Thursday, February 28, 2013

What happens in 7E does not stay on 7E!

I have a boat load of pictures to share! Sorry for the delayed really has been busy around here. I also find myself at the end of the night just turning off. Before while inpatient, posting on the blog was my way to get everything out and clear my head, but now it shuts off all by itself! ;) 

Rewinding a few weeks...

A couple that we know who also has brain injury in the midst of their life came to 7E for a little over a week to have a couple things checked. It wasn't their first time here and all though they may not have enjoyed coming back...I liked having them here! One night Sunny and I went for dinner and this was our men stuck on the unit! 

Now this...this is a true Red Wings fan. Just saying. 
...just for the record, those are NOT my feet! 


On February 10th we celebrated Cale's 3 year alive day. We're in the hospital for it, but I am so thankful for this man and ALL that he's brought to my life! I'd rather be in a hospital with crazy hats than not have him with me. That's for sure! 

It was an Angry Bird Bash! We had a TON of food and Bingo! 

The nurses helped with everything and made it an extra special day along with the other families here!

We had so many beautiful days in a row...

The family that now has Basil in their family posted a sweet note on Facebook one was perfect. Miss that dog! 

Valentine's Day was amazing! I've shared my thoughts on v-day before so I won't go back over it again, but I don't see anything wrong with a day set a part to make the person you love feel extra special. It doesn't have to cost anything either! Cale (with the staff helping) created a beautiful morning and the day just kept getting better. Started with a note telling me to follow the trail of hearts that led to his room. His door was covered in cute little cards he made. Inside was more hearts and cards everywhere along with a really big one he made! Later a guy came up to the unit playing the guitar and Cale asked me to dance! So...we did! The first song was more upbeat and fun and the second one we danced to was "My Girl" 

In the morning right after walking into 7E with hearts and music playing, we get in his room and I see everything and give him the little something I had for him. After a couple minutes I grabbed my chapstick and started to put it on. Cale asked why which confused me so I asked why he was asking why and told him I had something to put in the fridge, to which he replied, "It's make-out time. Don't you see all the hearts?"

I felt spoiled and loved. Spending the day with him is always a treat, but sometimes...the extra things keep the heart soft! :)

The day after I left on a trip. It wasn't easy to decide to go and then follow through with it, but it needed to happen. While I was gone the staff kept Cale super busy! He was spoiled with all the attention they gave him to help the week go a little smoother. He did awesome as well! 

He went out to eat, went to a movie, played with dogs, stayed crazy and fun, and did Facetime with me! I showed him how our Christmas tree is still up and waiting for him to return home. Yep, we'll be the family having Christmas in March. At that point do we just keep it up all year?! Haha! 

My first stop was to a weekend conference with ladies from Hope for the Homefront. We're about to start virtual bible studies with us leaders being all over the US and able to include women from all over the US. It's going to take me a little bit to get used to doing it online using webcam but I think it'll end up being something really amazing. Our first book we're going to read through together is Wounded Warrior Wounded Home by Marshele Carter Waddell and Kelly K. Orr. If you have a husband who is a wounded warrior and or struggles with PTSD and would like to join a group email me and I'll get you connected! They're being led at a few different maybe one will work for you! 

The conference was a time for all the leaders to come together and after months of us only having a virtual relationship, it finally became personal-so cool. I was so blessed to spend the weekend with these women that are all running after the Lord, focused, and willing to serve. We also spent one of the days listening to Sheila Walsh, Lisa Turquist and Lisa Harper. 

After my two days in CO I finally walked into our finished home! Wow! It was...uh...kind of amazing. As I walked from room to room being led by Mama, the tears came. I feel so overwhelming blessed. So much so, that I can't describe in words what was running through my heart. I spent the next week decorating and organizing! I can't wait to go back with my man and create our home together living life! We're so very blessed. With or without such a nice house...we're incredibly blessed. 

Do you remember this little purple creature Cale painted?! Well, he now has a home and flowers! :)

While home I also was able to ship all the soccer balls!!!! 
Final count-
soccer balls: 37
pumps: 5
cones: 6

Thank you to each of you that were willing to send a ball (or two) and bless little kiddos in Kenya! I know they're going to be used and loved! 

