written in a billion skies.

 

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In one of my favorite worship songs, there’s a passage that goes:

Written in a billion skies
Speaking to this heart of mine
All that I am with all creation
Hanging on every word that You’ve spoken
And it will not be shaken
Clinging for life to all Your promise
Hanging on every word that You say

I  cry. every. single. time. I cry because it’s amazing to think that my Jesus, wrote His name all over this Earth: in the stars, in the sunrise, in the ocean. He wrote it all over the structure of my life, in every moment, solely to remind me that He loves me. But what amazes me most is this: that love won’t ever change.

We live in such a rough world. Our friends let us down, our fathers abandon us. Those we trust hurt us, over and over again, even after they promise it was the last time. We carry other words: the words that were spoken to us, or over us, or about us. We internalize them, and trudge through our days with them. Sometimes unknowingly, like a bad habit, but sometimes because it’s all we have. We try to cope: we perform well, we harden our hearts, we shrug it off. Being all too familiar with the pain, but almost numb now, we move on, swearing we won’t let it happen to us again.

But,

then that one person says the wrong thing. Or a friend forgets something important to us. Or a spouse says something your mother used to say to you, and all of the sudden you are back in that room, or in that classroom, in that yard, hands clenched, fighting back tears, in it. The words come flooding back.

This song is so powerful to me, because it reminds me, over and over again, that the words of our God are un-shakeable, un-changing. His words are what we should cling to, because they are beautiful, steady words. They are written in the stars, in stone, in the tapestry of our hearts: and they are begging us to come near to him. His words are His promises, and they will never be broken.

I don’t know what words have been spoken over you, or to you. I don’t know who hurt you, or how long ago it was. But I do know that my Jesus; my steady, strong, Jesus, can give you something better. His words, of love, of peace, of strength and of courage, are yours for the taking. He believes in you. He has faith in you. He hopes for you. He holds you. He promises you. He isn’t going anywhere. He’s got you. 
And my soul will hang on every word You say
Cause I know Your word will never ever fail
And my soul will hang on every word You say

You are so loved.

Steffanie xx

 

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heartstrings & violins.

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We all have music that moves us. Music that seems like it was maybe created just for us. A song that changed your life, or seemingly appeared in your life at the exact moment you needed it. Your song might be one you heard at someone’s wedding, the one you and your husband danced to, champagne in hand. Your song may be a song someone wrote for you, or that one you fell in love with in ninth grade.

The music that moves me, that pulls on my heartstrings, is anything with a violin. When I was in fifth grade, I heard Nickel Creek playing their song The Lighthouse Tale, and I remember crying, because I’d never heard a song that beautiful. I would leave CMT on all day, just waiting for the moment that their song would come on, and I would, for those four minutes, disappear. It was amazing.

From there, my love for the strings grew. I began to love the dramatic ebb and flow of Yo Yo Ma’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, the energy of Nickel Creek’s Elsie. Now, I listen to The Punch Brothers, Vitamin String Quartet and Chris Thile when I need inspiration to write, which is often. Recently, I’ve fallen in love with the melancholy of Sleeping at Last’s  Saturn and Sorrow. (Their album Atlas: Year One, is amazing!) Sigh.

When I hear the violin (and any string, for that matter) I see a glimmer of my Jesus. I see the kindness, I hear the breath of his voice. I hear his heart and I feel his presence. For me, violins make my heart skip, reminding me of how human I am, and how great Jesus is.

When I hear a violin or cello or fiddle, I thank Jesus over and over again, for creating people who play music, and for creating such beautiful instruments. I thank him for my heartstrings, so similarly strung together like the bands on a violin. I thank Him for giving me something beautiful to listen to, especially on the days when life doesn’t seem quite so beautiful.

Where I’m going.

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This weekend, we found some old train tracks, by the river. I love train tracks. They remind me of my high school days, speeding to miss the train to get to class on time. They run alongside a cafe downtown that we like: a slow, steady rumble every time they roll pass. I also love them because they remind me of where we are going and alternatively, where we have been.

