo, and Ten True Animal Rescues by Jeanne Betancourt.

I also love Greek mythology and I own three books that contain different Greek myths: Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, both by Rick Riordan.

10. A Non-Fiction Book

Although I adore fiction, I love non-fiction just as much. I really enjoy learning how movies are made, so I’m especially fond of my collection of non-fiction Harry Potter books, which consists of Harry Potter: 51fwjmej6pl-_sx258_bo1204203200_The Character Vault and Harry Potter: Magical Places of the Films by Jody Revenson, Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts by Ian Nathan, and The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Mark Salisbury.

Another good non-fiction shoutout is Terry BrooksSometimes The Magic Works: Lessons From A Writing Life.

11. A Book (physical copy, not the story itself) that has an interesting story behind it 

Now, this isn’t an inspirational or touching story, but I still find it pretty funny. I had ordered Calamity (the final book in the Reckoners trilogy) by Brandon Sanderson from Barnes and Noble, and it arrived in great condition. I got to about the middle of the book before I was puzzled by how one chapter ended after only one page. I figured it was just a super short chapter, but the next one didn’t make sense with the context of the former. It wasn’t until I checked the page numbers that I realized the book was missing an entire chapter!! My parents and I had to drive to the nearest Barnes and Noble, which was 45 minutes away, just to exchange it. I didn’t blame B&N at all, though, and I was able to get the entire book.

 

I don’t have anyone to tag, so feel free to continue the tag if you wish!

Your  turn! Have you read any of the books on my list? What’s one book on your bookshelf that you think I should read? 

 

My Mental Health Journey: Living With OCD

OCD ribbon

I’ve been trying to figure out the right time to talk about this for a while. I kept deciding that it wasn’t the right time, and left it be.

This past Sunday, one of our lead teaching pastors was talking about the choices we face when it comes to the wounds in our lives – we can either “run and numb”, or “own and offer”. In other words, we should own up to our pain, and offer our story in the hopes that it will help others. Near the end of the message, I felt God saying to me: “You’re doing better with your OCD. It’s time to talk about it”. Ever since that message, I have had no doubt that this is the right time to open up about my mental health journey.

Even if you don’t share my faith, you don’t have to believe that God told me it was time to share my story to listen.

In June of 2016, I was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder after a year or so of dealing with severe anxiety.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify something: OCD is not a quirky personality trait that centers around wanting things to be neat. OCD is a debilitating mental illness. It is composed of two parts – obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are repetitive, intrusive thoughts and images that cause fear, guilt, and anxiety in the individual struggling with OCD. Compulsions are the actions that the individual completes in an attempt to reduce their anxiety. For example, someone might have obsessions over a loved one dying, and they feel like they have to repetitively turn a light switch on and off in order to save that person.

People with OCD do not choose their obsessive thoughts and physically can’t control their compulsions. It is not quite known exactly what causes OCD, but correlations have been found between individuals with OCD and a lack of serotonin in their brains.

Think of it in the terms of car transmissions. A car with an automatic transmission seamlessly switches gears. That’s what it’s like in the mind of person who doesn’t have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. A non-afflicted person can usually ignore any intrusive thoughts or urges they might receive. Their mind automatically pushes them away. But then there are cars with manual transmissions. The driver must physically shift each gear, or the car will get stuck. That is what it is like to have OCD. The brain of a person with OCD cannot automatically disregard unwanted thoughts or images. The person must learn how to manually deal with them, or the brain will get “stuck”, and the individual will feel compelled to continuously dwell on their anxiety and repetitively complete actions. This stagnant physical and mental state hinders those who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from freely living their lives.

So please, don’t make any “OCD” jokes. I won’t find them funny.

I see my counselor (Justin Erb, Greenleaf Christian Counseling, he’s awesome, look him up) and I take medication to treat my disorder. I’m not ashamed of doing either. I am getting the help I need, and I’ve already seen how far I’ve progressed since just last year.

I still deal with anxiety every day, but it’s gotten so much better. And now I’ve discovered a newfound passion for helping others who struggle with mental illnesses.

This my struggle, but it doesn’t define me. And your struggles and pain don’t define you either.

Thank you for taking time to read my (shortened) story.

