Friday, April 30, 2010

Giveaway Results!

Thanks to all of you who entered my very first giveaway! I would also like to give a shout out to those who mentioned my giveaway on their blogs. You helped make my first giveaway quite the success!

Also, I am excited to welcome my new readers, and look forward to future exchange!

The results of this giveaway have been hosted by the True Random Number Generator over at Another piece of information that you may like to hear is that I've decided to give each bookmark away to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd names drawn! Exciting, I know!

Here are the results:

1. #33 Joyce at Pretty Little Lovely Things

2. #13 Amber at A Little Bit Biased

3. #43 Sabrina Zurcher


Winners~I will get in touch with you asap to hear your choice of bookmark in the order of your winning.

Thanks for playing!

Keep your eyes open
for the next
giveaway on Post 200!

image via weheartit

Thursday, April 29, 2010

the dilemma that inspired a letter

Dear Mission Tortilla Makers,

Today was another fabulous day. I woke refreshed and rejuvenated. I attended bible study and conversed with seven women who wondered if they, were in fact, having too much fun for such a study. I stole a cat-nap while my wee-ones were napping. I was relieved of subluxation in my upper-back when my chiropractor returned five ribs to their appropriate position. I met with a friend, made a quick stop at the library, and planned ahead to treat my husband to a chicken enchilada dinner.

Feeling invincible, as I was on track to have dinner completed before Husband returned from a hard day's work, you could imagine what sort of dilemma I met head-on as I opened my brand new bag of tortillas (purchased today) and found that each. one. was. stuck. together.

With my enchilada filling warming brilliantly on the stove, and without another bag of tortillas, (since one would never think to purchase a back-up bag of tortillas, in case the first set are duds) I began to attempt the impossible.

I attempted to pull. each. said. tortilla. away. from. its. counterparts. Unfortunately, and much to my dismay, not one tortilla came away unscathed. Each one, had suffered major damage. Take a look for yourself:



three. But believe me, that wasn't all.

Seriously? What sort of enchiladas can one possibly assemble with such tortillas? If I were into casseroles, or "everything plus the kitchen sink" sort of meals, damaged tortillas would have hardly phased me. Maybe I would have just crumbled the remains and thrown them on top of my filling? Maybe I would have grabbed the heels of bread that I threw away in the garbage earlier and thrown that in too?

But the true issue lies in the standard of presentation one is forced to lower when faced with a bad batch of tortillas. Had I had a guest on the verge of arrival, I surely would have panicked. Were it the main course being presented for my mother in-law's birthday dinner, I may have cried. But since the meal was only intended for my family of four, including a messy four and two year old, I decided to put presentation aside. And since I'm the type of gal who tries to make lemonade when she's handed lemons, I used those holey tortillas in their ravaged state and filled them with goodness anyway.

Not my best looking batch to date.

Making lemonade.

Just as I am sure you suspect, even in their holiness, and in their broken folds, the contents flavors remained the same--equisitely creamy and flavorful and with just the right kick of chilies. Topped off with a layer of sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions, they cooked in the oven until their edges verged on the brink of crispy, and the aroma could have brought even a stranger in for dinner.

The mess in disguise.

And also, just as you probably suspect, they were delicious. Husband and I devoured each bite, and I actually thought twice about going for seconds, but opted to stay ahead of the game and not over-indulge, if you know what I mean?

I don't send you this letter because I plan to boycott Mission tortillas from here on out, nor do I have a flavor complaint, because you see, your tortillas maintained perfect combination with my said filling, to produce a heavenly dish of enchiladas--holey, yet still, enchiladas. I would however, like to let you know, that you've got some bunk bags of tortillas floating around in and around at least the town of Camas, Washington. And whoever else purchases them, may just send you over a letter. So don't say I never warned you.

Thank you for your listening ears and empathy concerning this dinner dilemma, and in some strange way, the opportunity to jot down my thoughts on this otherwise, ordinary evening.


Cassie McCully

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

it's a new day

It is a banana pancake sort of morning.

The birds are calling as rain fills the children's toys out back.

The melancholy that was Monday has passed, and new hope has seeped in--maybe with the rain?

