If You Can Dream It…

I saw his quote again today in fancy font over a pretty picture: a hiker standing on top of a mountain, arms lifted to the sky…

“If you can dream it, You can do it.”

Who can argue with Walt Disney?

We love the success stories of great dreamers, but all it takes is watching an American Idol audition to know the platitude just isn’t true.

If it were, every hometown would have a pro NFL / NBA team, the Olympics would be handing out a gold medal to every competitor, and Mountain Everest would not be littered with the bodies of those who dreamt and failed.

everest body - die trying

After watching a program about Mount Everest the other night, I didn’t have the intended emotional response to the quote paired with the hiker conquering the peaks; instead, I thought of all the dreamers that still lie in the “Death Zone”, the area 26,000 feet above sea level, many of them strong, young, courageous, athletic men that died in their prime.

everest body - 3
http://sometimes-interesting.com/2011/06/29/over-200-dead-bodies-on-mount-everest/

Before you label me a pessimistic cynic, hear me out. You know I love Disney,…

I too am a dreamer! 

yes, “way down deep inside, I’ve got a dream”.  

(So, as we all learned from Rapunzel’s first impression of the Snuggly Duckling, don’t judge too quickly; you might actually find this sobering post inspirational.)

everest body - 2

Our limited strength and skill can only take us so far, and much in this world is out of our control.  Despite all our plans and careful preparations, one misstep, lapse of judgement, germ or infection, or even a slight change in the weather can bring our great adventure to a fatal end. As we set out to conqueror the impossible, convinced we can do anything we set our minds to, it behooves us to

  • examine our hearts,
  • evaluate our motives, and
  • consider the cost.
http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/dead-everest1.htm
famous adventurer, George Mallory
http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/dead-everest1.htm

I am not saying, “STOP DREAMING”, but, like one of my children who said, “maybe I’ll climb Mount Everest someday”, only to adamantly say in the end of the show, “there is no way I would ever climb Mount Everest!”, with a little information and reflection you might conclude you need a new goal.

Luke 14: 28“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29“Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32“Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.   (*see end of post for context)

http://alancook.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/4.jpg?w=470&h=352
http://alancook.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/4.jpg?w=470&h=352

The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  (Proverbs 16:18)  Pride, in it’s many forms: insecurity, defensiveness, perfectionism, bitterness, jealousy, control, manipulation, embarrassment, stubbornness, etc, can irrationally keep us moving forward when better judgement would have us pursue a different course.   So, should we throw away optimism and be content with “safe” mediocre ambitions? everest body -6 Absolutely not! As I child, I often read a portion of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, which my mother framed and hung in our home, which still inspires me, It is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Everest_North_Face_toward_Base_Camp_Tibet_Luca_Galuzzi_2006.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Everest_North_Face_toward_Base_Camp_Tibet_Luca_Galuzzi_2006.jpg

First:  Redefine “Success”

Striving, proving, and impressing is “ordinary” behavior in our insecure, fame driven society that is ever seeking acceptance, popularity, and glory.  Being content, secure, and humble is “extra-ordinary”. It is the selfless servant, the heroine with the grander understanding of eternal success that achieves more than temporal, fickle praise from men and material wealth that rusts and fades.  (Mt. 6:19)

Second:  Know your Purpose, Follow your Calling

What has God MADE you to do, GIFTED you to do, CALLED you to do?  You were made in the image of God, and you were created for good works, which He prepared in advanced for you to do. (Eph. 2:10) He is the God of miracles, equipping and empowering ordinary people to do the impossible, the significant, the miraculous! Seek Him.  Find your adventure in Him.  Obey Him, and you can confidently say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  (Phil. 4:13)  “Nothing is impossible” FOR GOD!!!  As my mama used to sing to me, “God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, helping you do what He wants you to do.”

  • “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – Mk. 10:27
  • “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD…” – 2 Ki. 3:18
  • “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,…” – Jer. 32:17

Third (and most important):  Do not take God out of the Equation

Regardless of how noble or impressive your accomplishments seem, if God is not in it, the end result is “vanity”, chasing after the wind.  (see Eccl.)  Though you build the great pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon, walk on the moon, find the cure to cancer, solve world hunger, or climb Mount Everest, in the end we will go the way of all living.

