It's A Small, Small World!

 Guess where I was this morning???
  At the 'It's A Small World' attraction at Disneyland!
( 3:30 AM PDT report time! )
Disney Cast Members, characters, and special guests 
gathered at Disney Parks around the world 
to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 'It's A Small World' attraction 
with a live sing-a-long of the sweet theme song on a live Good Morning America broadcast.
( well, live on the east coast and time-delayed for the central and western states.....)
I was one of one hundred cast members riding on the Disneyland Railroad train,
waving and smiling as it pulled into view in front of the Small World attraction.
I was in the back row of Car 2.
Car 1 had some VERY famous passengers: Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Daisy!
Minnie, Pooh, Tigger, and Chip & Dale were in Car 4.

 You can watch the Good Morning America segment here !

I just can't even BEGIN to tell you how MUCH being there for this means to me... 
I became an official Disney Cast Member just over a month ago, 
after waiting all of my life to do so....
The timing of this celebration couldn't be more perfect for me and my life story!

My grandfather was an electrician who helped to install the Small World attraction at Disneyland, 
and I could not be happier to be able to participate in honoring him 
and his part in the history of this attraction today.
  ( he was there with me - I had his picture pinned to my shirt, next to my heart! )

I will never forget my first ride on Small World when I was a little Debby of only five, 
with him next to me in the little boat, holding my hand and smiling at me as he whispered
" I built this for you, pumpkin "

Thank you, Grandpa Ward, for this gift 
that has touched every generation of our family...
I am a proud part of the Magic now, and I know you are smiling at me!
"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears.
It's a world of hopes and a world of fears.
There's so much that we share,
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all.

It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small, small world.

There is just one moon and one golden sun.
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all.

It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small, small world!" 


I Believe...

"When you believe in a thing, Believe in it all the way. Implicitly and unquestionably." ~ Walt Disney

I've had several people tell me that they were REEEEEEEALLY worried about me, that all of my postings and hoping and expecting to get the Disney job were going to fall through, and then my hopes would be dashed. I knew that possibility existed - of course it did! When every job posting at Disney gets literally THOUSANDS of applications, the odds are low!

But I also knew that when everything happened so quickly to get me that first interview (within four hours, on one day) and then both in-person interviews went as well as they did, and the way things were phrased when I was interviewed, I just KNEW that God was in control of this whole situation. I had no doubt that even if Disney did not hire me for this particular position, something else was going to happen.

Because doors that are so very hard to open do not just fly open without a reason - 
without God making it happen.

I felt stuck in 'the hallway of life' for a long time, looking at closed doors and being scared to open one... scared to dream again, or hope for anything. But I saw a shimmer of light under the door at the end of that long hallway, and it reminded me that I had to be brave and grab the doorknob myself. I had to TRY. I had to risk the one last dream I have had in my heart. And I had to have faith that it COULD turn out positively. So when the job was posted, I submitted my application. And when I DID that, the door did not stay closed - it swung wide open. Instantly.

Just three weeks and two days later, I got the job, and my dream came true!
I started that new job at the Disneyland Resort this past weekend... and I am LIVING MY DREAM!

For some, that's just 'wishful thinking'.
For me, it's simply realizing that it is far easier and far more enjoyable to EXPECT THE BEST OUTCOME in life - instead of always expecting the worst possible thing to happen. (I did that for far too long...) Instead of thinking that good things can't happen, won't happen - or won't happen for ME, because of past experiences - I chose to believe that good things could and would happen. And they did!

Learning to just have faith is one of my biggest lessons in life. My dream was not too small for God to care about... nothing is! I will never again be ashamed of my faith, of my belief in a BIG GOD who can do BIG THINGS! He has seen me through the hard stuff, and now He has shown me that my life can be good and joyful again.

My faith was not in me, or in the Walt Disney Company...my faith was in my God.
That He could open the doors and direct my path and get me to that place if that's where He wanted me to be.

All I had to do was believe - and grab that doorknob.

If your life, your dreams, are in a dark place right now... if you have no hope and no faith and can see no reason to believe in anything, can I just ask you one question ???

What do you have to lose by believing that God loves YOU? 

If you feel like your life is over, like you are worthless and damaged beyond repair, like everything that means anything to you has been stripped away.... if you feel like you are stuck in a basement or an endless hallway of closed doors.... then know this: I felt that way, too. I know that searing pain and drowning sorrow, that hopelessness. I wanted to die, because the pain of the loss of the people I loved most and the dreams in my heart was so overwhelming. I didn't know who I was without them. So I thought I was worthless and unworthy.

But a very smart woman said to me (at least 450 times, in phone calls every day for almost two years straight...) "For those who love God, and seek His purpose in their lives, He will make ALL THINGS work together for their good. ALL THINGS. His Glory will shine through it all in the end. He loves you SO MUCH that He won't leave you in this place of suffering!" (Romans 8:28, Lori's version) I just had to start to believe that what she was telling me was true. And slowly, I began to. Over the last two and a half years, I have learned all over again what faith is. Who God is. HOW MUCH HE LOVES ME.

