Monday, April 30, 2012

Seattleness

To start this post off…


Do you remember me writing about Cale being a trickster in my LAST post?! I’m not even kidding…right after writing to you and sharing about how he scared me on purpose…he did it again! Wednesday night when I went to bed, Cale was already curled up with Basil asleep. I washed up for bed as quietly as I could and even moved Basil off the bed quietly. I had to wake Cale a little since he was asleep on top of the covers and then I crawled under with him. I felt something under my leg and kind of moved curious of what it was, but then it kind of moved with me…uh? At that point I freaked…a little and when I lifted back the cover at first I just saw this tale. AHHHHH! Yes. I screamed. I screamed really loud and in that spilt second when I turned to my knight in shining armor, he was laughing! Not just a ha ha ha kind of laugh, but a full deep belly kind of laughter. That of course created several minutes of both of us laughing so hard we could hardly catch our breath! I should have known something was up when Chris and Cale had gone on a “top secret” stop while they were out together, but when they came back with Mt. Dew and Reese’s I thought I had it all figured out!


Here’s for some randoms…


This was a couple Saturdays ago. It was such a sweet moment of us just chillin' and being together-


I used to think pedicures were a waste of money because it's not too hard to paint my own toenails, but I have to say, I think differently now. Not that I think they're not a waste of money, but about how wonderful I think it feels to let someone else do the work!


One of my favorite parts of our house is the pretty tree out front. I remember last year starring at it all the time and wanting to take lots of pictures in front of it. BEAUTIFUL! It's in bloom again...love.


I finally finished our schedule board and I adore it! It turned out perfectly and the schedule itself has saved me from sheer craziness...or has it?!



I used a picture frame and for the back I covered it with a grey sheet. I printed out our schedule and put it to one side. I wanted to have room to write notes through the week or grocery items we run out of. I made the little rolled flowers out of sheet from our bed (Cale hates the top sheet so we always have leftover if we by them in a set) and when you put it all together...it's cute! :o)


I cut my hair. It's not quite as short as I did last August but about the same. It's not adventurous  or anything crazy, but it feels better! I just went in to get it trimmed but the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. I had no choice but to chop of almost 4 inches! It sounds like a lot more to me than I'm sure it really is. I always feel odd about just taking a picture of myself, so I had Cale take one and decided it would work!


We love games. One gift and blessing out of this whole car accident and brain injury thing...we play cards at 10am on a week day :o)


Basil makes us laugh...he gets himself so comfy!


We had our niece over Saturday night. Cale's sister lives in the same city and we hardly get to see her or the kids! We enjoyed having her over and spending some time with her. We went to Yoplicity after movie AND dinner! Later that night she wanted to dress up so first Cale did her make up and then I did her hair and then she played dress up with my dresses :o) So cute and so fun! I couldn't help thinking about Cale being such a good daddy if we ever have a daughter. He was willing to join in the girl fun!




The next morning instead of getting up and ready for church, we got up and after everything was ready to go, we took our sweet guest back home and we hit the road to Seattle! Cale has 5 appointments between today and Wednesday.


On our way up we stopped in the same town we always do for a little "Cale" break. After giving several (13 to be exact) choices of where to get lunch, he wouldn't budge...


I'm not sure if it says anything about us getting older or just shows where we're at in life, but when we drove into town and checked into our hotel, I gave some options about us going to a movie or dinner or shopping, but we both just wanted to veg! We stayed inside the rest of the day...didn't even go out for dinner, instead we just snacked!


This morning started off early with a neurology appointment. Cale did awesome! They do a routine basic cognitive exam and then most of the appointment is checking all his physical reactions to the brain injury. I've been witness to these same appointments several times and can I just say, it is amazing to watch with my eyes the changes and the miracle that Cale is. No, it may not be an overnight instant "BAM" he's healed, but not all miracles are that way. His brain is still healing...he's still alive...he's telling jokes (and pulling pranks!) and when asked what year it is he answered that it was 2012. That doesn't happen very often at all...but it did today!


He doesn't look too happy about getting his blood pressure checked! He was actually smiling and talking with the nurse though!


With every appointment comes waiting...



Part of the physical exam was checking reactions on his feet. Since the accident his feet are extremely sensitive and so when he was being checked out, he couldn't stand the ticklish feeling. It was causing him to laugh and his feet to jump all over the place. They decided to write on the chart that result was unclear... ;o)


Just give the Dew and all will be well again! :o)


I was snapping so many pictures of Cale he wanted to take one of me! Of course he had to capture his note-taking audience! It's what all the poor doctors have to look forward to...WAAHAHAHAHA!