Our monuments will crumble, and even those we “rescue” will die. When you return to dust, what will it profit you to have gained the whole world, or impressed the whole world or even to have climbed your “mountain” if you forfeit your soul? (Mk. 8:36)

Everything is spiritual.  Climbing a mountain, going to Disney World, writing a blog, doing the laundry, visiting a neighbor, earning a pay check, giving a glass of water to a child, etc…. everything we do in this life, when done in the name of Christ to the glory of God, in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, is holy and sacred. Kid President said it well,…

image
Kid President, SoulPancake
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o

If you are discovering that your dream IS stupid (selfish and superficial, eternally insignificant, or out of the will of God), then, like the adorable Kid President said, “you should get another dream.”

mount everest top
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iv%C3%A1n_Ernesto_G%C3%B3mez_Carrasco_en_la_cima_del_Monte_Everest.jpg

Fourth:  Stay Humble

The majority of the climbers that do not make it off the mountain die on the way down. Once he reaches the summit, the hiker cannot relax and say, “I did it!  I have arrived!”  29,029 feet is only half way.   The goal it not the reach the top; it is to safely climb and descend the mountain.

If you’re still alive, you haven’t arrived.  — In other words, as long as you are still breathing, God still has a dream for you.  Don’t get comfortable in “retirement mode”; your greatest work, your very legacy and most significant contribution to the kingdom of God, may still be ahead.  Don’t miss it or, worse yet, destroy your testimony because you did not finish well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Climbing_through_the_Yellow_Band,_Mt._Everest,_-May_2007_a.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Climbing_through_the_Yellow_Band,_Mt._Everest,_-May_2007_a.jpg

One final word:  Pursue Your God Given Dream

The task God has for you is not impossible for you!  With the dreams He gives, He provides the way to achieve them.  Like the local men of Nepal and Tibet that take up tents, oxygen, and supplies; make accents to clear a path and replace weathered ropes; and are frequently asked to guide climbers, when the LORD calls you to a task, He provides all you need, goes before you to prepare the way, and is with you every step of the journey.  You can do this!

http://xnepali.net/movies/appa-sherpa-set-new-mt-everest-record-of-19-accents/
In 2009, this Sherpa made his 19th ascent.
http://xnepali.net/movies/appa-sherpa-set-new-mt-everest-record-of-19-accents/

An expedition can take 40 to 60 days, because it takes time for the human body to acclimate to the altitude, but the Sherpas, people of the east that live in these mountainous regions, literally have had their hearts changed, enlarged to better perform at elevations that would kill others.

God has prepared you for this season.  You are ready to move on to the next level!  You are equipped to do what before would have been too difficult had the LORD not built your faith and character.  Now, you can boldly say with Caleb (an 85 year old man who had walked through the wilderness with Moses, spied out the land of Cannan with Joshua, crossed the Jordan, marched around Jericho, and was a great leader in the young nation of Israel), “Give me this mountain!”  (Josh. 14:12)

As we walk with the LORD, our spiritual hearts are changed, and we can better help others pursue their God given dreams.  When we look at “our dreams”, we may initially focus on how they effect us, but if our dreams are initiated my God, they are about so much more than just “us”.

God is working out a bigger story, and our lives have potential to impact so many others in ways we will never fully know until we reach heaven.  So, persevere! (Heb. 10:36) Do not throw away your confidence!  You have need of it! (Heb. 10:35)  … and so does the next generation of saints that are coming up the mountain behind you.

“If God can dream it, you can do it!”

Don’t doubt that He has a dream for you.  He does!  So, become a Seeking One!  You’ll find the view of where He takes you to be unbelievably breathtaking.

http://himalman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/anna-baranska-my-everest-mt-everest-north-face-international-expedition-2009-part-2/
http://himalman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/anna-baranska-my-everest-mt-everest-north-face-international-expedition-2009-part-2/

(*The cost of discipleship, the context of the verses above taken from Luke 14:27,33 —   “whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple…. in the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples”.)

The path of faith and adventure is never easy, but consider the alternative.

Don’t miss it!

http://www.everestpeaceproject.org/wpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/mount_everest_view.jpg
http://www.everestpeaceproject.org/wpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/mount_everest_view.jpg

The Ultimate Travel Agent

It’s the little things, the extra special details, that turn moments into lasting vivid memories.

Disney 2014 448
Little One is personally greeted by Mickey Mouse, walked back to the character spot, and introduced to his friends.

We didn’t set out to “conquer” the parks on a “Dumbo or Die” itinerary, but our time just seemed to multiply.   We did so much more than we had planned.  It was almost supernatural how “perfect” our timing was!

