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 $

The Hustle

It’s been a very busy couple of months in the Grooms household. Between job transitions and our baby boy getting busier by the day, I’ve had little time to allow myself space to feel the weight of emotions I’ve been carrying as this week grew closer. Last weekend was the breakthrough moment. As Micah and I sat around the table and had a late breakfast, I allowed myself the space to breathe – and it was like the little crack in the dam had completely split open. I expressed frustrations, I voiced concerns, I cried out in sadness and once I thought I was done, I thought to myself these five little words, “I feel like my mother.”

I shared with Micah that I could see parallels between my role as a mom and in the way in which it was up to my mom to get creative on how to bridge the financial gap for the rest of our needs/wants plus take care of 3 kids. And let me tell you – she hustled. She ran a small business and she worked every single day except for Christmas and Thanksgiving and that’s only if no one died – she had the only flower shop in town so I do mean that literally. She had to get creative with the hustle to make money for our family and also take care of us and the more I thought about how I feel like my mom with my own hustle, I realized that it’s not just a circumstance of my mom’s life that’s now reflected in my own, that is and has been a burdened carried by moms for generations.

We have to get creative with our hustle.

After I processed what this means for me – this renewed revelation of being just like my mom – I sent an email to make an appointment with my therapist and I went for a walk. Want to know the one thing my mom got wrong in the midst of taking care of business? She didn’t take care of herself. And on this ten year anniversary of saying goodbye to my mom, the best thing I can do to honor her is to learn from her – the good and the bad – and to hustle towards the healthiest me I can be.

I’m not sure where you find yourself right now but I can only imagine that you’ve got a hustle of your own. Take care of yourself, friends. And take care of each other.
-C

The Socials Experiment: How my break from social media sold me on why I don’t need to return.

On September 4th, I made an impulse decision to delete social media for Labor Day Weekend as we started to sink into our weekend of rest at home. Something different happened during this little social media sabbath than has ever happened before – I didn’t want it back. As Tuesday rolled around, I felt the Lord telling me to give in to the urge I felt to continue my break and I have to tell you – it has felt amazing.

Right before I took a break from “the socials”, I received a notification from facebook that it was my 15 year anniversary. 15 years. Almost half of my life has been spent on facebook. I’m a little embarrassed but the truth of the matter is that facebook today looks nothing like it did when I joined. I was a college freshman and at the time, facebook was the new myspace where only college students could have an account. It was a place to connect with friends at different schools and to become friends with the cute boy in my Psychology class.

It was not a place to strike up an argument with your old neighbor over the title of an article you shared that doesn’t fit their political narrative. It was not a place filled with targeted ads. It was not a place with facebook groups from people in your past that you haven’t talked to in years looking to sell you something you don’t need. It was a simpler time for sure but the platform that was meant to build connections has really just filled us with a sense of false connection. Data shows that this generation is most connected yet most isolated of any generation before and it all comes back to the ways we live our lives behind a screen instead of finding true connection with one another face to face.

If you’ve ever been curious about ways to spend less time on social media and screen time limits are just not cutting it, here are some things that have worked for me this past month – and I don’t think I’ll ever come back to use social media in the same way.

  • Use the desktop version of facebook and instagram to check in.
    • We live in a world where it is difficult to completely cut yourself off from social media, especially if you’re involved with your church, your school, and even your community. Being able to simply login on the desktop every couple of days to check messages and notifications has been exactly what I need to keep up with groups that are important to me without getting sucked into an endless scroll.
  • Shared Photo Albums.
    • When my friend Molly – hi Molly! – had her daughter Lucy, she added me to their shared photo album through iCloud. When we had Henry, I knew I didn’t want to share his photos on social media and that shared albums was the perfect way to stay connected with family and to share photos as an alternative to sharing photos on social media. Our family loves it!
  • MarcoPolo
    • Yall – I love MarcoPolo! Please add me and let’s connect!!! It’s so special to get to send videos of our family and friends without having to schedule a time to facetime.
  • Be selective with your media
    • Subscribe to news outlets your trust. I personally subscribe to The New York Times. Others I like are Axios, Politico, and NPR.
    • Shy away from cable news – FoxNews, CNN, etc. I personally feel like the pressure of filling 24 hour news slots for the last 20 years has been a load too much to bear and it shows in the reporting – although there are reporters I trust within those outlets.
    • News related podcasts that I listen to: Pantsuit Politics, Church and Politics, The Daily by NYTimes.
    • For Pop Culture news, I’m a proud patron of The Popcast. They keep me well informed.
  • Email Newsletters
    • Just as you’ve subscribed to TFF (thank you so much!!), there are tons of content creators that you enjoy on social media who send out a regular newsletter which includes much of what they share on social media. The truth of the matter is, social media could be gone in the blink of an eye – y’all remember what happened to Vine! – and many content creators are finding themselves creating content in an email format to better keep in contact with their readers as platforms and social media trends change.
  • Find other ways to occupy your time.
    • Apparently enneagram 8’s have a hard time NOT multitasking. I couldn’t understand why my screen time wasn’t changing without social media and it’s because I was just finding other things on my phone to do during the time I would normally spend scrolling – especially at night when I’m winding down. Call me grandma but now we’re working crossword and sudoku puzzles the old fashioned way – pencil on paper – before bed and we love it.

