7 days of hope blog tour

This is a world of people who laugh and people who lie
And people who forget, and people who forgive,
And people who steal and people who give more than anyone will know
And people who are all of these, 
Wrapped up in one sin-soaked image of Someone 
Who we can’t even begin to imagine 
Because the fabric of who He is
Defies what defines us.

We are magnets to what we hate in ourselves.
Yet redemption echoes in small moments
When we see that the magic of the world
Is not enough.

What a mess
Of contradictions we are.

In a world where seeing a few more stars than usual
Gives me a sudden deep breath
And a feeling that I’m rooted—that I belong,
And a feeling that maybe I forget
Some of the reasons that it is beautiful to be alive
Sometimes

I know we do not deserve more than this
But the yearning that stitches our souls together—
The hope for something beyond what our hands can hold
Reminds us that we were meant for something
We can’t fathom.

Someone loved you enough to die for you
Because He knew that was the only way to give you hope.

So if hope is a cobweb in a corner of your mind
Spend time spinning it into an idea that can almost capture
The wonder of the real thing.


jo, from livsnjotare, is shouting and waving her arms at you in the following paragraph (or maybe she’s whispering through the dark), imploring you–daring you, to hold onto that yearning that makes you human, that reminds you of what is meant to be:

but we yearn to do something good anyway. but there are people right now chanting and learning and educating and fighting for right and they’re doing amazing and there are a bunch of people signing up to teach me and a bunch of other lost, nerdy kids how to sing, how to dance, how to dream this summer, there’s stars and there’s sun and there’s a spotify playlist that is streaming truth and beauty and goodness and how, how can anyone look at this world and not realize what it could be, what it was meant to be?

my God really made some amazing things, and yes, they’re so messed up now, but even with their serious flaws they’re beautiful. that is wild. that is so wild. can you not feel that?

if the hate that fueled all these horrible people (read: all of us) to do what we’ve been doing for centuries was replaced with hearts, with love, with holy sacred rightness, what would the world look like?

idk man, but it must be… beautiful.


And sometimes, music can breathe meaning into an idea like nothing else.

“Even
After
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe
Me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole
Sky.”


Seven Billion Smiles is stop #5 on the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour:

Day 1 (August 16) – SawyerMarie https://sundropgirls.wordpress.com/
Day 2 (August 17)- Brooklyn Elysse http:bensshowersofblessings.blogspot.com/
Day 3 (August 18)- Katja https://littleblossomsforjesus.blogspot.com/
Day 4 (August 19)- Brooklyn http://fiveshekels.wordpress.com/
Day 5 (August 20)- Emma https://sevenbillionsmiles.home.blog
Day 6 (August 21)- Ellen http://musingsbyellen.blogspot.com/
Day 7 (August 22)-Abby Elissa https://abbyelissa.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Sawyer Marie and Abby for hosting! 🙂

blogiversary q&a

I know a lot of words. But apparently concise is not one of them. Please enjoy the rollercoaster of tangents that is this q&a. 🙂

From Sawyer Marie:

1. What color of choice for cozy socks? YELLOW. AND STRIPES. OR TACOS. I have socks with tacos on them that are wearing sunglasses. They are glorious. I got them at Target last year, and that night at college choir practice, I talked about them to the basses behind me (I’m a soprano), and then the whole bass section was like TACOS WITH SUNGLASSES YOU MUST SHOW US and that’s why I was in choir practice sliding around in taco socks singing Mozart on a Monday night.

2. If you had to have another name besides “Seven Billion Smiles” what would it be? These are some titles I found in my old notes from when I was brainstorming back in the dark ages:

The Blog of Yellow, The Blog of Things, The Blog Where Emma and Eve Post Stuff. . .(obviously my creative juices weren’t doing great). . .The Dust of Dreams, As I Am, October Lane, Sunflowers and Smiles, Thoughts at 2 am, Gossamer, One Clear Call, Night Music, and Cold Lights.

