Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Cale’s Surgery



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/01/321blast-off.html

Left Palo Alto



Seattle



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-dayand-again-tomorrow.html

Trip to NC



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/03/flightlots-of-adventures-and-now-nc.html

HOME!!!!!!!!



Back to Seattle-Radiation



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/05/crossing-bridge.html

Cale’s 25th Birthday



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/09/birthday-party.html

San Diego



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/09/birthday-and-surfing.html

NY



http://caledarling.blogspot.com/2011/10/our-trip-so-far.html

These are just a few highlights of the year...there are so many! Too many to count! God has blessed us beyond what we could have ever imagined or planned ourselves. Thank you for being a part of our journey...our life...our story. We are so thankful for you!

I KNOW this next year is going to be GREAT! I can't wait to see all the richness that will come because we belong to Jesus. He is the recipe for great richness!

Happy New Year from The Darling's! :o)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ended up being about my thoughts...

After my last post I told myself that I really wanted to try to get back to posting more often…maybe not daily, but close. The blog started as a way to keep all of you updated on Cale’s progress, but when all of our friends and family went back home and it was just me to update, I didn’t have it in me to write just for “you” I needed an outlet and that started me writing for “me” in a not mean and selfish way. It became the tool that I started to use to help me process and dump everything I was feeling; good or bad. It’s become a blessing and a way that I’ve been able to be reminded of very specific moments because I had recorded in more detail of all the changes that were taking place in Cale.

Well, lately taking and finding the time to write has been a challenge. No longer can I go back to a room alone at night and pour everything out. I now (YAY!) get to cuddle in bed with my sweet husband until sleep overtakes us. During the day, I can’t just sit in a hospital room while my husband lays next to me unaware of all of his surroundings because he’s home! And our home needs to be taken care of. It’s just been one of the things that haven’t been priority lately-and that is OK! I still miss getting to capture all of the daily details, but I’d much rather be busy with home stuff and my husband then being in a hospital!!

Cale had done a week trial working at church. He says that his work is dumb stuff, but he went all that week and worked hard to finish everything. On Wednesday he picked up his pay from church and with an excited face he opened the envelope to pull out his earnings. I asked how much and he counted to make sure it was all there which was $81. “How much do I get?” was my second question. Cale looked down at his money and handed me the one dollar bill. Ha! It was hilarious! After that he did say that I could have all of it or as much as I wanted because I work so hard too. Then of course after the laughter that Doreen, Mama, and I just had we then all said together, “Aww!” He is so sweet!

Since we’ve been back home, I still-STILL have not organized and filed all of the paperwork that has been in stacks all over the house. I had stacks in drawers, on our desk, in a box, and many more random places. Some of it is really important documents that I need now to finish up Cale getting out of the Army and transitioning to VA, but I haven’t been able to find it. Uh…what stack is it in?! So…my mission became getting organized and Mama jumped on board. We worked some on Tuesday and then spent a good chunk on Wednesday filing and throwing out junk papers. Wow. It’s been somewhat of a mess, but we’re getting it done!

When the accident happened, we were on a search for the POA I had while Cale was deployed. I knew that it would have still been good and I knew I had it somewhere, but wasn’t sure where it would have been. The Army said they needed it, the hospital asked about it, but since we searched (everywhere!) with no luck to find it, I had to do the temporary guardianship at one point. Things smoothed out, BUT the guardianship thing was a nightmare and one of the worst moments since the accident and life would have been a lot smoother if that wouldn’t have had to take place. I was completely stumped as to where it could be. Mama was going through papers and handed me a POA. The one we have now is in our lock box so I looked it over closer and it was the POA that I had needed! It was from his deployment in 2009 and expires this month! Oh man. I have no idea where it came from or how it got in the folder it was in, but there it was…maybe I needed to go through and experience what I had without it? Yikes.

I also looked through the little file box I had started in NC while Cale was inpatient at Pitt and found a folder I had created that read, “Things to do when Cale wakes up.” This got me. Sigh. He never just woke up like we so hoped for in those early days…there is still fog.

I wish there was a way for me to get my whole mind to see all the blessings and how great things are with him. Life with him, even though not what we had planned or ever thought, is still so wonderful because we’re together. He does have daily anger explosions, which come in many forms. Some all I can do is laugh like the other night when the Wings had started the game behind. Cale had gotten so mad he was stomping and throwing pillows and Basil’s toy. I turned my head because of my laughter and Mama watching the whole thing knowing if she laughed or if he saw me laughing it would make it worse, so she asked me questions to get my mind off of the fit. He calmed and the Wings ended up winning! Other times I can’t laugh because I feel so sad for him, so sad he has to go through this. His overall mood is fun and sweet and that’s what makes this last month a lot less challenging than the month before that. His explosions become energy zappers for me, but we’ve learned and have been able to work through them until they pass. It’s not always “easy” but we do it, we get through and move on to the next emotion.

Most days I can be totally fine and understand the work the Lord has done through all of this and the (many) blessings that have been poured on us, but it takes just a second to think about how much I miss him, how much has changed, how different our life looks, seeing his handwriting, reading a letter, thinking of one of his quirks…and the tears come, the pain burns, and the hurt is thick.

