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  • Monday, August 31, 2020 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


  • Monday, July 27, 2020 9:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "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 CapitolNational 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 thlabor 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 thlabor 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


    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, June 29, 2020 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent." - Act 17:30

    I made a phone call to a long time friend last week, one I haven't spoken with in quite a while. We were able to pick up our conversation as if there'd been no lapse in time or distance between us. Sheilah has known me and stood by me through some of my worst decisions. My early twenties were not my shiniest years.   Thankfully, we've both managed to stay alive long enough to appreciate God’s grace, and even laugh at how smart we thought we were.

    A Nod to Forever Friends


    Me and my Maids in Blue

    Marrying Rudy was one of my best decisions.Needing a little grace for these hairdos 

    (Paragraph disclaimer: Age does not necessarily equal wisdom. Time just offers us more opportunities to learn.)

    At 62, I look back at my 20 year old self and say, “Who Was That and What Were They Thinking?!” God had so much patience with me, often overlooking my immaturity and lack of understanding then. He expects better from all of us when we know better.

    Knowing this, who am I to hold back forgiveness to others when God has forgiven me so much? Whenever I forget my own humanity and reach for a gavel, God is quick to hand me a mirror. When I'm tempted to look at someone and say "Well I'd Never...!" He reminds me that I actually did, more than once. Since God clearly doesn’t need my skills in the courtroom, what do I personally have to offer that would actually be helpful?

    Ah, Yes! God has given me more than my share of grace. I can always afford to reach in my pocket and pass a little on to the next guy. To my dear friend, Sheilah, Thank you for jogging those memories. "To whom much has been given, much is required." Luke 12:48

    Know the Hope,


    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 04, 2020 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    "But quite the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are [absolutely] necessary; and those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, these we treat with great honor;... And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it." 1 Corinthians 12:22, 23 and 26  Amp. Bible 


    When Morgan lost her ability to communicate at age 2, and was diagnosed with autism, I knew she was vulnerable.  What I didn't know was the strength and purpose she would help me find in my life, or all the lives she would impact for the better.

    We've heard a lot about essential workers during the time of the pandemic.  I understand the need for those who provide vital services to continue working.  It has also been equally important for those of us who aren't performing vital services to do the essential work of staying at home in order to avoid causing unnecessary exposure.  We all have a responsibility to do our part.

    As we move to re-open things, I've heard reports of some who believe we should push forward and let the survival of the fittest kick in, which saddens and sickens me.  How does one go about valuing or devaluing a life?  Thankfully, in God's economy, we are all essential.  He created each one of us on purpose, for a purpose.

    My dad is 81.  He provides Meals on Wheels to folks in our area.  Our daughter, Morgan, helps him out at times.  Here's a recent news story on the essential job he's doing.  Homebound Meals Video

    2020-04-22 (2)

     

    We haven't been given a spirit of fear, but one of power, and of love and sound judgement and personal discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

    I believe we should have the ability, the responsibility, to move forward lovingly, bringing along the lessons we've been given in humanity during this time.

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    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 24, 2020 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.” Solomon  Eccl. 1:17 NKJV

    You would think, by this point in my life, I would have learned everything God could possibly have to teach me. However, I am now assured He will forever be tweaking things.

    I ended last year and started this one with a very strong sense that God is telling me to SLOW DOWN.  Maybe it’s because my multitasking tools are not what they used to be.   Since applying this lesson, I’m enjoying meals more, realizing I ate.  I’m enjoying conversations more, taking in what others are saying.  I’m not as afraid of missing out on things.  I’m just praying God has me where He wants me. It’s giving me the peace I need to make this stretch of the race.
    I do need to throw in a disclaimer to anyone who thinks I may have it more together than I do.  I DON’T.  God DOES.  And He has an excellent sense of humor.  Just when I think I am acing things there is sure to be a twinge or a goose in the ribs coming.
    For example: A few weeks back, I was rhythmically going through my morning.  I was so proud (first mistake) of how well I was doing, getting things done, now that I had "mastered" this art of completing “one thing at a time”.  Not slowly, BUT SUDDENLY, I heard a loud hissing sound from the bathroom.  I opened the sink cabinet doors to reveal a fountain of water spraying in multiple directions.  I had THREE thoughts, All. At. Once. OH CRAP! SHUT OFF VALVE! CALL DAD!!! The rest is a wet blur, except to say I learned there will be times when we and our smart selves are just not enough to handle everything that needs to be handled.

    Papaw under the sink

    Kudos to Papaw and his skills!

    A God wink, Morgan emerged from her bedroom as I was mopping up, announced that things were a mess, then landed comfortably in her recliner to wait for me to get my act together. 

    Need is one of the best teachers of humility.  Forever learning.
    Until Next Time,
    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    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 15, 2020 12:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Patient (noun) an individual awaiting or under medical care and treatment

    Patient (adjective) bearing pains or trials calmly, or without complaint - Merriam-Webster 

    Over the holidays, my older daughter had an emergency appendectomy. Since the appendix was ruptured, she earned an extended stay in the “hospital hotel”. With the help of my parents watching Morgan, I was able to be there to assist Allison until she was ready to go home.


