Painting heart-cries, word by word

Time for Goals March 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 9:13 am

If If

If someone asked you to sum up 2013 in three phrases, what would you say?

I think I would say slightly risky, family-focused, and shifting paradigms.

It was a good year for learning. I learned how to take a positive step forward instead of thinking my motivation to death. I learned to love people who were hard to love without sinking. And I learned a bit more about how God likes to work— a time. I learned patience with myself (a little). I learned about having a vision for my family. I learned to appreciate how quickly my kids are growing into the people God planned for them to be, and how quickly obstacles to their growth crop up.

But it definitely wasn’t all shining happiness. In some ways 2013 felt like a lot of growing pains. It wasn’t tragic, but it was hard. I saw my progress in life and struggled to accept that my hopes are still a long way off. I saw my ugly sides and struggled to chip them away rather than obsess over them. I saw where other people failed me (don’t we all) and the choice to be gracious or hold a grudge. I saw the minutiae of my daily life—clean up the spill, stop the bickering, make the food, change the diaper, make the food, read the baby book AGAIN—and I saw how it builds the foundation for my family now and the family to come… I saw big responsibility in the tiny moments and felt intimidated. Had to move past that. Still working on it.

All of this has been useful, some of it was inspiring, and I am grateful for 2013’s lessons. But I do have one regret. Just one. Not too bad for a whole year, I suppose.

My one regret was crowding out my time to be creative. I had little moments, but I didn’t invest in making things, whether it be crazy projects with my kids or a drama for church, or just writing in my journal.

So now it’s March of 2014.

If you asked me what phrases I would want to see this year, I would say this:

Expressing joy

Bigger risks

Creating at every turn

I’ve been training myself to embrace the joy God gives me so freely and I want this to be he year that I dive into it. That’s a risky move.

I don’t like risk; I don’t like that rush of adrenaline, the possibility of messing up or being ridiculous, the responsibility that comes with success. It’s twisted and a little weird, but I’ve lived with it for so long. Last year, I took some definite risks. I didn’t think my way out of them. It was a good beginning. I want to build on that foundation and leap into the void, knowing God holds me up no matter what the outcome.

God made me to create. In some sense, I think He made all of us to create and it just comes out differently for each one of us. That’s a topic for another day. For me, it’s an artistic kind of expression, something to pull us out of the everyday moments and realize He made something beautiful. I have so many ideas, so many plans, so many hopes. I have dreams that would take me years, even decades to accomplish. I have dreams I don’t see how to reach yet. And there are plenty of dreams that are within my reach, if only I would carve out the time to get there.

So it’s time to make goals. I’m not confident with making goals. That’s probably why this blog is so stuffy. :p But I want to give in to the dreamer in me, be filled by the joy God gives me, and dance my way through space.

Here’s to the unknown!


Oh… Maybe I should list some concrete goals?
Well, I guess so. Although that feels terribly final and—

Okay. Compromise. Baby steps. Here are some IDEAS of goals I’m playing with. I can’t have too many or I’ll give up.

  1. Write a certain amount (1 page, 500 words, 15 minutes worth, etc) of whatever EVERY DAY. I’m terrible with “every day” goals. But hey, shoot for the moon, land in the stars, right?
  2. Write a complete fictional story (short, children’s, novel chapter/arc) at least 3 times this year. Baaaaaby steps, remember?
  3. Streamline blogs format and invest into content.
  4. Do what it takes to gain followers. Within reason. I’m not mercenary.
  5. Get at least 4 articles published.
  6. Invest in writing with a budget—magazines, conferences, a class or two, etc.
  7. Choreograph a lyrical dance/drama for church. I have several roughed out but I need to actually do them.
  8. Look into starting a children’s choir.
  9. Take kids to art museum to explore. Bring drawing pads.
  10. Take a dance class!
  11. Explore poetry.
  12. Read new authors. I don’t like doing it because I am a little picky about the books I read. But I want some new books!
  13. Crochet. Anything. Just re-learn how to do it.
  14. Get a garden going for the first time ever. I saw this really cool method where you put the seeds and some topsoil in a bale of hay or straw (forget which) and just let it do it’s thing. No weeds, no digging, and hopefully no epic waste of money. I’m thinking potatoes, attempting tomatoes, maybe bell peppers. Easy stuff.
  15. Practice, actually PRACTICE, singing. Maybe even try writing a song. Maybe.
  16. Craft with the kids once a week, via Pinterest.
  17. Print pictures of my family and friends of my kids so I can help them scrapbook.
  18. Bake more with the kids. Step away and let them make mistakes.
  19. Epically decorate at least one cake.
  20. Lead a group study.

I cannot do all those things. But I can pick a couple that really mean a lot to me and do those. I can’t pick right now because that is just too much pressure, but I WILL. 😛

I will. I have to. I want 2014 to be better. I want to be better.


What I Hear in “Let It Go” (Yes, this is about the movie, Frozen.) March 18, 2014

My family is slow to see the newest films, mostly because we aren’t a very movie-theater-friendly group. When your youngest is one year and your oldest is seven-and-a-half, the possibility for disaster is exponential. Therefore, I am very, very late to the bandwagon of blog posts about the movie, Frozen.

As far as review goes, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My kids thought it was fantastic. The humor was clean (I’m lookin’ at you, Shrek), the characters grew and changed, the story was a fascinating expression of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, and the songs were brilliant. It was more like a musical than the typical animated kids film, which was a pleasant surprise for me. I love musicals!

One song, of course, stands out more than the rest. “Let It Go” is written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and sung by Idina Menzel. The character Queen Elsa has just exposed her magical ability to manipulate snow and ice in front of her subjects and she sings about the next chapter in her life. From a young age, her father coached her to conceal her gift and separate herself from emotion. The more emotional she was, the more her gift would explode out of her. Elsa is fearful of the hurt she can do (and has done) to her dearest loved ones and to her kingdom. She can’t control her ability. She can’t control how she feels.

And then one day, her choice to hide behind the palace gates is taken. Everyone sees what she can do. Everyone is frightened, including Elsa. So she runs away. She hides in isolation, just as she was taught to do by her father, only now she’s on a mountaintop instead of in her room. On the mountain, she feels a rush, a release. There’s no point in trying to make her power disappear. Alone, she is able to explore her power without hurting anyone.

To me, this is actually a complex part of the movie and of Elsa’s development as a character. As a child, she learned quickly and desperately how to remove her existence from the rest of the world (and even from her sister). She tried to pull her power inwards, tried to control how much it scared her, tried to tame it. With the urging of her parents, Elsa learned to keep everyone out—for THEIR safety as well as her own. But she also received a special prophecy by a troll that it was fear which would consume and destroy her.

Rather than explore what drives out fear, her family embraced fear and held it close. Elsa was a slave to fear. As an adult, when her parents were dead and gone, her sister was desperate for relationship of any kind, and her kingdom needed an involved and confident leader, Elsa was unable to rise to the challenge. She buckled under the pressure. Her fear ruled her, as it always had, and she ran away.

And so, alone on the snowy mountain, in her element of power and far from anybody who feared her, she sings this:

“The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,

not a footprint to be seen.

A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.

Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.

Be the good girl you always have to be.

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.

Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go!

Can’t hold it back any more.

Let it go, let it go!

Turn away and slam the door.

I don’t care what they’re going to say.

Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bothered me anyway.

It’s funny how some distance,

makes everything seem small.

And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do,

to test the limits and break through.

No right, no wrong, no rules for me.

I’m free!

Let it go, let it go.

I am one with the wind and sky.

Let it go, let it go.

You’ll never see me cry.

Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.

Let the storm rage on.

My power flurries through the air into the ground.

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around

And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

I’m never going back; the past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go.

And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.

Let it go, let it go

That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand, in the light of day.

Let the storm rage on!

The cold never bothered me anyway…”

(Read more: Idina Menzel – (Disney’s Frozen) Let It Go Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

My soul soared while she sang this song. I’ve seen people describe it as an anthem and that is how it feels. But as she slams the doors of her newly created ice palace, a look of cool confidence on her face, I felt a pang.

Yes, I want to “let it go” sometimes. I want to feel wild and free and able to explore all my potential without fear.

But…it doesn’t work that way. You aren’t freer on the mountain top than behind the closed palace door. You’re still shutting people out, still pulling away. Her frozen powers built embellished walls for her prison.

And that’s what I love about this scene. Elsa is experiencing the exhilaration of releasing responsibility, but it comes at the same price which crushed her since she was a girl. It comes at the price of relationship. It costs her a real life.

This is an invaluable analogy for us, especially us ladies and girls. We would love to toss responsibility and consequences to the wind—we all would, at some point or other in our lives. And in this scene, in this anthem, we yearn to feel Elsa’s pseudo-freedom, to feel her exhilaration. If the movie ended there, if it said, “Well done, Queen Elsa. Go pursue your self-improvement, far from the expectations and needs of others. Become one with yourself. You don’t need anyone!”—I would hate this movie. I would hate it for the lies.

But Elsa doesn’t stay there. She learns to love and BE loved by the sacrifice of her sister (another blog post in itself), and she accepts her part in the world. She is forced to leave her ice castle on the mountain, but she also does not go back there.

It is vital for us to see this for ourselves. The allure of not caring is so strong sometimes. But the price of escape is self-imprisonment. You won’t be better off alone. You’ll just be alone. And you’ll never know what you were truly able to do. Elsa doesn’t discover how to complement her kingdom with her power until she uses love as her source. Instead of making an ornate barred door, she creates an ice rink in summer and saves the comedic sidekick snowman, Olaf, by giving him his own “personal flurry.” (I do wish they had explored how her magical ability fits into ruling her kingdom a little more, but you can’t have everything it seems!)

The only real exploration of your potential is in putting it to use in LOVE.

I do love this song. I love it for being poignant, for being honest, for so accurately encapsulating all I’ve longed to feel as I get weighed down by the struggle against fear. But most of all, I love it for being proven wrong.

Fear and Love do not coexist. Being alone is not freedom. Exhilaration is not true joy, and is swiftly swept away by the fear that sent you out in the cold and built your ice castle.

You were designed for self-sacrificing brotherhood. It is hard. It is exhausting sometimes. But stay, sisters. Stay! When you let go of the fear, you let love in. And love makes all the difference.