Wednesday, December 31, 2014

fourteen for twenty fourteen.

Hello Friends :)

I have definitely posted the least amount of times on here this last year. Let me just say that this has been cause for many different reasons and rather than wish otherwise, I'm just going to be excited for this next year and how it might look on this blog. Excitement is bubbling as I look ahead and think about our little family living life together and as always seeking to bring God glory in this Darling kind of life he's so richly blessed us with. 

Here's 14 thoughts and updates as we bring an end to this sweet year. 

1. We didn't make an appearance on here last week to say, 

Merry Christmas. 

This season of holidays has been full as is always the case, this year though, it was all experienced with a different view; through a different lens. Everything was thought through and acted upon with this sweet & sassy little lady in mind. Cale and I often had conversations about how things must seem to her and how unusual or confusing everything must seem. 

When it was time to put the tree up I couldn't wait to see her reaction. I was told that at this age she may not care too much and not to expect her to be excited. That seemed like a good bit of information to place in my memory bank and be reminded of instead of being filled with disappointment. 

Let's just say, this girl loves lights of all kinds. Loves them. 

So when the day came and lights were being wrapped around the green pine, I couldn't wait to see Nora react. I just knew she was going to love it!

...and she did. 

Before feeding her every morning I would turn the lights on filling the dark room with twinkle lights. After she was all done eating, we'd walk quietly into the living room together and her face would light up as soon as she saw the lights. Amazement. Wonder. Awe. Those are memories I soaked up with her and hope I never forget. I loved every morning; every smile!

Thank you Christmas for being so enjoyable :)

2. Cale completed his No-Shave November Challenge. 

He was not a fan. Haha. More than once he threatened to quit and be done...and then he would decide he couldn't quit and he'd keep growing. He was quite the happy camper when his beard was shaved off and had stopped itching him! He did say it was fun for only one time ;)

3. Our very loved RS let us know in September he was moving. Devastating news. Not just an RS but a friend to us. When I talked to Cale about it one morning, he had forgotten and so my saying it in the midst of conversation was a shocker to him. With wide eyed confusion he said to me, "my friend is moving?" my heart broke for him! Such a huge blessing that he was able to say that and call Skylar his friend. So sad to see him go though... We didn't lose him until the first week of December which ended up being quite a difficult day to say goodbye to him and his wife. Thankfully things had moved along quick enough that we didn't have any time without an RS which made the transition a lot less challenging for Cale. God brought Donny into our life and he seems to be exactly what Cale needs. I pray as always that the Lord would use our family and my husband to encourage and draw Donny closer to Him. So far we're really impressed with his ability to get Cale motivated and trying new things! 

They tried to start up cooking dinners once a week again...but after the second week Cale was done ;)

4. More than once I've been caught having a dance party in my home while One Direction played. Do you know that group? Yeah, I didn't really know them either. I wouldn't say I know them now but Mama's friends daughter is staying with us for a couple weeks and she's kind of a big fan of theirs and so that means...their music plays in this house and parties get started. 

5. Cale really wanted an Xbox One. I had come up with the idea that he needed to sell a few things to get money to purchase the xbox. I wasn't quite sure how he would react and to my surprise, he loved the idea and was quickly full of excitement. I've tried to help and so has Donny as far as posting them to be sold in social outlets. If any of you are in need of hockey gear or a snowboard, let us know! He still has those two things to sell. We did end up getting him the xbox for Christmas, but the gift was time. He still has to pay for it! I'm holding him to it! 

6. One of our favorite gifts from 2014 was of course our little bundle of Nora. We adore her...incase you didn't already guess that...

7. This last summer, Cale started to ask questions about him being baptized. When Cale was in 8th grade in his room, he prayed and surrendered his life to the Lord. This isn't just a pretty prayer that is spoken and suddenly everything is perfect. No, this is a prayer that is said, spoken from the heart with words uttered from the lips of a person who acknowledges that they are not enough and there is only One who is. When the person realizes that the word "sin" is not mythical or irrelevant rather the very existence in their life that separates them from freedom in Christ. Yet, Christ made a way through Himself for us to know Him. Several years after, Cale was baptized which in the Bible is an example representing when Christ was buried and then rose again on the third day. This is powerful not because you "feel" different but because you show the world the decision you've made to make much of Jesus in your life. Cale couldn't remember doing this. He couldn't remember any of it and it began to frustrate him. When he began to ask questions, I didn't want him to think he somehow lost his relationship with Jesus because he couldn't remember. This didn't seem to be the case. We met with our Pastor and talked through where Cale's heart was. 

