Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Cale and I just finished checking the email that we had set up for the prayer chain that we made to hang around his hospital room. When I first started the chain, the thought behind it was that as people emailed that they were praying with their name and location, we could write it on a chain link and then when Cale was aware enough to understand, he would have a visual of everyone that is praying him us through this journey.

Well, I mentioned a few posts back, maybe last month about the chain and how I had hung it up in the workout room for him to continue to be reminded of everyone praying. I’m guilty though of not taking the time to look at the emails since December! I just always forget…well, we just looked and it blessed our socks off! It’s amazing, like, crazy amazing to read how our lives have encouraged you, and helped you in some way…it just totally blesses my heart to the brim and then over flowing.

Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for taking the time to lift up my husband and encourage him. I just read him so many emails that shared how he has inspired you, and well, I know those words find themselves a spot deep in his heart and plant seeds of determination, endurance, perseverance, faith, strength, hope, joy, and so much more!

You have blessed us above and beyond. Thank you!

Also, in a couple emails there was a request for prayer cards if we still had some-we do! We still have a bunch that can be sent out! I will get those in the mail soon because I had brought some to Seattle with us. If you would still like one and never received one, or if you know someone that would love to have one, just send your address (or theirs!) to prayingforcale@yahoo.com!

Now, about our day:

First, I just can’t even begin to explain how awesome our stay here has been! Today was a week and although my poor husband asks every day, several times a day, to go home, it’s been great! Therapy so far is going so good. Cale’s attitude is completely different in many different ways. We’ve been having a blast together! Even though I’m with him 24/7, and haven’t been able to get away yet, it’s totally fine! We’ve been having a ton of fun and have been able to enjoy each other in a new way. God paved the road and went before us…!

Last night we played cards (Battleship is a no go for now. He’ll get there, but for now, it’s a 3 player game) and I think we had the most fun we’ve ever had playing! In between some of our games, we had two tickle wars and a pillow fight! We laughed until our sides hurt, well; at least mine killed, and snuggled like two bears hibernating.

Today started off with PT. The original idea was to try the Space Needle again, but the clouds were yucky, so again we wait to get to the top! We ended up going to the Ballard Lock (I think this is what it was called) and walked around. It’s an area where the boats pass through Lake Union and the Puget Sound (I’m trying to be smart here and remember what Andrea shared about it, but I might be mixed up…so maybe ignore my info!). We saw a few boats pass through, walked a lot in the rain; Cale was soaked, but wanted to keep walking and totally enjoyed everything, and saw some fish. It was fun and a lot of hard work for Cale. Again, his attitude is so different towards therapy.

Once we were back to the hotel, we had a quick lunch and then it was off to the hospital. We had to run to Trader Joes right after his appointment and I almost had a panic attack! That might be a little dramatic, but it was a scare! The cashier was finishing ringing up the items that we had filled our cart with. I had a $10 gift card that I was excited to use, but that wasn’t going to cover everything. I opened my wallet to grab my debit card…and it wasn’t there! Uh?

I started searching, but trying to stay calm. I’m known for losing things after putting them in their “special place”, so I was getting nervous. I stood there quickly racking my brain to figure out when the last time I used my card was. He hit the total button and at the very same time, I stuck my hand in my coat pocket and Voilà! For some reason that I have no answer for, my card was in my pocket. I came away looking pretty smooth like nothing just happened, but my brain was a little frazzled.

Once back, we hung out and continued to have a fun afternoon. Things are just so fun right now! Even when we’re driving around, we’ve been having a blast because it’s always an adventure for the two of us…always been that way. The streets here are crazy and funny things always seem to find their way to us.

This is one thing you won’t see in Kennewick…it happened twice to us today. Kind of neat!

Cale told me today, “I love you like people love penguins.” I’m really hoping as you read this, you realize your deep love for penguins and all of their cuteness! Heehee! :)

I then told him, “I love you like women love chocolate.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

A day to be reminded...

Cale had speech this morning for the first time since leaving the hospital as inpatient. He did SO great! As I sat and watched him answer as best he could at each question, with a smile on his face, the tears of joy came! I couldn’t help it…

He did so much better with word finding then the last time he was tested. He still needed help with some, but she only had to give minimal cues. She also did some questions with memory and had him repeat words. He did fantastic at slowing down what he was saying to get it to come out clear. I’m just so excited for how well he did! It was such an encouraging session too. She talked at the end about how good it was that a lot of times, if given time Cale was able to come up with the word. I’m super excited to see how all of this therapy helps in Cale progressing and helping him enjoy life more.

I had one of those moments today where I got really frustrated trying to do something that normally Cale would do. He had set something up on the computer for me a few years ago, but I needed to make a new one. It took me triple the amount of time it would have him, but I did finally figure it out! I’m so often reminded in moments like that with how much Cale did for our family, and how little I knew about some things…like technology! I’m learning and trying though!

I want to share something that Cale had written on his last deployment to Afghanistan right before the accident…

Different things hit people in different ways. Some people cry when things happen to them, when they lose something or someone they know. Some people take things personal, whether it's their fault or not. I've always been the kind of person to not be too affected by things like that. I have noticed that I am more affected by other people's hurts, seeing my Girl crying, when my mom is sad, or maybe even a sad part in a movie where a character I like lost someone. I guess my empathy is stronger than my own hurt feelings.

We lost four good guys a couple days ago, and at first, I wasn't too broken over it. It sucked, I hated the fact that four young guys had to die for a war in a foreign country. I don't know their feelings over the war, if they wanted to be here or not. As people talk around here though, I hear more and more about what happened. One guy was 3 days from going on leave to his wife and kids, another was also married. I don't know about the personal life of the other 2, but one of them was my friend and I recalled his first day to 4-25. Thinking back, I see how much this is going to hurt their families. A wife and 2 kids, expecting their husband and Dad home for a fun filled vacation, instead, received word from an Army representative that he had been killed in an IED. Another wife received the same news. And either mothers or fathers are told that their sons were killed. This is when it struck me, sadness filling my head, not leaving, and almost paralyzing my thoughts at times. What it would be like to be riding in a humvee, pass your best friend in the turret, slapping a high five, and seconds later hearing an explosion that kills him. The four boys wouldn't have known what happened, sudden death, not the exciting kind.

Thinking of their families makes me want to cry, makes me want to somehow comfort them, but for this, there are no words. There is nothing to make this better. Nothing to bring back the lost for a final goodbye. I'm sorry for their platoon-mates, who I know had grown so close as people do over here. I'm sure they are struck by this. And their leaders, I know you would have done anything to save them, change this outcome. I'm sorry.

Finally, not to disrespect, I'm not looking for words of comfort for this in any way. I am simply wishing to display my condolences to the people involved.

R.I.P. Owens, Roughton, Pratt, and Lightfoot. Your War is over.
Written By, Caleb Darling
Thursday July 23, 2009

(I asked Cale about this picture earlier. He looked at it and immedietly said, "Yes, I took it." When I asked what it was of, he said, "Of soldiers that died to save our country.")

There are so many men and families that have sacrificed so much. We so quickly let today slip by with all the current shopping sales, the BBQ’s, and the day off of work, but we need to also remember the many families all over that spend today mourning for their loved one. There are also so many men that hide away today, that don’t want to talk to anyone because of the men that they have fought side by side with and lost to war. There are men that still battle depression, anger, suicidal thoughts, fear, and so many more things!

Here is a man that continues to suffer from severe TBI…

I’ve met Evan, and his mom and look up to both of them so much. Unlike Cale, Evan is still in the wheelchair and still unable to talk with his family. They are just one of the many families all over that will have lifetime effects from war.

