Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: January 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life is Wild

So I haven't decided what extreme I want to reach:
The extreme of never ever putting my camera down and capturing every beautiful moment that takes my breath away,
or the extreme of consistently leaving the house without my camera and without regrets, and simply throwing myself headlong into embracing and enjoying every beautiful moment that takes my breath away, and letting my memory remember it in any fantastic form it so desires to.

The first means that you remember everything, and it guarantees those moments when you're flipping through old prints, or scrolling through old folders on your computer and affectionately smiling on the life that's gone by.
But the second means that those memories are kept as little secrets, kept hidden in your mind and heart, shared only with the other person who was there (if anyone was with you at all).

Life is full of breathtaking moments and beautiful people. And I'm surrounded by it. Sometimes I feel like my heart might burst at the sheer thought that I'm surrounded by so much happy.
There are big things, like people in your life that sweep you up into far more bliss and much more laughter than could ever be told. But there are also little things, like yellow legal pads for list-making, and my antique Bonhoeffer book for snowy days, and new pens (also for list-making… YAY LISTS).

I'm just entirely content, and full of anticipation. Life is wild and full of opportunities and good things, and I'm really happy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Rant About My Frustrations and Your Beauty (Not Your Body): For Those With Insecurities

Nobody wants to talk about their insecurities. But that’s exactly what I’m going to do right now. Not because I need the attention. Because, honestly, who wants their insecurities pointed out on the internet? I’d rather ya’ll just forget I had imperfections at all (which, as I've talked about before, I'm still learning about). But I'm just gonna be straight-up for like, five minutes.

This comes from having a really bad day yesterday, and KNOWING that I’m not the only girl who has those days where she can’t think ANYTHING positive about herself.

Because that’s what happened. All day I was constantly assaulted by hateful thoughts toward myself. Every mirror screamed, “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH, AND YOU WON’T BE. HAVE YOU SEEN YOURSELF? COME TAKE A LOOK. YOU’RE NOTHING SPECIAL. YOU’RE AWFUL.” I tried all day to block it out, but it ended with me in tears at 2 a.m., too depressed and discouraged to sleep, and I just let the accusations hit me while I sat there by myself. I hated myself, and I hated that I didn't have an answer for the hateful voices in my head.

There were people who were able to encourage me last night and throughout today, but it’s still something embarrassing that really isn’t fun to text or talk about. So I really didn’t dwell on it much, until I got home late tonight, and I randomly talked to Mama about it (which is something I should have done right away. Mama makes everything better. Even when you're almost 20 years old).

Like any good mother would be, she was instantly mortified that I could even consider the thought that I’m anything but beautiful, and promptly encouraged me in the contrasting notion. But she still listened to me explain why had reached that conclusion.

And, in talking with her, I came to another conclusion: 

Let me explain: I am not simply created as something physical. I am not simply a body. I am a spirit, a soul, a personality, a laugh, a mind, a voice, a heart (all of which are of much greater value and beauty than any physical body could be).
If there were some odd way that you could take away my physical body without killing me, I would be no less me. Because my body is not my definition. It’s a part of me, but it’s not who I am. It is not my identity.

We discussed this a bit in my philosophy class, when the professor brought up Descartes defense of existence: “I think; therefore I am.” The ability to think, and to reason, was what Descartes used to draw the conclusion that he existed. Apart from his body and everything physical, he existed metaphysically.

The same goes here. My appearance is not "Casey Garland Heard." 
As "Casey Garland Heard," I am a lot of things besides my body. I am a singer; I am a writer; I am a thinker; I am a loud laugher; I am a leader. I imagine; I dream; I love; I speak; I feel. I have a personality, a specific tone to my voice, and intrinsic spiritual value that cannot be stripped from me, no matter how I look.

Psalm 139 talks about how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This passage is often given to girls who feel that they are nothing beautiful. However, I believe this goes beyond the physical. I am fearfully and wonderfully made physically, yes; but so is everything about me. There is no one like me; not only physically, but spiritually, mentally, emotionally, in every way. 

“You are the one who created my innermost parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb,” (139:13). He didn’t just design me physically; He designed me entirely.

YOU are beautiful because YOU are beautiful. Your body is simply the package.

I'm still learning. And I'm not gonna give up on learning. Because I'm sick of hating myself.

"I’m sick of mirrors screaming hate
I’m sick of girls resigned to a fate
of those like our mothers
hunching our shoulders
Because we’ve had all we could take.

But I want the confidence to stand."1/21/14

Let's kick this thing called Insecurities. Let's have the bravery to look those ugly accusations in the face and say, "You don't know who I am. Because if you knew who I was, you wouldn't dare accuse the Daughter and carefully-designed Masterpiece of the King."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wondrous Dangers

It snowed today.
This may not be news to the northern/western states, but for Virginia, snow changes things. Schools closed early today, and probably will tomorrow. People are stocking up on food. Radio stations talk about nothing but the dangers of the impending 4 inches of snow.

I think it's all rather silly to get all worked up about it. But I do like the snow something awful, though. Colorado snow was one of the most amazing things ever, and I miss it.

I drove home after dark tonight, and I would have done anything to be in the passenger seat instead. Watching the snow fall below the streetlights was almost distracting, and I wanted to pull over and just watch it for half an hour.

Snow is a funny thing. It's breathtakingly beautiful and treacherous at the same time. It creates a wasteland of lovely but also something wondrously dangerous.
I'm finding there are a lot of things in life that are like snow. Moments that take your breath away in their beauty and purity and perfection and bliss; moments that make you want to stop and just enjoy it; moments that make you want to cry - not because it makes you sad but because the everything of it is just overwhelming.
But at the same time, those beautiful moments bring along the thrill of dangers. Like that random patch of ice you didn't see, that sent you reeling. Like that snow bank that you sank up to your knees in, or the snow-covered ditch that sprung you into a nice face-plant.

