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, 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, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

ParENTchuting

Definition of parachuting – 1. dropping from an aircraft by parachute  2. being appointed in an emergency, or from outside the existing hierarchy

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a tandem jump to celebrate my 60th birthday.  To answer a few of the questions I’ve been asked;

“What’s it like?” – It’s a lot like being a parent.  “How does it feel?” – It’s incredibly exhilarating, and a little nauseating, when you’re in a spin.  “Would you do it again?”…

YES, ABSOLUTELY.  🙂

DCIM100GOPROG0048558. Link to Mom Skydiving

LABOR – Harnessing up.  Tightening the harness, while the airplane is in a steep ascent to 14,000 feet.  Experts are giving instructions.  I’m hearing – “Wonk, Wonk, Wonk”, while taking deep breaths.

BIRTH – Tumbling out of the plane, into a freefall, realizing I have no idea how to do this.  I can’t breathe.  SCREAM.  That’s better.  Finding my focal point – the photographer.  Yay! I’m not out here alone.  Others have done this.  It must be doable.

CRADLING – My favorite part.  When the chute opens, all of a sudden, complete quiet.  I’m looking down at this beautiful creation.  I’m still not sure how, or where, we’re going to land, but I remember I’m in tandem with The One who does know.  He has given me the measure of faith I need to do this.

PARENTING – The instructor let me steer, with him at first, and then on my own, with his direction.  A hard downward pull with one hand would put us in a dizzying spiral.  A more gentle pull would turn us slowly, allowing us to enjoy viewing more of the landscape.  After all these years of parenting, there are days when I’m floating, thinking I’ve got this.  Still, there are others, when I’m in that dizzying spiral.  On those days, I whisper a prayer that allows me to let go of the ropes, passing them back to the Master.  Together, we’ve got this.

When it comes to parenting, or any other adventure, I do believe we are each given what we need, to be as brave as we need to be.  So thankful God appointed Rudy and I to care for Allison and Morgan, two sweet little pieces of His creation.  So far, they’ve been quite a ride!

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

 

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autism, dance, faith, family, Morgan, risks and rewards, Uncategorized

Tap Dancing on Egg Shells

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – Robert Burns

Our family has been anticipating a trip to Disneyworld for a few years now, as a graduation gift to Morgan.  The actual planning began in February, with the help of Kingdom Concierge.  They created a time line for each stage.  There were some “must dos” on Morgan’s list, including breakfast with Cinderella, which had to be reserved six months ahead.  Fast passes to popular rides and events were chosen two months before going.  This was done to cut down on waiting times, so we could enjoy more of what the four parks have to offer.  From maps to apps, there is a lot to navigate.  Add autism to that mix, and we are talking NINJA – PLANNING.  As Morgan would say, “Too many choices!”.  But I knew the lack of stress, and extra smiles, on the vacation end would be worth it.  Mom mission accomplished. Or so I thought.

One week beforehand, Hurricane Irma entered the picture.  Flights, hotel reservations, Fast-Passes,… needed to be shifted a day, and re-booked, to be safe.  DONE.  Two days before traveling, while Disneyworld was shut down for the storm, all of our plans suddenly disappeared from the app.  I spoke to our travel agent on Monday, one day prior to departure.  We thought it was a computer glitch, but it turned out some human there had made an error, and canceled our whole vacation.   Since Disney was still closed, running on a skeleton crew, our agent would have to call, and hopefully be able to rebook our hotel package, with Morgan’s expected Nemo suite, in time for us to check in.

Meanwhile, our daughter was totally unaware of all the chaos.  All she knew was “Number 12” on her calendar said airplane to Disney.  The morning of our flight, my husband and I woke up, poured some coffee, and pulled out our morning devotional to get our breath.  We sighed, and even laughed, as we read the words pictured below.  We said our prayers, and boarded the plane, now trusting the outcome to “His hands”.  We landed, and received a text to get in touch with our agent ASAP.  She had been on the phone, holding for six hours, because they needed our approval for booking.  All that mattered to Morgan was back in place, including her requested Fantasmic Fast Pass for that evening. 🙂

Jesus Always Sept 12

We realize all of this was just a thread of inconvenience, compared to what people were going through in the storm.  Life can be an eggshell walk for all of us at times.  I plan to keep trusting and tap dancing on those egg shells, because life is about so much more than just getting by.

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Until Next time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Ego Swatting

“Goodbye Skeeter!  No time for that!” – Morgan Vice

One of my favorite spots in the world is my own backyard.  Nothing fancy there.  It’s just a peaceful little space to breathe and unplug.  Recently, while enjoying some summer solitude, Morgan swatted a mosquito, and let it know just how she felt about it disturbing her peace.

Sandbox 2

EGO can be a real peace stealer.  Being Morgan’s mom, fulltime buddy and caregiver, is a labor of the heart that requires me to be vigilant to guard my thoughts.  If not, I can get the “Poor, Pitiful, Me’s”.  I can get all caught up in worrying about myself, and the things I think I might be missing out on, becoming jealous and envious of how easy someone else’s life appears to be.  I can become narrow minded and judgmental of others.  If I’m not careful, I can get so self centered, and hard hearted, that I can’t hear God’s voice above all my noise.

Morgan is counting on me.  Don’t tell her, but I’m only human.  I’m so thankful God is God, and I’m not.  I can tell when my ego needs swatting.  I know it’s time to take that noise to the backyard, and put it in its place.  Goodbye Ego!  No time for that! 😉

There’s nothing more peaceful than placing my heart back into God’s very capable hands.  According to Jeremiah 29:11, He has plans specifically designed for me, for Morgan, for each one of us; “Plans to prosper me, and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.”

My Child Love God

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

 

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