OOOOHHH-Ohhh-Oh-Oh-Oh!

For those who have wondered if I always dwell in a tunnel of contemplative thought, let me assure you that I can be as silly as I am serious. Exhibit A: Last weekend @ Doak Campbell Stadium. A sweet friend of mine invited me to join her in cheering on the Seminoles. As a graduate of this great university during the time now defined as “legendary” among fans, I can say it was the BEST performance I’ve seen since we roasted gator tail in 1999. That being said, things got pretty serious by the end of the first half. We were trailing and looking toward a grand embarrassment at home if the tide didn’t change. However, after a 3rd quarter revival, we were shouting, chopping, throwing up high fives, and dancing in the stands. Nothing to analyze or digest….just pure fun.

And frankly, it was the perfect day. Just what I needed before launching into what is going to be a very busy time for me over the next few months!

Go Noles!

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Ring My Bell

Culinary wisdom…well, lets just say, not my forte.  If only I could coordinate eclectic food pairings or marry contrasting ingredients in a harmonious union, like I do with fabric and clothes….my goodness. I mean, can you actually train your brain to look at asparagus like a pencil skirt? I had these thoughts last night as I stared over, yet another, one dish casserole.  You know,  the ones where you slop all the main ingredients with a can of cream of sumpin’ good in a pan and bake.  350 degrees, 40 minutes.  Minimum amounts of brain watts expended. Done.  Suddenly, I had a creative surge of succulent inspiration, which leads me to leak this most significant divulgence:

“When your Cassie needs some fancy, just shove it in a bell pepper!”

The bell pepper is like the perfect lightweight trench or cardigan for your outfit (if we were translating in clothes speak, that is)! The other night, I did this with black beans and rice, a little minced portobella mushroom and some spices. After all, there are only so many cleverly cute ways to present a bean and grain. Now, how to dress up that wheat Matzo cracker? Hmmm…Jury’s still out on that one. In other breaking news, I haven’t caffeinated in one week.  A marvel, I tell you…the 8th World wonder….Decaffeinated Aimee.

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Discerned.

“Ask and He will answer,

Seek and you will find,

Knock and the door will be opened unto you……”

and when it seems like the requests have been lost in translation (of course they have not) then, I say keep on knocking. Keep on searching.

Discernment is a beautiful gift. It allows us to pierce deeply to the heart of a matter…to separate truth from fiction & fact from fantasy. Merriam’s Dictionary defines it simply as “being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure”. Insight helps us to understand more clearly about situations and people. It can be our saving grace in troubled times or  the keen insight necessary to make a difficult choice.

We need Godly discernment in order to navigate successfully through this life. At times, when I’ve felt as though someone pressed pause on a a track in the album of my life, I’ve asked the Lord to increase my ability to perceive things as He would.  “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL truth. He will not speak on His own authority; he will speak only what he hears the father say and he will tell you what is yet to come.” -John 16:13-14.  I ask for his insight and direction. Many things we see and do may seem right, or perhaps they  seem wrong to us, but the truth is, we have to ascertain the heart of the Lord. He knows what to do. He sees circumstances differently….sees people differently….

Yes, God peers through the wide lens on our life….panoramic. He understands the whole picture and how exactly things should line up. I was asking Him  recently about delay of some plans  He’s directed us in. I’ve felt delayed, but not sure if it’s by Him. When I talk to folks, they are so kind to say “It’s all in God’s timing.” And, it is. And, I know that more than anyone.  I don’t want anything  BUT God’s timing in my life. Yet, I couldn’t help feel troubled  in my heart by this pause. It is as if an uninvited guest is detaining us from a deadline. It feels like when you’re on the way to a Doctor’s appointment…totally prepared to be on time and you get a door-to-door solicitor. You’re trying to be patient, kind and understanding, but you are late. Or, perhaps another description would be if you were trying to row your boat out into the gulf, but someone had tied it to the dock.

