Review of Cultivate by Lara Casey

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Have you ever tried to do it all and kept failing? Or maybe felt like someone else WAS doing it all and doing great at it? Lara Casey addresses these issues and more in her second book, Cultivate. Filled with both lighthearted stories and deep struggles, Casey shows the reader how God was at work in her life through her quick marriage, miscarriage, and now three children– and how she turned from plant-killer into major gardener! She takes stories and examples from her rural/suburban town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and relates them to struggles women face every day– times of waiting, sorrow, making new friends, comparing oneself to others– and doesn’t leave you empty-handed. I was touched, I laughed, I was given hope, and heard some great quotes! My favorites? “Cultivated friendship overlooks your broken fence and admires your garden.” And, “She believed she couldn’t, so He did.”

That last quote turns society’s attitude on it’s head, doesn’t it? It’s not all about us. We’re not naturally equipped. Jesus is. Casey uses no shortage of Scripture as she discusses different “seasons” of life, alluding to Ecclesiastes 3. In addition, the end of the book includes discussion questions– so although I read it on my own, it can also be a tool to dive deep in with your closest friends! (Tip: since some of the questions get close to the heart, I would suggest you gather a small group of people at a time). Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are willing to grow, learn, and stretch yourself. Plus, who knows? You might even end up wanting to plant a garden. ūüėČ

Have a great day, reader! Keep on smiling!

Smiles,

Tia ;-D

For more on Lara Casey Isaacson herself, click here.

(Finally) Writing What I Know

Deciding to write about my own experiences was not an instant decision. I don’t usually read many memoirs and I knew that if/when I ever wrote about my own experiences, I would have to do a lot of background research because there is so much technical medical information. And I just plain old didn’t want to. Also, I honestly don’t remember that much about my cancer. I know quite a bit of information, but I don’t even remember many of the medical people from my young childhood who get soooo (did I say “so?”) excited to see the healthy, grown-up me.

But I didn’t really think about writing much about my amazing epilepsy journey– how I should have been dead from that alone almost 5 1/2 years ago. And I didn’t think about my journals.

That’s my nonfiction writing from the past– journals. I’ve loved them since I was little. And part of what prompted me to finally say yes to what has been suggested to me for yeeaaarrs was finding a leather journal that I thought was blank and then realized it wasn’t. What it was was a record of facts from my 16-year-old perspective while having a lethal medicine allergy called DRESS Syndrome (similar to Steven Johnson’s Syndrome, but¬†not the same thing). And then the hard time afterwards while being on a camera EEG¬†with no anti-epileptic medication so the hospital could record a seizure. And having psychiatry sent in because the hospital thought the seizures were under my control when they are actually in a very different part of my brain (and no, I don’t have any psychological control over them nor are they caused by stress). And praying to remain valedictorian of my graduating¬†class while I was spending¬†most of the month before graduation in the hospital (and I did do schoolwork during that period of time, too, so becoming valedictorian wasn’t just a granted wish). And now, looking back at those entries, I can see so many prayers answered and the raw emotions are so very real!!!! When reading some of these entries aloud to my grandmother, she said something like, “This is what¬†books are made of.”

And yes, she was right. Because this is my story. And I often say, “no one can argue with your story.” And that’s true. So this is the true story of how Christ rocked my life by my future college plans being flipped upside down but instead accomplishing¬†beautiful things and teaching many people along the way. How He has stayed with me through all the hardships, all the celebrations, and all the crazy and/or beautiful in-betweens. How He brought me from possibly dangerous situations to a steady, beautiful life. I know I’m using the word “beautiful” more often than a writer¬†should in one paragraph, but that is what my life is and has looked like– both¬†now AND when it looked scary. So this is me. This is my life.¬†So here comes “God Could, So He Did– My Crazy, Beautiful Life as an Epilepsy Patient.”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†#thisisme¬†¬† #Jesusisawesome¬†¬† #GodcouldsoHedid

To God be the glory.

Keep smiling, readers! ūüėȬ†¬†¬†¬† ;-D

With Much Love,

Tia ;-D