Sunday, April 15, 2018

Worship.



I love worshipping. 

When we were created, we were created to worship. In each of us there is this longing and drive to worship and it can be focused on whatever we direct it to. 

That drive was intended to worship the Creator. 

And it's beautiful when that happens. 

We all know, that's not always the way it goes. Right? We worship many different things during our days. It starts with sleep. Cale recently was so annoyed with me because I had started the habit of hitting my snooze several times...I would have been annoyed with me too. Don't worry folks, I have put that habit to rest! 

I was choosing a little more sleep than spending extra moments in the Word and in the presence of the Lord. 

We worship food.
We worship attention. 
We worship dreams.
We worship ourselves.
We worship our victories.
We worship approval from others.
We worship.
It's what we do.

(this post is already going somewhere I didn't plan but I'm going to roll with it)

Worship is not just singing. This is the most common way people think about worship. I do know that I put my need for sleep before God but I don't often sing to my sleep...

The moment we are desiring first to bring glory to God more than enjoying whatever "filler" is before us, we can worship God in everything we're doing. 

"True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things." -John Piper

For this post though, I'm going to write about worshipping through song. It's one of my favorite ways in life to express my love for God. To praise Him and bring honor to him with only my lips, if my heart is not in it means nothing. 

But when my heart is in the moment, forgetting all distractions and just being free in God's presence, I could literally sing and sing and sing for hours. And I definitely don't sing in tune. Thankfully, God doesn't mind that part...ha.

I have worshipped around people that stand with their arms to their sides and just move their lips. 
I have worshipped around people who dance around. 
I have worshipped with hands raised around me and I have worshipped with tears streaming down my face. I've worshipped with drums pounding or fingers hitting the keys of an organ.
I've worshipped with a choir and a praise team. 
I've worshipped with a hymnal in my hands or reading words from a large white screen. 
I've worshipped around a fire and I've worshipped in my kitchen.

I love worshipping God. 

When I'm singing and not allowing myself to pay attention to what anyone else is doing, and I truly just go before the Lord, I have been told I look as though I'm going to come out of my skin. I can't contain my praise and almost always I'll get teary eyed. This is not just about emotions. I don't want to only be emotionally driven when I'm praising the Lord. I want to worship Him with all of me! 

Last night I went to an Aaron Shust concert. If you don't recognize his name, you may have heard his songs and didn't know they were his songs. 

Very talented guy. 

One thing he talked about and for whatever reason, even though I already knew this, it switched on something in my heart. 

Even though I have always always loved worshipping through music, I think it will forever be different for me now. 

He was talking about how the angels and saints are right now worshipping. They are always singing praises to God. It's always taking place. Even right now as I am typing, multitudes of angels are praising God. Over and over and always.

When we come before God to worship Him, however our outward reveals, we join them. 

Dude. 

This blows my mind when I actually pause and really think about that. 

We join them. 

We can't hear them, but can you just imagine the sound?! 

You know when you're at a concert and the lead singer stops singing into the microphone and you hear everyone singing-yeah. That but thousands of times more powerful.

Singing this morning during our church service was different because I had this thought. 

I was joining them. We were all joining them. 

I don't ever want to hold back because in the moment when I'm coming before the Lord, I'm actually worshipping a list of other things.

I want to join the angels.

This is just such a BEAUTIFUL image in my mind and I just don't understand that this very act of gathering with other believers to worship and join the angels has been fought about between people who love Jesus and want to worship Him. 

That's totally a side note but I've definitely heard one too many arguments regarding worship and I think at that point, we're all just missing the point. 

Lets choose to not hold back. 
Lets choose to sing praises to Him with our whole hearts.
Lets choose to join the angels.

Lets worship God. 

This song was played last night and the words I felt were so much from my heart---



Give it All Away- Aaron Shust

Search my heart, search my mind
Search my soul
Make me clean, make me new
make me whole

All of my plans, all of my dreams
I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine
I now submit to your design

'Cause You are the one and only one
Who dared to give it all away for me
You dared to give it all away for me

You are my strength, You are my God
You are my King
You make me laugh, You make me dance
You make me sing

All of my plans, all of my dreams 
I lay them down before your feet 
All of my time, all that was mine
I now, submit to Your design

'Cause You are the one and only one 
Who dared to give it all away for me 
You dared to give it all away for me

Everything inside, everything outside
I give it all away
You never change but you rearrange
My heart more everyday

All of my plans, all of my dreams 
I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine
I now, submit to your design

All of my plans, all of my dreams
I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine
I now, submit to your design

'Cause You are the one
Who can make my life complete
You are the one 
Who can give light to my feet

You are the one and only one
Who dared to give it all away for me
You dared to give it all away for me
You dared to give it all away

You gave it all away for me
You gave it all away for me
Search my heart, search my mind
Search my soul







Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Race or Not...

A couple weekends ago I ran my 6th half marathon. When I had run my first, it was in preparation for my first full marathon. I had made several mistakes and really had no clue what I was doing in a race. I've grown a lot since then and have come to love the race experience as well as pushing myself during the 13.1 miles it takes to reach the finish line. 

