Bragging on our son

I just picked our son up from school. I really felt like bragging on him today. He is a senior this year. He has always been on the honor roll  his whole life, except maybe two times. He was born on my late brother’s birthday.  He memorizes what is taught in each class, what he see’s in movies and what he reads. He is full of energy, full of humor,full of love, and full of life. He opens doors for, and is, respectful to women. He still waves at me and kisses and hugs me in public. He is by far, the best Uncle there is. He makes over each niece and nephew and always picks them up and plays with them! He tells about Robot Chicken and SNL in a way that makes me laugh harder than when I watch them myself. He conquers every video game out there,and makes up and does amazing artwork for games himself. He really is an awesome artist and writer! A few weeks ago, he was telling me that the senior’s in his JROTC class would be going to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Murfreesboro, TN right before Christmas to visit with and hand deliver Christmas cards to them. I was so proud of him tonight when I picked him up. He was so excited when he got in the van. He truly enjoyed being there. He talked to one man that had  guarded  the men that placed the American flag on the hill at the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Our son will leave us next July, at 17 years of age,to go into the Marine’s.  The lady that I help each morning was excited because her neighbor is a Vietnam Veteran and he was really impressed with a young man that gave him his Christmas card. He showed it to her and at the bottom was our son’s name.   He has, and is, and always will be a wonderful blessing from above.  Thank you Dear Lord. 

He is here right now!

  One of the most amazing creatures I have ever met?  He was short and kind, somewhere in his late 70’s to early 80’s and someone to whom my husband and I refer to as our  youngest daughter’s guardian angel.  We were hiking in a park in Indiana and she was in my arms,on my right hip. We had climbed the trail to a look-out point and we stopped to look over the side.  Our daughter,who was only a year old, decided to lunge forward and was out of my arms and over the side so suddenly. Then in a flash,she was back on my hip and in my arms. I was terrified,shocked,amazed, and thanking the Lord as I hugged her close. When I looked at my husband,  I knew he had seen the whole scene because his face looked like how I felt. We stood for a few moments and talked to this amazing being.  He mentioned our daughter,so we turned to loving look at her ,but when we looked back to him, he was gone. He had vanished! We like to tell this story ever so often and finish it off with this, so we pause, we smile, and say, there was no place to hide and the trail was long and clearly visible! So unless he jumped over the side, he was her angel and he had saved her life that day! He was dressed in dress pants, a sport coat and a fedora. My daughter just moved out last week, all of a sudden, because, she had a great opportunity to have her own place. But  I do wonder? Why does he keep coming into my thoughts? Why do I keep seeing him in my mind? Why do I sense him?  Her angel is close by me. So, I thank him, each time he is here.  He is near right now to comfort her Momma and to protect our little girl.  I love to hear stories of our loved ones escaping harm by angels or amazing heroic people! Have you saved someone’s life or been saved from certain harm? Please share! It warms our hearts and makes us thankful for each day with those we love. 

Discover the hidden Magic of Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World

fwcNestled peacefully on the south eastern banks of Bay Lake is the rustic Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness Campground.  Originally opened on November 19, 1971, this relaxing paradise has endured for over forty years providing wonderful memories for families from generation to generation.  My family was  introduced to this incredible resort back in 1998, and have been blessed to have spent time and build fantastic memories of trips with our parents, children, friends and now grandchildren!!

The campground is laid out in a large “somewhat” circular design with  paved “loops” that have campsites and cabins (see the attached Fort Wilderness Campground map from Walt Disney World) at various locations. The loops contain clean and spacious Comfort Stations with women’s and men’s bathrooms and showers, a laundry area and an ice vending machine. Campsites are available in three ranges from primitive to premium increasing in size and amenities based upon your needs. There are over eight hundred campsites and four hundred cabins.  Some of the most incredible times spent have been touring the loops and viewing the decorations that campers, from both tent camping, to large motor homes, have set up to celebrate their time at Fort Wilderness. The most incredible displays are around Halloween and Christmas time! 

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There are three areas of development at the campground, the Outpost, the Meadows, and the Settlement. The Outpost includes check-in and registration, the horse riding barn, and the Walt Disney World bus stop for complimentary bus service for both inside the FWC resort and buses heading to the four Walt Disney World theme parks and other Disney resorts including Downtown Disney. The Meadows area can be found in the middle of the resort and includes the main themed pool with an excellent slide and a fun kiddie splash area, tennis courts, sand volleyball pit, playground, shuffleboard, bike and canoe rentals, and the Chip and Dale sing along and outdoor movie area. We have spent many days with all of our children and grandchildren enjoying all the activities in this area! The Meadows also includes a Trading Post which provides opportunities for purchasing foods, drinks, and various retail items with many things not found elsewhere (and yes of course with Disney branding).

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We  have always been drawn to the long trails, the winding canals,ALL the  fun outdoor activities, and ease with which everyone could get to all the different Walt Disney World fun!  There are so many opportunities to see wildlife, and experience special times together in ways you will never experience anywhere else. Some of my wife and my best conversations have been sitting in rocking chairs at the Trading Post and at Trail’s End watching our family play.

At the upper part of the Fort Wilderness Campground resort, located along Bay Lake, is the Settlement area. This area includes Pioneer Hall with the Hoop-De-Doo Musical dinner show and the Trails End buffet restaurant, horse carriage rides, a themed character backyard Bar-B-Que, a great playground, another Trading Post, and the Marina. Complimentary boat transportation is provided to and from Magic Kingdom and the other two Bay Lake resorts, the Fort Wilderness Lodge and the Contemporary Resort. Also found at the Settlement is what used to be the petting farm/ranch and is now a pony riding area with the main horse barn for the large Belgians and other breeds that pull the wagons at the Walt Disney World theme parks.   hkfk

There is so much to see and do while you are at the resort, it is easy to forget that there are theme parks nearby.  Utilize the boats, and trails to connect to the other resorts and leave your vehicle behind.  If you have not been to the other Walt Disney World resorts, take the time to explore and experience the special foods and shopping.   Each one is so uniquely themed.

