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

 

 

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autism, caregivers, faith, peace, Uncategorized

Melting the Iceberg of Isolation

“… I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6

When children with disabilities become young adults with disabilities, there is a service cliff.  Families have to piece and patch together everything to keep young adults active in the community.  One of my biggest fears when Morgan left high school, was her falling off of everyone’s map, being forgotten.  Thankfully we live in an area where the disability community itself is very active.  There are always opportunities to socialize in organized activities.   You might say there’s plenty of water to bring the horse to, but my horse doesn’t always want to drink. 😉

Morgan’s autism brings with it a lot of social anxiety.  While she is very comfortable at home, where she is able to communicate her needs, hang out in her jammies and play on her iPad Way Too Much, that only adds to the iceberg of isolation.  It’s up to me to get her out the door and into social activities.  She does “want to see friends”.  She just doesn’t always know how to “be with friends”.  As much as I try to nudge her into the group, if she’s not able to relax and engage, it’s not going to happen.  This not only isolates her.  It isolates me.

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All caregivers deal with isolation to some extent.  It just goes with the territory.  Add to that caring for someone who, due to their disability, is unable to give you that pat on the back for giving it your all.  It can be extremely draining at times.  It can make you question if you’re doing it good enough, if it’s possible to do anything good enough.

Recently, I was speaking to another caregiver who was feeling very unappreciated, very alone in their circumstances.  The advice I heard come out of my mouth was, “Do everything you do, as unto the Lord.” Col 3:23.  Until that moment, in my own exhaustion, I realized I had forgotten my own advice.

I have to remind myself, as I keep reaching out for Morgan’s sake and mine, I also have to Keep Reaching Up, to keep from giving up.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but there is a very solid peace I find, knowing that God has promised to never leave me or forsake me. I don’t have to fear for Morgan, or myself, being forgotten. God still sees us, even when no one else is looking.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

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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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