Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Real American Housewife


Let me catch everyone up from my last blog post.  I fell in love, moved back to Dublin, GA, got engaged, got married, and moved to Augusta, GA!  Whew! Just a few MAJOR life changes, that's all. ;)

Ben and I are so excited about our new life here in Augusta!  Ben works for Chicago Bridge and Iron as a Materials Manager for the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant construction project!  I am currently looking for a job either working in the customer service/hospitality industry or working with kids.  In the meantime, I've been enjoying setting up the beautiful town home that we are renting and getting settled into life as a real American housewife.  

When we were engaged, Ben led us to take a course called Financial Peace University that is by Dave Ramsey.  I fought him on it every step of the way, but now on the other side, I'm so glad he made me do it.  It was so hard to face the cold hard facts of our finances and make the decision not to move out on our own once we got married.  We lived with my parents for the first 6 months of our marriage.  

The whole time we were praying for God to open a door for Ben to have a job that could support us financially and we were pursuing various career opportunities.  At times it seemed hopeless and I truly believed that we would not have a place of our own for at least a whole year, if not two.  It's so neat to see how God is blessing our decision to honor Him with our money.  After 6 months of wondering what God was up to, He has blessed Ben with a great job that supports us very well for our current stage of life and a bonus is that Ben is actually really enjoying his new job!

 I feel so dumb for doubting God and for worrying so much about not ever having the opportunity to be on our own like a "real married couple".  Now as I sit and wait for God to provide the right job for me, I know He will and I know there's a reason why I have so much free time right now.  

We didn't have much and we're still not extremely wealthy, but we are committed to tithing the first 10% of our profits back to God in whatever way He leads us each month.  We have been so blessed by blessing others with our money! There is always a need and we are thrilled to be God's hands and feet as we help others.  We are also committed to spending our money wisely and that means paying off our debts as soon as possible.  When I met Ben, I thought that I'd be drowning in my school debt for the rest of my life.  We started fighting our debt a year ago and we have made HUGE strides! We hope to get out of debt by the end of next year! 

We are also learning a lot about time management.  Ben leaves for work at 5AM and gets home at 6PM, Monday through Friday!  So it is very hard to manage our time together, as well as all the other things we need to do.  We are committed to eating dinner and spending time with each other, reading the Bible and praying together, and exercising every night.  It is important to us to not neglect our emotional, spiritual, or physical health.  We feel this is something that is vital to our marriage, our relationship with God, and our overall well-being! 

While we were engaged, Ben and I heard a lot of newly married couple tell us that "marriage is hard" and try to downplay the level of excitement we were feeling about it.  We determined that when we got married, we were not going to give marriage a bad name, especially to those considering it!

We have come to the conclusion that LIFE is hard.  Marriage is great.  Life gets in the way of marriage.  Don't confuse that.  After almost 9 months, we love being married!  We are HAPPY! Happy - Pharrell Williams 
(What we listened to this morning to start our day! :D)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Missing in the Mansion

Happy Halloweeeeeen! :) Check this out Disney fans/Cast Members!!

Missing in the Mansion

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Walt Disney World Adventure!

So much as changed since I last updated this blog.

I applied to Walt Disney World in December and got an interview scheduled the same day for the following week.

My dad and I drove up for the interview and back all in the same day the week before Christmas.  I got a job lined up for January during the interview.  Everything moved so quickly. I only had 2 weeks to find an apartment and move to Orlando.  This did not take God by surprise.

On January 2nd, I went to Passion 2012 in Atlanta with my church.  It was there that I met Ben Braziel (Which turned out to be an important part of my story..).  It was great to have that time at Passion to get my focus on God and let Him prepare my heart for my brave new adventure.

My mom and I drove to Orlando to search for apartments the first week of January.  It was a stressful experience trying to find an affordable/safe place so quickly, but God provided just in time and He led me to an apartment that is directly across the street from some of the Disney College Program housing. This seemed to be a clear confirmation of God's calling on me to ministry to Disney Cast Members, as this location is perfect for building relationships with other Cast Members.

