springtraining

It is so hard to believe that people have been buried in snow this past month. Friends and family text pictures showing the winter wonderland they are immersed in and it’s unfathomable as I sit here in my flip flops and tank top. This is why we live in Arizona I’m reminded. The winter weathers simply can’t be beat. We can swap stories come August, but as far as Februarys go, you should be here!

Not only do we have amazing winter weather, but Arizona is a sports lovers dream. We started off the year hosting the Super Bowl and the Phoenix Open for golf lovers. Now we’re gearing up for the start of baseball’s spring training. We are home to the Cactus League while Florida hosts the Grapefruit League. I grew up heading south for spring break to the Dodgers training camp in Vero Beach so spring training holds fond memories for me. All teams report to camp this week and visitors will once again be flooding the valley.

The Cactus League is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers. Your Arizona Spring Training guide can be found here.

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Love this map from www.discoverazspringtraining.com!

Not only can you drive easily between tons of pro games when you come to town, but there are several other ways to enhance your baseball experience while you are here.

BASEBALL CITY EXPERIENCE

Come and be a part  baseballcity of the premier baseball FanFest during Spring Training! Better yet it’s free family fun and actually is the perfect kick off to our week of spring break, March 7-8 from 11 am to 6:30 pm at the Scottsdale Civic Center.

At Baseball City there will be Q&A sessions with scouts, coaches and current and former baseball stars. You can take a swing for the fences on the Home Run Field as well as test your base running abilities at the Steal Home Competition.

How hard can you throw? Find out at the Speed Pitch Competition. Kids can give it all they’ve got at the Lil’ Sluggers Field too. You will be able to check out some of the newest baseball products and gear as well as sit in on live television and radio broadcasts. There will be player photo opportunities and free contests and giveaways all day long!

I know our family is excited about this! Baseball City is part of Arizona’s Scitech festival, which means my kids will get some science class extra credit for attending. Just get your Scitech passport stamped at the event.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY BASEBALL GAMES

Arizona State University Baseball games are a great way to see some young talent and support our local college. I always plan a date or two with my baseball playing sons to go watch the ASU guys every year.

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The Sun Devils have a new baseball home this season at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. This stadium used to be home to the Oakland Athletics until they moved to Hohokom Stadium in Mesa. ASU wasted no time making the field its own by spending $3 million in renovating the stadium that was originally built in 1974. The new home to ASU baseball is about 5 miles southwest of campus and I’m excited to check it out.

The Diamondbacks will open their Spring Training schedule against the Sun Devils team March 3 at 3:10 p.m. MST at Salt River Fields, to begin what will be an annual Collegiate Baseball Series. Tickets run $9-$28 for this game. We’ve already got our tickets to this after school game! Get your tickets and join us!

MIRACLE LEAGUE OF ARIZONA

Miracle League of Arizona is a non profit organization in north Scottsdale dedicated to providing an enjoyable baseball experience for children, teens and adults with disabilities or special needs healthcare. They offer adaptive baseball at a beautiful accessible stadium. Volunteer buddies are there to assist and encourage the athletes. Find out more on how to volunteer or support this wonderful organization here.

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Their winter season is winding down and will end on Feb. 28. Spring season begins on March 21 and kicks off with an Easter egg hunt and festival for the families.

MLZ Stadium is located at 11130 East Cholla Street in Scottsdale.

 

 

 

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Is this the coolest visual display of our trip or what? I’m beyond thrilled that my friend, Judy, surprised me with this framed original artwork just the other day. It was especially exciting to receive now that we’ve been home for just over two months and some days it sadly feels like we never left.

Did we really take that 6 month family sabbatical around the USA? This visual reminder right here sums up that we most certainly did! Johnine Byrne is a graphic recorder from Ohio and does such cool work! What a unique way to record such a special time! Check out her website See Your Words to learn more. I’m thinking of ways to put her to work in the future. Wonder what she could come up with for my inlaws 50th wedding anniversary in October? Hmmm…

Some of the pieces Johnine got off my blog and other things she heard from my friend. It makes me smile and chuckle inside when I pass by it. Such a thoughtful, priceless gift that I just had to share with you. Have you ever used a graphic recorder before? I’m so grateful to know that this talent exists!

I listened in awe as a friend told me about her youngest daughter who is amidst her admirable gap year travels. I was excitably inspired hearing all that her 18 year old was experiencing immersed in various countries where young people are learning to transform our world. I even voiced out loud that I would love for my daughter to do that. To be that selfless person who is inspired to go out and do good in the world. Yes, that’s who I want my only daughter to grow up and be.

Then came the tragic news last week about Arizona Humanitarian Kayla Mueller. Beautiful Kayla was kidnapped in August 2013 by ISIS militants while volunteering near Syria. Almost a year and half after her abduction, these militants announced that Mueller had died in a questionable Jordanian airstrike. A precious life gone.

Never mind. I take back all that I just felt and said about wanting my daughter to be out there making a difference with her life. I no longer want her joining forces with other like minded individuals and changing the world, do I? That’s not safe. I want to do everything in my power to keep my precious only daughter out of harms way, right?

Morgan St. Vincents

Are we put here on this earth to play life safe? I’m trying to raise my 12 year old daughter with an awareness of the constant needs around her and to not be afraid to step in for those who might need her the most in the world. As her mother, I help guide her and teach her how to have faith. We have served in Mexico together and have plans to go to Haiti next. We have taken in foster children and volunteer locally at St. Vincent dePaul together. Will she want to continue to serve others when life is her decision to make? Only time will tell, but I’m planting the seeds.

Although I most certainly am not brave enough to put myself where Kayla did, I too have been called to serve others. It can feel completely uncomfortable and sometimes scary to do so, especially for a tween. It’s why you have to rely on faith to know you are exactly where you are supposed to be helping exactly who you have been called to help.

I guarantee Kayla’s mother wishes that her daughter had never gone to the middle east. Perhaps even that she had chosen an easier path for her life, so that she may still be alive today. But, I also have to think of the pride that she must feel coinciding with the deep pain at the loss of her only daughter. Pride for what her daughter stood for and that she believed in humankind above regard for herself.

Kayla was living my definition of success. She had done more with her life in her 26 short years, then the majority of Americans ever will, due to fear. It’s way easier to just stay back and ignore the need. It’s much safer to watch from afar. It’s never very convenient either. But, that’s not who Kayla was and that’s not who I want my daughter to be. A life lived for significance cannot always be safe.  She was motivated by compassion and humanity. She was committed to the value of all human beings and put her own life on the line. We can’t help but be touched by this family’s personal tragedy.

My daughter will learn that the world is a difficult place and there’s a lot of injustice. Let the shining light of Kayla’s life serve to motivate my daughter and everyone else who is called to be a difference maker in this world. May her selflessness and bravery continue to inspire us all. May you rest in peace seeing the effect you have made on the world dear Kayla.