I try to remind myself in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 it says, For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.[a] 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

This is not our home and Cale will be free of TBI one day. In verse 9 it says, So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. Yes, our goal is to please him. I was talking with Rachel last Friday about how it still seems unbelievable that the accident happened. We both were saying when we really let ourselves think about it, it seems so unreal. I was telling her about how sometimes it feels as though Cale died when we were in the car that day. It may seem terrible to say that, but even with some of his similar humor coming out, he’s a different man. I think about some of the people that have died in the last year and how they’re dancing with Jesus, but I can’t say that about Cale. I can’t say that he’s experiencing no more pain, no more hurt, because he is. He still is. I love that he’s still here with me, I’m not saying I don't, but I do miss him so much. I’ve heard many times that time heals wounds, but what I find with this wound is that sometimes it feels like it never closes up and time is like someone keeps drenching it with Hydrogen Peroxide. It burns.

I long for heaven when my man will be whole. I long so badly to see, to hold, and to kiss my husband that I had before TBI became a part of our lives.

Until then, I’m going to be thankful for the new fresh love that the Lord has made possible for my Boy who does live with a TBI and for the many ways that we are so blessed for the marriage that we still have and for how amazing it is to have a home with him and have thoughts of starting a family…

God is good.

I got sidetracked. Oops.

Yesterday while Cale was in Speech, I was able to get away and have lunch with two ladies that I love. Brandi and her mom Terri have been in my life for many many years and since the accident have been an amazing support and encouragement. Terri has sent emails, commented on the blog, sent cards, come to visit. She’s a blessing.


After lunch I went across the street to the mall to return and exchange a few of our Christmas gifts. I had bought Cale a pair of shoes that I loved and hoped that he would love. On Christmas he did tell me that the shoes he was wearing were better than the ones I bought, but last night after getting the right size (He wears an 11 in shoe, but needed a 10 in this brand.) he liked them more. I have a feeling his opinions of them are going to change with his mood! :o) He had also given me a gift card for the same place and since they were having a sale, I decided to look around. After picking out two items, I (without the help of my husband!) managed to embarrass myself…yet again! The guy that helped me with Cale’s shoes very nicely came over to see if I needed help with anything and without thinking before speaking I asked, “Do I need your help to try these on?” By the look on his face…I knew I had mixed up my words and then quickly tried to cover up, “Uh, I mean, um, do I need the, um, key for the room?” Oh my goodness. With weird look still printed on his face and mine completely red, I followed to the dressing room while wondering if I should just bolt.

Here’s another good laugh…



I love this song.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our 4 days of Christmas…and other stuff.

Here is everything once again in a nutshell…

We had a visit to the doctors on Wednesday to get his leg checked out. After having his doc look at it, he sent us over to get an x-ray done. Cale managed to humiliate me in the waiting room…funny story. Ask me sometime about it.

We were being goofy while the guy was prepping Cale for each x-ray. At one point he put this pad like thing over part of Cale’s leg. It was a smaller size and had straps hanging from every side of it. The guy had left the room and I asked Cale what the pad was. Cale quickly stuck it on his head and said, “A hat!” he left it there until the guy walked back in the room!




On Thursday night we had Christmas with my mom’s best friend and her family. One of the traditions with them and then with Cale is making graham cracker candy houses. Last year we were at the hospital and they used the gingerbread kits, but it was almost the same feeling. ;o) It was fun this year…but so very different then all our years past. Reality check #1.





On Friday we spent most of the day with Mike, Rachel, and Mike’s brother Heath. Rachel and I had been really missing each other and a girl day together. We first all exchanged gifts and then headed out for lunch. After getting our bellies full to the brim of yummy Red Robin goodness, we then put of our Christmas finest (heehee!) and had our picture taken with Santa!


Oh yeah. It was awesome. We spent the rest of the day having fun, laughing, being lazy, and of course….eating more!

Saturday morning after getting up, I worked out so that when I stuffed my face with a whole bunch of goodies I wouldn’t feel so bad. And that’s exactly what happened! Once all of us were up and going, we had our little Christmas with Mama. She spent Christmas with her best friend and we spent it with Cale’s family, so our gift opening came early. Cale had fun opening gifts…and so did I! :o) He was really sweet with the gifts he picked out. Right after we finished, we (sort of) cleaned everything up and then we went to his mom’s house to exchange gifts with his sister. It was the only time we were going to get to see her and the kiddos. It wasn’t too long before we were off again to our Christmas Eve service at church. This is always one of my favorite parts of celebrating Christmas every year. Our night didn’t stop after the service…we then headed to a Christmas party that Cale’s extended family has every year. It was a lot of fun and even though it was a crazy busy day and there was a lot of noise, Cale did great! We had to leave suddenly when I saw the mood go south, but for the most part it was a GREAT day! At one point while we were sitting around our table, I looked around the room and the memories of the first time we had gone to the party together flooded my heart. Reality check #2.

Christmas morning we slept in until it was just about time for me to wake up. When I walked in the kitchen, Mama was up making pancakes! Yum! I’m totally ok with starting my morning with a stack of fluffy goodness. My sister and her family showed up and we all went to church together. We exchanged gifts with them after church and then Cale and I were out the door…again! We went back to his mom’s house for Christmas dinner with his family. His brother Ty and his family were also here visiting which made everything extra fun. Before food was served, Cale was bored and reaching max of just hearing all the noise around him. I led him to the dining room and started a game of Crazy 8’s with him while I listened to all the talking and business in the other room. Reality check #3.

This time the tears came. Things are different. Last year we were in the hospital and every part of our lives was different. It wasn’t a natural living circumstance, but now we’re home. Now is when reality every day hits. When I am just sitting in a room alone with my husband playing cards, unable to visit with everyone because my husband can’t handle it, when normally he would have been out there being the jokester is hard. I wasn’t expecting it to be an emotional day. I wasn’t expecting to miss him so much this last week…but I did. I missed him so badly that it hurt.

