Friday, April 20, 2012

Give thanks in all circumstances...

I’m going to be jumping all over the place, but keep reading… :o)

I had mentioned in a previous post about something we’re trying new this week, which I was hoping the pretty side of the project would be done to show you, but not quite yet. The practical side is a schedule that I’ve put together for us. Part of our new schedule includes a couple hours every day that I do therapy with Cale. I’ve been fussing with the VA for a couple months trying to get some kind of therapy going and a plan, but we haven’t solved that issue yet.

I don’t want Cale to go without so it’s now a priority. I always find ways to turn things we do into a therapy opportunity, but now we’re actually taking the time to sit and do it. We’ve been using a work book, the iPad, a cross word puzzle book, and a few other tools. Again, all things we’ve had and use, but now it’s a little more intentional. Along with those tools, we also do something physical, and spend some time together praying and reading the Bible. There have been a few moments that Cale puts up a fight and it makes it a challenge, but I know the moment will pass. On Tuesday when it was time to get some physicalness (I may have just made that word up…) in, I thought about when I get on the elliptical and how I use Netflix on my laptop and it totally helps make it a better work out. For Cale, I used his iPad and found a show on Netflix and BAM! Look at his smile…
Oh yeah! I was smiling like crazy because he was smiling so much! It was totally all at the show and not about how awesome he felt working out…ha! He did 20 minutes no problem!!!

On Wednesday we had another really exciting moment together during therapy! Since the accident, when Cale tries to say the months of the year, he’ll do great until June, but for some reason, every time he does it he leaves out July and then after that he would get August and September, and the rest would be all switched around and jumbled together. We’ve been working on it more and more but the same thing happens every time. This time when I asked him, he was able to say all the months in a row and only left out July. After he was done I told him he forgot July and asked him to give it another shot. Without any other cues, he was able to do all the months in a row!!! None left out AND none mixed up!! Of course to him it was no big deal! ;o)

Can I just say real quickly, if you have the opportunity to hang out with Cale for a couple hours…do it. It will do a heart change on ya. He is hilarious, pure, honest, sweet, open, and one of the best guys I know. NO joke. I bet you’ll love him as much as I do…well, maybe not AS much…but I know you’ll love him.

The new schedule that I had come up with has done tons to help ease my bones! I’m seriously a huge fan. I’ll still share more later about it, but another pretty stinkin’ awesome part is I gave myself a day to just rest. This last Sunday, we did have to run to the store, but even that was just a lot more fun than it feeling like another errand on the list. I had time to sit in the sun while food was in the oven, Mama and I watched a movie, Cale and I cuddled with Basil…it was all so needed! I told Cale that night that it was the first day since the accident that I rested. I wasn’t busy busy doing something all day and crossing things off one of my many lists. Not only did I get to rest, but I didn’t feel one bit guilty about it! Other than being sick (which even than I still have constant thoughts of all that I need to be doing!) and taking our trips (which are always fairly busy) I never get to just relax! I needed that in ways that I didn’t even realize! I know it’s said over and over about how as a caregiver (hate that word) I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of Cale better, but how easy is that to really do? Anytime I leave the house to go visit with a friend or do anything, I’m always in a rushed time frame…oh how wonderful the gift of rest!

 Wednesday is garbage day. Mama had taken the trash can to the curb, but I still needed to empty the trash from the kitchen and take out the recyclables. Cale was super sweet and said he would help out. After we got back inside, I realized I had forgotten to take out a box and again, Cale being the super sweet husband he is, he offered to take it to the curb for me. I was nervous; I’m not going to lie. I had one of those moments that I questioned whether I needed to let him have the freedom and independence to do on his own or walk with him making sure he didn’t fall. I’ve said many times before, there’s no manual to read that tells you what the right thing to do is! I ended up deciding to let him have his moment and take it out for me. Off he headed and I watched from the window…and then moved to the door (snapped a picture!), and on the way back he gave me a thumbs up. Ok. He’s ok. He’s just fine. He can do it. As many times as I was running encouraging things through my little brain, all I could picture was him falling on (gasp!) concrete! I let myself take a breath and as I walked into the kitchen I hear this really loud thud-boom and then a loud groan. I flew. Not even exaggerating. I FLEW out the front door with a racing heart only to find Cale at the bottom of our wheelchair ramp laughing. LAUGHING!! Between breaths of air he gets out that he hit the house and made the sound and scared me.
Oh how he scared me.
Not cool.
At all.
Period.
He was so pleased with himself all I could do was laugh. Yes friends, it was a time that felt so normal, so, familiar. Cale…pre-accident. Cale…pre-brain injury. Cale was shining!
Oh me oh my.
Ha.
That stinker.

