Daily: Do You Choose Quality our Quantity?

This question sums up my most recent conviction.

Daily, we are faced with lies. Ads telling us we need to focus on anti-aging when the truth is that we all age.

Or that implementing x could add 5 years to your lifespan.

That “just getting through the day” via shortcuts in order to get home earlier in order to veg and then sleep and then get up and work again is worth sacrificing “little moments” with people.

That a certain diet will fix all your problems.

Plain and simply, none of it is true.

Maybe, if we saw a fickle life on this earth as all there is, these things might make sense. But even then, even if one doesn’t believe in the Lord, we all know the quantity of a few more years spent focusing on the goal of survival is not much to boast about.

This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

If we delve into Scripture and embrace God’s Truth, we begin to recognize the idols and false hopes in our lives. The soul sucking truths of the world, and the Truth we were created for: the grace and cause of a God whose love is unfathomable, who goes before us as Leader and Ruler, and who came to save us from sin.

And I don’t know about you, but I recognize more every day my need for that grace.

I will never understand the price of the Son of God’s life for my cruddiness, but I vow to live each day for Him. I know that my life is best lived not in accordance with seeking more (lifespan, clothing, money, affection, health), but in accordance with seeking His will for my step by step. Which looks like joy. It looks like miracles. It looks like Jesus.

And He promises that, if we’re seeking other things, the best thing we can do is look to Him, because He will provide.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25

Advertisements

French Vanilla Cupcakes

Last night was the bachelorette party of one of my beautiful best friends, Beth.

It was such a special, funny night, and I was honoured to do some of the baking for ma girl, who is a baking queen herself!

Here, the recipe for my French Vanilla Cupcakes:

Ingredients

2 1/2 c flour

1.5 T vanilla extract

3 eggs, beaten

2 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 T salt

1 pint French vanilla ice cream

1/2 c milk

1/4 c margarine

Icing

1 c cream cheese

1/2 c powdered sugar

2 T vanilla

2 T milk

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix together all dry cupcake ingredients. Add wet ingredients; mix well.

3. Split evenly amongst sprayed or lined cupcake tray. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until fork inserted comes out clean.

3. Beat all icing ingredients together in small bowl. Ice Cupcakes when completely cooled.

UPDATE: Delish Homecooked Dinner, Saying Yes and Saying No, Breakfast Series

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on the blog!

I guess I’ve been busy living. Ive been trying to stay off social media and technology because every time I get a little taste of LIFE I’m like, This is how it’s meant to be. This is freaking GOOD.

I also realize how much more equipped I am to serve when I’m actually livin’.

I wanted to drop in to share a simple, time saving dinner recipe for you guys. Super simple, ingredients probably already in your fridge, and impressive.

Looks average, tastes gourmet!

Chicken (or Fish) and Potatoes, Vamped Up

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

1/2 Tbsp butter or margarine

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 c chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 c uncooked corn

1 cup baby potatoes, quartered

2 tsp oil

2 tsps miso paste

For the chicken

1 Tbsp oil

2 large chicken breasts

2 cups broccoli

1 Tbsp margarine

2 tsps balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Method

1. In soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining soup ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes.

2. In medium skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add chicken and butter and cook about five minutes; flip, and cook 5 minutes more. Add broccoli and more butter if needed. Add balsamic and season to taste. Reduce heat, and sauté until chicken is done and broccoli is tender.

3. To serve, split potato mixture and chicken mixture into two portions. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve with extra boiled corn or steamed broccoli for variety, if desired.

Finally, I guess I’ve been feeling this pressure that I can’t quite articulate. To be on it. To be the best friend and “perfect” to every person I encounter. But these feelings of needing to “measure up” in my own strength will only lead to burnout, because I can’t do it. Only He can, and I know it. So it’s time to surrender.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ Phil 3:8

Jesus, thank you for being such a loving, forgiving, always gracious Father. Your love for us blows my mind! I feel that I don’t deserve your grace, and yet You always grant it. Thank you. Show me Your peace, Lord, so that I am actually equipped to serve You and love others the way you would have me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Determined to Change the Trend

The amount of times the phrase “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” appears in some way in the Old Testament is shocking.

As I’ve been studying 1 and 2 Chronicles, this phrase has struck me the most. Moreover, the amount of leaders, those who were supposed to lead people into relationship with God and right, loving, peaceful living, who failed to do so, and instead lead people to worship false gods and create idols that took God’s place, is shocking. There was a pattern of kings being called to lead God’s people, and turning from God and to other things instead.

This sounds like…

me.

I notice this pattern in my own life and walk. Knowing always that Jesus is all I need, that to sit with Jesus is the best life, the only life, the desire of and song on my heart, and the very air that I breathe. And then… “forgetting.” Choosing to numb myself with useless planning, temporary pleasures or comforts, or believing that a substance of some sort can heal or love or save.

It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

And when it’s about Him, He directs my heart to others. To true serving, to glorifying His name in my life and the way that I go about each day. Relationship with Him means allowing His Spirit to dwell within me, rather than going my own way and trusting human wisdom over His wisdom.
I don’t want to be another leader called by God who turns away from Him. I want to be facing Him and adoring Him; obsessed with no one but Him and experiencing the joy and freedom of His presence and Spirit and Truth. Giving Him my faith and undivided obedience every day. Oh Lord, how I love you and long to be your True servant, and live alongside you and Your Truth at all times. Keep me in your perfect grace and smiling with the joy of You, because I know it is my strength. Amen. 