Nikki came in and joined our game. She gave me a sweet understanding smile which somehow helped smooth out my rocky emotions. I’m not sure if my tears are what triggered my allergy’s to act up (is that possible?) but shortly after we ate, my nose went bonkers! I was dripping from the eyes and the nose and it wasn’t from crying! I was sneezing over and over and suddenly all I wanted was a pillow. I tried to keep having fun and visiting because…well, it was Christmas!

We ate, played games, and watched a movie. It was very late before we made it home and I was TIRED! Cale always needs some transition time before he can go to bed at night so we were up until about 1am. If there was nothing going on yesterday it wouldn’t have been so bad but he had therapy at 11! My alarm went off at 6am, 6:30, 7am, and then I finally turned it off…but then fell back asleep! I heard Mama come home at 10 and jumped out of bed! Yikes! The whole day zoomed by and I felt behind on everything. I didn’t get much done, but I guess after all of our excitement I needed time to recover and so did Cale!

Randoms…

Cale started telling me his leg was hurting again except this time it was in a different spot. I took a look and found a weird something. Not sure if it’s a bite or what it is, but it is a little infected. It’s really bothering him and after a call to the doctor, we’re supposed to wait a couple days before bringing him in. Another thing? Really?! Poor guy…

The new program I had mentioned a couple weeks ago for Cale has kind of started. Not exactly, but we’ve started a trial for part of it. It’s an independent program that will hopefully help him to feel like he’s the man of the house again. One part of the program is getting him to “work” again. We wanted to find something that he could do that he would be able to tolerate. Also, something that would work with him having someone right there to help him and that we could fake his pay. We had a meeting with our Pastor at church about the possibilities and he jumped on board right away willing to do whatever was needed. He may think differently after all that’s involved, but at least for now he’s game! :o)

We’ve done just 1 hour trials and so far he’s been doing so good with it! So far we've come up with a few jobs for him like stuffing bulletins and fixing all the stuff in the pews. His therapists helped me come up with a plan as far as how much he’s going to get paid and a simple budget for him. I’m going to give our Pastor the cash every 2 weeks and he’s going to put it in an envelope for Cale to pick up and then Cale will have I think we decided 4 envelopes to divide his pay into. One of them is a baby fund!

We’re not having to spend more of our income because what he’s getting out of our account is going right back in and he’s getting to feel like he’s helping! We haven’t started the budgeting and actual schedule until after the first of the year…so we’ll see!

On Tuesday his mom was over visiting and had asked what he had done that day. Normally his response is that he doesn’t remember or doesn’t know, but last week he was able to give her some details!!!!! He told her how he worked at church and a few specific tasks he had done! WOW!!!! This is so HUGE!!!! It’s such a big deal that he was able to remember and give detail! Yeah!!!! No help either because she didn’t know. When I came into the room later to tell her about his day, he had already told her! Praise God! He hasn’t been able to do it since that night, but once it happens, it opens up the gateway! So super exciting!!!

While we were at the mall with Mike and Rachel, Cale walked without his cane the entire time AND just walked around. He doesn’t have a perfect walk and he can’t always keep up, but he tried so hard to walk all by himself and be cool like the guys. Rachel and I had a blast watching him try so hard. It made me so proud of him because he worked so hard.

His new favorite phrase is “Golly gee willikers” thanks to Mama. She said it one day while playing a game of Crazy 8’s and he has been saying it ever since!

I've been spending quite a bit of time with this little guy...and he's been melting my heart! I'm a mush!


Today he had a really great speech session. Doreen did a lot of word stuff with him and he didn’t just get through the session, but he really works hard and keeps going. At one point she had him try to make a list of pets and he said, “Ostrich.” And then he laughed really hard. Haha!

The tears did come, the emotions were high strung, and I had my reality checks, BUT even with all that stuff dished on the side, the main course is incredible. I have my husband home with me-NOT in a hospital, and we spent some amazing time with family. Cale is continuing to heal and make progress and every night I get to fall asleep with him.

This girl…




...LOVES!


This boy…




I hope you all had a very special Christmas just like we were blessed with!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One of those good kind of dreams...

Right before waking up this morning I was having a dream that Cale and I were attending some kind of worship conference. There was a little prayer time before the music started. Cale was sitting in front of me and when everyone stood to sing he turned to me and said, “All of my wishes are going to come true!” He had a great big smile and had to repeat a couple times for it to all come out clear. I asked him what wishes he was talking about and because of the music playing, he wasn’t able to focus enough to get the words out. He grabbed a paper and pen then wrote out “I will have a full life.” My heart started to pound and was followed by sobbing; all I could do was stare at the paper. When I was able to lift my head and look back into his face, he was still wearing a great big smile. We grabbed onto each other and started to pray.

This tender beautiful dream was broken by the blaring sound of Worth it All by Rita Springer on my alarm. I hit dismiss and tried so hard to get back to my dream, back to Cale telling me what God had shared with him during that sweet prayer time…

Man. What a way to start a day huh?

On Sunday afternoon I was tired and really the only thing I was thinking about was taking a nap. The problem is that I’m one of those people that if I take a nap, I usually wake up feeling worse and I then have trouble sleeping that night. There is always a lot to do around here, so I got to work.


