2

There is something significant to my life when it comes to the number 2. For starters, it was my basketball number in elementary school and respectively, 22 in high school. It’s also my Enneagram number thanks to John Crist. [You’ll appreciate that Jaclyn😂]. 

I got married on August 2, 1997. And guess how many years that’s been to the day...you guessed it…22!

So far, this has turned out to be a post all about the number 2. [Kinda feeling like a puppet on Sesame Street. Ha!] But really for me, it’s about looking over these last 22 years, remembering the good and the bad, the happy and sad. Reflecting on the choices I [we] made and the positive and negative consequences thereafter. Goodness how marriage can be so hard at times.

Like really, really hard!

But on the flip side, it is so rewarding! And through the thick and the thin, somehow, someway, we made it work. Can I tell you why I think it has worked so far? 

It’s probably easier for me to start out by saying what I know in my heart doesn’t make a marriage work. It’s not because of the new car or SUV’s we’ve owned over the years, or the vacations down south [even though, I totally believe in “getting away” whether it’s 22 minutes or 22 hours.😉 ] It’s not because of the new job “promotion” in OKC or even the new home we moved into. [I can laugh at this today only because in a matter of 4 months of living in that new home, we found out quickly we so made the wrong move and ended up right back where we started…in our mobile home.] It’s not even the house on the prairie with the beautiful sunsets, nor the far-fetched idea that we somehow seem to “have it all”. Oh, how that is the farthest from the truth. 

I wish I could say it was our children. Those three shenanigans have made life so enjoyable! And as much as I want to say they have been the glue holding us together, I also realize to some that is their reality. That doesn’t make me right and them wrong. This is my reality just as much as that is there’s. Children are a beautiful gift! In my most deepest darkest moments where I was so broken and unreachable to anyone, I pulled those babies close to me and the feeling of lostness slowly drifted from me and offered a moment of peace. That was an act of kindness from the Lord.

I love my children! Without a doubt! Absolutely love them! But I did not marry my children. Can you relate? Am I making any sense?

And because of God’s kindness in those moments of brokenness, He helped me understand no matter what we do on this earth, at the end of the day, He still loves us. No. matter. what.

He loves us with a love that is incomprehensible. 

Do you hear me on that? We cannot fathom His love for us on this side of glory. We just can’t!

So, Cassie, this is great and all, but where are you going with this?

I’m so glad you asked, because I get a little sidetracked at times. Basically, in my 42 year old life, married to Stan, knowing what we’ve been through, here are the components of what has made our marriage work. It boils down to this: 

1.) loving, and 

2.) choosing to love.

The first one is loving in a “feel good” way. It is the easiest way to love. It makes me feel good as well as the person I’m loving. 

And then there’s the “choice to love”. It doesn’t feel as good and at times not at all. It’s stepping out of oneself and into another’s, and it can feel so weird. So foreign.

Unrecognizable even.

I usually feel so indifferent about this kind of love because it’s not how I usually feel loved. Rather, it’s how Stan feels loved. And I really suck at it at times. Like so bad.

Even now, years later [22 to be exact], I love Stan and what we have created together. He makes me laugh so hard. And I hear he’s a hoot to work with. Ask any of his coworkers.

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He is also a beautiful man God created in His image. A man that cooks awesome meals for us. A man that asks me, “What was the hardest part of your day?, or What can I do to help with the house?, or Would you like me to get you a bath started?” Yes! He says those things. He doesn’t have to do that, but he is a reader and he finds some of the best articles on marriage and relationships. And he ACTS UPON THEM!

Loving and choosing to love are THE components that when meshed together, create something really sacred in a marriage. 

And if this isn’t crazy enough, I don’t know what is! I am one day behind on my chronological reading of the Bible in one year followed up with listening to The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble. Guess how many books of the Bible I have read so far this year?

22!!!!!!

Still learning. Still growing.

Cassie

Rise Up

It's during the oddest times when a flood of words come to mind that causes me to quickly grab a pen and jot them down before I lose them and they're gone forever. I know better than to let this happen again. However, instead of my handy journal, I grabbed a church bulletin next to my Bible.

I fail to remember what triggered the following passage. It'd been a few months ago. I do remember a rush of words forming together and none of it making sense at the time. After a few minutes my hand scribbling across the front cover stopped moving and I blinked. It was toward the end of Sunday School class. I placed the bulletin inside my Bible and made my way to big church. [Yes, I should have been more attentive in SS.😬]

Here I am a few months later, sharing them to you. I'm remembering them as the New Year approaches. I know I will need them, well, for Life. It is going to stretch me more than I know. I'm absolutely sure of it! I pray your year has been great and that the remainder of the year to be greater! And if you’re feeling knocked on your butt, it's time that you Rise Up...

