Short venture at Disney – long in thought

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I wonder how many people over the ages have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida?  This blog is not an adventure to gather statistics but as a point of curiosity.

I have made countless trips in the Florida Disney disney-castle-sideTheme Parks and mostly venture to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.  My favorite thing to do is just walk around and pop in a ride if the line isn’t too long.

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In 2016 I intentionally backed off of the visits but decided to return recently.  There remains that certain feeling of adventure, excitement and escape from the daily routine that I missed.

disney-frontierland-2This visit was only for a few hours just to see how the crowds were doing, and if nothing else, just walk around.  I don’t have to ride every ride before I find enjoyment .  In fact, I don’t have to ride ANY rides to find enjoyment.  Have you ever just gone there, or any other favorite park, and simply observe the people, architecture, landscape, colors, pageantry and the like?  That’s what I mostly enjoy. disney-near-aladdin-crowd

disney-retreat-ceremony-3After years of being at Magic Kingdom we just happened to be at the right place at the right time upon entering and noticed the retreat ceremony preparing to start.  I had never noticed this before.  We decided to wait and watch.

With Disney-like precision the honor guard members formed, the band appeared and the color guard stood at attention to receive the flag of the United States of America.

The band strikes the chord and the honors begin.  The sound of retreat is played by the brass section, signifying securing of the U.S. flag at the end of day. Crowds gathered and most rendered their own salute to the Star Spangled Banner (National Anthem), which renews the feeling of patriotism.

The flag slowly flows from its lofty perch on the staff.  It is now secure.  Respect has been shown and the show goes on as people from all walks of life, nationalities and cultures from the world express their excitement in the events that unfold throughout the park.

 

I wonder!  What do people from other nations think about this patriotism?  Also, as one looks over or through the crowds, can you determine who is from North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa?

Don’t we all want to enjoy life?  Don’t we all want to live in freedom, laugh, play, disney-frontierland-2rear our children, make life meaningful and prosper?  What if we had a similar peace throughout the world like we experience at Disney as we are respectful of one another and desire good will upon each.  Wow!  No doubt the world would be better for humankind and people won’t need to live in fear.

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disney-people-mover-2The People Mover is one of my favorite activities at Disney.   It’s just an easy, simple ride on a tram-like cart traveling through attractions and is quite relaxing.  I can’t believe there was a line for this one this time.  We usually walk right on.  However, the 20-minute wait wasn’t bad.disney-people-mover

 

As night erupted, mixed with the colorful sky and the various rides where laughter ring out, my mind focuses on the color exhibited by the vast array of showcases.  Actually, can you see the castle behind this picture of color at one of the attractions.  We traveled on the People Mover and the lights screamed out at me to get my attention.  I couldn’t resist.disney-lights-at-future-land

We get so caught up in instant success and instant gratification we often become very impatient while we’re trying to relax and have fun, right?

Well, I’ll look for another trip and plan around the time when I can just enter attractions without a line.  And, if there is a line, I’ll walk around again and take in the sights and sounds like before.

I am pleased though to see the laughter and excitement on faces of old and young alike, from all walks of life throughout the globe, as they too enjoy the moment to simply “live.”  What is your escape from the harshness and routine of life?

Well, my thoughts wondered again.  I wanted to see another of my favorite Disney hall-of-presidents-at-disneyattractions in the three short hours of this visit.

The Hall of Presidents is always an inspiring venue that reminds me of the leadership and sacrifices of our presidents over the years to keep the United States of America free as a democracy so that all those who seek freedom and peace can still see the beacon of hope.

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I often take a look at the items on display in the Hall foyer before proceeding into disney-hall-of-presidents-washington-teeth-scalersthe main auditorium.  I attempt to visualize and absorb what these plain, everyday-type artifacts represent.  To me these are small reflections of those who led our nation at their respective times and still carried on their daily lives as well.

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The Hall has a great, patriotic presentation in the auditorium.  I enjoy seeing and hearing the comments from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, and in the future – Donald Trump.   It’s amazing to see the likeness and interaction of the figurines as each president is introduced.

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We may not have a long heritage like some nations do but we have a proud heritage – and one that we want to maintain so that other people of the world can still look to the U.S. as a nation that desires peace and prosperity for all, and that we still are a beacon for anyone who wants to live peacefully and make a life full of meaning to benefit the human race.

disney-hall-of-presidents-washngton-and-obama2As the U.S. embarks on another inauguration of a president, how different will President Trump be from President Washington, or Lincoln, Jackson, Cleveland, Roosevelt, Ford, on and on?  That’s what I wondered as I visited the Hall of Presidents again.  Just like all the presidents before, they were given the opportunity to lead a nation – “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  May God help us to still stand undivided in this nation, and the nations of the world, for those who yearn to be free and enjoy life to the fullest, without fear, threat or intimidation.

Life is too short to not enjoy it with full meaning and in peace.  Let’s allow time to become our ally.

Bubbles and palms reflect life too

bubble-in-flightIntentions of writing in 2016 were good but where has time gone.  Each of us has the same amount of time to use in what we call life, don’t we?  Life seems like a perfect bubble that enters the world and floats freely, with all of its beauty and glory.

