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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member.

Let me introduce you to my youngest 1st cousin MaKenna

I remember when she was born, I was a 7th grader and it was the same night as one of my brothers Senior football games. She was born premature and her birth was both very joyful and very scary. I only have 3 younger 1st cousins (we're at the bottom of the lot) and I wasn't old enough to remember the other 2 so this was my first real experience with a family member being born. I could NOT wait.

She's just about the most adorable thing you've ever seen. I'm asked quite often if MaKenna is my niece. Sadly she isn't but she doesn't have to be my niece for me to love her like one. The 13 years between us doesn't separate much as we practically share the exact same hair color, skin color, freckles and light eyes. 

It's funny when my nieces Addison and London come to visit and MaKenna comes out to see everyone how messed up people will get telling MaKenna to go ask 'Aunt Cassi' something. Especially when it's my Grandma or Mom!

As much as she loves to spend the night with us I probably love having her spend the night with me even more. At that age everything is so fun, everything is an experience. Creativity is booming and the world is a fabulous place. Board games are never ending and with this little one I don't even have to lose on purpose because she can put up a pretty fair fight, especially in Sorry! 

I love getting to come home and watch her dance, especially because that's something that I used to do. She's got an arm like a rocket and can throw a ball better than I could at her age. We've got a lot in common this little one and I. We were raised in the age where boys dominate the family (when you have 5 uncles it seems like guys are just always around) so we're a little bit girly but a whole lot messy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Koinonia Family

This was my third one and I can't believe for one second I forgot about the transforming grace that comes from it. 

Koinonia, meaning 'community' in Greek. It's amazing how a community can grow over a weekend, and how beautiful it is to see it happen. Going in to the weekend retreatant's have no idea what they're getting themselves into. They have no idea that by the end of Sunday they will have a new family, a family that accepts them as they are, that knows their joys and will share in their sorrows. This family has seen them cry, loved them, shared meals with them, made sacrifices for them, stumped them in a game called Psychology, made them laugh, and prayed with, for and over them. A family that is centered in Christ. This family does not disappear after the weekend never to be seen again; Koinonia is a way of life.

I'm filled with joy to welcome SLK 13 to the Koinonia family! How beautiful it was to see them give their time over to Christ and allow Him to work in them. How amazing it is to know that He has done the same in me just by breaking from the mountain of homework/projects and very little sleep I had the week before and allowing myself to be with our Lord.

Koinonia can change lives, and it has definitely changed mine.

Without my Koinonia family I wouldn't have my best friends, my prayer partners, my future roommates and neighbors, people to sit with at Mass, my coworkers, my camping group, my teammates and the reason I love it here at KU. Who knows where I'd be without all of them. And I mean that, ALL of them. Each one of them has been a true blessing and helped shape my life in a way that they may never know. (hmm...idea for a new blog series?)  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where You lead I will follow

I was hired to be on a parish team for Totus Tuus Wichita! 

The email about it came on a Wednesday and I had to have an answer by that Friday. I was happy that they hired me, really I was, but I just wasn't sure if that's what I was supposed to do. Actually I wasn't sure if that's what I wanted to do. You know how it works, I want what I want and I want it yesterday. Well, everything wasn't working out according to MY plan and if I couldn't have everything I wanted I didn't want any of it. Wow just typing that out makes me feel like an eight year old.

I had a decision to make, take another summer to work for and grow in Him, or go home and have a boring office job with a semi-active social life. I know the second option seems so enticing right? Maybe not.

It's so obvious now that I'm being called to do Totus Tuus again. I mean I had to actively decide to apply, fill out the application and drive to the interview. So what was holding me back? My selfishness, pride, jealousy, fear? All of the above. For a quick second I seriously considered sending an email back declining the position. I'm glad I didn't do that.

I took it to prayer, in adoration at 1 a.m. Thursday morning there I was before Christ begging asking for an answer, JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO! They say that if only you are silent you will hear His answer. Well I heard crickets. It wasn't until approximately 20 hours later while I sat at home watching some March Madness that He answered me. In the middle of watching a basketball game and looking through a book a piece of paper fell out, it read:

Where I am today is where He wants me to be.
Where He leads me tomorrow is where I will follow.

