Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our happenings so far...

Just a quick note to say hi and show some photos!
 
We've left! We are now in trip mode! When we took off Wednesday, we were saying good bye to our home because by the time we get back we'll be in our new home! The few days we were home I was busy packing for the trips, but also packing up the house. I kept asking Cale if he was sad like I was, but he kept saying, "Nope. Girls are weird."
 
We also said good bye to our new house because our last time getting to see it there was still stuff everywhere and it doesn't look close to being finished! When we get back to WA it'll be an actual home and Mama will already be living in it!
 
 
 
As you already know, we had to make a really tough decision recently...it was time to find Basil a new home. I knew the time was going to come, but yikes. It wasn't easy! I've become so attached to him! He's a part of our little family and still I can't believe it's happened!
 
I have been praying that the perfect home would come along. He's fully papered, still young, and a beautiful boxer so I know I could have sold him, in fact, I was told many times that it would be a good option, but I couldn't do it. I just wanted to find him a home that he would be loved and get lots of attention. He loves attention!
 
Right after getting home from San Diego I received a message about someone that was possibly interested in him. I knew we were getting ready to leave for our trips but I fit in time to meet them and take Basil to meet them. Instantly I loved the family!
 
By the end of the meeting, they had decided to take him. I had been praying and praying for the perfect family and the day before leaving they came! I felt so blessed!
 
He left the Wednesday while we were high in the sky...
 
 I did cry.
I'm not gonna lie.
I do miss him.
Wednesday while going from airport to airport and the different flights we were on, I saw 4 different boxers! What?! Ahhh...sigh.
I can't say enough how great his new family is.
They even said we can visit any time!
 
Still, the good bye was hard!
 
 
We were on three different flights and finally arrived in NY! Cale did awesome while traveling!! I was nervous because of how San Diego went, but he was impressive!
 
 
We're staying with our friends Tony and Hannah! We love them and always love our visits with them. Friendship is such a blessing...too often I think we forget what a treasure it is!
 
 
{Cale & Jaxon being dinosaures!}
 
 
 
{This girl is amazing! And not just because she made pumpkin bars with me and was my coffee date!}
 
 
{I went on a run Thursday and my sock slid down in my shoe! Ugh. Don't you hate when that happens?! Can you say blister? Ouch! It was big and gross. The former Army medic Tony went to work helping me out and getting me all fixed up!}
 
Cale has had fun but also has struggled a little. He woke up this morning ready to go home. I think he's heard me talk about DC so much that now he's very upset about it. If you by any chance are reading this and you'll be around us soon, please don't mention us going to DC! Maybe ask while he's not around. :o)
 
Last night we went to a baby shower. Cale had to come because there was no one to stay with him so we brought along his iPad. Several times through the day he kept saying he didn't want to go to DC. Thursday night we actually had an awesome talk about it! Incredible. He told me he was scared to go and then we ended up talking about the lies from the enemy and how they have no place in our marriage. We also talked about how he's no longer active duty for the US Army, but he is active duty for God's Army and we always need to be fighting the enemy.
 
Cale has never been able to stay that engaged in a conversation! Also, normally if we do start talking about something longer than a few minutes, he forgets what we were talking about...and then we start back at the beginning ;o)  
 
Anyways...one point at the shower, we weren't even there for very long, Cale came over and let me know that he wasn't going to DC and that he was going to walk back to WA. Uhh...
 
So, we left. We walked. He was mad.
It was dark.
It was raining.
My flats were soaked along with my tootsies!
He was on a mission.
 
Finally I was able to get him to cool off and turn around before we were suddenly on a very busy street. Poor Hannah and Jaxon were just waiting in the car while the Darlings walked the parking lot!
 
For the most part that's been the only time it's been so bad. I even told Cale while we were walking back that I was thankful for the walk since I had just eaten waaaaaay too many sweets!
 
This season we're in is definitely one of challenge and growth!
 
Wowza!
 
On my runs I've been listening to Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Oh man! I need to listen to it over and over! So good. So so so good. There's a nugget every other sentence!
 
"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives." -Francis Chan 
 
Worry. Fear. Doubt.
 
Ya know, the very things that come so easily to us. 
 
I have been terrible- terrible about taking pictures so far with everyone I'm getting to visit with. Tomorrow is another day. I'll do better!
 
