autism, caregivers, communication, faith, family, friends, Morgan, Uncategorized

I Call It Momtism

“If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

While shopping in the grocery store, I saw a very familiar face. I could not recall their name or the place where I knew them from, knowing I should know, I ducked down an isle, hoping it would come back to me. It didn’t. The following week, I was at the bank, and Boom! There she was behind the counter, right where she belonged, and everything clicked again. I laughed at myself, then I recalled how seeing someone “out of place” can often rattle Morgan.

I am socially awkward at best sometimes, not great at small talk. There is usually a lot going on in my head, and not everything needs to be shared out loud. 😂 I have to remember, what’s normal in our world, as a parent and a young adult on the autism spectrum, can be miles away from what others consider normal. To say the least, my sense of humor can be a bit skewed. I’ve learned to face the fact that Morgan and I are never going to smoothly or discreetly blend in with the crowd. And that’s ok.

Morgan & Mom Back Porch Pickin’ for Hendersonville Tennessee’s
Front Porch Fest 2020

We are all unique, all fearfully and wonderfully made. We each have our own little quirks and traits that make us us. Genetics, environment, and experience all play their part in how we perceive and navigate things. The more I try to help Morgan understand this world, the more I realize what little sense it makes to me. But I still remain hopeful and thankful. I know it won’t always be this way.

Whenever I have those glitches, those awkward Momtism moments, when I’m totally out of sync with the world around me, I feel a synchronicity with Morgan. I get a better understanding of what it’s like to feel a little lost. Of course it’s brief and I have the tools to compensate, but it serves me a needed dose of empathy for what my girl and others on the autism spectrum go through every single day.

But one day, One. Day. We will no longer feel we are so out of the loop. We will finally be able to communicate and understand each other, and Everyone and Everything, more clearly. “…Now we know in part, but then we will know fully, as we are fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Morgan & Mom

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Allison, family, joy, Love, Morgan, Uncategorized

How Many More Miles?

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach

It’s a question my dad, my daughters’ dad, and countless other dads have heard many times. Children can be so ready to get to the destination that they wish away the road time. I remember nodding off to sleep in the back seat, hoping to wake up just in time to be THERE. Now that I’m older, I’ve learned that the miles along the way can be just as meaningful. I don’t want to sleep through the Here and Now.

Building the Trike with Dad. “We got this!”
Morgan, taking her babies for a ride.
Dad and Allison Making Fudge
Mission Accomplished
Morgan, showing her “Three Wheels” to Mamaw and Papaw

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my girl’s dad, and all those dads that go the extra mile for their families. Hugs and Hearts! 🤗❤️

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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autism, communication, faith, Health, Love, Morgan

What Did You Say?

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Robert McCloskey

Have you ever watched a video of a crying baby receiving a hearing aid? When they hear their mother’s voice for the first time, their crying stops. Their eyes open wide. They become calm at first, then smile or even squeal with delight? Then, of course, the mother begins to cry. It’s that moment of mutual connection that those of us who hear often take for granted.

If you have ever seen one of our home videos on YouTube or Facebook Live, you will see All Things Autism. What you may not recognize is that Morgan has a hearing, or rather a listening, impairment. Even though her physical hearing is intact, her ability to process and interpret sound is interrupted by something called CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder). My unscientific explanation is that there is a glitch in her central auditory nervous system wiring. This is a separate diagnosis from her autism. For signs and symptoms of CAPD, visit asha.org . American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

It is hard for Morgan to separate and make sense of sounds, especially speech. There is actually a slight delay in what she hears. When we are at home, in a one on one, quiet environment, it’s much easier for her to navigate. We’ve learned to slow down and give her time to respond. You will see she is very talkative and engaged. She is Very Able to express herself in our home environment.

Morgan and Papaw showing off an April window painting they did together.

When Morgan is in a group setting, there are lots of competing sounds and distractions. Large gatherings can be confusing and stressful. This usually stops her from initiating engagement. When she is overwhelmed, her reaction is to grunt and vocalize her displeasure, in order to get away. Or she will completely shut down, squinting her eyes, bending over and putting her head in her hands. Unfortunately for her, this makes others see her as Less Able than she actually is. When we are able to know what to expect, and provide Morgan with a schedule ahead of time, this takes down the stress and helps her be more successful.

As things speed back up again, we find ourselves stumbling a little more, trying to regain our footing in this world. I guess that’s life, with or without disabilities. I still believe the joy of a meaningful life ride is worth the learning bumps we experience along the way.

There is a giant chasm between hearing and listening. This year of slowing down has really opened my eyes and my heart to the difference. Many of us have forgotten how to listen. It takes time to really get to know anyone. It takes time, patience, and a sincere caring effort to get those moments of mutual connection, where we can all truly communicate.

We openly share our family’s journey with autism in the hope of creating understanding and acceptance for all individuals with disabilities.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope,

Tammy

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autism, family, Morgan

Visiting IF-ville

“If you worry too much about what might be, and wonder too long about what might have been, you will ignore and completely miss what is.”  From the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.

