The Princess Dinner: A Guest Post by Megan

Megan, age 13
Megan, age 13

Introducing … Megan, my beautiful thirteen year old daughter. It is seriously hard for me to grapple with the fact that this super sweetheart is turning fourteen years old in just two weeks. I met Meg when she was a shy eight year old girl. A year later, I married her dad and had the blessing of adding this amazing young lady into my family, but she has had a place in my heart long before she ever became my daughter.

Megan is an organized wonder. She is adept at cleaning out closets and rearranging furniture. A bundle of energy, I quickly learned that if I didn’t keep Megan busy doing the things I wanted her to do, she would keep me busy doing the things she wanted to do. This girl wakes up every morning ready to tackle the world … and she does, but thankfully in a pleasant sort of way. She kind and thoughtful and just as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.

Today, I’m pleased to share Megan’s essay on a recent trip to Disney world with her mother. She is the last of my five children to guest post for me during the month of April. But I think you’ll find her story was well worth the wait.

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The Princess Dinner

When I was a little girl, my favorite Disney princess was Cinderella. I thought she was the prettiest of them all, with her blonde hair and sparkly white dress and dainty glass slippers. Oh, how I wished for a fairy godmother of my own so that I could be turned into a princess, too!

Last summer, my mother took me on a week-long vacation to the “Happiest Place on Earth” … Disney World. But I didn’t have a completely happy experience while I was there. Thankfully, it all turned out okay in the end, but for a while I was pretty miserable.

From the moment I first heard we were going to Disney World, I started looking forward to the Princess Dinner at Cinderella’s Castle. My mom had already said that we would stop on our way to buy new dresses and matching jewelry to wear to this fancy feast. I chose a floor length sundress with a pair of beaded sandals to match. As I rode on the long car ride to Florida, I passed the time by planning just how to fix my hair, how to do my makeup, and which colors to paint on my fingernails and toenails.

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Dinner at the Castle … I could hardly wait!

 

The Princess Dinner was going to be on our last night in the park. I just knew it was going to be an amazing end to my fabulous Disney vacation. On that last day, we woke up extra early. There was still so much to see and do before we went home, and we had to fit it all in before our Princess Dinner at the Castle.

We started the day in the Animal Kingdom. My little sister Sadie want to go to a petting zoo, where we fed more animals than I could count. We also went on a water raft ride, and got completely soaked. My mom suggested we eat an early lunch, knowing that we would have a very large dinner later in the evening.

Shortly after lunch, it started raining so hard that all the rides in Magic Kingdom were shut down for safety reasons. All afternoon it rained off and on, stopping long enough so that we could take one ride before the rain would start again. We spent half the afternoon standing around in the rain, trying to find someplace where we could stay partly dry. Finally the rain passed over, but it still felt very humid and wet.

This was our last day, so everyone in my family agreed that it was worth it to slosh through deep puddles of water, getting our shoes and socks completely water-logged. We really wanted to ride the roller coasters and to see every little thing that we could before it was time to leave. All day, as I walked around in wet clothes and squishy shoes, I reminded myself that soon we would head back to our condo to get all dressed up for the fancy Princess Dinner.

I guess because of the rain and also our desire to try to do it all, no one paid much attention to the time. Suddenly it was 6 o’clock, and we had to be at the castle by 6:30pm for our dinner reservations! In order to change clothes like we were planning, it would mean having to catch the monorail, ride over to our condo, unload and get five people dressed in nice clothes and then catch the monorail back to Cinderella’s Castle in just half an hour’s time.

My mom looked at my stepdad and said, “There is no way we can do all of that in 30 minutes! We’ll just have to go like we are.

I couldn’t believe my ears! Not change for the fancy Princess Dinner? Was my mother serious? Surely not!

Unfortunately, she was. Somehow I managed to hold my tongue. I didn’t say anything to my mother about how I felt, but on the inside I was fuming mad.

To make matters worse, my stepfather decided to buy my little sister Sadie a brand new $80 princess dress to wear, so she got to change clothes and look all pretty, while the rest of us looked like a bunch of drowned rats.

