Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Incredible Power That Comes with Feeling Small

This morning as I'm listening to Christmas hymns and trying to understand why the Creator of this universe I see outside my window would humble himself to be wrapped in flesh in the form of a teeny, tiny baby, it makes me feel so small but yet so significant. A love like that can't make you feel insignificant no matter how small you actually are compared to Him. A Casting Crowns song began playing in my head, and this is how it goes (oldie but goodie)...

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours.

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again?
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours.

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours.

I am Yours.
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

White as Snow

Friday there was a buzz around town that we'd get some snow flurries on Saturday. Saturday morning I ran a few errands, hit the treadmill (I'm up to jogging 2.25 miles!), and sat down to check the forecast. I turned around a few seconds later, and saw the first few flurries floating to the ground. Within the hour, the ground was covered with a fresh blanket of snow, and the flakes got bigger and bigger. All in all, we got about 3 inches.

I've mentioned this before, but something about snow just warms my heart (ironic, right?). It's just so magical, and the more I think about it, it really is a beautiful picture of salvation. Snow blankets the ground, making it clean, fresh, pure, and spotless. It covers the mud and muck and dead grass underneath so that all you see is white, and it's the whitest of all possible whites too. That's exactly what the blood of Jesus is for us. His sacrifice covered us in a beautiful, pure blanket of snow to cover all our filthy sins so that all the Father sees when He looks at us is His purity. In fact, Scripture even says in Psalms and Isaiah that we'll be whiter than snow: "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18). So the next time you witness the breathtaking beauty of a snowfall, take a moment to say thank you to the One who covered your sins with His blood.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Chapter

Hello again, gentle reader. I've taken quite the hiatus from blogging lately, and I think it's because I've been feeling for a long time that it needed a fresh start. Thus, I've given it a snazzy new look and renamed it "Pen Strokes of the Author," and it will focus on glimpses I see of God in literature, music, and the beauties of day-to-day life that we so often overlook. Hopefully it will end up being a celebration of the little things in life and art that can point in big ways to the character of God, the love He has for us, and the hope we have for life beyond this one. God always seems to speak to me through the simplicities of life, and I pray that the ones I record here will encourage you and bring glory to Him. I hope that it inspires you to listen for whispers of God in your own life. In the words of C.S. Lewis, let us look "further up and further in" to see the divine in the everyday...snapshots of wait awaits us.

"But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on for ever, in which every chapter is better than the one before." - C.S. Lewis, final lines of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Love Really Means by JJ Heller

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time zone fail

I kept watching College Game Day and the clock in anticipation of the Lee Corso mascot reveal at 11:00am. "Why aren't they doing picks by now?" I wondered. Then I remembered I live in the Eastern Time Zone. Time zone fail.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Beautiful Beautiful" - Francesca Battistelli

Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace


Sunday, August 22, 2010

"For the Moments I Feel Faint" - Relient K

Am I at the point of no improvement?
What of the death I still dwell in?
I try to excel, but I feel no movement.
Can I be free of this unreleasable sin?

Never underestimate my Jesus.
You're telling me that there's no hope.
I'm telling you, you're wrong.
Never underestimate my Jesus.
When the world around you crumbles,
he will be strong.
He will be strong.

I throw up my hands.
" Oh, the impossibilities."
Frustrated and tired,
where do I go from here?
Now I'm searching for the confidence I've lost so willingly.
Overcoming these obstacles is overcoming my fears.
I think I can't, I think I can't.
But, I think You can, I think You can.
I think I can't, I think I can't.
But, I think You can, I think You can.
Gather my insufficiencies and place them in Your hands.
Place them in Your hands.
Place them in Your hands.

Never underestimate my Jesus.
You're telling me that there's no hope.
I'm telling you, you're wrong.
Never underestimate my Jesus.
When the world around you crumbles,
he will be strong.
He will be strong.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gonna go back in time...

Now for something completely pointless and possibly entertaining - I have decided to break my blogging hiatus to bring you this little insight into my crazy, nerdy little mind.

For no reason at all this evening, I started thinking about time travel and about how stinking cool it would be if I could actually do know, in a strictly non-interfering, purely observational way. Can't pull a Marty McFly and accidentally erase myself...although I certainly wouldn't mind having Marty tag along for the company. ;)

But I digress...I was mulling all this over in my mind and decided I'd make a top 10 list of the moments in history I'd most like to visit. So...without further ado, I bring you:

