God’s Amazing Answer to Prayer!!!

Well friends… those of you who have prayed so faithfully and those of you who have prayed once or those of you who just think of Anne occasionally… today is the today to rejoice and thank God for his amazing and wonderful gifts!!

I’m so excited. Can you tell I’m excited??!!!

Anne is now walking with a walker, independently. She can propel and steer the walker independently. She has never been able to propel any assistive walking device by herself before last week. I can’t emphasize how amazing this is… Just watch :)

(Note: Anne’s Physical Therapist is holding Anne’s gait belt which is around her waist for safety only. She is not assisting Anne. Anne is walking, balancing, propelling and steering all on her own!)

In this 2nd video, Anne’s walking improves as she walks past a group of her peers… just watch how proud she looks :)

Here’s a cool twist to this amazing answer to prayer. Three years ago, when Anne was discharged from CHOA’s Day Rehab program, I asked the PT if Anne was ready to try walking with a walker. Her truthful answer of “No,” was very discouraging at the time. Wouldn’t you know that this very same PT accepted a position within the school system last year. And on her first day of work, she walked into Anne’s class and Anne recognized her. Anne, her former patient from Day Rehab, was her first patient in the school system. And it was this same PT (who told me, “No,” to a walker three years ago) who worked to find the perfect walker for Anne. This is Lavonda, Anne’s PT, walking with her today. I am so grateful for her expertise!!

Rifton Pacer Miracle

One thing that I’ve wanted for Anne at home has been a walker. Anne’s not quite ready for a simple walker just yet. But, a couple of months ago, when Anne was being fitted for a wheelchair, just for fun, they tried Anne in a gait trainer. A gait trainer is a fancy walker with lots of options for support. You can attach a pelvic support or a trunk support, arm supports, ankle supports – and they can all be used in different combinations to customize the gait trainer for the child.

When Anne was in the Day Rehab program, I asked about getting a gait trainer for Anne at home, but it just didn’t work out…

Enter Anne’s new volunteer PT. She’s actually a professional PT in real life – she just feels called to help Anne. So when a vendor came to her work demonstrating gait trainers – she immediately thought of Anne.

After we talked, and I exclaimed, “That’s what I’ve been wanting!!!!” – she went to work, calling the manufacturer and then the local distributor hoping to find one that we could just TRY for Anne. After the PT finished telling Anne’s story, Charlene (the lady at the local distributor) said, “You tell Anne’s mom that she has a whole team of people working for Anne!” And the next day, Charlene emailed to say that they were DONATING a gait trainer to Anne!!!!

We went to pick it up today. Anne was treated like a rock star! All the employees watched and snapped pictures as she was fitted for the gait trainer. Anne turned to her PT and said, “Is it REAL that I’m going to be able to walk into church by myself?”

Anne has taken a few steps by herself today. We hope she’ll be taking much more in the near future!!

It is such an honor to be in the middle of all of these miracles that God has performed for Anne. He does this through HIS people, like the PT and Charlene and Anne’s speech therapist and through our church family and community. He continues to provide perfectly for sweet, little Anne. It’s all amazing.

PROFOUNDLY grateful! -kathryn

BTW: here’s the link for Anne’s new gait trainer. Rifton Pacer gait trainer

Waiting and Celebrating

It has been a glorious day! It’s been filled with good friends, laughter, encouraging words and even some tears.

Eric and I had the privilege of attending a friend’s wedding. She is in her 50’s and was married for the first time today! Over the last six months, as I’ve shared in her engagement and wedding planning – her story of waiting – has been such an encouragement to me. It was such joy to see all of her waiting culminate in this beautiful wedding day!

Anne’s former Sunday School teacher, Ms. Debbie came over to care for Anne. Anne – with all of her new emotions emerging – screamed as loudly as you can imagine a petite six year old to scream – MS. DEBBIE! MS. DEBBIE! MS. DEBBIE!! Anne had a good day filled with Ms. Debbie’s boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Eric and I were so encouraged to see both current and old friends at the wedding – many of whom follow Anne’s story on Caring Bridge. These friends shared significant, comforting words with us. We left very full.

One friend (whose late husband worked with head injury patients) confirmed what I’ve observed in Anne. Most head injury patients are different than their former selves. God has chosen to leave Anne on this earth – but he has left her as a completely different child than she was before. Grieving the old Anne is very painful, but it is sweet to have hope in the Creator for new Anne’s future. It is exciting to wait and watch how God builds and grows this new Anne.