When I finished my second half, I finished at 1:58. It felt amazing to finish under 2 hours and I really didn't think I'd ever PR after that and I was ok with that...

...well, partly. A part of me allowed myself to still push for it. 

When this race was approaching, I felt it. My training had gone well and I knew there was a chance I could actually do it. I could beat my time. 



I ran. 

I ran hard for parts of it and through some of it I struggled. 

At one point I even thought to myself, why do I do this to myself???

When I could see the finish, I looked up and saw the time and knew this was going to happen.

I ran hard. 

I pictured my friend Joe who at my second half stood on the side yelling to run because I could make it under 2.

I finished at 1:57

PR.

By one minute. 

So fun! 

I was so jazzed all day. 



Rewind to earlier that morning...

I was drinking my water and eating my bar, walking around and starting to wake my body. 

While my brain was awakening from a fog, I glanced on the counter where the night before I had left my bib. 

It was gone. 

Did Nora take it? 

She couldn't have. She loves races and she had gone to the expo to pick it up with me...

I started searching. 

After time had passed and no luck. I decided to finish getting ready and look again. 

More looking.
More looking.
More looking.

I was about to start panicking. 

I woke Mama up and asked her to help. With only 15 minutes before my friend was going to pick me up, we still couldn't find it. She suggested waking Cale which I really didn't want to do. It was so early and I knew he wasn't going to go back to sleep. 

"Boy...Boy..."

He groggily replied, "yeah?"

"Um...you know my race number? We can't find it. Do you maybe know where it's at?"

He did. 

He couldn't figure out the words to tell me but he let me know he could show me. 

I followed him downstairs.

We have this red dresser in our entry way. He walked right over to it and opened the top drawer. 

"I was cleaning." 

Oh my goodness. Haha. That was quite the start to the morning! 

I was SO thankful he remembered where he put it. That is not always the case! 

----

Speaking of races...and crazy moments. 

I have one to share with you. 

The February after we moved here, Cale and I volunteered at a Krispy Kreme Race. It was so fun! We passed out donuts to all the runners. 

The challenge is that you run 2.5 miles, eat a dozen donuts and then finish 2.5 miles.

A lot of people have umm...well, they empty their tummies during this race. ha. 

This last February I decided to run this race. I signed up not as a challenger but as a casual racer. This meant that I would run the 2.5 and have the choice to eat as many or as little donuts as I wanted. My plan was to run the 2.5 and then grab the box of donuts and finish the race and bring the donuts to Cale...and eat a few too! Haha! 

Well, I also thought it would be fun to have Nora join me there. The couple weeks before she had been pretending to be in a race in our home and would run by blowing kisses. It was the cutest. I had asked my friend Courtney to join me with her daughter. My intention was that Nora would stay with Courtney while I ran and be at the finish line waiting for me. 

When I first asked her, I didn't actually think she would be willing. I knew it was going to be early...and she'd have both girls but she was up for it (great friend!) and I was excited! 

Race morning came. I was pumped. Normally I pay attention to the weather and plan what I'm going to wear. This time I didn't think too much about it. I put on a long sleeve and bundled Nora up a little more since she would be sitting in the stroller waiting for me to run. 

Nora even woke up easily and was excited right away. We drove to our friends home and hopped in their van. As we started driving I realized that maybe Courtney and I weren't on the same page-we weren't. 

Courtney had brought her single stroller and had assumed I was running with Nora. 

Nope. 

A single would be fine. The girls could take turns riding. 

Right?

Well, once we parked and started getting out of the van, we very quickly realized that it was pretty cold...maybe colder than we thought it was going to be.

Nora sat in the stroller and then Juliet said she wanted to ride. 

I talked Nora into getting out and letting Juliet sit in it and then Nora could sit on the feet part. 

Ok, the girls are cold. And they're both tired. 

Juliet did NOT want Nora sitting on the foot part. 

Nora did NOT want to walk.

Ok...

I was trying to get everyone excited and let Nora know that she would get a turn but we were going to be kind and let her friend ride first. 

We began walking. 

I'm not actually sure when the real tears started but while walking to where the race ceremony was being held, both girls are loudly proclaiming, they aren't happy. 

I ended up picking Nora up, holding her close because she is really really cold. 

We keep walking. They start to complain a little louder...

I stopped with Nora at one point and prayed with her asking God to help her feel warm and to have fun. 

Details are a little blurry but there we were with a ton of people around and both girls are screaming. Like, really screaming. 

They are just too cold and they want to go inside somewhere. 

Juliet still won't let Nora sit on the foot part. 

Courtney talked Juliet into letting Nora sit on her lap-but Nora refused.

They are cold. Really cold.

They are tired. 

Oh dear. 

People are everywhere and I'm cold but I also know that I'm about to run and I'll warm up. I, again in an attempt to cheer everyone up try to take a picture...


Please note the faces. 

