Its been a few weeks since I’ve been able to write. I started writing a piece a couple of weeks ago on the Orlando Pulse Memorial, however, time constraints and home repair troubles interfered with life and my blog is still crying out to be finished.
Today, as I sit in my ‘evacuee’ rental home, I have a few minutes to myself to jot down some thoughts about the last week. It’s been a very long haul but my own home is so badly water damaged from a new roof placement gone awry, that we have been forced to leave our humble abode for some undetermined amount of time. In the meantime, my husband and I have had to do the ‘rental-house hop’ several times over the last week while water and mold remediation is being done. With so much going on, it hasn’t left much time for writing. It wasn’t until I couldn’t blog that I realized how much I missed doing it. I finally decided that I don’t have to write a novel but I should take the time to jot down something, just to stay in touch.
In the last week, we have had to move four times from one rental home to another as it was a holiday in the United States. Living near Walt Disney World in Florida, most rental homes were already booked for the holiday and beyond! By God’s grace, and some very kind people, we were able to have very nice homes for the holiday. Moving that many times was exhausting! However, practice makes perfect my mother used to say…and we got better and better at it by this last move. Hopefully, our next move will be home for good!
While preparing this piece, I began to ponder on my Mom’s saying, (not my mom’s really but she did like to use it) and I also began to think about the craft of writing. The proverb’s origin is this:
According to http://www.theidioms.com, the phrase originates in the mid-1500’s in the American English language which was adopted from a Latin phrase. The saying has changed in the way it was used earlier from “Use makes perfect” to “practice makes perfect”. It means :
to keep repeating something over and over so that one can get good at that activity
to keep practicing to get better at (certain) skills
With that in mind, if I write more often, even flash fiction, a short story or poem, I can hone my skills for a time when I’m not rushing around all day long, ‘putting out fires’, so to speak. Just a thought and, I think, a lesson learned.
Main Street USA. Cinderella’s Castle. Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland. What do all these places have in common? Well, Walt Disney World, of course! And that’s just the beginning of the wonderful world of Disney delights!
This conglomeration of theme parks serves as the world’s playground. It never ceases to amaze me how many people come to visit the Floridian compound when there are now Disney dynasties that are quite similar all around the world. Yet, there is something different about the Florida model.
When Walter Elias Disney, better known as Walt to his friends and employees, was designing the Floridian parks in the 1960’s, he wanted something to simulate the success of Disneyland here on the East Coast. Additionally, he wanted something totally different; he wanted a city, a prototype city, a futuristic city really. His earliest design was to be a fully functional town with hard working people, no retirees, with full educational and recreational systems. Walt’s idea was to continually offer state-of-the-art ingenuity and industry as they were made available. Disney’s name for this new offering was to be called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or E.P.C.O.T.(EPCOT) for short. For most, this name is very familiar! However, the EPCOT city of Walt’s dreams never came to be.
While the parks were still under construction, Walt Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer which ultimately caused complications to his circulatory system. It was this complication that brought on his untimely demise on December 15, 1966.
After his death, Walt’s brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, continued ‘walking in Walt’s shoes’ to complete the Walt Disney World Theme Park as a tribute to his brother’s memory.
At the time of the Grand Opening, which was on October 25, 1971, the Magic Kingdom was the only Disney park open. There was a soft opening of the park on October 1, 1971, but not all the exhibits and rides were completed. The cost of park admission on opening day: $3.50! It was Walt’s dream to have an amusement park that was clean, family-friendly, and had something of interest for the whole family, including the grown-ups! Additionally, he wanted to offer all this at an affordable price so that as many families as possible could enjoy the fun in the sun. A lofty goal but brother Roy saw to it that Walt’s dream came to fruition.
