Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A whole lot of blessed! I know I am! :)

Sing to God, everyone and everything! Get out his salvation news every day! Publish his glory among the godless nations, his wonders to all races and religions. And why? Because God is great—well worth praising! No god or goddess comes close in honor. All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense, but God made the cosmos! Splendor and majesty flow out of him, strength and joy fill his place. Shout Bravo! to God, families of the peoples, in awe of the Glory, in awe of the Strength: Bravo!
Shout Bravo! to his famous Name, lift high an offering and enter his presence! Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness! -1 Chronicles 16:27-29 (The Message)

His journey with voice...

Last night I was talking with Cale while scanning Craigslist. I ended up finding human hair for sale and was so grossed out! I pointed it out to Cale and we were both making a big deal out of it; having fun. He then asked how much it was so I clicked on it. It ended up being hair extensions and then Cale said, “Oh so not the…the…” He couldn’t get the word out that he was looking for so he said, “What is it when the plant is plugged into the ground?” “Roots?” I asked. He said, “Yeah roots! So, it wasn’t the hair roots?” This was such a HUGE deal!!!! He was able to connect the two things being similar words, be able to give me a way to connect with what he was trying to say, and understand all of it! Oh man! I was so excited! It was 8:30 and I was texting his therapists! Haha!

The voice is an amazing gift that God has blessed us with. Speech therapy is not just working on his voice and getting words clear, it’s also the cognitive therapy. Along with the obvious changes and progress in his communication, he’s gaining in so many more areas! Awesome!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our life in snapshots...and a video!

Cale went to church with a mohawk...and we loved it!

We put up and decorated our tree. Cale helped Mama get it set up and fluffed and then helped with the first couple ornaments, but then he was tuckered out! Him and Basil hung out on the couch while I finished up! Bing Crosby was on the entire time! ;)

Cale had a great therapy session. They worked in the gym for a bit. There was a form of limbo involved along with some stretching!

I raked up a bunch more leaves out front. Now Christmas-like things have taken their spots. Cale came out and took a couple pictures (actually a ton!) and one of Scratch and Basil makes me laugh! It's a neat artistic shot, but it's funny seeing Scratch watching Basil sniff the bags.

I realized that it's been a long time since I've posted a video with Cale talking. His speech has gotten so much more clear! I tried to ask him questions to get him talking enough that you would be able to tell a little better at how well he's doing. It's still a struggle sometimes to understand, but for the most part (at least what I think) he's doing great!

Our small group was tonight and towards the end Cale said he was tired. He got up and said good night to everyone and then went to the bedroom. When everyone had left, I walked down the hall to check on him and he was asleep! usually he'll just go to bed and lay there, but he really must have been tired! I'm now sitting in the dark in my living room enjoying my pretty Christmas tree. :)

Last night when I turned all the lights off to go to bed, all that lit the room was our tree. I called for Cale to come because the tree was just so beautiful and I was instantly reminded of Christmas last year. We ended up sitting in our tree lit room and praying. It wasn't a prayer of asking the Lord for anything; we just praised Him for how He has blessed us and for who He is.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Every night since my last post I’ve thought about how I need to do another update because things are happening, but the days kept getting away from me. A lot has happened since Tuesday, but I’m once again going to give a quick short version.

To start off…

Happy late Thanksgiving! Last year we had two big meals and we did again this year as well! Yum! I have to say it was a really really good day! My plan was to sleep in as late as I could, but I ended up getting out of bed at 6:30. Mama was already up, so we took advantage of the quiet morning and watched our first Christmas movie of the season! After our movie ended, I hopped on the elliptical to get a good preturkey workout. I felt ready to stuff my face after that! ;)

Last year we were able to see Cale’s family for a little bit…

And this year we spent a good part of the day with them! When the food and games were over we went to my sister’s house for the second feasting. Cale didn’t last for too long but he did have two more slices of pie! The two of us haven’t been home together for Thanksgiving since 2004…so, it was wonderful being back with family!

The other big thing that’s been going on around here was lots of planning for a Bridal shower (yes, another shower!) today. I had to cram all of my attention into just a few days because my focus had been on the baby shower and then with Thanksgiving this week…well, it was busy! I loved every minute of the planning, prepping, and experiencing both of the showers. I’m so thankful to be able to host them in my home! It’s a blast!

