4/29 | Anniversaries and Unmet Expectations

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Do you ever find yourself struggling to enjoy what you expected to be a really great day, just because things aren't panning out quite how you'd hoped or expected? 

Yesterday was Ben and my six year wedding anniversary. The first year we got married we promised that we would always make a huge deal of our anniversary. Gifts and going on a little trip somewhere were a must in our book.

The first few years we nailed it. The first year was Baltimore, Maryland for three days. The second year was a combo of a couple days spent in a log cabin at Hocking Hills, and then a day exploring downtown Columbus. 

Each year we've had less time and less money to celebrate- and while I knew we weren't going to be able to get away overnight this year, I had high hopes of getting away for the day without the kids. Fast forward to Friday night. Ben had spent the entire day replacing our hot water tank, which had unexpectedly went out the night before. On top of that, plans had fallen through with babysitters and we were now looking at having only a couple hours to celebrate, which meant not even leaving town. No exploring new places, no day away. I was major bumming.  

Sweet Ben was trying to console me and it was like with every positive thing he said, I just became more frustrated because what I really wanted was for him to FIX IT and tell me he'd actually been stashing away money for the last few months and was sweeping me off to a weekend away. But he didn't. 

And then after a little more wallowing...two thoughts suddenly hit me that changed everything:

1. If our anniversary is the celebration of us, then really all we need in this equation is Ben and I. I could go buy fancy gifts, or run away for the weekend, but none of it would make sense for celebrating our anniversary if Ben wasn't there. He and I. Those are the two key ingredients. 

2. I'm getting hung up on thinking that gifts and getaways are the best representation of our love for one another. And I'm feeling a little salty that we will have two kiddos tagging along the whole day. But here's the thing....those beautiful babies of ours are the flesh and blood representation of our love for one another. And that is WAY more profound than any gift or trip. 

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So my perspective changed and we celebrated. We did end up getting to go out to dinner thanks to Ben's parents who watched the kids. And that was all we needed. We laughed at silly things that I usually don't stop to laugh at because I'm taking the day too seriously. We took our time eating dinner and talking and it was wonderful. 

I hope that one day we are in a position to be able to celebrate our marriage in the ways we used to. But for now, I'm thankful for the lessons I learned on our sixth anniversary. That's the rich stuff which I never want to forget. 

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3/27 | The Value of Friendship

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So far, 2018 has been....HEAVY. A few days after the launch of my blog I got a call that my dad had been admitted to the hospital due to an infection which almost cost him his leg. He is home now and healing up well, but it has been an emotional roller coaster. 2018 has brought news of two dear loved ones facing cancer, others facing equally heartbreaking circumstances. 2018 has brought sickness being passed around and around our house for two months straight, which in turn has meant being cooped up with sick littles and feeling like I'm losing my ever loving mind.

When I launched this blog I envisioned it being a place of beauty, inspiration and positivity. The last few months have been so hard and I've thought about posting what I'm learning in the midst of it all, but I've been afraid of being a downer. Afraid that people aren't interested in the real things in my life. That they're only here for the pretty design posts. 

In my first blog post I talked about how in a sense, this feels like the worst time I could be choosing to start a blog because our life feels filled to the brim with parenting and owning a coffee shop. Who knew it could get MORE crazy?

But you wanna know one huge factor that has helped keep me grounded in these last few months? Friends.

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The last year or so has completely reshaped my view of friendship. I used to think of friends as optional...more of like a plus if I had the extra time. For years I had thought that friendship was a sacrifice that I was only willing to make if I had the surplus of time and energy. But I've come to realize more and more that friendship actually gives me energy to face life head on and make it through alive. Here are 3 reasons why I'm so thankful for the friendships in my life. 

 

1. I can be completely irrational and honest while also feeling 100% safe to do so

There have been many times in the last few months where I have texted my group of friends FUMING over literally the pettiest things in the world. Or yesterday I believe my exact words to a friend were "I'm just walking around the house with Laney in my arms while I cry my eyes out." Sometimes venting goes a loooong way in your emotional stability. I feel so much freedom to share literally the ugliest or saddest parts of my heart with them. I whine, cry a little, and then they help me to move on. They relate, but offer helpful advice that helps me not get stuck in the dark places. 

 

Photo Credit: Style & Story

Photo Credit: Style & Story

 

 

2. They remind me who I am as a mom and apart from being a mom

Sometimes I struggle to look inward. My eyes are set on my dreams and goals and I can view my kids as an inconvenience as my heart longs to pursue those things at a quicker pace. My friends remind me that my kids are a gift and that while my focus is mostly on them in this season, that doesn't mean my dreams are dead. That if I don't enjoy where I'm at right now, I will regret it. My brilliant friend Amy Seiffert has been key in helping me learn this lesson through her book, Chin Up. 

