Monday, May 29, 2017

Family Smiles at the NCAA World Series

One of the great joys of Facebook is keeping up on the activities of family members.  Over the past two years, I have followed my nephew, Matthew, as he honed his pitching skills as a member of the Roanoke (VA) College baseball team.

While in Omaha last fall, I texted his parents this picture of the Ameritrade Park, which I was told is the site of the college baseball championship games. "Wouldn't it be cool if Matthew's team could make it to Omaha?" I'm sure that they were thinking, "Wrong division, Chris", but sometimes it is just not worth the effort to try to explain the mysteries of the NCAA to a college sports novice like myself.

Well, fast forward to the past few weeks, when Matthew and his Roanoke Maroons became the South Region Champs and earned a trip to Appleton, Wisconsin for the Division III championship. No need to figure out this "D3" stuff ... all I need to know is that it is the perfect reason for an RVenture road trip! Time to cheer on Roanoke!

The Maroons had won their opening game on Friday against the #1 "seed" ...  another term for me to try to figure out some other time. All I know, is that when we got to the stadium on Saturday afternoon, all the people in maroon were pumped for another win!

Go Noke!

Doug quickly found the biggest and best seat in the stadium!

Great-nephews, Will and Sam were prepared to catch that stray foul ball!

Matthew and his team, of course, were totally focused on the task at hand ... another win! 

They took an early lead with a couple of solid hits, but unfortunately, Washington & Jefferson College would prove to be a tough opponent. Strong hitting gave W&J the win. Roanoke was able go on to beat Concordia University Chicago on Sunday ...

but was unable to pull off a win when they faced W&J again Sunday evening, thus ending their championship quest.

But the frowns from Matthew's biggest fans quickly turned to smiles when we realized that family time together is the greatest prize in this championship!

We all became winners as we shared:

"Tailgating" Smiles 
"A Runner Scores" Smiles

"A New Brewery Visit
In Between Games" Smile

"And They Serve Real Wisconsin
Cheese Curds" Smiles

"Getting the Player's
Autographs" Smiles

"Posing With Our
Famous Baseball Player
Cousin" Smiles

"We Are Proud Of You" Smiles

"We Got The Senior Discount ...
And These Cool FREE Sunglasses"

And Best of All ...

"We Caught A Foul Ball"
Life is Good!

Until next time ... Share a Smile with Family ... And enjoy the adventures in your life!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Blooming Friendships in Rochester

This past March, we were able to enjoy the wildflowers in the southern California desert. While that degree of spectacular color and beauty doesn't happen every year in the desert, we know that we are guaranteed a SUPER-BLOOM of bluebells and of friendships as we return to our former hometown of Rochester, Minnesota.

We stayed ahead of the rain and snow storms, but we could not dodge the freezing temps as we pulled into Autumn Woods RV Park a week ago. The buds on the crab apple trees were still tightly closed as they shivered in the wind. But a few days of sunshine convinced them to burst open to share their BLOOMING beauty and fragrance. 

Autumn Woods is frequented by visitors to the Mayo Clinic, so it is not a typical "recreational" RV park. Conversations revolve around medical issues and hope for the best treatment. And as a nurse, I listen and try to offer information and encouragement. New friendships BLOOM with fellow campers and their adorable pups.

One of the first orders of business when we return is for me to get back into the work routine once again. When I retired, I wanted to keep up my nursing knowledge and skills. With the help of my nurse manager, I am able to maintain a "supplemental" status at Mayo Clinic ... which means that during my month here, I get to go back to work! I am looking forward to the BLOOMING of friendships with my coworkers and patients.

While I am working, Doug is definitely not sitting around enjoying a month of leisure. His "RV repairs" list is continually growing. The rain that greeted us proved that there was still a small leak ... somewhere by the driver's window. Roof checked and caulking replaced. "Oh, and while you are at it, Doug, could you rewire the lights up there??" Yes, every little job BLOOMS into something more. But the Wildebeest and I appreciate his conscientious efforts!

What joy to be able to worship once again with our Rochester church family and hear the beautiful music of the choir! Doug was convinced to rejoin the choir ... providing the balance to make the angelic harmony BLOOM.

One sure way of knowing that we have been gone too long is to see how much our special little friends have grown in the past year. Ella may not be taller than me yet, but her musical talent has truly BLOOMED as she serenaded us with her ad-lib piano tunes. 

While we are back in town, we share the joy of babies soon to be born. Audrey, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel "princess", lovingly awaits the arrival of her human sibling in July! God's gift of new life continues to BLOOM in our world.

The bluebell BLOOM along the Mayowood bike path in early May is one of the most anticipated signs that spring has finally arrived in Minnesota,

... and a perfect reason to get on our bikes again and discover the beauty of a friendship that continues to BLOOM as we celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary!

Until next time ... live life in FULL BLOOM ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!