Monthly Archives: February 2011

Looking Back: Getting Engaged in the Magic Kingdom

Beautiful Valentine’s sunset…

I have decided to do a series of posts about our experience on the Disney College Program, and here’s the first one.

We’ll kick it off with a bang, showcasing probably the biggest and best experience of our time on the College Program…the night we got engaged 8 years ago this week!
It was Valentine’s Day.  We were both able to negotiate the day off with our managers (not an easy feat getting a holiday off, let alone both of us getting it off).  We started off the day attending a special “Cast Member Only” event on the history of the romance between Mickey and Minnie (we enjoyed attending these periodic sessions on Disney history when we could). It was neat to learn more about Walt’s vision of Mickey and Minnie.

Cinderella saying hi

In the afternoon we got all gussied up and headed to the Magic Kingdom to see the “We Share a Dream Come True” parade, which was my first time seeing that particular parade (Nate, on the other hand, had it practically memorized since he worked custodial in the Magic Kingdom).  Then we arrived at Cinderella’s Royal Table – the beautiful restaurant in the castle – for our dinner reservations.  Cinderella greeted us in the castle foyer, of course.  And we made our way to our table.

There’s the ring!

After a wonderful steak dinner, the waitress brought the dessert tray.  Only instead of dessert, there was a pillow holding a beautiful, intricate little golden coach.  Just then, Nate got down on one knee with the pillow, opened the golden coach to display the ring, and asked me to marry him.  I said yes, of course!

The people in the restaurant cheered as I said yes…

I felt like the true princess in the castle!
After dinner, Nate arranged for special VIP searing for the SpectroMagic parade (by far the best way to view a parade, by the way) followed by a private viewing of the fireworks from the top of the Skyway building in TomorrowLand (only certain managers have access to this area, and Nate’s custodial manager took us up there).  It was a beautiful evening filled with amazing memories that we will always treasure.
VIP Parade seating
Private fireworks viewing
Stay tuned for more snapshots of our Disney College Program experience in the coming weeks!

A Bittersweet Goodbye: Loving work, but loving God more

ACS Great West Leadership Team Meeting – January 2010

After six and a half years of bleeding purple and pouring myself into helping Relay For Life succeed in the Great West, I said goodbye to the American Cancer Society yesterday. 

It still feels surreal…I think I’m somewhat in denial.  You see, I loved my job.  I loved working with amazing volunteers who are so passionate about fighting cancer.  I loved getting the opportunity to be creative and affect meaningful change within the Great West Division.  I loved training staff to do Relay well and writing Relay curriculum.  I loved leading our volunteer training program and being responsible for our amazing Regional Summits.  I loved working with talented colleagues and sharing fun memories with them.
But I love God more.  And what He has been teaching me is that when a good thing, like my job, becomes an ultimate thing in my life, it is no longer a good thing…in fact, it is what God calls “idolatry”.  That when I find myself defining my life and my identity through my job, that my priorities are out of place.  That I need to let go and follow Him, placing my identity solely in Christ. 
As God has been calling Nate and I into full-time ministry, He has been making my pride and my idolatry more and more obvious to me.  The amazing thing is that He has been so loving and gentle as He strips away the things that I have placed too much value in, slowly and surely drawing me to complete reliance on Him. 
I know He is equipping me for the work He has prepared for me in Florida.  And an important step in that process was leading me to let go of my job and follow Him.  Even when it seems scary, risky, or even foolish. 
God made it very clear to me that following Him meant giving this up first, and trusting Him to provide – not only financially, but trusting Him to provide my complete sense of worth and significance as well.
So thank you, American Cancer Society, for giving me many years of challenging, engaging and fulfilling work.  Thank you for introducing me to many truly amazing people.  And thank you for the opportunity to grow professionally and personally while working on some incredible projects.  I know the fight against cancer will continue strong in the hands of your capable staff and volunteers.
And thank you Lord, for loving me enough to help me change.  To learn how to face my pride and my idolatry and choose you instead.  To find my significance solely in you.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. 
        – Colossians 3:1-4, NLT

House SOLD: A lesson in trust

Our Christmas Card photo from 2007, with our new house.

One of my biggest prayer requests throughout this journey into full-time ministry has been regarding our house.  Of course, like many others here in Phoenix, we bought our house at the peak of the housing boom and values have plummeted.  It felt impossible to consider selling it…it seemed like a huge barrier to joining Campus Crusade for Christ and following God’s calling to Florida.  But as God was changing our hearts and drawing us to Florida, we had to trust Him that He would provide a way and take care of the house details.  

We put our house on the market back in August and began the long process of negotiating with the bank.  God blessed the process by allowing the bank to work with us in the midst of Nate’s unemployment and bringing some solid buyers who were offering a good price for the home in this market.  We have seen example after example of friends and family who have tried to sell their Arizona homes only to have buyers back out or experience multiple bank denials.  We had to trust that because God is calling us to Florida, He would provide a way for the deal to move forward. 

Then, a couple weeks before Christmas, we learned that the deal would likely close around the first of the year.  This brought a whole new batch of anxieties for me!  The idea of packing up our house in two weeks before Christmas and finding a new place to rent before our trip to Colorado was overwhelming.  I found myself tied up in knots worrying about things I couldn’t control.  

It turns out that just like God promises, I really did not need to worry at all.  That He had all the details under control and was providing for us even beyond our imagination!

We had been searching for a rental and were about to put down a deposit when the new owners approached us saying they really wanted us to stay and rent the house from them.  We really didn’t think we would be able to afford the rent since we know what houses in our neighborhood are renting for, but the new owners were willing to discount the rent to meet our requirements in order to keep good renters who would take care of the house for them.  They were also willing to let us rent it on a month-to-month basis, giving us the freedom to leave for Florida as soon as God provides our full support.

So instead of having to find a new rental, sign a long lease, and move across town in the middle of the holiday season, we were able to stay in our home, take care of the place, and pay less rent in a situation that is good for everyone.  It worked out better than we even imagined it could.

It makes me wonder, why was I so worried?  God had everything planned perfectly.  He has provided for us over and over again through the years, and yet I feel like I am constantly learning this lesson.  I have to remind myself every day that He is ultimately trustworthy, especially as we continue in this process of raising our support and following His calling into full-time ministry.  

But it is a constant encouragement and reminder to trust in His faithfulness as I walk these hallways and vacuum these floors and put my little boys to sleep in their very own bedrooms each night.  God is good, and I can trust Him completely. 

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
      Matthew 6:31-34, NLT