Tuesday, May 31, 2011

firsts in almost two years...

By his truth I can be upright,
By his strength I do endure,
By His power I’ve been lifted,
In His love I am secure!

Wow, time does fly! I wish that I could blog every single night but things get busy, life gets crazy and by the end of the day I am exausted! I usually start writing a blog and then finish it the next day! I know y'all are waitin in anticipation for the next update! I have so much fun to update you on...especially this past weekend!

This past week Ben worked really hard (again) in his therapies. In ST he worked alot on his inunciation of words, breaking them up and slowing his speech down! I was listening from the other room at one point and was in big smiles because Ben was doing so well! He also continues to work on memory drills, dates/times and putting things together. Ben really likes his ST and works with her for 1.5 hours non-stop!

PT got him to the YMCA on Thursday. Ben's PT got him on the nustep and Ben went to town on it. He has noticed that Ben has enough muscle in his legs for a few men so what he is doing now is having Ben slow down, upping the resistance and working on his coordination while also making sure his arms are straight, pulling in his abs and keeping his head up. Ben doesn't like this because he wants to just GO but it is so good for him! His PT also continues to do alot of stretching and massaging of Ben's neck and shoulders. We would both like to see this fixed and corrected! Please continue to pray for this.

OT has been going well. His OT watched Ben eat some lunch and gave us some tips to work on. One of the biggest things was that he wanted Ben in a regular dining chair as much as possible because Ben eats so much better. We have been working on this! Some days are easier then others because I have to watch my own body. But, I try to get him there as many times I can! His OT also has been working alot on walking, sit to stands at the sink and a few stairs! This week Ben got to walk on the grass! He did a really good job. He wouldn't need the walker because his legs are so strong but since Ben is still working on his head control he needs to use it. Also he is still working on his balance...although he can stand on his own for quite some time!

{our yard and video from new camera...so much more clear!}

Ben does alot of therapy with me too! He gets off the hook sometimes but I do make him do alot of things! Ben has been working at the kitchen sink alot because they are high and he is able to stand better with them. He brushes his teeth here often and washes his face. This past week when we were working on hit Ben did AMAZING! I barely had to do anything. I did stand there just to make sure he didn't hit the floor but really I did nothing. He has the belt around his rear just in case he goes backwards but he rarely leans back on it! So, here is is brushing, washing and stretching out his right ankle...

Friday Ben was in an iffy mood so I decided to take him to his all time favorite store REI!! They have a new one in our city so I thought it would be good to get him out. Boy, did he spoil himself! I didn't care how much money he spent because I wanted him to feel freedom, show him how hard he has worked, how much he deserved it and how much I just am totally in love with him! He ended up buying some comfy pants, a t-shirt and a light jacket...all North Face of course! He had OT that afternoon and then we were able to go to my bro-in-laws fire acadamy graduation! We are so proud of Peter and how hard he has worked!

This weekend was a blast for both of us! Alot went on and we had fun! Saturday I was able to meet up with our good friends, the Webbs, from GA! They were stopping by to see Ben and I and meet the rest of our family on their way to a cruise they are taking! The Webbs were the first family that we met when we lived in GA and they welcomed us with open arms! I called them the night of the accident (well early morning) because they were the only land line number I could find in the phone book! I have been able to see them since the accident a few time but they hadn't seen Ben in over a year! My parent hung out with Ben and the Webbs and I spent part of the day in Seattle just hanging out and had fun! I went home and spent time with my man! I had missed him that day!
Sunday was a full but very FUN, FUN, FUN day!! We went to church with part of my family and the Webb family! I asked Ben if he wanted to wear jeans that day and he said yes! This is the first time in almost 2 years that he has been able to wear jeans! After he put them on he rubbed his hand on his thigh and said, "oh I have missed these!" I might add that he looked super handsome!
After church my whole family and our friends went to my sisters house to grill out! It was crazy fun and some yummy food!
Second thing for Ben was that he got to wear his wedding band! My lil brother had been keeping it safe for us and we got it back today! I slipped it on Ben's finger and he just stared at it and then said, "it is back where it belongs!" It is a tad loose so I won't have him wearing it all the time...that ring was spendy and holds alot of value in our hearts so I don't want it lost!

After all that tasty food we took Ben out for is third thing he had not done in quite some time....well, since before the accident! He rode his QUAD!!!! I helped him stand up from his wheel chair and he literally stepped on to the pedal, swung his leg over and sat down! He was ready!! You could see the excitement and happiness on his face!! He started out in back and then switched to the front!
Ben kept telling my brother to go FASTER but my brother took it easy because we didn't have a helment (my bad, it was at our house) and he didn't want Ben to fall off!! We had a lil issue with his pants...he went driving away before we noticed it and we all died laughing! Ben could care less because he was on his quad!

