One of These is Not Like the Others

Last time I was at Disney World, I walked into the Hall of Presidents at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, this was before it was closed for the big change over, and after the show I walked out with tears in my eyes.

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Photo from Burnsland.com

This majestic and interesting tribute to Liberty’s Leaders is currently being polluted by the addition of a farce of a man. A sheep in wolves’ clothing. It makes me sick to think of his animatronic visage standing in that hallowed hall of ultimately flawed, human leaders. Leaders who were by no means perfect. But leaders who led. Who saw the cracks and did their best to fill them with the education, perspective and backgrounds that each man brought the table.

They did what they could with the time they were given and are remembered with the pomp and circumstance deserving of someone holding the highest office in the land. No President gets it all right. None are loved by all, except maybe George Washington…he seems to do well with everyone (especially the Christopher Jackson version!)

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Photo from bigfloridacountry.com

People argue that our newest President should be given the self same chance to lead that Obama was given… Kennedy was given… Eisenhower was given… Both Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were given… Lincoln was given… and George Washington was given. The very man who, seeing the dangers a longer presidency or a monarchy posed to our young nation, stepped down and joined the history books.

It saddens me to think Trump will be represented among our nation’s public servants. He lied and divided and conned his way into office.

You are entitled to your opinion about it…this is mine.

He does not deserve to stand there. His Presidency is a dangerous one, an incendiary one and ultimately a harmful one to a nation that seems more fragile each day that passes.

My fellow Americans, we are being tested. How will our generation be portrayed in the history books?

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Photo by Melville House Books

Look, I hope Donald J. Trump takes a turn and starts to governs, actually becomes a public servant, actually humbles himself in order to serve in the highest office, actually stops campaigning long enough to start being the leader of the free world. But I have my doubts.

I don’t think we are seeing our finest hour. I think we are witnessing the worst of what we have to offer. Division over unity. Fear over basic liberties. Anger and vitriol over kindness. “Law and order” over basic human decency.

Yep, I stepped out of the hall and had to wipe tears from my eyes. And these words rang in my mind: “The woods are lovely dark and deep… But we have miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep, America!

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Something Magical Happened, But I Can’t Show You

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Last week can only be described as amazing, soul-refreshing and down right exciting. You already saw my solo adventures at not one, but all four of Disney World’s theme parks. But here’s the part I didn’t show you.

I actually can’t show you. See…my phone died right after I ate what looked like a delicious Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel, but really was old tire rubber that had been sitting in the sun since 7am.

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Pretzel notwithstanding, there was magic in the air as I returned to Hollywood Studios, where I’d started my grand adventure.

There has been one other time in recent Disney history that I’ve stayed for the fireworks at the park. And it’s because 2 equally minded, childlike spirits knew as I do just how much magic a fireworks show can hold. I may be overselling this. But the majority of the time when I go to a theme park, at the end of the night, my party is worn out, tired and just wants to beat the traffic. The best way to do that is to skip the fireworks and high tail it out at about 7:30pm. That’s the formula for skipping as much Disney traffic as you can.

But this time it was just me. And traffic, when I have nowhere to go, doesn’t bother me in the least. Especially if I have open windows and a good radio station. Bring on the tail lights!

So I stayed for the fireworks. Specifically the new Star Wars Spectacular at Hollywood Studios cause…well, duh! It’s me! It was always going to be the Star Wars Fireworks show!! I wish I could show it to you, but I’m sorta glad my phone died. I love to share my photos and bring people into my adventures as much as I can. But this was just for me (and the thousands of other people that stayed late too.) You can probably Google the show, find clips on the internet and pictures on Instagram, but I beg you…don’t! Make a plan, if you can, to get to the park and see them live. Let your phone die and live in the magical moment that it absolutely is. I was nearly in tears…it felt that magical. The way the lights and music perfectly complimented my favorite story in the whole wide galaxy…there is really no other word to describe how it felt…it was magic. And I haven’t felt magic like that in a while.

Without a doubt this has been a challenging year. And I have felt, at times lost, at times angry and at times like it wasn’t worth it at all. It’s not true…it’s worth it. It has been worth it the whole time. And not just because of magical fireworks on a balmy Thursday night. I seem to be most attuned to God and myself when I am acting like a kid. I tap into a part of myself that I seem to abandon more often than not these days. She and I used to be much more in sync, but the older I get the farther away she feels.

That magic isn’t lost! In fact I found that magic the very next day when I decided, on a whim, to go paddle boarding off Merritt Island. Another instance of a magic moment that I will just have to keep in my brain because I didn’t bring my phone with me. So this is the only picture I took of the whole adventure:

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It was 11am on a Friday morning. The breeze off the water was perfect and the sun was shining down just enough to give me a nice sun tan/burn glow. I was paddling along by myself, trying to remember how to do it, since it had been a while, when I saw a fin. My heart froze…and I thought “OH SHIT!” Then, I saw another and another. I took a deep breath and the time to notice the shape of the fin and was delighted to see a pod of dolphins headed straight for me. Four adult dolphins and a baby just happily swimming towards the channel and passing me by on their route. I stood in wonder at the sight of them just five or six feet off my starboard bough. It was nothing less than magical!

I followed the pod and watched as they interacted with one another. Squeaking and jumping in the air. I wish I could show you, but again, I’m kinda glad I can’t! It was a moment made just for me. There was no one else on the water right then and by the time other people came into view, the dolphins were gone.

