Our Trip From Connecticut to Rhode Island to Massachusetts

Of all of my trips with my children, this was one of my favorites. In our attempt to see all 50 states, we next decided to drive to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. God blessed us with perfect weather and a bunch of fun experiences.

Before we left for any destination, I would check online for exciting things to try and they had to be within the trajectory of our travels. We hit gold in Hartford, Connecticut. I found, online, the “Hartford Zoo” which wasn’t a zoo at all. It was a scavenger hunt! We had to find stone, ceramic, or metal statues of animals all throughout the city, as according to our Zoo Map.

Those in our party were my husband, Mike; my three children, Mike, Kimmy, and Danny; my niece, Missy; and me. We were a crazy crowd, running around the city. In the end, we found them all; Missy and Kimmy were given kudos for finding the place where one animal had been, but was there no longer.

Next, we were off to Rhode Island! There, we found a beach, with small rides for my youngest two, Kimmy and Danny. we walked on big stones in the water, too cold for swimming as it was October. We took an abundance of photos, and then we drove to a restaurant, had dinner, and drove to Massachusetts and our hotel.

As we awoke in Salem, Massachusetts, we got ourselves ready and went to breakfast. This town was why we traveled two weeks into October. We would miss the Halloween traffic and the scary things that the holiday entails. We were there for the historical value: the Salem Witch Trials, the House with Seven Gables, the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Salem Harbor, which was important in the Revolutionary War.

We got in line for tickets for a reenactment of the Salem Witch Trials. While we waited for our time slot, we went to the harbor and read the plaques about the American Revolution, and the importance of the harbor during the war. There also was built a bow of a ship for children to play upon. Danny made a pirate’s hat. (There was a stand with a woman who helped children make the hats.) So, Danny played on the boat awhile.

We then went to the House of Seven Gables. It was great to see such a historical house, complete with a hidden room we had to climb to. Now it was time for the reenactment. We sat there and I began to think we were on trial! It was surreal how great they portrayed the Salem Witch Trials.

God gave us a wonderful weekend. His grace amazes me every day. This was before ALS, and I’m so thankful that I had this trip with my family.

James 4:6b – …(He) giveth grace unto the humble. (KJV)

At the Time of my Death

One of my children recently asked me, if at all possible, could I reach out to them if I know I’m dying. I told them I could live another 20+ years. As my neurologist told me, I will live with ALS for a long time. I also told them if I know I’m dying, I would certainly let them come to see me. I would want to see them too.

I did almost die twice. I’ve had a tracheostomy, which controls my breathing. My lungs aren’t strong enough to breathe anymore. So, it happened one day that my trach fell out of my neck. I had been turned over when it jumped from my throat. My nurse, Katrina, who is also one of my best friends, flipped me back over. She noticed I had turned blue from lack of oxygen and I passed out. She ran to get my emergency bag, wherein lay my extra trach and the assistive device that would help her give me oxygen through now new trach. She saved my life.

The same thing happened when my mom and dad were watching over me. They are my heroes too.

So, my children, if it happens like that, I can’t give you notice. I promise you that, if I do know, you’ll definitely get a phone call. I love you all so very much. And always will.

John 14:27a – Peace I (Jesus) leave with you, my peace I give unto you… (KJV)

Our Growing Family

Just this past week, I received simply wonderful news! My son and his wife, who had lost a baby at two months along, told me they were having twins! Fraternal twins. So, we don’t know which sex will be coming out: either two boys, two girls, or one of each. It’s fun to guess.

After our God, my family is so important to me. Without them, I would be lost and lonely. We are all ecstatic about the upcoming four births: my niece and her husband will deliver first. My nephew and his wife will have their baby next. My son and his wife will birth their twins last.

Family is everything, including our faith. When I was growing up, and it was only Dad, Mom, me and my two sisters -before we were married or had nine children between us- we used to go camping every year. The campsite was raked, the tents put up with big, plastic, orange stakes , and, lastly, the huge screen over the table and the hot plate, which Mom or Dad would cook our hot meals on. Every day, we enjoyed the beach, the water, and jumping off the raft into the deep water. We would go back to our campsite, and, after dinner, we would search for long, sturdy, thin sticks, which we would use to toast marshmallows over our campfire.

Much later, when I was the mom, my husband and took our three children to the campgrounds I grew up in. We brought our rake, our family-sized tent, and the children’s exciting, mode of mobility: my eldest son’s blue bike, my daughter’s princess jeep, and my younger camo-like jeep. my oldest boy learned to ride his bike at that campground. You should have seen him … with a smile on his face, he went all over the sandy campground. I should have said, he flew over the sand, he was going so fast. My other children were equally as happy driving their jeeps, but they had to stay near our camp. Of course, we also enjoyed the water, the baby pool, and the our time around the campfire, but we also played sports. They had a basketball court and a baseball field. We and our children utilized both several times. They also had arts and crafts for kids, which my children had an exciting time.

Our growing family is still the love of my life, after our Lord Jesus Christ, and I am so blessed with the family that I love so very much.

Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (KJV)

My Mom, the Perfect Caregiver

It was my Dad who came up with the idea of moving me from my home to live with my parents. Dad had been training Mom to help him. Little did we know, how sick my husband was, and he passed away less than a year of my living in my parents’ home. I wasn’t even able to say goodbye. That was in October of 2018.

Like I said, Dad was training Mom: He showed her how to use the cough assist machine, because I can’t cough on my own; he taught her how to feed me and give me my plethora of medications through my g-tube, which hangs out of my left side of my belly and goes directly into my stomach; the last thing he showed her was, in an emergency, how to put my trach back in so I could breathe. We had such an emergency when my trach did fall out.