A God of UNComfort Zones

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Biblical merit for not being in “comfort” zones.

What is “comfort?”

The Word says that HE is my comfort (Jeremiah 8:18). So my ideal “comfort zone” is at His feet, in His arms, walking with Jesus. Equally, this means that we are often out of contrived and worldly “comfort” zones; the things that give temporary pleasure but don’t benefit our neighbours or His Kingdom; the things we may be conditioned to turn to in times of struggle or pain that “feel good,” but don’t have any Truth or power to actually help us or anyone.

So, my TRUE COMFORTER will take me out of FAKE COMFORT ZONES (I can list some of mine in my head right now– can you list yours?) and it might “feel” icky and uncomfortable; but since He’s the True Comforter, it will ALWAYS be good and right.

Maybe that is in the form of ridding rules and restrictions that you unhealthily have around areas of your life. They are habits that feel so comfortable; but on the basis of what truth? And who are they actually helping?

Maybe that is the form of less selfishness and more selflessness– going out of your way for other people; working with the Spirit of God to see those around you who need love, positivity, and hope.

Maybe that is in the form of asking questions, picking up your Bible, or praying. Checking out a church, or calling up an old friend.

Whatever it is, it starts with Him, in prayer and thought. He answers prayers, and He is with you in the uncomfortable change, ALWAYS. It is so often the things that seem scariest in life that end up being the things that He uses to save and redeem.

After I gave up food rules after years of stubborn eating disorders, I wrote this post

to put some words to the amazing process that Jesus had brought me through in healing. It didn’t come from striving. It was not my fault that I had these brutal mental illnesses, nor was it my choice to heal from them. It was, however, my choice to spend more time in the Word of God and with His Spirit– the Spirit that healed me.

Is Jesus calling your name and softening your heart to follow Him to a place that feels uncomfortable, and you just need to trust Him? 

What Is Exhaustion Without Purpose?

All I can think about right now is hitting my pillow.

I hate sounding dramatic, but my eyelids are so heavy and my whole body is exhausted from not stopping all day.

And that could easily be for nothing.

I could easily work this body hard and fast for a single purpose: my own feelings of worth, productivity, to boost my ego, “because I’m good at it or enjoy it,” to “make a living.” But, why? Why live to “make a living?” Surely I was put on this earth for more than to be put on this earth.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. MATTHEW 20:28

A pastor I very much look up to and respect preached a sermon on this very verse yesterday that God used to convict and challenge and change me. Jesus might call me to a remote part of the world to be in the depths of danger with starving children and my calling and purpose would be to say “it is well with my soul” and obey. He might call me away from all comforts and pleasures, the “things of this world” that I think bring me joy and say, “These things are NOTHNG,” showing me that glimpse of Heaven, and OH, how good that would be. JESUS I JUST WANT TO KNOW YOU MORE.

Don’t allow me to live this life selfishly, Jesus. Don’t allow me to think about when it’s my turn to eat, or my turn to “shine,” or anything of myself or “my” success. Jesus I just want Your name glorified in my life, and I know that that looks like servanthood. Less Cassie and more You, I pray Jesus, every day.

This doesn’t look like burnout, and it doesn’t look like the striving I often find myself wound up in again. It looks like submitting, it looks like letting go, and it looks like listening. It looks like joy, and unabashed consideration for every soul I encounter. I can’t be perfect in this, so I might as well give Him the steering wheel. It’s all I was created to do.

When Will I Learn?

…that life is all about the “little moments?”

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”

I have written about it countless times. And I think about it all the time. But sometimes, in the heat of a moment, it doesn’t happen.

In a moment when…

I tiredly choose to watch YouTube videos in my room rather than catching up with one of my roommates (also some of my best friends).

I choose to stress over the fruit that needs cutting at work rather than meeting a customer or co-worker where they’re at.

I choose to take on too much so that I’m spread too thin and feel I have no time for friends and family.

This morning, when I woke up, I was reminded by timely encouraging texts from my roomies, Beth and Mary, the importance of taking time out.

Like every day, I brought my Bible and highlighters out to my living room when Jesus asked me:

Are you sitting with me this morning? Or just “the book?”

Wow.

Sometimes I focus “so much” on making sure I’m ACTUALLY sitting with Jesus that I don’t leave room for Him to just speak. This morning, He spoke loudly, and I decided to listen.

Inspired by a thoughtful, gracious co-worker at work later that day, reminded by her of the love God calls me to share, I was equipped to serve customers in a way that made memories rather than just “what can I get for you?” kind of service.

Further inspired by one of my pastors, Nat, at our meeting about the coming year, where I officially agreed to interning at Creekside Church for a second year. Nat met me exactly where I am. He cared to listen to the details of my life, and reminded me that that is what I am called to do. Stop and listen. To Jesus, to people, to music, to history. 

Aggravated when I knew I hadn’t written my most recent article for the software start-up I write for to the best of my ability; humbled and blessed by the grace my employer showed me, anyway.

These “little moments” that are memory-worthy matter. And they’re memory worthy because of Jesus.

Each time His love is truly shown, and He is responded to, eternal glorification and life-change happens. I’ll take more of these moments, Jesus. Give me a heart and soul that only wants more of you in me, and more of You in others.