Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Plátanos

Bananas. I don't know why, but when I think about Central America, I think of bananas.  Maybe it's all the stereotypical books I read as a child, or the fact that I'm a native-born Ohioan girl whose only concept of tropical fruit is that it grows close to the equator. Right? It sounds right anyways.

Some of you guys know the fact that I'm a travel addict.  Like, obsessed.  When I returned from Québec after six months abroad in December, I remember feeling a little lost.  I felt like a chunk of who I had become was suddenly cut off from my existence, a part of me that nobody back home could completely understand. To be honest, I felt more culture shock coming home then when I had left.  My family can testify to the fact that I couldn't remember certain English words because the French ones came first. I kept comparing little things that were different, like the fact that the Québecois bought their milk in plastic bags and kissed with the "bisou" (cheek to cheek) in greeting. 

And I loved it.  I was living a different reality for 6 months, and coming back, I wanted my life to be challenging.  Not harder, but more stretching. I wanted a chance to live life outside of the little routine I so easily fall into.  Afterall, "life begins at the end of your comfort zone," does it not? ...And I tend to get bored easily. 

I remember coming home with questions.  Where am I going, God? What should I do?  Here I am.  You gave me Québec, you blessed everything about the entire journey, and I could literally write a book about how you used those experiences in Québec to transform my life.  But now that it's over, what now? 

Would you like to know the answer to these questions?  "WAIT."  Yeah, don't we all just love that response? Heh.  So I started to get a little bit impatient.  For those of you who don't know me well, I like having solid plans for the future.  I distinctly remember visiting my mom a few months ago, crawling onto her bed, and laying there explaining all my dreams, desires, plans.  "Cassie," she reminded me, "you can do so much... just make sure it's the right thing."

Okay God. I'm willing to wait. I want to do what You want me to do. 


“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do."  
Ephesians 2:10

"Hey Cassie... so, did you know that you could go to Guatemala this summer?"  Guatemala?

"Yeah, the couple heading up the missions trip is having a party this Saturday, so you should come to meet them." I should? Huh.

So I met them. And fell in love with them. And was basically convinced in one night that God was telling me that I was going to Guatemala this summer.

DID YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID!?  I'm going to Guatemala this summer!

That's right. It was as fast and easy as that.  On May 16 to June 30th, I will be embarking on an adventure with Hearts In Action, a missions organization that reaches out to Central and South America.  I'll be working with children and train teachers to share the gospel at the Jungle School in San Andres, Peten.  We'll be visiting orphans and poverty-stricken families,  participating in children’s nutrition programs in the nearby villages, and praying for patients in the hospitals which lack the modernization of first world facilities.


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

Isn't God the coolest ever?  I feel like He likes watching me run around trying to make all these plans and do all these cool things, and then He laughs when He finally places something directly under my nose.  

I can't even begin to say HOW EXCITED I AM.  Also, my Spanish is non-existent.  It's kind of embarrassing.  Supposedly, French won't help me in this part of the world.  I'm going to start praying for the ability to roll my "r's."

Oh, and get this.  Bananas happen to be one of Guatemala's five main export items.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dancing

So much fun to dress up and dance and spend the day with some of your best friends.


Some of my most favorite girls in the world EVER.
Photos by Ruthie, our amazing photography and the beautiful redhead in the middle. ;)

Me and my beautiful sis Jenn <3




C'était un bon week-end!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer Days



Alas, dear friends, I have been a negligent or otherwise LAME blogger.


You must forgive me yet again... I plan to set of a regular schedule for myself as soon as school gets under way (Ohio State University starts the 21st of September!  HEEEELLLLPPPP!!!)

This summer has been extraordinary in so many ways.  I have been gone a LOT, which is partly the reason I have been so terrible in keeping up with my blog.


My mom, sisters, and I all took a wonderful trip to Wisconsin, and then on the way home, we stayed in Chicago and toured the city for three days.  It was wonderful to spend some quality girl time, laugh, buy yummy food, and shop a lot.

I came to realize how much I adore the city.  Especially this city.  I don't know why, but Chicago has now become my ideal "yuppie" place of residence.
This is me and my 3 lovely sisters on the Navy Pier with the city of Chicago behind us. 




