Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This is an automated post to say that


And also, goodbye library, Oasis, cool fountains, place to myself, Starbucks-within-walking-distance, Anna, Gerard, Harley, Devin, Mary, Other Harley, Joanna, and Bekah.

*sigh* This is going to be a weird adjustment. Again XD



P.S. I don't wanna leave. I like it here. I want to stay. Saying goodbye to one of my friends was way weirdly harder than I expected. I don't like this whole "moving back home" thing. Damn.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

All In

My drive back to college a couple of weeks ago was really something.

I had a lot on my mind. God was working painfully powerful miracles all around me. Someone very important to me was having God-and-self revelations that were bigger and more inspiring than anything I'd ever expected or imagined.

I felt like I was drowning in a sea of overwhelming, electrifying love. But the problem was, I still felt like I was drowning. I wasn't able to breathe in the goodness of the love. I knew it was good, and that was exciting, but I still felt terrified and smothered.

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to open myself up to the incredible joy I could feel lapping at my senses, but I wasn't sure how to absorb it into my actual self.

Everything hurt, on the inside. I could feel the joy, the hope, the awe, the inspiration. It was a combination of ecstasy that I was almost completely unfamiliar with. {Or maybe it's such an awesome feeling that every time feels like your first.}

But there was a jagged, grating rawness in my soul. I didn't know what to do.

"In My Arms" by Dead By April {I posted the lyrics about a week ago} came on my iPod. I'd never cared for the song much before, but it struck a nerve with me that night. I imagined that God was giving me that message, saying those words to me.

But instead of feeling comforted or happy, it just tore me apart, in the deepest, most complete and profound way I've ever experienced.

I cried so hard. I can think of only a handful of times that I've cried like that. The lyrics felt raw and vicious, directed at me with powerful spite, evoking thoughts and feelings and memories that I'd compartmentalized very carefully.

All I could think about was arms that weren't God's. I've never enjoyed being close to people; until a year ago, the concept of wanting to be held was completely lost on me. In the car, that longing railroaded me in a heartbreaking and wholly unexpected way.

Listening to "In My Arms," I guess I just broke myself down. I let myself feel, all the way, 100%, without rationalizing or marginalizing or compartmentalizing {I tried to find words that didn't end in "-izing," but those are the three words that I really mean.}

I started praying out loud. It was so broken. It was sentence fragments, and promises, and scattered thoughts, and feelings, and begging, and swearing, and apologizing. I told God how I felt, what I wanted, but most of all that I truly loved and trusted Him and so genuinely wanted to do what was right.

I skipped the rest of "In My Arms" {it had been on repeat for like ten minutes} and the song "All In" by tobyMac came on. I gave a choked laugh through my tears. That phrase. All in.

And suddenly for the first time, maybe ever, I felt ready to be "all in" for God. Something about me had broken down and fallen away. I don't know if it felt like a massive wall around me, or an infintesimal compartment within my soul. The absence of whatever "it" was felt both huge and tiny, but very real either way.

All the sudden, I wasn't drowning anymore. I don't know what I did, or what God did, but suddenly I could breathe in the goodness of the love. I didn't feel smothered; I felt electrified. I felt this painfully real joy radiating through my being.

I was still crying, but I was laughing. I felt so good. I felt God. I felt real. I felt ready. I felt All In.

I'm so excited, you guys. I can't explain what's going on inside of me. I don't know how. I don't have the words. Watching God work in other people is amazing and inspiring and exciting, but feeling God work in my own heart is an experience I can't even begin to describe.

It's funny; when I began this post, my intention was just to post the lyrics to "All In." I did not foresee this massive gut-spilling. But for once, I'm not self-conscious about it. I'm comfortable with this. I'm happy.

Maybe for the first time in my whole life.

Why's it always circumstantial?
Never any real potential,
Obvious and so sequential,
It always ends the same.

Holding out with all that's in me.
Is it worth all this pretending?

A story with an ugly ending it's never worth the pain.

So right here and now I am all in. 

