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Steven S. Billings

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Monday, July 30, 2007

A POEM by Oliver Wendell Holmes



Angel of Death! extend thy silent reign!
Stretch thy dark sceptre o'er this new domain
No sable car along the winding road
Has borne to earth its unresisting load;
No sudden mound has risen yet to show
Where the pale slumberer folds his arms below;
No marble gleams to bid his memory live
In the brief lines that hurrying Time can give;
Yet, O Destroyer! from thy shrouded throne
Look on our gift; this realm is all thine own!

Fair is the scene; its sweetness oft beguiled
From their dim paths the children of the wild;
The dark-haired maiden loved its grassy dells,
The feathered warrior claimed its wooded swells,
Still on its slopes the ploughman's ridges show
The pointed flints that left his fatal bow,
Chipped with rough art and slow barbarian toil, -
Last of his wrecks that strews the alien soil!
Here spread the fields that heaped their ripened store
Till the brown arms of Labor held no more;
The scythe's broad meadow with its dusky blush;
The sickle's harvest with its velvet flush;
The green-haired maize, her silken tresses laid,
In soft luxuriance, on her harsh brocade;
The gourd that swells beneath her tossing plume;
The coarser wheat that rolls in lakes of bloom, -
Its coral stems and milk-white flowers alive
With the wide murmurs of the scattered hive;
Here glowed the apple with the pencilled streak
Of morning painted on its southern cheek;
The pear's long necklace strung with golden drops,
Arched, like the banian, o'er its pillared props;
Here crept the growths that paid the laborer's care
With the cheap luxuries wealth consents to spare;
Here sprang the healing herbs which could not save
The hand that reared them from the neighboring grave.

Yet all its varied charms, forever free
From task and tribute, Labor yields to thee
No more, when April sheds her fitful rain,
The sower's hand shall cast its flying grain;
No more, when Autumn strews the flaming leaves,
The reaper's band shall gird its yellow sheaves;
For thee alike the circling seasons flow
Till the first blossoms heave the latest snow.
In the stiff clod below the whirling drifts,
In the loose soil the springing herbage lifts,
In the hot dust beneath the parching weeds,
Life's withering flower shall drop its shrivelled seeds;
Its germ entranced in thy unbreathing sleep
Till what thou sowest mightier angels reap!

Spirit of Beauty! let thy graces blend
With loveliest Nature all that Art can lend.
Come from the bowers where Summer's life-blood flows
Through the red lips of June's half-open rose,
Dressed in bright hues, the loving sunshine's dower;
For tranquil Nature owns no mourning flower.
Come from the forest where the beech's screen
Bars the fierce moonbeam with its flakes of green;
Stay the rude axe that bares the shadowy plains,
Stanch the deep wound That dries the maple's veins.
Come with the stream whose silver-braided rills
Fling their unclasping bracelets from the hills,
Till in one gleam, beneath the forest's wings,
Melts the white glitter of a hundred springs.
Come from the steeps where look majestic forth
From their twin thrones the Giants of the North
On the huge shapes, that, crouching at their knees,
Stretch their broad shoulders, rough with shaggy trees.
Through the wide waste of ether, not in vain,
Their softened gaze shall reach our distant plain;
There, while the mourner turns his aching eyes
On the blue mounds that print the bluer skies,
Nature shall whisper that the fading view
Of mightiest grief may wear a heavenly hue.
Cherub of Wisdom! let thy marble page
Leave its sad lesson, new to every age;
Teach us to live, not grudging every breath
To the chill winds that waft us on to death,
But ruling calmly every pulse it warms,
And tempering gently every word it forms.
Seraph of Love! in heaven's adoring zone,
Nearest of all around the central throne,
While with soft hands the pillowed turf we spread
That soon shall hold us in its dreamless bed,
With the low whisper,--Who shall first be laid
In the dark chamber's yet unbroken shade? -
Let thy sweet radiance shine rekindled here,
And all we cherish grow more truly dear.
Here in the gates of Death's o'erhanging vault,
Oh, teach us kindness for our brother's fault
Lay all our wrongs beneath this peaceful sod,
And lead our hearts to Mercy and its God.

