I love to laugh. And this woman here makes me laugh on a very regular basis. At the same time, she goes deep. It is a true gift to delight with humor AND touch your soul in the same sentence. Holly reminds me that life is hard, but it is also full of joy and laughter…especially if we learn to laugh at ourselves. Enjoy!

– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator[/box]

… Five if you count mine

So we went to Disney World.

I write a garden blog, and before I left, I had all manner of friends tell me “you’re going to LOVE the landscaping!” Opportunity knocked; I thought I would take a few pictures and have myself a nice little Disney World gardens post.  This is not what happened.

Oh, I saw the landscaping, but I mostly glanced at it over the shoulder of whichever bitty had been pulled aside for a talking to.

David and I are very specific fans of a very specific place in Mexico where children are as welcome as hurricanes. Our concept of vacation does not include 20k daily steps on the pedometer. But as the bitties are into all things princess, we thought it was time to go somewhere slightly more magical for a slightly younger crowd.

You see, Disney was very magical. And also very not. David and I spent a heck of a lot of time parenting our way through it.

We went to Disney World. And my sin came out. Big time.

My intentions were good. I wanted to connect with my family. And my dream was reminiscent of the commercials: grinning mom pulls daughter close while walking toward fireworks carrying double mouse balloon. The problem was that nobody told bitty E that she was supposed to play the role of accepting and grateful daughter, and nobody mentioned to bitty G that she was supposed to play it cool flying “no nap.”

I was made for heaven… [not] for here

But, once again, it wasn’t about them. They’re little. Bitty, if we want to get technical. It was about me and my response. Which wasn’t exactly mouseke-awesome. And here’s the deal: I was made for heaven. Not some puffy white cloud, angels strumming harps kind of place…but a real, physical place where everything really is right. Perfect, if we want to get technical. And when “the most magical place on earth” doesn’t live up to my expectations and doesn’t fill my empties, it’s just a reminder that I wasn’t made for here. This is not my home. And I can plan and pack and prepare the matching shirts, only to have it all fail me in the end because that’s what it’s made to do.

The Mouse doesn’t hold up to eternity.

I could get mighty comfortable around here. And someone I know has a tendency to get a little jealous. How kind that he won’t allow me to get too comfortable. He has to allow bitty E to put her mouth on every handrail between here and Tomorrowland.

Our friends were there the same time as us with their three year old daughter. My friend Catherine, the mom, is kind and levelheaded, gentle and self-controlled. The text message she sent me on the first day cannot be published on this family friendly blog.

I promise I’m getting to my point. If you go to Disney and you look around: everyone’s parenting. There are fitful kids and end-of-their-rope parents and much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And yet somehow none of this makes it to Instagram. When I started watching the parenting happening around me I literally saw a grown woman walking and crying. No joke. #solidaritylady

I literally saw a grown woman walking and crying. No joke. #solidaritylady Click To Tweet

Once I repented of trying to get Disney to fill my empties it actually started to get magical. Yes, it could have been that the bitties got used to the routine of the transit/crowds/overwhelm/shared hotel room, but it’s likely that it was just my attitude getting adjusted that breathed some happy into our family. Bitty E told me the Gatorade there tasted “just like candy.” {That’s because we weren’t watering it down, but who’s going to own up to that.} Snow White tickled bitty G and told her she laughed just like Dopey.

Darn you, The Mouse…just….darn you.

If Disney and I had a relationship status it would be “it’s complicated.” Far more complicated than a few photographed moments. So the next time I get a Christmas card, scroll through some Facebook pictures, or get lost in a beautiful Instagram account, I want to remember what The Mouse taught me: that it is feasible to push a double stroller packed solid with crying children while also possibly crying yourself. Okay, okay, and also that the happiest place on earth doesn’t hold a candle to what waits for us in eternity.

So what’s your Disney World? Is it indeed a vacation? A job?

So what’s your Disney World? Is it indeed a vacation? A job? A dream of something to come? No shame in hoping, but may we have eyes on the real prize. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” {1 Corinthians 2:9}

But if you need me in this life, look for me on a Mexico beach recovering from my vacation.