'Cuz I'm letting go of everything I am.
And I'm holding on to everything You are.
I'm letting go of everything I once was.
I'm all in.
I'm fallin' into Your arms again.

Can we just wait out the weather?
I could stay right here forever.
Got to get myself together;
Real life is on the way.

Call it my foregone conclusion;
I'll always welcome Your intrusion.
You're the master of my choosing.
I'm all Yours.

This time I'm so for real.
It's time I sealed the deal,
Shut down my lame appeals.
I'm letting go.

I'll throw caution to the sky.
Kiss all my fears goodbye.
This time it's do or die.
I'm letting go.

I'm letting go of everything I am
And I'm holding on to everything You are
I'm letting go of everything I once was
I'm all in.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stonewall Stephanie

My dad published a blog post that I really liked the other day, called

What Kind of Friend Are You?

I think I'm either a Stonewaller or Climber. What kind of friend are YOU? Click the link and see what you think.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fragments V

- I can never spell the words maintenance, privilege, or potato. {Always maintainance, priveledge, and potatoe}

- One of the most frustrating things in the world to me is when there is a set plan, and yet when the time comes to act, someone says, "So, what do you wanna do?" Like, I did everything I could to make sure I didn't have to hear that question. Why are you trying to destroy this experience?

- I find the phrase "ape shit" irrationally hilarious.

- The other day, Anna asked me a question about Sam's and my relationship, then immediately said, "Ah, I'm sorry. I don't want to upset you." Kirsten {a friend from high school} over heard Anna and laughed. Anna looked baffled til Kirsten said, "Oh, Stephanie doesn't get emotional."

- Is it just me, or does whistling always sound masculine?

- A week or so ago, I started Hiding/Unliking all the Facebook pages that post pictures and memes all the time. I was hesitant to do so, because some of them are really funny and worth sharing and help me avoid school work. However, I don't regret my clean newsfeed in the slightest. I don't know what I'm missing, and I'm so okay with that.

- I wanted cereal today and all my bowls and spoons were dirty. Did I wash them? No. I ate cereal right out of the box.

- Does ANYONE like the dog voice for the Beggin' Strips commercial?

- Wanna know something that actually makes me really furious? When people use two periods as an ellipse. ".." is nothing. It is either you looking cross-eyed at a period, or an unnecessarily half-assed ellipse. Please. Hit the key one more time.

- Guess what else I hate? {I'm really not in a negative mood today, for the most part.} The stereotypical annoying little kid in movies that befriends the badass character and becomes meaningful and unexpectedly {yeah right} loveable in the end. Not to me. I pretty much find them annoying and unlovable all the way to the end.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear Friend

written 4/15/13

Dear Friend,

Let me preface this by saying I know it's cheating, and maybe that's not fair, but I don't care about fair, right? I care about just.

Would I be out of line if I said...?

Initially, all I felt was shock and relief. Then uncertainty. Then some sadness. But all that ran its course in a matter of hours, and I adjusted from there without difficulty.

There was a brief angry spell, a really bitter day. Then I resumed feeling light and normal.

Today it's been achy in a friendly way. A strangely wholesome lonesomeness that radiates at the center of my being.

I just realized that it gets worse when I write stories. The temptation to cheat is at its strongest right now. One of my characters is having a moral crisis that I don't know how to handle. I don't know why the institution is so invested in Traveling with a capital T. The names are giving me trouble too.

I'm wearing it on a gold chain. I think it's plain enough that I can wear it virtually all the time. I wonder if the stone would do alright in water? For now I'm taking it off when I shower, just to be on the safe side.

I cheered someone up today. I guess there's not a lot milkshakes, rummy, and Friends can't fix. There was some attempt at reteaching me how to play poker for the forty-seventh time in my life, but it wasn't tremendously successful. I'm sure your poker face is f'cking unparalleled.

I think one of my piercings is infected. Can that happen at this point?

Someone in my newsfeed raved excitedly about being able to find Robot Chicken on Netflix now. I considered deleting him on principle.

I hope you don't take any of this the wrong way. It’s purely platonic.

