Where the Rubber Meets the Road [Cassie's Corner]

Tires take a lot of abuse from the roads they travel. There are dips and potholes all along the way. There’s broken glass or nails that can puncture them, requiring surgery to be removed and patched! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 1 in 10 crashes are tire-related, with neglect being the most common culprit. All of these factors can deflate, damage and shorten the life of a tire. It’s good to remember how much is riding on our tires! Keeping them aligned and properly inflated can be the difference between death and life.

Imagine the people in your life being like tires. It’s not a glamorous comparison, but it’s a good word picture for an important lesson. How does your input in their lives affect them? After spending time with you are they properly filled up, inflated and ready to roll, or are they deflated, and limping away? Are they re-aligned with hope, clarity and health, or are they worn down and damaged? It’s not always easy to act with proper care in all of our relationships, but it’s always worth it.

The good news is, we have the ability to breathe life into others! Proverbs 18: 21 tells us, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Through our actions, our words and even our silences, we have the choice to inflate or deflate, to build up or tear down.

Just like our tires, there’s a lot riding on the lives of the people around us. What we breathe into their lives today may give them hope to breathe life into others tomorrow.

That’s where the rubber meets the road.

Song: Ways of God (James 1: 19-24), Wonderfully Made Album

I would love to hear from you! Send comments to cassie@cassiebyram.com

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A New Beginning [Cassie's Corner]

The quote with the most “likes” about the beginning of 2015 was by vocal artist, Taylor Swift. It simply reads…

“This is a New Year, a new beginning…and things will change!”

We can all relate to the hope of a new beginning, a second chance, or a way to start over, especially at the onset of a New Year.

For most of us the final week of December is filled with expectations of what the New Year will bring. Thoughts of a fresh start fill us with hope as we make our resolutions, longing to become a better person or live a better life in some way.

And yet, all too soon, the hope begins to fade. For all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

But there is an everlasting hope available to all of us. One that will satisfy any human longing, and it starts with a new beginning.

The Bible tells us that once we choose to embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we get a fresh start, a new beginning. We actually become a new creation! The old life is gone; a new life begins! (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

That kind of “new” will not fade with time. Instead, it only grows as our reconciled relationship with God continues to re-new us day by day. (2nd Corinthians 4:16) That kind of “hope” does not disappoint. Instead, the love of God being poured into our hearts is the evidence of the blessings God has in store for us. (Romans 4:20)

CS Lewis put it this way,

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because God made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”      ― C.S. Lewis

God alone gives us a new life that no one can take away, a new hope that nothing can fade. God is a God of new beginnings!

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Never Forgotten [Cassie's Corner]

As I woke up this morning I thought of war and the loss of life. It made me cry… even as I write this. But sacrifice is not only measured in loss of life. Tomorrow, we honor those who came home. Their sacrifice is tangible, but immeasurable, and must not be forgotten.

  • A deep-sea diver in WW2 (my father)
  • A Chaplain Colonel in the Air Force (my father in-law)
  • A front line musician/minister to our troops (my brother in-law)
  • A Lt. Colonel in the Air Force (another brother in-law)
  • A platoon scout leader in Vietnam (my cousin killed in action at 19 yrs. old)
  • A social work officer in Vietnam (my cousin, author of A Vietnam Trilogy)
  • An Army officer in Vietnam (my best friends brother suffering from PTSD)
  • A young Lieutenant now serving in the US Army (my nephew)

I will never forget the sacrifices of people like these that allow the rest of us the freedom to sit in front of our machines and say anything we want!

Do you know any veterans personally? If so, make a plan to honor them this Veteran’s Day. Give them a call, write them a note, send them a song, or spend time with them. I will join you in letting them know that their sacrifice and service will never be forgotten.

The Combat Musician: dannybyram.com (great songs for veterans)


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Responsibility and Privilege [Cassie's Corner]

Now that Election Day is over I’m sure we are all hoping that our newly elected officials will work together as a government that is truly “for the people”. It is their responsibility to do so. And now that we have exercised our responsibility and privilege to vote, what more can we do as “the people”?

I would suggest that we begin with prayer.

While writing letters, signing petitions, joining marches or forwarding legitimate information may all be effective ways to gain the attention of our representatives in office, I believe prayer is the most effective way of all.

God promises that if we trust in Him in all of our ways that He will direct our path.

Would you join me today as I pray that our newly elected leaders will seek Divine wisdom and guidance, and that they will lead this country according to God’s Word?

After all, it is our responsibility and privilege to do so.

