New Life Church

Yesterday I took some pictures of local churches, including the one shown above, New Life Christian Ministries. I ordinarily avoid arty filters because they seem inauthentic for someone like me who is lacking the skill to create such an image without putting a photo through an algorithm. I am sharing the one above because it looks like a church service makes me feel. I feel the Spirit at such times, and the above image reflects a little of that warmth. I am grateful for such joy. It is not something I take for granted.

Below is the original photo:

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It’s been too long since I’ve answered the proverbial siren call of an abandoned building. Nowadays I wouldn’t dare enter such a building uninvited, and it is in the nature of a derelict building that no one is going to issue such an invitation. When I was on the verge of my teenage years, I’d just open the door and walk around inside. The inside of such places would smell like mice and old magazines, and there would often be a dusty upright piano in residence.

This reflection on abandoned buildings brings my mother to mind. Years after the fact, I mentioned my solitary habit of going inside such buildings, and she told me that she did the same thing when she was around the same age! This led to a tangential discussion of haunted places, and she said something that revealed how bold her mind could be, “Who’s to say that only the dead can haunt people? We may have left impressions of ourselves in places where we used to live. For all we know, images of how we were in the past could be haunting people who now live in those places.”

Back to today’s abandoned building, it looks like it hosted both a barbershop and a church. The church sign is much older than I’d have guessed. I looked up the pastor listed, and I found his obituary from 2007, and he was living several states away from Lima at that time.

There are still plenty of barbershops and churches in Lima, but this building in particular makes me wish that it were a portal to the past. To have heard some of the sermons delivered would have been a privilege indeed. Also, my husband said that he had his hair cut at that very barbershop about 50 years ago. I’d love to have witnessed a moment like that from his past. I didn’t meet him until he was 50, so I can only imagine his young self clad in flared pants and a long-collared shirt as he walked into Allen’s Barbershop.

Is Autism Really Three Times More Common in Males Than Females?

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It’s been too long since I wrote a blog post. Since the last time I posted, a few things have happened that I did not feel inclined to share online in the present tense. My husband broke his ankle, and my daughter started her last year of high school. While I haven’t felt overwhelmed by either of these events, I’ve definitely had some bittersweet, melancholy days because both are proof that the past is slipping away.

My daughter will soon turn 18, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about which path she’ll take in the transition to adulthood. For those of you who don’t know me in real life or are new to this blog, I will add that my daughter has autism. She was not diagnosed until age 14, despite inquiries on my part to mental health professionals, speech therapists and the like that began when my daughter was two.

I think there’s a strong bias against the diagnosis of autism in girls and women. Perhaps this is the case because it is possible that autism is defined by how it manifests itself in males. Has anyone taken the time to study females with autism to see if they share symptoms in common that aren’t seen as often in males?

As time passes since her diagnosis, I have a growing confidence I myself am one of the uncounted women on the autism spectrum. This is not a case of a mother’s desperation to empathize with her daughter. I can think of several individuals in my family tree who likely lived their whole lives unknowingly on the spectrum. My daughter and I are just the latest ones who carry this unique way of perceiving and relating to reality and the people we encounter in it.

I will close this post with a picture I took of my daughter while she waited for the bus on the first day of this school year. Notice the smile. When she was two and was in speech therapy because she hadn’t spoken a two-word sentence, the staff told me that it was unlikely that she had autism because she could smile at me and hold my gaze. Maybe this is a another example of a gender bias in how autism is defined. My daughter has been able to mirror the gaze and facial expressions of a few people during relatively brief encounters.  I’ve experienced the same thing myself. I can enjoy the company of a particular person for a limited amount of time, and then I’ll need solitude to recover.

Autism in girls and women is still an undiscovered country.

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Downtown Lima Photo Walk, August 3

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While I have started a photo blog devoted to images of my community in Lima, Ohio, I think that Intensity Without Mastery will remain the home for my photo walk posts. Yesterday my husband and I took an afternoon walk through downtown Lima. The streets were mostly empty, but a few of the stronger downtown business were open with customers.

My husband, who is my favorite male model, stopped at a secondhand store on Main Street:

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He loves “picking” for treasures at garage sales, flea markets, and the like. He found an antique micrometer in the store on Main Street. He bought it mostly as a homage to the early days of his career when he worked as a machinist at GM and later Textron. Once we were home, he discovered that the micrometer had actually belonged a man he knew while growing up in the 60’s and the 70’s. He wondered aloud if the man had passed away.

My husband has mentioned that one sure sign of getting older is the declining probability that people one used to know are still alive. By the time he turned 50, he learned to be cautious when asking about people he hadn’t seen lately. It’s strange for me to consider that I’ll be 50 in just a few years. As far as I know, almost everyone I once knew well is still alive, but this won’t always be true.

On the more youthful side of life, there was a chalk art competition downtown, and I posted a few photos of the chalk creations on my Spotted in Lima Facebook page.

I will close with more images from our walk. I was intrigued by the kegs of mystery in the first storefront. There’s a fairly new restaurant in the adjacent spaces, so it’s possible the empty kegs belong to it. If so, the establishment must be growing in popularity.

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