"...these loaves that I will share with you, were baked with love, and what I know so far. I'm a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I pray the bread I share here with you, will nourish and encourage you".

Thursday, April 30, 2009


My mom was like grand old house. A mansion with many, many rooms. But my favorite room in my mother’s house was the one which held her heart. I remember when I was young, roaming from room to room, and there was always something there for me. I was given many things in these rooms, and even though each one held something different, they all had something in common.

There was the one which held her faith. She was sure of herself and her place in the world and she shared this gift freely. One held her dreams and because she had them, she encouraged mine. Still another held her patience, which she was to a fault. And of course there was the guidance room, oh and the temperance room, I kinda exhausted the boundaries of those rooms. One held her wisdom, one held her kindness, one held her strength, and once when I was little, I even found my self in the one which held her pain. Oooh, now that one scared me. So I didn’t go back, well at least not for a long, long time. But now thinking back on that room, the thing I find amazing is that the pain never seeped out. It didn’t spill out into the other parts of the house. So you only saw it if you slipped into the room. Humm…But the thing that they all had in common was my mother’s heart.

The house still stands and it’s a beautiful old house. But most of these rooms are closed to me now. I try and remind myself, to be thankful that I know the way home and still have a key, well at least to the front door anyway. I go by often, to check in, help out, trying to maintain the old house you know. And so far she still greets me when I come. For which I thank God.
But before long she's off, she’s slipped into some room or another as there seem to be new rooms in the house now, rooms to which I’m not privy. She seems happy enough though, which is, I guess a good thing. For I’m not as good at hiding my pain as she was.
I stay as long as I can, hoping to gain entrance into now darkened rooms. Just to sit and be and remember. Just the other day I saw her in the kindness room and we sang together, her favorite spirituals. She remembered more words than I did. She looked at me and said “Thank you for what you do for me”. She reached out to touch my hand, and I saw the hands that first stroked my face, the hands that bathed me, the hands that combed my hair. The very hands that held me up, long after I’d learned to walk on my own. Surely I could do these things for her, though I never wanted to be a house, I will shield her.

Cause you see, that’s what I learned in my mothers house. I saw her do for us, everything, often in spite of herself. I learned faith and hope, patience and guidance, wisdom and temperance, kindness and strength and on top of all of that I got my mother’s heart.
And so for every door that closes in my mother’s house, it seems a room is opened in me. I try and create new places for us to meet, as well as rooms that will give to me and to others what my mother gave. Cause when you’ve been loved like that, well, you just got to keep it going. You’ve just got to love somebody.

All in all I am thankful though, because in spite all of the deterioration of that beautiful old house, so far every time I visit I am still greeted by my mother’s heart. And when, and if that changes, I will thank God that I can still remember.

This is not a “This is what I know so far” loaf of bread. Though there are some things I am sure of, I’m sure I’ve much more to learn. You see, twelve years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This, as you can imagine, was as painful as it was frightening. This loaf of bread was written to share not just the love and regard that I have for my mother, but also to remind you that no matter what you are faced with, there is always something in it for you. That is of course, if you will allow yourself to continue to roam from room to room with your heart open.

This has been a journey not just or my mother, but for all of us who love her, every life that she has touched. And you know what they say about going places “ It’s not about the destination, but it’s about the journey”. So, you might wonder where am I going? Alzheimer’s is not the traveling companion that I would have chosen. But as I said, if you keep your heart open even Alzheimer’s has within it, blessings. For it has taught me volumes and it has given me an opportunity to share the journey for I have recently been named Spokesperson for the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and the Public Health Center for Urban Population Health. A position designed to encourage education and conversation about Alzheimer’s as well as offer support caregivers.

So on this Mother’s Day I share with you “My Mother’s Heart” and not just what I’ve written, but also the promise that if you look for the heart in any situation, you will find it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow"?
With silver bells and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row?
Now, you know what is interesting to me about this nursery rhyme? As I understand the divine principle, the reaping of those things sown, the harvesting of only those things which one has planted. There is absolutely no way that Miss Mary could have worked her own garden. For the rhyme clearly states that Mary was quite contrary, which means that she was of a conflicting, uncooperative and obstructive nature. That she had an opposing disposition, which would make the growing of silver and cockle shell extremely difficult. With an attitude like that all you grow is confusion and not pretty maids all in a row.

So I'm thinking that it must have been those pretty maids working in all the rows of Miss Mary’s garden, and Miss Mary just took the credit. Guess what Mary, you just got busted.
So let me ask you this; how does your garden grow?
Gardening is one of the best metaphors for living that I can think of. It is a clear cut scenario of being able to receive only and all of what you invest. In other words if one plants dandelions, one can’t really expect roses to grow, now could one?

