Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1,000 cranes...

Not to long ago one of our friend brought a gift over that she had come up with for Ben and I. When she had told me she had something for us I was not thinking that is was going to be what it was...because it is so amazing!

She wrote this after she brought it over...

"So the 1000 cranes, in Japanese culture represents a wish for good health and well being. It is often made for those who are ill and can even be made for weddings as a symbol of a happy marriage.

We started the project in April of 2010 and completed it in January of 2012. The first night we started making the cranes, many of your family members came over to my house, along with some of the S family and we spent a couple of hours building them. It was a great way to get together and pray for both you and Ben and believe for complete healing. My initial goal was to complete the project right away and send it off to you guys, but the truth is, I am glad it took us 2 years to get it done, because it has been a constant reminder of you and Ben and you have both been in my thoughts and prayers continuously. It was so nice being able to sit down in your beautiful, cozy home and explain and present to you the 1000 cranes. E told me back in December that, "When you finally complete it, it WILL be the perfect timing." And I couldn't agree more."

When she lifted it out of the box I was blown away...there were so many cranes, all intricately made! There were alot of hours and prayers put into them by so many family members and friends! We now have it hanging in our room as a constant reminder of those praying for us, how delicate life is and that healing is still coming!

When looking at the cranes it tends to remind me of the scripture, "What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

...and when I dwell on and remember this verse it takes me to the hymn, His Eye Is On the Sparrow. Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics, said this about her inspiration to write the song based in the scriptures outlined above,

"Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience."
—Civilla Martin

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart feel lonely and long for Heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? A constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches

"Let not your heart be troubled,"His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He cares for me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He cares for me.

Thank you from Ben and I to all those who were involved in this! It has been an amazing blessing and we feel so loved to reveive it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

life interruptions...

Well, yesterday concluded our women's bible study that we started back in January at our church. It was worked out timing wise for me to go because Ben is in therapy for a few hours during this time. It gets me out of the house, a chance to hang with some ladies and also do dig into the Word.

This past study was on the book of Jonah. Who knew that only four chapters in this book could hold so much wisdom! The author/speaker, Pricilla Shirer, laid it out in a way I would have never thought of. The title of the study is Jonah, A Life Interrupted, and I will say that Ben and my life have for sure had a major interrupted! She opens the chapter with this opening onto how she thought Jonah might be thinking...

I am Jonah,
I want to serve God...
as long as it is convenient.
I desire to do His will...
until it is a tad uncomfortable.
I want to hear His Word...
as long as its message is one I'm supposed
to pass on to someone else.
I don't want to have my plans interrupted.
Oh yes, I am Jonah, and I suspect that in
one way or another, you are too!

God called Jonah to take His truth to Ninevah and that was a huge interruption in Jonah's life and what did he do...ran to Joppa to catch a ship to Tarshish. If he had gone to Ninevah it would have been a 500 mile journey but Jonah's journey took him 2,000 miles in the opposite direction! Talk about running away from God!
The biggest part about this part of the story is that she mentions that sometimes people are like Jonah and they pack up from where they are at and literally move...thinking that if they move away from what God has called them to do and leave the inturruption behind that it too will leave. Then there are others who are "inside runners." "It is far more simple and discreet to run away internally, isn't it? We head to Tarshish in our hearts so we can still pretend that we are obeying God. We can even run spiritually, going through the motions while having no fellowship with Him. We can be on the run from God's directives even while we are engrossed in them."
I will admit that I have been here a few times in my life. Going through the motions of going to church, reading my Bible and so on but in the mean time deep down I am running from what God has asked me to do. It's because I just don't want to do it and submit to His will. Even in this journey that Ben and I are on I have found myself in these places. It literally takes God putting me in the belly of a big, nasty fish for a few days...not failing to mention the stinky fishy smell of that nasty being! And yes, after God has worked on my heart I get spit out of that nasty, smelly fish and have to get myself cleaned His word, asking for forgiveness and getting my life back on track in obedience to Him. I am there right now. God doesn't give us head starts either. He had Jonah "spit" right back in the place that he started! He didn't have him just spat in Ninevah but he had to go back to the place where God first asked him to be obedient.