It may seem like Nora is fine but this was in between screams. I'm pretty sure I caught her at just the right moment.

Courtney had mentioned that after I started she would take the girls to the student center. I think just a few minutes later...if that, I told her she could go ahead and take the girls and that if I didn't see them at the finish line I would text her.

This race isn't only college students but the majority of the runners are. 

I'm pretty sure we were a solid birth control plan. 

These girls were still screaming. 

"I'm cooooooold!"

"I don't waaaaaant to be here!" 

Oh yes. 

As she walked off with the two girls, yep, still screaming, I thought to myself how this sweet friend who I really love is probably done with me. Like the next time I ask her to do something, it's going to be a big NO. 

The ceremony had started and everyone around was ready to race. It was definitely cold. I was ready to start running and warm up. I definitely did not dress for the morning. It's just about time to start walking to the start line and then I hear the screaming. 

They're back.

Courtney had tried to take the girls but Nora was so cold and miserable she stopped walking and wouldn't budge. She started screaming that she wanted her mommy.

Courtney came back with the idea that even though it wasn't a jogging stroller, she would take Juliet out and they would go find somewhere to warm up and I could run with Nora. 

Perfect! 

I sit Nora in the stroller and wrap her up with her blankie. This is going to be great. 

I start following the crowd as we move towards the start. 

Here we go!

...or not. 

Three ladies walked by and one of them had a really weird expression as she's pointing to my daughter who is still screaming but I just knew she was going to be calming down soon. 

I walked around to see Nora coming out of the stroller like a beast. Her hands gripped the sides and her face was...scary. She screamed in an even louder shriekier tone, "I CAN'T STAY HERE AND BE COLD!!!" 

uh...

I called Courtney unsure of what I should do. Nora was not going to race with me and she wouldn't go with Courtney. 

No answer. 

Everyone was lining up. 

Nora is screaming.

I called again.

"Hello" 

She sounded a little out of breath. 

"Uh...plan B. Lets take the girls somewhere and get breakfast."

Because she's the sweetest she asked, "are you sure?" 

Definitely.

She told me that her and Juliet didn't get very far. I could just go back on the road we walked on to get to the ceremony. 

I wasn't quite sure which road but I chose the one that looked the most familiar. I started to run with Nora who had calmed a little after I told her we were leaving. 

Up ahead I could see Courtney with her arms full and walking alongside her was a screaming Juliet. 

She was crying out, "Hold me Mommy!" but since Courtneys hands were full she couldn't hold her. 

Yep. She's done with me. 

As soon as I reached them, Courtney set her stuff on the stroller and picked Juliet up. Both girls are crying that they want to be done. Courtney asks Juliet if daddy should make us pancakes. Juliet then starts crying that she wants pancakes and Nora begins to cry that she doesn't want to go to Juliet's house, she only wants to go home. 

We finally made it back to the van and get the girls in their carseats. This was also quite the scene. 

It was silent as we drove. 

Courtney and I chatted. At least for the moment she didn't want to throw me out of her van...haha. 

About half way back Nora broke the silence, 

"Mommy, I want to go to Juliet's house to play."

So we did. We ate pancakes in a warm home and we played. 

Not quite as I had planned.

No donuts for Cale.

I was told the next day at church that it was 17 degrees that morning. 

Courtney is still my friend. 

Wowza. 






Saturday, March 17, 2018

Thirteen Years of I Do.

The evening that we became husband and wife, first, feels like lightyears ago and second, it was. Haha. 

We were just babies. For real yo.

We were 18 and 4 weeks from Cale leaving for Basic. Those weeks were literally like a Nicholas Sparks movie. It was dreamy and intense. So much was happening and changing all at once. We were married, free and yet held this gloom above us knowing he was leaving.

Good bye was coming. 

Most of that first year Cale was in Basic and AIT. After his return home, we had a larger ceremony with everyone in our lives that we loved so much. The first ceremony was very small just to make everything official. 

We left 10 days later for the adventure of the Army and all that was going to come with it. We had no idea how we would grow and learn and be challenged that first year-like any marriage, with the addition of long distance and Army curve balls. 

We arrived at Ft Drum the day after Thanksgiving that year and on Monday Cale came back to the hotel and broke the news that the beginning of February he was going to be deploying. 

Gut punch. 

Our first anniversary Cale was gone. He had ordered a necklace and had it mailed to me. It was hard and it stunk but God had already begun surrounding me with friends that very quickly became family. We were going to make it. 

Our second anniversary he was still gone. I had gone to Africa for 6 months, came back spent some time in Washington and a week before he was coming back to me, he was extended. Ouch. 

So...we were still a part. 

I remember thinking this was probably the hardest thing we were going to have to face and we were going to get through it and be just fine. 

Our third anniversary he was home! Hallelujah! We were together! 

I actually don't remember the day at all. I'm sure it was wonderful though...haha. 

I know from the time he had returned home until he left again was bliss. We loved being together, we laughed a lot and we always had fun-even doing little meaningless things like going to Walmart for ice cream. 