    Following surgery, Allison spent her recovery time on a floor that was dedicated to post op patients. Soon after surgery, they had her up and walking the halls. Her husband and I took turns making laps with her. From the patients’ view, the route was two long hallways that formed the shape of a double “L”, as in H. E. …. Well you get it. Seeing the small parade of gowned patients walking the halls with loved ones, some pushing IV poles, reminded me of the Jack Nicholson Movie, “Something’s Gotta Give”. 

    Hospital gown 2
    It may sound strange to say but caring for Allison at the hospital was a little break for me. I am always caring for my younger daughter, assisting with her needs 24/7, because she cannot be left at home alone. This was not only a change of venue. Strolling through the long halls, when Allison was resting, gave me a chance to decompress. I also met some very sweet folks, gained a new respect for post op patients, AND the nurses and staff who serve them.
    As I passed by each room, I heard blips of conversations; Some thankful, some not so thankful, some fearful, and some incredibly obnoxious. I heard nurses respond calmly, understanding how pain and uncertainty can wear on some folks more than others. It gave me a fresh perspective of what a blessing it is to be in my position. I’ve spoken a lot about what it’s like to be a caregiver, but I think it requires a lot more patience to be the one who’s dependent on others for their care. The waiting, the vulnerability, and for those who are unable to communicate their basic needs, the frustration of being constantly misunderstood. It was a reminder to me of why it’s so important to be a patient and compassionate caregiver.

    Patient3
    On a final note, it was a treat to share some slowed down time with my older daughter, and her husband. I enjoyed the heart to heart talks that don’t usually happen in the haste of the holidays. Allison and I closed out the old year and rang in the new, fading in and out of conversation, between the nurse’s visits and naps. I woke up at 5 minutes till midnight, looked over and saw her sleeping peacefully. I counted down to the ball drop and counted up the blessings of the last few days, then fell back to sleep.

    PAtient4

    Here's to a very Happy and Healthy 2020 to you all!

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope,

    Tammy


    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, December 09, 2019 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A few years ago, my family would travel to the beach for the holidays. The drive was a long seven hours and I still remember the feeling of fear I’d get every time we’d leave. I was scared that Joe, my brother with autism, would “explode” as we call it. But seven hours later, we were all safe at the beach. However, the trip was never all sunshine and rainbows. It was always a power struggle to get Joe out of the condo. All he wanted to do was play video games or practice card tricks. Once we finally got Joe to leave his room, he would spiral and spiral into worrying about little things that were so obscure that my parents would have to calm him down every time. However, after being out, he always enjoyed his time, and he realized he was stressing for no reason.

    One distinct memory I have is when my dad was getting food for the week and it was just my mom, Joe and me at the condo. Joe was locked in his room playing video games and We started hearing this loud banging on the wall. I knew what was happening. After a few loud noises my mom asked Joe what was wrong, and he started to freak out because he couldn’t pass a level on his newest game. I stayed on the couch terrified of what would happen. He started hitting the wall harder and screaming at his game. My dad came back and was able to calm him down, but I was nervous the rest of the day.

    Now my brother is twenty and is a sophomore in college. He was able to leave and be successful, which is the main goal of my mother. He came home over Thanksgiving break and he talked about how much he’s learning in his Calculus III class (and slightly bragging about how smart he sounds now.) I told him I was going to write about my experience with him during the holidays. As a family we all talked about our past memories and laughed. The four of us were sitting there and I realized how adjusted he has become. He has his group of friends at college and he has a job there. If you asked me if I thought he would be this successful away from our parents, I would have said no. However, it is like he is a whole new person with how he has matured and grown.


    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.


  • Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Whitney Holifield is the Ambassador of Wilson County for Autism Tennessee. She is the proud mother of two little boys, Jacob and Jonah Lee Holifield, who both have Autism. She also is the special education grade level representative for Stoner Creek Elementary PTO and a Professional Corporate Trainer for DXC Technology.

    Whitney began her journey with Autism Tennessee after her oldest son Jacob was diagnosed with Autism in 2014. She was searching for resources and education to help make her son’s life the best life possible. She found the hope she was seeking with Autism Tennessee.

    Whitney began volunteering as the County Contact for Davidson County in 2014 and found her strength in listening to and serving other families whose children had also been diagnosed. In 2018 Whitney’s youngest son, Jonah Lee, was also diagnosed with Autism and has recently also been diagnosed sCAP (Childhood Apraxia of Speech).

    Whitney has continued to press forward in serving her community. Whitney’s family moved to Mt Juliet TN in 2018 and she took on the role of Ambassador of Wilson County for Autism Tennessee. She has been honored to serve the Autism Community in Wilson County by working with families who have reached out to her with needs and meeting those needs privately.

    Whitney also loves waving the Autism banner loud and proud in her community by providing opportunities for celebration!! Whitney has ledthe charge for Autism Awareness Day at her son’s schools for the last six year by participating in school wide “blue out” days and sharing a social story she wrote called, “Pieces of Friendship : A Letter to My Friends”, that helps educate children on how wonderful it can be to be friends with someone with Autism.

