Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back and hope 2018 finds you well. Did you know you helped me reach over 2000 visitors since Cassia’s Place launched? WaHoo and Thank You!
Did you find something here that fired you up about pursuing your purpose, encouraged you to walk tall with God, or ignited your creativity? I’d love to hear from you via email@example.com and also learn what you’d like to read about this year.
What’s NEXT: What advice would YOU give your younger self? Comment below, or come add your #dearyoungerme thoughts on Instagram and Facebook . There might be a pic of me with an 80’s Home Perm floating around out there, or so I’ve heard. I’m starting a new series called “Dear Younger Me,” and I’ll feature some of your answers this month.
Speaking of sharing what you’ve learned, did you know January is National Mentoring Month? Who showed up for you when you were young? One of the best ways to pay it forward is to show up this year in one kid’s life as a champion and friend. I recently guest-blogged on Full of Joy, a site by fellow Write Brilliant Academy classmate Abigail Joy Dubbe, to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at mentoring. The truth about what it takes to help a kid might just surprise you — it’s not nearly as hard as you think! Read more here.
Easter weekend 2001, we discovered to our utter amazement that we were expecting a baby. From a due date calculator, we also discovered our child would be born right around Christmas. Though our son’s birth was 9 months away, a Christmas dream was born in that instant.
In it I would be sitting beside the tree, the soft glow of colored lights washing over me as I held my newborn child, perhaps humming a lullaby. All would be calm. All would be bright.
Yeah right. Read More
We had SNOW on Friday. At the end of a hard, sorrowful week following my mother-in-law’s death, we awoke to Houston blanketed in white-velvet gorgeousness. We squealed. We hit each other with snowballs. We built hideous last-minute snowmen before heading to school once the district sent out the world’s saddest tweet: Roads are passable so buses are rolling. See you soon for a great day of learning. Read More
We knew, and yet we didn’t know.
We’ve been preparing ourselves since early fall for the passing of my husband’s mom.
We knew she was likely in her final months, and yet, when the end came on Monday night, we still felt the shock of disbelief.
It’s still too tender a thing to write about much except to say that grief and joy co-mingle in a thousand moments. That it’s nearly Christmas adds both sweetness and pain. Read More
And yes, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but we kind of lost steam with the tree after an initial burst of decorating. It’s still angel-less and surrounded by hideous brown bins of ornaments from the attic. If I wrap the bins, they could stand in for the absent presents. Read More
If you caught my last post, you’ll know I was a mash-up of competing football loyalties this weekend. Let’s just say 3 out of 4 wins ain’t bad, and one contest pitted two of my favs against each other for an upset that has the whole SEC wondering what’s next.
All I’ve got to say about the hunt for a champ is “Roll Dawg Eagle” and may the best team win. Read More
This week I’m thanking God for the places that made me. I am a Southern girl through and through, but I admit that the Deep South is a complicated place to be from. For all our churches, hospitality, and genteel manners, we can’t deny a legacy of racism, classicism, illiteracy, and poverty. Turns out, though, we’re not the only place on the globe where humans hurt each other or just plain hurt. So I’ll keep being thankful that I’m a Southern girl, and I’ll keep pushing to change the things that need changing where I’m from and beyond.
So where exactly AM I from? I’m thankful to call four Southern states home–or perhaps I should say Southeastern Conference states. When I say I’m from the South, I mean all over it. And yes, I did just make reference to that hallowed football conference, the one that churns out the best games of the season every year.
Happy All Saints Day! Though my church tradition doesn’t specifically celebrate the day, I tend to pause a bit on Nov 1st to think about the people who came before me.
I’m indebted to my mom for making this day resonate with me. Several years ago, she did an All Saints writing project with her junior high students to explore their family trees. Her students thought and wrote about those who had impacted their lives, and they were able to move toward gratitude for those people.
Her point was that the people who came before us (whether they are from our family of origin or are simply people who have impacted us) contribute to who we are. Whether those people looked more like “saints” or not, we can find things to celebrate about our connection with the people of the past.
I am starting this month of Thanksgiving, then, with a moment of thankfulness for all the people who made me: godly parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends who were like parents and grandparents, English teachers who taught me to love writing, mentors who taught me to love the person I was becoming, Bible teachers who didn’t just preach me a list of do’s and don’ts, bosses who gave me career opportunities, and a multitude of friends who’ve brightened my life.
I am profoundly grateful.
I’ve been bouncing back and forth between two faith-giants who spoke of obstacles on the path to fulfilling their purposes. The first is David. Pulled from the sheep field, anointed by God as king, and then forced to run for his life for years until he ascended the throne, David poured out his ups and downs through the Psalms. I’ve found strength and comfort in these songs of the faith and continue to work them into my prayer life just as the women and men of the Bible did. One passage that’s been particularly galvanizing for me as I’ve faced things like chronic anxiety, depression, or fibromyalgia pain is Psalm 142, especially verse 7:
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
If you were asked to fill in the blank, “Sometimes, I feel like I’m not ___________ enough,” what would you say?
What would your 15-year-old say?
A few weeks ago, I asked 50 or so high school women just that. Here’s some of what they told me:
Sometimes, I feel like I’m not
They also talked of how they struggle to have enough time, energy, confidence, and friends to make it through their days.
Welcome back! This month we’re zeroing in on passages from Philippians and praising God for the “dream teams” He puts together. Spurred by Paul’s words, I thank my God every time I remember you, we’ve reflected on the fellow faith-warriors, encouragers, I’ve-got-your-back kind of people who, when monsters loom large, remind us God has a larger dream and bolder plan at work.
This week as I’ve jotted more notes, I have a silly confession: I actually do not know how to spell “Philippians.” I habitually use two L’s and one P or spell it like the Philippine islands. Even if I manage to spell it correctly, I doubt myself every time. My recourse is to rely on Spellcheck or simply abbreviate “Phil” and let the chips fall where they may. I chuckle that it irks me so much (yes, that recovering perfectionist in me still rears her head on occasion), but really, it should stick by now.
That’s because Phillipians-Philippines-Phil has been my favorite New Testament book since I was a 12-year-old at Maranook summer camp hearing it preached with fervor and learning to study the Bible for herself. You’d think I’d simply know.
One thing I do know, however, is the memory verse I learned that week at camp:
For I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6 NASB
Except I can do more than say it: I can still sing the camp song version complete with handclaps and thrilling shouts of ¡Arriba! (I’ll give you a taste of my impressive rendition at the end of this post.) Read More