Not only am I experiencing the real snow, but the real-life snow as well.
I feel as though I'm presented with the opportunity to partake in some breath-stealing, make-you-cry moments. But at the same time, there's that reminder that last time I played in the snow, I got hurt.

There's a choice:
Do I merely admire the splendor from a distance? and watch the opportunity to experience it pass by? letting the fear of the black ice dominate my decision?
Or do I jump in, wholeheartedly, regardless of the dangers? open myself up to the bliss of the loveliness? even though I might take a few face-plants in the snow-banks?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Getting Better at Moseying

Right now:
I am in a sweatshirt, leggings, a beanie, and pink cheetah socks Allie got me for Christmas, sitting cross-legged on my bed on top of my favorite blanket I got for my birthday last year.
My memory card was just downloaded onto my computer from going outside twenty minutes ago in my favorite skirt (not bothering to change out of my nice work shoes) with my new lens.
I just got home from work 2 hours ago; of which the first 10 minutes home were spent with me face-down on my bed in exhaustion. I am listening to my Spotify “chill” playlist while I eat gluten free pretzels and Nutella, and drink old coffee with almond milk and Truvia in it.

I have far more to do than I ever thought a freshman in college would have to do. My part-time job is demanding more hours, my classes ask for hours of investment, and I have begun part-time ministry with Young Life (something I hope to talk about eventually) and lots of Saturday assignments (yay).
However, as I was writing out a to-do list last night (for things to do on a SATURDAY) I got really sad. Because I realized that I didn’t have time for anything I loved

Like painting sparkles on my fingernails, and lighting sparklers to simply celebrate whatever day it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning. I’m really excited about this ministry, and my job is the best job I could ask for. But I wasn’t allowing time for writing, or knitting, or blogging, or photography, or letter-/song-writing... things that I was able to spend time loving last year, but things that have been pushed aside. I wrote a poem yesterday, and actually felt guilty about it!
And I think adults who feel they have no purpose started out by doing the same thing I’m doing now: pushing out the things that they love, or activities they want to invest in, to do things that they “have” to do.

So I’m challenging myself. I obviously can’t take the time to write a song, knit an afghan and take 3,000 pictures every day. But I can take the time to do one thing that I love every day. Sometimes, I might even have time for two or three! 
Either way, this will also challenge me to manage my time better; a weakness that has always been very difficult for me to overcome.

I don’t want to reach the end of my life - or even my week! - and realize I never took the time to sit on my bed and eat gluten free pretzels and Nutella and bad coffee. When life is only spent doing chores, homework, ministry, and work, we sometimes lose our balance and become people who run through life, instead of moseying.
And I like moseying. I want to get better at it.

Also, I'm pretty sure I've eaten Chick-fil-A five times this week. If that's not enjoying life, I don't know what is.

Have a great weekend, Beautiful People!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Guilt & Shame

(This video is a couple of years old, but it is still one of my favorites. The song is incredible, written and performed by some friends of mine, and the video is phenomenal.)

"Come with me and meet the One who makes the night like day.
Bow before Him and adore this King who bears our shame.
And everything will change."

It's kind of blowing my mind tonight that He has born my shame. That literally means that I don't have to feel shame for what I've done, or sins I've committed.
Yes, after doing something wrong, a healthy person feels a remorse that drives him/her back to the arms of the loving Father in repentance. But I don't have to suffer the guilt of being defined by those mistakes, or the shame of being found in my sin. Because ultimately, Christ has died for me. Along with the consequences of sin - i.e., eternity in hell - Christ also bore what held me to sin, or defined me in sin. Guilt and sin do not define me, because the death and resurrection of Christ gave me a new identity, and brought me into a new name, a new heritage, a new family. Also, the shame should not be there, because even though I have been "found" in that sin, I am not kept in it, or forced to sit there until I have learned my lesson. No, remorse and repentance lead me to a place where not one stain of that sin remains in my life or in my heart, and it is not looked upon or dwelt on by God.

I am freed from guilt and shame and false identity.

It is so important to remember that.

"Come with me and meet the One who makes the night like day.
Bow before Him and adore this King who bears our shame.
And everything will change." 

P.S. A lot of beautiful things have happened/are happening lately… things I can't wait to tell you about! BUT all in good time. And when it's not 2:30 a.m...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013, it's been rad

2013 was a good year.
Here's why:

January: Disney World with some crazy siblings

February: Windsor, CO becomes my home for a couple of months
and I experienced some wonderful snows

March: Road-tripped into the mountains
 and ate lunch on a frozen lake
and also visited Boulder (one of my new favorite towns in the country).

April: I survived my first 5k
turned 19, and was visited by my best friend/brother!

May: camping in our new RV

June: camping on a lake
was visited by this beautiful girl
witnessed the beautiful wedding of two friends
and many other adventures.


August: Road trip to Niagara Falls
adventures with these two:
and my first week of college!

September: REGENT LIFE

October: hobbled a lot
and a road trip with these two (newly engaged!)

November: Young Life and new friends
and my friends and I continuing our task of making Regent a bit more classy.

December: Christmas danced
was reunited with a lovely friend
and built a Christmas tree.
and now I'm in Guatemala as I write this!

All in all, it was a beautiful year. It's been kind of fun to look back through these pictures, and see how things have changed. Relationships, friendships, hair styles, everything. This year has seen a lot of mountains conquered, a lot of insecurities faced, and a lot of challenges accepted.
- I flew to two countries
- Stepped foot in 10 different states (most of which I haven't been to before)
- And flew 5 times
- Got my first real job
- Lived on my own for a few months
- Dyed my hair a lot
- And stretched myself in many different ways.

2013 - it's been fun.