Monday, February 28, 2011

I love being a...

I love being a wife…Cale’s wife!

Last night after I posted the blog and we were ready for bed, I called Rachel to talk about plans of her and Mike coming to visit. After the phone call, Cale looked at me and said, “I’m trying to be happy.” That meant so much to me! It was also so great that he was thinking about it with out me saying anything. We both fell asleep last night being silly and playful with each other. In fact, I had to stop us because it was getting so late and I knew the alarm was still going to wake us up! I treasure these sweet moments with Cale so much.

We’ve been working on getting Cale to do as much as he can in the morning with out help. So far he still needs cues for each step. Getting dressed has been one that I’ve really been trying to get him to do, so I’ve been laying out his clothes and then I get in the shower. So far he’s been able to do most of it, but always gets things mixed up or misses something. Yesterday when I got out of the shower and checked on him, he was trying to get both feet in one sock…ooooh boy! I helped him get situated and guided him through the rest. Well, this morning when I got out of the shower, Cale had done everything by himself! I still have to help him with his shoes a little, but everything else (including deodorant) was done! I am so proud of him. Things like that show that he’s still working hard and making progress. Go Cale!

Today was pretty busy for me with phone calls, texts, and emailing. I’m trying to get things worked out for a few things. A lot happened today!

The official discharge date is March 18th! This is so soon. Cale of course is really excited! He doesn’t understand time yet, but there was lots of talk about leaving the hospital and that idea is heavenly to him! :) I’m really excited too! One of the big things I was working on and making plans for is a trip for just the two of us. It’s not a small trip either…We’re going to be traveling for 2 weeks! I can’t say yet where we’re going, because it’s going to be a surprise for some. I had been planning to take this trip later in the year, instead I decided now was the perfect time. We’re going to be leaving inpatient hospital for good and it’s before getting home and settling. I think this is going to be something really great for Cale too.

Our day was a little crazy since I spent a lot of time working on stuff. In between the business, we played Crazy Eights, Skip-Bo, Bingo, and worked with flash cards. It’s really hard right now to get anything done because Cale is with me all the time. Since there isn’t much he can do on his own, he needs my attention and when I’m busy with stuff, it makes him so bored and frustrated. He has been playing Xbox for (he just looked at me and said, “I’m bored.” Haha…) 15 minutes at a time, so that’s when I try to hurry and get a phone call or something else done. Even though he gets really bored, Cale has been so patient with me!

There are things that need to get done that we’ve been doing together like, dishes, making the bed, and making meals. I even set up a post-it-note thing that we used to plan our trip this afternoon. Cale was a little clueless for most of it, and made sure to tell me that I was confusing him, but it was still fun! :)

The only therapy for him was at 1pm and it was a co-treat with ST and OT. It started out fairly good. I was talking with another staff, so I wasn’t there for the first few minutes. As it progressed through the session, Cale at one point said, “I hate them and I want to punch them. They suck!” Hmm…some one was a little unhappy. Thankfully the OT switched things up and the rest of the session went a lot…um…friendlier? Haha. Our cabinets are now labeled so hopefully this will help Cale with putting dishes away and being able to locate them.

Cale and I are so blessed with the friends in our lives. When I think about how great they are, I can’t help but smile. Joe is a really good friend of both of us. While I was growing up, Joe was like my little brother and then when Cale came into our lives, him and Joe became great friends. When the accident first happened and the Rehab talk started, there were guys that wanted to be there during that time- they were planning on it. Of course, life happens and other things (one of them being us going all over) get in the way. Well, Joe has been so great about visiting when ever he was able, taking the time to call Cale, really encourage him, push him, help with his speech, and he returns Cale’s missed calls. This means so much to me and I know it does to Cale. It’s a blessing that even though Cale is different, he still has amazing friends.

There’s been a lot happening and taking place. A lot of things need to be taken care of and a lot of decisions. One of the things I struggle with (I know I’ve written this before, but I’m challenged with it again…), is that I think way too much about stuff. When I start being consumed with my thoughts, I start building a wall and shut out the Lord. One day I will get it and stop having such a hard time with this, but for now, I’m still working towards that. In Colossians 3:2 it says, “Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.” Oops. Yep…I’m working on that one! The things here on earth fill my thoughts and take over way more than they should. When we do allow the things of this earth to fade away, the Bible also says, that if we do that, if we don’t worry about it and let God take reign, then we will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can grasp. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 and then in Colossians 3:15 that we need to let the peace that comes from Christ rule our hearts.

So, here I go. I’m praying and running full speed into the wisdom of these verses.

I was playing cards with Cale and asked him to hold on so I could make the score board. All of a sudden Cale grabs my arm with a firm grip. K: "What are you doing?" I asked. Cale said, "You asked me to hold on!" haha! Nice...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hard day for Mr. Darling :(

This morning our friends picked us up and we attended church at Mars Hill. I was interested to see how Cale was going to do with loud music because Linn had said there were drums and guitars. Before the accident, this was Cale’s style completely, but his toleration has changed a little…

I asked him during one of the songs how it was for him and he said he loved it! He especially loves the songs with clapping! :)

After church we went to a really yummy little place to eat and then they helped us get a few things we needed. One of them was a battery for Cale’s talking watch! So…this watch that I forgot to mention on here is really neat! Cale had a really hard time trying to figure out the time on his other watch, part of the reason was because it was too small, but also because he either mixed up the numbers or wasn’t able to figure out where the hands pointed. Corry, his vision therapist in Palo Alto gave him this talking watch that has two buttons. One of them says what time it is and the other says the date. I always tease Cale that he’s a secret agent! ;)

This watch has become a huge part of Cale’s orientation. Every time Cale is asked what time it is, or he’s trying to figure out what day, this last week, he’s reached for the buttons on the watch that wasn’t there! It was disappointing when we made the trip to the store the other day and weren’t able to get it fixed. Thankfully Eric did some messing around with it today, and now it’s working again! Yay!

One of the packages I received the other day was a Bingo game! Revellie the ministry in Palo Alto sent us Bingo so we could continue to play together. I think when I opened it the other day, Cale didn’t realize what it was because he saw it today and was so excited! Of course, we had to play a game today! Cale was the caller and I worked his board and mine. Out of the four of us, Cale’s board got the first Bingo. I realized once he had the bingo that we didn’t have a prize. When I said that, Cale said, “A kiss from you!” Heehee! I was willing to give that prize! We played one more round and Cale won again! It was funny since I was the one marking his board…

Here is us with Eric and Linn :)

Today Cale is mad. He woke up mad and it hasn’t changed. I was hoping that going to church and getting away from the hospital was going to help, but it didn’t. He’s still very mad. There were a few points today that he seemed a little more cheerful (mostly through Bingo!), and that’s about it. I've been trying to pray with him about it, but I think he was just having a really bad day.

It was hard not to get mad back at him this evening. It was just us here and he was being so miserable. I was getting frustrated because I'm tired too. I'm worn out and emotionally exhausted too! I'm sick of being in a hospital and living a life that feels so temporary and never getting to settle. It's hard. BUT, I also know that at least we're together! At least we have each other and we get to be husband and wife-even at a hospital.

Well, finally I knew I was either going to blow up at him (I realize this sounds horrible and you're wondering how could I think about doing that to poor Cale...but it's true.), or I needed to take a break. My break was eating dinner silently. I didn't talk with him and he knew I was upset, but so was he. After a few minutes, when my emotions had simmered, I looked at Cale and said, "I love you." When he lifted his head and looked back at me, my heart broke for him, yet again. I love him so much and I know that this has to be so incredibly hard for him. When he said I love you back, I then reminded him about what he always used to tell me. When he was deployed and we missed each other so much, he would tell me that he didn't care where we lived-a cardboard box would be fine, as long as we were together.

It was a really sweet and tender moment. It didn't make everything better, and he's still really mad, but at least we could come to a place of softness and understanding towards each other. I think a lot of times when our emotions get to flying, we forget about the heart of the person that we're having a problem with. I think that goes along with Jesus saying to love our enemies...they have hearts too!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Saturday in Space

Weekends are so nice, aren’t they?

Cale is scheduled for meds at 7am, so we had to get up and going early, but even though we kept the same routine, we slowed it down…a lot! It was so nice to wake up and be lazy while getting ready. It’s also really cold in this little apartment, so getting to hide back under the covers after breakfast was pretty nice!

