MY THOUGHTS THURSDAY: The Dance Teacher/Barista Dynamic

The Dance Teacher/Barista Dynamic
1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 
The Lord meets us where we are. He understands our situations. He understands the job of a barista and the job of a dance teacher and understands the ways these jobs try to fight for my heart. And He reminds me that the only way to succeed in these endeavours is if the endeavour itself is for Him. 

There is a certain picture that comes, I think, with my job titles, an image set in the world that the devil has created and that doesn’t shine the Lord. That is of a put-together, fit, intelligent girl of competence. 
And I think I used to “try” to live up to this title. In the depths of my disorder, I was in a competitive tap class surrounded by girls with more experience and, in my eyes, talent than I had. 
The thing about the devil is that he doesn’t stop. There is no end or rest in ANYTHING he says. Meanwhile, there is VICTORY and PEACE in EVERYTHING Jesus Christ says.
I am now in a place in which my mindset at work, and in all senses, is to please, praise, and serve the Lord. 

Do I succeed 100% of the time? No.

Does HE succeed 100% of the time? Heck yeah.

He fills me with the want and need to see the children and adults I teach dance to succeed and have fun and learn. He fills me with the energy to smile and engage with the people I serve coffee to. And none of it, not a moment of this work is about ME, and I pray more each day that “he becomes greater and I become less” (John 16 something or other).


The more I pray on the motives behind the disorder I struggle with, the more I understand how misguided and sick it is, and the more drawn I feel to advocate for whole foods in abundance to SUSTAIN one’s temple of the Holy Spirit out of respect and awe for Him, and necessity in service. 

That being said, today I wanted to do something fun and share some of my dance teacher secrets.

  1. Spotify. It rocks! There’s a playlist called “Slow Songs” that I use for my ballet classes and one called “Confidence Boost” that I’ve found so great for the adult hip hop class I teach. 
  2. Emphasize Fun. I am constantly emphasizing that it is okay to feel silly when first learning a new move, to question oneself– that the audience will only enjoy a piece if the proper emotion is felt and experienced by the dancer. 
  3. Draw on Experience. I have been both the kid in a dance class with clearly the least talent and the kid nicknamed “speedy” by my instructor (tap), and didn’t like either. I remember not liking any attention in this way, and that helps me to treat every person in the class equally.
  4. Actually Help. I also remember sometimes knowing I was doing something wrong in dance class (ie. not dropping my heels in sautés, not wide enough heels in tap wings, etc.) and wanting the teacher to approach me with advice. I try to offer realistic and relevant advice whenever possible.
  5. Spend Lots of Time on Routines. Technique and stretch are fundamental, but I found I learned the most when actually in choreo, so I dedicate about a third of my classes to routine work.


I’m wishing everyone a blessed weekend. Any exciting plans? I am really excited to announce the official launch this weekend of a company I could not be more excited about, Natural Is Smarter

This site is easy access to your favourite foods– definitely some of mine– with delivery straight to you. I am excited for the opportunity to advocate for these healthy foods, as I’m so passionate about God-intended eating. 

And, for the entire month of October, use my free discount code “CASSIE” to receive a 5% discount on your whole order. Yeah, go check it out, peeps. 

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WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY: Of Good Courage

WIAWToday has been beautiful. 

This morning I posted thison my Instagram. 


And oh how insignificant it is for ME to “feel” this peace that just IS… All the time there… As he is ALL THE TIME great… giving thanks to the Lord, for He is so good!

I also feel better than I have in a while about sharing with you a day of eats.

After studying Matthew this morning, I brewed my morning cup o’ joe and made breakfast: oatmeal with my homemade blueberry syrup and sunflower seed butter and tons of cinnamon. I ate whilst replying to emails and inquiries which have been flooding in lately– so cool!


Maddie, Mary and I were all on the late side this morning and were a bit rushed in getting to class but we arrived at our Bible class in due time. 


After that three hour class, I hopped on the bus to head to work. I arrived early, but not before bumping into Richard, a new Christian Studies student in the first year of the program, who spotted me from his car and offered me a ride. Richard is married with three young boys and a love, immense love of Jesus Christ. It was so cool to run into him and talk to him before work, definitely just a boost and encouragement.

Before my shift I had a light lunch of a ton of celery and cucumber dipped in sunflower seed butter, and an unsweetened soy tea latte. I know this doesn’t qualify as a meal and I genuinely wasn’t trying to restrict but rather was rushed this morning and my more substantial food would need cooking. I’m usually better with pre prepping my meals but I still ate more later!

My shift was great. Fun. I love what I do. I’m learning new things every day. Becoming more confident in the barista title, loving who I work with. 