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Rise Up In Me Jesus

Rise Up In Me Jesus in my time of despair that my soul still seeks to be THANKFUL.

Rise Up In Me Jesus. Bring me back to you when I can't make sense in the mix of the muddle.

Rise Up In Me Jesus that I not weary nor worry what others think of my actions when it doesn't follow the "norm." Let me stay committed to You, your Word, and follow your Rules of Life that keep me grounded in your TRUTH.

Rise Up In Me Jesus to keep me silent when my fleshiness wants to blurt out. May my words speak to help and not harm.

Rise Up In Me today Jesus and help me to make right my wrongs. Yes, I know I will feel like a fool in the moment, so I ask you to cover me with your GRACE.

Rise Up In Me Jesus to be brave to stand up for what is just and right, not what is fair.

Rise Up In Me Jesus that I not place my self worth in others nor the things of this world.

Rise Up In Me Jesus that I fight for the underdog when others will not.

Rise Up In Me Jesus to know You long to know me & use me for your ways. May I put aside my selfish desires.

Rise Up In Me Jesus when I want to "fix it." Reveal to me when to take action and when to be still.

Rise Up In Me Jesus when things don't go my way. Change me.

Rise Up In Me Jesus when I look at a world I do not understand. Urge me to discern what is truth and cast my offerings as such.

Rise Up In Me Jesus that others see it is YOU that makes the room light up. That they fall in love as much as my heart has fallen for You.

Rise Up In Me Jesus that my feet stand firm against the enemy and my body a shield to his wicked schemes.

Rise Up In Me Jesus to fully Love and live in Truth.

For those that cross paths with me today, may I stand squarely; captivated by their words, my arms for comfort, and words to speak nothing but your Love.

Still learning. Still growing.

Cassie

EEGs and Ellen D

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So the last month has been, eh, maybe a little concerning. Met with a new neurologist [love her] and after a complete 21 year history rundown I’ve spent dealing [and most days just coping] with migraines, she ordered a few tests to be run.

One cleared me of any tumors, cysts, or strokes. 🙌🏼

The other. That’s another story. “It’s not good. But it’s not bad,” she says and proceeds to go into detail. I’ll be trying a daily preventative. I’m not jazzed about it, but I need to see what this can do. 

Today I am thankful for doctors that care. That are knowledgeable and want the best for their patients. I am thankful for family and friends who’ve been praying for answers and a healthy recovery. ❤️ And thankful to my girls for traveling 2 states alongside me the last two days on this journey to finding answers. Today, I am simply thankful. 

This post has nothing to do with Ellen D. Yes, that Ellen. Just want to give a shout out and for each of us to pay it forward today and everyday.

Still learning. Still growing.  

Cassie

The No Talk Clause: Advice I Promised I’d Give My Older Self

It's a rainy April Friday. I love rainy days, but they don't really like me. However, the storms aren't up to playing with my head this time around, and I'm okay with that. It's given me time to think while I catch up on laundry, dirty dishes, and this thing I need to share with my friends and fellow parents. It's called: The No Talk CIause.

I was a pretty good teenager back in the day. Some of my friends might even say I was a goody-two-shoes, but I would have to say to that, "Do you remember who my Daddy is?" I feared my father, but I respected him more. Him and my Momma. I was raised up right; to love one another, to be kind to one another, and to respect one another, especially my elders. It worked well for me. Made sense to me. I abided by the rules...or else. And I wasn't much on finding out what "or else" meant. Except that one night when my timing was a little off, and I arrived home slightly later than expected. I was really good at learning from my mistakes. Needless to say, I never did that again.

When I became a Momma it was by instinct that I would raise my children to love, be kind, and respect others. Early on, Stan and I worked together as a team to enforce and reinforce these expectations for our kids. We learned through trial and error, how important it is to have positive consequences, and not just consequences for negative behavior. We learned the importance of knowing your kid's love language and honing in on what filled his or her love tank. [I highly recommend you get the book!]

When our kids were still below our waistline, and not the taller versions of pre-teen and teens they are today, this idea came to mind. As I was watching them play, I began picturing them as teenagers and what might raising them at that age would look like. I made eye contact with Stan and with a heavy breath said, "They won't stay like this forever. And tell me what you think about this."

I proceeded to say: "When our kids are old enough to drive and go and do the things with their friends, I think we need to have something in place for if they ever find themselves in a bind. Hypothetically, if [for whatever reason] any of our kids find themselves in a situation they need to get out of, then they should be able to call us [their parents] and say, 'This is a No Questions Asked situation. This is my location, and I need you to come get me.' And, we would do just that: pick them up, get them home to their safe and familiar surroundings, make sure they're ok, and let them rest.

