Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So Thankful


I know, I know, Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks ago already. But after an unintended blogging hiatus I'm finally getting around to writing about some of the goodness and the life that we have lived this past month or so.

The week of Thanksgiving entailed lots of travel for us - namely because we opted to drive to see some family members (rather than flying). The details about why we drove are long and boring because they have to do with license plate renewals and all those boring things to be done at a we will just leave it at that.

The pros of this course of action? Keeping my vehicle legal is a good one. Plus, we saved lots of money! It probably would have cost at least 3 times what we spent had we gone the airplane route. We even got to experience legitimate "Southern hospitality" along the way. And, I finally felt as if I had some inkling of a geographic understanding of what we had traveled through when I was 38 weeks pregnant (what a blur) and we made the move to Florida. Cons? Honestly, not too many - other than the usual things that go with road trips (long hours, getting tired of driving, etc.) plus the bonus of trying to keep a teething infant happy. But seriously - it wasn't that bad! The first 2 hours leaving Florida were the worst and after that (probably thanks to the prayers I frantically sent up to heaven) it was relatively smooth sailing. I definitely believe that God was watching out for us because everything with Gabriel could have been much more difficult than it was.

So where did we go? We'll be spending lots of quality time with Michael's entire family for Christmas, so this quick visit was dedicated to a few of my family members.

One of our main goals of the trip was to visit my Grammie (my dad's mom) in Cincinnati. This autumn she had some bad falls, broke her collar bone, and has been in a couple of rehab facilities ever since. Prior to these past few months she was still living at home in the house my grandpa built and my dad and his siblings grew up in. While we're on the topic, please pray for her! She is 89 years old and is one tough cookie but I have never seen her look older or more frail than when we saw her a couple weeks ago. Please pray also for my Uncle Jim - who is her main caretaker (outside of the employees at the facility where she currently resides) and has spent countless hours visiting her. He is already very busy with his job as a social worker so it's bound to be wearing him thin.

Anyway. All of these medical concerns with my grandmother have taken a toll on my family (especially my dad, my aunt, and two uncles) and have had us very concerned for her health as of late. She was unable to travel to my wedding so she had only met Michael once (when we visited her a couple months after getting married) and we wanted to make sure she met her newest obviously seeing her was a priority.

Currently my mom is staying with her step-mother (Grandma Rita) to help her recover from the heart surgery she had back in August (to be clear: Grandma Rita had surgery - not my mom). Grandma Rita lives in Lexington, Kentucky and so does my Dear Ma (my mom's mom)...and Lexington is on the way to you can probably see where this is going.

We left Florida on that Tuesday afternoon, arrived in Lexington Wednesday night, and spent Thanksgiving Day in Lexington with my mom, Grandma Rita, Dear Ma, and my younger sister who was on break from grad school. Grandma Rita graciously allowed us to stay in her beautiful home and you'd better believe Gabriel had a grand time receiving all the loving he got from his extended family members!

Gabriel with his Great Dear Ma

That Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) we drove to Cincinnati with my sister to take care of my car stuff, share a meal with my dad and some extended family, then headed to the nursing home with my dad to visit Grammie.

Unfortunately, Grammie has been experiencing some dementia since one of her falls so she didn't know who we were the entire time - even though she knew that we were family. All in all it didn't matter, though, because despite the fact that she probably couldn't place our faces with our names most of the time and she was frustrated with the staff she was filled with joy when I presented Gabriel to her. Every time she got upset or there was a lull in the conversation I showed her Gabriel again, told her it was her newest great-grandson, and she smiled and motioned that she wanted him as I handed him over to her. It made me so so happy that even though I couldn't directly bring her happiness that day I was able to provide her with joy by sharing my son with her.

Gabriel and his Great-Grammie

That night we drove back to Lexington to share one last meal with family before we hit the road.

I honestly don't know what to say about Thanksgiving other than the cliche that I am so thankful. But I am. We were blessed with safe travels with our baby (who was probably about as happy as a 16-week old could be when traveling nearly 40 hours in a few days), quality time with family, happy memories, delicious food, and took care of my car's license plate situation to boot.

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all that God has blessed us with. If everyone in the world were to experience the kind of love we had showered upon us and our son the world would surely be a much happier place. May we pray for all those who are not quite so fortunate to share in the same blessings of love, family, warm shelter, and good food to eat during the upcoming holidays. And may all of you be blessed with the love, peace, and joy we experience as we anticipate celebrating the birth of our Lord!

P.S. My Dear Ma is currently ill with please pray for her speedy recovery as well!

"'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."
-Alice Walker


  1. hey Steph! will be praying for both of your grandmas. i just love your dear ma - she is such a delight! i went to mass the day after your wedding with her and jennie :)

    ahhh i can't believe you and jennie were in cinci! i know you were on a tight schedule and i was actually in kentucky but..we were almost in the same place at the same time!

    1. Thank you! :) I thought of you when we headed to Cinci that day and wished we had more time...but knowing you weren't actually there when we were helps me feel a little better that we missed each other! ;) I hope you are having a blessed Advent, Liz!