Posts in Soul Thoughts
A Freshmen's Essay on College | Finding Yourself

Meet Kaylee. On Tuesdays and Thursdays this past year, I mentored a handful of Freshmen women at Texas Tech. In Christianese, I've been discipling them. Reading the Bible with them, working through their life stories, unburying some of life's joys and hurts, laughing and crying at all of Freshmen years' ups and downs, and watching a lot of The Bachelor with them. A few months ago I was hanging out with Kaylee on a Tuesday and she mentioned how college was different from what she expected, so I asked her to share some of her profound truth nuggets for future college freshmen. 

I bolded my favorite part, because it's TRUTHHHH. 

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Initially, I thought that when people said, “College is where you find yourself,” it was just another cliché saying to try and excite me about continuing my education. Kind of like how everyone used to tell me that high school would be the best four years of my life. (HA!) On the contrary, though, I think there was actually some truth to that statement about college. 

I thought that it would just be a repeat of high school. I didn’t know what to expect, but I assumed that there would be a status quo. You know, where the certain clothes you wear, music you listen to, and parties you attend determine whether you’re “cool” or not. Refreshingly, I discovered that none of those things matter anymore...

...at least not to me.

Coming to college means you are suddenly plunged into a new environment with no authority figures and expected to have everything figured out. When I was in high school, that was all I wanted – to get away from all the people constantly micro-managing my life. But despite wanting to make my own decisions, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I realized that I literally went from asking permission to use the restroom to having absolute freedom.

The realization that I could do anything, BE anything was both freeing and terrifyingly constricting. It’s almost as if there’s SO MUCH to discover about myself that I don’t even know where to start.

When you meet new people, and boy you’ll meet SO many, you suddenly find yourself trying to answer the same simple question. “Who are you?” Although this question sounds so straightforward, it comes with a lot of weight. No one in college knows who I was in my little hometown, what sports I played, which friend groups I was a part of, or the names of my ex boyfriends. Without all of these facts surrounding reputation, I realized that I didn’t spend a lot of time actually trying to understand myself. It was frightening to realize that I could not provide an answer to that question because I did not know myself either.

I still don’t know who I am, but even realizing that I do not know myself feels like a step forward.

I’ve learned that in this world, you and only you get to decide who you are. This means your likes, dislikes, beliefs, passions, hobbies, interests, ALL OF IT lays on you alone. For me, this means I need to try more things, figure out what I’m passionate about, and just discover myself.

I also believe that no one can take anything about yourself away from you, especially if you are confident in your identity. College forced me to separate myself from the tiny bubble of high school that my brain was stuck inside and discover a whole new side of life, and it’s something that I think cannot be described until it is felt and understood. I am so thankful for all the change that has taken place in my life already, and it’s only my second semester. My hope is that one day I’ll be able to confidently tell someone who I am. 

Make friends with nobodies, don't be the great somebody

What do you think of when you hear the word “hospitality”? Is hospitality the perfect host with a perfect house that mimics a perfectly put together Pinterest Board? Is hospitality a woman’s thing? Is it something the Bible tells us to do? Is it just for Christians hosting Christians? Who are we really called to be hospitable to?

I’ve fallen in love so much with the topic of hospitality I gave a workshop on it this spring at a Navigator conference (I work for the Navs on Tuesdays and Thursdays!). 

The majority of the students in the room had experienced welcome, belonging, and community from the Navigators on their campus, but my workshop was geared toward challenging them to consider ways they could extend hospitality to other students on campus they encounter on a daily basis.

The world tells us to seek out those who are important or to invite others who talk, look, and act like us into our houses. The Bible tells us this:

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle…Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies… Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Romans 12:9-15 (MSG)

Part of the early twenties/late twenties experience is about discovering how we can impact and influence the world around us. Part of it is learning that we are somebodies in this world. We do play a role in this world. 

But Jesus, God in flesh who humbled himself and came to earth not to be served but to serve, made friends with nobodies and didn’t consider himself too good to hang out, love on, and serve the nobodies.

If Christians are called to be like him, what could that look like for us practically in the day to day...

  • With the socially awkward kid in your class?
  • With those who are in poverty or of a different socio-economic status than us?
  • With those of a different sexual orientation than us?
  • With those who hate the church?
  • How is God calling us to be welcoming and intentional with Christians and Non-Christians alike?

I’m excited I’ve been able to challenge  students from many campuses to be “inventive” in how they help others belong in their homes (or dorms) and their hearts! 

