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New goal.  We leave Friday.  After Chris and Madie came back for the day to finish a few tasks at the house, Chris decided that I needed to go back to the doctor and stay another few days.  With a tropical storm brewing in the gulf, it was just better to hang at home, go see the doctor one more time, and let the storm decide what she was going to do.

The doctor said that if it is mold causing my breathing issues it would be another week at least.  If it is mono causing my issues, then it will be another 3 weeks. Yuck.  She did give me some cough medicine to help slow down the coughing, but there is no magic pill.  I just have to tough this illness out.

So mom is sick which included a trip to the ER. Ben started off the trip ill.  We have a storm brewing in the gulf very early in the hurricane season. Our family is split into two homesteads.  The truck had an incident.  The sheriff has pulled over two members of our family (not me!). Luckily no tickets.  Our newest driver hit a curb and blew out a tire.  We had a phone get dropped in the gulf.  I’m trying not to start thinking that our sabbatical is jinxed. But OMG, I feel like all of the signs are there!  Or maybe we are just getting all of the bad stuff out of the way.  Yeah. I’m sure that’s it.

I think that the storm will pass us.  Chris said that the tide was really high today.  It came all of the way up to the dunes.  Madie decided to hang out with me in Conroe.  I think most importantly she decided that she and Ainsley in the same house without mom to buffer would be a death wish for one of them.

So I have to keep trying to sit here and be still.  It.is.so.hard.  So here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow so I can head back to the beach house on Friday.

p.s.  And I pray that I’m not allergic to the beach house.

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The ideal situation would be the following:

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Comfortable bed. Tv on. Crochet project in my lap ready to work. Relaxation at its finest.  That lasted a few hours, and then I started to think about all of the things that still needed to get done at the house. Laundry. Vacuuming. Dishes. I seriously couldn’t keep my mind off of it.  So as soon as my medications were on board and I had done a breathing treatment I figured this was the best time to get my work done.

There is a sense of pleasure and serenity when I’ve completed those tasks. Dang it. I love getting things done and checking items off my to-do list.  I hate the fact that I am wheezing and struggling to breath after a few hours of housework. I know I need to rest and yet am compelled to work against it.

Hopefully we will go back to the beach tomorrow. It took all day to get the medicine called into the pharmacy and then for me to pick it up.  Chris is heading back to Conroe to help finish up a few things around the house and then we will all head back to the beach.

Despite the illnesses, coming home has turned out positive.  Ainsley was able to see her friends off to camp, and she was also able to attend the Girl Scout celebration held at the Houston Aquarium for all of the girls who sold over 1000 boxes of cookies. And because she sold 1500 this year, she earned a Fujifilm Instant Camera.  It’s pink and she loves it.  Did you know that there is a printer inside and prints the pictures immediately?  And that if you shake the picture it will develop faster?  Having a new generation learn the love of instant cameras is exciting.

She and Shantell had a great time at the Aquarium.

And then on Sunday she was able to send off her friends as they headed to Lutherhill.img_6177

And now I have almost all of my chicks at home.  Tomorrow the rest will arrive to help us get back to the beach house.  In the meantime, apparently, during my convalescing my cherubs watched some scary ghost shows on Youtube. So tonight we are all together because no one wants to be left alone.

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So tomorrow we will head back to the beach house. I feel well enough to go back and I haven’t had any hives in days, so I pray for continued healing.  Its time to go back so we can work on forgetting about the to-do lists, the needs of tomorrow, and worries of today.

As many people know our family, with the gracious help of two parishioners who applied for the grant to pay for all of this, has been planning this sabbatical for over a year.  Two months in a beautiful beach house right on the gulf and then several weeks of travel.  The details have been planned to the nth degree.  It was such a precious gift to reconnect with our family, slow our pace down, avoid all unnecessary medical visits for Ben, no schedule but to relax.

But instead of the beach house, I am home in Conroe.  “Wait, what?” you say.  I swore I would not be coming back here for anything.  Chris could come back if he wanted to, but I was staying put at the beach house until our very last day.

I am home because I ran myself ragged for years.  I am home because I didn’t spend any time on myself.  I am home because I have put everyone else before me and never got around to taking care of myself.

I finally slowed down, and my body decided to revolt.  Now the lesson I am learning and sharing is not that you should avoid slowing down.  The lesson is that if you leave yourself on the back burner for too long, you get scorched.

After the first week at the beach house, I started to feel like I had the flu.  Chills, fever, cough, etc.  Typical flu.  I thought that what a better place to convalesce then at the beach.  Isn’t that what the Victorians did to better their health?  I imagined aristocratic doctors prescribing a seaside vacation to breathe in the fresh salt air.  (Fever+vivid imagination = current story line).