So what does life look like now that Anne has graduated from Day Rehab? …We are waiting. Due to all the evaluations that have to take place, Anne probably won’t start school until late 2010/early 2011. We are waiting to start outpatient therapy until insurance details are solidified. So Anne is at home for a little while. I think it’s a good time of rest for all of us.

So we wait and rest. Please pray that we might strike the right balance between rest and work – as I try to stretch Anne both physically and cognitively each day. And pray that God would move people to come alongside us during this interim period – to provide exactly what Anne needs for this stretch of her journey.

Thank you! -kathryn

Graduation time!

Tomorrow is Anne’s last day of Day Rehab. They’ll even hold a graduation ceremony for Anne at the end of the day!

The Day Rehab program has been excellent for Anne, but Eric and I both feel good about Anne moving to the next phase of her therapy. She’ll transition to more traditional out-patient therapy. She’ll also go to Kindergarten in the public school system – where they are more equipped to serve Anne.

I don’t know what our new normal will look like. It seems like we will be juggling lots of therapy appointments with school and rest. Poor Anne still gets so tired.

We’re praying that God will bring just the right people into Anne’s life that He can use to push her forward in her recovery. She needs firm, kind therapists and teachers. She needs an especially good speech therapist that will help her reach her potential as she continues to struggle with low attention and increased impulsivity.

There are so many unknowns. I have felt very overwhelmed this week. God has met me through the kindness of friends who drop everything to come help me do laundry, or watch the kids or bring me lunch.

Even though I feel anxious about all the unknowns, Eric is so good about reminding me of what is true. God KNOWS – and He is doing good for our family.

Thank you for praying with us… for just the right people to help Anne – and for the grace to believe in God’s good plan for Anne and our family. Thank you – kathryn

Good Scans & Good Plans

CAT Scan today – the doc said Anne is fine – doesn’t want to see her again in 6 months!! Praise God. The fluid on her brain seems stable, no extra pressure.

i continue to be humbled and amazed at the wonderful outpouring of love for little Anne and our family. So many of you reach out to us even though you have your own difficulties to endure. This continues to impact me and change me.

The current rehab program is not seeing Anne make enough progress to want to extend her – they suugest she just needs time, and a different type of therapy where she can have more dedicated one-on-one sessions. We feel a real peace about this; that little Anne needs a change.

In so many ways Little Anne’s progress has slowed. She continues her oral fixation, and regressed in her eating, and doesn’t seem to be improving in her focus/attention. This is new ground for us. We have given some lip service to the possibility that Anne’s journey may plateau, but had not faced it until now. We cling to God’s promises and seek to stay in present rejoicing in His goodness.

. . . . . then He let’s us see glimers of great hope and reminds us that we are on His timetable, not ours . . . . Anne’s emotions have really begun to change – higher highs and lower lows, gone are the distant, flat expressions – given way to squeals of delight or sobs of sadness or passionate yells at her sister. Sweet Anne also stood (with braces) at the bedside with only her right hand helping to balance her for almost 10 seconds!!

So maybe the changes are still occuring, on the inside, maybe a foundation of neurons are being laid for upcoming new growth. Regardless of whether there is advancement or retreat in little Anne, i was reminded this week of Ecc 12:13 – i may not know or understand His ways, but He is good and He asks me to revere Him in all i do.

keep praying!


Feet, tricycles and blessings

To continue from our last update. . . . if we work and stretch Anne’s ankles and feet, little Anne is able to place her bare feet on the floor (without her braces!) perfectly flat and stand while we hold and balance her! She yelps the whole time in mild protest, but that just fits with who little Anne is.

At rehab, Anne’s therapists ace bandage her hands to the handlebars of a little tricycle, then strap her feet to the pedals. She has been able to only go around 350 degrees – she always stops in the same place. . . until recently . . . . now she is able to keep pedaling! This shows she can contract and relax her leg muscles in an alternating fashion, like what is required with walking.

We visited Grandad and Grandmom (Papa and Nana). Little Anne so loves her Nana and Papa. It was good to see them dote on her and for her to soak it up. During church, while Nana was speaking from the pulpit, little Anne yelled out multiple times – NANA! NANA! Afterward, Nana, said that she loved Anne cheering her on :-) . We cringed during this worrying that she was disturbing the quiet; others saw it as a blessing.

Kathryn and i work hard at staying in the present. It is so easy for us to worry about a future where Anne may not make it back mentally. She has come so far – it hasn’t even been 5 months. i must admit that it seems like years. We see God’s good hand at EVERY turn. This morning Anne was surrounded by the Bratcher and McKinney girls – they all loved on her and cuddled with her and talked to her. God had a good plan before the foundations of the earth and in that plan included a morning such as this – all for little Anne – just to bless her and show me that HE cares about even the little things, and especially Anne.