Why all this Disney history? Because to understand today’s Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks you must first understand the man and his story that created all that history. Walt Disney was a true family man, creative, talented, driven, yet a dreamer that took those lofty dreams and turned them into realities. He invited the people of the world to join him as his dreams and aspirations began to unfold. Through cutting-edge animation, dynamic characters and pioneering those magical, Walt Disney theme parks, Disney, even long after his passing, has taken us through 89+ years of magic (Mickey Mouse turns 90 yrs old on November 18, 2018).
What was Walt’s secret to the magic he created? Commitment, high standards, dedication to his work and family, love of people, and love of the job. Walt loved being ‘one of the guys’ in his company. He was ‘Walt’ to everyone. His company was his life during the day. The other half of his busy life was his family. He did make time for his wife and children. His standards were as high at home as they were on the job. His other secret to success was his brother Roy O Disney. Roy was the down-to-earth brother in the family as much as Walt was the dreamer. He was also the ‘money man”. He helped Walt make financing happen for the studio. They were an awesome team, those Disney brothers. They didn’t always ‘see eye to eye’ on everything but they did work those differences out. They remained partners throughout Walt’s life. With several committed employees, financial investors and a few fiduciary institutions behind them over the years, the Disney brothers were the heart and soul of the Disney magic that we have come to know and love.
Walter Elias Disney has left a legacy of love that is unparalleled. His legacy transcends time and place, it surpasses people and cultures. His legacy of love for families everywhere impassions every heart of parent and child that it touches. Though Walt certainly had his faults, he is one of my biggest heroes. He brought smiles and happiness to generations of families, children and adults alike. And anyone who can leave a legacy of love like that gets my undying admiration and respect for a job well done. Kudos to you Walt!
Till we meet again! Have a magical day and may all your dreams come true!
Footnote:Information on Walt Disney, Roy Disney, Disney family, Disney Studios or any and all Disney production/theme park-related information was based on:
“Walt Disney: the triumph of the American imagination”by Neal Gabler and “Walt Disney: An American Original” by Bob Thomas
I love life. All life. It comes in various forms and in all shapes and sizes. I enjoy celebrating life, something passed on from my dear mother. She celebrated everything and I do mean EVERYTHING! There is a standing joke in my family that my mom and I celebrate everything from Christmas to National Potato Day! Believe it or not, National Potato Day appears to exist but the celebratory event changes from year to year, or so it seems from my limited research. I’m not sure that this was the case when my mom was living on this side of eternity or else we would have eaten potato everything that day!
It is good to ruminate on my childhood days when life was simple and my mom and I could make an adventure or celebration out of just about anything. For example, there was the impromptu picnic in the front yard with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There were the walks to buy candy at the local pharmacy on a sunny spring afternoon. Have you ever heard of May Day? I don’t mean the cry for help, I am referring to the holiday. When I was a child, little girls got a May Basket on May 1st with, flowers and candy and other little spring trinkets in it. When my mother was small, she said that they also danced around a May Pole in the Boston, Ma, area, in addition to receiving the traditional May Basket. I’m afraid that this tradition has been lost in the shuffle of a life focused on trials, tribulations, and challenges versus that of the celebrations of life, love and all things beautiful.
I am especially fond of holidays. There are a few days, in particular, that stand out for certain. The fall holidays, Christmas season and the Fourth of July are some of my favorites. Then, there are the simpler ones in life like birthdays and anniversaries. For us, a few are simple to celebrate but not always easy. Those would be the birthdays of those who have moved on to eternity and the anniversary of that glorious day. It’s bittersweet. I’m so happy that my friends and family are no longer chained to the cares of this life and the trouble it brings but I miss them, I especially miss my two youngest children who are predeceased. I no longer have those sunny smiles that would light up the darkest of days or the butterfly kisses that tickled both my cheek and my heart alike. On those bittersweet days, I usually love to go to Disney World, my children’s favorite place in the whole world. From opening until closing, I make my way through the happiest place on earth and remember all the special times we had together as a family. It does this mother’s heart good to feel as though I’m spending time with my children.
