Category Archives: church

I Just Can’t Wait…

It’s four a.m. here in my world and I am awake. I am very awake. There is no way that I am going to be able to get back to sleep. It’s not because I am in an unfamiliar place, though I am. It is not because it is very loud outside, though that is true as well. I am awake because today I go to Walt Disney World!

The true Disney fan knows that life shifts when you are your Disney self. You wear things you wouldn’t normally wear, eat food that you normally avoid, and do things you normally wouldn’t do. For The Princess and I that includes becoming morning people. It began on our first trip accidentally and now just seems part of our rhythm. 

Some times it is intentional. When we are at the parks we know the early bird catches the worm or in this case gets the shortest wait times of the day. But when we are in a hotel waiting to head to the airport there is no good reason to be up early. A full night’s sleep is a good and useful thing but my brain is too excited and tells my body that it’s time to get moving. So here I am up a good three hours before I’m usually awake killing time until we can take the shuttle. The Princess has been up even longer. 

There will come a moment when we have a discussion about how wonderful it would be to stay on this schedule in ‘real life’. We could be so productive!  In reality we get home and immediately enter recovery mode and are back to growling at the alarm and sleeping in at every opportunity. The Disney energy is contained and situational, sadly. 

So here I am. 

It’s later now. The breakfast bar is still not open, but it may not be too early to get dressed. I will move as slowly as possible which will still be too fast. I will be ready to go long before I need to be and have to find a way to entertain myself that doesn’t waste too much battery life. It’s going to be a very long day, but I just can’t wait!

You can follow along on my WDW adventures on Twitter (@Pastorinmousear) or by liking me on Facebook. 

Inspiration by Disney

We have once again entered into graduation season.  It’s a little more poignant this year since The Princess is graduating.  To begin our week long celebration I am republishing my graduation blog from last year.  Enjoy!

 

I have never been asked to speak at a commencement or a baccalaureate but it it one of those things I have thought about doing.  What would I say?  How would I inspire young people on the cusp of a new phase of life?  Here are some of my thoughts.

 

‘I’ve got no strings’

pinocchio_got_no_strings

You are on the brink of a new level of freedom.  Your choices will more and more be shaped by your own priorities NOT what your parents, teachers, and other authority figures tell you to do.  This is good and bad.  Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it is also a little scary.  Be brave!  Don’t let your strings hold you back.

‘A whole new world’

whole new world

There is a lot of world out there that you have never seen.  Be open to new experiences.  Go new places, try new foods, meet new people.  You will not enjoy all of them.  That’s okay.  It is better to try something and know that you don’t like it then to take someone else word that calamari is disgusting (it is, BTW).  Don’t except what you are told without experiencing it first hand.  Keep an open mind.

‘I’ve got a dream’

I've_got_a_dream

Have a goal in mind.  Don’t wander aimlessly.  You can reach your goal.  You can achieve your dream.  You can even fail.  But always, ALWAYS have something to aim for.  It can be small (learn how to whittle) or large (run a Fortune 500 company) but have a goal or, even better, have several.

‘You can fly’

Peterpan

You are capable of more than you imagine.  You are not defined by what your grades were or where you’re from.  You all have vast reserves of untapped potential.  Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.  Believe in yourself and you will soar.

‘Just around the riverbend’

riverbend

Life is a journey.  You need to get moving.  What you want will not magically come to you.  You need to get out there actively working and looking for the things that you want.  It may be a little further down the river than you expect.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will arrive.

‘Dig a little deeper’

Princessandthefrog_0987

Never make the mistake of thinking life is easy or fair.  It is neither.  If you want to truly succeed in whatever you chose for yourself you have to commit fully to it.  You cannot do less than your best and expect to excel.  Do not half-a@@ your way through life.  What you put in is what you will get back.

‘Let it go’

let it go

You WILL make mistakes.  They are a fact of life.  Most of them will be small but some of them will be life changing.  Accept them, learn from them, then move on.  Holding on to mistakes will only weigh you down and keep you from something greater.

‘Go the distance’

Go_the_Distance

Life is a marathon not a sprint.  Commit for the long term.  Some life goals are exactly that, LIFE goals.  You will need your whole life to accomplish them.  Settle in for the long haul.

‘Never grow up’

peter_pan__never_grow_up_by_julesrizz-d6hu4ed

You will get older.  You will be more responsible.  You will learn to do all those things that mature adults do in this life.  You will possibly even have children of your own someday.  Don’t forget to have fun.  Don’t forget to be amazed by the world around us.  Don’t lose the joy and wonder we all had as children. That is what will make life more than just living.  It will be an adventure.                   (image by julesrizz-d6hu4ed  on quotesgram.com)

 

 

 

A Pirate’s Life

***So there are no spoilers here, feel free to read if you haven’t seen the newest installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.***

If you have any connection to Disney or a television you are aware that Disney has released the fifth movie based on the park attraction, “The Pirates of the Caribbean”.  If you have been thinking, “Wow, it seems like five movies worth of plot is a lot to squeeze out of a 10-15 minute ride.”  You would be right.  At this point, there is little to no resemblance to the original ride in the movies other than an occasional quote from the ride narration or its theme song.  Honestly, there is no reason this movie (or at least 3 of its predecessors) should have been made.  But for some reason it works and the newest movie is an enjoyable addition to the series.

