faith, freedom, food

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Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookie with Optional Almond Butter Cacao Drizzle

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookie with Optional Almond Butter Cacao Drizzle

I’m a big fan of single-serve desserts. Mostly because dessert is my preferred meal, but certainly not everyone’s. If I could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… I probably would. And, tbh, I have. But if you’re not like me, I bet you still […]

A Weekend In Paradise

A Weekend In Paradise

“Paradise.” That’s what my sister’s friend called my family cottage after just a few hours of exploring the grounds. “I’ve never been to a cottage like this.” Krystal, Johnny, and I exchanged satisfied glances; Aly was not wrong. Papineau Lake was not like most lakes, […]

The Hardest Thing About Wedding Planning

The Hardest Thing About Wedding Planning

When I got engaged, I pictured myself blogging about all the pretty details, aesthetically sharing the history of our venue, swatches of bridesmaid dresses, and details about the menu (which is, I must say, to die for).

I thought maybe I would naturally become one of those lifestyle bloggers who writes from a very unbiased, journalistic perspective, leaving lots of feelings and experiences at the door.

Don’t get me wrong– I have a MASSIVE level of respect for these bloggers and writers. I have often wished that Cassie, Compiled could be without personal, often heavy content.

But, that’s just never what my blog has been, and I don’t think it ever will be. So, in regular Cassie-style, I am gettin’ real with y’all today.

One of our engagement photos by the very talented, very kind, very funny Liam Good.

The most difficult aspect of wedding planning. It’s not in matching the flowers to the outfits or picking between cheesecake and brownies. It’s not in contracts or scheduling or even planning all the events to coordinate with a bridal party of 14.

No, I have found that the most difficult aspect of wedding planning has been a desire to ensure that those around me understand that all I truly care about for the day is that Jesus is glorified, seen, and praised. That the purpose of marriage (to serve Him, better together) would be admonished joyfully. That when loved ones ask what kind of shoes I want and how to make the ceremony room look perfect and my answers are that I’m just having fun with it and don’t have a ton of preference, they would KNOW that this is not me “settling” on the day Western culture says we should spend $60,000 on, but that I truly and wholeheartedly know that if I walked down the aisle in bare feet, I would not be bothered. If our outdoor decorations were rained on, I would ask for Jesus’ eyes and know that He was never looking at them. If the music during the ceremony was a little louder than I pictured, let it be for God’s glory.

And, honestly, it didn’t take long– by God’s grace– for me to realize that I really didn’t have to engage in any of that “convincing.” That’s not been the Lord’s desire for me, either. I just needed to put my trust in Him, and allow HIM to love others through me.

To see the generosity in the hearts of loved ones around me during this time. To recognize gifts and blessings bestowed as they see fit and that reflect nothing but good intentions and kindness. And even as I write, I feel I sound ungrateful, but that is not my sentiment at all. Johnny and I are absolutely beyond blessed by loved ones supporting our wedding financially and creatively, and by people putting time and energy into putting the day together.

And don’t get me wrong– I do want the day to be aesthetically beautiful. It is a joy to plan the decor and colours and menu with excellence and our tastes in mind.

It’s just that the reality is that the wedding day is a single one in which I am dedicating the rest of my life to glorifying Jesus (THIS is the purpose) with one person, the person I love, for the rest of my life. THIS needs to be seen and known. THIS needs to be the purpose that is supported. HE needs to be lifted high in our vows and in the entire day.

You were chosen according to the purpose of God the Father and were made a holy people by his Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be purified by his blood. 1 PETER 1:2

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell me…

Do you think much about the purpose of weddings? Has your particular culture influenced the way you think about them? How might you go about discovering what is the true purpose of a wedding?

06. Oneness

06. Oneness

This is Part 6/6. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, Part 2, “Dating,” here, Part 3, “Distance,” here, Part 4, “Letters,” here, and Part 5, “Healing,” here. …all of that closeness tracking perfectly toward oneness. Marriage. God’s beautiful creation. A part of His plan to make humans stronger. In some […]

05. Healing

05. Healing

This is the fifth instalment of six in my series telling my love story with my fiance Johnny. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, Part 2, “Dating,” here, Part 3, “Distance,” here, and Part 4, “Letters,” here. Following the grandly miraculous healing that Jesus reigned in over my life […]

04. Letters

04. Letters

Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, Part 2, “Dating,” here, and Part 3, “Distance,” here.

It was our second New Year’s Eve together, over our first reunion during long distance dating, that Johnny told me there was something really important he needed to talk to me about.

Now, for some context. Before Johnny and I met, I had come through years of entrenchment in eating disorders. At the time we met, when I was entering university, my health appeared much better than it had previously, but my mind was still quite the war-zone. My brain was still hyper-focused on calories and lack of calories and minutes spent burning calories. And I hadn’t even admitted to myself, but, when Johnny left, that war-zone in my mind had waged harder, threatening to take over.