God gave Jonah a second chance at obeying Him. I am grateful that God does the same for us...for me it has been third and fourth and fifth chances! :)
We get a great opportunity to be obedient again, we get a divine anointing at the same time and in our obedience get supernatural results. Supernatural has nothing to do with me but it is all Him! Those results may not be the results that we had in mind but they are what God has in mind for us at that exact moment! But oh how I wish I could take Him a Starbucks and bribe God a bit with some results that I want! We need to see direction from God not as bad but as a willingness to His will.

Just like God was with Jonah every step of the way on his journey so He is with Ben and I. He goes before us and prepares the way in where we are to go. "we cannot see the tapesty of divine activity behind the scenes. When we are up against a task that appears too grand for us to undertake, we must remember:
1. We are right. It most likely is too big for us to handle.
2. If God is calling us to it, He will equp us for it.
3. God has been at work in the situation long before we are scheduled to arrive, and He is preparing the way for our obedience to make a difference."

In the last chapter we see that Jonah is mad at God for sparing Ninevah after they had turned from their evil ways. He went and sat in a hot place. God grew him a plant and Jonah found shade under it. In the morning a worm ate it down and Jonah got mad to the point of just wanting to die. God spoke to him and was curious to why he was so angry and why he had more pity for a plant then he did the people he was to be ministering to. The last verse ends with God asking Jonah if He should not pity His people who don't even know their right hand from their left. We don't get to know what Jonah did after this or how he responded to what God was saying. Darn it, I don't like open ended stories!
We all want to know our endings or what our future is going to be. I want to know our next step and I have no idea what that is! Sometimes God leaves things open so that we have to trust Him and allow God to work and go before us...even if it is soooo darn hard!

There was alot more to the study and I could go on and on but these were just a few things I got from it. I end it with this though...and it hit me hard!
"If God doesn't do another thing, hasn't He already done enough?"

Just a few random photos to share...

Ben saw a commercial for toaster strudels and asked for them every time I went to the grocery store. After looking in 4 grocery stores and not finding them I was informed by my SIL that they are in the freezer section...who knew...

Diesel no longer cuddles with Ben, he just takes over his lap...

I have had dates with the tready and kettle bells...darn things! I am going to run a 5 miler in May, a 5k in June and hopefully a half over the summer...i might just die...

{not worried about looking cute, just gettin my run on}

this dog cracks me up...

been trying some new recipies...

{enchilada filling turned lettuce wraps}

{pear, gorgonzola pizza}

{fresh spring rolls and no flour, no sugar, no butter cookies! yum!}

Ben got a splint for his left foot. He has been dragging it at times and also it tends to turn in {eversion.} Ben wears it while walking and just hanging out. It has screws at the ankles so he still gets bend to it. It has been working well for him but he is having to learn to walk again with what his gait should be...

Ben had a task from his ST to practice making toast. Well since he loves his PB and J toasted (don't know why he loves pb&j and why toasted) I let him toast his bread today. He wheeled himself over, stood up, put the toast in the toaster, pushed down the button and sat back down! The only thing I did was take the bread out of the bag and stand by him incase he lost his balance! He surprised me for sure...

Ben got a massage today. I didn't. He said I can get one next week! :)

While I was watching Ben make his toast today it just reminded me that God is still working in Ben. We are blessed for sure. We are just praying that his body catch up with his brain. Although his brain still needs work he knows and remembers how to do things but just cannot physically do them how he wants to do. Please continue to pray for the continued restoration and healing to Ben's body!

It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.
Lamentations 3: 22-23

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

lil of this, lil of that...

[we have love]

So I have been seeing the pattern of me posting on Thursdays! I don't know why Thursdays always seem to be blog nights but they are. So, here is to changing that up a bit!

Friday I got to hang out with some of my lady friends while Ben went with the boys to my lil bro's all star game...

I tried a new recipe and it was YUMMERS! Tortilini cream soup...

