Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oh the Places I Might Go: 9/11 Reflections

I sat at home today. When I closed my eyes after scrolling through FB, I realized the significance of today. I should not be sitting on my back porch at this moment. I should be in Greece, or Florence supporting my friends, or in Puerto Rico hearing my mentors and seeing a dear sister. But for some reason, I’m home. I said no to Greece because, well it was a “me time” trip and I just don’t take those. If conference or CEU is not part of it, I say no, because well for me I just don’t do that anymore. I feel sort of guilty if I'm away not bettering myself for my patients. As a mom, I feel like I can’t. As a full-time therapist, I don’t see how I can and leave the patients "for that many days." And it just doesn’t come out economically to take a fun, me trip anymore. What I’m NOT saying about Greece, is that it was a retreat. God time, not just me time. And I know sitting on my porch I should not have said NO to that, especially for pete’s sake…it was in GREECE! The one place over seas I have ALWAYS wanted to go. The one place that calls to me from the pictures of White and Blue mountainside and sea. I’ll go next year I hope. But today I know I could be there instead of here.

I said no to Florence with fleeting thought. Wanting to, but knowing other commitments hold me here. I’ll see it someday. Deadlines loom and call. And that again is why I’m here. That is why I'm off today. 

Puerto Rico. Well….IRMA. God has a funny way of showing me exactly where He wants me. And sometimes making it REALLY obvious. I should be flying out today to beautiful San Juan but here I sit. I’ve always wanted to go there. My dad used to travel to PR often, during his plant research and agronomy days. He cared for crops there and went for 2 weeks each time. Came back with stories of beauty and trinkets for us. And even a funny one of a snake crawling out of the sink while he talked to us one night.  I’ll go someday, just not today.

So here I sit. Breathing in the beauty of my back porch, my sweet place. Calling to God asking what He has JUST FOR ME. Begging Him to not let me miss His blessings, like I sort of feel today. I know that I haven’t, but appearance wise it might look and sound that way. I’m thankful to be alone, in the quiet, breathing in His presence, sitting in His sweetness knowing I have a FULL DAY of task ahead. Knowing I get to create, study, splice, and conquer the day ahead. I know I’m richer for it, but Lord give me your portion and strength to do a good job.

Here’s what I know. I know I’m in my own backyard for a reason. To hear Him speak again. 9/11 will always be a day I remember. Because the night before I was up until 3AM in the Owen lobby at Wayland Baptist University as an undergrad. I was praying, reading scripture, and then wrote Jody out a card. As I wrote, I re-read the front of the card: “God is MORE RELEVANT than this mornings headline." Gracious to remember that now! I dropped the card in campus mail and skipped to class. Jody ran up to me later that day, waving the card. “Did you read this? This is crazy! When did you buy that?” OH MY GOSH! "HE is MORE RELEVANT. Think of when you bought that and TODAY." 9/11/01.

As I scroll through the stories, pictures, and videos of 9/11 this morning, I’m still blown away. That card is the first thing I remember that 9/11 morning at 3AM reading that. Praying. Feeling overwhelmed as I read that in those early hours. Feeling so heavy, so burdened. Not knowing why but knowing all the same. Of course, to my horror and everyone else’s, the news showed pictures that no one wanted. Fear gripped and hearts sank beyond. WHAT ON EARTH is going on? That human spirit overwhelms me this morning. Seeing the video about Gander, Newfoundland was a first for me today. Hope given by a small town of 9 thousand, where NYC flights were diverted to and gained 6,500 more people that day. How people were loved by a town and hope was regained in grief, fear, sadness, and uncertainty. What a beautiful story! I'm praying for Houston, Port A, Dickinson, and all my Texas towns. Praying for Puerto Rico and FL, GA, and SC. Thankful that no terrorist created these, but knowing weather is brutally fierce and loss is overwhelming.

There is so much to learn from the rubble and ashes of 9/11. From any disaster. So much to make time for to be thankful for and reflect over TO REMEMBER. From these photos and memories, we each gain strength. From the blue beam photo below, we send light to the heavens and have HOPE. We gain PERSPECTIVE that each day is so very precious and we are never promised another day. It ultimately reminds me that my most important decision that was ever made was asking Jesus into my heart. There are no guarantees aside from HIM.

One more thing before I go. I feel these words are important:

Do not grieve the Spirit of God in who you were sealed until the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 
Ephesians 4:30-31

Perspective is BEST gained by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit cannot be rushed, hurried, but is peaceful and brings healing. Healing that this Nation experienced 16 years ago. Healing that we need again. Read Genesis 1:2……Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.


The Spirit always watches over, guides, provides, and checks on us. Always present and waiting. Hover with Him today a little longer. Wait on His presence. Let it FILL you up and give you wisdom. Wisdom we need to keep in step with the Spirit. I'm right where I'm supposed to be today. Thankful. Grateful. Filled. 



Love you friends! Have a blessed day!