Both before and after “Pirates of the Caribbean” Disney tried several times to create a successful movie adaptation of a park ride.  Let’s just say the results were disappointing

 

 

 

 

Tower of Terror (1997)tower-of-terror

Disney’s first attempt to create an independent narrative around a ride.  This made for TV movie was disappointing to many.  Of all the rides available, one would think that an attraction with a Twilight Zone connection would be the most engaging to move to the screen.

 

 

 

mission-to-marsMission to Mars (2000)

Did you remember that there was once an attraction of this name?  Neither did I.  It’s a pizza restaurant now.  The movie is about as memorable.  Critics hailed the special effects, but the plot, dialog, and pacing were all considered mediocre at best.

 

 

 

 

The Country Bears (2002)country-bears

This one definitely goes in the the ‘what were they thinking?’ category.  Disneyland’s version of this was already closed before the movie was even released.  The attraction is cute and a fun way to get off your feet for 15 minutes, but honestly they don’t need a backstory.

 

 

 

 

haunted-mansionThe Haunted Mansion (2003)

Of all the movies on the list, this one was the only one that really disappoints me.  The movie isn’t good, however there are glimpses of a better movie that occasionally peeks through.  Perhaps that’s why this one is rumored to be getting a second chance.

 

 

 

 

With this mixed bag of movies, one would think Disney would give up on the idea of great rides becoming great movies, but no.  We have several more rumored to be in the works including movies based on The Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, and (God help us all) Small World.  Will anything ever be able to match the success of the Pirates?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

 

Disney Countdown

Three weeks from right now I will be winging my way down to Florida for The Princess’s graduation celebration at Walt Disney World.  We are in that awkward phase of Disney trips where there is nothing to do.  We have made all our reservations, booked our Fastpasses, and paid our bills.  The MagicBands are on their way, the Photopass is purchased and ready to go, and we’re checked into our hotel.  It is too early to pack, check into our flight, or order our snacks to be delivered to the hotel.  There is nothing to do except wait.  I hate waiting.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other things to do.  There is the aforementioned graduation and its accompanying festivities, there is my upcoming move and all the work associated with that, plus there is still all the same day-to-day that doesn’t stop no matter  what else is going on.  I am not looking for ways to fill my time.  The problem is I’ve spent the last several months watching the calendar so I can hop online and book restaurants and rides.  It feels a little weird to be done.  It would seem to be tempting fate to say that we’re ready for the trip.  Right now we are in the space in between getting ready and leaving.  Like most in between spaces it’s a challenge to be in.

It is hard to be in between, yet most of our life is spent in these spaces.  In fact, there is a theory that says that all great ministries are done in between spaces: in between hope and fear, life and death, death and resurrection, what is and what will be.  As uncomfortable as those places are that is where we are needed the most.   That doesn’t make being in between easier, but it does give it purpose.

What are you in between?  Now and next?  Here and there?  Preparing and doing?  Find the holy in your space and reach out from there to those sharing that space with you.  The time is both blessed and stressful.  Make the most of it.

 

Featured image was found on northshoremama.com with no creator cited.

Here Comes Pandora!

As I have stated in previous postings, change makes me nervous, especially change for change’s own sake.  I know this is ironic since I am a pastor and extol my congregations to embrace change all the time.  I know that change is a requirement for growth.  I know that organizations that are stagnant will die.  Change is good and important and crucial.  I hate it when it actually applies to me.  I especially when it changes thing I love like, for example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

So why Pandora?

That’s the first question that comes to mind.  There seem to be other franchises that would be a better fit for a Disney Park.  As others have shared with me, even a fairy tale land with dragons and unicorns would seem to make more sense,  But what we have is an entirely new land based on a film from 2009 with no Disney connections at all.

Interestingly, some of this debate echos the discussion that happened when Star Tours was first built in 1987.  At that point there was no connection between between Disney and Lucasfilm.  The Star Wars furor had died down possibly forever with no new movies on the horizon.  That was over a ride, not a whole new land!  Thirty years on, we can look back and realize that move was prescient.  But at the time, who knew that Star Wars would come to belong to Disney and would be getting its own brand new land (though after Pandora which Disney doesn’t own).  Honestly, I don’t understand the reasoning.

I am waiting to see what people have to say and, of course, I will give you my own very honest review after my trip next month.  We’ll see if the change is for the right reasons or just something showy.