I knew I had to set myself apart to hear from God on this. I’m a few days into that period of time now. This morning, I was reminded of this story:

“Do not be afraid Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I was detained there with he king of Persia. Now, I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns yet a time to come.” Daniel 10:12-14

Daniel had an assignment, and one of which required clear direction. The word he needed was detained because of  the heavenly warfare  that tried to prevent it from coming.  Daniel’s fast, after 21 days, was the key to the breakthrough.

See, many times it is just a “God’s timing” thing, but other times his Spirit invites us toward radical obedience in prayer to release answers or even cut through the schemes the enemy has crafted to detain us.  So, how do you know the difference between delays being simply the timing of the Lord vs. an scheme or debacle aimed to delay? Discernment. I’ve found over the years that when God wants to bring an answer, he puts a hunger in your heart. That hunger drives you to the Word and prayer. Through his Word, he’ll confirm that which He’s spoken to your heart, and you’ll have the faith you need to keep on keepin’ on.

The Great Test

It’s amazing how much grace I had last year to write the Shopfast blog. Nearly everyday I penned, with great ease, all of the adventure and personal revelation I was receiving in regard to that assignment.  This year, I struggle to find the motivation to write.  It is a testament to moving with the wind of the season you are in. I suppose this is not the season for writing? Maybe it’s a year for soaking. What in the world is soaking, you ask?

Allowing my heart to marinate in the flavor of this season before journaling it, that is.  People say that if you don’t write details down immediately, you’ll forget.  I light-heartedly disagree.  See, in many cases the depth is in the pondering. Like delicious meat, the fullness of the flavor comes after soaking in spices awhile. I also believe that the significant things always come to your remembrance at the right time. More importantly, if given the opportunity to mull over things, analysis and interpretation become much more refined.

Tis important not to be hasty. In fact, that was one of the most elementary lessons learned last year… through the exercise of pulled-back purchasing. Don’t be hasty: you don’t need that. Just wait.  Everything that is permissible is not profitable.  Wait. Wait. Wait.

Little did I know that the waiting and the steadfastness in that season was preparation for this one.

We really do build upon our experiences. We really do carry the strength we gathered in years past into new days.

We should never underestimate the value of seemingly superficial assignments. Life is a great test.

On a lighter note, my personal style is evolving….a little simpler…much more casual.  As it turns out, I really love moccasins.  Oh, and almost forgot! I made a new pact with myself to thrift denim.  Rather than purchase new duds, I’m on the hunt for lightly used designer denim.  In the photos below, I’m wearing Level 99 that I scored at Plato’s closet for $18. The photos were taken in Colorado. Steve and I had such a wonderful time together.  He really is my best statement piece. hee hee.

 

Seasons

Several years ago I mentioned to Steve that I’d love to witness the autumn leaves change.  Being a Florida native, you only experience one season (HOT), and of course no distinct indicator of a seasonal change. Actually, the arrival of Christmas is marked for me by the cessation of hurricanes. How’s that for bizarre? But as leaves go, I learned transition of color is fleeting, quite inconsistent and somewhat unpredictable. The complication has always hindered planning and pursuit, leaving the desire tossed in my large box of some days.

This weekend however,  I found myself, quite unexpectedly, smack in the middle of a some day.  Colorado is famous for  its glorious Aspen trees whose leaves change and peak during one week in the month of September. What are the chances that I’d be there to witness?  This was the most breathtaking sight I’ve seen. We spiraled up miles and miles to 10,000ft elevation with the patches of trees becoming a more vibrant shade of gold with each turn. Glorious and majestic of course, but more importantly to me…an evident God wink. A reminder that he hears me. He remembers everything….every desire, and dream.  He grants them in due season; His timing impeccably perfect. This sight, indeed an unforgettable first.  In fact, I had a weekend full of firsts….first church service for our pastor friends, Shawn and Abigail; first trail hikes; first time playing keyboards at church, first time seeing leaves change. So, I guess you could say, my season’s changing too.  And some day soon, I’ll be able to share so much more about this journey and the goodness of God to me in the midst of it.