{all the nieces and nephews...}

{love this man...}

Sayings of Ben...
I got up the other morning, looked in the mirror and hair was everywhere...I showed Ben and he said, "oh no, where did my sexy wife go??" Followed by him saying, "bwahahahaha!"
Today we went through a drive through (treat for us) and I asked Ben if he wanted lemonade. He said yes and I said I thought so. His response..."don't ask questions you already know the answer to!" Of course he had his classic smirk!
Friday morning..."I am getting tired of running this race!" (why we went to REI)

I think the biggest prayer request right now is Ben's mobility! He has come so far yet has so far to go. His mobility keeps him from doing so many things that he knows he can do. This morning he woke me up 3 times by swinging his legs out of bed and was trying to get out. I love that he wants to do this but it is not safe. Pray that his neck be straightened, his arms loosened, his shoulders straight, his core strong, his balance solid, and his walking steady. If we can master this then so many other things will come! It is also phyically hard on me. Sometimes by the end of the night my back is just on fire and my muscles are sore. I don't do alot of lifting of Ben but with transfers, walking, scooting, boosting and other things it just takes a toll. I continue to do it because I want Ben to be mobil but I also know that if I don't protect my body I cannot care for Ben!
PLEASE PRAY FOR BEN'S MOBILITY!! We desire to have his body healed!!!

***Look for my first ever giveaway later this week!***

Monday, May 30, 2011

where honor is due...

When I asked Ben the other day why we celebrate Memorial Day his response was, "to honor the fallen." What a true response.
Memorial Day is not just another day off work and school, not a day of sales, not about BBQ's, a camping trip and not about gatherings. Yet it is a day to remember all those who have valiantly given their lives for our freedom. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with past or present wars because what it boils down to is men and women have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. They have taken on the task of that and have not been forced but have volunteered.
When growing up I remember we would go and put flags in front of the headstones of fallen soldiers. The Memorial Day before our accident they were looking for volunteers to do the same at one of the near bye post grave yards of fallen soldiers. Ben had to work they morning of the flag placing but my little brother was in town and so we decided to do it. We were not the only ones there. There were mothers, little children, veterans, elderly...all there to honor those who had served. I will never forget that moment. It was humbling and my heart swelled with pride. I remember reading the names, seeing the dates and looking at the headstones of which these men and women's lives were laid under. I could only imagine if I had a loved one their and just to know that someone was there honoring them would be such a blessing. The task of placing the flag in the ground was not done haphazardly. We were given a piece of dowling to measure the exact distance from the end of the headstone out and then use that same dowling to put a hole in the ground for the flag. Each flag was the same distance from the headstone. When you looked across the grassy fields now you not only saw perfectly placed headstones but now perfectly placed flags in front. If you ever have the chance to do this....do it!
I think the most humbling part about the experience was to see the empty spaces. The ones that didn't have a name or a cross yet but a simple marker that one would be place. My heart broke to see these because that meant there would be another fallen soldier. My thoughts went to Ben...it could be him! This scared me but at the same time I was at peace. This job was something God had called him to do. No one else asked him, encouraged, forced, pushed, prodded...it was a decision between Ben and the Lord. He heard God say "Go" and he went. Ben has taken great pride in serving his country and he has done an AMAZING job! Still to this day (and this morning) Ben has woken up and said, "I need to get better so I can go back to work!" This is his calling and I am grateful to him!
He like many other soldiers take pride in what they do. They want to do their job well, they want to succeed. This is no easy task for them but they do it proudly!
This is where they need to be honored! Those who have already given their lives and those whom are still serving. Appreciate them, pray for them and give them your thanks. Many soldiers like Ben don't like all the appreciation and hoopla because they know it is their job and duty but when someone goes out of their way just to say, "thank you" the meaning of that goes deep into their hearts.
Also, thank the families who have lost someone. They also need to be honored because they are deeply affected by the loss of a loved one. Thank the Kesslers, Emma, Kiley, Erin, Brittany, Catie-Anne, Grider family, the McDowells, Miles, Caroline, Hildago family and so many others...
It is our duty, priviledge and honor do to this!
Not to say that we shouldn't have BBQ's, go shopping and the things listed above but don't forget to pause, remember where we are, what we have and for the thousands who have and are making sacrifices for our freedom!

{our lil Georgian friends}

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

special moments...