Next came his eye appointment. Afterwards Cale summed it up by saying, "waste of time" and I have to say I agree. All they did was have him try to see the pictures on the wall, took notes of how he doesn't see great and talked briefly about possibility of surgery for his eye that would be basically cosmetic. His vision issues are neurological and they believe there is nothing that will help. The end. We did find out that a while ago we were named the "waiting room love birds" so whenever we come in (the neurology and eye clinic are in the same area) the staff know who we are! haha!


Day 1...two appointments down! After all our hard work we went to lunch at one of my favorites, Romano's Macaroni Grill. Love. It's all about the bread folks.


One of the really fun things about eating there is the paper tablecloths and getting to color! Cale has been missing Basil so I thought I'd be a sweet wife a draw a picture to give us a giggle as we pretended our adorable dog was joining us. Well...a giggle is what I gave us for sure!


We also played some hangman and oh the fun that was! Cale actually did great when he was the one guessing the letters, but when he was the one to think of the word we had some problems...a little bit. He would forget the word that he had in his head and then the second time I had him write it on the side, but his writing and spelling aren't great so that was even more confusing for him. We had fun though!


So far we have been having a super great time together! We've been laughing and just enjoying each other. It feels good. Feels right.


Appointments at the VA...eh, no big deal! Ha! :o)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

some things from & about Cale…

A couple weeks ago (forgot all about it until the other day) I was talking with Cale about our upcoming trip to Seattle (more info to come) and of course that means a long drive which he’s not a fan of…he then said he wanted to teleport. This led to me asking him, if he could teleport to anywhere in the world, where would he go? “Ty’s house.” He replied without hesitation! Ty is his older brother whom he loves and looks up to so much. He always has, but since the accident it’s on a whole other level. Very sweet.

Cale is a trickster…a humorous trickster. The extra funny part is that now he’ll find something of mine to hide thinking he’s funny, but he’ll forget 20 minutes later that he ever had it let alone hid it somewhere so I wouldn’t be able to find it! This has happened a couple times…and as of now, my favorite pair of flip flops are missing in action.
Speaking of humorous trickster...he also has this new thing he’s been doing the last couple weeks that seems to crack him up every time. So, any room we (we as in anyone over visiting or that lives in this house…)  goes into a room or steps outside for a minute will be locked out! He has locked Mama and I out several times! He laughs and will knock on the door back at us. Yesterday when I came home from visiting a friend, I went to open the door and it was locked so I pulled out my keys. I knew Chris was with him inside, but figured they must be in the other room. When I unlocked the bottom lock and tried to open the door again, the top was locked. I stuck my key in and turned unlocking the top and when I tried the door for the third time, the bottom was locked again! He was standing at the door locking as I unlocked! Of course when I finally was able to get in, he was quite pleased with himself!


I love to sing. I can’t actually sing on tune, but I at least love doing it. One of my many quirky things I do is sing everything even if I'm just asking a question. I don’t notice most of the time that I’m even doing it, but often Cale says to me, “Hey, not a song.” Yes sir! Haha! I’m sure he must think I’m the silliest gal in all the land…he keeps me on track.

I’ve thought many times of how to explain Cale’s memory and well, I still don’t know. His memory from before the accident is in and out and his ability to create new memory is in and out. His emotional memory is what sticks the most and that is the expected. Even more lately we’re seeing the truth in this. It wasn’t too many months ago that he would get really angry, but 5 minutes later not remember a thing about him being upset. This is still the case sometimes, but now he’s at a point that sometimes he’ll get really angry at something and 5 minutes later he’s still really angry but has no memory why. The anger is holding on and lingers…yay fun. The best situation we could be in is one that he would be able to remove himself from whatever the stimulation is. In most cases there’s always a trigger, but at the point that things set off, it’s too late to try to talk through and calm. We just need to wait. All that to say, last night on the way home, Cale was in the back seat and his mood escalated very quickly to boiling and as we’re stopped at an extremely busy intersection on highway 395 that runs thru our city, Cale decides to leave his stimulation! Thankfully we were able to keep him in the car and get his seatbelt back on until arriving at home. Oh the adventures!

Back on to memory…not only are experiences and moments gone, but knowledge has also been taken. It’s the same as far as in and out and all over the place. Here are just a handful of the types of questions Cale asks when something in a conversation sparks his curiosity…


Where do goosebumps come from?
Whats the difference between a hiccup and burp?
Why are boxers not called boxhims because they’re for boys?
What does am and pm mean?

What does MRI stand for?

What does magnetic mean?

What is a mammal?

How do people talk?

How long is a moment?