I'll leave you with this little joyous occasion...
 
 
p.s. if you're going to be near any of the place we're going and would like to see us email me at darlingkathleen@ymail.com! I know a couple times some of you have mentioned it and email would be the best way to work that out!
 
I can't promise we'll be able to, but we'd love to if we can! :o)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Living Our Brain Injury.



We just returned from sunny San Diego! If you remember last year, we had gone to the Summer Sports Clinic for a week and Cale was able to try out a whole week worth of activities. It was awesome. A lot, but awesome. Last year we got a ton of smiles out of Cale and through the week he tried hard at everything and really enjoyed it all, but it took a lot out of him. He was exhausted the whole trip!
I’ve been excited to see what this year was going to bring. When you think about the recovery journey with brain injury, or any injury for that matter, a year is a long time and a whole lot of healing can take place. I was ready to see Cale do more and better. In the back of my mind and even talking with a few people before we left, I guessed that we were either going to have a really good week or an extremely difficult week. I of course hoped for the first rather than the latter. We’ve gone through some rough patches lately and have seen his anger develop into being more aggressive. Since I’ve been home from my trip to Ecuador (I STILL need to get some pictures on here!) Cale has been overall really great. He’s been back to laughing a lot and being silly and being willing to do/try things.
It may seem like I’m going to jump around in thoughts but I promise it’ll all come together…well, this is all coming out of my head…so I can’t really promise anything!
Many of you have noticed I haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I used to. Part of that is just the business of life. Part of it is the challenge of not knowing how to put into words our daily life. I titled this post “Living Our Brain Injury” because although Cale is the one with the actual brain injury, both of our lives our fully impacted. As much as he lives every day with his brain injury, I do as well.
I’ve been told since the time I was in ICU next to his bed that all brain injuries are different. I’ve been told the journey is a marathon not a sprint. I’ve been told the medical world doesn’t actually know that much about the brain.
Although I loved the honesty and I needed it, these aren’t quite things that were easy to hear. What do we do so often in this life? We compare. We compare whatever it is that we’re going through, the way we look, the different way we handle situations, the choices we make;  the very lives we live. We compare.
While in the hospital, you think this is it. We can survive this. We can make it through this. This is the hard stuff.
There’s no way to prepare for what comes after you leave the hospital. For some, that is when the good stuff comes. Life starts. The goal has been made. For some, there’s a physical goal that always feels like it’s around the corner. There’s something to work towards and focus on. And for some, like Cale, every single day is a new battle ground. There is no rhyme or reason for how things unfold. There’s no way to measure and make sure things level out. There are so many ups and downs within even just a few hours, you just kind of have to roll with it.
I decided the best way to give the best picture of how the week went, would be to go through each day as it unfolded. Obviously I won’t be able to give every single detail, but I’m hoping to paint a little of our life for ya…
Saturday
We had to wake up at o' dark thirty. Our flight was out at 6am and Friday night when we tried to get to bed early, we both were wide awake with no hope for sleep! It took a while but eventually our eyes closed and then suddenly my alarm was going off. Yikes! Cale was excited all morning. Tired, but excited! We had some good laughs and made silly faces at people. I made sure to continually bring up our excitment for the Sports Clinic and Cale was always in agreement. We celebrated his birthday by spending our first day in San Diego at Sea World! Neither of us have ever gone and his friend TJ lives just a couple hours away so he drove down to meet up with us.
We're still asleep in this picture...

That would be TJ carrying Cale on his back going down to get splashed!
 
They didn't make it quick enough to get splashed at the Shamu Show but they did get soaked by the dolphins!
 
It was such a fun day! We were running on nothin' but laughter and good company!
Once back at the hotel, Cale was tired and done. We still had an orientation that night, but Cale had switched gears. He had his fun and was ready for the trip to end.
 Sunday
The very first thing Cale said to me after waking up was, "I want to go home." I decided to let things play out with the thought that when things actually started he would be ok. Well...not so much. The stinker started things off with a BAM!

I could not get him off the bed and dressed for the day. We had the opening ceremony to attend along with getting registered and a brunch. Within just a few hours he tried to bolt from the hotel 4 times and locked me on the patio. He was not happy. I used to be able to redirect his attention to something else or get him to calm down, but now he's bigger and stronger and can move me and keep going. I'm sure our neighbors in the hotel were quite curious of all the commotion. We tried having a guy from the other team come talk to him and see if he wanted to go out or stay and play cards. Cale wouldn't have anything to do with it. Our coach tried talking to him...nothing. Finally a group of 5 or 6 piled into our hotel room ready to talk him into staying but also prepared to buy a ticket out the next morning for us if needed. At that point I honestly thought we were done.