Here's a little note from Carla-

Soccer, or futball, as they call it here in Kenya, is the most popular sport in the country! Almost every Kenyan boy dreams of being a professional soccer player when they grow up!
Many kids have to resort to making their own soccer balls out of plastic bags and twine! It's actually pretty impressive! When they have a chance to play soccer with a real ball, it is a happy day!
Here at In Step Children's Home, our kids are no different than the ones I've described. They love to play soccer! Even the little toddlers like to kick a ball all around the playground!
Recently, money was donated in memory of a soccer coach in Washington State, to build a soccer field on the site of our new primary school. We plan on utilizing this field not only for the enjoyment of our own kids, but also as a way to reach out to the kids of our community! The gift of soccer balls to go with the new field, is like the icing on the cake!
Thanks, Darling Project! Be blessed! GIGATT! Mama Carla

and here's the link to learn more about where all the balls, pumps, and cones are headed!

Also, I apologize for not doing a better job at updating each week on who the veteran is that we're sending cards to. Tomorrow I'll post the last couple and we'll just ask that you join and bless each of them with an encouraging card...and it won't matter that it's not their week! 

To finish my week at home, I ran my first half marathon. This was supposed to be a lot sooner, but plans changed and we have been on the east coast for too long! Rachel and her husband Mike ran as well! Here's the girls all smiles before the race started! 

We all did great! Mike finished first with a crazy good time...he busted out some speed! Rachel finished next and then not too far after I came in. We had friends that drove to different spots and cheered us on which helped so much! We all three felt awesome (and exhausted!) after it was over and went out for a big meat-filled dinner at Famous Daves. Yum! 

It was so hard to leave Cale. I knew he would be fine, but I still missed him. I also hated that I'm the one that brought him here, and then was also the one going home when that's all he wanted to do...felt like a pretty big jerk. 

BUT, I knew it needed to happen, and again, I knew he would be just fine. When I arrived back at the hospital, the nurses (AGAIN!) helped Cale put together something that of course made me cry! Especially when I was then told how hard he worked on it! 


It was this large collage of pictures of the two of us, quotes, and little things Cale wrote himself. they even added my picture from the race! Aside from that they had also made a count down calendar that was completely awesome. Love that man. 

It's been a busy week, but we've settled back into our hospital-life routine. Tonight Cale put his pants on his head and after me saying he looked like an elephant with the two big ears he proceeded to act like one ;) The first picture is him showing his trunk.

A few more randoms...

The day that Lent started, the Rec therapist was playing cards with Cale and began talking about what she was giving up. After a little bit, Cale declared, "I'm giving up vegetables!" Ha!

I've been noticing a few very distinct changes in Cale over the last several weeks. I think my heart starts to beat faster when I think about it...kind of funny huh?

He has started asking what words mean when people are talking. Normally, if he was even following a conversation, he may seem like he's understanding but most of the time, he had no clue. Although that is still true, he's now trying to understand and not being shy about it. He'll raise his hand until you're finished talking and then ask about whatever the word meant.

He also has started looking things up that he doesn't know! This started yesterday and happened again today. He grabs his iPad and makes his way too Google and then types it in. WHAT?! Yesterday there was a group gathered around the table during one of the meals and the conversation landed on, wondering if rabbits make noise. None of us knew, so Cale looked it up! Today he didn't know what a reptile was so he looked that up also! I'm completely amazed that he's doing this. I feel like it's a really big deal. And for those of you that didn't know him before his injury, this is something he would do before just in a different way. He loved researching and learning. 

We have a new discharge date! This one is pretty solid because we leave for an event the next day! It's a few weeks from now which is ok...the end is in sight. I know I make the Lord laugh! I clearly can picture Him motioning me to come to Him to calm me as I have my clipboard in hand with my pen and my glasses at the brim of my nose as I all too enthusiastically explain to Him, "Lord, I have the plan. I've got it all figured out..." My words slipping from my mouth too quickly all the while He's shaking His head saying, "Kathleen, that job doesn't suit you." Which it doesn't! He didn't create me to be the one in charge making all the plans. I'm not supposed to have it all figured out. Thankfully. 

If you had talked to me before we came, I bet I told you we'd be home for the holidays...


We've had Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Valentine's Day, and now our anniversary here! 

In His perfect timing...

ALSO, I've been getting lots of spam comments. Do any of you know how to block this from happening? I don't know blogger too well...and I have to do something to stop it from happening!

I've used way too much of your time on this update! Thank you for reading and caring! 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Just returned to the hospital after a whirlwind of a trip! Update to come sooooon! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a different us.

I find myself mourning us. Mourning me. 

In no way am I saying that I don't love the man Cale has become or that i don't love the woman that I've been molded into...just that I miss us.

I miss who I was before trauma. I miss who I was before a severe brain injury joined our marriage.