Peppermint Sticks

Pie Pops

One of the games we played...

As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. –Psalm 18:30

God’s way is perfect.

We may not get it. We may not understand, but we can know that His way is perfect. I could go really deep with my thoughts, but I’m keeping it light…to be able to do these showers, it’s not something I would have pictured myself doing. I had thought I didn’t know how to throw a shower. I wouldn’t have even thought that doing something like that would have worked in my life, but it does and it’s perfect. Such a simple thing…

He loves you. He knows you. He cares for you. He desires you.

Cale has been cracking us up along with himself! We’ve been having a great time with him lately. It’s good to have the humor coming back. We had seen it back in September start to come back, but during the month or so that things got a little rocky, the silliness was covered by a cloud. It’s showing again though!

Cale climbed in a closet. No reason, just to do it.

We had to run to the store this evening. Cale picked up two boxes of candy and wanted to see which one was heaviest and that was going to be his choice!

We passed McDonalds and with a smile Cale said, “Hmm…McDarling.” Heehee!

This is a little note Cale left for me this last week during therapy...

There are so many more stories to share, but for now this will have to do!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The kind of guy I have…

He holds the door open for as long as people are walking up to it. He never just walks through if others are coming.

He waits to sit until after I’ve sat down.

He makes sure that he hears what is being said rather than just nod along with the conversation. He will ask “what?” several times if needed.

He compliments me constantly through the day. He’s always telling me that I’m cute, beautiful, sweet, sexy, pretty, fun, his princess, and whistles at me when I walk into the room. He can’t even make the actual whistle sound, so he just says, “whistle whistle” to get his point across.

He never interrupts when someone is talking. He waits until they’re finished speaking completely before asking or telling them what’s on his mind.

He doesn’t just push the shopping carts into the little area in the parking lot and then walk away. When he puts the cart away, he pushes it all the way in and makes sure it fits perfectly into the line of carts already there.

When I even bump myself on something and say anything to show that it hurt even in the slightest, he says sorry and will kiss the area. If I’m not feeling good, even just a headache, he prays for me without me asking. If I ask him to pray for someone, he doesn’t just say ok and tell me that he will, he stops right then and prays for them.

If he puts something away, whether at home or in a store, he doesn’t just set it sloppily and be done. He puts it away right where it belongs and makes sure it’s facing the right way.

He doesn’t just fill Basil’s water dish and then say he’s done. He fills it, waits for Basil to drink and then refills it.

He’s determined and will work on the same thing over and over until he can get it right.

He does therapy everyday even though he really doesn’t want to and doesn’t understand why.

He doesn’t remember the time that he had spent with someone, but if he knows them and recognizes their name, he lights up and gets really excited.

Every time I’ve asked him about giving of what we have to someone who needs it, he always asks how much and what for and then no matter what will say yes.

He’s brave and courageous always doing things asked of him even when it’s scary and challenging.

He prays already believing what he’s asking for. There is no doubt that comes from him, he just confirms a “yes” and believes God will take care of it.

He’s honest. He doesn’t fake or pretend that he’s having a good time when he’s not. He doesn’t act like everything is smooth and cool when they’re not.

He’s so tender when I come to him with tears streaming down my cheeks because I’m feeling the weight of everything and the desire for what is missing is so strong. He may not fully get why I’m sad, but he wants me better and will comfort me as long as I need.

He knows what he likes and doesn’t like. He doesn’t change it just because someone else tries to persuade him in a different direction.

He will always share what he has with me. He may have gotten only a 10 piece chicken nuggets from McDonalds and if I ask for a nugget, he will always say yes. You know how much he loves those nuggets…!

My husband has a severe brain injury; his cognitive level is like a child and yet, he is a better person than so many full functioning people I’ve met, including myself. He’s an example to me!

He’s my love. My husband.

I am so thankful for him!

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. -1 John 4:12

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. –Psalm 63:7-8

We’ve had a great weekend!