If you are unfamiliar with the Fort Wilderness Campground Resort, take the time to check it out online.  There is much information available to help determine costs and activities and of course, book your first visit! Online reservations can be made at http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com or by calling 407-939-5277 to speak with a Walt Disney World  reservations specialist.

An excellent resource to help with EVERYTHING is the wonderful people at http://www.FortFiends.net (we ourselves are FortFiends). If you are new to camping or have no equipment currently, check out how easy it is to use their website and forums to find rental equipment and helpful FWC recommendations.

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We hope that soon you may come to discover this hidden Magic on the shores of Bay Lake.  Have you any special memories of Fort Wilderness Campground Resort?  Please share a magical time or favorite place or activity.

Celebrate the New Year with Downtown Disney!

If you are looking for that special place to ring in the new year that has restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and lots of people watching, there is no better place than Downtown Disney for 2013! What is currently known as Downtown Disney, originally opened on March 22, 1975 as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village.  Through the years changes and renovations occurred with the opening of Downtown Disney’s West Side in 1997, and the closing of Pleasure Island in 2008.  Construction renovations are in progress with a completion date of 2016 for what will be called Disney Springs.  There are over forty restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues for all likes and tastes. One will find a special added feature for the New Years Eve celebration at various outdoor locations the addition of DJ dance parties and live music!

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There are several area hotels and resorts, plus the opportunity to stay onsite at Walt Disney World at one of their fantastic resorts.  This option provides you with the benefit of not only being in the most magical place on earth, but Walt Disney World transportation to and from Downtown Disney.  Please note though that with the increased attendance at the New Year’s Eve celebration there will be longer wait times and heavier traffic. Whether you are looking to enjoys some of the unique and fabulous food and drinks, or just enjoy being outside for such an occasion, there is no place that will provide you with a more complete entertainment value.  Reservations should be made as far in advance as possible as many places will see full occupancy.  Consider your transportation needs carefully, especially if your plans include partaking in alcoholic beverages.

Activities are scheduled to commence around 8:00 pm and will wrap up at 1:00 am on New Year’s Day.  Don’t hesitate to come early though, as there are always lots to do and enjoy when you are at Downtown Disney. Have you or your family enjoyed New Year’s Eve  celebrations at Downtown Disney? Please share with us an experience or your favorite thing to do!

Enjoying Walt Disney World cuisine on a budget!

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For many, the desire to enjoy a weldeserved vacation at Walt Disneyworld is just beyond their reach due to costs.   One area that Disneyworld has helped in the past few years is the policy change to allow outside food and drinks into their four Theme Parks.  There is probably no area within a budget that is more difficult to control than that of food expense.  Providing meals and drinks that will please everyone’s palate, and satisfy those cravings when and where they occur is just not easy.  With some pre-trip planning and purchasing, anyone can keep those costs in line and still enjoy that special Disneyworld cuisine.

One way to begin the planning is to consider what your family enjoys most.  Maybe everyone appreciates a good breakfast, or the idea of enjoying a Lighthouse sandwich at a Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square, or everyone just loves those Dole whips found at Aloha Isle in Adventureland (both can only be found in Magic Kingdom, check the Disneyworld park map for directions). Whatever is special should be planned for and money set aside.  For all those other meals, snack and drinks consider bringing into the theme park inexpensive and simple items that will satisfy everyone and still keep your costs down.  There are several grocery stores in the surrounding area adjacent to Walt Disneyworld, with some open 24 hours, or within a walking distance to Downtown Disney, so pre-purchasing before your arrival is not required. There are limitations to the size of gear used to carry in those goodies, a bag no larger than 24″ x 15″ x 18″ is allowed, and you are not allowed to bring in glass bottles (with limited exception of baby food) and no alcoholic beverages.  Take the time to visit http://www.disneyworld.disney.go for the specific policies and regulations.

With just a little planning and preparation, your family can enjoy some incredible food and drinks that Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has to offer.  Have you or your family any special ways to reduce your food costs while enjoying Walt Disneyworld?  Please tell us your secrets and planning tips.   

Not to play with my mind

Go out the back, come around,pause, then walk in the door again. Stop and very slowly look around. Close your eyes for just a second and they will appear. Look at their faces,say their names, and  remember the expression in their eyes.  If  you are accepted,  you’ll feel the warmth of their arms,  if any wrong is to be forgiven, then say those words you’d say, because this became  their last day. That time that was suppose to be later became now. And all that is left is their shadow around the corners,thru the halls and up the stairs. Their scent,their sounds of love and laughter too. Enter that room, turn around, and chase those beautiful voices before they are gone. Open your eyes.

And the color is….

From pig-tails,curly blonde hair,to black and pink hair. In honor of the feisty lady with breast and lung cancer that was given 6 months to live,I have colored the top of my hair in the front bright pink. The rest is black to make the pink stand out. I have complete strangers everywhere-And I mean,EVERYWHERE,come up to me and say,”I love your hair”. I, each and every time, tell them that I did this for my little lady that I care for that has breast cancer. I make her smile,she says. I am her best friend, she says. She can’t wait for me to get there every morning, she says. I am like family,she says. I say. I know why I moved from sunny warm days in Florida to Tennessee. I know why I was so incredibly,and strongly lead to turn my hair a flaming, see me for miles, pink. Because. For you,I am the Pink Lady.