They also help me to see that just because I'm a mom that doesn't mean I can't pursue anything else in this season. It just means I need to take on less. It's good for my kids to see their mom happy and excited. I'm a healthier mom when I'm not obsessing over my kids. My capacity may be smaller these days, but my friends help me to chase my dreams with the little time I do have. 

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3. They inspire me

My friends are some of the most beautiful, talented, generous, honest, and genuine people I've ever met. It would be SO easy to look at them and feel incredibly down on myself because they are so incredibe. But we (usually) choose to see each others beauty and talents for what they are and cheer one another on. When this happens, amazing things come of it. We feed off of one another and take chances and DO things. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, I have felt stuck due to all the hard things going on around me. Last night I was able to get away with a friend for a cup of coffee and then met up with more friends at a boutique in town where we tried on all kinds of new spring items. Overalls, dresses, all the things....It was so fun. And while being in the presence of these beautiful souls I was reminded the value of authenticity. 

I was reminded that if having a design blog meant I was only comfortable posting pretty images than I would have to say "pass". Because I'm a real human with hard things going on. I'm fumbling forward in motherhood, marriage, friendship and designing. And if being real about that inspires even one person then it's completely worth putting my heart out there. 

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I hope that if you are in the trenches of life, you know that you are not alone. My life does not consist of sipping coffee with my crew all day while enjoying a beautifully decorated home. And that's why I want to post about real life in addition to the pretty stuff. 

I hope that if you have some dear friends, you call them today to let them know how valuable they are to you. I hope if you haven't made time for friendships, that you will. It may feel like you are sacrificing time or energy, but good friends will make you feel like you are gaining way more than you are losing. And if you feel like you have tried to have friends and are in a lonely place, I feel you too. I went through a long season of feeling like there were no people I connected with. Friends will come. I encourage you to take risks in meeting new people or in voicing to current people in your life that you want to know them more deeply.  

Take heart friends. This life can be very ugly at times. But we are each given people in our lives to help us pull back the lens and be reminded of the beauty all around us. Find those people. Find the beauty. 

 

 

xoxo-Cass

1/8 | JUMPING IN

Picture it with me— 18 year old Cass, full with dreams of heading off to BGSU in the fall to pursue a major in Interior Design. I'm telling someone my plans and their response to me is something along the lines of "Wow, you're going to school for interior design? You must really care about making money."

....Dream crushed.

I used to care A LOT about what people thought about me. In fact, I would say that for a good part of my life I was shaped more by who I thought people wanted me to be, than who I actually was.

So there you have it... one comment and I gave up my dream of interior design.

I love interior design for how it makes me feel. How it inspires other people. How you can walk into a space and feel transported to a whole new world.

Looking back on it, I wish I would have been confident enough to know my own heart, instead of believing what a mere stranger thought they knew about me.

But I wasn't. The week I went to college, I changed my major. Then I bounced around from major to major trying to be anything but what that person thought I was. A counselor, a social worker - none of it was me though, and I dropped out of college.

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Right after that I met my husband, Ben. He was FULL of dreams and passion and drive to achieve those dreams. His dream was to open a coffee shop and since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I helped him pursue his dreams. We were two kids in our 20's with not a dime to our name, but the hope of creating an amazing shop.

After what felt like an eternity of gaining enough startup capital, we finally started the build out process of our shop, Flatlands Coffee.

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Looking back on it now, I'm not even sure how this happened, but somehow in the process, I became the Flatlands interior designer.

Our space is 2,000 square feet and we basically gutted the whole thing and started new. Everything you see, our hands have been in. It was such an intimidating, sometimes infuriating, but incredible experience to design it. I didn't realize it at the time, but in the process of helping the man I love achieve his dream, I was rediscovering my own dream. As I type that now, my eyes fill with tears because I'm just so thankful.

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Designing Flatlands was the beginning for me, but since then I've dreamt of starting a blog about design. We had our son Oliver the month before opening the shop and then our daughter Laney just 3 months ago. The last few years have felt so insane between having a new business and becoming parents.

I've kept telling myself that now isn't the time for my dreams; that I would wait until we are done having kids and they are all in school. But thankfully, I have a small group of great friends who are also dreamers and who talked me into just going for it. And Ben, who when I sheepishly told him I wanted to start this, enthusiastically responded "Let's do it!"

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So here I am at what feels like the worst time ever to be doing something like this, but at the same time I feel like I NEED to do this. I love my husband and our kids and our business, but sometimes it feels like I give and give and give and there isn't a whole lot of life left in me at the end of the day. I want to stay inspired. Designing is so inspiring to me and seeing others inspired by my work brings me so much joy. I'm going for it.

I will be posting mostly about design, but also about my everyday life. Soon I will make a post going a little more in depth about the design process behind Flatlands, but for now, here is a little glimpse - this is the place that reignited my passion for design.

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It's a second home for my family and I love it.