Disney Vacation Club

All You Care to Eat

When it comes to vacationing, we’re all geared a little differently. Some are drawn to the mountains and snow, some to the beaches and sand, some to museums, some to amusement parks, some cruising on the ocean blue, and some enjoy hitting the open road wherever it may lead them. And then there are those who enjoy it all. Over the last seventeen years, Brandon and I have had a bit of variety in our get-out-of-town trips. We’ve hit a few big cities visiting museums and seeing shows, we’ve enjoyed a cruise (no surprise Mickey was on the ship—we just love that mouse), we’ve soaked up sun on a few beaches, and we’ve continued to feed our Disney addiction, cultivating one in our children, with return trips for fun in the parks.

Whatever it is we have planned for vacation, one feature is always at the top of our list--- where we’ll eat!

I realize not everyone may look forward to food as much as we do, but stick with me. Even if you’re not a passionate eater, there’s still something here for you too.

On our recent vacation to Disney’s Aulani resort on Oahu, we enjoyed a character dining experience called Menehune Mischief at their Makahiki restaurant. Oh my! The food!

Our family tried to remember all the different items on the buffet. There was mac and cheese, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, ham, chicken tenders, a salad bar, pork lion, pizza, ahi tuna, teriyaki chicken, stuffed tortellini, potatoes, sushi rolls, salmon, shrimp, crab legs, prime rib, apple cobbler, mud pie, cheesecake and more! Now is the time I should admit that this was the list of items consumed by our family alone!

I’m not proud to say, but I walked out of there so stuffed I felt sick. The buffet said, “all-you-care-to-eat.” Growing up, I always thought a buffet was all-you-can-eat. But it didn’t matter, because there was what seemed like an endless feast before me, and I enjoyed every last bite. Especially the crab legs!

You may be wondering what this has to do with anything. I want to thank you for hanging in here with me to find out.

While there were many, many people who partook of that meal, I ate as if it were prepared just for me. I wanted to try a little bit of everything. (And seconds of some—like the crab legs.)

And I came hungry. In anticipation of that meal, I had been chintzy with my intake the entire day. I wanted room to receive of all the goodness that was going to be set before me.

Could you imagine going to someone’s home for dinner, walking in and seeing a buffet of dishes they prepared for your visit? Now, could you imagine seeing those beautiful dishes, the heart and excitement of the one who prepared it for you, and then choosing to only eat a protein bar?

I eat protein bars. And I eat them for nourishment, not for delight. A buffet is pure delight. It goes beyond meeting the basic nutritional need, and adds enjoyment to it.

Are you with me?

It’s exactly the same thing God does for us.

He has prepared a feast for us!!! The buffet has every good thing you can imagine—peace in the midst of problems, trust facing the unknown, joy in the presence of sadness, comfort, security, courage, strength when we feel weak, grace for our mistakes, hope when times are hard, happiness after hurt, and much, much more!

Can you imagine walking in, seeing a buffet with those items and deciding not to get a plate?

We do it a lot. We walk around hungry, burdened with the trials of this world, all the while the Lord is inviting us, “Come sit down with Me, take in My plan. Take in what I have prepared for you. Get close to Me and you will smell the aroma of what I have in store for you.”

When it comes to an all-you-care-to-eat buffet, you may want to be a little more conservative than I was, but when it comes to receiving from your Heavenly Father’s buffet, get a plate, a big one, because He has so much goodness prepared for you!

Psalm 23:4-6 NLT Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Join me for a Women’s Night at Coweta Assembly of God this Sunday November 6th at 6pm as we dig in to the words we need to receive, repeat and those we need to rebuke in order to walk in the label the Lord has given us. All are welcome to attend. And if you know a teenage girl, bring her along too!

