All I Ever Think About Is You

I Absolutely ❤ LOVE ❤ My Wife Stefanie

In March  2018, we will celebrate our 19th Wedding Anniversary!

Wooden GuitarBefore we married, I used to write and sing her songs. She could not hear them the way I did in my head until I eventually used my PC to record and mix in the various harmonies. The first time she heard the songs the way they were meant to be heard was when we married. I created a CD of the songs, which was used as the music for our wedding. Here is one of those songs, put to a video just for her.

All I Ever Think About Is You (Video)
Size: 41.35MB

127 Downloads
All I Ever Think About Is You (Audio)
Size: 5.78MB

21 Downloads

Happy 2018 New Year Sherry, Jamie, and Aurora!

Happy New Year!

Hi Sherry, I spent a little time gathering some of your photos from over the years and created a short video with your favorite song, Heartland. I have created similar videos for my other children. I hope all of you will be pleased. If so, I may plan to produce videos of this nature each year.

If you would like to have your own copy of the video, you may download it by clicking the Download button below. Once downloaded to the destination device, you can play the video without having to have an Internet connection or worry about using Data allowances.

Stefanie and I love you and wish you, Jamie, and Aurora have a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2018! I hope you enjoy the video!

McGill – Sherry, Jamie, and Aurora (December 2017)
Size: 48.66MB
119 Downloads

Happy 2018 New Year Kevin, Jennifer, and Teagan Louise!

Happy New Year!

As I did with Morgan, I spent a little time gathering some of your photos from the past couple years and created a short video with one of your favorite songs. I have created similar videos for our other children. I hope all of you will be pleased. If so, I may plan to produce videos of this nature each year.

If you would like to have your own copy of the video, you may download it by clicking the Download button below. Once downloaded to the destination device, you can play the video without having to have an Internet connection or worry about using Data allowances.

Your mom and I love you and wish you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2018! I hope you enjoy the video!

Mudge – Kevin, Jennifer, and Teagan Louise (December 2017)
Size: 103.32MB
119 Downloads

Happy 2018 New Year Orlando, Morgan, and Lucy Rose!

Happy New Year!

I spent a little time gathering some of your photos from the past couple years and created a short video with one of your favorite songs. I have created similar videos for our other children. I hope all of you will be pleased. If so, I may plan to produce videos of this nature each year.

If you would like to have your own copy of the video, you may download it by clicking the Download button below. Once downloaded to the destination device, you can play the video without having to have an Internet connection or worry about using Data allowances.

Your mom and I love you and wish you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2018! I hope you enjoy the video!

Benedict – Orlando, Morgan, and Lucy Rose (December 2017)
Size: 64.74MB
116 Downloads

My Mom: An Amazing Person

Introduction

As mentioned in a prior post, Eastern Caribbean Cruise, my mom is an amazing person. Her life experience could fill a book or two. While I lack the perspective necessary to tell her story and do it justice, I can share what I know about her through my experience as her son.

Background

With few exceptions, my mom has always been a strong person. Her parents divorced when she was very young and she helped raise her brothers. She married at the early age of fourteen (14) and had six children (two died at birth). Eventually, the marriage ended in separation and divorce, with the four remaining children living with their dad. Then she married my dad, who had one child from a prior marriage. I was born next (the oldest between my mom and dad) followed by a younger brother and sister. Again, the marriage ended in divorce. She married a third time, which also failed within a couple years. Finally, she found the right man for her and she married a forth time (this time with her soulmate). She has been happily married ever since.

While still married to my dad, my oldest brother (my mom’s first born) came to live with us. With another brother (my dad’s first born) and the addition of my younger brother and sister, we kids numbered five (5) under one roof. Seven (7), as a family, if you include my mom and dad in the headcount. We were not rich, by any stretch of the imagination, and had to “tighten our belt” on more than one occasion; but, mom and dad always managed to provide for our needs and a few of our wants.

Growing Up

When I was young, my dad and I were not very close. We rarely saw eye-to-eye with each other and I always felt I was letting him down and was nothing but a big disappointment to him. On the other hand, my mom and I have always had a very close relationship. She was (and still is) very supportive of me and a great encouragement.

My mom is extremely intelligent. She is also well read. An entire wall in our living room had been converted to a bookcase by my dad and my mom’s books filled every shelf. She always encouraged me and my siblings to read. In fact, my mom had taught me how to read before I entered kindergarten. I still remember the book: The Cat in the Hat. In addition to her many works of fiction, I use to love to read through multiple volumes of the many encyclopedia sets she owned. That is how I developed interest in what would become my first love: astrophysics. Science (in general), math, and computers soon followed. Of course, my mom encouraged me through it all.

Besides being one of the smartest people I know, my mom is also very empathetic. Going well beyond mere sympathy, she always seemed to know exactly what I was feeling, at any given time, as if she were feeling it too. This quality made it very easy for us to communicate effectively with each other no matter what the topic. Through her, I learned to love and have empathy towards others.

