It Began With A Dream

When my children were little, we visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida once a year, usually around Thanksgiving.  There are happy memories around every corner for me, and because I grew up in Southern California, very near Walt's original park, Disneyland... I now have a lifetime of experiences associated with both parks.

We took a break from visiting for about ten years, as the boys got older and co-ordinating schedules and budgets became more and more complicated.   Now our youngest son is just about to head off to college and our thoughts have turned back toward places we held dear for so long.  We are beginning to revisit them.  The Beach Club and The Boardwalk across the water are two of my favorite places in all the world, and we can reach both in just a short two and a half hour plane ride down the East Coast.  

I think a lot about how it all started with one man's dream.  How without Walt, none of this would have existed and all these memories I hold so dear would never have happened. From humble beginnings come truly great things sometimes.  One life... just one life, can have such an impact.  Refusing to give up even when things seem incredibly bleak is something I believe divides the dreamers who never quite get off the ground, from the people who soar.

It's still one of my happiest places on earth.  It still makes me believe in dreams.  It still makes me long to soar.  And it still makes me feel welcomed home.:)

Let me tell you something about life. Always finish what you start. And anything worth doin’ is worth doin’ well.
— wisdom from Walt Before Mickey

It's My Son

About two weeks ago, my youngest son and I had a day together alone, which rarely happens. So I asked him out on a date and he said yes!:)  How lucky am I?  I took him to see the movie, When The Game Stands Tall, which turned out to have quite a few more life lessons in it than I ever expected and stirred both of our hearts to really think about the ways that football is more than just a game for him. I knew little about the film, other than that it was a movie about an undefeated football team and the extraordinary coach who led them.  Turns out it was about a whole lot more... faith, love, heart, emotions, brotherhood, what it means to be part of a team, dependability, sacrifice, leadership both on the field and off, sorrow, joy, and ultimately... what it means to grow up and  be a man who is able to feel and to love, in life.. as well as he is able to love the game.

I've watched my Eric grow by leaps and bounds in the past three years.  He is a freshman in high school and it is his third year playing football.  This year, the coach made him a wide receiver which is something new for him, and something he takes pride in.  I think we'll be spending a lot of time tossing a football with him in our backyard, this fall.  I found his playbook on the kitchen counter, open as if he had just been studying it and it drove home to me again... how these boys are growing up into lives apart from me... full of experiences that are uniquely their own and not mine.  I'm trying so hard not to blink but it's blinking by anyway. 

I have such a mixture of feelings when I look at this child.  When he smiles, he has a dimple that is so endearing and he has no idea of its effect on people. It adds a special warmth to a gentle smile. He is already so very good... at loving.  I wrote a post about his journey last year titled, Making The Most of the Daylight Hours.  Still applies today... maybe even more so. When I look at that photo of him from just last year, it tugs at my heart.  They change a lot from 13 - 15... passing from boyhood into something deeper. He's come such a long way in three short years and in my eyes, it isn't so much the game that stands tall... it's my son.  

Children of the Day

I still remember the night I stood here watching the sun paint all those glorious colors into the sky.  It was breathtaking and I felt such peace.  I was holding my flip flops and my sweater in my hand, digging my toes into the soft, cold sand.  It was one of those perfect moments of just being, where there was no need for talk. Such a little oasis in the center of a crazy busy place, where entertainment can be found around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and long past daylight.  And yet it was here.. where I wanted to be. In this quiet place full of waning light and color. That is so representative of my being.  Of who I am at the core.  I find solace in solitude. I need it, in order to function in any kind of healthy fashion.  But I am coming to understand that there is a very fine line between seeking solitude in order to recharge and reconnect more meaningfully, and self imposed isolation whose only design is to separate. One is full of light and peace.  The other is wretchedly dark and dismal.

I received two letters this week from women I have come to deeply respect and admire.  It's ironic you know.. After a very frustrating couple of months, in my anger, I had just finished telling someone that Christians (myself included) are some of the most self absorbed, miserable people I know.  How incredibly self centered (and totally wrong) that was.  Those letters were proof and they were a balm to my heart.  I'm quoting the last words of one here, not only out of respect for the woman who spoke it, but so that I will remember them, later this year, when I will undoubtedly need them again.  

Religion will fail you, people will fail you, but God won’t. There have been plenty of times I have thought that He has forgotten me only to lift me up higher than I thought I could go. I get tired and want to give up but then I think of that story of the Footsteps and know He is carrying me when I can’t do it myself. ...please don’t let.. this world dim that wonderful free spirit of yours. ..I do hope you know that you are not alone.
— Elizabeth Smith

You know what?  I do know that.  Because there are a few of you out there, who continue to remind me that there is kindness and goodness yet in the world, if I will only take my eyes off myself and turn them outward and upward.  I guess this is just my way of retracting some hastily spoken, selfish words and replacing them with something more beautiful.  And it is my way of saying thank you to every one of you (and you know who you are) who have reached out to me in friendship this past year and said in your own precious ways... "We're not letting go." You've taught me more about unconditional love and faithfulness than I could ever.. have imagined.

Summer Concert With Ed and Lexy

Ed Page, lead guitarist for the Horn Dogs, plays Paper Mill Island on a beautiful summer night in Baldwinsville on July 29, 2014.

Had a great time out at Paper Mill Island in Baldwinsville last night, hangin' with my friend Lexy Page on a perfect summer night that felt more like fall.  Her husband Ed is lead guitar and vocalist for his band The Horn Dogs and he led the crowd on a joy filled musical journey for an hour and a half that ended with a splash on Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire!  There was laughter and dancing and at one point, the guys even came out into the middle of the crowd and played right in front of me so I could get a few close ups.  Live events are so fun!

July is quickly winding to a close.  I hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Beautiful Things Don't Ask For Attention

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
— Life Magazine Motto, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

There is a scene at the end of the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Walter asks Sean who is sitting on top of a mountain waiting for a chance to get just one shot of a beautiful snow leopard in the wild... when he's gonna take the shot.  He responds...

Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it. They call the snow leopard the ghost cat. Never lets itself be seen. Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
— The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I have thought of that one scene maybe more than any other scene from a movie in a really long time.  I knew I had a shot of a snow leopard in my library and I went looking for it today, lingering over it for some time.  How often do I just accept things, without conviction of the heart?  How many other things in my life am I doing or allowing simply because they are easy, convenient, or entertaining... accepting when I should be questioning?  

For me, these days... those are some pretty important questions and as I stared at this photograph, I think I realized it's time for me to figure out how I alone.. would answer them.