Monday, September 28, 2009

A Step of Faith

For the last 5 months, we have been trying to sell our townhouse by owner. We had a buyer – she backed out. We lowered our price – still no other offers. We decided to list with a realtor, even though we’ve lowered our price so much that we are already losing money, let alone the $5,000+ we would have to pay a realtor. But without another option, we were ready to sign with a realtor this week.

Joel was out of town this weekend visiting friends, so I was preparing Sunday morning for our last open house as “for sale by owner” when our realtor called about the house we wanted to purchase. She informed me there was another offer placed on the house, and we had to decide if we were going to take the subject to sale contingency off the purchase agreement we had signed, or if we wanted to lose the house. Oh, and I had 1 hour to decide. With Joel out of town, a dirty house, and 1 hour to decide what to do, I naturally started to panic.

Do we skip this house and find a different one? Do we bite the bullet and get the house, even though ours has not sold in five months? How can I hold an open house in less than two hours? I immediately called Joel so we could make our decision, then I called my mom so she could help me clean/watch Brady.

I had all of 30 minutes to think about this decision before I signed the paperwork. I am a planner, I like to be in control, I don’t like risk or the unknown. This decision was all of those things. It impacted the financial well-being of our family. I didn’t want to make a decision based on emotion.

While we were trying to decide, I kept hearing a voice in my head say, “How much faith do you have, Cassie? How much faith?” Over and over this voice just pounded at me with the same nagging question, to the point where I was thinking, “ENOUGH! We have to make this decision on our own!” God wouldn’t be equating faith to something as silly as buying a house, so this obviously is not God and I just need to concentrate! I took a couple breaths, Joel called, and he thought we should go ahead and buy the house.

Once the papers were signed, I felt an immediate relief and calm come over me. Instead of “oh crap, what did we just do”, I really felt like we were making the right decision. I just prayed for a buyer.

The open house was a flop. No one was coming. It was un-advertised, but still, would not even one person come? Then, one familiar-looking lady came to the door. She had been here a few months ago and was bringing some friends along to look at the house. She said she had been thinking about the house for weeks now, and this was “the one”. Today, I received a call from her and we are signing a purchase agreement tonight.

Could God have made the buyer come first so we didn’t have to make this choice? Yes. But I truly believe He used this situation for a reason; not only to “test” our faith, but He was also providing an opportunity for us to exercise our faith in His plan (2 Corinthians 13:5). And while it’s not always easy, He will in fact work all things together for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). I believe we are being rewarded for listening to Him.

Now I know it’s a house; it’s not like we moved to Africa to help starving children or something. But it’s a pretty big step for this normally-cautious girl who has always had issues with handing control of her life over to God. I usually ask God to bless me where I’m at instead of meeting Him where He is. Think if we had let this house go, only to have a buyer come to our door minutes later. How upset and sad would we have been? How great is the reward for obedience? We would have settled on a different house – but as much as we have looked and looked, it would not have been as good as this one.

Is God waiting to bless your life in some way, if only you would listen to Him? He never promised this life would be easy – but He does promise that if we take up our crosses daily and follow Him, we will be rewarded eternally, and on this Earth.

Things could still go wrong – until we hand over the keys, we are not out of the woods. But I know it’s all going to be alright, because for once in my life, I chose to take a step of faith instead of settling for an outcome that I orchestrated. While most days my faith isn’t anything to brag about, we know that even with the tiniest faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Or, in my case, I can move into the house God has prepared for my family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bug-Eyed

I have to be honest; I don't understand Hollywood fashion trends. I don't know if I'm just getting older, or they are getting sloppier, but to me, the biggest names in Hollywood look closer to homeless people than Hollywood starlets. And it's not just the women - the guys don't cut their hair, don't shave, and are sporting their own version of the "homeless" fashions.

Take the big sunglasses trend. Who ever thought it was a good idea to wear sunglasses that overtake your entire face and make you look like an insect? I'm not talking about slightly larger than normal glasses....I'm talking about the ones that look like they swallowed your face.