This morning I asked Cale to tell me a story. He still has a lot of trouble starting a conversation, or coming up with things on his own, but with out hesitation, Cale started a story. He said, “There was a dog named Basil and a bird named Cluck.” And then he proceeded to make up a story about these two characters! It was so great to listen to! It was really funny and lasted only a couple minutes, but how great is that?! I loved it so much and might have annoyed Cale with my continued opinion about how great the moment was. Hopefully, it made him feel so good that he’ll want to keep telling stories! :)

I also had a chance to talk with Amy today. Adam is doing very well and she’s been an amazing wife through their journey. Please be praying for wisdom as Amy is trying to make the best step in their lives. We spent a little time at the end of the conversation talking about Cale and I getting to visit them…we would love that! Think about how encouraging that could be for Adam to see Cale, and for Cale to encourage him! I know Cale has needed lots of encouragement along the way!

Later this afternoon, Cale and I went to lunch and then to the Flight Museum with two friends that we had met in Palo Alto that actually live here! I think I wrote about them being a part of a great church here that we can attend while we’re here? Well, the first part was about space, and Cale was so interested! I was unsure of how the museum was going to be with him, especially after going to lunch. He does great going places and doing things, but most times, it lasts for a short time before it becomes too much. The first part of us being there, he surprised me with how much attention he gave to each thing. There’s usually something that triggers his mood change and this time it was a game. There was a little thing set up that you could play and land a rocket. Cale didn’t do too well on either, and that got him mad! The last half was the planes, but at that point he was ready to leave. He lasted for a little while longer and then finally had enough with the place!

We really enjoyed getting out for a while. Cale again, did so good with pushing himself. I told him we were going to take the wheelchair because there was going to be a lot of walking and he didn't like the idea! Then, when we were leaving, Eric tried helping him out of the car and Cale said, "I can do it." he did very well too! I love that he desires more independence when out of the hospital. This gets me even more excited for going home!

I haven't written much about details yet...because I don't really know dates yet, but I do want to let you know that I think we'll be going home around the end of March, if not before. Yikes! Wait, have I written about this? I don't remember! Anyways, we'll actually be going home! I was a little nervous and questioned at first, but after realizing a few things and covering it in prayer, I do feel perfect peace about going. It's time. It's going to be an adjustment, but I do believe that Cale is going to make some really big gains once we're home. There's been several things that have confirmed it, so I'm going to believe it!

Please be praying about this transition and all that goes along with that. Of course Cale is ready, but his thoughts about home are a little mixed up sometimes...we'll cross that bridge when we get there. God has truly already gone before us, as I've seen so many things happen already! A gym in the Tri-Cities has donated a few things for us to have at home for Cale to continue PT. This is HUGE and such a blessing! They've also offered to open up the gym and a trainer for Cale with out charge! What?! Yes. My mind is still having trouble grasping it! That's only a tiny bit of it...

I finally have figured out a way to get internet on my computer!! I actually just did it, and...yay! :) I disconnected the internet from the one in the community center and plugged it in mine. I thought it was the internet that was so slow so I didn't think it would be great on my laptop either, but it's been fast enough to get pictures on. It's let me on Facebook (even though it's slow), but wouldn't let me on my email. So...I tried it and it works :) Cale is sitting here with me trying to be patient, so I can't return any tonight, but at least I figured out a way!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Is this for real?!

I have been flooded with thoughts and memories this morning. Partly my fault…

First, I think we figured out a good routine in the morning. This morning was the first time trying it out, so we’ll see how the next few days go as we try it out? Once we were ready, I spent some time reading my Bible and working on a study I started last month. Between yesterday and today, there have been some things that have really stood out to me and either challenged or warmed my heart.

I was reading in Isaiah yesterday and in the previous chapter, I had written a note from when Cale was deployed in 09. The verse that I had marked was Isaiah 60:20 “For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end.” I was thinking about how amazing it is that it says everlasting light. Not just for a while or for a season, but an everlasting light-it never runs out. In Revelation it says, “And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations of the earth will walk in its light and the rulers of the world will come and bring their glory to it.” I think we can’t even begin to imagine how magnificent His light will be.

When I look at this last year (or even through our whole marriage), in such darkness, the Lord has (and continues) been my light.

In my study Beth Moore writes, “Sometimes life is so atrocious that surviving is its own great achievement and a strange proof of sorts that God must exist.”

Then she asks:

Based on your life or someone else’s (including any historical figure), can you think of an example when survival was in itself a crowning achievement?

How in the world have I made it this far and not fallen a part? I read in my journal from the first few days after the accident (this is where the hard part of the day started), and all I could think was how in the heck did I get through that? What was I thinking? Even in the midst of the pain and confusion that was occurring and even with the struggles of Cale fighting for his life, I have smiley faces and hearts written from a pen I was holding…uh…

Every time that Cale even moved slightly, I have exclamation marks right after writing about it. As I read through, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement from those early days of everything that we were clinging to and every moment that brought hope swimming with it. Since then, I still find myself in a state that is so foreign from anything that is created from my flesh.

The mere fact that I have survived this journey thus far, IS in itself a miracle and a true hand of God. Please do not be mistaken!

At this point, I am unable to fully grasp the light the Father offers and wants and desires to shed on His children. I can’t even fathom, but I do know that up until now (and I’m sure will be continued!), the tiniest sliver that has been so evident in my life, has given me the ability to walk daily with joyful steps and some Hallelujahs thrown in!

Maybe there are others that have faced way more extensive hardships then what I’ve ever had to face successfully without Yahweh, but I can boldly share with you, that Kathleen Darling would have failed miserably and fallen into a million pieces that would have never been able to be put back together, if it wouldn’t have been for God’s amazing grace.

Cale has been a little easier frustrated today. Shortly after me having a very sweet moment with the Lord this morning, Cale became upset about the mention of therapy. That seemed to cause a spiral of emotions that I can’t even name if I pulled them out of a hat. It wasn’t that he was upset that bothered me; it was the fact that I had just read about how I so longed for him to just “wake up” so that we could continue life where we left off. Hmm…that’s not exactly what happened. Cale never hit a point that he just woke up, and we for sure didn’t just pick back up where we had left off. In my journal I had written with much confusion, “Has our life changed forever because of this or only for a few months?” I was desperate for so many answers and as the first year post injury has unfolded, I have become very aware of what we’ve lost.

Thankfully, I can be reminded and let out tears, but I don’t need to let myself stay there. Cale gave me a really big hug when I told him I was having a hard time. Also, I am overwhelmed with the way that God is showing His precious love through people. I don’t even know what to say. As I’ve said before, the words "thank you" seem so small and simple compared to the way we have been so blessed. With a few texts I received today, some packages, and sweet cards…the Darling’s are so incredibly thankful for you.

Along with being reminded of the hard stuff, I’m also reminded of how far Cale has come. Like…crazy far! Last night we played cards, watched a movie, and had a nice time getting to cuddle before we both conked out. While we were watching How to Train a Dragon, it was fun getting to talk about the movie and listen to Cale’s laughter. This morning after breakfast, I was thinking about how things really are great. Again, I have to wonder, how is this possible? I love being with him and the new life that we’re starting as a married couple again. There are so many moments through the day that make me smile because I am blessed beyond belief. God’s painting of our life is way out of this world beautiful and we can only see a tiny bit! This whole living together thing…yep, I like it…!

So…that was a lot of thoughts that needed to come out :)

Cale played some hockey in pt, but wasn’t the fondest of it for some reason. He also walked Ivy another therapy dog. It’s always so great to watch these dogs stay at such a slow speed with Cale. When he walks with out his walker, it’s very slow going. He kind of steps and then stops right now. These dogs will step and stop with him! We’re hoping/working on trying to get his steps to become a more fluent movement, but that’s also a little slow going. It'll come though!

We decided to venture out and brave the cold this afternoon. I had brought up the idea to stay inside where it’s warm, cuddle up with a movie, and eat pasta, but Cale wanted to get out of the hospital so that’s just what we did. On the way back, it was dark out and I took the wrong turn on the highway. I had Amelia to help, but at that point all she could tell me was, “recalculating” Hmm…then, to get turned around we had to go on a scary side street. My trunk always pops open, so I pulled over to shut it so we could continue on. When I got back in the car, Cale said, “Let’s pray.” Wow. It was such a special moment. Does anyone remember me writing how I was praying for Cale to start having initiation with the Lord? He was the one that wanted to pray and ask God to get us back safely. A moment I’ll treasure!