Sie wissen.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

In My Arms

Don't look down, don't look back; I am beside you
Close your eyes, know I'm here.
I know it's hard, to let go all that defines you.
You feel like you'll never be whole again.

We will find a way to erase the past
Stay with me, stay with me!

In my arms you'll be fine. I'll never let go.
All you've lost will come again
Just stay here with me
Never look back, never again. It's over.
Everything ends here in my arms.

Don't give in, don't let your, memories break you.
Let me take you away from here.

We will find a way to make this last
Stay with me, stay with me!

In my arms you'll be fine. I'll never let go.
All you've lost will come again.
Just stay here with me
Never look back, never again. It's over.
Everything ends here in my arms.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Things to Know When Dating a Writer

1. We’re schizophrenic. Did you think I was faking it when I talk in purple and green?

2. Inspiration is urgent and cannot be ignored or postponed. I actually made Sam and myself miss a movie because I was in the middle of a short story once. Luckily he's awesome and was used to these unfortunate Things.

3. Do not interrupt while we’re writing. You know what your mom always said about "not unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire"? Well, not even then.

4. Anything you do or say is fair game. Get used to the phrase "...I'm so gonna use that someday."

5. You must be able to think quickly. When we ask you for a synonym, drop your phone, make eye contact, and start spouting. Don't ask questions. Just go. When inspiration is flowing, there's no such thing as a minor emergency.

6. And outside of the box. Thinking like a well-adjusted twenty-year-old guy is great. However, you must also be able to think like a emotionally-abused half-elf half-fire fairy who needs a quick zinger to toss out while caught in the escape tunnel of a vicious lord's dungeon. Et cetera.

6. You must pretend with us that our characters are real. It's an unrealistic pain in the ass for us to have to preface a character's name with "the guy in my story, named." Know the story, know the people. If we give you a panicked look and whisper, "I think James just died," you better gasp and return the look. {Also be ready to console us if we start to sob.}

7. Mostly don’t laugh at anything that isn’t supposed to be funny. So you think that metaphor was cheesy. Fine. But keep the mirth to yourself. We are showing you something sacred and personal. If you laugh at it, you stab us in the heart.

8. We’re pretty…moody. Because inspiration comes and goes, so does our happiness. However, if you broke Thing #3, you brought this wrath upon yourself and I have no sympathy.

9. Daydreaming is a fragile and legitimate state. If we're sitting at the computer, totally motionless, staring off into the distance, IT DOES NOT MEAN WE AREN'T "WRITING." Chances are, we're searching for the right word, trying to ask a character a question, pondering various plot choices, or exploring the realm of possibilities. Interrupting a daydream still counts as interrupting.

10. Do NOT read over our shoulders. Holy shit. Do not ever do this. It is a complete and intimate violation of privacy. We will show you our writing if and when we become ready. We don't want you to see this pitiful sentence we're currently crafting. It's total crap right now and your body warmth is disrupting our creative process.

11. We need to be encouraged. Sometimes writing is cruel. We try so hard, and half the time our effort gets thrown in our faces. And then on top of that we realize we've thrown away six hours of our lives trying to salvage this scene. But the worst thing ever is when we show you something we're proud of and you blow it off. Don't do that. Writing is incredibly important to us, so if we're important to you, our writing should be too.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Things You'd Often Hear Me Say

"I don't care, I just don't want to go home."

"Does it have peanuts?"


"Oh, sorry, I'm trying to crack my ankle."

"I'll text you when I get there."

"Hey. I need a word for..."

"Does it come in black?"

"Sorry, I'm deaf. What?"


"You know that episode of Friends where..."

"I can't, I have British Literature to read."

"I'm too lonely to sleep."

"Did you dream?"

"Because there might be dogs."

"At least I'll be able to write about it."


Monday, April 15, 2013

Things You'd Never Hear Me Say

"You're right, I do have too much black clothes."

"Can you spell that, please?"

"Pass the peanut butter."

"You looked really cute and classy in your mirror pic."

"It's the government's responsibility to create jobs."

"Can we listen to Taylor Swift?"