On the night before I moved, my new friend from Passion, Ben Braziel came over to help us pack up my belongings.  One thing led to another from our correspondence since Passion that we confessed a mutual desire to keep in contact and pursue each other further. :)

I moved in and started work the next week.  On the first day of work, as I drove up to Disney's Casting building, the song Here for You by Matt Redman shuffled on in my car,

We welcome You with praise
We welcome You with praise
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

Let every heart adore
Let every soul awake
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

This song moved me to tears, because it was as if the lyrics directly lined up with the cry of my heart that day and my longing to be apart of the presence of God at Walt Disney World.

The role I was given was part-time in Attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Icon area.  This includes Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Jedi Training Academy, The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, Muppet Vision 3D, and American Idol.

I started at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.  It is seriously a wonderful place to work!  I enjoy getting to "make magic" with guest and help them have a great experience when they come to see our attraction.  God really favored me just as soon as I started. He provided me with the hours I needed and by February I was getting cross-trained at Jedi Training Academy, which was a great blessing and definitely brings out the nerd in me!

On February 14th, Ben asked me to be his Valentine and by February 29th we were an "official" couple. :) The timing of God's provision has really blown me away.  Ben came along at the exact right time so that for every step of this journey he has been there for me as a great support and encouragement. He is a strong and godly man and I'm so blessed to be with him!

Also in February a new church plant started called Mosaic at Walt Disney World, a church focused on leading Disney Cast Members into deeper relationships with Jesus.  I am so excited to see what God is going to do through that. I have met a number of couples as well as another young girl like myself on this adventure that have all been lead to Orlando just like me to serve the Lord at Walt Disney World.  We affectionately call ourselves a "Disney Family."  All last year I prayed for God to either send me a strong group of Christian friends in Orlando for support and accountability or for God to give me a man to be by my side for support.  I am so blessed to have been given not only one of my requests but both of them!  It just goes to show that God really can provide innumerably more than we can ask or imagine. Nothing is too big for God!

In March, I turned 25 and got further settled into my job and new life here in Orlando.  Ruthie has had some trouble adjusting to apartment life but she is finally starting to settle down.  She is a great companion for me and I love having her around.  We make sure to visit home enough so that she gets to see her sister, Cali about once a month.  Meanwhile, we go to a nice dog part nearby about once a week.

In April, I found out I was getting cross-trained at The Great Movie Ride!  This was SO exciting!  I have always been fascinated by this attraction. Once I started my training I realized I had gotten more than I bargained for, it is a very complicated attraction and learning it's ins and outs was very challenging.  But Ben was a huge comfort as he helped me learn my lines and gave me lots of encouragement along the way.  After the harsh training, I passed my assessment! There is a tradition at The Great Movie Ride where one leaves their handprint, a quote, and signature on the wall once they complete their training.  I wrestled with what to write all through my training. Finally on my last day I realized that the over arching lesson from my training was that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So I wrote Philippians 4:13 on the wall. :)

By the end of my training I had been offered a full-time position at the Backlands portion of Disney's Hollywood Studios at The Magic of Disney Animation.  I took the position, leaving my Icon attractions behind.  I was there for 2 weeks and although I met a lot of very nice new friends, I quickly discovered that the schedule (on average, 60 hours a week at 12-14 hour days) of a full-time Disney Cast Member is not conducive to my ministry goals here at Walt Disney World.  I have now transferred back to the Icon area at part-time and am excited about what God has planned for me and for my Disney Family here in Orlando!

I have met some great Cast Members working at Disney's Hollywood Studios and made some great new friends!  I am thrilled to be living near one of my best friends and roommates from college, Brittany Findley.  We try to get our dogs together and hang out as much as we can! I am so blessed to have such an amazing job and the support of both my real family, my Disney Family, and my boyfriend, Ben while I carry out God's call on my life.

Now that God has made it clear that I need to be part-time in order to perform my ministry goals, I will be trusting Him to provide for me finically.  He is able.  Please keep me in your prayers as I pursue God and listen for His leading as I start my ministry at Walt Disney World.

PS. On a side note.  Ruthie and I start therapy training next week with a great trainer who used to train dolphins and sea lions at Sea World.  I am excited about her future.  I am grateful that God has opened this door for me to serve him with my dog as we hope to be a great encouragement to those who are sick or lonely in hospitals and nursing homes one day.