He’s now looking at me and repeatedly asking to play cards, so I better get this posted!

By the way, if you’re reading this, I happen to think you’re great… :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Morning Snuggles :)

The alarm was set for 7am…about 6:45, we both started to stir. I knew Cale was awake so I pretended to be asleep and throw my arm across his face with a fake snore. Cale very gently moved my arm down, so that it would lie across his chest. Again, I let out a fake snore and threw my arm and leg over him. This time he was a little more stuck and I could tell he was trying to figure out how to get out of this predicament.

I couldn’t hold back the laughing any longer! I bust out with a giggle and Cale joined in. From there we were being silly and playful together. He was trying to tickle me, but I was able to squirm away and tickle him instead! I also had a song stuck in my head, so I grabbed the laptop, turned on Itunes, and we listened to FM Static, figuring out the words that we had forgotten of the song I was singing. This of course was followed with even more laughter as we continued to mess up the lyrics. We stayed in bed until the alarm went off. :)

It was beautiful; a very beautiful way to start the day.

It’s been relaxed all day. Cale’s first therapy didn’t start until 1pm! Yesterday was a lot busier with therapy and meetings, so today was a change. ST and OT did a co-treatment working on ways to help Cale get through a task. Right now, he still needs cues for every step of whatever task he’s working on, like, making a sandwich. Today was a trial using an Ipad to see if having note and alarms would help? So far, he didn’t love it other than it just being something neat to play with. We’re going to look at a few more options and see what fits best. I think once we find the perfect fit (just like a pair of jeans), it’s going to become a wonderful and much needed part of our days.

There was supposed to be a therapy dog coming to visit today and they were going to have Cale walk her, but we got a little snow over night; I hear around here, people kind of shut down…so, no dog today!

This afternoon I asked Cale to go on a walk with me. We took the walker the first time and then when we went on a walk later on we took his hockey stick. The first walk we were going down the hall and I started saying, “Left, Left, Left, Right, Left.” Cale walked perfectly instep with what I was saying! He kept up even though it’s a quicker speed then his normal step. We tried in the apartment when we came back, just with him holding my hand, and he did great! He was a little more tired with our second walk, but I’m thinking tomorrow we’ll try marching with his hockey stick. He enjoyed it too! He called me a drill sergeant…haha!

Please continue to pray for Cale's orientation. He doesn't realize that we're in Washington and that we're so close to home. Since we're not in Kennewick (our home town), he thinks we're not even in the U.S. sometimes...I know it'll come, and it's been awesome and so amazing to see his memory progress, even when it's little steps! One way I saw that today, in his ST/OT session, the task they had Cale do was make a sandwich. A couple hours later, he was able to tell another staff (with only a little cueing) what he had made. This is so great!

Thank you for praying for our stay here. Cale has had a better attitude the last two days. He hasn’t been getting upset like he was, which is so nice. It’s such a blessing to know that people are praying for us through this!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God is God.

This morning, Cale was having a harder time swallowing than he usually does. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help, not sure what would help, but thought it might be nice to ask. He looked at me and with a smile said, “Kiss me. Always kiss me!”

Kisses always do seem to help a little :)

We’re still trying to figure out a good routine in the mornings. We’ve tried it a few different ways, and we’re going to have to keep trying. We’ll get it though! Cale’s first therapy was at 9:30 with RT. Sally the dog he met last week was here visiting. We had picked up some salami because we were told this is Sally’s favorite treat. That was no lie! She was really excited for it, and Cale had fun sharing some with her. At 10am, I had a meeting with the social worker here to discuss plans for discharge, and when that was over, I came out and was told that for 20 minutes straight Cale was petting Sally!

Next was PT. I was a little nervous about how it was going to turn out, since Cale hasn’t wanted to do any therapy here. Thankfully, Cale had a great session! First thing, Virginia put a tennis ball on the end of his hockey stick so that instead of using his cane, he can be cool and use the hockey stick! :) This gave him the biggest smile! Once that was figured out, we walked to the gym and Cale played some hockey. After a while of him shooting, Virginia set up for us to do a competition. How many goals could we each make in a minute? Cale went first and made 8 and then I went and only made 4! Of course he had to let everyone know that he won! ;) I was ok with that. It just means I need more practice!

There was still a little more time left before lunch, so Cale was put to work helping build a walker. I was surprised with how much he liked it! I think there will be more of building things to come!

After lunch was speech. Again I was a little nervous, but it ended up being great! They worked on the computer first typing and then searching Google. It was really neat to see how much he was remembering of what to do and the short cuts that he was able to do. He still needed a lot of help, but it was great to see him interested and willing to participate.

Let’s keep these good days coming!

We decided to make a trip to the store today. It was an all of a sudden decision after talking about internet with one of the staff here. Also, the battery on Cale’s talking watch (did I ever write about this?), died over the weekend, so I needed to get it changed. It’s kind of his life line right now…Well, the internet thing was a no go. I guess the thing we thought was going to work out isn’t available yet, so we’ll keep going the way we are! I couldn’t get the watch back off, so, getting a new battery will have to wait too! They said they weren’t able to do it because of liability, but Cale can’t do it either. I’m going to be in search for hands that are able tomorrow! We did get a fitted sheet for the bed, so hopefully there will be good sleep and no falling through the cracks tonight!

When we were first headed into the store, I told Cale I’d make it a really fast trip. He looked at me and said, “Not likely!” Haha! He knows me too well! I can get very scatterbrained in stores!


God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to. -Elizabeth Elliot

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Commit to the Lord

Cale is a happy man. This afternoon, a special delivery came…it was his hockey stick! When I opened the package, his face lit up with a giant smile! He was so excited! He grabbed the stick and kept saying, “Let’s play hockey!”

Kathleen is a happy woman. Along with the hockey stick, I also received…Amelia (my gps) in the mail. I was pretty excited and with a really big grin, I kept saying, “Now we can go somewhere!”

This morning we had another meeting about how things are going and spent some time setting goals. Tomorrow there’s a meeting about, time frame and discharge planning. Before we left Palo Alto, I had an idea of how I wanted us being here to look like and I had fears of what I didn’t want to happen. Well, it looks nothing like what I had first planned, and the fears that I had before coming, have happened. Funny thing is that it’s ok. It is! I feel so much peace about how things are here and the way it’s turned out. I’m still wanting to have a better picture about what the whole plan is going to look like, but I think I’ve been wanting that since the accident…oh wait…haven’t I wanted that all my life?! We always want to know the future! Oh the wonders of learning to take one day at a time!

I know being in the apartment is really helping me.

A few really great things:

Cale has been accident free since we’ve been here! Even more than before, he says that he needs to use the bathroom and goes on his own. This is such a big deal! Let’s keep it up! :)

I was in the room filling out papers and Cale was sitting in the living room playing Xbox, when someone knocked on our door. I jumped up and put my slippers on, ran around the bed, and when I walked into the living room, Cale had already started to walk to the door! He didn’t have his walker or cane! The distance from the chair he was in to the door, isn’t that far, but it was so great that he did that!

I was lying next to Cale earlier. He wasn’t saying anything, but not asleep (very unusual. Most times, if he's awake, he's talking...or at least trying to!). Randomly he looks at me and says, “Do you know Chei’s middle name?” Chei is his sister, and nope I couldn’t remember. He said, “It’s Nicole.” When I asked if that’s what he really thought, he said, “I think so. I think that’s right. I’ll bet ya!” I sent his mom a text and asked her if that was her middle, and it was! It was so neat that he thought of that! We had bet a candy bar, so I owe him now!

Tonight we had a very special visitor! A dear friend that has been reading the blog for a while, and is always so encouraging with sending packages, emails, and leaving comments, came to say hello! :) Neither of us had ever met her, and what a blessing it was!

Here is Marion and her son Ben!

She also left us a great gift! After opening these tonight, Cale and I just had to have a yummy cup of hot chocolate! :)

I was reminded of a verse in Psalms this morning, so before our day started with the first meeting, I read it and then read it again to Cale. When I read it, I read a few more verses and then did some digging. I loved what my notes said. It was such a great reminder and then as the day continued, I was able to see through calls, messages, the meeting, and the peace in my heart, how true it is and how great God is.

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and he will help you. Psalm 37:5

My notes said:

To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything-our families, jobs, possessions-to his control and guidance. To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in Him, believing that he can care for us better than we can ourselves. We should be willing to wait patiently for Him to work out what is best for us.

Always good to be reminded of that!

