Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Hope ya'll had a fantastic Christmas!! This was a group selfie we took at Krispy Kreme on Christmas Eve Eve... one of our favorite traditions each year is going to KK in our pajamas on Christmas Eve Eve, and then driving around to look at Christmas lights as a family.

I know I have been everything but regular on my lovely little piece of internet... but holidays are for families, not blogging! Fear not, dear friends, I will be returning to the normal swing of life after the holidays are over. And after that, I should have many pictures to share, and stories to fill ya'll in on!

Enjoy these next two weeks, and for you students on winter break, soak up all the rest you can get!

Love, Casey

Monday, December 1, 2014

Farm Life

 This is the Farm.
It's been our home-away-from-home for years now, and definitely one of the most beloved pieces of earth I know.
It's where I shot my first deer and where I've spent many of my New Years Eves.
It's a celebratory place, 
full of prize deer that will feed us in the winter, 
paintball games,
lots of bonfires,
the best memories in the world.

Between the months of September and January, the Farm become especially sacred.
It's hunting season.
 Anyone who knows my dad would say he is a hunter to the core.
You don't know my dad unless you know that side of him.
 Hayden and I stayed back to finish homework (no rest for the collegiate)
but I snapped these before the men headed out for the afternoon hunt.
 (Hayden scrambling to bring the dog back after she escaped to ruin the hunt)
 (The one in the middle is Mama's contribution to the trophy wall;)
Spending time here was the best part about my Thanksgiving break.
It had been a while.
It felt good to be surrounded by fields and trees, 
and no noise but the hidden wild life.

How did ya'll spend your Thanksgiving Weekend?

Monday, November 24, 2014


"We are offered all of the rest in the world, in greater depth and measure than we could ever imagine, but we only experience as much of it as we believe exists and as much of it as we take."

I wrote that just as I was finishing week 8 at Regent University. Midterm week. So exciting. And here I am at week 13, coming to the end of the semester, and I feel like I'm running just as hard; maybe harder.

It's times like this when rest seems impossible. I find that my sleeping habits are a lot like my car-fueling habits: getting a third of what I need when I'm in desperate need for it because I don't have time for a "full tank." And even rest outside of sleeping is hard to come by when my mind is constantly flying and grasping at my mental to-do list to make sure nothing is forgotten (and often failing... I forget a lot).

Hebrews 4:1 talks about a rest we can miss:
"Therefore, since the promise that we can enter into rest is still open, let's be careful so that none of you will appear to miss it."

The author of Hebrews is probably talking about eternal rest, the rest gained by salvation. BUT it's a part of our inheritance through the death of Christ Jesus that we can pull our eternity down into our life on earth! So we technically have access to the entire rest of the presence of Jesus at all times.

How often do we take advantage of this? I am finding that I hardly do. Instead of taking up this rest, I'm striving just as hard as I am in every other area of life. I'm treating it like homework or ministry or something to get done.

However, my relationship with Him was never supposed to be like this.
It was not designed to be full of me kicking myself while I tried so hard to be perfect.
It was not designed to be a result of the pressure I put on myself to get everything right.
My relationship with the Lord is supposed to look like the pursuit of a groom towards his bride,
or a Father crouched on the floor beside his toddler daughter while she learns to walk.
Both are full of delight.
Both are designed for nothing but joy in the relationship.
And both allow me to enter into the rest and freedom of His love and grace even while my life continually falls short of reflecting His glory perfectly.

That's rest:
Knowing that however many times I mess up or fall short or screw up,
I'm that bride, that could never look more beautiful.
I'm that toddler daughter that causes nothing but a smile to rise on my father's face, even when I trip over myself.
And that's something I could live in.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Leaves in a Parking Lot (and celebrating people)

I found these leaves in a parking lot.

I love how they're all beautiful and unique.
And it's cliche, but
just like us.
We are made up of all sorts of different shades and sizes and shapes and spots.
No type being the "right" or "perfect" type.
They're all pretty.
Just like we all, in are innate composition, are pretty.
Pretty by definition of our differences.

"Celebrate people, and you'll find yourself serving them, cuz you just want life to be a giant party." - Jason Peaks

Let's celebrate people, and differences, and the funky little details about each individual that make them stand out and bring a special flavor to the world.
And then, let's tell them.
Let's encourage them.
Find something you like about someone, and tell them.
Appreciate them.
Put them in the best position to shine.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Doubts vs. His Display of Faithfulness

We all have those times where we realize, or become significantly more aware of, how far a year has taken us. Typically this time comes around New Years for me, or around my birthday. But this weekend marked a clear moment of reflection on how far the Lord has brought me.
This weekend I was one of 25 leaders on a trip with 350 teenagers from Chesapeake (almost 600 teenagers total) with Young Life. We were in Nags Head, I was leading beside some of my best friends in the world, and spending time with some of the coolest sophomore and junior girls I have ever met. I saw kids laugh and dance and cry and hear the Gospel in a very real way. Literally, my only job while I was there was to love on girls, spend time with them, and watch the Lord change lives.

