What can I possibly say about beautiful, breathtaking New Jersey?
I have hiked trails and traveled winding roads with stone fences running alongside bubbling brooks and colonial estates.
It is full of history and famous people. George Washington and the troops marched all over out here with his headquarters being in Morristown, a short drive away and Jockey Hollow within 15 minutes.
Whitney Houston frequented a neighborhood hangout, not far from her mansion here and Governor Christie lives in nearby Mendham.
It is quaint villages and towns that have the cutest shops, wonderful restaurants, and people who are just as friendly as any Midwesterner I’ve ever met!
Pop is called ‘soda’, agreement is expressed with a ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ and coffee is often ‘cwaufee’!
The fabulous scenery and mansions are too numerous to count and I have never been in the presence of such immense wealth.
It is truly a melting pot.
There is Joel, who is a Jewish convert to Christianity, Linda who grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn and has a heart for Jesus that led her to a heart for Haiti. It is Ted who is Greek and grew up in Queens, who discovered as an adult that he can play the organ by ear. Sarah who is a descendant of a pilgrim on the Mayflower.
It is Janet who is a third or fourth generation New Jerseyan, living on the family farm growing raspberries, blueberries and Christmas trees, who treated me to a few glorious days in her beautiful Vermont home and many other sightseeing excursions during our time here.
The hardworking Stephanie and Linda who oversee the pre-school and are adored by moms and children. Denise who works her magic spiffing up old furniture with a touch of shabby chic!
New Jersey is Karl, who has arrested top felons and Patti, the classy realtor with beautiful, red hair!
It is Rita who lives in her house that was built in 1900 that her parents moved into in 1930 when she was a baby and is full of the beautiful quilts she has made over the years.
It is the Ndiba’s who are refugees from Africa where they were caught up in civil war. They barely escaped with their lives and now are proud citizens of the USA.
It is Joan, who diligently works as a seeing eye dog instructor at the facility that first created the program in the states. Her and I share a passion for history and patriotism. Walt, is her husband who is always looking for how to help those who have a need.
It is Carolyn who isn’t afraid to give guided tours through NYC to Midwestern women who would lose their way! She introduced me to Broadway and the Stardust Diner!
It is the DeBeuses who write, speak and open their home with their gift of hospitality. We will forever remember hearing the Getty’s with them at Carnegie Hall!
It is the VandenBrinks and their 6 children who diligently serve in so many areas in the church, and are the parents of Timothy who should be the poster child for “Dutch Boy” paint!
It is Vince who fought in Korea and Fred and Evelyn who deliver bread and sweets once a week and always have time to stop and visit in the driveway. Fred’s mafia story is the best!
New Jersey is Marianne from Norway, a gifted artist, who met her husband Pat when she was a nanny here. Pat’s sister was killed in the Pan Am Flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
New Jersey is Sarah who’s husband works for the Forbes family, and Truss who is from Holland and speaks with a strong accent who is married to Jimmy, an Italian who is always humming music from the 40’s!
It is Dale who faithfully stays on top of the church grounds and loves to make visits to the best bakery around,(we can thank him for the extra pounds!) as well as his wife Linda, who took her first trip to Haiti this past week with our mission team.
It is the Matthijssens, whose 23 year old just finished her last chemo treatment and the McWilliams who have been faithful friends of theirs for years.
It is Jeff who commutes to Boston for work, his wife Renee who handles the house and property while he is gone, recently enduring rabies shots and a hospital stay after being bit by a Rottweiler in Haiti!
It is Kim who battles MS and arthritis but has a cheerful spirit despite her circumstances. It is John the gourmet cook and Nancy who loves to worship.
It is Sharon and Traci, who stop by delivering gifts of food and flowers and Shawn who always has a warm smile.
It is the Scowcrofts and baby Deanna, who lost her life way too soon. It is Phil and Julie Clements who took us sailing around the harbor, not knowing that Phil who was bigger than life, would be gone within a year.
It is the young couples like Peter and Eva who are artists and musicians bringing their gifts to the table, the Feyrers, Walls and Macias whose children delight our hearts with the sound of their laughter.
It is Ruth who lives in a historic Chester home and spends winter months in Florida, the Jarans (loved catching the Newsboys with them!) and others who spend winter on the slopes. It is Chic, a retired pilot who owns a house at the shore with his lovely wife, Audrey.
It is so many who we have watched persevere with family loss and heartaches, who will go unnamed but are a testimony of strength and character in the face of trials.
Too many people to mention, but who have touched our hearts in ways that they will never know.
The time though short has built memories that will last a lifetime and we will leave here more blessed than when we came.
We will always remember beautiful New Jersey and especially the beautiful people who live here.