We hit most every show just before the next start time.  We’d bump into a parade or street performer just as they were starting.  We’d arrive at a meet and greet spot just before a character came out and a line was forming. We’d walk right on to a ride with a over-estimated five or ten minute wait only to exit and see a much longer line with the wait time doubled or tripled.  It was more “miraculous” than “magical”.

Disney 2014 449 mickey and friends
We never could have planned this! Little One received this private audience with Mickey’s friends because I mistakenly took us to the park early thinking Epcot had Extra Magic Hours and she was the first child to arrive.

How is this possible?  It certainly seemed like another case of answered prayer, God “working all things together”, and my Heavenly Father being generous to His kiddos.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  Mt. 7:11

(I had planned a special week from my daughter, but my Father was planning for me.)

There are too many “magical miracles” to post them all here, but here are a few of our favorite memories…

Disney 2014 1172 b cropped

Disney 2014 1171 b cropped

Little One’s favorite:   After meeting countless Disney characters, one furry critter saw Little One across the Tomorrowland courtyard, opened his arms to her, begging her to leave her place at the end of the line for the Astro Orbiter to give him a hug.  Soon other kids gathering around, still he gave her his complete and unhurried attention.  When she walked by later on her way to Space Mountain, he recognized her and called her back over for another hug.  He won her heart; so much so, that when allowed to pick just one item, she chose Stitch as her Disney souvenir.

disney signatures 014 stitch

 

Disney 2014 1379 stitch mission space
Here’s Stitch with his own ticket for Mission Space. The cast members said he should ride to Mars with us since he loves space travel. They let him keep his ticket as a souvenir of Earth.
Disney 2014 1394 stitch test track
Here’s Stitch on the Test Track buckled in his own seat. The cast members let him ride even though he didn’t meet the height requirement since he was a famous space traveler.

 

Disney 2014 1398 stitch sleeping
Since then, Stitch has eaten, slept, and gone to school with Little One, but he did wait in the car while we were in church on Sunday.  Because of a little extra loving, Stitch went from “obscure Disney character” to “all time favorite”!

My personal favorite memory is the miraculous autograph book delivery by Airport Security.

Disney 2014 005 airport
The last passengers to happily board this flight.

After being dropped off at the airport, we realized we left Little One’s autograph book at home.  Little One eyes were full of tears as we went through security.  An officer asked what was wrong.  We told him that we had called Handsome, and he was driving all the way back home and then to the airport again trying to get it to us before our flight.  He told us we needed to get to our gate so as not to miss our flight, but he would see what he could do.

One of the bag inspectors waited at the door of the airport for my husband to arrive, passed the book to security, promptly ran it through their machines, and then another officer rushed our book to us just moments before the final boarding call.  What airport security does this kind of service???

When we arrived home a week later, we met the same officer and inspectors again.  We showed them her book full of drawings and signatures and exchanged lots of laughs and hugs.  Take a peek:

(Many of our favorite encounters were with humble, hard-working, and gracious cast members as well as other extra ordinary guests.  I highly recommend making an autograph book and approaching Disney in an “enjoy the moment” way!

FYI: Because we decided to use an easy to write with “sharpie”, we tried to only wrote on one side of our pages to avoid bleed through.  We are planning to double stick tape in photos of these lovely people and characters on the corresponding pages.)

With so many signatures, why do some meetings still stand out in our mind?

Disney 2014 583Here’s an example:  After introductions and chit-chat, Belle danced and twirled with Little One and adding a kiss to her autograph page

disney signatures 023 Belle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My “take-away” from our Girl-Time Disney Trip is this —

Little things make the difference between ordinary and magical.

It was the little extras, a few generous unhurried minutes with fully engaged and attentive characters, the scent of oranges and the cool breezes of Soaring, the considerate Mickey Police officers that found an “earning my ears” badge and tracked us down to put it in Little One’s book, the convenient trash bins and litter free paths, the cast member who noticed the hesitant child and took her by the hand to join in the Hokey Pokey, the carefully stenciled chocolate on my plate, the tired man who gave up his seat on the bus at the end of the day, the gift of an origami crane the gal from Japan, the cast members making a big deal about Stitch flying to space with us, the older couple from Indiana that cheered and entertained a weary kiddo to hang in there till the 9:00 Reflections of Earth fireworks, the cast member on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet that winked and smiled and let Little One ride as many times as she wanted…   (and the not-so-little and very generous gift from my Aunt who inviting us to join her at Kidani and crash on a surprisingly, oh-so-very comfortable fold-out couch)…