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Sadie looking beautiful in her Sleeping Beauty dress bought for her just before the fancy Princess Dinner

 

 

As I walked into the castle, with my shoes squishing with every step I took, I felt as dejected as I looked. There I was sweaty and stinky with wet, tangled hair. “I am anything but a princess,” I murmured, but I don’t think anyone heard me complain.

Everywhere I turned, there were beautiful women, wearing dresses with lots of jewelry and makeup. Each time I saw another lady dressed up so fine, I remembered how I looked and hung my head in shame. I couldn’t believe my mother hadn’t let us go change clothes! This was not turning out to be the grand finale’ I had hoped it would be.

While we were standing in line for our dinner, my mother wanted us to take a picture with Cinderella. That was the last thing I wanted to do! There I was, looking like a piece of trash, next to the beautiful Cinderella. I faked a smile and as soon as the picture was taken I rushed back to my spot in line.

MegMaddieCinderella
Meg on Cinderella’s left, and Maddie on the right

 

Finally, after a tremendously long wait, we were led to our table. As we approached out place, I could hardly believe it. We had gotten a table right next to the big glass windows, the most perfect spot for viewing the fireworks. For a few minutes I forgot all about my ragged appearance, but then something else happened to make me remember. While we ate, each of the princesses came over to our table to take photos and sign our autograph books. Of course, my mom wanted me to get in every picture. I tried to look happy, but as I posed next to each beautiful princess all I really wanted to do was slouch a little lower in my chair.

I wish I could say that my attitude changed that night, but it really didn’t. However, eventually I did stop focusing my thoughts on my appearance and began to enjoy the actual experience of eating a nice meal with my family and watching fireworks from Cinderella’s Castle. Later, however, as I began to look back over my experiences and memories from my week at Disney World, I started to think differently about that princess dinner.

When I was a little girl, I thought being a princess was all about having the right look. All the Disney princesses wore gorgeous dresses and had lots of jewels. Their hair was perfect. Of course, their Prince Charming was as dashing as they were beautiful. To my childish way of thinking, beauty was all about the outward appearance.

Yet, this was very different than what I learned from my parents. They taught me what the Bible says about beauty, which is that beauty comes from the inside and is not at all based on the outside appearance of a person. In 1 Peter 3: 3-4, it is written: “Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.”

I thought about this for a long while. I don’t think this means that beautiful clothes or wearing jewelry is wrong. However, it is important for me to remember that these are not the things that will make me beautiful girl. Instead, having qualities such as a gentle spirit, loving attitude, compassionate heart, an inner joy and a peaceful disposition will bring out my true beauty.

The best thing is that them more I pondered those fancy Disney princesses, the more I realized that each one displays at least one quality of inner beauty, too. For example, Cinderella is so kind and loving. She beams with an inner joy, despite her circumstances. Snow White has a gentle spirit and a compassionate heart. And Sleeping Beauty has such a peaceful personality. Even without their fancy dresses and elaborate jewels, they are beautiful … beautiful on the inside.

I may not be a fancy princess who lives in a castle, wears puffy dresses and has a handsome Prince Charming. But I can have the heart of a princess just by choosing to be the kind of person who strives to have those special qualities that sets a girl apart. And I’m grateful that real beauty always comes from the inside out.

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BaptistGirlConfession

This post is part of the 2015 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. If you are visiting due to that, thanks so much for popping in to read today’s post. I hope you will leave me a comment so that I can return the visit to your blog. I love to connect with other bloggers and readers. If you are a regular reader, I hope you’ll stick with me during April when I blog about the stories of my faith.

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L is for …

Today’s an incredibly busy day for my family. Three of my five children are competing at the State 4-H Ambassador Commodity Talks (a public speaking contest). Last night, I felt pressured over preparations for the contest day as well as writing something for today’s blog post on the letter L. I had absolutely no ideas of what to write about, and figured that there wouldn’t be much time to write it even if I did have an idea. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was asking God to give me something easy for the letter L post.

And He did.  This morning I woke up and remembered a little thing I had written about a year ago about a lesson I learned Lunatic Luna. So, with much thanks to God (who has been so consistently faithful to provide me with material to meet the A to Z Blog Challenge), here’s my Letter L post … 

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letterL

Jill called her “Lunatic Luna” and she really was a lot more than just a little bit crazy. Luna was plain nutty, a very scary sort of nutty. Still, despite her mental health issues, Luna was perhaps the most beautiful fish in Jill’s large 50 gallon tank.