I don't think my mind could quite grasp what was taking place right before me. After everything, after all the ups and downs, his heart was concerned about claiming and taking back his walk with the Lord by showing to himself and his church family that he still loved God even though he felt like he was different. This is beautiful friends. Beautiful.

8. This last year we've so enjoyed getting to make changes to our home and continue to make it perfect for our little family. I've been reminded more often lately on how truly blessed we are to have these walls around us. I know so many will never even fathom the idea of living in such a place. The dirt on their feet is a gift because they know they have two feet. May my heart continue to be molded to burn with passion for the people that don't live in easy comfort. I pray that I wouldn't get so comfortable that I forget about them and live life as though they don't exist. 

9. Our daughter somehow turned 8 months. How does that happen?? I have no clue how she fits the jammies that wasn't it just yesterday I said they would never fit her because they were so big? Yikes. 8 months. Really?

10. This fall I started helping to teach the 4 and 5 year olds at church. I had wanted to for a long time but I had Cale and I knew he wouldn't like me not with him. Well, he started going to the youth group  at church on Sunday mornings and because of that...quickly I found myself committing to teach. It's my favorite thing in the whole world. Well, maybe not the whooooole world but it is one of my favorite things. I love those kiddos so much. I love their hearts. 

11. How do I even start my thought process. I might have to break this one down and write more later? Not really sure. Let me begin by being completely honest. I've been struggling. I can't even quite pin down the exact way either. You know in those weird movies where there is someone locked in a little area with walls all around them and they start pounding to get out, yet, there's no way out and no one comes? Multiple times I have felt this way lately. I feel stuck. I feel so stuck that even now as I write this out and actually let my heart do the typing, I feel like I could scream. Am I miserable? No. I mean not that I think at least. I wouldn't say I'm depressed but I will say that there have been moments in the last few months where I could see myself heading that way. I have found myself searching for some way I don't even know. 

I love Cale. I love this man so much. I love the love the Lord has given us for each other. It's a solid kind of love because it's a godly kind of love. 

I also find myself missing my old Cale way more lately. I know he's the same person. Yet, he's not. I know everyone changes and I know others may deal with this in some way, but let me just say, this brain injury life is hard. It's so hard. It's painful and lonely. It's swallowing back what I remember what was and what I think should be over and over and surrendering to what is. and the what is that I live can be really ugly and unfair. 

I was just talking to my SIL when she arrived in town the other night and after her asking, "so how are things going?" I started to just talk. I started with talking about how as a family we're good and then I continued. It felt good to have her sitting in front of me and she has always been someone I easily open up to...although, take me to coffee and I'll probably open up to you too ;) but as I was talking, I could feel my heart become even more frustrated this time. Even at that moment what I was saying didn't feel like it was what I meant to say. 

And until that point the most that seems to come out is I'm struggling.

I've been sick with a nasty yucky sick-thing the last few days and two nights ago, I curled up under the covers hoping for sleep to overtake me. Cale whispered into the darkness, "I love you my girl. I love you." 

There are hard brain injury days and there are good brain injury days. I do realize that is life. Hard days and good days. I also know that my hard doesn't end. The reality of no escape from brain injury is like being in that little room with all the walls and I'm pounding and no one can take me out because there is no escape. I don't want to escape my marriage or my family, I just become overcome with this heaviness that I'm so stuck with brain injury. 

I don't remind myself enough that Cale is also living with brain injury and so so so stuck in a life that is hard and ugly. That sometimes he does things that he can't control and he actually hates it. 

I often tell Cale when he gets really upset that we're a team. We're on the same team. We can't play against each other-thats not how we win. It doesn't get us anywhere. 

These same words need to be said back to me sometimes...I need to remember that he's not the bad guy. He's the man that loves me. He prays for me. He's my team. 

