Hello there! My name is Cassandra Marie and I’m thrilled and humbled that you are taking the time to read more about me and my blog. If you are wondering what this blog is all about and why I started it, I’d love for you to take a moment to read my Welcome post. There, you’ll get a taste of my vision for this blog and what I hope to accomplish with it.

But if you would like to know a bit more about me and my personal story, you’ve come to the right page!

First, a few basics:

I am a thirty-something gal living in beautiful North Idaho with my amazing family – a wise and hard-working dad, a loving and self-sacrificial mom, two beautiful and talented adult sisters, and one awesome teenage brother who enthusiastically lives up to his name (“Isaac,” which means “laughter”).

Me with my sweet sisters Carissa and Christiana (who also happen to be my best friends!).
Photo credit: Christiana

We migrated to the Northwest from California when I was a child (which probably explains my enduring love of palm trees) but since that was almost 3 decades ago, I think I can say I am almost an Idaho native.

Idahome. 🙂

I am currently working a variety of part-time jobs, including teaching music, working as a church accompanist, doing remote analysis work for a loss prevention company . . . and as of February of 2019, running a blog about travel, food, joy in the midst of suffering, and finding beauty in the everyday!  

I love Irish music, dark chocolate, teaching piano, traveling, singing, cooking interesting foods from all over the world, the color turquoise, penguins (and peacocks . . . and flamingos . . . and scarlet macaws . . . seriously, have you guys ever stopped to think about the wild abandon that God displayed when he created these crazy birds??), the smell of oranges, the crackle of freshly-baked croissants, planning vacations, NASA history, photographing the beauties of creation, playing piano for church, home-roasted coffee, electric blankets, yellow orchids, Chopin Nocturnes, flowering dogwoods, the Scottish Highlands, pad thai, classical music, classical ballet, and classic Disney cartoons.

Scarlet Macaw at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Jan. 2017)

I could go on. And on. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing they hired Hammerstein instead of me to write the lyrics for “My Favorite Things” . . . my version of the song would have been much longer and none of the words would have rhymed.

Now that we have established that I love many, many things about this world that God has made, I’d like to share a bit about the long, winding path I have taken to get here. I’ll just give you the highly condensed and selective version, because let me tell you, friend:  God has led me down so many different paths in my 3 dozen journeys around the sun that it would fill many pages if I were to tell you about them all.

Sometimes I look back on my adult life up to this point and wonder how in the world I got from one place to another . . . from being a piano- and flute-obsessed homeschooler to graduating high school two years early and becoming the youngest music major in my freshman class at the local college and the youngest member of the local symphony orchestra . . . from graduating with my A. S. in music and moving away from home for the first time to attend university on a piano performance scholarship . . . from obeying God’s call to return home again after only one semester to finding myself jobless, school-less, and clueless about what to do next with my life . . . from landing an unexpected part-time job at a local dance school (with zero experience) to discovering a knack for and love of teaching ballet to tiny dancers with chubby thighs bulging comically out from under copious amounts of fluffy pink tulle . . . from taking a huge leap of faith, opening my own classical ballet school, and running it for 5 years with the help of my sisters to being forced to close after a dance-related injury meant I needed to have major spinal surgery at age 27 . . . from teaching piano, to teaching dance, back to teaching piano, to teaching choir-plus-music-history-plus-piano in spite of an ever-growing list of health problems; from being a reasonably healthy and active young woman to having too many distressing and mysterious symptoms to count . . . from spending my days in the joyful rush of constant creative energy to spending my days in bed with debilitating pain and fatigue . . . from the relief of finally receiving a conclusive diagnosis to the ongoing, daily battle of learning to accept the phrase “you have lupus” as a reality . . .

A reality that has seeped into every area of my life and will stick to my days like sap until the moment I go to meet my Maker.

Photo Credit: Christiana

So many paths. So many switchbacks. So many seemingly wrong turns, dead ends, dark shadows, and brambles hindering my progress. And yet, I know that my God is faithful and He will never leave me or forsake me. He is not only with me on this winding path, He has guided and will continue to guide my every step and He will keep my feet from falling.

He has brought me here. Now. To this very moment in time and place in the universe.

So, who am I? What have I become in the process of wandering so many confusing paths?

Well, it turns out that I’m still that music-obsessed girl who loves cheery colors and sad music and thinks that penguins are one of the best ideas God ever had. But I am also learning.

I’m learning to trust God with my days, the good and the bad.

I’m learning to thank Him for every moment, the joy-filled and the pain-filled.

I’m learning to love and praise and imitate Him more fully every day.

Through all of this, I am also learning ways to enjoy life and explore the good things in God’s created world . . . even though I have a very challenging chronic illness. It takes more effort and more planning, along with a willingness to hold those plans ever so loosely in wide-open hands.

Traveling solo . . . even though I have lupus! (Oct. 2017)

I don’t know what paths God will lead me down in the future. I don’t know if they will be sunny or dark, straight or curving, smooth and level or strewn with obstacles.

But God knows. He has laid the path before my feet and I only need to walk it in faith, one day at a time.

Sometimes slowly, often stumbling, but never lost.

And never alone.

Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. ~ Psalm 27:13

~ Cassandra Marie