Back Home 2: Miscelaneous Reflections

Some quick and mostly useless thoughts on our recent trip which I didn’t have time to post earlier

1. We had a blast in Orlando during our vacation. I’ll not forget my 5-year-old’s prancing/skipping/hopping/floating off of “It’s a Small World” after our 4th ride, or her giggling out loud during the fireworks. Disney with 4 daughters is just too fun!

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2. I’ll also not forget Gracie’s death-grip on me as we rode the “Thunder Mountain Railroad.” I think she still has my skin under her nails as a sort of souvenir. Ouch.

3. Mercifully, the huge turkey legs at Disney are gluten free. Nothing says “dude food” like something you hold with one hand and rip at with your teeth. I had a couple, and I felt very much like a caveman. Sweet.

4. Here’s a weird thing: Go to Disney in February and you can get on Space Mountain in 10 minutes. Yet, you’ll wait 40 minutes to ride Dumbo instead. Families with preschoolers were everywhere.

5. Though Fantasyland is one of several themed areas in Disney World, the name fits the whole place. It’s so fake! People aren’t really that nice. Popcorn doesn’t really taste that good. The dolls in “It’s a Small World” don’t even attack each other, nor were any wearing suicide bomber outfits. And my children have heard enough about “celebrating their dreams” and such to last a lifetime. That said, it’s still one of my favorite places on earth.

6. Temperatures were in the low 80’s in Orlando, and flowers were blooming. “Thou shalt not covet.”

7. Thinking about driving from Orlando to Greenville on the same day as the Daytona 500? Don’t. I spent 3 hours in a parking lot called I-95 with rednecks from every state of the Union. Listening to “Mater” as my girls watched “Cars” provided some comic relief.

(Sorry about the “redneck” statement. I’m sure it’s insensitive. Yes, I know that there are racing fans who aren’t rednecks, and maybe even a few rednecks who aren’t racing fans. It just didn’t seem that way when surrounded by thousands and thousands of Clampetts Sunday. Anyway, no offense intended. Yee-haw!)

8. Ever drive an hour on the interstate during what is already a long trip, only to discover via your vehicle’s compass that you’re going exactly the wrong direction? Don’t.

9. If I had done something like that on Sunday (and I’m not saying I did), here’s what would have gone through my head for several hours afterwards:

  • Could this be divine judgment for “saving time” by having a family devotional on the road instead of finding a church this morning?
  • More encouragingly, could this be the Lord’s protecting my family from an accident?
  • If so, where do God’s sovereignty and my stupidity intersect?
  • The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to think that the Lord would say, “Chris, that was all you.”
  • It seems like we passed that very restaurant two hours ago. Weird.
  • “Yes, girls, I know you’re tired and carsick.”
  • Sigh.
  • I am such an idiot.

10. It was interesting to go from Disney to BJU. Both are 2 of the cleanest, best landscaped, most organized places I know. I mentioned this to my friend, Warren Cook, and he smiled. “BJ squeaks,” he said. Indeed.

11. Somehow, BJU was able to “squeak” in an extremely gracious way. Sure, it’s a clean machine, but people were extremely kind, from those who answer the phones or clean the rooms to Dr. Bob, who took an afternoon out of the office to take my girls and me for ice cream downtown. Excellence can be motivated by pride, of course, but it can also be motivated by humility, especially when it’s excellence for the purpose of serving others. We saw a lot of that.

12. We were able to get a tour through the HomeSat building at BJU. The people there were GREAT. Meeting and getting hugs from Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Lawson, and Mrs. Walker felt to my girls very much like meeting Mary Poppins a few days earlier. All were “practically perfect in every way.”

13. About HomeSat… I know many were troubled by the announcement that the satellite service is ending. Don’t be. We switched to the hard drives this year, and they’re great. They probably saved my marriage. Think of it this way: they cost more than the satellite service, but they’re cheaper than a divorce.

14. Is it just me, or are college students getting younger? Mercy, I feel old.

15. Speaking of feeling old, when the aforementioned Mrs. Walker told me that she heard in chapel that I have 4 daughters and assumed that they were all grown up, I just about decked her. Good thing my impressionable girls were there or I would have.

16. By God’s grace, I was unexpectedly able to catch up with several friends who were back at BJ to recruit teachers for their Christian schools. (Included in that group was my friend Brian Mawson, who is doing great, and who has 4 daughters of his own!)

17. We’re back in Ohio. As if we needed proof, it snowed last night. And all day today. We could get 8 to 12 more inches tonight. And it’s very, very cold. Ugh. Again: “Thou shalt not covet.”

(Shut up, Andy Henderson.)


12 Responses

  1. As we were looking at the pictures and reading the commentary (while I was simultaneously bottle feeding our daughter) my wife turns to me and in reference to your daughters says “That could be you!” I then looked down at my daughter and said “No, God is giving you a brother isn’t He.” Just for that statement, I will probably end up with 4 daughters. Oh well, one is great so 4 must be amazing.

  2. It’s cold here in Tampa today too. The high will only reach 62. Somewhere in the past, I do remember snow. Thankfully, we don’t have to shovel (or get out the snowblower for) the sunshine.

  3. You were in G-Vegas! I thought that was you at Texas Roadhouse, but I wasn’t about to come up and said hi because you don’t know me. I was in school with Joe Tyrpak and attend church with Jed and Amy. It sounds like you had a great time.

  4. If there is a more McManus-esque blogging pastor, I’m sure I don’t know who it could be. Thanks for the grins.

    Glad you got to feed your inner caveman as well as your inner child. Life is good. Sounds like God has heaped you and yours with blessings and some much-deserved rest.

  5. Ok, I just laughed out loud at your above list. Especially #7 and #9– Fantastic! Glad you all had great time at Disney. Our kids went a couple years ago, and are begging to go again. Warm temps. sound too good to be true about now.

  6. Hi, all. Glad my foibles have brightened your day. It doesn’t make them worth it, mind you, but it at least gives them a purpose.

    Josh, that was us! One of the hardships of my recently-diagnosed Celiac Disease is that when I go out to eat (especially as a guest), it’s easiest to get steak. It’s a burden. Anyway, you should have stopped over and cracked some peanuts with us!

  7. Hey, buddy, I am with you. I have been in a sweatshirt all day. It barely got to 70 today. Brrrrrrr….

  8. Talk to me in July…

  9. I’ll try, but I can make no promises. I do not always get very good cell coverage when I am flats fishing off the coast of Tarpon Springs.

  10. Whatever. You’ll be melting in July (if not in May) and wishing you were in Ohio. You’ll sweat just walking to your car. And your electrical bills will be brutal.

    Wow. It makes me all happy and warm just to think about it.

  11. Whatever happened to “Love thinks no evil?”

    FWIW, even if I were melting, I would never wish to be in Ohio, the allergy armpit of the world.

    Now east Tennessee…?

  12. I went to Disney World with several adult friends back in the early 90’s. Not good! Kids EVERYWHERE.

    As a group, we forgot (we’re all guys, mind you) our lunches, so we had to order food from the concession stand. Bad idea! When it was time for me to order, I asked the server for (and I said it just like this), “2 over-priced hotdogs ($2.50 ea), a large over-priced Coke® ($2.50), with no ice (I wanted pop, not water), and an over-priced bag of chips ($1.75)”. After the server handed me my order, he said with the straightest of faces, “I hope you have a nice over-priced day”! I couldn’t stop laughing! He started laughing! Koudos to the server. I think I made his day!

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