    She has also participated in the Mt Juliet Christmas Parade last year by building a sensory friendly float, with the help of her husband Jared, so that children with Autism could have the experience of riding in the parade! This year she will be partnering with the Mt Juliet Fire Department for the parade and will be giving children the opportunity to meet Santa one on one and help escort him on the big day.Whitney also participates in special needs day at the Wilson County Fair representing Autism Tennessee by speaking personally to each family that enters the gates on that wonderful day.

    It is Whitney’s mission in life to create a world for her sons that supports, understands, and celebrates people with Autism. She is abundantly grateful for the opportunity to do this with Autism Tennessee.

    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, December 03, 2019 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you follow us on social media, you probably already know that Autism TN is a staff of seven diverse individuals who are passionate about autism. Some of us are on the autism spectrum and have found a workplace that gets us and wants to maximize independence for adults on the autism spectrum. Four of us are parents of children on the autism spectrum who have experienced a range of heartaches and triumphs over the years on our journey with autism and have relied on the community Autism TN provides. One is a clinical professional who found her passion in the area of autism.

    When you get to know the team at Autism TN, you will find that we are Southerners, Yankees, Immigrants, Floridians (because Florida is NOT the south), East Kentuckians (because that’s too Appalachian to be Southern), and one confused Midwesterner.  We love soccer, golf, football, boating, traveling, hiking, meditating, exercising, coffee, wine, tea, and diet coke. We believe in people, community, God, prayer, tradition, Folk Medicine, Traditional Medicine, Western Medicine, Holistic Medicine and even superstition. We enjoy laughing, telling stories, watching movies, playing games, reading, dancing, eating good food, and loving on our pets.

    Sometimes our challenges are overwhelming, our hearts are breaking, and we are utterly exhausted. We are baffled by setbacks, frustrated by lack of resources, angry with injustice, and appalled by the vitriol around us. We feel small, powerless, and futile. We struggle to find the silver linings in incremental progress when we can see how much more needs to be done. We have conversations about the lack of compassion and collaboration even within the autism community. Some days are just hard.

    We are just like you. We want more, better, and different for our loved ones on the autism spectrum. We want hope, independence, and a joyful life for people on the autism spectrum. We have the audacity to demand awareness, acceptance, and integration for those with an autism spectrum disorder. We hope that our audacity inspires yours.

    We know autism isn’t one thing. It isn’t a simply explained and understood concept. We know that autism is intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with it. Before we understood, we were intimidated too. When people talk to us, they assume that because we work at Autism TN, we are autism experts but that’s an amusing mistake. We aren’t even experts at our own journey with autism. We take each day as it comes, give it our best effort and then let it go. For better or worse, we trust that we did the best we could with the resources we had in that moment. Mistakes are made and we learn from them. No one uses the compassionate shoulder of Autism TN’s HelpLine more than our own staff! We are here for us, and we are here for you.

    When you invest in Autism TN, you support programming that is authentic and local to Middle Tennessee. When you give to Autism TN, you give 42,000+ individuals on the autism spectrum access to a community of hope. Autism TN gives Middle Tennessee one door, one simple way to access any resource you could imagine. When you give to Autism TN, you promise Middle Tennessee that hope is just a phone call away.

    Thanks for following Autism TN and supporting our work! 
    If you'd like to support us, you may donate using this link. 



  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “… I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6

    When children with disabilities become young adults with disabilities, there is a service cliff.  Families have to piece and patch together everything to keep young adults active in the community.  One of my biggest fears when Morgan left high school, was her falling off of everyone’s map, being forgotten.  Thankfully we live in an area where the disability community itself is very active.  There are always opportunities to socialize in organized activities.   You might say there’s plenty of water to bring the horse too, but my horse doesn’t always want to drink.

    Morgan’s autism brings with it a lot of social anxiety.  While she is very comfortable at home, where she is able to communicate her needs, hang out in her jammies and play on her iPad Way Too Much, that only adds to the iceberg of isolation.  It’s up to me to get her out the door and into social activities.  She does “want to see friends”.  She just doesn’t always know how to “be with friends”.  As much as I try to nudge her into the group, if she’s not able to relax and engage, it’s not going to happen.  This not only isolates her.  It isolates me.

    2019-10-22 (2)

    All caregivers deal with isolation to some extent.  It just goes with the territory.  Add to that caring for someone who, due to their disability, is unable to give you that pat on the back for giving it your all.  It can be extremely draining at times.  It can make you question if you’re doing it good enough, if it’s possible to do anything good enough.

    Recently, I was speaking to another caregiver who was feeling very unappreciated, very alone in their circumstances.  The advice I heard come out of my mouth was, “Do everything you do, as unto the Lord.” Col 3:23.  Until that moment, in my own exhaustion, I realized I had forgotten my own advice.

    2019-10-21

    Click Here for a Video Message for Caregivers

    I have to remind myself, as I keep reaching out for Morgan’s sake and mine, I also have to Keep Reaching Up, to keep from giving up.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but there is a very solid peace I find, knowing that God has promised to never leave me or forsake me. I don’t have to fear for Morgan, or myself, being forgotten. God still sees us, even when no one else is looking.

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy

     

    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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