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 2 SAMUEL 7:28

Since Johnny and I had just gone months without seeing each other, my decrease in health was apparently incredibly obvious to him when he returned. Not simply in my physical appearance, but in my mental clarity and focus.

Never once did I feel Johnny’s lack of love and support. He clung MORE tightly at first, and his gentle, loving promptings scared the eating disorder inside me.

But, Johnny soon realized that clinging tightly was not the answer to my health. If he truly loved me, he would have to let go.

So, New Year’s Eve, Johnny explained to me what he had prayed through. He felt strongly that God was asking Him to step away from being such an influential voice in my life, just for this next season. Johnny explained that he wanted desperately to make everything better, but he needed to act according to his belief that only God could remedy this dark mental illness, and Johnny didn’t want to stand in the way of that because he loved me too much.

We rang in 2017 crying our eyes out, as the eating disorder cringed because Cassie woke up to the reality of her sickness that day. Living this life could mean losing the love of my life… I couldn’t foresee it for what it was just yet, but I knew that I wanted to live freely and whole-heartedly for Jesus, and that the eating disorder was preventing me from doing so.

So, when Johnny left again for Winnipeg, we committed to no communication outside of letter-writing for the next four months.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. PSALM 9:10

I spent a large part of the coming months in spiritual therapy with some of the most humble and self-sacrificing people I have ever known. To read the full story of how God used this time to heal the eating disorder in my life, head here.

I was a new creation in Christ, and Johnny had shown his trust in both me and in the Lord during this time, which was HUGE.

May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. PSALM 20:5

I have also witnessed Johnny come through immense trials, honoured to walk next to him in his journey with Jesus. The time we both gave in which we synced our words with our actions– we trust you wholly and completely, Lord, so we’re going to surrender everything to you– glorified Him and taught us both so much in the process.

As Johnny last summer endured a lot of challenges and pain during a time that I was much healthier and more thriving, God shifted our perspectives yet again. I have watched Johnny grow from that difficulty in pursuit of God; watched God grant him an amazing job opportunity, soccer skill that blows my mind, and transform his character to become only ever more in the image of Christ. I am absolutely amazed by the grace, love, and genuineness of the man I get to marry.

3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. ISAIAH 51:3

03. Distance

03. Distance

All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, and Part 2, “Dating,” here.The premise of long distance dating in our culture today is frightening. Multiple times throughout the years Johnny I dated thousands of miles apart I had […]

02. Dating

02. Dating

All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here. That first coffee date made Johnny’s intentions even more clear. We spent it talking about what God had done in our lives, and to give Him glory for those […]

01. Meeting

01. Meeting

All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good.

I didn’t think the incredibly handsome man with the super humble but intelligent thoughts and shy smile whose name I knew to be Johnny Fulford would ever talk to me.

I assumed that, like the way most middle-school crushes of the same calibre go, the nodding and acknowledging and occasional smiles we exchanged at Tuesday morning 9am Public Faith & Politics class would be the extent of our relationship.

But oh did I have a Heavenly Father who knew differently, One who knew exactly why those middle school crushes were nothing more than hormones. One who has extended such love and grace that the only possible response is to give Him all of my life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. JEREMIAH 29:11

And, any way, the more aligned I was becoming with Johnny Fulford before we had even once spoken had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the way God was working in my life. Through beautiful friends, through enlivening the Word of the Bible like never before, transforming my heart and my spirit and my mind to true joy in having an intimate relationship with my One and Only God, Jesus.

I believe that Jesus revealing Himself to me as my Number One was absolutely vital for number two stepping in.

In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. PROVERBS 3:6

My first real conversation with Johnny, then, was on a car ride to Queen’s Park in Toronto for a class field trip. The everything-but-country-music-fanatic cringed a bit at my Shania-Twain-belting but I noticed that he was smiling at my soul.

While we were on the field trip, colleagues who had been in the car asked me, “Do you and Johnny have a thing? Sure seems like it.”

University isn’t the time for a boy, reverberated my mind. But the Holy Spirit was undeniably speaking something else.

Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ROMANS 12:2

When he asked me that night if he could take me for coffee, after highlighting that he was interested in what the Lord was doing in my life for His glory, I had the most overwhelming peace in Johnny’s intentions to know me; that knowing me more deeply would hopefully mean knowing Jesus and becoming more like Him.

Because of Jesus, the world had already started to look more colourful and beautiful even in all its brokenness; but that was only the beginning.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. MATTHEW 6:33

Your Faith Has Made You Well

Your Faith Has Made You Well

Jesus really doesn’t ask for much. Well, yes, when we follow Him we surrender our lives from purpose for dead and meaningless, withering worldly things to the eternal purpose of Jesus’ glorification, and this may certainly be seen as “much” if we don’t know Jesus […]