In the end, I know I can’t bring them back nor would I want to. However, I have found ways to celebrate their lives and be content with mine. At the same time, I’m looking forward to the day that God has planned, when we shall be together, walking hand in hand. For now, I’ll carry on until my life is through. And then, I’ll meet with my Lord, and he will lead me home. It is there that my children will be waiting for me with open arms. Now, that is a day that I’m looking forward too!
So, the last few days, I have been bed-bound. I hurt my back somehow, probably from lifting a box, dancing at my granddaughter’s prom, fishing, or a combination of all of the above. When you’re in your sixties, you really don’t have to do much. And that is a collective “you”. I’m not necessarily pointing any fingers here. I’m just saying, the older one gets, the easier it becomes to injure oneself. At least, that’s the way I look at it. I feel somewhat better about being so accident prone, It really is much nicer than saying that I’m just a “lummox” or a”clutz”.
Needless to say, I’ve been taking it easy, even going back to bed for the day yesterday, which is very unlike me.
With no TV in my bedroom, I decided to download a movie onto my phone. After much deliberation, I decided on “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, an updated, contemporary version from the year 2000 instead of the archaic 1973 version of the film.
Overall, I felt the movie to be a bit campy, but other than that, true to its original intent.
In my opinion, the original was quite sacrilegious, almost blasphemous, but I loved the music and still know every word to most of the older songs. You see, we played the original soundtrack repeatedly in my eighth-grade parochial school class. The nuns and the students were none the wiser. I’m not sure anyone cared about the questionable words at the time.
However, as an adult, I know there are some definite “red flags” about watching this movie. I also know that there is a version including the resurrection. I didn’t know prior to watching if this was THE ONE with that ending but I wanted to find out. I felt that I HAD to know. I wasn’t sure why I was so compelled to watch this fictional interpretation of Jesus passion and death. I just was. I thought maybe it was because I knew all of the songs, however, it turned out to be something quite different.
There are two character interactions in this movie that profoundly affected me.
The first encounter we see is that of the turbulent relationship that developed between Jesus and Judas Iscariot. From the opening scene, Judas is at odds with Jesus’ teaching. He feels as though Jesus has gotten to be too “heavenly minded” to be of any “earthly good” (implied in the opening song “Heaven on Their Minds”). Additionally, Judas is feeling like they have gotten away from their original purpose: defeating the Roman occupation in Israel. In Judas’ anger and frustration, he looks to Jesus’ real opposition of the day, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees and agrees to identify a location for his arrest, all for the handsome sum of 30 silver pieces.
Interestingly enough, when the time comes for Judas to identify a sad and sorrow-filled Jesus, Judas kisses him on the cheek, which, at the time, was known as a greeting of endearment. Jesus, emotionally drained, broken-hearted, crushed, yet understanding of the mission ahead, takes Judas’ sad and glistening face which was co-mingled with sweat and tears, cupped his head in his hands and said, “Judas, must you….betray me..with….a kiss??” Then, Judas fell to his knees sobbing while Jesus held on tightly and stroked his head lovingly, much as a mother coddling her young, till the Roman guards intervened and they were separated.
(Featured in the picture above is Glenn Carter as Jesus Christ and Jerome Pradon as Judas Iscariot in the 2000 remake of the film, “Jesus Christ, Superstar”.)
The second interaction was much like the first but with a character, no one would expect.
At first glance, I thought this person, as well as his cronies, might be the comic relief, but no, my mistake! You see, the Roman guards were all dressed like Darth Vader from Star Wars and Pontius Pilate was dressed more like a 1940’s German commandant or maybe even a Star Wars Imperial officer. At that point, I almost turned the movie off…almost.
