faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

A Letter to Morgan’s Maker

Dear Lord,

I say this with the deepest respect.  Well, you did it!  You put someone in my life who can absolutely bring out the worst in me and, when I choose it, the best in me.

Morgan is my joy, and she makes me nuts!  At HER worst, she reminds me of me without You, the me before I knew Your perfect love.  Her worries, anxieties, and “all about me” moments, brought on by her version of autism and OCD, break my heart for her.  In my brokenness, I now find myself more merciful to people, more forgiving of the things I don’t understand.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         quilt heart

Oh, and when Morgan is At Her Best;  When she knows she’s done a good job and says “I’m so proud of me!”, when her joy is bubbling over the top at the simplest things,…When she pauses to speak to You about a need, no matter where she is or what she’s doing.  THIS brings me back to that child like faith that KNOWS, no matter what life throws at me, You’ve got it.

morning-prayer

I’m just not sure I know how to say thank you for that,… for her.

Love,

Her Mom

P.S.  I appreciate Your sense of humor.  On that note, I have a few things I want to discuss with You, and her, when we finally all get to sit down together.

 

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan

Puzzle Peace

“Think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
Don’t consider yourself to be wise; …” Proverbs 3:6,7

Although the puzzle piece is often used as a symbol for autism awareness, I wear it as a reminder to me that we are all different for a reason.  Just like the pieces of a puzzle, each one of us is uniquely created on purpose, for a purpose.  Regardless of a person’s disability, we all have strengths and weaknesses.  We all have needs.  We all have something to offer.  A community is best served when everyone is a part of the picture.

For me, the battle happens when I start looking too hard at what others are doing, and begin longing to fit into the same places they do.  Contentment only comes when we stop competing and comparing ourselves with others,  when we are operating in the gifts we were given, filling the space that only we were meant to fill.

For now, I believe my main purpose is helping Morgan find hers.  I am currently her part time job coach and full time personal assistant.  I admit I feel very unqualified at times.  The truth is, I don’t even feel qualified to figure out my own life without looking up constantly to the One who is.😉

Morgan First Paycheck

Above is a picture of Morgan with Mr. Steve and Mrs Leslie, picking up her first paycheck!  We are very thankful to have this piece in place for her.

Each day, before my feet hit the floor, I ask  God for guidance to help me make decisions that will lead Morgan & Mom to the places He has appointed specifically for each of us.  There lies my trust and my peace.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

“Choose Life”

“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

A few years ago, I was in the hospital with a cut back, thanks to a large kidney stone.  Allison brought me a small rose bush.  I planted it in our rock garden, and although it’s had its struggles, it has managed to come back each year.

That rose bush has been tended to and “cut back” several times, and I thought it had seen it’s last Spring.  I have an affection for it, I guess, because I’ve felt pruned down to the ground myself at times.  That said, I now know sometimes a good pruning is our only chance for survival.  I cut it down to near nothing, and the rest was up to that little bush and its tenacity.  So sweet to see it bloom once again.

Pruned Rose

Since Morgan, our sweet “Blue Rose”, transitioned from school services this May, we have been vigilantly searching for new opportunities  for her to bloom.  Although there are struggles for individuals with disabilities who want to work and be engaged in their community, we choose to keep tending that garden, because we choose a life of quality for our daughter.

We’re thankful for our fellow gardeners.  One of Morgan’s jobs will be helping her Papaw deliver Meals on Wheels once a week.  She calls it “trick or treating” in reverse.😉

Papw and Morgan Meals on Wheels

Until next time,

Know The Hope,

Tammy Vice

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Come Passion!

I was searching for a word, or phrase, for what happens to us when we can’t face a trauma that has occurred.  Whether it’s an injury, or an event, like the tragic situations we’ve seen in the news recently, or a chronic life circumstance.   In my search, I found the words “numb” and “disconnected”.  They hit home.  Healthguide.org

It’s been a particularly tough week in the world, shouldered on a summer of some major personal changes.  Morgan and I are facing more than a few “last times” as she grows older.  We are prayerfully continuing our search for “what’s next” in this new season.

Yesterday, after the storms, Morgan said “I want to see more rainbows.”  I smiled and said, “Me too, Morgan.  Me too!”  She had put into words what I’d been feeling lately, or rather, NOT feeling.  When we are in the middle of that gray numbness, there may be a disconnection from pain, but there is also a disconnect from passion and joy.  A good reminder to mom that it’s time to plug in again, and do a little rainbow hunting.

Mailbox Flowers

I pointed to our mailbox, where we had planted a spring mix on another gray day.  A couple of weeks ago, they still looked like weeds.  Now they are showing off a few sweet hues of promise.   Sometimes it is so hard to find rainbows on dreary days.  But if we don’t give in to the gray, if we keep searching, rainbows are waiting in new places, to be seen and enjoyed.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

Foot note: Click on the link to Healthguide.org for some tips to chase away the gray.

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Amazed and Grateful

This post originally appeared in Autism Tennessee’s May 12th Blog Amazed and Grateful.  To learn more about Autism Tennessee, visit their website: autismtn.org 

Bluebird 2015 Breaking The Chains 2015

This May, 2016, we celebrated the fifteenth annual Breaking The Chains Autism Benefit at the Bluebird Café’.

