Monday, January 28, 2013

Soccer Balls.

I realized I haven't posted any updates about the January Darling Project! 

I know not all of you have Facebook and I would love to give you the opportunity to be involved as well! If you remember, for the month of January we're collecting soccer balls to send to Africa. There are two different places with orphans that I know would LOVE to have a new ball to play with! 

The first is in Malawi, Africa and the second is in Kenya, Africa. Here are a few pictures of some of the kiddos that will be receiving a sweet blessing! 

The thought of watching them with new balls to play with brings tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for your willingness to join us in bringing smiles and laughter to these little ones! 

We're collecting until the end of the month!!!! There is still time if you haven't mailed yours yet! 

Please send balls and pumps to:

The Darling Project 
c/o Columbia Basin Baptist Association 
2537 West Falls Ave
Kennewick WA 99336

And if you haven't joined our Facebook page we'd love to have you! 

Would you also consider sharing the project? Maybe your neighbor would like to send a ball? Your family? Friends? Each ball is a really big deal...every single one counts! 

Thank you in advance!

*We'll be posting our February Darling Project on the 1st! Super excited for it as well! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

To understand him...


I have a body, a mind, a heart, and a soul.
My body has changed, my mind is rearranged,
the essence of me, is still intact.
My heart is bigger, my soul is everlasting.
All bodies wear out, all minds get slower.
My heart has grown fuller, my soul is forever.
The essence of me, is still intact.
My body feels pain, my mind can’t remember,
but my heart keeps expanding, my soul is at peace.
Love comes from the heart, love radiates from the soul.
The essence of me, is still intact..
I can still give love, I can still receive love.
Try to overlook my bursts of anger,
don’t dwell on what I can no longer do.
The essence of me, is still intact.
If I ramble occasionally, or act totally confused,
if I have already told you this story please overlook it,
sometimes I just really can not recall.
The essence of me, is still intact.
If I lose my temper for no reason at all,
please remember my heart and my soul.
The essence of me, is still intact.

by: Debbie Wilson

There is this man whom I love. Day after day he makes me laugh no matter how hard the day has been. He finds incredible joy in making people around him happy.
He loves intensely; so deep and honest.
He enjoys life. All the small things...all the stuff through the day that anyone else might miss. 

I could write a whole book just on the way Cale has changed since the accident. In fact, my heart often wants to focus on it. And then I look at him; I watch the way he lights up a room and causes smiles to spread. I watch how he stands for truth and says, "lying is bad." 

There is this man who daily I'm learning who he is becoming; the new Cale. I'm living this life getting to know and fall even more in love with one of the best men I know.

I read the poem above the other day written by a lady who has a brain injury and is able to share her thoughts with so many to encourage and be that person that understands. 

As I read the words, I felt like it described Cale so much. 

He does have outbursts of anger and his memory does fail him. He isn't always easy to understand when he talks and sometimes he gets really confused. He needs the right amount of stimulation to function and fatigue comes quickly. 

BUT, his heart is so much fuller. He still loves and still needs to be loved. He's still a friend and still needs friends. The essence of him is still intact.

I don't want to grow old with this man dwelling on what he can no longer do and what has changed. Rather, I want to grow old with this man continually learning who he is and allowing our marriage to be drenched in the love that is possible through Christ.

Friday, January 25, 2013


"We didn't realize 
we were making 
we just knew
we were having

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Power of Reaction

The words "the power of reaction" have been floating in my mind for weeks. I would randomly think about them and a few times thought about it in the middle of different situations. I've had no idea that a blog post was going to become of it...

Each of us from the time we are just naked little baby's react. Even while in the womb babies move and kick. From early on they can react to the food the mother is eating or the feeling of being uncomfortable.

From the minute we're born the world around us floods our senses constantly. We are bombarded with a life full of moments that we react to.

It's cold. We're hungry. Something is funny. We're mad. We're in pain. 

The list can go on and on.

One thing with being human that is truly a gift is the power of how we're going to react to any given situation and the power each reaction has. It's something that we become in control of. We learn how to appropriately react and we learn when to react. 

I am not the first wife by any means that has had her husband holding hands with death. When every breath has become unpromising and forced by machine. 

The way I reacted to that specific situation was very different than a lot of wives have. And since that instant when my whole world shifted...I've had to face so many more situations that depending what my reaction would be would determine the direction my life was going.

I know even that statement is true for many of you living with brain injury or not.

One of the many things that have changed between Cale and myself is that Cale no longer has the control of reaction. He can no longer think things through and decide how angry he's going to get, what words he's going to say or how happy he's going to be. 

