My Saturday.

The last two days I’ve distracted my over productive mind with a friends wedding and photography. Today it was spent by reading, prayer and Jesus.  I needed that. To say I’m doing okay would be a lie, in fact I’m not doing so good. Would prefer to not go into any details, it’s something that I must hold my head high and whatever the outcome, I MUST trust Jesus has something better in the works for me.  It’s silly, but since I’m a female and burdened with blasted emotions, the way I deal with it is distractions, crying, and ice cream.  That has been my weekend.

But enough of my ramblings… Onward and upward to how I spent my Saturday.  I had no particular place in mind, I just knew that I wanted to go back out into the country to get some shots.  Now, for a time I grew tired of taking pictures of the country because I felt as though that was all I took. Getting back out there, in the middle of nowhere was good, plus the sudden rain fall was an added bonus! I took back roads, going deeper and deeper to the point of getting completely lost.  I did find my way home, but it was tricky… Mainly because small town people are helpful, but can be creepy as well.  Look, I’ve been to small towns… But this town was so small that the gas station I stopped at still had food from 2001, no doors for the stalls in the bathroom.. In fact no door going into the bathroom at all and lastly when I went up to pay for my drink, the guy asked me: “You’re not from here, are you?”  I simply told him no and I had to ask him how he figured that out.  “Your Jeep. People here don’t have black rims.” That actually surprised me.. Considering I was wearing my bright pink pants.

I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook with the caption: “To go down creepy road… Or not.”

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I did go down that road and I saw the coolest abandoned house ever. For me, a dream! I love old houses lost in nature. I was in the process of walking up to it, when I heard a gun being shot off.  A man came out of nowhere, holding a shotgun and asking what I was doing on his property.  I, as calmly as I could, explained that I was taking pictures and didn’t see a ‘no trespassing’ sign. He told me to walk around the front, I did and that is where I saw his sign…

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I apologized over and over and left as fast as possible.  Even though I was still slightly scared of country folk poppin’ outta bushes, I continued taking pictures. Here is my take on the country I saw yesterday.

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When I finally got off the back roads, and found an old highway to lead me home, I captured more.  Kansas may be flat, but she’s my home and their is beauty within her flat lands.

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And this.. Which is gross.  But, it made for a cool shot.

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I don’t always go to sleep, but when I do, I don’t.

One-thirty in the morning, sleep wasn’t happening… The best time to take some photos.

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Yet.. I’m pretty sure dead bodies lay at the bottom…

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In case you haven’t heard, March Madness is upon us.  Our Wichita State Shockers are the last undefeated team to enter the big dance… My hometown, my state and this is how ICT shows it off. I love this city.  34-0!

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It’s now twenty minutes until three a.m.  Curse you insomnia.

Here is my story.

It took along time for me to get to this point in my life, to tell my story, my story that is not filtered but the truth. This is not easy for me, but right now in my life I’m doing some purging and it’s my choice to put my story on a public site for all to see. To get it fully out so I can no longer hide behind the curtain.  Trust me friends, I’m ashamed of myself, so with kindness.. Please find it in your hearts to not look at me in a negative light.  cussing will occur… If that offends, don’t read.

I was born and raised in a fantastic household, my childhood was nothing short of amazing and full of love.  My parents having me as their only child made things easy for them, I was a good kid and I always followed the rules. Summers were rad and my Star Trek collection was impressive!  Ever since I was a child, I went to church,  I was SUPER shy and didn’t get involved in things at the church until way later.  When middle school hit for me, that became the three years of hell.  Almost every day I was made fun of for something dumb, which in reality, that happens to everyone. Middle schoolers are the worst.  I got through it relatively okay.. Well, when I say relatively, I mean crying every time I got home.   The only good side to that was on the evening of October 27, 1997 at a Franklin Graham Crusade, I stood up, grabbed my dad’s hand and walked down to get Jesus in my heart.  It was experience that wasn’t overly amazing to be honest… Could be due to the fact that hundreds more were doing the same, it wasn’t until I was at home, by myself that I fully grasp what I did.  That’s when it became amazing.  Two years later would begin my high school career.

