Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update Wednesday afternoon 11/16

Just a quick post this time...I'm operating under the philosophy of "It's now or never!"

First, THANK YOU to those who commented after the last update.  Your feelings, your thoughts, your prayers brought me to tears.  I do try to keep Christ's perspective in all this (and everything!), but our family is most definitely human and we do struggle every day with doubts, fears, and temptations.  The prayer that was posted---thank you so very much for that.  You captured what my heart cries out each day.  I appreciate all of you who lovingly and thoughtfully comment, who have followed our son's miraculous story from the beginning or perhaps just found out, who never comment but pray along with us each day.  You are allowing God to touch you, mold you, change you through Dale---and we will never be the same, will we?

Second, let me give a short (but, praise God, ever-growing) list of Dale's recent accomplishments.  (1) Dale is able to speak more now and more clearly as well.  He still screams some but can express his feelings or needs verbally better now.  We still have to remind him to use his words!  This morning on the way home from school, we decided to stop and get some tomato soup for lunch (nasty weather outside, grilled cheese and tomato soup inside!).  Dale said something which I didn't hear, so I asked him to repeat it.  He said, "When you get to the library, stop."  He hasn't been inside the library--family favorite---since his accident.  You know I had to let him!  We only spent a few minutes, but it was worth it.  (2) Dale is doing well with the worksheets we use at school.  Some are reading comprehension; some are math; some are "tell me about the picture."  He really does verbalize more now.  SP has been working with Dale to lengthen his sentences, using five or more words instead of one-word answers.  (3) Yesterday, Dale surprised me twice by getting out of the van by himself!  He unbuckled his seat belt, opened the sliding door, and slid out to his feet.  The first time, I unbuckled myself, got out, walked around the back of the van---only to find Dale on his feet outside the van!  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  The second time, I was ready.  (4) Yesterday, during our walk, I asked Dale, "If you could be any character on Regular Show (cartoon), which would it be?"  He answered, "Either Mordecai or Rigby."  These are the main characters and pretty cool---to a kid.  I then asked, "If I were a Regular Show character, who would I be?"  Dale answered, "Benson."  Benson is the boss.  I said, "Why Benson?"  Dale very easily replied, "Well, he's always yelling orders."  Dale was punished severely for his impertinence---just kidding!  We both got a good laugh out of it.  (5) Dale sits by Dad in church now.  This enables Dad to poke him whenever he tries to slump over; thus, Dale is encouraged to sit up straight and listen properly.  This also means Dale is at the other end of the pew from his sisters, which means peace and quiet during the service.  Also, I get to focus on the sermon more and not on Dale's quirks like standing up, slumping over, leaning on me, etc.  We all win!  Except maybe Dad.  At least he's not complaining.  :-)  (6) Dale's teeth brushing techniques are improving.  He used to brush well on the right side, upper and lower, and that was it.  I began brushing his teeth at night after he had tried, just to try to prevent cavities because Dale was not quite doing a good enough job.  Now, Dale brushes well on both right and left sides and even the front teeth!  If you think this is not a big deal, try switching your toothbrush to your other hand and brush for a while.  It's hard!  Dale is re-learning this as well as many other things; it's good to see improvement in this vital area.  (7) I saved the best for last!  When we got home this morning after school, the library, and the store, I made sure Dale got out of the van safely, then helped him up the one step to our front porch.  I then said, "Dale, wait a minute.  I've got to get this stuff out of the front seat."  By the time I had leaned insde, gathered up the books and bag of groceries, shut the van door, and looked up, Dale was at the front door, trying to turn the handle.  I hurried up behind him, saying, "Are you trying to open the door?  It's locked."  Then I looked at the lock.  Dale had found the spare house key (I won't tell you where we hide it, but obviously Dale knows!), inserted the key into the lock correctly, and had turned the key.  I reminded him to let go of the key and turn the doorknob, which he did, and the door opened.  Dale had remembered where to find the key, how to insert it into the lock (I still have to remind myself if the teeth go up or down!), and just needed a bit of help remembering to turn the doorknob!  WOW!  All of these seemingly small bits of progress add up to such big improvements over the last few months, few weeks, even few days.  Thank You, Lord, for letting us see Your miraculous work in action!  Like those time-progressed photographs that show a milk drop splashing up, we can see God's hand working in Dale's brain and life.  And, by simply being here and being near, we are touched as well.  Amen!

Luke 1:77-79  "To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins,  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."


  1. I have shed so many tears in prayer for your family in hopes that you would heal and reading this today i shed more! How marvelous that Dale could do something that most people wouldnt even consider... he didnt want to wait, looked for the key and found it, manuevered it correctly into the small opening and opened the door!! That is a LOT of steps to do when he could have just waited a minute or two for you to open the door for him. This tells me several things, one Dale is well on his way to being fully healed, two Dale has a lot of stuff "locked" inside of him that he is working to get out and three he isn't lazy or ready to give up! I think the third is the most important because as long as he is willing to take these 'extra' steps he will encourage you to continue to encourage him! God is so good!! I can't believe I am crying over a key because of a boy i have never met. Thank you so much Dale for allowing God to work in you to bring thousands of people together in His name to pray over you and your family! You are doing a great job Dale and we are all very very very proud of you!