I am preparing to hit the treadmill this morning, but will be walking for a change. My big brother, my chiropractor, has confirmed serious strains in my back. So for a week now, I have been resting and icing. Surprisingly, I have been relatively easy on myself. Every now and then, my mind tries to tell me that I've gained ten pounds in the last week without running, but I know better. And better is to lay off--lay off the self-criticism, the expectations and rest.

Oh, and exchange my morning protein shake with banana pancakes.

image via flickr


Monday, April 26, 2010


you and me.
we are moving into something new--
something stronger.

you say iron sharpens iron,
and the ones he's worried about
he attempts to crumble.

i try to keep a few steps ahead,
but at times it feels like
i'm being attacked from every direction.
today, for a minute,
i felt like hiding.

you hang on
to me.
loving me.
me loving you.
encouraging me to move forward not back.
reminding me to keep my head up,
because the fight is worth it
the victory sweeter.



this moved me today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a grand haven

I can hardly believe it has already been a week since we went to the beach!

The days pass far too fast.

Last Friday, it was my goal to reach Long Beach before sunset, which we did, but the weather hardly allowed us to see the sun actually set.

Here is what I was able to capture...

This is taken just over the bridge out of Astoria, OR.

Did you know that parts of the movie Goonies was filmed in Astoria?

Did you know that the beach at Long Beach is actually considered a highway? Oh, and those little birds are considered protected wildlife. Trying to mow them down is cruel and will get you thrown in jail--like this guy.

Her drawings melt my heart. Don't they exude happiness?

Although it was quite brisk and dreary, we were happy to enjoy the beach.

Even though we live close, we don't enjoy it enough.

But if my kiddos turn out anything like me or this quote, well then, they need as many days at the beach that we can afford.

“Some people do not have to search, for they find their niche early in life and rest there seemingly contented and resigned. At times, I envy them but usually I do not understand them… And seldom do they understand me. I am one of those searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we completely content. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach; we are drawn to the ocean, taken by its power and unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests, mountains, deserts, hidden rivers, and lovely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as our laughter. We are ambitious only for life itself and for anything beautiful it can provide. Most of all, we want to love and be loved, to live in a relationship that will not impede our wanderings and prevent our search. We do not want to prove ourselves to others or compete for love. This passage is for wanderers, dreamers, and lovers who dare to ask of life everything which is good and beautiful.”

Author Unknown

quote originally uploaded on pray hard. live easy.

p.s. don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Giveaway!

About a month ago, I won a giveaway through a sweet and entertaining blogger named Alexis from I need to confess. She had some great prizes! Among them was this beautiful book of works by Jane Austen. And you know when I am presented with the possibility of a new book, my mouth practically waters. So, yes, I chose the book . Isn't it a beauty?

Can you believe I hadn't yet owned anything by Jane Austen? Or that I haven't read Pride & Prejudice? I am slightly embarrassed to admit this since I have a degree in English, and well, it is practically basic reading in the literature world. Now that I think of it, I do recall Sense & Sensibility to be a required reading in one of my online courses. Did you put that together? Recall. Online course. Yeah, for me "distance learning" equaled "hardly learning."

Thanks again, Alexis for the beautiful book! I can't wait to bury my nose into the crisp, golden-edged pages.

While I have you here, aren't these just gorgeous? They are on my wish-list, and would be a lovely addition to my new book!

penguin books

Now for you, my dear readers!

I have been thinking of you so for some time, and am delighted to say that I have finally put the pieces together for my first giveaway!

But before I give the giveaway info, I'd like to say

Thank You!

Thank you for coming by, reading, lending advice, offering support, or even just doing the silent lurk. Thanks for being a part of what has become a special haven for me over the last year and a half. I am continuously inspired by your words and encouragement!

To show my gratitude, the winner of this giveaway will win

one of these three bookmarks.

~your choice~

They are one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted by Yours Truly. You will be able to find more of them in my Etsy shop if and when I decide to take take the plunge to create more. Any thoughts on this venture?

Here is the giveaway info:

Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 28, 11:59pm.

There are 3 ways to get an entry:

1) Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

2) Link this giveaway on your blog (leave me a comment telling me you did so, so I can count it).