This morning I went to the hospital with a huge smile. Packing happened, flights booked, and home was soon. We were scheduled to discharge the hospital tomorrow morning at 11:30. The smile wouldn't leave my face. I kept talking to Cale about going home, bringing it up often to watch him get excited all over again. Like a fool I walked around the unit telling everyone how happy we were and announced to all the staff with a cheesy smile "We are now packing Cale's bag! It's a big deal!" I was confident. Ready. Focused.

A couple hours later one of the doctors came to talk with me about this last weekend. Sunday afternoon was really challenging for us. Cale had a terrible episode that resulted in a dangerous situation. I won't go into the details but it was difficult and reminded us that as great as Cale is and as far as he has come, his brain injury is severe. There are times that we just have to better prepare ourselves safety wise. 

The doctor explained that even though they have been doing a great job at getting things into place to help Cale, they still need to work on ways to help me and to get these episodes he has under control. 

The meeting ended with the knowledge that our discharge date has been extended. At this time we're unsure for how long or what this new plan looks like. We will hopefully know more tomorrow. It could actually end up being just a few days or a few more weeks. 

Of course I was disappointed in the whole idea of staying here longer especially because we were so close to home, but my heart mostly hurt for Cale. I hated the thought of the doctors telling him. He wants to leave here so desperately and because he is unable to comprehend why he's here in the first place, it makes it even more difficult. The benefit with his memory is that by tomorrow he may have forgotten that we were extended but still have the issue with being here in the first place. 


As I walked out of the doctors office and the tears were building up from the shock and the ache for Cale, I thought to myself, "I have the power to control how I'm going to react." 


Do we get that?

From the most simplistic things like an annoying driver, slow cashier, rude comment, noisy kids, a lie, long shift at work, flat tire, burnt dinner, spilled milk and all the way to a fight with a spouse, small paycheck, stacks of bills, diagnosed with illness, lost job, or injured husband.

Most of you reading, in fact I can just about say all of you reading this little post of mine have the power to react to any situation. You have the power to brighten someone's day or tear them a part. The way you react carries power.

How often do we let our emotions control the situation rather than what we know is better?

Cale is someone who has no control. 

He is stuck in a hospital so far from home because his reactions hurt people. 

Every reaction to every moment through each day is going to affect someone and we have no idea the power it may have in this world. 

I was just recently told how great it is that I share so openly on this blog because my openness and honesty can impact so many lives that I will never know. 

My reaction is powerful.

This thought blows my mind and suddenly becomes a big deal to me when I realize first, the gift that it is but also to see Cale's life without it.

I knew everything was going to be just fine because I know God is in control. I know I can be confident that His ways are higher than mine. I know He has every detail planned; I just need to trust.

I went for a really quick hard run and while running I just started to yell out, "You are my comfort. You are my strength. You are my Shepard. You are my healer. You are my friend. You are my hope. You are my joy. You are my peace. You are my shield. You are my leader. You are my voice."

How different would my life be if my reaction was not to run to Him?

Does all of that make sense?

I ask you to face tomorrow with that thought floating through your are you going to react? 


A few more updates...

Speaking of reactions- Sunday after the crazy episode with Cale, we had some visitors on 7E! There are frequent visits from the President, actors and actresses, singers, and other well known people but they never come to our unit. It can be frustrating especially when you know they're just a few floors down! We were told that Katy Perry and John Mayer were in the hospital. After a little bit of workings the news quickly became them coming to see us! Whether we love their music or not (which we do like John Mayer's voice!) it's just cool to meet them. Fast forward to Katy and John standing in front of Cale, Katy shakes Cale's hand and asks how he's doing, he says, "bad" and then someone asking "aren't you a John Mayer fan?" and Cale then says, "eh, not really." to which John Mayer took very well and replied, "I feel that way about myself most days." Leave it to my man to keep people humble and not be disillusioned with them being anything that special. He also had no interest in Katy Perry. Didn't even give her a second glance! Some of the other guys had googly eyes for her but not my man! I also had on my sweats and a big ol' baggy sweater...felt a little...frumpy next to the perfectly put-together Katy! ;)

Extra funny: The next morning when I asked Cale who he had met he couldn't remember and asked for the first name. When I said John, he thought for a few more seconds and then added, "Hancock?" That's close...but not quite! Haha! He was so serious with his guess! Hancock is just a wee bit older of a man...

A few weeks ago we started Cale on a new fluids plan. It's a part of his point system so every 500ml he drinks of water or a gatorade like drink he gets a point. So far it's going well although often he'll let us know the whole thing is dumb and all he needs is Mountain Dew! Haha! We use Propel packets to flavor water which before never worked but now with his points system it's working! He has even drank two bottles of water without any flavoring! 

