Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer in a bucket!

Summer!! Summer is here, the sun is here. Florida feels as hot as Hades and it only gets hotter from here. I have one week left of work at j.o.b #1 and while I don't have the summer off from the other, a more flexible schedule is definitely high on my list of summer perks! And with all that a little bit of free time I finally have time to check off tons of these 5 big plans! 
5 on Friday: 
Top 5 Summer Bucket List Plans! 

1.) Read- This may not sound huge to some, but in my world time to sit with a book and not feel like I have to stop after just one chapter seems like utter perfection! I keep adding to my book list but I don't ever seem to be able to check anything off.  I am currently working my way through the Beautiful Creatures series and so far I am loving it. 
2.) Get Outta' Town- I can't wait to kiss the Orlando city limit sign good-bye. I can't wait to spend hours in the car, with nothing to do but drive. I am even looking forward to one of those drives done with 3 children filled with "are we there yets?" in tow. I love road trips! Always have. And right now nothing seems better than uninterrupted road leading me onwards to my peaceful place (TN) and our kid-filled-week-of-fun that closes out each summer (Big Canoe, GA).

3.) Soak in the sunshine- Beach, lake, pool... on a boat, on a float, in a chair, not a care; vitamin D, need I say more? 
4.) Disney Days- I am looking forward to more flexibility to use our passes. While I have a feeling that the majority of those extra days will be spent at the water parks, I am just excited to have more time to go. 
5.) Projects galore- I am excited for time to check off projects I have been wanting to get done. I really want to use an old broken crib and make a outdoor swinging day bed. Other projects on the horizon: another book wreath, make a farm house table, pallet patio furniture, paint our corn hole boards all cute (Babe may argue this point), and finally get more pictures hung around the house.

Maybe not the most superb bucket list in the world, but this summer I am looking for simple; simple and rejuvenating and flexible! 

What about your summer plans? Any good books on your reading recommendation list? And while your at it how about try this one out? 

I am not usually a time period reader and I figured I would share it with someone who was. It is up for grabs for one lucky reader. 
Just enter below and it could find its way to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maleficent?! Magnificent!

I admit, after reviews from both critics and peers alike I was nervous about seeing Maleficent. To start I am not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie and I didn't want to see a Disney classic butchered. However, there have not been many movies I had wanted to see in theaters lately and this was one I had originally been excited about. When we decided to go I was still skeptical, but on the way I caught an instagram from a blog friend whose judgement I trusted and said she loved it... I couldn't agree more. BUT, it may not be for the reasons one may assume.
*** This is the point where I encourage you to stop reading if you don't want slight spoiler alerts***
Maleficent was more a change of story than it was a second view point and it was a story I found more believable than the original Sleeping Beauty story line.

1.) Maleficent was less good vs. evil and more about the struggle within each of us that pulls us closer to one path over the other. We were brought up to believe that Maleficent is an evil fairy, born that way and set in wicked ways. I find it harder to believe that one is simply born evil. There is usually something, some event, that hardens a heart and turns it cold. That is where Maleficent's story begins. She has been hurt, defeated and scorned by the one person she trusted more than anything.

2.) The innocence of a child is enough to warm any heart. Even when one has been scorned to the point where the world may think there is no return  I believe that there is a bit of that light that lingers, tucked deep inside the cobwebbed corners. A child comes along and dusts those corners with each smile, each small and trusting gesture. Something sparks in the heart of an adult that wants to protect that innocence; to nurture it in the hope that somehow the next generation can "get it right."

3.) True loves kiss... True loves kiss, the kind that will wake a soul, will NEVER be one from a lingering feeling of a one chance meeting; that is true lusts kiss. While I love Disney movies, that's where there have usually seemed to get it wrong. True loves kiss is the kiss that lingers on a cheek after 50 years weathered together. It is a kiss on a forehead of a fevered child being tucked in bed. It is a kiss on a temple as tears of all the mistakes made that brought about pain and hurt roll down the side of a face that would do anything to change the story, to rewrite the past and take back words said out of anger. That is the true, true loves kiss.

