Tuesday, December 31, 2013

merry christmas and happy new year...



we have been incredibly busy during this holiday season with family, friends, special events on top of our regular schedule! 

this past weekend we headed over to Leavenworth with bens brother and his family. it was a quick yet fun trip that included our first ever sleigh ride!


praying you all had a merry christmas and may you have a blessed new year! 

we have truly been blessed this past year and look forward to more healing, giving and just overall happiness and hope in our lives! 

many blessings! 


 

Monday, October 14, 2013

an art piece...

today was a a good but busy day! we were in and out of the house all day but ben managed to get a project in! 

i saw a random pic of the idea and pretty much had all the supplies so ben got to work! i helped him with the trunk but ben pretty much did the rest! 

supplies were just paint, canvas, q-tips and a small paint brush for the trunk. 


we were sitting on the couch later this evening and i asked ben what he called it and he said "my happy tree while in pain." he said he felt good when he painted, it felt normal and good in amongst everything he was going through! 

my goal was for him to paint us something for above the fireplace {needs a mantle} for the fall! ben surpassed what i wanted and did amazing! looks like well need to go buy some more canvas for him to paint different things! 
love the freedom and peace he feels when he just paints! 

here is his final result...


well done ben, well done! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


As you are reading this we are probably somewhere on the road between Washington and California! Road trip it is to the VA in Palo Alto.
 
Ben was transferred here about 7 months post injury and we stayed for about 7 months! It seems like forever ago but at the same time yesterday! Lots of good and miracles came out of that 7 month stay!

We should be there for about 2 weeks for Ben to get an extensive evaluation done. He will have a complete eval done of where he is at and where we would like him to be. I have a list of things that need to be addressed and taken care of before we leave to come home. This list is not small and the items on the list are both for the physical of Bens needs and just some items that need to be discussed and taken care of.

Ben will be inpatient (starting this Monday) the whole 2 weeks and me in a hotel. Right now there are no rooms available at the Fisher House so please pray one opens up so I can be closer to Ben! Also pray for Ben because as you know he hates anything to do with hospitals or clinics etc. I will be with him during the day and so it will be just at night that he is on his own (thank goodness when he is asleep not much bothers him) but he should be ok.

Please also pray that our issues get addressed and well. It has been very frustrating to work with the VA here so that is why we are going down. Pray that the therapists and doctors have good insight into what is going on with Ben and that it gives him the opportunity to progress!

I will not be taking my computer so I may not be able to post while we are gone. If they still have the public computer I may be able to hop on there. I will have my phone and hopefully be posting to our "Prayers for Ben" Facebook page! If you find it and "like" it you can follow us there!
 
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!
 
 
 
PS...the PO Box listed on this site is no longer active. When we get home I plan to set up another one. I love you all but for safety reasons we will not be posting our home address! :)
 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

special visit...

 
 
A little over 6 years ago when Ben and I were engaged and he was overseas he made a regular call to me. When he was gone we were able to talk more then I thought we would and I loved it. This phone call was different, there was sadness in his voice. We got though a very short how are you to him saying, "today was a bad day." That is all I got on that. Because I was not married I didn't get the red line calls or emails to let me know of injuries or fatalities with the boys. He couldn't go on about what had happened via the phone or email due to safety measures. All I knew is that from his voice it was bad. Later I came to find out that he had lost one of his buddies Jason.
 
Here is a little about Jason from the Ranger's Lead the Way Fund...        
 
               
Cpl. Jason M. Kessler, 29, was an automatic rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash. He was born on Oct. 21, 1977, in Long Beach, Calif.
He was killed on July 30, 2007, while engaged in combat operations in northern Iraq when the tactical vehicle he was riding in was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. This was his third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After graduating high school in Mount Vernon, Wash., Kessler attended The Masters College, Santa Clarita, Calif., and earned a bachelor of arts in biblical studies. He was continuing his education at the University of Washington, Seattle Campus with emphasis on philosophy.
 
Kessler enlisted in the Army from his hometown of Mount Vernon in January 2005 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.
He graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program in June 2005 and was then assigned to 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment. He served there as an Automatic Rifleman.
 
Kessler’s awards and decorations include Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Ranger Tab.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal.
 
As a Ranger, Kessler distinguished himself as a member of the Army’s premier light infantry unit, traveled to all corners of the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism and fought valiantly to “uphold the prestige, honor, and high ‘esprit de corps’” of the Ranger Regiment. 
 
{ben in front of jasons memorial inside the battalion building on bens retirement day}
 
Just weeks before Ben and Jason, along with a few others had just climbed and peaked Mt. Rainier together. This was Ben's 3rd time reaching the summit and Jason's first. Ben loved taking guys up and showing them an amazing time and exploring Gods mountain. That day they both raced back down the mountain for family gatherings!
 
