Frustrated is my word of choice. I am overwhelmingly frustrated. I’ve read every blog post about hypothalamic amenorrhea. I’ve spent months eating as much as my insides could take without exploding and remaining sedentary. Then I’ve tried adding in light exercise, eating high high fat […]
Today, Johnny and I are 80 days out from our “I Do’s,” and I could not possibly be more excited.
We are also just a few weeks shy of seeing each other again for his regional soccer tournament, and less than a month away from being done with long distance forever.
In case you’re new to the blog, this post provides insight and advice from both Johnny and I on our years of long distance.
I recently put out a question via my Instagram about what interests you most in reading on the blog. An overwhelming majority loved reading about my relationship with Johnny– and, specifically, how we have navigated long distance and “made it work.”
Here is the thing about long distance (since this will probably be my last ever post while I’m in the midst of it):
If you are dating a person worthy of your time, investment, and relationship with, long distance should not be a problem.
You should not have concerns about their loyalty, truthfulness, or intentions, and if you do, we are way beyond the issue of long distance. Unless those concerns come from past hurts that genuinely have nothing to do with the person you are seeing, you need to take some time to seriously consider/pray into your reasoning for relationship with this person.
If you are in love, aligned in morals and intentions, and open with each other, the sacrifice of long distance will not feel so much like a sacrifice, but rather a necessary, non-negotiable experience. If you are led to different places/paths at the same time before you are married, pray about it, and have confidence in your relationship, this distance should not be any object in your relationship.
Now, in saying this, I do not mean that the distance isn’t difficult. Painful. Emotional. Challenging. The hardest thing about it for Johnny and I has been simply MISSING each other, aching for each other, as we are truly best friends, and love being with each other very much.
So, naturally, the way we have “made it work” has been in much, much prayer and dialogue. In feeling confident and continuously led that we are better together than apart, and clinging to the knowledge that the distance was temporary. In focusing on all of the positive things that distance brought, like road trips, heightened excitement and anticipation when we got to reunite after long stretches of time, and the best communication possible. Like the opportunity to work through a challenging circumstance so early on in our relationship, in order to work together through tough decisions and emotions. And, ultimately, because our relationship is not about me, and because we love each other, we support each other, and pray into each other’s situations.
Again, because our relationship is not about me, I don’t fret about missed dates or anything that comes with having a next-door-boyfriend, but look with joy to all the things that Jesus is glorified through in our long distance, and all that we have learned together that will without a doubt help us in our marriage, and for the rest of our lives.
Tangibly, though, how do we “keep things alive?”
We communicate. We tell each other what is on our mind. Even the little things. But we also do not put much pressure on communication. We’re at a point in which we understand our balance of intentional, sacrificial effort/each other’s schedules. But, the reality is… we both WANT to be texting each other/talking to each other all of the time. We’re pretty darned in love, if you can’t tell.
We sacrifice. It’s easy to overlook Skyping as something that isn’t like a planned date, but once we’ve set one (we’re casual about it– we don’t have a certain number per week or anything, as we both like the spontaneity of it and respect our very different schedules), we stick to it. We look so forward to these. Yes, sometimes it’s hard not to just stare at each other in frustrated longing, but it’s just like hanging out for real, if you set your mind to it ;).
We ask forgiveness. We have run into issues. We have let each other down. We have each failed. But each of these times, as we’ve sought each other’s forgiveness, we’ve been able to see as opportunities to improve, through and for Jesus. Something Johnny does so well is ask forgiveness, intentionally, humbly, and genuinely, when he has done something wrong. I have learned so much about the importance of this through his example!
It’s been a while since I’ve had even a moment to update you here, but today I am finally able to sit down and write a bit about something that has been on my heart to share for some time:
Multiple Streams of Income.
Since graduating uni a few short months ago, I have experienced drastic changes that have been both challenging and wonderful. I’m engaged… went from moving back in with my parents after years of living with my best friends to soon moving into what will be my first home with my almost-husband… I went from working in customer service, full-time minimum wage, to freelancing for multiple clients as a writer, barista-ing at a professional coffee roaster’s, teaching tap and hip hop to kids ages 6-11, and having one almost full-time client whose office I am in for half my working hours of the week.
It’s been absolutely stinkin’ FUN, and absolutely stinkin’ overwhelming.
I have had extremely high “highs,” as well as some scarily low lows, as I’ve navigated what this season of my life looks like. I’ve wrestled with my calling, I’ve dreamed more than ever about house decor, and, ultimately, I’ve become more confident than ever before in my life.
