autism, family, friends, Morgan, Uncategorized

Messy and Beautiful

“Sometimes you’ve got to embrace the unexpected.  The things we never saw coming often take us to the places we never imagined we could go.”  Kemmy Nola

Recently, we traveled to the coast for the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival. Our family and Logan Blade‘s participate in an annual autism awareness benefit there. We also enjoy getting some rare time for our families to visit with each other. While Logan is pretty laid back, always going with the flow, Morgan requires a schedule. There is a constant juggle of what’s “too much schedule” for her, and what’s not enough.  When I think of the differences between Logan and Morgan, I’m reminded of the saying, “when you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  Truth!

Anxiety and OCD are kissing cousins to Morgan’s autism.  They are the enemies of spontaneity and joy.  They refuse to let go and trust that the day will land in a safe place without their orchestrating every moment, every breath.  I’ve watched them take my daughter down on countless occasions, robbing her of the ability to wait, to relax, to just enjoy being with friends.  Morgan knows friends are messy, and loud.  They often do the unexpected.  They are great at derailing her perfect plans.  I’m trying to help her understand friends are also Beautiful!  Even with all the chaos they create, they are really worth having around us.

We are always trying to find ways to help Morgan learn how to cope with the messy and the unexpected, so she can enjoy being with friends.  Our family is blessed to live in an area where there are several organizations providing social and recreational opportunities for young adults with disabilities.  They have regular gatherings, dinners and dances,…  Nothing makes me happier than to see Morgan bobbing up and down on the dance floor, weaving around her buddies.  She’s still in her bubble, but it’s the closest I’ve seen her get to popping it.  😉

Using the Arts and creativity has been another great way to stretch Morgan’s coping abilities.  Her “Messy Flag” is a pour painting, which required making a mess to create something beautiful.

We’ve made note cards from her painting to spread awareness of OCD, anxiety, and autism.  As we learn and grow, it’s always our hope to bring understanding and encouragement to others.  Follow us on Facebook Know the Hope to learn more about us, and how to get some of Morgan’s note cards.  We’d love to hear from you.

 

Until Next Time,

Know the Hope!

Tammy

 

 

Standard
autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Magical and Practical Places

“Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

We are born into a family.  We play and learn and grow.  And as we do, so does our world, and our circle of friends.  We gather at schools and churches and ballparks and businesses.  When we become adults, we take on grownup roles.  We work, play, worship, grieve, and celebrate TOGETHER.  We are a community.

Children with intellectual and physical disabilities become adults, just like everyone else.  Once they grow up and leave school, they have the same need to continue to belong, and play active roles in communities.  Being intentional, working together, we can ALL break down the barriers that separate us.

Mary's Music

I’m so thankful we live in a community that gets it.  From employers who open their doors, hiring our young adults for their strengths, to organizations that offer special needs sports, recreation, creative arts, and adult ministries, You Get It!  We are truly blessed.  As Morgan would say, “I LOVE This Place!”

Recently our community has added a couple of places that are Extra Inviting and Super Exciting!  The first,  Mary’s Magical Place, is a park that is accessible to ALL abilities and ages.  Their mantra is “Make It Happen!” And Boy did they! 🙂

 

And PEER Place , a community based program, where our young adults can continue learning job, life, and social skills, empowering them to achieve their highest potential.  We think these places ROCK! 🙂

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

Standard
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.

IMG_0865

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

Standard
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

 

Standard
autism, faith, Morgan, Uncategorized

The Blue Side of the Rainbow

“April showers bring May flowers.” – Thomas Tusser

“April is Blue” – Morgan Vice

Morgan assigns each month a color.  During the month, she collects and creates things of that color.  January is white, because of snow.  February is red and pink.  March is green,…  We do an autism awareness event at the Bluebird Cafe’ each year in April, so Morgan has decided April is blue.  One day recently, she noticed there are “Lots of Blues!”  So she created this blue rainbow pictured below. 😉

Blue Rainbow Small

And look at this “Cool Bluebird Clock” we found to match her Bluebird hat. 🙂

Bluebird Clock Small

After several rainy blue April days, mom is ready for the “Rainbow Month” of May, with all it’s flowers blooming.  Whenever I’m on the blue side of the rainbow, I remind myself that everything is only for a season.  Time is always ticking, bringing a new day, and new light.