I never had the honor of meeting Jason but Ben spoke very highly of him. Ben had always wanted to meet Jasons parents and pay them his respects. His memorial was while the boys were still deployed so that was a missed opportunity. After the boys came home we married and moved to GA. About 2 years ago when we moved back I wrote Jasons mom a letter about our accident and current situation as she would want to know. She wrote back saying she knew exactly who Ben was because she had a photo of the boys on Mt. Rainier!
 
Yesterday was my cousins wedding which happened to be close to where Jason's parents live. We decided to take off Friday so that we could spend some time with them. We decided that Red Robin would be a great place and Ben couldn't agree more! I mean who can say no to their steak fries...and refills! We had an amazing time with them and it was an honor to finally meet the parents of an amazing soldier! We were able to swap stories and hear from them and Ben.
 
 
 
Remember to keep our soldiers in your prayers but also their families. Families who have lost their husbands, sons, daughters and so many more. They need our prayers not just when these soldiers pass away but on a continual basis...
 
{cousins wedding}
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

where we are, four years later...

 
 
today marks four years since that evening i woke up in a hospital bed, six hours after we were in a massive car accident. those days are still so blurry to me and none of it has really come back.
four years! wowzers! some days it feels like moments and others it feels like it has been a lot longer then it has.
 
in four years a lot has happened. some good, some bad, some ugly, some painful, some joyous, some amazing...there has been a lot that has gone on but we are blessed to still be alive. God has blessed us with amazing blessings that we don't deserve but He doesn't care if we feel worthy, He just does it because He loves it!
 
where we are now in the past year...
 
- we are alive!
- we are in a home of our own and it is a dream!
- ben has been off his meds for over a year and a half and his seizure meds he's been off for a year in a few days!
- ben officially was retired from the army after 13+ years of service (pics on his retirement to come as we got some more recently) and is now a veteran...although he'd rather still be active! :)
- although ben is not fully walking on his own he has made great strides to get closer!
- ben has had a successful jaw expansion surgery and now has braces to help keep correcting his teeth...and one more jaw surgery to come.
- we were able to attend three adaptive sports camps and ben loved them!
- we celebrated our 5th year wedding anniversary...not everyone can say that, brain injury included!
- we took ben up to mount rainier, even if it wasn't to the top!
- ben has lost weight and gained a lot of muscle.
- bathroom stuff is better
- ben is more sneaky with his transferring from wheelchair to couch...and does this when im not looking, which in turn almost gives me a heart attack...he did this twice last week and all i could do was praise him for putting on his breaks and not falling!
- we traveled to texas for ben to be apart of his buddies wedding!
- ben was blessed with a recumbent bike and he would make me run with him and i would try to keep up!
- hes watched me go to many crossfit workouts only saying that if he could do what i was doing he would smoke me...and he would, times 100!
- we got a super cute new pup that ben loves!
- ben started a new therapy program and loves it!
- i have become a bad blogger...but i hope to change! will try...
- we still love each other
- ben has been for the last year slowly but surely improved on things. both mentally and physically
- since being on the water in our new house ben has been able to be on his boat a lot more this year and inner tubing up a storm...way better then last year!
 
as i look back i see God is good! i know He is but when one writes it down and takes the time to remember i am always humbled by what He has done! we still have a long journey before us and many battles to fight but we forge forward and fight on...all the while trusting in our Jesus to get us where we need to go. yes, it is hard. every day is hard. every day is tiring. every day i try and find a lil joy in the hardship. i would never choose to go through this and nor would i wish it on anyone. God knows what He is doing. we may not but He does. His mercies are new every morning and so is His grace!
 
as ben says, "we will beat this brain injury!"
 
and speaking of brains...i figured out what was wrong with mine...
 
 
sneak peek of house interior...more pics to come...
 
 
 
outside...
 
{deck area}
 
 
first few sunsets in our new home...majestic!
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

please help ryan...

We met Ryan and his family back at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a few months after our accident. Ben's room was a few doors down from Ryan's. We were not able to get to know Ryan and his family that much because we would soon be leaving. All I knew is that Ryan was injured with a severe TBI and it was bad.

Along the way I came to know Ryan's story a little but more. A small snippet from the Washington Post...
 
"As the argument became more heated and the two groups passed each other, Ryan turned back and approached the other group to say something, only to step back after someone shoved him. Someone punched McLhinney, knocking him unconscious. Someone hit Ryan's other friend.
After Ryan backed away, Jonathon May, a WVU student, sneaked up and punched him in the face. Ryan never struck anyone. After Ryan fell, Austin Vantrease, 19, kicked him in the head with a motion that a witness compared to "punting" a football, the detective said. May was later convicted of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to a year in prison; Vantrease was charged with malicious assault, a felony. Everyone ran, according to court testimony. Ryan lay on the ground, bleeding from his left ear and suffering seizures. When Ryan's parents reached the hospital a few hours later, the doctor told them their son's jaw was broken and his skull was fractured in two places. He was bleeding from his brain.
The Divineys faced a choice: Doctors could leave their son as he was, and he would most likely die, or they could remove part of his skull, which would let his brain swell. Either way, Ryan might not live more than a day or two. Ken and Sue told the doctor to remove the skull plate and summoned a priest to administer last rites."
 
