Of Harry Potter and Pirates: When Asperger’s Finds Your Home

Photo credit: 2007 Solo/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

The following is a post written by guest contributor Meg Vallee Munoz:

“Mom, what’s wrong with him.”

I want to say it was a morning like every other, but that would be untrue. I was emotionally exhausted and had been functioning in crisis-mode for weeks. It was the question I’d been waiting to hear, the question I’d been dreading, the question I knew could only be avoided for so long. The possibility of it being asked had been haunting me since everything started.

(more…)

The Labor of Life and the Courage of God

My wife Lauren and our son Stellan. 

Mothers and fathers often feel strongly about how they want to deliver their child into the world. Birthing plans and complications vary from one couple to the next. What follows is personal feelings about our birthing process; it is not a commentary on yours which belongs entirely to you.

This post includes a story about my wife and I on the day she gave birth to our son. I share it with her consent.

It was important to my wife Lauren that she have a natural birth. This meant going through the process with midwives and avoiding an epidural and IV medicine. The day of delivery came in late July. 18 hours later, Lauren reached 10 centimeters of dilation- or the “push phase” in laymen’s terms- without medicine, but there was almost nothing left of her energy and stamina. The marathon (between the final two centimeters in particular) had exhausted her completely, and she was losing control of the pain in a hurry. Seeing her suffer, I was starting to lose it too.

(more…)

When Past Hurt Threatens the Joy of Current Blessings

Photo Credit: Flickr/chicagophotogirl . Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

Well, the time has come to announce that I’m 6 months pregnant.  We are expecting a little girl on January 19th of 2013.  I’ve waited to write about it.  I’ve waited to be excited about it.  My past has haunted me this entire pregnancy and it has threatened to steal every ounce of joy out of this miraculous moment. I’ll tell you why.

(more…)

The Death and Resurrection of Dreams and Expectations

Photo credit: 2011 Steve Hoefer/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

“You have exhausted me.”

Sitting in a theater with my parents in 1992, I saw ‘Patriot Games’ for the first time. It was the moment when I knew I wanted to make movies.

Now it was early 2006, and I was headed back to visit Los Angeles, a city that I loved and had visited several times to see relatives as a child, and several times again in my early 20s, usually as a film critic for a media company based in Santa Monica. This time I was invited to stay in the perfectly clean guest house of a produced screenwriter for a few days, to meet in person and to work on our project. I mention that it was perfectly clean to acknowledge the irrationality of the thought that I was sure a black widow spider was going to aggressively hunt me while I slept.

This writer had signed me into a contract to develop a film script around an idea of his, after I pitched him my fourth screenplay, which he liked but thought would be a tough sale. Up until this trip, I thought the creative process was going great.

(more…)

The Conclusion of the Heartbreak Series: Saying Goodbye

Photo Credit: 2008 christopherleonard/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

They say grief is a journey, and I’m ready to agree with that.  It has been a long one for me.  They say every journey has a destination.  That’s true as well. The time has come for this journey to end.  I have to say goodbye to the baby I lost to a miscarriage, and let go of this heartbreak once and for all.

(more…)

My Own Religious Frailty, and Common Ground with Atheists and Agnostics

Photo credit: 2005 Maura Johnston/flickr.

If someone asked me to describe my faith, like giving a State of the Union for the soul, I’d say “don’t call it a State of the Union for the soul because that sounds like you’re elevating the government to a god-like position,” and when the person realized that I was making a dumb joke on purpose, I’d finally answer. Sorry, I’m a little wary to get into this post when it’s all about my own religious doubts. But I’m going to share them because I have a feeling that many of these doubts are universal.

(more…)

When Heartbreak Ruins Friendships, and My Letter of Apology

Photo Credit: Flickr/chicagophotogirl . Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

Over the last few months I’ve written about heartbreak: my initial heartbreak in Heartbreak and Hope, and I’ve also talked about how that heartbreak actually strengthened the relationship between my husband and I in Marriage and Tragedy:  How Heartbreak Brought us Closer Together.  But today I’m here to talk about a side of heartbreak that does not really have a silver lining.  I’m here to tell you how heartbreak has hurt some of my closest friendships. Perhaps you can relate.

(more…)

Religious Doubt is Imminent, But It Can Be Navigated

Photo credit: flickr/racineur. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

It begins at a young age. We are trained to hide our doubts. As we grow, this is reinforced by the adoption of labels- Christian, agnostic, atheist, for example. Comfort can be found on both sides of the religious fence. We’re told to keep things simple for ourselves. We’re told to not peek through the hole in the fence at our neighbor’s party, lest we catch a glimpse of his opposing views and be overcome like the incredible melting Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But doubts persist. Whether as the result of cruelty that crashes into life changing everything in unwelcome ways, questions and desires unanswered, the wear and tear of painful relationships, or consequences from personal mistakes, we doubt ourselves, we doubt God, or spend years trying to figure out who is to blame; questions that float on the rising tide of resentment. While religious doubt varies by the individual, it is a transformative and often grueling process that cannot be solved with a formula, but all is not lost. There is a way through it; a path that can even be nourishing.

(more…)

Holidays with the Narcissists, and What to Do About It

Photo credit: flickr/brendan-c

As the holiday season arrives each year, some of us find it to be a time that almost triggers the worst in those people around us who are a taxing, burdensome presence rather than an uplifting presence. As the recipients of this draining energy, we find ourselves bewildered and frustrated, often in ways that are difficult to articulate. But maybe this year can be different.

(more…)