In my early years of parenting Morgan, I remember visiting If-ville on several occasions.  Every time I saw another child on the autism spectrum making bigger strides, I would question our course.  I would question what might have been, if we’d had access to an earlier diagnosis, if we could have afforded more therapy, if we’d had more knowledge of the best practices,…  I found myself repeatedly mulling over missed opportunities and bygone possibilities.  It was a lot like riding on the roundabout with the Grissw0lds, 

It’s been quite a while since I visited IF-ville.  I found it to be an enormous waste of time.  It also created lots of unnecessary baggage that I don’t have the energy to lug around anymore.

Finally realizing our journey is, and should be, uniquely our own, has allowed me to genuinely celebrate the success of others, without feeling like I missed the mark.  It has freed me to celebrate and enjoy Morgan for the remarkable young woman she is.  I wouldn’t miss that for anything. Below Morgan is pictured with her nutcracker collection.  That’s my girl! 🙂

I do occasionally look to the future “what if’s”, and new possibilities we might want to visit, when the time is right for her.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

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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, 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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autism, family

The Ultimate Goal

Recently, our older daughter reached a big goal of hers.  She is now a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).  We’re very proud of Allison for hanging in there and doing all that was required to get there.  She’s always been one to set goals for herself and reach them without any major detours.

Morgan’s path has been a very different one.  We’ve partnered with her, setting and resetting goals, taking two steps forward and one step back, often doing a few pirouettes.  We are equally proud of all she has accomplished along the way.

We made a sister visit to give Allison a medal for passing her exam.  Morgan gave herself a medal for being Morgan.  Both were very well deserved. 😉

Medal Medal1

Medal2

Ultimately our prayer is for both of our girls to know their purpose in this life, and experience the lasting joy that comes from being who they are individually called to be.  We feel pretty blessed that we were called to be their parents. 😉

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Rudy and Tammy Vice

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Uncategorized

“Good Things”

It started with Morgan’s weekend breakfast special; scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits, and turkey bacon. Her dad has recently taught her the art of turning that biscuit into a bacon and egg sandwich. Yum! it’s a Good Thing. 😉 After checking out the latest episode of Mickey Mouse Club, and relaxing a bit, it was time to head for SENSE Theatre. Morgan has been sharing some artwork with them, which will be displayed in March at their show, Circus delSe’. Another Good Thing!
Sense 1b
Next we were off to Project 22, for a little more art fun. I thought Morgan would be “all done” near the end of the session, but she surprised me by saying she wanted to “stay with friends”.
Hearing this made Mom’s day!

Later that evening we had dinner with her Mamaw, Papaw, and friends at the Long Hollow Jamboree. Then after church Sunday, Morgan capped off the weekend with a visit to the circus with a few of buddies.
Mamaw Morgan Long Hollow JAmboree Circus Morgan kenneth Lesa
This weekend was just one Good Thing after another, and the Best Thing was seeing her truly enjoy being with friends! Now I really think a nap would be a Good Thing. 😉

Hope you enjoy listening to our latest single, recently released to radio, available on iTunes.

Until Next Time,
Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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Uncategorized

“A Snake on the Shelf”

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all you heart.”     Jeremiah 29:13

Ok, it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We’re standing there, looking for that item on the shelf. We’re certain we’ve shoved everything around and it’s not there. Then someone else walks up, reaches in, and pulls it out of thin air. “If it had been a snake,…” 😉

When I get too caught up in all of the clutter on life’s shelf, I can easily lose sight of what I was originally searching for.  I can lose sight of what really matters.  That’s when I know I need to refocus and prioritize, preferably BEFORE the snake bites.  I need to choose quality over quantity, clearing out the things where the good has expired, making room to see every good thing more clearly.  I’m also going to leave an open spot on the shelf for fresh opportunities.

shelf

I want more than just getting by!  Now what was I looking for…?  Oh yes, the same thing I was searching for when I opened last month’s WordPress door.  JOY!   There it is!

Check out Just Getting By:

From the Project “More Than Just Getting By” Available on Cd Baby and iTunes

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope! (And the Joy) 😉

Tammy Vice

 

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Uncategorized

“Good To The Last Drop!”

OK, call me frugal. I am a squeezer of toothpaste tubes, a scraper of peanut butter jars,…I hate to waste. But I’ve noticed other family members add items to the grocery list when they are still half full. 😉

Grocery List

Sometimes we approach life that way.  We can get so busy planning tomorrows, we waste the joy of the moments and the people that are right in front of us.  In helping Morgan deal with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I often find myself literally doing a song and dance to pull her out of whatever she’s obsessing on and into the present.  The plus side is that it’s teaching me to be fully present, to recognize when tomorrow’s busyness and worries are trying to steal my now.

Grocery list joy

Here’s to squeezing every last drop out of the day with the ones we love.  Right here, right now, even if it takes a little fancy footwork.

Until Next Time,
Know The Hope

Tammy Vice

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