My mom also encouraged my imagination, to think without artificial boundaries or limits. Today they use the term “think outside the box.” My mom had me thinking outside the box years before that term became popular. The ability to think creatively and abstractly at such an early age was a factor in my love for astrophysics “transmogrifying” – thanks Calvin – into an even greater love for theoretical astrophysics.

My mom is extremely well rounded. Besides her many assets (only a few of which have I mentioned) she has a deep love and gift of music and art. And you guessed it… she encouraged the same in me and my siblings. She is very talented musically. She use to play accordion in a band for Dick Curless as well as going solo on occasion. Later, she formed her own bands (forming many over the years), and eventually switched to playing the electric piano/organ. One of her bass players gave me my first guitar, starting yet another adventure in my life. My mom is very artistic as well. She is very skilled at drawing, charcoal, pastels, and water and oil painting. I get my love of music and art from her.

Today

As you can tell, I think very highly of my mom and love her very much. Much of who and what I am I owe to her love, support, and encouragement. Today, she is being robbed.

My mom has lung cancer. She was first diagnosed over five years ago. The doctors removed part of her lung and she made a speedy recovery although she has lived with pain and difficulty breathing ever since. Unfortunately, her cancer has returned. She has decided not to fight it this time. Instead, she has prepared herself, and her loved ones, to let it run its course. Her pain has continued to increase, her breathing has become more labored, and she is now under the care of hospice. The cancer has robbed her of her vitality.

She remains upbeat despite her circumstances. She is still one of the smartest people I know (I recently learned you are suppose to put a covered cookie-sheet under a dish, when baking in the oven, to catch any spillage). She is still very supportive and encouraging (she constantly worries about me and my bouts with depression). She still loves. She still touches the lives of others.

When the cancer eventually robs her of her last breath, the world will have lost one of its natural wonders. My mom is an amazing person. Whether in this world or the next, she will always be with me.

Bro. Chris and His Mom, Ruth Rowley
Bro. Chris and His Mom, Ruth Rowley

Eastern Caribbean Cruise

My mom is an amazing person. I will write a post in the near future telling all about her. For purposes of this post, I want to write about an excursion she and I enjoyed together in July 2009.

My Mom

My mom had won a fight against lung cancer a few years prior. Although cancer free at the time (NOTE: As of this writing – July 2012 – her lung cancer has returned and she is now under the care of hospice), her daily life had significantly degraded. A portion of her lung was removed as part of her treatment, which impaired her breathing. Pain and fatigue became a constant companion. She limited her daily activities and rarely left the house. As can be imagined, depression detracted the vitality of a previously energetic and carefree person.

Me

I suffer from depression brought on by years of fighting chronic migraine headaches and body pain (and the medication used to treat them), as well as enduring some very stressful events that occured back-to-back over a relatively short span of time, including an attempted suicide (more about that in another post). As was the case with my mom, my daily activities became very restricted and I rarely left the house.

The Plan

In an attempt to fight my own depression as well as my mom’s, I devised a plan. To break out of the “rut” we were both in, I decided what we both needed was to get out of our respective houses and “hit the road.” I figured we could both use a vacation and spend a few weeks driving across country, visiting family and friends. It would do us both good to get a change of scenery and some fresh air. I called her and told her of my plan to kidnap her for a few weeks and she found the idea exciting.

The New Plan

My mom called me a couple days later with an alternate suggestion. She commented how a cruise was on her “bucket list” but that my step dad did not like the water and was unlikely to go along. She indicated she would cover the cost if I would take her on a cruise instead. I checked with my wife, who was (and is always) very supportive. Even though she would not be going with us, my wife encouraged me to take my mom up on her offer. So I did. Did I mention without any further hesitation?

I researched offerings from various cruise lines using VacationsToGo.com. They were very helpful in finding the right cruise at a very affordable price. I booked a 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, scheduled to depart July 4, on the Carnival cruise ship Glory. Needless to say, my mom and I were both very excited about the coming adventure. July 4, could not come quickly enough!

The Cruise

We arrived at Port Canaveral the morning of the forth. Because my mom needed a wheelchair, embarkation was a breeze. We were whisked from one station to another, avoiding the long lines, as paperwork, passports, and other items were taken care of for us. We were in our balcony-view room in no time flat. We waved good-bye from the balcony as the ship departed.

Our itinerary included:

  • Nassau
  • Day at sea
  • St. Thomas
  • St. Martin
  • Day at sea
  • Day at sea
  • Port Canaveral, Florida

We had a GREAT time! We enjoyed our shore excursions in Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. Besides tours of the respective places, I had the opportunity to SNUBA while at St. Martin. SNUBA is a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. On board ship, my mom and I enjoyed shows, meals (including a formal dinner), and picture taking.

Following are pictures from our adventure: