Flexibility Journey

If I had a bucket list of things I wanted to accomplish, something that would be at the top of it is becoming more flexible.

I got this tattoo that says “dance” two years ago. While, looking back, I don’t think I’d get it again, at the time it meant several things to me, one of which was the defiance

I used to be the least flexible person on the planet, but I have learned how to stretch and practice in a way that actually makes a difference. Now, I am close to a full split, can touch my toes and beyond with complete ease, and have a much more flexible back.

Here, the top three tips and mindset implementations that *actually* helped me to improve my flexibility, rather than just thinking about improving it.

Patience. My biggest downfall in the past was rushing through stretches without enjoying them. I would choose to stretch when I had a million things on my mind, and a seemingly never-ending to do list awaiting me. In turn, stretching would feel like a chore, and something I was forcing myself to do. Now, when I stretch, if my mind tries to speed up my movements, I remind myself that the time to actually sink deep into the stretches and just quiet my mind is healthy, allotted for, and that I need only be present.

Hold stretches for a loooong time. I would get into a flow of stretches in the past, and think, “ah, I don’t have to hold them for minutes long. As long as I feel it burn a bit, I’m doing the job.” But I didn’t notice a real difference in my flexibility until I held stretches for at least a minute at a time, and from there challenged myself to hold for even longer. It is from there that in the middle of a minute, I would feel the stretch becoming easier, and naturally begin to sink deeper into it. What a great feeling!

Practice your over split. This videovideo  is my go to for most helpful and crucial split stretches, and provides a great tutorial for how to do the over split. Stacking pillows or blocks in order to mimic a further movement into the splits was an absolutely amazing technique for me!

No matter what your goals, grace with yourself in your progress is so important. I have learned the hard way that nothing worth achieving is a quick fix, but is accompanied by hard work and determination for a reason! Enjoy the process!

Advertisements

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? 

Sesame Ginger Salmon Salad

Food innovation will always bring me so much joy.

I hate going ordinary when it comes to cooking. Thus, this salmon salad is what I brought to a friend’s pool party last night. I came up with the dressing and loved it!

Sesame Ginger Salmon Salad

Ingredients

8 oz salmon

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/4 c soy sauce

1 tsp grated ginger

2 tsp lime juice

2 tsp maple syrup

1/2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp sesame oil

5 cups spinach

2 large heads broccoli, chopped

1/2 white onion, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed pan with tin foil and place salmon on foil.

2. In small dish, mix vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, maple syrup, peanut butter, garlic, and sesame oil until combined. Pour over salmon, turning to coat entirely.

3. Place tray in oven and bake about 10-15 minutes, turning salmon once.

4. Assemble spinach in a bowl. In large sauce pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook about five minutes. Add broccoli, salt and pepper, and sauté about 10 minutes, or until tender. Add to spinach.

5. Flake salmon into pieces and add to sauce. Serve with extra dressing if desired.

Day in the Life: Livin the Dream Every Day?

What does it mean to be livin the dream? What does that look like?

I think the worldly classification of the real dream is in riches. Having a huge house and no “reason” to work because you have money coming out of your ears.

Let’s say that’s actually the life goal.

Personally, I picture this:

So, worldly success can’t be the secret to happiness or the meaning of life.

It’s not in a near-future hope. It’s in a present, past, and forever help.

I prayed for a heart and mind and soul set on Him this morning as I got ready for work.

This week, I get to work every day with of the sweetest and most relatable people I’ve ever met, Brooke, at Pure’s second location. Working together, Brooke and I care so much about the success of Pure, the kitchen we work at, and this makes every day, even work conversations, so much fun. She makes me a better employee, and her work ethic is inspirational and always on point!

She also makes the prettiest food.

Brooke and I are able to relate in so many ways, while also challenging each other to be our best. I only want to be a light in her life, as she has been in mine.

The shift was great and smooth, and we’re so excited to only grow at this new location, and as I pray about it, I know God is guiding it and I pray to walk in His ways.

After my shift, I settled in for editing and homework over coffee and lunch, grateful for a productive afternoon. I am often struck by the fact that I get to work in three part time jobs in the three fields I’ve called my “dream jobs.” I am passionate about my youth ministry job, writing work, and serving at Pure. But I can only imagine that if these were the end goal, I might feel… empty.

But I believe that God’s Kingdom is the only end goal, and looking to Him and His perfect love means I’m actually able to serve and love on others in a way that is meaningful. What a blessed life you offer, Lord– thank-you for your unending blessings.

Tonight, as I catch up with a Bible study group and spend some quiet time with Jesus, I know that He is in control, and I pray for only more knowledge of His glory in my life and workplaces.

Jesus, I pray for more of you in workplaces, and less of the lie that money or fame or material things are the meaning or goal of life. Guide my heart by Your Spirit alone, Lord. Amen.

My Guilty Pleasures (Just for Fun)

Peanut Butter Anything. Guilty as charged. Peanut butter is my absolute favourite food and I’m pretty sure it always will be. You can find me spooning it on pretty much everything.

This Is Us. Probably my favourite TV show ever, I feel like I could watch these episodes over and over again and ever get tired of them. I just love how much the characters reel me in.

Ashley Brooke’s YouTube Channel. I could watch her How To Style videos forever!

Coffee. And trying new coffees, inventing coffee recipes, making latte art… I’m a bit of a coffee snob.

Food Photography. I’ve become a major perfectionist with the food photos I take for Pure Kitchen, where I work! I have always loved food photography, but since working here, I am more in love with the art of it.

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.

Gordon Ramsey-Inspired Tacos

My loving boyfriend got me a Gordon Ramsey cookbook for last Christmas, and I reworked one of the recipes just in time for when I sealed the deal on one of his Christmas presents– a little late ;).

I made one of the taco recipes and put my own spin on it. Here’s a photo of the filling– turned out delicious!

Black Bean Goat Cheese Tacos

Ingredients (serves one person)

1/4 onion, diced

1 tsp oil

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cumin

salt and pepper

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup black beans

Handful baby spinach

1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado, chopped

2 corn tortillas

Method

1. In medium skillet, sauté onion in oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes. Add in all spices and sauté another five minutes, or until fragrant. Add black beans and 2 Tbsp water.

2. Cover and cook over medium low heat about 10 minutes, or until beans are soft. Add spinach to the pan, and cook another 3 minutes.

3. Mash the avocado with lime juice, goat cheese, and some salt and pepper. 4. Fill each tortilla with bean mixture, avocado mixture, and extra spinach, if desired. Add meat or other fix ins as desired– I added ground turkey to mine!