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  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    “I praise You. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14 NKJV

    Recently, Morgan began to get grumpier, specifically with me. Every interaction brought a harsh response. I noticed she was also having more trouble following through with simple directions. From past experience, this is usually a sign she’s in pain, sick, or about to be. Sure enough, after a couple of days, she began to complain, saying there was an “airplane in her ear”. A checkup revealed an ear infection. The day after beginning treatment, she was back to her normal, lovable grumpy, self. 

    I used to blame everything on autism. Time, experience, and a very wise developmental pediatrician have taught me not to give autism so much credit. All behavior is NOT autistic behavior. It is just a piece of Morgan’s makeup. She is So Much More than that. Viewing everything through the lens of autism not only limits my ability to help her. It limits her possibilities.

                                                   Ms. Morgan’s Sunday Best

    Like each and every one of us, Morgan is remarkably made. She is an opinionated young woman, with a strong personality. She is creative and imaginative. While autism plays a partial role, bringing her unique strengths and weaknesses, it’s far from the whole picture. Each experience, each challenge and opportunity she’s given by those of us who see her as MORE, continues to help her grow.

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy

    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.



  • Monday, May 23, 2022 9:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭118:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    I am so grateful God allowed me to be a mom, because it has given me a much deeper understanding of His love and care for me.

    I have two daughters, ages 34 and 28. If either of them truly has a need, there’s nothing, within my power, I wouldn’t do to provide encouragement and support.

    Me and My Girls

    While Allison is a fully independent adult, autism has kept Morgan my forever child. She requires a full time caregiver. Two of the biggest challenges for Morgan, and many others on the autism spectrum, are communication and social skills.

    When you are providing care for someone who isn’t always able to communicate their needs, and doesn’t have the social skills to respond appropriately to disappointment, it can be very daunting at times. I am always walking that tightrope of challenging Morgan to be her best, and giving her grace for behaviors that I believe are beyond her ability to control. On most days, she rises above the challenges. ❤ On her hardest days, regardless of my best human efforts to meet her needs, anxiety and OCD can bring on panic and a meltdown.

    On my hardest days, when I catch myself dwelling on the negatives, the what ifs, and my heart starts to pound out of my chest with fear of tomorrow’s unknowns, I don’t have the words to speak in my prayers. But the beauty of God being my caregiver, is that He knows me inside out. He is able to interpret my cries. He knows my every need. He reminds me that He Has given me the ability to control my thoughts. He challenges me, corrects me, and gives me grace just when I need it most. He calms me and gives me hope.

    “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    I am so amazed that we can simply speak to God anytime we wish, that He is there to listen and meet the deepest needs of our hearts. The song below was written by John Swaim and myself. Hope it brings you the joy and strength you need for this day.

    https://open.spotify.com/track/2yl1kDsjkRv0epKyokLJeb?si=16aoggFqSHaDIm2mu8Et2Q

    Ordinary Day on Youtube

    To sum it all up, as hard as some days can be, the best days outweigh them by far. I’ll say it again. I’m grateful to be a mom, and a caregiver. And I am eternally grateful for my Caregiver.

    In closing, I’d like to leave you with a smile from Morgan & Mom on one of our daily drives.

    “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:15 NKJV

    Recent Car Navigation Conversation: Morgan and I use Siri to deliver meals on wheels. Part of her job is to call out the street number to Siri, then I call out the street. I decided to challenge her this week to start saying the street names. Turns out Siri was the one who was challenged.

    Me, pointing to S. Valley Rd. - “Say South Valley Road”
    Morgan - “Salley Valley Road”
    Siri - “I could be a little off…”
    Me, pointing again - “Say South Valley Road”
    Morgan - “Salley Vath Road”
    Siri - spinning, no reply
    Me - laughing hard and writing the word “South”
    Morgan, getting it perfect “South Valley Road”
    Me- still laughing in the background.
    Siri - “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”
    Morgan - “Mom’s fault”  ❤

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Tuesday, April 19, 2022 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Morgan’s first job was at a sandwich shop, acquired through vocational rehab, the summer she left high school. She was there for four years, maintaining her position, until the shop shut down during the pandemic. While waiting for things to open back up, she began delivering Meals on Wheels as a volunteer. She has found this more meaningful and fulfilling, seeing first hand what she is doing matters to the people she serves. We love seeing her contributing to community and enjoying it. She says, “I’m doing a good job!”

