The Addresses:

Sister Cassidy Cheyenne Steele
Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission
12025 Justice Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 80816

My email is

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There Can Be Miracles If You Believe....

Once upon a time Katie and I sang that in like 3rd or 4th grade. It was supposed to be a duet and the choir was supposed to come in at the end, but before they could, the guy in charge of the music stopped it. It was a wee bit awkward.

But that's not the point!!
The point is that miracles do happen. And I don't just mean in the past. I don't even mean in the way the sun rises and spring (eventually) comes. I mean, real, true miracles occur. God hears our prayers, our pleas in the middle of the night. He knows our sorrows, and counts our tears. And sometimes, if it is His will, He sees fit to completely show His hand in our life.

I shall now illustrate this point.
1. 9th grade. 9th grade was both a really bad and a really good year. I had just moved up from Arizona, and started going to school in a state where I literally didn't know anyone outside of family. I was terrified. I wanted to go back to Basha, or even *shudder* Hamilton ;).  But as my parents were deciding on whether to let us stay in AZ until the house sold, or move up to Utah and move in with my grandparents, my mother felt prompted that we needed to move. Bless my amazing Dad, he didn't even question the prompting, and we moved. I was so mad at them for a while. Furious. We moved in with my grandparents and Katie and I were back to not only sharing a room, but sharing a bed.
We had a month with my grandparents before my amazing grandfather passed away. I got to spend a month living with him, laughing with him, and making memories. I still remember, we were sealing the deck after the annual pool-closing party, and as I was running up to the gazebo to put something away, Grandpa turned the hose on me and totally soaked me! As furious as I was with mom and Dad, I wouldn't trade that month for anything in the world.
Granted, 9th grade, as previously stated, was not a good year. I got bullied, ruthlessly, by a group of kids that ended up in one of them flat out punching me in the face. I cried a lot. I had to experience my first real winter. But I also had the chance to make several very good friends, which surprisingly enough, I have more of my friends from 9th grade up in Logan than I do friends from high school. The Lord knew what was best for me in the long run. It wasn't what I wanted, but it was an absolute miracle. It wasn't coincidence that I got to spend that last month with my Grandpa.

2. Mission call. The whole mission process was a miracle. In the summer after I graduated from high school, I felt like I should really study out of Preach My Gospel. My entire life, I had felt like I was going to go through the temple earlier than 21. Sure enough, October came around, and President Monson made an announcement that changed my life. Absolutely and completely. I know knew why my friends and I had been preparing as if to go on a mission. Because we were going on missions.
I was nervous about my call. Everyone thought I was going to Russia, to be honest. I knew I'd go stateside, simply because of some medical and emotional issues that I won't discuss here, but I was really worried I'd open my call and be disappointed in where I was going. I wasn't even sure this was the right decision. Plus, after I broke my wrist I was angry and upset and scared it would alter my report date. Every single one of those concerns was washed down the drain as I read my call. Louisiana. Practically a different country. July 24th. My wrist would be fine by then (actually, it's almost fine by now). Most importantly, I knew that this is where the Lord had ALWAYS planned for me to go. It was a miracle in timing, and a miracle in placement. This mission has changed my life already, and I'm not even on it yet!

3. I am not going to relate my entire LDV story, as it's been stated before. But Latter-Day Voices is a miracle. Absolutely. 100%. The people I've met, the things we've done have been perfectly and exactly what I needed in life. It didn't make the problems go away, but it certainly made them easier to bear.

There's another one still in progress right now, but it's one I have been praying for for almost a month now. He HEARS us! He knows us and only needs us to ask before He pours out blessings upon us! Every cry is heard. No matter if it's simply "I can't find my car keys" or "I really need to accompany this song well" or "I need to find a person's name to take to the temple today." Even if it's "I just need someone to smile and say hello" or "I just need to know there's someone listening." Ask, and ye shall receive. And He will answer in a way that is the best for OUR needs. This isn't just a generalized formula for output of blessings. This is an ISP--and individualized salvation plan. He's our Father. He knows EXACTLY how we need to receive blessings. Sometimes it's the 2x4 method, I can testify to that. But once you learn that, you will see that miracles are everywhere. Even big miracles are everywhere.

Guys! this is the GOOD NEWS!
AMEN till next time!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Today was a remarkably good day. I don't know why, but it just was happy and funny and I was in a really strange mood. I had an unusual amount of energy and was cracking jokes and just being very not what I'm like most Thursday nights.