I CAN WAIT

WITH THE CLOUDS AND ALL THE THUNDER

SOMETIMES I CAN’T HELP BUT WONDER

IF THERE WILL EVER BE ANOTHER SUNNY DAY

AT THE END OF MY ROPE

HANGING ON TO WHAT’S LEFT OF HOPE

BUT THE WEATHER’S ALWAYS CHANGIN’

I CAN WAIT

 

WHEN I’M ON THE BLUE SIDE OF THE RAINBOW

IT CAN BE SO HARD TO SEE THE LIGHT

BUT SOMEWHERE I KNOW THE SUN IS SHININ’

AND ALL THE OTHER COLORS ARE IN SIGHT

 

 SOMETIMES CALENDERS AND CLOCKS

TEND TO BE MY STUMBLIN’ BLOCKS

ONCE AGAIN I COME UP SHORT AND ONE DAY LATE

THEN A SECOND HAND GOES WHIRLIN’ BY

BRINGS A HINT OF GOLDEN SKY

SO TIME IS NOT MY ENEMY

I CAN WAIT

WHEN I’M ON THE BLUE SIDE OF THE RAINBOW

IT CAN BE SO HARD TO SEE THE LIGHT

BUT SOMEWHERE I KNOW THE SUN IS SHININ’

AND ALL THE OTHER COLORS ARE IN SIGHT

I CAN WAIT

by: John Edd Thompson & Tammy Vice (c) 2002 BMI

Available on iTunes

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope,

Tammy Vice

 

Standard
autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Chains and Rainbows

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Each year, our family holds an autism benefit for Autism Tennessee at the Bluebird Café.  This April will be our sixteenth year.  The event was named “Breaking The Chains”, after a song that was written for our daughter, during a time I had so many questions about her and her future.

You know that old saying, “Be careful what you pray for.”  I remember a time when Morgan seemed to have no interests in anything we presented, and we had tried everything.  She was diagnosed with autism when she was 3 1/2 years old.  Below are the lyrics to the song, a prayer, to be able to connect with her.  One of the lines is “open your eyes to the colors of rainbows”.

Help Me Break Those Chains

 How can I reach you so that I can teach you

Open up the world and put it in your hands

Cast out those shadows, replace them with meadows

How can I help you finally understand

There is a place out, I need to show you, please don’t hide

 

Help me break those chains that hold your precious mind

Like Rapunzel in her castle, please let down your golden hair

I need to climb and join you so that I can find

That something that’s missing between here and there

Help me break those chains

 

Open your eyes to the colors of rainbows

Open up your ears to hear the whippoorwills

Come out of that midnight, reach into the sunlight

Feel the warmth that greets you as your climb those hills

Taste the sweetness of each day, together we will find a way

 

Help me break those chains that hold your precious mind

Like Rapunzel in her castle, please let down your golden hair

I need to climb and join you so that I can find

That something that’s missing between here and there

Help me break those chains

Tammy Vice J Rees Music BMI (c)

Now Morgan is 23.  Education through the Arts has played a major role in opening the doors of communication.  I call her my event planner.  She is always about the Next Big Thing, and our house looks a lot like an art gallery.  She assigns each month a color and theme.  March was green, and “rainbow kites”.  We paint a scene on our sliding glass door to ring in the new month.

The rainbow is a promise.  There are still countless things I don’t know, so I’m thankful I do know  The Rainbow Maker.  🙂

Until Next Time,

Know the Hope!

Tammy

 

Standard
autism, family, Uncategorized

Picking Your Copilot

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” – Dr. Stephen Covey

Mamaw and Papaw will be married 60 years this month.  We gathered at a local airport to celebrate with friends from their Sunday School class.  This location was chosen because they met and worked together at a small county airport back in the 1950’s.  Papaw offered airplane rides for folks, while Mamaw collected the money in a shoe box.

I think my mom and dad are as different as night and day, and maybe that’s what makes things work.  When choosing a copilot, I believe I’d want to have someone on board that has all the strengths that I lack.  It’s even more important when you’re carrying precious cargo.

 

morgan-allison-rudy-november-2016 Dad and our precious cargo

I’m glad I’ve learned a little something from watching my parents marriage, and landed a pretty great copilot myself. 😉 Rudy and I are definitely as different as night and day.  I’ve often said “I’m the gas pedal and he’s the brakes”. We’ve piloted through a few storms over the years, and we’ve been blessed to enjoy some beautiful horizons.  I can’t imagine navigating this life without him.

Love and congratulations to Mamaw and Papaw on their 60th!  As we continue to chart our course, we’re thankful for their example.

anniv-cake Anniversary Cake Painting

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

Standard