Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Story of the Wii

A little over a month before our car accident, Cale surprised me with a Wii for my birthday. Months before while he was still in Afghanistan, the begging started. Guilty as charged. I pleaded and gave every reason I possibly could of why we just had to have one. Promises of the two of us playing and having a blast, a way for me to stay fit while having fun, and game nights with friends were just a few given. Cale being an Xbox kind of guy always replied with all the reasons of why we shouldn't have one. He also knew that I was a pro in the sport of getting my mind set on something only for my infatuation to dissolve all too quickly.

Once he was home, I didn't stop. Our first trip to the Salmon Run mall post deployment and Christmas sales only lit the fire for desperation on this little white box. Cale was always the pro at giving me a look to let me know I was reaching the point of crossing the line. Not in a parental way, but a way to let me know it was time to stop before an argument of any kind was going to surface.

A few days before my birthday he ran a couple errands. I was clueless it had anything to do with my birthday until he ran in the door announcing he had a surprise for me. He had picked up my birthday gift. I was the one saying he needed to wait for my birthday, but he couldn't help himself! He had to show me. I wasn't going to disagree!

It was in fact the very thing I had wanted so badly. A Wii. We both were very much like two little kids as we ripped apart the box and tape. We pulled each item out of the box and I was already planning our next trip to the store. I need the Wii fit game!

Although Cale made sure I knew the Wii is kind of dumb and he wasn't too interested, the moment of getting it out of the box and all hooked up proved differently.

We started playing games immediately. Cale's competitiveness came out and the adventure started. We also went to the store a few days after to pick up my new game. We played and laughed and had a blast just as I had predicted.

When we packed up our little Toyota before making a long trip around the US, we decided that was included in one of the things we needed to have along with us. Game nights with friends of course! ;)

As you all know, just a couple days later, our car was crushed and Cale was lying on a hospital bed in a coma with no signs of life.

It took months and months but the day eventually came that Cale was able to play the Wii again. It wasn't our Wii and it wasn't in our home, but it was a piece of life that had been in what felt like a whole different world.

Cale's therapist at the Palo Alto VA used the Wii for therapy in hopes to keep him motivated while working on things like balance, cognition, and coordination. I think on some days Cale enjoyed it, but frustration and fatigue always loomed over. Interest wore off quickly.

Once we did make it to our new home, and found that the Wii had survived the wreckage, Cale had no interest. The memory of giving it as a gift and all the time we spent playing on it had disappeared and left was only interest in his beloved Xbox.

My knowledge of all the great benefits of the Wii and how much fun it really could be left me disappointed. Why is he so stubborn?!

Every now and then we would try again. His PT with Rehab With Out Walls tried with no success. Mama and I would try it, but nothing helped. We even had purchased the Kinect in hopes that he would be more willing to play it. Nope. I knew the reason. He's a man that whatever he would do he was good at it. And if  he struggled, he wouldn't stop until he had it conquered. As gamers know, Cale would need the high score. The Wii being such a challenge and one that he had no control of, it frustrated him to the max. He knew he should have no problem, and yet, it was a constant let down. We gave it a fairly long break not wanting to push and kind of stepping on egg shells through this stage of intense anger. No reason to fuel the flames.

Until, Thursday night that is, when we made the suggestion. Cale was quick to jump at the idea to play. It took a little bit for all the set up again, but once the games started they didn't stop for long! We started playing around 5pm. He paused for a short time while his mom came to visit and then we continued with different balance games. When it was time for dinner, Cale paused to eat and then once again our Wii fun resumed. A little after 9pm when I knew Cale was really tired and he started to have a more difficult time, I talked him into going to bed and cuddling with me. He didn't want to stop!!!! He still struggled, but with someone to hold onto it helped.



There's just a few games he's playing (we have to unlock some which I don't remember us doing before? Maybe we had just done it a lot quicker?) and that helps to boost up his confidence. Just between Thursday and today I was able to see improvement on how he played and his balance!

We are, after all this time, once again playing the Wii together, laughing and having a blast.  


*This post is not meant to encourage begging and whining to get what is wanted. His plan was to surprise me to begin with and then all my begging almost made him decide not to get it for me! ;)




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Covenant Keeping

This may possibly end up being one of the most random posts ever...but stick with me for the full update!

We'll start with some pictures :)


Cale loves playing Angry Birds on the iPad. I think he's actually starting to not love it as much recently, but he sure did smile when he found this pillow at good ol' Costco!


can't.get.enough.


Our neighbor had a sweeeeet baby a couple months ago. I must say that getting to hold her was the greatest moment of that day! It's been a couple weeks...past due for another visit!


We had a visit with Cale's brother Ty and his family. The boys entertained themselves with cards...




camping for a night...


...and manly projects.



I love these two little boys...no joke.


Brothers...


sisters...


...and my adorable nephew.


The girls did crafty things.



And now we miss them way too much. Too much. They are wonderful, just too wonderful. We love you Ty, Nikki, and boys! Can't wait for our next visit!!!!


This picture cracks me up because neither of us had said to make a silly face. We first both had smiles but before I hit the button we went crazy!


I just really love him...a little...or maybe a whole lot! ;)


See those headphones? Yeah...they're not plugged into anything. Cale just wanted to sport a new fasion statement.


I spent an afternoon running errands with Mama. I always love her company and treasure the days we get to do girly things together.


Saturday night was the prayer time over the land. Everyone was invited to grab cookies afterwards and have a chance to see what our future home will look like.






I feel like it was another moment in this journey that I felt so overwhelmed with thankfulness. I know many were out of town or sick or had other plans and I know it didn't help that we scheduled it so suddenly, but for everyone that did show up...thank you so very much. As Saturday progressed, I continually received calls, texts, emails, and messages letting me know you all were praying from all over the world! Wowzers! Also, thank you Sharon for thinking to bring your camera and capture this milestone in this very long walk we've been on! Love ya friend!


Since we've been home, Cale hasn't enjoyed going to church. It's been something I've forced because of how important it is in our lives and how much I love listening to him worship. I also just thought that as long as we were going, even though its hard for him because he can't process quick enough, his Spirit was being fed. But...it's gotten worse and to the point that I can't get him out of the house on a Sunday morning. It just won't happen. So, I be worshipping at home. Our church in NY has church live online so I worshiped with music with them and then listened to one of our Pastor's sermons from a couple months ago.We're going to be creative and probably have to switch our plans a lot, but whatever works!


Sunday evening we went to a BBQ with family. They had a bounce house and at first I didn't think there was any way for Cale to get in, but he asked and I said why not. He had a BLAST!


I had to make this picture large so you can easily see his GREAT BIG SMILE!!! It was awesome! He would fall over and it was totally fine because it was all soft and bouncy. We have bad days often and lots of angry spouts. We know frustration. We experience disappointment. When these smiles come...the ones that when you see it, it causes you to smile...yeah, those, they're fuel for the soul.


On Monday Mama stayed with Cale and I took a mini trip to Silverwood with family! So much fun. I haven't gone in way too long. Ride after ride. Roller coaster after roller coaster. Woke up Yesterday morning ready to go again!


Cale had therapy today. Folks, it is huge that he's still getting therapy. We're down to once a week because he can't tolerate much more at this point, but he's still getting it. So thankful.

When we had gone up to visit Ty and Nikki, we had appointments at the Seattle VA. One of them was a Neurology appointment. We have started the process of switching Cale's meds. It's a slow transition but we're praying for big changes. The one we're switching him to is for seizures and a mood stabilizer. It would be totally awesome to get him off all meds...but we're not quite there. We are hoping for good things with this switch though!

One of the nights while in our hotel room, Cale and I had the best time with each other. We played baseball with his socks, laughed uncontrollably (that was me!), watched a show about sharks, and cuddled. While I layed there, I grabbed my phone and posted to Facebook...