3. How many blankets is “too many” on your bed/“not enough”? I have a sheet and a velvet comforter on my bed right now, along with two other smaller throw blankets. I get cold at night, so in the winter my bed looks like the Princess and the Pea. 😀

From Kenechi:

1. If you discovered a new planet, what would you call it? Persephone. (And I’d name its moons Demeter and Hades) Because the Greek gods and goddesses are the originals–WHY DID WE NAME THE PLANETS AFTER THE ROMAN RIPOFFS. WHY.

2. What two songs have you had on repeat? Alinde sung by Philippe Sly (my favorite male singer–his voice is just ahhhh) and Time from Inception.

3. How would you describe silence? As a musician, I find the idea of silence so cool. But I’ve never experienced it. To be honest, the idea of absolute silence sounds terrifying to me.

John Cage has a piece called “4:33” where the pianist goes up, sits at the piano, plays nothing for four minutes and thirty-three seconds, and then exits the stage. And I think maybe what he’s saying is that the shuffling of feet, the coughs, the crumpling of programs, and the murmurs of the audience are the music in that piece. Interesting, no? 🙂 Is our perception of silence really the most natural and organic form of music?

From Sophie:

1. Do you sometimes just randomly outbreak into a made up dramatic scene at times? YES. My life is a musical. I randomly dance and provide a soundtrack all the time. There’s nothing like ninja-sliding around the kitchen in socks doing dishes while belting a Disney song or a Bach cantata complete with awkward but passionate dancing.

(Also, anything you do while listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme is epic. Doing homework? BOOM. You are now a genius little student effortlessly scribbling answers for your test at Harvard. Eating a sandwich on the back porch? BOOM. You are now a food connoisseur in a tiny cafe, eating the sandwich you’ve searched for your entire life and now you can die happily).

2. What’s your all time favorite franchise? Disney. ✨🌈

3. When was the last time you ate? What did ya eat? It is currently 11:30 am when I’m writing this, and I just had a slice of cake. I had mac and cheese for breakfast, and then I was really craving cake. So I made myself a cake.

From Eden:

1. Do you think the sun hates or loves the moon? Maybe the sun just has a huge ego, and only thinks of how awesome he is. Poor moon.

But then, even though the sun is the closest star to us, the brightest star we see, and we see him far more than the other stars, we never wish on him. We wish on all the tiny pricks of faraway stars in the night sky. And we never wish on sun. Take that, meanie.

2. If you ran for president, what would be your campaign slogan? Vote for Emma, she can solve your dilemma. *fingerguns*

And the award goes to Emma for the cheesiest rhyme in existence!!!

(That was actually my TeenPact slogan that I came up with in 10 seconds to run for committee chair and then I won by accident because I basically abandoned all fear because I knew I wouldn’t win…abandoning fear backfires, guys. In good and bad ways.)

3. What are three books you would recommend to literally everyone? Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, Fairest Son by H.S.J Williams, and the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery.

From Weez:

1. Opinions on stuffed animals? I believe stuffed animals can be embraced by all people, regardless of age. I sleep with a giant plush Baymax on my bed from Disney World that’s bigger than my torso and a 16’’ Squishmallow dragon that feels like hugging a cloud.

There was a tumblr thread I saw a while ago that said, “Don’t date someone who makes you feel like you have to hide your stuffed animals.” And just—yes.

Also, if you want to see this in action, Barney Smith, a world-class countertenor who’s just a complete marshmallow soul (from Voces8, my favorite vocal group!), has his stuffed animals behind him in plain view in every single interview I’ve seen him do. He’s on tour all the time and he evidently takes them with him everywhere and THEY’RE RIGHT BEHIND HIM ON INTERVIEWS WITH SUPER AMAZING MUSICIANS and it’s too funny and adorable because they’re arranged differently each time. Example here—I want your thoughts in the comments!! 😉

2. Fast food joint of choice? Chick-fil-a. I was sick recently, and my friend, Ellie, from Ellen’s Musings, brought me Chick-fil-a and Kara Swanson’s new book release, “Dust.” Just seeing her face and getting to hang out was wonderful, because we haven’t been able to see each other more than once to exchange conversation and writerly/bookish thoughts since quarantine. :))) SHE IS ABSOLUTELY THE SWEETEST.