Then something amazing happened. Pilate began to talk with Jesus, from his heart. After talking for a bit, Pilate comes to believe that Jesus is innocent of any crime. He may be confused or misguided but Jesus has done nothing deserving of punishment-no punishment of any kind. Then, Pilate does something totally unexpected. He tenderly looks into Jesus’ eyes and puts a gentle hand on his cheek and begs Jesus to say something on his own behalf, something that will spare this innocent man’s life. And then, Jesus cups Pilate’s face in his hands and speaks words something like this, “My life… is out of your hands”.
In the background, the chief priests work the crowds to their own advantage. They are all chanting, at first softly, but gain volume with boldness,”Crucify Him!” Repeating it over and over till Pilate has Jesus flogged, beaten 39 times. At 40 lashes, one can lose their life. Pilate counts each and every whipping. When he reaches the 35, 36, 37, he begins to weep. At 39 lashes, Jesus falls to the ground in a bloody heap and begins to roll away
. Pilate runs over to him, scoops him up, and holds him tenderly in his arms. He cradles Jesus’ head and speaks gently to him. Pilate wants to know why he stays quiet and begs Christ to give him something, anything, that will give him a way out of this death sentence. The crowds are getting louder and bolder while chanting their angry refrain; “Remember Caesar. You have a duty..to keep the peace, so Crucify Him! Remember Caesar! You’ll be demoted. You’ll be deported. Crucify Him!”
(Pontius Pilate, played by Fred Johanson, is seen here weeping while holding Jesus, played by Glenn Carter, in the 2000 version of the movie, “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”)
Seeing no other options, Pilate stands resolutely and walks away from Jesus to pass the death sentence that was decided on before the beginning of time. He is broken-hearted, angry and frustrated by this decision, however. He is upset that Jesus can’t or won’t change his fate, embittered by the two-faced mob of Jesus’ fellow Jews who won’t stand up to their own leaders and infuriated by the heretical, self-serving Jewish leaders who started this whole nasty business.
When looking back at both Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate, they were both portrayed as having the same type of response and reaction to their respective relationships with Jesus. I believe that Jesus forgave both Judas and Pilate at their point of contact with him. Both the Bible and Jewish historians tell us that they each felt regret and remorse for their respective actions. They both seemed to have an affection of some sort for Jesus. However, they were genuinely open with their feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and in the end, sorrow. We do see that, through it all, Jesus’ love was authentic. In all things, Jesus always loves because he IS love. And that love showed through perfectly.
I’m not sure if I would recommend this particular movie to friends and family. The “Darth Vader”/”Imperial Guard”, Roman Soldiers were a bit much, in my opinion. But, if you’re looking for an authentic movie about Godly love, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a down-to-earth movie about just that. And, if you’re looking for unconditional love that transcends anything that we could possibly say or do…you won’t want to miss this for the world.
“I bet, just from the title, that your mind has gone to a variety of places. You are probably asking yourself, ” What could have provoked such a demonstrative response in that woman??” Well, this blog is actually a true story about an incident that occurred during my childhood.
Ever since I’ve been a small child, as far back as I can remember, I have been a “fretter”, one who frets, a world-class “Nervous Nellie”. I was afraid of my own shadow, so to speak: afraid of the dark, afraid of the water, afraid of storms and crowds and things that “go bump in the night”. Now, you may be saying that these are all common fears in children, and if you did, you would be correct in saying that. However, I had uncommonly odd and unusual fears (and I can’t believe that I’m sharing these publicly. I hope this is somehow therapeutic). I was afraid that a hand would come out from under my bed and grab me (the bogeyman, maybe). I thought this same hand might make its way to the bathroom fixtures and grab my backside when sitting on the commode. I definitely lived in a most frightening world. I’m not sure that child counselors even existed in the late Fifties/early Sixties. I think back and wonder if an exorcism wouldn’t have been more beneficial in my case.
So, by age 6, I was in first grade at St. Cecilia’s Parochial School in Leominster, Massachusetts. My teacher’s name was Sister (Sr.) Eugene and she was a ‘peach’. She needed to be. She had me for a student and a boy I’ll call Eddie D Munster who was kept back several times. We both were a handful. Sr. Eugene took many of the difficult children. She was patient, kind and a great teacher. She understood those children who weren’t quite like the rest. You see, Sr. Eugene herself, had Cerebral Palsy but she never let it interfere with her independence as a person, a nun or in her career as a teacher.