Laying next to my husband thinking about how blessed we are...so much has been taken but so much more has been given. Choosing to cherish each moment... 

Part of the reason I haven't made the time to post even though we've had lots to post about and I have had the time is because I've been going through a bit of a hard time. I don't want it to be that I'm posting my struggles every time I post, but the thing is I've always been so honest when I post and this is the season I'm in. It's a challenge.

As hard as some days can be and as many tears as I may cry...I never stop loving my husband. There's never been a moment that I have wanted to just be done with him.

But I do get frustrated. I do feel discouraged. I do feel weak. I do ache.

And then I go to the Lord.

He reminds me (and not always in a sweet gentle way) that we have been given much.

John Piper says, "Staying married is not mainly about staying in love. It's about covenant keeping."

We far too often get caught up in marriage being about what our needs are and how wonderful of a picture we can make it, but really, marriage is the picture of Christs glory. We are so blinded that we may go our entire life and never get a glimps.

And because we have no clue, we are then so willing to break a covenant with the Lord. Out of selfishness, we forget what He has binded together.

I do love Cale. I do love our love story. I did marry my prince. I love me a good fairytale.

But, I don't want to walk through this life and totally miss the mark.

I want to cherish each moment the Lord has given us as husband and wife in this life, but I also want to get to a point that my eyes are so focused on the King and my heart is so connected with Him that I see his glory. I see His vision of marriage.

When I get off track and focused on the "pretty" painted marriage is when my journey starts to look so dark and ugly. It's when I start to get in my pity party making known what I feel that I deserve.

When all we all really deserve is death. A brutal lonely death.

Thank you Jesus for Your sacrifice.

We've been planning a trip back east again (probably since we came home from the last trip!) for awhile now and finally our tickets are purchased! Woohoo! We'll fly to NY and then down to NC and then back home. Can't wait!!! It's not for a few more months, but we're super excited!

One of my brothers is here for a visit. It's pretty cool.

I have a phone interview with an oraganization to get a service dog tomorrow morning. The thought to get rid of Basil makes me really sad.

Cale has started saying things are "awkward" or "odd" and the times that he says it makes me laugh because sometimes it just really doesn't fit.

 We're off to a neuropsych appointment!

Wasn't too random right?  




Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prayer time!

Another update coming tomorrow?

For now, I just wanted to remind you all about the prayer time over our land at 7pm tonight! After we're finished praying, we're invited to a home on the same street to give everyone a chance to see what our home is going to eventually look like! We'd love for you to join us!

Thank you for all of you that will be praying with us from all over the US! I've also received a lot of emails and messages from friends here in town that are traveling and won't be able to come but will still be praying.

It is such a blessing to know so many walk this journey with us covering us in prayer.

We're so very thankful for each one of you!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Gift of Marriage.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  -Matthew 19:4-6


I am consistently reminded how marriage is a gift. It's a complicated challenging sweet mess of a gift. It's just one of the beautiful ways we can so clearly see Jesus.

There have been and are marriages around me that fail and end in divorce. Lives shattered and hearts broken.

In a movie I watched tonight there was a part that a high school boy asked his father why did God make Him so small and weak. The Father replied with "to show how mighty He is."

Why did God allow this brain injury in our marriage? Why did something so perfect and wonderful become so difficult and exhausting? Why did someone like me, so small and weak be chosen for such a task as this?

To show how mighty He is.

I'm thankful for my marriage...the gift that it is and continues to be.

I'm thankful for my man.

I'm thankful that LOVE between husband and wife is something that God joined together and will not be broken by anything of this world.

I pray that I am...

He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord -Proverbs 18:22

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. -Proverbs 12:4

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies. -Proverbs 31:10

I pray that I'm a blessing to my husband and that every day he gets to experience a little more of Jesus through me. In the midst of every fault that I have, that I would love him like Christ loves him.

I pray that not a day will pass that I'm not over the top thankful for being his wife.

