I love the word “gobsmacked.” Maybe it’s my fascination with the Great Britain, the English accent, or the fact my son first learned how to walk while we were in the UK, but I just LOVE the way it rolls off the tongue. Plus, it makes me think of Willy Wonka candy (Gobstopper, anyone?) Guess I’ve got Halloween on the brain! Anyway, you might ask, why not just say astonished, astounded, dumbfounded or shocked? Because gobsmacked just sounds WAY cooler! (And British).

So, this week left me positively “gobsmacked” when I got the news that I was advancing to Round 3-the FINAL round- of the Disney Moms Panel application process! Hopefully I didn’t scare any neighbors when I opened the email. Talk about an adrenaline rush! While I am humbled and thankful, I also remember how it feels to get the “thanks for applying” email, too. So I’m trying to keep it all in perspective, be confident and yet also grounded. I’ll let ya know how that works out-easier said than done!

This on the heels of returning from a three night Disney grown-ups only getaway! Which was pure bliss. After my Keys to the Kingdom tour (special shoutout to our awesome tour guide, Ames), I am even more awed and amazed at what goes on behind the scenes to make the magic happen! Utilidors, floats with characters loaded by forklifts, and secret staircases, oh my! Now, if only I could get a glimpse of the Cinderella castle suite…

Speaking of suites, our trip took a surprising turn when we entered our “home away from home” at Bay Lake Towers. Talk about gobsmacked-we found ourselves in the 3 bedroom Grand Villa! I mean, the villa has 4 balconies, each with stunning views of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Oh yeah, and a kitchen that seats 10. A whirlpool tub. A two story living room that is floor to ceiling windows. Six flat screen TVs. Seriously, the villa is literally is more spacious than our first home (we know because my husband “walked it off”). Capping off the evening with a bottle of wine, followed by dinner at California Grill while watching Wishes was the culmination of a marvelous day. Not to mention our fun “late night date night” at the Magic Kingdom during Extra Magic Hours. Lucky for us, we could stay past midnight (unlike Cinderella)- the park was open until 3AM!

So after having been immersed in Disney for a few days and getting good news about the panel, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m a bit absentminded. I’m not ready to come back down from Cloud 9 just yet!

I’m (hopefully) leavin’ on a jet plane…

So Thursday I am hoping to fly off to the happiest place on Earth…Disney World! And without kiddos-they think Mom and Dad are headed to Tampa, so don’t tell them or I will seek revenge! Mwhahaha (my best evil laugh) To keep things interesting, BOTH kids had to go to the pediatrician today. Survey says? One ear infection, no strep throat. Meanwhile, I am going to the doctor tomorrow because I MAY have the start of a sinus infection-and I don’t want to find out at 30,000 feet!

Have you noticed how kids have time-released germs that know the precise moment that will wreak the most havoc? Seriously, my daughter was even saying last week, “You won’t go if we’re sick, right?” Right then, we were jinxed. I have every intention of boarding that plane Thursday morning. But it will be much easier to go if they are well. So please say a prayer for all of us!

Round Two-wahoo!

Hey everyone-I made it to Round Two in my quest to join the Disney Moms Panel! For those of you who don’t know what the DMP is, it’s an online forum where people can get answers to their Disney vacation questions from enthusiastic Disneyphiles. I actually found out I made it to Round 2 while at a dinner for the local homeless ministry, so I couldn’t exactly jump up and down and do my best Goofy yell- W A H O O -but I did on the inside! My daughter gave me a big hug and then I was back down to earth. It’s probably for the best that I not get too celebratory so it will keep me grounded in the coming weeks.  

For Round 2, we had to answer how we first heard about the panel and our impressions of it in 100 words or less; upload our go-to planning document/tool; and upload a 60 second video of our favorite Disney memory. Gulp! By far. the toughest thing for me was the video-mostly because my cameraman (aka Hubby) did not get back into town until Friday afternoon. Deadline: Friday by midnight (how apropos, Disney-Cinderella’s deadline too)! All the while being ourselves and showing our passion for Disney. YIKES!