Here’s the thing – I’ve missed out on some things since being off social media and I’ll likely continue to be the last to know but I’m ok with that. What I’ve learned is that my desire to be in the know was so much more about me having the information than being able to celebrate my friends as they share their news. Pretty backwards huh? (But please text me if something big happens in your life!)

I’m not saying that you should cut out social media – I certainly didn’t intend to when I took a break last month – but I would encourage you to think about the amount of time you’re spending, the root of why you’re spending so much time there, how you might could form deeper connections with people outside of social media, and what you might gain back with the time you’re currently spending behind your screen. Take a little social media hiatus yourself and implement some of these practices. You might be surprised by how much of a difference it makes on your mind, body and spirit. AND You might actually enjoy it!

Quarantine Cooking Vol. 5

Henry’s Favorite Egg Cups

Now that Henry is eating table food, we’ve been toying around with some breakfast recipes that I can make before hand and heat up in the morning. These egg cups have been my favorite and I’ve had so much fun mixing different ingredients each time! My most recent ones used goat cheese crumbles with a strawberry balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

In a bowl, beat 8 eggs

Add some half and half or milk. Don’t ask me how much, just give it a splash or so.

Mix in whatever fixings sound good to you. I’ve used mushrooms, bacon, spinach, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese, cooked crumbled sausage. Use any combination that sounds good to you.

Grease your muffin tin.

If using sliced bacon, line your muffin cups with bacon strips. I cut my strips in half and stretch it to cover the tin.

Pour in your egg mixture. I use about 1/4-1/3 cup of the egg mixture for each of the 12 tins. The formal recipes will tell you to fill the tin 3/4 of the way but I say pish posh. Use up all of that mixture!

Bake on 375 for 20-25 min.

They are best when fresh out of the oven but you can store them for a few days in an airtight container. I like to heat them covered in a damp paper towel for 30-45 seconds when enjoying the leftovers.

Enjoy!

A Prayer for September

Lord, be with our medical professionals who are working diligently every day to care for the needs of their patients whether in our hospitals, in the exam rooms in clinics, in the pharmacy filling prescriptions, and in the labs testing again and again with the hopes of a vaccine.

Lord, be with the teachers who are doing their very best to teach – some through masks, some through screens and all from a heart to promote a loving, safe environment for every child.

Lord, be with the parents who are doing their very best to balance being a mom/dad/stepparent/foster parent/legal guardian, a home school teacher, a counselor, a chef, a personal assistant, janitor, nurse and for many, also managing their own respective careers outside of the home.

Lord, be with our church leaders who are doing their very best to discern your voice in the best way to lead their people in times of uncertainty.

Lord, be with the business owners who have poured out their blood, sweat and tears to build something meaningful for their family and their community.

Lord, be with our law enforcement officers around our country. May they be reminded of their call to serve and protect and be united in that spirit as they go out into their communities. May their eyes be opened to the cries of their people and may they use the authority they’ve been given to provide peace and security to their neighbors.

Lord, be with our local government leaders who feel an overwhelming pressure to make decisions based on the needs of their constituents.

Lord, be with the members of the House and the Senate. Convict them to put the needs of their constituents above partisan politics – even in an election year.

Lord, be with the Trump Administration. May they rise to the challenge that’s before us to lead with heart to unify our divided nation around the ideals in which our country was built.

Lord, be with American citizens trying to navigate 2020. May we value the good of our neighbors over our own personal freedom. In a time where everyone is convinced that they must pick a side/align with a party, Lord, I pray that you convict us to remain loyal to you and your word and to the Kingdom building work you’ve called us. May we listen to one another with a heart of empathy rather than treating one another as adversaries.

Lord, be present in the hearts of all people around the world – stirring us to pursue you and your peace in our lives and in our community. Bring revival, starting with us, and spilling out onto all who walk the earth. May your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

May those who know you value your word and your call to kindness and love above all else.


Lord, give us your grace this September to see the good in you and in the ways you’re working. And give us peace in trusting you when things feel crazy.

Amen.

