Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 2!

In one of the breakout sessions at the conference, the question was asked, “What are some of the losses/struggles caregivers face?” This specific breakout group was for spouses who were now caregivers as well. Here’s what was said:

Loss of memories you share as a couple
Lost the person you married
Financial Security
Change in emotional commitment
Loss in sharing the decision making
A loss of dreams and goals for future
Family and friends acceptance-Lack of knowledge
Becoming a Burden (Injured spouse to spouse or caregiver to family and friends)
Friendships-some friends walk away from situation and lack of time to invest in friendships
Role changes
Companionship-loss of spouse being attentive to our needs
Loss of self-What do I need? What things do I like?
Connection with your children
Communication-the heart of relationship (with spouse or friends)

As these heartfelt words were being spoken around the room, my heart was breaking. I was in agreement with all the things that have been lost, but more so because yes, a lot on this list has been lost for us, and yes, there have been many tears because of it, but I have the Holy Spirit so powerfully alive within me, that those losses don’t consume me. They’re reality, a sad reality, but I can continue to move on and not let Cale’s brain injury be what our life revolves around. I can (everyday) learn and try to focus on all that we still have in our marriage and as a couple. There is SO much! I am so thankful for how far Cale has come and for everything that he’s doing!! A lot of families don't get that. They go through life carrying the heavy burden all on themselves...

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you’ve already done.”

Since the conference didn’t have a ton that applied to me and Cale, yesterday during one of the sessions, I went outside in the really pretty area and relaxed. I think it may have been my favorite time of the whole thing! I was tired and had taken lots of notes, and that time that I had to just rest was so great! ! I had time to think about the last month that we’ve been home and the ups and downs it’s held. One of the things that really stood out to me was that there’s not any big things we’re dealing with as far as Cale that have made it such a hard month. He’s doing good and so are we in our marriage. It’s hard not having him understand things and not having him realize that we’re married and share a home, but for the most part everything is going ok. The overall not-so-great thing that has been making it so hard is that I’m tired. I’m going to work on fixing a couple things and see where it gets us! :)

Me getting to relax...SO nice!

Here's what the little tropical getaway was like!

Here is the video I was going to share…

I was missing Cale like crazy. I kept thinking about what he was doing and how thankful I am that I have him to go home to. Mama sent me a picture of him…my man is so adorable! :)

When I made it home, Cale gave me such a big hug! Then he and mama had me sit on the couch with my eyes closed. Cale kept making sure they really were closed. When he told me to open them, he handed me a heart shaped card that he had made for me that says,

I love you
Laddie (Lady)
SO much

Then, he handed me a pink jewelry box that he painted and decorated! When I had talked to Mama Thursday night, she told me Cale was working on something for me, but I wasn’t expecting that!! So sweet! He did really well on it too! Mama said, he did all the painting!

Started Painting...


Making the card...

All Done!


This morning after I let basil out, I crawled back in bed for a bit. Cale had this huge smile on his face the whole time. When I asked him why he was smiling so big, he said, “Because you’re next to me!”

This afternoon was the memorial service for Dan. It was hard to get through, but was also so special to listen to people remember him and how great of a man he was. I felt so sad for Janis. There’s nothing to say to make the pain easier for her.
If you think about it, please be praying for her and the family.

Cale just woke up from his nap, so we’re going to have some fun time together! :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 1

The conference so far has been great! A lot of it is geared towards mild traumatic brain injury, so it doesn't apply to Cale completely, but of course there's a lot I can still take from it. I'm also taking notes expecting and hoping for the future of getting to that point...!

When we first arrived yesterday morning, I was already tired, but so excited! After I registered, I looked around the room and golly, it was emotional! I wasn't expecting it to be. I'm sure with reading my blog, you might think it's no surprise at all, since things seem to be emotional for me...but, I was still not expecting it! Haha!

I think it was one of those moments that I hurt for everyone in the room because they're dealing with TBI, but I didn't want to be one of those people. Ever feel that way?

It happened again after the conference actually started. They asked all the spouses to raise their hands...I wish that I wasn't one of the people sitting there saying that my husband has TBI. I wish it wasn't so. In that same moment, I was reminded that I'm not alone. Whether it's a mild TBI the couple is dealing with or severe like Cale, it's still TBI!

They've talked a lot about making sure I'm (the caregiver) taking care of myself. There's been a few ideas that are practical and I think will be able to work for us in this stage Cale is going through. With him going through all these stages and changes this last year, the way I do things and my schedule changes with it. That's kind of how life goes though! :)

I liked this quote and I think it's going to help remind me...

"A rested caregiver (wife) is a good caregiver (wife). An exhausted caregiver (wife) isn't good for anyone."

I'm pretty sure I've been told this a time or two since the accident, but now I'm at a point that I need to hear it. I'm at a point that I need to make changes and adjust the way we're going through our days. It's a working progress!

I went to one of the breakout groups that was for if you have TBI. The caregiver group didn't apply to me, so I went and thought I could get some ideas for Cale. Well, again, a lot of it was focused on mild TBI, but some of the people that were in the room were there and being a part of the group only because of time. Time meant healing. It was so encouraging to watch them and listen to their thoughts and struggles. A lot of them said they were angry. As the group went on, I wanted to hug Cale so badly! Just to throw my arms around him, hold him tight, and let him know that he's going to be ok. It may not be the ok that we would have preferred...but it's going to be ok.

I wouldn't say this has been restful, but it has been so good for me. I'm soaking in every little thing I can that is in the slightest making me feel spoiled. Yesterday morning, I had fruit and toast for breakfast. It was so yummy and tasty! Strawberries, Mango, orange slices, and banana! Mmm! Then, at the hotel where the conference is at, there's an area around the pool that instantly makes me feel like I'm in another world! I have to walk past and through it to get to the main room. Once I walk out of that area, there's a pitcher full of citrus water. The sight of the fresh lemon, lime, and orange slices makes me feel refreshed and then when I drink it, I feel like I'm at a spa!

I made the same water a few weeks ago when we had a BBQ. I'm not sure I had the same spa experience when I made it, but I'm enjoying this time!

Thank you for all of your prayers for this weekend! I've talked to Cale a couple times. He called at 6:30am yesterday morning and the first thing he said to me was, "Where are you?" When I told him Seattle and if he remembered, he very firmly said, "No!" He's being sweet though and let me know he misses me. :)

In one of the breakouts they showed a really neat video that I wanted to share with you!

It won't let me put it on here, so I'll show it later...

Here I go for day two! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'm in Seattle! I left this afternoon and will be gone until Friday night. The Washington State TBI Conference is happening this weekend, and I'm attending! Yay!

I'm excited to see what new things I learn and to get repumped to take on this task before me.

It was hard saying good bye to Cale. I'm trying not to worry, but it's hard to be gone for the first time since being home. Since we left Palo Alto, I've been with him 24/7 and have only taken a couple hours here and there away from him. It's good to take a break and a step back to be refreshed, BUT I miss him! Even though our last car ride was rough on him...I really missed having him next to me today!

My time here started with about an hour at a coffee shop here, Diva's. I walked in and immediately enjoyed the place. I ordered a small coffee and a muffin and found a seat. There was nothing that I could do or think about getting done; all I could do was sit and relax...much needed!

Then, I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner with a friend. Gooooood food! Our tummies are full so sleep is soon! :)

The conference starts tomorrow morning and doesn't end until 5pm. It's going to be a packed day, and I'm so excited!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It wouldn't let me post this last night...

I have a tickle in my brain. And it keeps making the corners of my mouth point toward the heavens. ~JD

From the time I opened my eyes this morning; I’ve had to make a lot of choices. The biggest and sometimes hardest choice has been to smile in the middle of a hard moment, and today, there have been a lot of those.

The alarm went off; I really didn’t want to wake up and that put a grump in my mood…until I made myself think of something that made me smile-Cale is right next to me!

During breakfast, Cale started to get upset that he had to take his meds. This daily fight with him has become…all too familiar and the hairs on my neck were wanting to stand all too quickly…until I made myself think of something that made me smile-Cale is able to swallow pills! For so long, that was impossible!

He then was really upset after eating at the mention of having to brush his teeth. He began to tell me all about how he’s sad and wants to go home. Heavy sigh…until I made myself think about something that would make me smile-I like pie.

As soon as Cale found out about his dentist appointment, he entered into an ongoing funk. He was not a happy camper and didn’t want to go at all. I was a little nervous thinking about the way he was going to react to the staff at the dental office…hmm…the thought made me frown…until I thought of something to make me smile-I gave Cale the choice to use his walker or his cane when we left the house, he chose the cane!

When we were waiting for the doctor to come in and start the examination, Cale became bored and mad. He didn’t want to be there and didn’t understand why he had to sit in that chair…I again, thought of something that would make me smile-Cale told Dennis and Kathy on Easter that I would chase the animals laser pen…I only play fetch was my response! ;)

This continued on through the day and every time my mood wanted to plummet, I just thought of something to make me smile. As the day went on, it became something that wasn’t forced, rather and instant way I responded. I wasn’t trying to push back my feelings and ignore the frustrations of the day, but at the same time, I would have had a terrible day if every little thing would have knocked me down. Some days I let that happen and by the end of the day, I’m crawling into bed thanking God the day is over. I don’t want to live a life like that! My goodness, we’ve come too far in this recovery to decide now that we just want to be numb to everything and be miserable daily! No way Jose (as Cale always says)!

The dentist today (like the dentist in Palo Alto) shared with me today how Cale’s saliva glands are working (possibly caused from the meds) and he has extreme dry mouth. This causes a huge problem with his teeth because it causes plaque to latch on, stick, and grow way more than a normal mouth. Another problem is that Cale will not drink plain water. He refuses. He has never been a huge water drinker, but now, it’s non-existent. I’ve been giving him Gatorade, but that’s also full of sugar. There are tons of sugar-free options on the market, but they are full of chemical sweeteners that aren’t good for his healing brain. So…I’m a girl on the hunt to find a way for Cale to have more water, somehow flavored, and natural. I’ve already tried a bazillion things and for the most part, he’s stuck in a very small window of what will work for him. I bought a small thing of Berry Stevia today, but I’m not sure how well it’s going to work. We’ll see! I wish he liked tea…

Thank you for the ideas on things for Cale to do on trips! I’ve already invested in the DSXL because it has the bigger screen, but Cale (so far) hates it. It’s a little too much right now. The problem is that Cale is aware enough to think the very simple things are dumb so he won’t do them. He likes the techy stuff, but then its way too complicated and that frustrates him because in his mind, he can do all that stuff still. The iPad has been recommended a lot, but that’s a lot of money for us to just spend. Writing and reading don’t work because for writing, it’s so hard and takes so much effort even to right something simple. He can read simple sentences if there aren’t a lot of other words around that sentence. A page of words becomes all jumbled up and he can’t get his eyes to focus and his brain to process that much information. The movie idea is good, and I might have to give it a try, but so far he’s not able to watch a whole movie. He will lay with me, but he only will keep his attention on it for a very short time and then he says he’s bored.

This is the issue I run into daily with trying to find something he can do without me having to be right there helping. Right now, there’s just nothing I have found! It would be great if he watched movies or TV because that would give me a little time, but that’s a no and well, I’m still trying to come up with something!
If you think of any more ideas, let me know! :)

My time with the Lord today was in Exodus 2:23-25

The Israelites still groaned beneath their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their pleas for deliverance rose up to God. God heard their cries and remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the Israelites and felt deep concern for their welfare.

It was a reminder that through this season that I’m walking in and all the crying out to God, He hears me. It was a comforting reminder since all I feel like I’m doing lately is crying out!

After this, I went on FB really fast and had a message from my friend Hannah. She said that she was reading Isaiah 38 about Hezekiah. He had become ill and cried out to the Lord after being told he would not be healed. God heard his prayers…

It totally was the same line of what I had studied today!!

I also just want to say thank you again for being a part of this journey. I was telling Mama tonight that I feel like every day almost, I’m having some kind of struggle with Cale. There seems to be something that I’m writing about that I’m struggling with. I know it’s just a season, and we’ll get past this, but right now it stinks. I was looking through pictures while we were at Palo Alto and I miss Cale always being so happy and full of joy. I miss that even though he wasn’t able to communicate as much and he wasn’t as aware, we were always having a blast with each other. At that time, I felt like there was no way I’d ever want to take time away from him and now…well, I’m wishing for it! That sounds terrible…the awesome part is that now he is communicating better and he is more aware!

I just have been feeling like it’s been a really hard time and I’m so grateful for all of your encouragement and prayers for us! Thank you!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day Trip!

"Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day." - Nicholas Sparks

We took an all of a sudden road trip today! We drove to the small town of Heppner, which is about an hour and a half away. Mike and Rachel live there and I loved so much getting to see them today! Cale didn’t do so great on the drive though. We’re going to have to figure out something that he can do while I drive for all of our trips to Seattle. Either that, or I’m going to have to hire someone to come and I’ll pay with desserts! ;)

We went to lunch and had a super fun time hanging out and visiting! Cale was making us laugh a lot which isn’t too far from being normal. We met some more people that have been praying for us through this and that always makes me so happy!

Something REALLY cool happened on the drive home! I asked Cale to tell me about one of his favorite memories of us. It didn’t take him too long before he started to tell me about our first kiss! Oh my goodness! Talk about a heart warmer! If my heart was a Scentsy, the scent it was giving would have been called Mush! It was so incredibly sweet to hear him talk about it. Most times he still gets things confused, I didn’t have to help or give him cues at all! So neat! It's so exciting that some of his memories are coming back! If I can get him to remember we're married and we're home...that would be helpful! Heehee!

I was thinking while I was driving about the man next to me, a soldier. I’m so proud of him and thankful that he was willing to join the Army, leave his friends, and serve his country. He was willing to do whatever he could to provide for me when we became a family (happened a lot sooner than first planned!). I think he’s a pretty awesome guy and well, he’s a stud!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's about...

It’s been a great day! Kathy, Andy, my sister Carla and her husband Raul, and my nephew Mark all came to church with us. The service was so good. One of the songs we sang spoke to my heart and pumped me up! Haha! I love the truth of it and the power in singing-speaking the words out loud that Christ has risen from the dead and we are one with Him again and He trampled over death by death! So awesome!

This is a video I found and thought it was a good one to share with the song we sang…

After church we took some pictures! It was fun and I think they turned out great! :)
This was all before having to push through Cale’s stubbornness and getting him to lay down for a nap. He fights it every day, but always falls asleep fairly quickly and then is always in a much better mood when he wakes up.

While my sweet husband napped, I got myself busy in the kitchen! Dennis, Kathy, Carla, Raul, Mark, Andy and his daughter all joined us for some yummy food. Last night I started marinating some meat, which we grilled today and had a ton of other food to go with it. I love getting to make food!! It was so much fun getting to cook (with my apron!), have company over, and eat! Cale prayed for the food before we ate. He thanked God for the food, everyone that was there, and then he said, “Thank you for this house.” He then continued to say that it was good and so was the basement (which he hasn’t seen downstairs) and all of it.

Since early on in this journey, but even more lately, the Lord has pressed on my heart that this isn’t about me. It’s so easy to think when something bad, horrible, or tragic happens in our lives, we think it’s against us. Yes, it does change our life, and it does leave a cut or deep wound, but when I gave my life to the Lord, I surrendered my life to Him to use for His glory. I laid down my desires, wants, needs, thoughts, motives-all of me to use to further the Kingdom. The way that my flesh wants to act in a situation is not the way that the Holy Spirit living in me is going to respond. When I gave my life to the Lord, I gave to Him my selfish right to live by my flesh, so that He could transform me to walk in the Spirit.

This trial that we have been facing is not about me. It’s not about how I’m feeling and what I so wish could happen, it’s about the Lord being able to use us if we’re willing to bring glory to His name. I then am choosing to trust Him with every area of my life including all of my desires, wants, needs, thoughts, and motives.

I was in the kitchen last night preparing a few things for today’s lunch and feeling like I need to get away. My emotions were getting the best of me and I could feel a break down coming. The tears were going to come and all I was missing was a pint of ice cream to ease my nerves.

I paused for a minute from my “busy” work and just stood in the kitchen. I could hear the words take hold of my thoughts that it wasn’t about me, and then just as quick I then spoke out loud how my heart was truly feeling in that moment, “I want it to be about me.”

It’s rough, long, tiring, draining. I feel as though I go round and round on grasping truths through this, but I always have to remind myself again.

I want to be able to complain and say it’s all about how much we’ve lost and how hard this has been on us and how weak I feel sometimes and how I miss my husband the way that he was when I married him. I’m sad that he has lost so much.

I want it to be about me so that a big pity party could be thrown and then because it was about me, everything would be able to be fixed…by whatever could fill the void.

The Holy Spirit is always so quick to respond to my aching heart to remind me again that it’s not about me. I went to bed with emotions every which way, but was reminded by what today represents that it’s not about me. To have the people that were sitting around me in church today, to have this house to come home to, to have my husband to hold my hand…

It’s not about me. It’s not about us. It’s about Christ and Him shining so brightly though our lives that we create a beautiful song for all in Heaven to dance to.

It’s about Jesus dying for us, conquering death, and being raised from the dead. It’s about Him being a sacrifice so that I-we can be saved from hell and to live forever with Him in glory.


Our day was full of card games, playing with the dogs, good food, Cale playing hockey, a Bingo game, and a bunny cake. So much fun!

Also, yesterday was Cale’s first time taking his cane out! We went to the store and then again he went to church today with just his cane. He needed to use my hand for quite a bit of support, but oh man! It felt SO good to walk alongside him and get to hold his hand! I can get used to that! ;)

Happy Resurrection Day from the Darling’s!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rapunzel's (Kathleen's) emotions...

Last night’s pillow fight was a success! It was full of squeals and laughter; Cale won by stealing my pillow and pounding me! Haha! So much fun!

After we settled down and were snuggled in bed, I told Cale that we should do P90X and get really buff…and become super heroes! Cale smiled really big and said, "Grrrr Arrrrrrgh" and then in his deep voice he added, "super hero!" Hahaha! We're not quite there yet...! ;)

After being awake for a little bit and having breakfast, Cale says, “I have a question.” I asked him what it was and he replied, “How far is the closest Mc Donald’s?” Haha! Uh…are you planning on taking off?! Oh man! Of course after that, I had to give in and get him what he wanted!

It was beautiful outside today! I walked out with Basil this morning and loved feeling the sun on my skin. I think it was the nicest day since we’ve been home. There wasn’t too much of a breeze and just felt so good! I’m sure it was a little too chilly, but I still had to wear a skirt and flip flops today! :)

This is what I have been feeling like... ;)

I have good days and bad days all in one day. I can have a great day and everything be so great, and then in a moment, I feel overwhelmed, lonely, and so sad. It's not as drastic as that (usually!), but that seems to be how things are lately. Cale's giving me extra hugs and every time he is seeing me, even when I walked into the living room last night with sweats and a hoodie on, he says, "Oooh! You're hot!" That's been giving me lots of smiles! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday!

Change of plans...


I'm not! And, I'm guessing you're not either! ;)

I'm not even going to give the updated plans as of now, because I'm not totally sure they're going to be the ones we're stinking with! So...for now, we are still home and will be for at least tomorrow! :)

I was on the phone, for what felt like non-stop this morning. To start my day, Cale and I didn't sleep well last night-at all. When my alarm went off at the normal 6:30am, I turned it off and stuck my phone under my pillow. I didn't wake up until 9am! I guess I needed sleep! Well, it's always nice to sleep in, but then I feel as though the day gets away from me and I don't get as much done, or it just gets really crazy. I did end up getting quite a bit done, but boy oh boy was it busy! While I would be on the phone with one person, another call would beep in. This constant stream of calls lasted for a while. I also had more visitors (but I love the visitors!) which kept things feeling busy.

I would love to write how I took the new plan with lots of strength and so gracefully went with the flow, but that would be me telling a story. I cried. I couldn't help the tears! It just feels like the whole thing is dragging on, and I was bummed, but it's ok. Once I got over the initial processing, I was fine. It helped having company come right after the call, so I was able to talk everything out.

Anyways...all the stuff/thoughts/heaviness of the day was lifted off my shoulders tonight at our Good Friday service. It was a really sweet time with the Lord and getting my focus back on what's actually important. I loved having Cale next to me and listening to him worship right along with me. I never get tired of that!

We went to a friends house tonight and had ice cream and brownies...and Cale (at 11pm) is wired! Haha! I could see the crash coming, so I had suggested us getting home. I think all the sugar kicked in, so I better get off here and try to get Cale off this sugar high.

A pillow fight might do the trick! ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the chili powder has been added

This morning before Cale was awake; I sat on the couch about to work on something and realized that this week I was supposed to be reflecting on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Instead, all I’ve been thinking about is Dan being gone and being so sad for the family.

Suddenly I became so thankful for what this weekend is all about and why we take this time and celebrate what Jesus did for us.

I’m so thankful that God loved us enough to send His only Son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice…a beaten, mocked, whipped, accused, spit on, bloody sacrifice. I’m so thankful that Jesus was perfect and even though he knew the pain and the anguish from being separated from His Father, carrying all of our sins, He did it. He carried the cross.

The amazing part is that He died-but He didn’t stay dead! He rose 3 days after being buried. He left us the Holy Spirit for us to receive and He’s alive!

Because of this sacrifice, Dan is whole and in heaven. He made a decision at some point in his life to ask the Lord to forgive him of all of his sins and everything that he had done that was not pleasing to God, and he surrendered his life…because of that choice, his family will again be with him! He’s in Heaven dancing with angels rather than rotting in hell. He’s in the presence of the King! That’s a pretty awesome story!

We had a few different visitors today. It makes for a really busy day, but we love it! We love getting to visit and spend time with people!

Here is my sister attempting to play Halo with Cale. I’m not even sure she’s ever held a controller before…Hahaha! ;)

So…there’s been a change in plans. I thought we were going to at least have another week or so home, but I received a call today that added a little excitement to everything. Kind of like adding chili powder to a dish…

As of now (one more thing needs to get figured out), we leave Tuesday for Seattle! This is going to make the next few days busy and complicated, but I’m just gonna go with the flow and know that everything is going to be just fine!


Actually, I’m going to turn back into the little 6 year old Kathleen and use my imagination. I’m going to pretend we’re on a six week vacation complete with a limo service (we’re going to get shuttled to and from the hospital by his command), a grand hotel (we’re going to be at a small hotel near Ft Lewis), and spa treatments everyday (I’m going to have to make this one up completely!). It’s always a nice thought! ;)

Please be praying for Cale. This is going to be hard for him and there’s not really a way to prepare him. We have a few more days here, so we’re going to enjoy them! :)

Earlier today Basil was barking at Noah to play with him. He still tries so hard to get Noah to be his friend and play! Well, Cale called Basil over, grabbed his face with both hands and said, "Basil, you need to speak english. English! ok?" Haha! Uh...Basil went to his bed and laid down!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sweep Me Away

Sweep Me Away-Kari Jobe

Father I love your ways
You came in your mercy,
and died in my place.
All I can do is bow
Because of your goodness,
and your sovereign grace.

Then you sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters
Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters.

Tears rolling down my face
Because of your love,
and your sweet embrace.
The peace that just overflows
It's hidden i know,
you have been waiting to

Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters
Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters.

Sweep me away,
just you and me lord
Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love
Sweep me away in your love
Sweep me away in your love
Away in your love, sweep

Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters
Sweep me away
Sweep me away in your love,
where nothing else matters.

Just you and me,
just you and me
Sweep me away oh lord
Your grace it covers me,
your love it covers me,
oh god you cover me.
Your grace it covers me,
your love it covers me,
oh god you cover me.

While we were at the store this afternoon picking up a few things for the house, we walked by some flowers that were for sale. I mentioned how pretty they were to Cale because there were so many different flowers! Cale looked at me with a smile and asked if he could by me some. It was so sweet! I thought about how before, Cale would run to the store sometimes for me, and bring back flowers, but now he doesn’t get to just go and do things like that now. I think they may have been the sweetest flowers I’ve ever received!

He had a doctor’s appointment today. It was mostly just for a check up on how things are going and making sure everything with meds is going good. They had drawn some blood on Monday and today we had some results from that. Everything was normal, except…Mr. Pizza man has raised cholesterol! The doctor said it’s nothing to worry about or be too concerned about for another couple of years, but if he was a little older with previous heart problems, we would want to change his diet! Cale of course wasn’t bothered at all by it. He continued to say how yummy pizza was and that he wanted some! ;)

The doctor also talked with Cale about what things he wants to do again, and Cale told him he wants to play hockey. In my little head, the idea of Cale back in his skates; on ice…skating, sounds, well, umm…not such a good idea. The doctor did tell Cale that it’s something to work towards and could actually help in a lot of areas! He said that Cale would need to start out holding on to the bar walkers (Cale thought that was stupid and said he didn’t like them!), and wear pads and a helmet, but he thought it was a great idea! This gave my husband a huge smile and made me suddenly gain some grey hair…

I love the idea though! Cale loves being on the ice and had just bought lots of hockey gear just a few weeks before the accident.

We haven’t done such a hot job of being firm with Basil. I think mostly it’s a conflict of interests…I say, no Basil in our bed and Cale continually lets me know that he disagrees. Last night, Basil slept with us. He won and our bed suddenly feels really small. I have this image that I’m going to end up sleeping on the couch while the man and his dog share the bed-no! Haha! Never gonna happen…girl power! Heehee!

But isn’t he just so adorable? Yes, he has also overtaken the couch.

We have been home just a few weeks and we are still being so blessed by all of your prayers, encouragement, phone calls, letters, emails, comments, and packages! Now that all the mail is going to the PO Box, it doesn’t get checked every day. I knew I was expecting a package, but this is what was picked up today!

Thank you. Thank you so very much for continuing this journey with us!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

tears today.

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. ~Author Unknown

Have you ever received one of those calls that make your stomach drop; your mind race; or your heart pound? This morning, I received one of those dreaded calls.

Mama called me at 8:51am crying. I was expecting her to say that she had been in a car accident or something, but instead she gave me some other really hard news. Her best friend (my second mom) lost her husband this morning to a heart attack. This family is so close to us-they’re my family. It’s been an emotional day. Right after I said good bye to Mama, my first thought was how when people started getting calls about our accident, they must have felt like I was feeling in that moment. It’s a phone call and then it’s over. My heart breaks for the family. It’s never an easy thing…please be praying for them.

Me with Dan and the family in December...

At one point after being at their house, Cale and I were in a room alone and I just held Cale so tight. I’m so very thankful that I have Cale with me. Things are different and forever will be, but at least I can touch him, talk with him, laugh with him, and see his face.

We have been blessed, yet again…

Yesterday we went to look at a new SUV. I’ve been internet hunting and thinking about this purchase for a while now. The move back to Seattle kind of made the need come a lot sooner, with needing to transfer Cale’s wheelchair more while he’s doing radiation. I had a certain amount of money set aside for this and I wasn’t willing to go above it. We have our Honda, but I really wanted to bless Mama with it rather than trade it in. Her car is, well, terrible and always causes her very expensive problems.

I was looking for something very specific to our needs and not too costly. We had looked at the Toyota place, but I also wanted to check out Hondas. Let me tell you something, if you are in the market for a car, Honda is the place to go! They were amazing. First, the guy that helped us check out all the cars just happens to have been in the Army and just happens to have TBI! He is high functioning, but its still there-he still understands! He has also helped and taken care of a lot of his soldiers that have been injured.

It was so awesome talking with him yesterday and getting to meet this guy! Joe and Beth came to join us at the car lot and after some talking, we put together that this guy’s daughter used to go to the preschool that Beth works at…so neat! Well, when we left the lot, there wasn’t anything available that was going to work for us, and that was ok. I was disappointed a little, but I knew that we would find the perfect fit car, and I was so excited to have met this guy! He has the same doctor as Cale and knows all about the VA system and clinic here.

Shortly after I was talking to Joe about everything and why I realized I had been feeling disappointed, I received a voicemail from the guy that helped us, Andy. He had something to offer-a blessing and wanted us to come back in today to check things out.

After the morning call and all that was going on, I wasn’t going to go, but Janis insisted that I go, so I did. Puffy red eyes and all!

Andy was awesome and so was the General Manager. They were such a blessing and went above and beyond getting us what we needed with what we had. They really cared and it wasn’t only about selling a car. While I did the paperwork, Andy even spent that whole time playing cards with Cale!

I left feeling so blessed and so thankful for all the ways the Lord continues to bless us. There have already been so many opportunities that we’ve been able to bless others because of how He’s blessed us, and I just think that’s pretty stinkin’ cool. I pray that it continues!

Our new CRV is a 2007 and so perfect for us! It doesn’t have any of those video things in it, or the beeper when we back up, or the built in GPS, or any of those other crazy fancy things, but we just both really love it and are so grateful!

Here we are with Andy our new friend! :)

While we were at the dealership, Mama got another call from my Aunt. My cousin had surgery and lost her baby today. I don’t know all the details, but I do know that’s an incredibly hard thing to go through…and I’ve never gone through it.

With all the crying, being away from home, eating lunch late, being at the car place, not getting to take a nap, and not getting a ton of attention; Cale did so great. When I had first gotten the phone call, I went straight to Cale and as I cried, I told him what had happened. He wrapped his sweet arms around me and just held me until I spurted out our plan of action-hop in the car and go. He was so tender with me today. By the time we had gotten to their house (10 minutes away), Cale had already forgotten what had happened. When I explained again, he was just as sweet about everything. I’m so very thankful I have him.

Monday, April 18, 2011

pokes, pee, chinese food, and naps!

Cale had a Lab appointment this morning and had to get poked. :( He did so well with it and for that part of the appointment; he kept such a good attitude. The guy that did some of the poking was talking with me and sharing how his wife was in a car accident as well. He said that she wasn’t as severe as Cale, but that he knew what it was like to take care of his spouse. It was really encouraging talking with him. I love getting to meet people and hear their stories. There are so many miracles in this world…amazing!

The adventure of the pee cup…

It was an unsuccessful attempt, but at the same time, I’m guessing it was pretty entertaining to everyone sitting in the waiting room. Cale could not get himself to go, I was no help, and even with making him drink a cup of water, there was nothing. In the moment, I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get this man to pee in the cup (when he had made the decision it wasn’t going to happen!), and after, all I could do was laugh! I know we were quite the scene! The second round will be for another day! ;)

On our way home from Cale’s Lab appointment, we were talking about his mom and sister. I asked what his sister’s name was and he said, “Kathleen.” I made sure he knew that wasn’t the right name and immediately he said his sisters name after that. Then I asked him who Kathleen was. He said, “my girlfriend” No Sir! Haha! “Caleb Darling! Who is Kathleen?” He said again that I was his girlfriend. I had him look at his ring and told him that we have been married for 6 years! He replied with, “Oh wow! That’s new news to me!” Oh man! Haha! I had to get that set straight!

For a really long time, any time we heard sirens of any kind, Cale and I would pray for everyone involved in that situation. Since the accident, It’s been a bigger thing for me, because I know what it’s like to be a person involved, and what a blessing to think of some stranger that heard sirens that night and prayed for us! Well, in Seattle, I started praying out loud with Cale when we would hear them; it was just like before the accident. This afternoon, Cale was praying for our lunch and while he was praying, we heard sirens. Cale began to pray for the people involved and if anyone was hurt! It blessed my heart so much! I’m so thankful for those kind of moments.

I did some laundry and house stuff today. I know it might seem really funny, but I love having the washer and dryer so close! For so long, laundry was so hard to get done. I always had to wait for the machines to be free, and if they were, I had to make sure I was there to move my clothes right away. It just wasn’t convenient. Not that laundry now is the most convenient thing ever, but compared to how I had to do it, and compared to how people all over the world have to do it, we are so blessed at how easy it is now!

I’ve been getting to do some more cooking…which I love! Yesterday for lunch I made Mexican Bean Soup and I was supposed to make Lime Basted Pork Chops tonight, but I forgot a step, so we’ll get back to that… :)

Tonight Joe and Beth came over and on their way, they stopped and got some yummy Chinese takeout! Mmm! Cale ate SO much chicken! We had everything on the table and everyone was about at the limit of what we could finish; except for Cale. He took the serving spoon, and right out of the serving dish, he took a huge bite of chicken…and then kept going! We laughed for a little while about it and Cale just kept eating! We also had lots of laughter after dinner. Friends are fun. :) Cale said, “I like Joe. He’s fun. I like that girl too.”

REALLY exciting news!!! I’m not sure how long ago it was, I asked everyone to pray about Rehab Without Walls for Cale, well…he will get it! Once he’s discharged from the Army, it’s not covered, but when we get to that point, we’ll see what happens. For now, and even while in Seattle, he’ll get it!!! This is huge! Thank you for your prayers! It’s such a blessing because, the other idea was for Cale to do outpatient therapy while in Seattle, but with his comments any time we bring that up, that wasn’t going to happen! He’s just at a point that he needs ideas outside of the box, and that’s ok!

The time when Cale lays down in the afternoons, are becoming a much needed part of my day. It doesn’t always happen, but I’m beginning to crave that time! It’s so quiet in the house, and because he sleeps so lightly, I have to be extremely quiet. This forces me to just sit. I’m able to dig into God’s word and spend time praying. I can answer emails or look at recipes. It’s just a sweet and relaxing time. I’m thanking God for designing Cale’s body right now for needing that extra rest time!

Tonight when I was saying good night to him, I told him that I loved him like always. Cale squeezed me tight and said, “I love you too. More than I can say.” He is a pro at melting my heart…turns it into a good fondue!

Us when we were 17 :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

a super wonderful kind of day :)

I woke up this morning and my first thought was that it was going to be a great week! I really need it to be a great week…!

Well, it has been so far! Cale has been in a good mood all day, we had fun together and lots of really sweet moments. I also was able to get away for a little bit today and had some girlie time! Tonight was out Easter program at church, which was awesome! AND, for the last half of the program, I held a precious baby boy who is only a couple months old-yes; I totally loved every minute of it! ;)

I’m not completely sure-I just can’t quite put my finger on it, but something is different in Cale tonight. Just this evening while we were getting ready for bed, he has done a few things that have made me say out loud, “huh.” It’s exciting because it’s good stuff! :)

In worship this morning, we sang Hosanna. One of the lines that stood out so powerfully said,

‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day, In Your presence, all our fears are washed away

When we see Him…what does it take for us to see Him? I believe that it’s more than just seeing Him in person. We have the ability to look all around us and see God. We can see Him in His creation, through people, and through His word. When we get to a point that we set all distractions aside and really SEE Him, we will have the strength to face each day. That’s the only way we’ve made it this far-He has given us every ounce of strength! When we really SEE Him, our fears-all of them!-are washed away! He takes care of them for us, and protects us in the shadow of His wings-Amen!

Love it!

I told Cale I would make this quick, so, for tonight, this is all that’s coming out of my little brain!


Here is one of my new favorites! I just love the sweetness of this song and how the Lord's love is portrayed for each of are his favorite and he's crazy in love with you! It's not about your scars, it's all about your heart.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Through the Wilderness we go!

Cale has had another really hard day. Usually on his bad days, I still get about an hour after he wakes up in the morning and an hour after his nap, that he’s in a good mood and light hearted. It’s not always though. Today was one of those days that it didn’t go quite that way. First thing he said when I saw him, after he woke up this morning was, “I’m sad.” After I asked why, knowing already what he was going to say, he replied, “I want to go home. My home.” Here we go…

There was a thing at the park today that we went to help out with. I thought Cale was going to love it, instead, he hated it! He was bored and cold. The wind outside didn’t help because he hates the wind on his skin. The whole part of the park we were at was full of dogs (yes, dogs!) that we were trying to find people to adopt them. All of the dogs are from shelters and have no home. I was so sure Cale was going to love getting to see all the dogs and I was ready for him to find one that he loved and ask me to adopt it!

The whole way home, he was not happy and so grumpy. With the time of month that it is, and my emotions all out of whack, I was trying my hardest not to have a meltdown in front of Cale.

He took a nap on the couch and I at first just sat on one of our chairs and stared at him. I love this man so much. I decided with the silent time I had, I was going to open my Bible and spend some time with the Lord. It was good. It’s always so good!

I was praying and trying to get some kind of different thought about all of this. I know it’s not Cale’s fault and even when he’s being grumpy, he still manages to be so sweet with me!

This last week has been rough and bumpy for us. I’ve been really trying to seek the Lord and press into him with all of my struggles and thoughts, but today was another challenging day. It’s just so exhausting sometimes! It feels as though every time we get to take a breath and things are looking good, we get slammed again! “Lord, what is going on?! I don’t get it. I don’t understand and I’m beginning to feel as though I’m suffocating!”

I was led to Psalms and as I was reading, these verses seemed to be just what my heart needed to hear.

Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs. Then you put a leader over us. We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Psalm 66:8-12

I am so thankful for what the Lord has done in our lives. I know (oh do I know!) there are a lot of really difficult times that we’ve had to go through, but there truly are more blessings than the yucky stuff! There are so many more ways our story so far could have played out, and I love that the one that has played out, includes my husband still next to me every day!

I know that we’re not done. We are still going to have to walk through a lot more mud puddles; a lot more storms are going to come, and a lot more floods are going to threaten, but as I read these verses (and completely frustrated!), I felt the Lord lay so clear on my heart that we will get to the promise land. Everything that we’re going through now; every obstacle and fire, is molding us into the man and woman that God created us to be.

It took the Israelites 40 years to reach the promise land. We’re in the wilderness right now, but the Promise Land is waiting and we look so forward to it!
Here is something Cale and I worked on this afternoon. Cale had a whole bunch of words to pick from to help him, but some of it was on his own!

Cale says Kathleen is…

N-Natural (when I asked Cale about this one, he said, “You’re not fake.”

Kathleen says Cale is…

C-Crazy 8’s King
L-Love of my life
B-Best husband in the world!

As I was just typing the end of this, Cale was lying here with his eyes closed and kissing my arm. I leaned down and kissed his forehead and he said, “I love kissing you.” Oh goodness! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

a nice little system! :)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Thank you ALL so much for praying! Today has had its challenging moments, but it’s been a great day and I feel so much more peace! Thank you!