This bubble reminds me of how life is actually short and at any point in time it could fade away, or someone could burst it.  So I think I need to “re-reflect” on my writing and enjoy it, when the opportunity presents itself.

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Time is moving along – reminding me of the past, present and future.

No doubt blogging needs to be a regular occurrence and I have been a bit slack in 2016 trying to balance life and making intermittent travels.

I even took an unintentional pause from writing about our fall travels to the Northeast U.S., and now I feel I have a lot to catch up.  If we’re not careful blogging can become a burden instead of a joy, and sense of freedom.  Do you know what I mean?

So, before my bubble slips away from the moment, I want to share this thought.

I didn’t travel outside the local Florida area during the November and December holidays but something I thought was interesting last week was decoration of palm trees at Vilano Beach, just north of St. Augustine, Florida.

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These decorated palms were noticed while taking a joy ride through the beach area, that had been damaged from Hurricane Matthew only a few months ago.

Just like life, when situations develop and we see destruction all around, there are opportunities to rise above the challenge and create beauty.  I think these holiday-decorated palms remind me of how people rebound from adversity and spread the cheer to others who choose to see.

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Please guard against someone altering the flight of your bubble, or bursting it, as we enter 2017.  Let’s enjoy abundant life and the beauty that is around us, even through adversity.  I hope you have an Enjoyable, Safe, Rewarding New Year!  Let’s make it so!

Sound of Freedom

Sound of Freedom

I figured I would take a little break from the travel writing, although I’m still not as frequent as I would like, and showcase what I refer to as the “sound of freedom.”

I never tire of the roar, swish and maneuvers of military might and power in the img_1656air.  I equate that to the sound of freedom. The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels reflect the capability and desire of a nation that still wants to stand up for those who yearn to be free to think and live without being told how or being under government threats.

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Is this one aircraft or two? Maybe it’s a unique aircraft with stabilizers on the top and bottom. Well – there are two aircraft side-by-side and one is inverted. Superb skill!

I enjoyed seeing the Sea and Air Spectacular again today that highlighted the Blue Angels.  Have you seen them fly before?

Thousands enjoyed the Jacksonville Beach setting as various vintage and modern-day aircraft performed their skills in the sky.

It’s amazing the precision demonstrated in the air.  The pilots, whether civilian or military, are no doubt among the best in the world and the maneuvers are beyond logic and understanding.  Below are some additional clips to provide you a little taste of the force, capability and speed of these aircraft.  You’ll get a little surprise for the last clip so make sure you check it out.  It’s cool!

Journey from Florida – finding time to blog

Journey from Florida – finding time to blog

Finding time to blog is a bit of  a challenge sometimes, at least for me.

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On the road again – Interstate 95 north in Jacksonville, Florida heading northward toward Georgia.  

I’ve been traveling a few days now and wanted to write and post a few times already. However, when traveling so much throughout the day and arriving at the night’s resting place I don’t even have time to download all the photos.

I see many things I want to write about and share but finding the right time to just let the thoughts translate to the printed word is not as easy as one would think.

I’ve read about blogging and listened to audio books to gather more insight.  They are helpful.  To me it centers around just writing something each day to keep in the habit – being consistent.

Well, I have much to improve in order to be consistent but it’s my goal.

I have many stories still to write from my previous trips to Europe and the western part of the U.S.  They are still there – somewhere in my brain – even though they have not been placed in word content.

With so many stories yet to share what kind of routine can I create – and stick with it? Combining full time employment, family life, house projects and maintenance, and life itself can be a challenge.  I mean we only have 24 hours-a-day, right?

My goal is to be consistent with writing a few minutes each day.  I think the routine will be incorporated into my lifestyle eventually.  Besides, if we don’t tell it who will?

Here we are now on another journey.  I intended to write a blog each day but maybe that’s a little too much.  I don’t want to inundate the world with my daily thoughts. However, I should at least write some of my thoughts from the day and eventually the blog will flow in a consistent pattern.  What do you think?

The travel journey we are now completing is from Florida to the New England states in the northeastern United States.  Combining this travel with my previous travels I’ve been able to visit each one of these states, if only passing through:  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

I’ve traveled an untold number of times throughout the lower U.S. states such as Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia – on and on.  Even though one travels extensively through various parts there is ALWAYS something outstanding that is worthy of explanation.  Every day is filled with life of some sort and has a story untold.  That’s my mission.

This time I wanted to explore some of the back roads instead of the Interstate.

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It’s amazing that more than 100 million people visited Florida in 2015 and here I am leaving the “Sunshine State” to visit the northeast.  So the saying goes – “variety is the spice of life.”

We traveled to North Carolina on Interstate 95 and then ventured westward slightly to take in some of the smaller towns.  It’s enjoyable driving the slower lanes of traffic and experiencing local cultures.