"Stop writing me letters."

"I don't really want to hear your dream."

"Smoking is hot."

"'Much' and 'many' can be used pretty much interchangeably."

"Ronald Reagan wasn't that great."

"Turn down the music."

"I think truth is a relative thing."


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Inescapable Dualities

{excerpt from my British Literature research paper}

Dr. Jekyll demonstrates literally what many people experience figuratively.  The duality of human nature haunts the entire race.  Dr. Jekyll correctly discerns that every person possesses an inner Good and an inner Evil.  His philosophy breaks down when he attempts to separate his two sides.  He experiments with his heart and mind, thinking that he can always repent and negate any seriously immoral progress.  Initially, he enjoys the wretched integrity of being completely evil.  The experience is “more express and single,” he explains “than the imperfect and divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed to call mine” (Stevenson 1711).  However, Evil is “alert and swift to seize the occasion,” “kept awake by ambition” (1711).  Jekyll realizes too late that he has gone too far, and stands “aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde” (1712).  Through Mr. Edward Hyde, Dr. Henry Jekyll ruins everything he has, is, and could be.

The most fateful and real danger of the struggle between one’s Good and one’s Evil comes when the boundaries between the two are blurred.  Hyde’s residence, where “buildings so packed together it’s hard to see where one ends and another begins” (Stevenson 1680) symbolizes this danger.  However, there is also danger in compartmentalizing the two sides too much.  One loses his sense of morality and responsibility when simply passing off wrongdoings as the problem of his “other self.”  “It was Hyde, after all,” Dr. Jekyll insisted.  “and Hyde alone, that was guilty” (1712-1713).  Eventually, unchecked evil over comes good, and there is nothing the good alone can do about it.  “He [Hyde] does not want my help” (1691), Jekyll confesses helplessly.  However, the tragedy of Dr. Jekyll’s transformation is not meant to dissuade one from acknowledging his evil nature.  Stevenson hides a truer meaning in one of his descriptions of Hyde’s grotesque residence by saying “no one had appeared to drive away these random visitors or repair their ravages” (1678).  The passage, and story as a whole, suggest that while it is good not to nurture one’s evil side, it is better to dealt with it actively.

In reality, can the inescapable dualities of human nature live in harmony?  Stevenson’s pointed gothic tale warns against reckless experimentation with one’s soul.  A person never believes he will be overcome by evil—until the evil is upon him.  Practically, this translates into one’s lifestyle.  Often, people who intend only temporarily to indulge their unwholesome appetites find themselves past a point of no return.  They have alienated loved ones beyond reconciliation; they have broken trust beyond repair; they have harmed their bodies past recovery.  While The Strange Tale of Jekyll and Hyde is only a story, the danger is painfully real.

Duality infects not only the entire human race, but every facet of life, from cities to virtues to the heart.  If even virtues such as loyalty and a thirst for knowledge can lead to negative consequences, is there anything truly good in life?  With Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson makes the point that everything is double-sided.  The great quest of life is not to separate and purge the world of evil, but to synthesize both sides of every element.  Temperance is perhaps the only one-sided virtue.  Absolute transparency leads to rudeness and alienation.  Absolute loyalty deteriorates into blindness and immorality.  Absolute pursuit of knowledge leads to destructive truth.  Absolute evil destroys both the good and itself.  However, without pretension, misguided loyalty, destructive knowledge, and Evil, no one would know the concepts of openness, difficult integrity, wise ignorance, and Good.  There is duality in everything.  Stevenson’s tale makes the reader question whether or not this is a bad thing, and whether trying to isolate either side might be just as destructive.  Without life’s negative side, the positive would mean nothing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is Yesterday Still a Friend?

When I was younger, I used to be really arrogant. {*irony meter explodes*} I loved to hear poems or songs or stories and dismiss them as "stupid" because they didn't speak to me. I thought that I was so much wiser beyond my years, and if there was anything to be gathered from a work, I'd be able to gather it--at age twelve.

Daddy and I talked about these things a lot. He was never rude or judgmental and he never mocked or laughed at me. He would listen to my conceited little tirades about love and life and then suggest that I might come to understand the song better as I experienced life.

