Archive | May, 2015

In remembrance, We Honor

25 May

Today is May 25, 2015.

It is Monday.

Where I live, it has been mostly sunny.

I slept in this morning.

It is the unofficial first day of summer.

These are all true statements about today, and yet they are not the most important, for today is also Memorial Day.

Today is the day we are supposed to honor the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. These brave men and women who laid down their lives so that I, you, we may live in peace and without fear.

But do we remember the names? The stories? The faces? The families left behind with empty seats at the dinner table and echoes of their loved one’s voice in their ears? Do we honestly remember that freedom has never and will never truly be free? Someone, somewhere paid a high price.

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As I stood listening at our local Memorial Day service, a story was recounted of a local boy who fought valiantly during World War II. He would not return home alive. The speaker stated he is “forever young” – and as I reflected on that statement and it’s truth, it really sunk in. Today we remember the lives that were ended far too soon, the young men and women who would never grow old, right along side the veterans of wars past who are not with us this year to share their stories and wisdom with the youth today.

The ringing of the bell and the reading of the deceased is one of the most sombering moments as it is heralded by the Twenty-One Gun salute and the playing of Taps.

When I was a high school student I had the opportunity to play Taps twice, once as a freshmen and again as a senior. It is hauntingly beautiful, and whenever I hear it I can’t help but get emotional thinking about the number of times it is played as a last farewell to our fallen men and women all across the country.

Yes, today is a day when many communities will have parades, kids will be out of school, businesses will be closed and people will gather for BBQs and picnics. But during all of that excitement, I ask that each of us take a moment to reflect, to pause, to really let the weight of this day and the meaning behind it sink in.

Freedom isn’t free. The debt is paid everyday by the loved ones who must carry on, but as a community let us embrace these families so the weight might be spread over more shoulders. While no one could ever replace that person or perfectly fill that void, the love, support and encouragement can do wonders for the family. I’ve seen it happen twice in my community, and today I proudly wore a USMC shirt in one of their honors.

My sister, Macayla and I

My sister, Macayla and I

And, because I have a couple of pictures from our parade, I’ll include those here at the end.

Happy Memorial Day, may we always remember those who are forever young, gone too soon while protecting the country they loved.

Transformation Tuesday – work attire style

19 May

I don’t always notice how much time is passing until it’s gone. The days all seem to blur together and before I know it four years has gone by seemingly in the blink of an eye. 

I had such a feeling this morning when I checked my Timehop before work as is my usual routine. Today’s gems from years past included pictures from a Disney vacation from two years ago where my Disney sister, Monique, and I were participating in the runDisney Expedition Everest 5K Challenge. 

Also from two years ago was this quote from C.S. Lewis that I tweeted, “You are never too old set another goal or to dream a new dream.” 

And then I kept scrolling and came across a photo that I wanted to share on my Facebook as a then and now comparission.  

 

Four very long years ago I began day one training as the newest maid at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom. Sadly, today’s work attire isn’t as fun. But can I just point out how crazy it was that I chose to wear stripes?! It’s the little things in life that amuse me, what can I say?! 

What’s fun about the Haunted Mansion costume is the Bat Hat the girls get to wear! There’s a tradition at the mansion for each of the maids to have a specific name for their bat, and I would like you all to meet Mr. Chuckles. I miss that silly bat hat more than you’ll ever know – I really thought bubbly me was relocated to the wrong place when I moved from Disney Quest attractions to the Haunted Mansion, but when I put on the costume and secured that hat to my head I embodied this new persona and became the maid. 

Some days I really long to return to Disney, others it feels like a dream and others still I find myself greatful for the people I met and the memories I made while it was my job to be a magic-maker for thousands of people everyday. And I can’t be too sad because “Once a maid, always a maid.” 

Disney will forever be in my heart, even if I’m not wearing a bat on my head to work! 

#DFCencounter

17 May

Can I just say how much I love attending church. It does not matter how troubled my heart and soul feel when I enter, I am comforted and at peace when I leave. More times than I can count, the message feels like it was created specifically with me in mind.

Tonight we had an extra special helping of worship, a night of song and praise called “Encounter.” As the program for this morning’s service stated – it was to be a night “to worship Jesus thru music hosted by DFC Worship (the band).”

And man did they deliver. Check out the opening scene’s wow factor!

There are few things I love more than lifting my voice up in song with hundreds of others in praise to the Lord. I wish you could have heard it – I had chills it was so powerful and moving and beautiful.

