New Year, New Start

With the busy Christmas season I took a blog break, but with the New Year I’m making a new start! In January of 2010, 2012, and 2013, my family cruised on Disney Cruise Line. We’re making a change this year to visit Walt Disney World Resort, but it seems like January makes me long for warmer places on the high seas.

To help beat the winter blues, I’m going to share some of my favorite things about Disney Cruise Line from A-Z!

Today’s letter is:   Aminniedclfill

Disney Cruise Line offers several options that start with A:

Animator’s Palate  animator's palate plate knife  and  Ariel too, ariel

but my favorite “A’s”  on Disney Cruise Line are Adult Activities!

People often think Disney is just for children, but Disney Cruise Line makes sure there are plenty of activities for adults too! There are several “adults-only” areas onboard including Senses Spa, Quiet Cove Pool, specialty dining at Palo or Remy, and nighttime entertainment districts. There are plenty of daily activities for adults including mixology classes and wine tastings, fitness classes, bingo, and special entertainment. If your cruise happens to include a stop at Castaway Cay, Serenity Bay Beach offers adults relaxation with a private beach, bar, BBQ, and even its own group of cabanas.

castaway cay m & M     Do you have other favorite “A’s” on Disney Cruise Line?

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Thankful Thursday

smiles and tears

I am so thankful for Beth Ann Chiles, a friend and former co-worker, who writes It’s Just Life. Every single month Beth Ann selects a cause, and she donates $.50 per comment for the entire month for her Comments for a Cause. The cause she selected for November just happens to go towards my Honduras Mission Trip through Carolina Cross Connection! Plus, this month she is part of a group that is posting daily, so the donations are really adding up!

Here’s where you can help. Please use this link and read about my trip.  I’d greatly appreciate any comments you’d be willing to share on her November posts. You can even comment on older posts, so it’s easy to do several a day if you happened to miss any.  I fell in love with the children in the orphanages we visited last summer and can’t wait to return. Your comments will help me get there and all you have to do is type a few lines! Thanks for your support!

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Gratitude Campaign

Move It Monday & Wordless Wednesday

run disney 2

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that my Monday wasn’t the greatest. I had great plans to start my walk/run program following Jeff Galloway’s training plan on runDisney, but that did not happen. Instead of motivation, I was mad. So I didn’t go walk/run, and I didn’t post.  It also just happened to be my favorite Mouse’s birthday! Mickey Mouse turned 85 on Monday! Happy belated birthday, Mickey!

On a sad note Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, passed away yesterday at the age of 79. You may read a bit about her here.

 

run disney 1

So today would normally be Wordless Wednesday and my plan is to post Hidden Mickeys, but this week, my pictures will be a mixture of Move It Monday and Wordless Wednesday. This morning after dropping the kids off, I was able to start my walk/run program with a little help from Minnie. I have “trained” and completed a 5K in the past, but it was 3 years ago, and I have done NOTHING since then. My hope is that the weekly posts will hold me accountable and keep me moving in these cold winter months! What better way to be inspired than with a pair of new shoes!

Minnie shoe

Turn Around Tuesday

I’m hoping the “Turn Around” will not become a permanent post on Tuesdays, because yesterday and today were quite hectic and crazy! However, “turn around” it did, and I’m grateful.

Our daughter is now in her tween years, and I’ve seen a few glimpses of that trying time I’ve been dreading. I’ve been very frustrated and even a bit angry about some of her recent, new behavior.  That anger is a pretty new feeling for me as well, and I haven’t known quite what to do about it.

This afternoon while reading Glennon Doyle Melton’s amazing book, Carry On, Warrior  Thoughts on Life Unarmed (visit her blog here), and seeing how she felt some of this same anger, I realized that I hadn’t prayed about my frustration. I had complained, fumed, been upset, and even yelled, but I hadn’t prayed! That stopped me in my tracks. I took a few moments and prayed for patience and guidance.

This evening I went to do prayers before bedtime. (Last night I made my husband do them because I was too angry to sincerely pray at the time!) My daughter and I had a great discussion about the past few days. After prayers, she hugged me tight and said, “You’re the best mother in the whole world.”  I told her how I was extremely lucky to be her mother because she is an amazing daughter.

