Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Style{in} Skirts : "Up Against Thorny Things"

Photo Credit: Hudson
Always an uphill battle:
There's never rest from the fight of life.

Always a dangerous battle:
As dangerous to retreat as it is to fight.

Always a rewarding battle:
The end is better than what we're in.

Always a victorious battle:
Defeat only happens when we're giving in.

So keep your chin up, soft soul of mine;
Keep your eyes from growing dim.

For what's to come is worth it all:
What is better than knowing Him?
______________________
We're up against thorny things.
Always.
Giving up can't be an option.
Not when there's a race to be run.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Always .

The Lord's plans are for good.

The Lord's plans are never
for the despair
for the depression
for the exhaustion
for the condemnation
for the harm
for the unsafeness
for the unhealthiness
or for the destruction of my soul.

The Lord's plans are always
to draw me closer to Him.
Always.

He wants my heart, my soul, my mind, my time, my loves.

But not for despair and destruction.

For life abundant.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ability to Abide.

If I can do no good thing outside of Christ,

and abiding in Him is a good thing,

then it's only in Him 

I have the grace and the ability

to stay in Him.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Failure of a Starving Representative

Physically, to be healthy, you have to:

1. Eat wholesome food,
2. Not eat poison,
3. Not starve.

2 & 3 are the antithesis of eating healthy things. 
(2 is just the quicker one.)
They're dangerous.
Poison will kill you.
Starving will kill you.

So here's what I've been thinking lately:

If I need to eat good things to stay physically healthy,
and avoid things that will kill me (poison and starving),
then does the same go for me spiritually?

If the same is true, then
spiritually,
to be healthy, I have to:

1. Eat wholesome food,
2. Not eat poison,
3. Not starve.

But that doesn't get me very far. My spirit doesn't eat.
Or does it?

What if my spirit is "eating" all the time?
This sounds totally weird, but follow me on this...

Spiritually "eating" wholesome food 
would be the same as filling my thoughts and spending my time  on the Lord.
It's meditating on His promises.
It's "chewing" on His goodness.
It's food.

Spiritually "eating" poison
would be the same as filling my thoughts and spending my time in sin.
It's meditating on sin.
It's exploring it - mentally and actually.
It's food.

Spiritually "not eating," (or starving)
would be the same as filling my thoughts and spending my time on things that mean absolutely nothing.
It's full of frivolity.
It's pointless.
It's not food.

I'm digging into what this looks like in my own life:
what 1 looks like compared to 2 & 3.

I will admit, I struggle more with starving myself than poisoning myself.
I have not been tangled in a big sin struggle since I battled depression and harmful thoughts 
(which I can now say I am victorious over, by grace). 
Since then, there have only been smaller battles, 
like my thought life, 
my focus, 
and the way I treat my family

However, how much time do I spend on absolutely nothing? on frivolity?
I've been especially convicted lately of where I'm turning to for fulfillment.
Where do I go in my spare time? Where do I go for food? 
More often than not,
I'm starving myself.

I'm starving myself with things that aren't "bad." They aren't "sin."
They're FaceBook. 
They're photo editing apps.
They're eating (actual food).
They're empty conversations and texting.
They're secular music stations.

This food doesn't bring life.
None of these are wrong. 
And I still enjoy them.
They have purpose, too.
But they cannot be my fulfillment.
I'll die.

Question: How can a Christian be a full representation of the glorious life of Christ when she is starving herself of the One she is living for?

She can't.

The End.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

// T O // L I V E //

Obvious statement: 
I have a life.
A life to squander,
waste,
enjoy,
invest.
I choose what I do with it.
And by that, I choose how it's described,
summarized,
remembered.
I choose what I do with it every day, by every decision.

Every decision marks my priorities,
marks my heart,
marks my treasures.
Who (or what) is my highest priority?
Who (or what) is the defining factor of my heart?
Who (or what) is my most treasured treasure?
Assuming I die at a ripe old age
- with time to sit,
and ponder,
and regret -
for whom will I say that my life has been lived?

Will I look back and see a life fully lived,
but full of the lackluster consequences
of choices that falsely promised to satisfy?

Will I look back and see a life fully lived,
but controlled by an emotional wave
of spontaneous cravings?

Will I look back and see a life fully lived,
but completely empty?

May this not be the case.

May my life be fully lived,
but full of the glorious consequences
of choices that honor my King.

May my life be fully lived,
but controlled by the steadfastness 
of the unchanging nature of my God.

May I look back and see a life fully lived,
and fully devoted,
and fully surrendered,
and fully given,

Not for my own glory or advancement,
but for the greater, and more worthy glory and advancement of my Beloved.


Much Love, Casey's Brain's Ponderings.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Colorado Week 9!


Hey, ya'll!
The day has come for me to bring to you the final, uncreatively-named "recents" post!!!
While I'm STOKED to be home, a lot of crazy things have happened / are happening this week. Definitely some precious moments have been had.

I ran (kind of) my first 5-K with my pals:

Had our last Family Group :(

 Had a hoe-down (sorta) :
Me, Susie, and MacKenna

Bought coffee: 

And a chicken:

Received some early (precious) birthday cards:

Spent time with these ladies:

And some of my friends threw me a birthday surprise!