Still some people do, I once knew a woman who was quite contrary just like our Mary. She spoke a good game but put to test, it never held up. She felt the need to dominate every conversation with her opinion, which was always contrary to that of the person with whom she was speaking. Often times even contradicting herself. When things were calm she would create drama, she appeared to always be looking for some cause, some reason to create conflict. She seemed to have a deliberately opposing view on everything. And in any group situation, was completely uncooperative which of course would obstruct and hinder the progress of the group.

Mary, Mary soooooo contrary, how does your garden grow?
Well, the Mary that I refer to, is at best joke among many of the circles into which she interjects herself. She is at best tolerated, and seldom trusted. Her home life as well as her finances reflect her planting. Now the sad thing about our Mary is that she has a need to feel important, to be seen and to feel loved, not unlike the most of us, yet she plants seeds of destruction and reaps the same. For it is the law.

Gardening as a metaphor for living.
So what does it take to grow a beautiful and healthy garden?
Good seeds! Seeds of truth cross-pollinated with love, for a seed holds the potential of it’s outcome. It is sure to produce after it’s kind. This is why you can not plant dandelions and expect roses to grow. So then we see that knowledge of the nature of the seed is essential. And of course good and fertile ground is needed. Ground that has been prepared to receive the seed. The preparation of the ground in part, consist of understanding the law of planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping. If it is a good and healthy garden that you plan to grow, you are careful to plant what you will reap your desired harvest. Once planted you’ve got to work your garden, though you do not cause your garden to grow, it does that on it’s own. That's the wisdom of the seed and the law of the land, but you’ve got to create the right environment and then wait.

For you see this is what I know so far; Neither gardening nor living well is not rocket science. Both are based in the law that every seed that is planted will yield the nature of that seed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

This of course is the name of Mr. Roger’s theme song? Even though I don’t remember being a fan of that show, as I prepare to share with you what I know so far it is the phrase that comes to mind. And truth be told it could have something to do with the fact that I sat a little longer than usual this morning in my window seat looking out at my neighborhood...
While doing so, I could not help but think that before long it will be warmer, and soon we would be safe from lingering forecast of unseasonable snow storms, and finally the warm weather which I love so much, would be here. But then it occurred to me that there are many days between then and the now which gave me an opportunity to check myself and come back to the now.

This gave me an opportunity to see my neighborhood in a way that I had not at first glance. Everything seemed pending. Just waiting it’s turn, just waiting it’s cues to break ground and come forth. The flowers which will offer patches of color in all the right places. The wisdom of the trees knowing just the right time to allow their buds to bare witness to spring. Oh, thank God I took a second look otherwise I’d have missed the beauty of my neighborhood.
So let me ask you this; Is it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Chances are if you are living in the middle region of the United States, your experiencing the same kind of day that I am, at least weather wise. But if you’ve been partaking of these loaves of bread, what I like to call “What I Know So Far,” by now you probably know that I’m not simply talking about the weather.

So I’ll ask you again, IS it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Look around. What do you see? For I’m talking about the neighborhood in your mind, the place where you live, the place which determines your attitude, that one block radius between your ears. Now, the good thing about that neighborhood is you have the ability to control most things, or everything depending upon how you see it. The way I see it, we need to be good gate keepers of our minds, of our neighborhoods. I realized how easily our neighborhoods could change, loosing it’s property value, and become contaminated.

These changes happen by our own thoughts or by listening to, and believing the reports of others. It is therefore important to avoid polluting as well as pollutants. Polluting would be those negative, those less than lovely thoughts that we sometimes have and speak to ourselves as well as to our poor unsuspecting neighbors. Pollutants are sort of like mental graffiti, or the stinking thinking that shrouds the beauty of our minds, of our neighborhoods.

If while seating in my window-seat this morning, I had allowed those thoughts to run ahead of me... then the belief in lack, the fears of recession or depression, would have made me miss the beauty of becoming, the miracle of change, the marvel of spring, the very fact that it is indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Now, that being shared, what would it take to make it your neighborhood beautiful? Well, for me it takes being a good neighbor as well as a good gatekeeper of my mind [as well as my mouth] to block the stinking thinking of others. It’s takes constant weeding, uprooting old beliefs, and a commitment to do no harm and cause no pain. It also takes a choice to look up, to see the bright side of things, and not in some distant future, but to see it right now. So instead of focusing on what’s not happening I’ve decided to organize a neighborhood watch to ensure that the undesirables do not move in and decrease my property value. To guaranty that everyday is a beautiful day in my neighborhood.

So again, my question to you is; What would make it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Envision it, make it so.

For this is what I know so far;
No matter the weather, regardless of what’s reported on the news, no matter what neighborhood you live in, the neighborhood that’s determines your well being lies between your ears. And it can become so beautiful with your commitment to keep watch. To weed out and uproot negative and useless information. To tear down and condemn dilapidated thinking, to build structures that support you and your neighborhood... that you could have block parties every single day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Change for many of us is a very frightening thing, though change is as natural a part of life as breathing. It is the one thing we do consistently, from the time we are conceived until the time we die and there after, some say. So why then is it so uncomfortable for many of us?
Let me ask you this; how easily are you, to change?