Then for two and a half weeks, my whole family went on vacation.  It was incredible... we visited Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Juliette, Quebec City, Bar Harbor (Maine), Portland, and Boston.  





It was a whirlwind of a ride, but we met some wonderful people, had some amazing (and funny) experiences, created memories, and learned a lot.


I also treasured this trip because it helped me to understand my family a little more...


I was able to grow closer to my brother and sister and spend some time with my little sisters -- something I should do more often.



Besides being gone, I've been working a bunch (which is both good and bad... good for the money, bad because I'm not fond of my job), getting together with friends (which is something I can never do enough), and attending Labor Day Family Camp.







This year is the second time I've gone too this camp, and it was been a life changing experience both times.  God has met me during Labor Day weekend in ways that I didn't think were possible.  I felt a reassurance from Him that He has my life in the palm of His hands (which of course I believe, but it's a fact that is really hard to live out day by day).


I was able to find a peace about where my life is headed and know that He has my best interest at heart.  There have been some tough decisions for me to make lately.... college, money, job, car, future plans, BUYING A COMPUTER (ughhh!!).... and all of that I've had to rely on Christ and be secure in the knowledge that His plans are greater than I can imagine.  NOT an easy thing to do.  And I'm still working on it... trust me. :)




I've come to realize a few things lately about my life.  My friends are wonderful.  I love you guys.  I have such a solid, strong support group surrounding me and we all are the body of Christ.  I've come to realize how blessed I am to have so many like-minded, and yet totally different people.




 Recently I feel like I've gained some new friends, and at the same time lost a few more.  And then there are those old friends who I've known so long that we don't have to talk for months, but when I see them, they can read me like a book.  God is good to me.




Also, I've come to appreciate family.  Not that I didn't appreciate my family before, but I think I have a new respect for my family and how we work together.  It never hard, and usually my family members are the ones that bug, torment, and hurt me the most.  Yet, I'll have them forever.  People will come and go in and out of my life, but my family is there FOREVER.  It's a comforting thought (and then there are times when I'm like, "I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!")  But we all have those moments.





No matter what I do, say, think, or feel, I know they're there for me.  Thank goodness.  We can grow, fight, learn, cry, and journey together.... but the point is that we're really in this together.  I've realized that as much as a adore my friends (and many of them are adopted siblings), no one understands your heart as much as a family member.




I also turned 18 this summer.  EIGHTEEN!  I don't feel that old.  I remember being 10, and my grandpa came up to me and said, "Only three more years and you'll be a teenager!"   Those were the days.... lol

So, yeah... this has been a sincere attempt to try to "catch up" on the past three months of blogging.  However, there is no such thing.  I am determined in the future to live up to my own expectations of a consistent blogger... let's see if I keep my word.  Please hold me to it!

(Oh! And all the pictures... well most of the pictures... were taken and edited by my sister Jennoelle :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Storms of This Life

Have you ever just thought about how grateful you are to be ALIVE?  Thank you Jesus.

This week has been wonderful in many ways.  I've spent the week with about fifty Somali Bantu kids from Columbus teaching them about God and spending time with them.  My church has been outreaching to the Bantu people in Columbus, so this week a bunch of us have put on a mini VBS for the kids, from preschool to 6th grade.  It's been a great experience... I'm in charge of about ninth 4th through 6th graders.  I've been able to connect with some of them and just be their friend.  They love to run (seriously, I've never seen so much energy), and sing and dance and shout.  There's been several more challenges to the week than I expected, but being flexible is part of the fun and growth of the experience.  A little girl named Fardosa today told me that she was born in Kenya.  She's 10 years old!!  I keep praying that God will open these children's hearts up to know Him, especially since they are all Muslim.  My job is to be an example and a shining light, which I pray to God is happening.  But to be honest, it's been three days so far, and I'm thoroughly exhausted.