Tonight there’s a cookie exchange here at my house and I wasn’t going to make or do a whole lot of decorating because my house is already pretty festive, but I did want to add a few small touches. At first when I started making the garland, Cale was playing Xbox and he also needed a Sunday afternoon nap, but he was refusing as well. After a little while he had gotten up and went to the room. It’s been a grumpy last few days because of the pain in his knee. I let him go and figured he was going to sleep. I kept on working and had moved onto another little project at this point. I needed something out of our spare room and while I was walking down the hall, I could tell Cale wasn’t sleeping, but what was he doing?


While I was being crafty, Cale was busy taking out all of his clothes out of his dresser! He just threw them on the bed. When I asked what he was doing he said, “I’m looking for something else to wear.” Uh…haha!

A couple hours later it was time for all of us to head to the Christmas program at church. Again, it’s been a grumpy last few days and I wasn’t sure what would be unleashed to everyone. Cale actually did very well. He was bored for most of it, but I was able to smile and refocus his attention to the music. Every time a song would come on that he knew, he would sing loudly right along with the performers! :)

Yesterday I was busy at church helping with a Giving Tree our church is doing. September is leading it this year and put me to work! Haha! As I was sorting, wrapping, and tagging all the presents, I couldn’t help but think about all the excited faces of all the children that were going to be receiving a gift. It's fun getting to be an elf!

Please be praying for Cale’s knee. The pain has gotten worse and he’s having a really hard time! I was able to get an appointment with the doc tomorrow morning. Poor guy!

I wanted to share a picture that WAS taken (thank you Becky!) of us dancing at the wedding! This was right before or after Cale had turned me…

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here and There...This and That!

We're gonna take this day by day to get it all out! :)

Wednesday-

Cale’s OT brought a Whac-a-mole game to help work with hand-eye coordination. It’s been not only a “therapy tool” but also another thing fun for us to play together. It’s so interesting to see the difference between Cale’s left hand and right hand. After we played for a little bit, Cale said, “My left hand is faster and my right hand is stronger!” I sent his OT a text to tell her and she said he’s exactly right! His left hand is significantly more coordinated and his right hand has been gaining an incredible amount of strength. What was so fascinating about his statement was him being aware of the difference! That’s not a consistent thought pattern for him, but it is a break through! I took two videos for you to see the difference between the two…

Left hand...



Right hand...



All of you should know that Cale said “Hi” should be said with a high voice. “Hello” should be said with a low voice and “Hey” should be said with a medium voice. In case you have always wondered…

While we were lying in bed, I had been told that something had happened at Ft. Lewis. I did some investigating and found out there had been a chopper crash. My heart sunk. The soldiers that were killed had families…families that will have a whole different kind of Christmas than I know we’ll be enjoying. The community seems to have stepped up to the plate of supporting them, but nothing that can be given brings they’re soldier home. If you think of it, can you be praying for them? Not just them, but for all our military. There are still so many deployed that won’t be able to spend Christmas with their families. After watching the video of the crash online and reading about the soldiers that died, Cale said very quietly and clearly, “I’m sad for them. I’m so sad for them.”

Thursday-

On Thursday morning Cale was walking to the fridge to get milk. We have a smaller container I pour milk into that is easier for him to handle, but also makes it to where he has no idea he’s getting Almond milk. We’ve been trying to set things up and working on him being able to get his own bowl of cereal. Right now he’s still needing several cues, but he’s getting there! On his way to the fridge he said his leg hurt and as of today it still hurts him! It’s gotten worse rather than better. We thought it was most likely the metal rod that runs through his leg bothering him because of the weather change, but today he has been saying it’s when he bends and straightens it. I’ve been keeping a watch on it and will figure out if we need to have x-rays done. It’s made things a bit rough because it hurts and is bothering him, but he isn’t able to process that something is bothering him and what it is…so his mood goes downhill. Extra hugs and kisses are going his way to try to help ease the nerves!

Mama was asked to bake a pie for a wedding. We wanted the pie to be perfect so we made a couple before the real deal was baked. The first one was a flop, but I of course still enjoyed two pieces! We baked the second attempt on Thursday and this time it was a team effort! Cale was even willing to wear an apron for me! He didn’t love it…but he did it!

The man at work…




We messed up and had to restart!


A crust in the making!


The lovely team…


The pie turned out p.e.r.f.e.c.t. My taste buds were doing the happy dance and all was right in the Darling house!

While the pie was baking, a couple visitors stopped by with a couple sweet surprises! Dan had gone to Detroit for work and brought Cale a Datsyuk plaque! He lit up and was so happy! They also brought a pair of Red Wing’s earrings for the wife and a little bear that is wearing a Red Wing’s sweater. So sweet! We are so thankful that they thought of us and gifted us with such special things!


Several times a week we have a crazy chasing match in the Darling home. Cale usually starts it by getting Basil all worked up and then when he throws his toy I grab it and run. We always laugh and laugh and all three of us seem to bond more and more every time. It’s a blast. I wanted to share this excitement even though it may not be as exciting to you…ask anytime you’re over and we'll show you in person! Haha! ;)



That night the Red Wings played the Predators and lost. It was a pretty close game and in the third period the Predators had scored a goal tying it up and then made a second goal to win. Cale was so mad! I suggested a game of Whac-a-Mole to get some frustration out and he ended up getting 60 with his left hand! Record!!! His stress and frustrations caused the right hand to struggle even more, but super impressed with his left hand!

