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2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
stephanie has read 1 book toward her goal of 30 books.
Prayerful Bloggers

31 days of waiting – the parking lot.

20th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, faith. || 2 comments

Sierra Exif JPEG

The other day, I was riding with my friend somewhere. We were meeting at a parking lot.
I got there 10 minutes early. He was running 30 minutes late.

I figured I should make the most of waiting. I decided to read some of Holy Curiosity, but I like to read when I’m comfortable… laying in bed or sitting on a couch, in sweatpants, sipping either tea or coffee, with my hair thrown out of my face with no regard to how it might look. I was sitting on a curb.

It’s hard to get comfortable when we’re waiting for someone. At first I was going to say when we’re waiting for someTHING, but I really think there’s this uncomfortable aspect of waiting for a person. Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that when you’re waiting for someone to arrive, you look out your window more in ten minutes than you do in ten days? Even if the house is tidy or your shoes are on and you’re ready to go, you never want to get too comfortable when you’ll be interrupted.

There were a few months last year when my friends, single women, decided to buy houses. I remember talking to one of them and she said “it feels like I’m doing this so out of order. I was supposed to meet someone and get married and then buy a house.” She didn’t want to settle in too much because she was waiting to be interrupted. She didn’t want to establish herself alone because she was waiting for someone. I was so proud of her for being so brave, for getting a “write this in your address book in pen” address while she waited.

Every day I see my friends be so brave while they are waiting. I can’t write enough about the bravery of my friend Donna, who hasn’t been able to have a baby but believes in the God of miracles. She holds babies and celebrates her friends pregnancies, even while praying from the depths of her soul for a child. Another one of my friends also desires to be a mom and she took custody of her cousin’s 3-year-old daughter, going from an independent, single woman to a single mother of a child that looks nothing like her.

Sitting on that curb reading wasn’t comfortable and eventually I walked into the store. I realized Ernie’s birthday is soon and I should send him a greeting card so while I waited, I read birthday cards and laughed at the funny ones (like out loud, by myself… no shame). I picked one out and went back to the curb, where I spent time carefully choosing the words inside a card with two bunnies holding tiny mugs of coffee.

The point is – I don’t think we’re necessarily supposed to get COMFORTABLE. I think we are supposed to get BUSY. When we are DOING SOMETHING, there is less of a burden in waiting because our time isn’t measured by empty spaces of nothing but looking up from the book we’re reading on the curb every time a car drives by.

Eventually my friend showed up, and I hadn’t even realized that I’d been there waiting nearly an hour because I hadn’t sat checking the time on my phone every ten minutes. I decided that he knew my number and could call me when he arrived. In the same way, we serve a God who knows how to get ahold of us when the time is right, and he ALWAYS shows up on time. I think he’d rather find us laughing at cards in the store than sitting uncomfortably on the curb, getting crankier and crankier with each check of the time.


31 days of waiting – have you ever?

20th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, music || 0 comments

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have you ever by stephanie orefice on Grooveshark

The year was 1998. I was 13.
Who even knows what idiot middle school boy I was in love with at the time. Probably Zac Hanson.

But this song.

I remember laying in bed and listening to these words over and over and over. and crying my heart out because… well, boys.

Today I was laying in my bed, texting two of my closest friends about the boy I like. Because homeboy is CONFUSING. The minute that a tear trickled down my face (which started a freaking downpour ugh) I remembered this song and I listened to it like the IDIOT THAT I AM. There I was, TWENTY NINE AND A HALF FREAKING YEARS OLD and crying about boys to the same song I did SIXTEEN FREAKING YEARS AGO.

and after I listened to like one verse of it I sat up and thought “I bet when I was 13 I didn’t imagine that I’d still be waiting.”

I tried to remember 13 year old Stephanie, the things I loved and hated and dreamed of happening… and all I could think of was I never expected to wait this long.