It was the thoughtfulness to details and the kindness of others, as well as the knowledge that a loving Sovereign God was planning my days, that made this trip so special.  And, I am certain that I can make ordinary days a little more magical for my family by being…

  • unhurried in my affection (snuggle more, listen closely, give winks across the room, blow kisses, not rush tuck-in-time <even with the older ones>, invite them to sit on my bed and chat,…)
  • attentive to details  (praising the little kindnesses and successes, setting the table with a little beauty and care,…)
  • generous with my joy (especially greeting the day with a smile and a cheery “Goodmornin'” on my lips; as Little One wrote in her journal, “They sang a goodmorning song to wake the people up.”, laughing more,…)
  • creative with surprises  (tucking love notes in the laundry, arranging food in an artistic picture or shape, squirt the ketchup in a smiley face, put our “indoor pillow fight” word pillows in clever places to encourage someone,…)

I also observed a generous spirit in my daughter that I want to imitate; here are just a few examples…

  • She gave her rose from the Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian to a lady on the monorail that had a sore on her leg.  Why?  Because she thought it might help her to forget about her hurt leg.
  • She gave away the pin she received upon entering the park to another little girl she met at the Beauty and the Beast musical.  Why?  Because she thought the other girl might have felt left out because her sister had gotten one and she didn’t.
  • She gave her glow-stick wand to a four year old on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride.  Why?  Because she simply thought the little girl would really like it.

Thinking of others… pretty simple. 

“How can I be a blessing?”

“How can I make your day special?”

That’s the magic! 

 

The LORD is always thinking of us!  He tucks little treasures, hidden blessings and surprises, into every day.  Sometimes we’re too busy to notice; other times we take them for granted never acknowledging that they are special gifts from Him. 

He is the Ultimate Guide for Disney and for all of life!  When we seek Him, He opens our eyes to see everything more clearly and from a less selfish and distorted perspective.

Each morning before I pulled my sleepy body out of bed, I prayed, “LORD, direct our paths today.  Let us see and do what You would have us see and do today.  Be our Travel Agent and our Tour Guide, and tuck special surprises into this day to remind us that You are with us and are guiding our steps.”  Also, I had several friends call me just before I left on this trip reminding me that they would be praying for me everyday.  I also know Handsome and my boys were praying for me each day.

So, I know why this trip was so much better than I planned or dreamed, God was blessing us.  Even the forgotten autograph book and arriving an hour early to Epoct (as well as all the other “potential disappointments”) were blessings!  How extra-blessed we were to acknowledge that on the front side, before we fully knew what special gift was in store for us!

_______________________________________________

  • Dear Seeker, what little extra magic can you add to someone’s day today?
  • What “dis-appointment” will you choose to see as a “divine-appointment”?
  • What event or challenge is on the horizon that you will commit to the LORD to guide you through in a miraculously magical, “exceedingly, abundantly beyond all you can think or ask” way?

________________________________________________

In-case you’re curious what we did on which days, here’s a quick run-down of our  Disney Adventure…  (This is more for my relatives to see as well as a personal log to help me remember; so indulge me or scroll on through.)

Friday – flew to Orlando, stayed at Kidani Village

Saturday

Early Magic Hours (EMH) at Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars Tours (loved it!!! Little One was the first child of the day to ride; so she was given a “Rebel Spy of the Day” pin and a certificate, made a light saber that was put on display)
  • Muppets 3D (funny)
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow (unimpressed)
  • Toy Story Mania (used fast pass; loved it)
  • Tower of Terror (used fast pass; Little One loved it.  I survived.)
  • Beauty and the Beast  (a MUST see!)

over to Animal Kingdom

  • Kilimanjaro Safari (excellent!)
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug (The bugs under the seats and spiders falling from the ceiling really upset Little One.)
  • Finding Nemo the Musical (impressive)
  • Street Parade (fun)

By then we were getting pretty tired; so we went back to our rooms to rest a bit.

ended the day at the Magic Kingdom

  • met Mickey Mouse (his theater is near the entrance and was pretty empty at this time of day)
  • walked around to enjoy the lights, the lit up castle, Rapunzel’s glowing lanterns
  • rode the Carrousel
  • Goofy’s Barnstormer*
  • Dumbo the Fly Elephant*
  • Mad Hatter Tea Cups*
  • Wishes and Celebrate the Magic Fireworks (9:00pm; * the rides were pretty empty during the 8:00 parade)
  • Electric Parade (10:00)

Sunday – our special “mother/daughter” day (adoption celebration, talk about being a “real” princess and living her own “fairytale” while waiting for her prince)

  • Perfectly Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian
  • Dole Whips at the Polynesian
  • visit to the Wedding Chapel
  • evening at Kidani Village (swimming and water slide, roasting marshmallows, visiting and playing games with cast members from Africa…)

This was my favorite day!