I was able to get him cheered up so he didn’t head for bed wanting to kill anyone. Once the lights were out and we were cuddled up, I started sharing stories from after the accident with him. It started with me feeling his scars and then I made a comment about one. He asked about them and we went over our frequent car accident conversation. This time I shared all the really funny stories of how he would somehow always get out of his mits and wrist restraints. I told him about how he used to be really sneaky and try to pull out his tubes and his successes! I told him about how he would try to take every ones rings off. How he was nicknamed Houdini and many more hilarious moments with him even when he was in a coma! He laughed the hardest I’ve heard in 2 years! I was laughing so hard my sides hurt and he kept saying, “I’m funny!” It was such a beautiful time and reminded me how there is so much good even in the bad situation. By God’s grace there is laughter through the pain. He cracks me up!

Friday-

My day started as many of my days do; in the Word. I read Psalm 139 which is a passage I’ve read time after time growing up. This time it hit a whole new area in my heart that seemed to bring refreshment to my day. There was a line in my devotional Jesus Calling that said, “Rejoice in the one who understands you completely and loves you perfectly.” After the accident one of my thoughts has been how I miss and how sad it is that Cale doesn’t know me anymore. He knows who I am (most days!) and he knows some little facts (sometimes!) about me, but before he actually knew me so well. He knew if something off with me instantly. He knew what I thought about things and knew what I wanted to say sometimes but wouldn’t. He knew my dreams and he knew my fears. I had a panic moment one day in ICU after being told that the doctors were unable to promise if he would remember me when he came out of his coma. What?! He’s the only person that knows me completely. The thought left me feeling really lonely even though I was surrounded by people that love me.


I was reminded after my quiet time that my Father knows me so much deeper than Cale ever could have. My heart is so full with the reminder!

GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in! Psalm 139:1-4 (The Message)

The afternoon brought some super-duper excitement for Cale! A very sweet couple we had met in September at the Summer Sports Clinic decided to send a mega gift. They live in Michigan and were able to get a Datsyuk jersey signed for Cale!!!!!!! They even sent the marker he used to sign it with! Haha! Cale was tired because it was right after therapy, but he carried it around with him all day! It was adorable watching him and listening to him through the evening about how he had a jersey!

Opening Package...



More excitment...



Friday night we went to a Christmas party. We were supposed to go to one last weekend, but since I was sick we didn’t make it. I was excited to get to one! Cale was having a rough time before we went, but a stop to Mickey D’s and getting him filled with nuggets seemed to do the trick. It was a mix of people I knew and some I didn’t know. I normally would have gone around mingling more and introducing myself, but I had this giant zit on my chin that made me…well, self-conscious. I tried to cover it with some good ol’ makeup before going, but all I could think was how it had to be shining through. Dumb. About the time we were leaving, two ladies came up and introduced themselves and let me know they had been following our story. They were incredibly sweet and so encouraging! I was blessed once again and it was only a couple minutes talking with them. When I left I was thinking about how if only I would have ignored my insecurities I would have been able to meet them a lot sooner and would have been able to enjoy their company for longer! A coffee date will have to happen! :)

Saturday-

This morning Joe and Beth came over for breakfast. We ate cinnamon rolls and played Candy Land! It was fun getting to visit and laugh together.

Once they were out the door we were too! Today was a very special wedding for one of my treasured friends. Jo Beth is a complete example of a godly woman. I admire her and love her so much. It was a beautiful wedding filled with very strong emotions. The reception was fun and decorated perfectly. Cale and I shared a dance which of course I loved! It was extra sweet because his leg was hurting so bad, but he still danced at least one with his wife. He even twirled me a couple times! I’m so sad because I have no pictures of it! I should have handed Mama my camera to snap a couple, but I didn’t even think about it. Darn. Well, I have no pictures of it, but I do have that one saved in my memory box!

Cale has had a hard night. He’s now playing hockey with Karson. It’s really sweet because he’s trying to teach him, but Karson being 3 isn’t picking up the game too quickly. He’s doing way better than I would be doing though!


That’s all for this week…the next week is going to be another full one! Praise God for all that is taking place! :)

My cute Basil...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mind on a Motorcycle Ride

I was up and going at 5:30 this morning. I started off with getting the animals situated and then sat down with my Bible. As my fingers flipped through the pages, I sat in awe of the power that is so real and alive even in that moment. Even now as I’m typing I’m getting goose bumps! You know those movies that have a scene and the pages light up when opened? It was like that without the lights. That made me realize how busy I’ve gotten myself with buying, making, and thinking about Christmas gifts and all the other “stuff” that goes along with the holidays and have been missing out on the why of the day that all of this preparation is for. I know I’m not completely missing the reason, but letting everything fill up my time in the mornings the last week rather than enjoying the Lords presence is just about missing it.

My whole time this morning was so intimate with Jesus. It felt so much like He was right next to me in person, giving me His full attention. There were such sweet words spoken between me and Him. The Bible isn’t completely all lovey dovey sweet stuff, but it is there…and warms my heart to the core.

When I was finished I did a few more things and then hopped on the elliptical. I’ve been trying to exercise, but I’m not very consistent yet! Anyways, part way through with my focus on the show I was watching and the fact that the time seemed to be going slow, all these words filled my thoughts. It was so random and thoughts that I don’t ignore, but also don’t dwell on. The show had nothing to do with my swirling thoughts so I knew it must be from the Lord. I ended my time early so that I could start typing everything before forgetting. While I was typing I had tears streaming down my cheeks and knew that this wasn’t just “Kathleen.”

After typing it all up I prayed over it asking the Lord to use it however He saw fit and for whatever hearts that needed to hear my personal put-away-in-a-closet thoughts.