Saturday was full and loaded! There were 20 women at one point gathered in my home for a baby shower. It was lovely. Cale of course had disappeared prior to the happenings of pinkness. ;)

I love the holidays and all the giving that happens during this time of the year. I know a lot of people say they don’t like this time of the year anymore because of how “stuff” oriented it has become, but on the other side, there is still a lot of focus on giving. Just this last week I went shopping to fill our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child and went shopping with Mama for all the food to fill Thanksgiving baskets that are church hands out. Next week the giving tree will be out full of ornaments that list items to get for 20 families here in the Tri-Cities and that’s only a tiny bit of all the opportunities for giving that’s going on!

If I could have recorded the trip we made to the store last night you would be laughing…hard. It was hilarious counting out 20 of all of these food items, watching everyone’s reaction as they passed us, and then of course there was me pushing this extremely full cart while following Mama who was whipping through the aisles and weaving in and out of innocent shoppers. We were quite the scene!

I’ve been so busy with other things lately that I told Cale today would be a day for him. Other than quickly typing up this post, we’ve hung out and had a good ol’ time since being home from church.

I want to ask everyone to be praying about something. I’m not going to give any details about anything yet, but I do want to ask for prayer. I will share as soon as I’m able. I should receive a phone call tomorrow…I’m trying to be patient and not be anxious. It’s not easy! Cale and I keep praying that we would remember either way that God is in control and He has a perfect plan. Tomorrow is going to be another full day of fun stuff, so my mind should be preoccupied until the call comes. Hopefully it comes!

Yesterday we had a conversation that went like this...

K: You're handsome.
C: You're cute.
K: You think I'm cute?
C: No, you're beyond cute. You're beautiful.

It was super sweeeet! That of course gave me a huge smile. :)

Earlier Mama and I asked Cale what his plans were for Thanksgiving and he said, "Eat and sleep."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for the challenges of life...for real?!

Hey there…

Sorry I’ve been MIA in the whole blog scene lately. With traveling to NY, still trying to get caught up around here, saying yes to taking over the showers part of the women’s ministry at church, and the normal business with Cale, I’ve been busy! I’ve also been giving Cale my full attention at night (that could sound a bit…um…that’s not what I meant!) and by the time he’s ready for sleep…so am I! I also have a ton that I’ve wanted to share, but then the thoughts pile up and well, giving a broad overview of what we’ve been up to is the easier route! :)

The last that I had really written on here was while I was struggling. Goodness, I know during those moments that it will pass, but actually being able to grasp that reality can be a whole different story. First, thank you for praying me through it. I know there were lots of prayers because I felt them! Thank you for all the encouragement that you passed my way and for those of you that posted on your blogs asking for your followers to pray for us…thank you. I know I don’t know each of you personally, but I feel like I do. I feel like some of you are the dearest friends…and a sweet part of what’s come out of this journey we’ve been on for almost two years.

Before I get started, if you have sent me an email, letter, card, Facebook message, left a voice mail, or a text since February 10, 2010 and have not heard back from me, I am honestly deeply sorry. At first it was impossible. The emails and messages stacked up, but there was no way to even touch the mound. As things begin to slow a bit and I had time sitting in a hospital room, I made the best attempt at making a dent, and slowly since then I respond when I can. If I don’t get the chance to respond right when I read it, even if it’s a quick reply, it gets lost in the pile. I don’t mean for it to be that way and I am truly thankful for each time that you’ve reached out to me. It’s been a rich blessing and sweet treat through the months. I can’t fully explain the way all of your notes have lifted me up and strengthened me. I know that all of you (or at least I hope!) understand that I don’t write or call back, but I don’t want to let it go unsaid that I’m thankful for you…each of you.

Now to update….

For the most part since I’ve been home from NY, I’ve seen a dramatic change in Cale’s attitude and mood. I might just have to say that me away was a good thing for him! There are still his outbursts and normal tantrums, but the constant negative and anger seems to have settled and I am praising God He saw us through it! Yikes!

It’s not all sunshine and birds chirping, but we’re loving each other the best that we can and know how. Isn’t that about how it goes, TBI or not? I keep praying that I would love Him like the Lord does and that I would see Him through God’s eyes…

I always think about how before brain injury, Cale and I had something so extraordinary that many people never get a chance to even see. With brain injury, I can still say that! We still have a love that is precious and powerful that again, there are so many in this world that will never get to have let alone witness. Movies try to copy and mimic this kind of love between characters, yet, will never be able to match its depths. Yesterday I was once again reminded of the love I see in my husband’s eyes when he looks at me- amazing. Not every woman gets to experience this kind of heart pumping joy that comes from having a man, her husband; look at her in this way.