Quote Inspiration
JOY cannot partner with grumbling. It must partner with FAITH to breathe LIFE!   MH





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disney Surprise Trip 2017 & TIPS

Disney Adventure 2017

13 day trek across the lower southeastern states

Quotes:
Happy Harveys’
How much longer
Where are we?
Can we swim at the pool?
Where are we eating?
I’m hungry
I’m past hungry
(We must have seen HAN-gry 17 times!)

Kids Disney surprise quotes (before/after reveal):
Why are we driving in Disney World?
Are we going to Disney?
I wish we could go to Disney. We are already here.
We’re going right now? Why right now…it’s so late! (Cale)
Disney for 4 days! (Reece)
Dissssneeeeyy!!!
We're at Disney! This is crazy!! :)

Reece made friends on every ride, in every single line.
Cale hated drops in general.  
Magic Kingdom:  (several are repeated below)
Rides for fast passes: Space Mountain, Seven Dwarf Mine Train, Peter Pan, Pirates, Splash Mountain, Railroad, Buzz Lightyear
Other cool stuff: Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
Eats: Crystal Palace-character dinner, Dole Whip (stand), Cinderella’s Royal Table- (didn’t do this but have heart it’s a cool experience but $$)

DISNEY TIPS:
Download the Disney app to your phone!

Book your fast passes in advance:
Using a travel agent gets you 60-90 day access to book them early before your trip
Book them back to back. Use the 3 up early in the day then you will have more to use through the rest of your day at each park.

Do the Dining Package: easily pays for itself, then some! Know how many quick service, snacks, and sit down/table dinners you have for the entire time. Plan that out, booking table service meals/character dinners AS SOON AS you book your trip. These places fill fast and your reservation ensures that you have a spot and AC in the hot parts of the day! Dinners were nice breaks for the outside. This particular package is so nice when you don’t want to think about $ once your in the park.

Do the Photo Pass/Memory Maker: All the pictures you take in the park are covered and download straight to your app! Remember to download your pictures once your home by the date they tell you!

Get up close for Magic Kingdom fireworks on the upper right side of the castle. Tinkerbell flys over you at the end and makes for some great pictures. Get there 1 hour before the 9pm show to get your seat. I managed to find a spot for us 40 minutes before one but it was a process!

Buy Disney Gift Cards in the Months before you go from Walmart, Target, Sams, etc. That way you have money set aside before you go. We gave these to the kids for money they got to spend on stuff they wanted. Super helpful to give them $$ and YOU hang onto it.

Save on the Disney Hotel: Before you read this, stay where you want. I’m very logical and if you’re at the park from 7-8am-11pm to midnight daily, save your Monday and use an All-Star Disney resort room. You sleep and shower there, literally nothing else. The kids used the pool one night and it was HUGE with a good gift shop and dining hall with free drinks in the cup that is included on the dining package. The cup is free refills only at your resort hotel, not the parks. BUT take it with you to the park. Pour your drink in it from lunch. The cups are huge and some places that are quick service allowed free refills.

Magic Kingdom:
Opening show for the day- front of cinderella’s castle
Fast Passes:
7 Dwarf Mine Train
Buzz Lightyear
Splash Mountain
Railroad
Jungle Cruise
Pirates
Peter Pan
Space Mountain

Fun rides/ shows (no fast pass if wait is short):
Barnstormer
Dumbo- cool indoor play area at this is optional
Pooh
Magic Carpets
Astro Orbit: if you hate heights it might get you. It did me and rode it at night. I personally did not appreciate that it angled slightly being up that high and would not ride it again. This is the only ride I feel this way about. J
Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
Stitch Show
Laugh Floor (Monsters Inc)
Small World (long, cool ride, indoor for most lines if its raining)

Animal Kingdom:
Have a fast pass for Flight of Avatar. GREAT RIDE! One of the BEST! Cale hated it because of thrill/drops. It’s all 3D, so if you hate that you can CLOSE YOUR EYES, which he quickly learned…once he finally listened. J He tried to crawl out but literally you can’t easily thank goodness.
Tusker House is where we did a character safari lunch. Great buffet and good AC. Arrive at your reservation time and check-in, expect a short wait.
Yak & Yeti: quick service- most counters can give you gluten free options, so just ask.
Starbucks: There’s one at every park. You can use a “snack” for this! A bonus because I needed coffee day 2-4!
Rides to Fast Pass:  Kilomanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, Avatar, Navari Jungle Cruise (Pandora), Dinosaur
Tree Awakening: Check times. Starts at 9pm and goes every 10 minutes
River of Life: Night boat lightening Parade (10:30pm if your not exhausted by this point)

Hollywood Studios:
Jedi Training: through 12 years old. Arrive at the park early!! 2.5 hours before it opens or make breakfast reservations at Hollywood and Vine to get in park early. They only take a certain amount of “Jedi’s” daily so get there to sign them up.
Eats: Drive-In (eat in the old cars)
Hollywood & Vine (character dinner)
Backlot Express (Star Wars quick service lunch)
Fast Pass:
Tower of Terror
Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller Coaster (check the height limit- Cale was 44” and couldn’t ride it)
Toy Story Mania (SOOO much fun you have to do it 2-3 times!)
Star Tours
Fun Stuff:
Storm Trooper March: parade that open the day in AM
Indiana Jones Epic Stunts
Star Wars: Launch Bay- meet the characters!
Beauty and the Beast: check times; for us they were before 2pm so catch it early
Fantasmic: night show
Star Wars Fireworks: 9pm- awesome but overlaps with Fantasmic times a bit
FROZEN (sing-a-long): this was my pick! AND PROBABLY one of the FUNNIEST things I’ve gone to. The 2 hosts are SNL great! Do not miss it especially if you like the music already. Such a fun time! (Times run throughout the day.)

Epcot/Magic Kingdom Day Split: (Day 4):
Sorry if you like this place. It was fine, but not for me. I’m a saver and next trip I will not save time for this park unless the kids just want Test Track again. I’m glad I didn’t give it any more than 3.5 hours on the last day.  
Rides:
Test Track: This is why you go!! Get there early. We did our fast passes at lunch and on at Magic Kingdom. You cannot book fast passes at multiple parks. Epcot opened at 8 and we walked very briskly to the back left corner to this ride for a 30 min or less wait. GREAT RIDE! Build your own race car and then “test” it out!
Spaceship Earth: Within the famous Epcot ball. Cool ending to the ride.
Soaring: Jody and Reece did this. Cool quick world tour in a hang glider.
Nemo: Cale and I did this. Very special time with my little guy. He’s still a fan of the movie he’s loved as long as he’s been alive. Nemo ride, walk through aquarium section, and do turtle talk show (~10-15 minutes).

Extras to Take into the Park:
-Ponchos: it rains a lot so be prepared!
-Camel Back for water (saved us in the 90 min wait lines when fast passes were not available)
-Water bottles/spray fans
-Chilly Pads
-Extra snacks, Gatorade
-If you have small kids take a stroller! There is stroller parking everywhere across the park. Have a stroller with folding ability, making it easier to go through buses and check points at the parks. Cale was 6 and rode the whole time. He traded Reece whose 9 when she was super tired from all the walking. Animal Kingdom for us was exhausting and many things were back and forth and seemed spread out.
-Take 2 power sources to charge your phone. Switch them to LOW Battery source under settings to save charge. We had 2 charged power packs and used them daily; charge them back up at night.
-Tennis shoes are a must. Flip flops are pain waiting to happen. Do not do it. You’re gone too much of the day to mess with anything but tennis shoes that are supportive. There were people in wedges, flops, converse, etc that just were not great choices when you’re doing multiple days in the park. No jellie sandals. You’re asking for blisters galore!

Other Adventures: 
Savannah, GA
Historic Downtown
Wormsloe Plantation entrance for the famous tree lined drive shot! (This for me was epic!)


Hilton Head, SC
Beach House Resort- highly recommend this place
Good pool, poolside movies for kids, good eats, live bands, beach access is direct from the pool.
Catch 22: dinner
Doughboy Pizza: great chopped salads and pizza

Bonus Stops & Visits:
Duck Commander
Monroe, LA

Kristin & Jonathan
Fairhope, AL
Pier, Lunch, and Mr. Gene’s Beans

Destin, FL
Beach!!


Ole Miss Stop to visit Cara & Brian
Oxford, MS

Big Bad Breakfast is the best!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

ENTRUSTED


Entrusted Study with Beth Moore
(Study of 2 Timothy)
My summary through the study

Throughout the study there is urgency in Paul’s letter to Timothy. Timothy is young and needs the encouragement from his mentor. Paul is not quiet about anything he wants to say to him. Any mentor should be willing to poor into an appointed student. Much like Paul and Timothy.

Personally I was very curious as I went through this study to do some additional counting as I read. Below are the places throughout the 2 books of Timothy where Paul is charging, encouraging, and reminding Timothy of all he has been ENTRUSTED with. The gospel and the people who he has been positioned with the lead.

Do no neglect your gift.. (1 Tim 4:14)
Be diligent… (1 Tim 4:15)
Watch your life & your doctrine closely. (1 Tim 4:16)
Take care of family (instructions for the people) (1Tim 5:8)

Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.. (2 Tim 1:8)
Guard the deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the Help of the Holy Spirit. (2 Tim 1:14)
You then, my son, be strong.. (2 Tim 2:1)
Endure.. (2 Tim2:3)
Reflect on what I am saying.. (2 Tim 2:7)
You, however, …. (2 Tim 3:10
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced…. (2 Tim 3:14)
I give you charge, Preach the Word; be prepared in and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim 4:1-2)
But You, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.  (2 Tim 4:5)

In Beth's emphasis, 2 Timothy 4:2 give us the biggest summary.
Be urgent and patient.
URGENT with the gospel.

Patient with the people.

Finally reflecting on Matt 25:14 she brings us full circle to what have we done with what we have been entrusted with. I hope that I am living to the full, doing all I am supposed to do. Once day we will hear that verse directed toward us;
"What did you do with what I entrusted to you?"