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

 

Little Expressions

It’s been 6 weeks since I’ve picked up blogging again and it has felt like coming home. With how crazy-hard life has been these last few years, I haven’t really felt…settled in a long time. So having this little corner of the internet up and going again has been really special, and I’m happy to say that I’m now feeling ready to bring back another piece of myself that I’ve had hidden away for a really long time…my poetry. Well, I don’t know if “poetry” is the correct word, but it’s the little words, often rhyming and sometimes with melodies, that I use to express little (or big) pieces of my heart. It’s the form of writing that helps me work through, process, express, and find healing from painful things that I otherwise don’t always know how to talk about or work through. It’s always been a strange and beautiful thing to me how a simple rhyme can help me tap into my biggest hurts and deepest fears and help me bring clarity and healing from them. It’s also really special to me because it’s a way to be real and feel heard without having to explain anything or even show my words to anyone, because the simple act of writing them is enough.

Poetry is just really healing, so whether it’s old songs or new little expressions, I’m really happy to have a place to share them again ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Just In Case You’re Feeling Fed Up With These Produce Prices…

I have a little secret for you all…You know how some people can get really cranky before they’ve had their morning cup of coffee? Welllll, I feel that way if I haven’t eaten enough vegetables. Haha. I need my veggies. Like really, really, really need them. And I can eat vegetables like a kid eats candy. Especially asparagus and brussel sprouts, currently. I’m a wierdo like that, but a weirdo with healthy habits, so I’ve definitely learned to embrace it 😉

Well, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but produce prices have gone THROUGH THE ROOF in recent months. We’re working towards starting a veggie garden to help out with that, but in the meantime Imperfect Produce has been helping us out a lot. So just in case any of you are looking for more affordable produce right now as well, I thought I’d drop a quick post about them!

Walker and I have been ordering produce through Imperfect Produce for a couple years, off and on. And now that produce prices are just insane in the grocery stores, we’re becoming full-time Imperfect shoppers. They don’t deliver everywhere, but if you live nearby me, there are a lot higher chances that they deliver in your area.

Check out Imperfect Produce!

You can totally opt not to use my above referral link, but it will give you $10 off your first box, and give me some store credit as well, if you do choose to use it 🙂

That’s all for today! Just wanted to hopefully help somebody save a few bucks!

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

P.S. Customer service was awesome both times that I had a problem with my order, so if something ever goes wrong just make sure you reach out to the company right away! Hopefully your experience will be as great as ours has been ❤

Health Updates: Part One

Once upon a time…I stopped sleeping like a normal person. I was around 12 years old. And by the time I was 15, I was hardly sleeping at all. I spent more and more time in bed, trying to get some rest, but I rarely slept.

Fast forward 12 years, and I was still in the same boat. Fast forward to February of this year and I found myself sleeping less and less…and less, until a whole month passed where I had hardly slept a wink. My body had given out some time before, and now it was my brain’s turn. That’s when I ended up hospitalized for a week.

While sleep deprivation has been one the biggest causes of all my health complications this whole time, I got into the habit of not making a big deal about it after years of people calling my sleeping problems a spiritual issue when it was actually a physical one. I was told countless times that if I trusted God better, surrendered to God more, and read the Bible and prayed more, I would sleep. Sometimes the verse “God gives his beloved sleep” was quoted to me as “proof” that if God wasn’t giving me sleep, then I must be in sin. They said that if I wasn’t in sin, I would be his beloved and I would be sleeping…it that was really condemning, hurtful, and untrue. God always did love me, so not talking about my insomnia made the trial a lot easier to bear. But it was a really lonely road filled with so many tears and prayers.

I tried diets, herbs, medicine, and every lifestyle change in the book that people said helped with sleep, but success was never consistent, if there was any success at all. It was exhausting on every level, and super, insanely hard. Especially because the less I slept, the more my body got plagued with head-to-foot chronic pain. And the more pain I was in, the harder it was to sleep. It was a vicious cycle.

When I ended up hospitalized, I was drugged up so that all I did for a couple days was sleep, eat, talk briefly to doctors and nurses, and sleep some more. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life…I had no idea what I was missing all these years!! I couldn’t believe people slept almost every night of their lives and took it for granted…sleep was magic!

