Monday, July 25, 2016

Baseball Gypsies

San Antonio.
San Antonio.
... and this week, Lubbock!

I haven't actually counted, but pretty sure I've spent more nights in hotels this summer than in my own bed. Fortunately, it's hard to find places I enjoy much more than sitting in baseball stands. But... it's good to be home. At least for a few days until the next Tour de America begins.

We've shared one weekend this summer with all six of us together, and even that was in Georgia. But one thing I've learned through this adventure, even for our girls who have no choice but to be the most devoted sports fans out there, God is not random in His ordering of our days.

Our tournaments just happened to fall in special places. Not just great places, but special places. In his book, Love Does, Bob Goff writes about taking each of his kids on a "ten-year-old adventure." Perhaps this summer has been the Wilson version of that.

Goff says, "I think a father's job, when it's done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children's lives, and whisper, 'where do you want to go?'"

Last fall Branson told us he wanted to get more serious about baseball and tried out for the Fort Worth Cats. At the time, I wondered how his high school teammates would feel about his switching summer teams. The Lord went before us, months and months before us, because little did we know that come late May, Branson would convince us that he needed to switch high schools altogether.
Furthermore, Bran's Cats tournament led us to Atlanta for a week and a half, right to my brother's family (we hadn't taken our kids to Alpharetta in nearly a decade) right to some of our best friends and their family, and Branson got time with his favorite girl in the world ~ all in the name of baseball.

On the heels of June's Texas weekend tournaments, Hudson and I got a full week ~ just the two of us ~ in the Springfield / Branson area, one of my favorite places on the planet. We spent a little time at Kanakuk getting to hug his cousin Bogan, Hud got to take a guided fishing trip on Lake Tanycomo, and the week spent with his team was a ball. Fantastic families to "baseball vacation" with.

Jesse travels with his grill. These dads are serious tailgaters

Fishing on Lake Taneycomo
Hud is a riveting conversationalist on road trips
We spent two nights at home before I drove all the kids and my mom out to Georgia for nine days, our first experience with The Perfect Game. Corbin and my dad joined us over the long weekend. We navigated the traffic-filled highways north of Atlanta and crammed the week and a half full of so much fun with the Jameses and Hills, we had to remind ourselves that there was a baseball tournament going on.

Just minutes into Goergia... big smiles all around
Playing at The Perfect Game ballpark

Cutest fans!
Lots of fun watching him having fun
James, Hills... and Stoevers??!! God is so full of surprises
No clever caption to say how happy these two make him
Very special Sunday morning worship

We have cheered on lots and lots of baseball, stretched my suburban's odometer, and visited a plethora of QTs west AND east of the Mississippi line. It's the kind of summer when I looked at my credit card bill and thought, "Oh, they didn't get my payment last month." And then I realized, "Oh, yes, yes they did."

But it has been an adventure ~ for all of us.

Very fun baseball, but the experiences and relationships are what stands out: A one-on-one road trip with Hudson; potluck cookouts in the hotel courtyard; meaningful conversations about raising these crazy kiddos with teammates' parents; driving through the Ozarks with country music blaring, Hud patiently listening to all of my reminiscing, a nod to my own Kanakuk days; working through sibling rivalry on a 13-hour car ride (not very well, I might add); Branson getting a whole week with Adeline (!!); Mexican seafood and sushi with the Alpharetta cousins; persevering through a very, very bad hotel room week; my kids opening the door for mom every time we got in the car ~ from the inside ~ because the handle chose to fall off a couple of days into the tourn; a church service with a missionary's spot-on message, hearing Eric preach and Adeline sing and lead worship; the stands crowded with family and friends - in Georgia!

A summer of gifts in a baseball-wrapped package. 

For all of us, God offers this and more. Goff writes it well:
Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what is it He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, "Let's go do that together."

**Too many pictures to capture in one post. More of our Perfect Game week here.