At first I was afraid, I was petrified.

I was eating hummus earlier today and from the first bite, it tasted like Egypt. I’m not sure I can explain that in a way that makes any sense, but the flavors reminded me of the months I spent in Cairo. As I ate my hummus and cucumbers and tomatoes, I was transported back to one of the most memorable times of my life.

Egypt was so good to me, even if I couldn’t fully see that at the time. I am who I am today because of the few months I spent there, immersed in a culture foreign and a temperature I was not prepared to handle. I attempted to learn Arabic, but found for the first time in my college career, that there are some things I am just terrible at. I wore a hijab and experienced the Muslim call to prayer, in awe of an entire city taking time out the day, no matter what they were doing, to pray to God. I stayed with a family who gave me their bed and special bottled water to keep me from getting sick and tried to feed me the brains of an unidentified animal. I cried, leaving my tears on the city that had carved its name on my heart, and even today it is hard to find a way to write about it. I don’t know where to begin, and I know there are some things I’ve forgotten.

How do you condense a crossroads in your life—an indescribable before and after moment—into words? I couldn’t even learn the language of the city – how can I explain it in my own? Continue reading

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For the Ladies.

Hello my dears.

It’s not always easy being a woman. I’m sure it’s no picnic being a man either, but I can’t really speak to that. But I know what it’s like to be a woman. To be told by society and church and people what you’re supposed to be, how you’re supposed to act, what you’re supposed to do, and how you’re to live your life. It becomes a cacophony of endless noise. So much to process. So many lies and half truths to wade through.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest and the easiest.

These words are for all the good women who are trying to figure out life as best they can; some thoughts on men, life, and love. I hope they give you something to smile about, a bit of encouragement.

On Men…

Wait for the man who will never hesitate to tell you how beautiful you are, no matter the time of day or location or occasion. Wait for the man whose eyes light up when he sees you, whether you’re wearing a sexy black dress, jeans and a sweatshirt, the sweat from your workout earlier, your pajamas, or a mud mask you put on with a greenish hue. Because you are absolutely beautiful in every one of those moments and deserve the man who will recognize it.

Wait for the man who doesn’t tell you that you owe him your body, or that he’s been patient long enough, or that if you really loved him you would sleep with him. Wait for the man who doesn’t use your love as weapon against you. Wait for the man who doesn’t look at you and see all the things you can give him, ignoring the gorgeous, wonderful soul standing before him. Never settle for a man who demands what you aren’t ready to give. Never believe that by saying no you are missing out on your only chance to find happiness. Because happiness exists when your no is heard and your hesitance is respected. Wait for the man who will wait with you.

Don’t wait for the “right guy” or the “nice guy” or the “perfect guy”. Instead, wait for the man who is good, the man who is flawed like you and has his own past and baggage and bad days. Wait for the man who will share that with you, letting you see him for exactly who he is, not for what you imagine he should be. Wait for the man who will be himself with you; the man you feel safe being yourself with.

Wait for the man who will encourage you in your pursuits, who supports your dreams. Wait for the man who will dream those dreams with you, who believes in you even when you begin to doubt and second guess. Don’t wait for the man who tries to fix you, but for the man who makes you better simply by loving you for everything you are, faults and scars and all the good things.

Wait for the man who will be a true partner in every sense; for the man who believes you are worth pursuing; for the man who loves you and never hesitates to tell you.

On Life…

Take chances. Every day do something that freaks the hell out of you. Because the things we regret most later in life are the things we never did. Never let fear hold you back or convince you that you can’t do it or you shouldn’t do it. And just maybe the chance you long to take is the one that will change your life.

Be yourself. Be as weird, quirky, odd, awesome, nerdy, fashionable, sarcastic, passionate, creative as you want. Never apologize for being you, for doing what you love. Never believe that you have to tone down what makes you you in order to be accepted by those around you. Embrace who you are and share it with the world.

Laugh often. Because I think we’ve become far too serious these days. The world is a sad, desolate place, and we’ve let that seep into our bones and weigh us down. And that’s a shame, because there is so much in our lives that we can smile and laugh at. And sometimes we do stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing things. Laugh at those things, and remember them.

Travel wherever your heart takes you. We get comfortable in our little corner of the world. But there is so much to discover when you take a trip; when you hit the open road and drive until you can’t drive any farther. Until you reach happiness. Go somewhere new.

Know you are beautiful. There are days when you may not feel lovely or pretty or stunning or gorgeous, but even on those days, when you look in the mirror and can’t meet your own eyes, you are beautiful. You might not be perfect, and that’s okay. You are only to be yourself, completely and imperfectly. And every part of you – your body, your mind, your spirit, your heart, your soul – all of it is beautiful in every moment. Finally believe it.