Father of all! in Death's relentless claim
We read thy mercy by its sterner name;
In the bright flower that decks the solemn bier,
We see thy glory in its narrowed sphere;
In the deep lessons that affliction draws,
We trace the curves of thy encircling laws;
In the long sigh that sets our spirits free,
We own the love that calls us back to Thee!

Through the hushed street, along the silent plain,
The spectral future leads its mourning train,
Dark with the shadows of uncounted bands,
Where man's white lips and woman's wringing hands
Track the still burden, rolling slow before,
That love and kindness can protect no more;
The smiling babe that, called to mortal strife,
Shuts its meek eyes and drops its little life;
The drooping child who prays in vain to live,
And pleads for help its parent cannot give;
The pride of beauty stricken in its flower;
The strength of manhood broken in an hour;
Age in its weakness, bowed by toil and care,
Traced in sad lines beneath its silvered hair.

The sun shall set, and heaven's resplendent spheres
Gild the smooth turf unhallowed yet by tears,
But ah! how soon the evening stars will shed
Their sleepless light around the slumbering dead!

Take them, O Father, in immortal trust!
Ashes to ashes, dust to kindred dust,
Till the last angel rolls the stone away,
And the new morning brings eternal day!

9:30 am edt

Thursday, July 26, 2007

CD BOOKLET - Pages 17 & 18

CD Booklet Page 17

CD Booklet
                                    Page 18

These are the last pages that contain song information. The last song on my album is called "My Home Is You," and begins with a courtroom scene, which is why I have the background for this page as a gavel. The second page has a photo of the chancel in my church. There is nowhere I feel more "at home" than in my service to Christ and His people.

1:48 pm edt


Summer 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

Didn't do much today. Got up about 9:00. Just visited and checked email, etc. This has truly been a wonderful visit. I look forward to each day with anticipation. Spending time with my loved ones is a cherished thing indeed!

Tonight Jim and I inaugurated the new baseball game for PS2. It was great fun.

In bed by 10:30.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Jim had drill today, so we met him for lunch and then went to Barnes & Noble to do a little shopping. Steph had a book to return, and we all got something to drink. I'll miss the opportunities for conversation when I return home, though I must confess a desire for my customary solitude. Should I ever marry again, I'm not sure how I would resolve that need and reconcile it with my (apparently) conflicting desire to have someone with whom to share my life.

In the evening Jim, Nathaniel and I walked over to the Air and Space Museum - yes, it is within walking distance! - and watched "Night at the Museum" starring Ben Stiller in their IMAX theater. Theirs has a curved screen, seemingly designed for use as a planetarium, which made watching a full-length feature film a bit strenuous on the neck, as we had to lean back and look up for an hour and a half!

Bedtime came about 11:00, though I was awake past 1:00.

12:15 pm edt

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


There's a monster in my house. He's disgusting and vile, powerful and demanding. He breathes fire, he eats people alive, and is rabidly driven by the compulsion to wreak fear and destruction. Those who try to ignore him are consumed by him. Those who try to deny him are complete and utter fools.

There are those who believe they can control him. They use him to impose their will on others, but never without getting their own clothes singed. You can always tell who such people are, because they always smell of smoke and death.

My house was not built for a dragon; it was never intended that such a beast take up residence here. But here he is in any event, maiming, killing, charring the landscape. Oh, yes, my house has a monster! And, by the way, yours does too.

Oddly enough, people have brought him here, for wherever two or three are gathered, you will find him among them. We just can't seem to live without him. Books have been written on how to beat him into submission. Those who hold his reigns wield great authority and are highly regarded by many. We give them accolades, notoriety, and great wealth. And while this beast has been used for good, he ultimately strives to serve his own purposes, to perpetuate his own existence. The dragon serves the dragon. That is the heart of his reality. Despite what little benefit is achieved by harnessing his might, we all would be better off if he were finally put to the sword.

I witnessed the monster at work this past week in Houston. How finely skilled his riders! Each step of his course was expertly planned and executed. Every obstacle in his steeplechase was deftly surpassed; the dragon never broke a sweat. And while other riders attempted to wrest control of him, they were rarely successful. And what if they were? What if they unseated the current pilot? The monster is still a monster. He serves himself. He doesn't care who's driving.