Thank you to all the men that have been willing to serve their country and give so much of themselves!

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! Psalm 63:3

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Date Day!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

No therapy or radiation today...just the two of us! We took on Seattle to see what kind of adventures we could have!! :) We ended up having such a great day! It was amazing! I loved so much getting to hang out with Cale, and be us.

We went to a shopping center that had a store that I have only looked at online and have never actually been inside. Cale was a willing husband to join me in all of my excitement! ;) With all the sales this weekend, I thought it might be the perfect time to see if I could find any little treasures…

We also had to find a normal store that had necessity things, like, toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry stuff. The hotel here supplies the initial supply, but then after it’s up to us. Some things you just don’t want to run out of…!

We decided to eat out after having meals cooked in the microwave since we’ve been here. While we were out exploring, I found a Macaroni Grill! This was my favorite restaurant while we were in NC. I had never eaten at one before and OH MY GOODNESS! It’s super yummy! If you had come to visit me at all while I was there, I’m sure we went if at that time I knew about it! The bread…oh the bread! I knew they had steak, so I was sure Cale would love it. He hasn’t been eating again. He just isn’t hungry for anything, even things that aren’t in my book of good things to eat, but have been in his. I’ve been doing my best to get some good calories in him. One of the things they talked about with the radiation was how important it is to maintain his weight…I’m trying! Our meal out today was the perfect thing! He also devoured the bread and ate all of his steak. So many times while he was in the hospital, I had wished that he was with me. I had wished that he wasn’t stuck in a hospital and I was out. I had wished that he was well and could enjoy the scrumptious food with me.

Today I was given a wish come true! We had a wonderful sweet date and had such a fun time together! One of the fun things about eating here was the paper over the table. They leave crayons for doodling…so doodle we did!

Here is some of our art work!

When I asked Cale about this picture, he said it was a smiley face. I commented on how there were a lot of eyes and asked if it was a creature. Cale said, "No, it's me looking at you and I'm in love!" Awww!

This was my response...

This was his drawing of me. I'm trying to see the beautifulness of it! Heehee!

My "I'm not an artist" drawing of us...


We ended the night with chips and yogurt for dinner because we were so full from our massive intake of food earlier. Then we took a trip to Jamaica watching Cool Runnings. Our big buy for the day was the game Battleship. We have it with all of our stuff that is still in storage, but I told Cale he could pick out a game and that’s the one he picked. We put it together and its changed since we bought our last one. Very fun!

Now we’re both tired and ready for bed!

When I lay here thinking about our day and how amazing it was, I also lay here thinking about all the people in Missouri that have lost their homes, family, cars, jobs…I think about this weekend and all the soldiers that never made it home, and the families that are still here missing them. I think about the people in Japan that are still trying to recover and are getting hit again. I’m thinking about all the people that are going through something that hurts so much they find it hard to breathe.

Today was such a blessing for us.

I have been asked many times how I’ve managed to hold it together and stay so strong through everything. I’ve been asked how I was able to keep going and get out of bed every day. I have been asked how I’m able to still love Cale so much even after he’s changed so drastically. I’ve been asked so many times how I was able to keep my faith so strong.

I used to think that Cale and I could get through anything if we had each other. If we lost everything to a fire, if someone we loved that was close to us passed away, if his deployment was extended again; if we ever lost a child, or if either of us was paralyzed. I knew we could make it if we didn’t have a lot of money, or if we sold everything we owned and went to the mission field.

Whatever anyone came up with, I knew that if we had each other to lean on, we could get through it with the Lord as the center.

But what if I lost Cale?

What if I had to walk through something so hard that it felt as if I was walking right through sinking sand? What if I needed to make decisions on my own that would alter our life forever? What if I didn’t have Cale to talk with and tell all of my thoughts to?

What then?

I know that there are so many of you reading right now that may not agree with what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it. Only because of God have I made it this far and with as much strength as I’ve had. There’s no way on earth that I would have been able to go one day-just one day, without the relationship that goes so deep and intimate, with my Savior.

He has given me a confident peace I can’t even explain, in moments that I can’t even fathom. Every minute I’ve had to make the choice to know that God was going to get us through because, He is my closest companion-not Cale. Because even when the love of my life was ripped away, God was my rock and sure foundation that could never be ripped away. He has never let me down. He has never been too busy to talk with me. He has never missed a date; He has never left me hanging. He has never walked away; He has never made me feel like I was alone to do all of this by myself. His presence is always available for me to enter into.

That’s the only thing I can give as an answer when so many people have noticed that I’ve handled everything a lot different then what they’ve seen others do…

Because of Him.

{Because of legal reasons, I had to remove the post of what I read from the devotional book! Eeeek!}

Dear Friend,
If you’re hurting in some way tonight, maybe you have lost a soldier at war, maybe you have been a part of a natural disaster, or maybe you’ve lost a loved one, I encourage you to learn to hide in the secret of His presence. Run to Him-His arms are always open.

For those of you that have been asking, our address here is:
Caleb and Kathleen Darling
207 Pontius Ave N Room 416
Seattle, WA 98109

Make sure to have our names and room number written clearly! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A hiking we went!

This morning when my alarm went off, I again had no desire to get up. I thought about it for a sec, with my face very well planted so perfectly in my pillow, I could just sleep a little longer and then have time with the Lord later…after a couple minutes passed by and I thought about what today might look like, I knew that I didn’t want to miss out.

When I was settled in my corner and started to pray, I specifically prayed about how I didn’t want to sacrifice my time with Jesus for sleep, and that I wanted to meet with Him, experience His presence.

This was the reading for today (just warning, I think I’ll be posting daily from this book!)

{Because of legal reasons, I had to remove the portion I read from the book!}

This little book doesn’t have further scripture to read; its daily readings are short and amazing, but I want to dig into the Bible more, so I read the whole chapter with the scripture reference she gives. Psalm 105 is a list of all the miraculous things that God did for Abraham and his decedents. It records about Joseph and how his suffering was turned into glory. It talks about the plagues in Egypt and in verse 31 and 34 stood out to me. Verse 31 says that He (God) spoke and flies descended on Egypt and then in 34 it says, He spoke and hordes of locusts came.

I know that the crazy things that are recorded in the Bible that God did so many years ago can happen again. I know that He can speak and Cale’s neurons could reconnect and his brain can have full healing. Whether the Lord ever chooses to speak full healing on Cale, I do not know, but I was reminded of His power this morning and that I cannot limit what He can do!

It was good to read this morning and relax in the Word. I loved the reminder that time with the Lord is not wasted! It’s a sacrifice of our time that pleases Him. Sarah Young wrote in the beginning of the book something that I loved…

“I realized that experiences of God’s presence were not only for my benefit, but were also preparation for helping others.”

It’s crucial for God’s children to be diving in to God’s living word and to be daily soaking up the goodness and the divine presence of God-not just for us, but for the souls of others.

As I was reading my Bible, I hear Cale on the other side of the room yelling, “Bingo! Bingo!” I run over to see his hand in the air and him yelling it again. He was asleep. Haha! When I talked with him about it later, of course he didn’t remember and asked me if he won money. I said, “I don’t know, it was your dream. Did you win money?” He then replied, “You should have given it to me!”