We talked a lot that year about what it meant to serve God with our whole life. We talked about when we would start a family and the kind of dad he wanted to be. We talked about his dreams and the things he looked forward to. He was being shaped into the man that he wanted to be and I was the one who had a front row seat to watch it happen. We both kept saying exciting things were ahead. 

Our fourth anniversary you were gone again. 

Stink.

I had gone back to Washington and I missed him terribly. I no longer felt like I fit there, yet it was home. I just ached without him. God was growing me and working deep in my heart. Towards the end of the deployment, I spent 30 days set aside from "busy" and spent time seeking God, being alone more and preparing my heart for his return home and all that God had for us. 

We both knew big things were coming. 
We felt ready. 

Our 5th anniversary my hand held his as tears filled my eyes. I had made sure to wear a cute outfit for him in case he decided to suddenly come out of his coma. He laid there on the bed, moving his body randomly and without purpose. My heart was heavy for him; heavy for us.

We had talked about this day just a little over a month prior and there was no mention of him fighting for his life. No mention of him not registering that I was in the room with him. No mention of me helping the nurse roll him over to change his brief after he had wet himself. There was no mention of the tubes that came out of his body and the way I learned to pour liquid into a tube to feed him. 

No mention of the way my heart felt lonelier than it had the whole time he was across the ocean even though he was in the same room as me as I was sitting there holding his hand.

I was still saying "I do." 

I did choose him even though a doctor looked at me one day and let me know how severe the situation was. He said it was really wonderful to see me by Cale's side but that I should start thinking about moving on.

I was still saying, "I do."

Our 6th anniversary we were about to leave the hospital! It was SO exciting. We were able to go to dinner and spend an evening with friends. We were once again on the brink of exciting things! 

Heres a little video for you to enjoy from that day :) 


Our 7th anniversary we were in California visiting friends AND we went to a Red Wings game! Woot Woot! 


Our 8th anniversary we were back in the hospital. Don't worry, Cale had some help to make it super special :) We were in the middle of conquering big things in our journey. Every day in the hospital at that point was so worth it and so needed.


Our 9th Anniversary we were about to have a BABY!!!!!! I can't even believe it. This was wild. Wild that we were at the point in our life to become responsible for another human. Whoa. 

There was a LOT of excitement and fear and unknown but I knew, we were going to be just fine. 

Our 10th anniversary I had planned that it would be awesome. Like, a trip to somewhere incredible...instead we were home with our sweet girl. Can I be honest, I don't remember the day. I don't know if we went out to eat or if we went for a walk-no memory. And apparently I didn't document on social media anywhere. Darn me. 

This season in our life was so wonderful. We were parents to the sweetest girl. We were doing it together.

Our eleventh anniversary was a humdinger. 

We had moved and so we celebrated in our new home in North Carolina. Wow. That was unexpected. Want to know something else unexpected...

...

...

...I was pregnant with our SECOND baby. 

Oh my goodness. 

Oh my gooooooodness.

I had literally found out a week before. My head was spinning and I was so very happy. Like, stupid happy. 

Were we crazy?

Eh, maybe a little. 

I was in a little blissful world and butterflies were fluttering around. I was pregnant...and nauseated all of the time. Ha.


Our 12th anniversary was a fun light day. We even had Mama and our two littles join us for dinner out. This 12th year, like I mentioned on the last post, yanked my heart around a little more than I liked but also know I needed. 



I questioned our marriage. 

Remember I said no more lies?

Well, apparently that means I'm laying it all out there. 

I had moments this last year that I questioned mine and Cale's marriage. I questioned it-not wanted to end it. I struggled more with the way brain injury comes between every part of us and unlike previous years when I seemed to be able to embrace it easier, I continually fought it. 

Healing needed to happen. 

I didn't want to share all the grit. I let some of it slip here and there with people close to me, but even the closest to me didn't know where my heart was. 

It was me and the Lord. 

Today, we celebrate our 13th anniversary. What a beautiful day to celebrate as I feel like with winter ending (for some reason North Carolina has NOT gotten the memo...!) and Spring arriving, my heart is blooming as I look into the eyes of my man. 

I'm embracing again. 

I'm rejoicing.

I'm still saying, "I do."








Friday, March 9, 2018

TRUTH & no more lies.

I'm a little more nervous as I sit here to type than I think I've ever been preparing to post. It's a good thing and I know that God is asking for more of me. I'm trying to even organize my thoughts as my fingers are moving across the keyboard. 

I'm going to first answer a few of the questions I've received lately whether it was by talking with one of you or an email that you've sent. 

I'll ease myself in and then I'm going to open my heart with you-my heart not about Cale, but about me. I'm going to reveal and confess a few lies that have in different ways taken over my thoughts and actions in different moments that have continually held me back from the call on my life. 

So friends, here I go. 