My dad's profound strength in humility always caught me a little off guard, and made me at least give lip service to the fact that maybe I didn't know everything.

At nineteen, I know more than I did at twelve. However, I'm also acutely aware that I don't know what I'm doing half the time, and the other half I'm quite possibly wrong anyway.

I like to think {and I hope I'm right} that this admission of ignorance has made me less judgmental and more open to new understanding. Now, when I encounter a song, poem, or story that doesn't speak to me, I try not to write it off. I consider it from many angles, play with potential double meanings and puns, try to apply it to different scenarios, and look for symbolism.

My most exciting recent revelation deals with a line from one of my favorite Shinedown songs:
"Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?"

I tried to make sense of that line for a long time last summer, and came to the conscious decision that I had not yet experienced that phenomenon. The words made sense, but the essence of the concept was lost on me. I decided to continue to love and listen to the song, hoping that someday I would understand what it meant.

I think I finally do.

We live our lives towards a future. Sure, we all have those nights when we decide to live in the moment and make a poor decision {and by that I mean eating that third chocolate bar, of course}, but overall we are goal-oriented people. The way we live our lives today reflect what we're ultimately striving for.

This might mean making good grades...so that you can get into a good college/get a degree.
This might mean investing in a relationship...so that you can spend your lives together.
This might mean saving up your money...so that you can travel over the summer.

More or less every decision is made with "tomorrow" in mind.

But what if you were suddenly disillusioned? What if you suddenly discovered a truth that undermined your future?

What if you realized you had read the wrong chapter in your biology book?
What if you realized your special someone had been lying to you?
What if you misplaced your money?

This new knowledge means that you have lost the "tomorrow" you were striving for.

Knowing what you know today about tomorrow, would you have acted differently yesterday?

Would you have checked the syllabus again?
Would you have demanded answers sooner?
Would you have taken your money directly to the bank?

Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?

It's a beautiful, sad question, one that I finally understand. I'm oddly proud to be able to say that. I'm thankful to my daddy for teaching me how to listen to things I might not understand, so that I can be prepared to understand them when I'm ready.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Krispy Kreme Dream


{PC = Sam}

PC and I were in an apartment. It might have been at the beach. I think we were the only ones there.

I think we had an argument or something, because I sort of stormed out. He followed me, asking what I wanted to do, kind of to pacify me.

“I want Krispy Kreme,” I said. My hair was in a side ponytail, like I wear it to dance at Campbell. I don’t know why I know that.

“Okay, we can do that,” he said.

So we started walking. We were in a very dark, dirty, industrialized part of town.

Sam started to walk a different direction from me.

“No,” I said. “It’s this way. I’m sure.”

“I mean, I think this is the better way,” he said.

“Like, I don’t,” I said unreservedly. “I know where Battleground is. It’s right there. The Krispy Kreme is like RIGHT THERE.” I pointed. We couldn’t see it, because of the tall, dark buildings, but I was sure it was just on the other side of them.

“I mean, maybe you can go that way, but—”

“I am.” And I started walking. Sam didn’t say anything else. He followed me, although he still thought his way was more direct.

When we reached Battleground and looked to the left, where I thought the Krispy Kreme would be, we did see the Krispy Kreme. However, it was a lot farther down the road than I’d thought. In all actuality, Sam’s way would have been about as close. However, he was also surprised. His route would not have put us nearly as close to Krispy Kreme as he'd thought either.

Neither of our routes had been as accurate as we’d both been certain they were. I think we both admitted that.

When we got to Krispy Kreme, I got a box of a dozen doughnuts, but I wanted to mix and match the contents. I was getting doughnuts for my whole family, and probably, like, Cassidy too, so I had to get something for everyone. It was stressful. I didn’t know what the best combination was.
I think this dream might really mean something. Maybe I’m not 100% right in thinking that Sam and I ARE NOT the right ones for each other; and maybe Sam’s not 100% right in thinking that he and I ARE DEFINITELY the right ones for each other. Maybe God doesn’t engineer life so that we have to choose the one right option out of a million close-but-no-cigar options. Maybe he can work with several options and he actually lets us pick from a small selection of ones that he’s approved.

