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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Uncategorized

Joy Is A Choice

“… I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

The other day, I asked Morgan what she wanted for lunch. Her answer was “How about food?”. 😉 This was not sarcasm. This is her autism. Where many of us are grateful to be given choices, it causes her a great deal of anxiety. Why? The answers to some questions are infinite. I believe she’s actually afraid of giving the wrong answer. Morgan still doesn’t understand that her choice is just that, Her Choice. If I can ever get her to understand that, I believe it will free her from a lot of the anxiety choices cause her.

As I’ve worked with Morgan for several years on this life skill, I’ve come to realize just how important choices are for all of us. They give us independence and freedom. At the same time, they come with responsibility and consequences. Good ones build us up and bad ones tear us down. Hopefully, as we mature, we learn to make choices that are not only good for us, but respectful of others. When others respect us, they allow us to make choices too.

Everyone deserves the right to make choices to the extent they are able. Often times, the choices of individuals with disabilities are overlooked. Whenever we assume we know what’s best for anyone without offering them a voice, we may not realize it, but we’re being dismissive of that person. On several occasions, when I thought I knew exactly what Morgan wanted, but gave her the option, I found out I was wrong. 😉

God loves us so much that Even He Allows us to CHOOSE Him. If that decision was forced, it would mean nothing. As much as I want others to believe as I do, I have to remember that every person has the right to make their own decisions. My Individual Joy and Confidence in what I believe comes from knowing I’ve been given a choice, and I choose Him.

I will continue to offer Morgan every choice I can, working with her through the anxiety and OCD, because more than anything, I want her to find her own voice, her own joy.

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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caregivers, faith, Health, healthcare, Love

Heroes Are Human Too

“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down their life for his friends.” John 15:13 HCSB

It’s one thing to give of ourselves to family or friends, but to put our life on the line for someone we don’t even know,… THAT’S A HERO. We’ve all witnessed the scenes, heard the stories, of healthcare workers who’ve gone above and beyond to care for Our families, Our friends.

One picture that brought reality home for me was the 164 pairs of nurses shoes placed on The White House Lawn, representing those who have given their lives caring for our loved ones.

Bringing empty shoes to honor the dead, nurses descend on Capitol
National Nurses United installed a memorial to honor the more than 160 nurses who have died from COVID-19. Nurses are demanding the Senate act now to pass the HEROES Act and ensure optimal PPE for frontline health care workers. | Rick Reinhard / NNU

Recently, I was asked by my friend Melanie Walker to help her write a song for an annual program for healthcare workers called Blessing of the Hands. We thought about the length of time they’ve been tirelessly giving of themselves. When it all started there was lots of gratitude shown. Now it has somehow become what we expect of heroes. Melanie wanted this to be a song of prayer, as it should be. To the only One who truly knows their hearts, their needs, their humanity. To the only One who can heal them everywhere they hurt, this is our plea.

Here is the link to the video, Heroes Are Human Too. Below are the lyrics, If you know a hero who needs this, Please share.

Heroes are Human Too by Melanie Walker and Tammy Vice © May ‘20

They take the lead when others fear

Brave our battles, wipe our tears

You see each struggle they go through

You know heroes are human too

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman.  He’s just a man

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman, Lord.  He’s just a man

Your arms are always open wide

Shelter them and be their guide

When they feel they are not enough

Remind them just how much they’re loved

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman.  He’s just a man

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman, Lord.  He’s just a man

Give them wisdom.  Give them strength

We pray that they may know Your peace

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman.  He’s just a man

Bless the labor of their hands

She’s just a woman, Lord.  He’s just a man

You see each struggle they go through. 

You know heroes are human too

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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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, 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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Uncategorized

Waiting With Joy

“Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting.” – Fred Rogers

Morgan is all about putting events on her calendar.  Her enthusiasm is contagious as she talks about every detail she’s looking forward to.  However, there can be a fine line between expectation and obsession.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is my daughter’s ever present companion.  I have seen it steal her joy on many occasions.  Sometimes it will have her so focused on a future event that she’s unable to see the fun that’s right in front of her.

Any of us can get so caught up in tomorrow’s possibilities that we miss the sweet simple pleasures of the here and now.  In my ongoing quest to help Morgan learn how to wait with joy, I’ve been given an unexpected gift.  Whether it’s learning to draw our favorite characters, watering a flower to help it grow, testing out a new recipe, or watching a fire burn under the stars, I’ve found there are countless wonderful things to enjoy “while we’re waiting”.  Once again, I am thankful for Mr. Rogers and his words of wisdom. 😉

Drawing Fun with Morgan Drawing Fun With Morgan

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