1. Q. How is Cale doing with living in North Carolina?

A. He loves it! I've actually asked him many times if he wants to move back to WA. Every time I ask he says no. He loves where we were born and what was home, but he (at least for now) wants to stay here. It's home now. My plan is to always always keep that door open. I never want to make it seem like that's not an option. At the same time, I don't want to live here as though it's temporary. When we talk about the future, we talk as though Nora will go to college here. We're blooming where we've been planted as they say. :) 

While in WA, I think he was living in a constant battle mentally because we were back where we both grew up and he had memories, not in order or all like they actually happened but a lot of memories and things were so very different from what he was living after brain injury. He couldn't quite separate the two and completely understand the changes. Here he has zero memories and there seems to be a freedom. 

2. Q. What does Cale do?

A. His big thing right now is sled hockey. This is something that challenges him and that he truly enjoys. We missed this last week because we were out of town but the week before he was so excited the whole drive home because he said he did so good. We haven't really connected with the team like I had imagined. I'm not sure he would say he has a "friend" on the team yet that he would want to hang out with but that's ok. He's getting to play hockey and that is such a gift. Nora knows all about daddy playing and she loves it. She was able to go ice skating with him for the second time back in December (I don't remember if I had shared about that?) and she hasn't stopped asking to go again! When Easton sees a picture of a hockey player in one of his books he says "dada!" Which we of course love that they both know and join in Cale's passion.

3. Q. How do you do it? Especially with having two little kids on top of your situation??

A. I love Jesus. I know that seems like an easy out, but it's the absolute truth. Cale's doc called yesterday afternoon and talked with me for a long time. At one point she asked this same question that comes often. My hands are full, it is so very true. I'm not trying to live in denial...but my heart is so so full. It really is. Cale is a gift. A crazy, wild, stubborn, uncontrollable, amazing gift. The two kids that we were brave enough to add to our journey-there couldn't be sweeter gifts aside from Jesus shedding his blood for my sins to be covered. No joke. Our home can be...um...well, it's just NEVER boring. I love it all though. It's just a lot of wiggling and being flexible. 

We also have some pretty incredible people in our circle here. There is one guy from church who almost every week picks Cale up and takes him out. There are two other guys that switch off coming every other week to hang out with him. We have friends who have helped with the kiddos or who randomly will hang out with Cale. And I have many friends who love on me in different ways. I get to see people be like Jesus to our family...and it's a beautiful thing.

4. Q. Are you guys going to have any more kids?

A. I get asked this a lot. Would I love to if our life looked differently? Absolutely. And some days I think that maybe one day when these two are a little older...but no. We're at our max and we are truly content. In a few years when I feel as though one more baby would be oh so wonderful, we're going to get a dog. Ha. 

5. Q. When are you going to write a book?

A. uh...

6. Q. Did you guys complete your date a week challenge?

A. Yes we did! And because my heart struggled so much this last year, we are just so so so so so thankful we had that challenge in place and stuck to it! 

7. Q. Has Cale been doing better with eating veggies?

A. Ha. 

-------

The ugly things that spin around and entangle the mess out of my thoughts are the things I'm about to share. Well, some of them. The road block I'm having is that some of these twisted thoughts turn into fear and when I am allowing fear to control me rather than what God is asking me, I'm not able to move past the place that I'm in. Over and over God's word tells us not to fear. Isn't it the easiest response though? Sometimes I don't even realize that fear is holding me back until God is calling me to obedience and I would rather dig my heels in and not budge.

This last weekend Cale and I went away for a perfect weekend to a marriage retreat. One of the speakers that we listened to was actually one of the Veterans. At one point while he was telling his story (which was incredible to listen to) he said, "If you don't share everything, even the dirtiest ugliest parts, you're missing out on sharing God's glory."

How do I even start this? 

I'm going to try bullet points. We'll see how it morphs. Haha.

When this blog was first started after the accident, I didn't even know what a blog was. I'm not cool like that. And I think blogs were just taking off...at least that's what I tell myself. Cale's best friend at the time set it up for a place to post updates on everything that was happening with Cale. At first Mama was just posting on her fb page but not everyone was friends with Mama. All of us would type updates and ask you to please keep praying. I remember it was one of the greatest gifts to know you were praying with us and for us during such a hectic time. My brain is still super fuzzy when I think of those first few months. I know I've forgotten many details. 

When all of our friends and family had to return to their normal life and I was left alone in a new place not knowing anyone, I was told I should keep posting. I really didn't want to. I felt like it was going to be too much and I just didn't have the brain space. God silenced my fear and reminded me that He would fill in the gap. He was using our story and I just needed to be obedient and type. So, I began to write, no longer from a place of heaviness and fear, or even just desperate to get an update to you. Rather, from my heart. Suddenly, even though I was very much alone at night in my hotel room, I felt like I had an army of friends and family walking this journey out with me. And it wasn't just a feeling-you were. 

The blog became the place that I would dump everything out of me so that it wasn't balled up inside. I prayed (and still do!) as my fingers hit the keyboard, "Jesus, somehow let them see you." 

He is faithful.