Mr. Vice President – we don’t feel safe.

Last night I tuned into the RNC. As someone who feels politically homeless, I felt it only fair to tune into both conventions just to see what they had to say. During Vice President Mike Pence’s speech, he made a comment that has stuck in my mind: “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

It was one of the few moments I’ve wanted to sit down with the man and ask him, “Sir, do you not realize that millions of Americans have never felt safe a single day while you and President Trump have been in office?”

I was reminded of a day in January of 2017 shortly after the Presidential Inauguration. My husband and I had bought a house nearly a year prior in a neighborhood we loved in Nashville where we were the only white people on our street. Our neighbors were Hispanic, Vietnamese, African American, Nigerian, Somali – the kind of beautiful melting pot representation of the America I love.

My neighbors were hard working business owners in our community yet after the inauguration, we noticed that people were not out and about like normal. We knew it our hearts it was because they were afraid and so I baked some brownies and cookies and I wrote letters and we set out on foot to deliver the goods. They didn’t answer the door. The next day, my husband and I went to grab coffee at our favorite Somali coffee shop down the street and as we were chatting with the owner, we asked how he’s been doing? He opened up about how business had been very slow. Micah asked why that is and he shared that most of his patrons are scared to leave their homes. They didn’t feel safe under the leadership of a man who spoke with such hate towards immigrants and refugees and they didn’t feel safe living in a place that would elect such a man.

Mr. Vice President, people do not feel safe in this America.

Native American land in federal trusts are being negotiated leaving them fearful that all that they have left that hasn’t been stolen out from under them will now be up for grabs.

They do not feel safe.

Asian Americans and immigrants faced discrimination this spring because our President continued to refer to COVID-19 as “The Chinese Virus”. They were harassed in the street and were denied services.

They do not feel safe.

Our country elected a man 4 years ago with a history of mistreatment of women and no matter how many women in his administration and in his family speak to his character, his history speaks for itself. And yes, white women can celebrate 100 years of having the right to vote but women of color were not awarded the same til 1965 AND we still do not have equal pay.

We do not feel safe.

In the midst of a global pandemic, narratives promoted by this administration that undermine our scientists who are working tirelessly to find a way to biologically fight COVID-19 have our citizens no longer trusting their medical professionals.

The scientific community, our healthcare professionals, our teachers, our business owners, our frontline workers do not feel safe or supported.

Our President tweets things like “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” with complete disregard that far right enthusiasts have been caught starting fires in government buildings, busting out windows of businesses, and most recently driving across state lines with an AR 15 killing two people and injuring another. Racial tensions are growing stronger by the day as divisive language continues to create chaos in a time where we need a unifying voice.

Black people do not feel safe.

Law Enforcement does not feel safe.

Mr. Vice President – this America is not safe.

And here’s the thing, I can’t say that a Biden presidency equals a safer America because I am not looking to the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office to be my savior and Mr. Vice President, as a man of faith, I wouldn’t expect you to either.

What I can say is that America needs a leader who will put aside the necessary political tactics that traditionally unify their base and will use their voice to unify us as a nation.

What I keep hoping to hear from this administration is any sort of sentiment that indicates an awareness of the concerns facing Americans across the board and not just the ones most likely to vote for you in November.

We’re not asking for much – just that you two would do what the American people elected you to do. Lead.

Life Update

In August of 2017, my husband who is always looking on job boards at various organizations and ministries sent me a job description posted on the IMB website for a part time Student Mobilizer. At the time I was serving on staff at the APSU BCM, working hard to finish my seminary degree by May 2018, planning weddings for Southern Sparkle, and had just finished interning with my Pastor for the summer. I was ready to fill out the application before I even read the job description because a. we needed the extra money and b. working for the IMB in any capacity, but especially on the mobilization team, had been a dream of mine for a long, long time.

After 3 years of living the dream and “making dreams come true” I said goodbye to the Student Mobilization Team at IMB at midnight on July 31st. I was one of the first to join this new little team in this new role when our team was formed in 2017 and I’ve always had people ask what it is that I do at IMB since our role is so new and so I wanted to share some of the sweetest memories that have come to mind as I’ve taken time to reflect on all the ways I’ve seen God work these three years. 