Appointments that Cale needs to have done before we pack up again, are getting made and some of the needs we’ll have before we go are getting figured out. I haven’t even started to think about actually packing some of our stuff to go…that will most likely be last minute…!

Funny story to share! So, last night we’re lying in bed together and I pointed something out to Cale. We then made a laughing joke about it! Well, about 10 minutes later, we turned the lights out to sleep and I started giggling to myself, thinking about our little joke, and said the line we had made up. Cale (already forgetting our joke!), says without any goofiness in his voice, “What did you say that for?” “Uh…don’t you remember our joke?” Again, no sign of laughter he replys, “no…” Hmm…awkward! The whole silliness of the situation made me laugh even harder, while Cale looked at me so confused! Haha!

We had a long talk this morning about home. Cale was once again saying that he wanted to go home. This time, I was able to get more out of him. When I asked him what was different about this home and the home he wants to go to, he said, “fun things.” I questioned a little more, and then he gave me a list of things that he wants to do…and none of them he can do right now. He told me about how his home is a lot more fun and has things that are more fun. Poor guy! Even with our talk, he still didn’t understand that he can’t do those things anywhere else!

I was thinking that maybe the time we spend in Seattle will make a difference when we come back here. I’m not getting set that it’s going to be the big helper, because I think with time and healing it will come, but maybe leaving this place and being somewhere (a hotel) for so long, he’ll be so excited to come back here and at that point he’ll remember here. We’ll see!

We also came up with a little system today that helped me get things done. I needed to get some cleaning in the house done and Cale of course wasn’t too happy about it. My idea that worked (until Cale forgot about it), was that we would play a game of Crazy 8’s and then I’d do some cleaning. After a little cleaning, we’d play another game…and keep taking turns. With some reminders, it turned out to be a nice little system! :)

Cale said on the way to the bedroom, “I’m a tired man.” So, cuddle we do followed by sleep soon!

Also, prayer request…I found out some news about my nephew tonight. Please be praying for him. I don’t want to put too many specifics on here right now, but he does need prayer!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here are all my thoughts...just warning you. ;)

Yes, you’re reading right…this is my second blog post of the day! I have to write when the thoughts come though, so here goes…

Being home has been great. It’s been amazing! At the same time, it’s been hard. It’s hard being here and not being able to do anything! I am with Cale 24/7 and as much as I love him…that’s a lot of time together. During that time, I’m the loving wife; I’m the therapist trying to get him to do things during the day that he doesn’t want to do, and I’m the nurse that fights with him to take his medication. I’m the person that is cleaning the house and doing the laundry; I’m the person who is trying to come up with meal ideas daily that Cale will actually eat, and I’m the entertainment in whatever way I can be. I’m the encourager when Cale is struggling. I’m the Psych who talks with Cale and works out his feelings when he doesn’t understand what’s going on. I’m the spiritual leader who reminds Cale constantly that of scripture and how much the Lord loves us. I’m the person dealing with all the finances and all the Army/VA stuff.

I’m not trying to complain, just to show (process for myself), that I wear so many hats in one day! I have to do it all. Our friends and family have jobs and other commitments and there’s not someone else to just be there to help with Cale.

I made the choice. I made the choice to bring Cale home, even though I knew he was going to need 24/7 care and not be able to be left alone. I knew it was going to be a lot of work and I knew it would be a full task.

When there is someone willing to sit with Cale, I have to make the choice to get stuff done that actually needs to be done, or relax. Mama and I got out for about an hour today, and even then, it wasn’t the girl stuff that I was hoping-we took care of things that needed to be done.

Again, I know I made the choice.

I realized I had been feeling frustrated without knowing it when I found out about Seattle. There were thoughts in my heart that I didn’t recognize until this morning and as soon as I did, I confessed to Jesus what had been going on in my heart.

I was thinking that everyone can say it’s ok that we have to go back to Seattle because it’s only a short time, but no one else has to do it. It’s me. It’s me that’s going to have to leave home and go back to the hospital. It’s me that’s going to have to take care of Cale every day after a radiation treatment makes him feel awful. It’s me that’s going to be alone and missing everyone…again. It’s me that’s going to be with him in a hotel room every day, wishing for something different. It’s me putting everything on hold again. It’s me trying to be upbeat for him, so that he will be lifted up.

It’s hard.

With all of that coming out as I spoke the words, I knew immediately what was happening. I’m typing now, and at the same time speaking against discouragement. I’m speaking against lies of the enemy. I’m speaking against failure and loneliness. I’m speaking against anything wiggling its way into the sweet precious love that Cale and I share. I’m speaking against despair. I’m speaking against all of these things in Jesus name!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Thank you for letting me pour this out. I guess I don’t give much of an option when I post it, because then it’s there out in the open, but I needed to get it out! I’ve been so honest on here this whole journey, so I can’t stop now!

I hope that you do not take this post wrong. Just know that I feel so much peace and joy now, that was being smothered with a heart issue. Thank you again for being a part of this journey we’re on and for all of your faithful prayers and encouragement! Love you all!!

Now that it’s all out, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the evening with my super wonderful husband. :) We played Crazy 8’s for a while this afternoon, and we’re about to jump back into the game! We might even have some ice cream along with it!!! Mmm!

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies -Psalm 36:5

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings -Psalm 36:7

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love -Psalm 48:9

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever -Psalm 52:8

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness -Psalm 86:15

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever -Psalm 136:26

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" -Jeremiah 29:11

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" -Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" -Zephaniah 3:17

Praising God!

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

This morning when I got up, I tossed the idea around to exercise. I’ve been telling myself to make the time, but actually doing that is a whole different story! I’m sure some of you can relate. I even started to get my work out clothes on, but then decided I could start when we get back from Seattle. What’s the point of starting if in a couple weeks, we have to leave and then I won’t be able to just exercise again. After about 10 minutes, I walked in my bedroom, put on my work out clothes, and I jumped on Cale’s elliptical. I did it. Yes! I know it might not seem like a big thing, but I haven’t worked out and taken the time for myself to get exercise in so long! I always encourage Cale every day, but I never do it!

It felt so good to finish. I set a program and said to myself that if I only did half, it would be ok, because it’s been a long time…but every time I would start to think about stopping, I just kept going.

If you haven’t in a while, I encourage you (I’m great at the encouraging others part! Hehe!), to get off the couch and do something! Going for a run is what I would have liked to do, but I only have one sneaker unpacked and I can’t leave Cale alone…but maybe you can go for a run, or do a work out video!


When Cale prayed for lunch today, he prayed that it would be healthy for us! :) I love that. This man that I’ve married never craves anything that is slightly healthy. I said, craves, but what I mean is eat! He has prayed this a couple times now and every time I hear it, I have to soak the moment it!

I was looking back at one of my old post (click here to read) and read about how excited I was that Cale used both hands to pull up his socks. I remember watching him struggle so many times trying to get his socks up with one hand and that specific day, he overcame such a huge obstacle for him. Also, that same day, he was able to take deep breaths each time the doctor asked!

He has come so far. The many things he’s doing lately are so far from the victories we were all rejoicing in not too long ago.

I’m praising the Lord! He forgives our sins and heals our diseases! He redeems us from the pit-Amen! He crowns us with love and compassion; such a beautiful picture of grace. He satisfies our desires with good things…not boring, bad, or miserable things-good things, so that we can be renewed!

Praise God!

The Music Leader from our church is going to be coming to stay with Cale while I get out of the house! I haven't been able to get time away since we first moved in, so this is going to be a treat! Mama is coming along and we're going to do...girl stuff! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was asking Cale to spell a bunch of different words this afternoon. He was getting some and struggling with others, I was so excited he was spelling so many though! After a little while I asked him to spell “Kathleen” he paused and then spelt, “I-l-o-v-e-h-e-r!” Aww! He’s so stinkin’ sweet!!