He even loves me with all of my craziness! ;)

Yes, days get hard sometimes, but the Lord has designed and created something that is so far from being a part of this world, my eyes have nowhere to turn except to Him.

Cale did great through both trials of being home alone. When I came home on Tuesday, he was really upset I thought I was going to see steam coming out of his ears! It was only at his Xbox game, but to him it was a serious moment. I thought of a couple “what if’s” that I wanted to talk with his therapist about, and I’m not sure what the next step is, but I’m on board. I have noticed every time we get back from a trip or from something that has been a push for Cale to do, that he’s changed…that’s what I’m praying comes through this. I asked him Tuesday afternoon how it was being home by himself and if he was scared. He didn’t remember that he had been, but he said if he was he would do fine. It’s gonna be ok, right?! ;)

A couple funny stories from the last couple days…

Cale was watching the Wing’s play the other night. They weren’t doing so great and as the game kept going, his anger kept rising. By the time the game was over and we had lost, Cale was mad! This time I think there really was steam coming out of his ears! He stomped back to the bedroom and I heard him slamming his cane. I just let him be for a bit. After a while had gone by, I went to check on him. “I’m mad. Really mad.” He said with his arms crossed over his chest. He was lying on the bed with a grimace expression. When I talked with him about why he was upset, he said that I had been mean to him. This came from the lack of sympathy after the game. The great part is that he was really holding onto the emotional side of the situation and it was sticking! I talked with him about how I love him and wouldn’t intentionally be mean to him. I let him know that I was sorry about the game and for how I made him feel. His response was, “Good to know.” Haha! Uh…love you too babe!

I’ve been really trying to include him in decisions that have to be made or things that are on my heart. He may not always get it or understand, but I know it must feel good for him to at least have an input on whatever he does process. Yesterday I came to him with something I had been thinking really strongly about and after explaining it to him and asked what he thought all he said was, “Uh, I have to pee really bad.” Haha!!! Oh man! I couldn’t hold back the laughter even if I would have tried! It was such a serious moment. He had more important things on his mind…

We were talking about a friend that we have that we weren’t able to see last week because she’s pregnant and dealing with the exciting pregnancy symptoms. Cale didn’t understand my first attempt at explaining why we didn’t see her, so I told him she was throwing up and that’s what happens sometimes with pregnancy. Cale looked at me worried and said, “Will I do that?” I reassured him that he won’t be pregnant…ever. Nope, it will be me enjoying the goodness of it! Heehee!


I was reading my Bible this morning and using my devotional. I don’t use it every morning, but when I do, it’s great. This morning I kind of took things in a different direction then I was expecting. I love how the Holy Spirit (when we’re allowing) leads us to a place that gets straight to heart issues. Wowza!

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God’s word which is alive and active says that God works for the good of those who love Him. This means it’s not a lie, but a real deal. What do we do with that? How do I explain this to someone hurting and going through a hard time? The struggles, problems, hardships, trials and whatever other name we want to give the things in our lives that we don’t tend to enjoy, can be used for good when we’re in a place to trust our sweet Jesus. If we don’t choose to trust, we’re not going to mentally or spiritually be able to see the “good” in whatever situation we’re in. If we are so focused on the situation and the pain it’ll become the very thing that leads us to the pit of sorrow and be a stumbling block to keep us from the very blessing that the Lord is so ready to saturate us with.

When we recognize our loss and place every thought and emotion at the feet of Jesus, it doesn’t mean that He will take it all away from us, but then we will be able to lavish in the gifts of being drawn into the presence of the Lord, be held by His mighty strength and be wrapped in His loving arms.

I believe to get to a place that we can genuinely understand this place during a trial; we need to be thankful for whatever it is that we’re facing. This desire to leave nothing in the way of being as close to the Lord as I can get, I begin to write each struggle I’ve been having lately. I wrote TBI as a whole, but also wrote the individual trials that come along with it. Once I recognized my list, I began to write next to each thing why I’m thankful and the blessing that it has been or what I hope for it to be…oh boy. Let me tell you, this was not easy for me! Partly because I didn’t want to admit how some of what I’ve had to walk through and sometimes literally be carried through has been a blessing.