I have really and truly loved having multiple streams of income, and getting to do so much of what I love and what I am gifted for, but there have been challenges too.
Today, I am sharing my top tips for managing multiple streams of income.
Keep a strict calendar.
I’ve always used a planner, and love using them, but I used to schedule my time only vaguely. In my current season, I absolutely MUST write everything down by the hour, or else I am bound to affect someone else in a negative way. Part of the service I provide as a freelancer involves my time efficiency, and I am proud to say that I always complete projects prior to their deadline. It is so important to me to be timely with my projects, as well as completely courteous of my clients’ time.
Figure out how you want to manage your invoices, and keep them organized.
This is definitely a skill I am still working on. My invoices are organized to ME, but if someone else looked at them, they would probably freak out a little bit. I do have a record of all my payments and invoices, and keep them in one place. Freelancing can mean that it is difficult to budget accordingly, because your income can change extremely drastically from one month to the next. This is why keeping a record is helpful, in order to understand your average income, and establish an estimate based on how much work you will complete in the next month.
Stay on top of the “little things.”
For me, this means planning my dance lessons well in advance (and writing them down!), mapping out everything for each of my writing projects from research to creation to proofing, and keeping track of when I need to do personal things, like errands and other tasks. Staying on top of these things, aka planning them and writing them down, helps me to avoid stressing about when and how I’m going to get everything done.
Don’t take on any projects or clients that don’t align with your values.
This is huge, and it’s one of the beauties of freelancing: LEARN TO SAY NO. No client whose morals don’t align with yours is worth money. Your craft should not just be about your income: it should be a source of joy, and, most importantly, a valuable service. But no one is serving anyone when they disagree with the morals or content.
Establish your boundaries, and maintain open communication with clients.
Setting boundaries in terms of your working hours, discounts, rate increases, and amount of communication with clients is so important– and these need to be communicated with your clients, too. Maintaining open and flexible communication is important, but, as the contractor, the boundaries you set must be respected.
Remember– life is not about money.
When you work for yourself, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the income, the excitement of an increasing rate and increasing volume of clients, and the fact that you’ve MADE IT as a freelancer in first place. But, if there is one thing I have learned since I’ve started doing this, it’s this: I want this to be about excellent customer service and excellence in my craft, as well as making genuine human connections.
I don’t think freelancing is my calling, but I am grateful to be learning about it and growing in it in this season while God has me here. And it gives me nothing but joy to share what I’ve learned, in the hopes of helping any freelancers or aspiring ones to find their rhythm and love what they do, too.
In storybooks and seasons past, “Church” is seen as a service to attend for one boring hour on Sunday mornings in order to “keep right” with a distant God who might otherwise look sourly at us from His lofty place above. I think, when Christian […]
If you know me in real life, you know that I absolutely adore nut butters.
And if you’ve been in my kitchen in real life, you know that on a whole new level. I almost always have more than one type of nut or seed butter open and ready to spoon from or top with, from flavoured peanut butters to cashew, almond, and sunflower seed butter.
I also always buy nuts-only butters– ie., the only ingredient you’ll find in these jars is the nut itself. I make this decision both according to my taste buds, which are partial to the unsweetened, raw nuttiness of the one-ingredient varieties, and health reasons, as the other ingredients added to many popular nut butters not only deter their flavour in my opinion, but are usually pure junk.
So, the other day, when I realized that the almond butter I bought from my usual brand was a variety I don’t usually buy that contained palm oil and organic cane sugar in addition to almonds, I was annoyed at myself for having a bit of a freakout. I felt stupid for having made such a “careless mistake.”
Luckily, my thoughts rambled, I caught it before I’ve opened the jar. I’ll have to dig up the receipt and exchange it.
It didn’t take too long for me to stop dead in my thoughts, and question them.
Did I hate the taste of sugary almond butter? Absolutely not. It was a close second taste-wise to unsweetened almond butter. So, would a version of Cassie that had not been tainted by an eating disorder be thinking about taking a bus ride back to the grocery store to exchange sweetened almond butter with palm oil for unsweetened… or would that version of Cassie not have even noticed?
It is these kind of thoughts that I am grateful for in their opportunity to take captive and bring to Christ. If I HATED sugary almond butter, that may have been a reason to return it. But I think I can safely say that no seasoned nut-butter-lover would turn down a jar of ANY variety. So, what did I proceed to do? Grab the nearest nut-butter-dipping vehicle– on this particular day, a gala apple–, dunk a slice of it into the sugary almond butter, sprinkle-sprinkle some cinnamon and sea salt, and call it a snack well done.