**Most of this blog is for girls only! Any boys, please only read the posts linked to in the "For Boys" page on the sidebar. Thank you.**

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lessons, joys, etc // Week 2

{Original  picture by photosteve101 and Flickr Creative Commons. Text added.}

Lessons and reminders:
 ~ Boy's aren't everything. (Well thanks, Sherlock! :P)
 ~ Beauty is often seen best in a storm, or in darkness.
 ~ Christmas began with pain - the pain of childbirth, the pain that wrenched God's heart as He watched His dear Son enter this messed-up world.
 ~ And in despair I bowed my head: // "There is no peace on earth," I said, // "For hate is strong and mocks the song // Of peace on earth, good will to men." // Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: // "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; // The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, // With peace on earth, good will to men."

 ~ My 'little' (taller than I am and many more times as buff) brother comforting a primary schooler during a storm.
 ~ Petrol pumps.
 ~ Music.
 ~ Electricity.
 ~ 'Wall of blessings' at church.
 ~ Blue dresses.
 ~ Vietnamese food.
 ~ Plays - one sweet, one funny.
 ~ Spiders (the drink, not the creature :P. Still don't know why they're called that...).
 ~ Candles.
 ~ Just mum and I at home for a full day!
 ~ Favourite carols.
 ~ Nights hours just talking with a bunch of friends. And day hours, for that matter.
 ~ Hokey-pokey ice cream - always a fave.
 ~ Looking back on the most epic school year ever.

'Sniffle moments:'
 ~ Finishing grade 11. This year has been the best ever, and I'm actually sad to see it go.
 ~ Last performance with the musical theatre company I'm in.

Cassie xoxoxo

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Lessons from a storm

{Photo credit to Mike Lewinski and Flickr Creative Commons}

It was huge. 

We were at our homeschooling co-op, up in the hall, practicing our little plays. The mums saw it coming, and rushed to bring everything under cover downstairs. Then they brought umbrellas up – just in time. It hit, a fury of rain, as hard as I’ve ever see it come, lightning, cracking thunder, a gale of a wind, and soon, hail. (They later told us that is was equivalent to a Category 2 cyclone.) It was scary, and wonderful all at the same time. We gave up talking and just stood together, watching it sprinkle through the glass louvers, praying they wouldn’t crack, praying protection on our cars, praying our audience wouldn’t drive in this storm. My brother sat on the stage with a crying primary schooler tucked in his arms, gently comforting her. We couldn't go downstairs. We could only wait.

It eventually passed. Although it was still pouring, we ventured downstairs, in twos and three, dashing past the broken gutter that spewed water on top of our umbrellas, and managed to get us, too. We laughed in the drenching wetness, and shrieked our fun, and eventually got everyone into the dry downstairs. None of our cars were significantly damaged. No costumes were wet. The hall was still dry, the glass louvres intact.  Our audience arrived, the plays went of pretty much without a hitch, we laughed and talked together after cleaning up. We drove home.

We got home to a blackout. Fetched torches, lit candles. No internet to check the storm's progress. No oven clocks to know the time in an instant. We moved towards bed.

And then I looked outside the window.

And saw the stars. 

Since the surrounding suburbs were in blackout, the light pollution was reduced significantly. I could see a few of the fainter stars. The clouds had rolled back, and the night sky glowed with more pinpricks of light than I usually see above our cluttered city. I went outside and sat on the cold fence, simply staring upward and soaking in beauty. Beauty that needed a storm, and a blackout, to see. 

The power was still out in the morning. No toast. No email checking. Which, though inconvenient, was nice. It made space. It opened a margin in my life. I felt strangely uncluttered. A blackout teaches you how much you rely on electricity, and the internet. But you know what I missed most?


We usually have music of one sort or another going during after-breakfast clean-up. Instead, there was silence. I was craving a tune. I pulled out our batteries and racked my brains thinking of a device that was battery-powered in our house. Ah, yes! Our piano! Praying they would fit, and work, I pushed them in, and held down the power button. Life!! I sat down, and played O, Holy Night, thrilling in the glorious music. Music was no longer just another thing in my life, another convenience. It was beauty. Holy blessing. And it took a storm, and a blackout, to show me that.

Our power came back on this afternoon. I literally cried, "Hallelujah!" and ran to switch on the computer. It was wonderful to see emails from dear friends, and send songs humming through the speakers. My life does feel a bit more cluttered now. 

