autism, faith, family, self esteem, Uncategorized

When Cinderella’s Slipper Doesn’t Fit

“You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.” – Publilius Syrus

I am a serious “Lefty”.  You wouldn’t think that little difference would affect my learning experience. But years ago, it did. I remember early on being made to feel that it was odd, and a bit of a nuisance.  As an adult, I know that’s silly.  But children only know how you make them feel.  I remember sitting in right handed desks at school, with my elbow awkwardly hanging off, as I wrote.  The teacher noted my work was “correct, but messy” most of the time.  There was just no way to write from left to right without smearing the lead across the page.  But I loved to write, so the side of my hand stayed silver gray, with creases from the spiral of the notebook.

Learning to play left handed sports back then was more challenging for me.  When playing baseball, I remember the coach telling me, “Just watch everyone else and do the opposite”.  That advice was about as helpful as it sounds. 😉

Below; Morgan and her “Lefty” swing.  Photo by Dad

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Those memories from my elementary years, as insignificant as they may seem, still whispered “You don’t fit”.  As a teenager, I decided on my own not to tell my guitar teacher I was left handed.  I learned to play right handed, because I didn’t want to be “a problem”.  The lack of understanding on everyone’s part back then, gave me some first hand experience in the importance of accommodating learning differences.  It’s also given me a tender spot for anyone who feels a little out of step with the crowd.

My daughters, Allison and Morgan, also happen to be “Lefties”.  As their mom, I’ve tried to help them realize early on what a waste of energy it is to chase everyone else’s normal.  Instead, I hope they are each able to find what best fits them personally, in learning and in life, so they can be their personal best.

Cinderella’s slipper was perfect for Cinderella.  Find the life-shoe that’s just right, and Left, for you. 😉

Above; Allison creating a little left handed masterpiece, and Morgan showing off her “comfy tennis slipper shoes”.

Until Next Time, Know The Hope!

Tammy

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autism, caregivers, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Real-ity Estate

“You are the light of the world.  A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

This June will mark two years of Morgan and mom being full time buddies.  That’s when Morgan’s schedule became our schedule.  For the most part, we’ve adapted well.  There has been lots of unexpected joy.  I never know what that girl’s going to get me into.  😉 But truthfully, I’ve had my struggles.  There was that moment of realization in this new normal, when I finally conceded, that my personal wants and needs would have to be placed on the back of life’s shelf indefinitely.  It was, and still is, quite humbling.  I remind myself often that God doesn’t waste anything, or anyone.   He can use us in whatever situation we are in, if we make ourselves available.

I’m not just Morgan’s mom.  I’m Allison’s mom.  I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a neighbor, a friend, a community member,…  More importantly, I’m God’s child.  I do have a little plot of influence.  I believe I am still able to do whatever He calls me to.  It’s not a lot of acreage, but it’s my little piece of the planet.  I want to stake out the property lines wisely.  I want to take the best care of what He’s deeded to me.

Rocky Rose

I have been so blessed, that frankly, when He’s done with me here, I’m more than ready to go home.  In the meantime, I’m thankful for every opportunity, every “hill”, He gives me and Morgan.  I want us to be an encouragement to others who might feel forgotten on the back of life’s shelf.  If that’s you, I want you to know God sees you there.  Every morning Morgan and I say a prayer together, to be a light that leads others to Him, and his perfect love.  Some days we shine a little brighter than others.  He’s still working on our wicks. 😉

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

PS Please check out The Identity Theft of Caregivers, a teaching moment from Peter Rosenberger.  Also visit Peter’s Radio Show, Hope For The Caregiver

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

If It Ain’t Broke…

“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” Barbara Bush

In the earlier years, I remember praying for God to “fix” Morgan for me.
As I grew a little, I prayed for God to “fix” Morgan for her.
Now, after all these years, I see the lives she’s touched, the hearts she’s softened,… especially mine, and I realize she was NOT the one who needed fixing.