But...

as soon as the morning breaks and the coffee is poured, we shall begin “The Conversation.” By waiting to have “The Conversation,” this allows for emotions to subside even moreso, because we know better than to give them a voice. Why? Because emotions can't be trusted! They are either too high or too low especially in a situation as such. Therefore, it's better to rest on it for a bit and then chat about the events from the night before. We're not saying we won't talk about what happened, we are saying let's give our kids a 'lifeline' to use when they see no other way out of a sticky situation. Let's get them home and rested in order to discuss what happened and what, if any, negative consequences need to be enforced. Let's give us [all] time to stop and think and be choosy with our words. So, what do you think Stan?"

He liked it. Actually, he liked it a lot! We fussed and discussed some more about it and called it the "No Talk Clause". It's simply just a section from our "parenting rule book," a provision set in place and set aside to be used as needed. Of course, our hope as parents is that our kids never find themselves in a situation gone bad, but we were teenagers too once upon a time. We get it. Life happens. It doesn't necessarily mean that we were the ones that created the situation, but somehow, someway, we became apart of it and well, now what do I do? This is why the No Talk Clause was created and what it's purposed for.

Stan and I have shared this with a few of our friends and we wanted to share it with you. The parent who needs a No Talk Clause established in their home for your purposes. Since our talk so many years ago, we decided that this could be established earlier, that they didn't necessarily have to be teenagers in order to use it. And, there is no limit on how many times you use it. 

As of today, the No Talk Clause hasn't been "needed", yet, but we have several more years of parenting ahead of us. What has been great in sharing this with our kids is learning about ways they think they might need to use it. That has been very enlightening and the reason we decided to tell them about it early on.

I hope this helps you, parents! We're all trying to do our best at this thing called Life and especially when it comes to Parenting. Let's help build one another up and share our best insights!

Now time for another cup of coffee and At Home in Mitford.

Still learning. Still growing. 

Cassie

To the Dreamers...

When I was a little girl, I remember taking walks in the woods around my parents land and dream about the university I would some day attend, the kind of man I would marry, the momma I would become, the home I would live in...I was young and I was a DREAMER!

Indeed, I enrolled in the university my heart longed to attend, OBU. I married the man of my dreams, I became, and still am becoming, the momma I want to be for my kids, and am blessed abundantly with a beautiful home nestled between the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. Yet, somewhere in the middle of it all, I stopped dreaming.

I let life consume my everyday thoughts. I let other things become more important than myself and even my marriage at one point. Life wasn't horrible, well maybe a few places here and there, but for the most part, it was ok. I learned I'm not one to live with the "just ok" mentality. I lost that "dreamer" in me I once was.

Until...

One day a friend of mine introduced me to something called a Dream Board! She asked me what I dreamed about, and honestly, I could not answer her question. Little did she know the dreamer I once was, and she suggested I start dreaming of things I'd like to do. Oh my good gracious! The hair on my neck stood up, I got the goosies on my arms and something snapped in me.


Visions/Dreams written down - January 2013

I couldn't grab the magazines fast enough and crop pictures of places I'd like to visit, debt I wanted to get rid of, and mission trips I desired to serve on! I sat in the family room with my husband and close friend and together we wrote down our dreams...one of mine was and I quote, "To have a literacy center in a foreign country! Why not all 7 continents? Well, it may not work out so well in Antarctica." I laughed about it, but there was a seriousness to it. I'll never forget that night!

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Within the first year of what I referred to now as my "Vision Board", my husband and I paid off $20,000+ in unnecessary debt, we sunbathed on the beaches of Florida for 3 years straight, and journeyed to Guatemala for our first mission trip.

Guatemala - July 2014

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So many great things came from that trip. New friends. Another trip to Guatemala. A fair trade business established. And now another mission trip in the books. This time across the world! I was given an opportunity to work with teachers and students in an English center half-way across the world, Kyrgyzstan! All I can do is look up at the heavens and know, "GOD!" He is in complete control of it all.

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Dubai - 2015

One dream I've never written down nor placed a picture of on my vision board was the chance to visit the beautiful city of Dubai. I'd watched documentaries of it, yet never thought in a million years I would ever see it with my own eyes. That mission trip made a pitstop to the immaculate city where I'd actually walk the sandy beaches of Dubai! The desire had always been in my heart, but I never envisioned it for myself.

Yes, I took this picture. ;)

Yes, I took this picture. ;)

To the dreamers I say this, Keep Dreaming! Do not stop pursuing the passions of your soul! Even when you fail or things don't turn out the way you imagined or planned, you CAN NOT let the enemy defeat you in this. For it is the very things, your failures and shortcomings, that are the stepping stones, the foundations of your dreams.

I will be used!

God-willing, I will not only touch the lives of hundreds or thousands, but of millions, dare I say billions.

I'm a dreamer, why not!

Still learning. Still growing.