I was reminded of a song tonight as I watched American Idol. It’s one I’ve heard a few times and I know it’s a fairly known song. Other than it saying, “My faith is shaking” (because it’s not at all!), I felt like this song kind of fit for what’s been going on the last couple days. It seems as though there’s always gonna be an uphill battle and thankfully the Lord is moving each one and carrying us through it all!! Praise God!

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody's gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Cale took a fairly long nap today, which gave me time to sit and spend time with the Lord. It was so nice! I spent most of the time just sitting. There were calls that needed to me made, and things that needed to be taken care of (and I finished most of them!), but I had to make myself set everything aside (for a while) and just, be.

Very much needed!

Thank you all for praying! I have felt so encouraged today and ready for this next part of our journey...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

home-continued discussions...

This morning about 6am, Basil needed to go outside real bad…so I put on my slippers and let him out. I was standing in the middle of the kitchen waiting for him to finish his business; the whole house was dark except the start of daylight streaming through all the windows. As I looked around, I had a very strong heart change moment. This is our home. Yes, I don’t like that after such a short time I have to leave it, especially for something like radiation, but, this home will be waiting for us when we get back! It’s not going to be like when the accident first happened and being in hospitals not sure of where “home” was actually going to be…we have a home now!

It’s beautiful and a blessing. The Lord isn’t sitting up in Heaven saying, “Kathleen is too happy at home, I better get her out of there!” No, He’s blessed us so richly with this home and for this time in our life, we get to live here and when we leave, whether for a few days, or several weeks, we get to come back home. I’m so very thankful for this house and I’m so thankful that they want to start radiation as soon as possible so that the tumor does not continue to grow and cause any more issues. This treatment is a benefit to him and could save his life!

Cale has done two really awesome things today that show growth on his part. The first was with a shower. So far, Cale has hated, HATED showers. He’s still not able to regulate his temperature fully and his body is so sensitive to the water. He just really hates everything about it and wouldn’t care if he ever showered again. I decided to be bold and just see how things would go if I tried it like before the accident. Rather than get him in the shower sitting on the shower chair, I left it out and both of us climbed in the shower together. I was a tiny bit nervous about him falling, but I was right there with him, and I felt confident in him being able to hold himself up like he needed to.

There is one bar in the shower (after today, I do wish there was another), and between the bar and myself, Cale had a very successful normal shower! The water was slightly cooler than I normally would have made it, but, he did it! I was so proud of him for trying and for doing so great! He washed his body and hair all by himself too! I had to help with giving him what he needed and putting stuff back, but that will come. This is such a HUGE deal and how amazing for him to be able to take a shower like he would have before!

The other really awesome thing was a choice he made. The sun was out earlier this afternoon and outside looked so inviting. I suggested to Cale for us to take Basil for a walk. I gave him the choice to use his walker or wheelchair and he chose his walker! He took the harder option of the two! Normally, since the accident, if Cale was given an easy way out, he took it! He was working so hard with therapy every day, I totally understand why too! We didn’t walk very far (maybe ½ a block), before he was tired, but I was still so proud of him!!

“A black night seems to make the moon brighter. Purple irises brighten yellow daffodils. And a dark gray Kansas sky makes the wheat look truly golden. So it is with us. It seems that God best displays the brilliance of His grace against the backdrop of our darkest and even blackest moments.” —Joni Eareckson Tada

Thank you so much for all the sweet encouragement that has been given. I have received emails, phone calls, comments, texts, and messages. The quote above was sent to me and also, one of my very special friends from NY, Hannah, sent me a message letting me know that her son Jaxon prays for me. He’s 2 and adorable! She said he prays, “Blessa body, amen.” He even said it one day when he was playing with his cars and Hannah asked him who he was praying for, he said, “Kathleen.” So sweet! I love that little guy!

Hannah also sent me a song that I wanted to share. It’s so encouraging!

The Lord has put so many amazing people in our lives. Thank you!

Cale has been laying down for a nap almost every day after lunch. His brain just gets to a point that it shuts off and if he doesn’t get to lay down, he turns into some form of sweet monster…if that makes sense. A couple times he has slept for 4 hours, which gave me much needed time to dig into the word and have a date with Jesus. Today it was for about 20 minutes and then I heard him walking down the hall. Darn. I greeted him with a big smile and the first words he said were, “I’m sad.” K: “Why are you sad?” C: “I’m not home.” K: “What do you mean? This is our home.” Cale replied with, “This is your home.” When I asked more about it, he said that he wanted to be at home with his mom, Ty, and Chei. We talked a little more, and he was still saying this wasn’t his home. So, we hopped in the car and I took him to his old house. When we were getting close to the turn off, he knew right where we were and told me to turn. Then, as we approached his old house, he started pointing and over and over shouting, “Home! There’s my home! Home!” This crushed my heart. I was able to pull over and talk with him for a little bit.

Have you ever seen the movie, 50 First Dates? Well, I couldn’t help at that time, but to think of that movie and myself waking up every morning and driving Cale to his old house and going through the car accident story, so that we would be able to continue through the day. With Cale, it would have to be more than once a day, and I’m sure our time would be better spent doing so many other things…

It ended up being a really good drive though. It was a blast getting to watch his reaction when he recognized a building. :) We drove to a few specific spots and I would continually ask Cale if he knew where he was. We had the music playing and the window down; it felt good!

Cale’s Uncle Tracey and Aunt Tammy invited us to an American’s game. Yes to hockey anytime! :) They even had seats in the box suites, so we (or maybe I’m the only one that noticed?) felt a little pampered to go along with the fun night! The Ams lost, but we’ll forgive them! ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

a punch in the gut…

Ouch. That’s kind of what this afternoon felt like. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t take the news like a tough Football player, rather like a little kid screaming and kicking when my favorite toy was taken away from me.

The toy is my home.

We only thought we were done with Seattle and hospitals, but I found out today, that’s not the case. We had an appointment with the Radiation Oncologist at University of Washington about the tissue that was left after Cale’s surgery in January. I had been told that radiation might have to happen, but I was so, so, so hoping that it wouldn’t need to be done. In fact, when we had first looked at that option before surgery, I was told that cancer down the road might be a risk, so, we went for surgery.

We were told today that the tumor that was found in Cale (click here to read the post about it)is very rare. It is benign, but it acts as if it was cancerous in the way that it grows. The tissue that was left behind is still near the optic nerve and brain structures. They do feel it’s best to get this taken care of as soon as possible because it will continue to grow, and the fear is that neurological damage can take place.

This means, that in a couple-few weeks, we’ll be back in Seattle for another 4-5 weeks.

Hearing this is when I started the kicking and screaming. Please no! We just made it home and I’ve been loving it…ugg.

I sat there as the doctor was talking and tried to think of every possible verse that I could. Any reasoning that helped not make it all sound so terrible. I tried to come up with all the different lines that could bring some kind of comfort, yet nothing was helping. The tears started to come slow at first; one tear slid down my cheek and then another. As the doctor continued talking, the tears seemed to speed up until they were coming one right after the other.

Mascara all over the face.

Once the doctor left the room, I couldn’t stop the tears. I hate this. We finally just made it home and the thought of having to live out of a suitcase again, have everything interrupted, eat frozen meals, be with Cale 24/7 (he’s not the problem…lack of girl time is), sounds not-so-fun. Leaving home is the hardest part, and then all the side effects on top makes it...ugg. That's all I can say, "ugg."

Out of all the mess of the appointment, God knew it was going to be hard, He knew what my needs were going to be, and once again, He provided!
Rachel had joined us for the trip! She was also at the appointment that I had in Palo Alto with the ENT, which had been really challenging as we discussed the surgery. She was with me again today, helping to take notes and digest what was being said, when I wasn’t able to focus.

Also, today wasn’t me comforting Cale and taking care of him-he took care of me! He comforted me and was so sweet when I was so upset! It was so special and he continued that until right before I started typing all of this. So neat!

