If you know me or Drew, it’s no secret that we LOVE Disney.
We love the anticipation of going, the details in the theme parks, the crowd watching, the feeling of being in so many different “worlds” all in one day…. the way our kids light up seeing their favorite character…
And ….. The Fireworks… oh I love the fireworks and the nighttime shows!
We just LOVE it… ❤️
In March of 2016, Drew and I made a private yet extreme “life change” for our family. We decided that it was time to step out of security, into a world of unknown, and a season of truly walking by faith. Two little words changed not only our identity, but it would completely impact our kids worlds too…
It was time to DO what our hearts had been preparing for…
We knew that it would NOT be easy.
We knew our lives would dramatically change.
We knew our work load would be insane at times.
We knew in someways we were putting not only ourselves, but our two kids, in a glass box.
We knew the responsibility of what God was leading us to was BIGGER than ourselves.
We knew that we would not fully understand both the weight AND the reward until we were IN the middle of it.
We knew more than anything that we had a calling to PURSUE the Lord and to SHINE the light of Jesus to our city… and no matter what, no matter how hard it became… we wanted our kids to know that their Mom and Dad trusted the Lord and His leading for the enormous dreams He had given us.
So we did what we tell our leaders to do…
DIVE INTO THE DEEP…
We knew that the Lord would NOT lead us into something that would harm us or our ‘babies’… but we also knew that He gives us ideas and wisdom on ways to honor them (yes, honor our kids) and ways to celebrate during our first year of those two little words that carry SO much weight..
Yes, I am married to a planner… If you know Drew and I at all, you know I’m the spontaneous one… with what Drew calls “burst of creative fun and ideas”… and Drew is the PLANNER. We are about as opposite as you can get in this area… but that’s why I’m so crazy-giddy about him. Twelve years of marriage has taught us how to embrace and USE the strengths of each other!
So.. Drew made a plan… an outrageous plan…to honor our kids while at the same time walking through the church planting season.
2017 Disney Annual Passes
What?!?! Um, I am ALL about Disney, and ALL about burst of FUN… but he was QUITTING a job and we were…
We were stepping out into the unknown. We had financially prepared for our first year…as well, felt the leading to financially invest in ways that would stretch our faith and OURSELVES to a completely different level… so… my crazy brain was NOT processing that we could ADD..
2017 Disney…Annual…Passes… say…what?!?
No worries, Drew had a plan… and I love sharing this part of our experience…
For eleven months Drew, sold donated Plasma. Yes… Blood. For a purpose.
On average of two times a week, Drew would arrive at the donation center at 5:30 a.m. – with a GOAL in mind… he would spend approximately one hour connected to a machine that would filter the plasma from his blood.
(Side story: the previous year we lost our incredibly loved Bert – “Pepa” to our kids, from Leukemia. Plasma donations extended his precious life.. and Drew donating could also provide for other families, like it had for us.)
Once the donation was complete, the donation bank would load money onto a Visa gift card. Drew would do things to increase the amount per donation… he would go during “happy hour” for additional income, he would refer people, and he would reach the “goals” for the monthly bonuses…
Why in the world????
Because he had a goal and his mind set on a “prize”. He knew that 2017 would be potentially one of the hardest years not only for us but for our kids also, and Drew wanted to provide EXPERIENCES for our family.
Getaways, where we could get lost in magical places and we could spoil the mess out of our kids building insane memories. And out of that goal… a silly quote..
“Plasma for Disney”… became a reality.
Through plasma donations two times a week for eleven months, Disney Annual Passes were purchased…
But that’s not all…
My planner, budget-er, goal setter Drew, needed a way to actually HAVE the resources to go TO Disney, to USE the passes… so, while donating plasma he ‘worked the system’ of a Travel Reward Credit Card.
*Disclaimer: we do NOT operate on credit cards. From previous learning ‘experiences’ – we choose NOT to live under the control of debt.*
Drew began using the card to pay our monthly household bills. He would pay them on the credit card, and then immediately pay them off from our checking account. Thus, banking travel points for hotel stays.
Because, what good are annual passes if during this financially “tight” season – we can’t use them.
In a little over one year – we booked an insane amount of points to use.
By Christmas of 2016, Drew had met his goal! **I’m pretty sure Disney style fireworks went off in my mind and heart!!**
It has been BEAUTIFUL.
Despite what on paper could have looked like our ‘slimmest’ – Christmas season EVER. We were able to give our babies a year that they will NEVER forget. We gave them ‘A year of Disney”.
Between plasma donations and travel points:
We have spent 29… TWENTY NINE … nights at Disney in the past 8 months. Out of those 29 nights, we have only been out of pocket LESS THAN – $300.
With our annual passes, between free parking, merch discounts, food discounts, free photo pass… we have SAVED – approximately $675.
Yes, of course it cost money to go. We have been extremely blessed that our family have given Disney Gift Cards for Christmas, Birthday’s, and random special occasions. Our kiddos have embraced that we do not do simple things often such as eat out, go to movies, buy random toys, etc…. all because a ‘small no’ has allowed us to say a huge YES, to an amazing experience.
So, why am I sharing all of this? I’m simply sharing this to hopefully encourage someone to truly evaluate the season you are in… are you like me and listing all the reasons you CAN NOT do something? Because if so, I want to encourage you…
You can do ANYTHING you put your heart and mind too…
With – a LOT of hard work!
Sometimes it’s easy to look at others experiences and judge them, or think – “that must be nice”…and I know it’s EASY because I find that trap at times… but I want to encourage you today…
FIGHT – for experiences with your kids and your family.
WORK HARD – I don’t know of a season where we have worked harder. Remember those two little words: CHURCH PLANTING? They also come with Drew and I both teaching full time, and two cleaning businesses. Teach your kids that it’s OK to work hard and to be committed to providing… as long as you:
PLAY HARD – find something that you and your family LOVE and put your energy into making it happen!
I am crazy enough to believe that every time I tell my kids NO to the Lego set while grocery shopping… they are going to forget that NO, because we get to say YES to BIG memories!
Are we perfect… heck no. Do we spoil our kids… absolutely.
But wow when I think of how the Lord LOVES my imperfect self and SPOILS me with His insane Goodness…
It makes me enjoy this year of our “Disney Experience” even more…