Rest, Hope, Answers, and Looking Forward to What’s Ahead

Fave pic in the Gila

This past week and a half has been a whirlwind (in a good way for the most part).  And today I am worn out.  But that’s okay.  We are resting!

This post will be threefold as I share about my pulmonologist appointment, our trip, then share about some things that God and I talked about, and some things that Robert and I talked about while we were away, together.  It was so needed.

Pulmonologist Appointment

Last Thursday (the 11th), I had my appointment with my pulmonologist.  We went over my results for the chest CT and the pulmonary function test.  The CT was perfect.  The PFT was mostly fine except for three things: I was blowing out more air than normal, but not breathing in as much as I should (like 80%); I also have some fluid in my lungs.  He told me that I have underlying asthma.  So he gave me a sample of a Breo inhaled steroid powder and a nebulizer.  Then when I got home, I did some research and there is a type of asthma called cough-variant asthma in which the only symptom is a cough.  Most of the triggers listed are what make mine worse… ESPECIALLY stress (anxiety).  It was a huge ah-ha moment for me.  And I think the treatment is working (slowly).  I also found out that I had a delayed reaction when they did the allergy test and I’m pretty highly allergic to mold.  Y’all!  I have answers!  Now I’m waiting on my allergist to call me back with a treatment plan for the allergy.  And I’m meeting with the pulmonologist on Tuesday for a follow up.  I’m still being cautiously hopeful as I navigate all that is going on with treatment and follow ups and the like.  After 3 years I’m nervous to be excited.

Our Trip

Last Friday we left on our trek to the Gila National Forest.  We had planned to leave Saturday morning and I had a crazy idea to start Friday.  Not the smartest idea as we had to sleep in the truck at a rest stop and I felt terrible that night, BUT it was nice to get to our camping spot in the afternoon.

The first two nights we had the BEST camping spot.  It was very idyllic.  We were in the middle of tall trees, a hiking trail right by it, and plenty of space to spread out.  It was amazing.  We spent a lot of time resting, playing games, reading, spending time with Jesus, eating good food, and we went hiking (though we had to turn around and go back to the tent faster than we wanted because of sleet and rain).  I would do that camping spot over again in a heartbeat.

The next camping spot wasn’t amazing and it rained the entire time, but it was still restful.  And the drive there was gorgeous!

I didn’t get a lot of pictures of our food, but we ate well!

We spent a lot of time in the tent due to rain and hail, so we did a lot of reading!

We did so much talking and processing through things in our life and how we would like to do things differently.  One of the main takeaways is that we need to spend more time adventuring as a family.  We live on 1400 acres; we can even backpack right outside our door.  We just haven’t been taking advantage of it (of course I have had a lot of health issues, but I think that will be getting better soon).  Right now it’s hot, but I will start incorporating even more nature and adventure into our day!

Our Homeschool

We have a big change happening which has spurred on a time of reflection about our homeschool.

Karis decided recently that she wants to go back to school for high school.  It was a huge surprise, but we were super impressed with her solid reasoning and being assertive about what she needs.  She misses her school friends (who are really great friends!), and she just thinks the school can offer more than I can.  I get that.  It will also be so much easier for her to do dual credit and she will (in her words) have the “high school experience.”  Our school is tiny.  Her class is less than 30 kids.  I’m thinking it might be just right for her.

The boys have no desire to go back to school.  Ethan was bullied badly and he just had a horrible experience, so I won’t send him back.  We felt pretty solidly that I am called to homeschool the boys.

But then I started having anxiety… feeling like maybe I need to make sure they are prepared to go back to school one day just in case they decide to like Karis.  I feel like she’s not completely prepared because we haven’t expected her to go back.

I wrote this in my notes one night when my anxiety was keeping me up:

“Right now the biggest anxiety is that Karis has decided to go to public school and I feel that she isn’t prepared for high school. There will be a lot of playing catch up (mostly writing and math… she’s super smart but weak in these areas).