I'm continually challenged by this. I continually fail at it and continually learn how to do it. Let’s ask God to help us step into this beautiful, yet daunting task of seeking out the nobodies, that they might be a part of some “body”... what I believe to be Christ’s eternal, welcoming, and restoring Church. 


Sarah and Wimberleigh and I ran around the horticulture gardens the other day... I've been mentoring them the past two to three years and I'm an emotional mess as they're both leaving this desert city for post-college life. One of my deepest hopes for them as they leave is that they wouldn't get caught up in being great, but in loving great. 

Let me introduce myself

I'm Stacie Stine. 

If you're here, bless you child. Somehow, on this great big interweb, you've gone down a black hole  that's led to me, Stacie. Or maybe you followed the bright shining light and it led you to me? Black holes or shining lights, welcome to this colorful canvas.  

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"Baby, I ain't Wonder Woman." - Kacey Musgraves

I'm just a woman. 

You've discovered me clinging to my late twenties, wondering why I don't feel quite as grown up as I thought I'd feel as close as I am to thirty.

After high school I escaped the south as fast I could to spend four sunny college years in the better, funner, more magical south (Southern California). I yelled at Ryan Gosling on accident once and walked next to Kirsten Dunst for, like, one minute. College was cool too, I guess. 

I fell in love with my husband Brett to the soundtrack of long distance phone calls and Thou Art the Dream, by Branches. We're going on Stine Marriage Saga: Year Six. 

I'm a wedding photographer and wedding invitation designer, he's an academic scholar and professor. We live in a windy desert city in Texas, but within the next year see a move sweeping us out of Texas. 

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"Life is not tried, it is merely survived when you're standing outside the Fire." -Garth Brooks

This space is for sharing how my life "is tried". 

This space is a little bit for you, and a lot a bit for me. I create for a living and blog for a loving.

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What's here?

Marriage magic. Soul thoughts. Pop-culture obsessions. Style days. Decor & aesthetics. DIY's. Beauty finds. Childhood and teenage journal entries. Coffee films. Y

What's not here?

Recipes and babies. The kitchen and I tolerate each other, and my body and I have agreed not to birth out a baby until.... some point in time that is not now. 

What you're seeing, is only one piece of the pie I'm eating.

Read about and peruse my life as much you please, but then go live yours as fully, deeply, messily, intentionally, and as beautifully as you can.  This blog was started because I decided to stay yes to living life as deeply and purposefully as I know how, through the bitter and the sweet. I hope and pray you will find purpose, hope, and sweet yes's to the life in front of you. 

Thanks for going down a dark hole and finding me (let's be real, it was probably a dark hole), 

XOXO, Stacie

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P.S. You're allowed to laugh at this ^^ picture... because it's me trying to make a fierce model pose... it's somewhat fierce. 

Summer
Sadness is easier because its surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free.
— -Claire Colburn, Elizabethtown

I'll gladly throw one hand in the air and dance, eyes closed tight, round and round. Because summer is finally here.

Shauna Neiquest writes in her book, Present Over Perfect, how frightening it was for her to go snorkeling with her son on a summer vacation. She had been working, going, performing,  and surviving for so long, she hadn't been alone with herself or her thoughts. In a moment, without noise, without a to-do list, without anyone to perform for...she was alone, exhausted, tired of living fast, and scared of what it would look like to slow down and pay attention to what her body and soul really needed. 

I've been there, have you?

Somehow you feel stranded in a moment of quiet, a moment you desperately need but have no idea how to embrace because it's so foreign and scary.

Having a school schedule with a free summer has become one of the greatest gifts to Brett and I as we seek to stay in tune with who we are and what our souls need. 

For me, summer is sacred. 

A time to invest in my marriage, not my to-do list. 

And I can feel the weight of my to-do list and Brett's busy schedule takin a toll on me. 

Every year I can feel the weight of the school year lift as rigid schedules cease, coffee shops empty of their stressed out regulars, and our roads are noticeably less trafficked. 

The weight lifts and summer settles. 

Summer in Lubbock is the start of flowers and cactai blooming, warm evenings, and drive-in movies.

Summer for the Stines looks like a homework-free husband, reading and writing for fun, escaping our isolated city for vacations and photographing weddings, and, my favorite, slow summer strolls as the sun sets every night.

How could I have any summertime sadness when we're slowing down to connect to ourselves and to each other and to rest? 

How do you slow down, get in tune with yourself, and rest (whether you have the summer off or not)?

Stacie