As I was walking to go check my mail at 9:30 this evening, the realization hit me.

This moment will never happen again.
This year, this part of my life is entirely unique and unrepeatable.

It literally stopped me in my tracks. After 22 days, I will never be in these particular choirs again. Sure, I'll be in Chorale and LDV, but not with these groups, with these people. I will never be a freshman/sophomore/junior music student all at once ever again. I will never room with these roommates again. After 104 days, I will never be a premish again. The next time I come back to school, I will be a return missionary.

It was a strange thought. I feel like so much of the time I am rushing about, excited for the weekend or to get to the end of the day. I feel like while we're in the moment it feels like it will never end. It feels like we are suspended in Jello. Time's not moving and you want it to move forward. Get to the next thing! Oh, I can't wait for the weekend! I can't wait to master this song and move on! I can't wait for my mission!

But then you look back. And those moments you thought would never end are months and years in the past. I graduated from high school, a moment I never thought I would get past. I was stuck in the high school Jello flavor forever, it seemed. Yet here I am, nearing the end of my first year at Utah State. I thought I would never get through both of my friends leaving on missions. But here I am, doing remarkably well, most of the time (I have my bad days when I am halfway through a text to either of them and I realize they won't answer). I thought I'd never get my call, I'd never reach the day I'd go through the temple for myself. Yet here I am.

I want it to slow down!! Of course I want to serve my mission. Of course I want life to move forward. But I just want to stop and hit the pause button for a bit! I want to sit and just be in the moment. There's no pause button in life, unfortunately. We have to move on to bigger and better things. Man, I can't wait for the eternities when there's no end. But even then! I love this life! Everything we say is "I can't wait, I can't wait!" But so often, I know I am so focused on ahead and the next thing that I pass by the happy things going on right now.

My happy list for today included:
Going to the temple
Meeting a girl on the bus who knew one of my friends in San Bernardino
Failing miserably at trying to get a "referral" from a "member in the area" in mission prep
Talking to Sara during our trek across campus
Learning to march with a bass drum in percussion
Completing a lengthy assignment in Computer Apps
Finding out I apparently talk to myself out loud sometimes in voice lessons
Laughing and finally finding out the name of the boy I sit next to in Psychology, because we realized we never actually did that
Chatting on the phone with my lovely mother about life
Latter-Day Voices in general. Being silly. Making people laugh. Talking with Adrienne about how cute certain couples are. Watching our incredible dancers. Lamenting over things that could have been yet weren't.

All of these these things just make me want to cry STOP!! I don't want this to end! I don't want this part of my life to be over in a blink of an eye! Yet life moves on. We can't stop time, as much as we want to. So live in the moment. Remember eternity, remember and plan for the future, but don't let your thoughts of the future interfere with the joy of the present. I'm not going to quote the cliche, but seriously. The present is a gift. Don't take it for granted because soon, in a matter of seconds or minutes or hours, it will be the past. Live every moment.

Love y'all! Firm and true 'till next time!
<3 Cass

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Uphill Battle

My last post was a post of how peace can come even in the hardest of times, and not to be a Debbie Downer, this may have the opposite message.

Satan knows us far better than we know ourselves. He knows just how to make us hurt, either through sin or heartbreak or affliction. He knows precisely what makes us tick. He also knows that he has to amp his game up when we are striving to do what the Lord wants us to.

Take this semester, for example. It has been one of the most spiritually rewarding times of my life, but it has also been one of the absolute most difficult. Satan is throwing everything he can at me. I broke my wrist and have an ugly scar, my voice seems to be getting worse instead of improving, I'm stressed at school and have in a few occasions lacked even the money to buy food, and I've been feeling a lot of very, very discouraging thoughts about myself, which is pretty normal in my case, but this semester has been amplified by external situations.

The highs are great. Today, at general conference, I received some of the most direct and exact answers to prayers I have ever received in my life. It was like the general authorities were speaking directly to me, and I'm sure others can relate with that. I was crying tears of joy by the time President Eyring finished his talk.