Monday, February 21, 2011

In the beginning.

Falling asleep every night back in my husband’s arms…does it get any better than this? So many nights for over a year, that’s something I’ve longed for. The interesting thing is, that it’s not the first year I’ve spent longing for that; wanting it so bad, I felt as though I could burst!

Obviously it’s very a different situation this time, but I must say, the wonderfulness of it hasn't changed a bit! I love it!

Right now our "bed" is two hospital beds pushed together. I was told the breaks on them aren’t working, but I have to figure something out! All night, I find myself wrestling with the sheets, trying to hold on with out waking Cale up, as my body is slowly sinking through the opening of the beds. It’s like an earthquake is taking place and I’m being spilt between two chunks of land…at least that’s what seemed to be taking place in my dream ;)

This morning I made a yummy smoothie for Cale, and he drank the whole thing! In fact, he was enjoying it so much, the slurping sound was quite loud as he was trying to suck up every last drop through the straw. Wanna know what was in it? Banana, Blueberries, yogurt, Odwalla juice, and spinach. Yep, he loved it.

After our not-so-morning routine, Mel and September picked us up and we headed to a Vegetable and Fruit stand that’s near the hospital. It was fun picking stuff out with Cale. He was pretty interested when I was getting the fruit, but once we moved towards the Veggies, he lost that interest…haha! At one point while we were out, September asked Cale when my birthday was. He was trying to remember and guessed a few days and then September said, “Do you need to phone a friend?” Cale said, “No” with a laugh. Then she asked if he needed to use 50/50. Cale was confused at this point and then I asked, “Do you know, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Cale looked right at me and said, “Yeah, you!” Haha! Oh goodness! We all laughed so hard! We also had a nice time driving around and getting lost ;) They left a little after noon. Visitors are all gone…

Cale and I ate lunch together and played cards for a bit. We first played Crazy Eights, but I was on the phone for most of the games we played, which is my excuse for why he kept beating me! Then, after I was off the phone, we played a game of Skip-Bo. We used to play it a lot together, and both really enjoy it. Well, I started dealing and kept going until Cale said stop. Once the game started, I’m not sure how he did it, but he ended up winning the game and I still had 18 cards left in my pile! That stinker! Of course, he was pretty darn happy with himself!

It was a few minutes after that game, that I felt myself start to crash. All of a sudden, everything slowed way down, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep my eyes open! Cale was game to cuddle, so we put on a movie and relaxed…so nice! We both ended up taking a little snooze. Before I finally gave in and let myself sleep, I kept thinking about everything I should be doing and what things would be better for Cale to be doing. I think it’s going to take a little getting used to the new schedule where things aren’t back to back busy all the time…I mean…it was a holiday and all, right?! I’m so glad I finally decided it was perfectly fine to rest, because boy did I need it! I know Cale needed it as much as I did!

It’s been real chilly today and the wind picked back up this evening so I made us soup and grilled sandwiches for dinner. The first go with the sandwich, I forgot about it and when I turned it over, the whole slice of bread was black! Oops. I traded that slice for another and tried again…oops. Black again. Round three turned out perfectly, and that went to Cale! It’s fun being back in the kitchen and cooking for us after not doing it for so long. I’m a bit out of practice, but I think I’m going to enjoy getting better again! :)I might set off a few alarms in the process, but that's nothing different from before!

Please be praying for this next week. A lot of decisions are going to be made that will determine several things. I’m not stressed about it (which is always good!), but it would be nice to get a few things figured out. The biggest thing is that Cale is so far past done with being in a hospital. I might have to agree myself!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Wow. It’s the very first verse in the Bible and blows my mind every time I read it. Do we get that? Well, the first question is do you even believe it? If you do, then do you understand that? With all the science and technology that’s in the world today and years past, this simple sentence has been such a hang up to so many people. It’s a hard thing for our little minds to grasp! Is this why man has come up with so many other theories? I wonder, are any of the many ways that man has come up with of how the earth was created, does anyone really believe them?

Every time I read that verse and after my mind has been blown away, I think of the very next thing that comes to my mind…and He loves me.

Yes, God created this very world we live in and then created us because He is love. Dear friend, right now, He loves you. He desires you. He wants to hear your heart, hear your thoughts, and hear your passions.

Love is best expressed towards someone…so He created us to love.

Do we get that?

Here are a group of young girls that came from a school near by. They sang the Army song to us and Cale joined in! This was Wednesday our first full day in Cale's first room.

Here's our new little apartment. Cale made it very clear that this is not home and we are still in the hospital!

We now have a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the table!

Our bedroom...that we both stay in all night...LOVE it!

Cale pushing the cart in the grocery store. he did so great!

Yay for Seattle!

Space Needle!

Here we are with Mel and September getting our yummy Krispy Kreme!

At the market getting healthy stuff ;)

The internet let me get pictures on here tonight, but still won't let me in my email...sorry if you've sent one to me since I've been here and I haven't responded!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Full Weekend

Well, I think we’re starting to get settled here…again! I was able to take some time today and finish organizing the stuff we have. It’s a pretty cute little apartment. I can’t post pictures with this internet, but as soon as I can get some up, I will! :)

I knew that choosing to bring Cale home was going to be a lot for me, and take a lot of time, but I’m not sure that anything can quite prepare for what it’s actually going to be like! This apartment is still part of the hospital, but it’s not the same as just being able to leave if I need to go to the store. Now, I’m responsible for him. I’m not sure how it’s all going to work out while we’re here, but it’s a good way to help me realize that home is going to be very different.

We spent a little time this morning working on writing. I was trying to put together some stuff that I watched Patty do with him. He wasn’t the biggest fan, but he at least did what I asked, even if he stomped his feet a little. He also helped me unload the dishwasher, and make his lunch. It was fun having him help! I was impressed with how willing he was to do whatever needed to be done (while we were actually doing something other than book stuff). I must say, I was a little afraid for the dishes that the hospital provided. I wanted him to unload the dishwasher, which meant that I couldn’t step in and help him do every dish. I also didn’t want any of them to drop and break! He did great though!

On Friday, Terri and Brandi (Friends I’ve known for years) came to visit and even helped us get some groceries and move our stuff out of Cale’s first room and into the apartment. When we went grocery shopping, I had Cale help make the list and then push the cart around. It was a lot of walking and he did it all with out a rest break! He picked out a few things (including ice cream!) that was on the list and helped put the bags in the cart after we checked out. When all of our stuff was in the apartment, they left for the night…

…and Joe and Beth came not too long after! They were also put to work the next day! I really needed to get to a store and get some of the basic stuff like toothpaste, mouth wash, and a few other things. We ended up running a few places (one of them was checking into internet), and finally back to the apartment. Beth cooked dinner, I put stuff away, and the boys played Xbox. I’m not sure how easily I would have gotten everything done if they wouldn’t have helped. They left Saturday night after Cale started to shut down and made it very clear that it was time for bed.

This afternoon when we were finishing up lunch, Terri and Brandi stopped back by before they headed home. They brought a really nice gift! It’s a hand blender thing, so I can make smoothies packed with healthy stuff for Cale’s breakfast! I’m excited to whip it out tomorrow!! While we were talking with them, Cale decided he was hearing too much girl talk, so he went to the room to lay down.

While they were still visiting, September and Mel arrived…more visitors! Can I just say, I’m loving living close enough to home that I get to have so many visitors?! It’s great! We all visited for a little while, and during that time, Cale asked me who the boy was. I told him there were no boys, just girls. “Oh, just girls?” he replied with a bummed out voice. Poor guy! He liked so much having Joe here and then all of a sudden, he was outnumbered by girls! Wahaha! ;)
We didn’t make him sit in the room for too long! Terri and Brandi had to get on the road and the rest of us decided to take on Seattle. This adventure included: funny socks, umbrella bags, the Space Needle, Pizza, getting lost, and a trip to Krispy Kreme!

I was so proud of Cale because even after a full weekend, and all the walking we did today, he did so great the whole time! I had decided to bring his walker instead of his wheelchair because it’s a lot easier! Once we had parked, I realized, I probably messed up because he’s not going to last too long walking around. I still think it might have been a better idea to have the chair in case we had wanted to do some more walking around, but he did awesome! We even gave him a few opportunities to rest while the car was brought to him, or he was dropped off and both times he was willing to just walk. He also used the men’s bathroom all by himself for the first time today! I was really nervous and even sent two guys in, just to make sure he hadn’t fallen, but he did great!