Sunday night and into Monday brought some more fun weather...wind! I think over the night and into today we had wind gusts up to the 50's! Lights started flickering close to 9am Monday morning and then it was fine. This day was to be very busy and losing power was the last thing I needed! I took off to the Y while Ben was in therapy at the house and then came home to NO power! Arggg, we just went though this in the last snow/wind/ice storm and it was not my friend! At least we have hot water so I was able to shower but then I was freezing when I couldn't dry my hair! We got through the morning, had lunch and then when Ben was in ST I went to Starbucks to get some warmness! Oh that felt nice! Right after ST we hit the road to Gig Harbor to have Ben's first hyperbaric treatment.

When I last mentioned it people asked what was HBOT? I think most people know of HBOT because it was used for divers and such. What they have found for those that have traumatic brain injuries, wounds, autism, MS and so many other things...that when in a chamber (the type Ben is in) Ben is getting 75% pure oxygen. But the kicker is the pressure that comes along with the the oxygen. The purpose of the pressure is to shove the oxygen into the deep parts of muscle, brain, cells, tissue and such. I have looked into it before but I kept running into walls with it all. Recently some things just fell into our lap and we were offered some free trials to see how Ben did in the chamber. We have a few more this week. The closest location with this company is about 30 min away so we will either be going to that location or looking into renting one and bringing it into our home. It is a spendy process but we are praying/hoping that we can get it funded by some non profit military which I think we have one lined up. Please be praying that if this is to work for Ben's brain and body that it does and also that the funding would be taken care of! They actually had an extra chamber today so they asked me if I wanted to try it out too so I did. It felt good and like my lungs and abdomen were much bigger and full of air!

Tuesday morning it was up and at em to get back for another hyperbaric chamber! Ben had gone to bed about 930 (about 1.5 hours then he normally goes to bed) and me 1am...can you say energy! Ha, I don't want to fool myself but that is one thing they said we would get from the treatment!
Anywhooo, Tuesday we woke up to this...seriously, snow!!??!!

On the way to the hyperbaric center we saw a car exploding on the highway and were in gridlock for a bit. Thankfully we were near an exit and wiggled off and then back on...

Wednesday (today) we were up and at em again. I think the staying up to 1am a few nights before got to me because I didn't want to get out of bed AT ALL! I did.
We got Ben ready and then I got ready to go to bible study. Ben had therapy while I was gone and then when I got home he had about an hour before he was off to the gym for his next therapy. I took off and ran a massive list of the nasty cold rain!

We have been trying to get Diesel to sleep on his bed but he perfers the floor...just inches from his bed...

Ben has been getting tasks and completion dates in his assignment book that he is to check everyday and tell me what they are. This one was to wipe the counters and tables. I was just standing behind him to watch his balance...

In speech the other day they were watching an army jump and after Ben was telling A all about how he was a jump master and what his tasks were. I was amazed at all the steps he was remembering and how much he recalled!

Lots of veggies included in dinner tonight and a new tried yogurt that was AMAZING and super light...

Praise we have been trying to get Ben to speak more in sentances instead of in a few words. Reading really helps him in this. He used to read one word at a time but now most times he reads the whole sentance without stopping!! It is easy for him to lose his place so if we use a piece of paper he does so much better! Yesterday as we were driving he asked what he had done wrong to be in this "situation" and it about broke my heart. I don't get why sometimes and he is starting to see that too. In his times of frustrations or when he questions things I have just encouraged him to pray about it...and out loud. This keeps me accountable to do the same thing. Well, we had a worship CD on Ben recognized one of the songs and started singing the chorus. After he sang for a bit Ben started full sentances!! I was in shock. It wasn't that he was praying in sentances but he kept going, on and on and on! All I could do is agree with him in pray as I drove in shock! It was amazing, I was humbled and yet again reminded of the faithfulness of God and lit another lil spark in my hope!

Ben's memory has been getting better...slowly but surely! He's to remind me to get his meds for him and most mornings he remembers. Nights are a lil more difficult for him because he is tired but he's been doing great! Other things in memory that he is doing well in is just day to day. Remembering what he did the day before, remembering the date...all these things are amazing and he is excelling in. Of course he has a long way to go but for docs who say he would make the most improvement in the first year after injury...well, those are just statistics and not our heavenly Father who heals!