There it was, plain as day, the answer I had been looking for to a decision I had been struggling with. He heard me and He answered me. I remember sitting in the chapel on a Saturday morning during a Koinonia meeting when Msgr. Vince Krische said this and bells just started ringing in my head. I remember reaching over 3 people to the right and asking to borrow a pencil so I could write these two sentences down before they left my mind forever. Who knew that months ago when I decided to write it down on the back of a piece of paper and stick it inside of a book that it would be the way in which God would answer me.

For some He may speak in the silence of your heart, but He knows me better than that. You see it would simply be way too easy for me to sit there and listen and for Him to answer. No, He addresses me in an extremely personal way, tailored to my life. I multitask, to the extreme! So of course God would reveal himself to me while watching a basketball game, painting my nails checking my bracket and flipping through a book.

It's rather simple now. He wanted me to be in that very place going through that book so that He could answer me. He's leading me to Totus Tuus Wichita, all of the signs are pointing that direction and all I have to do is follow.

P.S. How perfect is it that the theme song to my favorite show is Where you Lead?

Friday, March 18, 2011

#1 rule in living room wrestling

Rule #1 in Wrestling: NEVER put your head & your knee together.

My brothers have been wrestling since I was born. Not only with each other but competitively. Being the little sister I got my fair share of torment as well. My brothers would toss me around like a rag doll but I'd like to think I put up a pretty good fight.

They tried to teach me to use a 1/2 Nelson and they'd yell things like 'chicken wing' and 'granby'! Like I knew what that meant. There was 1 rule and 1 rule only that I followed when it came to living room wrestling. Never, ever, ever, EVER, put your head and your knee together.

If you know nothing of wrestling you might just think that rule sounds absurd. Why would your knee be anywhere close to your head in the first place? Well, when you're just walking down the street your head has no business being by your knee and it's easy to keep that rule. But when you're wrestling and you're curled up in a ball getting tossed around like the 10 y.o. version of me, your head and your knee can become like magnets and it's not so easy anymore to keep them separated.

If wrestling were temptation (how fitting because everyone wrestles with some temptation of their own) then putting your head and your knee together would be like sinning. Just because you are wrestling does not mean you are sure to lose. Just because you are tempted does not mean you are sinning.

But when you forget for one second that your knee and head are not supposed to be together, before you know it you've been caught in a cradle that's too hard to get out of bc your brothers are bigger and stronger than you are.

So fight like crazy, kick and knee and roll around and elbow and since this isn't a fair fight if you need to bite some arms, pull some hair or gauge some eyes than so be it. Do whatever you can to get out of it.

But know this, eventually the match will end. And if you've lost you will get another chance. God will not dub thee a loser for life because you lost one match, no, He will prepare you. His mercy will allow you to fight again, to be stronger.

So pray, pray like crazy and do whatever you can to keep your head and your knee away from each other.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


 I L.O.V.E. St.Patrick's day!

There's so much green and happiness and pinching and green! I LOVE GREEN!

Let's not forget why St.Patrick has a day in the first place, he gave his life over to the will of God and God did wonderful things with it.

St.Patrick was actually born in Scotland and lived in Britain until the age of 14 when he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. While he was there he learned the practices and language of the people that had taken him and turned to God in prayer 
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
God saw St.Patrick's dedication to him and after 6 years of being enslaved God gave St.Patrick a way out. In a dream St.Patrick heard God telling him to go to the coast and there would be a ship there ready to take him home.

He soon started studying for the priesthood and when he was ordained he was sent to bring the Gospel to Ireland. For over 40 years he preached to Ireland converting many, kings, queens, entire kingdoms to Christianity.

St.Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission. 

May we all be as willing as he was to follow Gods will and trust completely in his plan for us.

St.Patrick's Breastplate
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 26: A picture of something that means a lot to you


My Grandpa Don, 'Uncle' Ray and 'Uncle' Chuck were all drafted into the army together during World War II. I can't imagine being drafted into anything, let alone the military during wartime. They were stationed together during the remainder of their time enlisted.

Me and Uncle Ray :)
Now that in itself is not much of a story, but what comes after is:
You know that song from The Hangover "we're the three best friends that anyone could have?" That's kind of what plays over and over again in my head when I think about my Grandpa Don, Ray and Chuck. Those three guys are the reason that my 'family' is approximately triple the size of most.
While my Grandpa & Grandma lived in Kansas, Ray & Harriet and Chuck & Marge both lived in different towns in Michigan. The summer after they all got out of the military my Grandma & Grandpa took a drive up to Michigan to visit over a 3 day weekend. Every other summer from that year on they took turns traveling between Michigan and Kansas with all of their kids.
As my mom and uncles and the rest of the original kids got older the family vacations ceased, but my Grandma & Grandpa, Ray & Harriet, and Chuck & Marge still found time to get together every year.