So, now I feel like I need to do better with the boys so that if they choose to go back to school, they will be “on level” and adequately prepared. I mean, Ethan says he will never go back and Levi seems happy at home, but it’s always on my mind.

Next is the fact that I have so much curriculum, and I’m always wanting more. I don’t know how to stick with anything. I’m so indecisive. I think it’s because of the fear that I talked about above that I am not preparing my kids well.”

After all of this, I realized that maybe I need to take a bit to decide what to do this coming year for school.  I lean heavily toward the Charlotte Mason philosophy normally and I’m trying to decide if I should continue that OR if I should add more “book work” for them to be more independent + maybe they will have more work to “prepare” them to be “on level.”  I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to do… but in the meantime, I decided to type out all of the curriculum, books, and resources that I have, and think/pray through what to use this year and stick with something!  The boys have had so much change and it isn’t the greatest thing.  I mean, they are resilient because of it, but I think we all need some stability.  So that’s my goal this year!

Here’s my list!

I’m heavily leaning towards utilizing narration, copywork, dictation, Brave Writer Arrows/Boomerangs, The Storybook of Science, Madam How and Lady WhyParables from Nature, Teaching Textbooks (this is definite), Story of the World Volume One and Blossom and Root US History, USA map drills, The Handbook of Nature Study, Exploring Nature with Children, Nature Anatomy, A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories, and many art and poetry books.

Some of these books I will read aloud, and some of these books they will read independently.  They will also read a book of choice and narrate about it.  The science and history books will be narrated about.

Anyway… we’ll see!  I’m trying to not plan too much at the moment and just enjoy the summer.  It’s hard for me.

I wrote this on Facebook:

“I have a really terrible habit of making decisions out of crisis… not from a place of careful attention, thought, or prayer. I have improved in some areas over the years, but I realized the past few days that I still haven’t gotten better in some areas. I try. I really do. But when I don’t feel well, I assume it will always be that way. Or when I do feel well, I assume I always will. I don’t decide on things based on what works in the long term in the good and bad. School has been the main area. I am happy to be in a place where we know what will happen with the kids for school this year. We feel 100% on that. Robert and I talked a whole lot about it while we were camping and know that it’s time for Karis to spread her wings and we know that the boys will be home with us. We let them have some input then we made the final decisions. Today while I was driving (alone most of the time), I realized that I need to give the same careful attention to what I will do for curriculum because they need consistency, even when I gets hard. I actually have a whole lot that I have collected this past year. Much of it was very used so that if I decided to not use it, I kept it. Instead of making a final decision right now that I will change next week (or tomorrow 😅), I am going to list out what I have, write some pros and cons, then sit on it for a while. I mean, I’m going to try! I’m pretty terrible at this so I guess grace is important. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on getting and staying well!”

Self Care and Personal Growth

I’m always learning and growing into the person that God created me to be and into the mama and wife that He wants me to be.  I’m so so grateful for everything and am thankful that God is helping me work through all of this.

I am going to start going to counseling again 2-4 times per month.  Since a huge trigger for my asthma is anxiety, I feel that I need to tackle that pretty hard.  I’m working on ways to reduce stress and make life a little less anxiety-laden.  Eating well more consistently again, food prep and meal planning, routine, being better about taking my morning meds, showering often, teeth brushing and flossing, lots of water, doing simple fun things, being outside, and enjoying all the little things that make me happy.  A good book.  A fun smelling candle.  Cleanliness and organization.  The sunrise.  Plants and chickens.  Eating local.  Supporting friends.  Hanging out with friends.  Reading time at night.  Stickers and planners.  Journaling and Bible study.  Aha sparkling water.  Good coffee and cold brew.  Lavender all the things.  Changes in season.  And I could probably go on and on.  I can truly see the very good gifts that God has given, even in the midst of struggle.  He never promised an easy life, but He always promised to be here.  And He is.

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