Now that I have started discussing my OCD, I will definitely be writing more posts on it in the future. But if you want to learn more about it in the meantime, here are some useful resources:

The International OCD Foundation

Debunking the Myths of OCD (Video)

Crash Course Psychology: OCD and Other Anxiety Disorders (Video) – Watch this video from 2:34-4:16 for information about OCD.

My Blog’s Getting a FACELIFT?!

Hello there, all my beautiful blog followers!

I know, I know, I’ve been absent.

For like, a year.

Life has been happening (I have a niece now, guys!!!) and I’ve gotten distracted by – well, everything. What I’m saying is, I haven’t been fair to this blog and to its readers. And I regret that. I realize now that from the outset, my blog’s purpose has been way too narrow. Don’t get me wrong, writing is my life, but I have other passions that I’ve been searching for outlets for, all the while forgetting that this blog is a great outlet for all of the topics that I’m interested in. By making it solely a writing blog, I had limited my ideas for posts and my ability to create weekly content.

But no more.

I’ve decided to broaden Bookends to include not only my writing thoughts, but also just life stuff (did I mention my adorable niece already?) and the others things I am passionate about, like pop culture and hearing loss awareness.

What helped me come to this conclusion was my wonderful-beyond-words friend Maggie from Maggie’s Musings. She has a great blog that discusses everything from the plights of being a girl geek to the ABC’s of writing. I’ve been impressed with how she’s continued to run weekly posts (while being in college, no less), and she’s encouraged me to revive my blog and keep going.

So, here goes. Bookends will stay Bookends, but with more topics and (hopefully!) more consistency. Within the next week or so, I’ll edit outdated content on the site, like my “About Me” page, and I’ll get a new posting schedule up and running. Any blog post that I have previously published will still be available, so feel free to go back and read and share them to your heart’s content.

Buckle up, guys. You’re getting an invitation to join me on this wild ride I call my life.

Let’s go!

Your turn! Check out Maggie’s blog and give her a follow, then come back here and tell me your thoughts on my new direction for the blog! 

 

 

 

Dear Hearing World…

Dear hearing world,

Please be patient with me.

Be patient when I ask you to repeat yourself.

Be patient when I lose track of the conversation because I can’t hear all of it.

Be patient when everyone’s laughing at a joke and I look confused because I didn’t hear what was said.

Be patient when I give a response that doesn’t fit what you said because I misheard you.

Be patient when you’re waiting for me to answer and I’m not aware that you said anything.

I want to hear you. I really do. I want to be a part of the conversation, of the jokes. I want to not feel foolish when I ask you to repeat yourself and it turns out that you were just yawning or making a noise (I can never be sure). I want to interact with you.

But I have a hearing loss, and sometimes things are loud. Sometimes crowds are noisy. Sometimes you’re too far away. Sometimes I misread your lips or wrongly piece together the parts I heard.

I know this is a foreign concept for you, because you hear things much better than I ever will. You may mishear or not hear at all every once in a while, but it’s not a daily occurrence. I know you don’t understand, but I ask you to try.

I’m not making it up; I’m not messing with you; I’m not making a joke. I’m not being rude, or ignorant, or dumb. I’m simply someone who goes through life with a hearing loss that can make interacting with others challenging. There are others who have hearing losses much more severe than mine or cannot hear at all. Whatever problems I have communicating with others, I’m sure theirs are tenfold.

So I ask you, be patient with us.

Don’t explain away our challenges. Don’t try to tell us that we just need to pay more attention. We’re being truthful when we say we didn’t hear you – saying, “oh, you heard me” won’t change anything.

When we want to find ways to accommodate our hearing loss, we’re not being whiny. We’re looking for ways to ensure that we can do the best we can at our jobs and in our relationships with other people. We want to make sure that we will have the same opportunities that fully-hearing people have. When you repeat yourself five times and can’t understand how we haven’t heard you yet, we’re not trying to be frustrating. In fact, we’re frustrated at ourselves as we attempt to make out what you said.

We just want to be people. People that can live life to the fullest as we experience new things and forge new relationships. We want to overcome the obstacles being hard-of-hearing and deaf create.

We want to hear you.

And if you’re patient, we will.

Sincerely,

A Member Of The Hard-Of-Hearing Community