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There and Back

Irish_heart_print-p228088759164416843t5wm_400By Cathy Jameson

I shared back in November that my husband and I got to go Up, Up and Away.  At the end of that post, because Ronan had gotten sick unexpectedly while we were gone, I asked for prayers for another trip we had planned. 

I’ll pray that the upcoming trip we have planned together is a success.  I’ll pray that Ronan and the kids will be just fine this next time also.  I’ll pray thankful prayers in advance for the people who’ve offered to help us watch the kids.  If you’d like to pray with me for all of that, too, I’d be so very grateful.

That next trip was something we were both very much looking forward to.  Gifted to go away, it would take loads more planning.  It would take needing to ask for extra help from friends.  It would take using a passport also.  My husband and I were invited to a Christmas party in Germany.  I haven’t been to Europe since 1999, so of course I wanted to go!  Since it sounded crazy to go that far just for a party, we decided we’d make at least a long weekend out of it.  But could we still manage that, especially after the worrisome texts we’d received as soon as we landed on that last trip? 

We wouldn’t know if we could manage it unless we went. 

After very, very careful consideration – and knowing we’d be blessed with two caregivers willing to look after the kids, we got ready for an overseas adventure.  As we prepared to tippy toe out of the country, I could hardly contain my excitement!  We’d both made lists of things we hoped we’d get to see, and I couldn’t wait to just be there at those sites.  I had a few absolute must see places.  My husband, who for years has gotten to travel the world for work, had some definite musts also – places he’d already gotten to tour but had always wished I could’ve been with him. 

With that list in hand, I took time to find the best route for us to take.

While looking at which airlines we could afford and factoring just how little time we’d be in country, I was excited to see that an Aer Lingus flight could get us to our destination.  Their flights were hundreds of dollars less compared to other companies flying the same route.  A little skeptic, I did some extra reading and looked up customer reviews to see if the lower airfare meant lower quality travel.  Some customers loved the airline, absolutely loved it.  Others hated it.  Before purchasing, I looked at recent flight history and could see that yes, some flights were delayed.  Some luggage was misplaced.  Some customer service calls were unfortunately dropped.  But so was all of that true for the other airlines I’d been looking at.  Getting tickets to Europe would be risky no matter which carrier we flew. 

So, Aer Lingus it was!    

Lately, when we travel, we’ve booked non-stop flights.  Always considered a luxury because of the cost, I shied away from non-stop flights most of my life.  If you recall, though, summer travel was a nightmare for many Europeans.  I’d started to look for flights when overseas airports were still packed, when many flights were delayed, and with countless connections cancelled.  After years of traveling with the kids and always concerned about layovers with them, I now try to only travel on non-stop flights.  They may be a bit longer, depending on where we’re going, but we eliminate the need to run like crazy people through airports.  We reduce the risk getting stranded as so many other travelers had been when trying to make connecting flights.  It was a no brainer that we’d pick a direct flight for this trip. 

Until I saw that Aer Lingus had stopovers.

A stopover, as much as it would delay us to our destination, would give us an incredible opportunity – visit another country!  It wasn’t just any country either; it as Ireland – where my Dad’s side of the family is originally from. 

Since stopovers are different than layovers, I needed to do a little bit more reading to see if jumping at that opportunity would serve us well.  By the time I’d read several bloggers’ experience and confirmed that we could leave the airport (and return) without jeopardizing the rest of our trip, I told my husband we just had to do it.  We’d have 11 hours in Dublin, capital city of one country neither he nor I have ever been to. 

The thought of getting the chance to explore it together, even though we’d be pressed for time, was exhilarating. 

CJ window

Traveling to Europe was a breeze.  The airline far exceeded our expectations and getting into Ireland post-pandemic was easy.  That was something else I’d been researching.  Would we have to be tested?  Would we have to prove any medical status?  Would we have to wear a mask?  Would we have to report our whereabouts?  Would we have to test to leave the country?  Would we have to show proof of anything when we got back on the plane to Germany or back to America?

The answer was no to each of those questions! 

I’d worried about all of those questions when we were asked to join my husband’s friends for the party.  When the invitation came in early 2022, several restrictions were still in place.  Had they remained, we’d have had to politely decline going.  As the year went on, knowing we could go wherever we wanted and without worry, we made sure to go to bucket list destinations within each country.  That included seeing Trinity College, the Book of Kells, and The National Museum of Ireland. 