3) Become a follower. I LOVE to see your faces...and lurkers I'd love to know who you are already! I've been in the dark far too long! Plus, you'll stay informed of the next POST 200! But I will not lie. I am thrilled with my followers! Facebook counts. Let me know. If you are already a follower, leave a comment and you will get another entry.

Good luck on the giveaway!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy weekend!

What are you doing this weekend, friend?

I am hoping to spend as much time outdoors that the weather will allow!

I hope to...

plant flowers
take the kids on a nature walk~the first of many
and spend some time at the beach with Husband and the kiddos (again, if the weather allows).

I plan to...

finish reading Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
write to myself and to a dear friend
begin my list of dreams for summer 2010
watch 500 Days of Summer--have you seen it?
finish working on an upcoming giveaway (yes! you read right!)
and make it an overall



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

hey neighbor

I couldn't help but smile when I looked out the window while cooking dinner tonight. These two can find fun in almost anything. Even in hollering at our neighbor for twenty minutes as he climbed around on his roof cleaning gutters.

"Hey neighbor," Brooklynn would say, while Asher tried to finagle the same. Finally, Husband had me lure them inside with ice cream (before dinner!) to give the guy a break!

p.s. please excuse that hair. I would never let her leave the premisis looking so sweet.

Wont you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

On the run

I am getting ready to do my last workout before the Race for the Roses Half-marathon in Portland this Sunday. I know I am getting down to the wire here, but I need some new tunes on my Ipod. Surprisingly, I've started feeling bored on my runs lately, which leads me to believe I am in need of some new music...and maybe a running partner. Any great cd suggestions?

Hope your Friday is fabulous!

p.s. thanks for all the advice in response to my last post. I've been contemplating it over and will write soon.

Here's to beating 2:10!

2009 Lacamas Lake Half-Marathon, Camas, WA.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A lot can happen in just two days

I found myself looking into the Praxis exam today. It's the exam that I'd have to take and pass before I could re-enroll in my graduate program to get my teaching certificate. I didn't think I'd ever go there again. When I withdrew from the program last year, I told myself teaching wasn't for me--especially if I'd have to teach for tests and worry about my job security the entire time. I'm not saying that teachers shouldn't have to prove themselves as good teachers to teach, because I agree. I just know that when I said I wanted to teach English it was because I love to write. Nothing seemed to suit me better than to show that there is a refuge and an outlet in writing. Now, English classes are being taught with test scores, school rankings, and job security in mind. Not my idea of a good time.

However, there is something I must admit. For me, having a teaching certificate appears to hold security. I have an English degree, but no teaching certificate. I realize that an English degree is very versatile, but with no teaching certificate, all I see are jobs with a flood of office work and papers to be filed. Again, not my idea of a good time. Even as much as I talk myself out of getting pushed around by daunting numbers within the school system, I can't help but re-consider the job that I was so sure that I'd have for eight years or so: teaching.

When I withdrew last May, I'd been highly troubled by the realization that teaching wasn't for me. After all, I'd considered myself a soon-to-be teacher for many years, and even took teaching English courses my junior and senior year of college. However, things would take a turn after I was accepted and began the Masters in Teaching program at Washington State University Vancouver, and while I spent four months attending classes feeling half-blank to the idea of policies and...politics within our schools.

As I wrote and wrote my way through the semester, I began to unravel that maybe it wasn't the teaching that I thought I would love, but is the writing that I love. So I took a plunge and withdrew. Then I went to the library and checked out a bunch of books on freelance writing. Then a few months later I received an email from Tim Perrin, a screenwriter, responding to a post that I wrote last May, where I quoted an excerpt from an article he wrote. He basically told me to quit putting off the thing I love; to quit saying I'll do it later when I have more time, because the amount of tomorrows is unknown. Stunned that an actual "writer" would send me such an email, or rather, an inspiring essay written solely to me, felt like another nudge in the direction I'd been dreaming about: writing. I emailed him back with much thanks. He emailed me again with another letter worthy of framing.

Then another couple of months later, I began my quest of writing my book proposal. Things would go great--success on the horizon; passion exploding from my fingers; an aching turned into advocacy--a reason for my pain.