Then one night I woke up covered in hives from head to toe and struggling to breath.  I woke Chris up and he “kindly” drove me to the ER.  A few hours later and a good amount of iv drugs on board, I had a diagnosis of Mono, Acute bronchitis, Acute allergic reaction, and pneumonia.  It was like my immune system blew up in my face and quit working on me.

After another few days of my symptoms getting worse and not better, I decided I needed to go home and see my family doctor.  My current drug regimen was not working and the hives were psychologically killing me.  I had hives on my face, in my hair, covering my whole body including the palms of my hand and the soles of my feet.

My doctor looked me over and said, “I think that you are allergic to something in your beach house.” Nooooooooo!  This is a brand new house.  If I am going to be allergic to anything it is going to be my home in Conroe (which I love).  My almost 45 year old house that is probably full of lead paint, asbestos, animal hair, 40+ years of dust and living should be making me sick not the beach house.

Regardless of what the root cause of my illness is, the lesson I am learning is this.  Slow down. Rest. It is ok to say no to someone.  The world will not think less of you if you do.  I am not teaching my children to be responsible adults by enabling their forgetful behavior.  My home does not need to be perfect, and I should not feel totally responsible for making it better when many hands went into making it messy!

I keep looking at this summer as our last chance to truly hang out as a family.  Madie is a sophomore in high school, and the other two are both in junior high next year.  How many more chances will we have?  I am already missing my children and they haven’t even left the house yet.

So here is what I have learned so far on sabbatical:

  1.  Do not wait for the perfect moment to make memories.  Make memories along the way.
  2. Take care of the caretaker or she can’t take care good care of anyone else.
  3. Be in the moment.  Stop thinking about what you might soon have or might soon lose.  Being present for yourself and for your family is most important.

Right now I am home.  My hives are starting to finally fade.  (Thank, God!)  Our plan is for me to stay here until Monday and try to get better.  If I go back to the beach house and start to get sick again, then my doctor is right and it is environmental.  If I go back to the beach house and continue on the road to recovery, then it will be more talks on the porch with my husband, more walks on the beach with my kids, more time on the lounge chair reading one of the 200 books I brought with me, and more time spent discussing with the kids on Daddy going kayaking and their worry about him flipping, running into sharks, getting lost, dropping his phone, etc.  That sounds much more fun then sitting here, so I think I will just follow that plan.

The title pretty much sums up the day. 

Went on a great walk today with Ainsley. This beautiful crane kept following us for miles as we walked down the beach. And then on the way back Ainsley found our feet prints from the journey out. Pretty cool that we were pretty much the only people out there today. 

Chris went on his daily kayak run and was dumped over board by the rough waves.    So he lost some equipment and his phone got soaked, but it wouldn’t be a beach vacation without a soggy phone! It’s how we roll around here. 

The storms rocked us to sleep last night and brought out a new crop of mosquitoes. But I found that if you walk fast enough, you can out run them. Or at least in my mind that’s how it works. 

The night ended with Madie volunteering to make dinner and then we played Uno Attack. This is a fierce competitive sport in the Lake house! Dad ended up winning. Then we played “two truths and a lie” and found that we could still find things to stump our family with. 

The blessing of a longer stay on the beach means I am not as sad about the rainy days. They are not missed opportunities on the beach, but gained opportunities to hang out with each other. 

A snuggly kind of day

A day of rain, snuggles, and sleeping in.  The rain was soothing.  We know that a good day of waves like yesterday must be followed by storms. It is God’s way of balance.  And we are thankful for both. 

A beautiful sunny day

The waves were high today. Perfect for body surfing and boogy boards. Then we rested on the beach with sand castle building and book reading. Ben and Ainsley were able to touch a shark that a local fisherman caught. Madie even joined us.  

At dinner, and after highs and lows, the children got to pick their chores for the summer. Shockingly, Madie offered to wash laundry for the whole family and she was actually EXCITED about it. 

But the best part of the evening was the discussion of how we would worship on Sunday. Everyone wanted to worship in a different way. Bible study, Holden evening prayer, communion service, and just meditation. Comprising on this was harder than picking chores. The only thing we could agree on was that we would do it as a family and that we would do it at the beach house. It was an entertaining dinner to say the least! 

My view from my balcony right outside my bedroom. It is beautiful, cool, and a perfect place to people watch and to read my books. 

Little does Ben know that his Dad is surfing the waves with his kayak. He will soon be surprised.

So after a morning of kayaks and sand castles. The girls finally decided to wake up and join the human race😉! I managed to finish two whole books today. And then went shopping for two weeks worth of food. I never want to get in my car again. I will stay here and enjoy the tranquility of the sea, the surf, the wind, and my mountain of books that I want to read!!