What is a hippie?

What is sandpaper?

Going from a man who seemed to have more knowledge about anything and everything than anyone I knew to now a man who can’t remember the simple facts like what a mammal is. Have I written yet about how he once studied the black hole for 4 hours just because he was curious? It was even a week night after he had worked all day! Now, we giggle at the questions that come out of his mouth!


I posted earlier about how I came up with a schedule and we’ve been doing therapy together every day since he’s currently not getting any outpatient. I wanted to share some of what we’ve worked on lately. Some are funny…

When given the task to give words to describe whatever word I gave he listed…

Restaurant: food, menu, money, dinner, lunch, breakfast, snack, dessert, feet.
Feet? Heehee!

Post Office: mail, money, pop, milk, send mail

Fork: sharp, hand use it, pointy, cut things, catch food, stab food, eat food, everything food but sometimes not

Answer Questions…

What qualities are important in a friend? Niceness, friendliness, funful
How do you feel about fighting? It’s mean.

How are you when it comes to making decisions? Good. Usually good. Sometimes not good. Both.

How do you feel about being late? Not good.

How did you like school? Boring.

How did you learn to drive? I don’t know. Can’t drive. (When I reminded him that he used to drive he said, “video games”)

What is your most prized possession? You my girl. Xbox.

How do you feel about driving the speed limit? Eh. It’s right, but eh, sometimes slow people.

He’s been cracking me up! He’s doing VERY well and has impressed me more than once with his ability to think and come up with so many different answers. Today we were playing with Bananagrams and we were trying to come up with a word that started with a “V” before I could even think of one he said, “venom” wow! Yeah, he’s cool.

Recently, like the last week, Cale has started noticing things. More so than he has before and with more insight than he has had before. It doesn’t faze him too much yet, but I can see it’s there…the thought and processing is happening. When we had gone bowling last week, Cale was frustrated with the bumpers and I had pointed out that Chris was using them as well. “He has them for fun. I need them. Why do I need them?” How do I reply?

After that, maybe next day? We were sitting at the table having breakfast and my bowl just had milk left in it. I was about to tip the bowl and drink and Cale said something about him needing a straw to drink the milk and why didn’t I need one…oh goodness.

And, on the way to his parents’ house on Saturday, he was trying to get something out but it wouldn’t come out the way he knew it needed to. After several tries, he ended with, “Eh, I don’t talk right. Why?”

Breaks my heart to hear him declare these questions and his confusion, but at the same time it’s exciting to see because with more insight and awareness means more healing is taking place!

Yesterday on the radio I heard a poem that was exactly what I needed to hear at that
moment. Maybe right now as you’re reading, it’s what you need to hear…


You are who You are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's Special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You're JUST what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.

No, the trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, BELOVED,
Because there is a GOD!
~ Russell Kelfer

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a must see...at least I think so!

Do ya’ll remember when we went to the VA Summer Sports Clinic in September? Well, while we were there, pictures were taken of us by an incredible photographer and with all of his talents he made a slideshow of us at the event! He did awesome on it! It was a surprise to me for sure! It’s already floating around Facebook, but I wanted to share it on here for those of you not in the Facebook world. :o)

It’s so special and sweet! He even used quotes that I had written on this blog! It always blesses my heart and humbles me when I hear of anyone taking the time to read what I have to write…yes, even you reading now. You bless me! The Lord has begun a work through this that I can’t even begin to comprehend!

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Click here to see…

It's posted on the site for the Summer Sports Clinic and is supposed to be on the va.gov site tomorrow! Pretty great!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just a little update...

Every time I’ve considered typing something up for a post, the thought follows, “what will I write?” Life at home in the midst of every day kind of life isn’t as thrilling and exciting as hospital life…that was a really funny description as I just reread what I typed. Hospital life…thrilling and exciting huh? Ha!

Anyways…I have several projects I’m working on. Just a few things to help the house out and make it look like Spring is here! Also, a few things that have needed to be done for a long time and just haven’t been done yet. One of them happens to be our spare room…I can’t even begin to share about how awful it looks right now. It was the dumping place as we were here and there with all of our travels. Yikes! Can you say organization emergency?! In time.

I did plant some flowers that I can’t wait to watch bloom! In one of the pots I can already see a flower preparing to! Last year I spent so much time out on the deck and loved being surrounded by all the pretty flowers. I’m ready for those special moments again! I wasn’t the greatest last year at keeping all of them alive, but I’m determined! While I was planting each flower, I was thinking about how excited I was for them to bloom into the beautiful flowers they were meant to be. The soil had to be worked and it wasn’t a quick task, but at some point it’s going to happen. As this was all running though my little head, the Lord gave me this picture of Cale and how where he was before the car accident seemed to us like it was the perfect safe place (like the container the flowers came in), and once removed from that it has been scary, but the Lord has worked the soil and has placed Cale in a new time in life where he can grow and bloom into the man God has created him to be. We can’t see the whole flower box, but it’s going to be perfect.