Just as peace has been everywhere that I’m looking lately, the song Word of God Speak by Mercy Me has been on everywhere! It’s not like it’s a new song but it seems even places I wouldn’t expect it to be, it’s been playing! I took the time to really listen to the words wondering what I need to be hearing from it and was captivated by the opening line…

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is its okay

Lately in the mornings when I’m sitting with the Lord, I feel at a loss for words. Sometimes because I feel like there is so much He’s teaching me and so much information, and then sometimes it’s out of peer awe for who He is.


Sorry for the long post…it didn’t get done last night, so all was piled on tonight!

Yesterday we saw the first snow of the season! It didn’t stick and after just a short time turned into rain, but it was still fun to walk outside the store and see it! I’m not exactly ready for the little white flurries, but when it’s time, it’ll be time and I’ll be ok! :) Can you see it on his sweater?

This was from one night about a month ago while Mike and Rachel were over…attack!

Cale gave Basil this blanket the night I came home from NYC. Every night Basil sleeps like this and now he carries the blanket around the house…

Here’s Cale in PT last night working hard! It was a great session!

Monday, November 14, 2011

We will go forth in grace alone.

This weekend was simply wonderful! In fact, it was the first trip that we’ve taken that Cale has actually been in a good mood the entire time and no rough patches. The only time he said anything about home was Sunday morning right after he woke he said, “We’re still not home.” I talked to him about how we were visiting Mike and Rachel and how I was going to be sharing our story at their church. He cheered right up and that was the end of it. There was a point on Saturday that I was questioning if he was going to get worked up, but it never came! We even really pushed him because we walked from Rachel’s to the place we were going to eat at. It wasn’t a crazy far walk, but for Cale it was really far. Also, we weren’t finished when we were done eating. We still had to pick up a couple groceries and walk all the way back. He did it without complaining! The drive to their house is about 1.5 hours and both ways were so great. I got Cale talking a little and we had a good ol’ time just being together!

The greatest part about the weekend was being with friends and laughing a lot. We played Yahtzee one of the nights and Cale rolled two yahtzee’s! Most games we set it up for him to win, but there’s no way to control rolling dice!

Here’s a few of what Cale was busy doing over the weekend…

This was right before we left the house. Cale took the charger for my ipod and thought he'd get charged up? Haha!

He needed some protection while playing the piano...

He got on the treadmill for Mike!

And what the girls were busy doing…

We made peppermint oreo balls...

...and they were yummy.

Speaking at church went well. I had been praying that not one word would be wasted. I wanted the Holy Spirit to speak through me and not just Kathleen doing it all. I really believe He met me there and took over. I was really blessed getting to meet so many that have been praying for us and all of their encouragement afterwards. Very special.

We got home yesterday around 5:30pm and I had bible study at 6:00! It was a bit crazy getting everything inside and then quickly scarfing down some food before heading back out. All was good though and I enjoyed being in the presence of some amazing godly women.

Today was back to the daily living in the Darling house. I had a moment of um…not panic but something like that mixed in with confusion. We had no milk in the house and Cale has only wanted cereal lately. I was also out of Ensure which sometimes I use the vanilla Ensure as milk. I found a couple packets of flavored oatmeal (we were also short on time!) that I heated up. At first he said, “Eh. What is this?” when I told him it was oatmeal and that he’s eaten it before he said, “I disagree.” I just let the words hang out and I joined him to eat. After a few minutes he picked up his spoon and ate! Success! He even ate more than usual while we were away this weekend? Appetite coming back…I hope so!

It was also a huge day in therapy! On Friday his OT talked with me about starting trials of him being alone at home for short periods again. Ahh! This just makes me so nervous. Especially since there have been a couple things that have happened lately that haven’t helped. As much as I fear this new idea I also have to remind myself that God is with Him even when I am not. If this is going to be something that gives him a push in the right direction then I don’t want to stand in the way…I also want to be wise! We did 30 minutes today. Before the RS left she had taken him to McDonalds, so the whole time he was by himself he was at the table eating. I’m not sure if that was the best way to trial him home alone, but at least he did great with it! He didn’t seem nervous or uneasy about it at all-that would just be me! ;) We’re trialing again tomorrow, so we’ll see!

