Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ice Melting

One of my friends on face book shared this video today. I watched, prepared for a sappy message or feel-good moral at the end. God always has a bigger and better plan, even for the internet.

Someone in Russia compiled video clips of strangers helping strangers (and the helpless, in the form of fuzzy ducks, even). As I watched clip after clip, I suddenly realized something I had forgotten for a long, long time and I could feel ice thawing from my angry, hurting heart:

That was my Dad.

I can't tell you how many times as a young girl, driving home on I-15 in Southern California with my Dad and brothers (on what was then a very dangerous, two-lane, curvy road), I would have to sit and wait in the truck while my Dad set the brake, put on his hazard lights, and went to help at an accident. The grey hairs my mother must have accumulated as she looked at the clock and knew we were past due for our arrival on the 2 hour drive from Dad's house to hers, not knowing if he was stopping to help or the one in need of help! If it looked like a minor incident, he would probably offer to call on his CB radio (call name "Sand Man") for roadside assistance. If it was a bad wreck, he would tell us to "stay put!" as he went to aid the injured. One time, he became part of a human chain, passing the wounded up the steep hillside to the road. (I think I fell asleep in the truck for that one.)

In this process of grieving, I have struggled with all the things my Dad did selfishly. As a parent, I know well the daily sacrifices we're called to make on behalf of our children and spouse, and it seems to me he did none of that, instead falling into the worldly trap of "wanting to be happy." True happiness doesn't come by living only for ourselves - I don't think he ever knew that.

And yet, in those brief moments on the side of a steep, rainy, California road, my Dad was a true hero to someone hurting, scared, and lost. I can see him still, extending a strong arm and firm grip to an accident victim. I can see his face, focused on the task at hand, for a rare moment quiet, calm, and serious. In that moment, the victim was the only one who mattered and he would stay with them until ambulance or officer told him he could go. He would then climb back into the truck and wordlessly turn off the hazards, put it in gear, and continue on our way, shaking a cigarette out of his pocket pack as he did so.

Of all the memories that have been stirring around of my Dad, I am thankful that God brought me this one, too.

This is a good memory.

When it counted dearly, my Dad was a good man.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Is Guest Star Day!

Haven't done one of these in a while, but I thought this article was most excellent.

Even our best intentions cannot be separated from the gospel!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vacation, Day Two!

I'm still going through all the great photos that Glenna took of our Disney vacation. I feel like my work at Space all year culminated in this wonderful weekend with all my babies (and Paul). 

 As carefully as I could, I tried to plan enough details to give us a relaxing, fun, magical experience. Resort rooms, meal plans, itinerary, MNSSHP tickets - I believed I had thought of everything!

Somewhere on the bus to Animal Kingdom, however, probably right before this photo was taken, I realized one horrible fact:
 Disney had changed their main gate policy for cast members and guests, and I had left three main gate passes back in our room. I was absolutely horrified!

Himself and I quickly got off the bus two resorts down from our own. We ran to the shuttle and stood there a while, then realized the shuttle between resorts for breakfast stops running at 11:00. We flagged down the concierge who quickly ordered a van to come and pick us up.

And, here's what I love about the company I work for - they not only picked us up to take us back to the resort for something I had brainlessly forgotten, but our driver asked, and received permission, to wait for us and drive us straight to Animal Kingdom.


The group kept reassuring me that they were fine and waiting for us in the Rain Forrest Cafe at the gate of Animal Kingdom. Glenna recorded these for me. =)

We finally got in! Our goal was to enjoy a few rides, eat at the BBQ place here, and then head over to Hollywood Studios.

Kelly's Asian Tourist pose

I think Himself took these. Glenna trying to get her hair off her neck for a while . . .

. . . . and the requisite sibling photo bomb.