From Evelyn:

1. What are your titles that you would list off to Smaug? These are what I would hope and wish to be: love-bringer, Christ-follower, song-singer, music-spinner, word-wielder, heart-healer, laughter-chaser, sadness-stealer.

2. What is the last book/movie you did not finish? The last book I didn’t finish was Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig, because I felt that the representation of the female characters from the male POVs was objectifying and overly dwelling on their appearance/physical attractiveness rather than their value as a person/their character. I find this to be disrespectful towards women. If the character is being painted as negative, then I understand why an author would choose that perspective; however, I can’t reconcile several occurrences in a positively-represented character.

3. If you had to trade places with a Disney Princess, which would you trade places with, why, and what would you do differently? I would trade places with Mulan because she’s my favorite Disney princess. I love her character and I love Shang and I love Mushu and her family loves her and she’s also super courageous and kind and puts others before herself. Also, she’s one of the few “strong woman” characters who I find doesn’t reject her womanhood in favor of becoming like a man to be “strong.” She’s a beautiful balance.

I would probably choose do everything the same way. Most of her decisions are spur-of-the-moment in the face of a sudden disaster, so I doubt I could come up with anything better.

4. What Winnie the Pooh character is your favorite? Piglet. Because he is so full of Anxiety™ (as well as kindness—and bravery when he confronts his fears).

“‘What?” said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn’t been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.”

“The wind was against them now, and Piglet’s ears streamed behind him like banners as he fought his way along…”

And the friendship that he and Pooh have makes me so happy inside:

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.

“I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. “I wish I were there to be doing it too.”

(A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner)

From Sandi de Klerk:

1. What’s your least favourite classic? Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I stopped reading it halfway through the book because it was so depressing. The writing had undertones of bitterness and wasn’t as colorful or inspiring as I usually find the prose in classics to be. Overall, a depressing read that was confusing and not at all enjoyable for me.

3. Apple, Microsoft, or neither? I’m fine with either. Apple for the win, maybe? (Apple’s packaging/unboxing is just the most satisfying thing. You open a package and it’s like, slip, whoosh, slit, hwahhh) *tears up* It’s beautiful.

2. What’s your favourite hymn(s)? Be Thou My Vision and Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended.

From Diamond:

1. What made you decide to start blogging? I talked a bit more about this in my Behind the Blogger Tag, but I started this blog as a platform for Eve to share her art and for me to share my poetry. An additional reason I blog is to make sure I continue doing my creative hobbies outside of music because my daily life is full of music thingssss. The blog makes sure I don’t forget that I love to write poetry and make little doodles. Because they make me happy, I want to share some of that happiness with other people. And I have a hard time doing stuff without deadlines, so the blog makes it feel more like a school assignment that I “have” to turn in. That motivates me to create more content than I would otherwise.

2. Are you a Marvel fan? I don’t know if I’m a Marvel fan, because I haven’t watched any Marvel movies. My family doesn’t watch movies often, and when we do, it’s almost always as a family. Thus, it has to be appropriate for everyone, including my nine-year-old sister. Multiple friends who share my taste in movies have recommended Marvel to me, so I’m sure I would at least like some of them.

From Libby:

1. Over the last six months, what’s one way that God has been working in your life? I think that He’s been working with me to accept change and learn that not all change is bad. Change scares me, and I tend to aggressively resist change in any way. I’m working on embracing new changes rather than resisting them.