And that's what I've been up to...I'd love to hear and update from any of you who read this on how your year is going!

I'm looking forward to seeing what God does with the latter half of the year.  :) He is faithful.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Journey

My Journey

On May 9th of 2009, I graduated from Mars Hill College.

From August 12, 2009 - August 12th, 2010, I participated in the Disney College Program at Disney World and Disneyland. I had the time of my life! A passion was totally ignited within me for guest service and making magic.

Though I worked at the two happiest places on earth, I was lacking a sense of fulfillment. I was happy, but my deep inner joy and purpose was missing. I had taken God off the throne in my life and started living for me. My goal in life was to do whatever I thought best for me, in order to have the most exciting, epic life possible. The problem with that was that it was MY plan and I had left any plan God had for my life far behind me.

On August 15, 2010, at the end of my year with Disney, God called me home to Dublin, Georgia. I knew there was a void in my life and God gave me the strength to put Disney on the back burner so He could fix me. He knew I needed an overhaul, to get my priorities straight, before I could get back on HIS plan for my life.

On January 1st-4th at Passion 2011, through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's word spoken through various Christian leaders, God totally turned my life around, refocused me, and showed me that my whole purpose in life is to glorify Him. He took my confusion, bitterness, and void and threw it out and gave me a fresh start and a new perspective.

On February 25, 2011, while watching the fireworks from the Polynesian resort at Disney in Florida, God put a calling in my heart to return to Disney, pursue my passion for guest service, and be a light for Jesus there.

On February 28, 2011, I found a fb group for a ministry called the CP Apartment that is a group of Disney College Program Alumni who's, "mission and goal is to permanently infuse a christian and evangelical presence in the Disney community." News of this ministry and following their Facebook account all year has been such a great encouragement to me and kept me enthusiastic about what God is going to do and is doing even now.

Ever since then God has had me on a journey of discovering His purpose for my life and how He intends to use my passions for His glory. All year God has provided me with a very steady, full time work through baby sitting, nannying, child care, chauffeuring, dog sitting, and now an out of the blue job at Vision Savers. None of which have I applied for or sought out! They have all just fallen in my lap. ...Yea...I know. Cool!! I've literally worked a whole year of odd jobs. It's been a great ride and allowed me the flexible schedule and free time to pursue God.

God has given me the dedication to work hard all year to save for an eventual move to Florida, to pursue this calling. The plan: save money, find, apply, and get a job at Disney, move to Orlando. I felt as though I should give myself a whole year to save a significant amount of money, enjoy the freedom of non-disney life, spend time with my parents, and prepare myself spiritually by seeking God like never before.

Well folks, the year is almost up and my time to apply for jobs that start in January is fast approaching. I have found myself getting nervous.

Nervous? But that's ridiculous! Have I somehow diluted myself all year into thinking that I have been in control of this first part of the plan, making the money? Because, in reality it was God alone who provided me with those jobs, it was nothing I did on my own. He did it all. So why then should I even question or worry about Him providing the job and making the move to Orlando possible!? I shouldn't! I absolutely shouldn't worry. As 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, "Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it."

So why worry?! God has proven Himself faithful on my behalf time and time again! I was lost and He found me when no one else was looking and He turned my life around for His glory. The best is yet to come!

One of the reasons I fell away when I worked at Disney before was the crazy schedules that led to lack of church or christian community. I have been praying for quite some time now that God would either eventually provide me with a husband who can help keep me accountable and on track with God as I venture out on my own or that He would provide me with a community of Christians in Orlando that can be my support.

On October 30th, I found out that a church that I had been following on Facebook and hoping to attend whenever I relocate to Orlando, is actually opening a campus on Disney property in early 2012 that's sole purpose is to cater to the needs and schedules of Disney cast members and equip them to be a light at Disney. Wow. God answers prayer!!

So why should I ever worry!? God is faithful. :) Thanks for reading and following my journey. Please pray for open doors and favor at Disney as I apply in December.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vote for Ruthie Fu!!

Hey guys!!

I have entered my 5 month old beagle in a the Petsmart Monster Cute Halloween Contest powered by Greenies! Please go and vote for her at the link below. You can vote once a day every day until October 24th! Thanks so much!! If she wins she will be in a Petsmart commercial!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome Fall! Here's what's up!