I pray that I will continue to cherish all the days of our life...

When I asked what Cale thinks about marriage he said...

"It's good. I like it. I like ours. Lots."

Me too Cale, me too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mouth dropping kind of stuff...


A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1


In a few months, there will not just be weeds and dirt, rather, a home full of love and grace. A home where two people just a couple years ago were faced with a completely different picture of what home was going to look like. Death was near. Doctors reports hurt. Diagnosis...unimaginable. The Lord has chosen to bless us with a home. We did nothing to deserve the blessings he continually pours over us. This home...means nothing if He isn't the provider, the director, the builder. Our hearts and our prayer is to fully honor His name and give all glory to Him.
...and then squeal just a little with excitement! Eeeeeeeeek!!!!!!

If you're in the area and would like to join us, on July 21st at 7pm (pt) we're going to gather and pray over the land. We'd love to have you join us in prayer at that time even if you can't make it to our little lot. :) I know it'll be a bit late for you east coast friends, but if you eat a bowl of ice cream maybe you'll wake up a little! ;)

Please send an email for more info if you'd like!

Since I last posted...

The 4th of July happened! Rachel was in town so I spent most of the day having girl time with her. I always love her visits! Cale spent the afternoon with Mama until evening when he joined me at Rachel's parents' house for dinner. We had cheeseburgers and Cale wouldn't touch his because there was no mustard! He wasn't giving in either! I hate the yellow stuff...but apparently he loves it more than I knew! Or he's just incredibly stubborn. The second choice is um...spot on! Heehee!

We then went with Rachel to watch the fireworks at the park. Cale was so excited about them!






I don't mean to be Debbie Downer, but I just want to remind (again?) that we celebrate the 4th because of our freedom and independence with fireworks, but many of the men and women that have fought for that very freedom, aren't able to watch the fireworks. We're blessed that Cale doesn't struggle with PTSD, but I know many wonderful friends who can no longer take part in celebrating because of the level of stress it causes their men! Let's continue to lift up our military men and women!  



Cale continues to have speech with his therapist that he had with Rehab Without Walls once a month. She's kind of connected with the program Cale is a part of with Wounded Warrior Project. Since about March I've seen some changes happen in Cale that I can't always describe. Some days, I see it more than others, but I know that I see it. Even more recently I've noticed more exciting changes specifically with memory.


After his session yesterday I walked his therapist to the car and no joke...as we talked we both looked like the unfortunate guy above.

I've been asked a lot lately if I still see changes in Cale. Usually, I'll say that I do, they're just slower now. And, it's true they are. What's so exciting is that they are still happening!! Memories are being created. With some things he'll remember it for an hour and then it'll be gone, or even for three days and be gone, and some things are just sticking!

We were supposed to go camping with his brothers family this weekend, but plans changed a little. Over the last couple weeks, Cale has been bringing the trip up ON HIS OWN!!!!!! Several times he has asked when we were going to see his brother or how many days until we camp! He even told his speech therapist about it when she asked him what his plans this weekend were. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Are you kidding me?! Going from not remembering something 2 minutes after it happened to now being able to on his own bring something up?! Ahh! Awesome. So awesome!

He was even able to tell his neuropsych the other night that we had gone to Costco! It had been a couple hours and he still knew!

Yes siree bob, miracles are happening.

I have more to write about but Cale needs some attention. :)

He just started petting me saying, "Good cat. Good Cat. Meow."


Monday, July 2, 2012

Wow Oh Wow!!!

Oh how I've missed you friends! The days get away from me so quickly...

I have a TON to update on...like, really, a TON!!!

So, here goes.

The day after I last (really) updated, we had special visitors! Do you remember Adam and Amy? I had met them in NC when Cale was still in a coma. The day Amy and I said good bye to each other we cried and hugged prayed and giggled...and then Cale and I hopped on a plane and left for CA. During that time we've kept in contact, but with both of our lives being full we haven't been able to talk and connect as much as we would like.

