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Category: The Journey

Jim Wade – Every Trip Has a Story

Sandy and I were able to get into Boise, Idaho and visit with my cousin Jim, his wife Patti, their daughter Jen and her husband Anthony.  It was short visit, but we had a great time catching up and trading stories of our travel adventures.

Jim, like most of us on the Wade side of our family have that wandering travel bug in us.  The root of the word “Wade” meant “to go,” and many of us have taken that to heart.

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Erin Pappas – Ballplayer, Nature Lover, Single Mom, and Hero

Erin and I first connected through social media back in 2016 during the time that I was building my network of female baseball players and advocates of women and girls playing baseball.  We immediately connected because she was also an avid Red Sox fan.  Like many of the women that I was connecting with at that time, she had participated in the first ever Boston Red Sox Women’s Fantasy Camp.

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Ray Schell – A Life Experience of Appreciating God’s Creation

Ray and I have known each other since high school.  He graduated a year before me.  After graduation, he was a part of a small group of friends that all became very close for a few years.  Our little tribe did just about everything together.

Ray went off to work in Alaska in 1990 and never returned to Pennsylvania.  Thankfully we have been able to stay connected through social media.

Sandy and I were able to visit with Ray and his wife, Judy Rae in Decker, Montana at the state park in which he runs, Tongue River Reservoir State Park.  After not seeing each other for almost 30 years, we had a lot of catching up to do, but it seemed as though we were able to pick up right where we left off.

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The Power of a Hand Written Note

When I was in the lumber business, the majority of my customers were first- and second-generation Italians.  They were straight forward no-nonsense business people.  They demanded my best performance, but were very fair.  They weren’t into playing games with pricing.  They wanted me to give them whatever our best and fairest pricing was first, no back and forth, just what was the best that we could offer and then make sure that we delivered on the service end.  That second part was always the most important thing for all of them.  Service, service, service.

If we made a mistake, they didn’t want to hear excuses, they just wanted us to own it and make it right.  It wasn’t the mistake that would potentially cost us future business, it was our reaction or non-reaction to it that would cost us future business.

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My Kind of Weird

About a week ago, Sandy and I were able to connect and spend time with April and her husband Justin in Idaho.  It was the first time that we had actually met in person.  To some, I’m sure that seems a little bit strange, but to those of us who are the same kind of weird, it’s perfectly normal.  We already knew that we had a connection long before we ever met face to face.  We knew that God had us cross paths for a reason.

My favorite Steve Jobs quote goes like this…

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

The best part of our journey has been connecting with like-minded people.  That was April and Justin.  Very like-minded people. 

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It Might not have been Heaven, but it was Magical

Anyone who knows me, knows that baseball is in my blood, so to get to visit the Field of Dreams site was pretty exciting for me to say the least.

Ever since I can remember, baseball has been a part of my life.  For me, it was always about more than just the game itself.  It was the entire experience.  From seeing a perfectly groomed field before the game begins, the smell of the fresh cut grass, the sight of the perfectly straight white lines which have been applied with mastery.  Those lines and their perfect 90-degree angles.  Their contrast on the brown infield dirt and bright green outfield grass.  It is truly about as perfect of a scene that a human could create.

The hustle and bustle of the crowd, the smell of the hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn.  All of it combined makes it so much more than just a game for me.

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Marge Gibson – A Life of Giving to the Birds

Marge is the founder and executive director of the Raptor Education Group, Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin.

Sandy and spent one week volunteering at REGI through the A Year to Volunteer project.  It was one of the most impactful experiences of our lives.  I wrote extensively about it in my blog last week.

The day after our group completed the project, Sandy and I were able to go back over to REGI and spend some time with her and record this podcast.

She is truly one of the most kind, genuine and compassionate humans that we’ve ever met.

The work that she and her staff are doing at REGI is exceptional.

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A Week that was for the Birds

Fred Rogers used to say, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

There are a lot of scary things in the news these days, so for the past week Sandy and I were blessed to be surrounded by the helpers, and it was beautiful.  What was even more significant is that this amazing group of helpers was helping another incredible group of helpers at the Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI).  The icing on the cake is that REGI is led by one of the most remarkable helpers we’ve ever met, named Marge Gibson, who is the founder and Executive Director of the organization.

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Polly gets her Letters

In the mid-80’s she decided to quit a good paying job selling insurance and converted her 1967 Plymouth Valiant into a makeshift motorhome.  She removed the backseat, put in a sheet of plywood and a mattress to make a bed, and traveled all over this beautiful country of ours.  She named that little car Polly, Polly Plymouth to be exact.

As she traveled, she met many incredible people along the way.  I loved listening to her stories about them as well as reading about them in her journals after she passed.

As much as I admired her courage and bravery, never in a million years would I have imagined that I would follow in her footsteps and do the same thing.  God had other plans though.  After 30 years running a nonprofit youth sports organization, it was now time for me to spread my wings and really fly.

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Connection

When Sandy and I started this journey, a big part of it for me was to find that connection that my mother found along her journey.  That real human connection.  Covid stripped that from us in the beginning to an extent, but I am grateful for those who we have connected with so far.  There are too many people to list, and if I try to, I will miss some.  But just know, that if you are reading this, and we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with you since we’ve been on this journey, those moments, whether long or short are the fuel that continues to feed my soul.  Everyone that we’ve connected with and have been blessed to spend time with thus far, are my kind of weird.  We have nothing to gain from them, and they have nothing to gain from us.  We can just feed off of each other’s presence and friendship.  As I had written in my last blog, this journey has allowed us to connect with some people in person who I had only been connected with through social media prior to us meeting.  The first time that we ever did that, Sandy thought that it was a little bit strange.  She was hesitant, but to this day, she will tell you that one of our most special visits on this journey was with Homa and Andrew Schweers in Virginia.

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