I caught a glimpse of this and had to capture the moment! Ben was reading this book to our niece and it was so sweet! If he messed up a word she was very sweet in correcting him!
Love these special moments!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

activities galore...

Since my last post on Thursday alot has taken place in the past few days! some relaxing but for sure some running around!
Friday Ben had an accupuncture appointment for the first time. I remember him asking me if it was going to hurt and all I could really tell him is that he was going to feel some pricks. I have never had it before so I really had no idea what to tell him. That went ok. I am not into the whole spiritual side of it and the guy that we went to was into it more then I would have liked...we shall see if we go back!

Later that afternoon Ben had OT. His OT started out by lifting the lazy boy couch with 2x4's so it would be easier for Ben to stand up from and also some hooks in front of the kitchen sink so Ben could stand with a strap behind him and brush his teeth, wash his face, do some dishes, chop some food...I like the latter to do's! Followed by this they did alot of sit to stands in front of the sink for practice! Ben did great! He can pretty much do it all on his own but just needs someone next to him just in case his balance is a tad off. Next came a walk and since it was so nice Ben's OT took him outside to the deck. We have been blessed in this rental house to have a really bit deck and huge yard! Soon Ben will be mowing it! Ben loved being outside and was soaking in the fresh air! He has always been an outdoors man and is way more motivated when he is out!

Friday night we went out to dinner with one of Ben's Ranger buddies, his wife and their lil girl! We had a fun time and it was good for Ben to get out more! Oh, going to give Amy a plug here...she sells amazing cloth diapers! You can go HERE to get some Beautiful Baby Gear for your lil one!
Ben was pretty tired by then end of the evening so it was straight to bed for him when we got home! I was not to far behind him!

Sometimes we have some special visitors stop by for some fun with Aunt Kate and Uncle Ben! Here are just a few of them...

Saturday we were able to sleep in (well to about 0730) and just chill for the morning! A little later Ben and I headed out to one of our nephews soccer games! Before getting there we drove to Starbucks for some coffee! Before I was even able to ask him if he even wanted anything he belted out, "ummm, i will take a white chocolate mocha!" awesome! This really is his favorite drink although I had to get it a little on the cooler side and decaf! We had fun at the game...they won by scoring four goals in a row right towards the end of the game. It was fun to watch! After that I ran to the store to get more flowers and pots...just cannot have enough!
The rest of the day Ben got to rest and I cleaned house! I did have him help me fold some wash cloths and he didn't do half bad!

Today has been a FULL day but a good day! Today was the first time Ben and I have been back to our home church together since the accident and even before. Ben did AWESOME...way better then I thought he would. He sang the songs he knew, followed all the ques, repeated the salvation prayer with everyone as the pastor led (do this so the people receiving are not singled out) and just looked so comfortable. This made me feel so much better and I was able to relax myself! We did jet out right as everyone was dismissed just so it wouldn't be to overwhelming for Ben and I! I was so proud of him!
After church we went to my parents for lunch. As we were waiting for our tasty meal to be done cookin I played some Kinect! Oh my stinkin goodness...those games are fun and a good workout! I was not expecting that and was releasing some sweat beads! We even got my mom and dad at it and they did well...except to some bashings to the head due to not ducking low enough! Haha I have to say I got a few bashings too!
Back to the house to watch our friends, who we went to dinner with Friday night, lil girl! She was super cute and kept us entertained! During her nap Pastor Tim and his wife Dhana surprised us and came over for a chat. It was good to visit with them and sooo appreciate both of them!
Ben is now tucked into bed and I again am not to far behind him! It has been a long but good day! The Lord has truly blessed us and is watching over our every move! I love that He says He will never leave us or forsake us...what a relief that is!

I have another HUGE voting request for y'all!! Another Ranger that Ben know suffered a TBI a few months after Ben while he was deployed. He has, like Ben, been in rehab ever since. He has been selected as one of 20 finalist in the "best NY Giants fan contest" and he is featured on the NY Giants web site and facebook contest. If Cory wins his photo will appear on a 2011 game ticket! Go HERE and vote for CORY R!! Even if you loathe the NY Giants or you just don't like baseball go and vote for him anyways! We would love to see him win and be honored for all he has done for our country and how hard he has worked!!

Saying of Ben...
Ben woke me up 2 times the other night..once to say, "he wanted a donut" and the other that "it smells like something was burning!" The burning one was to get me out of bed so he could too! stinker!
He also freaked me out the other morning...about 0630...he was trying to get out of bed! I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I am getting out of bed to go get some breakfast!"
"Katie, what would I do without you? You mean the world to me and I love you with my whole heart!" Love him!

