Get comfortable…this is a long one!

What a crazy time it has been for all of us!! And just when I didn’t think things could get any more crazy, God put me on a new path I never imagined I would be on so blogging has kind of become less of a priority lately. A lot of you still reach out to me though and I am overwhelmed by the love and prayers I continue to receive from so many of you I don’t even know! I figured the least I could do was give an update on how things are going for us!

As far as health…it is what it is. I had a follow up last month in regard to the procedure I had done back in June and I am happy to report that everything seems to be mostly stable for now! I did have a few new masses noted in my chest and on my spleen but they do not seem to be causing issues at the moment so no point in stressing over what might become of those.

As far as my pulmonary stents go, like we had already discussed in the past, my cardiologist does not feel he can really do any more for me in regard to those. One stent is closed which we had tried to open up twice in the past but it closed back up almost immediately. The other stent in my right pulmonary artery is about 40% closed but we have also tried to open that one up as well and it never fully stayed open either. We discussed again how the benefits I would receive from them being open were not really worth the risk anymore of trying to go back in and open the stents back up.

We will continue to monitor all of my other issues with the closed jugular vein and new masses then just follow up if I notice any drastic changes in my symptoms. I do go to my pulmonologist next month for pulmonary breathing tests and to discuss those results with him then I will follow up with my interventional radiologist sometime after that!

So while my health is the same ole same ole, a major change has happened in our home! I have decided to homeschool Asher and Leah!!! Yes, I know, it’s crazy!! Me….homeschooling?! Well…let me share with you how that came about!

About 3 years ago, a friend from church approached me about BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, an international bible study for women. She asked me to join her but Asher was not in school at the time and the bible study was only during the day so I simply declined her invite. The following year this friend approached me again and asked me to join her since Asher would be in school. Okay, I will admit that I was a little disappointed when she remembered because now I had no excuse to say no. Haha!

I started the bible study and from the very first meeting I loved everything about it! This was the first really big women’s study I had done because while I knew the basics of the Bible, I felt like a lot of these groups were way out of my league. However, the women were all so welcoming and I was instantly drawn to how genuine everyone was. As discussions took place, everyone respected each other’s opinion and graciously expressed differences in their own interpretation if they had one. I was able to recognize that all this time I had let the enemy use my insecurities to keep me from joining any type of group. It was in my BSF class that my passion to build my relationship with Christ really grew and instead of being intimidated by their wisdom…I was finally able to see my sisters in Christ as women I could learn from, seek guidance and knowledge from!!

At the end of the year my group leader approached me to ask if I would be interested in being a group leader for the next year. I was extremely hesitant because this was my first year attending so I did not feel ready to take on any type of leadership role. I agreed to pray on it and went home to discuss things with Tim. And while I was coming up with excuses as to why I should not accept this position, I felt this tremendous calling that God wanted me to be involved somehow with BSF so how could I say no? I was so scared because I did not feel equipt to do it. Long story short, the following year, I became an administrative leader for BSF. It ended up being so much more than I was expecting and it seemed like every week we were faced with new challenges but every week God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it.

So fast forward to January of this year! BSF had just returned from Christmas break and our schedule is pretty similar to the school schedule which meant our year would be coming to an end in May. We were asked to prayerfully consider continuing with our leadership role and right away I felt that I would continue to be involved in BSF. And then March came and before we left for spring break we were asked again to pray over our positions but this time I immediately sensed the presence of the Lord say “no, I have prepared you for something else.”

I started crying when I shared this with Tim because I had never experienced such a strong sense of what the Lord was calling me to do. I was excited but I was scared because why would He want me to say no to being involved with a bible study? What is He preparing me to do? That meeting where I had felt the Lord so strongly ended up being our last in person meeting because of covid which caused our group to meet online for the remainder of the year!

Covid also meant the kids did not return to school the rest of the year and I began helping them with online learning. And thanks to the fact I had taken on an administrative position with BSF, I already had a couple of the apps downloaded for my kids and knew how to use them!! While Leah and Asher did pretty well at staying caught up, we had tears of frustration from them trying to figure out their assignments and me trying to figure out how the teachers had been teaching them. The google meets and zoom classes caused anxiety because they did not like talking to a screen…it just was not the same. It was during this time that I finally realized what the Lord had been preparing for me to do as I got an overwhelming calling that I needed to homeschool our children next year. I prayed over and over and cried once again because I was scared and I knew the Lord wanted me to do something I had no experience doing!!

I am not smart!! I don’t have the attention span to read about what I need to teach my kids let alone sit and do school work with them all day! Anyone who knows me knows that I do not take many things serious!! I am quick to laugh and make jokes about anything and everything so how can I be a teacher to my kids??? What if I dumb them down??? Why is the Lord asking me to do something I know absolutely nothing about?!

And then I looked back on my year as an administrative leader with BSF and realized I had the same insecurities and fears when I said yes to that calling. However, God had provided all of our needs throughout the year! It finally hit me that God did not use my leadership in BSF to only further my skills in administration so that I could continue to be involved with BSF, but He simply used that position to show me how to not rely on what I thought my skills were but to rely and trust in Him 110%!

As I began to research homeschool curriculums and prepare for a very different school year, I started to develop more symptoms from my fm. I was battling extreme fatigue, some chest pressure, which very well could have been from stress haha, and I was also having more frequent episodes with low oxygen…

I joked with Tim that I was feeling physically worse than I had in a long time yet was being called to do one of the most important things I will ever do!

