The Winter Blues

Does winter get anyone else down in the dumps?
I’m not trying to blame my attitude on the cold, because I know that owning my attitude is always my responsibility. But man… I really, really hate the cold. 

It is one sensation I can think of that makes me truly ANGRY.

It makes every activity more difficult. Like today, thinking about leaving the house for the different things on my agenda, from a meeting at my pastors’ house with their kids, which is one my favourite parts of my week, to a coffee and study date with beautiful Mary, to shopping, all things I love and have a generally positive attitude about– the cold weather can literally be enough to almost keep me inside.

Always “almost”… it’s never actually kept me inside, that I can recall.

But the severity of my disliking toward cold weather makes me wonder why we have it in the first place.

And then it makes me reflect why we have much bigger, truly problematic situations present in the world, hardships and fighting and poverty and greed.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Now, I am a baby and out of line to liken dealing with the cold as a very privileged Western person as “suffering.” But my internal and external struggles with it reminded me of the promise of this verse in Romans. Suffering, hardships, difficult times, and struggles… they are part of the Gospel. They themselves produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope in God’s love, NO MATTER WHAT.

So, to my friend struggling… with ANYTHING…

God knows you. Inside and out. And He hears your silent prayer. Bring it to Him, for real, and entrust it to Him. Know that He has deeper plans for every trial, and that an attitude that says, “This hardship will produce endurance, which will produce character, which will produce hope in the ONE THING that will never fail” is one God calls you to. 

Don’t judge me, but I’m still gonna go into the cold with an attitude that says that God is gonna use the chill in my bones to produce endurance, character, and hope… and honestly, He does. He uses everything. 

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Fall Favourites 2018

It is mid-November.

I am mid-way through the first semester of my last year of my undergrad. 
Can anyone in the same place– or who’s been there– vouch for the insanity? 
Yeah. Breaks in order to carry out passions are necessary, I have found. 

That is why I keep up the blog. Many of these posts, have proven to be helpful for some, and many of them just fun reads, and many of them sparking conversations that have changed my life… or, I’m told, someone else’s… 

So, I keep blogging. I pray God continues to use it. 

Today, Wednesday, has the blessing of being a break in my week, consisting of zero lectures, and time to study, reset, hit the gym, hang out with friends, etc. This morning I was blessed by a meeting with my pastors, where these amazing friends of mine blessed me with their time and wisdom. I am so incredibly grateful to go to a church in which the leadership sees community and mentorship as a vital part of church.

After which, I got to head home and clean with my beautiful roommate, bride-to-be, and friend, Mary. This girl is one of my greatest blessings, and we have most definitely become like sisters. Investing in relationships and people in her life so beautifully, Mary has taught me so much about self-awareness and awareness of others. Maddie and Mary are both such incredible blessings to me that I cannot imagine my life without. 

And now, I’m enjoying a break in studying to blog, and felt inspired to do one of my old favourites post:
Essentially sharing the top ten miscellaneous “things” I’m loving this season, that I think you might appreciate, too.

Music. 

PVRIS. Thanks to a co-worker and friend, I have discovered my love for girl alternative music, particularly this band.

Food. 

I used to think I hated pumpkin… but I have this new fancy for it. Versatile for both sweet and savoury recipes, so healthy, and so flavourful, I especially love it in this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s also super affordable! 

Menu.

The restaurant I work at just launched its new menu! And it is incredible. If you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, be sure to check out one of our two locations!

Serving something for literally every kind of eater, catering to all allergies and dietary preferences, plain ol picky eaters, and meat and potato lovers. Real people, real food– and that’s what makes me passionate about this place.

Podcast.


I am so grateful for the podcasts broadcasted by my pastor, Mike Rutledge. For leaders of any kind, these podcasts are sure to glean something true for you! While those are not public as of now, his sermons are– and they are phenomenal. Check them out here .

Class.

I am loving my Christian Studies Seminar class so much. Learning such tangible things about program development, research, and integrating different practices, I feel I am finally honing in on some of my passions and callings. 
To brief the project that is coming out of this class, head here.

Worship.

Sitting still with Jesus and singing this song to Him is powerful.

Hobby.

I would say that my number one “hobby” is tap dancing. It is one of my favourite things to do, most definitely my favourite form of exercise, and a practice that gives me so much joy. My school showcase is coming up on December 2nd!

Make-Up.

This eyebrow pencil gave me so much more eyebrow confidence! (When I choose to use it, haha).

Blogger.

Currently catching up on all the posts by my girl Mackenzie. 

Fierce, strong, and beautiful, she is a must-read blogger.

New Friendship.

Blooming so quickly, I have a new friend at church named Kayla, who is one of the fastest friendships I’ve ever formed. She is someone I feel I’ve known forever, and who I’ve been able to open up with instantly. Do you know those friendships? So special and such blessings. People will trump places, work, and experiences for me, always. 

For My Sister on Your Birthday

My Sweet, special sister,

18 never looked so beautiful.

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My sweet pea, you have such a fiercely loving heart. You have always had this beautiful compassion for people that translates to the way you interact with people.

I have watched you feel so deeply and love so boldly, and I love watching you blossom.