Stefanie's Top 10 Moments in History She'd Most Like to Experience (in no particular order):
  1. J.K. Rowling begins penning Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at a little cafe in Scotland. (I would LOVE to see how that all began forming in her mind. I seriously admire that woman's writing skills.)
  2. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his "I have a dream" speech. (I mean, really, how cool would it be to have been there? *Shiver*)
  3. The Phantom of the Opera opens in West End in London. (I'd get to see the longest running musical on Broadway before all the hype!)
  4. The founding fathers sign the Declaration of Independence. (What good American wouldn't want to see that?!)
  5. Angered colonists protest Britain's unfair taxes at the Boston Tea Party. (I'm not really sure why, but throwing tea into the Boston Harbor just sounds like lots of fun...and rebellion!)
  6. LSU defeats Oklahoma for the 2003 NCAA Football National Championship. (Oh, wait! I've already been there! It's worth a second trip though...especially since I was on the FRONT ROW! :D)
  7. Jane Austen pens Pride and Prejudice. (Um...see how excited I got about J.K. Rowling up there? Multiply that times 10, and that's how giddy I'd be to meet Jane Austen. )
  8. Jesus Christ is born in a stable in Bethlehem. (This is the most pivotal moment in history when God stepped down to earth as a baby. Can't miss that.)
  9. Frank Sinatra spends another night crooning to swarms of crazed teenage girls. (Frank in his heyday...count me in! I'd totally have been a bobbysoxer.)
  10. Gutenberg invents the movable type press, allowing books to be printed easily and quickly and providing a way for the common man to have access to them. (I'd have to shake his hand and say, "Thanks, Johannes, for making my job possible and for bringing me years of delight in the written word.")
So if you didn't think I was a nerd before, you sure do now! You can't admit that you don't want to jump in my time machine too though!

Word of advice: hands off my Marty. ;)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Song of the day: By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North

Just really feeling this today...

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face.
Just don't turn away.

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you.
My hands are holding you.

Look at these hands and my side.
They swallowed the grave on that night.
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life.
I want to give you life.

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's a bittersweet symphony

The last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind...full of so much change, my head is still spinning, so I'm taking this Saturday morning to sit on my third floor patio with my new beagle/basset puppy Darcy and soak it all in. It's really the first chance I've gotten to breathe since finding out I got the job in North Carolina.

Let me catch you all up. First of all, God is good. Very, very good. He truly does things more wonderful than we can ask or imagine. I have a great apartment, a job I adore (I'm the new children's librarian at the Kernersville Branch Library!), a precious puppy dog (my first friend in NC!), a new car (fond farewell to my 98 Mustang and a fond hello to my Edge!) and the fresh start I've been waiting for. God does answer prayers, and I don't ever trust Him enough.

This morning I checked out all the adorable little shops in downtown K-Vegas (as the locals call it). I had breakfast (for $3.00!) at this hole-in-the-wall Irish diner and a delicious red velvet cupcake at this cutesy bakery. I found some really nice consignment shops and gift shops and...a bookstore/cafe! Score! To quote Annie, "I think I'm gonna like it here!"

I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new people and finding a good church where I can meet people my age again. There are tons of young people up here...and plenty of good churches to choose from! I sure do miss a certain group of 8th grade girls though! So glad we got to have that slumber party before I y'all much!

Also, thank you all for your prayers for me and my family during the past few weeks. It was rough losing my grandmother, but Mimi was a very vivacious woman who loved the Lord, and she will always be with us. She made her living as a theatre director, and I'm sure right now she's putting on a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Heaven...and bossing people around as usual. :) I miss her a lot, and it's hard to believe she's actually gone, but I know she's in a better place. Please keep praying for my grandfather as he copes with the silence around his house...such bubbly personalities are the easiest to notice when they are gone.

Anyway, here's to a new chapter of my life as an (gasp!) adult! "The rest is still unwritten..."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't might be MISSING something

We had an incredible DNOW weekend with our 8th grade girls. The theme was Missing, which was appropriate since I have apparently been missing something about our girls. At some point, I must have blinked and they turned from amazing, goofy, fun fifth-graders into beautiful, mature young women in Christ. I see them every week, and I was still amazed at how much they've grown in their faith. Nothing excites me more or makes me trust more in God than seeing their excitement for Him and His word. And, I'm just gonna tell ya...I got choked up when I saw them all huddled up praying for each other. God is good. I am blessed. Ministering always seems to give you back more than you can manage to give out.

Love you, girls. Thank you for allowing Nichole and me to be a part of your lives and your sisters in Christ. You'll never know how much your friendships mean to me. Thank you for revitalizing my own relationship with God this weekend by witnessing your love for Him.

And I'm so proud you didn't throw fruit!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


As I'm writing this, my blinds are drawn, and I'm watching big, fat snowflakes float to the ground. Time to make hot chocolate! Saints' Super Bowl win, snow, Mardi Gras parades, and crawfish all in one week?! I love winter!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unchanging and Relentless

I'm so glad that even when my circumstances seem out of control, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) and that even when I don't feel like running hard after God, He is sprinting after me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black and Gold Super Bowl!!!

If you still needed reassurance that miracles still happen, you got your proof tonight! The Saints won the Super Bowl!!! Wow! Geaux Saints! Who dat?!