The wind has come and the leaves have fallen. It’s beautiful! Our ramp was covered in them along with our deck! I didn’t touch the deck yet, but I at least had Cale help me rake up and bag the leaves off the ramp. I was about to clean all of them up, but the ones along the ramp and around our pumpkins were too pretty!

“When do I get to go home?” was the question that was asked several times today. It hasn’t been as often as it was even just a couple months ago, but today it came.

Yesterday all of our belongings that we had packed up in December 2008 right before Cale deployed for the second time, arrived. We for now have it in a storage unit and will slowly work our way through everything. After almost three years of not seeing our things and being filled with each memory, you would think I would be excited and bubbling over with anticipation to have what would feel like an early Christmas…but, I’m not. There is this tornado that has started forming in my gut and every time I think of looking at and going through all of the stuff, I feel like I may just end up in Oz. That’s the part of me that doesn’t want to ever see any of it again. So much has changed and so much of it is filled with memories that I want to hold onto so tightly and at the same time wouldn’t mind if they were taken with the Tri-City wind storms.

It’s gonna be hard. I think the hardest part might just be all of this thinking about it, but either way It’s been a long time and seems like a whole different life, different people, different. Especially on days like today when my husband forgets he’s married and asks to go home again with his mom, brother, and sister.

Rachel reminded me I just need to have fun with it and that’s what I’m going to try to do. Maybe seeing some of it will trigger memory? That’s what I always hope for! :)

We sang a song at church yesterday and one of the lines said, “We will go forth in grace alone” I love LOVE this! In moments where I have to look a challenge in the face and can’t turn around, it’s by God’s grace alone that I’m able to move one foot in front of the other and keep going. Wow…I could go on and on about that line.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

If you think about it, pray for Cale tomorrow while we’re trialing him at home again…eeeek!

Friday, November 11, 2011 hear HIS voice.

Happy Veteran's Day!!!
to my veteran and to all of you who have at some point served our country. We are so thankful for you!

Mama suggested we have lunch at Applebee's because they were having free meals for veterans. We ended up eating kind of late because Cale had therapy until noon and then I had a conference call with his therapy team at 12:15. After eating his steak (and we had to get dessert!) he asked how much his food was when I was paying the bill. I told him his was free and he said, "Really? Seriously? Why?" I told him why and he replied by saying, "Wow. I'm a hero." :) I'm not sure if you remember reading my post last year on Veteran's day, but I had to agree...He's a hero. My hero. Click here to read my post from last year!

We're leaving this afternoon (as soon as I finish this post!) to go to Mike and Rachel's house for the weekend! I'm super excited!!! They've come here to visit us, but we've only gone once to visit them and that was only for a day. Also, please be praying...I'm speaking at their church on Sunday. I'm really excited for this too! I think it's so amazing that I have anything to say about what's happened. Isn't it amazing? I get to share about ALL that the Lord has done in our lives and how He's blessed us...and it all deals with a terrible car accident. I know I've written before, but I have that whole babbling issue and I'd like it to um...not show up! :)

Before I finish I wanted to share something from my quite time the other day. I wrote it out and it's been on my heart since. It's kind of off the Veteran's Day stuff, but I think it's still important...

As I'm sitting here doing my quiet time, I'm thinking about peace. What is it really? I then think of the song, Heart of Worship. The first part of it says,

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart

That is such a well-known song in the "worship" world, but how many of us really come to that place? It's so powerful. That's a time when the chaos around us swarms but in the midst of it, we're trusting (Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. -Philippians 4:6). The lessons of trust that He gives us are intertwined with difficulties, but the benefits far out way the cost.
When we can truly trust, we experience peace (You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! -Isaiah 26:3) which is a limitless gift that is beyond our circumstances.
A result of experiencing true peace is that we can hear His voice (The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” -John 10:3-5) and then we follow Him. We don't stray away from Him because we know (You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. -1 Peter 1:8-9) Him.