These are extraordinary moments. And they don’t happen everyday. After all “if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one! But if life were only moments then you’d never know you had one.”

I guess what I’m saying is that when magic comes along don’t spend all your time trying to take a picture of it. Let your phone die or leave it back on shore and keep that magic for yourself. There will be plenty of other things to share with people. Magic is something special. And since it’s rare, take care who you share it with.

Truth is, even this blog can’t effectively convey the rejuvenating magic that happened to me somewhere between Disney and the water. But I feel like myself again. I feel the ideas and the excitement of my life again. Ideas and excitement that never left me. God doesn’t take away your creativity. It’s you who walks away. And if you’re lucky you come back and remember who you are. Take the magic when it comes! Seek it out if you have to.

“Just remembering you’ve had an ‘and’ when you’re back to ‘or’ makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.”

I hope you find magic today. And I hope I never get to see pictures of it!

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5 Fandom Friday

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Favorite Theme Park Rides

To say I love theme parks would be a gross understatement. I simply adore them. I put my hair up in pigtails, find the most nerd appropriate shirt for the occasion and I just go wild! It’s like I’m 5 years old again. And I was an adorable 5 year old!!

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#1 – Star Tours & The Great Movie Ride

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Photo from Disney

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

These 2 rides hold a special place in my heart because they have been around for a very long time! And I used to ride them as a kid. Not to mention the obvious love for all things Star Wars and the movies in general! I have yet to ride the updated Star Tours ride, but I loved the old cheesy version, so I have every confidence that the new version will not disappoint. (It takes a lot to disappoint me!)

#2 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s

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This ride is a brand new obsession! I got to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my birthday last year and I think the world magical accurately describes every single minute of a day spent exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. But it’s the brand new ride in the bank vaults of Gringott’s that was my favorite part. The ride makes you feel like you’re in the movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was so wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and give the park another go. If you come to the greater Orlando area after July 2015 and need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl!!!

#3 – Kingda Ka

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Photo from Six Flags

I LOVE roller coasters!! I always try to chicken out at the last moment, when I’m strapped in and regretting the wait in line and the stairs I just climbed. But it’s too late, I made my choice! And as the roller coaster climbs higher and higher, I think I might throw up or scream or cry, but then the wind hits my face and we go careening to the ground and my heart is racing and I know that this is the closest I will ever get to flying and the feeling is exhilarating! The very moment the ride ends, I’m back in line for another go around. And the cycle starts all over again!  (And added shout out to Six Flag’s Safari at Great Adventures. It too is amazing. Though not technically a ride, per se.)

#4 – Splash Mountain

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

This is an obvious choice! A trip to Disney is never complete without a ride on Splash Mountain. And every time I go to The Magic Kingdom, I have to go at least 2 or 3 times. I love Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear! And again, this one has a touch of roller coaster to it. I love the drop before the last drop when you know that last drop is coming and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you might fly out of your log, but you don’t. And it’s amazing!

#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

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Photo from Disney

This is another ride that holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Growing up in Orlando allowed me many opportunities to go to Disney World. Class trips, family fundays. Not to mention that it was much cheaper back in the day. (Yeah, I’m official old for saying that!) This ride has also been updated since I was a kid and the updates still allow it to be a cheesy pirate ride, but incorporates the Jack Sparrow factor from the wildly successful movie franchise. Plus, it’s always been a pirate’s life for me!!

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Like I said, if you ever need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl! Theme parks like Disney and Universal and Wet n’ Wild and Busch Gardens are amazing on their own, but with a Lizzie in tow… they become shamazing!!! Seriously!

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What are your favorite theme park rides?

I Forgot to Play

I’ve always been really good at being a kid. It’s an art really. Pretend play? Mastered! Arts and crafts? Duh, have you met me? Childlike awe and innocence? Yep, got those too. It’s what makes me an awesome nanny. It’s what will (one day) make me a kick ass mother. And it’s why kids freakin’ love me!!! (Not to brag.)

But somewhere along the way I forgot that part of myself. Sometimes, especially in New York (land of growing up too fast), we’re forced to be grown ups. Turning 30 and 31 meant being an adult now. Meant that I had to quit playing. To stop dreaming (or only dreaming realistically.) To be serious. To be… boring? No thank you!!

This past Saturday, I went to Disney World with my oldest friend, Stacey. And it was like chicken soup for my soul. When one goes to “the happiest place on Earth,” one does not spend time worrying  about adult problems.  One does not try to be a grown up. One must and does just play!

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So that’s what I did. I ran around and took pictures and ate ice cream and rode rides and wore Mouse ears and played with my oldest friend. And I was refreshed. God reminded me that we are meant to come to Him with the heart of a child and that it doesn’t mean you can’t be a grown up sometimes, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be one all the time. And that in remembering the innocence and honesty that children are gifted with, we find a new way to worship.

This week as you walk through your adult life, whatever that may look like: kids, jobs, spouses, problems… remember to play. Take a moment and run as fast as you can. Wear something frivolous. Dye some Easter eggs. Go to Disney if it’s within reach, and dream about it if it isn’t in reach. And every time you pray come to God with the heart of child and like I was, you too will be refreshed.

And while you’re at it never, ever forget to play!!