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Since the first time I saw you dance– really dance– about 3 years ago, I knew you were a shining star. Remember that fame has nothing to do with the gifts God has blessed you with. He’s going to use them whether your name is known or not. That has no bearing on the beautiful talents you have. I will always be your fan, and I will always cheer on your passions.

And your voice. Your speaking voice brings joy and smiles to so many faces, and your singing voice carries such depth and pure talent no one can deny. I am so proud of all of your hard work, determination, and persistence to do what you feel called to do.

Keep seeking that calling, and rest in the fact that you are so loved, so precious, and so called. I am forever your big sister, which is forever one of my favourite parts of who I get to be. Not because I’m a big sister– but because my little sister is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known.

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I love love love you with all my heart. You are in my prayers always.

Check out my amazing sister’s music! 

Not My Will

Sometimes my will is His will, but my timing is not His timing because I don’t have His patience or His ability to see the whole picture.

Waiting.

It’s hard.

It’s hard to wait for another’s eyes to be opened to something that seems so clear to you.

It’s hard to wait to be able to express love that you know in your soul is right.

It’s hard to wait in order to be certain of a future job or life path.

And yet… if we look at each of these waiting periods as beautiful seasons in and of themselves, rather than difficult waiting periods, we’ll realize that it isn’t so hard at all.

We also won’t waste time waiting, wishing time away, and we’ll experience peace in the fact that God’s timing is always better, and always for our good. And not always about me.

Maybe I’m ready, spiritually and mentally, to receive a truth or start a job, but someone else involved in the same situation isn’t.

Maybe my waiting is a needed light for someone wanting to trust God for the first time.

There’s always a higher purpose when life is lived with and for Jesus.

I was reminded of the beauty of patience and trust in every season in many ways today:

In conversations reflecting on the beautiful relationship formed by one of my best friends, Maddie, and her boyfriend, and God’s timeliness in that;

In seeing an old friend at a coffee shop in whom my paths have crossed many times and who has been a continuous light to me; who reminded me the power we have through Jesus to brighten lives every day;

In catching up with an old friend via message that led to unbelievable closure I can’t explain.

And every one of these examples I have wanted to rush at some point. I have asked God, Why not now?!?!

But He always knows.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint

So if you are in the waiting… needing to just trust

Take heart, my friend. He is fighting for you. Is your hope in Him?

‘ina

I remember like it was yesterday asking my Bible prof the question, “does the phrase so that have a single word in Greek? I see it everywhere in the Bible. It must be a common translation from one Greek word.”

My prof smiled. “Yes, it absolutely does. It’s hi-na.”

This was last semester, and I remember knowing that the word was important.

Colossians 1:9-10 We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.

The word meant so much to me because, when I see “so that” in Scripture, it always denotes a reason, a greater purpose. “Trials and tribulations are so that your faith might be made greater. Suffering and mourning are so that Christ might fill you with His strength.”

On my right wrist, I have a tattoo of the eating disorder recovery symbol. I’ve always felt it’s complete.

Since hearing the Greek word for “so that,” I keep thinking about getting hina, (in Greek it looks more like ‘ina) tattooed on my other wrist.

The eating disorder I endured was so that He might be glorified. The devil has no real authority through the disorder, thus God allowed it to happen so that He might be glorified, and that I might lean on Him more.

Flash forward to now, yesterday, in Biblical Greek class with the same prof who taught me hina. About a month into Greek, and I’m pretty proud of how much I’ve already learned.

When I stumble upon this in my textbook:

Eis can denote either result or purpose; ‘Ina far more commonly denotes purpose. Paul’s change of language is likely deliberate– to point out that his purpose in disciple is entirely rehabilitative, even if one of the results of his action is temporary exclusion and ostracism of the persistently rebellious sinner… “What the grammar suggests, then, is that the ‘destruction of the flesh’ is the anticipated result of the man’s being put back out into Satan’s domain, while the express purpose of his action is his redemption.” Craig Bloomberg

Wow. I can’t put words to how much this commentary excited me. This word had meant truth, historical and spiritual proof of healing to me… and here it was. Discipline purpose entirely rehabilitative.

It is this truth that has set me free.

And that reminded me of the freedom yesterday.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time.

If you know me well, you may be skeptical of my eating disorder recovery.

This is hard to write, but necessary to write.

I understand that. And I don’t mean to be a recovery advocate hypocritically. The healing that God has worked in me, by His Spirit and through His word, is done, and miraculous, and I give all that glory to Him.

But I became aware recently that there were still some habits around food, and views of food, that I held, that I was blind to, because they were normal to me. Because I’d been living this way for so long.

And, with that word, by His Spirit that I both physically and spiritually felt fill me up in my Greek class yesterday, I knew what I needed to do.

Controlled by the Spirit, I finally did the hard work of writing some of these things down. Views of food that I know are skewed. Wow.

I spoke them out loud and renounced them. And prayed.

And more rebirth. More memories. More healing.

There’s always more. Wow Jesus I just want moooore of YOU!

