How Hard Work Brought Us to Harry Potter!

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Recently, I took my 11-year-old son to Universal Studios in Orlando. We hopped in our minivan and drove the 8 hours to Florida…just the two of us. Harry Potter World was calling our name and we intended to enjoy every minute of it.

We had the best time. It was hard to tell which one of us was more excited about being there. We drank Butterbeer, ate Butterbeer ice cream, sipped hot Butterbeer…Everything Butterbeer. We rode the Hogwart’s express 8 times and dreamt of chocolate frogs. We bought an interactive wand and practiced our spells until we were pros. We began showing others in the park the proper spell casting techniques. We were Harry Potter geeks and loved every minute of it.

After the trip ended, I decided to post some pictures on social media, highlighting our experience. Immediately, I received many comments from friends, questioning how I managed to pull it off, just the two of us. I realized that I needed to share my story, really Kaden’s story of how we made it happen…and it started last spring!

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Kaden was about to turn 11 and like most boys his age was beginning to recognize the value of money, and slowly realizing the fact that he didn’t have any! One day he told me he wanted a job! He kept coming, day after day, but I was at a loss as to what or who would hire an 11-year-old for work. I knew he could mow lawns. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that would be perfect for him.  As if she read my mind, a church friend asked if anyone was willing to mow her lawn! I volunteered Kaden! Surprise!!! I was excited for him and proud of myself for securing him his first job!


Every Thursday, I would load our push mower (no way to bring the riding one) into the back of our van, pick the kids up after school, and head over to mow the lawn. It didn’t take us long to realize that this wasn’t easy. The process took 2 to 3 hours! Our friends didn’t have a mower, so we had to bring ours. The yard was on a hill, had a huge ditch in the front, and was large. Those first few weeks killed him I think! It was a lot of work and when Kaden finished he was exhausted. His allergies and asthma escalated, and he would be coughing all night due to the dust and grass. As the year wore on we emerged into summer. If you are from the East you know how summers are here! HOT and HUMID! Try push mowing for a couple of hours in that!

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That was enough for him to want to quit at times. So why didn’t he? Simple. He had a goal and he intended to reach it. When Kaden first got this job I jumped at the opportunity to teach him a little about finances. Every time he got paid I had him put 10% for tithing for church, 10% for future, and the rest he could use for spending. There was a catch. He had to set a goal for what he would spend it on. I wasn’t prepared when he announced his decision. He wanted to go to Harry Potter World!!! He had come up with a goal, but now how would he get there?

While discussing this dilemma with my husband, he stated simply that I should go with him. Just the two of us. Since we were the only two who had read the books, it made sense. Plus, some preteen, mother son bonding time might be just what we needed.

Now it was time for me to live what I preached. Each month I saved a little money. When we both had enough, we bought our tickets and headed to Universal Studios. We had succeeded! It was surreal for both of us when just 5 months earlier, there never was a Harry Potter. Now look at us! Enjoying the fruit of our labors.

That trip was sweeter because of the sweat behind it. Oh so sweet!

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In answer to my friends’ question-

“How did we manage to pull it off?”

I responded with-

A little preparation, hard work, and goal setting!


a friend who gave my 11-year-old a chance! Sometimes, all you need is a chance!

And because of…

God, who provides us with the right opportunities that stretch and grow our character. If we but seek them.


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You might ask what we have gained?

A handful of marvelous memories to last a lifetime!


This post appeared first on Real Imprints.