Or how about skinny jeans and flannel prints with high heels. That combo just doesn't make sense to me - period.

Now let's talk hair. It seems the longer and messier it is, the more "in style" you are considered to be. I feel like most days, I could simply roll out of bed and be ready to go, "hollywood style". I guess we should be glad that the trend requires more, not less, clothing to be worn, but I don't want to look like a bum, either, to be considered "fashionable".

Hollywood, I beg you: groom yourselves! Brush your hair! Wear ONE pair of pants with ONE shirt. I don't know about you, but I am ready for this bug-eyed, farmer flannel, homeless hair "style" to pass.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welcome to the Real World

At some point in time, we all have a teacher who impacts us – who we never forget. In middle school, it was Mrs. Porter. In high school, Mr. Beeken took my love of music to levels I didn’t know existed. He demanded excellence in his goofballish ways, and we gave it to him.

In college, it was Susanne. Professor Gubanc, I think, was her official title (I just called her Goober to my roommates because that is what she could be at times!). She was the most liberal, feminist, lesbian woman I’ve ever known, but I learned a lot from her, I expanded the sheltered box I lived in my whole life. I still have my beliefs and morals, but I was not as close-minded after her class. She was eventually asked to resign, I think, right after I graduated, and she wasn’t the greatest professor necessarily, but she had more passion for what she believed in than anyone I know, and for that I admire her.

Susanne always preached to us about the “real world”. She had a zero tolerance policy when it came to assignments being late. There was no wiggle room because in the “real world”, she would say, you don’t get to forget about a due date, or get an extension.

One unfortunate Monday evening after I consumed what had to be close to an entire bag of strawberry twizzlers, I came down with the stomach flu. I was out on the hall sick much of the night. My poor roommate, Macy, sat up with me since I couldn’t sleep. At 3 a.m., there isn’t much on the tv – I think we ended up watching a show about implants or bras or something. I had the aches, chills, fever – all of it. It was one of the most miserable times of my life.

Knowing how Susanne was with her assignment due dates, I anticipated that I might not be able to complete a paper that was due for her class Wednesday morning. Seeing as I could barely move let alone type a coherent paper, I wrote her an e-mail Tuesday morning explaining the gravity of the situation. Her response: “I hope you feel better. The paper is due Wednesday.”

I made a miraculous recovery on Tuesday – it was thankfully just a 24-hour virus. I managed to get the paper written and probably did well on it. But that has stuck with me for years simply because of her unwillingness to compromise.

Now that I am part of the “real world”, I find Susanne’s zero tolerance policy completely erroneous. There are many times I miss a deadline, or have to call in sick and postpone a deadline. I don’t always get things done on time – who does? I still have a job. I am good at my job, in fact. So while part of me understands that I was still expected to complete the paper on time, I am also insulted that she did not have enough trust in me to know I was truly sick. Simpson is a small school, and I had her for several classes –she was my advisor, in fact! She knew me well enough to know I was not bluffing. I was being proactive by e-mailing her ahead of time, yet it didn’t matter. I wish I knew Susanne today, because I would love to tell her what my “real world” like. And if there is a job that exists where you are not allowed one ounce of wiggle room, well, I am not interested in that job, anyway.

Oh, and to this day I still do not eat strawberry twizzlers….

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ten Things

I just felt like posting a random list of things about me, so here you go. Ten little things you may or may not have known about me:

1. I want to be extraordinary at something.

2. I fear spiders. Snakes, roaches, mice….all fine. Spiders = terrifying.

3. I am almost as afraid of failure as I am of spiders. Both fears are crippling and destructive at times, in different ways.

4. I love my son more than I knew I could. He irritates me, annoys me, screams at me, hits me, talks back to me, disobeys me….and I love it (mostly). Oh, and he’s 10 months old.

5. I am inspired by people who love life simply because they have it to live.

6. We spend our entire childhood being told what to do and what not to do, wishing we could just be free to decide for ourselves. Now that I am an adult, I sometimes desperately wish someone would tell me what to do or not to do. This is especially true when it comes to my profession.

