As in the past (Nashville, NYC), my family spent the week leading up to Christmas away, this year finding ourselves in Orlando, Florida. I might have had a little influence on the location, being as that I’ve read Harry Potter the latter half of the year. (I know I’m a little late to the game.)

Monday we headed south, leaving Georgia’s 40 degree, rainy weather and ended up in sunny and seventies Orlando. We stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort that’s just past the Disney entrances. (Thanks to the Mays’ for letting us use it!) The place is breath-taking! 

Tuesday we woke up early and attacked Universal Studios. We escaped Gringott’s, ventured down Diagon Alley, rocked the roller coaster, rode the Mummy, and then took the Hogwarts Express all the way to Hogsmead for a taste of butterbeer. We were sorted into our respective Hogwarts Houses through this quiz. (I’m Ravenclaw, Kyle’s Gryffindor, and our parents are both Hufflepuffs.) Then with a quick ride through A Cat in the Hat, we were ready to head to the resort and watch some Christmas movies. 

Wednesday we were back at it again but this time headed straight to Hogwarts to join Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the quidditch pitch. After that it was breakfast and hot butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks and back-to-back dragon challenges with Kyle. We covered islands of adventure with great time, Dr. Seuss land, Jurassic World, Marvel, and Toon Town. Then we ended the day with mom helping a lost little old British lady get back to her resort shuttle. 

The next two days were spent with me working from the resort and laying out a little, Kyle skateboarding, mom reading a new book series, dad taking another Segway tour and then more down time and family time. 

All in all it was an eventful week and I’m so thankful to be able to spend time with family. I’m realizing more and more just how important family is. Even in the Harry Potter series, the love of family is shown to be the most powerful magic out there. Family both blood, and chosen. I see this in the Potters’ sacrifice, with the Weasley’s care, with the hundreds of Prayers for Rowan and her family, and with the love of my own parents. Now please excuse me while I tangent off on my parents… I mean, seriously, look how cute they are:

Mom and Dad at Universal

My father has worked multiple jobs ever since I can remember. He is a self-professed serial entrepreneur and has two appraisal companies (one for the public and one for banks), he has co-founded and sold a printed paper business (one of my favorite jobs), we cofounded and sold a website company (~200 clients in 11 years), and he founded and managed a digital media advertising company. He is also full-time at the school system in the IT department, city commissioner, and deacon and Sunday School teacher. He even finds time to keep up with his family, his reality tv shows, and a tennis league. I really don’t know how he does it. He’s a genuine, loyal, godly man. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s also hilarious (most of the time). We are so much alike we can just about read each other’s minds. He’s the first man I ever loved and he and mom have taught me what love means. In their marriage, going on 30 years and in their bringing up me and my brother. 

My mother is the sweetest, most selfless person I know. Her love language is acts of service and she shows us she loves us each second of the day, through both her actions and her words. She currently works with dad in the appraisal businesses, but now and ever since I was young she has always given 110% into everything she does and seen every project through. She seeks God first and in everything. She is one person that never forgets that everything in life has a spiritual side to it, and she helps keep me grounded and Christ-centered when I need it most. She is always there for me, through the good and the bad. And she puts others’ needs before her own.  

The two are about as opposite as they can be. My dad tends to be impulsive, and quick-thinking, can get bored easily, and lives off of chocolate, milk, meat, and potatoes. My mother takes her time with everything, reads all the instructions and every little caption in a museum, puts much planning into all decisions, and is a vegetarian that is all DoTerra’d out. Together they form a great and entertaining team that, through putting God first, has stood the test of time. 

So yeah I had a great week for Christmas, but because of these two I’ve had a great life and a cool little brother. I’ve been raised to honor God, remember and celebrate the birth of my savior, and love others. So I really just want to close by saying thank you to them. Family is one of the greatest gifts ever. (And Hogwarts was cool too.)