So tonight as I reflect on the past two days, I am thankful for the peace in our home and for God who answers prayers and provides everyone a chance to turn around, especially me.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sunday!

Hearts for Hope

Today was fabulous! For those who don’t know me personally, I work full-time as the Christian Educator for a United Methodist Church, where I am responsible for the programming and activities for infants – senior adults. On Wednesday nights I work primarily with the children. Because of the number of mission projects and activities our church is involved in, we have some pretty passionate children who love helping others! Several months ago one lovely 3rd grade girl asked if we could create crafts to raise money for orphans and other children in need. She encouraged the other children to join in, and we’ve spent each Wednesday making unique creations for a project they named Hearts for Hope.  There have been a number of one-of-a-kind pipe cleaner sculptures, original games made with beads and shells glued onto paper plates, drawings, group crafts, and LOTS of glitter! You can’t leave the room without having gold glitter on you somewhere!

Today was the day we were displaying all of their hard work and asking the people at church for donations towards Hearts for Hope. The children manned the tables, carefully explaining what they were doing, the purpose of some of the items, and what the money would go towards. As the donations were given, the children excitedly counted their money. They were thrilled as they sorted and added the donations with a grand total of $138.00!  They were so proud of their accomplishment and couldn’t believe how much money they raised! They’re going to discuss how to best use their money and are eagerly planning another fundraiser in the spring. I’m so proud to be a part of a church that allows children to put their ideas into action and supports their efforts!

Inspired by Rejection

On Thursday, while many of you were going about your everyday routines, there was an estimated group of 250-350 women and men who were eagerly waiting for 3:00 PM to arrive. I was one of them. The excitement had been building for over a month. We were all waiting for THE email that would let us know if we’d made it to Round 3 of the Disney Parks Moms Panel search.

Disney congrats

To be a part of this group is in itself a huge accomplishment. Round 1 begins in September, and 10,000 applications are accepted. We don’t know how many applied this year, or any year for that matter. (I do know that the very first year of applications in September 2007 began with 5000 being accepted then was increased to 10,000 due to the response. I was one of those, too.) Usually around mid-October, Round 1 applicants are notified by email whether or not they are moving on to Round 2.  This year, last year, and the very first year in 2007, I was fortunate enough to be a part of Round 2. We sent in essay responses and a 60-second video, and the waiting began. This year Disney Parks Mom Panel is under new leadership. Gary Buchanan did an amazing job keeping us informed, as much as possible while keeping the magic hidden, about when we would hear the news about Round 3 emails. It took longer than normal, and we were told there would be less moving on competing for a smaller number of spaces than last year. (Last year added 19 panelists to the established group.) While waiting, many of us communicated on social media and became a tight-knit, friendly group. I know that sounds strange, especially if you know how competitive I can be! I’ve known some of these women for a couple years now, as I met them while waiting in the past, and we are supportive and chEAR each other on!

Well, needless to say, 3:00 PM came and went, emails were received, and I received one saying, “Unfortunately,…”  Our social media groups were flooded with others receiving that same news, and finally, we started seeing some who got “Congratulations!” There are an estimated 35-40 women and men who’ve made it to Round 3. They will have a phone interview next week, and then will learn whether or not they made it onto the 2014 panel.

Although it’s the end of my journey this year, there are only 10 more months until I can start the process over again. I am determined to continue and try again for the 8th time. Until then, I will chEAR on the moms and dads who are still in the running this year. I can’t wait to see who makes the panel! There are so many amazing Disney-loving people in Round 3, the committee cannot go wrong with any of them. Many of the current panelists remind us that panelists are chosen for a number of reasons that only those in charge know. Just because we weren’t chosen this year, or in years past, doesn’t mean we won’t be chosen in the future. I have hope that one year will be MY year!

So, that is why I’ve started this blog. I am inspired by the friendships, by the magic that Disney provides, and by those who may not understand what that’s all about! Most of all, I’m inspired to bring a little bit of that pixie dusted magic into my life and the lives of those around me, whether we are in the presence of Mickey or not.