High school, for me was when I broke out of my shell! I made new friends, played soccer, got involved, finally went to youth group at my church and went to a girls Bible study, were I met my still BF Camissa.  All was exciting and I truly for once in my life felt really good about Jesus, my goals and just life in general.  You might have guessed it.. Their is a but.  But just as it was beginning to be awesome, Sophomore year started. It started off just fine, however around the middle of the year I got a headache, didn’t think twice about it and took some Tylenol and moved on. Woke up the next morning, had a headache again, I took a pill and went about my day. Next morning same thing, and the next and the next. Towards the end of the week I started to notice that they were not going away and in fact were there all day long.  I told my mom about them, and a month later after having a non-stop headache, she set up an appointment.  This began a journey that I’m still dealing with today, however their is a silver lining, which I will get too.  After a MRI, CT, EEG, PET, MEG, NIRS… They found nothing wrong with my brain, except a build up at the front of my head, which the Doctor said was due to sinus.  That should be good news, right? At least it wasn’t a tumor. But it didn’t soothe me, only made me angry that nothing could be found.  I also did a food journal, to see if it was a food related issue.. Nothing. This continued throughout the next two years, and in those two years I had taken 30+ of different prescriptions.  This didn’t help me at all, in fact it brought me down to very dangerous part in my life.  I questioned God every minute of every day, the journal entries I wrote during this time were filled with all the boy crushes I had and “WHY GOD?!”  Some of the pills I took had side effects, one such side effect was depression… This was not good to say in the least.  When a person is in pain, they tend to forget of all of the joy in their life and instead focus on the pain. Even though I was involved in my school and my church, I may have never showed the turmoil I was going through.. I made sure to try and smile when I could, but behind doors.. I was screaming.  One such night, my Junior year after laying in bed far to long not able to sleep, I quietly got up and went into the kitchen.  Went back into my room, sat down on the floor and began to write a letter.  The letter was simple and to the point..

To mom and dad.

I love you.

You did nothing wrong.

It’s me.

I cannot take this pain anymore, I hate it.

Seems like this is a good option.

I love you.

Cassie.

The reason I went into the kitchen, was to get a knife.  I had the knife to my wrist, tears were heavy and I was very scared.  In honest admission, I didn’t want to do it, but the pain was horrible and in my clouded mind filled with lies, I thought that was the best option.  Before anything could happen however, I met God.  It wasn’t like He kicked open my bedroom door and punched the knife out of hand, but it felt like it.  It the quiet of my room, besides my sobs, He very loudly said; “NO!” It startled me enough that I dropped the knife and cried harder if that was even possible.  For a while I heard nothing else, then He spoke again and what He told me brought me out of my dark place and for the first time in a year, my mind was clear and free of pain.  He gave me peace and the one thing I took from that at the time, was one simple thing He said:

Give me time, you’ll understand it later in life.

So, I held onto that and waited and waited.  Remember the silver lining? Well, I still have headaches, they aren’t as bad as they use to be but I still have them.  I know what they are caused by thanks to a Doctor who took the time. Simply put, I’m a stresser and so thus I have High Tension Headaches.  For the past two years I have been seeing a chiropractor, that has helped GREATLY! But the true ending to this thirteen year long pain, was the reason for them. Look, having a headache does indeed suck, but having a headache and knowing why, sucks less.  Just this past year, on my journey back to Jesus, I was praying and as usual asking why I had to have this pain.  Quietly He answered me:

You have them because they always bring you back to me.  If I took them away, you’d stray and not rely on me.

It was simple and honest.  So, yes having a headache isn’t the best, but in the very least it’s a reminder that I can’t quit God. He has healed me, to where I don’t have them day in and day out at weeks at a time. But He hasn’t fully healed me and I’m okay with that.

Back tracking a bit.. After high school, I went through two different programs at two different times. First one was called Elite and that helped me grow and to have a better understanding of the Bible.  Small group of individuals, working together and gaining knowledge. It was truly cool to go through and besides the youth group were I gained some lasting friendships, this did as well.  The next one was called L.I.F.E. watch, when I took this program I was twenty-one, but it didn’t bother me, I enjoyed being the third oldest!  We took some courses, took some tests and did some mission work.  Just like before, It brought together a group of individuals that ranged in age from right out of high school to however old Josh was.. Which I think was 50… 😉   Their were moments of AWESOME and moments of BOOOO. But after that year was done, I gained stronger friendships that has lasted and even more knowledge.  At the end of that year, we took a little trip to Mexico for a week.. Reynosa, Tamaulipas Mexico to be exact.  In Reynosa you will find Casa Hogar Benito Juarez Children’s Home.  The vision that this place has is really beautiful.  The children that live inside it’s walls are given a warm bed, food, friends and Jesus. For the most part, they have parents, but sadly the situation in Mexico isn’t always ideal and sometimes the parents cannot afford to feed or give shelter to their children, so they can come to Juarez to get that.  The kids there are beautiful, loving and taught some lastly traits. They are still kids however, and so they also have their bad days, but one week for me wasn’t enough. I first went in 2006 and two years after that I went with the church. They were for only a week, but I truly enjoyed going, so much so that in 2008 for the month of October I lived and helped within the Home! Truly a memory I’ll never forget!