So for the past few years Ryan's parents have been super diligent in caring for him. They amaze me with their commitment to their son and how they fight for him every single day! His recovery has been quite different then Ben's and that breaks my heart. I hate that we are in the same situation with knowing them in the TBI world but glad that we can help each other out!!
 
Here is where I would ask you to help. One of Ryan's brutal attackers is up for parole soon and has not even served close to what he should and doesn't have a remorseful bone in his body! According to his family the attacker Vantrease was in the wrong place at the wrong time...yet he chose his wrongful actions! I will not go into detail on how Ryan's family has had to fight this and put up with people who beat their son and won't do anything about it! We need your help in signing a petition to stop this parole!
 
Please go to:
to sign the petition for Ryan and his family!
 
You can also visit and follow Ryan's journey at http://ryansrally.org/
 
Thank you in advance for doing this! It would mean a lot to Ryan and his family and to Ben and I!
 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

summer beginnings...

wanted to get a quick update on here before we left to go have some fun on the boat! ben requested that he not watch today but go tubing so a tubing he will go! he went a few times last year so it will be interesting to see how he does this year again...of course it is never fast enough for him but i choose to be the responsible one, with a lil fun mixed in!
 
we of course have been busy! since my last update my lil brother got married, we celebrated birthdays, made a trip to California, celebrated the fourth, been working on the house and getting ready to move! of course in there has been ben's therapy up to four times a week and having fun in this amazing weather that we have been having! who says it rains in wa all the time...not me!
 
so a few pics of ben in therapy...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
the end of june we were able to go to cali for another adaptive camp for ben. it was a much smaller scale then what we have attended before and we loved that. we were originally going to go to one in san fran earlier in june but we found out that it was a more competitive scale then others...so we went to another one instead!
 
first night we got there we got settled in our room. later that evening we went bowling and had some pizza. just happened to be on the news that night too...well in the background! it was a lot of fun.
 
 
thursday ben started out with some fly fishing. there was a team of fly fish instructors that helped the injured warriors in some fly fishing. one would think it was easy but there is some talent there. ben started to get the hang of it too. myself, i say i still prefer the bobber! we had some lunch and then hit the water! my lil brother and ben got in a paddle boat and took off while i jumped on a paddle board! both of us have done these things before but they are super fun! ben also thought that it would be a great idea to slide down a massive blow up slide! it was huge and something that he had to climb up to the top of. i wish i had my camera but i was still on the paddle board! it is on video somewhere through! with the help of a few guys just guiding him ben climbed up the side of the slide, sat at the top and slid down the other side! it was great! after that he just floated in the water since it had hit over 100 degrees that day!
 
later this evening we went to a rivercats baseball game! they had all of the injured soldiers come out on the field before the game to be honored for their service. it again was great to see and my heart welled up with so much pride for ben!
 
 
friday was a super fun yet long day! we got in the shuttle and headed to the river to go white water rafting! something ben had been looking forward to! i again wish i had my camera but because we were on the water i didn't want to risk it! someone has some photos but we have not received them yet! we ended up being on the river for over four hours in 105 degree heat! thankfully there were times we could jump out and cool off! ben had a blast. he of course wished there were more strong rapids (i did too) but when it comes to guys who have lost limbs, had strokes, ptsd, and so on it was i think the perfect amount!
 
saturday was archery in the morning and some sled hockey in the afternoon. because it was to be over 105 and the hottest day that we were there they gave us the option to go or just stay at the hotel and chill/cool off until the afternoon. ben opted to rest and i think that was a wise choice for him. sleeping in and starbucks it was for us that morning! that afternoon we took of for a park to have lunch and then the skate rink for sled hockey. ben had done this back when we went to colorado and got the hang of it and loved it. we were able to spend a few hours on the ice and it was super fun!
 
 
to end all of the activities of the week we got to dress up a bit for a special dinner that honored the injured soldiers and also to raise money for the organization who put it on for us! it was super fun to be there with my man!
 
 
oh and before the adaptive camp we were able to stop by the palo alto va in cali. this is where ben spent about 7 months while in rehab. we had a meeting with some of the staff there but a fun part about this stop was being able to see a lot of bens old therapists and nurses! one of his main nurses was actually retiring 2 days later and it was perfect timing to see her! she said seeing ben made her retirement and now she felt like she could seeing that he was doing so much better!
 