Song: He Shall Direct Your Path (Proverbs 3:1, 5 & 6) Sweet Dreams Album

I would love to hear from you! Email me your comments about this post to cassie@cassiebyram.com


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Be Still [Cassie's Corner]

Hello Dear Friends! I hope everyone enjoyed a time of rest and relaxation over Labor Day. It happens to be one of my favorite weekends! I love the fact that we all feel permission to kick back and do absolutely nothing if we so choose. It’s a time to “be still.”

That’s what I like best about summer. It’s a season when there seems to be less pressure than usual with time for getaways, outdoor concerts, visiting with friends, family re-unions, etc. Personally, I get more reading done in the summer than ever, which is something I truly love to do but never seem to have enough time for.

As the season comes to a close I want to remind us all to hold on to the feeling of being refreshed. As much as I love autumn and look forward to the winter holidays ahead, I also know it’s a season filled with events and deadlines. There are demands on our time and tasks to perform that can quickly rob us of the joy we experienced only a moment ago.

My hope for you is that as the seasons change and the possible pressures begin to loom, you will think on the God of Peace who holds your days in His hands and that you will make time to “be still”.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10


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Advice from a Carpenter [Cassie's Corner]

Imagine my surprise and delight when standing in my backyard I looked up and saw this beautiful family of hummingbirds. As an animal lover and particularly, a bird enthusiast, I was overwhelmed.

After quickly grabbing my camera and capturing this special scene, I thought about how wise the hummingbird was in the way she built her nest and the choices she made. There are many trees to choose from in our yard, most of them willowy and with light delicate foliage. This wise momma bird chose a mature carrot wood tree with a thick canopy to protect her young from predators and the elements. The branches are interlocking, running through the very nest itself making it structurally sound. The carrot wood is also the strongest tree in our yard with deep roots providing a solid foundation. With the added provision of our nearby fountain, these hummingbird babies were as secure as they could hope to be.

Naturally, I was reminded of Jesus’s instruction telling us to be wise and to build our house upon the rock instead of on the sand. Matthew 7:24 & 25 says “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house on solid rock. The rains descended, the flood came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”

Jesus was not talking about home improvements here. He was talking about the structural soundness of our lives. He didn’t say that the rain and the floods would not come, or that the winds would not blow. Instead, He assured us that if we have worked His words (“sayings”) into our lives we will have a solid foundation that will stand strong when the storm does come.

I love when God gives us obvious examples of His ways for our benefit. Just like the beautiful nest woven securely into the tree, I suggest we follow the Carpenters advice, and build our lives on the rock.


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Let Sacrifice Ring [Cassie's Corner]

(noun) offering, as in “an offering”
(verb) forfeit, relinquish

The first word that would come to mind on the 4th of July for most people in America would probably be the word “freedom”, and with good reason. Freedom was the key issue motivating our Founding Fathers as they penned The Declaration of Independence. To this day, if there is a signature word describing the foundation and tenets of America, it would be the word “freedom”.

On this 4th of July, 2014, in honor of those American heros who authored that precious and brilliant document, I would like to submit another word as being equally important…the word “sacrifice”.

Without sacrifice there would be no freedom.

Take the time to research the suffering many of our Founding Fathers endured in upholding their pledge to this country and the beliefs in what America could be. They risked their own position and possessions in order to secure a better future for all people. They knew that if we lived by the words they had written and stayed truthful to them that we would truly be a society free of tyranny and oppression. These men are an astounding example of the kind of bravery, strength, faith and especially sacrifice required to gain and maintain freedom.

According to Webster’s Dictionary the noun for “sacrifice” is the word “offering”, as in “an offering”. The word “offering” is then described as “a present or gift.” (I am a dictionary junkie by the way!)

These beautiful words are a reminder of the greatest gift (sacrifice) of all, not only to Americans, but to people of all nations.

The Bible tells us in the book of Ephesians, chapter 5 verse 2, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God left His position in heaven, laid down His life and gave Himself to all of us “as an offering and a sacrifice.” Christ made this ultimate sacrifice that we might be made free from the slavery and oppression of sin. Jesus tells us that if we live by His Word and truly believe, that we would then know the truth and the truth would make us free.

As we gather together in celebration of our nation’s freedom, let’s remember to celebrate true freedom in Jesus Christ. God Bless America!

Song: The Truth Shall Make You Free (John 8: 31-36) Wonderfully Made Album


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Meaningful Memories [Cassie's Corner]

When I first began to date my husband, Amick Byram, I was immediately impressed by how many songs, poems and sayings he had memorized. This was, of course, after first being impressed with his good looks and talent!

As time went on and we became more and more comfortable with each other, he would frequently burst into song or recite a lyric for me that he had learned from his childhood. You see, he had learned them early in his young life and would never forget them. They had become meaningful to him and he wanted to share them.

