Our Family Went To New York City Last Weekend

Last weekend, I took the kids to see their daddy on a business trip 7 hours away in PA (really it was more like 10 with all the stops for the kids). Can I just say for the record – traveling alone with kids is hard. Even with the DVD player going and bags stuffed with toys, it’s hard. We weren’t able to leave our sin natures at home – so it wasn’t long before there was bickering in the back seat (I was wishing I had a candle to light in the car lol!).


So we arrived in far east Pennsylvania and we met my husband. From there we took a train to Penn Station, a taxi to Battery Park and a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. How grand she is!
Did I mention we waited in line for nearly 2 hours to catch the ferry? As an impatient American, that was not my favorite experience of the day! Did I mention there was a security check that made us feel like criminals? Did I mention how we were all squished on the ferry to the island?

From the Statue of Liberty we boarded the ferry to head to Ellis Island.
God had a life lesson in store for me!


My great grandfather came over on a boat from Hungary in the early 1900’s – so I stood where he stood. As I read the history of the horrific 1+month boat ride from Europe – to the land of opportunity – I was humbled. The pictures of the travelers squished onto the boat with the clothes on their back and nothing but hope packed in their hearts touched me.

Suddenly the 10 hour drive, train ride, taxi ride, long line, security check and ferry ride seemed minor compared to what my Great Grandpa went through to see Lady Liberty!
Great Grandpa came with a dream – to make life better for generations to come and there I stood – living out his dream. Could he have imagined how amazing his great granddaughter’s life would be – all because of his sacrifice? Thank you Lord for such a brave and visionary Grandpa!
His name is on the wall of Ellis Island – he is Jozsef M Degi. He left his wife behind to come and work and earn money to send for her. It took him TEN years to get the money to send for his wife – could you imagine? Her name is under his – Katalin Szasz Degi.
Their sacrifice is my reward.

As I looked at my overflowing trunk to come back to Ohio, I was humbled. I had more in my car for a 4 day weekend trip than my Great Grandpa had on the boat.

I want a piece of my Great Grandpa’s courage. I want his fortitude. I want his vision. I want his strength. I want his endurance. I want his diligence. I want his hope.

Psalm 145:4,5
“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

Tell your children how God has blessed your family and the people he has used to create your present. Tell the stories – let the next generation hear of God’s marvelous works, his grace, his love. See to it that your children are inspired to have courage and hope like those who have come before them.

Walk with the King!

Comments

  1. Nicole @Team Pipkin says

    What an AWESOME family trip. And to see your great-grandfather's name on the wall is very touching.
    Great post.

  2. Stacy @ Delighting in the Days says

    What a wonderful opportunity for your family!

    Those moments that remind us how blessed we are, really are precious.

  3. Toni says

    Thanks for sharing. It looks like you had a rewarding trip. You know, I've been thinking alot about my maternal grandparents lately. I consider myself a fairly strong person, but compared with my grandmother? Oh, to have her fierce determination, her strength, her rich, mature faith.
    How I miss my Gram. :(
    Blessings,
    Toni

  4. Becky says

    Ten years?! OMG and I whine about being away from my husband for more than ten hours! Wow. Thanks for putting things into perspective. :)

  5. Sarah beth says

    Loved the pictures!

    Wow that was a long drive alone with children..cant imagine. but i know i am bound to do it one day..lol

    sounds like it was really worth it!! I am going to dicuss my family history with my children..wonderful idea. thank you for sharing!!

  6. Saved by Grace says

    Wow…what a blessing to be able to stand where you great-grandpa stood to just survive and all the trials he went through to get there. That is truely amazing, admirable, and encouraging. Thank you for sharing that touching story. You are such an inspiration to me. I found your website last week, and have learned so much in these past weeks. I had been praying that God would show me how to submit to my husband, how to be a Godly wife, how to train up my children. And I've found it all in His word and I know I just had a hard time applying it. I needed direction and I'm a visual person, so watching the videos helped me grasp it emensly. It clicked, it made sense to me. I guess I am also an audible learner too. I also wanted to mention that I homeschool my 12 yr old daughter with k12 as well and she really likes it too. Thank you again for serving the Lord and teaching us wifes/mothers.

    Love your sis in Christ Jesus!
    Adrienne

  7. JenLo says

    That is awesome. It was touching for me as well, to visit Ellis Island with my daughter a few years ago. Incidentally I live in NY and my sis lives in OH! Funny, those little commonalities we find with strangers ;)

  8. Sharon says

    This post brought tears to my eyes. My great grandfather came over on a boat from Scotland but he came into Boston and somewhere in time the place where all the records are kept was lost to fire.
    That is so cool that you were able to find their names.