I do need to take a minute to send a shout-out to the amazing crew from tonight. If you aren’t familiar with DFC, the worship hall is HUGE! There are two giant screens that show a live video feed of everything happening on stage so that even if you are seated in the very far back corner, you can see everything! There were at least a dozen volunteers I saaw manning cameras, lights and the soundboard, not to mention the ushers and the band members themselves for dedicating hours away from their families to put on an amazing performance.

Words will never do tonight justice, so check out the amazing visual effects in these pictures!

About halfway through, the band took a short break and the lead singer, Jessie, provided a breif explanation about why they chose to call tonight “Encounter.” The whole night was centered around Isaiah 6:8.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

As Jessie said, Isaiah had this encounter with the Lord, this opportunity to go forth to the word and be a witness.

Then Jessie asked the audience two thought-provoking questions:

1. What is holding you back?

2. Who is on your heart? Who is it in your life that it breaks your heart they don’t know Jesus and the love he has for each of us.

From there, the evening continuted with more songs, some that were new to me (“You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook & Bethel Music) and others near and dear to my heart (“This I Believe” by The Creed and “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin.)

The combination of the band and the audience and the words and visual effects made for one incredible evening. I feel so blessed to have been able to attend. I am ready to take on the week feeling rechanged and full of the love of my Lord and Savior. I have nothing to fear, everything is in His hands, all I need to do is be His witness and praise His glory in my life.

Who’s with me?!

Wordless Wednesday- 5/13/15

13 May

Traffic jams while babysitting. #Girlslikecarstoo

 

Today we celebrate you, mom!

10 May

Today we celebrate you, mom. But what IS a mom exactly? From my 26 years of experience, moms don’t come as a one-size-fits-all… but MY mom comes as a one-size-fits-me. 

You see, MY mom is one of the most important people in my life. Over the years our relationship has changed – at first I relied on her for everything from nourishment to clothing to security and love.  

My first picture with my mom! As I got a little older, there were nights when she was the only person I’d want and only she and her hugs could calm my fears or worries and convince me the world would be okay again.  

 Older still, she became my chauffeur to and from activities such as soccer, softball, church group, friend’s houses, school dances and so many other places. She was there at every activity I ever participated in – I could always count on her to cheer the loudest at my accomplishments be it a goal in soccer or a solo in choir. 

When I was troubled, she was my therapist and helped me talk through all of life’s problems. On that historic day when my young heart broke for the first of what would be many times, she provided a shoulder to cry on and reminded me that somewhere out there, someone special was waiting for me, and that he’d love me imperfections and all. Just like when I was a little girl with skinned knees and bumps and bruises, she picked me up, brushed me off and helped put the pieces back together. 

I have learned that it does not matter how old you are, you are never too old for your momma. Every time I have ever been sick or hospitalized, from the first as a terrified four-year-old having a severe asthma attack, to this most recent time last November, I have always been comforted knowing she’s right there, helping me through.

Yes, there have been times over the years when we haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye, but thankfully those were few and far between.

My mom is like my best friend – she knows all my secrets, worries, dreams and future hopes for life. She’s my biggest cheerleader and my strongest supporter. When I lived in Florida, I called her every single day, I missed her so much.  

 We are very similar, my mom and I – we share a love of reading and singing, musicals, a hatred of math, perfectionism and creativity. We laugh and joke and have our very own unique way of talking with each other and find the same things funny. Sometimes when I answer our house phone, the caller on the other end will remark “wow, you sound just like your mom!” While I don’t think we necessarily look alike, others claim they see the resemblance. 

Someday when I’m lucky enough to have children of my own, I hope I can be at least half the mom my mom has been for me. From stories and magic kisses, to baking lessons and bonding time, there’s no one in this world who knows and loves me like she does. I don’t always tell her how special she is to me or how much I appreciate all the little things she does, but I need to, and will try harder to make her feel loved and appreciated. I love that we are very close and have such a special and unique connection, I know I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today without her love in my life. She has guided me through this journey called life, leading by example of how to treat others with Christ like love and compassion, showing and teaching me a good work ethic and how to one day be a loving and supportive wife and mother. I hope that when people see and get to know me, they will see my mom reflected in my speech, my actions, my attitude and my smile.  

 And while the majority of this post is dedicated to my mom, I want to say a Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women in my life, including but not limited to my grandma, aunts, cousins, best friend’s moms, my boyfriend’s mom and step mom and the various women I look to for guidance and support at work and at church. Whether you’re a birth mom, stepmom, adoptive mom, spiritual mom, grandma, or “like a mom” to me or someone one else… I honor you today. Have a beautiful day, ladies. You deserve it!