But, as I said, you have a monster in your house, too. He's more easily seen on a national scale, but how often in your congregation are theological issues attempted to be resolved through political means? "We don't like what the church has taught about this matter, so let's vote to change it." "We disagree with our church leadership, so let's elect new ones." "We're offended by the pastor's preaching and teaching, so let's get the church to replace him. And if we can't force him out, we'll apply enough political pressure to make him run away." Don't think it hasn't happened where you are. Ask around. It won't take you long to hear the sordid tales.

There's a monster in our house. The only way truly to defeat him is to call upon the Dragon Slayer to come and put him to death. Let's recall - shall we? - how our Savior crushed the serpent's head. Did He amass an army? Did He mobilize His supporters? Did He appeal to the throngs who followed Him? No. He laid down His life. He loved. And so He died. In giving His life He freed us from the dragon. Why, in heaven's name, would we want to enslave ourselves again? But, as a monster will always be a monster, we will always want to have him around. Thank God we have a Champion. May His deliverance come soon in spite of us.

10:20 am edt

Friday, July 20, 2007

CD BOOKLET - Pages 15 & 16

CD Booklet Page 15

CD Booklet
                                    Page 16

These are the pages for "Cape Fear." The first page has THE cape, if you know what I mean. ;) I have PhotoShopped out the insignia, as that would be proprietary material protected as a registered trademark. But I think this image gets the point across.

The second page shows me in one of the many "heroic" costumes I loved as a child. Notice: I am not simply a cowboy! The star on my chest reads: Sherriff!

12:22 pm edt


Summer 2007

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Rolled out of the sack around 9:00. Didn't do much of anything constructive. Checked email, updated my blogs, and played some video games with Jim and the kids.

In the evening we watched "The Caine Mutiny." Great film!

Rolled back into bed around 11:00.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Big day in Manhattan with Marissa. We at lunch at Cosi's on 42nd Street. Then went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. What an experience! Got some great pics for my blog.

Afterward, we went to a movie at AMC on 42nd Street. Amazing theater! It's at least 4 storeys high! We saw "Live Free or Die Hard" starring Bruce Willis. Completely unbelievable, but such fun!

Speaking of unbelievable . . . after the movie we went to the Ripley's Believe or Not museum. Cool stuff. More great photo ops.

Then it was a trip to the HUGE Virgin Records store. I bought Jim a baseball video game and myself "Blazing Saddles" on Blue Ray.

After a brief stop at the M&M store, we headed back to the train station. We ate our KFC on the train and arrived home about 9:30.

Jim had really outdone himself for Stephanie's birthday. I'll enjoy a piece of cake tomorrow. It's just about midnight now, and I'm ready for bed.

11:42 am edt


Summer 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

Woke up about 4:30am. Tossed and turned for a little while. Gave up and finished "The Dragon." About 6:00 I rolled over and got a couple more hours' sleep.

Got up around 8:00, packed, and was on the road by 9:00. Met Jim for lunch around 12:30 and then went back to his office for an hour or so before following him to the house.

Spent some time holding the purely delightful Elizabeth while vsiting with the family. In the evening, Marissa and I went to see "Pirates of the Caribbean 3."

It's now about 11:40. I'm exhausted, but so glad to be here!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I got up about 10:00 today. Man, I must have been tired! I showered, got dressed, and went out and greeted the family.

I checked my email, updated my blogs, and then went to see the new "Fantastic Four" movie with Chanel and Nathaniel. We had a great time together!

We got home just in time to freshen up to go to the Yankees game. What a blast! Yankee Stadium is grand old ballpark, where every seat is a good one. Six of us went to the game: Jim, Marissa, Chanel, Nathaniel, Ethan nd Me. We ate hot dogs and pretzels and watched the Yankees beat the pants off the Twins 8-0! Yay!

It's almost 12:30, so I'll say goodnight. Thank You, Lord, for another wonderful day!