    The path to success looks different for everyone. Appreciate Ed Carter from Able Futures offering this article on employment possibilities for disabled entrepreneurs.


    Home Business Opportunities

    “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” Stephen Hawking.

    According to The World Bank, approximately 15% of the world’s population is living with a form of disability, either visual, hearing, mobility, or any number of health conditions that prevent them from being able to work at 100% capacity. But the desire and need to work doesn’t go away when the disability is there. It’s just that the conditions of that work will require some out-of-the-box thinking~~the traditional box, that is.

    Here, blogger Tammy Vice and her daughter Morgan, who lives with autism, suggest job opportunities that people with disabilities may find interesting and lucrative. Then they offer tips on how those new entrepreneurs can structure and manage their own home businesses.

    Visually impaired persons, like The Blind Cook and Master Chef winner Christine Ha, have more opportunities for home-based work than ever before. Thanks to the great strides in innovations to assist the blind, the opportunities for owning their own home-based businesses have grown significantly. Working from home as a researcher is a job that’s not only in demand but where the income can average about $60,000 annually, while a research assistant will make about half of that. People who are visually impaired might also look into at-home jobs like podcast or radio broadcasters or creating their own YouTube channels that can be monetized

    People who suffer a partial or total hearing loss like Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin might find they can mix their love of painting, photography, sculpting, or mixed media with a home business. Sales platforms like Etsy and Shopify are popular for selling homemade goods and crafts, while Artfinder and Redbubble are good for selling art. These sites are extremely popular for shoppers who are looking for something unique. Rideshare drivers are always in demand and the Uber and Lyft apps let riders know their driver is deaf and will make sure all instructions are printed.

    For someone with mobility limitations like film and television actor Micah Fowler, opportunities to work a home-based business with jobs like a professional translator, customer service representative, tutor/teacher, or graphic designer can be quite lucrative. It’s also a great mood lifter because it allows a person who may spend a great deal of time at home an opportunity to interact with others regularly. Many novelists, video producers, political advisors, fundraisers, and social media managers have become successful despite having limited mobility.

    People with autism spectrum disorder, like screenplay writer and television producer Dan Harmon, are finding a wealth of opportunities in working for themselves from home. Animal care businesses like pet sitting or dog walking are in high demand, as are careers in engineering and information technology, fields where remote work is becoming the norm.

    Marketing and creating a business financial structure from home DIY style has never been easier with an abundance of software and apps to do things like creating business cards and logos to targeting audiences on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok. Free financial software is available to help track sales, taxes, income, and expenses.

    Getting a business off the ground will take a bit of forethought and planning, but with some expert advice into the step-by-step process, it can be done entirely from a home computer. Starting with preparing a business plan, choosing how to structure a business, and tips on smart marketing, people are finding they can, with the help of smart online tools and tutorials, create their own businesses themselves right from home.

    One last thing to keep in mind. Starting a business can be challenging and rewarding for anyone, and maybe a bit more so for those living with a disability, but finding what you love doing and letting that be your starting point means knowing that no matter how tough the obstacles may seem, it will make success all that much sweeter when it happens.

    Ed Carter


    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2022 8:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “Music is the universal language of mankind.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    For communication and education, music is a wonderful facilitator. Songwriting has been a great way for Morgan and I to connect and for her to increase her vocabulary. We write about whatever she’s excited about at the time. I love to hear her perspective. She has such a unique way of phrasing things. When she sees me writing down her words, it encourages her to continue sharing.

    I’m not joking when I say songwriting is also my therapy. It’s a musical journaling of our family’s story; the hurts, hopes, and lessons learned. It’s always a privilege to share the songs and stories with those who are there with a listening ear. We appreciate you!

    After two years of Hitting the Brakes, we are back on April 12th for the 19th Annual Breaking The Chains Benefit to support Autism Tennessee. We are grateful to the Bluebird Cafe’ for partnering with us all these years.