When I tell people that songwriting is my therapy, I’m not kidding. Musically journaling our family’s walk through autism, creating awareness, and encouraging others has been a way for me to heal the hurt.

Our family had been looking for answers for a while, looking for a community who really understood what we were going through. When we found Autism Tennessee, we found that community. We wanted to do something to show how thankful we were for all of the support Autism Tennessee has given us. It just seemed natural to bring the two things together that brought healing to our family.

I’m still amazed, and very grateful, for how the opportunity came to make this happen. I had played the Bluebird Café, and experienced first-hand what a great listening venue it is for the audience and the songwriter. Later, while performing at a songwriting festival along the coast, I ran into Barbara Cloyd. She booked their early round writers, at that time. I had written a song for Morgan, called “Help Me Break Those Chains”. Barbara and I were talking about Morgan, the song, and Autism Tennessee. I don’t even know what made me bold enough to ask if we could hold an awareness event for the community there. Barbara said yes! After I picked myself up off the floor, I thanked her and started making plans.

Bluebird 09 Morgan and mom A blast from the past, 2009 Breaking The Chains

 

Over the years, thanks to Amy Kurland, it evolved into two rounds. When Amy passed the ownership of the Bluebird to NSAI, they have graciously continued to allow us to hold the event there each year. My greatest joy is now being able to include Morgan as a co-host. Spotlighting the musical gifts of Logan Blade, a young on the autism spectrum, has also been a sweet experience. I can’t tell you how much it means to our family to have the opportunity to encourage others and celebrate the gifts of autism. We get to give a little bit back to the community that has given us so much. So I’ll repeat, I’m just amazed and grateful. “Music takes us where words cannot.” Tammy Vice – Know The Hope, Inc.

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Gardeners of Hope

This May will be seventeen years since our family packed up our two girls, one dog, and a seed of hope.  We left our home in Alabama, family and friends we loved dearly, to seek answers.  This wasn’t just about Morgan’s future.  It was about our family’s future, because  autism is family affair.😉 We had heard about the research Vanderbilt Kennedy Center was doing, and learned of the strong support network  Autism Tennessee was providing.  Although we miss our Alabama home, we have planted deep roots in Tennessee.  We are very thankful for the community of love and support we have here.

When we plant a seed, we control the things we can.  We pick the location, nourish the soil, add water, and weed as needed.  At the same time, seasons come and go without our permission.  Some are harsh.  Some are generous and flourishing.  Hopefully, we learn from both, becoming better gardeners, ready to help those coming along after us to break new ground.

Today I took a walk to weed my mind of unnecessary things, and focus on new growth.  This old azalea bush was smiling back at me when I returned home.  It was transplanted here from our home in Alabama by my parents, when they moved to join us in Tennessee fifteen years ago.  We’re so thankful to have them near. Grandparents are Master Gardeners.  ;-)

Mobile Azalea

The following song was co-written with John Edd Thompson, in my early years of parenting.  I still believe in the miracle of a seed.😉 Hope you enjoy

Love Can Grow

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice and Family

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autism, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

52 Blue Mondays – Beyond The Cover

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” – George Eliot

Morgan is a young adult on the autism spectrum.  If she is overwhelmed by a new situation, or “too many friends”, the first thing you are likely to see is the challenges of autism.  When you greet her, instead of saying hello, she may say “I’m tired” or “I’m done” and walk away, leaving you to wonder what just happened.😉  A first impression can be very deceptive.  For this reason, my daughter and I co-authored 52 Blue Mondays, to give you a look beyond the cover.

52 Blue Mondays Morgan

Page by page, 52 Blue Mondays gives you the opportunity to see the rest of the story.  It gives Morgan the time she needs to show you who she really is.  As you view her collection of quotable quotes, photo-moments and original art work, you will get to know her strengths, and the beauty of autism.  You will laugh with her, root for her, and maybe even see a little of your honest self in her.

A look inside:

Blue Monday 17

There are Morgans in every community;  young adults with disabilities who have their own stories to tell, and gifts to offer.  Our hope is that you will get to know them, enjoy them, engage and employ them.

52 Blue Mondays is available now on Amazon.  A portion of all proceeds goes to support Autism Tennessee  Educate – Advocate – Celebrate!

Latest Reviews:

“To me there is nothing blue about 52 Blue Mondays!  Each page brought a smile to my face as Morgan and Tammy gave us a first-hand glimpse in to the world of autism and the wonderful blessing that a child with autism can be to a loving family.  In 52 Blue Mondays, I not only hear the beautiful sound of the voice of autism, but I also see the dedication and love that a mom and dad devote to their child.” – Jerry Salley – Songwriter – Singer, Referred to by Billboard Magazine as “One of Music Row’s greatest veteran tunesmiths” ,  “2003 SESAC Country Music Songwriter of the Year” with over 400 songs recorded in his multi-award winning career.

52 Blue Mondays shows a glimpse of life with Morgan, a young adult with autism, and her unique view on life. Morgan says what many of us are thinking without fear of judgment! We can all learn from her honesty, humor, and passion about life! This book is charming, engaging, and real! – Dr. Misty Vetter Parsley, Director of Special Education Programs, Assistant Professor of Education, Lipscomb University

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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