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, Morgan, Uncategorized

Respect – A Measure of Maturity

“Abuse happens when any human sees another as less.” – Mom

“With God, one man is NOT different from another.” Romans 2:11

How we choose to treat others is a good measure of our own maturity.  Disrespect is no small thing.  Whether in word or deed, it can be harmful.  Recently, in the news, we’ve seen what can happen when one person thinks less of another.  We’ve heard about women who have been harassed or assaulted, many times by those in authority in the workplace.  #MeToo  It doesn’t just happen to women.  It happens to men.  It happens to children.  It happens to the elderly.  As an individual with disabilities, We know Morgan is particularly vulnerable.  For this reason, we surround her with love and respect.  We give her responsibilities, choices, and consequences.  We let her know her value in God’s eyes, and ours.  We point out disrespect whenever we see it, because we want Morgan to recognize the difference between mature and immature behavior.

IMG_0861 IMG_0865

Morgan’s autism has no filter, so when she wants something a little too badly, her voice tone can get harsh.  When we return that same tone back to her, she is quick to tell us, “You hurt her feelings.”  Exactly. 😉 We are helping her to recognize it’s not just what we say, but HOW we say it.  She easily picks up on tones when someone is angry.  She’ll say, “Uh, Oh!”  She has also become more aware of someone being sarcastic and condescending.  We hope this will help her avoid “the bullies”.  We want her to understand the importance of respecting others, and being respected.  We know it will take a measure of maturity, and some growing pains, but we’re on our way.  😉

Maturity knows how to take care of itself, AND value others.  It can be confident without being a bully.  It can disagree without being degrading.  Maturity is teachable.  It can admit when its wrong.  It genuinely celebrates the success of others, and mourns their loss.  It simply treats others the way it wishes to be treated.

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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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

The Elephant in the Room

When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” – Creighton Abrams

Years ago, I worked as an assistant to a bookkeeper.  She was top notch. Although the top of her desk was covered with endless stacks of tasks to be addressed, she could easily reach in and find whatever was requested.  Still, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t put things that weren’t urgent in a drawer.  She said, “Out of sight, out of mind.”  Keeping it all on her desk, kept her conscious of what was next.

It was mindboggling to me how Mrs. Juanita could work on the task at hand, while so much was staring back at her.  Just seeing her desk made me hyperventilate.  Yet, each day she approached it all, calmly and systematically.  She was always pleasant, and had a great sense of humor.  I had to know her secret.  When I asked how she did it, she smiled and said “How do you eat an elephant?”  She saw my puzzled look, and answered her own question, “One bite at a time.”  My youth and impatience just couldn’t swallow it at the time, but today I’m thankful for the living example of peace she offered me.

Dumbo Rider

As the parent of a young adult with disabilities, I’m aware of “The Elephant” of needs, now and in the future, that I cannot possibly address in their entirety today.  I can’t act as if they don’t exist.  But the reality is, there is a daily limit to my mental digestion.  Knowing my appetite is better on some days than others, and Morgan is invariably going to throw in a squirrel or two, I hang on tightly to my sense of humor.  I’m learning to address each day with joy and purpose, as it comes.  I start with a prayer, a fresh breath, and accomplish what I can, when I can.

Elephant Cup

With the right perspective, even an elephant can be digested in bite sized pieces.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope,

Tammy

 

 

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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

 

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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

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan

Keeping Life Meaningful

Atrophy – A wasting away, a gradual decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.

Every now and then, I need to revisit WHY we do all we do.  It’s not about being busy.  It’s about staying engaged in community, giving and receiving joy.  It’s about living our lives with purpose.  Just as a muscle will atrophy from lack of exercise, a person’s spark for life will decline and waste away if meaning cannot be found.  There is a human need to be recognized and relevant.  The more I include Morgan, the more Light I see in her.

morgan-mom-program

Since Morgan exited school last May, my biggest concern has been how to keep life meaningful for her.  Knowing that college, marriage, and the other norms of life are not in her future (short of a miracle), I continually pray to be able to provide things that bring quality and enrichment.  Having a schedule is imperative to keep down her anxiety, but having “Too Much Schedule” can be equally stressful.  We’ve been on and off the treadmill of activities, and we’re learning, it’s all about striking a healthy balance.

Once upon a time, in the Hundred Acre Wood, when asked whether it was time to WORK or PLAY, Winnie the Pooh replied, “YES!”.  Following the wisdom of Winnie, we do a little of both, and Morgan has no problem letting me know when she’s “Busy Relaxing”. 😉

job-small    raptors-bowlingbusy-relaxing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Morgan works a couple of hours each week at a local sandwich shop, and has her list of chores at home.  She volunteers once a week, helping her Papaw with Meals on Wheels, and her Sunday school teacher put lesson plans together.  She enjoys piano lessons, special needs sports, social activities, and Sunday school.  Together, we enjoy music, art, and baking on occasion.  Recently, we’ve both become part of an Adult Friends Choir at church that performs for assisted living centers in our community. And we have one day a week that NOTHING is planned, except “Staying Right Here” at home.  Image result for winnie the pooh quotes

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

 

 

 

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