And so, at the tender age of six, just as the other first graders, I was required to get a vaccination in my arm and a polio drink which came as a suspension in a little paper cup. The drink I did not mind. The vaccination, however, I minded very much, as shots were one of my greatest fears.
The time came for our class to stand in line for the vaccination and polio drink. we stood in alphabetical order. Since my maiden surname began with the letter “D”, I was pretty close to the front of the line. The closer I got to the vaccination, the more nervous I became. At first, I started to cry, next, I’m assuming that my stomach started to get upset because I remember retching, then I started screaming. Before I knew it, Sr. Eugene scooped my small, frail body up in her one, good arm and held me close. She told me it would be okay. She pulled me out of line and we watched everyone else get their vaccine while I waited comfortable in Sr. Eugene’s warm embrace. I don’t remember anyone else screaming or crying. It may just be a time long forgotten. I know I got a vaccine and a polio drink eventually that day.
I don’t remember any pain from the vaccination. I remember getting a bandaid. The things I remember most is the fretting and the retching and the screaming and the dread and the terror and for what?
In the end, there was only kindness, instead of helplessness. Love instead of pain. Peace instead of fear. There was calmness instead of fretfulness and dread.
Isn’t that what God wants to do for us? How often do we hold onto those terrible feelings instead of giving them to him? We can go to him in prayer and lay them at the foot of the cross. In exchange, he will give us those very same gifts of love, peace, kindness, calmness, even joy and contentment. Yes, They are there for the asking.
So, the next time you feel nervous or become fret-filled, remember me and my dreadful first grade vaccination. Better still, remember Sr. Eugene and the Godly love she modeled to a group of students and teachers that autumn day so very long ago and seek that. You’ll be glad you did.
I love classic cars! By “classic”, I mean antique cars, preferably from 1950’s and older. I’m into Edsels, Studebakers, Chevys, Buicks, any MG model and most Thunderbirds, to name a few. My favorite model is from the early 20th century, and that would be none other than, the infamous Model T Ford, which had a hand crank engine. You can still see an occasional Model T at car shows today, but many have had their cranks removed and engines replaced with a newer model. In my opinion, there is just something not right about that. I like when everything is restored to its original beauty and function, the way it was meant to be from the beginning. I am especially delighted to see a classic car driven by its original owner, though, in the case of the Model T, most have passed on, and it’s their grandchildren that you may find driving the car.
As much as I know their names and, just maybe, I can tell you around what year the car was made, I cannot tell you much about how they run or what makes them “tick”, so to speak.
My husband can. He’s an expert on all things classic, including cars. He knows an eight cylinder engine from a six cylinder. He knows a water plump from a fuel pump. Me, not so much. I can tell you if it’s pretty, if it has original parts (usually) and if it drives well for its age.
As I was writing this post about cars, I began to think about how God relates to us. When Jesus died and rose from the grave, he did so to restore our relationship with the Father. He didn’t just want to revive a long dead relationship, he wants to restore it to its original intent; to bring about Godly beauty and functionality, according to our Master Designer, just like a classic car. Our personal, one-on-one time with our Creator was meant to be intimate, loving and experiential! So many of us miss out on this type of fulfilling relationship with our Lord. Why? In my humble opinion, I think many people just aren’t aware that it’s available through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can’t wait till the next car show. Not only will I appreciate the beauty of these early model autos, I will also be reminded of Christ’s restorative work on Calvary for you and for me. And, unlike the intrinsic value of the car which is markedly capped at a certain amount, a restored relationship with the Father is priceless. In the end, which would you rather have in your possession? One will travel the world over while the Other travels this world and beyond. Just food for thought.