We had a counseling session this morning. I’m not sure how Cale is going to do with it. He just doesn’t do well with a lot of talking and since he doesn’t understand he has a brain injury, its going to be interesting getting him to talk. The counselor is aware of his limited understanding, so that’s going to help. We’re (all three of us) going to be talking about things that I wouldn’t normally discuss in front of Cale. I think that even though I tell him what happened in the car accident and that he’s really hurt, I also keep him very sheltered from the big picture. I mean, there’s moments that I will tell him that I’m really trying or having a hard time with everything, but I think because he doesn’t understand, I don’t want to drag him down. I don’t want him to know all of my ups and downs and I don’t want him to know the things that he does that cause me to struggle. I guess I don’t want to add to the already confused mess he’s sitting in. Well, it sounds like we’re going to be talking about a lot of that stuff…and it’s going to be really hard for me. Especially, since he doesn’t understand if when it’s not in the moment. There’s also things that I realized I do need to discuss that in that setting, I know is not the right time…so, I’m going to be looking into what can be done for that.

Please be praying for this new time we’ll be entering into.

For Cale’s PT today, we were going to go to the top of the Space Needle, but there’s a festival going on down town, so we had to post pone that adventure. Instead, we went around the block where there is an awesome REI! Right in the middle of the city, there is hiking trails and a waterfall! It’s the neatest thing! I was so impressed with how it was all set up, and how just like that it felt like we were out of the city, for a brief moment anyways. :)

Both of us curled up on the bed and took a little snooze. I knew Cale was tired, but he was fighting the whole nap thing. It didn’t take long for both of us to drift off, when we cuddled up! I woke up and he is still breathing deep!

I asked Cale earlier today what Memorial Day was. His answer, “celebrate soldiers.”

Do you have any big weekend plans?

Friday, May 27, 2011

a blessing after all!

So far our trip here has been a blessing. If you can remember back to my post (click here to read) when I first found out we were going to have to come back here, well, I wasn’t too thrilled about the whole idea. In fact, I was sinking into a miserable dark hole, and that’s exactly what I thought our stay here was going to be like. Now that we’ve been here a few days, I’m going to write about how much of a blessing it’s been! Praise God!

We seem to have come up with some kind of system/routine already. In the mornings we get up and have breakfast and get ready for the day. Then, it’s some kind of therapy for Cale and then after lunch we go to his appointment. If we think of somewhere that we need to run, we go while we’re out, and then we come back to the hotel for Cale to rest. This of course gives me time to write, read, and whatever else I can do quietly. Then we’re having fun game/movie time in the evening. It’s working perfectly and I’m so very much hoping that it can transfer for when we go back home! Its also just been fun and not miserable at all (except for my break down with parking the first day...)!

I’ve been waking up before Cale like usual, but unlike at home where I can go to the living room, this time I have no other place to go. In the first room we were in, I sat by the door and read my Bible, but this new room has a little nook with a second bed…ooooh yeah! This gives me a spot to sit with my friend Jesus and have some time to visit. I always love getting to visit friends! :)

I just started a new devotional…and I LOVE it!

It is written as if Jesus is speaking to you. Sarah explains that she knows that these writings were not inspired as scripture was, but that it helped draw her closer to God. I wanted to share today’s because in just the first day, I was so blessed by spending this time with the Lord and for having such a beautiful written love letter and reminder from His word.

Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek My face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye, because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love. I also know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My presence. - Romans 12:2; Jeremiah 29:11

In so many ways this was just what I needed to read. As I opened my Bible and read and then journaled; I began by thanking God for those specific words. I want to come to Him eager to be changed and I don’t want to cling to my old ways and life. Following Him and desiring to be closer to Him, does bring newness and I know that with this, He trusts us to reflect His love, joy, and peace. I am a girl that is all over the place; mixed up and a mess…and it’s always been that way. Thankfully, Jesus does see me with a steady eye, and He never grows weak and weary of watching me run around like a blind duck. He sees me!

Awww! I just love the sweetness of the Lord along with His power and majesty!

Cale had OT this morning. It was another great session! There were more questions, walking, going up and down stairs, and he did fantastic! Now, this is not an enjoyable trip for Cale…and right now, because he’s so limited, doing something enjoyable comes rare for him, but he is keeping his head up and going along with what’s being asked of him. Today they gave me some cold cream (like Aloe) to rub on his face because of the radiation. It’s another uncomfortable thing, but he let me rub it all over and then even gave me a kiss! I’m just so proud of how strong and willing he’s being.

We went to lunch with Theresa our AW2 and before she showed up, we ran into Starbucks. Cale didn’t want anything, but I still didn’t have coffee for our room, so I needed the “pick me up.” I had a little bit more on a gift card and I didn’t see why it needed to sit in my wallet! ;) While we were waiting in line, Cale picked up his cane and said, “Stupid cane!” When I agreed, he added, “I should not need it.” YES!!! This is SO awesome to hear him say! He still needs it, but yaaaaaay! He has it now set in his mind that he doesn’t want it. This is what needed to happen with the wheelchair and his walker! We haven’t used the wheelchair since we’ve been home and haven’t used the walker in a couple weeks! Of course, he would be able to tolerate the store and going places longer if we had his chair, but those legs are doing just fine! During lunch he told Theresa and I that he didn’t need it. Usually when I ask to take his cane away he says I can’t because he still needs it…so then after lunch, we got up to walk out and he wouldn’t use it! Again, he does still need it, BUT we’re working our way there!!!!!!!! Wooohooo!!!!

I forgot to write yesterday that we were given the garage key! Yipee! No more paying for parking…doing a happy dance!

Here are a few things from today that I love…

Our new view from our window…it’s so city-like! ;)

Fruit for breakfast that we had…yum!!

These are just awesome. I love that the little shopping mall place had these. So cute!

p.s. thank you to those of you that took the time to answer my questions with our trip! that was sweet of you and I loved it!! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shuttle Bus...good? Bad? Not sure...

The Darlings have had another great day! :) Mr. Darling hasn’t had a nap in two days, and then had a pretty busy morning/afternoon, so at the current moment, he’s snoozing!

His morning started with me waking him up at 7:30. I think the night owl in him has come back hard core, which means he wants to stay up really late and then sleep in late. We had an appointment this morning at 9am, so he wasn’t going to be able to sleep for too long. When I nudged him a little to wake up he replied with a muffled sounding groan…poor guy. It took him a long time to make it out of the bed and to the table to eat some cereal. I had a plate with fruit for him also, and I think that’s what finally helped him along. He was less confused this morning about everything, which was a blessing!

Our 9am appointment was a lady from Rehab without Walls. She came just to do paperwork and find out about where Cale is at right now. One of the question sheets she had for him, she had a separate one for me to fill out with the same questions. I’m so thankful that they had one for me because as I was listening to Cale’s answers, I was thinking about how confused they would be. They asked questions like, are you able to initiate tasks and finish tasks without cues? Cale answered yes. Do you have any trouble with memory and knowing your surroundings? Cale answered no. Do you need help with bathing, dressing, toileting, eating? He answered no. Which, he doesn’t need full help with all of them, but still some. There were a few more and with all of them, he answered as though he had no problems with anything…I of course made sure to put the appropriate answers on mine!

After she left, we had about an hour to finish getting Cale ready (because we definitely didn’t have time before!), and pay for day parking. That was easy-no worries about time. Well, I checked with the front desk to see if we were going to be moving rooms today…and they said yes. So, with the rest of the time I moved all our bags to the new room and had to clean and check out of our old one. At the same time, the PT showed up! Yikes! I did everything as quickly as I could and thankfully Cale’s new PT is super sweet and understanding! She talked with him while I finished with the old room and then we took a tour of the place we’re staying.

First, I am SO excited that Cale is getting therapy again…especially through this agency. They are totally set up with an out of the box mind set. It’s going to be good…real good! We are so blessed that his Medboard hasn’t been completed and that for now we have this option! Praise God!