11:25 am edt

Thursday, July 19, 2007

CD BOOKLET - Page 14

CD Booklet Page 14

Long-time readers of my blog will recognize the background picture here as my favorite photo of my parents. This is how I will always remember them. I view their photos later in life now with disbelief. How could they who were once so mighty in my eyes have fallen so far, so feebly, to the ravages of time? But it happens. It will happen to us all.

The one Hope which cuts through the haze of fear and dread is the Light of Christ, who promises us an everlasting life with Him in the glory of heaven. I look forward to seeing my parents again, to be with them, with our Savior, and to know the joy that far surpasses our earthly experience.

I love you, Mom & Dad!

9:54 pm edt


Summer 2007

Saturday, June 30

The day started out with relative quiet. I got up about 9:00. Stacy and the girls were already up, but the boys climbed the stairs shortly after I emerged from the sun porch.

I spent a few hours working on the data disk to give Julie at the studio. She'll have all the pages for the booklet, complete with the raw elements and thorough instructions.

After finishing that, I got dressed and played some badminton with the kids. They are a handful indeed, but I shall miss them terribly.

After a light lunch, I tackled the tray liner for the CD, creating both the inside and outside from the same image of me conducting the strings in the studio. I think it will look really cool.

By the time this was done, it was about time for Rich and Vita to arrive for the cookout. Monica showed-up a little later. We ate grilled chicken and corn-on-the-cob. Yum! After more badminton, we sat around the fire making smores.

Then it was time for Trivial Pursuit - '90s Edition. We all had a great time. It's just before Midnight now, and I'm about to turn out the light, grateful to God for such good friends. I dearly love them all.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

9:45 - Sunday School. Weeze taught in her series on Heroes of the Bible on John the Baptist.

11:00 - Church. A celebration of Independence Day. Pastor White spoke on Matthew 22:17 - "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

The choir presented a patriotic multi-media program. The 15 members (5 male, 10 female) performed admirably in front of a stirring full-motion video backdrop. I'm not sure it was church, but it was enjoyed by the 60 or so men, women and children in attendance.

A picnic at the lake ensued, attended by the Leach family, John and Deb Craig, as well as other friends from Clarks Green AOG. Absent were Monica and Stacy's girls, as they had gone to the shore for Shawnie's birthday.

It was a very chilly 1st day of July! I think the high was in the low 70s or even high 60s.

Great converstion followed lunch, and then the boys were sent off to the neighbors, and it was very quiet the rest of the day. I did a little work on my computer while Louise, Carol, Stacy and Chris watched "Sneakers" (Robert Redford). After that, we all had a dish of ice cream and watched "The Passifier" (Vin Diesel).

After more wonderful gabbing, I headed to bed. It's just before 11:00 now, and I'm ready for lights out. All-in-all, it was a terrific day.

This leg of my journey is coming to an end, and I must say it's been one of the best visits to see my loved ones in Northeast Pennsylvania. My own personal angst has cleared considerably, permitting me to enjoy my life more in general, so it stands to reason that such times as these would all the more blessed.

8:53 pm edt


Summer 2007

Thursday, June 28

8:30am - Chiropractic appointment, followed by brief session with Becky. Nice visit. Dr. Dawn is an amazing practitioner!

Stopped at Staples afterward to get a CD label press. Then went to Panera to do email and make CDs and print labels.

1:30 - Had lunch and a great visit with Chuck and Michele. Played all my songs. They liked them.

Talked to Chris Mirarchi on the phone while there. May visit with the Mirarchis tomorrow.

8:15pm - Returned to the lake and had a nice time of visiting with Louise, Carol, and the girls.

Friday, June 29

Louise had surgery today to remove a benign lump from her left breast. All seemed to go well, and she was home in the afternoon.

It got really cold last night and again tonight. Louise provided me some blankets, should I need them.

Went into town again today to check email, blogs, etc. Had lunch at Johnny Rockets after purchasing some birthday cards at G.F.A. Visited a bit with Monica before heading back to the lake.

Cadvin and I played some badminton. We were fairly well-matched. I suggested we team-up tomorrow and beat everybody else. he he ;)

Finally got to do something tonight that I've been wanting to do for seven years. I got to go see Josette. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it couldn't have gone better. We hung out between sets and then had a bite to eat afterwards. She even had me come up for a couple of songs.