 But the best part about this week... 

My brother came to visit!!
It was such a precious time, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I also enjoyed him being able to get to know some of my friends here.


I can't wait to come home!:)

Anyways. Hope ya'll have a FANTASTIC weekend!!

Love, Casey

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Awed"


If we are awed
By just one glimpse,

If we are enraptured
With just a reflection,

If we are in awe
Of just one hue,

How much more will Your arrival be dazzling . . .

Friday, April 5, 2013

Colorado Week 8

I can't believe that I only have one more full week here!
Saying good-bye is going to be terrible... It's like a family here!

So. This week.

Amazing Family Group time, diving head-long into His Word:

An amazing sunrise walk:

Indoor picnic-ing:

... and chocolate fondue:

Celebrating Resurrection Sunday with these sisters:
Melissa, Me, Anna, & Lori (Melissa's sister)
Passover Seder:

First rainy day:

Fro-yo date with my home-girls:

 Sunset study times:

Wearing stripes and flowers (yep) : 

And more beautiful, still mornings:

 Hope you've had a fantastic week... with an even better weekend ahead!;)

Love, Casey

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Courageous Love : By Sarah Heffington



“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”(C.S. Lewis)
Love

Most of us hate to be in a vulnerable position. It's hard, it's uncomfortable and it's utterly exposing. Who, in their right mind would choose to experience that? When I think of vulnerability I think of open-heart surgery. A situation where you're at the complete mercy of the surgeon; tender, cut open and sensitive to whatever slice or prick his hands should do. You don't like being there, but you know that it is crucial for your life, and that in the end, it will be for the best.

Recently I've come to crossroads with the reality of selfless love. The love that exists and goes on no matter what the cost to the love-er. The love that has no limit, that has no conditions, that is never in question. The courageous love that will go to the end of the world with no fear of heartbreak, rejection or being wrung out hard.

But I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Lewis on this topic. To experience love in the purest sense possible, it cannot be selfish. It can't be feel-good and cozy at all times. After all, we love because He first loved us. And He first loved us by caring enough to come to this messed up world to die for each and every one of us sinners! Jesus is the truest example of selfless love. Being the wretches we were, He loved us so much that He faced death so that we wouldn't have to!
When I dwell on this awe-inspiring fact, I feel so small and shallow. I appreciate even more, the sacrifice He made for me, and I feel the blessing it is to be loved by God so much. And because of this love of His, I have the power to love others. To really give myself to another person and love them with Christ's love.
And yes, in this state, you are vulnerable. But you know what? Vulnerability isn't bad. It's a humble spot, yes. You are laying your heart out there for the Lord to use. And in this, there is great power.



2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
____________________

Hello you guys! My name is Sarah and  I'm 18 years old. I'm really excited to be Casey's guest today, and I wanted to share a little about myself. First of all, I am the 3rd in our beautiful family of 9 kids. I really enjoy singing, laughing , reading, playing piano, blogging, playing volleyball, photography, and hanging out with my friends. :) I love the life the Lord has given me, and try to live it to the fullest! God is so good and I seek to live in that every day. Hope you enjoy this post, and come on over and visit me at www.twos-company.blogspot.com!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake : By the Cupcake Queen

Hey, I'm Amy (A.K.A., the Cupcake Queen)!
I'm Casey's little sister, and I'm ten years old. I'm guest posting because Casey's in Colorado!

I'm writing about Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The reason we started making this, is because Casey wanted something scrumptious before she left ;) It's a simple little recipe that the whole family loved.


Gluten Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Ingrediants:
Parchment paper
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
12-16 whole maraschino cherries
1 can crushed pineapples, reserving 1/4 cup of the juice (looks prettier with sliced pineapples)
1 package yellow, gluten-free cake mix
1/4 cup (1/2 package) vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

** we also added 2 eggs to make the recipe less dense.

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Rack should be in the center of the oven)
- Grease a 9x13 pan
- Place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, and set aside

- Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.
- Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar until blended.
- Pour brown sugar mixture onto the parchment paper; spread evenly.
- Arrange pineapple and cherries to your liking over the brown sugar mixture (if you are using slices, like we did, arrange as follows).


- Beat cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, reserved 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and vanilla well (this is where we added the two eggs). Scrape down the edges of the mixture with a spatula periodically (lick if you must;)

- Carefully smooth batter over pineapple.

- Stick it in the oven for 38-42 minutes, or it's golden-brown and springy.
**if cake browns too quickly, shield with aluminum foil.

- Let the cake cool for 2-3 minutes when ready.

- Run a knife around edges of the pan, and flip onto serving plate. Peel off parchment.

- The recipe says to let cool for 20 minutes before serving, but we only waited 2-3 minutes ;) Sometimes they exaggerate ;)

- Serve with ice cream, cool whip, or whip cream (it's so good, though, you could eat it by itself!)


_____________

Thanks for letting me share!!
Until next time,
The Cupcake Queen 





Amy is one of ten kids, and an avid lover of baking...which includes her favorite: Cupcakes! She also enjoys playing with her cousins and siblings, and being crazy. She has a great sense of style, and is a fantastic dancer. She likes fluffy little puppies and acrobatics and making people laugh. She also believes in mis-matched socks.