Where was I last year? Praying that God would give me ministry. Dying to be around high school girls, and fulfill that calling that had been heavy on my heart for years. Frustrated at the lack of open doors for ministry. Why wouldn't the Lord honor my desires to serve, and give me opportunities in ministry?

After this sleepless and busy weekend, we drove straight back to the Young Life house in Chesapeake. I spent the afternoon talking with the other leaders about ways they saw the Lord move in their kids' lives while we played video games and ate great food. I realized, then, how much this group of people had become like a second family to me; a place where I felt safe enough to show weakness and honesty, but where I could always expect a laugh. 

Where was I last year? Desperate for community; tired of struggling through young adulthood on my own. Feeling left out and forgotten. Nobody to pray with or laugh with. No motivation from others in my walk with the Lord. Feeling uncared for. Would He ever give me real friends? or a solid community? Had He forgotten me? 

All of this is pretty cool to think about... but even more so in light of my current frustrations. I'm impatient with endless schoolwork, anticipating a time when I will no longer be single, and itching to be back in Guatemala. But these times of reflections bring encouragement.

What do these reflections say about me? Not much. 
What do these reflections say about the faithfulness of God? Everything.

When I look back on where I've come from, and consider where He's brought me compared to where I am, or where I thought I'd be going, it can be really humbling. It causes my current doubts and frustrations to shrink. Yes; sometimes frustrations last longer than a year, and yes; there are prayers and desires that take much longer to be fulfilled. 

I never would have imagined that the Lord would bring me to a place that was both so sweet and so challenging. So why should I doubt that He won't continue leading me? Why should I doubt that He still has amazing plans for me beyond my imagination? I'm working to choose His faithfulness over my doubts.

Keep your head up; because no matter where YOU are, the same goes for you, too.
He is faithful. And He's more interested in, and excited about your future than you are. I guarantee it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Here, and Nowhere Else: Opportunities for Greater Faith

Fall is an easy time for me to feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes it's a good overwhelming. My heart tries to soak up every inch of this glorious season, and my eyes want to devour every single color of the clothes and the leaves and the cars and the streetlights. My insides get all bunched-up with excitement when I think about the approaching Christmas season. It's all I can think of when I see red and green stoplights at night, especially with the early darkness that has come along with daylight savings. I begin anticipating what the reaction will be to the presents I am most excited to give, and nighttime car drives that have no purpose other than to look at festive trees and porches that have been decked-out in sparkles and lights.

Other times, it's a bad overwhelming.
Homework seems unending, and my brain doesn't feel like it ever stops scrambling to remember everything on my extensive to-do list. My body is run down from its lack of sleep and lack of food. With Christmas comes another to-do list of presents and cookies to make, and people to see, and decorations to get; obligations continually hounding me for attention. And the wet, heavy blanket over your soul when you feel like you are alone.

Fall is the hardest season for me to be single sometimes. Loneliness is a common thing to feel when it's so glorious outside and there's no one to enjoy it with, or no one's flannels to wear, or no one to watch Christmas movies early with you, or no one to go to a crowded coffee shop and read with you.

Besides that, I think fall is just that sort of season. Every season we long for different things, andsometimes that correlates with the physical seasons. Winter is a dead and grey sort of season; Spring is anticipatory of blossoms and flowers; Summer is warm and slow. And fall, sometimes, is just that dread of the dead season coming, when things are darker and colder and lonelier and sometimes the snow leaves you stranded at home.

But it's a marvelous thing that I can rely on the fact that every season - truly, every moment of every day - is an opportunity to choose greater trust. I ask for greater faith, so I'm given greater opportunities to choose who/what I put my faith in. There are endless small moments to choose whether I willfocus on my own discouragements or circumstances or the lonely, overwhelming feeling of my heart...or trust that I am where I am supposed to be, and that I will continue to be guided to where I need to be when I need to be there.

"Here and nowhere else is the appointed place. If faith does not go to work here, it will not go to work at all." - Elizabeth Elliot

Have a phenomenal week, friends.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Few Snaps From a Trip to PA

For the first week of fall break my family took a random trip to PA. Our camping trip in VA we had originally planned go rained out, so the P's decided to just pile in the van and "just drive"! We had always talked about driving up to PA, so this was as good a time as ever, right?