Before they all came in, it had honestly been another one of the most challenging days. Cale was so angry and there was nothing I could do. With him being more aggressive, I was limited into how much control I had in the situation. I even sent Mama a text at one point letting her know I had no idea what I was doing and that we may be on our way home.

It was awful. I don't quite know how to put into words the measure of just how terrible it was. I couldn't leave the room to get food or anything to drink for us so it was good that I had snacks from the plane!

When the group did come and talk with him, at first it didn't seem like anything they could say was going to help but finally I saw something in Cale shift and decided it was a good time to step up and try something again. We were able to get him to agree that if we all went out for dinner and got him a massive tasty steak that he would try to make it through our first day which was surfing.

We walked around and spent time together that evening outside of the hotel room and totally enjoyed each other which was the first for the whole day. I knew my eyes were puffy and I looked like a wreck, but it didn't matter...I just wanted to enjoy him.

 
Monday 

He loved surfing last year. Although he hated being out of the water and being cold while waiting his turn, he loved loved loved the actual surfing part. I remember being so nervous because ever since the accident, he's been so afraid of water and hates when water touches his face. Yet, even when he fell off the board into the water and went under for a second, he got right back up.

This year, 10 minutes in the water and he was out. I got exactly one picture of him on the board. He was mad when I saw them walking him out of the water. The look on the instructors face told me enough but as soon as I made it into the water and reached Cale, he said over and over, "I'm mad!" "This is dumb." "I'm done." He needed my help to walk to the chair parked on the sand, but within minutes he wanted to bolt. He wouldn't let me help him walk so he slid off the chair onto the sand and crawled all the way until reaching the cement wall. I'm sure you can just imagine what we looked like. Cale crawling and me walking alongside him piled high with all of our stuff...yep.

He took off wanting to walk to the airport. During these new episodes, I just let him walk. When he's filled with anger and the adrenaline is pumping...it makes for some good exercise for him! Thankfully we were able to get him calm before he reached the street! We found a shady spot and a bench and went to town playing Crazy 8's.

Disappointment. I played cards and smiled but inside I was filled with so much disappointment. It was like I could actually feel myself wearing it. This year during the second half I was going to surf with him. I had been so excited for weeks about it. I also, again thought he was going to do even better this year...except he didn't even give it a chance.

After we ate lunch a car brought us back to the hotel while everyone else continued surfing. Right before leaving one of the other guys on the team came up to us with his wife and when I told them Cale had made it 10 minutes, she got a really big smile and said, "Good job Caleb! 10 minutes is better than nothing! We're proud of you for giving it a shot!"

Ouch. The whole ride back to the hotel I thought about how easily I get so caught up in the healing process and my expectations (that word always seems to get me!) that I totally forget about the very fact that Cale has a disability. He was in a coma for almost 6 months, in a hospital not talking or walking for much longer, and has surpassed almost all reports against him...and yet once again I focus on what is not. He was in the ocean on a surf board for 10 minutes.

That's a pretty huge deal.

After getting back to the hotel we went to a room they have set up as a decompression room. It ended up not being what Cale needed, but we ended up talking with some of the SSC staff for almost two hours. During that time we did borrow a wheelchair for the rest of the week. Last year we didn't go out to eat outside of the hotel or do much extra because its so much walking and Cale was wiped out exhausted after every day that he didn't want to do anything else. Having the wheelchair helped a ton! Especially for lifting the mood a little...


Tuesday

Cycling! I was so super pumped for this day. Cale had made it another night and although he still said about every 20 minutes or so that "home is better." I had no worries about us getting on a bike! We've been trying since February 2011 to get a bike for us from the VA. It has been a long and frustrating process but the knowledge that one day we'll maybe get one keeps me excited!

When Cale is on the bike, he can keep going and going. Because of all the factors that play into his specific injury, there's not much physically or mentally that he can do for a long period of time and actually enjoy. His Xbox has become a whole other story for another time...