Adam is doing very well! It was amazing for me to see him walking and talking! The boys were able to play Xbox for a short time together which I had day dreamed about! For part of the night, Amy and I made ourselves comfy on the couch and just talked. It was a beautiful time for us, but what made it even more special was listening to Adam and Cale talk! It was such a simple conversation, but neither of them normally initiates in conversation like that at least I know Cale doesn't.

I so badly wanted to lock them in our home and not let them ever leave! Well...you know...in a less creepy way. ;)

Amy, you bless me girl. Love you!

 I don't have permission yet to post pictures but I'll post if I can!

Our time with them was only a few short hours before it was time we had to go to sleep! I had a big event early the next morning...

I joined in with some of our friends to do the Tough Rhino Mud Run.

I was nervous...not gonna lie.

It was actually a blast! I had fun, one just being with everyone, but also the experience. Afterwards, they were excited to plan and take on a more difficult one, but I can't say that I'm totally game. We'll see though!


Cale told me he did Basic Training so I was silly for being tired! haha! He has a point...

After I cleaned my muddy self up, this is what I did...


The very next day with all of my cuts and bruises, we hopped on a plane and went to Colorado! Yikes! Yes, again... :)

This time was for some summer fun, but it was in the same place we had gone to for the Winter Sports Clinic. Cale wasn't too thrilled with the whole idea and neither of us were sure of what to expect. It was interesting for sure. Cale is in a weird stage where things are either too much stimulation or not enough. In either direction it causes boredom and boredom is a trigger for anger.

There were some hard points but we both had fun as well!

Cale snapped this one of me at the airport. I think the way it was taken my head looks large, but I love how the light is in my eyes :)


We went rafting...




We  he rode a horse...






We met Paul Dallenbach the race car guy...


Look closely...I'm wearing Cale's name tag and his free hat...oh yes.


We be us...


We he went fishing...



We saw a moose...


We went on a scary ride...



and survived...


We had fun with friends...



Like I said, we had some good times and some bad times. Most days like with rafting, Cale was happy when we had some rapids, but the slow relaxing parts that everyone else loved...he was bored. And fishing...yeah...nope.
Riding horses was on and off how he felt. He did get really bored just walking around going slow, but the time spent with the horses he loved.
The day we went on the ride was because everyone was going to the hot springs and Cale hates being in water. The leaders came to me asking how an amusement park would be. Normally, I would say not a good idea, but they said it was still pretty empty so I thought why not?
Hmm...Cale was really bored and part of the time it was too much, but since we only stayed for a short time, I was able to get him to go on a couple rides with me.
We had a blast while on them! Off...was a different story, but at least I know now he can do it!
The entire time on the scary one, I was screaming and Cale was yelling, "weeeeee!" haha!
I don't regret going!

The next trip we went on was to CA! We have a family reunion there every year in Redding. Friday morning when we were up and getting ready to hit the road, Cale had a meltdown. A pretty bad one. My nephew was going to be house sitting for us, so Cale stayed a night with him and then stayed a night with his mom. I had to make the decision to stay behind or go and leave him. I didn't know what to do and of course since its me, there were tears involved, but I had to think about what would be the best...and so I left on the trip.

I talked to him often and he didn't remember getting upset but was very sad that I wasn't at home with him. I missed him being with me and all my family also! I think we're just going to have to continue to learn those times and expect them.

I ended up having a blast with my family. Mama, my sister and I loaded into my CRV and on our way through Oregon we picked up my brother. The three of us finished the long drive to Redding...

and ate some good food...


had a good time with family...


enjoyed the scenery...


Since I've been back, things with Cale have been sooooooo much better. He still has his anger and mood swings like before, but they've gotten back to what our "normal" was. There haven't been any more nasty explosions. Thank you Jesus!

As for the house...

Wow Oh Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We didn't get the last one. Did I tell you about that already? One too many things showed up on the inspection. Frank took a look at the final report and basically was completely honest with me about my situation, Cale's disability, and how much work an older house would be. This was so sad for me to hear just because I love older homes. They have character and are just so much more personal. Call me crazy, but I'd much rather live in an oldy.

