Bamboo


A blog post about growth and change

I’ve never grown bamboo. I’m sure I’d like to; I love all types of flowers and plants. My favorite food is anything fresh from the garden. But as sure as I’m living, I can’t grow anything to save my life. I was cursed with a black thumb. Give me a pot of flowers, I can almost guarantee they won’t survive the week (I’m sorry but its true!). And I’ve only ever tried the easy stuff. But I’m positive bamboo wouldn’t even stand a chance.

Although I’m not a gardener, I would consider myself a scientist. Before I went to Nursing School, I studied Biology so I was required to take classes that were about all life forms, not just the human body. In some of those classes, we had to learn about plants. That’s how I know about bamboo.

So let me give you a general picture of the growth cycle of bamboo. In the first year, you plant the seeds and nurture them, but nothing grows. In the second year, there is still no growth. The third year, still no seedlings sprout. Guess what happens in the fourth year? Still nothing! Finally, in the fifth year, the bamboo shoots grow 90 feet!

90 feet in one year! Can you imagine being the gardener that started those seedlings? Can you imagine looking at your crop, continuing to nurture it, water it, and care for it, day in and day out, for years, without reaping the benefits? I know I’m not a patient enough person (or reliable enough gardener) for that type of commitment to a tree.

But after those four years, you start to notice something, finally. One day in the fifth year, you see that your bamboo has sprouted from the ground. And from then on, it shoots up like a rocket! 90 feet in one year, friend! After four years of developing, changing, and growing under the soil that bamboo plant is breaking ground, literally.

Aren’t we a little like bamboo? We sit quietly and comfortably deep in the dirt. It’s safe there and we’ve even made friends with the worms. But one day, one special, breathtaking day, we decide it’s time to stretch and show this world what we’ve got to offer. I think we have a lot in common with bamboo. Whether it is in our relationships, our education, our careers, or in our ministry, one day we break to the top of the soil and show the planet who we are and what we’ve been up to.

Friends, I believe this is my 90 foot growth year. I think it could be yours, too! My life is a-moving and a-shaking like I’ve never seen before. I’m bursting through the soil to see the sunshine. I hope you will, too. Let’s do this together. So let’s take a deep breath, soak up that last bit of soil, and “leaf” our fears behind. I’ll see you in 90 feet!

How are you growing in your 90 foot growth year? Were you afraid to leave the warmth of your soil? Tell me more in the comments below. Let’s encourage one another.


“For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11


Love,


Cassie, RN





If You Leave the Mountains

If You Leave the Mountains - a letter of encouragement for if you decide to leave home
Image Credit Corissa Riffe

Dear Friend,

I believe our mountains are the most beautiful landscape God sculpted into His Earthly Kingdom. These mountains are home to more than just coal, lumber, and wildlife. These mountains house the most kind hearted, faithful, and friendly people you will ever meet. I’m convinced the Lord must love us a little extra. Why else would He have us live in a land that is a constant embrace?

But friend, there may come a day when you will have to leave our mountains. That day will move your heart in ways that cannot be described by mere words. Your heart will quiver with anticipation and excitement at the opportunities coming your way. And then your heart will crumble because you will leave behind everything you’ve ever known.

But your journey is just beginning, and while it will be a breathtaking adventure, there will also be days you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you. On those days you will need the strength these hills have instilled in you. Your values, your morals, your beliefs have been sewn into you and rooted deeply. You have heard the voice of God in these mountains as often as you’ve heard it in the church house. These mountains made you who you are. You know it’s not easy leaving home, but You’re strong enough for this.

Over the years, outsiders have stopped realizing how capable the people of our mountains truly are. We have been stripped of many opportunities and without you to show them, people will forget who we are. You are leaving these mountains to new uncharted territory that we are unfamiliar with. But you go with a mission, not with a vengeance. Go catch every chance you can. Learn. Explore. Dream. Grow. And later, come home to these hills and show us everything you’ve conquered along the way and how you can help us develop. You’re not leaving because you don’t love our home. Trust me, I know.

Friend, you will move mountains. And I mean that literally. We are mountain people, and we are all the more beautiful because of it. As you go out into the world, I want you to move mountains to the forefront of peoples minds when they think of successful individuals. Go out there and show them how intelligent we are, show them how special we are, impress them with our heritage, and please don’t ever let them change the way you speak. Trust me, they will try. Down the road, when you look back at our mountains, promise me you won’t look back at them with anything less than pride. Because these mountains have given you everything they have to offer.

These mountains are where you were raised. You fell in love in these hills. This is where your family is. Your friends call this place home. The mountains sing to you. No matter where you roam, nothing will ever compare to Eastern Kentucky. Our mountains made you. Now go out there and show this world what you’re made of.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2

Love,

Cassie, RN


Why Pokemon GO is Important

I’m gonna go ahead and make the assumption that you’ve probably heard about Pokemon GO. If you haven’t, I’m going to make the assumption you’ve spent the last month under a rock. I know what you’re thinking, you’re probably rolling your eyes, figuring it’s just another video game that doesn’t matter and waiting for me to start talking about nursing again. But this week, I’m trading my syringes for Pokeballs and we’re gonna talk about why Pokemon GO does matter.


why pokemon go is important

Players are out and about. To play Pokemon GO, you have to get up and get out. Pokestops are only found in the real world and you won’t catch ‘em all on your couch. Instead, Ninento and The Pokemon Company looked sedentary lifestyle right in the eye and said, “Not today, Obesity!” Never has “just a video game” brought kids outside like this. It also encourages kids to exercise, in order to hatch eggs (to get more Pokemon), you have to walk. And each egg has a distance assigned to it that you must walk before it will hatch. Pokemon GO has very sneakily made physical activity a priority.

It brings people together. Pokemon hunting is more fun with a group of people. I love searching for Pokemon with my little brother and love that the game gives us something to bond over. There is also almost always a large group of people hanging out at Pokestops, no matter what time of day. I myself have already met people because of Pokemon GO. I love seeing strangers share tips and advice and see each other at other Pokestops. Cellphone screens are the loneliest place there is. Isn’t it about time we do something together if we aren’t willing to put the phones down?

It prevents separation. Pokemon GO allows players to select between 3 teams to play for. These 3 teams are the same no matter what region you live in, what color you are, how old you are, how much money you make, how many Pokemon you’ve got, or what your gender you are. Three choices. In a world where so many other things are segregated and feelings get hurt when we’re “not enough”, Pokemon GO says none of that matters, you can be on our team.

It gives small towns something to do. In Eastern Kentucky, we don’t have very many activities or things to do. However, Pokemon GO is giving us something to do that we so desperately needed. These rural communities have few places to hang out, but Pokemon GO is giving them a way to hang out and have something to do. It can be so frustrating to live in a small area and constantly wish you were somewhere else doing something fun. Pokemon GO gives us something entertaining that we can do in our own small town.

It bridges the generation gap. I’ve seen more families playing this game together than I have any other game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or not, Pokemon GO is fun for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your family is competitive or all playing for the same team, it’s just fun getting out and catching them together. The game isn’t “too hard” for younger players, neither is it “too easy” for older players. It crosses the age gap and allows us to play together, young or old.

There is opportunity for ministry. I’ve recently heard about churches that are Pokestops and are using this platform to invite players to church. Many churches have a volunteer inviting players to church during prime pokemon hours. If you can get players to the physical church, it’s just a few more steps to get them inside. What an amazing and creative way to spread the gospel to a new population of people.

I’ll be honest, I never thought that at age 23 catching Pokemon would be important or even fun for me, but I am so glad I took a chance on this game. If you aren’t playing yet, I encourage you to grab your family, get out and moving, pick a team, and have fun together. Crazy to think, maybe catching these imaginary animals are making us a little more . . . human?

Do you play Pokemon GO? If so, what do you love about the game? If not, what’s holding you back?

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Love,

Cassie, RN


Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was in High School

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk to some High Schoolers who are beginning their path to a career in Health Care. We talked about being the best version of themselves and how to pave their way through the dark and twisty road of high school and beyond. Here are a few we discussed and some I added later on. Maybe they’ll inspire you whether you’re in High School or not.

 

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was In High School

1 – If you must impress someone, strive to impress your teachers, not your peers. Your teachers could care less about the clothes you wear, how perfect your hair is every day, and what party you went to over the weekend. However, they do care if you show up to their class and are attentive. Show up, every single day. Pay attention. Be respectful. Impress your teachers by being someone that others can count on. In the end, their opinions will matter far more than your classmates’ opinions of you will.

2 – You don’t actually have to be an orthopedic surgeon, just because you said you’re going to be an orthopedic surgeon. In high school, I was dead set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon, so I really struggled with the calling to become a nurse. If someone had sat me down in High School and told me that I didn’t have to commit to a career then and there, it would have saved me some grief down the road. (Although, I probably wouldn’t have believed anyone, anyway) No one will think less of you if you don’t go to medical school. In fact, if you start out saying you’re interested in medicine, and don’t even go down the Health Care path, no one will judge you. You can change your mind a million times before you actually have to commit to a career if you so choose. But if you’re ready to commit now, by all means, go for it!

3- One or two low grades in High School won’t jeopardize your seat in medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, nursing school, etc. Listen carefully here though. You don’t have to be Valedictorian to land the spot in your dream career program, but the habits you begin to develop in High School will follow you into college, grad school, career and beyond. Don’t slack off, but don’t panic if your GPA isn’t perfect. Your sanity is worth more than a 4.0.

