Tag: Phil Roos

Surprise!

One of the things that my mother was notorious of was always wanting to surprise people.

Her entire life, she really seemed to enjoy surprising others.  On her travels, she brought this to an entirely different level.  She would simply show up on the doorsteps of friends and family who had no idea that she would be there.  This was long before the days of social media, so in most instances, people had no idea that she was in the area.  Many times, they didn’t even know that she embarked on her solo road trip across the country.

I did a leg of that trip with her down the east coast from Pennsylvania to Florida between my Junior and Senior year of high school.  On just that short span, she thought that it would be a great idea to stop and surprise my cousin, Paul, or “Tink” as we still called him.  He was a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, stationed at Quantico.  Sure enough, she thought that it would be “neat” to show up unannounced on his doorstep at about 7:15 in the morning.  We arrived in his driveway, and the debate started.  She wanted me to go up and ring his doorbell and tell him that I was lost.  I said, “No way!”  Tink was the oldest of our cousins on my mom’s side, and to say that he was an intimating figure would be an understatement of epic proportions.  He was a former Division I college football player and as I had mentioned earlier, currently a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  I hadn’t seen him since I was probably about 11 or 12 years old.  The thought of a soon to be 17-year-old kid with a mullet waking up a Marine at 7:15 AM by ringing his doorbell just didn’t seem like it would end well for said soon to be 17-year-old with a mullet.

However, debating with my mother was rarely a winnable task, so, there I was walking up to Tink’s door, stopping and turning around and seeing my mother, then continuing what would surely be my death walk to the front door.  I sheepishly rang the doorbell and anxiously waited for my certain demise.

Tink answered the door in his gym shorts and torn up t-shirt and went about the routine saying that I was lost as my mom quickly sprung out from around the corner, yelling, “Well I figured if you wouldn’t be able to make it to the family reunion, we had to stop by and see you on our way to it!”

“Aunt Loretta! …and is this, Danny!?  Oh my God, you’re so big now!”  Tink exclaimed.  “What a great surprise!  What are you guys doing here?”

There it was, she did it. Tink was so happy to see us.  He immediately invited us into the house and introduced us to his wife and stepson, who neither of us had even met yet.  I can only imagine what they may have been thinking at that moment.

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Three Years

Three years ago today, Sandy, Youk, and I set out on this crazy full-time RV journey.

Since that time, we’ve been to 43 states and a little piece of Canada.  We have traveled over 56,000 miles, and made countless new friends and memories.  We’ve been awed by God’s beautiful creation time and time again.  We have visited family and friends that we hadn’t seen in years.  We have also made sure to get back to see our family and friends that we had left back in Pennsylvania often.

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A Return Visit to Sam Houston Jones State Park

Among many other things, our group built a fence at the entrance, repainted the office, built tent pads, built a 500’ fishing pier/boardwalk, repainted signs, cleaned up tons of debris, grinded countless stumps, planted wildflowers, refinished playground equipment, cleared and rebuilt the Orange Trail, built culvert dams, and painted a flag pole.

It was a project that was extremely gratifying.

I think even more so for Sandy and I because we have friends in the area and we helped with relief efforts in the area a couple of weeks after Laura came through.

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Birds of a Feather

As the old English proverb says, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

The meaning of the proverb is that beings (typically humans) of similar type, interest, personality, character, or another distinctive attribute tend to mutually associate.

I think that is a great description for the fellow volunteers who we have met over the past couple of years through A Year to Volunteer (Y2V). It was no different for those who came together at our most recent Y2V project at the Raptor Education Group (REGI) in Antigo, Wisconsin.  Just like the birds that we would be helping for the next two weeks, our group of volunteers migrated from all over the country to land in Antigo.  We came from the north, south, east, and west to lend a hand to this amazing organization.  We were all from different backgrounds, yet all have the same desire to give back.  Many of us had worked on previous projects together, so we greeted each other with smiles and hugs.

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A Day to Remember

September 11th is a day that I will never forget for multiple reasons.

I remember it because of the tragic events that took place that day and I remember it because of the work that my mom did during relief efforts with the Salvation Army at Ground Zero in the months following that fateful day.

Today, on September 11, 2022, 21 years after that horrific day, I sit in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Antigo, Wisconsin waiting for Sandy to get our supplies for the next two weeks as I write this.  Once she gets back to the RV, we’ll head a few miles down the road to meet our friends from A Year to Volunteer (Y2V) and prepare for a two-week volunteer project at the Raptor Education Group (REGI).

I find it ironically fitting that we are preparing for a volunteer project on September 11th.

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Peace, Love, and Music

Our neighbors for the weekend greeted us with smiles and offered any help we needed setting up.  Quickly understanding the concept, I helped our one set of neighbors get their pop-up tent in place.  When they heard that we were first-time festival goers, they’d quickly offer advice as to the best practices to get the most out of the festival.

Hearing the stories about how long some of these people had been attending the festival was absolutely amazing.  One had been coming every year since 1969, others were at their 15th, 20th or 30th festival.  One guy, now in his 30’s grew up at the festival, first attending with his parents as an infant and continuing to make the trek now as an adult.  They came from all over, near and far.  The gentleman that has been coming since 1969, Allen, flew in from Ogden, Utah and rented an RV for the weekend with a buddy.  He originally grew up in the Philly area, but said that he’d never miss a fest, regardless of the distance that he might have to travel.  When I told him that this was our festival, he said, “Man I gotta give you a hug, this is gonna change your life!  There’s nothing here but peace, love, and music.”

At this point, we were only there for about an hour, but I knew that we in a special place.  This wasn’t just a music festival; it was a community.

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Two Years, a Million Memories, and Freedom

Yesterday marked two years since Sandy, Youk, and I started this journey.

Ironically, we started August 14, 2022 in the exact same spot in which we ended August 14, 2020 at – in the driveway of our daughter and son-in-law’s house in Robesonia, Pennsylvania.

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, on August 14, we woke up in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Green Bay, Wisconsin and started out on a tour of cheese shops throughout Wisconsin on our way to Antigo for our first project experience with A Year to Volunteer.  The day before were staying at a Harvest Host called, Farm Wisconsin.  We were next to a sunflower field and witnessed two calves being born while we were there.

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Finding a Growth Community

I think that the need for real human connection in the world is greater now than it’s ever been.  It’s something that was stripped from us throughout the pandemic.  It’s also been something that has been faked for decades.  Many businesses nowadays are based on transactions as opposed to relationships.  The entrepreneurs gathered at the Growth Now Summit were people who based the foundation of their business success on relationships as opposed to transactions.  Something else that is slowly being stripped away from us as small businesses struggle to complete in what is a growing global market.  All of my success in the business world was based on relationships.  It was great to be surrounded by other like-minded people who believed in the same philosophy.  People who were more focused on their impact as opposed to their profit margin.

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Music Unites Us

According to Jillian Levy, a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, there are six major health benefits of music therapy:

Music therapy reduces anxiety and physical effects of stress
It improves healing
It can help manage Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
Music therapy reduces depression and other symptoms in the elderly
It helps to reduce symptoms of psychological disorders including schizophrenia
Music therapy improves self-expression and communication

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The Journey of My Mother’s Son – Episode #101 – Many Little People

There has never been a bad answer to that question on the show.  Most of the answers have helped restore my hope in humanity.  Obviously, I couldn’t put together all 100 answers, but I was able to put together a few.  These are not necessarily the best answers, they’re just some of the answers, in no particular order.

I hope that they will help restore your hope in humanity as well as inspire you to go out and do something little each day in order to help make the world a better place.

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