Second, I’ve only met one of the therapists so far, and she’s amazing. I have a feeling they’re all going to be that way!

Third, look what he played with today…

We went into a wellness room here to start out and then she ended up having Cale walk around while steering this Jeep. Now, because of the bad taste of therapy that Cale has, I wasn’t sure how this session was going to go, especially with all of the questions I knew he was going to be asked, but guess what? He did great! He had a smile on his face the entire time! He loved it for a while and then let us know when he was done. I’m so proud of him and so thankful for his attitude today! He also went up and down over 20 stairs!!

So incredibly awesome!

Then, after PT, it was time to eat and then boogie! There’s a shuttle that goes from here to UW that I wanted to give a try. I was a little nervous because I was incredibly confused, but I knew all I would need to do was ask for help, and that’s just what I did! The shuttle is nice because it saves on gas, but it takes a really long time to get to and from the hospital. On the way home it was almost an hour and a half…which doesn’t go over so well with Cale. We go from here to another stop and have about a 10 minute wait and then we go to UW, but on the way back, his appointment finished and we had to wait for the next shuttle and do everything again. Not too bad though. We had fun taking pictures at one of our stops…

The shuttle; we haven't decided if it's our friend yet!

Mr. Darling. Isn't he so handsome?!

Mrs. Darling. Cale was trying to get himself in the perfect position when he took this!


…and don’t we look so pretty? Heehee!

The front desk has DVD players and movies to borrow, so I think tonight is a movie night for us! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crossing the Bridge

Cale had his first session at UW today. They didn’t actually start the radiation; it was just a dry run. Since he wouldn’t be able to find his way back to the waiting room on his own, they’re having me sit in chairs near the room he’ll be in every day. With the business of preparing for this trip and the thoughts of leaving home, it’s helped with setting aside the thoughts about all the side effects that may appear in this chapter in our story. When they closed the doors, for a few minutes I just sat there starring at them. All I can do is trust the Lord. I have no other choice. To my left and right, there is only a drop off, so I have to keep my eyes forward and keep going. I pictured myself walking across a really high bridge and every day is another step closer to reaching the other side. There’s no other way to go, no one else to turn to, it’s just me and Jesus walking across this scary, cause your heart to race- bridge.

I wasn’t able to sleep last night…at all! It was my fault totally! When we had first gotten into town yesterday, the address I had put in Amelia, was the wrong one. We were a bit lost. Cale at that point realized that he really needed to go to the bathroom, which worked out since I needed to pull over anyways. I made a call and after getting the right address, we ran into a little coffee shop…yes, I purchased another small special coffee drink-not such a great idea. It was about 4pm and the caffeine kept me awake for a long time! Decaf next time?! Haha!

My alarm went off and I was not ready to get out of bed, but we have some parking issues right now, so I had to go down and take care of it. Ugh. The place we’re staying at has a parking garage, but with 80 rooms, they only have 40 parking spots. Right now all the keys to the garage are gone, and I’m on a waiting list. That means there is street parking (which is 2 hour parking), or a lot that’s behind the building. Having to pay for parking all the time can be expensive, so that already had me on edge, and then, when I went to park, it would have been $10 if it was before 5pm. Cale was sitting in the lobby with all of our bags while I was parking and it was 20 minutes before 5. I ended up driving all around looking for somewhere to park, pulling over and calling Mama to vent, and finally getting back to Cale 25 minutes after I told him I would be right back! I was frustrated.

When I went out this morning to pay for the day parking, I had another crazy adventure of driving around and trying to find a gas station or ATM…suddenly I was repeating over and over, “I’m not a big city girl, or a country girl…I’m a Tri-Cities kind of girl!” this of course came with a lot of laughter! I couldn’t believe all that I had to go through just for parking!!

When we made it to our appointment this afternoon, I was sitting in the main waiting room when they very first took Cale in the back, and God did a work on this girl’s heart! It’s easy to be in a good mood and positive when you get all green lights when you’re running late; you get accepted into the school of your dreams, or just when things during the day/trip are going smoothly. What about the hiccups? What about when the driver in front of you cuts you off? What about when the person in line behind you has a screaming toddler? What about when you stub your toe? How hard is it to stay in that good mood when things don’t go our way? Do we lose our joy in an instant? I didn’t handle the whole parking with as much grace as I would have liked, but I do know that for the rest of the day, I looked at everything a little different…

From being in so many hospitals and around so many people that have some kind of medical “something”, it became a reality super quick that I was not going through this tragic experience alone. There are people every day, whose lives change in an instant from an accident like ours, or they are told from a doctor what they’ve been diagnosed with, or someone they love is gone forever. There is so much pain and suffering in this world, and so much hurt that our fragile hearts have to bear, but thankfully there is a God who asks to take it from us! He says that He will take it, if we just come to Him…amazing.

I am so blessed, like WHOA, that I have Cale like he is. It could have been so much worse. I’m so thankful that I have a husband that I can still laugh with and have good days with!

Today was such a great day! Cale woke up confused. He didn’t know where we were and why we were here. I felt so bad for him. I’ve had to explain it several times through the day. He keeps asking for home (which…uh…that’s not too different from when we are home! Ok, that might have been a bad joke…). He was also confused when he went to brush his teeth this morning. It was like he had forgotten everything. He just stood there with the water running and his mouth open. I think maybe since everything is different looking? Hopefully that will all settle after we’ve been here for a couple days!

They said he did awesome during the radiation session. While they were getting him set up at first, I was able to watch him on a video. I can’t imagine it’s too fun to lie still for 20 minutes with the mask on, and be inside that tube thing…no thanks.

So yeah, our day was GREAT! We relaxed this morning and took things slow. After getting ready, we went to UW and walked around for a couple minutes before his appointment. When we were standing outside waiting for the guys to bring up our Honda, a duck came and stood by us! It was on the sidewalk right out front, just hanging out! Cale started very loudly quaking at him! Heehee! Afterwards, we went to Whole Foods to grab a few things. I had bought dry stuff before we left home because I knew it would be cheaper, but we needed some fresh stuff too. Cale actually enjoyed our trip there and picked a couple things out. When we left there it wasn’t 5 yet, so we found the same coffee shop that we had stopped at yesterday and had a little date. Don’t worry; I didn’t give into the coffee…nope. :)

I’m praising God for a great first day. I honestly wasn’t quite sure how it was going to go!

Cale asked me what my name is. He asks this often, but usually I can turn the question back on him and he’ll remember, not always though. Tonight he didn’t remember. When I told him, he asked, “Why can’t I know that? My brain forgets names. Why?” Hmm…I love that he noticed that he shouldn’t be forgetting my name! He realizes he forgets things…this is good, very good!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Come along!

Cale, the photographer, took pictures along our trip today so that you could feel like you’re coming along with us!

The luggage…I might have over done the amount of clothes that I felt I just had to have in the next 5 weeks, but what can I say? I’m one of those girls that like variety! Hehe! I bet you can guess which bag is mine and which one is Cale’s! What size would your bag be?

First stop…Starbucks! We ended up not leaving the house until almost noon, and I needed the java to help me out! I ordered a Peppermint White Mocha, which I order almost every time I get a special coffee, which is not very often, so it’s a treat. Cale doesn’t like coffee in the slightest, so he always likes to get the Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino. What special coffee or non-coffee drink do you like to get?

On the road! Just so you know, Cale took this picture and the whole time my eyes were on the road! :) Cale and I always have loved taking road trips. We have the most interesting conversations and just always have such a good time. One time we spent over an hour talking about these crazy insects that did all these crazy things...that led to a lot more of creation that only by a Creator is it possible to that even plants have detailed ways of life! Our conversations are different now, but still so good. He can’t get into discussions yet, but I was still asking him about things and trying to get his thoughts out. :) Cale used to find excitement being able to name the clouds. Well, while we were driving, there were some really huge puffy clouds that made me wish like crazy that I could just run and jump in them! I asked Cale what kind of clouds they were and he answered, “Cumulus!” So awesome! I love when things like that come out…it sparks so much hope with knowing that our cherished memories are still in there, they just have to find their way out! What are your road trips like? Are they loud and crazy or quiet and relaxed?

This is what the southeast part of Washington State looks like. I can’t say we live on the prettiest side of the mountains, but I just love that we have so much sunshine! We used to joke because when it snows, we have tumbleweeds that blow by! After traveling and living all over, I still love our home town the most. What about you? Do you like the heat or the cold more? Do you still live in your home town?

This is the beautiful west side of the state! It’s so beautiful, we took two pictures! I always crack up because when we leave home or we’re on our way home, it goes from dry hills, to green covered mountains or the other way around. It’s like a line that’s crossed! Cale used to say that he wanted to live somewhere that’s close to the mountains, but also close to the beach. We both love camping and hiking, so the mountains are adventures waiting to happen for us! One day we’ll be hiking and camping again! Do you like to camp in the mountains? The smell of camp fires and trees make me smile! Does it make you smile?

We finally made it to where we’re staying. This is the view from our window for the next couple nights. Right now we’re in a tiny room, but as soon as a larger room opens, they’re going to have us move. I’m trying not to pull too much out of our bags until then. Each room has a little tiny fridge and microwave, so that’s going to help a ton! The beds seem comfy too! :) Do you like traveling and staying in hotels? What’s the craziest or prettiest view you’ve had from a room window?

I told Cale he did really good with taking the pictures today and that I was really impressed. He said, "I'm going to have to start signing pictures now!" Haha!

So far we’ve played cards, eaten dinner, and watched American Idol. Cale hates the show, but he said it was fine if I had it on. Mama and I usually watch it together every week, and this week is the finale, and since we’re not together, we watched it while on the phone! Lauren sang a beautiful song at the end that made me tear up! That song is to my Mama too!

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).

Thank you so much for praying us through this journey. I was thinking near the end of our drive today how just recently, two really difficult things that I asked you to be praying for have been changed drastically! I had asked you to be praying for our road trips and even asked for ideas for the trips. I didn’t even use any of the ideas yet, because a lot of them just don’t work for Cale yet, but the last two trips have been so great!!! It doesn’t just go from him being terrible, to now great, without the power of prayer! Also, there just isn’t a way for me to explain how hard it was to get Cale to take his meds and the challenge it was each time. Sometimes I just wanted to throw the stupid pills across the room and forget it, but I knew that he had to take them. It took so much energy and emotion every day. Praise God that since I came to you last Monday night asking for prayer in this area, Cale hasn’t fought me! That’s a radical change from what we were dealing with!! That’s just two things that are recent…! That’s not counting all of his progress and how he is now an eating, walking, talking, laughing, picture-taking, game playing kind of guy! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for ALL of your prayers!!!

And thanks for coming along on our trip!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Seattle Bound

Tomorrow we leave for Seattle…and I’m STILL not packed. Oops. I waited until after waking up this morning to attempt to put anything together that we’re taking. Maybe not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m getting through it! I still haven’t packed my clothes (which could take a while!), so I’ll throw some in my bag in the morning before we hit the road.

I’m trying to be excited. All day I’ve just been trying to think about how it’s going to feel so nice to get this out of the way and how after 5 weeks, we’ll be home and this will be behind us. I was trying to think about how good this might be for us and how it could end up being so much fun. I’m also bummed and just want to whine! I hate that we have to leave home…! It was sad gathering things that I was packing, which some of it I had just finished unpacking! Oh well, it’s gonna be Ok!

We were able to have a really great day, which was so nice! The morning was busy as I tackled my To Do list. I was doing great crossing off things, but then I started adding to it, and that wasn’t helping! After Cale was awake and we were both ready for the day, we ran a couple errands. He didn’t love doing them, but we still had fun. :)

Once we were home, Cale wanted to lie down, but didn’t end up sleeping. He decided to come back out with perfect timing because Joe and Beth showed up to hang out with us! After a while, Mike and Rachel showed up too! The girls were my motivation to pack…even though I didn’t get much done while they were here! Heehee!

When they all left, Joe took Basil while we’re gone. Joe had taken Basil back in December until we came home, so he’ll be happy being there. I’m gonna miss him though! It was even sad tonight getting ready for bed and not having Basil here! He’ll be waiting for us when we get back home! Hopefully, Joe can train him again…I seem to have corrupted the poor dog.

Oh yeah!

Today was the first day that when Cale called him, he came! Usually, Cale can’t get Basil to do anything. I think because Cale’s speech still isn’t the clearest, and there’s not enough command in his voice. Also, in the kitchen, Cale asked him to sit and Basil did! It was really neat to see and it made Cale feel pretty good!

Dennis and Kathy came for dinner. I made stuffed peppers with Italian sausage and topped with Gouda cheese…yum! I had made them in NY for Cale a couple times and before he liked them so much, but I wasn’t sure about now, and I was a little worried. I cut it up for him and let his plate cool a little and then explained what it was. He ate it! He ate almost every bite on his plate! It’s so good when he actually eats because so many meals he just doesn’t want to eat anything!

After dinner we played a game of Sorry and before we were done with the game, my sister and nephew came to visit and say good bye.

I’m ready. I can’t say that I’m 100% gung ho, but I can say I’m ready and a little excited!

Off we go!

We've been blessed with such awesome friends! We're going to miss seeing these guys so much!

Just so you know...I'm not completely a crazy dresser. I had my apron on because I had already started dinner! And, the rain boots were a must as I went out the door! ;)

Cale was pretending Dennis was a bad guy and he had to protect his mom. The cane was his weapon!

Our Sorry game. Cale was too tired to finish, but he did really well! His counting, reading, and focus has improved since the last time we played!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Because He Lives

I didn’t post last night because I was gone from Cale all day and missed him so much! Since Mark has been coming to help out so that I could get things done, I wasn’t spending as much time with Cale. I was still around and able to see him, but he didn’t have my full attention. Yesterday, I went with my mom and her best friend and her daughter and then met up with two other friends as well, to see Wicked! It was so much fun and I loved the show. Very well done!

Before the show started, we also went on a little ride thing above the falls in Spokane. None of us had actually done it before, so we decided it was time. I think the most fun was making fun of our friend Dawn…she was a bit scared! Heehee! Love her! :)

Right after the show, we stopped for coffee and then came home. I couldn’t wait to get back to Cale. It was nice to have a day away though. He told me he missed me so much and I agreed! All I did last night was the nightly routine stuff, like feeding the animals and letting them outside. Cale and I decided that all we wanted to do was cuddle up in bed for the night and nothing else. I had asked him if he would meet me in the room so we could get ready for bed, and I would be right in after taking care of our pets. When I walked in our room, Cale was already in the bathroom brushing his teeth!!!!! He was brushing his teeth all by himself!!!! I didn’t ask him to start, I didn’t help him get anything ready…he did it ALL by himself!!!! This is HUGE!!! I’m soooo proud of him! Awesome.

After we were done getting ready, we turned on the TV to see if anything was worth watching…usually there’s not. Cale and I never had TV channels the whole time we were married. We did watch movies, but when we first moved to NY, we had decided that we didn’t want to end up like a lot of married couples that we knew, that spends all of their time watching fake lives on TV and never actually having their own. Since we’ve been home, we have channels now, but all we watch is Hockey or American Idol (or should I say, I just watch that one…). We ended up on the cooking channel, which I always love watching when I do get the chance. It was so much fun last night because we were watching Chopped which is a competition show. We would both give our opinions on who was going to get chopped. Anytime on a movie or TV that there is conversation and Cale is paying attention, he’ll talk and answer the questions that are being asked. Well, I think last night might have been the most fun! Haha!

This morning was church and I have to admit, it was a little tough. We’re leaving this week, so it was our last Sunday before our Seattle stay. It’s been amazing to be back, and our church family has blessed us so much with this house, but we’ve been home about a month and a half, and I still feel like we haven’t been able to find our place here. I want so badly for us to be involved and to build up relationships again, but it just needs to be done differently than it would have before, and I’m still learning this. Part of us not getting settled and involved is because of this trip. I know we’ll be coming back and then can pray about where we can best fit in this body of amazing believers. The time will come!

We sang, Because He lives in worship and even though I’ve been singing that song since I was a little girl, these days it touches my heart in a whole new way. The chorus is so simple, yet so powerful and holds so much truth.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

It doesn’t matter what is going through my head or what emotions are overtaking this mind of mine when I open my eyes in the morning or close them when I go to sleep each night, I know that because Jesus lives, I can face each day. The night of the accident was one I’ll never forget and one that I never want to relive, but I knew that I could face the next day because I had Jesus. It’s been the same the last 466 days. It doesn’t matter what stage Cale is going through, or what the next challenge is, I know that God holds the future and can take all my fears away. I can know all of this and be confident in it because He lives.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Luke 24:1-7

He’s alive and active and real! And, because of that, I can face another day!

I know I’ve said it before, but I wanted to say again thank you for all the emails and messages. I can’t tell you how much they’ve blessed me and usually they come in the moments that I need them the most. Just last week, I was sitting with Mama telling her how much I just want the Lord to use me. I’ve wanted that desperately since I was 13. I remember singing the Newsboys song Hands and Feet at the top of my lungs and then praying just as loud, asking the Lord to use me. Use me for your glory! Use me as your tool!

I still want that…and sometimes I feel like I could be doing so much more.

Right after I had finished talking to Mama, I checked my email and had such an encouraging email from a man that said he’s been reading the blog since a couple months after the accident and he has been so touched by our story. I also received a comment on Youtube and between the two, I was in tears!

I needed to be reminded how God is working because I am very forgetful when I’m caught up in my day to day life with caring for Cale.

I just wanted to say thank you and know that even though you might not have heard back from me, I read your email, letter, message, comment, and it’s blessed my heart in such a rich way. Thank you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Survival Guide

I had the privilege of attending a seminar for brain injuries. The lady that spoke has a mild brain injury and has written a book and now her passion is to educate about brain injury. Her story is very different than ours, but her information still applies. Her injury happened with a bad fall while skiing and she had even driven home that same day. She didn’t realize anything was wrong at first. She used to be a doctor and not even the residents that worked with her noticed a difference. As things started to show up, she was then put in rehab to learn how to live with the changes that her brain was making.

Once again, a lot of it didn’t apply just for the fact it was geared towards mild TBI. Right now because there are so many people that have a TBI and don’t even know it, they’re really focusing on getting the awareness out. The majority is also mild TBI, unlike Cale who has severe, so, I think we’ll run into that a lot, but any info is going to help I feel like!

I did end up taking a lot of notes and made a list of quite a few ideas for Cale even if they may not be for right now.

One thing she talked about was how you can’t tell a blind person to work hard to see again or a person who is deaf to work hard to hear again. She said it’s the same way with TBI. Physically he can work hard, and he has which is why he can now walk with a cane, but no matter how hard he works, his cognitive abilities have been changed…and there’s not much he can do to fix them. His brain needs time to heal as much as its going to (and the Lords touch!), but a lot of life with TBI is learning a new life with it and using as much as you can to help with that. Now, I’m still totally praying for God to bless Cale with a full recovery, but it was really good for her to go over this specific topic because it’s something that I honestly struggle with. I’m always thinking that I’m not doing enough to help Cale’s short term and long term memory to come back. I’m always thinking that I’m not making him do enough or that I’m doing things all wrong and don’t have it perfectly together like it seems that others do that are in my same situation.

I also have to remind myself CONSTANTLY that God is in control…not Kathleen!

I’ve written before about one of the many things that Cale is going through in this healing process because of his injury is perseveration. Because of this, he gets very stuck on something and it’s so incredibly hard to get him off of that particular idea or action. It’s kind of like a stubborn child, but 75 times worse. This also makes it very hard for him to transfer from one task to another.

In so many areas we are dealing with this. It’s one of the things that make it a battle to get him to do so many things through the day. The other part is getting him to stop doing something. Cheryle (the speaker), mention several times about how it’s so important not to keep playing the same game every day…sound familiar?! Cale plays Crazy 8’s constantly and it’s so hard to get him off! I’ve been trying to mix it up a little with our morning Skip-Bo games, but it really is hard. That’s his happy place and what he actually enjoys right now. Her saying that was because it’s not causing his brain to continue working. She gave the example of driving to work every day. People get set on auto pilot because it’s something they do so frequently. With wanting to engage Cale’s brain as much as we can, it’s not a good idea. I wrote down a few things and ways to go about trying the new things, so we’ll see!

Overall, I’m so glad I went! If you hear about any conferences or seminars dealing with TBI, please let me know! It doesn’t even have to be in this area, it’s always just so good to know it’s happening and can open up lots of doors!

After the seminar, a few guys from church came over and had a guy’s night with Cale! I’m SO thankful that they were willing to do this!!!! He needs this “guy time” and I just can’t give it to him. It’s so important for him to interact with other men and to learn how to be manlike again. He also loves it! His night included pizza…which I know must have made him a happy camper!

Cale getting to have a guy’s night, allowed for me to have fun with some ladies!!! I was able to go to a wedding reception and have a whole bunch of laughs! I enjoyed it so much and really needed it. My night included cake! ;)

I must say, this week has been great! It started out a little rough Monday night, but since then, it’s been so good. Since we’ve been home, Mama and I have date time on Wednesday mornings. She doesn’t have to go to work, so while Cale sleeps, I get up early and we have coffee together. This last Wednesday, we watched a tear jerker. It was a movie that after the first time watching it last year, I had decided that never again would I watch it. I think last time I cried enough to flood a city. Well, I’m not sure what was going through my head, but we stuck that one in to watch. At one point Mama asked why we were watching that movie as both of us have tears about to free fall down our cheeks. I paused and then started blubbering like a big baby venting about how hard Monday night was for me. She does what she always does when I need someone to talk to and get stuff off my chest; she listened. Once I was good to go, we finished the movie and then I felt depressed because of if for about an hour after it was over! Darn Hollywood. It felt so good to get it all out and have a good cry. I love those times!

Then, yesterday I had an amazing girl’s day with Rachel. I really needed her and the light fun that we have when we’re together. She is always very good about pointing out reality and not letting me wallow for too long.

Then tonight with getting to have some good ol’ wedding fun! I laughed so hard tonight and loved getting to see the faces of all the ladies that have blessed me like crazy!

Tomorrow is even more fun that I’m really excited about!

God knew what this Girl needed!

I was really excited to get home to Cale tonight. I couldn’t wait to hug on him and ask about how it was with all the guys over. He had forgotten about them being over until Mama gave some details, but when I asked him if he had so much fun, he said, “a little.” Hmm…“What?! Only a little?” Then he looked at me so sweetly and said, “you weren’t here!” Awwww! That man melts me!

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. -Helen Keller

Thursday, May 19, 2011

loving the little things.

This morning my alarm went off at 6:30am. I stayed in bed until about 7 and then decided to get on with the day. I’ve been using the mornings when Cale is still sleeping to get some paperwork stuff done along with some exercise. Things went differently today, he joined me 30 minutes later. Every day it seems there’s a long list of things that need my attention and things I need to get done (I’m sure at times, or always, you understand the feeling!), but this morning, I was just with Cale.

After a little while of cuddling on the couch, we ate some breakfast and then played some Skip-Bo! Cale usually doesn’t want to play anything except for Crazy 8’s right now, but I’m trying to get him unstuck and to try some new games. He needed help, but he still did so well! We also played a game of it yesterday, so hopefully this is a start of his brain accepting new things! We’ll see! When our games were over, I helped get him ready for the day. He’s getting better at things by himself, and needing fewer cues all the time! We’re still working a lot at sequencing, which has been really tough for him, but he’s getting there!

Rachel came to spend some much needed time with me today. It turns out, that’s just what the doctor ordered! :) We had a blast together and of course it’s always fun to have some girl time! We went for a run to start the day and when we got back to my house, it was so warm and beautiful outside that we ended up both lying on the driveway! It felt so good to lie in the sun!!! It didn’t take long for these two white girls to be reminded that if we stayed out too long, we were going to BURN!

This evening, Zita, another friend of ours came over for dinner. It was nice to get caught up and to visit! I just love getting to spend time with people! We played cards with Cale, which he enjoyed very much!

Right before Cale fell asleep tonight; we were lying in bed together talking. I love to ask him the deeper questions when we’re cuddled up and it’s just the two of us. He seems to always open up more when he’s relaxed with me. I asked him tonight what he thinks about. Now, for Cale right now, he’s always in the moment. If you ask if his stomach hurt earlier, he doesn’t remember. If you ask what he did for the day, he will usually tell you he doesn’t remember or what he’s doing at that time. My question was one that I knew he was going to answer in the moment, but I still wanted to ask and hear what he had to say.

He replied that he thinks about God. “What about God?” I asked hoping for more. “How to help him” he said. “Help him do what?” I was still trying to get more out of him! “Everything.” He answered still not giving me enough detail that satisfied. “What’s everything?” I asked for more detail and then his response blew my socks off, “to save people.”

Friends, the love of my life has been through so much and continues to be in and out of a whirlwind of confusion (kind of like his wife!), but do you see what’s on his heart?

Every night when we pray together, we pray that the Lord would use our marriage, our story, and our lives to further the kingdom and be used for God’s glory. I love that even when it’s not in a moment of us talking about that, it was on his heart. Amen!

While Cale started to fall asleep tonight, I was thinking about how special all the little things are. We live in a culture that is always on the go and have lives full of “stuff”, and how often do we forget the little things in life? The sweet precious moments that are like sweet tender kisses from the Lord?

Little things and big things alike are so wonderful! Cale being able to talk when for so long since he wasn’t making any noise, I was told that it’s a good chance that it wasn’t going to happen. He’s eating anything he wants (even though he doesn’t want to eat anything), when I had sat in a meeting where it was specifically discussed that I may need to get used to eating in front of Cale even though he had to use his feeding tube only. It’s a pretty good chance eating through his mouth his just not in the cards for him. He’s walking! This was a biggie because of his balance issues! He still has them, but he’s managed to conquer each battle he faced!

And then the little things…oh there are so many! The times that we have at night getting to lay in bed and talk again, the smiles that he gives me, the times that he wraps me in his arms for a good hug, the times that I get to listen to him pray, getting to walk and feel my hand in his, and getting to hear him worship in church with me.

I’m so very blessed! The piles of things that need to get done-that are calling my name; are so very meaningless in the moments of even the sweet little things.

If Cale and I were pigs, this would be us :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sock Puppets

I didn’t write about yesterday and that’s never good for me. The reason I write every day is because if I don’t, everything goes out of this brain of mine!

I’ll try my best…


Praise God!!!! I can’t say this enough through all of this muck and swamp we’ve traveled through. It’s so amazing that it hasn’t felt like it’s been muck and swamp the whole time, because of his abundant grace that He continually pours and dumps on us. I’ve read so many stories and been told so many times of wives that have chosen to leave their husbands when things changed in their marriage. I’m talking about the stories of the injured husband, but I’m pretty sure that statement can apply to the physically and mentally well husband also…

It breaks my heart like a china plate hitting the kitchen floor.

I’ve never owned any kind of china, I think it would be so special and unlike many women, I would actually use it, but as a young married couple…well, it doesn’t fit our pocket book! Even though I’ve never actually owned china, I can imagine it shatters pretty good.

Anyways, I read another story today about a young wife that had decided she just couldn’t do it. TBI had been too much for her to handle. Her husband was so different and the challenges she faced were way over her head. She sunk.

Not for one second…not even a split second has it ever crossed my mind to run from Cale and leave him behind. I couldn’t fathom the idea. Yes, he is very different. In fact, there is little peaks into who he was before, but a lot of the things he liked and didn’t like before have changed. His attitude and thought process has changed. Our memories are different and right now we share very little of us together. His temper has changed, his mood has changed, his speech has changed…a lot has changed, but while he’s been changing and being created as this new man, I have also been changing and becoming a new woman.

And my response is Praise God!

When I first typed that at the very beginning, I was going to go on a whole different reason for me praising God, but my fingers took over ;)

So…back to where I started, Praise God!!!! Thank you so much for praying! Yesterday was the first day since Cale had his feeding tube in that he didn’t fight me (not even once!) to take his meds all day!! It was so great and so needed! We had a sweet day together too! The hard days come, but he gives me so many sweet ones to make up for it!

There was something else I was going to share, but I don’t remember. Hmm…

Today was another great day too! Mark was over again and spent the afternoon with Cale while I got some errands done. The sun was out and it was beautiful, which always seems to make that kind of stuff more enjoyable.

Oh yeah!

I remember what I was going to share! So, I received the call from Seattle. Cale will be starting treatments on the 25th. I think there was a mix up, might have been me typing wrong, but I wanted to correct what’s being done. Cale had the surgery for his tumor (that was found in his nasopharynx and is not cancerous!) in January, but there was some leftover tissue that has already changed in size. Because of how aggressive it is and the damage that can be done (it’s near brain structures and the optical nerve), the next step is radiation. We’ll be heading to Seattle for 5 weeks for treatments that he’ll be getting M-F. We were going to be leaving Sunday after church, but thankfully, we’ll have a couple more days! Please be praying for this time…oooh boy!

We went to our churches Wednesday night meal, which Mama happens to be the cook for. The last time we tried, Cale was not a fan in the slightest because of all the noise and people. We ended up not making it through the meal. It’s been a few weeks, so I thought we’d be adventurous and try for round 2. I’m happy to report it was a success! It is so great for me just to be around people. Even though it’s not like I can leave Cale and go visit a whole bunch, the little bit of interaction I get is a blessing!

Confession: I watch American Idol. Mama got me hooked in 2009 while Cale was deployed and ever since then, I just can’t help myself. I didn’t get to watch it much last year and I missed a lot of the beginning of this year, but when I can watch it, I do!

Cale hates it.

He says it’s a stupid show so during that time, it’s interesting trying to watch it with a husband who really doesn’t want to. Tonight he just went in the room and made his way under the covers. On commercials I kept running in to talk with him and see how he was doing. One of the times I ran in, this is what I found…

Cale had made sock puppets. I’m not sure I really have words for this…he’s adorable. :)

I can’t help but point out his shoes and slippers on the bed. I don’t even want to know what germs are sleeping with us tonight…gross…!