One of my friends, Denise, got married later in life. and one day I drove the 45 minutes to her house after I went on a date with a boy that was SUPPOSED TO BE PERFECT because he and I were passionate about the same things and he was cute and loved Jesus… but instead I spent FOUR HOURS walking around the zoo with a guy who wouldn’t even speak to me. Denise said something that I cling to.

She told me that I’m single because I’m single. I’m not single because I’m not smart enough or funny enough or tall enough or well dressed enough. I’m not single because I’m too loud or fat or excitable or sparkly. I’m single because I’m single, plain and simple.


I’m single because I’m waiting. Because I refuse to compromise or throw myself at any boy who gives me attention.

Then I had this thought.
This really awful thought.

WHAT IF, IN THIRTEEN MORE YEARS, I LOOK BACK ON 29 YEAR OLD STEPHANIE AND THINK “I bet when I was 29 I didn’t imagine that I’d still be waiting.”


I can’t really spin this to be some big freaking encouragement or thought-provoking post. All I can say is that this waiting stuff freaking blows sometimes.

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31 days of waiting – a song.

19th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, faith., music || 0 comments

“We come with expectation…”

Like I wrote about earlier this month, waiting isn’t a passive thing.
When we wait for something, we say there is value in what we are waiting for, because if not wouldn’t we just move on with life?
When we wait, we are trusting that something will happen – maybe not the outcome we want, but something will resolve.

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18th October 2014 || music, reviews || 0 comments

I’m not participating in #blogtober, but I know people who are… today’s prompt is to share a secret, and I have just the song for all of you airing some of your dirty laundry.


Mary Lambert’s songs – not just Secrets – but her whole album, Heart On My Sleeve, are honest and raw and are the SOUND of sharing secrets. Sometimes you say “screw it all” and walk around telling people your secrets (the title track, “Secrets“) and sometimes you have a quiet, vulnerable moment of sharing a secret with someone (“When You Sleep,”) and sometimes it sounds like a still evening with your friends being open (“Monochromatic.“)

The collection of songs Mary Lambert has put together is appropriately titled “Heart On My Sleeve,” as her words are heartbreaking and open. I have listened to the song Secrets every morning while I’ve gotten ready for the day since I first downloaded the album (which you can do on iTunes or Amazon) but the song that BLEW ME AWAY was her cover of Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl. One of my favorite artists, Teitur, does this cover of Great Balls of Fire that is haunting and quiet and he says “sounds different when you take it seriously, doesn’t it?” That applies to this song. Who knew that Jessie’s Girl could be a ballad for a broken heart, not just a sing-along anthem?


You can pick up Heart On My Sleeve from iTunes or Amazon.

In honor of today’s #blogtober prompt and having Secrets on repeat, here are a few of my secrets.

  • I am really insecure about my appearance, so much so that I shut down if people notice anything about me (not my clothes, but my actual self).
  • Every day is a battle with mental illness for me. I have OCD and depression, and it sucks.
  • I am so terrible with money. I don’t know where it goes. I have absolutely no idea what happens to my money. It just disappears.
  • When I was little, I wanted a bottle of Mr. Bubbles bubble bath because it came with a washcloth glove. My parents said no. So I stole the washcloth glove. I don’t think I’ve EVER admitted that.
  • Sometimes when I’m feeling really stressed out I drive in circles for hours.
  • I am terrible at learning by reading. I love to read books, but I cannot process difficult information without asking a person questions.
  • Talking about the weather is one of my favorite things to do, even though people usually think that’s left for shallow conversation.

Okay. Your turn! Share some secrets… even if you’re not participating in #blogtober!

I participated in the Mary Lambert Heart On My Sleeve album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

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31 days of waiting – 5 more things i’m waiting for.

17th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting || 7 comments

This week in addition to my full-time job, I watched my pastors’ 4 children while they were out of town. I didn’t have the time or energy to blog and like I try to remind myself… that’s fine. I’d rather be living life than blogging about living life.


5 things I’m waiting for (in addition to last week’s!)

#1. experiencing a corn maze tomorrow. 

#2. falling back into my blogging routine. 
I weirdly missed it. It was so weird.