I think after a few days here, we’ll be able to get our routine down a little better! It hasn’t made much of a difference being in the apartment as far as his mood…at least not yet. It may come though!

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing upon my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! Psalm 139:5-6

It’s amazing to me how everyday I’m seeing the ways the Lord is going before us unfold. I ask myself, “Who am I to have this blessing?” There is more and more every day that has been taking place that leaves me speechless for the love the Lord is pouring on us. My heart is full and I’m so thankful! It’s far too great and wonderful for me to understand! There’s no way that I can wrap my mind around what’s beginning to happen as our journey continues.

I see it so clear and it encourages me so much! Cale is not able yet to see it all around him, but I can’t wait for the day that he can and for the day that people have no other choice but to see God’s glory through our story…

Cale’s prayer requests tonight:
1) A house
2) Living here
3) A way for us to go home

Can you tell what’s on his mind? ;)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Easy Yoke

Where do I even start?

First, internet has not been worked out…we tried today, but the way we were thinking was way too expensive and didn’t make any sense. I have a system that might workout, I’m just going to feel out of touch for a little while.

We’ve moved into the apartment and I’ve had lots of visitors. I’m enjoying it, but it’s definitely keeping us busy! Things will slow down a little so I have some time to get organized and figure out a plan.

So many things have changed in the last few days, as far as what our plans were. I’ll be able to update more on that hopefully this week. I don’t want to say too much right now, because, well, we just don’t know!

With so many things in the air…I’ve been thinking about stuff a lot. The problem with me thinking is then I get all my thoughts going, and have to constantly remind myself to just give it to the Lord. Surrender it! I can get myself worked up and in a frenzy so quickly if I’m not careful. Am I the only one like this?

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Cale is still having a really hard time. He just wants to be home. I have lots of thoughts and questions about “home” and what he’s actually got in his mind, but I think no matter what, home is going to be better than a hospital! We just want to be in God’s perfect timing not our own.

Hopefully I’ll be getting caught up on things soon and can give you a better update!

Address is:

VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Inpatient Rehab Caleb Darling Room 124
1660 S. Columbian Way
Seattle, WA 98108

p.s. this whole no internet thing...not so fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I'm quickly writing from my phone to let you know, we've moved into the apartment! It's right next to Cale's first room, but inside makes it feel a little like we're out of the hospital...a little!

I'm going to try to get internet stuff figured out tomorrow!

Thank you so much for praying!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Instead of worrying, pray.

What a difference today was in the mind of Kathleen! After actually sleeping last night, and getting to shower this morning, I felt so much better! There are just some things this girl needs... ;)

I walked to the hospital this morning with a brand new attitude. While I tried to fall asleep last night, I began to pray and confront my heart where it was. This isn't always the easiest thing to do, but it's a needed task. I thought Cale's day was going to start off great like mine, but that wasn't the all!

We did get a very short PT session in, but shortly after I had taken a picture, Cale decided he was done. He stopped PT early, didn't do OT, ST, or RT. He was done for the day and there was no pushing him!

I had a couple more meetings today. Things are up in the air about when we're leaving, but from the sounds of it, it's going to be really soon. Tomorrow we're hopefully moving into the apartment room here. I've been asked to put our new address up, but knew it was going to be changing soon. As soon as we are settled I'll get it posted! :) Being in the apartment is going to help us work out any problems that may come up. It's not home all by ourselves, but I think it's going to be a great way to prepare for that...and give time for something to be available for us to move into! It's all happening faster than I had planned, and even though I was joking about escaping and wanting to leave here...I was only joking!

I wanted to clear something up in case I gave the wrong impression. Please don't think the staff here have been a problem. I know I was saying how hard things are and it's an adjustment, but it's not because of anything the staff is lacking! In fact, they've all been great! They even had a special meeting for Cale to talk about things he likes and what we can do to help his stay here be a little more enjoyable. I think the apartment is going to help!

This afternoon, Dr. Loomis had left for the day. She went home and picked up her dog and brought him back for Cale! We went to the Fisher House lawn and Cale played ball with Jake and Dr. Loomis spent time talking with us and getting to know us. It was so special! It meant so much to me that she took the time to do that for Cale. He had such a rough day, and that little bit of time brightened up so much! It was freezing cold (where did CA weather go?!), but Cale wanted to stay out and play.

Actually, Cale had time to love on dogs twice today! Another therapy dog came around during a really bad moment for Cale, and he instantly smiled so big! :) He let the dog jump on his bed and he pet her for so long! We're looking into more ideas of things that Cale can do with animals, possibly in the community here.

I feel like there's a ton to write about, but my brain is quickly shutting off. We did go on our first outing tonight to the VFW for free burgers! It was fun to hear some stories of vets that have seen so much! The guy sitting next to Cale was 98! Always good to get out!

I accidentally left Amelia (GPS) in the rental truck in Palo Alto, so I haven't wanted to leave the hospital! I hear this isn't such a great part of town, and I always get lost...I have to get a couple things done, so we'll see how I do!

Please pray that Cale will continue to become more aware. I wish that he could understand what happened, because I know if he did, he would fight more. He's always been a very determined guy and always has to have the best score. Right now, he doesn't get it. He doesn't understand reasoning and he just feels trapped. I know he's understanding a lot, but at the same time, he doesn't and this gets to be hard. I know his brain needs time to heal and as it does, things will come together. I also know that it's going to be hard once he does realize what's happened, if that time comes, but I feel like it would help so much. Praying for endurance!

Tonight when we prayed together, Cale chose to pray for a house. He first started like this, "Dear God, I pray for a house. A good house for me and Kathleen. For us to be together." After a little bit more he finished with, "and I pray for all of our pets that are in the house with us. The dogs and cats and fish. I love them."

It was so sweet.

His mind and way of thinking is still like a little kid in so many ways. He was even talking tonight about going home and our parents taking care of us. We had a little discussion about this...he pictures home as if he was little again and rather than being a man with a wife, he's thinking he's in school. It was a pretty weird conversation; very interesting at the same time.

Pray for me.

With such a great day and so much that happened, tonight when talking to him and a situation this afternoon, it just makes my heart long for the man in him again. I know I've talked about that before. I don't want to be in a place that I'm more like his mom then his wife. It's felt like a mix of roles at times and I've really tried to separate the two and just be his wife, but with our discussion tonight, it felt so, just felt like, well, I can't be a wife to a little boy. My heart just hurt for him and for us.

Then I prayed.

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.-Philippians 4:6-7

I read this version of this verse, and it seemed so perfect for the last week. I love so much that I can tell God all of my concerns. I never have to hold anything back, and He never changes His opinion of me. He loves me. I love how the version says, "a sense of God's wholeness" Oooh! I just love that! God's doesn't want us to only feel a piece of Him, or to know only part of who He is. He wants us to experience His wholeness! As my day continued on, I began to see everything unfold and take shape of something beautiful and exciting. It was God's hand causing everything to come together for good and it settled me down! It is amazingly wonderful when Christ takes the place of worry that so easily tries to find a bed in our life. There is no room for it! Worry and fear have no ability to take root, when the Father is at the center of our hearts. He is peace. He is love and joy!

Here we are leaving the hospital in Palo Alto! Do you see Cale walking out?! A-Maz-Ing!

Here was a sweet prayer time at the church we visited on Sunday. It was such a blessing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A new day...and again tomorrow!

It was wonderful, beautiful...lovely! Being next to Cale all night! It made leaving to night a lot harder for both of us. I didn't sleep very much all night, and at one point, Cale moved a little and his arm bumped me. His eyes flew open and he had a scared look on his face! He forgot I had joined him! Haha!

He was really upset this morning and was saying over and over how this isn't home. He said, "Here is dumb!" I asked if he thought Palo Alto was better and he said, "Yes! Lots!" Poor guy!

We made a list today of Good Things Here...
* We're together
* We're in Washington finally
* Cale is still making progress
* They have Bingo
* and...they have therapy dogs too!

We met one of three that come to his unit this morning. I didn't have my camera with me today, so I missed lots of pictures, but as you know, they will be coming! ;) We were let in on Sally's favorite treat, so that's being added to the grocery list!

Cale wasn't too excited about the constant stream of new faces and loads of questions, but he did so well! He even showed off a little in PT and OT! This was so great to see because maybe that will continue and he'll keep going strong. We had quite the discussion today about why I'm so proud of him. He is so amazing and works so hard everyday and he doesn't even understand why! He was telling the staff that he's fine and all better. I know that must be frustrating, but every time they ask him why he's working so hard, he says, "I love Kathleen" with a really big smile. Does that just make your heart smile? I know it does mine!

