Monday, February 24, 2014

Sing It and Mean It - Part 2

Just a few extra thoughts since my last post....

Since the movie Frozen was released, it has been such big influence on my little girl's activities and, thus, been on my mind quite a bit. There's no doubt that the movie is a grand hit. People are talking about it, discussing it's meaning in depth and coming up with quite a few ideas for what agenda it may or may not be pushing. While I, as a Christian, find traces of my own beliefs displayed through the sacrificial love shown by Anna, I in no way believe there to be a Christian agenda secretly woven into the film. I also don't believe that Frozen is trying to influence our children to find hidden powers they might possess, to embrace finding oneself and embracing independence at all costs, or to pursue a homosexual lifestyle -- all things I've heard/read others argue. What I do think it promotes is waiting for true love, consequences for one's actions, and the importance and power of love.

While I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie all three times I saw it, there are certainly behaviors I don't want my daughter to emulate. However, that's where I, as the parent and guide, come in.

In the song I touched on in my last post, "Let It Go," I dealt only with the idea of letting go of things that are harming us. Does that mean that we should let everything go? No. Certainly there are things to which we should hold - our family, our faith, our convictions. Elsa started letting go of fear (a good thing to do) but went too far when she abandoned her sister and others. When Elsa sings, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me," we're not meant to blindly accept that. As we find later, she cannot live by that stance without seriously harming herself and others. These are the things I discuss with my own daughter when we talk about the movie or she sings the song.

We have the soundtrack in our car, and I often giggle when I catch a glimpse of my sweet girl in the rear view mirror clutching her fists, chin upraised, and singing with such emotion in her face. After she belts out a tune like "Love is an Open Door," I sometimes pause the CD and talk with her. The characters in the movie go from meeting to getting engaged in one evening, obviously not a wise choice. We talk about that and about what good choices they could have made.

Children's entertainment is not going to fit inside my own brand of perfect. Sometimes I roll my eyes when I see the way a parent handles a situation on on one of the programs Willow Grace watches. That's another opportunity for my girl and me to talk. While I do put boundaries on the types of things she does watch and read and listen to and try to keep them age (and morally) appropriate, I'm not going to keep her in the preschool world of entertainment with nothing but easy solutions and blissfully happy people.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sing It and Mean It

I've now seen Frozen three times in the theater, all three times with Willow Grace. I had the privilege this last time to see it with my parents; my sister, Eva Joy; and my three year old nephew, Frazier. On Tuesday, we went to see the singalong version. So much fun!

What a delight to sit there in our tiny theater surrounded by children singing joyfully and laughing boisterously! For weeks now, ever since we saw the movie around Thanksgiving, my own sweet girl has been belting out the songs from the movie. My baby can sing!

Each time I hear the amazingly talented Idina Menzel sing "Let It Go" (or watch Willow Grace perform her own dramatic rendition and, of course, sing along with her) I can't help but think about the things in my own life that I've held on to for far too long or the things that are holding me back. Do I have any fears that I've allowed to take root in my soul? What habits, beliefs, thoughts, or behaviors do I allow to continue that are keeping me from the freedom to be who God has created me to be? Do I see my life clearly, or am I mistaking my blessings for curses or vice versa?

I want to sing about letting things go and really mean it.

So, here I sit, pondering these things, formulating a plan. I started this post a few days ago, and I've revised and erased and rewritten and stared at it. Honestly, sometimes it's really hard to let go... until you do, and then there's freedom. And so here I am -- dreaming of the freedom and plotting my journey to get there.

Monday, February 03, 2014


Just some thoughts running around in my head....

All my life I've pursued beauty - in one form or another. Sometimes it was in looking for the richest of words to add color and flavor to my writing; at other times it was in seeking out just the right object to freshen up my home. I've gone wandering in nature in search of a breathtaking view or a quiet hollow. However, most of the time, it's been the exhausting pursuit of trying to make myself look and feel beautiful.

When I think about the moments in my life that I've felt the most beautiful, they are always simple moments. Even on my wedding day, surrounded with all the trappings of modern beauty (perfectly manicured nails, carefully applied makeup, my fairy tale dress), I did not really feel beautiful. Later, during the honeymoon, wandering around Gatlinburg in my regular clothes and hanging on my new husband's arm; that's when I felt it. If it's in those simple moments like being cuddled up with my daughter, the both of us in pj's; hugging my husband while he makes me laugh; or hanging out with my mom and just chatting that I feel the beauty of life and myself beautiful in it, then why do I search for more than that?

I think it's because the search for beauty within and outside of ourselves is a universal endeavor that never ends. Even once it's been found, the search continues. I suppose it's something like looking for the next drink of water or meal or breath. We need beauty. It nourishes our souls as food does the body. I truly believe that's why God created so much beauty in the this world for us to behold.

(As as aside: My reference to the soul is defined as a person's mind, will, and emotions.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pen to Paper - Or Something Like It

As I drove into work this morning, the roads and not the grass were covered in a light layer of snow. Strange. I scanned the ground searching for even the slightest trace of snow, and yet there was none. I don't think I've ever seen snow on the road and not the fields.

I have such a pretty drive to work. A great deal of my drive is through a park. Wide open fields mixed with densely crowded woods. I peered deep into those woods this morning, feeling an intense desire to visit them once again. It's been too long since I wandered around in the trees and wrapped myself up in the land. I miss it. However, winter is not for wandering - at least not in the frigid temps we've been having lately and certainly not with a six year old in tow.

But I need to find some way to clear out the clutter in my head, to quiet the noise, and to release all the words swirling around there. I need time and space to write and maybe even a stinging shot of inspiration.

Why must all of the richest of my ideas come while I'm driving or in the shower and then seep away into oblivion before my fingers touch a keyboard or my pen to paper? The busyness of life and the lure of entertainment has stifled the gift I know God put inside of me. As I drove here this morning, I prayed that He would keep it from atrophying or evaporating since I've neglected to use it for so long.

Write. Write every day. I know this is a must, and yet I lie in bed every night drained of energy and wishing that I had written just one line. I'm sitting here with twelve students as they serve their time in Saturday school copying pages out of the dictionary - certainly not fun for them and not something I looked forward to overseeing either, but it has allowed me this small space in which to gather some of my thoughts. I'm determined to improve, to write more, and hopefully, to write a bit every day. Maybe, just maybe, this is a start.