2. What’s one of the most important/significant/life-changing things that’s happened in your life? The day I realized that yellow was my favorite color. Lol

3. Who are your favorite poets? Elizabeth Bishop is my favorite poet. More: Cindy Green from Story Embers, e.e. cummings, Frost, Clara, Evelyn, Anne Sparow (insta poet), and my friends John and Lilli. Those are some from the top of my head.

From jul:

1. Do you think high school or college are more important in the growth of a person? High school, I think? I know quite a few people who established a great work ethic growing up and went on to do great things through a different path than college. In high school, you’re in that weird almost-grownup phase when you’re just Trying Your Very Best but it’s Kinda Not Working and you Need Help With Life.

2. What was the name of your first stuffed animal love? Funt-Funt, my tiny pink elephant. I’ve had him since I was a baby. He’s on some surface in my room right now—he’s an exploring elephant. He roams the wild of Emma’s messy room.

3. Do you secretly want to dye your hair a crazy color? It is unlikely that I’ll dye my hair, because I actually really like my hair color. (It’s a warm brown with coppery undertones and it naturally has blonde highlights—like thank you, hair?? Even though you’re super frizzy all the time and can be super annoying—thank you???) BUT, if I did, I would dye it a really deep blue. And yes I have secretly wanted to do that sometimes. But there’s a .0000001% chance that I’ll actually do it.

When I’m an old lady with 4 foot long hair, I’ll dye my white tresses blue and become a fashion icon and inspire all the other old ladies to dye their hair crazy colors.

4. What title is most important to you (artist, writer musician, reader etc. ) (besides “Christian”) I would say that creator is the most important to me. I view a creator as someone who is inspired by their own lives and chooses to share that experience/thought/idea to create something that the world needs. Art is meant to comfort those who feel the world’s heaviness and feel that they are alone and also to inspire those who feel that the world is too dark and scary for them to spread light and also to disturb with Truth those who are learning to forget.

I think that is a beautiful thing to do—your life IS art. How you move, how you dress, what you say, your handwriting, your singing voice, your thoughts.

You are endlessly creating what it means to be a human on this earth and if you are a child of God, striving to become more and more like Jesus, constantly reminding yourself what you COULD be and trying your best to be inspired and not saddened by this thought because you know that you grow every day if you just TRY and that God is helping you through this and someday you’ll be with Him and it will be the most beautiful feeling in the world because it will all be worth it.

Thank you all SO much for your awesome questions!! I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

the myth of the tides

Since the beginning of time, the sea loved the moon. But the moon knew not the beauty of the sea. All the moon’s thought was for the sun.  She had never seen the sun’s full glory, but every night, she reflected his beauty. And it was just enough to make her desperately hungry to see his full light. 

All this the sea saw. 

The sea knew how beautiful the sun was, and no one could deny the sun’s radiance. Yet, he wondered, “Have I not beauty also? The sun has glory in his light, but I have the cry of seagulls, the wet wind, the tumbling waves,  the tingling mist, the sharp and salty air, the oyster’s pearls, waters the color of dreams, and great and wonderful creatures within me. Perhaps…perhaps she might love me, if she only knew. ”

He vowed to follow the moon wherever she went, in a hope that she would someday look down and see him and find something to love in his depths. 

 But though he followed her, her gaze never shifted from the crest of the earth’s tilt, where the sun’s rays glanced. 

So to this day, the moon dwells in the sun’s pale shadow, and the sea follows her path in the tides. 

the mother

I am a zigzag lady

With a fill-the-room smile.

A cream-with-my-coffee lady.

A do-you-need-a-hug lady.

My mind sparks dreams and doing;

Reason rhymes on my tongue.

My whispers echo, echo, crescendo; 

The world knows who I am:

A step-stride lady

Who walks the Way.

The laughing years roll through my body,

But I do not wilt.

Wrinkles trace my face

Where Happiness left his fingerprints.

Purple streaks ribbon over my belly,

Reminding me of when my body grew

To hold and hide an almost-me.

I am woman.

I have the ultimate gift of Create:

The power to give someone breath,

To bring new love to the world.