4.) Pride will always come before the fall and it was the ultimate downfall in this movie. It began the original struggle between the humans and the Moor people. It took the life from a man who wanted nothing more than title of king. He sought the crown and gave up everything to keep it. King Stephan didn't wish to save his daughter. Had he stopped for one second to see past his pride he would have realized that redemption and forgiveness has already saved her. He couldn't see past his own pride and that led to his ultimate destruction. When we put our pride before everything else we miss out on the ultimate story God has waiting for us.

Ultimately I thought Maleficent made for a wonderful movie experience; one that left we liking change for a minute and that usually does not happen.

What are your thoughts on Maleficent? Like it, love it, just so/so? 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Blueberries, Bicycles, Caps and Gowns, and Steve Brown!

5 Things I am Loving Lately!
1.) Blueberries- Mainly picking them! Blueberries have never been my favorite fruit, not after getting sick on a blueberry muffin in high school.  However, that has all changed!! Fresh off the vine, sun-soaked blueberries?! I pop them like candy! They are so sweet and simply amazing! I could pick blueberries all day, everyday. If you live in Central Florida you should totally check out Tom West Blueberries!
2.) Bike Riding- Love it! I am on this thing any chance I can get. However, I am a destination oriented rider.  "Snazzy McQueen" takes me to breakfast at the nearby diner and on many a slurpee run! It is my newest preferred mode of transportation! 

3.) Graduations- They are happening all over the place! My oldest niece is no longer a preschooler, come August she is officially in kindergarten, this is big news- mainly because my mind can't seem to wrap itself around the fact that she isn't still just 2 years old. If my mind can't wrap itself around that, it REALLY can't wrap itself around the fact that my bro-in-law is graduating from high school! Wasn't I just at his 8th birthday, spelling his name wrong on his card because I thought KC was his actual name and not just his initials?! What?! So, maybe not all of me is loving this... part of me is very sentimentally wondering how in the world they (and I) got so old, so quickly. 

4.) Sunday- Well, I love that it's coming! And that Steve Brown (from Z88.3 and founder of Key Life) is guest teaching at our church for the next two Sundays!! I can not wait!! I get a lot of great wisdom out of sermons at Summit  and I can not wait to see what I get out of these. Mainly though I am looking forward to hearing that voice; I heard it briefly (though I tried not to listen, so I didn't spoil anything) while I was working on Thursday night. There is just something so comforting about that voice. Maybe I will even get to hear him say "you think about that" in real time! 
5.) Friday- Taking the easy way out on this, one but I really am loving that it is Friday and one weekend closer to summer! I am looking forward to a little more free time, a little time with a good book and a lot more sunshine. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Patience and Pirates and Disney Virtues!!!

Disney! There is no other word that I really need to use to describe it than that. I love Disney... the magic, the wonder, everything. It is, in my mind, truly one of the happiest places on Earth! Which is why, when Babe got us annual passes for Christmas, I was one stoked lady!! We waited to start using them because the hubs was finishing his MBA and wanted to wait until he was just about done so that we would have every free weekend possible to enjoy it in all its splendor. I have grown up with passes due to work my father had done for Disney , however, we were always at the mercy of one of my parents being able to get us in. It was so nice being able to just get up and go when we had my niece the other day.  And so while at DisneyQuest, as we waited in line (a very short one at that), the idea came to me to document this year with all the wonderful and wise things Disney has to offer. Because I truly feel that while it is a place of play and imagination, Disney can also teach many a wonderful lesson.  And so begins my first installment of "A Year of Disney Living"!