I rather like for things to stay the way they are, especially if they are going well. Change often makes me feel uncomfortable. But the truth is, once I realize the inevitability of change and get out form behind it, to my rightful place[ which by the way is in front of it ], we'll suffice it to say “I have been able to see the value of the change”.
In other words by placing my faith in front of the change, I have found myself with out fail, on top. So then what are we changing into ,and from what are we changing?

And how do we make sure that we always end up on top?

I recently ended a five year stint as a radio talk show host. So my daily routine has changed and quite frankly that’s how I choose to see it. For I now have time to prepare for the next opportunity and trust, there will always be another opportunity. You see, this the truth about the change, is it always reflects our thinking. I’d realized that, love my job though I did, under the current management there would be no room for advancement. So I placed my thoughts, my faith in front the change and now I see myself as on a path to enormous possibilities. For you see, the truth about change is that it is a gift, ever seeking to bring to us new options, new opportunities, new possibilities, newness, that’s if we will but change.

And therein lies the work. Knowing that we have the ability to direct our changes, we must be willing to get in front of them. And I believe that the best way to get in front of them, is to embrace the change versus the outcome. Embracing the change gives us the ability to relax and pay attention in the mean time. You know that in-between time when there's always so much to learn? This way we are never disappointed by the appearance of loss, for though the outcomes are unsure, the change is inevitable. And we need be neither shocked nor stressed, for I suspect it is how we feel or shall I say, how we think about the change that creates ease or dis-ease.

When we are able to know that we are necessary, that our lives have purpose and that we are capable of fulfilling that purpose, then change is simply the highway that carries us from one experience to another. The change is always taking us to the right place at the right time and no matter what the appearance we will come through the change with what is needed for the next stop.

For you see this is what I know so far;
We are all changing, all the time, we have changed from toddlers to teens, from there to young adults and into adults fully grown, possibly with out much thought as to what was happening. This says to me that there is a wisdom to the change, that it knows how to do what it does, that we need only trust it and believe that we are ever changing into something necessary, into something grand...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


This Sunday is Easter, it is a day when many of us will gather round a table after Sunday morning service and dine together. So, might I serve you some food for thought? Food for thought is all around us, though it is up to us to select it for our nourishment or edification. Food for thought is the ingredients by which our realities are formed. The pinches and smidgens that when mixed together produce what we all know so far. And as with any other dish, we should pay attention to the quality of those ingredients.

In the same way that you would not use sour milk or rotten eggs to bake your cake, nor would you go about using ingredients without checking the expiration dates, we should all take care to be sure of the quality, the validity and the timeliness of the ingredients or shall I say the information that forms our thoughts. For we live in an ever changing world. A world that was once believed to be flat. And because we are most definitely what we eat. We should always dine on food for thought. Personally I enjoy eating, and soul food for thought is my favorite dish. It is the kind of dish where I can eat as much as I wish and never gain one pound!

For thinking is the true business of life and everything that ever was or ever will be starts out as a thought. And the quality of that thought can be measured by the quality of the information or in this case, the ingredients that are used in the preparation of the food, for thought.
Yes I’ve got food on my mind. I have been invited to an Easter meal and I can hardly wait, for I know the chef well and the quality of his thinking. Therefore I trust the menu will be rich with comfort foods. This is my most favorite category of food for thought, especially this time of year when the days are still shorter than the nights and the sun has yet to chase all the snow away. I have been known to seek comfort in a big ole' bowl of something nice and hot, and truth be told this is done with out much conscious thought at all. But I really want you to consider this food for thought. I’m gonna tell you a little story to help make my point...

Once upon a time there was an angry man. Now he didn’t have to be so angry, but he dined on information that did not serve him well. He dined on information who’s ingredients had long since expired. He dined on dishes that told him he was nothing. He dined on dishes that told him he had no place in the world, he dined on dishes which never filled him up so he always wanted more. And what did he reach for? More of the same, dishes high in foolishness with no nutritional value. And because he never thought about what he was eating, he believed everything he ate. And of course because we are what we eat, his world was a very dark and dank place. Oh, if he had only chosen a happy meal or two. Anything to give him something else to think about, something else to talk about, other than how horrible everything was. But he did not. And so for him everything was horrible. He was not successful and was merely tolerated others. Others not wanting to spoil there appetites, simply choose to avoid him. And he died a very frightened, angry, hungry and lonely old man.

The end.

So you see this is what I know so far;
Because we can not live by bread alone, I want you to think about every dish that you consume. For if we are not consuming thoughtfully the food we are eating just may consume us!

The ALL NEW Cassandra!

The ALL NEW Cassandra!
It's finally here- The ALL NEW click ENTER to visit!


Cassandra takes center stage at The Marcus Center For The Performing Arts to sing the National Anthem, at the 2010 Birthday Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.