My tracks are growing stronger, year by year. More steady, more secure. One piece may be larger than the next, but they fit well together, forming a familiar path. I’ll be turning twenty six this fall, and more than anything, I want to be grounded in who I am. I want to write a book. I want to explore a new city or country. I want to love my husband well. I want to spend more nights and mornings on my back porch, and less in front of my tv. I want to hear more stories, shake more hands. I want to experience more love and laughter with those I see day in and out. I want more creativity, more space for making something I believe in.

I grew up believing that creativity was not meant for me. That only certain people are called to be creators. That only truly special beings can create stories or paintings or structures. Thankfully, I have met some beautiful people who taught me otherwise: who believed in me and gracefully told me to create, because a Creator created me to do so. These people are my heroes.

Without them, I’d have given up on where I’m going. My tracks would have stopped at a destination of doubt and fear and anxiety. I’d have turned over my pen and paper, and stopped writing. Because I never would have believed a creative life was meant for me.

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I want to walk along my train tracks well. I want to chug along peacefully, knowing full well where I’m headed. I want to carve out a steady path, worn in and solid, built on bravery & love. I want to see familiar faces and spaces, but also new ones. I want to see a life well lived along these tracks.

Steffanie xx

Silence.

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From where I sit: me, writing to you all, Romeo begging to go outside (which we did when I finished this post), and the table you see, is where the TV usually is. And yes, I still have Christmas decor up. Cause I am that awesome!

What did people do before TV’s were invented? I mean that in a serious way, less the exasperated, frantic “WHAT DID PEOPLE DO WITHOUT TV’S? OMG I’M GONNA DIE!” sense. The question got me thinking about our lives and how much time we spend sitting on couches or beds and watching hours of TV a day. I am not a huge TV watcher myself, but I found that I liked having the background noise when I was cooking or doing laundry or writing. Currently, our television is broken. It has been for about a week, and happened just about when the New Year began. It will be fixed soon, we think, but it’s going to be at least a week or two until that happens. Without it, at first, I thought it was creepy for the house to be so silent, especially when my husband was gone to work. It’s like something was wrong inside the house. There wasn’t anything wrong other than the fact that silence has become weird to me.

When did that happen? When did silence, a quiet house, and I mean quiet without any sound other than my fingers on the keyboard and my dog chewing on his Nylabone, kind of quiet. The silent kind. Not the background-noise, gentle hum of a show or someone’s voice. When did that become so weird to me? To us? I kept thinking about this over and over, and decided that the TV being broken at the beginning of this year maybe isn’t such a bad thing after all. I remember when I was a kid, I had a TV in my bedroom. A small one, with a VCR built in to it.The thing I remember the most about it was how little I used it. I loved to watch Disney Channel movies at night (8pm on the dot, I was in my room with popcorn!) but I also loved to read so much. Oftentimes, I would turn the thing off and grab a book. For hours, I would be lost at Hogwarts, running with Ramona, being brave, tracking unicorns, and learning to fly. I would be outside, playing in the mud, or playing soccer or pretend tennis with my sister and my neighbor. When I was 7, I would have picked playing “people” with my sister over a TV, any day.

Being without a TV has made me realize that there are other ways to be entertained. It’s called doing something. Playing Uno with my husband, playing with my dog, or reading. Writing, making homemade popcorn, or tea and curling up on the couch just to talk. Exercising, or taking a much needed nap. Creating, doing, being, that is what life is like on this side of the screen. It’s about being around people and connecting and doing work and creating. Grab your kids, your bike, your dog, your best friend or significant other, and go for a walk. Grab a hot coffee, and sit outside for a moment and just breathe. Listen to the birds, the wind, the trees. Grab a book, and immerse your mind in a story.

Tonight, I’m writing some blog posts, taking a long bath, and curling up in bed with a book (The Hobbit!) There will be no noise, except the heater (it’s so cold!!) and the wind blowing outside.There is so much life going on in this world, in this house, and I’d hate for most of mine to spent with silence as an issue. Where TV is a savior to noiselessness. I want to be someone who can live with the silence well, who can be the master of her own mind when it comes to imagination and making use of time.

I’d love your feedback on TV watching, and how you like to spend your time, and maybe how you wish you spent it differently? 🙂

Love you guys!

Steffanie xo