After a couple days of sleep I was feeling like myself again. I asked the doctors what happened to make me temporarily lose my mind and they said it was all sleep deprivation. They asked me a bunch of questions, like when did I stop sleeping, was I abused, did I experience trauma, etc., and got to the bottom of everything. They explained that the trauma, abuse, and severe stress throughout my life injured and exhausted my body to the point of depleting some of the critical hormones and chemicals that the human body and brain needs to function, one of which probably ran out when I was as young as 11 years old. How I made it this long without a mind and body collapse actually could be considered a miracle, and I can’t tell you how many doctors, patients, and health professionals have been telling me that I am an anomaly, an inspiration, and the kind of success story that leaves them not even knowing what to say. That’s the power of God for you 🙂

The medicine I received from the doctors in March is a man-made version of a natural chemical that our bodies need to survive and function, and God used that medicine to save my life…And give me sweet, sweet sleep! It is amazing and humbling to wake up each day knowing that I would not still be here if we didn’t have the kind of advanced medical treatment that we have today. I’m just so thankful for Walker’s amazing health insurance, for such a wonderful hospital as John Muir, and for all the doctors who’ve dedicated the last who-knows-how-many-years of their life to helping people. And I’m so thankful for anyone who prayed for me…even once. God has been using your prayers, and while I am not well yet, every day I am getting better ❤ (thanks to this and another HUGE answer to prayer that I’ll write about as soon as I can!)

Love always,
~Cassia Dee

Day 22

Three weeks down of my 22-week-challenge and I’m having a great time! Here are some of my favorite things that I’ve accomplished from the last 2 weeks…

Progress on my garden

My favorite part of this whole challenge has for sure been the gardening aspect of things!  I am LOVING watering my garden each day and checking to see if there’s any new growth. I currently have over 30 sprouts, I believe, most of which seem to be California poppies and marigolds. And I believe I recognize a nasturtium plant as well. But as I’m a total amateur to gardening only time will tell if my guesses are correct or not 🙂

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I’ve also had other gardening adventures over the week (including a new sunhat that I LOVE), but I’ll try to make that next week’s post.

22 Sightings

We recycled, I believe, over a year of recycling the other week (sparkling water is my and Walker’s greatest weakness of all time), and of course there just happened to be 22lbs of bottles and cans! Haha! Seriously though, what are the odds?

Cross-Stitch a coaster

I’m brand new to cross-stitching this year and had only made one other thing so far, so endeavoring to cross-stitch a coaster was actually a really big challenge for me. I ended up finding that I love cross-stitching though, because it reminds me of coloring. It takes a lot of time and patience, but it’s so satisfying to see the progress 🙂

Here’s the finished result!

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It’s supposed to be a happy cloud pouring colorful rain…not a cupcake. 😉 Ten points to whoever guessed correctly!

Fail more

A couple of my honorable fails have been trying to cross-stitch free-hand onto clothing and failing horrendously, baking something but accidentally spilling in a gallon of vanilla extract *exaggeration alert* into the mix and it tasted disgusting, AND getting caught in the crossfire of urine by our male goat. If you’ve smelled a male goat then you know that this is not something that anybody aspires to in life >_< haaaa.

Watch a movie and eat fruit loops as popcorn

I have been waiting, I don’t know, 5 years or so to be healthy enough to do this! So believe me when I tell you how special this was for me ^_^. Everybody has that weird thing that they do when everyone else is doing something else, and eating fruit loops instead of popcorn as a treat every now and then is one of my many weird things 😉

That’s all for now! Thanks for following my adventure thus far ❤

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

A Change Of Heart

In March my brain almost died from sleep deprivation and I ended up in the hospital for a week. It was a super scary time because for a day or two neither I nor anybody else knew if I would get my memories back or truly remember who I was ever again.

While it was super scary, it was also one of the best times of my life because of how God used it to strengthen and heal me in so many ways. I witnessed my Heavenly Father carrying me and sustaining me even when I didn’t know who I was and couldn’t comprehend the first thing about complicated Biblical doctrines and stuff. And that whole experience just reminded me of what really matters most with faith…our hearts. I think it’s always been about our hearts and about loving God and loving people and about how that love changes us and naturally results in us wanting more of his will and less of our own.