On a ferry to Mackinaw Island!
In 1995 my Grandpa Don passed away. He was the first person that we lost from my Michigan family. Even though I was only 4 years old I remember everyone coming to Kansas for his funeral. In those moments my grandpa's generation and my mom's generation along with my generation decided to bring back the family vacations every other summer to visit each other.
So in the summer of 1996 I took my first trip to Michigan.

Every other summer from that summer on I got to see my Michigan family. This past summer, 2010, was the first summer that I didn't get to go on the family vacation to Colorado. I've never felt like I was missing out on so much in my life. If you know anything about me than you know I HATE missing out on things. I was with them in spirit however.
Although there may be people missing from the Michigan family that were originally there, those people are never forgotten. I miss my Grandpa Don all the time and wish so badly that I would've had more time with him. And I cherish all of the time I got to spend with with my 'Uncle' Chuck before he passed away a few years ago.

I am SO thankful for these people, people that without the grace of God I never would've met. I can't imagine my childhood summers without Michigan, Cat Lake, Swimming, Running over a chipmunk on the toboggan slide in Colorado, Yogi Bear, Learning to Water Ski, Driving a Duck in the Wisconsin Dells, Learning to play Bocce Ball, Struggling to learn Euchre, Sitting around campfires and spending time with my 'Family'.
We take a picture every year that we get together, a large group picture and occasionally someone brings along a friend who is deemed the temporary photographer. The last reunion in Kansas someone asked why this friend should take the picture instead of being in it. My instant reaction without thinking about it was "because she's not family".

Being a part of this family, that started with 3 guys being drafted in the army, has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I thank God that He brought us together and I pray that He never lets us part.

Friday, March 4, 2011

First Friday Fast for an End to Abortion

Yes! I'm so excited this Friday has finally come! I've been spending a lot of time lately posting about being pro-life and praying for an end to abortion. Lucky for the unborn that's not going to end anytime soon.

As I was browsing some other blogs I came across a post from Julie at  Happy Catholic. A group of bloggers from Dallas started the First Friday Fast for an end to abortion four years ago on the first Friday in February.

On the first Friday of every month (including today) I am pledging to fast and spend time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament praying for an end to abortion. I can march and demonstrate and write letters till I die but finding an end to abortion will only happen when I implore Christ and am willing to sacrifice for the cause. Are you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 25: A picture of your day

Ooooo I had a fabulous day!

First I went to class:

Then I went to work:

 THEN I went to the KU game! 
My favorite person to watch KU basketball games with!

The Rock Chalk Chant!

It was Senior Night, the last regular season home game:
Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Mario Little

Our Seniors!

Look at who else was at the game:
Larry Brown!

Mike McCarthy - Super Bowl Champions Green Bay Packers Head Coach!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I love the way He holds me

I'm definitely one of those people that hears a new song and gets stuck on it for weeks. This song just happens to be one of those songs. It's been on constant repeat along with the song He Won't Give Up On You.

(I probably listened to it 10 times just writing this post!)

What a joyful song, and isn't that what we're supposed to be after all? Joyful?

As March begins and the weather starts to turn around my most played music is bound to change and this song will definitely be one of them. The homework that comes along with my courseload may start to stress me like the huge project, essay and test I have this week but songs like this remind me that this week is but a small bump in the road. I have too much to be joyful about to let my stresses this week weigh too heavily on me.

Here's a part from the song that I LOVE, story of my life:

I've had a long day, I just wanna relax. Dont have time for my friends, no time to chit chat. Problems at my job, wondering what to do. I know I should be working but I'm thinking of You. And just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down that's when Your smile comes around.

Day 24: A picture of something you wish you could change

I couldn't bring myself to post a picture of a child who was actually murdered by abortion. I looked it up and was heartbroken all over again. How could anyone do this to these children and think it was alright? Let alone legal! Recently there's been some great news when the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood, the biggest provider of legal abortions in the United States. Hearing news likes that makes going on pilgrimages like March for Life that much more rewarding.

Rubbing a lamp and hoping that a giang blue genie comes out isn't going to make my wish for an end to abortion happen, but prayer will. Above all, trust in the slow work of God. He has a plan and I plan on playing as big of a role in that plan as He will allow.

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