Thank you for praying for us. This has been such a challenge! I don't even know why it's been so hard, other than that's what happens with everything when I'm tired. Today was basically meeting with each therapist and talking about what things are going to look like. I was thinking therapy's were going to slow down a lot, but that's not the case! I think it's a good thing though because too much down time doesn't work so well for Cale. Tomorrow is the big team meeting, so we'll see how that goes, and what the plan is! I was pretty teary eyed today, and at a point that I was seriously rethinking our escape plan and how we might actually be able to get away with it...just kidding...!

The exciting thing is that it's very home based...all the therapists are looking at what we can do to make home easier. A few things that I brought up as goals, I was told are actually the really hard things! That all has to do with his brain healing more. We're also going to be taking steps for me to be out of therapy. I expressed that I would really like to still be in some because I think it helps me know where he's at and to bring those thoughts and ideas home with us, but it's time for me to step back...yikes!

It was a crazy day and this afternoon all I was able to do was drop my luggage off in my room, and went right back out the door! Hopefully, tonight I'll get sleep and tomorrow I'll finally get showered. It's a new day and I'm gonna rejoice and be glad in it!

If you think about it, and talk to me at any point, remind me that this is just for a short time and that we are getting closer to home! Thanks! :)

Here are a few pictures from yesterday!

This was on our white board when I got to the hospital yesterday! If anyone from 7D reads this...we miss you guys too!!! SO much!

Time to go! In the van and ready to get on the road! Cale was ready...not sure how ready I was!

Our First Class seats! We were so spoiled!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Tonight I'm so thankful that when my body and mind feel so tired and weak, God is my strength! When everything feels so scary and unknown, when the walls around me feel like they're closing in, God is my refuge!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


We were on 7D for 209 days…that’s a long time. Since it was such a long time, goodbyes were really hard. I was in tears all morning…and was a blubbering baby when we left the hospital. Great thing was, Cale walked out! He walked! First he had his walker as we left the unit and walked the hall through the spinal cord unit, and then before he walked outside, we took the walker away! It was the moment that I had been praying for! Hopefully I’ll have video of it soon to show!

Once we were at the airport, everything went very smoothly. In fact, the staff at the airport were so great! They even upgraded us to 1st class! This was our first time being spoiled with such roomy seats…and a person could get used to it! We were even served food! :)

Have any of you played Crazy Eights for 2 hours? I have! I asked Cale a few times if he just wanted to relax and listen to music and he would say, “No, let’s play!” So we did!

I have a couple pictures from today, but this internet won't load them, so I'll try to get them up tomorrow!

Seattle greeted us with rain. I asked the soldier that picked us up from the airport if the weather man has talked about sun…he said no. We’ll see! I hear that there has been sun for a tiny bit through the day!

So…5 minutes after being at the hospital, Cale grabbed my arm with a panic look on his face and said, “I hate this place!” Like I suspected, Cale had in his mind that home was where we were headed. I keep trying to remind him that we’re only here for a short time, and then we’ll be home. This is the last stop! The time we spend here sounds like it’s going to be short and we’re totally ok with that!

I’ve been having a hard time with being here too. It’s definitely different here. I knew it was going to be and I knew we had been spoiled in CA, but the small things that have changed seem to be the really hard ones. One of them being, he’s sharing a bathroom with the patient next door. I’ve already experienced an awkward first impression as I walked in on him while he was using the um…toilet. Yep.

I keep reminding myself that I’m tired and it’s only the first night. It will get better! I have to keep reminding myself to breathe…just breathe.

We have been making escape plans…do you think we’ll get caught?

Tonight I'm in the room with Cale and then I'll be at the Fisher House tomorrow. We put two hospital beds together, so tonight will be us together finally! There is no internet in the hospital for me to use my laptop, but they do have a community center with a computer (a very slow one!), that I'm using to type this up real quick. I just found out...they have Bingo here! Yay! This is going to be great news for Cale! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Goals and Goodbyes.

I know a lot of people think Valentine's Day is fact, I've seen quite a few Facebook posts that say it, but I can't help but love the day. What can you not love about a day that involves chocolate, flowers, and I love you's? Just's sweet! Cale was never a fan. In 2008, I had planned this great night, had gotten us a little treat, made him a sweet card, and the night before V-day, Cale said, "Valentine's Day is stupid." I was so bothered by it! Like...really bothered. I fully admit, I was a little too drastic about the whole thing, but I thought, how could he not like a holiday about love? We have always been really lovey and sweet with each other anyways, and always trying to find ways to do special things for each other, but this day was about chocolate and love! ;) Well, I went to work that day and came home with ruffled feathers (this is of course if I had feathers that could get ruffled...), and decided that if he thought it was stupid then fine, that was just fine with me...yeah right!

That evening, I still gave Cale the little gift and card I had for him, but I even gave it to him with a cold shoulder. He of course knew I wasn't being myself, but he went along with the whole thing. After opening my card and gift, he left where we were sitting, ran to the guest room, and then came in with a huge box of dark chocolates and a card. Inside he had written, "Even though I think Valentine's Day is stupid, it's another day with you, so I love it." Oh gosh...Let's just say, I had some apologizing to do! Haha!

Chaplain Daniel Deaton of the Navy and Joint Chief of Staff and Warrior and Family Support came to visit today. I have to say, I think it was the perfect day for his visit! After we were introduced and talked for a couple minutes, he prayed with us. It meant so much for our last day here!

Here we are with him and Chaplain Brady!

In OT, Cale was writing the months of the year. I asked him, "What's special about March?" C: "I married you!" Monica: "Which day?" Cale guessed a day, but knew it wasn't right. Then Monica said, "Saint" and Cale finished with, "St. Patrick's Day! March 17th!" This was so great because he hasn't been able to do this yet! He has a really hard time with out cues being able to say even the month! Now only with a tiny bit of help, he was able to get the day too! :)

Then, later this evening, Kristen was telling a story about a racing game. I started to tell her the story of yesterday and Cale getting first place, but all I got out was, "Yesterday we went to" and I couldn't think of the name, but Cale remembered! He shouted, "Dave and Busters!" I was so blown away that he remembered that! Also, that he was able to connect it with racing. It was an exciting moment. Times like that, I feel like celebrating and jumping up and down, but in a car driving...that's not such a good idea!

The day was full of emotions. It's exciting that we're going, but again, it's so hard for me. Tonight Cale and I were praying together, he had finished and then it was my turn. I started praying for tomorrow and the transition. As I was praying, I started to picture all of the faces that I've met here, and the tears came. I'm going to miss everyone so much. Cale was so sweet and just held me tighter. I love that he understands now when I'm sad. Just a few months ago, I was crying and he didn't realize at all. He had no idea that I was upset or that I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I think there was a time just a few weeks ago also? Tonight, he knew. He heard my prayer, and tried to comfort me as best he could. Such a sweet treasure!

Will you be praying for him and this transition? Cale has been very set on everything being better when we leave. Today the therapist asked what he wanted to continue to work on while we're in Seattle and he said nothing. When she asked what he is going to do when we get there, he said, "skateboard." Patty: "What do you need to be able to do to skateboard?" C: "Grind." The need to be walking good doesn't cross his mind. Also, he has said in the last week that when we get to WA, he's going to snowboard, skateboard, and play hockey. Tonight I told him he'll be in a different room tomorrow night and I'll be sleeping with him. He asked me where we were staying; when I said the Seattle VA, he didn't understand. Everything that is hard, bad, or sad in his life right now, he thinks will be all better once we leave this hospital. This is the case with having to take his meds, do his nose rinses, brush his teeth, walking being hard, and so many more things. No matter how many times I'm talking to him about it, he doesn't get it. He just doesn't understand whats happened. It's going to be an interesting couple of days for him, realizing that we're still in a hospital, and things haven't changed...that much.

When we first arrived at this hospital, I came up with three goals that I really wanted to meet.
1) Swallowing-that Cale would be taking his nutrition (which has become just pizza!) through his mouth.
2)Voice-that Cale would be able to communicate with talking.
3)Bowel and Bladder control-that he would be able to initiate on his own when he needed to go to the bathroom and have control over it.

Tomorrow we leave and have just about made all three goals! I'm so proud of him! I'm still trying to put thoughts together of what my next three goals are, but how thankful I am that we've met these! The last one isn't 100%, but it's getting there!