I don’t normally do this, but before you continue reading would you pray? Would you just take a moment and pray that the Lord would soften your heart and that you would be open to how He might be trying to speak to you through what was written? It may not be anything for you, but maybe even pray for someone else that will read it?

Sometimes my mind jumps on a motorcycle and takes a ride of its own. It heads for the hills and the scenery that is so much resembles a pretty picture on a calendar. It’s not long before the ride hits a point of bumps and rock that cover the path…it becomes a time that I get so lost in all that I miss; all that has happened. It becomes like a wrong turn in the journey, a very lonely place where the hurt of all that has been taken away brings me to a dark place of reality in all that I’m living in. Cale doesn’t know every tear that has been shed. He has no idea the hurt; the wrenching pain that has so easily threatened to envelope me in its depths of despair. He has no idea the many things that I’ve had to sacrifice and the sleep that I’ve gone without or the hours spent surrendering every breath before the Lord because it was the only thing I could do. I think about the many families that I’ve met or heard about that also has a loved one with a brain injury and although I know they understand my daily battles on a level, I also think to myself there’s NO WAY they understand what I'M going through because they have no idea the marriage that WE had, the love that WE shared, or every memory that is so deeply etched and engraved in my mind and heart, but as every day passes, I feel as though I’m forgetting little by little the way things were, and the husband I had. The motorcycle ride at this point has become scary and I know my mind has gone too far and I long for the breeze. The sunset. The horizon.

No, Cale doesn’t know. He may never and I’m not sure that I’d want him to know. No, maybe there is no one that I will ever meet that can fully understand the waters that I tread through, but there IS someone that DOES know. His name is Jesus.

The sadness I experience when Cale doesn’t remember so many sweet, funny, precious moments that we’ve had together I’m reminded that although they’re no longer in his grasp to enjoy and cherish, the Lord knows EVERY single one. There’s not a moment that has passed that is not counted for in my Father’s memory. Not a moment that he forgets. Not a need or a longing that I’ve ever had that has gone forgotten. Not a spilt second of a time that God has not held me; carried me.

This morning I was graciously reminded of his love for me. How He delights in me. How the things of this world will pass away, but He is everlasting.


The last worship song that played this morning was Mended by Watermark. The words were beautiful and hit the mark. It was another added part of the amazingness.

Mended

You repair all that we have torn apart and
You unveil a new beginning in our hearts and
We stand grateful for all that has been left behind and
All that goes before us

Chorus:
You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
'Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to you
(to you, oh Lord, to you)

We will dance 'cause you restore the wasted years and
You will sing over all our coming fears and
We'll stand grateful for all that has been left behind and all that goes before us

-Chorus-

Bridge:
Lord, you mend the breech
And you break every fetter
You give us your best, but what we thought was better
And you are to be praised
You are to be praised (4x)

-Chorus-
(to you, oh Lord, mender of the broken)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Laughter…Ahhh such good medicine.

As the day went on yesterday I started to feel better. I took my hair matted self to the shower. When I looked in the mirror right before walking into the bathroom, my pj pants that I had been wearing since Thursday were tucked into my Christmas socks (that I had also been wearing since Thursday!). I looked…um, quite beautiful in an odd sort of way. Cale was the one that had used the word “beautiful” I know it had to be somewhat sarcastic! Half of my hair was matted to my head and the other half was sticking straight up!

I decided I wasn’t going to waste another day in bed, so I tackled some Christmas gifts and did some cleaning. It was all light duty stuff because I didn’t want to break open my intense muscles until I knew my sickish body could handle it.

Joe and Beth stopped by for a visit (thankfully it was post shower) which we always love. It felt so short, but so good to see their faces! Life gets busy and going and it’s just not as easy getting to see everyone! Joe and Cale had a meaningful good bye…


After dinner was eaten and dishes were washed, Mama, Cale, and I heated some water and enjoyed some hot chocolate that Marion (thank you Marion!) had sent as a Christmas goodie package. The three of us cuddled on the couch (with big ol’ Basil) and watched It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s one of our favorites! Cale isn’t too impressed anymore, but I know he watched it with me before his injury so I’m not giving him much of a choice on such a great happy classic.


I found this video on Youtube! Such a great scene!



I’ve been working with Cale on following step by step instructions without having to be prompted or reminded at each step. He was getting bored of the movie and his nails were getting long, so I asked if he could get the clippers in the top drawer in the bathroom. He said yes and then left to the bathroom. A couple minutes went by and Mama asked if he had forgotten what he went in for. I wanted to give him another minute and then ran in to check on him. What I found made me laugh…hysterically.

He had taken all of my headbands out of one of the drawers and placed each one on his head. The clippers had been forgotten!




I repeat from an earlier post…it never gets boring around here! :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The sick bug.

Ugg. I’ve gotten bit again. On Thursday I started to feel slightly off, but was pretty determined to NOT get sick. It’s been going around, circling all too close to me, but I didn’t want to have any part of it! Well, I woke up Friday morning and could hardly lift my head! I was able to sleep most of Friday and what did Cale do you ask? He played with his cards, Xbox, and rested with me. I felt so bad for him because at 4:30pm I realized he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast! He doesn’t quite have the initiation yet to let me know he’s hungry or to get anything himself. Poor guy!

He had speech yesterday morning and once again I was determined that I was going to wake up and be all better…right? Nope. I kept resetting my alarm and then finally it was time that I had to get him up and ready. I left his speech therapist a note that I was in bed, made sure Cale was all good to go and right before she showed up, I disappeared! I wasn’t able to sleep as much yesterday but I did stay in bed. Even though most days I day dream about a day spent in bed, when these days actually come, I get VERY bored! Especially since I have Christmas gifts to finish making and organizing to get back to!