4 – Don’t be funny at someone else’s expense. If you must laugh at someone, laugh at yourself. Trust me, people will like you more if the only person you make fun of is you. This world has too many bullies and bad guys. Be the light. Kindness matters more. And anyone who laughs at someone with you, will likely laugh at you as well.

5 – There is nothing in this world like your first heartbreak. But you will survive this. And sweet friend, this was not love, but love is waiting on you somewhere. Pray for your future spouse every chance you get.

6 – And on that note, Don’t ruin friendships because you think it’s love. And if you don’t take this advice, at least promise me you will really, really think about the consequences and how you’ll feel if this friendship is ruined before moving forward with it.

7 – Don’t spread yourself too thin. High School is stressful enough without having one million things on your plate. I 100 percent think you should get involved, but limit yourself to a couple things instead of every single thing your school offers. Find something you are passionate about and chase it passionately. You’ll actually have the time you want to invest in it and do everything else you need to do as well. From a chronic people pleaser, trust me on this one.

8 – Be the kind of friend you want to have. It’s as simple as treating others the way you want to be treated. Be loyal, be kind.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were in High School? Is there anything you would add to my list?

“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5

Love,

Cassie, RN

Our Cruise to The Bahamas

I recently traded my scrubs for a swimsuit and enjoyed a Spring Break vacation with my Husband. We dubbed this trip a “late Honeymoon” and Graduation Present to one another, all in one. We spent most of our time eating and resting – a perfect vacation in my opinion! Our cruise was a short – 3 day cruise, but with both of our busy schedules,  it was exactly what we needed.

Here are some tips if you’re thinking about taking a Carnival Cruise:

cruise

  1. Do everything the ship has to offer – or don’t! The cruise has activities planned for literally every hour of the day and night. It’s tempting to get caught up in all that’s to offer and want to do everything. We did a few things each day, but didn’t do so many of the activities that we were worn out. What we needed was a break  – not busier days than we already face! So my advice is to take advantage of the activities offered, but remember what vacation is all about – rest and yummy food . .  .
  2. Explore the food options. We loved dressing up for dinner each night and going into the Dining Room for a fancier dinner. This is where we were able to try new and different foods. Our three dinners included escargot, roasted duck, fried alligator, crab ravioli, shrimp, and scallops. These dinners, which would typically be incredibly expensive, were included in the price of our cruise. We loved leaving the table without ever seeing a bill. However, you don’t ever have to dress up if you don’t want to! Room service is free! And an all you can eat buffet, with more options than you could ever imagine, and it’s very casual. You can also eat multiple meals each evening, or order multiple entrees. No one bat’s an eye.
  3. BYOB – Bring Your Own BottleI have a plastic water bottle that I refill and drink from literally every day of my life – that I somehow managed to forget when we went on our cruise. Which was a real shame because in the middle of the night one night, I was so thirsty that I caved and drank the $4 bottle of water that came in our mini bar. (Yes, $4! Ouch!) If only I had that stinkin’ water bottle. I could have filled it with ice cold water at any one of the dozen drink stations throughout the ship. I won’t make that mistake again.
  4. Get off the boat. The shore excursions offered by Carnival are some of the best (and safest!) ways to see the island. We had an absolute blast snorkeling one of the reefs just off Nassau.(Check out the Video my Dad made for us using the videos we took with his GoPro.) We also enjoyed exploring the Straw Market and buying souvenirs from the locals. The best way to see your port is to explore it – but always use good judgement and common sense when it comes to being safe.
  5. Take lots of pictures. The ship has photographers set up every evening, plus when you get on the boat initially and when you get off the boat at port. They will take your photo for absolutely free. Let them! It’s a lot of fun, the photographers are so kind and funny, plus you can see your photos the next day. There’s no pressure to buy them, but buying them is a sweet souvenir to take home. Also, take lots of your own photos. Drew and I really disconnected from our phones while we were on vacation, but I wish we had taken more of our own photos.

Bonus tip: Get your passport if you don’t already have one. You can cruise with just a valid drivers license and a birth certificate, but having a passport was much easier, and much quicker to get back into The States with. Plus, having a passport literally puts the world at your fingertips. I know after spending as much money as we did on our passports, we better get lots of use out of them!

I highly recommend a cruise for your next vacation, especially if you only have a short period of time to go. It was affordable for the two of us and really easy to plan! I’m already planning our next vacation, even though it will be awhile before we can take another trip, due to both of us starting our careers soon. Until then, I’ll be daydreaming of white sand and blue water!

Have you ever cruised? What advice would you offer future cruisers? What are your vacation recommendations for us?

 

“Many waters cannot quench love…” – Song of Solomon 8:7

Love,

cassie