Over and over many of you would email me or message me in some way how God had encouraged your heart as you read what I had typed or just how thankful you were that Cale was progressing and you felt as though your prayers mattered. 

Tears come to my eyes even now as I type these words. 

Your kindness to our family has always been so beautiful. 

Through time, I have been able to meet some of you that I had never met before this blog and I probably would have never met. This is the same for the accident. It was an awful dent in our life but we're thankful for the way that my relationship with so many of you has filled us in sweet sweet ways. 

#1. What if I'm not as great as they think I am?

I'm not sure at what point that lie began to take root. Along with this blog has come some praise that I never sought out or dreamed of. It's just me. Bad grammar, babbling thoughts and obedience. Yet, at times there would be one of you that were so excited to finally meet me. Well, I'm not that cool. And I'm not even trying to be humble. Haha. Cale was always the life of the party, able to make everyone laugh-and let's be honest, he still is! I'm not. I don't have a loud take over the room personality. I'm totally ok with that. Over time and growing up, I was able to learn that God created me, me. Cale and I had many conversations when we were dating about how we really did fit well because he was so crazy and I was so not and that together, we were fun. Haha. 

Please do no read this and suddenly feel like you need to message me and give me a boost of confidence-please! I'm only confessing that at least in my head, because of this blog I was put on some level that I was some amazing person and the reality is, I'm just not. But after meeting someone, this lie began to creep up...what if they're disappointed now. 

Basically, I've forced that thought to go away time after time BUT I want to confess it to you as well. It's just me, a normal woman who 31 years ago was named Kathleen. Nothing crazy special about me! I get stuck in my head too often, I embarrass way too easily and I babble way too much. 

Jesus loves me this I know. :)

#2. There's other people who say it better.

Listen, I have never been good at expressing my thoughts-ever. I have friends that would tease me about this. Growing up, writing was never my strong point. My journals from when I was younger are hilarious. This was never my gifting. 

I think this blog has allowed some writing to seem great because first, God opened this door for me to share our story and reveal His glory. Second, it's from my heart and again is only possible because of God. Even when I've tried other ways of getting my thoughts out-they never come out right! I even attempted a video to put on here one day-it wasn't pretty. Even the times I've spoken at churches-nope. It can be about our life or a thought I have about something, and I end up not making sense. That's ok! That's me! Another...uh...awesome perk. Ha! 

I do however know that there are a lot of people facing really hard hard things in life and they can make words come out like silk. They can articulate perfectly a situation. They, they are skilled. 

Ok, I know this sounds like another lie about my self confidence and maybe I just need to read a self help book about becoming a better me-this really isn't the case. 

The truth is that if I allow this lie to turn into fear which than leads me to disobedience because why should I put anything out there when other people do a better job, I'm telling God He's not bigger than me. He didn't do a good job of choosing me. He messed up when He created me. 

In Exodus 4 God is instructing Moses and calling him out to lead the Israelites. Moses responds to God in verse 10-

But Moses said to the Lord, "Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."

verse 11 God says, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute ,or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." 

Boom.
Mike drop.

Guess what?? Even after God says that he will be with his mouth and teach him to speak- Moses begs him, pleeeeeease no! Send someone else. 

And then with anger towards Moses, God calls out Aaron. 


Every single time I read this passage, I get goosebumps and I react with a sudden burst of crazy hyper energy. Ugh. Moses, duuuuude. What? What were you thinking? How was your confidence so small when God himself was speaking to you?!!!?!?

Guess what friends, every time I read this passage I want to shake Moses and then I turn right back to myself...ugh. 

Kathleen, duuuuuude! You know God has opened this door and created a way for you to be a light. He did not ask you to type perfectly looking all Hollywood and getting every word perfectly. If my theology is off a little-oh fat well. He's calling me to obey Him. 

I could easily say, "Oh no, no no no. You have the wrong girl." But what if we never pursued anything because someone else can do it better?

#3. This isn't like a lie, lie. But it's there and I need to get it all out-

I must be butter cus' I'm on a roll!! 

Ha.

This last year has probably been the hardest for me. Partly, we've added another kid and that does add to all sorts of stress levels. Partly because we've had a few hard chunks of time with Cale. Partly because ______. 

I can insert whatever there and it probably would be partly true. We just had our 8 year anniversary since the car accident. Every year, including the first year, I have approached Cale's Alive Day with such praise and thankfulness. I have looked back through each year and been so AMAZED at all that had taken place. This year though, I wrestled a wee bit more. 

It's not because I haven't allowed myself to grieve. 
It's not because I'm depressed. 
It's not because I've given up on the power of God and my relationship with Him. 
It's not because I never feel like I can have a hard day. 

I just needed to wrestle some things out and it wasn't easy. 

I needed to work through some thoughts about how much brain injury affects our every day and how that just sucks sometimes. 

I needed to work out why it is that when I would rather go back to Africa and live on a dirt floor in a mud hut and love on babies that have not a single soul on this earth to love them-why did I have this instead? This life with brain injury?