Krispy Kreme symbolizes the ultimate “right” decision and/or happiness. Maybe both our paths will lead us there, we just have to decide which one we want to choose.

{Although, neither of our paths were actually the best. Hm. What does THAT mean? Where’s the middle option? Through those dark, scary buildings? There wasn’t even a ROAD there. Hm.}

Do I want to be with him? I have to decide. And maybe either way I decide can lead to a good future.

But I feel like I’m not just choosing for myself. My trip to Krispy Kreme and how I get there are my choices, kind of, but I’m bringing doughnuts back for everyone. I have to get the right ones for the people close to me.

It’s stressful. And I don’t know what they want me to do.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thoughts on Dating vs. Courtship

One of my Facebook friends posted an article on why modern dating is wrong, and courtship is the way to go. I had a couple of spare minutes before I had to meet a friend, so I figured this riveting article would be a good use of those minutes, and not be so difficult to pry myself away from that it would make me late.

{Clearly British Literature has heightened my tolerance for run-on sentences.}

I read the article, and it surprised me by making me angry and rebellious. It also made me think, which did not surprise me.

In light of that article, it is now time for me, a nineteen-year-old girl who has only dated one guy, to speak with authority about relationships.

Ultimate stance: Listen to God, and things will go well for you.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with dating. I don’t necessarily have a problem with courtship. I see three main issues with both.

Problems with Dating
 1. People do it for the wrong reasons. If you’re dating just to have someone to hold your hand, kiss you, take pictures with you, and be wild with, then you’re doing it wrong. Dating IS fun, but it isn’t FOR fun. It’s to discover the person God has specially planned for you to find and love.

2. People jump straight into dating. Since coming to college, I’ve watched new friends meet people of the opposite sex and immediately begin “talking” to them. A month later, they’re dating. I think that’s shallow and impractical. I don’t approve of dating someone you aren’t already good friends with.

3. Dating makes it more difficult to stay physically and emotionally pure. Like, yes. The second a girl opens her heart to a guy and her hand to his, they are, by definition, going farther than “just friends.” If they break up, they will have to carry their actions with them into any future romantic relationships.

Problems with Courtship
1. People who practice courtship are almost always prudish, overbearing, holier-than-thou types. I don’t know if courtship comes from this type of attitude, or if this attitude comes from courtship. Either way, it’s a huge turn-off to the concept and the people involved.

2. People who practice courtship assume that all dating is always wrong. My question is, “If my significant other and I are genuinely listening to God and seeking to do the right thing, how can you tell us it’s evil and going to blow up in our faces?”

3. Courtship puts unhelpful and stressful pressure on the girl and guy in question. Think about it. A guy kinda likes this one girl. But before he can get to know her as more than a passing acquaintance, he has to go through all this terrifying red tape and gut-wrenching screening process. Then when he and the girl finally begin “courting” and legitimately get to know each other, he better hope to God he doesn’t discover anything about her that would cause him not to love her completely and forever. And ever. Like, holy crap. That’s terrifying.

Obviously, we’re human and therefore going to misinterpret God and make mistakes. Dating is tricky, and it does make it easier to misstep. However, I’ve watched a lot of Christian friends date, get engaged, and marry without any devastating regrets. {Everyone is going to have some regrets in their life, whether they're romantic ones or not.} Like many things, dating has to be handled wisely or it CAN turn into something wrong.

As I think about it, I think the same thing can be said about courtship, just in a different way. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with courtship. How can doing next to nothing be “wrong”? But when your adherence to this principle becomes so rigid and romanticized that you believe the state of your soul is purer, higher, better than others’, that is wrong. Courtship seems to lead to a judgmental attitude, which God does not appreciate.

In conclusion, I think dating, when handled correctly and with Godly hearts, is healthy, constructive, and practical. I think courtship is fine, but is not always healthy or practical and can lead to arrogance.