Peace seems to be every where a book I'm reading, my devotional, scripture that I've been reading, songs, movies, and then of course all the Christmas decorations coming out.

Have you ever experienced true peace? Have you ever needed it? Thought about it?

We have a lot harder time hearing His voice and confusing it with the worlds when we're not allowing peace to rule our hearts.

I have more thoughts to share about this topic, but we need to hit the road! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life just keeps a going on!

Tuesday morning after Cale woke up; there wasn’t much time before his therapy. The RS came for 4 hours so that gave me time to go grocery shopping with Mama. When I came back, my plan was to get done a whole bunch of “stuff” that was on my list, but Cale didn’t want me out of his sight! I ended up having the RS leave an hour early and just spent time with him. I knew that since I had gotten back so late Monday night, we hadn’t had much time together.

I always love the times everything slows down and we get to relax and cuddle in the middle of the day. The list is still there waiting, but some days it just needs to be set aside.

Tuesday night we continued the cuddling and watched a Red Wings game together. They started good, went through a rough patch, but are hopefully back in the game. Cale always ends up being a happier man when they win! :)

Wednesday was game day. We played Crazy 8’s, Sorry, Solitaire, Memory, and Skip-Bo. PT was cancelled last night so I tried to get him on the elliptical. I’m not sure if he was extra tired or not, but he didn’t even last 10 minutes! Thankfully he at least did some for me. Before we started all the games, Cale entertained himself for almost an hour! This gave me time to get some much needed deep cleaning done. I keep the house picked up, but it’s hard to get the under the surface stuff done. In our room it became all of it! It felt good to get some of it out of the way.

This morning we went to one of the elementary schools in the area for a Veterans Day assembly. It was so cute and very sweet. They called out each branch of the military and recognized all the veterans. Cale smiled really big when they called out Army and he stood. He’s a man that likes people clapping for him! :)

He also had speech…I mixed up the schedule so Doreen actually had come about 30 minutes before the ceremony. They were able to work on spelling words before we needed to go. Since it was such a short time, Doreen just came with us!

Cale also had OT this afternoon and did so great! I had gone to lunch with Mama and Janis, so I missed out on his session, but when I came back there was a good report.

This is kind of a quick update, so I’ll have to add on my thoughts another time. Cale is having a hard moment so I have to finish up!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A weekend full of words…yet, I was speechless.

I’m going to go kind of out of order about the weekend because all of it was great, but one part stands out above the rest in the way it affected me.

On Sunday after the workshop, all 40 of us women loaded into our shuttle bus and drove to the spot that changed America. We first went to the WTC visitor center. When we first walked in, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t take long for heart sinking images to bring tears rushing to the front lines. There is a wall at the beginning that is covered with faces of people that were never found. As I walked along the wall, all I could do is pray for all of their families.

The anvil sitting in my stomach stayed for a couple hours. The images, the faces of the lost, and the words of the survivors; all of it as so heavy…so real. To add to the emotion of it all I was walking around with mothers and wives that had been so greatly impacted by what happened that day as many of us have sent our men over to fight the war and most of them came home another man.

Right after we all headed to the WTC site, and in another way were able to be brought to reality of what was and what is today. The fountains they built are beautiful. When I had walked out of the visitor center, I couldn’t say anything…what do you say? The same thing happened when I stood looking into a fountain that was so beautiful after being such an ugly dreadful mass of despair. Before leaving one of the other wives and I stopped and prayed for all of the families that had lost someone, for all the people that have been directly affected, and for God and all of His glory to be seen through it all.

When Cale had surprised me one year for my birthday to watch the ball drop, we had gone to the site and prayed for all the families just like I prayed last night. So many lives changed so quickly…I’m still moved by the emotion that filled the area.

Backing up…

The flight over was filled with adventures like many of my days are. My flight from Pasco landed in Salt Lake at 7:55am and my next flight started boarding at 7:50! The announcement was made that there were tight connections, but of course hardly anyone pays attention. I kept telling myself not to get worked up and that everything was going to be fine. I prayed that the Lord would cover me in His peace even when my flesh wanted to panic. As soon as I figured out what gate I needed to be at and how far it was away, with my pink converse and flower covered carryon, I bolted. My little legs ran as quickly as I could get them to move! I flew past people and when I arrived at the gate, my heart was pumping hard and fast all to find out that they were still boarding first class. I stood waiting for 15 minutes all the while people that I had just zoomed by (like a crazy person) strolled up to wait with me. Uh…haha!