Last night we went bowling with our friends Chris and Becky. The last time we had gone, was last August with Cale’s therapist. He didn’t even realize we had bumpers, but this time he caught it right away and wasn’t happy one bit! The first time he bowled we didn’t have them up just to see how he did, but the ball went straight into the gutter. On his next turn they went up but nothing was said to Cale about it. When I walked up with him, his eyes went straight to them. His head turned a little and then a little more until he said, “bumpers.” We left them on for the rest of the game, but this time was more of a challenge than the last. He did not want them, but needed them and because he needed them and didn’t understand that just left him frustrated. Towards the end of the game he made two strikes, which lifted his mood a little. Afterwards we went to the arcade and played a lot of games…Cale was a happy guy!
When we were all done and putting all the tickets the four of us had won in the counter machine thing, I decided to play one last time and see if I could win anymore. Well, I hit the jackpot! 500 tickets! We were loaded! Haha!
Our home got a little face lift for spring! I’ve wanted to recover the pillows we had on the couch and change out the flowers around the house, but needed the right stuff and the time. Here is some of the change that has happened around the house…
For a while now I’ve had a few things on my heart that I’ve wanted to share with all of you, maybe even just share so a week, month or couple years from now I can look back and be reminded the truth that has set me free. I guess I’ve kind of written many times before along the same lines and the words imprinted on my heart have carried me through this journey giving me the daily strength I need to keep going, but it seems that in the last few weeks, all these swirling thoughts have come to some kind of central agreement reassuring me the power that lies within a decision that I made years ago and laid the foundation for my life even today.

Is it possible?
Is it possible to live a joy-filled life after something tragic?
Is it possible to smile; a real smile? Is it possible to not be angry?
Is it possible to truly be doing ok? Is it possible to not always be having a hard day?

More times than I can count, I’ve been asked how I’m really doing. Not out of disbelief, but out of concern the person on the other end of the conversation has asked curious of what is behind the smile spread across my face? What is the raw emotion of all that I’ve been through and all that I’ve had to face at such a young age?

Denial.

It’s a word that has popped up a time or two during a conversation when my smile seems to be sincere and my emotion proves to be opposite of anger. I must be walking in denial.

False. Let me just tell you now and clear the air, that though it is a possibility for me to fall into, I do understand every bit of painful reality that has taken room and board in my life. I see through crystal clear waters the heavy burden that is every day flashing like a neon billboard while my husband is blind to it all. He doesn’t live in reality. He doesn’t grasp what was and what has been lost…but I do. I feel it.

With knowing that, is it possible to genuinely enjoy life and love my husband? Time after time I’ve written and talked about how I’ve only been able to deal with all of this because of God’s grace. He’s the one that has let me climb up on his lap over and over, and many times lifting me up on his lap! I’ve said how he gives me the strength and how every day is surrendered to Him…but, is it really enough? Do I really believe it? Through all the tears and heart ache, do I honestly KNOW that I can find refuge under His wings?

Am I putting up a wall of dandelions and butterflies not allowing myself to see what my life has become?

Or am I confident in the mighty hand of Christ?
Is He just a cushion?
Is my prayer time just a tool used to cope with a broken heart?
Or is it that the very One who knit my heart together as an infant also the very One who knits it back together once it has been broken?

If I believe in every detail written in the Bible; if I claim to wholeheartedly believe, than it is possible…?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:18

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38-39

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” –Jeremiah 17:7

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. –Romans 8:28

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. –Psalm 40:2

But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God. –Psalm 31:14

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters –Colossians 3:23

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15:5

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. –Psalm 105:4

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. –Hebrews 6:19-20a

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” –Isaiah 12:2

For we live by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. –Psalm 112:7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. –Isaiah 41:10

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

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. –Hebrews 4:16

Should I keep going?! Verse after verse talks about how even during trial our eyes need to be focused on Christ and we do not have to fear! When I start to question myself if I’m really allowing myself to experience the trial that we are living because I’m not sad all the time and I am still head over heels for my husband…I’m reminded by the living Word, that I'm supposed to be thankful and trust the Lord at ALL times, not just when life is dandy.

If I believe even a fraction of the truth about God…it’s enough too totally and completely knock my socks off.

The burden at hand is heavy. When I even lift the very corner; just an ounce of it, it’s too much for me.

Even though I continually try to carry it on my own…

I also continually give it to the Lord.

It’s not too heavy for Him; no burden is too heavy for Him.

Do all of these verses and the very foundation I stand on make everything easy peasy? No. Does it still hurt? Yes. Is it still long and draining? Yes. Do I wish I could just wake up and it would be all a bad dream? Yes.

Would I take back what the Lord has done in my heart and the change that He’s started in others because of our story?

No way Jose.

I’ll leave you with this peak into Kathleen lately... I’ve become a “we” at all times. More than once…in fact, several bazillion times, I find myself standing alone somewhere and answering another person…like this…

We’re ok for now.
We found what we’re looking for.
We’re ready to check out.
We’re good.
We’re just looking.