The lows? Not so great. I found out one of my very good friends who I happened to have a very large crush on had started going out with one of my other really good friend. My voice recital was rough. I just was getting pounded on by Satan--"you're not good enough." "Of course this happened again, it always happens (literally, every guy I've liked since seventh grade on up has started going out with one of my other good friends.) because who would ever want to date you?" "You're always going to get passed over." "No one would ever look twice at you." The thoughts keep coming, and I'll be honest. It's really hard to stem the tide because I already think those things about myself without being emotionally unstable. Add to it sobbing in the middle of your room because you hate the way you look and you feel ugly and worthless and heartbroken over something that could have never happened only further strengthens those thoughts.

All of this (well, not the dating part--that just kind of sunk in today) happened within a day. I went from crying tears of joy to sobbing on my bed. Yeah, I cry a lot. (Side note--I don't cry when I'm in pain, for some reason. Just when I'm feeling the Spirit or really sad. I didn't cry a drop when I broke my wrist and could feel every minute of the hour before they got me to the ER and doped up.)

Yeah. It's a stupid reason to be really, really upset. I know and you don't need to tell me that. That is just one of my particular weaknesses that Satan knows very well. Here's a secret that since this is now on the internet, is no longer a secret: I have been asked out twice. Ever. The first one I had to turn down because I had a Madrigals gig, and the second one only happened because it was a Madrigals thing. It has been really, really hard for me to be best friends with two of the most popular girls in my social circle, girls who were prom royalty and constantly dating, girls who were absolutely beautiful and fantastic in every way. While they went out with all of my guy friends, I sat at home, miserable. It's been that way literally since the seventh grade. I can't tell you how many times I have cried myself to sleep. Why am I telling you this? So you understand that this is one of my most painful weaknesses. Feeling unloved and unwanted is one of Satan's best tools against me. It's very effective and very painful.

Everyone has their Achilles heel. For some it's an addiction. For some it's sleep or distractions or just doing too much. For some, it's like me, a mind full of hate towards yourself. Whatever it is, I know it's hard. I know what it feels like to be attacked at the very point when you are the most vulnerable.

We've just got to pick up the pieces and keep going. If life is a journey, these times are when we are crawling on the ground through a muddy forest underbrush. We can't see the sun and we don't see an end, but we know it has to end eventually. There is no such thing as an eternal underbrush.

It's not always easy. Frankly, as I saw on a commercial for President Eyring's book, "the path of righteousness will always be uphill." And right now I know in my heart that everything will work out, but I am still in a low right now. I'm still in the underbrush--it doesn't go away as fast as you want it to. I want everything to happen on my timing, and not on the Lord's. But in theory, I know that the Lord's timing is as inspired as the events that occur. Maybe right now I just have to tell myself that until I get out of this mud. Once I can see the sky, once the rain clears I know I will see a purpose for my trials. Until then? I'll do what I'm supposed to, relying on past faith and experiences to help me make it through this. The darkness is only the night, it's not permanent and the sun will rise again.

Keep calm and carry on.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Plan

Sometimes, all you can do is cry.

Has life ever gotten so overwhelming that you feel a literal burden that seems to be crushing you? A weight that can't be lifted, no matter what you do?

Welcome to the last seven days of my life.

It seemed like everything was out to get me this past little bit. I went home for Easter which was fantastic, but I was irritable with my sister and antisocial at best. I was (and I'll admit, still am) struggling with some of my roommates, trying my hardest not to bite their heads off. Allergy season started. I got sick. My voice wasn't working the way it needed to, and I have a recital on Saturday. Homework piled up.  One thing after another after another. Each a burden wearing me down a little more, slowly crushing the tender spirit that is slowly growing inside me. I have become a confidante of one of my very dear friends, which while I am glad to be, I struggle with the added difficulty of helping her bear her own, much more difficult burdens.

Tonight was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. I slipped up today, decided I wasn't going to go to the temple and do initiatories and stayed in bed for most of the day because I wasn't feeling my best. To be honest, I just couldn't deal with people and friends and society. I knew I had to go to my last two classes, Abnormal Psychology and Latter-Day Voices, of course. I always look forward to LDV but was struggling to feel the Spirit the whole day. Even yesterday, I put my own desires above that which I knew I should have been doing. As I was sitting in the back row with my amazing friends Dakota and Adrienne and Scott, I was also praying silently to Heavenly Father to forgive me for slacking off. I needed the Spirit, perhaps more than ever. I needed to be the missionary I'm preparing to be to help my friend, and I needed to somehow keep up the happy demeanor I had been putting up. I had been proud--I hadn't let anyone in on the fact I was really, really struggling to even get out of bed some days.