I sure am glad I don't have to do that kind of a gig all the time. No wonder she hates music! I found very little pleasure in singing someone else's songs; even songs I like. It's just not the same as singing your own songs.

But it was really good to see her. She's engaged now, and I pray the best for her. I gave her a copy of the CD as it stands, asking her to let me know what she thinks. I hope she listens. I hope she likes it. And I hope we stay in touch. We'll see. At least she gave me her cell #.

Turned the lights off at 1:00am. Tired, but feeling very satisfied.

7:23 pm edt

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


CCM Magazine

This month's CCM Magazine has printed one of my blog posts! AND my name is on the cover! Woo hoo!!

My blog post is printed on page 17.

6:58 pm edt

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Summer 2007

Tuesday, June 26

Went with Monica and the kids to the pool at Nay Aug Park in Scranton. Had a wonderful day. Got lots of great pics. Great conversation with Monica. Unfortunately, her purse was stolen from the van.

Monica came back over after work. I showed her the pics of the day and played her a couple of the finished songs.

Wednesday, June 27

Spent much of the day at Panera Bread, catching up on email, etc. Made appointment for chiropractic appointment and also got info to see Josette. Ran car slightly off the pavement looking for chiropractic office in Dalton. (I wanted to make sure I knew where it was for my appointment the next day.) Had to call a tow-truck. As I waited, I completed "I Can't Give My Heart to You."

Church in the evening. Then Monica stopped over for a little while to watch some Petra videos. After a brief visit, she went home, tired from a long day.

9:02 am edt

Monday, July 9, 2007


Summer 2007

Sunday, June 24

  5:00pm - Departed Canton via I-275 South to I-280 East.  Drove over new suspension bridge just east of I-275.  Really cool!

  6:30pm - Stopped for dinner at rest area along I-80.  Had a Whopper Jr. and Diet Coke.  Feeling really relaxed and happy to be making this trip.

  9:00pm - Checked into the Hampton Inn in Youngstown, Ohio.  Enjoyed a lovely night's stay.  Rested well.

Monday, June 25

10:30am - Departed hotel and continued east on I-80.  Beautiful day.  Text messages from Monica indicate she is really looking forward to my visit.  Don't know what it means, but I'm not trying to read too much into it.

12:30pm - Stopped for lunch at Taco Bell in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  Kidney stone was acting up a bit, so I took a Vicodin.  Had some ideas for "I Can't Give My Heart to You."

  1:00pm - Departed Taco Bell and decided to work on "Ballekarina," which I completed en route to Scranton.

  4:00pm - Arrived at Gifts from Above and visited briefly with Monica.  I like her new hair style.  She's just as pretty as ever.

  5:00pm - Arrived at the lake to a delightfully warm reception by Stacy's kids - Cadvin, Scooter, Paige and Alex.  Played badminton before supper.

Got well-acquainted with the kids throughout the evening.  Such fun!

10:09 pm edt

Sunday, July 8, 2007

CD BOOKLET - Page 13

CD Booklet Page 13

Here's page 13 of my booklet. This is the info for "At Least a Thousand Reasons." We're still working to finish this one. We recorded horns on this - myself included on trombone!

The song is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so I just have a picture of myself in a silly mood. Some of you may recall this photo from MySpace.

5:39 pm edt


I've had this concept bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks. It started as I left for vacation, and I kind-of put it off so I could finish the other ideas I'd had earlier.

"Crownbearer" is a sort-of nickname I've ascribed to myself in various online settings. It stems from the fact that my name - Steven - in Greek Stephanos - means "crown." I'm not the crown, but I bear the responsibility of carrying the crown, bearing it for my King, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

But as the song began to develop, I realized that He bears me far more than I could bear anything for Him. So, in a sense, I am the crown that He bears, but in being carried by Him, there is also a sense in which I live for Him, and in so doing, I not only share in the glory of His crown, I also share in bearing His cross. And that is the Christian life - bearing both the cross and the crown: enjoying the victories He gives, but also suffering the burden of His cross.