 Face painting with the kids from my church :)

Most of my Bantu kids :)

Besides the craziness of this week helping at Somali Camp, another circumstance has occurred.  A dear friend of mine's mother passed away on Sunday night.  She died of breast cancer after struggling for two years. It's been a rough few days, just realizing the change that is taking place in their family.  And it doesn't even directly affect me, it just makes me sad.  But I know that God is working.  I know He is.  He has this family in the palm of His hand, and He's holding them tight in His arms.  Please pray for my friend Hannah and the rest of her family as they are dealing with her loss.

Sometimes I ask why.  Why, God, would you let something so terrible happen like that?




This song has helped me remember the truth. 


Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"


Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 


And I know God's promises will never fail.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

relationships

Sighhh.

This week has been both physically and emotionally draining.

On one hand, I've been working all week at a trapshoot tournament with a bunch of friends.  We've laughed, played pranks, and been annoying to each other all week... and all around had a good time.  And on the plus side, today was pay day.  Now I feel at least somewhat able to afford the majority of my summer wardrobe. I've had several friends graduate and got to hang out with lots of old friends, build new connections, and have some good conversations with some people I really enjoy.

The other half of this week has been rough.  My mom has been gone on a solo vacation for the past two weeks.  Although we've been doing fine without her, I'm ready for her to come home.  I'm tired of doing the little things that I normally don't have to do when she's here.  And to be honest, I miss her.  Besides that, I feel like I've been a roller coasters ride of sorts trying to address some things in my life that I normally don't like to think about.

Here comes a true depressing fact: relationships are hard.

I've realized that more than ever today.  In fact, this idea that relationships are hard has hit me like a ton of bricks over the past 24 hours.  Have you ever taken someone for granted??  You value them above anything, but you don't realize their worth until you feel like they're slipping away.  And then you don't realize that it's happening until it's already happened.  Or you're cruising along in life just trying to maintain the status quo in fear that if you bring up issues, the whole world will explode.

I've come to realize that I love people.  I know the best, most precious friends in the world.  But there are times when I feel absolutely helpless.  Like I don't know if it's me that needs to change, or them.  And the times when it's clear that the other person needs to change, it's difficult to keep loving them beyond their inability to see their own need to change.

I've come to realize for myself that one of the key ways to work through a relationship is communication.  But it takes two people to communicate.  I can't do it all on my own.  That's where the helplessness sets in.  I believe that it's better to talk about it than to sweep it under the carpet and bury it.  But the other person has to believe that too.

And of course, there's Christ's example of patience, forgiveness, grace, and love.  I of all people need more and more of Jesus in my relationships.  The times when I'm frustrated, hurt, confused, and lost... those are the times when I need to think and act like Him, in all His love and faithfulness.

And something else that I've been convicted of lately... don't ever give up on a relationship.  Even if it seems impossible, and you can never heal what's been hurt, I think there can always be restoration.

Trust me, I've given up before.  In fact, I still have given up.  But I want to change that.  I want to have hope.  I want to believe in healing and harmony.  I don't know if or when that will happen, but I know it's possible by the grace of God.

So I'm praying for it everyday until it does.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How Deep, How Wide

This week has been crazy insane.

I been pushing it a lot lately, and I think I've been getting a little worn out.  Last week started out with a tiny cold, but I refused in the name of Jesus to get sick.  And even though this week has been extremely busy and stressful, I've really felt the need to rely on God for strength.  I've realized that I tend to be extremely self-reliant.  I think I have things under control, and I can handle it.  I get easily impatient, so I take matters into my own hands instead of waiting on God.  But this week, I've had to ask Him to get me through.

Between college classes, dance, play rehearsals, family, homework, errands, work, friends, and life in general, life definitely keeps me running with having a fixed schedule and mounds of deadlines.  I hardly get one morning to sleep in all week... not that I'm complaining... trust me, I am more than blessed.  But this past week has been tough -- spiritually, physically, and mentally.  I'm ready for a break.  A looong break.  A revival. 

So what better time for a revival then today, Good Friday?  Unfortunately, I feel like I've hardly spent a minute with God except to pray quickly for the things I want.  Sure I've thought about God, I've talked to Him, but somehow I'm longing for more.  I want to give up everything I just simply think about HIM -- without a million other deadlines, plans, and worries running through my head. 