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. - JB

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My husband.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day, but a really good one too! Part of Cale’s command from Ft. Lewis came to hang out, and see where we live. I loved getting to have them here! It felt so much less…formal? I’m not usually worked up when I go to Ft. Lewis (and I maybe should be a little more…), but it’s still so formal, so having them here was so nice and relaxing! We went to lunch with them at Olive Garden and can I just say, darn those warm seasoned soft breadsticks?! Man, those things get me every time! I can never just have one…so I have several. Oops. Haha!

Right after lunch, I was daring and asked Cale to go grocery shopping with me. I figured with our tummies full, it may be the best time we could go and stick to the list, when does that ever happen? I was thinking he might be tired, but I decided to be optimistic! He pushed the cart around the whole time, we only bought what was on the list, and it was a success! He was tired by the end and let me know that we needed to leave right then. There wasn’t too much on the list, so I was able to give him the answer he wanted! His mom told me yesterday that when he was over on Saturday, she was telling him that she needed to go grocery shopping, but didn’t want to. He asked her why and she told him she didn’t like going just like he didn’t like going. He said that shopping was ok. When she said that, no he didn’t like shopping he said, “I do when I get what I want!” Haha! So, if I let him make the grocery list, it would be his favorite shopping trip! ;)

Once we were back to the car, my digging for keys while walking had come to a stop-I was now pulling things out of my purse. I couldn’t find them anywhere! I searched the bags and just to be sure, I asked Cale if he had taken them out because he gets a kick out of doing that. No where. I left Cale by the car because his legs were so tired of walking he didn’t want to leave. I told him not to talk to anyone and not to move a muscle! We prayed together that God would help us find the keys and then, I headed back in the store to retrace the path we had taken…nothing. I asked the customer service and at that time, no one had turned keys in. I was trying not to be frantic and had called Mama to see if she could bring the spare key. When I got back to Cale, he was being a good sport, but also letting me know that it was windy (he hates the wind on his skin now) and he was tired. I couldn’t help but start digging again…and guess what? I found them! I have a little zip pouch in my purse that I keep the important stuff like, lip gloss and hand sanitizer. I never NEVER put my keys in there, but I must have yesterday! Quick call to Mama to let her know we had the keys! Another adventure! ;)

During the morning while we waited for his command and after returning home from the store, we played crazy 8’s. It’s been a while that I set everything aside and just played with him for such a long time. He didn’t lay down and rest, so we had a lot of time to play. It was so much fun! Alot of times I play the cards (or don’t play) in a way that will let him win. Occasionally I’ll still win a couple, but for the most part I let him win. I played so many games yesterday that even when I was playing normally, like I would with anyone around me, he STILL won! It was game after game after game! When it was almost 9pm, I kept saying, “Just one more game!” because I wanted to beat him! He of course loved the fact that he had his wife beat! We had a blast together!! We laughed a ton and he was even picking on me again!

Before the accident I would have never gotten away with naming our dog Basil. Cale would have never let that happen! Nothing has been said about it since he’s become more aware and had learned our dogs name. I’ve kind of been waiting, as daily Cale will ask me what our dogs name is. While we were playing cards yesterday morning, he informed me that the name I picked was dumb! Haha! It’s funny because our friends that gave Basil to us had named him Rocky and then I changed it. Robby made fun of me and said, “Why couldn’t you name him something manly like, Crushed Red Peppers?” We laughed so hard about it, but I’m pretty sure Cale was thinking the same thing yesterday! I happen to love the name!

I’m still seeing little bits of memory improving!!! It’s so incredible to see! A couple days after Cale had fallen; he was showing me the scrape on his arm. I asked if he remembered where that came from and he said that he had fallen over a little kid. I asked him where and he said down stairs. I kept pushing for more info because I was so amazed that he remembered that! I asked where it was at and he said outside! He didn’t remember it being here, but he did remember specifics about the fall! Carly had been in front of him, and he tripped over her and fell off the stairs.

Then, yesterday (again as we’re playing cards) he asked me a question and in Spanish I replied with “I don’t know.” I think yes and no are the only other two things I know how to say! After I said that, Cale tried to reply in Spanish but didn’t know how. I couldn’t help him with my super limited knowledge of the language, so we were stuck. Cale then says, “Mark knows how!” My mouth dropped open-I had to force it to form, “Mark?” “Yeah! Your cousin.” He very quickly replied. “My nephew?” I’m asking still in shock. “Yeah, He knows!” I’ve written about how Mark has been coming over every day the last week to help me out around here. Well, he’s also been speaking Spanish to Cale! Of course he has no idea what Mark is saying, but it’s fun and Cale seems to enjoy it. Cale even wanted to call Mark to ask because he wasn’t going to be coming over yesterday. He remembered the person and the fact that Spanish was being used! He connected so much in one little situation!

It was another moment that I just couldn’t help but feel like bursting! It’s so far from Cale not remembering something from 2 minutes previous! His memory is still very much in and out, but oh my stinkin’ goodness!!!! Can you believe it?! I’m just so crazy happy about that. Goodness!

I wasn’t able to post last night because we had a really hard night. It’s the hardest and most painful we’ve had yet. I’m pretty sure I failed at having complete control of my emotions. I keep being told all the time to not take it personal, to not get on the roller coaster with him, to know that it’s not words or actions that he means, but the sting of every bite-still stings. The venom seems to head straight for my heart and last night I ended on the bathroom floor bawling my eyes out wondering how I could make this all go away. I was so desperate for my husband-the man that I married to come wrap his arms around me. I have never felt as lonely as I did last night. I cried out to God; screaming in my thoughts. I know He’s there-He is always there. I needed my husband there too. When I talk about it or think it through I know that he does not mean what he said. I know that in that moment, his brain and all the crazy connections are acting out, I know that it’s a blessing for him to act out, but can I tell you something? It was all over me trying to get him to take his night time meds. Then suddenly I’m being called a liar, being told that he doesn’t want to be with me, he doesn’t want to be my husband, and that I’m stupid. Water went everywhere, words were spoken, and I cried. It hurt so bad. So bad. Even now as I sit here and type, the tears race right back to ride on a waterfall down my pillow printed cheeks. Finally, I had to pull myself off the floor, walk to my husband who was sitting on the bed soaked and confused, and help him get into dry clothes. I went and got a blanket to cover the wet sheet on his side of the bed, and helped him get tucked in. The tears were still flowing and I wasn’t able to speak, but he needed to be taken care of. The pain was so raw and all I wanted to do was be mad at this man, but he needed me. As I walked around the bed, and pulled the covers over me, Cale lifted his arm around me and pulled me into his chest-and I wept. Cale held me without any words. I then began with the big bubble in my throat and through the sobs to tell him that I was so sorry we were in the accident and I was so sorry that this all happened. I just wish I could take it all away. Right after the words all managed to come out, Cale squeezed me and said, “Its ok. I love you.”

He didn’t remember what had just happened as far as details, and what was said. He knew that I was hurting and that everything was ok because he loves me and I love him.

After such a sweet tender moment that I will never forget, we went to bed cuddled up and he held me. My husband was there for me.

My husband is an amazing man that I love so deeply. Words can never describe the way the Lord has bonded us together and gave new meaning to “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” I’m so extremely thankful that I’m his wife.

I'm reminded of how so much changed over his first year and how far he has come. I'm reminded of how progress is still being made and how hard we worked for it...!