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I was so thankful to have the opportunity to share our family’s journey with autism recently on Witfromwhitt Radio podcast.  Thank you for listening.

 

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

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autism, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Location, Location, Location

“Home is where the heart is.” – Edward Coke

When Rudy and I first married, we lived in a 874 square foot shotgun house in south Alabama.  We spent most weekends sprucing up, and patching up, things.  We were so proud of that little place.  Only a few months after we were married, we learned we were expecting our first baby.  Thirteen weeks later, on the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, I miscarried.  As I laid on the couch, watching the news, I remember thinking how quickly life can change for any one of us.  We hurt.  We cried.  And slowly we went back to rebuilding our lives.

The following year would bring news that we were expecting again.  We spent a great amount of time and love, getting the nursery just right.  I stapled a flannel sheet, with brightly colored ABC’s, over one of the paneled walls.   I thought it was genius.  Rudy wasn’t so sure, but it grew on him.  Speaking of growing… When I was eight months along,  I was getting tired of hauling our clothes, and me, to the laundromat.  I talked Rudy into investing in our first washer and dryer.  That same day, I had a craving for Popeye’s fried chicken.  He told me we really needed to think about our budget.  I cried.  We had Popeye’s chicken for dinner that night.  Poor Rudy.  Looking back now, I realize he was just feeling the weight of his responsibility for our growing family.  He was, and will always be, a keeper. ❤  Allison was born in September, one week after our second anniversary.  She filled up that little old house, and our hearts.

Pictured below; Allison with Mamaw on our front porch, and Allison trying to get back to the front porch.

Soon, we were busting at the seams.  My mom and dad deeded us a couple of acres in the country.  We started out there in a new double wide mobile home.  We were really moving up in the world. 😉  Rudy and I were both working hard.  Allison was enjoying her school, and doing well.  Just as I thought we had this parenting thing down, along came Morgan, and life got interesting.  Dad was now truly outnumbered.

Pictured below; Life inside the double wide

In 1995, we were excited to finally be building our dream house on the property.  We moved in with Mamaw and Papaw; Rudy, myself, one opinionated princess, one busy toddler, and a sweet dog named Barney, who had issues.  Thank you mom and dad!  It was a beautiful house, worth all the wait and preparation;  Four bedrooms, two baths, walk-in closets, a fire place, bricked in flower beds, and SPACE, Glorious SPACE.  Did I mention walk-in closets?  All of our boxes were checked.

The thing is, a house is just sticks, bricks, and mortar.  A home is where a family lives and loves.  Every member matters.  After a short time in the new house, Morgan was diagnosed with autism.  We learned there was a strong parent support network in another state, Autism Tennessee.  Also, Vanderbilt University was doing research there, which was promising.  We said a prayer, and put our house up for sale.  In 1999, we found ourselves back in a little old house in Tennessee.  Although I still dream about walk in closets sometimes, I know we’re right where we belong.

Pictured below; Home Sweet Home

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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autism, dance, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

A Soul’s Tale of Soles

“Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes.  Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”  Joe South

I share our family’s walk through the world of autism, in an effort to create awareness, and understanding.  You might say my writing shoes were inherited from my dad, so I thought I’d share one of his writings with you in this post, along with some soul to sole picture moments.

Pictured below; Mine and my sister’s baby shoes

Little Crochet Booties by Winston Burkett (Papaw)

Little crochet booties, two feet in just one hand
I held you up and out to God, for I was one proud man
Then came little walking shoes, and alone you learned to stand
But I stood there ready, to offer you a hand
O dear child tread gently, as your walk through life you start
O dear child tread gently, you’re walking through my heart

Mistakes I’ve made a plenty, as I watched you grow
But have no doubt my love is strong, I wanted you to know
I always stood there ready when you took your first steps,
I stood there, as I do now, to offer you my help