Hockey is back! Hockey is back! Hockey is back! I have a very happy man...

There was a wheelchair hanging out in the hall that somehow Cale and his buddy got their hands on and thought they'd have a little fun!

I've been so thankful lately as I think about every hospital we've been to the Lord has provided ladies that have become so special to me; so dear to my heart. Last night I was able to go out with two of them and enjoy a little treat as well as much needed conversations. 

Also, as of Saturday Cale is back to his own room. It became known he doesn't do well sharing a room. There may have to be shifting if we're here for a few more weeks and someone else comes, but thankfully the staff is awesome and really care. They're trying to help him as much as possible. 

I have to say that it was tough hearing the news today. Right when home was in reach, it was pulled away. And like I already said, my heart hurt so bad for Cale...but when I came out of the office with the doctors, the nurses already knew and were right there to comfort me and let me know they were there and they had a plan already of how to tell Cale. Through the rest of the day they made sure to give him extra attention when needed and be there for him as well if he was upset. It was such a blessing to feel such strong support. I couldn't help but be reminded of all the other times while inpatient that I've listened to news that was hard to hear and the staff were right there to listen. We have truly been blessed by the care that Cale has always received and the nurses and therapists that have worked with him. Feeling extra thankful today. 

I also ate some chocolate. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DC, Cale & a little performance.

Often I think about the people in my life. Friends and family...we are both so blessed. I struggle with how needy our life is. I hate that I can't invest in people the way I could before and it makes things a little more difficult when my life is so intertwined and consumed with Cale's life. Sometimes plans have to be cancelled or cut short. I can't always just visit and hang out. With Cale's brain injury, I have to be very sensitive to his needs which means other relationships in my life may not receive the attention they need. I'm constantly aware of it and continue to try to balance but there's not always a fix.

The Lord has provided specific relationships that bring understanding and consistency. Even though I can't always invest in them like I should be or would like to be. They pursue me. They invest in me. I fully realize the gift and treasure they are! 

One of those people in my life is Rachel. As I said last night, she came to visit after a night that I really needed it. God used her without her even knowing about my need. So thankful!

We had a blast while she was here! We had a lot of fun light moments as well as some deep tearful moments. Each part of the visit was perfect.

After making it to the metro and successfully getting her back to the hospital, we spent time with Cale for just a bit before hunting down Panera Bread. We both had a ton to share so I think we started twenty or more stories and maybe finished five? That may be somewhat normal though...

The next morning we started with a run. We're running a half with Rachel's husband in February and we're all doing the same running plan. It felt so good to run next to her! 

The rest of the day was spent with Cale. He had a day pass so we ventured back on the metro after lunch and visited the Spy Museum. Awesome. We chose to do a mission which was a blast but I think the most fun was watching Cale enjoy it so much! It was very well done and set up. The mission started out with the guy stepping out of the room and asking all of us to hide. The group went different directions finding cover but us two girls had no where to we sat on a bench and covered up with Cale's jacket. We were right where the guy walked back in and the first thing he said was, "I'm not going to say anything about the two blondes hiding behind one coat..." Ha! Once the mission actually started, Cale was in his element. It was so great! 

The next day Rachel and I put our running clothes on and figured out how to stash everything we needed, rode the metro, and ran DC! We carried a map that was actually for a bus tour but helped us figure out which direction to run. We started at the Capital building and picked our next point and ran! It was the best way to see DC in my opinion. You always get to see more on foot and running took less time than walking from place to place. It was an adventure I know we'll both remember for a long time!

After such a long day we were ready for chocolate and a chick flick! 

Monday we spent with Cale before going on our last girls night out...

Ahhhh....such a great visit. Great memories made. Great refreshment for the heart!

I have to post this last picture and see if you think it's as funny as I think it is. Our faces and how silly we look kind of describe our trip and us in so many ways. Love her! 



Cale things...

On New Years Eve after yelling, "Yay!" drinking our sparkling cider, and sharing a kiss, we prayed for the next year and thanked the Lord for everything he did in the last. Cale started our prayer and his words showed spiritual depth and have stuck with me, "Dear God, please stay with us. Please. The Devil is here. Please stay."

On New Years I asked him what he wanted to do he replied with, "Party like it's 1965."

He loves playing jokes and tricking the nurses. It cracks me up when they'll be on their computers and he comes behind them and scares them! They all say they're going to miss him! 

Another trick he has played was when he was sitting in the dayroom eating breakfast, he stomped his feet and yelled pretty loudly. A couple of the nurses ran in to see if he was ok. When they reached the day room Cale was turned towards the door ready to shoot and fire his straw wrapper at them. Ambush! 

A couple weeks ago (I don't remember which day) Cale was finished with PT and on the way back something switched in him. He had been holding my hand but dropped it and slowed his pace way down. The PT and OT were walking behind us and they noticed the shift as well. We were walking in an area on the second floor that made the front doors visible. I was trying to figure out what was going on in his brain. Was he going to try to climb over the wall and jump? I knew he wouldn't make it over before we would stop him though. Closer to the elevators Cale picked his pace up and turned right and went right down the stairs. We all followed behind and when he finally made it to the bottom he walked himself right out the front doors! He had my phone in his pocket so I couldn't call the ward for help so i ran up as fast as I could and they went down. He was out of the hospital for about an hour! He wouldn't come back in and didn't want anyone around him. He still needs some help with walking outside and needs help with safety. His buddy just happened to be working that day and was the only person Cale would talk to. Eventually he got him back up! I'm sure I should have been more stressed or upset than I was...but it was all kind of funny to me. Cale just walked out the front door. Easy peasy.


Just a few more randoms...

Have you picked up your soccer ball yet? Have you joined the Darling Project on fb? Have you told a friend about it? I encourage you (because we're really excited about it!) to join us. It'll be great!
The address to send the balls to is:  

The Darling Project 
c/o Columbia Basin Baptist Association 
2537 West Falls Ave
Kennewick WA 99336

The first week of February we'll be announcing our next project! 

The other day we were in Cale's room (before he switched) and I had music on. It was later in the day and Cale was on his xbox while I sat next to him. A song came on that brings us both lots of memories from years ago and we still always have fun with it. We started to sing and then as Cale started to add moves...he suggested we show the nurses. Shift change was about to happen so I told Cale we could show them the next day. We decided to rehearse quickly that afternoon and when things had calmed down we gathered everyone in the dayroom and performed! We had so much fun! The next day we had to do it again for the next shift and one of our friends here made sure to get a little video of it! 

   A while ago Blogger changed things around. Even though I know it's not the end of the world or really that big of a deal...I didn't like it. All of our videos were on an account I had before the accident and now it's very difficult and sometimes not possible to upload from that account. So...I'm slowly going to be uploading videos to the new account and hopefully from now on it'll work. Not an important detail at all...but still thought I'd share. :)

I think that about does it for today!

‎"Why doesn't God take the scars away? Because it is our most powerful story to the world". Louie Giglio (passion live stream)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


It has been way too long since I've done a good update on here...

I keep telling myself I'm going to figure out a better system for myself but so far it hasn't happened! 
So...I'll share a whole bunch of pictures and try to give you a really good update now :) 

1. a little before Christmas I ran 12 miles and right after we went into DC with two of our friends we had met here. Sometime between running and walking DC I had hurt my right foot. I think it was the very next night I was cuddled up with Cale watching a movie while he played with me feet; I love when he plays with my feet! Weird? Maybe. But it's still one of my favorite things! Anyways...we're both into the movie and all of a sudden I feel sharp pain and yelp maybe a little too loudly. What happened you ask? Well, while Cale played with my feet and both of us consumed with the movie, he managed to pull of my whole pinky toe nail! The whole thing he ripped right off! OUCH! He felt terrible. He honestly wasn't trying...and I hobbled a few days with my right foot injured and my left missing a nail. Good times. 

2. Cale caught me in what he thought was a crime scene...second cup before lunch! Little does he know most of you reading this enjoy way more than that daily! Ha! 

3. We have been enjoying all of our weekend passes. Like most things with me, food is a key component! That morning I had cinnamon rolls, Cale, and cribbage...I know we were both a fan! ;)

4. Another date to eat and see a movie. We pretty much always end the evenings with ice-cream! 

5. Cale hates (HATES!) the dentist. Back home he has even told our dentist it many times. Oh the adventures we've had! Yikes! He still needs quite a bit of work done but it's always such a challenge to get him there. This particular morning Cale was so worked up about it for hours and to a point that he was exploding multiple times. Ativan was given which helped but until he was in the chair with music on did we know everything was going to be ok! They did an easy clean, basically brushed and flossed just to give him a good experience. We'll see how it goes once home again!

 6. Somedays are harder for Cale than others. Truth for all of us. If we can redirect and find things to cheer him up we go for it! Even if it means a donut a day or sometimes two. He wasn't in the best mood when we took this picture but because he had a donut in a bag behind my back he had a reason to smile...maybe I'm not the only one with food issues?! Haha! 

7. We love getting to FaceTime with Mama because we also get to see Scratch our cat! He's so cute and when I make the noises and call his name he responds which of course only leads to me doing it over and over...until Mama says it's her turn to talk again ;) 

8&9. Cale painted my face. It was so sweet while he was doing it because he really looked at me and figured out what colors to do. He even made sure I had nostrils. Do you see that?!

10. Cale was given yet another silly hat. Angry birds. He loves them. Each one of them makes him smile! Everyone around him smiles too!

11. Mr. Darling is the new owner of his very own laptop! Soldiers Angels is an organization that provides laptops for the patients here. There's a speech program they were wanting Cale to start but couldn't find anything for his iPad. After some investigating, they came to us and let us know they would be getting a laptop and it would be Caleb's! Complete with the speech program! He is so excited and as nerve-racking as the whole thing is...I think it's really good for him. 

12. These feet keep me running miles!

13. This burn was done January 3rd. Day after my birthday. What's even more terrible, it still looks awful! Now it's also so itchy and annoying. I shouldn't try to multitask while curling my hair.

14. Once a week a lady whom we adore comes up to do art. A couple weeks ago she hands Cale this big canvas and we start talking paint. I suggested putting tape down for a "d" and then covering the whole thing in paint. In my girly mind of course I pictured pretty colors and the "d" would be for Darling. Funny how different my mind works from his. The lady asked Cale what colors and he immediately says to her, "red and black." Hmm...ok. Not what I had pictured but we'll work with it. A little bit later a nurse comes in and asks him about his painting and if the "d" was for Darling. He again very quickly responds, "Detroit Red Wings!" Exactly. I knew that...ha! It actually turned out amazing! He used a fork and made marks in the wet paint so when it dried it kind of looks like markings in the ice. I was super impressed! Way better than what I had pictured...

15. Just the other day we had to switch rooms. Cale wasn't happy but did surprisingly well! I think I even took it harder than he did! He lets me know often he doesn't like it and it's dumb. Good news is we go home soon! The count down has started and we are so excited! Next week we'll be in our own home! It's been waaaaaay too long! 

16. Last romantic weekend getaway. They've been wonderful but home is better as Cale always says! :)


I had a birthday recently! It had actually been a pretty challenging day. Poor Cale was struggling and only focused on going home. I was blah and right as I was updating my fb status thanking everyone for the birthday wishes one of the nurses came in the room and asked to talk with me. She had me off the ward for several minutes before another nurse came out and said she needed her inside. I totally went along with the whole thing! I had no clue that the staff had put together a surprise party! I was so blessed! Tears...there were happy tears involved! 

Here's a little video they did :)

I was so thankful for the sweetness they created. Cale was even in better spirits after the little party! 

Another big deal recently...

Last Thursday night after a really hard episode with Cale, in fact, one of the hardest since we've been here, I went back to my room feeling completely drained. Minutes after walking through my door, Rachel called. She had no clue how my evening had gone. No idea! But God did. She was calling to see how my schedule was going to be for the next few days because she wanted to get a ticket to fly out the next day! What?! YES please! 

Her and Mike found a great deal, bought the ticket, and the next day my Rachel was with me. Perfect.

I picked her up Friday afternoon using the metro! Rode there all by myself in a state of...well you can decide by the picture.


This is already a full update and the trip was loaded. I'll share our visit tomorrow! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

I owe ya...

There will be a blog post soon and it will be full.

I just need to get to it! 

I was thinking about how when I don't post, I miss you! 

Somehow with me sharing my thoughts and you guys commenting in all forms, it's like a conversation and with many of you it builds a relationship...

so, this is me letting you know I miss you...and I'll update soon! :) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Darling Project.

Eeeeeek! I'm so excited to share with you something that has been on my heart as well as Cale's for the last few weeks. SO excited! 

What I need you to do is click on the button to the left ---->
 that says, Click here to join The Darling Project.

...and then read.

....and share.

...and join.

pretty please!

I know there are some of you that don't have I'll post updates on here as well but if you are on FB find our group The Darling Project and ask to join.

I'll accept me.

Stay connected, post pictures, encourage others, send'll all be there in the group! 

 Share with your friends as much as you feel comfortable  whether on fb or not. It's easy to give the blog and tell them where to click or if they have fb tell them to look for the group!

For January we're collecting soccer balls until the end of the month. The first of February I'll post the next project and the first week of February I'll mail out all the balls!!

We are SO excited about this...did I already say that?