  9. LBDDiaries says

    What an insightful post – to realize his trip meant your life would be better. Goosebumps & chills down arms! When you said, "As I looked at my overflowing trunk to come back to Ohio, I was humbled" – it helped me realize my goal in simplifying my life needs some tweeking! There was a lot to glean from this post – thank you for sharing it.

  10. Home's Where My Heart Is says

    We are all so blessed to have great + grandparents who made the sacrifices they did so that their families and future generations could live in this amazing country. What a legacy to leave.

    Thanks for sharing your trip; I've never been, so it's always such a treat to see pictures like these.

    And I echo your thoughts about not being able to leave the sin nature at home. Gosh, sometimes I feel that way on the less than 5 minute drive to the grocery store with my kids. :)

  11. Nakai says

    Thank you for sharing this! It moved me to tears. As Americans, we are truly blessed…. even though at times it is hard to see those blessings.

  12. Brandy says

    WOW!! Awesome!

    I about flipped when I read about your great-grandpa. My great great grandparents came to America from Hungary!!

    They tried to enter a couple of different times, but for some reason or another, they were denied entry. My great great grandpa could enter, but not the rest of his family. So they went and worked in the diamond mines in Brazil for awhile before they were all granted entry into America.

    I remember getting to listen to my great grandma tell us all of this … but oh how I wish I listened more closely. My dad actually found pictures of the ship my great great grandparents came over on and a few other tidbits. I have digital copies.

  13. Michelle says

    "Their sacrifice is my reward."

    This is a very touching story! I can't imagine being separated from my husband for ten years. What a heritage you have, Courtney!

    I can empathize with you having to travel with children! When we moved to KY we only had one, when we moved back home, we had three and one was not a very good traveler!

  14. Love Bears All Things says

    What a wonderful trip for the children and having this bit of history for them that they will never forget…when I went to Liberty and read the stories of how people felt when seeing her for the first time…of soldiers returning and kissing the ground in gratitude to be home again, I was ashamed to take my freedom and heritage for granted. Bless you! Such a long road trip for you and the children…you brave soul.
    Mama Bear

  15. Cherie says

    This brought back a lot of memories of a trip my husband and I took to the great Statue! I remember being shocked and humbled to silence as I read the stories of those who came before. It is amazing history that so many take for granted.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  16. Anonymous says

    Great post Courtney…It really shows what a wonderful mother you are that you were able to weather the frustrations but still make the trip with your kids. You sacrificed yourself to give them an educational experience that they'll never forget!!! This gives me hope that when I have my own kids, if I am obedient to the Lord, I'll be able to mother my children sacrificially!

    And, what an awesome thing that you were able to find your great-grandparents names on Ellis Island!!

    -Laura

  17. Anonymous says

    I know this is totally unrelated to your post but I had a question about your family's view on music. Does your family listen to secular/worldly music or do you choose only to listen to Christian music and hymns? What are your views on this? Just curious :)

  18. Royalbird says

    I love the part about Ellis Island and your great-grandfather. Family history is so fascinating and seeing things like that always make it more real, like a way to really know those ancestors who've passed on.

  19. Courtney (Women Living Well) says

    Anonymous – this is one of those areas where Christians can really disagree – so after Friday's blog post I think it's best I not discuss this publically. But if you really want to know – feel free to email me privately and I'll answer this question!

    My views on movies might answer your question – so check out this link first: http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-movie-standards.html
    Much Love,
    Courtney

  20. southofthefork says

    This is simply stunning. At first I was warmed that you MADE a trip to see your husband work. It means so much to our husbands when we make them a significant priority – even to travel to what seems the ends of the earth – for them as they do for us.

    And then the story of your great-grandfather. Oh, Courtney. The entire trip was a life lesson. You are blessed. So happy for you.

    Patty

  21. Helen says

    Hey – you were oh so close ;)
    Next time you should stop at a Starbucks on 17th St and First Ave and meet my dear husband :) however next time you'll be in NY he might not even work there (he he he)
    Know that our modest home is open to you if you ever need it.

  22. Anonymous says

    Hi Courtney! Loved reading your story of your heritage…now you should come visit your motherland!
    Valerie from Hungary

  23. Kristen says

    Hi Courtney, I was reading a blog post a woman I know wrote on "Mom Life Today", and you had written in the comments about this trip to Ellis Island and your great grandfather coming over from Hungary. My family is here in Hungary as missionaries, and now having a better understanding of what life was like for them here (and still is like for so many) gives me a whole new appreciation and gratitude for all of our ancestors who gave up so much for their future generations by moving to the United States of America. Glad you got to go with your family. Even more grateful for our Savior dying on the cross for our sins for all generations! And that he didn't stay dead but rose again. :)

  24. says

    This is so crazy…I think we may be cousins! My surname is Degi, my grandfather Stephen was born in Cleveland, son of a recent immigrant. I would love to figure out if we are related! Thanks for the posting, please consider emailing me if you have time!

    Best,
    Beth Degi

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