Where do we go from here?

Our week has been a little off because Henry doesn’t go back to PDO until next week. On Wednesday, I had a virtual meeting at 9 and then went to an appointment, coming home at 12:30. Micah let me know that Henry’s crib needed to be adjusted now that he can pull up; he hasn’t tried to crawl out but it won’t be long til he tries. After grabbing some lunch, I located an allen wrench to adjust the crib and when I was finished, I turned on my tv and was shocked by what I was seeing.

I foresee telling this little story to Henry in 2040 when he’s voting in his first election and likely many times before that. January 6, 2020 will be another day where we reflect on where we were when it felt like the world was turning upside down.

I wish I could say I was in disbelief but I’m really not. I’ve been reading up on extremists groups to the right and the left for several months and I was fearful that we would see something like this although I prayed it would not happen. Alas, here we are. 6 days into 2021 where we were hopeful that things would look different than the year before but instead it looks like a continuation of the same old crazy.

Because we all fall into a different position on the political spectrum, I won’t try to navigate the question of how we got here but I do think it’s important that we think about “where do we go from here?”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… and again, and again, and again – we have work to do that starts within our own hearts.

I saw a facebook post this week that struck a chord in my spirit and revealed a fundamental heart issue that we as believers have to address within ourselves. The post read, “When will y’all learn that GOOD and EVIL will never be united?”

This question implies that one side of the political spectrum is good and the other is evil and I’m here to say that’s just not true. We have to take personal responsibility for not viewing those who vote differently than us as evil based solely on their political position. I’m most disturbed when I see such language coming from people who claim to be followers of Jesus – and I see it often. We’ve allowed ourselves to fall into the traps of political tribalism to the point where we see the other side as the enemy rather than our brothers and sisters.

I saw a video on Thursday and still today it makes me weep. Maybe you’ve seen it too. It’s a video clip from the House Chambers in the Capitol where in the balcony, members of congress are sheltering in place with gunshots all around and you hear a voice over the chaos praying to Jesus for peace in our country and for God to heal our land. That was the voice of Delaware’s Democratic Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. Political tribalism will tell you that she is evil and the enemy to those who vote red but I am telling you that she is your sister.

Our own Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn is someone that I disagree with on most political issues but she is not my enemy, she is my sister.

I beg you, brothers and sisters, do not fall into or remain engulfed in the trappings that political tribalism bring. We must repent, turn from our sin and live the life Christ has called us so clearly in scripture – to seek His kingdom, to love our neighbor, to stand for justice, to be peace makers, to be a light in this dark, dark world.

So where do we go from here?

We go to work – starting within our own hearts.

Let’s get to work.

Going to the Chapel : Wedding Registry Tips for the Newly Engaged

The holidays are a popular time for there to be an uptick in engagements and I am happy to provide you ladies with some tips as you prepare your wedding registry. Before I get into the nitty gritty, I want you to hear me say this – you do not need a thing. As you and your person prepare your hearts for a life of partnership into whatever venture God has called you, you really just need each other.

Can I tell you something to think about before a registry? A wedding planner. I can not recommend it enough. I’ve been blessed to work as a planner for a few weddings on my own and then joined my friend Krisy’s team at Southern Sparkle Weddings & Events (@southernsparkleweddings) as an assistant and I say this with zero hesitation – it is the best thing you will do for you and your mate but also for your friends and family so that everyone can enjoy your day. You may think that you cannot afford it but I would say, you cannot afford not to have one. 🙂

Ok on to the registry!

First things first: Where do you normally shop?

When trying to decide where to have a registry, think about where you like to shop and also where those who love you might prefer shopping. If you do most of your shopping in an online space that offers registries then yes, go online and sign up but if the majority of those who love and support you and who will be shopping your registries prefer an in person shopping experience, you might want to choose a second registry.

When we were pregnant with Henry and created a baby registry, we created one on Amazon because it is so convenient but we also chose Target because we knew there would be ladies from his home town that would want options that did not involve online shopping – there was the added benefit that Target price matches.

Another thing to think about when choosing where to have a registry is which store provides the best incentives for your registry. Most stores and online shops that offer registries also offer incentives like an extended return period, after wedding discount and group gifting options so make sure to read up on which ones offer the incentives that matter to you.

Lastly, if you are looking for all online registries, you may want to use a site like Zola to compile items from multiple stores in one place.

Ok, next – What goes on the list?

If you already know where you’ll be living, this will be helpful in deciding what you need. i.e. If you will have a small kitchen with limited storage, keep that in mind when registering for kitchen items. With that said, you also might want to think about storage saving items to put on your list like bins that slide under your bed if your closet space is limited.

It’s also helpful to do an inventory with your fiancé on what household items you already have and plan to keep.

I found a checklist online by Target that I’ve linked below that will be helpful as you decide what you need to prepare your home for your new life together.

This checklist will give you a good start but think beyond items for your home and think about items for your life.

Do you guys love hosting game nights?

Include some board games and a nice serving platter for game night snacks.

Do the two of you love camping?

Register for a tent.

Do you love to travel?

Put that Away luggage you’ve been eyeing (and is totally worth it – trust me!) and a Southwest gift card.

Your people love you and are excited about this new season of life and want to celebrate not just the new home you’ll enjoy but the life you get to spend together.

The last thing I’ll add is just a little insight on what our wedding registry experience was like.

We registered at Target and at a small boutique back home. If we were getting married today, we’d likely add an all in one online registry like Zola or an amazon one to have a wider selection but at the time, everything I knew to register for was at Target. Like with any registry, you’ll have some people who want to buy you things from the list and some people may just know you and have something in mind that they want to give that’s not on your list.

On the day before my first shower, my sister-in-law called and asked if everything had been purchased on my registry? I knew that could not be the case and so I looked and EVERYTHING was gone. I called Target customer service and while I did have to push them to keep looking, they did finally find it and got it back online for me. I say this not to turn you off from Target – that was six years ago and their technology is much better now. We did a baby registry in 2019 and it worked like a charm with no mishaps.

What we found is that many people gave gift cards to go towards what was left on the list and that was SO helpful. We were able to purchase everything else we needed with those gift cards and still had some leftover. AND because everything was in one place and we received so many gift cards for that store, we used their after wedding discount, which saved a good chunk of change.

I will add – don’t be afraid to add something that feels expensive. Many registries offer group gifts where you can put money towards a pricey item of a group of ladies from your church might go in together to get it for you. So if you want that Kitchenaid mixer but can’t image someone shelling out $400 for it, you put that baby on there and may the odds be ever in your favor. You might be pleasantly surprised to open it at a bridal shower or you’ll be like me and get a good little discount off of it after the wedding. WIN WIN! 🙂

What other questions do you have that I didn’t cover?

Do you have wedding/marriage related questions outside of registries?

Send me an email at casey@caseyegrooms.com and I’ll be happy to help!

They are Watching and Learning from Us

When I was in college, I spent two summers as an intern at a church in Scarborough, Maine. I cannot put into words to tell you just how much those two summers shaped my spiritual development as a 20/21 year old. A woman named Marilyn served on staff at the church and provided leadership to all 8-10 of us college students. I could share a thousand things I learned from her and from members of that church who I grew to love like family but one lesson I learned through those experiences that is still on my heart as I first open my eyes in the morning even now 12 years later is this : the generation(s) behind us is watching us and learning from us and that should spur us on to faithfulness to Christ.

This morning when I woke up, it wasn’t Marilyn’s voice in my head (although that wouldn’t be unusual – she made quite the impression) but it was a face – Allie. And then others popped up as well – Aaron, Ella, Olivia. What feels like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday, I was teaching the preschool class at the church summer camp and at times on Sunday mornings and these sweet faces sat across from me as we read bible stories and sang songs and made crafts. Today because of technology, I’m no longer sitting across a very short table in any official teaching capacity, they’re still watching and learning, deliberately or not.

Just this week, I noticed a post made by Allie surrounding current world events and it was a wake up call that my Maine kids are not kids anymore – they are graduating high school, they’re driving, they’re picking out colleges, they have boyfriends/girlfriends, they are all grown up. Their eyes are open to what is going on in the world and they are paying attention to the ways in which we respond. And again, whether they know it or not, they are weighing what they are seeing in me and in my response to the world we’re living in against what they personally know of Jesus as they navigate their own faith.

As I have had conversations with college students and young adults over the last few years around my kitchen table, I’m always heartbroken to hear them say how disappointed they have been to see the ways that key faith leaders in their lives, serving in their churches, are conducting themselves online as they express their political opinion. And my heart breaks because I am seeing it too – the men and women who pastored us, baptized us, taught us in Sunday School and in youth group are behaving publicly on social media in a way that is not Christlike. We are watching and learning, many times how not to act, from men and women of faith we have admired for years who have shaped us into who we are yet are not behaving in a way that points to the goodness of Christ.

Friends – I challenge you to think about who is watching you and learning from you as you navigate this broken world.

I also want to say that the legacy we leave behind should be so much deeper and richer than the public life we live on social media. We must be vigilant to not let the way we interact online undermine our witness as Christ followers. The generation behind us is watching and learning – we have a responsibility to teach them well and to show them what it looks like to live the life God has called us to live.

Allie, Ella, Aaron and Olivia on a visit back to Maine in 2012.

We Need The Hope

I’ve not always been super great at keeping up with an Advent devotional. I’m not sure if it has to do with how busy this season is or what my normal excuse might be but this year has been different. I’ve found that the only way I’m going to be a working mom, serving in ministry, serving my church, my community, my family is to get up before my kid and have a few minutes alone with the Lord.

I grabbed an old favorite off my shelf this year, Paul David Tripp’s “O Come, Let Us Adore Him”. I grabbed it on Nov 30th, not even thinking about how it wouldn’t start until Dec. 1st and so I spent that time reflecting on Advent, on my pastor’s sermon at church the day before, and what this season means to me in the midst of one of the hardest year for all of us collectively in my lifetime. I opened the Notes app on my phone as I do 50 times a day and jotted down these words:

“Imagine living in 2020 without knowing and believing that God is making all things new.

Now think about people in your life who do not have the hope we have in Christ.

Keep them in your heart.”

I’ve flipped back to that note in my phone multiple times over the last two weeks and I’m here today to tell you that I’m burdened deeply for people who do not know Jesus, who do not recognize that this world is not our home, who might have insurance for all the disasters to come in this life yet no assurance for their eternal life.

My desire to share this with you is two fold:

1. To remind you of the abundance available to us through Christ, through His peace, in the here and now and the abundant eternal life that awaits us when our time on earth is done.

2. To ask that you would have eyes opened to those around you who are hopeless and who need Jesus.

I can’t imagine a greater gift to give this Holiday season than the gift of Jesus in the form of the grace we extend to others, the kindness we share to those in retail spaces, the prayers we offer to those who are hurting, the encouragement to those who are discouraged, serving your neighbors with a token of love and peace.

My prayer is that we as the Church would be bold in our proclamation of the hope we have in the baby born in the manger who came to rescue us and save us from ourselves.

We need it in 2020 more than ever.

We need the hope.

Embracing the Laugh Lines

Since I’ve embarked on a new work journey, I’ve gotten to do exciting new jobs things like buy office supplies, create new spreadsheets, and decorate my office. The new job task I’ve hated – selecting a professional headshot for work.


Since I work in a male dominated field, my coworkers wear suits for their photos which is great for them but not really my vibe. I started flipping back through old headshots that might be professional enough to make the cut but they just didn’t feel like they encapsulated who I am today.