Cale is doing great. He really is. I find myself not seeing progress so much daily that I had been for so long, but he’s definitely not done healing! He still does many things that leave me curious and overjoyed. Thursday he had a speech session (he’s getting them 1-2 times a month right now and that’s the only therapy) and his speech therapist did word finding cards with him. This has been a continued battle that he has struggled with and worked so hard on. In February she had used the cards and he had done the best yet at that point, but needed several cues along the way. This time, she said he got 59 out of 60 and that was without cues!!!!!!!!!! It’s amazing! I couldn’t stop smiling! Along with how well he did on that task, she said he had humor full blast the entire session!

Along with the greatness we do see, I find myself praying a whole lot about his moods. We’re going to be trying some medication adjustment to see if anything happens, but it’s not much different than it has been for quite some time. As far as all the stuff that comes along with caring for my husband in the way that is needed, I can do it. Yes, it’s not ideal, but I love taking care of him. I love serving my husband. The draining part and where the challenges come into play is the constant anger and frustration that comes from him. I offer it to the Lord multiple times a day and each time I also ask the Lord to help me see Cale the way He does; to love Cale like He does. I feel it get to me a lot more often over the last few weeks. I know its brain injury and he doesn’t mean to do whatever it is he’s doing or say whatever comes out, but my heart feels it. I want to be open about it and let you know where we’re needing prayers…

Mama also had a much needed surgery on her arm Thursday morning. She’s doing ok and hopefully will heal and recover quickly. Since the beginning of March, she’s been home full time and watching a little boy M-F. Since she had her surgery on a Thursday and was going to be down Friday as well, I offered to help out and watch the little boy. Oh my. Those two days were so busy! I was taking care of Cale, Mama, and the little boy…life was interesting at points! Cale was gone for a few hours with Chris both days, which helped a ton!

On Friday for most of the day, I was able to spend it with Rachel! She came into town a day earlier than she had been planning and after her hair appointment she came to see me! While J napped, the two of us sat on the deck and soaked up the sunshine! It was beautiful outside!! Later that afternoon, Beth came over and the three of us worked on wedding decorations. Less than a month and Joe and Beth will be married!!!!

While we’re on the wedding topic…Saturday was the Bridal Shower. Cale hung out with Joe and the girls had a great time loving on and blessing Beth!

I’ve had a really large gross cold sore for the last WEEK that had made me a bit more shy than normal. All I can think when I’m talking with people is that they think I’m an alien. When I told Cale I looked like one he said, “at least you’re a cute alien.” So sweet and no denial of what I look like. Ha!

We’re trying something new this week to help us out. I’ll have more details about this later when I have more time to write and after we see how it all goes. I kind of started this last week and it feels wonderful!

Hmm…what else?

How about some pictures from the week…

After I posted last Sunday, Mama came home from the store with a turtle full of peanut butter and chocolate goodies for Cale! He was too sick to eat any of it, so he carried it around all night...and all week! :o)


Yay for future beautiful flowers! It felt so great to get them all planted and make things pretty again!


One of my new spring projects. I think this one and the first one I had made are my favorites...the last one that I did wasn't so great.


Do you have wood floors? If so, you need this incredible piece of equipment. NO joke. It's changed my cleaning life forever. Basil has these little hairs that seem to be everywhere and with all the dust that we get, well let's just say I have tried a million different things to help keep this floor clean! Nothing has worked without being a bigger hassle than the last thing I tried. Finally we have the perfect machine! Waahahaha! My friends, meet the Electrolux UniRapido!


I was starting the ahem...mess in the spare room and found this picture from when my friend Shawna had come to stay with me for a month while Cale was in the hospital in NC. Oh how I miss her and all of our crazy moments...


Working on pretty wedding things!


Basil eats like a monster.


I had fully planned on sleeping in this morning until it was time that we had to get up and get ready for church. Basil had other plans since he had to go outside at 6am this morning! I could have went back to bed like my flesh really really wanted to do, but instead I decided to spend some time reading my Bible. I think sometimes we think we need more sleep, but really we need more Jesus. I felt so refreshed after my time with Him!