Heh. So much for the happy facade. We were singing this beautiful piece, "My Shepherd Shall Supply My Need" arranged by Mack Wilberg. We are working on our show, which is "In Defense of Families." Something about the song just absolutely shattered my outer shell. I couldn't sing, I couldn't pretend everything was all right anyomore. It was fortunate that we sang it towards the end of class, because I barely mangaged to make it back to my backpack before I just LOST it. And I mean like sobbing hysterically. I finally realized, at that point, that I couldn't bear this load by myself.

Of course, my incredible friends immediately asked if I needed a blessing. I've had more Priesthood blessings this school year than I have had in my entire life, if you exclude patriarchal and baby blessings. Which granted, isn't saying much.

I can't remember much of the blessing, aside from the peace that came from it. But the theme and the one thing I gleaned from it was this:

The Lord has a plan for each and every one of us. Not just the overarching plan of salvation, but an individual plan, personalized for the specific trials, strengths and weaknesses we all have. He knows what we are going to go through, for He has gone through all of it Himself. He knows how best to help us. If we wander, He will bring people into our lives and place them there so we can come back one day. The path of course, has less heartache of sin if we don't stray, but there is always a way back. He's not just going to leave us out there alone and helpless.

I guess this post is a story time.
Once upon a time there was this girl who was terrified of the thought of going to second semester without her best friend. She had just started to get back on the path, and was afraid that she was going to slip once again because no one was there to help her and keep her in check.
On the first Tuesday of the semester, this girl went to her very first institute class up in Logan--mission prep. She volunteered to play the piano and was playing prelude when she saw a friend from high school come and sit down right behind where her stuff was. After the opening song, the girl went back to her seat and caught up with her friend, who she didn't even know went to Utah State. The girl's friend, obviously listening to the Spirit, invited the girl to audition for Latter-Day Voices that afternoon, and the girl accepted. She made it in the choir and it changed her life.

If you hadn't guessed, I was that girl. The Lord had inspired the beautiful Sara Wilcox to sit behind me that day, and inspired her to invite me to audition. Brother Salmond and the Presidency were inspired to allow me to become a Latter-Day Voice. I don't think the choir needed me as much as I needed that choir. The Lord knew what I needed. He had a plan for me which was more perfect than I could have ever imagined. Never have I ever found a place where I fit in so perfectly. Never have I ever had that number of friends who keep the covenants they have made. Never have I ever been so blessed.

We're all struggling. I know that. Some have been tried and tempted more than I could possibly imagine. But the Lord knows you personally. He knows your desires, your hopes and dreams, your fears and falls. And He knows you. He has descended below all things that He might know how best to succor His people. I know is personally and through the stories of my friends. I know that one day, all will be made well. Every tear will be wiped away and we will be encircled about in the arms of His love. Standing in a circle of friends after that very inspired blessing, I caught a glimpse of how perfect that day is going to be.

I will leave this post with a quote from Stephen E. Robinson, from his book Believing Christ.

"In Gethsemane and on Calvary, in His horrible suffering and death, the Savior descended below all things, just as in his resurrection He ascended above all things. Between those two events, Jesus Christ compassed either personally or vicariously the whole range of possible human experiences and circumstances from the worst to the best.  He has been lower than the lowest of us, and higher than the highest, so "that he comprehended all things." Both spatially as the light of creation and experientially of the Atoning One, Christ fills all things and is in and through all things. He has been everywhere. Thus when we are tempted to think that our sins have put us beyond the understanding or reach of God, we are simply mistaken, and we grossly underestimate the scope of the Atonement. However low we may fall, our Redeemer has already been there, and He went there for the sole purpose of finding and bringing us lost sheep back. I have occasionally heard people say things like, "how can come back to Church, or pray, or approach God after what I've done. I've sunk too low; I've put myself beyond His reach. I'm to vile to save." To this the Savior responds essentially, I know where you are; I've been where you are-- and worse than that. I know what you're feeling, for I have felt it. I remember my own pain when I went through it, and my heart aches for you. But I want you back. I'll even carry you back if you'll let me."
I love you all. Stay firm and true until next time, and I say these things in the name of our Brother, Friend, and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

PS: I'm a music junkie, so here's the incredible song that caused this post..
My Shepherd Will Supply My Need