Grandmother used to say to the idea of an afternoon drive, “Well, if you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all!” Some might call this a practical view, maybe a sign of boredom, or even a glass-half-empty type of negativism. Really the diagnosis is simple – RWS! RWS? What? You haven’t heard of that one? Well, it’s definitely real, and I am here to tell you today that I have experienced it. Thankfully it is avoidable, but first, we need to talk about Princesses. Perhaps, we could even say, “Well, if you’ve seen one Princess, you’ve seen them all!”  BUT WAIT – there it is again – RWS! Maybe you have it and didn’t even know it! Let me explain… RWS is otherwise known as Road-weary Syndrome. Having been in the saddle of four wheels much of my life, I can certainly attest to RWS and the feeling that trees continuously duplicate themselves as the wheels roll along. Trees are not only the cause of RWS but rocks, grass, tumbleweed, wheat…can all send you into a daze after miles of their friendliness. With a sigh and ho-hum, you just kind of “zone-out” sometimes to your detriment. Road junk, distracted drivers, animals and others can suddenly jump into our path. Without RWS, our response would be quick and careful, but the lull and daze send us instead into a whirl of danger.

The Devil is an expert wielder at auto-pilot. He lulls us into full-blown RWS and before you know it, you’re thinking “Well, if you’ve seen one Princess, you’ve seen them all!” But, oh, not true! You must have been on autopilot. Just recently, we were traveling and the opportunity for a full-blown “daze” seeped in.”

Dream….dream,” the Princess said. Princesses are so beautiful, so girlie, sooo…. well, you just want to be near a princess, hug a princess, or be a princess. “Dream,” she said. “Dream of all that you can be! Dream and then believe in yourself and all your dreams will come true!”

HOLD IT! WAIT A MINUTE! Teaching Moment Alert!

Make a wish, blow out your candles, wish upon a star, and now, believe in yourself…and all your dreams will come true!

“AbiNoelle? Who do you BELIEVE IN?”

“Jesus!”

“That’s wonderful! But did you just hear who that Princess said to believe in?” I questioned.

“She said to believe in yourself.” AbiNoelle responded.

“That’s right,” I answered sadly. Instead of using her time to tell people how they could go to heaven, she told them to believe in self. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord,” not trust in thyself. Thankfully, we were not so Road-weary that we drove into that fog. Why, if someone simply believes and trusts in self, then the Bible promises an eternal punishment for them. We don’t need to believe in our self. We need to look to the Lord – trust in Him – believe in Him. He will supply our needs and we will be able to count the many blessings He gives to us.

You know PopPop tells the story about how he, as a little boy, dreamed of going to the West, especially Yellowstone National Park. He never thought, as a redneck growing up on the east coast, that he would ever make it that far west. Yet, God, in His love and all-knowing power, provided a way for, not only that dream to come true, but He made it even better! PopPop got to live at the gates of Yellowstone and travel through there regularly!

Isn’t God good? He cares about our dreams. When we believe on Him and trust in him and determine to allow Him to direct our life, our dreams and His will become one-in-the-same. We begin to dream only of all that we can do and be for God. And He unloads all the blessings upon us for serving Him. We have to realize that it’s NOT All about me, like Baronessa Vainnessa from Operation Arctic (a Patch the Pirate story – a Christian audio resource) said or believing in self. We need to be like Princess Pirate. She’s a godly princess that we can listen to, love, hug, and want to be like. She said that we must “humble ourselves” to be a good princess. We have to push self away and look only at the Saviour. And the reward – well, it will be far better than we could ever dream!

Some might say, “Well if you’ve seen one princess, you’ve seen them all,” but we shout NO to that sentiment. That’s the RWS! This ole world is full of the sparkly pinks and purple that lure little girls into believing in themselves. The #MeToo, Women’s March, Women’s Rights, Abortion Centers, Book Clubs, Fashion designers and many more, twist the beautiful into gruesome, ugly, and sinful. There are certainly two distinct Princesses in this world vying for the adoration and loyalty of our girls. As a child of the KING, you shouldn’t be comfortable sitting in the lap of BOTH. We have been thankful to experience, in many different venues, Princesses who love the Lord and seek to influence little girls, like ours, to serve and to give their hearts to him. As for those other Princess imposters, we do our best to protect our girls from their enticement, for we know that the eyes and ears easily affect the heart. Not only do we stay away, but we utilize TEACHING MOMENTS that will last a lifetime, and we put in its place (not a replacement, because we never had it in the first place, not an alternative, because God is what is right, Holy, and the only choice we should make) a wholesome idea that does not deny the truths of God’s Word.

Our Princess Times

In 2015, we attended the “Patch the Pirate” play and our little Pirate/Princess got a special photo time with the crew.

In 2016, we watched Patch, Princess, Bootstrap Ben, and Sissy sing in the church service at Awake America in Washington D.C.

In 2015, we celebrated her birthday with a Princess Parables storybook.

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In 2016, we enjoyed a special Christmas story time with the Princess Parables “Royal Christmas.”

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In 2015, she enjoyed a day of fun Pirate/Princess activities with “Teacher” Princess Pirate from “Patch the Pirate” at a homeschool meeting.

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AND this year….

We had the special opportunity to spend the afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa at their church for the LIVE Performance of Operation Arctic with the “Patch the Pirate” Crew.

And to top it all off….a whole week with Princess and the crew at Musicamp in Greenville, SC.

Each day started with a special song and Chapel Time. One morning, AbiNoelle was given the special treat of singing “My Mother’s Special Love” with master pianist Shelly Hamilton, otherwise known as Sissy Seagull. One morning’s chapel taught us an important lesson from Psalm 33:3. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. The campers were encouraged to develop their musical talents, whether through instruments or vocal song, to be able to beautifully praise the Lord with music. Children can sometimes be experts at the “loud noise”, but the speaker clearly taught that this verse was not emphasizing volume but the manner in which the music is executed. Skilfully means that whatever we are doing – piano, voice, other instruments – should be practiced sufficiently so that our praise to the Lord can be given confidently, clearly, and beautifully. For the piano, we practice scales incessantly, not so that we can go to church and try to play the piano for the Lord, but so that we can go to church and PLAY the piano just as it should be played with a confident, clear, beautiful tone.

Throughout the weeks, campers were taught and given the time to experience the different musical instrument families. How about the marimba? AbiNoelle learned how much breath it takes to play the flute with Mr. Flutefingers and was able to try it out (she decided that THAT was TOO MUCH breath.) Strings class was the BEST according to AbiNoelle who is determined to add Violin Lessons to her fall schedule.

Lots of fun time was had during the week, including a special Patch Storybook time with Captain Adam.

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The week culminated in a fantastic opportunity to sing in Children’s Choir for a performance for the parents. Dr. Eubanks led the combined children’s choir and made a memorable impact on AbiNoelle. Patch the Pirate (Ron Hamilton), who has been diagnosed with Dementia, was also able to make a surprise appearance. Singing on stage with Patch was the ultimate treat. He and Sissy also took time for extra pictures and even signed Daddy’s Patch record (What’s that?!?) from his boyhood. And, of course, we can’t leave out Princess, Captain Adam, and their new little one for a keepsake photo.

Isn’t God Good! With God all things are possible. #NoRWS #BelieveGOD