Shoes of patent leather were awkward at their best
But they sure were pretty with your first Easter dress
Then there were the barefoot days with bruises and bandaids
When it came to childhood pranks, you sure made the grade
O dear child tread gently, as you walk through life, you stroll
O dear child tread gently, for you’re walking with my soul

Pictured below; Princess Morgan in her prom sneakers for Night To Shine.  It’s how “Cinderella” was able to stay and dance at the ball all night. 😉

Morgan Prom Shoes

Then there were the sneakers, and even baseball cleats
And tennis shoes with bobby socks, sure made you look neat
The ballet shoes that you did dance and wore the toe clear through
I stood and watched your graceful steps, o so proud of you
O dear child tread gently, as through life you stride
O dear child tread gently, for I’m watching you with pride

Pictured below; Allison and her soulmate

Allison Wedding Shoe

How about those high heels, you wore to your school prom
They sure made you look so nice, you borrowed them from mom
One day there came a wedding, your shoes I couldn’t see
The lovely dress and long white train had hidden them from me
O dear child tread gently, as you make life your own
O dear child tread gently, and you’ll never be alone

Now what is this with slippers, a child does grow within
Yes, it is my grandchild, whose love I’ll surely win
Little crochet booties, both feet in just one hand
I hold you up and out to God, for I am one proud man

Pictured below; Morgan and Allison’s baby shoes

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

P.S. And just for a smile, here’s a picture of the shoes I wore recently, on a busy mom day. 😉

Mom Shoes

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Quilts and Comforters

“But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] John 16:26-27 AMP

snow quilt

I remember reading a story in one of Morgan’s devotionals about a little boy who was afraid of the dark.  As his dad turned out the light, he said “Don’t worry.  God is with you.”  The child replied “But I need something with skin on it!” 😉  When we are seeking comfort, we are tempted to look for “something with skin on it”.  And that’s how addiction can happen.  Whether it is alcohol, opioids, shopping, overeating,… You name the skin.  It’s a temporary comforter that will never offer the peace we are seeking.

The thing about addiction, is it takes away your choice.  There’s an old Japanese proverb, “First the man takes a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. Then the drink takes the man.”  Our family, like countless others, has a history of alcohol addiction.  I’ve seen it destroy the lives of family members and friends, first hand.

Some say it’s not the gun that kills, but the one who holds it.  NOT my argument.  But if that’s the case, it’s not the alcohol that destroys, but the one who drinks it.  Once we make the choice to pick it up, naturally, consequences follow.  Knowing my family’s history, I have to choose my weapons WISELY.  The people I love are counting on it, counting on me.  When seeking peace and comfort, I have to choose my weapon DAILY. “…the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”.  Ephesians 6:17

This Truth is the only thing I’ve found that covers my every need.  That’s why I know I’m obligated to share MY truth with you.  If you’ve tried almost everything “with skin on it”, like I have, why not try God.

“God does not comfort us that we may be comforted, but that we may be comforters.” – Alexander Nowell

P.S.  Finding our passion, and pursuing it, is a good tool to keep us motivated, and on the right track.  I’ve always had a love for songwriting.  You might say it’s my therapy.  ;-)Here’s one I wrote a while back.  Hope you enjoy Sound of Sanity.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

 

 

 

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autism, family, Morgan, risks and rewards, Uncategorized

Morgan’s Medals

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”
― Walt Disney Company

Sometimes it’s nice to visit the memories you treasure, and think about all of tomorrow’s possibilities.

At first, they were earned, for doing a good job.  Later, they became another way for Morgan to celebrate months and events.  She has assigned each month it’s own color/colors.  January – white for snow.  February – red and pink hearts,…    You get the idea.  Below is our 2017 monthly collection, including her Disney parks medals from our September vacation.

As we wrap up another year, it’s fun to look back on our rainbow of medal memories.  It’s also a reminder that seasons come back around again, each year, giving us fresh opportunities to make new memories.  Wishing you and your family all the colors of joy in 2018.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

 

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