Disney. Star Wars. Marvel. Theme Parks. Universal and Harry Potter. Dying Faith. Jesus in the Storm. Perseverance. Prayer. Israel, Iraq, Hamas, Gaza. The entire Middle East. Ukraine, Russia and Putin. Obama. Healthcare. A World in Crisis. Friends. Family. Marriage. Grandchildren. Travel. Escape. Work Pressure.
The things I think about. Not in that order, but the list goes on and on and on. Many things I will never say, but here's some I will.
Since this is mainly a Disney related blog- although in reality it had also become a journal, a travelogue, and a family history book- I'll begin with my Disney related ramblings.
Even without any new announcements, the Tokyo Disney Resort is the place I want to see in the Disney universe. It's been five plus years since I've been to Florida, almost two since I've been in Paris, and the same since I've wandered into a California theme park. Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland? Awesome no doubt, but not enough to make me yet get on a plane. Shanghai Disneyland? Looking hot- and I'd love to tour the country that created the Great Wall. Yet, there's Tokyo. Bright, clean, and full of the spirit that Walt Disney himself had when Disneyland was built. Give the customer more than they expect. Always a lure and closer to one day becoming a reality.
Frozen at Epcot leaves me cold. It's a quick and easy overlay that doesn't involve much heart, soul, or creativity while it removes some of each from a park that needs an infusion. Where is the love for the once upon a time most incredible theme park ever? New pavilions for World Showcase are a thing of the past. One based on Israel? We might need it. The Middle East is hotter than ever and not in a good way. And don't be foolish enough to be on the other side of Israel. The Almighty God of the Bible has always and will always preserve the people He chose. The entire Old Testament tells this story of God's love for them (and man at large). They were only brought into captivity when they spent time focusing on idols instead of the Great I Am. And God hates idolatry.
Star Wars at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's about time. I'm not even a fan, but it's clear to me this park needs something. Since Marvel can't come to Florida- and we all love our superheroes, Star Wars may be the next best thing. It will come to California too. That is Star Wars to
Tomorrowland Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland, and Marvel will go somewhere. Ah, the elusive third park. Making California Adventure Pixarland in disguise wasn't a bad business move- and Radiator Springs Racers and the gorgeous Cars Land was the smartest thing they could have done. That Incredibles ride? Do reconsider it.
My family wants to take a trip to the World all together one day. They continue to be a huge blessing to me. My son-in-law just got baptized, and he is now headed in the right direction. Putting his newfound faith into action and following Jesus. It's pretty easy to see many will use his name as a mask but in reality live as functional humanists. My this journey for him be the real deal.
The truth is, embracing Jesus as savior and as director of your life absolutely changes your focus. It gives you hope for this life and the eternal one to come. The older I get, the more I appreciate the reality that without Jesus, I can do nothing good. When left to my own thoughts and actions, I will choose the selfish choice, the one that most benefits me, the one that makes me look good. But as I see Jesus changing me, I have a chance at reflecting His love.
Each morning during the Summer and Fall, I sit in my garden and read, reflect, pray- and drink lots of coffee. When we moved here, our backyard was nothing but grass. Now I see fully grown trees, a stone patio, and lots of shrubs and flowers. The passing of time is seen right in my backyard. This life on earth goes so quickly. I am older now than I ever imagined I would be when I was in my 20s and 30s. I still see myself as young, but the reality is, I am not. I've been through many careers and phases, but what I am doing now as I write is the most fulfilling ever. Two worlds. Two places to serve others. All with people I love. What could be better? Instead of a "bucket list", I want to leave behind a strong family that will endure the future and make a difference. A family that knows and loves and serves Jesus Christ. Everything else is really temporary.
Taking a look at my musical choices, I realize my tastes evolve as I encounter different places and people. Do I still love the voice of Karen Carpenter and the music she made with brother Richard? If you have to ask, you haven't read this blog long enough. Too many musical idols have passed away, but as sad as it is, I'm learning a lot with that. Sometimes, it is just a pleasure to listen to nothing and enjoy the quiet that our world seems to steal from us all too easily. Some of my favorite musical times happen to be on Sunday mornings when the guy that leads the music enters into that place of intimacy with God and takes us along on his musical journey. Give Me Jesus, indeed.
Some point in the years ahead, I imagine that my wife and family will be reading these posts after I'm gone. Hopefully, laughing at how eccentric I was and how much I loved them and loved life. Just in case you're reading this now- Thanks for being an amazing wife and for being children and grandchildren I am proud of. You've all made my life richer than money ever could. See you on the other side.