Author Archives: Cassie


Category : Upward Thoughts

Hillsong United recently released their “Zion” album. All I can say is “Wow!”. There was a lot of buzz around the “Scandal of Grace” track, but I’ve found my favorite track is “Oceans (where feet may fail).” This song has been playing over and over in mind.

The chorus goes:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders//
Let me walk upon the waters//
Wherever You would call me//
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander//
And my faith will be made stronger//
In the presence of my Savior

The thought of Peter stepping out onto the (stormy) sea–having trust without borders– is a constant challenge to 1)always walk in faithful obedience, and 2)understand that God may call you to some beyond amazing adventures!

Listen to Hillsong United’s “Oceans“.

Cosmopolitan pizza

Category : The Recipes

This recipe is based on a pizza from St. Elmo’s Pizza Way in Port Elizabeth, SA.

1 pizza crust recipe (makes two pies, but toppings listed below are only for one pie)

8 oz. cream cheese
1 package back bacon (or Canadian Bacon), diced
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 jar Sweet Chili Sauce
1-2 cups grilled chicken breast, cut into strips (optional)

1. Prepare crust per directions

2. Soften cream cheese. Spread onto prepared crust.

3. Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top of cream cheese.

4. Drizzle sweet chili sauce over the pie.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 mins.

NOTE: for the unused pizza dough– we love to brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic and bake. Once out of the oven top it with cilantro (or arugula), feta cheese, and avocado slices.

Mmm Mmm Carrot Cake

Category : The Recipes

All South Africans LOVE carrot cake! Here is our favorite one so far:

4 Eggs
1 cup puréed butternut squash
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the above together. Then add:

2 cups flour (cake flour works great, but all-purpose is fine)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Stir until combined. Fold in:

3 cups grated carrots

Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Optional icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. real butter, softened

Cream icing ingredients together and spread on top of your cooled cake.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee and say a prayer for Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Pray for:
*Coega (pronounced: cooga) Door of Hope Children’s Home (DOH). DOH currently has 42 of the most beautiful children that have been abandoned for one reason or another.


Undaunted: Facing my Fears

Category : Upward Thoughts

I’m currently reading (almost done with) “Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do” by Christine Caine. I would HIGHLY recommend this book. Christine Caine founded the A21 organization to end human trafficking and abolish slavery. Throughout this book Caine shares moving stories of those she has rescued as well as from her own life.

Caine shares her thoughts on overcoming fear. Fear says, “I’m willing to go–as long as…” A glimpse into those conversations with God when we still feel the need to try and control the situation. We still haven’t totally surrendered if we are bargaining for control. Wow!

I tried to put caveats of safety and assurance of a safe return on our venture to Africa. While I absolutely believe in the blood of Jesus to protect my family, I know that we are not guaranteed anything in this life. So when Caine states that:

“Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to persevere even in the face of fear.”

I took a deep breath (knowing this chapter was written just for me) and kept reading…


I’ve been saying 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over in mind as I struggle to face my fears.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)


It’s definitely a challenge, but I want to be this example for my kids. I want them to know that their mom and dad were “all in” for Jesus.

Judges 6:14

Category : Upward Thoughts

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have… I am sending you!”

I have never felt more overwhelmed and inept than when I realized God was calling us to South Africa. I had always pictured missionaries to Africa as extreme missionaries– the kind that would make Bear Grylls proud. Not me. But when God says “Go!”– you go!

It’s not everyday that I feel God speaks directly to where I am in life. However, this verse was a direct encouragement to me as I was reeling from the latest revelation of His plan for us.

If I could add my paraphrasing to this verse it would read: “Go in the strength that you have [all of it]…for I am sending you [Which means I will make up the difference/lack of].”

I’ve been reading YouVersion’s “New thru 30” reading plan as we head towards Easter and realize that this statement is made by Jesus constantly. When feeding the multitude he asks “What do you have?” (i.e. From where are we starting?). Then, “Go!” (And I will make up the difference.)

The challenge, for me, was to step out regardless of how inept and unprepared I felt, and know that by faith God will make up the difference.

Addo National Park

Amazing elephant sightings at Addo! Can’t believe we were so close to this many elephants!!!




Who needs enemies when you have children!?

Category : Mom Life

What are my plans for evening, you ask? I’m going to get the baby down around 8, spend the next half hour cuddling and watching a movie with my little man before tucking him into bed, quickly clean the last few dinner dishes, then jump into bed and read a book with the window open and cool sea breeze blowing in (maybe even enjoy a cup of decaf coffee with it)…ah, bliss!

That was MY plan. Here is what really happened…

Kasey went to a rugby game (as planned and with my blessing). Genesis went to bed on schedule, but Judah wanted nothing to do with cuddling–he was much too busy “jumping”. So I decided to finish the dishes then tuck Judah in and enjoy a few quiet moments with my favorite toddler (When. Will. I. Ever. Learn.).