About the same time that we had found that home, a friend of ours told us about some builders that she had talked to about us and they were wanting to talk with me and possibly help us out...ok...

So, I went. I honestly didn't have the best attitude. Eh, my usual when it comes to things like this. I kind of kick and pout my way there letting the Lord know that I'm going to be obedient, but I don't really want to...

Well, the builders aren't doing any kind of special help for us. In fact what they offered is something the offer as an incentive to everyone, but it didn't matter. Frank came to the meeting and after grilling the guy about all the materials and the process of building, I knew this was it.

We're building a home.

And, even though it's not everything I want in a house, I know it's going to make a perfect home for us. And, it'll be new and under warranty. No worries.

And, I can't believe it. It's happening. We're actually getting a home of our own. Is it true?!

Blessed.

I was going to drive by it today and take a picture of the land, but maybe that's silly?

Anyways...YAY!!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy.
and thankful.

There were a few things we took off the plan instead of adding it to our mortgage. The hope is that you, in whatever way you can, will help.

I'm going to be planning a prayer time that if you're in the area we'll invite anyone that wants to come to pray over the land before we start building...and if you're too far to join us, maybe you'll pray wherever you're at?

Now for some randoms...

Names are a big thing for Cale. He may not remember a person but he'll remember names. He also focuses on names. Recently he realized that the first three letters of my name spells k-a-t. Now, no matter where we're at, he'll start petting me and then adds, "Meow" if I try to stop him at all he hisses at me! He's so funny! He does it until I give him a meow back...

In exactly one month I'm leaving for Ecuador for 10 days. Oh.my.word.
I've been praying about this trip since last summer and the time came in March that I had to give my final answer. Am I willing to go to another country leaving my husband with brain injury back home in the states where if something happens I can't just quickly get back to him? Leave him for 10 days?! Am I willing?
If God calls me to go I am.

So, I'm going. We've, as a team; along with others have been praying for this specific thing and honestly, I feel so much peace about it! I know as I've said before that God is with Cale even when I'm not. Is it scary? Yes. Will it be ok? Yes.

I'm so excited about this trip! The elevation is crazy so my friend Zita and I hiked Badger this morning and will be hiking several more times before we leave! We have to get in shape! :)


Here's my brother and my youngest niece...


and me with another niece...


Cale came out of the room last Monday holding up his patches on his shirt and with a huge smile said, "I'm still a soldier!"


Our silly dog...


I was sick for a couple days last week...no fun. Me and tissues...we were tight.


When we went on Thursday to sign papers for the house, we also had to choose colors for everything. I will be the first to tell you...I am NO good at this! I can't picture things and I don't know colors. I knew what I would pick if I had my choice to pick anything, but since I couldn't do that, I was at a loss. Mel and September came and basically saved me from misery and Cale is the one that chose what color the outside of the house is going to be!


We have decided that a service dog is the way we need to go for Cale. With his new level of independece, I've been told it would be very beneficial for him. Since we already have Basil and Mama's dog Noah, we're going to have to give them away. It's going to be super hard to get rid of Basil, but Cale isn't able to make the switch between them. There is already a lot of frustration with Basil not understanding Cale or being obedient with him...so, it's just one of those things. I've applied to a few and to one of the organizations you apply and then do another lengthy application. I finished that one up today! It's a long wait, but we're willing!

On Saturday Mama and I went to storage. All of our stuff has been packed since 2008 and to raise money for the new home we're doing a yard sale. This means we needed to look through everything in our boxes and take out what we're getting rid of. We made it about half way before being done. It's all still packed and as soon as we get our new home we'll finally be able to unpack everything! The whole time was filled with laughter and tears, but we got a lot done!

In one of the boxes I found these two. Haven't seen them in a long time...


My pig hung out while we worked...


Cale is silly...


...and we play cribbage.