Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dreamy Villains

In case you didn't already know, I'm a princess person. I love the princess movies; nothing puts a smile on my face faster than precious little girls in their princess dresses (and yes, I even have my own Belle  dress hanging in my closet); and I'd rather spend my entire day at Disneyland taking pictures with princesses than riding any rides!

 When I get in line to meet one of the princesses at Disneyland, I start out super excited and as I get closer in line, I inevitably start getting super nervous about actually speaking to them until Kate pushes me up there! I'm just like the three-year-olds who have been talking for weeks about meeting Cinderella and want to do nothing else at Disneyland but meet Cinderella, and are dressed as Cinderella, and the minute it's actually their turn to meet her, they freeze up! What can I say, the three-year-olds and I are in awe in the presence of royalty! 

And if you happen to be one of those people who thinks that Disney princesses are bad role models for our little girls because they need a man and always wait to be saved, I would like to politely ask you to please keep it to yourself and go spend some time watching Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Tangled, and Frozen because you obviously haven't watched them enough!

All that to say, I was surprised to find that my most magical moment from this past weekend at  Disneyworld did not involve a princess! Quite the opposite in fact! It was a tall, arrogant, villain who made my day this time (unheard of in my book). I knew Gaston was a character I wanted to meet on this trip because he's the only one I know of who I can't meet at Disneyland. I knew he'd be hanging around his tavern in the new Fantasyland and as I walked over, I could see the line stretching long of people waiting to meet him. I tucked myself into a corner and just watched him for a while and as I did I began to understand why so many people wanted to meet this Villain. He's a comedy show waiting to happen! I've never seen so many people just stand around watching a character (people who weren't even in line, they just wanted to watch him interact with guests!). My favorite interaction was with a little girl dressed as Belle who seemed very shy to meet him. After talking to her a while (complete with marriage proposal) he put one arm around her, flexed his other arm, gave a ridiculously over the top, model smile and said in his deep voice, "now we've been over this Belle, just look straight at the camera and say, "I do!" There was another little guy that Gaston was attempting to teach how to make any woman swoon and he got the little dude to practice on the character greeter standing by! 

After nearly an hour of just watching him interact with other guests, I finally worked up the courage to get in line myself. Kate wasn't there to keep me from chickening out this time so I grounded my feet and made myself stay in line! When it was finally my turn I stepped up to him (the top of my head not even reaching his shoulder) and he looked at me and gushed, "You are so attractive! Just look at that hair! And those gorgeous eyes!" At that point he took my sunglasses off my face and held them up to get a better look at his reflection, which is of course what he was talking to the whole time! Typical! 

We took our pictures together as he did his array of model poses and at the end of my few minutes I asked if we could take a flexing muscles picture like he was taking with the guys in line. He scoffed and said, "you don't have muscles! You're a girl! You think you have muscles?" I timidly nodded in the affirmative and he grabbed my hand and pulled me across the street saying in his booming voice, "alright move aside everyone! We've got a girl here who think she has muscles!" He plopped his arm down on the flat top of a trash can and challenged me to an arm wrestling match then and there! 

It wasn't going too well until he told me I could use both hands at which point...I still couldn't budge him! Come on, what did you expect! He's the quintessential muscle man! He gave a wink and I was on my way back into fantasyland.

And that was my magical moment...getting beat in an arm wrestling match by Gaston! Sound silly? Maybe so, but he was better at his character than anyone i've ever seen and he took so much time and focus on each guest, making them laugh, making them blush, making them roll their eyes. So while I'm a self-proclaimed princess fan, team villains earned a point yesterday! That's princesses: 1,000, villains:1. Well done, sir! keep it up! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attempt to sleep on this last leg of the flight and dream of  deep voiced, dreamy, Disney villains!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dressed for Where I'm Going...

I recently heard this statement in a sermon: 

“I wasn’t dressed for where I was…I was dressed for where I was going!”

How many times have I been dressed in a tutu in the bait and tackle shop, or in a princess dress in Los Angeles International Airport, or as an 18th century street urchin in a movie theater, or as a Colonial girl in downtown Washington D.C., or in a ball gown in a chick-fil-a, or in onesie footie pajamas in…lots of unconventional places (really though…is there a conventional place to wear a onesie?)? I get double and triple takes, confused glances, odd looks (and children asking to take pictures with me) because the people around me don’t know where I’m going. 

They don’t know that I’m dressed in a tutu at the bait and tackle store because I’m headed to our kindergarten Valentines Day celebration (where tutus are most necessary). 

(This isn't in the Bait and Tackle Store, but it was that same day)
They don’t know that I’m dressed in a Princess Belle dress in LAX because I’m headed to the International Sweet Adeline competition in which my quartet members and I are all dressed as four Disney princesses for our competition package. 

(On the airplane flying to the competition on those princesses dresses)
(Pumping gas before the airport...even princesses have to pump their own gas apparently)
They don’t know that I’m dressed as an 18th century street urchin in the movie theater lobby because I’m headed to the midnight showing of Les Miserables. 

(Woman in the movie theater lobby: "Are you Amish?"