But here I lay…for another day. There was a Christmas party we missed last night that I had been looking forward to and church this morning, and a 5k this weekend that I’m going to have to miss since instead of running this weekend I’ve been snuggled under covers.

I will feel better today and tomorrow will be a new day! :) I asked Cale last night in a very pathetic voice if he could take my cold away and make me feel better. Without hesitation he said, “Yes. I will kick it, choke it, punch it, strangle it, shoot it, suffocate it and kill it.” Well done my warrior! ;) I laughed really hard and then wondered how he was going to do all those things to my cold without doing them to me! Haha!

I’ve been watching Christmas movies on TV and by the amount of commercials there are for cold medicine, you can tell it’s that season!

What's your favorite Christmas movie? I have a ton of favs!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When I don’t understand…

Ok, so…I think I’m making a habit and it’s becoming routine to forget to update this blog! It’s not really that I’m forgetting, more like, filling my time with so many other things!

One of the things I’ve been up to the last few days has been busting out some crafts! I love getting to make things and haven’t been able to for so long! A huge reason was time! When Cale was still inpatient, everyone would say I needed to take advantage of the nurses being there and do things that were for me. It was a good plan and I know families that were good at that, but I wasn’t! I just wanted to be with my husband and the thought of leaving him at the hospital alone made my heart sink. I knew that he was ok and I knew I didn’t have to worry; that wasn’t the issue. I knew that if I was the one in the hospital, I would have wanted someone with me!

Since we’ve been home, I have literally been insanely busy! I still have a lot of filing to do because I have stacks of documents; I have a million emails to reply to, and then the normal day to day things. It keeps me going that’s for sure! I’m not sure that I’ve experienced boredom in a really long time.

I decided recently that I was going to make myself take a break from all the “stuff” that has piled up and attack a few fun projects! I’ve been having a blast! There are a few more things that I need to finish up before Christmas and then I’m going to buckle down and try to get ahead of the ball game. It’s kind of pathetic that I’ve gotten so far behind!




And I have plans for these words…are you close by and have old wood you want to get rid of? I need some!


Rewinding to Sunday-

We are blessed. In fact, on Sunday night as I was cuddled up with Cale and Basil watching a Christmas movie, that’s all I could think of! One of the many blessings in our lives is the relationships we have. Some of you we’ve never met and yet, you are so precious to me! I am so thankful for you and for each prayer that you’ve said for us. There have been several relationships that have come because of meeting some of you that read all my posts. From that, many special friendships have begun. I just feel so blessed and that’s only a piece! Many of you that have never met us have been bold enough when seeing us somewhere to come say hi. Again…blesses my socks off! I was at the store on Sunday afternoon picking up a few things and a very sweet lady (my mind is blank on her name…it’ll come to me! I feel so rude that I don't remember...I just get so excited in the moment!) walked up to me with her daughter (who was adorable!) and introduced herself. She has been reading the blog since about the beginning and encouraged me so much within the few minutes we talked! God is so good isn’t He?! I love how He works and how His plans include blessings I would have never been able to come up with!


I also thought about how far Cale has come and how much of a life together and family we still have. So much more could have been taken away…and still can be. We’re gonna just keep our eyes on the Lord and know that we’re blessed!

Monday night after having dinner with our small group, we had the opportunity to worship with Kim Walker! I was going back and forth trying to decide if Cale should come with. Part of me knew it could be powerful and awesome, but the other part of me kept thinking about how miserable it could be for him. I decided to go for it and have him join me. When we arrived at the church, the parking lot was packed! I wasn’t expecting so many people I guess. We ended up sitting in the balcony on the last row. It was perfect because it was by the door, but we had a nonstop flow of people walking past us. I felt myself starting to get really annoyed because I was trying to worship and every few seconds I would be getting distracted with someone walking in front of me, but I was also getting worked up because as they walked past, they kept bumping into Cale. It’s not like they knew and were just being rude, but because I know him…it really bothered me! I think I had a little bit of a bull-like creature threatening to come out and ram the next person to walk by. Cale was getting upset and started hitting himself which freaked out the kid next to us.


I knew that the situation was much bigger than just frustration from people walking by. Yes, it was annoying, but letting my emotions and focus shift was not just distracting me from the music, but from experiencing the presence of God! I began to pray and even grabbed Cale and prayed with him. It’s so easy I think with all things we fill our lives with to shift our focus off the Lord and whatever the situation is. This is the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. I was even at a worship service and my attention was shifted so quickly!

It ended up being a great night, but I struggled the entire time not to be so annoyed! Cale sat down out of frustration and even put his legs up on the seat in front of us to block the traffic! That made it worse though because they kept coming and every time he would have to move his legs. I laughed a little watching him do it though!

We sang one song that I sang as loud as I could. Part of the words were:

When I don’t understand I will choose you (x2)
When I don’t understand I will choose to love you God (x2)


Such powerful words and yet so simple.

One of the other projects I started yesterday was Christmas cards. We didn’t send any out last year because I sent out the prayer cards and it was around this time (Let me know if you haven’t gotten a prayer card yet and would like one!). I spent a good portion of last night addressing as many as my hand could take! We have part of them in the mail and the rest will be out in the next couple days. I didn’t send out nearly as many as I would have liked, but that’s ok! :) Cale even helped me put the cards in the envelopes today!

