21 Weeks And Counting!

My 22-week-challenge is almost over, can you believe it?? It totally doesn’t seem like it’s almost been 21 weeks, but I guess that’s what happens when you get a puppy…time blurs together and life becomes focused on, well, a new little life.

Technically I have a little bit more than a week left until I finish the challenge, but the 22nd week also happens to end the day that Walker’s vacation week begins…so I decided to extend the challenge out to include that week as well 😉

But what have I been up to since my last real 22-week-challenge update?? Here are some of my favorite things!

Get A Puppy

I already wrote about getting our precious little puppy, but what I didn’t say in that post is that getting a puppy was the thing on my 22-week-challenge list that I wanted more than everything else combined! If getting Penelope was the only thing I accomplished throughout the whole challenge, it would’ve been more than enough for me, so she is the hugest praise and SUCH a gift.

She has SO much energy which keeps me busy and on my toes, but she’s also a pro at chilling when she’s gotten out all her energy, and that seems to be the only time I manage to get pictures of her.

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Play hard, nap hard seems to be her philosophy about life. Hehe.

Make Tea From My Garden

I planted peppermint specifically so I could make tea at some point, and while I got the ratios wrong for the amount of fresh leaves per glass of water, it was still super lovely. It was like…so much more crisp than the dry stuff. It was kind of amazing how…clean and lovely it felt. “Clean” probably isn’t the best word, but that’s the one that is sticking for me, haha.

Dye Old Clothes

Turmeric + vinegar is MAGIC. I’ve dyed 1 dress, 1 skirt, and 1 shirt with turmeric so far and it’s my favorite natural dye ever. It’s also the only natural dye I’ve ever tried, but, I mean, it’s yellow, so clearly that makes it the best 😉

Go On Vacation With The Family + Go Camping

This was a two-in-one accomplishment that I already blogged about. But what I didn’t say was how stinkin’ cute Penelope was while waiting to go camping.

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You’re welcome 😉

Change Name On My ID Finally

Haha I finally did it! After literally 4 years of marriage, I finally changed my drivers license. It took almost 2 years before I changed my name legally with social security (because of health insurance ease purposes), and after that life was always just so crazy that taking time out to wait at the DMV for hours just didn’t feel necessary to either of us. But it’s finally done now and it feels good!

Do Something I’m Afraid Of

One of my deepest rooted fears has always been to go kayaking. One of my best friends died unexpectedly when I was 15 because he was trying to save someone who fell out of a kayak…and I’ve never been able to see water the same ever since. I also never, ever, ever wanted to ride in a kayak. I knew it was psychological, but trauma sucks and until now I wasn’t ready to overcome this particular one. But last week when I went camping with my family, I rode in a kayak for my first time. It was a special, almost sacred-feeling moment, and I ended up having a lot of fun ❤

Do Something I Know I’m Bad At

Somewhere over the years I became a notoriously disappointing baker. Haha. I was always primarily a cook, not a baker, but I used to be good enough at baking. Until one day. One day I just started failing every time I tried to bake, and for years, try as I might I couldn’t seem to shake it…until the 22-Week-Challenge that encouraged me to try and try and try until I finally succeeded! YAY!!

 Own A Goat Of My Very Own

My brothers have had goats living on my mother-in-law’s property for a few years, but when my older brother got deployed oversees at the beginning of the year they decided it was time to get rid of them.

The thought of not having any more goats BROKE my heart, so I asked Walker if we could adopt some of them and he said YES! We ended up adopting three…two mommas and one little boy! Both of the mommas happened to be pregnant when we got them so now we have NINE goats…but that crazy story is for next week!

Until then,

Yours Truly, 
~Cassia Dee

I Went Camping!!!

I went camping this past weekend and this is a huge deal 😀 Not only was it one of the things on my 22-Week-Challenge list, but I’ve never been well enough to go on one of the family trips with my dad and sibs until now, so it was an extra blessing! We camped at a warm lake and played in the water and just chilled and it was SO nice being away from the city and technology. Phones and stuff still worked there every now and then, but I left mine at home because for me camping is all about getting away from technology and resetting to a slower paced way of life…that and getting more exercise, both of which I think I accomplished pretty well.