One of the first places within about 15 minutes from I-95 in Dunn, North Carolina is a classic car showplace – East Coast Classic Cars.  I wouldn’t have known it was there by staying on the Interstate.  There were some very nice vintage cars that were restored.  http://www.ecoastcc.com/

It was a pleasant ride through North Carolina into Virginia and northward.  I’m thinking about what story I need to post next with more photos.  Oh the joy!

So, let’s get off the beaten, fast lane a little and slow down to enjoy the beauty all around.

 

Which direction are you going?

Which direction are you going?

When we speed through life we no doubt encounter many obstacles.  Aside from the obstacles come the signs that tell us to go this direction or that direction, stop, go, left turn, right turn, detour ahead.

The pic of the signs highlights the many options along our roadways and it certainly grabs your attention when you see so many bunched together.

What do you do when you are faced with so many signs that you don’t know which direction to take in life?

8140109156_9afd293683_bI would like to hear if you took the road less traveled or whether you took another route, or even a detour.

I suppose you can relate these signs to every phase of our being such as physical, mental and spiritual.  We encounter detours in our jobs, relationships and in our medical conditions.  There are times we have to take another route than the one we’re traveling.

Some roads have tunnels and some are covered.  Some overlap and intermingle, intersect and even dead end.

8140072995_fce58db2ee_kWe think we have the right solution spiritually until something grabs our attention and the right sign shows the way.  Are you on the right road that lasts through this life and then into eternity?

Let’s not get detoured with the distractions of life and miss the most important aspect – of having true life here and hereafter.

 

Remembering sacrifices

Remembering sacrifices

I was just thinking about how I’m not very consistent toward writing about my travels, nor life experiences.  I began highlighting a short stay in Germany recently and then life’s events slowed my momentum.  This sort of becomes a burden, knowing that I need to write but tend to other duties instead.  I will get better at it though.

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Photo courtesy of American Battle Monuments Commission.

Regardless, I began reflecting on a previous trip a few years ago when I was in Germany and took a trip to Luxembourg.

I knew of American national cemeteries in various places around the world where U.S. troops fought and died but I had never visited one until Luxembourg.  I just had to pause to observe the rows of grave markers so neatly aligned, which is befitting for those serving in the military where practically every step and action is taught with discipline and order.

I practically forgot some of the details concerning the cemetery and researched the Internet, finding a good write-up from American Battle Monuments Commission. http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/luxembourg-american-cemetery#.V0ujkZErLIV

The photos on the website triggered thoughts of my visit.  As I walked around the cemetery my mind focused on the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, particularly serving in a far-away land.  I was touched by the appreciation expressed by those who experienced the relief and yes, I believe salvation, by the call of duty from American and Allied Forces.

These service members dedicated their lives to the mission for which they were called.

Words can never express the depth of thanks of a grateful nation toward its liberators but I felt the sense of true gratefulness at Luxembourg.

Be it known to the families of those buried here and around the world that the sacrifices are not in vain.

May we learn the way of peace so that these great numbers of sacrifices are never experienced again.  But we must all do our part to make it a reality.

 

 

 

Passing of Time

Passing of Time

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Once upon a time there was a new house, nestled in the scenic fields along a slow, purposeful county road.  Life was much slower then as the new structure took shape and became the overwatch of the flower-adorned fields and the community travelers.DSC_3685

Imagine the laughter and sounds of peace within the walls of the new  house.  The amenities of the time are certainly welcomed and this new dwelling competes with the other structures made with human hands.

I wonder about the children – their names and ages – and how many lived in this small but sufficient house that became a home.  What did the man and woman of the house do for a living?  Were they farmers?

Where did the residents go and for what reason?  There are just too many questions with no answers I suppose.

Now over the echoes of time as we reflect on the structure that still remains, although barely, one can’t help but take notice and wonder.  Gaze upon the remains.  What do you see?  What do you hear?

Listen to the laughter, the cries, the walls speaking to us.  Imagine life that once was.

Now the walls are silent – begging for new life or just existing until time overcomes.  The porch that was once the welcome mat for all who approach the beauty of the structure now creeks if one even dares to step on one piece, or it may give way completely to ones misfortune.

Abandoned and forgotten but memories still remain somewhere, or has the memory faded with the passing of the lives who once called this house their home.

Though not in its beauty and glory of the day, the monument still stands as a testament to time and life.

Just like life itself, there is the newness and innocence of childhood followed by the growing stages into young adulthood – and the fast and furious life of establishing a career and family.  When the walls of our lives fade with the lack of paint and the diminishing laughter and joy within, and we seem that our sense of purpose is slipping away, where is the revival?  Are our lives deteriorated like this lonely structure that now awaits its final destiny?

And then there is a resurrection.  Who will purchase this structure and replenish the remaining pieces for use again?

Who purchased our spiritual life within and made it anew?  I recall the words of Jesus Christ who makes all things new.  The old life is passed away and new life begins.  Because He resurrected we too have the new life.

We may think our lives are like the old house that was discarded and without purpose – BUT when we trust and believe in Christ, we are alive again, with joy and renewed purpose in life.  Believe, ask forgiveness, accept His salvation and live the resurrected life – because HE LIVES.