Judah comes into the kitchen while I am washing dishes and asks for fruit snacks. I tell him no because he has already had one today. He responds that it is for the baby. I explain the baby is asleep and can’t have fruit snacks. “I go check” was his reply. (I’m sure you can guess what happens next). Before I could stop him, he was in the baby’s room, rubbing her head and asking if she wanted a fruit snack. Grrrrrr…

Needless to say, I spent the next 45 minutes trying to put Genesis back down– trying to convince her it is night time and that was not just a really good nap! Somewhere in between one of Genesis’ crying spells– I get Judah to his bed (now way past his bedtime) and let him watch one show on his tablet.

Finally, Genesis falls back to sleep (and Judah is almost asleep while watching his show), BUT then Kasey comes back from the game. Judah jumps out of bed “I need my daddy” was the only thing he knew would allow him to stay up.

So…we spent the next bit talking with daddy and are just now getting to bed (two hours later than planned.) No book, no coffee (I did try, but it was accidentally spilled while “jumping”), no cuddles.

Oh! and I accidentally flushed a nail brush (my only nail brush) down the toilet…


The Beach is Free but the Showers Are Expensive

I love living near a beach! And a beautiful beach at that! It’s not uncommon to see dolphins while eating breakfast, drink your morning coffee as the sun shines on the water, or watch as Judah throws rocks back into the ocean. One great thing about Port Elizabeth is the free beaches– they’re beautiful and you can swim while watching surfers catch the next wave or while sailboats move on the horizon. We often repeat the cliche of not being in Kansas anymore, but…

Taking showers are expensive! Let me explain… In the US most homes are metered and you get a fluctuating electricity bill every month. South Africa uses a prepaid electricity system. Most homes have an indoor meter (like the one below) and must go to a local store or ATM and purchase electricity. For example, I just bought R200 ($22) worth of electricity and then loaded it onto our meter with the code the store generates. Once I put in the code, my meter is credited about 192 units. It’s really a great system (as long as you don’t run out!).

The only downside is that I can tell you exactly how much it costs to cook a meal, take a shower (measuring the cost to reheat the geyser), and how much it costs when you leave on a light. It is actually cheaper to boil water in my electric kettle and pour into the sink than to run hot water from the tap when doing dishes. It costs about R3 ($.35) to take a hot shower and R2 ($.25) to heat the stove for dinner. We average about 17 units a day– unless we go to the beach which results in three showers and two baths!

I’m sure it’s comparable to what we paid in the US, but I never paid attention. I guess I’m one of the reasons the US uses over 80% of the worlds resources.

As a side note– our family has been taken care of and our needs are met– but it’s not uncommon to see people in line at the store who can only afford R10-R20 worth of electricity until their next monthly paycheck. Breaks my heart when I see that they have babies and young children.


Who But God

Category : Upward Thoughts

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28 AMP

Who but God would’ve known that I needed a woman named Peggy Gannon in my life 12 years ago that would open up and share an experience that required her to sell everything and move to Russia. To this day, I remember her telling with great emotion that she knew the call of God was greater than any possession. That didn’t make getting rid of everything easy– she wept over pouring out a jar of corn kernels that represented the blessings her family was thankful for (a Thanksgiving tradition at her house).

I replayed this encounter over and over in mind when my husband told me it was time to move– to Africa. With the exception of a few mementos and heirlooms we were able to store in our parents attic, I knew this was my “sell all” moment. I wish I could say that I handled it with the same amount of grace as Peggy, but I don’t think I did. I wept as I watched my son’s toys being given away and as we dismantled the nursery to bless another family with our crib (the crib that both my babies slept in). I cried as we put the for sale sign in our yard (the yard my son helped his daddy “mow”). I cried when I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl eight weeks before we were to move– knowing her grandparents would not get to see her grow the way they had with my son. I cried buckets as we prepared to bid our families goodbye. I smiled outwardly as people would comment “How exciting! What an adventure! You must be so excited”; while inwardly I was shouting “Than you go!”

Not to be misunderstood, I knew this was the right move and it came down to a matter of obedience. I had accepted that part, but was really struggling with doing it “wholeheartedly” “with a joyful heart”–in essence, I felt guilty for not wanting to want to move…crazy, right?

But God is so gracious– I found great encouragement in the story of Hagar (of all places). In a moment of great distress an angel from The Lord comes and comforts her. She then calls God by a new name that means “You are the God that sees me.”

“So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me?” Genesis 16:13 AMP

The God that sees me– at my best, at my worst, at my strongest, and at my weakest– He sees (and knows!) me. Right here where I am– and still wants to use me for His purpose. Love Him!