 

Guardians of Grace?

************************ MINOR SPOILER ALERT*************************

I’m writing about the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies today.  There are no major plot points revealed from either movie.  However, if you haven’t seen them and are a movie experience purist and want to see them with no preconceived ideas, you may want to skip this blog today.

************************ END SPOILER ALERT ***************************

One of the more wacky additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to be “The Guardians of the Galaxy” films.  The characters are not those that we might expect to get their own movie, let alone a franchise.  They are definitely, third tier characters or lower.  Even those of us who read more Marvel comics than those that had mutants or spiders, had no idea who these people might be.  Going into the first one I was confident that #1: The soundtrack would be good and #2: The MCU hadn’t let me down yet.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprise and a delight.  It was funny and irreverent without having to descend to “Deadpool” levels of funny and irreverent.  There was action, adventure, an origin story, and the overarching plot of the whole MCU was advanced.  At it’s heart, however, none of that was what the movie was about.  “Guardians” was really about what makes a hero. A hero isn’t necessarily the best person, the most talented person, or even  someone inspired to help others.  Sometimes a hero is simply the person who is willing to do what needs to be done in spite of his or her flaws and imperfections.  Which, of course, means that we can all be heroes.  Audiences responded to these misfits and rooted for them even though most of us had never heard of them before.

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2” came out a few weeks ago and to my mind was not as strong.  The soundtrack was not as good, the action was repetitive, and it just felt like they were trying too hard to recapture the magic of the original.  There was a strained quality to the first half of the movie.  The humor felt forced rather than organic.  There was still action, adventure, and an origin story, but the overarching plot of the MCU was not advanced.  Like the original, however the larger message of the film was more than the sum of its parts.  “Vol. 2′ was ultimately about what makes family.  Family isn’t about who we may be related to, how we are raised, or what is considered ‘normal’ family structures.  Family is about who we love and who loves us.  It is about those we choose to share our life and those who put up with our faults, foibles, and rough edges.  Perfection is held up as a negative example and forgiveness is what brings people together.  Again, this gives us hope than even our flawed lives can be of worth to the right people.  Call me crazy, but this sounds like grace to me.

Grace is love in spite of flaws and finding courage in spite of fear.  Grace allows us to see the best in ourselves and know that we are of value.  Grace tells us that we are forgiven even when we don’t deserve forgiveness.  Through grace we find hope, love, and the strength to be our best possible selves.  And we find evidence of it in the most unexpected places, like sci-fi movies about a group of outsiders.

All of that is why grace is so amazing.

Pixar’s got the Moms!

On Tuesday, I questioned the lack of mothers in the Disney animated universe.  It is interesting to note that that trend is not shared by Disney’s newer branch of animation, Pixar Studios.  Out of 17 animated features, 11 of them include moms of those 11, in 7 of them moms are major characters.  Let’s look at them, briefly.

It all starts, of course, with Andy’s mom.  In all three “Toy Story” films she is a major part of the action.  She brings home Buzz Lightyear, she tries to save Woody from Al, she takes the toys to the daycare.  More importantly, she is gives Andy the time and space he needs to develop his imagination by playing with his toys.  She doesn’t have a name.  She is simply, Andy’s Mom.

As the years have gone on, we have had a wide variety of moms.  In “A Bug’s Life”, the ant queen is ruler and mother.  Mrs. Incredible kicks butt.  Literally.  Neither “Monsters, Inc” or “Finding Nemo” have moms, but their sequels both do.  Russell talks about his mom often in “Up” though we only see her at the end.  “Brave”, Inside Out”, and “The Good Dinosaur” all have active, involved moms whose relationship to the main characters anchors them.  Moms are missing in both the “Cars” franchise and “WALL-E”, but this is perhaps to be expected of movies in which the main characters are machines.  In fact, the only movie that is about a human and doesn’t have a mom in it is “Ratatouille”.  Linguini is an orphan, Pixar’s only orphan.  If we set that against Disney’s record it is startling.  And before you say “Disney has been around longer, of course there’s more!”  Since “Toy Story” was released, Disney animation studios has produced eight theatrical releases in which the main character was an orphan (“Tarzan”, “The Tigger Movie”, “The Emperor’s New Groove”, “Lilo and Stitch”, “Brother Bear”, “Meet the Robinsons”, “Frozen”, and “Big Hero Six”).  By any standard, that reflects a trend.

Pixar is often credited for both saving and revitalizing animation as a genre.  One of the ways they have done that by using creative story telling that is not heavily reliant on existing tropes.  Giving characters families connections deepens their character.  The writers have to work a little harder to get us to care about them, but they always seem to get it right.

Thanks, Pixar, for not being afraid to tell the wider story.  Maybe as the two studios become more permeable we will see a rise in Disney moms as well.

 

 

Featured image by Dan the Pixar fan at danthepixarfan.com