For the first month out of the hospital, I didn’t read anything in the Bible. My brain was still so fragile that I wasn’t yet able to handle all the confusing words. So I just rested on that fact that God loved me and understood mental disabilities and would always, for the rest of my life, meet me just where I was. And I knew that even if I were never able to understand the Bible ever again, that would be enough to sustain me until God took me home.

But thank God my brain did get stronger. I started with two of my favorite books, James and Matthew, and continued on through the rest of the gospels, and it was one of the most freeing things in my life. I really began understanding, I think, more of what Jesus was talking about when he said that you had to return and become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Because at that time I had the brain of a little child in so many ways. A brain that couldn’t handle anything complicated or confusing, but that needed things to be as simple as possible. In a lot of ways, I didn’t really have a brain…I just had my heart. A heart that just wanted to hear God’s truths and love him and follow him and be with him. And you know what? That was enough. And based on all that I’ve been reading lately in the OT and New, I think that always has been, ultimately, what God most wants from us…a heart that wants God and his will more than it wants anything else.

And I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m so thankful for love. I’m so thankful for grace.

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

Week One, CHECK!

Hey guys!!

So it’s been officially a week since I started my 22 week challenge and here are the things I’ve completed so far…

Plant something in my garden

The first thing that I did, right on April 22nd, was get my garden started! We’ve had a pile of soil forming in our backyard from old alfalfa from our goats, rain, sun, and however soil forms from that kind of stuff (it’s been pretty cool to watch happen. God sure put a system in place that doesn’t seem to waste anything in nature…it’s pretty amazing!). And while the soil probably needed another season in the elements to be perfect for gardening, I still wanted to try using it. So Walker and I bought a couple bags of ground-prepping soil to mix in (this was after a month or 2 of LOTS of weed pulling and tilling) and I got to work with a 4×4 gardening bed…

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(And yes, I tilled that whole pile of soil behind me all by myself. I’m getting stronger ^_^)

We bought a dying plant on clearance that I had been nursing back to health, so I planted that in the bed as well as lots of different flower seeds. BUT instead of planting the seeds in the way you’re directed to on the seed packets…I tried another less conventional method that I like to think of as a “Kingdom of Heaven” object lesson hehe. I’d been reading the gospels a LOT and was really meditating on all the stuff Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven, and good soil, and how our heavenly Father cares for the sparrows and clothes the flowers of the field with splendor, and I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if I threw “gardening wisdom” to the wind and just tossed seeds all over my garden with nothing but love and a prayer that the good seeds would produce fruit. I figured if nothing grew in a couple weeks, I’d start over and do things properly, but I really wanted to try it this way first.

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(Spoiler alert: it doesn’t look like there’ll be any starting over with this flower bed! ^_^)

Repot house plants

I was super nervous to do this, because I had it in my mind that I’d kill them if I tried, but I had three plants that are now 4 because 1 of them outgrew its pot and needed to be separated into two 🙂 So far they have not died! YAY!

Paint rocks

I am not a painter in any way. Paint confounds me, and I don’t understand it. And that is precisely why I’ve added quite a few things involving paint to my 22-week challenge. You see, one of the big parts of this challenge is to: 1) Do things I know I’m bad at, 2) Try things that scare or intimidate me, and 3) Fail at things pretty much all the time so that I’m continually in a place of learning & growing. Painting ticks all those boxes for me haha.

So one of my favorite people in the world came over and we gave ourselves the challenge of painting a camping scene onto a rock…

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It took FOREVER haha but we succeeded! And both rocks are now happily located in my garden 🙂

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Until next week ❤

Yours Truly, 
~Cassia Dee

Cassia Takes On A 22-Week Challenge!

I have a confession to make…I’ve been afraid to blog this year because brain damage has left me dyslexic (among other things), so sometimes I have a really hard time with words these days. But I think it’s woven into my being to need to express myself through writing, because I still long to blog. And now that I’ve had a few months to get used to being dyslexic and slower and stuff, I’m finally becoming comfortable in my skin again and ready to start putting myself out there more 🙂 Just a little bit at a time.