Here is us last Valentine's Day...

Here is a few clips from today...

He was asked to show how happy he was about leaving! :)

This is amazing that he's memorizing scripture!

He's still got a powerful shot!

Crazy Huh?

What did we have for dinner our last night in California?!

Our updated countdown board...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

He is a great God!

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears." 2 Samuel 7:22

Every day I am in awe of what the Lord is doing. Every day, I wonder why God would bless me so much. Every day, I am amazed of the way the Lord is working. Every day, I think about how great and Sovereign He is. Every day I'm totally and completely humbled by the King of Kings, that He would provide for me-love me-desire me.

I went to church this morning with Cale. It was the same church that we visited in October when Mama was visiting. It was a blessing to be able to attend again. The Pastor asked today in service, "What breaks your heart?" Wanna know what breaks my heart? That God has done miracle after miracle, answered prayer after prayer, shown His power time after time-and there are people that hear and see it, yet don't believe.

If you've had a chance to sit and talk with me at all this last week, you've heard me talk about what God is amazing He is, and how it can only be from Him. Even this morning at church, a prayer was answered in such a sweet way! I have been praying (and Cale has been to!), about friendship. For me, it's my desire to get plugged into a church again. There are a few churches here that have been an amazing blessing to us, but because of the schedule, we haven't been able to be a part of one. In Seattle, Cale won't have therapy's on Sundays, so I have been wanting to get involved! Well, it's not such an easy thing with Cale, to try to find a church. After the service today, a couple came up to us and said they are visiting from...Seattle!...and were flying back today. They are a part of a really! I gave my email and the plan is that next Sunday we join them! It's just another one of those times that I think about how great God is! This is just one of the many (beyond many!) ways I've seen God's hand going before us, preparing the way. Wow.

I know there are lots of people that read this blog that don't know God. You don't know what you think about Him, or maybe you do and it's not in agreement with what I think. I understand. I get it. I just know that time after time in this last year, God has made Himself so apparent, as if He was here in person right before us. Even through me...the Kathleen flesh...yep, she can't do any of this on her own. The 10th had so much potential to be an awful emotional day. I could have been sad about the accident, sad about the last year, sad about all that we've lost, but because of something...someone alive and powerful inside of me, I was able to rejoice, praise, laugh, joke, sing, dance, love, smile, be amazed at all that has happened. I just, well, I just wish that everyone had that. That everyone experienced Christ's love the way I have. It's possible.

We've had the count down in Cale's room going for a while now. The therapist have left us a little note...:)

OT and PT are sad, but Cale, scratch, and Basil are happy that we're leaving! Love it!

After church and before our afternoon outing, Cale played ping pong! He actually had a lot of fun! When I joined in, I can't say I was much help to the team, but at least I tried. ;)

The outing today was to an arcade. The place is Dave and Busters, which I guess is all over, I've just never heard of it. We played quite a few games, including air hockey, but I'd have to say our favorite was racing! Every time I crashed (which was a lot!), the whole car would shake! I was laughing so hard. Cale and I were playing together right next to each other. At one point I looked over at his screen and he was in first place! What?! I stayed in 23rd place for most of the game and then finished in 20th. Cale finished in 3rd! He is still a better driver!

The place had a restaurant attached, but it was an hour wait so we headed to Chevy's. It was our first time there too! Today was our last outing here. Rebecca has gone on so many with us. We're going to miss here a lot!

We managed to survive our busy weekend! When I was cuddling with Cale tonight, he started snoring. He's wiped out! I thought I could sneak away with out waking him, but of course, that wasn't going to work with him! Every night when I leave, Cale asks why I leave him, and asks if I can stay. It makes me so sad to leave! I know it's so nice for him to fall asleep with me being there-him not alone. He's so sweet though. He lets me know it makes him sad that I leave and then puckers his lips for a kiss :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

SO much sweetness!

My alarm went off at 5am...ooooh boy! I got myself ready and then went to the hospital to get Cale ready. He was sleeping, and when I woke him up and told him what time it was, he said, "Oh wow!" We had a special treat this morning, even if it was early! There is a group of men (of about 100) that meet every Saturday morning and pray. A huge blessing is that they've been praying for Cale by name for months! The Saturday before Valentine's Day, all the men bring along their wives and daughters. They've been wanting Cale to come, but he's just not at a point that I can let him go alone. Today was perfect for us to join in!

I was so blessed. First, I think it's an awesome thing to have so many men faithful to gather every week and pray together. Also, at the beginning of the time, all the men went around the room and introduced their family. It was so great to hear men say, "This is my beautiful wife of 59 years!" That is a concept that is lost in today's world, where marriages and commitment are taken so lightly. When God said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." I don't think He had in mind for that to be a temporary's kind of a done deal. Since the idea of becoming one, is now a passing thought, and it's become just fine to become one, and then again, and takes away from the sparkle of marriage a little. This morning, I was able to listen to many men express the sweetness of commitment. So great! :)

It was a super busy day and will be tomorrow also. We got going early, and as soon as we were back to the hospital at 10am, Cale had group therapy, PT, lunch, and then OT. As soon as OT was over, we headed out again! Yikes!

For PT, Pat had Cale walking outside all over with his walker. Cale was tuckered out by the end of the session, but he kept going as long as Pat asked. Even though Cale gets really angry during PT and says that he's not going to miss anyone and just wants to leave, I know he's going to miss Pat as a part of his week. I've written before, but I just love the relationship Cale has with him. It'll be so much fun to come back and visit and for Pat to see how far Cale has come. I know he's going to keep getting better! :)

The second outing today was a really special good bye party. Some really dear friends that we've made (just recently!) here, put together some really great moments that I will treasure always. It's so sad that I've just met all of them, and now have to say bye. I'm so happy I at least got to know them a little!

The first incredibly sweet surprise was...

Yes, it's a Pepperoni and Pineapple heart shaped pizza! My eyes teared up! It was so perfect in so many ways! I LOVED it! Then, later on, they gave me an album they had put together of pictures and notes from the staff in 7D, the staff at Hippotherapy, and the staff at the Fisher House. Along with notes from each of them! Yes...more tears! We are so blessed!

By the end of today, Cale and I are beat! Hopefully it will help Cale get a good night sleep.

Here are a couple words from Cale today...

We were talking about the nurse needing to get Cale's weight...Monica: "How much do you think Kathleen weighs?" Cale: "500 pounds" WHAT?! He's lucky he laughed after and made it funny! ;)

Another funny with Monica...In OT, Monica had Cale put the clothes in the washer and pour the soap in. Kathleen: "I see your laundry skills!" M: "Kathleen's going to have you be the laundry guy when you get home." C: "Nope" M: "Are you going to make her do it?" C: "Nope." M: "Who is going to do your laundry?" C: "My mom." Haha! Uh...I'll let her know about that Cale!

Cale still has a bunch of scabs and (of course) boogers in his nose. He's been picking it lately in front of anyone and at any time. We were on our way to the party tonight and I asked Cale what he could do instead of just picking his nose in front of people. Cale looked at me and said, "Ask them, can I pick my nose?" Well, I guess asking is better than just doing? Haha!

Today I've been longing even more just to go home. Cale and I packed up our house December 08 right before he deployed and that's the last time we've been in "our home." I miss it. It gets tough trying to get a routine and get Cale to do certain things when we're at a hospital. I know going home isn't going to make everything perfect, but I have a feeling, it's going to help a lot. It's going to feel so great to not have to leave him every night and come back in the morning. I was struggling a little trying to get him ready for bed and make sure everything he needed was set up. I'm sure a lot of what I was feeling is from the emotions of leaving here.

When we prayed together, I expressed that a little to Cale, and then listed, moving and a home for our prayer time. I asked Cale like normal what we should add, and tonight he said, "Our strength in God." Wow. So precious and just what my heart needed. When he prays, it's still very broken up and I can't understand everything, but I heard him ask that we would be strong together. I love that. I love-love hearing him pray. I know the Lord loves it too! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Miss California, squirrels, and a sweet prayer request :)

To start off the next day of our "new year"...I have exciting news to announce! Dr. Howe came in this morning to let us know that Cale has officially emerged out of PTA (Post-traumatic amnesia). This is a huge deal!!!! Dr. Howe said it's equivalent to "waking up"...oh goodness! Basically, Cale's at a point that he's going to be able to start laying down more memory. I have already seen a lot more of this in the past week. It's so awesome to see after such a long time, his brain is still healing! After she walked out of the room, I hugged Cale over and over until Patty came in for speech. We've conquered another step! What a way to start the day huh?