But God is faithful. 

"But [the LORD] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Wow.  Just wow.

So those times when you feel like you can't take a breath, the times when you want to cry but don't have the tears, the times when you want to sing but no song will come, the times when you sit but still feel like your standing, the times when you sleep but still feel awake... those are times when God's grace is sufficient for me.  I don't have to be strong.  Because He already is.

Knowing this gives me peace.  Peace for the present, and peace for the future.  These past couple days have been hectic in trying to make plans for the summer and beyond.  There are so many opportunities, and so little time to do it all.  But it comforts me to know that God knows.  He knows.  He wants what is best for me, even if I seem to disagree.  And I'm going to trust in His plan.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thank you Jesus.

My church sang this song a couple weeks ago, and it says a lot of what I want to say. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

trains on a windy day

Bonjour, my readers!!

Ahh...shame on me!  I'm sorry to have not posted in so long.  I feel like I am neglecting my duty to write (although I'm the one who's making this a duty).  But really, it's been too long.  I'll try to be better at being more consistent.  Hahaha, for those who know me well, we'll see how long my motivation lasts. ;)

Anyways, I have had quite an exciting and eventful last two weeks.  Two weeks ago, I started spring quarter at a local state and community college.  It's been a busy, crazy couple weeks trying to get into the swing of things again and adjusting myself to campus.  I have to park my car all the way on west campus, which is miles from my classroom, and take a campus bus to my building.  I feel like such a city dweller when I go downtown and take the bus will all these young college kids.  It's nice because I feel like I'm sort of one of the crowd now.

However... I DID accidently take the wrong bus on Wednesday.  I think I must have been half asleep or something because I got on the bus, and it took a turn that I knew it wasn't supposed to take.  It was then I realized that I was in the wrong bus, and if I stayed on it, it would probably take at last a half an hour to get to class.  So I quickly got off the next stop and panicked.  There were no people or buses in sight.  "I'm stranded!!!"  I thought.  "I'll be stuck here for an hour until another one comes along!"  Fortunately, a guy came out of a near by building and climbed into a parked bus, started it up, and was about to pull out when I ran over to him, knocked on the doors, and climbed aboard.  I had no idea what bus I was on, but I knew I had to get on something or I'd be waiting there FOREVER.

Thankfully, the bus that I took went nearby my bus stop, so I just ran the rest of the way to class.  It was quite an adventure!  From now on, I'll be sure to take the right bus!! :)

Anyways, besides my crazy college adventures, I was able to go hang out with my awesome play performance buddies last weekend.  Besides me and my sister, there are three other girls who are all in the play Little Women at a local community theater.  We have a blast together!!!  So last Friday, we all went to dance that our directors put on, and afterward spent the night together.  It was so much fun!  At the dance, we ran around chasing people, eating food, naming things, trying to "break the rules,"  laughing at weird people, and having adventures in the bathroom.  Then we went back to my friend's house, eat some more, watched Tangled, told creepy clown stories, shared secrets, and fell asleep exhausted. 

The next day, we planned a photoshoot with the five of us, since my sister and one of my friends are extremely good photographers (and the rest of us like our pictures taken =]).  We went to a nearby stationary train and had a mini-shoot out in the coldness and rain.  It was so much fun!!!

Here's some of the results.  Most of them are taken by Ruthie (the ones with Red Photo on them), and a few were taken by my sis Jenn.


Caitlin, me, Ruthie, Lauren, and Jenn.
The awesome fivesome again. :)
Ruthie's idea... amazing shot.
Aw, love this one.
 Jenn (Amy in Little Women)
Lauren (Beth in Little Women)
 Ruthie (Meg in Little Women)
Caitlin (Aunt March in Little Women)
 The rest are of me (and I'm Jo in Little Women).  Aren't we the cutest March girls???

So yes, indeed, it was a glorious weekend, and we had a marvelous time, even though it was absolutely freezing outside!  I can't wait for summer and sunshine, that's for sure.  And I can't wait till our Little Women play!!!  It's at the end of April and beginning of May... and it's going to be great!! and scary!! and so much fun! =]