    Morgan Vice, cutting the ribbon to open the show

    One of the biggest challenges for individuals on the autism spectrum (and the rest of the world lately) is meaningful communication. As the world’s best “listening room”, the Bluebird has always been the perfect venue to share our message of autism awareness. Music carries words to a place they’re unable to travel alone.

    Writers joining myself for the early show are John SwaimStephen Lee Veal and Suzi Ragsdale. We’ll also feature Morgan Vice and Logan Blade, a young man on the autism spectrum. He’s a man of few words who finds his voice through the music.

    The late show will be hosted by our dear friend Les Kerr. Other writers joining him are Wood NewtonDevon O’Day, and Casey Kelly. Many thanks to all the writers for sharing their time and talent.

    We hope you’ll join us on April 12th. Reservations are open online only, one week prior to the show on The Bluebird Cafe’ website .

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.


  • Monday, February 21, 2022 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
    Ephesians‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Some people may see me as having endless patience for Morgan. The truth is, time and experience have given me a better understanding of the challenges of her disability. I’ve learned that she responds much better to positive input rather than negative. When I encourage her and expect better from her, she often rises to the occasion. Years in the School of Morgan have helped me see how much my tone of voice and my choice of words matter to her progress.

    Love always prompts me to believe the best. I readily look for all the possible reasons behind any negative behaviors, so I can support Morgan to be her personal best… But that hasn’t always been my first response with other folks, who I think “should know better”.

    Recently, I had an Ahah moment after reading Ephesians 4:29. One translation even offers the term, “worthless words”. Being human means we all have struggles and challenges that can bring out less than perfect behavior at times. When that happens, am I going to offer worthless words, or the needed words of grace and encouragement to lift others back up?

    I wear a puzzle pin, but not for the reason you may think. Many people see it as a symbol for autism. But for me, it is a reminder that each of us are uniquely created on purpose, for a purpose. We are each made differently to fill a space that only we are meant to fill.

    We all grow and learn at a different pace. Hearing the rights words at the right time, when we’re finally ready to receive them, can help move us closer to our sweet spot. And that sweet spot is where we can be our best to help others.






    As Thumper would say, “If you can’t say something nice. Don’t say nothing at all.“

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.


  • Wednesday, January 26, 2022 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “May you find grace to accomplish your God given goals”. - Laila’s Gifty Akita

    Morgan participates in a organization called Borderless Arts TN. It offers endless opportunities for artists with disabilities, allowing them to learn and shine. Recently they challenged the artists to let their imagination Take Flight, to create a piece of art related to the theme of flying. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was our favorite elephant!

    Morgan has always loved Dumbo and his story. She even dresses up like him to reenact scenes from the movie. I can relate to his mother, Mrs. Jumbo. When either one of my daughters is in crisis, my momma gene kicks into overdrive. My heart can defintiely get ahead of my head.

    Morgan dressed for Dumbo’s the Baby Clown scene

    While my older daughter, Allison, gracefully flew the coop years ago, Morgan is in a bit of a holding pattern. At 28, she’s still adjusting to her wings. Life skills teaching is ongoing. Keeping the JOY in the learning process can be a challenge at times. Since we both felt a connection to this latest project, I knew Joy And Learning should be a given.

    At first, we looked up some videos on how to draw Dumbo flying. It turned out they were all a bit too complicated. While it’s important to challenge Morgan, setting the goals too high only sets her up to fail. I could see Frustration was about to steal that joy factor. Break Time!

    Story Time

    When something is important, it’s important to give it time. As we both relaxed and took a little time to remember why we were doing this, grace was able to step in. It whispered to me, “This is Her Art, Her Goals. Find a fresh approach.” Grace meets us where we are and gently leads us to a better level. I know this because I’m a frequent flyer of Grace Airlines. 

    The Test Flight

    Working from a higher perspective, we were able to find the way for Morgan to paint this solo. When you’re flying above Dumbo, looking down, you can see that he’s made up of some simple shapes; a circle for his head, an oval for his body, ears like wings,… First a little practice, and then she was ready. ❤

    Finishing up Dumbo’s Toes and Nose. Look at those Beautiful Ears!

    Drying time allowed us another little break, so we took some time to discuss the snow falling.

    Snowing Inside and Out

    Here we go again! It’s almost time to land this project.

    The Delight is in The Details

    Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoyed your flight!

    TaDah!