I considered using one taken by my friend Nicole Cole in 2017 but that 3 year old photo didn’t look like me. The smile is fake, the shoulders look tense, it was just all wrong. I do remember her and that season. She was striving – striving to fit into boxes not built for her and that girl is no longer me.


Krisy Thomas sent me the photos we took a few months ago at a styled shoot and I landed on this one. It’s not perfect. I could rattle off about the bags under my eyes and the laugh lines on my face but that’s the 2020 version of me – exhausted as a working mom with two jobs yet so much laughter with my husband, our cute kid, our friends who are like family in our little city, and our actual family who remind us what home feels like.


And y’all – that’s 2020 in a nutshell. We’re all exhausted from the loss and grief and the never ending disappointments but our people are the ones holding us together. Of all the things I have hated about this year, the fact that we’re all walking through this year together is something that I’m hoping brings a shared sense of authenticity among us.


May we link arms with our people and hold each other up with a shared hope that better days are coming.

I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d take two seconds to click the link below and follow my new facebook page for work and share it with folks that might be interested in my services! I’m so honored to get to walk with families through conversations that greatly impact the futures of their families through what I do with WoodmenLife.

https://www.facebook.com/CaseyGroomsWoodmenLife

Quarantine Cooking Vol. 6

Chicken Fajita Soup

For starters, you can either think ahead and throw your chicken breasts in the crockpot with a cup of chicken broth for 4-6 hours on low. If you don’t have that kind of time, I recommend throwing all of that in the instant pot on high pressure for 8 min with a slow release.


Once your chicken is cooked and shredded, set it aside for a bit.


Sauté some green and red peppers, an onion, and garlic with some butter til cooked through. (We love mushrooms in our house so we slice some up and throw those in too.)


Mash a block of cream cheese in with your veggies until smooth. (If you’re like me, you toss that baby in the microwave for a min or until it sounds like it’s gonna explode so it’s softer and easier to mix with the veggies.)

Add a can of rotel tomatoes (or two, depending on your spice level and love for tomatoes), a box of chicken broth, 1/2 cup or so of heavy cream (you do you!), and a packet of taco seasoning.


Mix well and bring it to a boil.


Turn it on low and let her simmer for 20 min or so.


If you haven’t shredded/chopped your chicken, now is the time.


Once the soup has cooked, stir in your chicken.


Salt and pepper as you wish.


You’re going to want to top this with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, maybe some avocado. I often care more about my garnishes than my soup ingredients so have fun with it.


This recipe is low carb friendly but if that’s not your vibe, crumble some tortilla chips on top!


Take you a Pepcid and enjoy!

To the Church:

In the midst of a million disappointments I’ve had in 2020, the one that’s been most heartbreaking for me and has been a heavy burden in my spirit – the political discourse among Christ followers, specifically in our online engagement.

As Christ followers we must work towards unity and peacemaking. It is at the very core of who we are as believers. We cannot do so by prioritizing public displays of political opinion over pursuing Christ likeness in our words, in our social media engagement, in the way we treat others.

We cannot both love Christ while also hating Republicans or Democrats.

We cannot share the love of Jesus while also sharing articles and memes that mock those who view the world differently than you.

We cannot mourn with those who mourn while also publicly questioning the validity of the Covid-19 death count because that fits a certain political narrative.

We cannot make peace and stand for justice as Jesus commands while also posting snarky comments, sharing articles and information that are not known to be based on facts, and making bold claims that add to the division among us.

We cannot hold tight to our values of human life while also refusing to take proper precautions that could save the lives of those we come in contact within our communities.

We must choose to value our gospel witness more than our politics.

We must learn how to have dialogue with one another even when we disagree rather than dismissing the thoughts and opinions of those who disagree.

We have to stop viewing Republicans or Democrats as the enemy and view them as image bearers of God, created in his image, human beings worthy of respect no matter their political affiliation.

We have to stop and ask if what we’re sharing online is contributing to the work of unity or furthering the division.

We need to get back to the basics of filtering even the tiniest decisions through the lens of what Jesus would do.