Poor Walker was feeling sick most of the trip so he didn’t have the best time, but Penelope LOVED camping. She went from a super white puppy to a creamy-browinsh colored puppy by the time we got home, and she couldn’t have been happier! She learned to swim (ok, “learned” is a bit extra of a word, haha. She didn’t have to learn, I just put her in the water and she swam like a pro right off the bat), absolutely loved having a dozen different people to shower her with affection, and slept better at camp than she does at home…something that could probably only be said of a puppy 😉

Aside from getting away from the city, another favorite thing about camping was being able to see the stars. Sometimes I feel like it’s an injustice to our Creator that one of his most brilliant creations goes virtually unseen by the majority of us first-world dwellers, because geewilikers they were INCREDIBLE! On the last night of camp, Walker and I set up a reclining chair under the stars and looked for constellations and shooting stars. I saw 6 shooting stars I think, and we found pretty much all of the constellations that we know of, but learned that we are painfully ignorant of pretty much anything other than the big and little dippers and Cassiopeia…something I plan to change before I go camping next!

Now that I’m home and getting back into everyday life, I want to hold onto the whole less-technology thing on my own time more often. So I decided I want to start reading and writing and want to intentionally live in a state of rest better…something I’ve been trying to do, but until going camping didn’t know how to start. I’m excited to intentionally better learn to cultivate more rest and a slower pace into my life…and to do more things that require zero technology and zero schedules. Since I have come home that has looked like more journalling and more time outdoors with my goats and my plants. It also has meant getting dirtier and bombarded by ants because I didn’t realize until too late that I was standing in ant central, haha. And apparently I didn’t get them all off of me before I went indoors because one just bit me, so yah, looks like it’s time to sign off so I can take care of that problem!

Until next week,

Yours Truly, ~Cassia Dee

Lessons From A Scorched Flower Bed

After the fire 2 weeks ago, some of my plants looked like they weren’t going to make it. I planned on digging them up later on in the week and planting something new in their places, but I was surprised a few days later to see that they had no intention whatsoever of giving up on their purpose! I planted flowers, and by golly there were going to keep giving me flowers, no matter the state of their leaves and stalks.

Aside from the lettuce and strawberries, my zinnias took the biggest hit from our neighbor’s fire, and I will be honest, I had a really hard time accepting that scorched flower bed at first. It went from vibrant greens and colorful blooms to scorched browns and faded greens overnight, and waking up every morning to that sight was kind of depressing for me. So even after it had become clear that my plants were going to make it through, there were still a couple days where I contemplated digging them up and planting something not scorched in their places anyways.

But I felt a strange sort of kinship to those small flowers. There they were, budding and colorful and alive amidst scars and damage and a stereotypical lack of beauty elsewhere on the plant. They looked how I’d felt for so, so long…burned and scarred and broken and misunderstood…yet determined not to give up. And I loved them. So they stayed.

They stayed and I watched them continue to grow. I watched hummingbirds, bumblebees, and butterflies visit those flowers, drinking nectar and collecting pollen, seemingly happy as could be, all of them entirely unconcerned what those zinnias looked like to the prejudiced human eye. They didn’t care whether the leaves were vibrant and green or brown and scorched. They didn’t care if the garden wasn’t picture perfect. All they cared about was if the flowers were functioning as flowers should, and if they were bringing forth the fruit that they were supposed to bring forth. Were the plants scarred? Yes. Would they ever be restored to their former glory? No. But they were still zinnias. They were still bearing exactly the fruit that God created them to. And they were, no they are, perfect.

Our heavenly Father sees things so differently than we do. And I’ve been learning from my scorched flower bed that I don’t want to see anythingwhether flowers, people, things or anything else– through human eyes. There’s just so much pride and prejudice and partiality in us. So much judgement and condemnation in our hearts. And…well…I just really don’t want to be a part of that anymore. I want my Father’s perspective and I want to become more like him and his Son, and even though that is a fight of a lifetime, I think it’s worth it.

So while I’m learning and growing and failing and getting back up and learning and growing some more, I’ll continue watching his hummingbirds and bumblebees and my scorched flower bed…and somewhere along the way I hope to become more like them too…

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

So Many Updates, I Don’t Know Where To Start!

So. I started like 5 different health update blog posts today and kept stopping and starting another one, or turning back around and picking up the one I just left off on, because I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START! Ug. The struggle is real you guys, because every update is related to another update that I haven’t written yet, and I’m trying to figure out if it’ll make any sense to write one without the other…in short, I’m overwhelmed!

But overwhelmed in a good way, because having too many thanking-God updates to share all at once is never a problem I’ve had before when it comes to my health. It always used to be so many not happy health updates all at once that bogged me down, and those were a whole stinkin’ lot harder to find strength to write than what I have before me now. So I’m not bogged down this time, per say…I just honestly don’t even know where to begin or how to start.

So I’m putting all those other updates onto the backburner this week in exchange for this simple post that I guess isn’t really much of a post at all haha. Hopefully next week I’ll have a better grasp of everything and will figure out the best place to start all these health updates and praises, but for now, well…let’s just say I’ve been living one big miracle as of late. That’s what it feels like anyways ❤

So until I figure out how to write about my game-changing diagnosis, my miracle cure, and my simplest yet most significant health update, I’ll just say I love my heavenly Father and am so beyond so thankful for every good and perfect gift that he has been giving me…including the gift of those of you who have labored with me through my hardest years by praying for me, hurting with me, and helping me find my way through.

I love you all,

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

A Crazy Week

Last week Walker, his mom, and I got emergency evacuated from our home in the night because our neighbor’s house caught fire. A really serious fire that left the house destroyed and needing to be demolished. 8 people ended up homeless, including a bunch of kids, and it was heartbreaking.

Before the firefighters arrived and the fire got put out, Walker and I got woken up and told we had to get out. Now. There was no time to grab any of our most valuable possessions or process what was going on, there was just: Get out now!

It was crazy. We grabbed our puppy and ran out the door, seeing only vivid orange flames and thick smoke. We knew, or thought we knew, that when we got back we’d find our home hit and many of our possessions destroyed. This wouldn’t be the first time we lost nearly all our possessions because we already had to start over once before due to a horrific mold infestation, so honestly we were pretty chill about that aspect of things. Possessions were just possessions, what mattered most was that we were all safe.

But losing a home…that would be rough. And it was still so stinkin’ scary and intense all the same. So when we ran out of the house, I just prayed that God would send an angel to protect our house from being harmed by the flames. Anything was possible. Well it was late at night and we didn’t know where to go, so planned on getting a hotel nearby so my body wouldn’t experience too much stress. But I was feeling a little faint, so we stopped for food first.

The drive-thru took FOREVER, and by the time we got to the window, Walker’s mom called saying the fire had been put out. And that our house, and entire property, was completely safe.

It was such a strange, surreal feeling hearing that. How could our property have been untouched when I SAW the flames entering our property as I was leaving the house? Not even our side of the fence was burned…it just didn’t make any sense. Even my garden was completely standing, although many of the leaves and flowers were scorched…but that was it.

We got home in the middle of the night and got the HEPA filters running. I wore my smoke mask that I bought an extra of after the Napa-fire-storms 2 years before, and we kind of just sat in our house in awe. God protected us, and he protected every single one of our things. It was strange, and amazing, and humbling, and also difficult for me to process because I lost nothing while the two families who lived next door lost EVERYTHING they had. It just…I don’t know…it was just hard for me. It was this mixed flood of two very different emotions, gratitude for me and heartbreak for them, all at once. I almost felt guilty that I was spared the sorrow my neighbors were not.

But I just had to put everything back into perspective. Feeling guilty wouldn’t make anything better for them, because none of this was my fault or had anything to do with me. But I let myself feel the sorrow I was feeling on behalf of my neighbors, because I’m a mercy and feeling other people’s pain like it’s my own is a gift –although an extremely difficult and painful one– that God decided to create me with. And I want that gift to move me to love more, pray more, and do more of whatever God has put me on this earth to do.

I used to try to stuff my empathy in a box so people would stop calling me so weak. But I’ve since learned that my empathy is not weakness. It actually takes a whole lot more strength to feel everyone’s pain so strongly and not get hardened, than it does to harden yourself from being able to feel or get hurt. Trust me, I would know.

So with the tragedy and blessing of last week I’m letting myself feel both emotions fully. I’m letting myself be completely heartbroken for my neighbors every time I go outside and see their destroyed home, and I’m letting myself be in grateful awe for my own blessings, and for the blessing of firefighters, and for the angel that I can’t help but truly believe God sent to protect our home and everything we have ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

A Passion For More Life

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed that humans have a tendency to destroy the things that they touch. We tend to make more chaos and bring more death the longer we’re around, and honestly, that’s heartbreaking to me. God is a creator and a life-giver, and we’re made in the image of God…so why do we produce so much death and destruction? I got convicted about that a while back, and since then have been asking God how I can bring more life into this world instead of death, destruction, or an abundance of waste. The answer to my prayers seemed to be small and simple: Cultivate more life right where I am. Start at home.

Throughout my life I’ve heard something said very, very often: “One person isn’t going to change the world/stop killing/stop waste/end pollution/etc., so why bother?” I don’t like that mindset, because it kind of implies that the only reason we should try to do good is if we know we will succeed in a big way. And I just don’t agree with that. I’ve been making a lot of little changes in my life as of late, but I haven’t made any of those changes because I’m trying to change others or start a movement or anything…I’ve been changing my life because it’s been changing me. It’s been changing my heart. And in the long run, it’s changed hearts that will make all the difference in the world.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [food, water, clothing] will be given to you,” Jesus says in the gospels. And I don’t know about you, but when I think of a kingdom ruled by God alone, I think of life. Life in all its potential, all its beauty, all its splendor…unending life everywhere we look. And if God wants us to seek his heavenly will while we’re here on earth, then I want to do what I can to honor that request by cultivating a passion within me for more life. 