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Mom & Morgan


  • Tuesday, November 23, 2021 8:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

       “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.” Psalm 139:23

    Our family has been, physically and emotionally, all over the map this past few weeks. A dear friend had open heart surgery. Thankfully, they are home and healing now. My daughter, Allison, her husband and our three grand pugs, moved across the country to Maine. They are home and safe now. We traveled to our favorite coast on the Alabama/Florida line to do an autism benefit. After being back home for a few days and settling into our routine, I heard Morgan say to herself, “Thank goodness you’re home. I missed me so much.” ❤

    Allison gave me a very sweet gift when she left. While making the two and half day drive to her new home, she shared her location with me through google. I was able to mom stalk her, check on her whereabouts throughout the trip, pray and feel connected, as I watched her little cartoon face moving up the map.

    Grand Pugs on the road to Maine

    Being the nerd that I am, I was interested to learn there are two different ways of measuring location; Absolute (Geographically, using latitude and longitude) and Relative (Showing where a place is in relation to another landmark). The absolute location does not change. The relative location changes, as our position and perspective changes.

    In my relationship with God, distance happens whenever I try to suppress what’s really on my heart. Dishonesty causes a chasm that can’t be bridged. Brutal honesty has always brought me back home. Admitting to God and myself the things He already knows about me. The pride, the jealousy, the hurts, the anger, … All the Flaws. I’m grateful that I don’t have to pretend to be somewhere I’m not, something I’m not. When I come to Him just as I am, His love bridges my gaps. It’s Absolute.

    I’ve had several people ask me how I feel about Allison being so far away. Do I miss her being closer to home? Well Yes! But the truth is, it’s just geography. There are families who sit across the table from each other every day, whose hearts are miles apart. What’s important for her to know is that I love and support her. We’re staying connected, having honest conversations, and I believe the relative position of our hearts are closer now than they’ve been in a long time. What’s important for me to remember is, while I can’t physically be there anytime I want, God is always there for her. And He loves her even more than I do. I’ve told her as long as she stays close to the Lord, I know she’s in the best location she can be.

                                                                   Mom and the Mainer



    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.


  • Wednesday, October 20, 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “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

    **Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Wednesday, September 22, 2021 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Luke 6: 27, 28

    I am persistently praying how to best arm my daughters to live in this world, because it is truly a mine field. While Allison left the nest years ago, Morgan is hunkered down for the duration. The following is true for all of us. The words “Written in Red” are the best teachers.

    Deuteronomy 11:19 tells us “Teach them (God’s words and ways) to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

    Mornings - As part of our morning routine, Morgan and I read a devotional together and look up the verses on her Youversion iPad Bible app. Near the end of each year, I start looking for a new devotional book that I hope will be appropriate for her level of understanding. This can be tricky. Due to her autism, on hard days, Morgan’s behavior can be like that of a three year old. On good days, she says things that let me know she has a much deeper understanding of things than we all give her credit for. So when looking for a devotional book, I check over a few passages, pray, then choose one I believe will shed new light on things for both of us.

    But let’s get back to those “red words”. For those of you who are older, you might remember the EF Hutton commercial, referring to a trusted brokerage firm. Someone would say “Well my broker is EF Hutton, and EF Hutton says…”. Then the whole room would hush and lean in to hear what they had to say. Their tag line was “When EF Hutton talks, people listen”. For quite some time now, I’ve emphasized that the words written in red were spoken by Jesus. On occasion, when seeing the red words, Morgan will say “Jesus said it”.   And of course, when Jesus says it, we really do need to lean in and listen.

    Evenings - Morgan has been reciting her bedtime prayer for many years now. I realize it has become rote to her. She even garbles the words at times, rushing through it. So recently, keeping in mind those red words, we’ve reconstructed her prayer. We are helping her to understand the meaning of a new word and more importantly, a new concept. For her level; An enemy is someone who does not treat us with love and kindness. They are someone who mistreats or bullies us. We pray for them especially, because they need our prayers the most.

    Nightly Prayers help us keep a good grip on things

    “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Let Love stay with me through the night, and keep me till the morning light. God bless Morgan, Mom & Dad, our family, our friends, and our enemies. In Jesus name, Amen.

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    Disclaimer: **The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.


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