Monday, December 31, 2012

The end of 2012...


The end of 2012 is here. 

Wowza.

It has been quite the year. I think I can say to a degree that it has been one of the most difficult years on challenging my character, identity in Christ, commitment as wife,  and confidence in the desire for God to use us and our story for his glory.

I may have not experienced what many of you may have in your life, but I have been the daughter of a drug-addicted father, raised by a single mom, married to a deployed soldier, and currently living life with a husband who has a traumatic brain injury...

There have been hard years.

There have been heart crushing days.

There have been questionable minutes.

This year has an added trial that has caused me to truly call on the Lord for help to love my man like he has created me to love him. 

There have been moments with Cale that I have felt at a complete loss. His anger and low tolerance level have left me scared and in tears more than once. After doing everything in my power to help him talk, walk and eat again, I wasn't prepared for the ways brain injury brought a suitcase full of pain and grief into our marriage above and beyond all that we had already lost and the way our roles had already changed. 

I honestly can look back over this last year and know that daily dying to myself is possible only through Christ and for Christ. I know that because of Christ in me, I am different; I am stronger than I ever knew was possible. I know that next to my husband for the rest of his life is right where I want to be; forever walking hand in hand down whatever road or off-roading God has planned for us. I love him so much and couldn't imagine this life and not being his wife. I know that something bigger than Cale or myself could have ever created is happening. God is using us. Our prayers are being answered. 

Along with the many moments of growth and challenge came with it sweet and fun-filled memories. We've been able to take several trips...

February we went to the Bahama's with Mama and her best friend on the Klove friends and family cruise. When we purchased the tickets it was with little thought and planning...one of those impulsive buys...except it wasn't a new pair of shoes or a new coffee maker. It was for a 7 day cruise! Still wondering what I was thinking when I did that, but I think it is clear to say I wasn't. Either way it was a great trip and we had a blast!



In March we celebrated our anniversary in California. It was such a blessing to return to Palo Alto area and visit friends that we had met there along with the staff from the VA. On the day of our anniversary we went to a Red Wings game...so much fun! I'm really saying "so much fun" with a hint of sarcasm. That day my allergies were acting up so my nose was non-stop drip. It was red and killed the entire day. The Red Wings lost that night and the whole arena full of Shark's fans went crazy. I thought Cale was going to try to fight them all...no joke. If I could have picked him up and threw him over my shoulder and ran out of there at lightening speed I would have. Unfortunately, I'm a small wimp. It was a blast though. Here's the video again that I had made of that day...


Also in March, shortly returning from CA (that's how we seem to do things...) we jetted off to Colorado for the VA adaptive Winter Sports Clinic. Cale sit-skiied, climbed a rock wall, and did sled hockey! It was pretty amazing if I do say so myself. 



In April we mostly rested...I think. No plane rides but we did have to go to Seattle for appointments. Twice. Cale had some extensive testing done at the VA and that would be when they told us they weren't going to support therapy any longer and Cale had reached his plateau. Boo. We know that healing is still happening and great things are in store!


May was the month of weddings! Two of our close friends that we love like crazy decided to marry each other. It made us smile...and probably everyone else that knows them. They asked us both to be in the wedding party which of course we were honored. While standing up front during the ceremony, Cale kept playing with my butt. We were the two closest to all the seats...yeah...memories...


And at the end of the month we drove to the west side of the state for a wedding! While in middle school Cale and I were blessed with an amazing youth pastor. He's kind of one of those guys that makes you giggle and also makes your knees shake because he's very funny and a big ol' goofball but also very blunt and honest. I have one specific memory with him that instantly fills my heart with gratitude and almost every time I think of it tears spring to my eyes. He also remarried us...that sounds funny...he performed our wedding the second time? That one sounds funny too...Hmm...we had a small ceremony and then a big one-he did the big one. Anyways, his daughter Lara is now a Mrs!


In between weddings I flew alone to Oklahoma and spent a weekend with a friend (her blog is http://www.wifeofawoundedsoldier.com) and met a whole bunch of other wonderful women. I had been invited to go and compare material used and ended up loving the weekend. Lots of fun and a good break.


In June we jumped back on a plane and headed back to Colorado where we met up with our good friends and spent a week at another adaptive sports week. We went rafting (any other person would have loved it, but Cale was bored out of his mind!), he did some fly fishing (one word from Cale, boring!), and  horseback riding (at first he was excited and then he said it was-boring!). Brain injury is a crazy thing! It was nice to have a week that was slow pace and we loved seeing our friends.


Our month of excitement didn't stop there! I took off and drove to CA for a family reunion. Cale was supposed to go but bailed on us the morning we were leaving. Uh...so, it was just Mama, my sister, my brother, and me! It ended up being a great trip with tons of laughter and I almost killed us on the highway. True story. I thought I better go ahead and tell you before one of them do. They've promised to hold it over my head for forever.


One of the great things that happened this year was having Cale's brother and his family live in WA again! We've gotten to see them quite a bit but not often enough. In July we went up to visit and Cale and Ty got to go camping for a night while Nikki and I hung out with the boys and had some girl time as well...much needed!



And to end the month, I went to Silverwood Theme Park with my brother, sister and nephew. Cale stayed home with Mama and my brother and I went on rides until we both felt sick...sounds like a great day to me!


To start off August, I along with 8 (10?11? I don't remember!) others went to Quito, Ecuador for 10 days. This was not one of my impulsive buys...this was God calling and directed. The trip was at a perfect time in our life. That's a story for another day...and I'm richly blessed for the opportunity to have gone as crazy as it may have been. I still have not posted pictures because it's all my cameras fault. Blame the electronic. So...those will get done soon. For now here is a photo...


September was the start of what would be a really loooooong trip. Our first stop was a week in San Diego at the VA adaptive Summer Sports clinic. Cale had a week of uh...misery. It wasn't because the clinic was horrible because in fact, the clinic was outstanding. The issue is his brain...always the brain. Even though the week was long and hard, there were also some really good moments. I always treasure those. They help make the bad not seem as bad.


Right after the clinic, we were home for 3 full days and then off we went again...maybe not the smartest idea I've ever had. Cale still loves me.

NY was first on the list! We love our NY family. We've adopted all of them! 
I always leave wishing I would have had more time. A week is not enough...not near enough! I just want to put each of our friends in a bottle and bring them home. Although, a suitcase might be a nicer way to bring them home and well...I don't think they would all be the same if they weren't in NY!


After a week in NY and October had come, we flew straight to NC. The first part of the trip was to visit all of our friends family we had met while Cale was inpatient. Each one of them is a gift. If the accident wouldn't have happened, we would have never met and that would have been sad. Very sad.


The next part was to my brothers house to visit with him and his family. There's a special deep bond that we have with them. My brother was the one there when the accident happened. He was the one that saw Cale dying. He had to sign the papers to either let Cale go or sign for the surgery that was most likely going to kill him. He was the one that wheeled me into Cale's ICU room. He was the one that helped with so many more things in the following days. No way to explain it. We love them.


A crazy ending to the whole trip was instead of leaving my brothers and flying home we had an appointment at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD. It was the kind of appointment that ends up with a wrist band with your identity and a uncomfortable bed. Cale was to be inpatient...again.

November and December have come and now are ending...and we're still here. Home should be within just a few weeks. So close we can taste it.

Really great things have happened. It's not all "fixed" because it's brain injury but as we prepare to go home we are confident this next year has some really big and great things in store. We've already made up a list of goals we have after we're home/for the new year.

Cale's first item on the list is- No hospitals.

I agree.

With all the traveling and adventures...this last year we also built our first home!!!!! I still can't believe this one. Mama has sent pictures and videos but we still can't really picture it and it doesn't feel real. Mama has moved in and has been busy busy getting everything set up and just the other day we made our very first mortgage payment. We decided it was exciting now but in 5 years we may not be as excited to make that payment...ha!


God has blessed us beyond measure. With all of the ups and downs this last year, we know His hand has guided us and held us the whole way. We look back with complete thankfulness.

We also look ahead with expectations of much to come!

Thank you for being a part of it...we love you!

Good bye 2012 and Happy New Year! 

3 comments:

  1. Dear One, I loved the post. It is good to to see how FAther has held you up. I t is good to Feel hoiw Father has held me up. I love you. OH, by the way, you will still love makilng the mortgage payment. My Dave and I are below X-amount, and delight every time we see the principle go down. With a hug, Marion

    ReplyDelete
  2. HAPPY NEW YEAR, DARLINGS! We look forward to all God will do in 2013 in and through your lives!
    Love,
    Emily J.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Kathleen, I'm one of those people who follow your blog that you don't know. The video you made of your anniversary was beautiful. I hope you realize how talented you are - the music was the perfect soundtrack to the video. I know 2013 will be awesome for you two!

    Lisa B.

    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.