When Patty came in to do speech, she asked if we had seen Miss California. At first I almost thought she was joking. After that, I kept asking people to let her know if they saw her again to tell her the Darling's would like to meet her. We did some investigating and found out that she had only gone to the nurses station and then left. Well, even though she had already left our building, she came back to meet us! It was really sweet of her! It just so happened to be on a day that I wore my comfy pants and a t-shirt...always those days someone comes to visit! ;) She asked Cale where he was from and he said Washington. Then she asked if WA or CA was better, and of course he said WA! It was funny to be saying it to her though!

ST was awesome today! Cale was reading, retaining information, processing, and communicating his answer! There's a lot involved in answering just one question. I was blown away by how well he was doing!

After speech and the excitement of Miss CA, it was time for OT. Cale did a lot of upper body stuff. The first arm thing Monica tried was way too easy, so then we tried the Bowflex again and some free weights. It was fun to watch Cale do them. He was counting how many in English and then Spanish! He was doing sets of ten, and when he said seven in spanish he said, "seattle" Haha! It was great :) Someones got Washington on the brain!

This afternoon, we walked to the main hospital and spent the last of our Bingo bucks. A lot of people that are here for long periods, save up and buy something big out of the little store. Instead, we started using ours to go on lunch dates to the cafeteria. We still had some left over, so we were on a hunt for goodies! Yum! On the way there a squirrel ran out in front of us. He stopped and was munching on something. I pointed him out to Cale and asked what it was, Cale said, "It's a cat!" K: "Actually, it's a squirrel" C: "Eh, they look the same!"

For the last couple nights of our prayer time, I say that we should pray for our move, a house, and then I let Cale pick the last thing. Tonight he said, "For God to give us friends."

He's so lonely and always asking about his friends. It's going to be so great getting to WA and being closer to everyone. I know it's going to be so special for him. I feel like an emotional wreck at times...this place has been home the last 7 months, and now we're leaving. It's exciting, I know. It's a good thing, I know. It's closer to home...yep, I still know. No matter how many times I tell myself these things, I still am so sad to leave here. Leave these faces that have been such a special part of this journey. I realized it doesn't help as much as I thought to tell myself that it was the same last time, and things were good here, because I miss the staff from the last hospital and the relationships I made in the area! Thankfully, I survived the last move and it's been a blessing, so that's what I'm holding on to now!

...of course, Cale is ready to leave yesterday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Year of Miracles

A Year Ago...

I was driving down Hawbranch coming off of 24. I never go that way. I always come from 111 to go pick my son up. So it was a blessing that I was coming from that direction. As I was driving I saw your brother on the side of the road with a panic distress look on his face while he was on the phone. I pulled over and asked if he was alright and at the moment of him not being able to say too much to me, I saw the car. I hurried, pulled my truck off the road and ran over to the car. It was smashed against the tree, horn blowing and steam coming out. I could not get to the side that Cale was on so I proceeded to cut your seat belt so that I could get the door open. At that time you had come to. You were trying to figure out what had happened and where you were. You had said your leg was burning and hurt really bad so I suspected that your leg was broke. I held your head in place to ensure that you did not move. I yelled to your brother to call 911, he said he did and they were on their way. At this time you looked over at Cale and passed out. I talked you out of your blackout at which time I held you looking at me to keep you calm and to not let you look at Cale. I did not want to lose you again. You said it sounded like he was snoring. I told you, yes sweetheart he is taking a nap he will be ok. I was half way in the car with you to keep you stable. At that time 2 other people showed up, one lady said she was a nurse. At that time paramedics showed up they came over saw Cale and knew we had to rush. Because I was in the car with you, I assisted to get you out of the vehicle. You were concerned about Cale and again at this point I held your head into place to secure your neck and to ensure you did not see the condition of Cale. After we got you out of the car, of course our next concern was Cale; we put a bag on him to force and help breathing. I was holding his IV bag from the back seat to allow the paramedics to do what they do. I then moved out of the car when they used one of the fire trucks to pull the car off of the tree and out of the ditch. I told them at this point we need to move fast cause we knew he had side impact damage and now we have released pressure from it. They pulled the jaws of life out and removed the roof from the car at which point I grabbed the roof and threw it across the street. We then cut the door off the car to start moving him out of the car. At the time of removal and once he was on the stretcher his breathing was gone. he then got rushed to the ambulance and then to the helicopter. I have to say that when I cut your seat belt off and looked into the car it was a not a very good site. I was worried about the both of you. Your brother gave me his number to move his truck and that is how I was able to contact you to make sure you guys were doing ok. I wish I could have done more for you both but of course it was rough to do by myself.

Since then...

I am so thankful that Cale is alive. I'm so thankful that he can talk with me, that he has thoughts. I'm thankful that he can express his feelings and initiate what he wants. I'm thankful that he has an opinion and shares it! I'm thankful that he can put together a sentence. I'm thankful that he can understand what I'm saying. I'm thankful that he can hold my hand. I'm thankful that he desires me and loves me. I'm thankful that he knows I'm his wife! I'm thankful that every time he sees me, his face lights up! I'm thankful that he can smile and laugh. I'm thankful that he's learning to spell and read again. I'm thankful that he can walk and move easily. I'm thankful for the strength that he has gained back. I'm thankful that he can use all of his limbs. I'm thankful that he can see me! I'm thankful that he is still working hard, even when it's hard. I'm thankful that he can! I'm thankful that he still loves the Lord. I'm thankful that he can pray with me. I'm thankful that he can go places with me. I'm thankful that he's still silly! I'm thankful that he can brush his teeth. I'm thankful that he's learning to write again. I'm thankful for his sweet kisses! I'm thankful that he's still making progress. I'm thankful that he plays games with me. I'm thankful that he has memory of Washington. I'm thankful that he can tie his shoes! I'm thankful that he will watch movies with me. I'm thankful that he likes to cuddle. I'm thankful that he knows when I'm with him and when I leave. I'm thankful that he can experience boredom. I'm thankful that he still has such a loving heart. I'm thankful that he's still with me!

The letter above is from Chris (click here to meet him!). I had asked him in December if he would be willing to write down the moment from what he remembers. Even though it had been so long, he did it! It means so much to me to have it in hear it from someone else. It's hard to read, but then I look at what this last year has been like...and I'm amazed.

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

I've used this verse a few times over the last year. I love it. To think of all the miracles that have taken place, to think of all the wonderful things that I've been blessed with...they're too many for my mind to grasp! I woke up this morning, opened my eyes and said, "okay." A year ago today, something very tragic happened, but I can't help but stand in Awe of the Lord and all that He has done! How can I not?! While I was getting ready for the day, I began to pray and list off everything I'm thankful for; my heart felt as though it may burst! It's been hard, but oh so amazing! For the last several weeks, Isaiah 61:3 has been on my heart.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

With something so ugly, it's only Christ who can make it so beautiful.

When I was done praying, I could feel my excitement level rise! There was no reason for this to be a day of mourning...I'm rejoicing that I have my man! He's healthy and strong...and I love him!!

The day kept getting better, with getting to hear some big things the Lord is doing because of our journey. I'm so excited to see what this next year holds. If someone would have told me that a year later, I would still be in a hospital with Cale, I would have fallen to pieces, but because of God's grace and the strength that He has given me, I'm able to be in a hospital a year later with Cale praising Him!

Tonight before I left, I asked Cale to come up with 3 goals for this next year. I of course had in my head to get him walking by himself independently as one of them, along with a few more, but this is what Cale came up with:

1) Have kids.
2) Go across the ocean.
3) Pet dogs.

Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar (I'm very grateful/thankful to you)-German
Herzlichen Dank (Heartfelt thanks)-German
Haben Sie vielen Dank! (Many thanks)-German
Domo - Arigato (Use this when someone gives a gift or goes out of there way to do something important for you.)-Japanese
muchas gracias (thank you very much)-Spanish

Thank you in English doesn't feel like enough sometimes. I thought maybe if I tried a few more languages, it would express how truly thankful we are that you're a part of this journey. It's been a long road, but it's meant so much that you have shared this with us and have stuck through it. Thank you from the deepest part of our hearts! You have been an incredible blessing to both of us!

This was the second video I've made. If you haven't seen the first, here it is...