Please continue to pray for Ben in the mobility aspect! He is so wanting to do EVERYTHING and his body will just not allow him to do it. He wants to so much just to be able to get out of bed in the morning and make his way to the kitchen to make himself breakfast...that is why he was doing the above! Ben gets super frustated with this and knows (which is awesome) that his body is not the same. He fights against his muscles, bones, movements, tremors and so much more just to do simple tasks and even harder. I wish that he would only have to concentrate on one thing...his brain or his body. I feel it would be so much easier for him if it were this way! If his mind was all there he would be able to fully get things and if his body were there it would make life so much more simple for not only Ben but me too. It is waring on both of our bodies! I am protecting myself as much as possible but cannot let him lay in bed all day no succomb to his wheelchair. He has to keep moving! Please pray HARD for my man and his healing! He needs a boost to which only the Lord can give!! I am right along there in the trenches praying with y'all! I know this is not the end to Ben's recovery!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Phil 4:13

Thursday, May 19, 2011

precious lord take my hand...

A short time ago I received a lil meditation book from a lady whose son suffered a TBI a few years ago. It is called, Precious Lord, Take My Hand. I have only read the first excerpt but it has already hit home for me. Since being home it has made me think of the post about wife vs caregiver...[found here]. in the first excerpt it talks about how much she didn't expect to find out about herself in the caregiving process. She also said, "we are called to love in ways that will either change us or break us. On days when I felt like plunging toward earth in an out-of-control freefall, God showed me my agendas, my reservations, my fear, my vanities, my pride and my selfishness. He used my infirmities to show me His sufficiancy!" What powerful and such trueness in those few words. There have been many days, nights, moments and hours that I have felt as if I am free falling right into a crash zone! Things are not going as planned, the day was not smooth, things have gone aray and so many more things. This is God showing me that my eyes are not on Him but on the situation and the things that are in front of me. Kind of like when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water...he started walking towards Jesus but the minute he looked down is the moment when he started sinking.
This time in caring for Ben has taught me alot not only with Ben but with the Lord as well. There is a whole way to love the one that you are caring for without losing the real love that you have for them. It at times is hard to figure out and grasp but slowly but surely I am learning it! It has not come easy and it is still not easy but I am getting there! Life now has become getting accustomed to Ben snoring at night and sometimes on purpose in the morning (really funny but not), him poking me EARLY in the morning saying he needs to get up and eat, cleaning up, making meals, wheelchairs, meds, bathroom issues, transfers, recliners, urinals, walkers, dressing, undressing...and the list goes on...not to mention all the other things of running a WHOLE household on my own....!!! It is super hard not to get caught up in that and in the caregiver role! It gets super tiring! I then look into my mans eyes as he stands to hug me and all of those things go away! Jesus, in those moments whispers in my ear, "I got it. I love you. I am in control!" Jeremiah 29:11 says, "for I know the plans that I have for you..." I have to look to Him for that because He certainly hasn't told me what He is up to nor can I change things on my own...except my additude and how I choose to live my life and love my man.
So in all of this I reflect, sing and pray this over our lives...

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

On to Ben...
Monday there was a mix up in Ben's OT schedule and so he didn't have any therapies that day but I put him to work! I was doing some things in the kitchen and then I decided that Ben should be helping me! I put him to work putting away the silverware and then working on opening a can of soup. He did great with the silverware and needed just a tad of help with the can. After that I had him draw and he ended up drawing a whole bunch of hearts for his mom and wanted to write, "happy mom's day." I told him that Mothers Day had already passed and he said, "it is ok, it is just a delayed card!" Sounded good to me!

I have been running some errands while Ben is in therapies so I miss some of it. It gives Ben some time with no distractions just to work with his therapists. I do stick around for alot but also stay back or in the other room when I am home. So, I got some photos on both my phone and my camera...I just have not downloaded all the ones from my camera!

Yesterday one of the SOCOM guys from the Ranger battalion (work with wounded soldiers) came and picked Ben up at 0730 to go on post! Ben was super excited to go since he has not been for about 3 years! They went and saw Ben's old companies stomping grounds, had "chow", got Ben's ID updated and hung out! When he got back he was a chatter box! He was able to tell me people he had seen, what he had done, how things looked different and a few other things. The one thing that made my heart melt is when Ben said, "I saw a picture of Kessler." I asked him how he felt about that and he responded, "I miss him and haven't forgotten him." I almost lost it because Kessler was one of his good buddies that passed away overseas when they were deployed together. He will not be forgotten for the sacrifice he made even by Ben who has had a brain injury and has issues with his memory. It was such a sweet moment. Overall his time on post was "really cool" and "I want to go back soon!"