One of the greatest things for me about this week is watching how awesome all of the SSC staff and volunteers were with us. They really went above and beyond for us working with Cale's needs. He was a very difficult challenge...for everyone...but from the rec therapist from the Seattle VA all the way up through to the guy who runs the clinic, they helped so much!

One of the many things they did was created a tandem bike! They didn't have one last year and it was a bit scary with Cale on his own recumbent bike. This year and all of his mood swings...well, let's just say him being solo was not a goooood idea. Monday night one of the volunteers took two bikes that weren't meant to be together and created a way. It was totally perfect! It made the first part of the day so wonderful for us! Cale was once again riding and riding not wanting to take a break! I had to tell him we needed to stop and eat lunch with everyone!

After lunch it was time for the long ride. Last year he did so good with this part except until he had to go to the bathroom real bad and we turned around. We started out great this year. He was ready to ride and may I just add that he kept yelling "faster! faster!" and my little legs were trying so hard!

And then his foot slipped off the pedal. Strike 1
And then he needed to go to the bathroom. Strike 2
And then his helmet was loose. Strike 3

You may think these are three small things but when you have a brain injury like Cale's and you're already hot and got a whole lot of stimulation going on, then when your foot slips off the pedal when you're cruising and having a good time, it's a big deal. And once you're going again, feeling good, and you have to pee, well, this is just about enough to make you fall off a cliff! Now, when things are looking up again and you're feeling like a new empty man and your helmet is loose and uncomfortable...what?!

You're done.

You're so done that you get yourself right off that bike and start walking. You bolt. Oh dear! Thankfully there were some of the volunteers around and after unsuccessful try after unsuccessful try to get you back on the bike to at least ride the several miles back to the tents, a truck comes to get you and your wife.

I totally forgot to write about his bolt before the cycling had even started which had us headed straight for the highway...on foot. Redirect! Redirect! Redirect! When that doesn't work...hop on a motorcycle and head for Mexico...just kidding.

The other part about the whole day was that it was Cale's birthday! It did make him happy everytime everyone sang to him and we did go out for steak and ice cream that night. Along with a really super great visit with some of our friends on our team, the night was perfect!


 
Wednesday

Yes! Wednesday came and we were still in San Diego and Cale was still giving everything a try! Wednesday was sailing day which meant after two days of waking up earrrly, we finally were able to sleep in a bit! I had actually woken up early enough to get a nice run in before the day started. Cale woke up in a good mood but when I told him it was sailing day, he was no longer thrilled. Last year sailing was a bummer because its slow and he wanted to go fast. I wasn't sure I was even going to get him out of the room, but he eventually agreed.

A little time waiting down by the boats and he was ready to bolt again. This time he was in his wheelchair. It's really sad, but also...really funny watching him try to bolt in the wheelchair. His arms still don't work together great and so his left arm gets going trying to make it go and the right arm starts out great and then has a mind of its own.

I know. I know. I shouldn't be laughing, but it really is kind of funny.

Because he wasn't able to bolt, I pushed him away from the group and walked a little. He then got mad at me and started to stand up to leave. I knew I wouldn't be able to chase him and take care of the chair and with some coaxing I was able to get him calm again.

Once again the SSC crew stepped up and let me go on the Stars and Stripes with him. Only veterans are supposed to go, but everyone knew he wasn't going without me. This was actually a blast for him! It gets a bit faster than the little one he rode in last year and the waves and dipping added some excitement. I think if it wasn't so long, he would have had a great time the entire ride, but about half way through he was bored and ready to get off...nowhere to bolt to though!

They were letting all the veterans take turns steering the boat and Cale did not want to do it! He was scared! With his balance being so off and then being on water...it would have been scary for me too! I let him know that I thought he should give it a try and right after one of the other guys asked if he was going to do it...so he did! He did and he did great! He was all smiles the whole time and even got it up to 10 knots! As soon as he sat back down he said it was scary and fun!

You go man!

Wednesday night was also the block party for everyone! This year we were aboard the USS Midway! There was great food AND great music thanks to the John Corbett band! His wife Bo Derek was also there and both have a heart for veterans! The concert was a blast and Cale had a good ol' time dancing! He danced with two other ladies besides me! Haha! One of them had asked him earlier in the day and he agreed. Of course he had no memory of it when she asked him about it at the block party. I leaned over and told him he had said yes so a couple minutes later he went out with her for a dance and then he also very sweetly asked the rec therapist from Seattle to dance. The two of us got a couple in as well before all the noise and long day caught up with him.