I had never been to Gettysburg before. And while this wasn't the only adventure we had over the weekend, these were the best of the few pictures snapped. At least we got a family picture out of it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lessons from Being a Mom for a Day

I am the oldest of ten children. Because of that, I can be "second mom" in many ways. As I've gotten older, moved to college, worked a job, though, these responsibilities have decreased some, due to my absence.
Yesterday I was in charge of five of them for 24 hours: the 12, 7, 6, 4, and 2-year-old. And it's incredible how being a mom of five for a day can teach you some things about life.

For instance, I experienced the shell-shock of going from an independent, put-together college student to a half-showered, sweatpants-wearing-all-day, slightly-frazzled, caregiver. I didn't get any homework done, and the time I spent with the Lord was during my quick trips to the bathroom and in between answering math questions. By 9:40, when I was finally sure every baby was asleep, there was no place I wanted to be more than snooze-town. I still had tons to do, but I was whooped.

But, really...
There's nothing like a 2-year-old falling asleep on you and feeling his drool roll down your arm.
There's nothing like listening to a 4-year-old yelling/singing "Let it go" over the cheers of an indoor soccer game that isn't supposed to be happening.
There's nothing like a 6-year-old explaining his drawing of a half-pig, half-bear monster chasing villagers up a tree that has been colored over so determinedly that it's mostly black.
There's nothing like hearing excited screams from the other room when one of them loses their first tooth.
There's nothing like spending time with some of the cutest, freckle-covered, messy faces in the world.

And outside of all the good times and spills and breaking up fights, sometimes you hear the truest things. Like,
"Tasey, he got stronger and stronger because everything got harder and harder."

How is it that a 6-year-old understands that when life gets harder and harder it only makes you stronger and stronger? and it's something that I'm still frustratedly trying to remind myself??

Motherhood is humbling. And fun. And frazzling. And stressful. And full of opportunities to give up on cleaning the kitchen and have a tickle fight instead.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Lately, life's been hard. But it's also been good.

It's a testament to how good our God is that even when we feel completely overwhelmed or completely hopeless, it isn't ever all bad. There are always those little good things.
Even when I have an incredible amount of homework,
ministry takes up more time than I planned,
meetings come up at impractical times,
work is long,
people are tiring,
food is low,
math is hard,
money is gone,
and my head hurts...
The Lord still never gives me more than I can handle. He always provides a ray of sunshine, or a place of rest, or that one encouragement that I need to get me through.

Sometimes it's hard to see, but there's always something good.
It's just a matter of deciding what we look for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


So I accidentally took off two weeks instead of one... whoops.
The first week was finals week and the second one was fall break week. And one thing stood out to me from these last two weeks:
we really are a break-less people.

But this is no one's fault but our own. It's our own inability! I stayed on-campus during break so that I could get more done. When I ran into one of my few friends who had stayed, he made an interesting comment: "Casey, I don't know how to do nothing."
He went on to explain that his fall break week was not a break, but that was because he didn't know how to take one. And this is practically the norm! In talking with the other students, most of them worked double-time over that week, were slammed with homework (like yours truly) or crammed so many trips and activities in the week that they never had a chance to just sit and enjoy the break.

This generation doesn't know how to sit and enjoy

Not only this generation or teenagers and young adults, but adults as well! With cell phones, Netflix, and endless Twitter conversations to keep up with - not to mention the dumb, addictive games and endless gossip - it's no wonder we never rest. Because, for us, rest only comes when there's nothing else to do or text or keep up with or google. But, guess what... That place in life doesn't exist and never will.

We need to re-shape our thinking. Real rest does not happen there is nothing else to do; real rest happens when we make a conscious decision to let our brains and our souls take a break from the texts and the people and the homework and the ministry and the work and the Instagram-photo-taking.

The world will not fall apart if you take time to rest now and then. In fact, the world will be better off if you take the time to rest. Because, honestly, you're a better you when you rest. You're more productive, more successful, friendlier, and healthier....

