Believe it or not, today’s blog marks ONE YEAR of Florida Living for me and my family. Yes, one year ago I arrived at our new place in Florida, not knowing what was in store for us or if it was the right thing to do. Moving your family across the country is something that’s not to be taken lightly, and as you know, I took it very seriously. I’m a home-type of person. Someone who was used to seeing my parents on a weekly basis, going to family BBQ’s in the Summer, celebrating everyone’s Birthday’s all together. How could I leave all of that and move so far away? Was I crazy to chase a dream? At the time, I thought maybe I was, but it’s now a year later, and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on all that’s happened since last June. I wasn’t crazy, I was determined. I believed I could, so I did.
Now, let me back up a minute. I wasn’t always so sure of myself. Actually, I was filled with a lot of doubt. I’m not usually a risk taker, and I very rarely step outside of my comfort zone. But, when you have the people that you love most, behind you and believing in you, it makes major decisions a lot easier to come to. I have learned SO much in the past year, about business, about others, and about myself. When I was thinking about the past year, and what to write, a lot of sad things crept into my mind. Owning your own business is hard. Actually, believe it or not, owning your own Disney related business is ridiculously hard. This field is cut throat and competitive, and I didn’t realize how much so until I moved. I’m not used to that. Where I come from, people are a lot truer in their friendships and it’s easier to trust others. Taking people at their word was something I was used to doing, but I had to learn the hard way that that’s not how this business works. Integrity is something that not everyone found to be as important as I did, and it was hard. Hurtful too. All that I was used to had to change. I had to change. I had to learn, put my guard up, and get stronger. And I absolutely have. So, instead on focusing on the hardships of the past year, lets celebrate the good, shall we? The good so far outweighs the bad!
Yes, the past year has been a huge adjustment for me, I had to leave my comfortable surroundings in order to make TMSM grow and flourish….. and wouldn’t you know it, TMSM DID grow, and it HAS flourished. I was at a standstill in Michigan, I went about as far as I could go, being so far away from what my business is centered around. Sure, I had people tell me I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t make TMSM any more successful, that we were at a plateau. But again, I believed I could, so I did. Actually, WE did. This isn’t just about me, oh heck no. It’s about the people who helped me, who believed in and STILL believe in me, that’s where the heart of the matter is. My husband keeps our sites running, handles all the tech issues and such, he’s sacrificed for my dream. My family and friends who miss me at home, knew that they had to let me go so I could see this thing through. My Disney friends, who have become like family to me, who help me every day. People who help run TMSM, who write for me, who watch my back at all cost, THAT is huge. My gosh, our “fans” or readers, they are my Disney “Ohana.” Do you know how many amazing people I’ve gotten to meet since moving here, that otherwise I may not have? I finally got to meet and thank my original staff members, people who have been with us through thick and thin these past five years…. Autumn, Corey and Mike. All of us together at the same time, which was long overdue. Moving here also gave us the opportunity to start Off TMSM, so we’ve branched out to other businesses in the area. Local business owners have been so nice and welcoming to us, which has been a huge help in growing our sites. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Since arriving in Florida, I’ve met hundreds of Main Streeters. It’s an honor, and such a humbling experience, meeting people who care about what we do here at TMSM. I don’t take that lightly at all. We’ve done meet ups, and each time, when I see the huge turn out, it makes me cry. I still can’t believe that God has blessed me with such amazing supporters, it’s overwhelming. I tried to think about what makes TMSM special, and it’s not me, it’s all of YOU. TMSM has become so much more than just a girl from Michigan with huge Disney dreams, it’s become a family. A really large, close knit family! When people say they are excited to meet me, I turn it right around, because it’s me who’s excited to meet all of YOU. Some joke with me, because I always give people hugs when I meet them, but it’s truly out of love and appreciation for you caring enough to take time to say hello or to keep up with what we do. It’s an honor, and I’m grateful.
As someone who doesn’t usually care for change, I had to do a LOT of changing. There have been so many adjustments to make, but it’s getting easier. Even small things, like not having a change in the Seasons, no snow on the ground for Christmas, not being able to run over to see my Parents whenever I wanted to, not being there when family events come up, etc. My gosh, I miss all of that. I miss my family and friends, more than they probably realize. And the food…… I even miss the food in Michigan! We don’t have as good of pizza or Chinese food down here, so when we go back home, we tend to over eat on all the goodies that we miss. I’ve been lucky that I was able to go home to visit, and that some of the people I love have gotten to come here as well. My parents have been down here twice, and my best girlfriends from home made it here last October for our first BIG meet up at Epcot. I’ve gotten to see my parents experience Disney Magic, as well as my friend Michelle, who had never gone to Disney before, until she came here to see me. That’s exciting for me, seeing Disney through other people’s eyes, it’s awesome. We got to see Christmas at Disney for the first time, experience the 4th of July fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, see the Easter Bunny, Disney style, etc! Lots of firsts, but all wonderful!
My amazing boys, have done so well with the move. I was so worried that they’d have a hard time adjusting to a new school, new surroundings, being away from family….. all of the above. To my surprise, I think they’ve done better with the changes than I have. They love it here. Every now and then, I ask them if they’re happy here, or if they want to go back home to Michigan, and the answer is always the same. They’re happy here, and that in turn, makes me happy too. Sure, it’s hard at times, but the rewards have been great. We get to visit Disney much more often, the weather is better here, my little guy’s asthma has improved, we’re a lot busier here, and we rarely get bored. Their happiness is so important to my husband and I, so if they’re good, we’re good. We all got to experience our Birthday’s down here, holidays, lots of ups and downs, but we’re still going strong. Thank God for that.
The first year is over, and the second one is starting. The past year has been quite a roller coaster ride, but we made it through. I hope along the way that I’ve managed to make my family and friends proud of what we’ve done as well. I can’t thank you all enough for following along with us on our adventures, for supporting our efforts, and for believing in our dreams. Speaking of dreams….. learn from me. If there is something that is in your heart, that you truly want to do, believe in yourself and DO IT. I always think of Rapunzel, and the song “I’ve Got a Dream.” We all have dreams, we all have goals. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you CAN’T do something, because actually, you sure CAN. Find that inner strength, you’re probably a lot tougher than you even realize. I still have my moments where I have self doubt, times when I wonder if I made the right choices, but I know that’s normal to feel that way. Because of YOU, our Main Streeters, along with my amazing family and friends, you’ve allowed me to live my dream, and I thank you for that. You have been a blessing to me, and I’m forever grateful for your love, support and kindness. So thank you for giving me the push that I’ve needed this past year. I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for TMSM, and I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me! As always, I send you blessings, love and pixie dust! Until next week, See Ya Real Soon! xo ~M
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