One would hope to be away at least a full week when going that far from home.  We only had 4 days though.  Since asking for more time off from work wasn’t an option, we would have to pack in as much as we could in those four days.  And when I say packed in, I mean that the first day while touring Dublin felt like an Amazing Race kinda day. 

It.  Was.  Amazing! 

After seeing the sun rise and set in Ireland, we jetted to Germany.  There, we toured beautiful Catholic churches in Munich and enjoyed the most amazing food at a Christkindelmarkt (Christmas Market) at Marienplatz.  Then, we traveled toward the Alps.  While there, we went to the top of Germany, Zugspitze.  We were not expecting to have time to do it, but we even found our way to another country, Austria! 

CJ austria

Lighting a candle for my family at an Irish church on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; a page from the Book of Kells; traveling to Zugspitze

Like I said, we did a lot in a very short amount of time.  Oh, and we made it to the Christmas party and enjoyed ourselves there with friends, too. 

The kids and our very trusted caregivers back home made sure to keep us posted on things going on back home.  But we did more texting to them than they did to us.  They didn’t want to worry us, like had happened when we went on the trip in November.  Happily, there were no illness or problems to report while we were in Europe. 

Thank you, God! 

When we were gifted this trip, we were gifted with something so valuable:  time, something that gets taken up by other things, so many other things, when we are home.  While away, we made memories that under normal circumstances we could never imagine making.  We didn’t worry about medications, or diaper changes, or making sure the kids’ homework was done.  We took pictures, acted like tourists, and ate the most delicious food that here in America would make our tummies ache. 

From start to finish, it was a wonderful experience and had us both feeling very, very grateful. 

CJ burger
Cj cappucino

*The* best burger I think I have ever eaten from Bungalow7; cappuccino made with love at the WaffleHaus & Restaurant

When we came home from Texas in November, I told my Mom that I didn’t think I’d follow through with going to Germany.  Ronan really, really worried us.  Sure, my Mom could handle things, and did, but how could I leave again and so quickly and go even farther and stay longer and travel through time zones??  Mom let me talk my worries out.  She let me play through the terrible What Ifs that were running through my head.  Then she said, “Cat, if you don’t go now, you may never get to go.  This trip, it sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  You two never get to do this, so do this now while you have the means and the help.” 

I always say that my Mom is the voice of reason, and I am so glad I listened to her.  I’m so glad because as we tip toe into January, we’re losing our main, trusted caregiver as she moves on to another job.  I know other friends would be willing to help us if a travel opportunity pops up, but I don’t know if I’ll want to go that far away and through different time zones while we juggle unexpected medication issues and while training new people when we are blessed with a new caregiver.  It’s okay if I have to sit out the next trip.  I have the most amazing memories from the 84 hours I got to be in Europe last month.  Those will carry me through while I keep my feet firmly planted at home with my family for the next few months. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Cause Unknown The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 & 2022

By Ed Dowd, from Skyhorse Publishing. The CEO of the OneAmerica insurance company publicly disclosed that during the third and fourth quarters of 2021, death in people of working age (18–64) was 40 percent higher than it was before the pandemic.






Fire Drill....

"Throughout our lives, we face potential or actual dangers, threats, and real crises, various trials. Is it possible to see them as "drills" preparing us for eternity? I think so. Our whole life on Earth can be understood as a trial period, a God-ordained drill, a preparation for the real "fire" which will test every man's work at the judgment seat of Christ; [2 Corinthians 5:10]

Your trials, fiery as they may be, are God's drills, testing, shaping, and preparing you, even equipping you for the good works which will be richly rewarded in the world to come. Fiery trials produce gold, silver, and precious stones. Don't panic, don't succumb to fear, or be discouraged. Pray for the Lord's grace to endure every drill, every test. The Lord is a refining fire; His work in and with you will endure forever, and the rewards will be amazing."


22 It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
Psalms 34:8

My youngest son's name was inspired by a church we visited in Ireland!


Wonderful post. So glad you got to take your amazing trip!


sounds extraordinary Cathy, thanks for sharing.
I had a trip planned to Dublin, cancelled by the lockdown, getting some inspiration here.
want that cappuccino too, lol.

Gerardo Martinez

Happy new year! What a happy and wonderful story. So glad you and your husband were able to travel to Europe. So exciting and refreshing for your spirits.

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