Want to have a positive effect on this world? Want to give your family the best you possible? Want to be the most effective you can be in your work or your ministry? Take a break and make it count. Turn your phone off for the day, or the afternoon, and take a drive somewhere. Think about as little as possible; reconnect with God; go somewhere cool; lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling; read a couple of chapters in that novel, just because; do anything!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Taking a break this week to focus on the midterms I have this weekend... But enjoy this awkward picture of me and my friend Nate, and have a fantastic week!!
And for you fellow Virginians who are experiencing this grand weather, make sure you get out there and enjoy it;)

Love, Case

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Am a Fashion Blogger (and this is why)

So this week marks two years ago that I started fashion blogging. And in those two years, I feel like I've tried every which way to describe myself as anything but a fashion blogger. But I'm starting to come around to the fact that if 80% of my viewers only view the fashion aspect of my blog, it's safe to say that's what I am. So what better time to talk about being/becoming a fashion blogger than two years after I started?

The reason I've avoided being called "the fashion blogger," is because I feel like it brings a negative reaction to folks, like, "oh, she must think she's so put together all the time," or "she's not that fabulous," and yadda yadda. And really, their skepticism would be well-deserved because there's nothing that makes me qualified to talk about it. Most of the time I'm in a T and sweats, anyways... I live the college life!
So why did I start posting fashion posts if I didn't want to be a fashion blogger? There are other bloggers out there. What made me different? What made me feel there was a need?

A few things...

One of my first fashion posts
1) I was tired of seeing girls shove their bodies into fashion trends that did not work for their body type.
We're all unique and we're all beautiful (like all of us haven't heard that 20 times...). The problem is, fashion industries and trends do not cater to different body types. That's why their trends: they're all the same. But who says we have to be trendy to be fabulous? Nobody. Fabulous comes from wearing what looks good on you and wearing it confidently.

2) I was tired of being discouraged that dressing with femininity and dignity was defined as "prudish" and "boring"
Every girl has faced the discouragement of seeing the overwhelming amounts of mini-skirts and see-through tops, and the sinking feeling that that's what you wear to be cool. What happens to the gals who don't want to dress that way? They feel the only way to not dress like that is to wear black ankle-length skirts and over-sized plaid button ups.
I've been there. And there wasn't anyone to show me that that didn't have to be the case.

3) I was tired of wearing the same things the same ways and I wanted a challenge to do something different
I already blogged, so why not bring ya'll along for the journey of trying to think a little bit outside of the box? Blogging is a really good way to stay motivated and accountable for things like this, and I figured something like this would be fun to share.

...and now.
4) I shopped at thrift stores and Target more than I shopped anywhere else, and typical fashion bloggers are high-end shoppers
If there were blogs I could find who inspired me in the way I looked, they were bloggers who spent $35 on a pair of socks and simply paired pumps with a $150 dress. These blogs were remarkably uncreative (anyone can pair an expensive dress with expensive shoes and look great) AND remarkably outside of my budget.

5) I knew I wasn't the only one
There was no way that I was the only girl discouraged by the poor amount of inspirational fashion bloggers who shopped economically, creatively, and modestly.
So instead of waiting around to find someone who fit the bill, why not challenge myself to fit it?

I'm very passionate about women feeling strong and confident and beautiful. What better way to do that than to encourage them to put their best foot forward and rock their personality through what they wear?

By posting my thoughts on how to look like the best YOU you can, and always bringing it back around to where your true value is, it is my goal that every woman who sees my posts will feel stronger, more valuable, and more beautiful.

As women, we're told over and over where we aren't good enough and how we don't measure up. But you know what? That doesn't matter. If you feel fabulous, you are fabulous. Why not feel fabulous more often?

So there you have it. I'm a fashion blogger. Why? Because I want you to know that you're the most beautiful you that there will ever be, and that's something to be proud of, not something you try and change. And these fashion posts are just a small way to try and remind you of that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Style{in} Skirts: Ft. Kallie the Cupcake-Maker

This is Kallie.
She's a gymnast, a soccer player, a baker and a singer.  
She wants to open up her own cupcake shop... how cool is that?
Scarf: Charming Charlie's // Shirt: Kohl's // Vest: Charlotte Russe // 
Skirt/Maxi Dress: Papaya // Boots: Wet Seal
I really like Kallie's combination of color and pattern... and throwing in the denim vest was the cherry on top. I need her to show me how she got her scarf tied up so fabulously!
I like featuring new people because I find myself getting into the same rut of wearing similar pieces similar ways... Kallie makes me want to go buy some stripes!! And wear my denim vest way more.

If you want to be featured on Cattails, Rabbittrails, and Thistlefish, let me know!! Give me a holler on facebook or email me your look at caseyheardwhat@gmailDOTcom. Fresh faces are always fun, and I'm always looking for a good excuse to not be the one photographed;)

Yesterday was the first day of fall... And Virginia actually felt like it! What a shocker...
Hope ya'll are ready to break out the pumpkins and take hipster pictures of fall leaves and all that fun stuff:)