I headed back home after my shift and was greeted warmly by all my roommates home! I often think in my head that I hope to be home alone for a bit, but am reminded of the blessing of PEOPLE. It also keeps me ACCOUNTABLE– and for dinner before dance class I made sure to energize myself; I made oatmeal with two bananas and cacao and dates, because #carbs. 

And I suppose you could have called this my snack, because after dance with Laura (which was challenging and so much fun), I crammed for two hours on an essay, and am now finishing up this very post eating spelt penne with broccoli for “real dinner.” My body is certainly healing and needing more food. The Lord is speaking to me in many different mediums to confirm this and push me along, and today I responded often. I am praising Him, and ready to rest up for another beautiful day tomorrow. 

Have a blessed night!

“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 CORINTHIANS 5:8

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Overwhelmed, Indeed Called

Friends. The people surrounding me that I have the privilege of calling friends are truly blessings. Both those that have been in my life for a long time and people I’m newly meeting, I am blessed to grow alongside. I spent the majority of my weekend with Kathryn, the girl who’d found my blog, praising and in awe of Christ together in the midst of what without Him would simply seem painful and difficult. HE, ultimately, makes people the blessing that they are. On top of living with women that feel like family, that I turn to. Just witnessing the Spirit working in all my relationships and praying that HIS TRUE Spirit is who is working, and knowing that that will mean peace. 

doesnt she glow?

My 19th Birthday. I love planning other people’s birthdays, but what to do for my own? I’ve mostly been feeling like maybe I don’t want o do anything to celebrate, but have decided to use it as an excuse to bring amazing people together for breakfast (cafes are definitely my fav way to celebrate anything) hopefully a night out. 

Fall. Favourite season by a landslide. Thanksgiving is my fav holiday, and fall clothes are my favourite. As we speak I’m enjoying the comfort of a baggy sweater, messy bun, leggings and massive scarf. Oh, and a bowl of oatmeal with sweet potato because duh


NaturalIsSmarter. Excited for this company’s launch this Friday! You will not want to miss it, and I’m excited to announce that with my discount code YOU can receive 5% off your entire order from them… Saving money on all organic and natural products. When I saw what these guys sold, I literally jumped up and down. To give you a taste, here are just a handful of the products:

  • Boxed Water Is Better
  • Square Organics
  • Justin’s 
  • Wild Friends
  • RX Bar
  • Fiji Purified Water
  • Zico Coconut Water
  • Vita Coco
  • Purely Elizabeth
  • Pip Corn
  • Skinny Pop

ALL are:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Packaged with recyclables

More info is coming, but for now be sure to check out the Instagram page @naturalissmarter and website www.naturalissmarter.com. And check back here for your opportunity to get the discount!


Recovery. He wants me, and He’s pulling me. 

Grace, I’ve heard, is free and full.

Saviour heal me, or I’ll perish. 

Take it, Lord. I don’t want it. 

Bible Study. Thursday Bible Studies have been already so full of Him. We spent this last Thursday in prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit on what He has in store for the ministry and where He is calling us. Praying over the group and that He would guard us from untruths!
Class. I am continuing to love and relish English lit. I pray on each of my readings, I feel His work and revelation in what I study. It is cool, praise God!

Starbucks. I feel like such a blessed person every time I’m at work. My fellow baristas shine such light and I am floored by how many Christians I continue to meet within his company! 

Dance. This year I’m teaching three hip hop classes, a jazz class, and two ballet classes. I’m also taking a technique class at Laurier, which is already light and relaxing but improving my flexibility. 

Family. I am so blessed to have the loving people in my life that I do and I want never to take them for granted. My sisters Krystal and Courtney continue to love me so well; my parents pour unconditional love, and in certain ways that is all that matters.

Decorating. It’s so rare that I am at home, because I’m constantly busy and out! But Maddie with our consideration kindly went out and bought some decor for our home. Every time I come into the house, I feel. So. Blessed.

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Everything Else Will Fade Away

This weekend has been surreal. Surreal in that my eyes have been fixed upon my Saviour so intently, more intently than ever, His doing and His bringing me to and such a mark of His goodness… marvelling at how HE WANTS US… He goes to great lengths to GET US… loving and caring for us beyond our ability to comprehend… always constructing and at work, even when we don’t see it. And I am more and more in a place of spiritual maturity in which when something glorifies Him, I am just in joy no matter what. 

And so approaching this past weekend of my life, in which friends have been brought together for His namesake. 

A few months ago a baristo covered a shift at my work. His name was Kevin, and in the short time He worked Christ shone in Him so vibrantly and we had such an incredible glorifying conversation. Soon after, his friend from my Starbucks, Jess, wanted to have coffee with me. There was instant trust between us that was a foundation of the Holy Spirit and we shared testimonies and brought honour to Christ through them. 

A few weekends ago, Maddie and I went to a youth event at Creekside Church where I “bumped into” Jess and Kevin, and remembered that they’d known each other. I was soon introduced to Kevin’s sister, Kathryn, and since meeting them, my friendships with all three of them have brought more glory and honour to Christ than I can explain here. Always and at every moment in awe of the way He works. 

For the past month or so I have felt the specific call to share my testimony somewhere, out loud before the Lord and others and this youth event talked about how they would be filming people’s testimonies in glory to the Lord and living for Him is the only way to truly be awake and alive. This Truth so captures what Jesus has carried me through for His sake and continues to and I this past week I committed to sharing my testimony before the Lord on October 23 at Creekside. I pray that the Lord is all who is seen and glorified and gives me the words.

In all that I’ve been pressing into and in wonderment of lately I acknowledge the joy that the Lord alone brings. What isn’t of the Lord brings destruction, period. Such as judgement of others; self-fulfilling prophecies; hatred; self-indulgence. And He tells us that when we are in Christ, even our enemies will be at peace and pleased and feel loved and welcomed. Because that is who our Saviour is.

I pray that I expel His loving and welcoming spirit in all that I do. At work; in the Bible study at our house (which is full of His Spirit, man oh man); in class; everywhere. Amen.

And I pray for so many others as they are on my heart. People I do and don’t know. 

Today at work a woman who had a special place in my heart for many years of my life came in for a latte. I knew her as Mrs. Burns, and I was her office helper at school in sixth grade. When I said to her, after taking her order of a no-foam extra hot vanilla latte, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m Cassie and I was your office helper like 8 years ago,” she said, “Cassie. Of course I remember you.” She looked at the woman she was with and both women glowed.

It was clear that I’d had some sort of impact on her, similar to what she had in me. Our conversation was so meaningful and had me reflecting on this past decade, and all that the Lord has done. 

All of my days, I’ll sing your praise Lord. Your love endures from age to age. 

one of my greatest blessings; all of our conversations seeking Truth

That as He has me growing, even though my flesh fails He doesn’t and He allows for “more of Him, and less of me.”

This is exactly why I’m heading back to therapy, taking a scary leap of faith. Trusting and welcoming whatever the Spirit needs.

More exciting things to come on the blog soon too. Tonight, 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

    for his name’s sake,

and always. 

THOUGHTS THURSDAY: Blueberry Syrup Recipe

Happy Thursday!


Thursdays are by far my busiest day this semester. I have classes from 10-1 and then again from 2:30-4:30, and from there have to catch a 5:15 bus to teach dance in time for 6 until 8, bus home for Bible study 9-11. Finding some breathing space now with Laura at a Starbucks a little ways from campus, and time to blog. My little sprain that probably wouldn’t even classify as a sprain but still has my ankle swollen is healed enough that I’m not limping and so I’m going to teach my hip hop classes tonight. And this morning I was intentional about making time to pray, study the Word, and have about an hour in the kitchen with worship music, blessed morning sunlight, and a messy bun, creating.

And I concocted something different for my usual morning oatmeal.


Cooked Oats with Blueberry Syrup
Ingredients:

1 cup dry oats

1 3/4 cup water

1 cup frozen blueberries

2 T lemon juice

2 T unsweetened almond milk

2 tsp stevia

1 tsp salt

1 T peanut butter

1 T water

1 tsp cinnamon

1. In a saucepan, combine oats and water and bring to a boil with a pinch of salt. Boil and stir one minute; reduce heat. Let simmer until all liquid is absorbed. 

2. In another saucepan, combine blueberries, almond milk, lemon juice, stevia, and salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, water, and cinnamon with more stevia, if desired. Microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir well to combine. 

4. Pour cinnamon peanut butter over the hot oats; add blueberry syrup on top. Mix well to combine flavours and taste for extra salt or other flavours (ginger, more cinnamon, lemon zest… possibilities are endless)!

WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY: A Lifted Weight

HEEEEEEEYYYYYYY


Today was exceptional in ways beyond my capacity or call to blog about, really, at least that is how I feel for now– however, the Holy Spirit has performed miracles in my life today, and where a brain once convoluted with calorie counting, lack of awareness, and constant distraction from not only Christ but people and situations was, today, a soul and spirit renewed, that laughed and made jokes, that was stopped in every attempt to focus on food during a conversation, that loved, that ate in public, that took medicine she had the day before been in fear of. 

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? MARK 2:9

I don’t like to admit it, but it has been a long time since I have been fully awake.

And today, I can with full confidence in Christ say that no, I didn’t not struggle with eating and this is still something I need to continually give over, but I was alert in every conversation, in hanging with my friend Laura I laughed genuinely, loudly, my super obnoxious laugh, in hanging with my sister I was engaged in our time the entire four hours where I have struggled since the presence of my eating disorder to pay attention to much of anything for more than five minutes.