  2. I LOVE hearing those improvements. Those are some of the things I pray for that will come soon to Dale. We take those things for granted, well, at least I did, but now after feeling like I am a part of Dale's life and recovery, I don't take the little things for granted. Everything we have, and do, is a gift from God. Reading the nice things and that Dale is improving, literally brings tears to my eyes, and I don't mind admitting that!! A 56 year old guy crying because a 12 year old is brushing his teeth better and speaking better! I am glad meanddoxie cries too, so I am not the only one!! Praise God, bless Dale and his family and let the miracle continue!!

  3. Wow! God has shown us in so many ways his gifts and his messages. I too cry with happiness at the progress, and pray at the setbacks. But lately the progress has been winning out. And even when things don't go the way we expect them, God still manages to remind us of the patience we need to get us through. Following Dale's and your family's journey, I am reminded each and every day that our Lord is awesome. Thank you again for the blog, I feel that your family has become a part of mine. I will continue to hold you and your family in my prayers, All my best to you.

  4. Praise God for giving you something to hold onto! He has already given you so much, but its so nice when we have rough periods of days or weeks, when we get those little gifts its so appreciated!
    I love reading this, I follow all your updates. I check almost daily, and your blog is bookmarked on my computer. I share your story with everyone. Only God works like this, and He deserves all the glory! :)
    I know in your last post you mentioned you didnt want to just write about the mundane parts of life, but those are the parts I love hearing about. Be encouraged that there are probably hundreds, if not thousands that read your posts but just dont comment. You are touching lives in so many ways by just being honest. Whats our real STORY? Sharing The Only Real You!
    Continuing to pray for your family, we arent promised that we will be comfortable, in fact when we are uncomfortable we are generally more alert. Keep alert, watch and pray! I will! :)

  5. That is OUTSTANDING!!! Dale is being the kind of boy God made a boy to be - adventuresome.

    There are reasons why a guy will take off and do something without asking first; and the reasons are not always about being naughty :-) It is not so much that he is afraid he will be told "no." It is more often, I believe, because he wants to prove to himself he can do it. He suspects if he asks and is given permission, someone will hover over him. I often helped my grandmother make cakes; but the first one I made on my own was when she and my grandfather left me alone while they went shopping. Thankfully the baking project came out great and demonstrated to them and to me that I could do it.

    There are other times, though. Once a friend and I were given permission to take a bike ride down a nine-mile stretch of road and back. What went wrong was a spur-of-the-moment decision on our part to take another road and make a longer trip around a circle of roads. My grandfather was not happy, and he had good reason. It scared the daylights out of him when he drove down to bring us a snack and couldn't find us. It was a foolish thing to do. I deserved the scolding. The one thing I wish he had done, once issues of safety and trust had been adequately drummed into my head (and maybe some lower regions), would have been to sit down with me and said, "So, Harold. I can't take rides like that any more. Tell me about it. What did you like about it?" Then it would have been so awesome if he had added, "You know, if you and Erford give us reason to trust you, I think we could work out plans for you to take other bike trips. There are lots of roads around here and..."

    Praise God for Dale's adventuresome spirit. It will go a long way in cooperating with God's
    Spirit in bringing him back home.

  6. Keep it up Dale! I am enjoying the continued milestones no matter how small they may seem. In some ways it sounds like Dale got "set back" to a younger time but is now re-learning some things. I know from your posts this must be heartbreaking because like Mike I have cried many times. I actually cried when I saw the picture of Dale being removed from the water. He looked so much like my son it shocked me. However, the tears now are more related to his continued fight back. I am happy and proud to know there are still families like your's around. I hope your family can feel the prayers of the nation. Be strong and count your blessings because you have many!

  7. You are all doing such an amazing job of staying in faith, loving one another and supporting one another. Life is full of challenges otherwise we take the blessings for granted. I've learned this through my own life experiences. The challenges of my life has truly brought me to appreciate the value of waking each morning and thanking God for a new day. A new day to fix my mistakes of yesterday. A new day to learn how to love the seemingly unloveable. A new day to be a reflection of Christ's love in me. A new day to reclaim the blessings Jesus' blood offers. As others have mentioned, I too feel as though I personally know you and your family. I understand you pains, yet I equally celebrate your victories. I share Dale's story with all who will listen, it is truly a story of God's ability to do all things. You had mentioned concern about Dale's independence and I wanted to refer you to Bob Woodruff the journalist. In 2006 he received a brain injury while reporting in Iraq, by God's grace & healing he continues to work as a journalist occassionally returning to Nightline. He was discussing Gabby Gifford's progress with Diane Sawyer the other night, be seeing his progress in a 5 yr period truly hints as to what God is able to do. May God continue to bless you all and may you all continue to find your peace & strength in God. And please never feel guilty for being human, if you were not fearful one bit you would not realize the need to humble yourself to God's ways rather than your own understanding. Strength & faith are not about being absolutely free of fear or pain, but continuing to seek God's freedom and continuing to grow and admitting that we can not live without God's wisdom or grace.

  8. Hi Kirtsen and Chad, I rejoice to hear the blessings of Dale's recovery, and I know that God is working patience into your lives and pouring out His Mercy on a daily basis. You are wonderful people and I will be praying today for our Lord Jesus to bless and sustain you. Hang in there!
    Bro Steve McMahel