I had heard all the stories from Jill. She told how Luna would jump out of the water, nipping at fingers as she literally bit the hands of those who fed her. Other times Jill recounted how Luna had eaten all of Big Daddy and his mate’s wee ones.

“Surely Jill exaggerates,” I thought. After all, how could such a beautiful fish be so cruel and heartless. But I soon learned for myself that Luna was just as much of a lunatic as Jill had ever implied.

When Jill’s family was in a moving transition, she asked me if we could keep the 50 gallon fish tank at our home for about three or four months.  Even though our only experience with fish had been the solitary betta variety, we jumped at the chance to play host family to Jill’s tank.  Initially,  my family of seven was completely enamored with the fish, finding much enjoyment in simply watching their gracefully motions and discussing the details of all we saw occurring in the large tank. We delighted in discovering the personalities of each fish, and found their interactions captivating.

Before long, each of us had a favorite. The kids loved Big Daddy, the gentle giant of a fish who preferred resting in one particular corner of the tank over doing much actual swimming. Jon seemed to especially enjoy Goldy, the tiniest fish. She was bright in color and quick as lightning, flitting from one side of the tank to another almost as quickly as it took to blink an eye. My favorites were the pair of enormous sucker fish. They often arranged themselves in symmetrical poses against the glass sides of the tank, delighting me with their synchronized sucking action.

No one really liked Luna. She was an irritable, mean fish, controlling the waters from her hiding spot in the plastic log at the bottom of the tank. The other fish swam wide circles around her, avoiding the area that was Luna’s dark hole. A nasty bite was often the reward for getting too close to Luna’s hideout.

One morning about a week into our fish sitting stint, we got up to discover one of the smaller fish in the tank had died during the night. The dead fish lay right at the entrance to Luna’s log, a large chunk missing from its side. It didn’t take a detective like Sherlock Holmes to put the pieces of the mystery together. Luna was a murderer.

Immediately, the kids voted that Luna should be kicked out of the tank, execution style. Jon, however, had more of a heart of justice mixed with mercy. He removed Luna from the large tank and put her in a plastic bowl. Later that day, we bought Luna a smaller tank of her own, handing down a sentence of permanent solitary confinement.

Beautiful Luna. She swam around her smaller tank for several days, rearranging the rocks and pushing her new, larger log into a different position. Though she didn’t exactly seem miserable to be left alone, even in her solitude she never was an enjoyable fish to watch … somehow still unhappy, irritable, and moody if it is even possible for a fish to be all of those things. We fed her and she ate. We took care of her needs. Mostly she stayed hidden in her private log, remaining about as unloveable as a porcupine is unhuggable.

After spending three months in her new, private tank, Lunatic Luna died. In life she wasn’t much loved; in death she wasn’t much mourned. Despite being one of the more beautiful fish I’ve ever known, Luna’s beauty was definitely all on the outside.

It’s almost ridiculous to think that one could learn much of anything from a beautiful fish with a bit of a bad attitude. After all, the expectations and responsibilities for Luna’s life were exceedingly low. A fish isn’t capable of learning polite behaviors or improving upon character flaws.

It is not so for me. My life is filled with the demands of being a wife and mother, a teacher in my home, a daughter and sister and friend, a writer of encouragement. Each role comes complete with its own set of pressures and stresses. Often, in the thick of my day-to-day life, I find my temper far too short and my voice much too harsh.

Most mornings, I spend a chunk of time in my bathroom making myself presentable for the day, focusing solely upon the reflection I see in the mirror. Like most females, I long to be beautiful and work hard to make myself appear so for my husband. Yet the deep truth is all the beauty products in the world will not make me a beautiful woman if my heart is not right before God.

Each time I recall Lunatic Luna, I am reminded of these words from 1 Peter 3: 3-4:

“Your beauty should not consist of outward things … instead it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable
in God’s eyes.”

L is for Lunatic Luna and the Lessons I learned from her Life:

work hard each day at being beautiful … beautiful from the inside out.