#3. My Birchbox
It seriously takes like 10 days to get here after they’ve e-mailed me saying it’s on the way.. I am so ready to have it RIGHT NOW!

#4. Figuring out a day to buy a plane ticket to Nashville.
I miss the Halters so bad, and it’s barely been a month since I left. Time to go back.

#5. My cousin’s baby’s dedication.
Mostly because my stepmom is making LUMPIA! LUMPIA IS THE BEST!


YOUR TURN! What are you waiting for?


31 days of waiting – waiting for affirmation

13th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, faith. || 1 comment

31 days of waiting // waiting for affirmation //
Technically this is now 30 days of waiting since I missed yesterday. I will go forth on grace alone. That’s a song, not an overdramatic declaration of my missing a post on the busiest day of my week.

I don’t really write a whole lot about my job, but now would be a good moment to. I’m a youth/kids pastor. I have started to make sure I throw in the kids part because I spend 70% of my time focused on kids 5th grade and below, and people usually think of youth as middle/high schoolers. I have them too but the kids take up a big chunk of my time.

Yesterday one of our girls was in a pageant, something she’d always dreamed of. She’s been the most faithful kid at church in the time I’ve been there and I was delighted to buy a ticket and go support her. She came out and did this pretty epic hair flip during the casual wear portion, and looked every bit a 10-year-old princess during the formal wear. Then all of the contestants for all of the age divisions stood onstage as they first gave out a photogenic award and then a Miss Congeniality one. Finally they announced the Top 10 girls for each age group.

I sat there waiting to hear them call off 33, because hello she is the most adorable one of them all (in that picture, she’s the one with the big white skirt on her dress in the front row, waving). She deserves ALL THE TROPHIES AND ALL THE TIARAS. They called off number after number and all of the girls standing around her made it, but she didn’t. She stood there a beautiful, uncomfortable mess. and I looked at Hilary and said “I don’t know how you’re a parent. She’s not even my child and I’m about to riot.”

At that moment all I wanted was to wrap my arms around her and tell her that she is funny and brave and that she is SO LOVED. I had a stack of cards for her from church members, telling her that we were proud of her. Hilary had a dozen roses. I wanted her to have all of those things before she could start to get sad.

Because I had to watch her wait for affirmation from people that don’t really know her.
and I do that so often.

I wait for a decent amount of “likes” on my status, or for when my instagram likes goes from a list of usernames to a number. I wait for that to affirm me because somehow I’ve learned to wait for the affirmation of people who don’t really matter.

and the whole time I’m doing that, refreshing my Facebook or instagram or whatever, God is in the back of the auditorium with cards and flowers, wanting to get to me before I can listen to any lies that might creep in when my number isn’t called. He wants to wrap his arms around me and tell me that I am funny and brave and SO LOVED.

We have to learn to wait for the right words from the right people. If not we are stuck on an eternal stage listening as number after number after number is called and it gets harder and harder to forget who is cheering for us as if we are the only person in the whole entire world worth cheering for.

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31 days of waiting – when “wait” really means “no.”

11th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, camp arnold. || 1 comment

31 days of waiting // when wait really means no //

We curled up on the couch and watched the Curious George Halloween special and then William decided he wanted to draw a Curious George game and Ellen was writing in the new journal I gave her.

William asked me, “do you want to help me make this game board?”

and I lied.

I said “sure, after I get your snack and fold these blankets. Then I’ll help you.”

Or… wait.

But then I remembered that I don’t really lie to William. He asks me if I’ll play the Wii with him and I say no. If he asks me if I want to push him on the swings and I really don’t want to, then I say no. Sometimes I say yes, when I really want to push him on the swings. But I don’t lie about it.

So then I had to admit that I had lied and explain to him that I wanted to just watch him make it and then have him tell me about it when he was finished. He understood.