I’m not even joking! This happens to me more times than I really want to admit! It’s of course always after I reply that I start to think about how I answered. Next comes the part where I try to cover up the “we’re” and the “we” which ends up most of the time being a bigger more embarrassing scene than it started out to be. I even caught myself today texting a friend letting her know "we" were free after 1pm…um…me and um…myself?! What can I say? I’ve got myself and the um…imaginary friend with me.

Where is Cale when I need him?! Hahaha. Oh dear.
Yep…
"We’re" tired now. Good night.

6 comments:

  1. You are such an amazing Christian woman. In these times we live in it is so refreshing to read your post. I know it means little but I am proud of you and cale too of course!! God bless and love,

    Casey Q
    Mike and Rachel's aunt.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My Dear Priceless Treasure!! What a wonderous post. Though our circumstances are different, I KNOW what it is to stand, rest in Father's truths, even during our opportunities. Please forgive me for being one of those who ask "How are you, I mean really". Yes, it is out of concern, but sometimes I wonder if it is because I don't know what else to say, and instead of JUST BEING QUIET, have to say something, and that is it. You are a delight. YOu are a spotlight into Father's truths. Two more Father has given me these last few weeks, Eph.5:20 "giving thanks always FOR all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,", and James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all JOY when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that yu may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Father os SOOOOOO amazing to love us enough to trust us with these opportunities to trust Him and see Him work such perfection in our lives. I love the face lift, and that you won so MANY tickets, AND ESPECIALLY that Cale got you so good AND THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO LAUGH!!!!! I look forward to the New Earth, when we will see just what Father has woven into our life tapestries, and why. Until then, I rejoice with you, that Father has His hand on you and even though we don't understand, He does, AND that's enough. I love you, Marion

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kathleen, you are truly strong, though I know at times you don"t feel it. Throughout everything I have faith in God's existence in my life, He has shown me in so very many ways, BUT to be perfectly honest I always fear what He may have in store for me. I see myself more like Jonah running in the other direction. You give me courage, you and Caleb give me heart and I rejoice in knowing the two of you. As for the driveway...I used to hide behind the bushes to watch Susan walk down the driveway to get the mail and then race back into the house before she could see me on the return. I laugh about it now, the CIA had nothing on me. Much love to the two of you. Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow...I have been out of town for a bit visiting my parents so I had not been on a computer in awhile. My father is very disabled after two open heart surgeries and a massive stroke that has left his left side paralyzed at the age of 64. The reason I am sharing this with you is that I could so relate to all you were saying in this blog post after visiting my parents this time. My mom is his full time caregiver and could so understand all you are going through...only that she has not been on this journey ALL her married life...only for seven years now. What you were sharing about Cale not really understanding all that was lost and often not really being in reality made me think of my dad on this visit. It is very challenging taking him out even for my mother who has been caring for him all these years. It is hard to get him in and out of cars, into wheelchairs, walking with him, etc. He can fall very easily and has on several occasions. The fire department comes roughly once a month to lift him off the floor as my mother is too small. We only see them roughly once a year and are not experienced with taking care of him. They live 800 miles away. He stays home alone and watches TV often but going out with him is very hard. So...my mom and I were going out to lunch to celebrate her birthday and my husband and children were going to go to the mall and eat at the food court while we were gone and my dad was going to rest at home to be ready to have a birthday party when we got back. Before everyone left he called me into his room and said he wanted to go to the mall with my husband and kids and wanted me to tell my husband for him. Well...first off, although my husband would LOVE to try to do this he would be extremely nervous and uncomfortable and my mom would be a nervous wreck also. I tried to explain to my dad that my husband wouldn't be able to do that without my mom or at least me with him and he said "Why not?" He thinks it is not at all hard to take him out. He doesn't seem to really understand his limitations and disabilities and really just wanted to go out like everyone else. I felt so bad for him and hated leaving him but it was my mom's day and she needed some girl time out. I think she struggles with feeling guilty when she leaves but we had a nice time out together and my dad accepted it in the end and didn't want to ruin my mom's day. We continue to pray for you. Thanks for sharing on this blog. You minister to me and teach me things.
    Emily Jordan
    Sanford, NC

    ReplyDelete
  5. By the way...your house looks so pretty!
    Emily Jordan

    ReplyDelete
  6. Truly inspirational! I tear up every time I read one of your blogs. I went through a similar situation yrs ago with my first husband, but was not as strong as you. I always have that regret. God is still showing me and helping me 12 yrs later to be the best I can be now and a great mom and not to beat myself up so much.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story. We attend NewLife now and thats how I heard of your story.
    Angela Grimshaw

    ReplyDelete

Please included at least your first name and know that we are reviewing each comment so it may take up to 12 hours to post. Thank you all for your constant encouragement and prayers.