Then things would start to unravel. Struggle would bulldoze its way into our lives and the lives close to us, wiping out normalcy and contentment. A death, lies, an overdose, a relationship teetering on a break-up. I've been trying to gather some perspective here, but it feels like with all the uncertainty, the last thing I should be trying to do it start a career in a field where there is no certainty. In freelance writing, you are your own boss. You come up with the ideas, then work your ass off to bring them to fruition and to sell them, if they get sold at all. Then I envision myself crawling under the blanket of normalcy in at least a teaching career. See me running circles?

With my mind off-kilter and uncertainty looming over the once bright horizon, I write for answers. I reach out to you, my blogging friend, for encouragement. I write with hopes that by the end of this post, I'll have stumbled upon some realization--a thought that might catapult me back the other direction where the clouds were breaking and the horizon promised something clear and beautiful; when the thing I loved felt attainable, and positive affirmation whispered to me: you can. you can.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm back.

My goodness! What a month it has been! I just settled myself in at a cozy little coffee shop not far from my home and ordered up a double. And with Dave Matthews crooning his tunes over the speakers, I feel even more at home.

A few months ago, Husband encouraged me to hire a sitter to free me up to work on some writing projects. Oh, how I love and need these scheduled hours to feast on the written word. But when my sitter had to deal with some unforeseen family matters a couple of weeks ago, the schedule that had been went out the window, and the unwritten words and thoughts began to pile up in stacks in the back of my mind.

It's amazing what one month of scheduled writing sessions could do for me, and then how I'd feel without them. I know, I know. Husband spoils the socks off me. He'll pay for a sitter so I can write? What a guy. He is my number one supporter and I can barely wrap my mind around how lucky I am to have a man who wants for me the things I aspire to, all out of love.

So here I sit, sipping my Americano, ready to delve into the editing of a freelance piece that I plan to submit to a publication within the next twenty days. I'll let you know if they bite. I've been dabbling with it for some time, but it is time to plunge into the deep. Otherwise, aspirations remain the same--aspirations. And I don't want just a pocketful of aspirations. I want to breathe knowing I've aspired and conquered, and am aspiring for more.


"And then I go back to why I write - because it's the way I'm "wired." Because I can't not write. Because the images and characters and scenes and emotions flood out of me through a keyboard and I can't stop them any more than I could stand in a flood and stop the raging waters. And then I remember who made me this way, who controls what happens to the words I type on this computer, and who will some day say, "well done," if I work in obedience to Him." ~Marcia Lee Laycock, Novel Journey Blog post

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greetings from Big Sky Country!

The kids and I arrived in Missoula, Montana early saturday evening for a week full of fun family time! My sister, husband and four boys reside here in this beautiful place. Even more spontaneous was my other sister's decision to join us with her little girl and bring my parents along, too! They came all the way from Utah!

Since we arrived, we've been hitting the shops, indulging in warm sweet treats such as banana chocolate crepes from Posh Chocolat and chocolate pudding cake--a recipe of my Grandma's that dates back forty or so years. Yum! I decided this week I could indulge a few times without the guilt, especially since I was able to sneak in a nine mile run on Sunday and a four mile run yesterday, thanks to the willing adult-babysitters. I would normally take the week off, since I am on vacation, but all the training I've been doing will come to a head in a week in a half when I run the Race for the Roses Half-Marathon in Portland. So letting up now, is not an option! We've also been catching up on tivo'd episodes of Dancing With the Stars and American Idol, and enjoyed watching the flicks The Blind Side and Twilight. Can you believe that I just saw Twilight for the first time a couple nights ago? Last night we enjoyed a Rock Band performance by Nana and some of the wee ones, and had a good laugh over six year old Lexon's way with the mic!

Today we are going to visit Real Deals, a home decor shop where my oldest sister, Tammy, scores all sorts of great home finds. I'll let you know if I find anything good! Tonight we are going to enjoy an adults-only dinner at Mambo's, an Italian restaurant in town, and then it will be back on the road tomorrow morning, to get back to Husband who is waiting for us ever so longingly!

credits 1 & 2

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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