After getting over the fact that dating Amick was like being in The Sound of Music, I became more familiar with the memories that had informed his life, and I began to see a pattern. These songs, scriptures or sayings all had a delightful sense of happiness and a celebration of life. They made me feel good or hopeful when I heard them. Some were even mysterious, quirky or thoughtful, but there was still a sense of joy and wonder to them.

My husband is a great example of the importance of the memories we create for our children early on in their lives. What we feed into young children and the messages we send them will affect them for a lifetime.

Amick is one of the most positive people I have ever met. His take on any situation or challenge in life is always a hopeful one. He was very fortunate that the input of his young life helped him to build the foundation for that kind of healthy personality.

Unfortunately many children grow up without this kind of healthy input. Jesus asks us, whether we are parents or not, to embrace little children as He embraces them. (Mark 9:37) In other words, to render them service, and in doing so, we are actually rendering service to Him.

Consider how you can make a difference in the lives of children.

As parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors, aunts, uncles, and so on, we have a glorious opportunity and responsibility to create lifetime memories in the lives of children….meaningful memories that will help shape their future, and by doing so, shape the future of the world.

By the way, my husband Amick is unusual. Bursting out in song is not normal dating etiquette…in case you were wondering!

I would love to hear from you! Email your comments about this post toCassie@CassieByram.com.


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From ‘Mere’ to ‘Interesting’ [Cassie's Corner]

Being featured as the vocal soloist for the celebrated film-maker, Hayao Miyazaki’s most iconic film “My Neighbor Totoro”, will always be one of the highlights of my career.

Miyazaki’s beautifully animated movies have delighted children and adults alike for over 30 years. His vivid imagination transports us into stunning scenes filled with the glory of everyday life, if we will only slow down long enough to enjoy it.

Hayao Miyazaki is highly revered by anyone in animation. Everyone at Disney’s Pixar is a huge fan, especially John Lasseter, the director of the original Toy Story. In Toy Story 3, Lasseter gave a nod to the film by including a plush toy of Totoro as one of Bonnie’s toys.

Some of the biggest fans of all are among my 22 year-old son Benjamin’s generation.

I remember back in the day when Ben was in Jr. High School and his friends were in our family room gathered around the TV. They were watching the movie, “My Neighbor Totoro.” As I heard my own voice floating through the house I wanted to tell them it was mine, but I felt a bit shy about interrupting my son and his Jr. High-school aged friends. That could be scary! But I decided to be brave. I walked in just as the opening song finished and announced, “That was me.” They all stopped and looked at me with annoyed confusion on their faces. Obviously, I had interrupted their movie and invaded their space . “What do you mean?” they finally asked. “That’s my voice”, I said, “I’m the one singing that song. In fact I sang all of the solos in this film.”

At that moment the looks on their faces went from annoyed confusion to absolute shock, especially Ben’s! “Are you kidding me Mom? We’ve been watching this for years. I had no idea it was you!” Immediately they were on their feet asking me about my experience. It just so happens that my son and all of his friends who were there that day were in the school choir. Many of them were interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.

That day I went from “mere” Mom to “interesting” Mom in an instant.

I’d like to say it didn’t mean that much to me, but it did. It was a lot of fun and a definite boost to the “old” ego. But the good news is, it meant much more than that. Something happened that day that changed my relationship with my son and his friends. They started to know my story.

I can honestly say, it allowed me a certain entry into their lives I did not have before. In that moment my son’s friends discovered something relatable about me, which then opened the door for me to have at least a small amount of trust and input.

Stories are the most important possessions we carry through life. Most everything else can be taken from us, but not our story.

Look for ways you can share your story with others. Share moments in your life that will cause you to be more relatable. Do it with sensitivity of course. Make sure you are inclusive and turn the focus back to those you are with. But go ahead, be brave! Sometimes you may even have to invade someone’s space, but the rewards will be great as you go from “mere” to “interesting”.

I would love to hear from you! Email your comments about this post toCassie@CassieByram.com.


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His Purpose [Cassie's Corner]

From the very onset of life children begin to form their identity. They decide what they will trust in and whom they can depend on. Scripture is clear that our dependence is to be on Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself said, “I am the vine: you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit: apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

This verse sets the standard for children (and for all of us) about how we can live a fruitful life. There are wonderful reasons to teach children to memorize what the Bible says. Let’s help them to remain in Christ so that they will reap the fruitful blessings of God’s purposes their whole lives through!

Song: His Purpose (Romans 8: 28-30) Wonderfully Made Album


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