What 3 events most shaped your life?
That was the question recently asked to our 11-year -old, Maddie.
It didn’t take more than 3 seconds for her to blurt out her first answer…
“Moving to Disney World”.
We were living in Colorado when my husband, Jon, and I had the idea…let’s move next door to Disney World so we can go anytime we want! Talking about it led to doing it and one year later we miraculously found ourselves living so close to the Magic Kingdom that we could watch the nightly fireworks show from our living room window.
Moving there not only shaped Maddie’s life but our whole family has forever been changed by our decision to live there.
Hearing the “Wishes” song (from the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom), shuffling through pictures of days we spent at the parks, and reminiscing about our sweet memories all brings tears in our eyes.
What did it all mean? What DOES it all mean?
As I’ve been contemplating our experience and all that it has meant I’ve been trying to figure out why it has affected me so deeply. What about it makes my heart swell with love, gratitude, and joy? It’s not just because we’re just crazy Disney fans. (Because we really aren’t!) There’s more to it than that.
Why did our experience touch me so deeply?
I’ve been reading books and doing research on how to find out what our passions truly are and how to figure out what our souls are urging us to do, to become, to share. I’ve felt little parts of my own gifts and passions bubble up over the years but I’ve never really pinpointed what it is that makes my heart truly sing. You know, the thing that gets me excited and makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning.
So in my search to figure out what my true passion is I’ve heard the suggestion many times to ask your parents or people who were close to you when you were growing up this question: What did I love to do as a child?
Kim Dinan explains how this works in her book Life On Fire,
As children, we are unencumbered by expectations. We do what we love simply because we love it. These things that we love are our passions, born inside of us just like our bones. As children we shine, we do what comes naturally, and we do what we love.
She goes on to say that as we get older so many expectations are placed upon us from our parents, people we look up to, and society that many of us completely lose sight of the very things that make our spirits soar.
I’ve tried to think back to my childhood days and figure out what it was that I did simply because I loved it and it made me happy. I came up with things like; drawing, painting, and doing crafts.
As I reminisced I could feel the deep love I have for creating. It truly brings me so much joy. I can sit down and paint for hours and it feels like time flies by. But all these years I’ve felt like there is something else that I long to do, something more than I did as a child that I’ve forgotten about as an adult.
So as I sat there contemplating what to do I decided I should finally ask my mom and dad the question, “What was it that I loved to do as a child?”
Within minutes the text came back from my mom.
I picked up the phone and read,
“Planning adventures with Emma Lee Hammon.”
Tears immediately started rolling down my cheeks.
That was it.
It all started flooding back to me. One of my true passions that I almost forgot about. My unencumbered joy…
It was going on adventures.
Emma Lee was my best friend in elementary school. She lived down the street and we played together nearly every day. We had SO MUCH fun. We both had yellow banana seat bikes that we rode everywhere…like down frozen canals, to sit-down restaurants, and to the gas station. (I don’t think our parents knew exactly what we were up to. )
Emma Lee and I were always planning adventures together. One of our favorites we called, “On Our Own”. We would save our money, make a grocery list and ride to the store on our bikes to buy our favorite foods like Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Then we would stay in her family’s camper overnight and pretend to be living on our own.
Another time we decided we were going to save enough money to go to Disney Land. We planned it all out. We figured out how much it would cost to buy bus tickets, stay in a hotel, and get tickets to Disney. We wrote it all out on the whiteboard in her kitchen. I can still see it.
We knew it was a lot of money but we were convinced we could do odd jobs and sell things we created to people around the neighborhood. So we set out that very day going door to door looking for work. (Again, I don’t think our parents knew what we were up to!) We swept out a garage for someone and sold perfume that we made out of flower petals and water. I think we made about $2. Hah!
We never got to Disney Land but that was okay, we just moved on to the next adventure. We planned, explored, and let our hearts run wild and free.
It was adventurous and magical.
So that’s it.
That’s why Our Disney World life has meant so much to me…it brought me back to one of my true passions…Going on Adventures.
It wasn’t just about riding rollercoasters and sipping on Dole Whips. It was about the grand adventure of it all. The struggle, the unknown, the joy, the feelings, the magic. It was believing that something could happen and it did.
It was watching the wonder and amazement in our kids’ eyes as they met and talked to Mickey Mouse. It was riding on the teacups with Jon for date night.
It spending the evening at The Boardwalk, playing games and eating pizza.
It was comforting Maddie as we slowly walked out of Magic Kingdom for the last time.
It was trusting in God when He said it was possible. It was having the unique pleasure of experiencing everything we dreamed of unraveling before our eyes.
It was having the sacred privilege of letting our light shine which allowed others to move forward with their own dreams.
It was a million tiny adventures all rolled into one grand adventure.
It was my passion.
Welcome to Being Katie Brave! I’m so happy to have you here. If you’re looking to take better pictures (stress-free!), get the inside scoop on all things Disney World, or be inspired to live YOUR best life (even if especially if it scares you to death) …you’re in the right place. I ’ve written 3 photography books, our family lived at Disney World for 2 years, and wear my heart on my sleeve…all of which would never have come to pass if I didn’t push past my fears and step in the darkness. Join me as I share my adventure of life, one post at a time.