The determination in Ben's heart to get through this is just solid. Yes he gets frustrated, asks the questions, but like he said the other day, "wifey, you just watch, I will beat this brain injury. I will not give up!" God has put that fighting spirit in him. He asks for break through, he prays for break through...we believe God will bring us break through!

Side note...I started this blog on Monday then after halfway falling asleep saved it and went to bed. But, it's Wednesday and its going up...and it's not on a Thursday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a good weekend...

This past weekend like I posted below was able to go to a Wounded Warrior Wives retreat! I was nervous but I had to let go and let God take control...a lesson that I am really leaning hard on in all aspects of life right now!

My thoughts about the weekend were all over the place...excited, nervous, anxious, peaceful, just to name a few! I was able to email with my friend Kathleen whom we had met at the VA in Cali. She was the only one I knew and she was already rooming with someone else so I was wondering what "stranger" I would be rooming with. I of course didn't mind who it was. God had other plans own room with two beds! Awwwwww!! You have no idea what a huge blessing this was for me! I can say that I slept through both nights and didn't wake until my alarm went off! This is a rare occasion at our sleep all the way through! I slept so hard that when I woke up I don't think that my bedding had even moved and maybe not even my body!

{our view}

When we got there on Friday afternoon we mingled for a bit and then went to dinner. It was put right in front of us...yes, folks, placed right in front of us! I am used to making 3 meals a day alot like most of y'all so I was quite elated when the plate just appeared in front of me...and it was GOOD!! The only thing I had to get up for was dessert and that was fine because I burned a few calories along the way before I put them right back on!

{not dinner that night but greek for lunch the next day...}

Later that evening we had our first session. It was really good. The guest speaker, Marshele Waddell, was an amazing speaker. She is married to CDR (ret) Mark Waddell, USN, a U.S. Navy SEAL, who for seven years served as an enlisted sailor and since 1989, has served as a commissioned officer. Marshele had a career in journalism, marketing and public relations but left that to be a mom and wife. She now is an author of a few books, a study and standing by her man who has been diagnosed with PTSD, 3 moderate TBI's, and a whole bunch of other war injuries. It was nice to know that she was still walking in life with a wounded husband. Alot of times when you hear a guest speaker they have walked their journey, are done with it and are now testifying about it...all good...but she is still walking through it. This gave me great comfort and inspiration! She talked alot about having her eyes opened and her heart having to change from Ft. Fantasy to Ft. Reality. It was touched on that we can also be led to Ft. Dissapointment, Ft. Anger, Ft. Depression...all from the enemy himself. It was really go information and things to ponder on.

Saturday was a full day. Some of the things applied to me and some didn't. Ben doesn't have PTSD but it was interesting to hear the information and be aware of it.
After a few morning sessions the host saw that we were getting tired and felt it an approprite time to go down to the water, take a rock, and cast our cares out to sea.
Lunch was next and then I was able to get a massage and then my make-up done. Lets just say that what I loved more was the cleansers and lotions that I got to use before hand...they made my skin oh so's the little things!
We had dinner followed by another session of questions and answers. Again I got some good information and some answers to my own questions.
Saturday evening was spent in the hot tub and then to bed...for another good nights sleep!


{some of us}

{Marshele and I}

Sunday morning there was an early "church" service offered by Marshele. She was not able to share her faith that much in her sessions due to the sponsers of the retreat but she had an optional session for those that wanted to hear about how she has walked through her journey with the Lord. It was really good and so inspiring. What she had to say was simple yet it hit home. Her spirit was so soft and gentle on this subject...not that she wasn't suffering as she was speaking but it was just so tender. I learned alot from her.
After the breakfast session we had a short one after breakfast with some door prizes! Fun times!
We packed up, had lunch and then hit the road home!! I got home to Ben who was outside playing fetch with Diesel and my lil brother! I love the smile on his face when I walked outside. It was so good to see him!

The rest of the day was spent a lil like this...
all in all a very good weekend. i would do it again in a heart beat but Ben said it will be awhile before he lets me go again! love him and thankful that he let me go and get some time away!