Rachel and I talked on the way home, and again, I tried to come up with all the reasons why it’s all going to work out and be ok, but, I’m still in a slight funk because I’m not loving this idea at all! Just the thought makes me so sad and frustrated.

Although, it’s super fantastic that it’s only 4-5 weeks instead of 6-7 weeks!

That was my attempt of thinking positive.

More to do with Cale and him taking care of me today; here’s a list of things that makes Kathleen smile… :)

I asked what the difference was between crocodiles and alligators. Cale said, “Their size.” He said that one of them was larger. I asked him if there was anything else and he said what they eat is different. When we questioned him on this, he said, “crocodiles eat meat and alligators eat trees and sand.” Uh, I think alligators were given the short end of the stick! Haha!

We were sitting in the doctor’s office waiting, trying to find different ways to entertain ourselves. Cale was doing a pretty good job of taking that job on. At one point we look over at him and he’s picking his nose. When we said it was gross and handed him a tissue, Cale said it was too late. When we asked why, he said, “I flick it on the floor!” I know this is really gross and may not be completely appropriate to share, but it was hilarious especially since we’re sitting in the scope room at the hospital!

When the doctor first came in, he was asking Cale what he used to do for work. The resident had already asked Cale earlier on, but this time he had a hard time getting it out. His first answer was, “EMT” I’m not quite sure where that came from, other than we were at a hospital. We were able to get Army out and then the doc asked Cale what he did in the Army. He again had a hard time getting it out, but I could tell he was really trying. Finally Cale blurts out, “Smart Guy!” It was really funny and cool all at the same time because he was an Intelligence Analyst for the Army…and that’s the only way he could get it out! Yes, my husband the smart guy! ;)

The appointment was a lot longer than we had all been thinking and we were tired. Not too long after getting on the road, Rachel asks Cale if he would teleport us home. Cale at first said it was impossible, but then about a minute later, I suddenly feel this hand grab the back of my head and start doing a tightening motion, while at the same time, Cale was in the backseat making crazy noises! Mission failed...but giggles were completed!

The best part of the whole day was tonight lying in bed with my sweet husband. I was talking about the first video I had made and then he asked to see it. After it finished, Cale said, “I’m sad.” I asked him why and he replied, “The video is sad.” He had never had that reaction before, so I asked why the video was so sad. For the first time, Cale responded with, “Because I got hurt.” He has never had that reaction! He has watched that video so many times, and never has he actually said that he has been hurt! After that, I talked with him for a couple minutes about everything. He was really sad and grabbing onto me; he was asking when he was going to be all better. I told him I had no idea, but that we should ask God.

Cale’s prayer started like this, ““Dear God, I was hurt in a car accident a long time ago. I want to be all better.” After telling God about how he was sad that he had been hurt and how he wanted to go home (…even though we are home), he ended his prayer with, “I love you though God.”

In that moment, Cale was feeling a lot of hurt and pain. For him, it was like the first time just finding out he was hurt. The hard thing is, it most likely (if it’s anything like it has been), won’t stick. What I really loved was that He expressed his emotions very clear and then after he was done, he made sure to let God know that even though this happened to him, he still loves Him.

We ended our prayer time with thanking the Lord with how far He has brought Cale and ALL the healing that had happened. It was such a precious time with him, and I hope the beginning of him becoming even more aware!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I love this man-even though it means walking through the desert so that I can stay with him...

She really is one of those friends, that have been there for me through the thick and the thin!

I'm so blessed (and a little short looking next to these two...!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I have some of the BEST friends!

I really need to stay in the habit of writing this before I'm cozy in bed and about to drift off to another land!

Today was a great day. I needed it! How many times have I written about how the Lord meets me right where I'm at and always provides exactly what I need...need not always want! Today was full of both!

I'm going to flood you with a ton more pictures. I can't help myself! Pictures are so darn fun and make me smile so much. :) We had day three of BBQ fun! I think Cale is worn out by all the excitement!

We had some of our friends over tonight and had a blast! There was lots of laughing, eating, being silly, and picking on Kathleen!

Cale's memory is doing amazing! I didn't take the time to write anything down through the day, so my brain is blank, but I'll try to remember some of the really good stuff and write tomorrow!

Please be praying for tomorrow. We have an appointment that I'm dreading! I'll update more on that later.

For those of you that know me, you know I love cooking and baking. I love aprons and cookbooks. I love kitchen gadgets and flour everywhere. I love making desserts especially because I can make them pretty! This morning I decided, we were having people over, we were going to be eating together...and I'm finally in my own kitchen!!! So I made a yummy toast thing! I thought it was so good (and hopefully everyone else did too!), Cale said it was weird...and I loved, loved, loved getting to make something!

One of my favorite things about this house is the really big patio in the backyard. I love it! I love BBQ's and summer. I love eating outside and laughing with friends. I love today and the many ways I can feel God's hugs and kisses. I know there are a lot of people that believe that God doesn't care about all the little things in life that we love, and He just wants us to love only Him, but I disagree. I believe (and our Pastor talked about it this morning) that God created us to experience joy. He created this world so that we would have an abundant overflowing amount of joy from all the things that he's created. The same God that created the world, created my friends and formed each of them to be such amazing people...and I love them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

fearless at the cliff.

BBQ last night and party today! All of Cale's family came together and gave him a very special welcome home party. It was great for him (and me!) to get to see everyone and hopefully spark some memories and connections in that brain of his!

Here are a few snap shots from the day... :)

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom (sometimes the way this journey feels), courageous in seastorm and earthquake (the ups and downs and twist and turns everyday), Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us (he fights for Caleb and Kathleen!), God-of-Angel-Armies protects us (He protects us from collapsing!). -Psalm 46:1-2(The Message)

I need prayer. After the picture above, I'm sure you can only imagine...but, it's for real. We've been home a week now, and it's been great-amazing-an incredible blessing! Things are still hard though. The journey that we're on is still going. Cale is still facing a lot of obstacles, and I'm still trying to be the best wife I possibly can for him-but, it gets hard. Along with things being so good, they've also been challenging. Tonight we had another one of those moments.

I knew that coming home wasn't going to make it all better, but I had hoped that it kind of know? I was thinking that with Cale out of the hospital and home, that he would be so completely over joyed to be home, that things would become a little bit more easier going then before. Well, that might have been the case if Cale thought of this as home! I think I've written before (I might have just talked with people about it), Cale is still asking for his home home. Not only is he asking for home he had before, but when he's asking, he says that this is my home and he wants to go to his home. He pictures us as living in two different homes...

This could be from many things and be a thought process of several things, but knowing all the reasons doesn't help the pain that my heart hears every time he says it. When I question him of who we are, he does say we're married, but I think he still thinks of the time that he lived with his mom when we were first dating. I want so badly for this to be his home home with me, and yet, we almost daily now have the talk about him asking to go to his home, his other home.

This evening I didn't even know how to respond. For him it's the first conversation about this, but for me, I've repeated and gone over it a dozen and two times already! He's sad and I try so hard not to lose sight of how he feels and where he's coming from.

I thought to myself, will I make this Lord? Will I be able to continue on this rocky road with so much stamina and passion? Will he ever understand our life again? Will he ever fully be my man again?

I love the verse above because as I face this cliff of doom, I can look at it fearless. I was so encouraged by the wording of this version! I felt as though I was being pumped up as I read it, like a boxer before going into the ring to fight. Tonight is tonight and every time I get discouraged, hear words that are hard to digest, face mountains that seem impossible, or feel as though my tank is on empty, I can remember to face it fearlessly and know that we are being fought for and protected! They just seemed like the perfect words I needed to hear!

Please continue to pray for us and the daily life of being home. Again, it's such a blessing and a bazillion times better than the hospital, but, it's still a long road for the Darling's.

Thank you!