London later - Jetlag now

I realize that I have not submitted a new post in a little bit, but do not fear. I have been to LONDON and back, and have many exciting places to share with accompanying pictures! From this side of the trip, I have experience a little jetlag, which has put me to bed NO LATER than 9 pm the past two nights. I have forced myself to stay up until then, but have increased my "sleeping in" by 2 hours! I rolled out of bed this morning at 8:15 am, not able to force my eyes to stay closed any longer. But, that did allow me to enjoy a bowl of cereal, cup of coffee, half of a movie, and a 20 minute lazy rest in bed ALL before I had to get ready for church! Thankful that worship service doesn't start until 11 am!

I hope to get a blog in soon, but tomorrow is a day full of cleaning, grocery shopping and trip planning for when my mom, Debi, and Miss Kim come to visit on Tuesday! (That just means I'll be 2 blogs behind...)

Keep a look out! And just a friendly suggestion... Mind the Gap!


This is Home

Prepare for a long post, because you are about to enter in to a passion of mine... family and my twin brother.

I just returned from my first summer vacations: Home. Even with all of my Stuff here in my own house in New Jersey, nothing will be more comforting, fun, and uneventfully pleasant as being with family. While I was home, I enjoyed the company of many friends and family members.
My first reason and motivation to come home was to watch my twin brother, Joel, race his dirt bike on a Saturday night. For those of you who are unaware, this is a renewed love from when he was younger. He used to ride and "race" when he was in his preteen years, but as expensive as it gets, he quit when his bike became ridiculously too small. This past summer, my uncle sparked a great deal with Joel to sell Joel his KTM dirt bike, due to having knee surgery and two little ones to watch on the track. So, Joel made payments, repaired, and took a big spill before he traded it for a different used one. With his new bike, he raced once and realized it was a lemon. Okay, I called it that and made fun of him for buying from a random guy on the internet. He came out with a GREAT bill of repairs. With that, he and my parents negotiated to repair it only to sell the bike when it was finished. In the mean time, Joel bought himself a BRAND NEW bike! (And, sold the other to another racer from the track.)

Taking off to the starting gate.

All that to say, I had yet to see him race this new bike. A bike without problems?? Joel could really step up his game, right? Not only that, do you see the brightly-colored, star-covered clothing he has on? Well, let me just say that he has gotten himself on a team, y'all. Team Drenaline Cycles! After joining this team, he has been given great deals on gear, stickers, etc. You'll notice he has his last name on the jersey as well as his number, 336. He basically looks like a pro. Now, all he needs to do is keep up the good work and improvement and he can make some money off of winning races! Some of his teammates raced this weekend, too. And when they are there together, it's all about camaraderie!

See the matching pants? It's a team thing.

An added perk to these race nights is the simple pleasure of family. I have 3 cousins that race, along with Joel. Marco and Sebastian race and travel to different tracks regularly. My other cousin, Alex, races mostly at the local tracks. But, I tell you what. Those boys look up to Joel for everything :  Advice, where to get good deals, what to do on certain turns, what kind of gear to buy, how to become sponsored, and so much more.

Alex, Sebastian, and Joel.

There's no a better sight than to see and to feel the support family can provide. My dad's brother, Edward, and his wife Betsy (parents of Marco and Sebastian) bring out their RV and grill, and we have an all day long feast. My aunt, grandparents, and little cousin joined us, as well as some family friends. We laugh, eat, and cheer each racer on as they fly by us on the sidelines. There isn't anywhere else I'd rather be on a Saturday night than right there.

So, let's just get to the good stuff. Joel raced in two different races. He raced with 18 racers that have the same size bike - 250s- then raced with guys who have slightly bigger bikes with a bigger engine - 450s - that had a racers of a class above his. To our surprise, this weekend and last weekend, he did exceptionally well up against these more advanced guys. They race two rounds, making Joel to race 4 times that night. Let me tell ya, he comes back after the first or second race WIPED OUT!! Even still, he always pushes on.

He has a love for this sport, and continues to gain confidence and skill as he improves. But, with every improvement seems to come a fallback. This weekend it was another rider. Joel was on his last race, the one that made Eric and Heather drop everything to come out to watch, after deciding to stay at home. Joel had gotten 1st place in the first round of this race, and we were thrilled and excited and nervous. He hadn't fallen, gotten hurt, or pulled any muscles at all this night!! Something had to go wrong sooner or later. It was his last race; they were at the starting line. Engines rev and they cross the gate. We always try to spot him before he makes the hairpin curve to enter the track. So far, he was doing well, being close to the front. Then seconds later we realize he never passed. We spotted him right at the entrance of the track, struggling to move or get his bike going. We then realize he is stuck, due to a rider falling in front of him and not moving his bike. Joel was ticked. But, he never gave up, and maneuvered his way around and got his bike started again. Our heads were hanging low, as we thought there wasn't a chance. We watched as he got onto the track and started catching up, then passing other riders. Before you knew it, Joel was back in the race and holding on to 4th place. He never gave up, and went home with a overall 3rd place, when both races combined.

Persistence and patience is all it takes to motivate your success. He got a trophy, and went home feeling more accomplished than ever before. For only racing here and there for the past year, he has come a long way. You never know, you may see him on TV some day!! Ha, or maybe just making a few bucks from state tournaments.

To top it off, I had a winning ticket at got a free Ultimate t-shirt! Go me!

But at the end of the day, all that really matters are memories made and coming together as a family to enjoy one another and our love for our riders.

Marco looks up to Joel like crazy. He has Joel number, and he bought "highlighter gear" because Joel has some.

Keep your head up, and always know that you can do anything you set your mind to. But, remember the One who makes it all happen.

God Bless, everyone.