Friday, October 3, 2008

Introducing . . .

As promised, I want to publicly congratulate Tammy Ruthsatz, the first of my two contest winners. Tammy nominated her niece, Cassie D. Ground, a remarkable young lady as you will soon see. As I wrote Cassie's bio, I received a lot of help from Cassie's mother, Mindy Nutter, who provided me with factual information and memories so that I could tell Cassie’s story and create her character to the best of my ability. Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to . . .

Cassie D. Ground

Born on September 19th, 1985, Cassie quickly became a faithful servant of our Lord. At just three years old, Cassie sang in front of the entire congregation at Faith Memorial Church in Sandusky, Ohio. At the age of 11, Cassie was crowned Honor Star, part of a program called Missionettes Girls Club that required reading the Bible all the way through, memorizing many scriptures including some whole chapters, writing reports, and a list of other criteria. She then went on to be involved in youth ministry where she was the worship leader for several years along with her two younger sisters, Carlie and Cristina. Cassie was also a member of the adult choir and played the acoustic guitar in the worship band. According to her mother, Cassie “sang with the voice of an angel”.

Cassie was also an excellent student. She attended Bay Area Christian Academy in Sandusky through the 8th grade, and then Monroeville High School, where she graduated in June of 2003. Cassie then went on to work toward a degree in Elementary Education at BGSU-Firelands College where she had repeatedly made the Dean’s list. Cassie simply loved being in college and was so excited about accomplishing her dream of becoming a teacher!

It was during her senior year of high school that Cassie met the love of her life, Jordon Berberick, and they planned to get married on July 27, 2007. Everything seemed to be falling in place for Cassie . . . until that fateful afternoon on August 30, 2005. It had been raining heavily, and as Cassie was on her way to pick her sister up from school, she was in an accident and was killed. She never got the chance to teach a classroom full of third-graders as she had hoped to. She never got the chance to marry her true love. But I truly believe that Cassie D. Ground will spend all of eternity faithfully serving her Lord and singing “with the voice of an angel”.

In The Heart’s Journey Home, Cassie’s character is a vibrant, beautiful high school senior who was highly recommended by the pastor of her church to provide child care during a newly established ministry for single parents. On several occasions, Kate, the main character, watches from a distance as Casssie sings, dances, and plays “Go Fish” with the children, who instantly adore her. I pray that through this experience, Cassie’s memory is honored in the utmost way and that everyone who reads The Heart’s Journey Home will come to know and love Cassie the way all of her family and friends still do.

Tammy and Mindy, thank you for sharing Cassie with us!

: I also promised that I would have some updates for you. I've been like a fish out of water since I had the computer problems and I apologize profusely that I haven't updated you before this. An update the the computer issue: Rob McCabe, the hubby of our computer teacher at school, was able to retrieve my ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT and some other less important documents that I had wanted! Bless you, Rob! And, surprise, surprise, I got on the phone yesterday with Dell, they had me do a few things, push a few buttons and decided I needed a new hard drive. DUH! But, I can't complain because they sent one out, no questions asked, and I got it TODAY! Yes, right now I am working on my laptop (with all of my documents backed up on flash drive AND email) so we are back in business! :) Onto the important stuff . . . Sarah Grundler, my cousin, had her baby - a littler girl named Marina. Both mama and baby are doing fine though Sarah is tired, as to be expected. I'm going to keep her on the list a little while longer though because every new mama can use prayer! Please pray for strength for Sarah and for continued good health for Baby Marina. Larry Harris is out of the hospital after being there for almost two weeks! His surgery went fine, but now his wife, Kathy, tells me that he is having some nausea and is having a hard time eating anything. Please continue to pray for healing for Larry and that his heart will strengthen daily. Pray for the nausea to subside so that he can eat and get his strength back. And, for Kathy, pray for strength and peace. Phyllis Gentry is recovering, however, the doctors want her to have a bone scan and an MRI on her back before she can go back to her regular duties as being a care giver to a physically handicapped young woman. Please pray for continued healing for Phyllis and strength for Ramona (the young woman's mother) who is doing all of the lifting in Phyllis' absence. Robin Baughman had emergency surgery on the tumor on her brain and, amazingly, within just a few days she was up and walking! She is in good spirits now. She is experiencing some headaches possibly from swelling. She has to wait for her brain to heal before she can start the chemo for the cancer in her breast and lung. Please, lift Robin and her family up today. Pray for her supernatural healing. Pray for peace and comfort to surround her like a warm, fuzzy blanket. Pray for her husband to have the strength to be all that she needs him to be right now and pray for her four children see the love of Christ through their mother's struggles. William Hickson's seizures are under control now which is wonderful news, but a recent MRI indicated that he has some brain atrophy (or a decrease in size). Please, pray for little William. Pray for his doctors and especially for his mama and daddy, Alice-Lyle and Stan, as they search out what this means. Pray that Alice-Lyle and Stan can experience a peace that passes all understanding and can make decisions regarding their son's health and care with a godly wisdom. Pray that they can experience a supernatural strength - in themselves, in the Lord, and in each other. And pray for little daily miracles for William.

In a few more days, I will introduce you to my second contest winner, Brenda Olien, and her nominee so make sure and visit again soon!


Anonymous said...

Jen, I think this is an awesome tribute to Cassie, and a terrific way to pass her memory forward. I can't wait to read those sections of your book!

beth said...

Where will your book be available? ...I know Cassie's family and had no idea about this book... The sister Cassie was on her way to pick up when she was in the accident is one of my good friends.. I was surfing the web.. Cassie's birthday is tomorrow, so I think subconciously I was thinking about her.. and I googled her name. This site popped up, and my heart accelerated.. I'm so happy to hear that a piece of her will be here forever as a character in a book. Every time I think about it my eyes fill up with tears.. it's incredible.

So back to my purpose for writing this comment.. is this going to be available anywhere to buy or just Christian bookstores, or is it more exclusive than that? I'm sure Mindy or Tona will know if I don't hear back from you soon..

Also.. if you could add someone to the prayers for hope and healing.. a little girl on my volleyball team has a blocked artery leading to her heart and needs open heart surgery, but is so tiny that the risks are extremely high.. her heart is beating at 120bpm and she can't breathe on her own. She is 13 years old... and needs prayer.

Jen Riffle said...

Hey, Beth! So good to hear from you! And thank you SO much for your interest in this book!!! Probably the easiest way to grab a copy of this book which will release on Feb 1st (but will be available for presale before that)is through Amazon or B& You may find it in some of the stores around Sandusky (since I'm from that area - Monroeville, actually), but typically stores tend to keep the books that sell, sell, sell on their shelves. New authors have a challenge there. So, I'd say start checking with Amazon or B&N towards the middle of January and maybe you could reserve a copy before it releases. Also, I am hoping to set up a book signing at the Monroeville library and some other places in the area in March so keep an eye out for that. I'd love to meet you! :o)

YES! I will most definitely add your sweet little friend to my list of prayer concerns. Can you please email me her name (first is fine for privacy issues): I will put it up this weekend. Also, are you on FB? If so, look me up: Jennifer Dominick Stephens. I look forward to chatting with you some more! :o)

Many blessings to you and yours,