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

 

Advertisements
Standard
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.

IMG_0865

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

Standard
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

Standard
autism, dance, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

A Soul’s Tale of Soles

“Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes.  Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”  Joe South

I share our family’s walk through the world of autism, in an effort to create awareness, and understanding.  You might say my writing shoes were inherited from my dad, so I thought I’d share one of his writings with you in this post, along with some soul to sole picture moments.

Pictured below; Mine and my sister’s baby shoes

Little Crochet Booties by Winston Burkett (Papaw)

Little crochet booties, two feet in just one hand
I held you up and out to God, for I was one proud man
Then came little walking shoes, and alone you learned to stand
But I stood there ready, to offer you a hand
O dear child tread gently, as your walk through life you start
O dear child tread gently, you’re walking through my heart

Mistakes I’ve made a plenty, as I watched you grow
But have no doubt my love is strong, I wanted you to know
I always stood there ready when you took your first steps,
I stood there, as I do now, to offer you my help

Shoes of patent leather were awkward at their best
But they sure were pretty with your first Easter dress
Then there were the barefoot days with bruises and bandaids
When it came to childhood pranks, you sure made the grade
O dear child tread gently, as you walk through life, you stroll
O dear child tread gently, for you’re walking with my soul

Pictured below; Princess Morgan in her prom sneakers for Night To Shine.  It’s how “Cinderella” was able to stay and dance at the ball all night. 😉

Morgan Prom Shoes

Then there were the sneakers, and even baseball cleats
And tennis shoes with bobby socks, sure made you look neat
The ballet shoes that you did dance and wore the toe clear through
I stood and watched your graceful steps, o so proud of you
O dear child tread gently, as through life you stride
O dear child tread gently, for I’m watching you with pride

Pictured below; Allison and her soulmate

Allison Wedding Shoe

How about those high heels, you wore to your school prom
They sure made you look so nice, you borrowed them from mom
One day there came a wedding, your shoes I couldn’t see
The lovely dress and long white train had hidden them from me
O dear child tread gently, as you make life your own
O dear child tread gently, and you’ll never be alone

Now what is this with slippers, a child does grow within
Yes, it is my grandchild, whose love I’ll surely win
Little crochet booties, both feet in just one hand
I hold you up and out to God, for I am one proud man

Pictured below; Morgan and Allison’s baby shoes

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

P.S. And just for a smile, here’s a picture of the shoes I wore recently, on a busy mom day. 😉

Mom Shoes

Standard
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

 

 

Standard
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

 

 

Standard
autism, family, Uncategorized

Picking Your Copilot

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” – Dr. Stephen Covey

Mamaw and Papaw will be married 60 years this month.  We gathered at a local airport to celebrate with friends from their Sunday School class.  This location was chosen because they met and worked together at a small county airport back in the 1950’s.  Papaw offered airplane rides for folks, while Mamaw collected the money in a shoe box.

I think my mom and dad are as different as night and day, and maybe that’s what makes things work.  When choosing a copilot, I believe I’d want to have someone on board that has all the strengths that I lack.  It’s even more important when you’re carrying precious cargo.

 

morgan-allison-rudy-november-2016 Dad and our precious cargo

I’m glad I’ve learned a little something from watching my parents marriage, and landed a pretty great copilot myself. 😉 Rudy and I are definitely as different as night and day.  I’ve often said “I’m the gas pedal and he’s the brakes”. We’ve piloted through a few storms over the years, and we’ve been blessed to enjoy some beautiful horizons.  I can’t imagine navigating this life without him.

Love and congratulations to Mamaw and Papaw on their 60th!  As we continue to chart our course, we’re thankful for their example.

anniv-cake Anniversary Cake Painting

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

Standard