In 2013 while serving on deployment, Chris contracted a heart valve infection and later suffered 2 strokes when pieces of the infection broke off and went to his brain. He was left paralyzed on the right side and without the ability to speak. The battle to recovery since then has been a long and at times dark one. A month in a coma. Heart surgery. Brain surgery. Six months in a wheel chair. Six months to string 3 words together. One year to be able to speak in disjointed sentences again. 4 years to regains some functional use of the right hand. Chris committed to intense physical, speech and occupational therapies and has remained in those week after week since 2013.
We often refer to that first year post-strokes as "the period of darkness." The first year was the hardest. We struggled with acceptance and in finding a "new normal". Everything felt like a battle and we felt extremely alone. Isolated from the real world, which seemed to be moving by us at warp speed.
Eventually, we gave in to this new path and the Lord saw fit to raise us up as warriors. Not whole the way we had been, but new. Whole in Him. We found adaptive sports, whole foods, and holistic alternatives to aid in recovery. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new pursuit was born in us.
To live well TOGETHER, through a full & active lifestyle. To pursue a Christ-centered life and marriage. And to help as many others as we could touch along the way find that for their lives & marriages too.
A new passion came alive in us and since then, our mission has been cultivating joy & celebrating our journey every step of the way. We hope that in sharing our story we'll encourage others to do the same.
This wasn't the path we would have chosen for ourselves and our vows have surely been tested by fire, but we feel strongly that we can use this mess to help others; even if only in some small way.
So out of all of the ugly parts of our story, was born a new mission in life and the idea for a non-profit. We live in what we believe is one of the most beautiful places in the world and one day, we would love to be able to bring other wounded warriors and their spouses down to sunny FL for respite retreats. Time to just reconnect with one another, spend time in nature, and get a break from the chaos that is life after (and during) recovery from an injury or illness.
The hope is that we can use this blog as a place to share little pieces of our hearts; to share both victories and hardships as we walk out this adapted lifestyle together and find a new way as husband and wife. We believe in celebrating our journey every step of the way and want to encourage others to do the same.
We hope this can be a place where not only our journey is shared and celebrated, but also the stories of others along the way.
There is hope in coming alongside each other through this life and as C.S. Lewis says,
"We're all just walking each other home."