Monday, April 10, 2006

Beaches and Deserts

Last week Aaron was on spring break.  He spent much of the week cleaning and organizing our apartment.  We had planned to go to Joshua tree national Park and also the Huntington library and gardens.  It was raining the early part of the week so we did not go to Joshua tree when we had planned.  On Thursday Sarah and I were planning on going to the library but then decided to go to the beach instead!  I had not been to the beach since before we had left on our extended “vacation” last summer.  So it was my first trip to the beach in my wheelchair.  I did not drive through sand, obviously; but there was a well paved walkway and also a pier.  The pier was not smooth for the most part, but we went slow and I was able to maneuver over the boards.  We also bought a kite and flew it off the pier and got quite a few strange looks -- which were very entertaining.  Actually, I think we were the entertainment.

On Friday Aaron and I were able to go to Joshua tree.  This is one of our favorite places to go in California.  Did you know as a handicapped person I can get into any national park for free?  There are some perks to being handicapped!  We were able to go on three hikes that were handicapped accessible.  It was fun to be out in the desert again doing one of our favorite activities.  There should be some pictures that will be posted on our web site from our time there.  Between my trip to the beach on Thursday afternoon with Sarah and my trip to Joshua tree on Friday with Aaron, I think this was the happiest I have been and the most normal I have felt since last July.  Going to Joshua tree gave me confidence to be able to continue to do the things we love to do.  Certainly there were limitations -- I was not climbing on any rocks or taking any trails that were too rocky, but I was still able to enjoy the beauty of the desert with Aaron.

This past weekend we began plowing through the incredible mountains of paperwork that had accumulated over the past several months.  It is quite overwhelming but it will feel good to have it done and have the papers filed.  Our apartment is far from being settled but we have resigned ourselves to be content until summer when Aaron has more time.

It is hard to believe that we have been home for nearly 4 months and that our accident happened almost 9 months ago.  In some ways the accident seems that it never happened -- obviously the fact that I am in a wheelchair is a constant reminder, but it feels so normal to be at home in California it seems as though we never left.  But in other ways and at other times the accident is all-consuming.  I mostly feel this way when I'm out in public and notice so many people watching me.  I am getting used to it -- sometimes.  But mostly it is very annoying and it makes me very self-conscious.  I remember in the past couple of years two specific people that I saw in public who were quadriplegics.  One was a young man in a hotel lobby in Washington, DC.  The other was a woman in a restaurant in California.  I looked at them in the same way that people look at me now.  And now when people look at me I wonder if any of them will someday be a quadriplegic.  That is a very sobering thought.  But it is hard to not think that way.

This weekend for Easter Aaron's father Richard and his wife Linda will be with us.  We are looking forward to their visit.  They will be our third set of visitors since coming back to California.  In January Aaron's mom, Alice, and brothers Dan, Bryan, and Rick and Desiree came to visit.  And in February my sister Cyndi and her husband John came to visit.  By the way, John and Cyndi are expecting their first baby in the fall!  We are very excited for a new niece or nephew!

My new computer and new software are working beautifully.  And just today, finally, my new cell phone is working!  If you had my cell phone number and were getting a disconnected message, it is now reconnected.  There has been no change in phone number.

Also several of you have asked to hear my sermon that I preached a few weeks ago.  Our church does record them and I am going to try and get the recording hooked up to the web site.  That way I don't have to send out several copies of the sermon and you can just click on a link and hear the sermon online.  I don't usually listen to my sermons after I preached them -- but I will listen to this one since so many of you have requested it!

I think that is it for now.  I will continue to do updates for a while.  We will be making some changes to the web site eventually.  I don't know when those changes will happen but we are working on some ideas to update the site.  So keep checking!  I am amazed that we still get almost 200 hits a day.

Thank you again for your unfailing support and prayers.  We could not get through this life change without all of you.

With all our love and thankfulness...
Kari and Aaron


Natalie said...

Hi Kari,

While I haven't met you in person (I married to Dave Thompson who was at Greenville with you) I feel like I know you after reading this blog for so many months. You are daily in my prayers and it has been such a treat to hear your "voice" and personality come through these last few posts after reading updates from Aaron and other family members for so long. I feel that the Lord has touched you in a very special way and that He will continue to use you in ways that you have never dreamt of. May you have a wonderful Easter with Aaron and family!
Natalie (& Dave too!)

Charlie + said...

Dear Kari + Aaron,

I recall clearly when you were making the final selection for a power wheel chair that getting out on the trails was a big factor. Yes, I do see a lot of joy in the stories of getting to the beach and park.

You know, even at this distance, I "feel your sorrow", as well as Aaron's, and many others. Just as clearly as we "shared joy" with the music.

About a month ago, I saw one of my professionals. Appointment was late, I knew something wasn't right. Again, in those cases, nobody can say anything, but I saw the face of a young man, and his mother...