7. I used to dance and make up songs all the time when I was little. We have some of them on video tape. If you ever need a laugh, you should take a listen to “If You Want To Cross The Street…”

8. I have an afro. When I was in 3rd grade, my mom thought it would be a good idea to cut my hair up to my chin. Thus the infamous triangle hair cut. My hair has never been that short since then, and if it were, it would literally stick straight out from my head.

9. I love the TV show FRIENDS and watch it every night to fall asleep (sorry, Joel!). You can ask me anything about that show and I probably know it. If I somehow don’t, my cousin or sister will. :) If there was a game show based on FRIENDS trivia, the three of us would win every time, no contest.

10. When I was little, I imagined that there were snakes between my bed and the wall, so I would lay perfectly still in the middle of my bed. I also would cover my head with the blankets and imagine mice were dancing around me. I don’t know what my deal was with rodents, but I certainly had an active imagination!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Braille on the Steering Wheel


Joel, Brady, and I were recently traveling to Michigan for a friend’s wedding. I was driving the Durango when something suddenly occurred to me. In the 4+ years we have owned the Durango, and in the 10+ years I have been driving, I always felt those little bumps on the cruise control buttons and assumed they were….wait for it…..Braille.
I just logically thought they were Braille dots, like on a bathroom door, to help the visually impaired navigate life a little easier. I don’t know why this particular day I connected the dots (pause a moment for that pun), but as I sat there driving with my thumbs smoothing over those bumps on the cruise control, I slowly began to realize the idiocy of having Braille on a steering wheel. Where did I think that blind person was going to drive? I laughed out loud at my realization.
There are times in life when I realize something I’ve believed or felt for so long is totally and completely idiotic. The world tells me I’m ugly, the magazines say I’m fat, the judges tell me I’m untalented, so I believe all those things. I accept those ideas as truth without really contemplating the lunacy of those ideas. Like the Braille on my steering wheel, I simply accept those “truths” for what they are, without ever questioning their existence, their meaning, or their validity.
Who are you, or rather who am I, to judge God’s creation as anything less than perfect? By whose standards am I ugly, fat, untalented? I don’t think I really want to try living up to those standards anymore, because they are just too hard to please. Trying to please the world takes far too much time and energy that could be put to use elsewhere, and all for what? A stamp of approval from Clinton Kelly that my wardrobe flatters my waistline? No thanks. It’s hard most of the time, to not get caught up in the world’s expectations of who I should be or what I should look like. I want to feel beautiful and talented. But on the days that I wake up and realize I was beautifully made exactly as I am, it’s like realizing those bumps are not Braille on my steering wheel, and I cannot help but laugh.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A New Journey


“My purpose in making this wonderful journey is not to delude myself but to discover myself in the objects I see” ~Goethe

When I was in 8th grade, one of my teachers (I don’t even remember which class) made us keep journals as part of our grade for the year. I had never written in a journal – the closest thing I had to a journal was an occasional diary entry about the boy I currently liked.

For some reason, once I got into the habit of journaling, I was hooked. I could barely go a day without writing down my thoughts. Granted, in 8th grade they still were pretty much just about my friends/crushes and who I liked/disliked at the moment. But still, something about writing that stuff down hooked me. I couldn’t wait to write about my day, usual or unusual, ordinary or extraordinary. I continued to journal for several years. I don’t really remember why I stopped or why it stopped being a part of me. I love to look back at those tattered pages and “relive” my youth.

I want to believe that although I was too immature and young to realize it, journaling was my way of connecting with God each day. It was my daily quiet time, my chance to reflect on the day in the comfort of my childhood room. I have tried a couple times since, without success, to rekindle the fire I once had for journaling. So in a combined attempt to do so again, and to meet up with the 21st century, I am starting a blog. I thoroughly enjoy reading others’ blogs and find myself getting hooked if someone is especially thoughtful, insightful, or just entertaining. Even if I never am any of those things for anyone else, I might just find something significant in myself in the process.

9/9/09. Seems like a good day to start a new journey….


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