Flying in the face of the theology of glory is the reality of the cross. Though we Christians have the promise of glory, we only enjoy a foretaste of it here in this world. The true fulfillment of that promise awaits us in heaven. Until then the cross and the crown are the co-realities of our earthly lives.

by Steven S. Billings
July 8, 2007

Introduction (spoken):

Some preachers will tell you that the Christian life ought to consist of one victory after another, and that if you're experiencing defeat in your life, then there's something wrong with you; that your faith is weak, or maybe you're not even a true believer.

But if suffering defeat is a sign of weak faith, then Jesus Himself was a poor Christian, for though He enjoyed certain victories in His life and ministry on earth, His time here was also marked by pain and suffering.

The real hope for us is not found in trouble-free living, but in living under the cross and the crown, accepting bane and blessing from the hand of God according to His good and gracious will, trusting that in the end He will raise us up in triumph over sin and death, granting to us a share in His ultimate victory to life everlasting.

Verse 1

Since the dawn of time there's been a fight to win the heart and soul of man.
Slithering in Eden was the serpent undermining our God's plan.
"Do not eat from this one tree, for doing so will surely bring you death."
But biting at His heals, the tempter always questions what the Father says.

And so the two paths intertwine, one blessing and one cursing, through our life.
The Savior heals our wounds each time the devil cuts us with his jagged knife.
If we but turn in faith to Him, He'll carry us through all the ups and downs.
And when we fall, He lifts us up and sets our feet upon the solid ground.


Bearing the crown, bearing the cross,
Sharing the glory, suffering the loss.
Knowing the joy, feeling the pain,
Living the life He died to gain.

Standing temptation, falling to sin,
Being forgiven, battles to win.
The trophy is His, for He laid His life down;
He bore the cross to give us the crown!

Verse 2

The devil soon will whisper in your ear to go ahead and take the fall.
"Take a bite of that forbidden fruit, for you deserve it, after all."
And Jesus weeps again to see the damage and the hurt it causes you.
How quickly He would take you in His arms if you would only want Him to.

For each defeat you suffer, He's prepared for you another victory:
A jewel for the crown He's made for you to wear throughout eternity.
As your very life is but a gift from God, who gives it full and free,
This crown He sets upon your head, you'll gladly lay before His nail-scarred feet.



2:49 pm edt

Saturday, July 7, 2007

CD BOOKLET - Pages 11 & 12

CD Booklet Page 11

CD Booklet
                                    Page 12

Pages 11 and 12 contain the info for my song "Big Little Man." The pictures shown are those of the big little men for whom I wrote the song - my nephew Nathaniel and my secretary's youngest son Jedidiah. Nothing special here in terms of graphics. Just a little fading and an added vignette.

As of this writing, "Big Little Man" is the latest song completed, and may be heard on any of the sites containing my songs. See the Music & Me page for more info.

5:07 pm edt


I was walking through Fairlane Mall one day, in a friendly mood, and I was looking at people as they walked by, just hoping to say "hello" to someone, or at least flash them a winning smile. I must have walked around for an hour, and no one ever looked me in the eye. I thought: "What am I? Invisible?" That sparked the idea for this song.

by Steven S. Billings
July 4, 2007

Verse 1

Standin' alone in a crowded room,
Tryin' to catch somebody's eye.
Search each face for some little trace
That sees that I'm alive.
Doncha know that . . .

We all need to have somebody
Who knows we live and breathe (oh!).
So far, for me, it ain't meant to be;
And I truly do believe.
I believe that . . .

Chorus 1

I must be invisible, imperceptible, dismiss-able;
I must be from head-to-toe see-through.
I am undetectable, neglect-able, reject-able;
I must be invisible to you.

Verse 2

Many a day, I've walked my way
Lonely and confused.
Feelin' as though my life don't matter;
Feelin' used-up and abused.
Listen to me now . . .

We all need to know somebody
Thinks of us day and night (yeah).
So far, for me, it ain't meant to be;
But it's gonna be alright.
Let me tell you that . . .