I miss the simplicity of life. 

I miss just being able to hang out with friends and time wasn't a big deal.

I miss when my conversations didn't always include my husband having a brain injury.

I miss the lightness in our relationship and the "normal" daily duties.

I miss who I was.

I miss who he was.

I miss who we were together.

Yet, again I must say that I miss him but still love him. I'm crazy about who he has become. And I'm amazed with the way God has formed me to be more like Him.

But the reality that the two people we were just a few years ago are now gone... causes me to mourn for them. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Celebrating...3 years!

Three years ago today-
 screeching tires
bending metal

My heart raced and there were no answers. I asked over and over, "Where is my husband? Where is Cale?" Silence or redirection was all I was met with.

I sang part of a song that has more than once been my comfort by Rich Mullins. The line that repeated in my mind as I rode in the ambulance was,

hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf

Minutes passed.
Hours passed.
Days passed.
Months passed.
Years passed.

I'm daily amazed by who God is. With each morning comes new joy. Miracles unfold as time continues. We started in a hospital with tubes and beeps...

...and now we're living life. A sweet messy life.

I encourage you to watch all three videos as you watch the last three years unfold...

Happy 3 Year Alive Day Boy! Loving you makes me a better person.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Still here...good project.

I've started this post a thousand times in my head and over the last few weeks that's as far as it's gotten-stuck in my disorganized messy head. 

I thought maybe I could write about the different ways my heart has been challenged. I thought I could maybe write about new things I've been learning or how I've been overwhelmed lately. I thought about writing all the new plans and ideas that are happening...or just about how thankful I am for each of you.

For now I think I'll just take the easy way out and give you a quick update!

Well, before going any farther...

I do have to say that the whole last week has been amazing for Cale! His mood and willingness to try things is incredible AND he's done great in speech therapy! 

Today was a bit more rough but only because there was a dentist appointment...but that was cancelled and a new one with better planning will be scheduled. :)


a couple weekends ago the weekend nursing staff came up with a workout routine for the Darling's. Whew. My abs and arms have always struggled...and that day was proof! Cale did awesome! It lasted about 20 minutes which was long enough! On our own we did it the following weekend just not as much as they had us do...and that was the last time! We need to get back to it! 

For Cale's speech session last week we went to McDonalds. Cale dipped one chicken nugget in the hot mustard just to try... "eh" was all we got! Ha!

This last Saturday we watched hockey and snuggled. I know I was a fan...and I'm pretty sure he liked it too :) I also got a haircut! Much needed!! 

The February Darling Project has linked up with Valentines for Veterans on Facebook! Every week a new veteran is listed and then hopefully flooded with cards of support and encouragement! The Darling Project is joining for this month but the actual Valentines for Veterans will continue through the year! Sending a card is a lot less of an ordeal than shipping a soccer ball! Please join us in reaching out and being a blessing! 

The first Veteran was:

Happy Military Monday! Our Veteran of the week is SSGT Jason Ross a Marine, a husband, a father, a son and a brother. He takes on each of these roles with pride. As a Marine, Jason is a highly trained explosive ordinance device (EOD) technician. On his third deployment in Afghanistan, an IED blast in March 2011 changed his life forever. This event left Jason clinging to life and his family scrambling to be at his side in Germany. Its been nearly two years, an 18mth hospital stay & the strength of one determined man to move forward honoring his country! Let us honor him! Please send Valentines, words of encouragement to;
Jason Ross
PO BOX 3926
Topeka, KS 66604
If you would like to submit a Veteran for Valentines email we will showcase a new Veteran every Monday for the rest of the year giving them the personalized love & support they deserve!

And this weeks Veteran is:

Introducing Milton Edward Barker, ARMY RA INF, served overseas, 1962 to 1963 in National Guard, 1963 to 1966 he served overseas.
Please mail letters or cards to JJF Attn Milton Barker PO BOX 3926 Topeka KS 66604

Both of these men would LOVE to receive even just a quick note letting them know you're thankful...thankful for the sacrifice. 

Also, as you see in the picture of Cale above...he's wearing red! We also invite you to join in wearing red on Fridays to remember and support those still deployed! Post your picture on the Darling Project page to show your support! :) 

If you haven't yet-join the Darling Project! And, if you haven't yet-tell someone about it and get them to join! :) 

You may have noticed...we're still here! Walter Reed isn't letting us go too easily! :)

It's all good stuff in the works at the moment. Cale is continually making anyone around him laugh. I've had some exciting conversations. We look forward to home...