I needed to wrestle with something that has continued to happen with Cale that I don't understand. I get frustrated and feel hopeless about it. I feel like we've been in the same boxing rink with this issue over and over and yet it keeps happening. It feels lonely. 

I had to wrestle with looking at Nora and knowing that I can look at our marriage and feel like so much was stolen from us with the "could have beens" and the "should have beens" but it happened to us. We chose to bring two babies into this life. I know there are some of you who strongly disagree with our decision. Don't worry, I get why. I do. You read me struggling through and you wonder how in the world we could add a child. 

It was never a light discussion. 

We also know that Nora and Easton have a home where love is dumped on them by not just a mommy and daddy but also by Grammy. 

We know that God will fill the gaps. We know and believe that as they are raised in a home full of love, grace and forgiveness, they will grow to also live in that. We know and believe that because their daddy is a little...off the charts (hahaha. ok, guys, he's REALLY silly and we just finished a weekend loaded with story after story revealing this!) that they will grow to love people the way that God sees them and not how the world labels them. We know and believe that the life we choose to live and the home we choose to have will help equip our kiddos to love God and love people well. 

With all of the above, there's a wrestling within as I watch my almost four year old (say whaaaat?!?!?) process and deal with life with brain injury. I look at her and so quickly feel as though so much has been stolen from her and I chose that for her. 

I know what the truth is. 
I know that God knew Nora before I did.
I know that He has great plans for her. 
I know that she has the perfect personality for a girl walking in her shoes. 
I know God will provide what she needs...

(and the same for Easton)

...but my mommy heart still needs to wrestle with it and chew on it. I still need to process how this looks and how I can best help guide her. 

I still have to watch my sweet girl suffer and although her "suffering" is not the worst she could experience in this life, it's hard. For my mommy heart, it's hard. 

I also fully realize that it has been eight years. Eight years since I've seen Cale as the the way my heart longs to see him again. When trauma happens, typically there's the initial blow, a grieving period and then you began to move on. I think there's maybe a couple more steps? I don't remember. What I do know though, is we have brain injury that entered our life and it's not going away-it is here to stay. 

As I've been going through a difficult season, it's not because of anything specific Cale has done, it's because of my heart. The inner parts of my heart processing and learning. Growing and being challenged. 

It's hard but good. Not fun but needed. 

I do plan to be posting more again and continuing to share all that God is doing. 

Will you continue to pray for us? 

Here's just a few fun pictures to end with :)


Enjoying the sunshine. Not sure if you can tell but his hat is basically sitting on the top of his head. It was his hat he wore last year! I am in denial that this boy is growing...


This is Nora puppy. She's a sweet little puppy :)

This girl is about to turn 4. Holy! 

She has big plans for being 4. They include but are not limited to, her starting karate (she wants to do this so bad. I think we're going to give it a shot soon!), gymnastics (we'll maybe wait until she gives karate a try), go super super duper fast on her scooter, she'll start to obey because 3's don't obey, she'll eat new food, she's going to take a trip to WA (I'm so hoping I can make this happen!), she's going to go to the beach. She's going to go rollerskating and stay up late with mommy. The list just keeps going...haha.


This is Us. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

It's My Birthday!

Hey guys! 

We're still here, just enjoying the holidays and each other :)

There's something on my heart that I want to share with you-but mostly putting it on here so I'll have it written out. 

On New Years Eve I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook-


Along with it I had this quote-

"Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God. When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master. I put myself gladly, fully and forever at His disposal, and to whatever he says my answer is yes." -Elizabeth Elliot

When I posted that quote I didn't have a specific idea of what that may be that He's asking of me this year- but whatever its going to be, I want my answer to be yes.


Rewind for a minute-

We have been going through a period that has been super challenging with Cale. It's every day and I fully rejoice we have Jesus. We claim victory and we know we'll make it to the other side but this middle part right now is haaaaaard. 

Yesterday, the first day of 2018 was started with me being confident and excited. I didn't stay up until midnight so I woke up a little more chipper than a lot of you may have. ;) 

To make this story short, Mama made a yummy dinner, one she makes every New Years day. I didn't help at all, I played with the kiddos :) Nora helped me set the table extra special though. 

Cale ended up having a moment. I won't give details but it ended with frustration and tears for me. 

We ate dinner while he stayed upstairs and then one of our friends came to pick him up and get him out of the house for a little bit- I am so grateful.

After dinner I cleaned up the kitchen and while washing there were a lot more tears. Outside of these moments, I know it's brain injury. I am able to reason with myself but it definitely feels like I'm fighting a battle up stream and I just struggle sometimes to know what the next step needs to be-and many days we just take one step at a time. 

Before going upstairs for the night I walked into our dining room and I read this sign I have hanging up over and over and over-


This sign was a little bit of a splurge and now I know it was money well spent. As I read it I quickly started to add, "my answer is yes."

I will be a woman who is humble and gentle.

Yes.

I will be patient.

Yes.

I will make allowance for others faults.

Yes. 