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The Best Kept Secret

A few years ago Disney Vacation Club had a slogan; “The Best Kept Secret.” Secrets are so hard to keep, but the surprise is so worth the wait. Anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to keep a secret. Well, that is when the news is good. I can hold on to bad news forever. I mean how fun is it to spread gloom? But happy stuff? It’s so hard to hold in. To see the joy and excitement of sharing something good is a challenge to refrain from. But I do when needed, because there’s nothing I love more than a surprise.

So what’s so special about a surprise? Well, let’s look back to some scriptures which hold some amazing surprises.

Jesus turned the water into wine. There’s so much I love about this passage, like it was fine wine, none of that soda pop wine, but especially because it was about how much our Heavenly Father cares for the details in our life. It would have been socially embarrassing for this couple to run out of wine, but the Lord surprised them and met their need on their incredibly special day. (John 2:1-11)

Another surprise was the feeding of 5,000. Don’t you know those disciples were concerned when Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish? But man. How surprised were they when they not only fed thousands of people but also had twelve baskets of leftovers? (Matthew 14:15-21)

And then there is the parting of The Red Sea. Can you imagine the Israelites getting to the shoreline? Pharaoh and his army hot on their trail. A body of water before them. Don’t you know their hearts were beating out of their chest? The adrenaline pumping through their bodies. And then Moses takes his staff and parts that water with an aisle of opportunity and safety before them. What a surprise! (Exodus 14:10-31)

Now these stories may not surprise you today, but they should. They should get you super excited just like the moment they occurred. These stories may have settled into our spirits as something common. Growing up with these stories, hearing this our entire lives, may cause us to lose sight of how impressive these miracles are and cause us to forget they were surprises.

My take away is that God loves to surprise his children. And just as He has surprised us countless times over, so we love to surprise the children He gave to us. The joy is all ours to see the excitement on our children’s faces. It blesses us to surprise them. And we gave it our best shot these past several months.

Seven months ago we made reservations to visit Disney World. Six months ago we booked all of our Disney World Dining. Over a month ago we chose all of our FastPass+ selections. All the while our children didn’t know a thing.

Brandon had this fabulous idea to keep it a secret and surprise them the morning of our departure. Let me tell you, he’s the reserved character in this relationship; therefore, it’s not nearly as difficult for him to keep things to himself as it is for me, the one who loves to talk about everything. But this last week he felt the challenge too.

It took a lot of planning…and discipline not to say a word. Typically, we do a 30-day countdown calendar. We get a poster board at Wal-Mart, lay out the grid and Brandon adds specific artwork relative to where we are going. But not this time. This time, we came up with an elaborate plan and packed up without them knowing. Our story went like this….

‘Twas the night before vacation and the Meadows children had no clue! I said, “Come on guys. We’ve got to get to bed. I signed up to work extra tomorrow because they are short a few nurses. Grandma can’t keep you all, so Dad is going to drop you off at Nana’s in the morning on his way to work. You’ll have to get up early because he’s got to get to the office for a meeting.”

In the preceding days, I utilized their time at school to hoard away clothes in our safe room closet. They were packed a week before we left. The most difficult part was to play it cool when inside I was screaming, “We’re going to Disney World!!!!”

All great surprises are worth waiting for, because the memory of the joy it brings lasts a lifetime.

Our children have had a Disney vacation nearly every year of their life, but we imagine the year they got one, that they didn’t think they were getting one, will be one they treasure throughout their years. We hope they feel overjoyed, we hope they feel loved and special, we hope they soak up every ounce of fun each surprise life has to offer.

And we hope, in it all, they see Jesus, the One who came full of surprises. Because who would’ve thought a King would come in a manger? Big surprise. And the surprises kept coming. And they continue on today. He has this AMAZING plan, and we don’t even know all the details. He reveals it in His perfect timing.

My husband and I planned a trip we knew our kids would enjoy. We waited to reveal it when it would mean the most. And we were blessed to bless them. What joy it gave us. The same joy I pray we bring to our Heavenly Father when He surprises us!

He has the best kept secrets!

click here to visit our family's All Things Disney

Sure love being able to replay this moment.  It was definitely worth the wait.

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