But I saw beauty through the storm, and through the darkness that followed. 

No matter what storm you're in now, now matter how dark the blackout that surrounds you, may you see beauty too. May you look up and see the stars of God's faithfulness. May you listen to the glorious sound of His plan, whether you feel it strong inside you or only remember it as fact in your head.

Cassie xoxoxo

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lessons, joys and more // Week 1

 Once a week I hope to start posting these little logs of the lessons God has taught me this week, and the joys (big and little) that He has given me. I know I find it encouraging when I see other bloggers sharing the blessings of the past week/month/whenever. They point me to the wonderfulness of Christ. So here's this week's.

Lessons and reminders:
 ~ The ultimate reason for marriage is because the two can serve Christ better together than apart. 
 ~ Service to Christ is the ultimate reason for being alive, and the only worthy pursuit in this world.
 ~ Today I am called to singleness. Never mind the future. Today it is my calling.
 ~ My happiness is the wrong motive for being pure. A response to Christ's sacrifice is the right             motive.
 ~ If I have to 'disconnect' from my relationship with Christ to do an activity (i.e. watch a movie, have     'me' time) it does not belong in my life.
 ~ Am I spending my time to glorify God? (Oh boy, this one is a constant trip-up for me. :/)

 ~ A grandfather who doesn't constantly writhe around from his Parkinson's disease (this is the result       of a wonderful operation).
 ~ Smelling a newly open packet of TimTams. (You guys living in countries devoid of TimTams are       sorely deprived.)
 ~ Work feeling like family for the first time.
 ~ Boys (a friend and a brother) fixing all my problems (or at least trying their best).
 ~ Encouraging, challenging, phone call with one of my best friends who I haven't caught up with in       too long.
 ~  Hilarious practice of a short play.
 ~ Absolutely, utterly gorgeous instrumental music (discovered Dustin O'Halloran!).
 ~ Siblings talking about Bach, and Beethoven, and Vivaldi.
 ~ Free Christmas album from one of my favourite bands! (Sleeping at Last.)
 ~ Getting into the Christmas spirit via carols (call me early, I don't care. Really, Christian Christmas     carols should be all-year-round, I think). 
 ~ Laughing over old scrapbooks with a dear friend.
 ~ Red cordial. 
 ~ Hidden Christian themes in "The Truman Show."
 ~ Free simulcasts from Leslie Ludy.

Why don't you leave a comment below with some things God has blessed you with or taught you this week? I'd love to hear them!

Cassie xoxoxo

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Entrusted, Not Given

{Photo credit to Kris and Flickr Creative Commons}
So today I was reading "Money, Possessions and Eternity" by Randy Alcorn (amazing book, must-read if you haven't already, highly challenging!). And I read this passage:

"Servants should be acutely aware that they are not the owners, or the masters, but only caretakers or money managers. It's their job to take the assets entrusted (not given) to them and use them wisely to care for and expand the master's estate."
~Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, pg 148.

 When I saw that phase, "not given," I immediately thought of something I'd been pairing the word 'given' with in my head recently. 


I've had a few interesting (and awesome!) situations recently where God has very clearly 'given' me a renewed/enriched friendship with different friends. For example, an old friend contacted me again, and so we've been chatting more. Two of my friendships have grown deeper in the past few weeks. I was getting (internally) frustrated with another friend, because they had stopped initiating conversations. After wrestling with it, I asked God, "If you want this friendship to go ahead, please make them initiate." Next day, they initiated twice. And then again the next day. Pretty clear answer!

 So anyway, I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, God has been so good in giving me these friendships!" That is, until I read the above passage. And realised that God had not 'given' them to me. He had entrusted them to me!  My first reaction was, "Oooohhhh!!! So they're not 'mine,' they're His, and I need to grow and nurture them for His glory! And yes, God has designed it so that some of my need for love and companionship is filled (though it can ultimately only be filled by God), but these friendships are tools for His glory, just like money!" And my second reaction was, "Oh my goodness, God considers me worthy enough to entrust me relationships? Woah... what a responsibility!" And obviously He helps us steward and navigate relationships, just like He helps us steward money. But it was quite a revelation just putting them in this 'stewardship' light. My friendships are not mine at all (except in the sense that they involve me). They are God's, and His to use how He wishes through me.

Cassie xoxox