Is it just me, or do I look like my Aunt Sharry here?
Tyler and Jessie volunteered to sprint to the Safari and get us fast passes while the rest of us waited in line for Nemo. We waited by the entrance for them as long as we could, but they told us we had to go inside. Meanwhile, TWO of our tickets got stuck in the fast pass kiosk, delaying Ty and Jess just long enough to miss the show. The chain went up as they arrived and my heart sank as I watched them close the doors, because I knew they absolutely would not let them in.

Thankfully, they took advantage of the 45 minute show time and rode Expedition Everest!

Animal Kingdom really is a beautiful park, and it offers many opportunities for great photos. The bridge is a favorite spot, so I grabbed Himself for a photo.

These two decided they should have bridge photos, too. I wish I had recorded the dialog. Glenna just kept snapping pictures.
Let's get our bridge photo!

I'm going to keep the same expression. . . 

Wait. Where should we stand?

Right here? No! That's lame with the beam in the way!
Fine. Forget it then!


That's better!

After Ty and Jessie's heroic efforts to get fast passes, we discovered that the Safari was pretty backed up (even in the fast pass lane). We ended up skipping the ride, which added insult to injury. We went on It's A Bug's Life (Himself had never been!) and then headed back to the buses.

At Hollywood Studios, my friend Adam had set me up with many fast passes, so we were in no hurry.

Love the old Hollywood California feel of this place!

Glenna and Paul could have ridden Star Tours all day, and Kelly liked it, too. There's so many difference scenes that riders won't see the same one twice in a row. Our first time through, Glenna was chosen as the Rebel Spy they were searching for. We cracked up at that.

While Glenna, Paul, and Kelly rode Star Tours again, I chased after Himself, Ty, and Jessie to go on Tower of Terror, where my friend Adam was working. I thought it only courteous to try and find him to thank him for the fast passes.

The ride scares the bejeebers out of me.

We went right through the queue and onto the ride without my seeing him. As our "elevator" was going through the star corridor on the way to the drop, I may have said too loudly I can't believe I'm on this STUPID RIDE AGAIN which caused a chuckle to go through the group. I finally figured out that if I squeezed myself to my seat by holding on to the hand grips, it's about 21% tolerable. All that, and I didn't even see Adam!

We ended our evening with dinner at the Captain's Grill, which is in the Yacht Club resort. I was so thankful for Jessie, thinking ahead and calling around to get us in! I was distracted by Paul's magic band not working and trying to get it straightened out, so having her take care of that detail was such a blessing. The food was delicious and I would definitely eat there again.

Back to our rooms after midnight again, but I'd say any day with my babies (and Paul) was a successful day!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


One of THE best things about MNSSHP is the Boo To You parade. It's fabulous, and the highlight of our evening. 

Hard to see, but the Headless Horseman opens the parade with his ride through the parade route.

The characters are adorably dressed in costumes. Here, Mickey welcomes us all to the parade!

Christopher Robin out Trick or Treating with the gang. . . 

. . . then startled by Tigger!

Himself and our group got a wave from Captain Hook!

Captains Barbosa and Sparrow
 This part was especially cool. As Barbosa went past on the float, he spotted Himself and gave him a deliberate nod as one captain to another. He then gave Himself a prolonged, sideways glance, like he was sizing up his strength and planning to meet him in a sea battle. Hah!

From the Haunted Mansion, followed by Gravediggers. They would spin and create sparks on the ground with their shovels!

The parade ends on a sweet note and with more candy.

MNSSHP is sold out at 24,000 tickets. Considering that Magic Kingdom is at full capacity at 65 to 70 thousand (that's when they shut the gates), 24,000 was wonderful. We were able to walk straight on to any ride without wait.

I finally got our Dumbo to go upward.

A midnight meal at Starlight Cafe
There are treat stations throughout the park, so we all came away with a TON of candy (I'll be giving it away on tonight for Halloween if I can keep Glenna and Himself out of it long enough). I loved sharing this experience with all of my babies (and Paul) so much!

"Boo. To YOU. And YOU! (It's not so very scary. . . .) The song is still in my head. =)


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