It's October 1st, the air is crisp, and I'm listening to Christmas music! ...yes I know..I'm weird. I have the mindset that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all one big holiday and I tend to celebrate them in a swirl of holiday goodness.

This is absolutely my most favorite time of year!

Here's a quick update.

I recently realized that God has provided me with steady work from the moment I moved back home to Georgia last August, up until now and at least until January. I am truly blessed. And each of those job just fell into my lap. How I've managed to turn babysitting into a full time job is beyond me. It's been a fun ride. I have definitely learned a lot about kids and come to many conclusions about any hypothetical parenting I may end up doing one day.

I will be applying to Disney World in December. I am praying hard that God will open a door for me to start working as a Cast Member again in January. I know I'll need money to make the transition to Orlando, so I have been saving money like never before! God is definitely teaching me about discipline and self-control this year. I now wake up early, care about my eating habits, save money, care about being on time to things (well...sometimes ;P), and run three days a week! I am SOOO not into any of those things, it just goes to show that God really does answer prayers. I have prayed to be more disciplined and it's clear that God has been helping me to become more diligent. I am amazed, because it's definitely not by my own will power, that's for sure! I'm just so glad that I'm developing these good "grown-up girl" habits before I move out on my own!

I am happily, hard at work dreaming up and collecting for my future apartment on my own. My kitchen is going to be retro 1950's style with lots of red and some black and white checkers, like an old soda shop. I've already started my collection. My whole christmas list is filled with cute kitchen necessities and decorations. I guess I've become a legit woman now that I'm enthused about kitchen gear. Sheesh...I truly thought that day would never come. I can remember thinking my sister-in-law, Becca was absolutely nuts for putting kitchen stuff on her Christmas list. I have seen the light now though. Haha! My living room is going to be filled with framed photographs of very lush, green nature scenes for a black and green modern nature look.

Ruthie Fu is getting SO big! Also she has already started losing her baby teeth and getting her adult teeth in. It's amazing how quickly puppies grow! The tooth fairy visited her the night she lost her two front teeth and I am going to take her trick or treating in costume on Halloween. I'm basically raising her like a human's pretty intense. Haha. She even has her own little hoodie. She knows how to sit, lay down, and play dead when I say, "bang". It's extremely cute.

So that's about it for me, I am thoroughly enjoying this time living with my parents and raising our two puppies. Life is good. I can't wait for all the holiday fun that is just around the corner!! There's excitement in the air.

Here's a slice of what's to come: Halloween, Putting up the Christmas tree, Thanksgiving, The Muppets Movie, The California family comes to stay for a WHOLE MONTH (and possibly Jon and Mallory too!), Applying for Disney, Christmas, and Passion name a few. Let the good times role. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Found Me

I was in my car with my ipod on shuffle the other day when it shuffled to an old song by Kelly Clarkson called "You Found Me" I was only half paying attention until I heard the words,

"You found me when no one else was lookin'
How did you know just where I would be?
Yeah, you broke through all of my confusion
The ups and the downs and you still didn't leave
I guess that you saw what nobody could see
The good and the bad and the things in between
You found me, you found me"

Now I'm not a huge Kelly Clarkson fan, BUT...these words spoke to me. She expressed the words that have been on my thankful heart all year (with a twinge of bitterness towards all men...which I can get behind :P) I feel as though this is what happened with me at Passion in January. I was angry and bitter that I was still single and alone at the *old* age of 24. But then HE found me...when no one else (no guy) was looking for me. No one else cared. God did. No guy noticed me. So what. God did. He found me, He broke through all of my confusion. He has stuck with me all along through the ups and the downs, He still didn't leave! I guess that He sees what nobody (no guy) could see. The good and the bad and the things in between!

Now that I've listened to this song in a new light, I can't imagine how anyone in their right might could actually expect a human man to be so superhumanly awesome like the song is implying. I feel like probably one of the reasons for so many failed relationships is that women expect men to be their Savior! No matter if he's the "one" or not...he's not going to fullfill you, he's not gonna save you, he probably won't notice every little detail about you, though he may be great. Only Jesus can do all of that.

To hear the song and look at the lyrics here's a link to it on youtube. :) Enjoy!