The kids and I started our school year the second week in August and I was convinced they would be back in to the public schools within the month haha. But here we are still having school at home and things have been going better than I ever imagined they would go!

The Lord has blessed us all with eager attitudes and the kids have done so well at listening and doing what they are supposed to be doing!

Baking a cake and designing it with continents has probably been one of their favorite activities so far…I mean it is cake…

Then dad will usually take over in the evening with agriculture and more physical learning haha!!

One blessing I was not expecting is the fact that I even get excited when I sit down at night to prepare and review what I will be teaching my kids the following day! I cannot wait for the school day to start over again!!

I have just been in awe of how gracious the Lord has been and how He has shown me that regardless of the insecurities I have or the physical symptoms I experience, He gives me the strength and wisdom that is needed to get us through our day! When I feel I am at my weakest, He provides me the strength to keep going!

So, that is how I came about homeschooling!! It has been super busy but super amazing!!

We were also able to get away to South Carolina for vacation over Labor Day! We told the kids not to get too excited though because of covid and hurricane season so our prayers always began with “Lord willing!” We knew there were a lot of obstacles that could prevent us from going and our entire family put our trust in the Lord knowing that He already had everything figured out so if we went it would be awesome but if we couldn’t go then there was a reason!!

Well, the day finally came to leave…everyone was still healthy and the South Carolina weatherman had confirmed no chance of hurricanes over the next 10 days! We drove all night and got to Gatlinburg where we stayed the first night to get some rest. There just happened to be a car show in town so Nathan was super excited as he loaded up his phone with pictures of all the cool cars passing by. We continued to walk downtown and enjoy the beautiful weather.

We also drove through the Roaring Fork motor trail in the Smokies and got to see the beauty of God’s creation which also included some of His very cool wildlife!

Leah and I then went back to our hotel while Tim took Nathan and Asher back downtown to go to a car museum.

The boys loved it and Nathan said “this is the best vacation ever and it’s only our first day!”

The next morning we loaded in to the car and drove to our condo in Isle of Palms. We were pleasantly surprised to see that even though it was Labor Day weekend, the beach was not crowded and it felt like we had the entire ocean to ourselves! We spent the weekend playing in the waves…

…and then when I got exhausted from making sure the waves didn’t wash any of our kids away we went swimming in the pool…which gave me the chance to sit and relax haha!

Monday we all went to Morris Island which is only accessible by boat and searched for sharks teeth!! Leah and Tim had the best finds…

Nathan and I struggled though and pretty much just walked the beach and found a couple of smaller sharks teeth! Asher was really more interested in talking to our tour guide and asked questions the whole time!

Asher and the tour guy in the back still chatting it up!

It was a long day filled with beautiful weather, lots of sharks teeth and sand dollars! We also got to see a couple of sharks that scared me as I bent over to wash off our sand dollars only to look up and see fins!!! Another perfectly blessed day that ended with a beautiful sunset over the Charleston Harbor as we made our way back to Mt. Pleasant!

And since we knew there was a good chance we might not be able to go on vacation, the shark tooth tour was the only activity we scheduled so we spent our final days visiting Charleston…

Definitely a lot of changes from the last time we were there over Christmas. The red tint on the following picture is the spray paint that could not be fully removed…

If you are familiar with the Market in Charleston, all of the shopping has to be done from outside now due to covid…

….and we hung out on the beach!

Okay… so remember I did not find many shark’s teeth on our tour? Well during our morning walk at our own beach, I was trying to take a picture of the pelicans and just happened to look down and find this HUGE tooth!! Tim and the kids could not believe it and Leah said God blessed me with the biggest one since I didn’t find many the other day haha!

It had originally looked like it might rain every day but we had 80 and 90 degrees of dry weather every day instead!!! The only time it did rain was one day for about a half hour later in the afternoon so kids took the opportunity to swim in the pool again…

The day to leave came way too fast and we all expressed gratitude for such a beautiful time at the ocean. On our way home we stopped by the Smokies and this time we stayed in a cabin for two nights!

So that meant for Tim’s birthday he woke up on the beach…

and finished his day celebrating in the mountains…

We were very fortunate to see some more amazing wildlife!

As well as a couple more beautiful days filled with blue skies and warm temperatures to enjoy the scenery throughout the park…

With so many things that could have prevented us from going on this trip, we were extremely grateful for the Lord’s goodness to not only make this trip happen, but for everything to turn out perfectly from happy kids to beautiful warm weather and smooth travels with no major traffic or construction. Everyone stayed healthy and the kids were even excited to get back in to our school routine right away on Monday…even though I wanted to take one more day off to recuperate!

Again I jut cannot express our gratitude for how generous the Lord has been not only with homeschool but with such an amazing vacation too.

And while the last couple of months have been going extremely well, we have been facing some difficult challenges since arriving home. We know that the Lord is faithful not only in the good seasons but also in the hard ones and while circumstances can change by the day or even by the hour, our Lord is sovereign and He is good. And just like we said with vacation…the Lord already knows how these circumstances are going to play out and we are confident His glory will shine through any darkness that we encounter…Tim and I just need to hold on to each other and hold on to His truth!

The following is a Facebook link to our Sunday sermon that was filled with the encouragement we needed to hear at the most appropriate time so I highly encourage you to listen to it if you are able…

Thank you all for loving on my family and especially for your continued prayers!

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