Church, the world is watching. And if I’ve learned anything in 2020 is that God was not kidding around when he told us in his word that He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

May we repent and turn from our sin – and actively work to use our online engagement as a tool of encouragement that fuels Kingdom work rather than torching it.

Church, we must do better.

How to Heal America?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I caught a Joe Biden ad on tv that spoke of “restoring the soul of America”. Micah asked what that meant and I did my best to answer but I’ve been thinking about that question a lot ever since that conversation. While I don’t have all of the answers, I do know one thing for certain – Joe Biden cannot restore the soul of America.

I mean zero disrespect to President-elect Biden but the task of restoring the soul of America is not a one man job just as the fault of division does not rest solely on the shoulders of President Trump. I am a firm believer that responsibility belongs to our leaders and while I do believe that President Trump has been a contributor of the division we see, the fault is not his own, we have played a role in it as well. While it is now up to President-elect Biden to contribute to our unity by spearheading those efforts, the job is not his. It is ours.

Just this last week, I have found myself reading (briefly) through the posts of people I know and I have come to this conclusion – division is dispersed in the shadows of social media engagement, for sure, but unity is created in the light of day by engaging our communities. We will never compose enough inspirational words on social media to unite us as Americans. The work of bringing forth unity starts with prayer and then sprouts hands and feet to serve our neighbors.


So how do you join in the work of restoring the soul of America?

Let’s start here:

  1. We have to stop allowing social media to be the place where we express political opinions, engage in political conversations, gather/share politically driven news articles.

This might sound funny from the girl who hardcore geeks out on politics but this goes for me too. I think there’s a time and place for such conversations but what I’m learning is that those instances are rare. Instead, if you enjoy talking politics and sharing articles and whatnot, send them privately to a friend or two that you enjoy engaging in these sort of conversations.

Let’s all practice asking the question, “How does this post promote unity?”

2. Get out of the echo chamber.

What does that mean? How do I do that?

Mixing up your news sources is a good first step. If you are politically more conservative, turn on CNN or MSNBC instead of FoxNews or vice versa. The beauty of being a critical thinker is that you can listen to something, even when it is biased and still be able to take away a new perspective.

On the flip side, maybe turn off cable news all together and go for more traditional print media sources. I personally prefer the New York Times. I have their app on my phone, I listen to their podcast The Daily each morning, and we receive a physical copy of their publication each day. I also enjoy the reporting out of Politico, AXIOS, and NPR. Consuming my news in this way has done wonders for my mental health surrounding our political climate.

Also, resist the urge of unfollowing those who disagree with you politically on social media – or rather joining another social media platform that caters to your political narrative. We will never have unity if we refuse to listen and respect political opinions that are different from our own.

3. We’re gonna have to get comfortable with accountability.

I believe one of hardest parts of this quest for unity will come in the form of the accountability that will be necessary both on the giving and receiving end. Brothers and sisters, when we as followers of Jesus are not being Christlike in our social media engagement, it hinders the spread of the gospel. If we are serious about the mission of God, we must be serious about holding each other accountable in word and deed.

4. Get out and get to know your neighbors.

We often see the signs in the yards of our neighbors in an election season and make assumptions about who they are based on the candidate they support. Assumptions do not promote unity but often its the opposite.

It’s in the conversations on the sidewalk and at our dinner tables that open our minds to the perspectives of others in our communities.

Get out there friends and do the good hard work of promoting unity within your community by better understanding the different political perspectives that each of our neighbors bring – and then use that perspective alongside your own to best advocate for the needs in your community.


I commend President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for their continued message of promoting unity in our country – because I think we can all agree that we need it. And while I believe it is the job of our leaders to spearhead that effort, the real work is done by us. And we have a lot of work to do, friends.

Let’s get to it.

Transitions – the good, bad and ugly.