By the time they saw what the problem was, I had passed out from lack of oxygen. Dad quickly grabbed my emergency bag and removed the extra trach, and then he pushed it into my neck. I could breathe again.

Dad was right to train Mom. Suddenly, in November of 2019, Dad passed away. That was about two weeks before Thanksgiving. His poor heart just gave out.

That’s when Mom became a Super-Caregiver. Despite her broken heart, she jumped right in and took over the care of me. Although she was scared once in a while, she never cowered and my care never diminished. You are my favorite caregiver, Mom. Thanks for the silliness, the crosswords, and the love. I’m blessed by God to have you. I love you so very much.

Matthew 19:19b – …Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (KJV)

The Love for Grandchildren

This post is both somber and fun.

I have a grandson named Loki. He is a hyperactive, obedient, ball of funny. I just love him so much. He calls me ‘Grandma Jen’ and gives me a hug every time he sees me. Loki’s just so darn lovable. At this past Christmastime, you should have seen his excited face as he opened his gifts. Ditto for his birthday.

I had been overjoyed when my son told me I was going to be a grandmother again! However, he and his wife recently lost that baby due to a high level of stress. She had been two months along. With my other son and his wife having difficulty becoming pregnant, my heart hurts for all four of them.

My heart hurts for me, too. That may sound selfish, but it’s true. I love being a grandma so much, I’d love for them to surround me, and give me fabulous hugs like Loki does.

Thanks for reading.

Job 1:21b – …the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taketh away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Did you know God is everywhere and at all times? With God encompassing us at all times, don’t you feel comforted? I imagine being safe in Jesus’ hand, all comforted and warm. God (the Holy Trinity) gave us the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, and the third Person in the Trinity.

Since God is everywhere, you’ll never be alone, if you’re a child of God. I haven’t always felt warm, safe, and comforted, for example: the day when I got my diagnosis, or the moment I knew I couldn’t feed myself, and, lastly, when I lost the use of my entire upper body. Those were devastating.

However, I now know to accept change one at a time. In fact, I’m dealing with a new and embarrassing problem right now. Although I’m facing this situation, I know God is doing this for me (giving me ALS and still keeping me happy and useful) and for His glory. And that’s good enough for me.

Enjoy this video:

Hebrews 13:5b – …for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Perfect Baby

My firstborn, Michael Stephen, Jr. was born to be a joy. He continued to be a strong and loving boy and man. My first beautiful memory of you is when you were a baby. I would hold you and we would dance together to Kenny G. Sometimes you would giggle, which would make my heart joyous because I love you so much.

I was so proud of you when you graduated from high school! You proudly went in line to receive your diploma. I was excited for you that your dad and Papaw could be there for your big day. It had looked to me that you very happy with your graduation party.

Another exciting moment: When you leaned towards me and said, “I’m going to ask Tabi to marry me!” I was elated! Tabi is a lovely girl, with excellent manners and a four-year-old son and he calls me “Grandma Jen.”

I have the sweetest picture of you and your sister, which is not available to me right now. You were holding your newborn sister, smiled with her, and then hugged her. Then you pronounced, “My baby.” You were so sweet (and still are!)

Another proud moment is when you bought your first home. You had worked hard in your yard and within your house. You even built a fire pit!

Like I said earlier, you were the perfect baby. You were drinking a whole lot of formula, at three weeks old, that we decided to give you baby cereal. It worked and you loved your cereal! You were drinking the proper amount and you were sleeping through night!

Matthew 7:24-25: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken unto him a wise man, which built his house upon a Rock: and rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house; it fell not: because it was founded upon a Rock. (KJV)

My Little Man

I figured that I’d written about my daughter, I couldn’t do my sons a disservice by not writing them a post. So, here we go!

My youngest son is Daniel James. He was a smile-bug from birth on. He was always with huge grin and was ever-pleasant. Danny, who goes by “Dan” now, gave me some trouble when he was in my belly. I had severe morning sickness, day and night, and I couldn’t stay awake. We had known that three children was our limit; I had wanted four, but he had wanted two. I’m so happy that I have my Danny. Maybe God brought Danny out so pleasant a baby to make up for the difficult pregnancy.

My favorite memory of you was when you studied so hard, and read books, so you could graduate from middle school. I was so proud of you when, after you worked through it all, you received your diploma!

My other favorite memory of you is the day you brought bride-to-be home so I could meet her. Her name is Kimberly Emily, and she is a beauty. I was thrilled to meet her, and she has become a daughter to me. No “steps” or “in-laws” in this family!

I remember the first time you were standing in your crib. You had on this very large, toothy smile, like you were so proud of yourself! I sure was! I think you had two teeth. You were wearing your blue and white striped onesie, as it was a summer day, and Daddy and I were smiling with you.

Another thing I love about you is your height! At 6’4″ tall, you are my gentle giant. Like your brother and your sister, you would stand by me when you believed I was being wronged, especially after I became incapacitated due to ALS. You were always a fabulous son!

You mean so much to me. I can’t put it into words. Maybe this would do: Do you remember the day you almost died at our friends’ house? As Christian mothers, we always taught you to obey immediately. In this case, it saved your life. You didn’t know this, but the back door you used to use, now opened far down to the basement, where a pile of concrete blocks were awaiting you.

The moment you opened the door, my friend yelled out, “Daniel, STOP!” You closed the door, and came in another door. If I’d lost you, I don’t want to think about it.

I love you, my little man, and your life-brightening smile!

Philemon 1:21 – Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. (KJV)