After all of my ups and downs in life, God remained solid.  I may have been angry with Him from time to time, but I never walked away.  Sadly, I wish I could still say that, but for two years prior to 2013, I did.  I didn’t walk away because I was angry with Him, in fact it was because I was angry with myself.  You see, all my life I have been hiding my inner most secret sin, the sin that has plagued my life because I continued to allow it.  Since that was the case, I became the biggest hypocrite of all.  That’s not far to God, I was shaming Him not only by my actions but by my mouth and life.  I couldn’t take it, so I walked away.  I stopped going to church regularly.. Then that turned into not going at all. I read this blog recently that a friend put on his FB wall, and everything I read in that blog was my life for two years.  I just stopped. I stopped my quiet times, reading of my Bible, and when I did write in my journal it was “I’m a fuck up.” “Leave me alone, fuck you, jesus.”  Even though I was going through all this, He still sought after me, so if I told Him to fuck off, He’d leave. Word to the wise kids, He never leaves.  Oh sure, I plastered on a smile and was the funniest person in the room, but it was a lie and fake.  I did it because I didn’t want anyone to see through me and ask the question.  It didn’t work.  That tricky Sarah Snavley saw me, she asked and I told her all.

Here is my bravery.. For most of my life I have suffered with dealing with sexual sin.  The older I’m getting, the worse it’s getting.  Yeah, I got my V-Card still.. But I’m not pure, like I was when I was younger.  I’m dirty and full of guilt. Trust me friends, I hate myself daily for the choices I’ve made, I’ve come to terms with that fact.  But the other silver lining is always and forever God.  Why He still sought after my heart and still seeks it and brings me back to Him, is beyond me.   The guy won’t quit me, when I quit myself from Him.  Thankfully, oh thankfully the slow and steady walk back to Him this past year has been more then I could have ever asked for! Just when I thought my life was making it’s choice, Liz mentioned of a couple that moved here and was going to start a church plant.. I’m now involved in a beautiful idea with people that are like minded and truly God filled.  I like it.

I’m not close to perfect.. Not at all.  But the journey I have with Jesus now is much more different and comes with a better understanding. I love Him. I’m also starting to come around to the fact of how much He truly loves me.  I’m excited for my new journey, it will have it’s moments, but no more. No more backpedaling.

Thank you.

I’m not a vampire.

In my previous post, I said that yesterday was the last day of my February photo challenge, simply because this year is not a leap year.  However, I went ahead with the 29th day because I couldn’t leave the 29th behind or maybe of my OCD or maybe because I like to look at myself in the mirror.  At least this is proof that I’m not a vampire.

I read this quote a year ago and I never thought about our reflection in this way. It didn’t make sense to me at first, but after thinking on it, it’s starting to make sense.  Just another amazing thing about our body and how it works!

When you stand in front of a looking-glass (an ordinary glass or metal mirror), you project an image of your body into the mirror; the mirror reflects the image back. Projection is self-alienation: the image in the mirror isn’t you. People look into mirrors and say: “That’s my face!”, but they’re wrong. It isn’t your face at all, it’s just an image of your face. Scratch the mirror and you don’t feel a thing. The image is alien; it’s not you. But you can recognize yourself in that alien image. This is like taking possession of it. It’s like the mirror stole your face, and now you have to steal it back. You claim the image of your face as your own, even though you still know it isn’t really you. In recognizing your own face, you haven’t compared the true appearance of your face to what appears in the mirror, since you don’t know what your face really looks like. Self-recognition isn’t based on any comparison. In order to make the comparison to gain self-knowledge, you’d have to already have self-knowledge. It’s almost as if you reach into the mirror and grab the mirror image: you have to take it, to appropriate it. You need to make an argument, based on philosophical analysis, that the image in the mirror really resembles your face. Self-recognition is something you have to earn by hard logical work. In self-recognition, you overcome the otherness of the mirror-image. You take back what is yours, which the mirror stole from you. What’s necessary is that there is a difference (projection and self-alienation; the mirror takes your image) and that you overcome this difference (reflection and self-recognition; you take your image back)

-Professor Eric Steinhart

So, once again here is my face. I started this challenge with a selfie, I’m ending it with one… Or five.

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Title: You in a Mirror
Date: 3.1.14
Camera: Canon Rebel T3