Thursday
The day the week changed.

Last year the worse day for Cale was Track and Field. I remember the morning last year when he got really mad and had to sit on a bench a little off from the group (Uh, yeah...no just sitting along anymore!) for a bit and then he was fine, but bored the entire day it seemed like. We started out walking around the track and last year he had given me his cane and wanted to walk the whole way without it. He used my hand of course, but as long as he didn't have any other help. This year when we did the track he was much the same. He walked around using my hand while all the others ran ahead of us, but towards the end he said, "I'm done." we made it around the next corner and I gave him the option to cut across so we could go sit, but he had to make it to the finish line before he would sit! It was so cool! He then even stretched a little with the other guys before sitting.

The field part was actually first and once again he did some throwing of the shot put, discus and javelin. He did good with the shot put and javelin, but wasn't a fan at all with the discus. While there we met a few from the paralympics and one helped him out with the discus.

Next was rowing and well, that didn't go over well. Last year he did great with the machines that prep ya for it, but this year he just wasn't into it. He also said the rowing part was so boring. He came back after 30 minutes and was done and the group went back out.

Track and Field day is hosted at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. After eating lunch there, we all had the opportunity to visit the little shop before heading to the next event of the day. Through lunch and even the shop Cale was in a great mood and doing just fine, but the next part was archery. I was so nervous about it!

When he did archery while we were in Palo Alto, he had a lot of help and it was still frustrating even though he liked it. Since the week was already full of a lot of anger and frustration, I didn't know about adding more on top! The coach had Cale sit right down and shoot an arrow with a normal bow. After his first shot she told him to hang on and when she came back she had an adaptive bow and a hand thing to help. Once Cale shot his first arrow with that, he didn't stop! Arrow after arrow after arrow! And guess what? There is no way to set up archery for success.

It didn't matter. He would miss and grab another arrow.

Over and over again.

No breaks.

They all had 12 arrows and then after all arrows were shot the volunteers would go collect and another round would start. A lot of the guys would switch out or take a break for a round, but not Cale. Nope. Not one break.

He absolutely loved it.

No joke.

His last few arrows he shot, all of his upper muscles were shaking and he still kept going.

He made two in the yellow.

He smiled a ton.

He found something that he loves.

He found something he could do.

He found something he wants to keep doing.

He found something he's talking to people about!

He. loved. it.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Jesus.

Archery changed everything. He was walking on sunshine the rest of the day.

We've already started looking into the next step for continuing this at home. Ya know...after all of our trips coming up!


 
 (I have a video to share...but blogger is being dumb.)

Friday

A kayaking we went! This was another event that was so great last year and this year it just didn't go over as well. He actually started off great and believe it or not we did have a bathroom run before jumping into the little thing but almost to the bridge (a couple miles from land) Cale sees a little area of land right where the bridge ends and says, "pull over!" He had to tinkle.

Uh...

We turned around and headed back. After that he was done with the whole kayaking thing. Although after lunch he did go back at for a few games. At first I sat and watched all the fun but soon the idea of trying out a paddle board came up. Sure! I did that until Cale decided he was done done done.

Even though he was "hot and tired" as he said, he did so well that day! He had worn a whicker hat and had taken his shirt off...and even danced around a little bit...

ha!


Friday night was the closing ceremony. Cale was chosen to be the one to take the team flag to the front for the team. Another guy from the team went along with him to help out with his balance. I didn't get a picture or video of it (huge bummer) because I completely froze. I had my phone on the table ready to take several pictures but as i watched them walk to the front of the room, tears filled my eyes.

We made it.

It had been a really long challenging great week.

And instead of being at home early, we were still there and he was carrying the flag.


I'm trying my best to explain how the week went and how it wasn't all bad, but not all good either. I'm trying to show the way our life is with Cale and our life with brain injury, but I know what I'm trying to get across isn't going to come out exactly the way I want it to and you're not going to get everything that I'm trying to say, but if there is one main thing, I hope you get this...

It is one thing to be proud when something is challenging and amazing and Cale is all for it and totally loving every minute. That was last year. I was so proud of him for all the hard work he was doing and how he was so tired but still working so hard. It's a whole other ball game when Cale is hating something and just wanting to go home, but still works hard and keeps going. He pushed through and made it. He wasn't all about lovin' it and being pumped but he didn't quit. He didn't give up. He didn't go home.

He stayed and continued on even though it wasn't his top pick to be there. He faced the challenge day after day and even though he didn't do every event for the whole time, he did every event. He tried every event. He stuck it out.

I am so very very very proud of him.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the whole week at SSC and even our normal day to day life can be so difficult and may make me want to punch a wall, but when I get to see him smile and light up because he is having a moment that he can actually do something when life with a brain injury is constantly filled with can't, it makes it all worth it.

Multiple times through the week random people would come up to me letting me know how much we've impacted them just from them watching us.

"Kathleen, you will never know the amount of lives you affect with your love"
or
"My life is forever changed after watching how you are with him."

These were not all and they're not because of anything that I'm capable of on my own. It was a reminder that every time we step out and are willing to face a little bit more of a challenge, the Lord is using us. Shaping us. Growing us.

Since we've been home...

I have already seen changes in Cale. I love this. I love that during these times of pushing and stretching him, it produces fruit!
He was super excited to get home on Saturday and I wish I could say we were able to be lazy and not move the rest of the day, especially since the shuttle to the airport picked us up at 4:30am and that was after going to bed around 11pm...
But, I walked in the door, set stuff down, got myself showered and cleaned up and then I was off to Cale's sisters baby shower! Right after I came home and unpacked and then the two of us went to visit with friends for a really great evening of pizza and talking.
Yesterday we did stay home and relax. Actually I worked on stuff but at least I did it in my pj's! We also ran some errands and Mama and I got a movie night in!
Cale said yesterday morning, "Home is like a candy bar."

I put together a little video from our trip. I didn't get shots that I had wanted and planned, but I do believe it turned out quite nice. I chose the song because we've gone through some rough patches in the last few months that have just been plain ol' hard, but I think this last week while in San Diego, well, it took our marriage to another level.

Boy, I won't give up on us
even when the skies get rough...
God knows we're worth it.



We have a whole lot more life and love ahead of us and I'm so thankful I get all these adventures with you next to me! I love you Caleb!


ya'll we got some crazy happenin' up in here!

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birthday Boy...yesterday! :o)

Yesterday was a very special day...
 
We celebrated Cale's birthday! We're in San Diego with limited internet, but I wanted to get his little birthday post up before we were suddenly into the next week!
 
 
 
26 things Cale...
 
I am funny.
I am smart.
I like apples.
I like cookies.
I like ice cream.
Pie is good.
Pop. Yes, pop is good. Lots.
I don’t like onions.
Spinach. Yuck.
Alcohol is gross. Yeah, yuck.
I don’t like puking. Puking is bad.
I don’t like when people are mean to me.
I do like hockey. Yes. Lots!
Cheese. I like cheese.
Chocolate is good too.
Video games are fun.
I’m a man.
I like my girl. I love her lots.
Hmm…hard to say stuff…
Hmm…
I don’t like showering.
I don’t like being dirty either.
I don’t like golf. Boring.
I like playing cards.
I play cards with Joy.
I like my brother.
I like my sister.
I like home.
It was pretty enjoyable asking Cale to tell me things about himself and typing what he said. Towards the last few he started to get really bored of his wife's idea of a good time...but he made it through!
 
My Facebook status yesterday was:
 
My crazy husband, you are by far the biggest stinker, the most stubborn, and the most difficult challenge I have ever known. You cause me in a single day to experience more emotions than I can count. God has given me the ability to see you through a whole different set of eyes and because of this, I love you in a way I never thought possible and claim you as a very special gift in my life. Happy Birthday Dude! Thank you for keeping my life interesting!! Love you!!!
 
When I read it to Cale, we both had a good laugh.
 
More update to come!
 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An unexpected good kind of twist!

Life is crazy. There are always some days and weeks that seem a bit more crazy than others. We kind of always roll with it and make things continue to happen as best we can around here.
 
Thursday morning after one phone call we kicked crazy into the next gear and then took that up a notch.
 
Super crazy.
 
Now to explain...
 
We're about to head off to the Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic in San Diego. It's the same one we were able to enjoy last year! Super excited! That has been planned basically since last year...
 
We'll be gone for a week and then come home for just a few days before taking off across the country for a very exciting east coast trip. We'll be visiting our NY family for about a week...soaking up every minute before heading down to NC. We'll first hang out in one area of NC and then visit another. This 3 week trip has been planned since about January...so it's been awhile.
 
When all the house stuff came up, we worked it out that we would come home from our trip and get busy finishing up with the house and then move! We've had that plan since about July?
 
I think no matter how many times I try, I am not the author of my life, our life; our story.
 
God himself spoke creation into being.
He knows all the plans He has for us.
 
I feel like this should be solid in my mind as well as my heart, yet I'm not even close to having this down! Ha! I've got a looooong way to go!
 
I had a phone call with a doctor in Washington DC. We spent just about 2 hours talking about Cale's brain injury, where he's at, his struggles, my struggles, our hopes, and possibilities.
 
I had already spent two weeks praying about this program I was told about. I was waiting to talk with the doc, waiting to have questions answered. Waiting until I was able to come before the throne and once again lay down desires and dreams.
 
When the phone call ended, it was decided that instead of us flying all the way back home when we leave NC and then having to purchase another ticket to get us all the way back there...we should just fly straight there.
 
Uh...
 
I ran downstairs in a speed that was just shy of giving be ability to fly. I sat right down in front of Mama as she was painting and let everything come out, the entire conversation in about the same speed as I flew down the stairs! Yikes!
 
We discussed everything with the house and all the needs that are there to finish up. We discussed a list of things that will need to be taken care of. And I tried to come up with all the "issues" with the whole idea that I could. With every one Mama would answer with a way that it could be taken care of. She's pretty awesome.
 
So...
 
That left a week to completely take care of as much as I possibly can. Pack for trips. Plan out things for the house. Take care of paper work. Think about and take care of details. Pack as much of the house as I can. See people.
 
I suddenly had no more wasted time.
 
at all.
 
I'm about to get really personal with ya...
 
I had two things that were holding me back before the phone call. Two things that I knew were just small little things compared to the whole picture of our life. But, they were real to me. Real and desired. Real and hoped for. Real and expected.
 
One of them of course was the house. I have enjoyed and been so blessed getting to watch the whole process and look forward to getting to move in and settle. Unpack, decorate, and be home. It's just a house and I know it shouldn't be too important to me, but it's not even so much the house itself. It's the whole idea of being in our home. Together. I know it's been awhile, but I remember like it was an hour ago the feeling of looking through the different brochures to nursing homes and apartment searching for me. I remember all too well the feeling of home feeling so so so far away.
 
Good news...
 
There will be a home ready when we come back! It's not like it's in question and we have no idea where will come back to (we've been there too!). This time we know. Home will be here waiting.
 
And...
 
The second thing is much deeper. I've shared before so it's no secret. We want a baby. I haven't written our whole story over the last year about the whole baby thing and one day I will, but for today, I'll just say that I have honestly thought we were getting really close. In fact, it was planned very soon to at least...ya know...start up that whole thing.
 
I've spent a TON of time praying about this precious subject and have totally and completely not wanted to step into any kind of action toward that without it being in Christ's perfect timing. I have to be very honest that the whole waiting thing has not been easy...in the slightest.
 
Good news...
 
This is an opportunity that will possibly help Cale be at an even better place in his recovery for a baby. I will be too! The doc also had ideas to help with infertility that mood stabilizers can cause. And, we pray that we still will have this moment again where we can start the talk of cooking one up! It's just a little bit more of a wait...which we're willing to do!
 
This means...
 
We'll be in a really great program for brain injury and medication management and away from home for possibly 4 weeks or maybe 4 months...no idea.
 
We are SOOOOOO thankful for this exciting twist...
 
We have been praying for something just like this to come around but had no idea there was something like this or that we had the option!
 
We will be back to hospital life. Cale will be inpatient again and I'll stay at the Fisher House again.
 
Hospital food...
 
No husband in the bed with me...
 
Missing our home being finished and will become extra thankful for pictures and videos!
 
I've already started begging Rachel to visit us while there...if you know her, you should help me beg!
 
Changes for Cale!
 
This program sounds totally amazing and every single person that I've talked to about it is extremely excited that Cale is going!
 
 Mama and I have made list after list after list. We're trying to think of every little thing that needs done! So many things!
 
My life is c.r.a.z.y busy.
 
We love that Father knows best...and that He writes our story...and that Kathleen is not the author.
 
I'll keep ya posted. So don't you worry your pretty little heads. :o)
 
For some randoms as of late...
 
 
We had a bingo night with our moms. We haven't played in awhile because Cale had a hard time with the numbers being so small and getting tired way too quickly. That was with me helping him with just about every number...he did awesome this time! I was so proud! And we all had fun! :o)
 
 
I got myself a haircut...feels so much better!
 
 
and Cale is the now owner of NHL 13! He's pretty stinkin' happy about it. Although, he did say it's hard and different.
 
 
Our home has a roof! And uh...windows!! Yay!
 
 
This is just when the list was getting started. Full. Page. Yo.
 
I'm off to disaster relief training and can't wait to post while at the clinic and show you ALL that Cale is doing! Praying for more endurance, strength, toleration, and um...much more!
 
Thank you in advance for every single prayer through this new little road our journey took. We're so very thankful! Like...BIG time!
 
:o)
 
 
 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

dogs...house...and praises!

Just a quick update so I don't get behind too much more...
 
 
 
 
On Thursday we all said good bye to Noah. It was emotional because he's been so much a part of our family but it was needed. It's the next step towards getting a service dog for Cale.
When talk of a service dog first came up, we knew it meant having to find new homes for Basil and Noah. It wasn't an easy decision but after prayers and lots of thought we knew we have to do what's best for Cale and life with his brain injury. Mama was so selfless through the whole thing. Noah is her dog. She rescued him and she's become attached, but Cale is her priority. I'm so thankful for Mama and her willing heart. She not only was willing to give her dog up without complaining, but daily she blesses us! So SO thankful!
Basil is next...tears...
 
 
I drove Kathy and Cale up to the property and all three of us did some writing on the frame. Cale's notes are funny! This one says, "Hi you Hee hee"
 
 
 
Saturday morning I woke up early and decided to create a little escape with the Lord. I don't get too much alone time at home, but a drive to the property was perfect! I was able to sing and talk to the Lord as loud as I wanted and it didn't matter. No one else was around. It ended up being an amazing time not just because its our new home being built that I am so thankful for and know it is such a blessing...it went deeper...
 
 
Out of the corner of my eye, two nails caught my attention. It was right when I was opening my Bible. Nails. There I was surrounded by all of this wood and nails. Instantly I was taken to the cross. My heart was already open from my thoughts on the drive there.
Have I truly suffered?
This has been on my heart a lot lately. I have felt pain so intense that I literally couldn't catch my breath. I have gone through many days that I knew I could keep going only because God's grace. I almost lost my husband and even though I'm so blessed his life was spared, we have lost so much more. It's hard. It's all so hard.
But, isn't life hard?
Isn't it challenging at some point for everyone?
We all usually at some point in our life experience pain and grief. It's a common theme through the Bible as well.
The difference between me and just any person on the planet is that I chose Christ. He was beaten bloody and nailed to a couple pieces of wood as a sacrifice for my life. Because of His pain, I've gained the ability to release my broken heart into His hands and then I can be used by Him for his glory. Not an ounce of my strength to daily live is from me.
 
There's not a thing special about me or about the journey I've walked...I just have the Holy Spirit living in me...and that is pretty awesome!
 
It's just too easy to say, "poor me."
 
I hope all of that came out right...
 
Anyways...it was a great time. I felt the presence of the Lord so thick...I love so much that He reveals Himself to me even in a framed house.
 
 
I've been working on a little project with Mama...
 
 
We found a king size bed on Craigslist last week. I couldn't pass up the price! The headboard had potential but I didn't love the look. We spent yesterday sanding and now we're ready to paint! I'm excited for the end result!
 
Oh! AND to finish off with some goooooood news...
 
Do you remember me writing about how Cale wasn't going to church? It was to the point that he would NOT go for anything. We've been praying for his spiritual healing which is much more valuable than his physical healing.
 
The last three Sundays he's joined me at church!!!!!!
 
He's done it without fighting! He makes sure to let me know he doesn't enjoy it because it's boring but he goes! Praise the Lord!
We've been taking his iPad along to help him not get so frustrated and angry from boredom. This morning he didn't touch the iPad!!!
He set it down and for the most part focused on what our Pastor was saying. It was an incredible sermon but normally Cale just can't process quick enough.
 
Goodness!!!! I just...I just am so thankful!