 
 
another great thing we did was meet with the couple who had provided ben with his bike! we had never met this couple and it is an amazing story how it all came about but we were thrilled to be able to meet with them over coffee for a few hours! such a fun, loving couple!
 
 
the day we drove back from cali our friends from cali were up for a short visit. we actually launched the boat that night knowing that we were going to be going out the next day! we had an amazing time with them and i always hate when we have to say good bye! first boat outing of the year and many more to come...
 
 
fourth of july fun! so relaxing and that's just what we needed...
 
 
 
 
another day on the boat...and one sneaky hand...
 
 
house update! we will finally be moving in the new house in two weeks! it has been a long but good process and it is finally happening! we are super excited! i am tired of running and paying for two households! :) this week trim work gets painted, deck gets put in, and all the lil finishing touches! more sneak peeks of the house.
 
 {kitchen going in}
 
 {guest bath floor before grout}
 
 {floors are in}
 
{doors are hung but now down to be painted}
 
this is how we end most days...thankfully no one is here to get a pic of me...
 
 
 
and this just gives me strength. so true. so real.
 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

holy moley batman crazy...

so what happens {from my last post} when you buy a house?? things just get crazier and crazier! i mean sure were busy but throw buying a house in there that needs to be remodeled and bam!!

a few days after signing papers we took off to colorado for a week! ben was accepted into the va winter sports clinic in aspen/snowmass and we of course took the chance to go! ben has missed the mountains and snowboarding so much that we just had to go! we traveled with the seattle va which was super helpful because we had two suitcases {hate packing winter clothes}, walker, wheelchairs and carry ons! hello luggage and only one pair of hands, scratch that, no pairs of hands since i had to push ben! so to have help was super nice!

we had a great time! ben got two days in of skiing and one race morning {sit down bi ski}, a trip to aspen and then the other side way up, sled hocky...in which he slammed me against the wall a few times and had no remorse, and some good chill time in the mountains!

some highlights...

skiing...















video


sled hockey...











aspen and to the top of the mountain...about 13 thousand feet...















overall it was fun trip and we are so glad we went!! it was a good chance to get out of town, enjoy eachother and breath in some fresh air!!

house stuff! were not in the house yet because we have been slowly remodeling it to suit ben's needs! we are hoping to be in mid june...please!! here are just a few pics of what is going on...

 {two new sliders went in to open the view up}

 {rotted decking out}

 {four foot addition to two bedrooms and master bath...had to relocate the other bath}

 {big tree out because it was part dead, damaging roof and to close to house}

 {kitchen...all torn out!}

 {backyard so far...}

 {nasty rock fireplace out and will convert to gas}

{view of two bedrooms and bath...master is lakeside}

{hallway to bedrooms}

i have alot more befores and afters but it would take a whole blog post to itself! when were all the way done i will post befores and afters of each room!

april and may have been full of therapies for ben! we continue to drive to his therapies 4 times a week! his therapies through the va have been so so {were looking to change this} but his other therapies outside of the va he loves! hes been having dental appointments for his braces about every 3-4 weeks and his ortho doc is liking what she is seeing. his gap is getting smaller and his teeth are aligning! he should get his appliance {still at the roof of his mouth the widened his jaw} out the end of the month! ben is super excited about that!

i have mass pics of him with his therapies but that too would take a whole other blog post! for now i want to show you an amazing video of ben walking with a new walker the "good" therapies have been trying on him! he has been using if for about 2 months now and always had to been assisted in the front or back! it was just a few sessions ago that they let him do it on his own!! ben did amazing!! him and i were so proud!

video
 
today was the day to run my second half marathon! i had two goals this year...beat last years time and get it in two hours or less. well i succeeded in one...i beat last years time!! i felt alot more prepared this year and the thing that slowed me down was a cramping burning calf muscle! ouch! but all is well! i think my crosstraining in crossfit really helped me out this year! i threw in a few training pics too!

 {my two sisters and future sil pre race}

 {hauling}

 {trying to figure out who was calling my name?!}

 

 {running buddy}

 {dont really know whats happening here}

 {post sisters...were still standing}

 {some of us group run ladies}

 {done and done...im really not this short but it makes me look short...im 5'8"!!}

 {kisses from the mister}

 {love him...he was proud!}


am i crazy to be thinking of what half i want to run next? they have one in town in july! its one where you get to run the big hill down instead of the race today where we had to run it up! we shall see...but while im in shape and have the endurance i just might sign up! shall see!

up next...my lil brother gets married next sat so we will be booked with wedding events, more therapies for ben, house stuff and the every day crazy life of ben and katie! i really do want to get better at updating you all!!

we continue to be blessed by all of your prayers and support! ben continues to slowly but surely heal. just wish i wouldn't take so darn long but ehh God is still in the miracle business!! praise Him!!!