My professional and I got settled finally. I said to her, "It is a privilege to feel sorrow..." Certainly she was a little confused by that. But I just explained, "I will never see that young man or mom again, I have had them in prayer, he has to face some difficult situations, but I have faith God will hear my prayer for him, and restore him..."

You know I am not throwing pity at him... In truth, for that moment, I did have the privilege to "share in his pain" and pray in faith. No one asked for that... It is just my nature, as when I hear a siren, I pray.

My disability is "so different..." I can hide it completely anytime I want. The illness just crossed 31 years, and disability is six or seven now. I was totaly disabled the same summer you were married. But, I think we had a "real good" seven years together before that. We even found Aaron during that time...

Well, I did continue to write for some time... I have send it another way... Still, I do choose to respond, in respect, to your emotions, of the wheel chair being so constant. It hurts... It hurts to have been through what you have and lost what you have... The angels are still with you. My goodness, you have already preached a sermon. You have a conference. School in a few months... Slow progress is real progress. We just go moment to moment, "Give us today our daily bread..." He does have gifts for you in this world better than your mind can concieve...


Charlie +

Kathy Timmers said...

Hi sweet Kari,
Thanks for sharing your spring break activities with us- it was wonderful to hear about how good you felt, being out and about, and going to some of your favorite places. And I wished you could go on the sand at the beach- which brought to mind an image of a wheelchair with big fat tires, like the ones on ATV's :-)
Maybe Aaron could invent a way to "trick out" wheelchairs and make them all-terrain....hmmmm...
different sets of wheels that are changeable, depending on where you want to go....

Your comment about the sobering thought struck me in so many ways. Your handicap is so visible and out there, not something that can be hidden, as Charlie mentioned, and there are people that are looking at you that will be in an accident tomorrow, or the next day, or have a stroke, their lives changed in an instant just as yours was. I pray that everyone that sees you sees the joy and grace and love for life that shines out of you. And I also bet some of the looks you are getting are because you're so beautiful!

I'm looking forward to being able to hear your sermon, and also your voice on the phone- can't wait to talk to you!
Much love and many hugs,

Uncle Don said...

Dear Kari,

So good to read your blogs and to sense the degree of peace God is giving you. I know you are experiencing degrees of His amazing grace that you never knew before. Our God, whom we serve is the greatest and I praise His Holy Name.

Know you and Aaron are in our daily prayers. Much we do not understand but GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. His promise is that He will not allow us to be tested above what we are able to bear and remember He is our enabler.

Praise His Holy Name!!!!!!!!!!


Uncle Don and Kathleen

Franki said... make me smile!!! I love reading your blog entries...just as Natalie said above, your personality shines through your words! And it's comforting to read them. I love you!

jan barrett said...

I loved reading of your adventures into the world of nature. There is no better place to feel the peace of God than to be surrounded by that which only God can make! We feel that peace in the UP, Michigan daily. I actually sat and watched the lake thaw for several hours the other day. Yes, Aaron, I need a life! Actually we have found a real life here although we miss the girls.
Your return to normalcy is a blessing and your love is helping you through the tough times.
Easter love to you both!
Love, Mom and Dad Barrett

Jack Kelly said...

Hi Kari,

I am a friend of Alice and have kept you in my thoughts and prayers over the months since your accident. I am delighted to read of your preaching and conferencing, your beaches and deserts. You make me feel like a couch potato.

I do on occasion get out and will sometimes catch a reflected glimpse of someone in a wheelchair. I think, by nature, we all tend to notice difference and irregularities. After 27 years as a quad, I am still surprised when I realize that it is my own reflection I am seeing. Its a memory problem. I also will sometimes forget when making reservations for dinner that someone in my party will be using a wheelchair. I expect you will be quicker to learn and better to remember than I.

I pray blessing on your continued healing and growth.



Ttime said...

Kari! I hadn't checked this in some time and was so excited to hear/see that you were the one writing. WOW! Please know that though I haven't been in touch I think of you often and pray for you. I'm so glad you were able to return home to Cali. and most excited about your recent sermon. I've known since the first day I met you that the Lord was going to use you in mighty ways, who'd have "thunk" it'd be like this? Anyways, blessings to you and Aaron and please know myself and others down here in TN continue to pray for you. God Bless. traci Pekovitch (gc 1996)

Morning Glory said...

This is the cousin in Idaho, here. I'm so happy to read the new updates and to hear your sense of humor come through your postings. We've never met, Kari, but I think we would have liked each other. As I've said before, your Dad and I are cousins. I just spoke with him on the phone earlier this week, as I was in his town visiting my aunt. He was so encouraging in his reports about you and I praise God for all the answered prayers. The news of the lasik surgery brought tears to my eyes. And the new computer equipment -- Wow! God is so good! You are both still in my prayers.

I love the story of you flying the kite off the pier. Wonderful!