There is One who walks beside me;
There is One who sees me through.
There ain't nothin' that can betide me, Lord, that can't be known by You.
And so it's true that . . .

Chorus 2

I am not invisible, imperceptible, dismiss-able;
I can't be from head-to-toe see-through.
To this world I'm neglect-able, undetectable, reject-able;
But I am not invisible to You (no!).

10:08 am edt

Friday, July 6, 2007


At Madame Tussaud's

My niece Marissa and I went into Manhattan yesterday and had a lot of fun. One of the first things we did was to go to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Above you see me posing with ol' "Satchmo" himself - Louis Armstrong. These wax figures were all amazing, and you are able to get up close and personal. In fact, some of the figures need to have articles of clothing replaced in certain "strategic" areas, due to excessive "wear." Elle McPherson, for instance, often has to have her blouse replaced! Yikes!

Also on the schedule for the day: the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, the multi-storied Virgin Records store, and M&M's World. Woo hoo!

12:19 pm edt

CD BOOKLET - Page 10

CD Booklet Page 10

The background for this page is a wedding scene - kind of like the opening verse of the song. Get it? :) It's a bridal couple lighting a unity candle. Again, a lot of Photoshop fun.

Though this song is "complete," we may be adjusting it a bit yet, so look for a new mix to appear on of these days.

11:29 am edt

WRITING - Part 3

I started working on this song a number of months ago. I was listening to some Celtic music and it really put me in a mood. I'm not sure why. But I started getting this rhythm in my head and suddenly I found myself thinking about dragons, and I thought: "I've got one of those."

When I was 3 or 4 years old, I followed my older brother over to a neighbor's house. They had an overly friendly English Bulldog, who playfully jumped up and knocked this little toddler onto his back. I distinctly remember laying there in the dirt looking up into those floppy jowls. The next thing I knew, his chain was wrapped around my head. My mother later told me it took days for the impression of that chain to fade away. I think it took a lot longer. At least for the emotional impression to fade.

It's tough when you're 3 years old to fear for your life. That kinda sticks with you. To this day I have an innate fear of dogs, which I have learned to control. But fear in general has been an influential factor in my life for as long as I can remember.

Thank God, it no longer controls me. Jesus Christ, the great Dragon Slayer, has given me His peace. Seeing Him sustain me over the past several years through some of the worst times of my life, I have finally come to trust that He is indeed watching over me and protecting me.

The dragon's not dead, but he's kept under guard by the sword of my Savior. Thanks be to God!

by Steven S. Billings
July 2, 2007

Chorus 1

This monster I live with is ugly and mean;
The nastiest dragon that you've ever seen.
He scratches and bites and he howls and he screams.
He's with me all day and at night in my dreams.

Verse 1

I met him one day when I was just a boy.
A neighborhood dog treated me like a toy.
He meant not to harm me, but wound me he did.
The scars from his chains I successfully hid.


Verse 2

The dragon came home with me e'er since that day.
Despite how I plead, he just won't go away.
The day that I met him is one I regret.
He says: "I run your life now; don't ever forget!"

Verse 3

But I have a Savior who quite disagrees.
He wields a broad Sword that sets all captives free.
His Word slashes through all my fear and my dread,
Killing the dragon by crushing his head!

Chorus 2

This monster I live with is ugly and mean;
The nastiest dragon that you've ever seen.
Though he's always with, he's never alone;
The great Dragon Slayer's made my heart His home.
10:25 am edt

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Yankee Stadium

The Family

If you'll peruse my posts from a year ago, you'll see that whilst in New York with my family, I took in a ball game. Shea Stadium last year, where the Mets defeated the visiting Pirates. Fast forward to this year, where last evening my beloved clan and I visited Yankee Stadium to witness the hometown boys whoop the Twins 8-0.

Last year's pic, however, was courtesy of the Mets home page. This year's shots came from my own personal Canon. Shot number one is the view from our seats (3 rows from the top!) and the second is in order: Marissa, Chanel, Jim, Ethan and Nathaniel. Love you guys!

7:12 pm edt


CD Booklet Page 9

Page 9 of my CD has the info for "Massimo Is Waiting." The song was written originally as part of a poem that included most of "The Spirit in You."