The shuttle that picked me up was a whole other story! I was on it for 3.5 hours and at some point during the ride I turned into a person from Europe instead of Washington. This weekend there was a marathon going on in the city. Our shuttle was full of foreigners that had come to partake in the pain and excitement of running for hours. The two kind ladies next to me were from Ireland, but even before I found out where they were from, I became mesmerized by their accent. I couldn’t help but soak up the sound of each word…yes, I really am that pathetic when it comes to accents! I have been known to walk around with my best made up copycat accent after watching movies like Pride and Prejudice. This time ended up being not much different. After some confusion of the pricing, the lady right next to me asked a question and when I opened my mouth to speak, it wasn’t my voice…it was (my guess) a mix of a few countries. I was talking with a fake accent! As I was realizing what was happening, I couldn’t get myself to stop and it was really hard to not laugh hysterically! Oh man. Don’t worry the rest of the ride was great and um…my normal voice came back. :)

I’m sure I could go into a lot of detail about the weekend as a whole, but that in itself could turn into a book! This weekend was so good for me. I needed it in more ways than I can count. My heart was worked on in ways that I wasn’t expecting. I was humbled and encouraged. The ladies that I spent time with each have their own story and as I listened to each of them throughout the weekend I was continually reminded how blessed I am. PTSD is something that I am so thankful we are not walking through.

I had a few opportunities to share about the power of prayer and how God has been my rock and strength to make it through every day. At one point after sharing a little piece of our story, one of our mentors said, “and look at you, you’re not devastated. You’re one of the most cheerful people I know.” All I can say is it’s directly because the joy of the Lord and knowing that His grace IS sufficient!

I was challenged and reminded that the journey Cale and I are walking is one that God chose for us. We wouldn’t have chosen it, but He did when He created us. He’s written a story that needs to be shared because it brings glory to His name. The more that I saw and met women that are hurting so much and walking in discouragement and pain, the more I wanted to be even a sliver of encouragement to them! I have no idea all the ways the Lord is already using us and all that He has planned, but if the love story that He so perfectly knitted together is one that will bring hope to the hurting, then I can claim nothing less than being truly blessed.

As far as writing…

I received this text from Rachel during my flights on Friday, “Hey! So you made it off? Keep me posted today. I’m praying for you…that God would use you in the lives of women, and that you might learn something about writing in the meantime as well. :) I was thinking about how you’re feeling a little bit discouraged about the writing. You’re first priority is as a daughter of the King. You’re second is to be an awesome wife. Writing is somewhere further down the line. You’re succeeding at the first 2, so I wouldn’t worry about not having much written yet. It will come! Love you! Have fun this weekend!”

I needed that text. I needed the reminder.

Writing is tough work and especially since I’m not trained in any kind of way that makes it seem even more like a somewhat crazy idea for me to attempt. If I’m keeping my priorities straight, and living as a daughter of the king, then everything after that will line up.

I was nervous to show what I have at this point and hesitant to share for fear of the changes that would need to be made, but with the encouragement of our mentors and the ladies in my group, I feel so excited!!! The hard work is about to begin and that’s going to mean changes in my day, but I know in the end, it’s gonna be worth it.

The weekend was a complete blessing. The Wounded Warrior Project paid for the flights, really nice hotel, and ALL of the food. The mentors were writers from books to TV shows. They’ve all won awards and prizes and were still willing to sit and help us become writers. Wow. It was all such a blessing!

I have more pictures from the trip coming, but my point and shoot isn’t great so one of the other gals snapped a bunch!

As for getting home, right as the plane was getting ready to take off; they powered down and took us back to the terminal. There was a mechanical issue which caused me to miss my connecting flight…which meant getting home about 5 hours later. I love traveling and all the adventures that go with it, but tonight was our bible study and I felt terrible for having to miss it AND have them switch plans. Other than that, it’s given me some time to write some of this and eat some chocolate. :)

This is my happy place…

Home with my Boy. My man. My love.