Please keep praying:

  1. That her walking will continue to improve
  2. That her focus and attention will improve so that she can particpate in group activities
  3. That God will give her a clear and crisp mind, and
  4. That she would be aware of God’s presence and care for her.


Anne’s at home today…

It’s nice to have her at home!

Right now, she’s sleeping while Canon and Kate are playing. Yes, I said playing and not fighting :-) Anne is not the only one improving in this house… Canon and Kate are adjusting to our new normal. See the train track that they built together?

Canon & Kate's train track!

Anne has come a long way – but still has a long way to go. It’s hard to quantify exactly what has improved… I guess her memory seems better. She seems more aware. She’s just generally ‘better.’


Anne is having more frequent episodes of sadness – which is a good thing, a sign that she is healing and becoming more self aware. She has also starting missing me (mom) while she is away at rehab- another sign that self-awareness is emerging. We continue to covet your prayers for perseverance and God’s sustaining hand for our family. This is a long road of recovery…

A word of praise… Eric’s company has generously extended the amount of insurance coverage for Anne. We are so grateful as this gives Anne another 5 weeks of rehab! God continues to supply our every need – whether physical, emotional or spiritual – He has been our great provider and everpresent help in this time of trouble.

We remain grateful… -kathryn

Slow progress

Anne just completed her 4th week of day rehab. It’s a drop-off program, so I don’t get to see her in therapy. Each day the therapists write brief journal entries about Anne’s progress, but it’s just not the same as being there…

At home, Anne seems more controlled. She communicates more clearly what she wants and needs. She sits with more stability and inhibits her impulse to grab and pinch everyone :-) She still has a long way to go, but we are hopeful that Anne will be able to participate well in group activities like school and church.

Anne is also showing more emotion, which is an excellent sign that she is healing. She’s been expressing both joy and sadness. I’ve seen her smile so big that both sides of her mouth turn up and her whole face brightens. That’s a glorious sight! But she’s also been saying “I’m sad” alot lately…

We’re praying for:

  1. Anne to be able to inhibit her impulse to mouth everything so that she can develop the fine motor skills necessary to write
  2. for Anne’s muscle tone to decrease in her ankles and calves so that she might be able to walk, and
  3. for Anne to have joy from experiencing God’s love and care for her.

Thank you for walking this journey with us… -kathryn

Good times…

Anne’s had a really good weekend… Actually we’ve had two good weekends in a row.

We went to the lake with friends last weekend. It was glorious. Anne did great riding in the boat. It was so good for all of us to be in a beautiful setting enjoying the outdoors.

On the boat with Daddy

This weekend was more low-key, but still good. Since Anne is in rehab T/W/Th, she has 4 straight days at home. We try to make sure she stands and walks every day using her braces. Her siblings shower her with love, and Anne seems very content and happy at home.

Yesterday, she participated in Children’s Church for the first time. She can’t inhibit her talking; she just chatters her stream of consciousness thoughts :-) She colored a little bit – some scribbles, circles and lines. And she only managed to eat the crayon once!

Hopefully, she’ll learn to inhibit her impulses. Lack of inhibition is actually one of her biggest issues right now. Grabbing, biting, chewing, talking – these all need to be inhibited in order for her to participate in group activities. She’ll get there…

Today, we plan to spend a little time at the pool, come home for a nap and catch up on laundry. It’s nice to have the whole family together again :-)


Slow and steady…

Anne continues to make slow but steady progress. Frankly, it’s hard for me to pinpoint specifics because I see her everyday, but those who see her less frequently assure me that she is improving :-)

Since caring for Anne at home, there are certain areas that are physically difficult for both Anne and me. I’ve found myself praying specifically for two things…

  1. That her muscle tone in her legs (which is extremely tight due to her brain injury) would decrease so that she might be able to control her legs and walk, and
  2. That she would resist the impulse to put everything in her mouth and also to drop her food on the floor!

As you can imagine, meal times are a bit stressful, but Anne has made improvement here too – instead of throwing EVERYTHING on the floor, she only throws about half. Slow and steady, slow and steady :-) There WILL come a day when she eats normally again!!

Congnitively, Anne, again, is steadily improving. One of her PT’s commented to me today that everytime she sees Anne, Anne seems to be a little more aware and ‘alive.’

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are constantly amazed at the sacrifice of time, gifts and talents so many of you have blessed us with. It’s been a profoundly rich blessing for our family.

Taking one day at a time… -kathryn