Patience... it's a wonderful virtue.
Coming by it, is a little tougher, especially for children. So how exactly do we go about teaching it? Well, I say let Disney help! There we were, at DisneyQuest, about to get on Pirates of the Caribbean for the second time. The line was just a bit longer than the first time we got on, but as lines go it was nothing to scoff at (maybe 10 minutes tops). I was holding Makaylin when she asked, "why are we standing here? Where is Pirates?" So I responded that we had to wait, which of course was answered with a why. I do not know how it came to me in the split second, my normal reaction would probably have been to say "well Disney like make us wait on things", instead (and it shocked me too) I answered "Well baby, Disney likes to teach us about patience. We have to have patience. Do you know what patience means?" "Waiting in line?!" "Well, yes waiting in line and waiting for other things in life, without getting upset. It means waiting nicely" "Oh ok, patience. Waiting for pirates!" And there is was, patience and pirates and a lesson... just standing there in Disney line.  Yup, sometimes patience is all about waiting for those pirates.
Disclaimer: Be careful on the backlash! As we were putting Makaylin to sleep the next evening, after allowing her extra time to watch her Goofy movie with Uncle Andrew and then two more minutes to clown around, I was delivered with this response upon telling her it was time to kiss Uncle Andrew goodnight, go sing songs and say prayers... "Aunt Mel, you have to have paaatience!! I said patience Aunt Mel!!" Welp, there it was.  She remembered, she had the gist, but somehow our translation got just a little lost. Next lesson: listening ears and whose in charge (this one is forever ongoing)! 
***DisneyQuest thoughts for toddlers*** 
Originally I was a little skeptical about bringing her to DisneyQuest. Mainly because she was asking for the "castle Disney". However, it was a busy weekend and we didn't want to fight lines. We told her we were talking her to a new Disney. She LOVED it!!! It had been years since I had been to DisneyQuest and all I really remember was the roller coaster simulator. While there was a fair bit she couldn't do the stuff she could do could have kept her entertained all day long. She could ride the river raft ride and pull the handle on the canons in Pirates of the Caribbean.  I was worried I would have to hold her steady, but she did just fine and I was able to play myself, while Babe steered the boat. She also soaked up every minute we would let her in the kiddie arcade game section. She found a kiddie coaster that just vibrated and moved left to right while you watched on the screen and we literally had to pry her off of it!
It was also very under crowded.  Our longest line was maybe 10 minutes. 
Overall, we loved it, she loved and we would totally take her there again!! She even remarked on our elevator ride between floors "This is the the so fun Disney!!" 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Coming Back

I sit, and the days go by, folding in on each other like pages of a book that is just slightly over descriptive, that you find yourself reading over too much.  It is in the read over, in the skimming, that you realized you missed some crucial point hidden in all the clutter. So you go back to move forward, you go back to find the point where you missed the message and you carry on from there.  That is what today feels like, that is what this weekend felt like. The picking up and the carrying on. Excitement felt freeing. Hearing Babe tell me "You are such a big kid sometimes" was light, but what came after, that part was heavy. "You haven't acted like that in a while." There was no mocking in his tone, I could only hear longing. Longing and hope. Hope that it would stick. And after the sad taste of swallowing all the moments in which I thought I had done a good job of "being" excited, I felt it too, that hope. And so I'm going back and I am hoping that person, the one that has simply been trying to get from one moment to the next is not gone, because she was needed, but that she has found room for "the other one".  The one who hunts alligators and finds freedom in the little moments of stolen splendor, who does life and doesn't let life do her.  I want to read each page. The fast paced ones where you are clinging to each word and the descriptive ones too; the ones that hold the beauty and the heartache and the pain and the freedom and the redemption. I want to soak it all in and live on each moment that life brings. 

And so I have decided to come back, back to this world that I so enjoyed during the brief time that I was here. I may not be here often and it may be sporadic but I enjoyed this space and I feel like I have words now, words that couldn't seem to find their way to the surface for a while. And I may be coming back to myself, because no one may have even realized I hadn't been by this little space and there may not be many who will read this, and that's ok beccause coming back to myself may really be what I need most of all.

***This was written quite a few weeks ago and the coming back has been a process, but for some reason today just felt like the right day! 

Below is the day in reference and it (and many more sense) have been good, GOOD days! And good in the sense that even the tough parts have been soaked in. So if you are reading this, I am sorry for the hiatus and I am so very glad to be back!