A few funny things from Cale the last few days…

On Saturday evening, I was sitting at the table with Mama and Cale. I think Cale was still eating his dinner and I was looking up his Christmas gift online. Mama suddenly started shouting, “Cramp! Cramp!” and Cale kept saying, “Crap? Crap?” Mama would try to say it clearer and tell him she had a cramp in her leg, but all Cale heard was crap. After a few moments of confusion and laughter, Cale stands up, walks to Mama, reaches for her and said, “Come on.” He then proceeded to lead her to the bathroom! The whole time Mama and I are laughing so hard we can’t even speak! When he came back and sat down, I told him he was funny and his reply was, “Well, she was about to crap all over the place.”

I’ve been bugging Cale like crazy to show me or tell me what he bought me for Christmas. He has gone shopping with Mama and then one of his therapists. He won’t budge but I’m having quite the time teasing him about it. I asked one night one more time before they all got wrapped and this time he said with a smirk, “Yeah, um, I got you a, I got you a tampon!” uh…what?! Haha! I’m not sure if that is one of those things I shouldn’t post, but I can’t help myself! He was being a stinker!

I had been talking to Cale about food. The conversation was kind of a boring one, but my point was that chicken nuggets can be found anywhere not just McDonalds. After I said that, Cale pointed at me and said “You watch your mouth!” Haha! We both burst into laughter!

There’s never a boring day with him around!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We are...

Blessed. God has blessed us so richly and far more than I could have ever thought possible or imagined.

My heart is so full tonight.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Comfort vs. Obedience

It’s happened again!

This has been a full and exciting week! Yikes. I don’t even know if I can back up to Wednesday…what happened? Hmm…

Well a couple big things I DO know:

1) Cale has been walking without his cane all week!!! He does need help with outside some, but he’s been doing great! We tried a while ago to hide the cane, but situations would come up that he needed it and by using it some, the habit of having it would become stronger than not having it. On Tuesday Cale said that he didn’t like it and didn’t want to use it…ok! I told him he didn’t have to but it wasn’t until later that afternoon that I hid it for good. He’s asked a few times for it, but for the most part, he loves not having it!

2) I spoke at a church in Richland Wednesday night for the youth group. For some reason, it was the most nervous I’ve been so far. On the way there, out of the corner of my eye I could see Cale change moods and become upset. I asked if he was alright and he said no. I asked what was wrong and he would only say he was mad. I knew that because we were on our way to bring glory to the Lord and His power was going to be at work, Satan wasn’t going to like that. I began to pray over Cale that the enemy had no place in our car or authority over us. By the time we were arrived, Cale was much better and the night was awesome.

Thursday came and was the start of me becoming extremely excited! I don’t want to share too much yet because I don’t know all the details and how everything is going to work yet, but big things are getting ready to start for Cale. I think it’s going to be amazing! I sure hope!

A very sweet lady flew in on Wednesday night and met with us for most of Thursday and then a good chunk of Friday. She asked lots of questions, shared lots of ideas, and sparked another flame of hope within my heart. We had a couple meetings and on Friday she did a whole bunch of cognitive testing with Cale. I was nervous both days because on Thursday, Cale had speech and then right after lots of questions and then without a break went right into PT. Normally after speech he’s so tired, but he was able to keep going and work hard. The testing on Friday was a load and again normally he wouldn’t be able to tolerate it for very long.

She did say that he scored low on the tests, BUT the exciting thing was that he was able to sit through all of it! ALL OF IT!!! She even had to make him take a break! He stayed in a patient good mood the entire time AND didn’t get upset even when he knew he messed up. WOW! This is huge!! He’s like a new man compared to last month!

I’m so proud of him!

Last night Cale went with Mama to do some Christmas shopping and I went to a sewing class at church. It’s been so good to have so many opportunities lately to be around women. I made an apron, but I can’t show a picture because it’s a Christmas gift for someone! ;)

Today I joined Rachel and her family Christmas shopping. I still haven’t bought a single thing for my husband. I’m at a lost. The reason is because nothing is the perfect special gift that I want it to be! I kind of waited until the last bit of time, but, I still want the perfect gift!


Afterwards I went with Mama and our two friends Shirma and Zita to a WMU tea. One of the speakers who is the pastor’s wife of the church it was at, shared, “God isn’t concerned with our comfort, He’s concerned with our obedience.” This is a statement that I have said myself many times and have heard many times, but up until this afternoon sitting around a white cloth covered table, full of tea and treats that I realized and felt the Holy Spirit pointing out that I have been on a focused mission to return to “comfort” and that’s not his desire for our lives.

My heart started to pound instantly as if everyone near me could hear what was going on in my thoughts.

The idea of “healing” and “progress” and striving for some kind of “normalcy” or “change” had become my mission to return to what was in my head a “comfortable” life. All the while, I’ve been missing out on looking at the mission field and ministry that has been personally created for us. Yes, I do see it and haven’t completely been blind to it, BUT how much have I missed already?

I went to enjoy an afternoon with ladies and to hear and be reminded of missionaries and ended up having quite the experience with my Jesus.

While I was shopping and having tea, Cale had speech therapy and guy time with Sonny. From what Sonny shared, it seemed like they had a great time! :)

I was reminded that I had asked everyone to pray as I waited for a phone call a week or two ago…well, it wasn’t the answer I had been hoping, but that’s another blog post! Actually, maybe tomorrow? It’s been on my heart since Tuesday, but I haven’t been able to fully get where I need to be to share what’s going on with that. Thank you for your prayers in that situation!