So I thought, what better way to get myself back into blogging than to document a 22-week challenge that I just started??

Why a 22-week challenge? Well, I’ve been so sick for so long that I realized I had forgotten what it was like to do much of anything outside of simply surviving, so to help me get out of this rut I decided to fall back on good ol’ 22 😉

I’ve been putting together a list of things I want to try for the first time, things I want to learn to love again that illnesses have forced me to give up over the years, silly things, impossible things (because learning to dream again is half of the challenge), unpleasant things that I don’t like but know will help me grow, simple things, and etc. One of the key parts of the challenge is for me to continue adding to the list throughout the weeks. So if anyone has ideas for me, hehe, I’d love to hear them!

Okay, so April-22-2019 is day one of week one. And the final day of week 22 is….September-22-2019!!! Haha, that so wasn’t even planned! I guess this challenge was just meant to be ;D

That’s all for now, see you at the completion of a challenge (and hopefully in a future post with a health update. Good things have been happening ❤ )!

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee

 

The Scariest Diagnosis

[A Damage Report Post]

I don’t really know how to start this update, because the weight of this particular diagnosis is quite heavy and there’s no real way to be honest about it and yet not sound like I’m being extreme at the same time. I’m not being extreme. I never am when it comes to my health, because I don’t want to scare people…and because I’m not sure people would listen to the entirety of the truth even if I did try to tell it all, since in my experience people tend to tune my words out the moment they get overwhelmed…and I know the reality of the state of my body is overwhelming.

But there really isn’t any other way to share this update except to just be totally honest and say it as it is, so here goes…the scariest and most serious of all my current diagnosis is that my brain is dying, and unless we can reverse it I will die very, very young from brain and heart failure.

Walker and I already knew that I had a lot of brain damage because I had a brain scan a couple months ago that showed that the majority of my brain was, quite literally, broken. We didn’t understand just how critical the situation was, because when I got the scan my doctor gave me the “nice” version of things…only I didn’t know that. She told me that I needed to start a specific treatment program as soon as possible to try and reverse some of the brain damage, and she told me that I would start feeling a lot better once I completed treatment. Everything sounded great except that the treatment was quite expensive and there was a big chance that my insurance wouldn’t cover it. So since we couldn’t currently afford it, we had to put it on the backburner for a few months until we got all of that worked out.

Well fast-forward to last month when I ended up at the doctor’s office after a near-death experience during the crazy firestorms and my doctor told me the real status of my brain damage. Not the previously mentioned “nice” version that they tell you when they don’t want to scare you, but the blunt truth that they tell you when they do want to scare you because your life is at serious risk.

She told me that my brain was failing, and as a result heart failure was beginning to follow. If I didn’t start treatment immediately, I would either die soon or end up brain dead, which to me would be even worse than dying. And get this, the parts of my brain that are the most damaged are the parts that control my body’s ability to heal itself…which explains a whole stinkin lot about my body and why it never seems to get healthy, but only more sick, over time. NO WONDER I seem to develop new diagnoses with every month or with every time I have a new health setback!

Well, my doctor knew I couldn’t afford the brain treatment yet, but told me that my life was more important than being able to pay her anytime soon for it. I could start right away and pay off my bills in the future whenever I could, with no deadlines or pressure…which is incredibly amazing. A huge gift from God. It blows my mind that I have a doctor to who genuinely cares about people as much as she does…who cares about me as much as she does. She told me once that she sees me as more of her daughter than her patient, and her love and care has brought so much healing to my heart and life over the last few years…I am so, so thankful.

There’s a lot more to say about my brain damage/failure, but this is enough for now because, as I shared earlier, I’m trying to share these updates in more bite-sized portions…which means I have to leave a lot of information unsaid and a lot of questions unanswered. For example, I’m sure some of you are wondering how I got all this brain damage in the first place!

I’m hoping to answer that question in my next post, but even if I end up unable to do so the answer is coming. I just need a lot of time. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it is to put words together in a clear way when you have multiple chronic illnesses as well as loads & loads of brain damage…it takes a lot of effort and time, so I really appreciate your patience, prayers, and kindness as I continue to fight for healing as well as try to share some of my heart with the world.

Love you all,

Yours Truly,
~Cassia Dee