Then as I sat there watching William make the board game, I wondered why I had lied. What did I think that would accomplish? Why do I sometimes say WAIT when I mean NO? I do it a lot. Sometimes I do it because I WANT to but I don’t WANT to, you know? There’s so much I want to do… but I really don’t actually want to do it. I want the result of it but not the price of it. I think that’s a valid thing, to buy some time to muster up the energy and the gusto to finally go ahead.

But other times I think it’s just stuff we don’t really want to do but feel obligated. I love William. A lot. I love him so much that I’m not going to pretend to want to spend time doing things with him. I want for every one of his memories to be me willingly and gladly spending time with him, not me putting off doing something with him.

I want to be careful with my words. I want to say “wait” (or later, or after this and this…) only when I want to do something, whether it’s because I love them so much I want to do it or because it’s something I actually want to do.

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31 days of waiting – 5 things i’m waiting for.

10th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, everyday life, music || 6 comments

5 things I’m waiting for

#1. Allen Stone + The BGP in Portland.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen these people share the stage. Like years. and I am really sentimental about things. Allen is coming to Portland, which I am so excited about. And The BGP is coming to Portland, which I am so excited about. AND THEY’RE COMING TOGETHER. I can’t wait.

#2. Colder weather.
It’s freaking OCTOBER and we’ve had temps in the 70s and 80s. I’m waiting for the weather to cool down so that I can officially alter my coffee budget and get back to brewing my own coffee. It’s hard to make cold coffee in the morning, you know?

#3. My eye appointment. 
My eyes have been really weird since the summer and I FINALLY made an eye appointment, but the lady I wanted didn’t have an appointment until Halloween… so I have to wait a few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a new prescription and can get new glasses. Do any of you have experience with buying glasses online?

#4. My nails to grow out. 
For my friend Rachel’s wedding, I got a gel manicure. Did you know that gel manicures don’t come off like regular ones? I didn’t. and I panicked. and I ripped it off when it wouldn’t come off with nail polish remover. And now my nails are not happy with me. They broke and were all rough and just a mess. I’ve been trying really hard to keep them nice… but yeah there went that.

#5. Okay, Allen’s new album.
I haven’t allowed myself to get super excited about his new album because I didn’t have a ticket to the show yet and I was going to DIE if it sold out because the last time that happened, he wasn’t able to get me in. So now that I have my ticket I AM LETTING MYSELF BE SO EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING!  Because listen:

Are there any things you’re waiting on right now?


31 days of waiting – leaning over the rails

9th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting || 3 comments

Bob Goff, Love Does quote //


I’m gonna get really real for a minute.

Let me be honest, since I’ve got a minute to be real.
I probably haven’t done the best job at listening to God. I’ve been in a weird funk. You know how sometimes your best friend texts you to hang out and for some reason you just don’t feel like it, like it’s nothing against them… you just aren’t really in the mood. Sadly, that’s how I feel. Just not in the mood. I’ve been trying to remain disciplined in keeping my face towards God – reading books that challenge me spiritually and taking time each day to be quiet in God’s presence… but there’s just something weird.

Okay now that I’ve been honest about that, let me continue.

One of the most detrimental thoughts I’ve learned from church is this idea that God’s will – God’s plan – God’s way, whatever language you want to use… is like a bullseye. You either hit it…. or you don’t. and the worst thing is to not hit it because then you’re being puked out of a fish or wandering in the desert for like EVER.

But with time I’ve learned for myself who God is and I can’t really get behind that. Moses, for example, made a huge mess of things when he killed that Egyptian guy. HUGE mess. God had put together this really amazing, miraculous situation and in an impulsive moment, Moses threw it all away. Way off the bullseye.

It took forty freaking years of shepherding, but God called Moses right back into the initial plan. I don’t think those 40 years was because God needed some time to think about how to clean up the Great mess of Moses, it was because MOSES needed to clean up the Great Mess. Moses needed to be humbled and to learn how to lead dumb, wandery sheep so he could lead dumb, wandery people. God was waiting on Moses.

I think sometimes God leads us in a very clear, deliberate way. I think he walks ahead of us and paves a path in front of us. But other times I think he walks alongside us and says “no, you choose this time!” because it is our choices that reveal our character, and what a great way for us to display the teaching and response to God’s love in our lives.