Hmm...did that come out right? Not sure. I can try to explain more later. Well actually, that just helped me because at least my brain feels like it came out. ;)

12. One of my goals this next year is to be more intentional with relationships. This ability to invest in those around me became nonexistent after the accident and slowly as our life has continued and changed, I'm relearning what this looks like. It's also interesting as we now have baby Nora in the mix...keeps things entertaining! Haha. 

13. I've been really wanting a puppy lately. Please remind me I have Nora and don't need a puppy when she's 8 months. 

14. This has been a great year. It's been full of adventures...different to those in the past. These involve the number 3. Which...Cale does always say is his favorite number. :)

Happy New Year!!!!!!!
Cale, Kathleen and Nora

Saturday, November 15, 2014

this & that

We had this cute little guest room. I loved it. I loved the room and I loved when friends would come and stay in it. I had all the things from trips all over the world and well, everything just so. After many thoughts bouncing all around in my head and talking it out with Mama and Cale, we decided to take this guest room...

and turn it into...

...a play room! 

I'm so excited! The stage of life we're in, there's always littles running around and in our home there just isn't anywhere for them to go. Now we have a room where toys and games can be played! we recently had a prayer night here for a friend and it was a night I was so wishing we had the room ready. Lots of kiddos! haha.

 One of my favorite parts is in the corner, do you see that yellow mirror? Well, in the little chest next to it is the start to a collection of dress up clothes. The mirror is there for the kiddos to see themselves after dressing up! Nora crawls over to the mirror now and has a blast just looking at the baby she sees :) 

It's still a place for guest to come so don't worry if you were planning to come for a visit! We purposefully picked out a sofa bed for when we have company! 

This room warms my heart. One day when Nora is older, I'll be able to have a guest room with everything just so if that's what the need is, but for now, for this season, it just doesn't fit-and I'm totally ok with that! I'm also fully aware that it won't always look so pretty! 20 minutes ago that room was destroyed with toys all over! 

We enjoyed lunch out for Veterans Day. We always go to Applebees and Cale gets his free lunch. It's such a small thing but I think makes such a huge impact on him. The picture with Nora was a surprise to Cale. It took Mama's help and between the two of us we managed to get one! Nora was wanting to move and play-not sit and smile for mommy to take a picture! know my friend Rachel...the friend that I've grown up with, my maid of honor, the friend who visited every hospital we had to go to and the friend that watched as my daughter made her way into the world...


that friend has a baby in her belly. 

I'm bursting with joy. 

I was telling her one night as we walked together how I'm of course excited she's going to have a baby-thats obvious, but more than that, I'm so excited because I know what she's about to experience. I now know the unspeakable emotion of everything having a baby does within a person and now it's her turn. I just...whoa. I can't hardly type this without tearing up!

You're beautiful pregnant and I know you'll be a beautiful mommy. I can't wait to meet Baby E and watch as Nora and Baby E become the best of friends! 
My heart overflows with joy for you and Mike!!!

I have a few other pictures to share with you that we had done, but heres a few you can see now :) Nora was so serious the entire shoot! 

We took a trip to visit my brother. I have some great pictures to share but they're on the big camera so I'll have to load those ones later. Here's a couple quick ones!

Last little note- for those of you that continue to send us cards, we've gotten rid of our PO Box...just so you know...! ;)

That's all for now. At least for today!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A whole lotta darlingness.

It's November. 

I remember on New Years thinking about how this was the year I was going to have a baby. It all seemed unreal and unsure. 

And's November. Already.

Here's a huge long load of us over the last few months...

{the many faces of Nora.}

Nora's first time to Heppner! It included Uncle Mike & Aunt Rae, football, crazy hair and a walk. :)

We painted our cabinets in the kitchen. I've wanted to do it since we built the house and finally decided I just needed to get it done! It was waaaaaaay more work than I had expected but I'm so glad we did it! I love it!! Thankfully we have some pretty awesome friends who came to help out...

 {The before}

 {This stuff did not work in the slightest with the varnish. Let down.}

{this stuff saved us! We still had a lot of sanding to do but this still helped cut the mess big time!}

{the after! it's so much lighter and not so heavy and dark looking in our little home}

There was a special wedding that took place. Mama's best friend found another man to walk the rest of her life with her after she lost the first one.