He loves YOU, too.... and it doesn't matter what you've done in your past.
(um, mine includes abortion. premarital sex. heck, I was a RESULT of premarital sex! being fearful and not doing the right thing for my children MANY times, and allowing things to continue that I never should have allowed. being ashamed to say 'I believe in Jesus. I love God. I need God.' God has forgiven me, and He still loves me. despite my past. despite my failings. despite my lack of faith so many times.)

To quote a line in a song, "Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are...."

Oh, yes, I believe. I most definitely believe!


The Journey from Wonderland to Success...

I know that from the title of this post,
many of you probably think that it's yet ANOTHER missive on my obsession with Disney.

My friend Sharon Hughes is the founder of Launch Your Creativity,
an inspiring resource for women with dreams.
What KIND of dreams?
Dreams of turning their creativity and ideas into businesses.
Sharon hosts an event each spring here in Southern California
where she gathers a group of women speakers, who share
their experiences, their struggles, their journeys, and their tips
with an audience of women hungry for support, encouragement, and helpful resources.
The women on the stage were once in exactly the place the women in the audience are now,
so the stories told and the information shared really resonates with everyone.

Sharon chose an 'Alice In Wonderland' theme for this years event -
something new for her, as they have never had a 'theme' before -
with the tagline 'Don't Get Lost in Wonderland!'
You know how that is: when you get an idea, you can get stuck in the 
"I wonder how to start?" and "I wonder what I should do first / next?" cycle.
This event will show you how to harness the energy of your dreams,
VISIT Wonderland for inspiration, and then LAUNCH your creative business.
I just have to say that the event team is RUNNING with the theme...
We've got so many amazing visuals and goodies and bonuses planned,
we're sure that the guests who attend will be smiling like the Cheshire Cat!

I was a member of the audience in 2012, and was a speaker in 2013. ..
and am honored that Sharon has asked me to speak again at this years event.
Last year, I was recovering from a complete life implosion, 
and was truly unable to get up there and talk about 'business'. My heart just wasn't in it.
SO, I spoke about 
Re-Framing Your Dream...
'What do you do when your dream crashes and burns?'
You can read that whole presentation HERE.

THIS year, I am preparing a presentation that is back to the core of what I have always done:
Retail Display Styling.
I'll be sharing the tips, tricks, and resources that I have gathered 
over my 35-plus year career as a retail stylist and designer.
Onstage with me will be a GORGEOUS display of items,
thanks to my friend Sylvia Assmusen.
Sylvia owns Madam Palooza Emporium vintage prop rentals,
and will be bringing some really amazing furniture and accessories to the event!
We will style them together, creating a lovely atmosphere in the room
AND giving me tangible materials to work with onstage as I talk about retail display.
I've always done that on stage, as it SHOWS you what I am teaching you!

The event will be held April 25 & 26, 2014 in Orange, California. (Southern)
A Friday evening soiree' at the fabled Paris in a Cup Tea Salon in Old Town Orange kicks it off,
then Saturday is held at the lovely Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Orange - near Disneyland!

The day will be filled with educational and inspiring presentations from renowned speakers
Melissa Bolton, Sunday Hendrickson, Jenny Doh, 
Cynthia Thompson Shaffer, Christine Rose Elle
and me ;) 

The full day of events includes a marvelous luncheon,
meeting and connecting with new friends,
and finishes up with an early-evening reception and vendor showcase.

Please join us for this event!
Info and Registration HERE
Due to my new work schedule at Disneyland, 
I am unable to speak at this event.


Brave Girls

This just arrived in my email inbox:
Your daily truth from the Brave Girls Club

Dear Uncommon Girl,

Sometimes the very bravest thing we can ever do is to walk away from something that we want very very very much, but that we know deep in our gut is not meant for us. The other side of this brave decision is the holding tight to something else that is scary or humdrum or not quite what we thought we really wanted, but that we KNOW deep in our gut is our own divine path -- the path to our most incredible, uncommon life.

The really wonderful consequence of making these kinds of decisions is that little by little, sometimes really fast and sometimes really slow, that scary or humdrum thing somehow transforms into the most incredible, beautiful, miraculous and PERFECTLY IMPERFECT and joyful thing that we could EVER imagine*. In fact, we usually cannot even BEGIN to imagine how perfect this thing is going to become if we just step out on that scary and sometimes very painful leap of faith. Life has a way of making something very tremendous out of something inconceivably boring or scary.

That's what bravery is, lovely friend. It is deciding what to let go of and what to hold on to, no matter how it feels in this moment -- knowing that you are giving up something very very good for something OH SO MUCH BETTER, the BEST in fact -- having faith that when you listen to your heart, no matter how scary or disappointing the news is it has to give you, that EVERYTHING will ALWAYS work out beautifully in the end when you make brave choices that are your RIGHT CHOICES**.

You know what it is. And you can do it.

You are loved loved loved...xoxo

I could not agree more...
* I work for the Walt Disney Company!
Romans 8:28! Thank you, Lori

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Image Credit: The Brave Girls Club . bravegirlsclub.com