We had to run to the store quickly for a few things this afternoon and right when you walk in they have all the on sale Easter candy there for you. How convenient! I couldn't stop Cale once he laid eyes on his favorite candy...the Reese's Eggs. Do you see how many he said he needed...NEEDED! Haha!


Mama, Cale, and myself played cribbage tonight. Mama has never played so I thought it was time to teach her. It amazes me how good Cale is at that game. Depending on his level of fatigue reveals how well he plays and how much he can do on his own, but either way, he rocks!


I think that's about all for now folks! I'll update again before a week goes by!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It was impossible...

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” –Acts 2:22-24

It’s Easter! Easter last year looked much different to us than it did today! Let me back up a few days and then we’ll get caught up to what today is all about :o)

So…We came home from Colorado at 1am on April 1st which was one year since we had been home. We had a few days here, packing and getting other sorts of things like that accomplished before we headed back on the road. I know what you might be thinking…are we crazy? Yes! Haha! This time Cale had an ENT appointment in Seattle. I had originally planned for us to leave Wednesday, but since we had only been home a couple days, we waited to leave Thursday morning and got into Seattle right in time!

Now that Cale’s brother is stationed at Ft. Lewis, we wanted to stay with them and visit for a couple days. The plan was to drive back today, but the stomach flu floated through the house so we bolted a day early. I was hoping we had gotten out safely, but that morning Cale had a questionable bathroom experience. I kept asking if he was going to throw up, but he kept saying he was fine. We made several stops on the way home for him to have more questionable experiences, but still I was hoping we were safe…at least until we got home.

About an hour from home Cale suddenly said, “My tummy feels really bad!” Uh oh!!! I had a Target bag in the back seat that I handed him hoping it would catch whatever was needed…


He was about to throw up (gagging and everything), so I put my hand on his back and with my eyes still fixed on the road, I began to pray for peace in his body and comfort in ways that (once again!) I couldn’t give to him. A minute later he set the bag down, sat back and didn’t throw up! In fact, he said he was ok!!!!

Right after walking in the door, about 10 minutes after, it all came. From everywhere. I don’t like hate seeing my man not feeling good! Tears were in my eyes and I felt so hopeless! We had several episodes for the rest of the day. I expected a long night, but he didn’t get sick anymore! Every time I felt him move, my eyes flung open ready to grab the bowl, but he rested all night long. Praise God!


{Last night...}

For most of the day we’ve been resting. I’ve managed to get a ton of things done that were stacked up and a few things more organized…our home is in the works of getting Springed! :o)


{Today...}

So…our Easter wasn’t the one we had expected with church and chocolate, but we were together and I was reminded in a deep away the power of what this day symbolizes. There is a lot of hurt and hopelessness, fear and doubt, anger and disappointment that can all have their own chains on me, causing life to me lived in a dark place, but because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, he set me free. He set us free! Not only is it for eternal life, but for the here and now. I’m not bound by the chains of a life of hell; rather, I’ve been freed to live a life of grace and joy!

Be praying the sickness passes and I’m spared! :o)


{Happy Easter!}

*I’m sure all of you were excited about the details of the adventure of illness here… :o/

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Home...it's been a year.

I have so many thoughts that I could let out right now, but with my sleeping husband by my side; it’s all too tempting and inviting to join him. For now, I want to share through my tears of thankfulness of this special day. This time last year, we were getting off a plane and about to walk through the front doors to a home that didn’t exist for us just months prior.

We are extremely blessed and can’t say enough how thankful we are for all of you that have been praying us through our journey.

My mind has been turning all day and kind of weirded out by the thought of all that has taken place in the last year in this Darling home of ours. All the tears, laughter, storytelling, moments, praising, praying, eating (so much eating!), hugs and kisses, brokenness, and smiles…all so beautiful and has made this all so complete.

There was a day not too long ago, that “home” was supposed to be a nursing home. The word “home” was confusion in my heart and mind as I thought about what our life was looking like.

We have come so far…God has brought us so far.

And we are so very thankful.

Mama, my sister, and I all sat in the kitchen tonight talking about and sharing our memories of the first night the accident happened. Going back to those moments which feel like they were so long ago, stirs up an emotion that leaves me almost speechless.

We’re home. Home sweet home. It’s been a long full year in this house and now we’ve started the process for the building of a home that’s going to actually be our home…can you believe it? I can’t.

Here’s the video I made last year of our long journey home…



I had first thought about making a video with a song I heard today and use pictures from our time since being home, but like I said at the beginning of the post, Cale is looking pretty stink’ cozy! So, maybe a video with this song will come, but for now, I wanted to share it with you…

Please take the time to listen to the words. The song makes my heart dance…



Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." -Matthew 19:26