He is so good, my friends. He is so good. He refuses to leave me and He refuses to leave you. He wants to do a great work in you. He wants to bring you in to the purpose of life, and bring you joy and adventure and peace and a kinder heart in doing so.

The past few days I’ve eaten more peanut butter than I have in long time, lots of oily snacky food, and the skin on turkey, and I realized for the first time the swirling voices in my head that have still been there.

And it’s okay that I’ve been struggling. But I’m not okay with staying that way, only because I know Jesus is apart from those voices. And I want to be all His.

He’s allowed me to acknowledge the voices– and silence them.

This whole ordeal– Hina. SO THAT. Purpose.

*if you are resonating with any of these words– about eating disorders, or just about knowing there’s healing/purpose– and have questions or need a friend, I am here. Feel free to message me or ask any questions you might have. I’m trying to be more honest about the lows, rather than forever saying “I’m fine.” Because when darkness is brought to the light… well, it’s not dark anymore.

Day in the Life of a [Learning to Rest] Uni Student [Who is NOT Defined By Her Daily Productivity]

Raise your hand if you struggle with feeling like your worth is in your productivity?(🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️<— me).

Part of the Christian’s calling is submitting to the Word of God as Truth. Christians believe that within the Bible are the keys to life; real Truths are found in the Scripture, everlasting Truth of our Maker, and not the superficial, temporary lies of the world.

So, what does Jesus say about being defined by productivity/what I do?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:15

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.

Upon being convicted of this, I talked to Jesus and sat in His presence and have been, little by little, made aware of the “go-go-go” mentality that was slowly killing me, my energy, and my spirits.

And my life has recently, finally, been looking more like rest.

I’ve been spending most evenings at home, reading, even watching a little TV, spending much more time with friends, but also not feeling “guilty” for having some me time. Most importantly, I’ve given more space for time with Jesus.

And, naturally, time with Jesus has led to more healing.

So the fact that today looked like

-waking up slowly, spending some time in the Word and then in prayer,

-enjoying an unrushed breakfast with my friend and housemate Mary and some amazing conversation,

-cleaning the house together,

-slowly but surely making my way with Maddie to my workplace, Pure Kitchen, not to work but to study and write an essay (in record time, thanks to more rest and therefore focus),

-spending time talking to Maddie and my co-workers, too…

-going to the gym cuz I felt like it,

-sitting in a coffee shop to read and write and pray by myself cuz my soul craved it…

-wondering what I’m going to do in 10 years and letting my mind wander but then slowing down and sitting with Jesus and knowing He transcends time and doesn’t call me to know all these details but just to trust…

A day as breezy and slow and unplanned as this would have once caused me such anxiety. Lacking a strict to do list feels foreign.

Jesus has been teaching me what “righteous organization” looks like. And it’s good. It’s caused me to confront and reflect on some things in my soul I might have thought I wanted to ignore.

And I come back to this:

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.

Discovering Sufficiency

He is said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Is it?
Do I live as though I believe this? Do I believe this?

Today Jesus blessed me by confronting me with this grace that I certainly believe in, this Truth that is too good to be true– Jesus’ grace is all I need— and giving me tangible tools to heal from layers of lies that have sought to teach me that grace isn’t sufficient.

All in His timing.

Jesus, You are so so good.

Waking early this morning, I made pumpkin spice pancakes and coffee and spent time in His Word before heading out the door to meet two of my pastors and friends.

What the next hour in their company brought was healing I couldn’t imagine.

Offering me leadership accountability and counselling, this dynamic duo, through the Holy Spirit, equipped me with tools as I met them with my biggest conviction of the past several years: My lifestyle is too busy.

I don’t live as though I believe His grace is sufficient. Because when I’m not doing something, I think I need to be. I fill up all my time so that I don’t have to think or rest. A phenomenon that has led to my hyper-processing, and a low ability to focus on one thing at a time. Stressed to the max, I haven’t known how to say no.

After meeting with this beautiful family, I took all my notes and everything they had said, and prayed. I sat still in Jesus’ presence and allowed myself to be there. And I heard Him speak:

There are still areas of law in your life, Cassie. I call you to freedom. 

Having feared, in the past, letting go of many of the stringent routines I’ve adhered to for a long time, Jesus made very clear to me some of the tangible things in these routines that didn’t need to be there, and that were stumbling blocks rather than helpful. Things I actually didn’t care about, but was just so used to doing.

I did the necessary things, after praying, to remove these stumbling blocks from my life.

Lay it down. He picks it up. Thank-you Jesus.

And today, I was more present than ever with my homework.

I had a killer workout without thinking about/stressing about other things.

I was present with my beautiful friend, Brooke, who really needed a listening ear.

And I’m not afraid to rest tonight and watch MasterChef, read a book I’m loving, eat some snacks. These simple things would usually give me anxiety that I have not previously been aware of, but, as I sit here and write, I feel a calm in every part of my being that I haven’t felt in a long time. I have established priorities that my Lord has anointed, and they’re for His sake, and rest/fun is a part of that.

His grace is sufficient for me, period. His grace is all this life is about. And I will boast in my weaknesses in order that His strength might be known– because the more weaknesses Cassie has, the more His strength is made manifest in my short time on this earth.