Be kind – to yourself and to others. Life has a way of beating us up, and if we beat ourselves up in the moments in between, we never give ourselves a chance to be happy. So when life is hard and you feel defeated, remember you don’t have to always have everything together. It’s okay to be a mess, because you will always be strong enough to put yourself back together.
And be kind to others. For if you are fighting and struggling in your life, chances are that those around you are as well. Show kindness and grace rather than frustration and rudeness. Show compassion always.

Go after what you want. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of the things that we dream about, the secret passions of our hearts. We think we don’t deserve them or we’ve been told that we don’t. But you do. You deserve to chase after your dreams. You deserve the happiness that comes with making them come true. And perhaps it’s hard. But the best things in life will make you fight to keep them. So never stop pursuing the things your heart longs for.

Create things. Anything. Write, draw, paint, take photos, knit, make movies, sculpt, dance, compose music, scrapbook. Be artistic. Whatever it is that brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart, make it come to life. Because when you create you are making beautiful things and bringing to life a piece of your soul. You are making something special and wonderful that only you can make. You are bringing something into this world that wasn’t here before, and maybe you can bring joy and healing to someone else through your art.

On love…

Love yourself, because you are worth loving. You are an amazing, talented, lovely daughter of God. You are the only one in the entire world who is like you. Love yourself for all the good you bring into the world; for all the happiness and light you share with those around you. Love yourself because God created you and loves you. Love yourself because you deserve to be loved by the one who knows you best.

Love others, even when it’s hard. Everyone needs to be loved, to be told they are loved. We were created in love, and we crave that. So share that love with those around you, with friends and family. Love those who are like you and those who are not. Love those you make you smile and make you scream. Love those who seem unlovable, because they are the ones who need it most. In loving others, we better learn to love ourselves.

And lastly, I want to remind you that you are lovely and worthy and amazing even in the darkest times. You are strong. You are an inspiration. You are enough and you are good. And you are allowed to believe it.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

(one) gentleman wanted.

Dear my future husband,

Hello. Just, hello. I wish I could say that to you directly. I wish I could look into your eyes and greet you. I wish I could smile as you kiss my lips, but I cannot. Not yet. Not tonight.

I’m lonely for you. Perhaps more than I ever have been. I long to look up from my book or computer screen and see your face, see you watching me. I long for the feel of your arms around me, your whispers in my ear. I long to hear your heartbeat as I lay across your chest. I long to fall asleep in your arms, safe in your love and embrace.

I want to talk with you. I want to have long, never-ending conversations that continue past the sunset and sunrise. I want to argue and disagree with you. I want you to stimulate my mind with things I would have never thought of. I want to share my favorite passages from books with you as we talk through what they mean. I want to ask you a question and watch as you thoughtfully consider the answer. I want to say things to you that mean something. I want to see the spark in your eyes when we talk about the important things. I want to feel the passion in your words as they fall from your lips.

Can we travel together? Can we lose ourselves on the road? Can we disappear into the reaches of places we’ve never explored? I want to discover something with you. I want to find a place neither of us have been and learn something from it. I want to create memories with you that only we can share. Can we fly across the sea and search for these for memories? Can we become more familiar with the road we travel than the comforts of home? Can we live in the spaces between?

I prayed for you last night, and the night before. I pray for you often, whenever I feel lonely. I don’t pray that I find you soon or that you find me. Instead, I pray that you are safe, that you are loved, that you are well. I pray that you are happy and living life to the fullest. I pray that you are fulfilled, that you are doing what God has planned for you. I pray that you laugh often and smile constantly, even if I can’t be their reason. And I pray that when we meet, we are both ready.

I can’t wait for the nights when we can pray together before we fall into bed. I can’t wait for the days we read our Bibles together, being together moved by His word. I can’t wait to serve Him with you, to be surprised in the ways He uses us. I can’t wait to grow in Christ with you by my side. I can’t to experience a maturity in my faith as you challenge me. I can’t wait to worship God with our love story.

I’m sorry if I’ve put expectations on you. I’m sorry if I’ve imagined you in any way other than who you are. I’m sorry that I’ve allowed other men to become my fantasy. I’m sorry that I looked at you as something I deserve, not as a blessing or gift God gives me.

But I’m not sorry I’ve waited for you. I’m not sorry I’ve hoped for you. I’m not sorry that I anticipate finding you. I’m not sorry that the very idea of you, the knowledge that you exist brings a smile to my face.

I cannot wait to meet you; to see you for the first time. I can’t wait to hear the first words you speak to me. I will treasure them along with every memory we make. I can’t wait to love you and make love to you in every season, year after year. I can’t wait to look into your eyes when I say my vows, when I promise to love you and cherish you.

My heart is yours, ready for you and only for you.

Sincerely,

Your someday wife.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts. And maybe follow me on Twitter?