They don't know that I'm dressed in a white dress with a blue satin sash along with a whole gaggle of other girls because we're on our way to the Sound of Music Sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl.

They don't know that I'm dressed from head to foot in shark attire because I'm headed to a party for the beginning of Shark Week on Animal Planet.

They don't know that I'm dressed like a cow because I'm going to Chick-fil-a to get free food.

They don’t know that I’m in oncsie footie pajamas because… ok there’s no good reason for the oncsie, it’s just the most comfortable article of clothing ever! 

They can only see how bizarre I look in my current surroundings because they don’t know where I’m headed. But I do…and so does God.

            How often do Christ followers get weird looks or stares of disbelief or shaking heads because of what we wear? I don’t mean what we’re actually wearing, although those “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirts deserve some odd stares! I’m talking about what else we’re wearing…kindness to enemies, mercy instead of revenge, forgiveness in the face of injustice, hope instead of fear, joy in all circumstances, belief in the impossible. I’m sure Jesus got weird looks daily because how that man acted was, to be quite honest, NOT normal! Asking God to forgive the people who are literally killing you is not normal! The love He chose to dress himself in was not normal and it looked odd to those around him, but only because they didn’t understand that He wasn’t dressed for this place, but rather for where He was going…heaven.

            What pains me about Christ followers, including myself, is that there are times when we don’t stand out at all; we don’t look different; we go about our merry way through the bait and tackle shop, the airport, the restaurant, the movie theater, looking exactly like everyone else, eliciting stares from no one. That’s when something’s wrong. The kind of life that we have been called to as followers of Jesus doesn’t have to be loud or showy or crazy, but if we’re truly following this God-Man, loving as He loved and living as He lived, how could our lives not make others take a second glance. He walked where others wouldn’t. He healed what others couldn’t. He touched the untouchable and unclean. He talked to and sat with those “beneath” Him. He served when others should have been serving Him. He turned the broken into beauty and the lost into loved. He called down forgiveness on those who hated Him when He could have called down an army. In following such a man, how could we possibly live a life that fits in so well when all he did was stand out?

As Christians we can dream big, dream impossible, and to an onlooking world we may look crazy, but we’re dressing our bodies and minds not for where we are, but for where we’re going. We may not be there yet, but we serve a God who makes the impossible possible, and we know where we’re going…ever onward, becoming more and more like Him and more and more who he has created us to be as we walk towards a glorious eternity.

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11th

How do you tell kindergarteners what we're remembering today...why their teacher is wearing red white and blue and failing to hold back tears at the flag salute? They weren't born when it happened and they have no concept that there is that kind of evil in their safe today in kindergarten we didn't mention the words plane or crash or towers (there will be time for those scary words when they're a little older), but we did talk about the words unkind and mean and hurt and sad and hearing a 5 year old pray for "the mean people to come to know Jesus and start being kind and loving others" made a sad day least more hopeful! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

By Kate White:
I have never been a direction follower. I don't think I've ever read a whole manual in my life. I'd rather try and try and try again than read how to do it right the first time. I had to retake the SAT in high school because I didn't read the directions and started on the wrong page! For years I've had masses of 10-year-olds entrusted into my hands and there is nothing a 5th grader hates more than reading directions! I found my people. And we learned the hard way together. 

I would also always rather substitute something else for whatever I am missing than spend the time to get the actual correct item. This is met with varying degrees of success from "I'm a genius!" to "I can't believe I made it out alive!" No bisquick? No problem! I'll just substitute all-purpose flour! I think those pancakes could have been fine substitutes for industrial rubber. 

Here's the thing. My husband...he has read and still owns every manual for every electronic and appliance he has ever purchased! He also has the original packaging. In our first month of marriage the hot tub broke down. The man downloaded the PDF of the manual, read it for several hours, and then went to the backyard and FIXED IT! It's like I've entered an alternate universe! 

Marriage doesn't come with a manual, but if it did, my husband would have all the answers while I would be valiantly making wild stabs at getting it right. If I could sum up what is needed for marital success (based on my extensive 2 and a half months of experience) it would be GRACE. I'll admit it, I need more daily grace than my husband does, but nonetheless, through all the trial and error and trial again at doing this marriage thing right, a little grace goes a long way. 

Someone said recently in front of a group of people, "Kate makes the best beignets!" Goodness I can't tell you how good that felt. It’s nice to get something right. It feels good to do something well.
(Despite the fact that last night I tried to just add a little extra flour to the brownies since I didn't have the (ahem...) CUP AND A HALF of Cocoa that I needed on hand.) That experiment was a hot mess that warranted getting tools from the garage to extricate the cold, hard, not terribly chocolaty goo from the pan. The grace to let a few of those incidents slide, allows me the confidence to get up and give it another try. 

Sometimes this marriage thing feels like the brownie goo and sometimes it feels like the light fluffy beignets! One day I feel like I'm super wife and the next I feel like a mess. I have unending gratitude for my husband’s grace to just kiss me and laugh and tell me that next time will be amazing! And I promise... No more subbing in flour for whatever I'm missing!