Sometimes, God does have callings into a ministry, or getting married or a move or whatever else- but sometimes we just need to say yes to loving him and loving people more. Maybe as we walk through our days, we need to remember to make allowance for others faults because we all mess up. 

We will continue to have hard days. We know that and it would be so whether we lived with brain injury or not. It's just going to be that way in a sinful world. 

BUT, in our home, we choose to say yes to wholeheartidely loving God and loving people-

even when its hard. 

~k






Sunday, November 26, 2017

Turkeys & Trees...and Poop.

Hey Friends, 

I'm currently sitting in a Panera all by myself...oh my goodness. Yes. 

I love my people, like really love them BUT a little bit of time all to myself after a productive nap time-is such a gift. One of my friends asked if she could take them for a chunk of time today for me. Yesssssss. Thank you Leanne!!! 

It has been beautiful here. I always love Fall but I do have to say that North Carolina has an award winning Fall. The area I grew up in was not full of trees like here. It's just so so so pretty. 

Nora loves everything colorful. When you ask her what her favorite color is, she'll tell you its all the colors of the rainbow. We were driving down the road the other day and she started talking about how God likes colors too because he made everything with all the colors. We then spent the next 5 minutes talking about different things and what colors they are. 

Cale added how even people are different colors and guess what Nora said...

"and they're all beautiful!" 

I agree Nora. I agree. 


at this age, baby food is the BEST messy stuff to play in. I had made a mixture for Nora to have a dinosaur swamp to play in but because Easton puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, giving him some baby food that he could squish and smear was perfect because he can put it in his mouth over and over and Mommy is totally ok with it! 











We went to the tree farm. We didn't plan to get a tree, we just went to run and play. Our friends were going to get a tree so we did plan to visit with them and hopefully get some pictures. My goal was to try to get a really good one of Nora and Easton. We just had our family pictures done and we did get great photos but I didn't get any of just the two of them that I really loved. 

You can see in the last picture how that went...ha! 

At one point before our friends arrived, I tried to get some pictures of the two kids. Easton was walking around like a big boy exploring and I was trying to get a picture of Nora. I looked over and Easton had a huge smile and started walking back towards me. "Easton, what do you have? Did you find a stick? Come show Mommy!" was said in a high pitched overly excited voice. He was so cute and seemed so pleased. He came even closer and my eyes focused clearer on what he was holding. Oh, it wasn't a stick. Nope. A stick doesn't squish between fingers. It was poop. Like a big poop. It went up to his face and I did a quick ninja move to swat it from his hand before it reached his mouth...but unfortunately it did hit his cheek. 

I'm grossed out and Nora is grossed out. 

I ran over to where our stroller was sitting and of course I had left the wipes in the car. Awesome. 

I did have one tissue that I tried my best to wipe his hands with. I plopped him on my hip and put the poopy hand behind me and had Nora sit on the stroller. I pushed with one hand through grass and hills and trees-why were we so far from the van?!

The whole way as we're walking by people and I'm smelling an unwanted aroma, Nora is yelling "Gross! Easton picked up poooooooop!" 

Oh.yes.poop.

I ended up calling Mama saying that I knew she couldn't help with the situation but I needed emotional support. Hahahaha. 

We were able to get the boy all cleaned up and went back to the trees-we had a blast! :)


Me and this guy had a date at home. We played Ticket to Ride and both ended up in Raleigh! It wasn't planned and made it extra fun :)


"Everything is so beautiful and the leaves and all the rocks too!" -Nora


He wanted to be throwing rocks in the lake too...but watching sissy will have to do...







We went for a walk last week and Mama walked 2 miles!! Her knee is healing and at this point she's already walking better than she was before her surgery! During the last mile, Nora would ride on the walker and yell out "Go Grammy Go! You can do it! Go Grammy Go!" She's a good encourager :)





We ran a neighborhood 5k Turkey Trot. Nora ran 1 lap out of the 3 for the kids and then she ran a little bit during Mommy's run. It was fun and relaxed :) 


Happy Thanksgiving! 

One of our friends invited us over to join her family and it was perfect! Easton played with the "big" girls for part of the time...which was a little bit of a heart jerker. Whew. 

I think he changed a lot this last week in his looks. He looks like a little boy walking around and not so baby looking anymore. 


Every Thanksgiving we watch a Christmas movie. The kiddos were exhausted after we left Courtney's house so we put them to bed a little early and then made some hot cocoa and watched White Christmas to launch us into Christmas season! 




Friday we picked out our tree! 

I always love Christmas but this year I may be the most excited I've ever been. Experiencing Christmas with kids is more and more fun! This year Nora is even more excited, understands a lot more and just gets so excited about all of the fun things. We have a list of all the fun things we'd like to do and we're talking a lot about ways we can be a blessing. 

I just love it so much! 

I really do try to get pictures of them together...and...well...this is what we get. 

This was Friday morning and we went to pick out a tree Friday around 4:30. Both kids were still in their dinosaur jammies because that's how cool we are.