  • I’ve sent more emails/texts, made more phone calls, wrote more cards and flown/driven more miles than I could count.
  • I’ve partnered with student leaders who became dear friends like family.
  • I’ve had the honor to pray alongside students as they’ve said yes to Jesus for the summer, and then a second summer, and then to two years through the Journeyman program.
  • I’ve attended commissioning services at BCM’s and local churches.
  • I’ve held the hands of their families as we’ve prayed at airport terminals.
  • I’ve strategized fundraising ideas with Summer and Hands On students around my dining room table.
  • I’ve had students come to my table after speaking at an event with tears in their eyes ready to say yes to God’s call on their summer/semester/next two years of their life.
  • I’ve driven to middle of no where Alabama to send off students from their orientation.
  • I’ve prayed with our field personnel for students walking through hard things.
  • I’ve prayed with church and ministry leaders for their students to catch the vision of God’s mission on their campus, in their communities and to read the unreached from around the world.
  • I’ve texted Starbucks gift cards to students while they were waiting to board their very early morning flight.
  • I’ve FaceTimed students to cheer them up and cheer them on after a hard conversation with their parents – and written down their parent’s names in my journal and at my desk so I can lift them up to the Lord.
  • I’ve worked events like Collegiate Summit, National African American Missions Conference, Beach Reach and Collegiate Week and I’ve followed up with hundreds of folks wanting more info on how they can say yes to Jesus in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.
  • I’ve helped plan events, led breakout sessions, and shared my story where thousands of students were challenged to just say yes.
  • I’ve cried with students as they were placed on teams that were absolutely perfect for them and their skillset.
  • I’ve cried with students on Zoom when COVID cancelled their summer trips because I knew their stories and knew what they had sacrificed just to say yes.
  • I’ve cried as I sat with my husband and son to witness two students join in Holy Matrimony and commissioned them for the work of the Lord.

And here’s the thing – I share this to tell you that God is at work fulfilling his promise in Revelation 7:9; a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language will worship before the throne of God and He is using our students to do it. I’m the most blessed to have had a front row seat in watching them sacrificially say yes. And after every single encounter with a student, even the challenging ones, I came home and told Micah – “I got to do what I love today.” I don’t deserve the Lord’s kindness and the way he’s loved me so well in providing opportunities for me to watch Him move in the hearts of students and I am eternally grateful.

Quarantine Cooking Vol. 4

Dump Style Cobbler

Spray down your baking dish with cooking spray.


Pick your fruit, wash it and lay it in the pan. (You can also use frozen fruit!)

Sprinkle your yellow cake mix on top. (Use the whole box!)

Take a stick of butter and melt it. Once melted, pour it over top the mixture.

Bake on 350 for 45 min.

Serve it with a heaping scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

We don’t have a clue.

July 20, 2014

We were on a drive through the town where we met on our way to have dinner with my family.

I didn’t have a clue what that day would hold when all of a sudden Micah took a mysterious right hand turn down a street that does not lead to my hometown.

“I know this road.”

I was doing everything within my mental capacity to fight the train of thoughts that were rolling through my brain but much like a train, they were unstoppable.

“Is this it?

Is Micah proposing today?

Nope. Do not get excited.

This is not it.

This is just a casual Sunday drive.”

As we pulled into the parking lot of a secluded city park, I could not fight the excitement anymore. This was the exact spot I’d made a tearful and loving proclamation to my best friend Micah 3 years prior.

“This is it.”

He nervously asked me to come with him as we got out of the car but we didn’t go far. We stood in an empty parking lot and he sat the ring box on the hood of the car. (I always appreciated the gesture of being up front with what was about to go down.) As he began to speak, I said to myself “pay close attention, you’re going to want to remember this.”

He asked me to be his wife.

I said, “Is this real life?”

We laughed through tears and I did finally say yes.

We didn’t have a clue.

That was 6 years ago.

We’ve moved 3 times, changed jobs 6 times, bought a house, got a dog, completed 1 seminary degree, experienced devastating loss and labored an amazing little life and after 6 years, life doesn’t look like what we thought it would.

We still don’t have a clue.

But here’s the secret no one’s selling you – none of us have a clue.

We’re all just doing the best we can and learning as we go.

That’s what makes marriage so dang hard – there is no cooker cutter perfect marriage template that I can type up and pass on as a PDF.

The happily ever after that the fairy tales promise falls short when the story stops at two people falling in love. Sharing your life with another person is not easy. We are sinful, imperfect human beings seeking to serve a perfect God.

Our happily ever after happens when we enter our eternal home in glory where the bride comes face to face with her beautiful bridegroom; when we’re no longer husband and wife but eternally brother and sister in the arms of the Father.

We still don’t have a clue but what I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that our life reflects the love of our creator most when we humble ourselves and work together as a team for the sake of the gospel.

And I’m certain that’s true of us all – married or single, divorced or widowed, kids or no kids – when our eyes are set, and our hearts are humbled, to Christ and the work He’s called us to, His love overflows.

So no matter where you are on your journey, link arms with someone a couple steps ahead of you and a couple steps behind.

Let’s learn from one another even if we feel like we don’t have a clue.

June 8, 2020