My son Henry is 10 months old and every month brings on something new. He’s in a constant state of learning and some of these developmental hurdles are just harder than others. He’s got teeth coming in, growth spurts that throw his sleep out of wack, he’s trying new foods, learning to crawl is hard work, he now goes to a new place where he hangs out with a group of kids two days a week and has a babysitter on two other days when his whole life has been spent at home with mom.

Transitions are hard for us all.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Our whole lives are just a string of transitions.

We like to think of life as a series of normal lulls of life linked together with a season of transition and then back to our normal dull life but that’s just not true. Our lives are an uphill climb where we don’t go back to normal, we adjust to a new normal only to face a new harder transition on up the hill. And despite what you might think, it’s actually a good thing. Each hurdle is conditioning us for the next and as followers of Jesus, we know that the hope we find in him is what provides promise for the prize and peace along the journey.

I say all of this to encourage you that life won’t go back to the normal we knew pre-COVID. And that’s not a bad thing!

Transitions change us and grow us in ways that make a lasting impact and we can’t just go back. What matters is what we do in the midst of the transition and how it sets us up to be a better/healthier version of ourselves on the other side.

As a wife and as a new mom, working two jobs and pursuing how God is calling me to serve my community, there are some key constants that have been helpful to me in this year of transition that I’d love to share with you and hope it’s helpful to you as well.

1. Remain grounded in who you are, who God has called you to be, and how God has called us to live. We are never more tempted to compromise than when we are isolated and for many of us, that’s been our reality in some way or another. With every choice you make – big or small – filter it through the lens of Christ.

2. Make a plan. It’s so easy to get caught up in a mindless, mundane way of life when working/studying from home and before you know it, another day has passed and you’ve accomplished only the bare minimum of daily activities. Make a plan as a way to increase productivity and motivation.

3. Be mindful of how you’re spending your time and try to channel time spent scrolling toward things like that enhance your well being – mind, body and spirit. Try reading a new book, going for a walk, reaching out and asking how you can be praying for a friend. If you need tips on unplugging from social media, I’d love to help you with that!

4. Keep dreaming. Good golly it is hard to remain hopeful and to allow yourself the space to dream when it often feels like the whole world is falling apart. But friend, recognize that God is still on the throne and the plans he has for you are not thwarted by this season but instead, this season is meant to refine you as a stronger vessel for his work now and in what’s to come. Spend some time dreaming with the Lord and allow His spirit to guide your heart to a posture of hope, no matter how grim this season may feel.

5. Take care of your mental health. I’ve always said that we ALL need a therapist and I believe that 100%. Whether it’s seeking out professional counseling, taking a long walk, journaling, or talking with a friend, we all need to be proactive in taking care of ourselves and our mental health is often neglected. If you’re like me, you often feel stretched thin as you take care of others but the first step in caring for those around you is caring for yourself.

Many of us entered this year with a spirit of hope and expectancy and likely feel disappointed. I get it. But friends, the same God who walked with us into this new year in January is walking with us now and He is still at work in and around us. May we open our eyes to see his work, trust in his sovereignty, and press on toward a healthier version of ourselves each and every day.

I’m cheering you on, friend!

A Time to Pray

As I’ve waded through the muck of facebook comments, memes and false political narratives during this election, I’ve grown exhausted of the political partisan game of seesaw we’ve been playing. It has opened my eyes to one thing – while our politics may lean to the right or to the left, our prayers should never be partisan. This birthed a prayer guide called “Non-Partisan Prayers” which prompts you with specific people/groups of people to pray for as well as space for journaling starting Sunday, October 4th until election day.

Those who are subscribers of my newsletter, The First Friday, were emailed a link to claim one free copy as a thank you for your support. If you are local to Memphis/Jackson area and would like a printed copy, please send me an email to casey@caseyegrooms.com for more info.

After purchasing your copy through the link below, I’ll email you the document and more info in an email within 3 hours of purchase.

nonpartisanprayersgraphic

“NON-PARTISAN PRAYERS”

Guided Prayer Guide/Journal

10.00 $