If you're familiar with the movie "The Wedding Planner," you may recall the character of Massimo. He was the one who was madly in love with J-Lo's character. She thought he was a nice guy, and was even going to marry him at one point, but realized he wasn't the true desire of her heart.

It's tough being Massimo. But I also know it's no fun being faced with settling for someone just to keep from being alone. Does love ever stop hurting?

The pic on this page has a faint tear under my right eye. It was created using a teardrop tattoo I found in a pic on the web. I Photoshopped the tear out of that pic, color-matched it to my complexion, and inserted it on my cheek. I love Photoshop! :)

12:11 pm edt


Here's the second song I finished on this vacation. Written for no one in particular, it's fairly self-explanatory, and really more about me than anyone else. I'd really like to be in a relationship, but I'm just not ready. There've been a number of possibilities, but I find I just can't find the resonance to follow through. More healing yet to come, no doubt. For now, I leave it in God's hands.

by Steven S. Billings
June 27, 2007

Verse 1

You're very kind to me,
With words that lift my spirits graciously.
Your friendly smile has been worthwhile
Because you share it fast and free.

I love the way you quiver
When delivering the secrets of your heart.
The air is so inviting,
It makes sharing all of mine the easy part.

Now, I'm the one who's trembling;
I don't want to use the words I have to say.
'Cause I don't want to hurt you, heaven knows;
I'd rather take your pain away.


I always used to be the one to give my heart before the others do.
I see it your eyes that you are wishing things could be the same with you.
But it's a mystery as much to me, the reason why it should be true.
And though I'd really like to, girl, it seems that I can't give my heart to you.

Verse 2

I've heard the line so many times
I nearly choke upon their acid taste.
"I like you as a friend, but that is all,"
and I think: "What a waste!"

But now I understand that they were
telling me the truth, though painfully.
Though I refused to see it at the time,
it was the best for me.

How odd to finally be the one to
turn away a love that could be mine.
And now I see rejection doesn't ever
really have a winning side.



Sometimes we have to recognize the
blessing of an answer we don't want.
But disappointment fades when we
begin to see God's hand at work for us.

10:23 am edt

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Here's the first song I completed on this vacation. It's a bit bittersweet, but I think it describes well my feelings about the relationship. We're not together, but we've both found our place in the world, relationship-wise. She's married to a very good man, and I'm on my own. It's where we both want to be. We're both home.

by Steven S. Billings
June 23, 2007

Chorus 1

Ballekarina, girl by the bay.
Ballekarina, come dance and play.
Don't you know that California feels like a million miles away.
I couldn't see you soon enough if I got there today.
Ballekarina, come home to stay.

Verse 1

I've seen your face in my dreams a thousand times.
I've heard your voice echoing through my mind.
I've felt my heart reaching out for you.
But girl, I'm wondering if you're too good to be true.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm your man.
No, I'm just trying to understand, the best that I can.

Chorus 2

Ballekarina, girl by the bay.
Ballekarina, come dance and play.
Don't you know that California feels like a million miles away.
I couldn't see you soon enough if I got there today.
Ballekarina, let come what may.

Verse 2

You know I can't deny my heart beats strong for you.
Without a doubt, the feelings I have run deep and true.
But feelings have fooled me before and cost me dear.
Contemplating this, I find I'm frozen up with fear.
Though there are times I hate to be alone,
I'm not ready for a leap into the great unknown.
God help me, I'm home!

Chorus 3

Ballekarina, girl by the bay.
Ballekarina, come dance and play.
Don't you know that California feels like a million miles away.
I couldn't see you soon enough if I got there today.
Ballekarina, I'm home to stay.


Heaven helped you find a Godly man.
I know he loves you more than this one can.
Someday God will open up my heart again.
But as for you, my friend . . .

Chorus 4

Ballekarina, girl by the bay.
Ballekarina, come dance and play.
Don't you know that California feels like a million miles away.
I couldn't see you soon enough if I got there today.
Ballekarina, you're home to stay.
I'm home to stay.
We're home to stay.
12:04 pm edt

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For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21)

Be sure to get in touch so I know you're out there!