What a great time to be in Louisiana. In the six and a half years I've lived in this glorious state, I've witnessed LSU's two football national championships, one basketball Final Four, and one baseball national championship...and to top it all off, a Lombardi trophy for the Saints! Pretty amazing stuff.

Congrats to Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and the's just another example of how excellent leadership on and off the field is what truly makes champions at heart.

And seriously, wasn't that image of Drew Brees and his baby just tear-jerking? Awww.

Oh, and one more thing...check out my fleur de lis cookies! The icing's pretty sloppy, but I was nervous for the game!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More pain in Haiti

Another earthquake struck the already-overwhelmed Haiti this morning. Please be in prayer for the people of Haiti and relief workers from all over the world trying desperately to regain some sort of order and save as many lives as possible. If you're able, please think about giving to any of the may relief funds. My fund of choice is Compassion International's Disaster Relief Fund. To donate, click here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I got lost in Lost...big time

Hello again, fair reader. If it seems like a while since I've written, that's because I've been a bit preoccupied with a new obsession in the form of Lost. Oh man, is it addicting. I had been holding out to watch it after I graduated, so I started a week or so ago and managed to watch all five seasons in rapid succession (thank you, Netflix!). This show should come with a Surgeon General's warning because it's like crack. One night, I seriously stayed up til 7am. No lie.

And it's just so smart. I love a good show that mak
es my brain hurt. I think my jaw may be sore from dropping so much. The allusions to the Bible and literature weave little mysteries in and out of the plot line and occasionally make for a great punch line (like the time Sawyer calls Charlie "Oliver Twist" HAHA!). Bottom line: I. Love. It.

I'm waiting anxiously for the premiere on February 2, and to bide the time, I decided to make a list of all the questions I have to see how many they end up answering in the final season. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just skip the rest of this post. ;) Here goes nothin'...*insert obligatory spoiler alert here*

1. Who is Jacob's mysterious nemesis? Esau maybe? And is he good or bad?
2. What the frick is the smoke monster?!
3. What makes Walt so "special?"
4. Why can only Claire raise Aaron, and where is that girl anyway?
5. Will Charlie come back somehow? (Oh, I do hope so! He's my fave.)
6. Will Desmond have to return to the island? Will that lead Penny to look for him again (using that snowy listening station)?

7. What happened after the nuke went off?
8. What happened to the real Locke? Is he really dead?
9. Who are the Adam and Eve skeletons in the caves?
10. What happened to Ben's childhood friend Annie?
11. What's in Hurley's guitar case, and why did Jacob give it to him?
12. Why didn't Sun go back to 1977?
13. Why can Hurley and Miles see/talk to dead people?
14. Is Widmore really good or bad?

15. Will someone finally kill Ben already?!!!
16. Who was the man in the hot air balloon?

17. Will Aaron ever get Charlie's DS ring?
18. How did Desmond, Charlie, Eko, and Locke survive the Swan implosion?
19. Will Sayid somehow get Nadia back?
20. Will we get to see the Dharma headquarters in Ann Arbor?
21. Are there more Dharma stations?
22. Why does the Island/Jacob speak through Christian?
23. What is "the Island's" real agenda?

24. Where did Richard Alpert come from, and why does he never age?
25. What happened to the Arrow station, and why was there a Bible there?

26. What are the whispers in the jungle really?
27. I know the numbers will still have an important significance, but what?!
28. How did the statue get destroyed?
29. What exactly is this "sickness" that the French crew got, and why has none of the survivors of 815 gotten ill?
30. What happened after 1977 that prevented babies fro
m being born on the Island?
31. Did the Island have any natives living on it originally?

32. Why did they draw the map on the back of the blast doors in the Swan station?
33. Why did Stuart kill himself? Or did he?

34. Will Jack and Kate FINALLY end up together?
35. And...will the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 EVER get OFF the Island?!!!

It's not too much to ask to get all that answered, now is it? :) I know those genius writers can do it...

Monday, January 4, 2010

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news

At this very moment, a family who has become as dear to me as my own is stepping onto a plane and making the 24 hour journey to Africa in obedience to God's call on their lives as missionaries to Arua, Uganda. It's been such a joy (and so enlightening) to watch God move in every little step of The Taylors' adventure thus far, and I can't wait to hear all about how God uses them to influence the hearts of the Lugbara people. Praise God for friendship in Christ, following His will, and beginning new and exciting adventures totally on faith. Please join me in praying for this amazing family. If you'd like to follow their journey, check out Kat's blog,

Now for the official shout-out. Doug, Kat, Kylie, Karis, and Caleb, I love you all big time! And I'm saving up to come visit when I can! May your travels be safe, your transitions be smooth, and your faith be strengthened. I know you'll impact your new city just as strongly as you have impacted my life. I can't wait to hear all about it! Thank goodness for the Internet!