Those who have known you a while would tell you I used to be so attentive to detail. And while I’ve always been driven, I once had much more drive.

Today, I felt a weight that is not of me nor my Saviour gone. A weight I didn’t even know was there, or had gotten used to.

A lot of my loved ones have demonstrated beautiful patience with me in this zombie bit of my life. 

But succintly, I am excited for LIFE.

This morning, anyway, I woke early to do some readings and homework and study. It was really early, and so I just had some tea and berries with sunflower seed butter for breakfast. 

I had my class called “The Bible” this morning, in which I took pages and pages of notes and learned so much; my prof is fantastic. The three hour lecture flew by and I WANTED FOOOOOD.

I headed home and joked around with Madds in the kitchen while making brunch, exactly what I felt like; a giant serving of oats with sunflower seed butter alongside coffee, of course. I was snacking on celery and cucumber, too.

My sister Krystal came over in the early afternoon, and we had planned to study together– but didn’t study at all. We just had SOO much to talk about, and it felt so good to be near her and catch up with her– she is a blessing.


Krystal ended up staying through dinnertime, and I noticed without much thought that I was hungry! I had a chicken breast and some carrots amid a bit of fear, knowing it was a small dinner and to be on guard. 

All throughout the day I took the natural medicine my naturopath had prescribed; to help with my appetite, digestion, and deficiencies. One of the most dangerous things about an eating disorder is the unavoidable zinc deficiency, which plays a huge role in regulating appetite and taste. The less food, the less zinc, the less cravings, the less enjoyment– on top of a mindset that already praises little eating. When I was prescribed these supplements, I was last night immediately filled with, “I’m not takin these, nothing to do with them, they’re going in the garbage.”

By God I took them today, with little anxiety and full confidence.

After I ate, Laura came over and we hung out before our Technique and Stretch class, which was awesome. The teacher is so chill and genuine, and it felt SOOOO GOOOOOD to be back in dance, and not just teaching it. Feeling a little less energetic, too, was an extra push to knowing and affirming that I need more food.

Two hours of cramming followed, and I’m just now sitting down to blog. 

I am healing and learning that I want LIFE, and my personality fully here. I’m praising my Lord and noting so many genuine smiles and laughs today. Foreign in the best way.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Currently…

Food. I am eating a far greater variety of foods than I have been for some time, including more of what I like. Different types of nuts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apples, pasta, beef… 


He wants us. I don’t mean to put certain Christian Truths in a “currently” post as if some are only true at certain times because that would be quite dangerous and untrue. Moreso this is so on my heart and do something I feel the Spirit needing to get at me. HE is the One who gets our honour and praise and glory because He wants us so much, and will do whatever it to takes to grab hold of us and love us… and that is something that only He can do, and it is amazing. Today a man in one of my Christian Studies classes pulled me aside and asked about my tattoo. It is of eating disorder recovery. I told him briefly, and he wanted to know more. We sat down and eventually were in tears of awe telling each other of how the answer to both our recoveries, though that doesn’t mean struggles cease but LIFE is had nonetheless and ALWAYS, was relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Outfit. I’m wearing my favourite ripped jeans and a baggy sweater and Blue Jays baseball hat and cross necklace and it just struck me that I look like a female Justin Bieber. Oops.

Study. Has been in Ezekiel, about how “we are not our parents,” our “bloodline” should be focused on the Kingdom.

Cafe. I went to my favourite Cafe thus far in uptown Waterloo on the weekend with my momma and sister called Seven Shores, which had 3/5 coffee and 4/5 oatmeal. (I’m really picky about coffee and oatmeal so this was good)


Missing. Daniella and I are both habitually busy and also happen to be circumstantially busy in our current places in life and so while I should see her every day that doesn’t happen and I miss her all the time. 


Random Finding. Today I was walking through the seminary and noticed a new black and white photo. This is of my great aunt, my mom’s mom’s sister. So random!


Bible Study. Starting this Thursday, the others in my year in Christian Studies and I are hosting a Bible study at our house. I am feeling the call and need to go into this very prayerfully and in reverence to the Spirit.

New Friends. So many blessings! Just as I met with Jacqueline last night and we planned a weekend to go see Josee, Kathryn, a barista at another Starbucks who I’ve talked with a few times but caught up with at Creekside Church, talked to me about hanging out, and I am again feeling just so blessed in being surrounded by such beautiful people. Including always, my best friend who makes me laugh and challenges me and loves me even from 2108 km away, Johnny.

Dance. I start a new season of both dance classes at Laurier and teaching dance next week, once my ankle fully heals, and I have never felt more excited or driven.