So Taylor made a cute sign for the video that said PICK OUR MOM and drew Cinderella Castle, balloons, and a Mickey helicopter. Why? I guess because she could. Between takes of the video, Clay would get the kids all amped up by asking “Who wants to help mommy?” and the kids would scream! My neighbors are probably still wondering what was going on. And in an ironic twist, our family vacation in December coincides with the DMP training, so I would have to redo our entire Christmas Disney trip! Not a complaint though. (Don’t want that to be a reason why they don’t pick me!)  No matter how things turn out, just having my family help me with the video made me feel supported in this endeavor. Although I am still holding out for my fairy tale ending. Just sayin’!

On a Zip Line and a Prayer

Taylor’s fourth grade class traveled to Camp Thunderbird on Monday for a field trip. One of the many things I love about being a SAHM is that I can usually go along on school outings and have a front row seat to what my kids are doing that day. So when I heard they would also be doing a high ropes course and zip line, I thought, “That sounds cool. I can do that!” Yet when we arrived at the zip line tower, all I could think of was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Sure, I’ve managed to ride that several times without incident (aside from my stomach ending up in my throat), but the wooden platform with winding staircase loomed large ahead. I had to keep my cool because Taylor and I would be “zipping” side by side and I didn’t want to make her nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I would attempt it although I did reconsider after putting on the harness. Seriously, it felt so snug and confining like a combination of a corset and chastity belt. (Not that I would know).

So, as we climbed the stairs, helmets and harnesses on, I felt at ease. Hooked up to safety line? Check. Equipment properly on? Check. Sit down to prepare for zipping? And that’s when the helpless feeling descended. Because as you sit down, gravity kicks in and starts pulling you forward. I felt poised to fly right off the platform like some baby bird that is NOT ready to fly that gets pushed from the nest. Suddenly, a voice (our guide) reminded me that he had me and I wasn’t going anywhere until I was ready. We counted down…and leaned forward… and let go. And we were airborne! Flying, soaring, hurtling, spinning— it was AMAZING. Liberating. So effortless to just glide back down to the ground.

And then I couldn’t help but see the similarities in zip lining and trusting God. He has me. All the time. I am secure, held safe, not going anywhere without Him. He has a plan for where I am going. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11:  “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Believe me, nothing is more reassuring when on a zip line than to know that God’s plans are not to harm you but give you a future! Still, the harder practice is to just trust Him and let go. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5. For me that is the hardest part–letting go and getting out of my own way. Thinking I have all the answers and relying too much on myself. Especially in our society that inundates us with self-help gurus and celebrates self-made millionaires. Where you are defined not by who you are, but by what you do for a living. (If I had a dollar for every “what do you do” question… I digress.) Trusting in God more than in your own abilities is countercultural and just plain weird. But I want to be weird (does having the “be weird” Dave Ramsey sticker count?).

I’ll close by recommending a website-please check out www.lifewithoutlimbs.org. An amazing man from Australia with an awe-inspiring message. And yes, a man born with no arms or legs. Who also had to rely on the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 that God had big plans for his life. When asked about whether he blamed God about his condition, Nick Vujicic says, “I struggled with it for many years. But, through Scriptures like John 9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14 where it talks about a hope and a future, and seeking God with all your heart, I knew that I needed to refocus my attitude toward praise concerning what I did have and to realize God did in fact have a divine plan, hope and future for my life that was good, regardless of my circumstances.” After hearing the enormous faith of a limbless man, it really puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

Just writing this is an act of faith for me-just like my leap forward off a zip line tower. So, if you have been inspired by anything here, please take time to post a comment on my blog. I could use your voice of reassurance as I’m spiraling out here in the Internet. You can even share your  “zip line” moment that reminded you to trust and let go. I’d love to hear from you.

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