Monday

full day at Epcot

  • Met Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie (miraculous appointment!)
  • Test Track (loved it!)
  • Spaceship Earth (Little One liked the ending personalized video)
  • Finding Nemo ride and aquarium
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Living with the Land
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Soaring (fast pass, This was my FAVORITE ride of the trip!!!)
  • met Mary Poppins and Alice at UK
  • lunch in Morocco (reminded me of Israel, yummy!)
  • met Belle in France
  • (We met a cast member from every country and saw several street shows as we walked through the World Showcase.)
  • rode Maelstrom in Norway
  • met Donald and rode The Three Caballeros
  • saw the 360 movie from China and Canada
  • ate ice cream from France while finding a place to sit to watch the Reflections of Earth fireworks (found out later, we found one of the few places where  you can actually sit and see the show)

Tuesday

full day at Magic Kingdom

  • opening ceremony (great way to start a day!!!)
  • met Rapunzel and Snow White
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic (too fun!!!)
  • Prince Charming Carrousel, again (with Mrs. Tremain, Cinderella’s step-mother)
  • early lunch at Be Our Guest (excellent!!! worth getting in line for early)
  • met Winnie the Pooh and Rabbit
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride
  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor (laughed a lot!)
  • met Ariel at her Grotto* (had a bit of a line from people who thought they were in the line for the ride) and then Ariel’s Under the Sea Adventure* ride (We used a fast pass, but the ride needed a repair so we had to wait a few extra minutes.  *These were our first lines with much of a wait.)
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle (used a fast pass, loved this!)
  • Buzz Light Year’s Space Ranger Spin (kind of lame compared to the Toy Story Mania at HS)
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
  • Dream Along with Mickey show in front of castle (fun!!!)
  • dance party with the Incredibles and Fozone
  • Space Mountain (Used a fast pass the first time, didn’t really need it.  Little One like this so much we rode it 3 times in a row!)
  • Wishes and Celebrate the Magic Fireworks, again
  • met Tinkerbell and Rosetta
  • Dole Whip floats (I LOVE Dole Whips!!!!)
  • Swiss Family Robinson Tree House (really enjoyed this after dark)
  • Aladdin’s Magic Carpet (We rode this 5 times in a row!!!)
  • Thunder Mountain (no line and soooo fun at night!)

Wednesday

  • slept in (much needed)
  • watched Mickey cartoons
  • swimming and pool games at Animal Kingdom Lodge (another water slide here)
  • played African musical instruments back at Kidani Village
  • met up with my brother and his wife just back from Antarctica
  • bus to Downtown Disney to catch ferry to Port Orleans Riverside for dinner

Thursday

morning at Magic Kingdom

  • opening ceremonies, again (still loved it!)
  • Astro Orbiter
  • met Stitch (one of our best character meetings)
  • Thunder Mountain (twice)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean ride
  • Tiki Room
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Street Party with Berr Rabbit and Berr Bear (LO’s first Hokey Pokey)
  • met Chip and Dale
  • Jungle Cruise (This was our longest line of the trip, at least 25 or 30 min.)
  • another street parade on Main Street with a LOT of characters
  • Hall of Presidents
  • met Merida
  • while waiting for lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table (The meal was excellent, but it was loud and the atmosphere a little chaotic.), we checked out the Sword in the Stone and rode the Carrousel for a third time (Little One love the Carrousel!!!)

The weather turned cold this day; so we headed back to our room for warmer clothes and a short rest.  Then we went to Epcot for the evening.

  • Spaceship Earth (for a second time; Little One wanted to see what movie we would get at the end if we answered our questions differently)
  • Innoventions: …
  • Storm Struck, severe weather replicator (too long, wanted to move on)
  • Sum of all Thrills, design your own ride (excellent!!!)
  • Club Cool, sample Coke products from around the world (enjoyed this)
  • Soaring (a second time; LOVE THIS RIDE!)
  • Mission Space (Green was no big deal; not brave enough to try Orange)
  • Test Track (a second time, no lines for rides!!! we loved this at night while the fireworks were going on)

Friday

flew home