Hope and Breaking

Have you ever experienced crushing defeat?

There’s a definite difference between regular old defeat, which still isn’t fun, and soul crushing defeat. Defeat occurs on a regular basis. You fail a test, you mess up a proposal at work, you made a fool of yourself, you sung a wrong note. Soul crushing defeat is worse. It might be those very same circumstances, but your heart was involved.

You desperately needed a pass and you’d put everything into that assignment. Soul Crushing Defeat. You messed upon a proposal at work that you’d spent hours and hours on and it means you won’t get that promotion. Soul Crushing Defeat. You made a fool of yourself and went out on a limb with that special someone. Soul Crushing Defeat. You sung a wrong note in front of hundreds of people who laughed. Soul Crushing Defeat.

This is the worst kind of pain. When you’re brought so close to something that means so much to you – only to have it flop and turn into icky mess. You were so sure that God had whispered to you that this was finally your moment – you walked right up to the doorway and you were about to step into your dream and the door got slammed in your face. You were so close to the dream that the door kind of pinches you on the nose and throws you backwards. You’re left a little bit (or a lot) broken and crumpled on the floor and getting up seems like the hardest thing, let alone trying again.

There’s a very fine and awkward line between Hope and a Broken Heart. Hope means opening yourself up to the possibility of defeat, to the very real possibility of a broken heart.

However, the line between Fear and Eternal Disappointment is also fine. In fact it’s barely a line at all. I want to shudder when I hear quotes like ‘You miss 100% of the shots you never take’, but it’s actually true. You will never get what you want if you are always afraid. If you never took a chance.

I can promise you, from very real and personal experience, that taking risks can mean failure. It can mean defeat, even soul crushing defeat. But everything important in life is worth a risk. It’s worth trying. It’s worth a little defeat. It’s worth putting yourself out there. Don’t be afraid of hope. Don’t be afraid of a broken heart. Don’t be afraid.

February Reads

Oh I read a lot of books in February. February isn’t even really over. But I still read a lot of books. Here’s a bit of a summary.

Whatever Tomorrow Brings – Lori Wick

I’ve made it my mission/goal to own, or at least read every Lori Wick book. There are quite a lot of them, but without actually looking into it, I think I’m halfway already. This is the first book in a four part series called ‘The Californians’ and I actually think this is Wick’s most popular series. These books are simple, straight forward, pure and enjoyable. I rarely like to read modern stories and sometimes all you want to read in your lunch break is something easy. I read this on my kindle and breezed through it. I’ll probably buy the other 3 soon.

The Dip – Seth Godin

I’ve been trying to expand my reading more lately and this quick little non fiction read did the trick. It actually changed my perception on a few things and had me thinking and talking about it for many days to come. Based around the concept of ‘quitting’ and how quitting isn’t always the worst choice and sticking out the wrong things can be so damaging. It’s applicable to entrepreneurs, marketing execs, people stuck in dead end jobs and .. well you could apply it to anything. I recommend it.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Uggghh. I’ve been trying to finish this book for no joke, at least a year. I had it on my iPhone and I struggled and struggled through til I finally downloaded it onto my Kindle and finished off the last 25%. I wanted to read Wuthering Heights because it’s such a classic and it’s referenced over and over again in literature. Characters rambling on about how it’s their favourite book etc etc and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I still don’t get it. Flawed cruel characters, storylines spread out over decades, old english and well.. It just wasn’t for me. I’ve hated maybe two books in my whole life and this is one of them. I’m so glad I finished it though, it was bugging me. Now it’s still bugging me, but only because it was so rubbish.

Heart of Gold – Lacy Williams

Why was this book so short? I’m not even exactly sure what this book was about it was over so quickly. Something about some sort of homestead, the search for gold which actually didn’t exist, love, family breakdown, horses and bandits. I couldn’t tell you the characters names or characteristics if I tried. That’s what happens when you purchase free books on kindle!

The Widow of Larkspur Inn – Lawana Blackwell

YES! I think I may have finally stumbled across a new Christian historical fiction author with delightful taste and easy reading style. I technically have a few chapters to go on this baby BUT February technically isn’t over and so technically, technically I can put it on this list. It’s my list so I will do what I want. This book centres around a recently widowed woman who brings her children to a new town to turn a run down old Inn into a Lodging House after her deceased husband leaves them with financial troubles. The title actually describes it fairly accurately. It has characters you fall for, a town you wish you could experience and life lessons and struggles you can relate to.

Now I can safely say I delivered all that I promised for February. This is not one book review but five short ones. Claps for Steffany.

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Follow Friday

Blogs you should check out.

Miss Pinches.

My lovely friend Hannah is an amazing blogger. Now that she has an amazing camera by her side, her blog has been ever better. She’s a brilliant list maker and pulls insight out of the smallest things. It’s wonderful to read because I know her and is a great way to keep in touch with her life, but basically, Miss Pinches is for the masses. I laugh and appreciate this blog so much.

My Favourite Colour is SHINY.

This girl can’t be stopped. Like literally, we are looking at a post every single day. So many people start blogs and then stop posting after ooo.. 5 posts. Tegan is getting set to hit 100 already! People who love design and beautiful images will get a kick out of this blog along with some personal insights as well. Hands up if you never want the blogging to end? *both of my hands literally went up*.

William + Laura

I’ll be honest and say that both William and Laura are individually great bloggers. But perhaps not as consistent posters on their own blogs as they are on their couple blog. This blog is pretty darn cute and I think every couple would read it thinking ‘I wish our lives were cool/photographable enough to warrant a couple blog’. Lately they’ve been showcasing their wedding shots which are pretty amazing. I even feature – so you should head on over there and love a little on that blog.

Sarah Starrenburg

If you’re looking for intelligent writing, prose, theological thoughts and other wonderous things I wish I could come up with in my head. You should read Sarah’s blog. She posts daily which for a pure writing blog – is AMAZING. I wish I could write like that. I think everyone does. Except Sarah, she probably wishes she could write better. Sarah is one of my longtime favourite people and is one of the most consistent people I know. Her blog is equally as consistent.

Kendi Everyday

This is my favourite fashion blog. Kendi reminds me of friends I already do have and makes me wish I could be her friend and steal things from her wardrobe. She posts a daily (get it!) outfit and other miscellaneous things thrown in. I think her style is wonderful, realistic, classy and I’m super envious of her hair. Ladies, you won’t regret subscribing to Kendi Everyday.

Girl Removed

This blog belongs to Gemma Bird. It’s a newly created, freshly, regularly updated travel/devotions blog that centres around Gemma’s recent move to Canada. I love travel blogs, they are always filled with funny little stories and tidbits of wisdom. I also love and miss Gemma, so this blog is perfect.

First Time for Everything

Today I used Skype for the first time. I never understood why people raved about it so SO much, but now I do.

It’s actually so important to see someone face to face, to hear their voice and to see their expressions and hand movements. Grace and I had a tea date today over skype. We talked for about an hour and a half and drank tea and discussed and chatted like we normally would. Skype is the best thing ever! Next to Grace Davis.

Grace – I love you and can’t wait for you to come home.

In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.

Katie-Lou.

Kate Fraser is one of my favourite people. You might recognise that name from various other posts which mention her older sister Laura Swanson (nee Fraser). I met Kate through Laura, was then her youth leader and now we are good and proper friends.

On Tuesday night, I went on a special Valentines Day date with Kate. To be honest, I’m surprised she was free as she’s single handedly the hottest person I know. We both wore red (MATCHING) and ate our dessert before our dinner cos we’re rebellious like that. We talked about family, boys, friends, Hart of Dixie and other important issues. I had a really great time.

Kate is smart, grounded, funny, quirky, sporty, genuine, easy-going and loyal. Oh and did I mention she’s seriously good looking?

This post was basically just to brag about how lucky I am but it’s also to brag about Kate new blog endeavour, Katie-Lou I do Love You. Kate inherits serious blogging skills from her older sister but has her own little unique twist that I super love. I’d be stoked if she posted something new everyday.

Check her and her blog out NOW.

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The Hunt for True Love

Love is really the thing isn’t it? I mean it was the thing back in biblical times, it was the thing back in the 18th century and it’s still the thing now. It’s what consumes so much of our money, time and emotional resources. We search for it. Fight for it. Live for it. Die for it. True Love. You’re kind of kidding yourself if you aren’t interested in it.

As a single Christian female, the hunt for true love is unique. In fact it’s basically the opposite to how those outside the Christian worldview search for love. We aren’t in a position where we can try, try and try again. Trial and error gives us a bad reputation.

It’s a really fine line between knowing what you want and writing down those all important characteristics and then allowing yourself to be flexible, open and acknowledging that sometimes God knows what we need better than we do.

Throw into the mix the whole confusing concept of God’s timing, your life’s calling and the slowly diminishing number of Christian males on the market, and girls begin to panic. We start lowering our standards, we stop letting guys make the first move due to fear of being alone and we push push push.

But I mean really? What’s a girl to do?

Evidently, girls don’t know what to do. They don’t know when to be bold and when to hold back. They don’t know when something’s right and when something’s wrong. They fall for the worst kinds of men and then wonder why they are unhappy and alone again. In fact, most of the time they just wonder why they are alone. What’s wrong with me? Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken? Do I cry too much? Am I too outspoken? Casey Chambers anyone?

If you kept reading this post thinking that I’d have all the answers, then I’ll be honest like I always am and tell you right now that I don’t. I think people would assume I have it figured out.. so many of my friends are all married and settled and I seem pretty content so I should know right? Sorry ladies. I’m also in the dark.. BUT.. despite the fact that my last relationship was so long ago that I actually forget how old I was.. I know quite a lot about the Hunt for True Love.

I remember when I met my true love. I remember falling in love. I remember specific moments and I remember specific seasons. I remember bad times but mostly I remember good times. My true love makes me laugh, cry and fall on the floor so grateful for how much He loves me.

Oh I know it’s cliché.. Fall I love with Jesus and all your problems will be sorted? Really Steff? That’s your answer. Thanks for the help.

I don’t want to offend anyone, but if that answer wasn’t a good enough answer for you – then I’d hazard a guess that your quest for true love is unfulfilled.

I’m so rarely lonely. I’m so rarely confused or frustrated or concerned about timeframes. And that’s not because I’m overly confident, or I have a healthy relationship with my Dad or just because I’m busy and my life is naturally fulfilling. Trust me, I could choose to be unhappy and scared and alone. But I’m just not. I made a choice that God was enough. It doesn’t always feel like that, but I always know that He is.

Actually, maybe I do have it figured out. Isn’t that the goal? To really be in love with Jesus and to never live life afraid of being alone. I think God actually cries when His daughters feel alone. You are NEVER alone and you are NEVER far from His thoughts.

Pure truth.

The list to end all lists.

I’ve been so busy lately having a really good time. Unintentionally I’ve crossed a few more things off my ‘The Last Single Girl’ list.

I shall make an intentional effort to cross more things off. What a grand life I live!

20. Ask someone fairly random out

33. Go skinny dipping

50. Leave a love note on a windscreen

59. Make cookies for someone

68. MC a wedding

70. Blog regularly

83. Pick wildflowers

100. Love Jesus always

Proof of No. 68. Nicole & Elliot’s Wedding. For obvious reasons not all things need proof.

Just my type.

Lately I’ve been using pintrest. It’s quite wonderful. Being a words person .. it’s not surprising that I love quotes and images and pretty wording and that I have a specific board for typography.

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