dance, family, joy, Uncategorized

Are We Having Fun Yet?

“When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” – Mark Sanders & Tia Sellers 

Allison gets her work ethic from her dad.  She’s seen him leave home before daylight, and come home after sunset all her life.  His dad did the same.  I admire their “sticktoitiveness”.  But there are times when the job is thankless, when no one is applauding.    That’s when the Mom in Me pleads with them, in order not to burn out, we have to have a balance.  When our world feels more like an endless ride on a roller coaster, after eating a footlong chile dog, we have to stop and get our footing.

Recently, I attended the WOW festival in Cookeville, and enjoyed seeing Allison dance again.

Allison Dance

I love my daughter.  I’m proud of all she’s accomplished, but I’m happiest for her when she’s happy.  I hope she continues to dance, physically and spiritually.

Sing your song picture

I hope she’ll always take the time to locate her joy.  And I hope I can talk her dad into a waltz or two.  😉

Daddy Daughter Dance

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

Magical and Practical Places

“Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

We are born into a family.  We play and learn and grow.  And as we do, so does our world, and our circle of friends.  We gather at schools and churches and ballparks and businesses.  When we become adults, we take on grownup roles.  We work, play, worship, grieve, and celebrate TOGETHER.  We are a community.

Children with intellectual and physical disabilities become adults, just like everyone else.  Once they grow up and leave school, they have the same need to continue to belong, and play active roles in communities.  Being intentional, working together, we can ALL break down the barriers that separate us.

Mary's Music

I’m so thankful we live in a community that gets it.  From employers who open their doors, hiring our young adults for their strengths, to organizations that offer special needs sports, recreation, creative arts, and adult ministries, You Get It!  We are truly blessed.  As Morgan would say, “I LOVE This Place!”

Recently our community has added a couple of places that are Extra Inviting and Super Exciting!  The first,  Mary’s Magical Place, is a park that is accessible to ALL abilities and ages.  Their mantra is “Make It Happen!” And Boy did they! 🙂

 

And PEER Place , a community based program, where our young adults can continue learning job, life, and social skills, empowering them to achieve their highest potential.  We think these places ROCK! 🙂

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

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faith, family, Uncategorized

A Break in the Weather

“There is something to be said for sitting still and letting things come clear, the way morning fog burns off the lake.” – George Witte

OJ and sunshine

Sitting here, with a glass of orange juice, nursing a summer cold. There’s a beautiful blue sky today. Hoping a little sunshine, and sunny thoughts, will clear this head fog. 😉

Bristol viewIn early August, Allison treated her dad to a getaway to celebrate his 60th birthday. They took a trip to Bristol, or as Morgan puts it, “Around the circle, ready to race!” They had been planning this for a few months. Allison found a little place, with a peaceful view, not far from the race track.

A friend gifted Rudy with some great tickets on the start-finish line. The week before, weather forecasts were not looking so good.  I could tell dad was getting in the dumps, thinking the race might not happen. Morgan and mom were sending up lots of weather prayers.  Thankfully the clouds broke just in time for the race.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  That’s how God works.

Rudy and Allison have always had a special bond.  They’re both hard workers, loyal to a fault.  They give their best on the job, and that gives them precious little time for times like these.  It was a gift for me to see them enjoying this time together; a long drive with time to catch up, a low-tech getaway above the clouds, good food for their bellies and their souls, and of course Bristol Baby!

When any of us get too caught up, for too long, in the day to day duties, we can find ourselves in a fog.  So thankful for this break in the weather for Rudy and Allison.

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.

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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

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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autism, Morgan

Small Talk

“She had lost the art of conversation but not, unfortunately, the power of speech.” – George Bernard Shaw

At the age of three, Morgan’s functional speech was stolen by autism.  She was left with empty repetitive words and phrases, and no ability to carry on a conversation.  Here we are, two decades later, with something very BIG to celebrate! As she approaches birthday “Number 23!”, our girl is reclaiming that ability.  Don’t get me wrong.  She’s been speaking her mind for a few years now.  What comes up, definitely comes out. 😉  But recently, I’ve seen her taking the next step.  She’s beginning to realize that true conversation, like a good dance, takes Two to Tango.

chicken-dance

Pictured above: Morgan & Mom Chicken Dance at last year’s Project 22 event

Last Friday, after work, Morgan and I dropped by my parents house to say hello.  From another room, I heard her telling Mamaw about her morning.  “Worked hard at Lenny’s today Mamaw.  Whew-ee, it’s a busy long day!”  😉 My mom said, “Oh, you must be tired.”  Morgan replied with an additional sigh; “Oh dear, I’m tired Mamaw.”

Later that afternoon, we were helping friends at Project 22.  They are a local organization that provides numerous activities to engage young adults with disabilities.  A few of us volunteered to help decorate the gym for Saturday’s Halloween dance.  I had told Morgan, ahead of time, that we would need her help too.  We’d be setting up tables, and we’d need her to help set out chairs, table clothes, and decorations.  She was all about it!

As we passed Morgan the chairs, she counted out loud “One, two, three, …” lining them up, and double checking their positions.  She pointed to one of the parent volunteers, and said; “What’s your name?”  Cheryl replied, then Morgan continued; “Cheryl, working hard, lots of chairs everywhere!”  She hung in there until the job was done, tablecloths and all, then sat patiently while other preparations were being discussed.  We left with a hardy “Goodbye friends! See ya next time!”

At the dance Saturday evening, Morgan grabbed a couple of friendly ghosts to discuss Octobery stuff.

boo-p22-small This year’s Project 22 Halloween Dance

Small talk is NO small thing.  I believe this calls for a Happy Dance!

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

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Uncategorized

Learning To Receive

“Oh, I never DREAMED it!” – Morgan Vice quoting Cinderella

We all know it’s “more blessed to give than to receive.”  Those of us who are “doers” have no problem jumping in and giving what’s needed, or surprising someone we care about with that special something.  But sometimes we have trouble knowing how to gracefully receive help when we need it, or how to enjoy a gift when it’s offered.  There’s a real joy that comes from knowing we’ve given just what was needed at the right time.  Life is a balance.  When we don’t allow others to give back, we rob them of that joy.

People need to be needed.  Everyone has something to offer.  My daughter Morgan knows how to receive a gift with sheer delight. 😉   I also see her joy and sense of accomplishment when she knows she’s helping out and doing a good job.  She has a disability.  That doesn’t mean she’s unable, just differently able.  I am learning that allowing her to give back and do her part at home and in the community is actually a gift to her.

Morgan Zaxbys

Here’s a picture of Morgan being given an opportunity to work through her school’s job coaching program.  We appreciate employers who understand the benefits they receive when hiring individuals with disabilities.  It’s a win-win situation!

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy Vice

 

 

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