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure out where the bullseye is and not wanting to miss our mark, and really God is excitedly waiting for us to make a move in any direction because he is our biggest fan. It’s like that Bob Goff quote up there. I love that image. Heaven is leaning over to see what we’re going to do. The ball is in our court. God, in Jesus, instructed us to love Him and others, and now he wants to see what we’re gonna come up with.


31 days of waiting – when Jesus waits.

8th October 2014 || 31 days of waiting, faith. || 2 comments

31 days of waiting //

I’ve been reading this book that’s been so great, it’s called Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions by Winn Collier.
Yesterday I finished this chapter that’s talking about Lazarus, and I was reminded of this post I wrote last January, in response to Jesus waiting to see Mary and Martha. Jesus waited to act in the midst of a very grave situation and it had some pretty severe consequences.

Taken from the original post here.


There was a time in California when I thought the Lord had left me. I remember weeping under blankets in the dark, huddled on the floor and feeling my prayers echo into nowhere, landing nowhere. The days were long and painful and I could hardly manage to function. I felt cold, alone, abandoned, deserted.

Until I cried out a question that I will never throw out at God again.

It had been days since I’d felt the peace or presence of God, despite my constant prayers and seeking him out. My spirit was weak, my eyes exhausted from crying and in the darkness of my room I cried out,

What have I ever done to you?
The response was swift, immediate even.

Do you really want me to answer that?

And then He was gone like a quick breeze.

Two days later, I turned around and there he was. That is literally what happened. In The Salvation Army thrift store in Pasadena, California I turned around and ran straight into God. My heart grew wings and took flight, my spirit sighed in relief and I was free from the terror of being abandoned by the only One who could uphold a promise like “I will never leave you.”

It’s been two years since then, and I can remember the pain I felt when my prayers echoed in the silence.

“Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Jesus knew he was going to die. But Jesus chose to stay away. He kept away from Martha and Mary in their desperation – he received their message but let it fall on deaf ears… until Lazarus had died.

It reminds me a little of the time Jesus took a nap in the boat. The wind was tossing the boat, the waves were crashing all around them… and Jesus slept on.

How easy it is to relate to the disciples.. I’m going to die, and Jesus sleeps on. 
How easy it is to relate to the women.. He didn’t show up, and the worst happened. 

But Jesus wasn’t being careless in either situation. He wasn’t being apathetic or unsympathetic. Four days after Lazarus was buried, Jesus finally arrives in Bethany. Martha hears he is coming and waits outside to meet him. Jesus talks to her, and then Mary comes to him, falls at his feet and tells him “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She weeps at his feet, and Jesus is deeply moved and troubled. She takes him to the resting place of Lazarus.. and “Jesus wept.”

Jesus wept over the death of his friend he was about to bring back to life. I wonder how many of his tears were for the people who were upset at the result of him not being there.. even though he knew he was about to blow. their. minds.

There are times in life when God remains silent, when he lets our prayers echo around in the darkness, when he watches us hurt and suffer – he let Jesus die on a cross – because he knows that he is about to show up, cry with us, and bring us back to life.

Sometimes the silence and emptiness is what allows Christ to come closest to us, because that’s when he can arrive to a grieving household and weep with us. He doesn’t want to be a power source who shows up and fixes situations. He came to be with us, to make his dwelling among us, and sometimes he has to let us hurt so that we stop approaching him as a Mr. Fix It. We just stand at the end of the road and wait for him to show up, because we know that once he gets there… things will be better somehow. But by then the expectations are gone.

It might seem like he’s sleeping through the storms in your life or that he’s ignored your requests for him to show up and bring his power.. but he hasn’t abandoned you. When he comes, he won’t bring his little scrolls of band-aid Scriptures. He will calm your seas and he will weep with you and he will hold you.

And by all of that, I mean… when you turn around and run face first into him.
Because he might be quiet, but he will never leave you.


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