Mike made Cale the game Cornhole. It's awesome. Cale loves it so much!

A sweet friend sent Nora some goodies all the way from Uganda!


 {another beautiful wedding!}

{oh yeah. at 5 months she started Army crawling. everywhere.}

{FaceTime with daddy!}

Nora & mommy went on a little trip. It was needed. Needed in so many ways and so so so good. Wounded Warrior Project made it possible. Rachel had a conference to go to for work in Texas and we tagged along. :) We had the weekend to all play and then she had a few days of being at the conference so little miss and myself had our own little mommy and baby adventures. I loved it! Before leaving I thought I would be bored with Rachel gone all day but with a baby...there wasn't much time to be bored! 

When we arrived back home, mommy was refreshed and ready to get back to real life and baby was happy to see daddy :)

{how in the world did 6 months happen?!?!?!}

{her FIRST dentist appointment!}

{her FIRST time eating!!}

 {look can see her little teeth!}

 {watching in amazement!}

 We spent a day with friends at Bill Berry Farm. It was fun and just so nice to be with friends. Cale used a sling shot to hit targets with apples in the hopes to win free donuts. He didn't end up hitting a target, but the sheer enjoyment of slingshotting  apples was enough! We did eat fresh yummy donuts, took pictures and made cider. Cale had fun for the most part but towards the end he was done. I was so thankful for how he was able to handle his anger. Normally he would have taken off and probably yelled a little but this time he just left the area. He found a spot away from everyone and chilled. When I went over to him, thinking he was going to try to walk home, he said he was done and needed to take a break. Guys, this is huge. We would have a whole lot less of tears and frustration in this family if he could more consistently find his limit and take the break before it becomes too much. Often I'm able to be the one to help him figure out when that point is, but I'm not always there or involved in the moment. This was cool. This was huge!

No candy for the little one this Halloween but daddy and mommy sure had some! Mama made Nora's little costume!

No shave November has begun! I'll make sure to post his picture after a month of no shaving! 

We were visiting with friends last night and at one point I grabbed one of their daughters baby dolls and showed Nora. She made some noises at it and then started growling and then...started chewing on it. That's what friends do, right?

If you are in need of a this!

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." -Helen Keller

We've had a few interesting conversations lately. If you think about it, be praying for wisdom in how to respond to some of them. Here's a few of them...

Cale is missing the Army terribly. He talks about it often and although he may not remember everything quite as it happened or in the order it happened or even the majority of what did happen, he does remember he was a soldier. He does remember he worked and deployed and loved it. He came to me a couple weeks ago with an entire plan of rejoining. He had thought about us moving and about being away from Nora. We talked for awhile about it. Honestly, I had no idea how to respond. I did ask him if he honestly thought he could rejoin and he said yes. My heart broke. He wanted it so badly. 

We've talked lately about Nora growing up and dreaming about what she's going to be like. Cale asked how he was going to teach her soccer if he can't run and play anymore. He also talked about if we have a boy, how is he going to teach him how to ice skate and play hockey. Do you notice anything about this conversation and the last? He sometimes knows his disability and sometimes doesn't get it at all. 

There was another I was going to share but can't think of it at the moment. Point is, sometimes these conversations we have can be difficult! 

A few other randoms...

This last Thursday Nora pulled herself up to standing. This has come way too soon!

Cale has started learning photography. One of our friends at church does it as a hobby and has started helping Cale to learn how to take better pictures. So far he's really enjoying it! I'll have to post some of his pictures this week!

This last week, Cale was being sneaky and took some cash I had sitting out. When I asked him about it later after I knew he had hidden it somewhere, he said, "It's in my Bible. God is watching over it." Haha. Awesome. It's totally a cool truth as well as him being hilarious. Which was exactly what he was going for ;)

Cale is always telling Nora she needs to learn English. He'll tell her words to say and they're always words like, "the" or "it" which seem really funny to be her first words. ;)

We are having so much fun with Nora now that she plays with us. She has quite the little personality coming out!

Just to perk up your ears and raise your eyebrows, we'll be posting about a new Darling Project soon! Well, as soon as I figure out the next one! It'll be soon though so start watching for it! :)

Hmm... I think that's about it! I'm sure there's a lot more stories and things to share but my brain is ready to turn off.