We are all on our own journey, and right now this is mine ❤

Yours Truly, 
~Cassia Dee

Enter The Flower Forest…

Sooo…
The last time I posted an update about my garden, it looked like this:

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All cute and tiny and Cassia-sized, complete with a little fairy garden in the making.

Well. Haha, prepare yourselves, because this is the updated version of my flower bed…

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Now it’s quite literally Cassia-sized. As in, the height of yours truly! At least, nearly 😉 I planted flower seeds and ended up with a flower forest, and I love it SO, so much!
(and by the way, the fairy garden is still in there…somewhere…)

My garden has been exploding over the last week, and I can’t wait to share more about it in the weeks to come, but that’s all for today! Puppy training has been SO MUCH WORK, but so incredibly rewarding. Penelope is the best puppy I could ever ask for. She’s insanely cuddly and affectionate and loving, not to mention the ultimate spaz. Haha. So even though it’s been a lot of work, it’s been the best. Walker and I love her to pieces!

Anyways, I’d say my 22-week challenge has been incredibly successful so far, wouldn’t you?? 🙂

Until next time,

Yours Truly, 
~Cassia Dee

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

YOU GUYS.

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Meet Penelope! My 2 month old maltipoo!
I. Am. In. Love.
!!!
*10,000 heart eyes*

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The Story:
Walker and I have been saving up for a tiny therapy doggie for a couple of years, and since Walker is allergic to dogs, only hypoallergenic dogs were an option. But hypoallergenic dogs are a LOT more expensive than other dogs, so for a long time there it felt like we’d never be able to afford one. When we finally had enough saved up to start looking for a toy poodle (toy is the size between teacup and miniature), plot twist, I ended up hospitalized which wiped out all those savings and then some. It was looking like it’d be around a year before medical bills were paid off and puppy savings could start up again, so I quietly gave up my dream of getting a dog, thanking God lots and lots that we still had our goats (and one of them basically thinks she’s a dog anyways, so it was the next best thing 😉 hehe).

Well, plot twist again!!!

It turns out that the whole time I thought my doggie dreams were over, my sister Charis had a GoFundMe set up…completely unbeknownst to me. She set it up in March sometime after my hospitalization, and many incredibly wonderful people were giving towards it. When my family gave me the money at church, I definitely cried. It was honestly surreal for me because I had just come to total acceptance that I wasn’t going to get my therapy pet after all. It took a while to sink in, and by the time it did…I already had a puppy!!

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Which was the third plot twist! Haha. See, I planned on doing loads of doggie research and preparation before getting a puppy, because I heard that puppies are like babies in the responsibility department and I have a huge thing about being responsible. But God basically dropped this girl into my lap 2 days ago, and as soon as I saw her TINY, adorable little face and held all one-and-a-half pounds of her in my arms I just…it was all over.

And now for the most important part of this post…

I want to thank the incredible, loving, and caring people who made this fluff-cloud of cuddles, love, and joy possible. Thank you Charis, Annelise, Leah, Felicia, Alatheia, Dakota, Hayley, Mandy, Edgar, Cindy, Kison, Roy, Tilly, Kara, Sheryl, Janna, Kayra, Sierra, Julianna, Marika, the anonymous givers that I don’t have the privilege of personally thanking by name, and my nightshift doggy-duty hero WALKER who is the only reason I could ever have a puppy at my current state of health. Some of you I know super well, some of you very little, and some of you I do not know at all…thank you.

Thank you for my little miracle puppy! My heart is so full and I am so happy. I smile all day long and I love my little Penelope SO much! Because of each of you I have a puppy and enough money left over to pay for a couple hours of therapy-dog training when she gets a little older. I don’t know how to express my gratitude fully enough, and am still so overwhelmed by your love. I will never, ever forget this for the rest of my life ❤

May God bless you all as much as you you have blessed me,

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

P.S. Even with a good night’s rest, I’m still EXHAUSTED with all this puppy potty training haha…so don’t expect me back on the blog for at least a couple of weeks 😉 *hugs*

Look At Them! ^_^

At the beginning of my 22-week-challenge I tossed seeds all over my flower garden, praying that at least some of them would sprout, and just look at them!!!

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The purple flowers were not grown from seeds but from a small plant that’s taken off so happily, and this photo is actually from last week, so my flowers are even bigger now! But I caught a really icky sickness and it’s insanely hot outside soooo…yeah, updated photo not happening today 😉 But soon!

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee