We're in the dead of winter and if you're stuck in the Midwest like me, our winters feel sooooooooo long and cold! This soup is a comforting treat that will make you feel so good! There is no cream involved, yet this soup has a texture like a bisque.

This soup is loosely based on a pumpkin soup recipe that I tried years ago, but because I had a hard time finding pumpkin purée without any added sugars or preservatives in it, I used butternut squash instead. I also added a little more of this and a little more of that....and eventually this recipe came out of it. I hope you enjoy it! Another added plus is if you keep the spices and salt out, your baby might love it, too! Ours sure does!

This year, my husband and I are committing to complete at least one Catholic-themed book each month in hopes of broadening our knowledge of the Catholic faith and to find some gems of inspiration and encouragement. Here are the books we hope to cover. I will try and post a review as we complete each one. If you've read any of them, leave a comment as to why you liked or didn't like it!

January: Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Bishop Robert Barron

February: Beautiful Mercy: Experiencing God's Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others by Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly, Cardinal Wuerl, Fr. Larry Richards, Fr. Michael Gaitley, and others

March: Intimate Graces: How Practicing the Works of Mercy Brings Out the Best in Marriage by Teresa Tomeo and Dominick Pastore

April: The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis

May: Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler

June: The Protestant's Dilemma: How the Reformation's Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism by Devin Rose

July: Confessions of a Megachurch Pastor by Allen Hunt

August and September: Footprints in a Darkened Forest by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

October: Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly

November: The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis

December: Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings 1941-44 by Alfred Delp, S.J.

I'm tucked away in a cafe on a chilly December afternoon in Evanston, Illinois, with some awesome company: Cassie Pease of Cassie Pease Designs! I have to admit...I'm truly humbled by this inspiring woman. She has so much talent and instead of using it in the realm of secular design, she uses it to glorify God. Through her beautiful work, she is doing her part in the New Evangelization by inspiring, educating, and evangelizing fellow Catholics and beyond! Cassie has graciously allowed me to interview her so that you can get to know the artist behind these powerful designs. I hope this interview inspires you as much as it did me! 

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Cassie is a Catholic graphic designer from South Dakota. Her mission is to combine the wisdom and joy of the Catholic faith with beautiful and colorful imagery that inspires people to discover (or rediscover) the joy of a life lived for Christ. The saints, who are great examples of this joy, have become a main source of inspiration for her work.

As you were growing up, how did your faith formation inspire you to use your talents to glorify God and inspire your fellow Catholics?

While growing up, my parents were a huge influence on me. They shared the faith at home and that was beautiful to see. That gave me a very good foundation, which wasn’t something I realized at the time. It was during high school that I really began to take ownership of my faith and it became something I began to love and wanted to grow in. I went through a couple of catholic camps and those were really inspiring for me. It was amazing to see people growing in their faith and fired up about it. I grew up in a small town that didn’t have a lot of faith-growing opportunities, so in high school I began to seek them out on my own.



A friend of mine recently gave me a beautiful book entitled,"My Sisters the Saints", by Colleen Carroll Campbell. Wow. Where was this book when I was graduating high school or in college?

Seriously, though. It was like this book was written just for me and every Catholic and/or Christian girl out there who craves to know God and His plan for her life, but has no idea where to begin. Or, she looks for God in all of the wrong places and tries to fill that void with ALL the wrong things! In today's hook-up culture and a society that tells women they'll only find total fulfillment in their career and not in motherhood or family life, I found this book to be a breath of fresh air.

When I began my internship, some odd things began to happen. From high school graduation up until that point, I had rarely gone to Mass. I only allowed God into my life when and if it was convenient and comfortable for me. Suddenly, He was making things way too easy for me to say "yes" to Him. I found it strikingly odd, and the timing couldn't be more bizarre as a brother of mine had recently given his life to Christ in joining the Jesuits as a seminarian. When I arrived at my internship, I found out the organization was housed inside an old Jesuit Seminary! Within our building, a common gathering space was in a former prayer chapel! I'd sometimes sneak in there and bask in the quiet and beautiful glow of the old stained glass windows. I'd feel His presence there, even though the Altar had been removed and there weren't any religious statues or a Crucifix. A bust of Shakespeare sat where the crucifix should have been. Just a few steps from my workplace was a parish where they celebrated daily Mass exactly when my lunch hour started. “Okay, God”, I thought. “I get it. I need you. It’s time I let you work on my broken life instead of me trying to fix everything on my own.” I began going to daily Mass and within the next seven months, my faith and my life changed dramatically.