Yesterday I went and got a pedi and ran some errands while Ben was gone. I also picked up some patio furniture and of course Ben said that he wished he could put it together because he would do a better job! Stinker! I gave him the instruction page and had him look at each step and tell me what to do. He did AMAZING! He blew me away with the ability to do it. Not that I never thought he couldn't but the fact that he did it was fantastic!

I then took on the task of planting so flowers! I LOVE flowers! I love them everywhere....inside and out! I have some more to plant but I have to get another pot for the leftovers!

{sorry for the blue setting...phone mistake!}

A new pride and joy that I found! Remember how Ben always informs me that he is the KING...well, I found the perfect frames for the King and Queen! I put some photos in them but I am sure they will change I am sure. They are hanging right on the entry wall by the front door for all to see who the KING is!

I will try to get all the photos off my camera soon so you can see what Ben has been working on! Soon...

Sayings of Ben...
Ben - "I just want out of this situation and I want to get you out of it too!"

While snuggling next to Ben the other night before he went to sleep he said right away, "thank you for being my wife...i love you!" Me-"I love you and so glad I am your wife." B-"I don't want to go through life with anybody else!"

"For I know the plans that I have for you, "declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart!" Jer. 29.11-13

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

take the time...

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

i have blogged a short message about this special lady
before but thought it fitting to share about her again. she has taught me some valuable lessons since i have been on this journey with ben. unlike me who still has ben after our awful accident she lost the love of her life while he was fighting for our freedom. she has handled her own journey this far with grace, purpose, humility and to not only bring honor to her man but to her new found relationship with God!
her latest blog inspired me once again. she encourages us to treasure the time with our husbands (or wives), to create memories and get to know them. i thought to myself or how to i get to know ben after the accident? he is not a completely different person but in ways he has changed. i have had to learn new ways to love ben on top of how i already love him. some times it is easier then others but it is well worth it. like emma learned to know todd's ambitions, fears, hopes and heart i get to do the same! i thought i was doing this before but realized in it all how much i wasn't...or just not enough. there is no limit to finding out about your husband...there is always more to know! how exciting is that!?

emma did not choose this journey or the life set out before her and nor did i. both of us have had things stripped away in a way that we could have never imagined. we do have a choice in how we live out our lives from here on out. we can wallow in our sorrow and pain, we can do nothing, we can complain, we can deny God, we can give up and so many other things. don't get me wrong i have felt, grieved, been broken beyond comfort and still sometimes find myself here but i don't allow these things to control me. ben needs me, God needs me and i need me! i will continue to move forward, i will continue to be as strong as i can, i will continue to love and serve my man, and i will continue to live on and move forward!

emma has also reminded me to honor ben. emma has honored and continues to honor him even after he was taken from her. she honors him through her relationship with God, she honors him through her daughter and wanting to raise her as he would, she honors him by knowing that he served his country and he served well!

memorial day is soon upon us and i encourage you all to take a moment to reflect on all those who have given their lives for our freedom. not only remember those who have given their lives but those people in their lives, like emma, who are left behind questioning, lonely, dreaming, moving on, and so many more things that life brings them. don't just be grateful on memorial day but every time you see a soldier, thamk them, shake their hand, honor them...it is the least we can do!

pray for emmas as this was her status on fb..."hoping for peace this week: tuesday would have been todd and i's 3 year anniversary, kiley will also turn 21 months that day, and saturday a year ago was the last day todd walked on american soil and the last time we ever held him. oh how different our lives were then. thank you todd for being my hero and the best daddy to our beautiful daughter!"

you can find her blog HERE
and todd's website HERE

“nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

“life is full of beauty. notice it. notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. smell the rain, and feel the wind. live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” ashley smith

Monday, May 16, 2011

face lift...

no, i am not getting a face lift nor is ben!
our blog design is going to get it!
sometimes i really have no clue what i am doing on
here as far as design goes.
my idea of changing my background is googling "free blogger backgrounds"
and picking one that looks like me. not working so good anymore!
one of our blog followers from since the
beginning of this journey is being super sweet
to give our blog a face lift.
she does amazing work and is getting started on ours.
you can find her amazing work HERE
with changing our layout i want to also come up with a title.
it has been "ben and katie" since the beginning but
i would love to put a more formal title to it.
so i am asking for suggestions!
i want to limit it to about 5 words or less.
what are your thoughts? ideas?
please send them my way!